March 17, 2013

By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher

american warningIt’s interesting that when Obama first introduced the idea of the “Affordable Care Act”, his critics and supporters alike looked to the Massachusetts experiment implemented by one Mitt Romney.  Is Massachusetts an example of success or failure? 

If you Google “Massachusetts healthcare exchange successful?” you will find some articles outlining the successful model for healthcare reform.  Of course, you have to put aside the functionality of the law itself and how it was written and focus more on the fact that politicians were able to put their differences aside to make this happen.  Makes you wonder if the success story is in the politicians’ ability to make nice, or in the policy itself.

If, however, you Google “wait times for medical care in Massachusetts” you get a different list of articles.  To me, that is the major indicator of success.  Affordability would come in second to whether or not I can actually GET the service itself in a timely fashion.  It sounds cold, I know, but all the money in the world means nothing to the man who can’t get a doctor when he needs one the most.  But you can work out a payment plan if you can land a doctor (which used to be the case: doctors in America used to work with patients directly for payment, and there weren’t any credit bubbles to speak of as a result either). 

Whether you look to Massachusetts and see success or failure is moot.  Why?  Because Massachusetts isn’t really where you should be looking at all.  If you are looking for a clear and accurate indication of where we are heading in terms of nationalization or universalization of anything… and I mean ANYTHING… all the information you need is right there for you to examine with your own two eyes: your local Indian Reservation.

Two things to consider here before running to the talking points in favor of socialized care: 1. Native Americans were promised comprehensive healthcare by treaty; 2. If the federal government can’t deliver on this promise with any effectiveness to the comparatively few numbers on the reservations, so how on earth will they provide this same care to the remaining majority of Americans off the reservations?

There is a special phrase they use on the reservation: “Don’t get sick after June.”  The coffers are as empty as the promise attached to them.  So when your life is one the line, what will you do, should you dare to get sick after June?  Protest?  Vote some more?

But it’s not JUST their healthcare.  These individuals have NO property right.  Their land is owned and managed by the federal government and the stewardship of the land is tied up in some convoluted system of inheritance rules.  It’s called Fractionated Ownership.  (Don’t be deceived by the world “ownership”… the Native American doesn’t really “own” the land… they’re just allowed to live there.)  Here’s a simple explanation of what that entails from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation:

For over a century, Indian families have seen valuable land resources diminish as fractionated ownership increases with each passing generation. As a result of the General Allotment Act of 1887 (also called the Dawes Act), reservation land was divided up and allotted to individual tribal members. When an allottee died, title ownership was divided up amongst all of the heirs, but the land itself was not physically divided. As such, each Indian heir received an undivided interest in the land. Now, as each generation passes on, the number of owners grows exponentially, which has resulted in the highly fractionated ownership of much Indian land today.”

This is truly the Tragedy of the Commons playing out before our very eyes.

Because there is no property right, there is no collateral in their name for them to offer up for business or even home improvement loans.  They are no different than a renter.  A person who rents a piece of property can’t offer that up as a means of obtaining a loan either.  The difference being a renter off the reservation isn’t sentenced to remain one forever!

Because there is no property right, all the processes and procedures of procuring any economic prosperity is in the same hands as their owners: the federal government.

Ever work for a very LARGE corporate conglomerate?  I have.  And while there was a certain amount of job security in knowing you work for a juggernaut, there is also the mind-numbing procedures involved in getting ANYTHING done.  Want to streamline a process?  Great.  Let’s run that up the flagpole, have countless dry-ass meetings about it, play the political games of moving it to the head of the next agenda, create some forms and then maybe… JUST MAYBE… that suggestion you made will make it back to you while you’re still alive!  You won’t recognize it if and when you do finally see it, since it needs to meet certain corporate standards and requirements… but there you go!  Be the change, Tiger!  Be the fucking change!

It was excruciating to endure it on such a menial level as updating a spreadsheet, and equally so to recount it in that last paragraph.  I can’t even begin to imagine the torturous levels of frustration involved in developing Indian land!  Well, for every 4 steps we folks off the reservation have to go through (which indubitably sucks), they have 45 MORE steps and 4 times the amount of agencies to go through. 

God forbid you don’t have ALL the required paperwork completed and ALL the necessary information to complete the forms!   “Simply completing a title search can cause delays. Indians have waited six years to receive title search reports that other Americans can get in just a few days,” writes Shawn Reagan from

Native American entrepreneurship is often limited to casinos.  At least that’s what gets the most press.  This is a sad legacy to leave when you consider the tragically high rates of suicide and alcoholism on the reservations.  Now their only lucrative means of earning is gambling? 

It is an uncomfortable combination as well… much like the state lotteries and education funding.  There’s something not right about education and gambling having an economic relationship.  Moreover, the lottery preys on the hopes of poor people. 

So, while I can’t quite put my finger on it, both are unsettling.

Are there other opportunities for Native Americans?  Absolutely!  There happens to be an abundance of natural resources on these reservations.  Ironically, the US government has notoriously attacked every Middle Eastern country for their natural resources… but refuses to allow the Native American to cultivate their resources.  And that resource is coal. 

I guess we could just call it an unfortunate turn of events that Obama and his “green” administration would be so adverse to coal.  Notwithstanding, several reservations are sitting on a mountain of coal, eager to sell to a willing buyer in Asia, and they aren’t “allowed”.  Like any other acts of prohibition, the buyers will only find different suppliers willing to sell and export.  They didn’t prevent the buyer from getting their coal, they prevented an indigent tribe from rising out of poverty! 

There is an estimated $1.5 Trillion dollars in untapped resources on reservation land.  Residents on the reservation want to work their land and capitalize on it, but can’t because of federal restrictions.

As if all these things didn’t demonstrate the total ineptitude of the federal government, and as if simply hindering Native Americans from rising out of poverty weren’t enough, the Department of the Interior was also found to have mismanaged Indian lands to the tune of $48 Billion since 1887.  After a twenty year legal battle, the Obama administration offers them a paltry $3.4 billion and a whole other layer of new bureaucrats to manage their affairs.  Sickening.

The plight of the Native American is grim and a blight on the legacy of these United States.  It is the real testament of how the US Government deals with people foreign and domestic.  The word of the US government… much like its money… is worthless. 

THIS is where the entire nation is heading.  Layers of new regulations, bureaucrats and czars; the environment is the excuse to keep the poor down, the poor are the excuse to keep the rich down; and anyone who dares to complain is just an ingrate. 

THIS is American history that we can really learn from.  This isn’t news.  This isn’t some recent development.  This is an American warning that people read about and talk about but do NOTHING about.  I honestly feel it is too late for the American Indian.  But it’s not for the rest of us, and those tribes fortunate enough NOT to be a “recognized tribe” by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

This is THE argument in defense of property right.  Defend your property right and protect your assets because the tragedy of the commons is only a few legislative votes away.