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Mr. Speaker, many years ago during the mid-eighties, I had the opportunity to travel to what is now the former Soviet Union when it was the Soviet Union. I had that experience based upon the fact that I was a judge in Texas and got to go see what it was like to live under that type of regime.
Of course, in those days, everything was controlled. Everything was controlled by the government. The lives of the people were totally controlled by the government because the government, as they say, knew better. It made all decisions for the people. It made the decision what town they lived in, what apartment they lived in, what job they had, where they worked, and gave them permission or not to even travel from town to town. And, of course, government made also the decision and the control over their health care.
I noticed as I went from clinic to clinic that the lines would be down the street. Four in the afternoon, they shut the door. The people disappeared. The next day they would come back and stand in line again, hoping to get some of that government-controlled, rationed health care.
I also noticed something more important than all of that, that the spirit of those Russian people was broken. They had given up. They had given up on themselves and on their government.
Eventually, of course, they were defeated, as we say, when the wall came down. But they were not really defeated by the United States, by the West. They were defeated by their own government because of their oppression and subjugation to the government and government control of their lives. Yes, in those days, the evil empire, as we called it, was the ultimate example of total government control.
Now, of course, we are not the Soviet Union. I am not saying we are. But today we are engaged in the great debate of at least this century of health care. But it is a bigger issue than health care. The issue is about government control of our lives. Regardless of how you put the bill that is now over 2,000 pages, it changes the philosophy that the government now will control health care in this country, rather than us as citizens.
You know, the idea that government is going to save us all. We are going down that road of government, more government, more government, more government, and more government. You know, government is already the biggest employer in this country. It is the biggest consumer in this country. It is the biggest landowner in this country. It is the biggest spender in this country. It has most of the money. And when it runs out of money, it takes money from the people when they are alive and even when they are dead because of the death tax.
Just a few months ago, the government took control over the financial industry, the mortgage industry, the banking industry, and the automobile industry, just to name a few. But I don't believe the people in this country are broken, and they are not defeated. They showed it when they came to Washington, D.C., this week. They are concerned about government. It is a bigger issue than health care. They are concerned about government running roughshod over their lives. They exercised, even with all of the critics and cynics, they exercised their right to peacefully assemble and petition government for redress of grievances. It is in the First Amendment. It is first because the First Amendment is the most important.
But people are fearful of government, of government control over their lives. This health care bill is just one example of us moving down that road of government is going to take care of us all; it is going to save us all.
Mr. Speaker, this country has never been great and will never be great because we have government programs. Government programs have not made this country what it is today. Individuals have made it. But, also, the individuals that had the right and have the right of liberty, to make decisions on their own rather than government taking care of them all. We are great because of the people here and who have not been defeated by the government of the United States.
So I hope we in this House would turn against the temptation of turning everything over to government. This is one place where we can put the brakes on and say no to government running the health of this Nation. Because government doesn't do it better. You know, this government-run health care plan has the confidence of FEMA, the efficiency of the Post Office, and the compassion of the IRS, and we should start over and fix the problems that we have rather than expecting government to take care of us all.
And that's just the way it is.
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