Dangerous WatersTeam Obama sent up a trial balloon: let’s pay for health care "reform" by taxing health care benefits. That was a plank in John McCain’s "health care" platform and he lost, remember? (That John McCain, the one with the hundred millionaire wife who has been a lifelong recipient of uncapped, fully-paid government health care.)

I’d appreciate it if Team Obama and senior Democratic CongressCritters would stop negotiating with the public before they tell us that we’re negotiating and what about. Stop negotiating with us while leaving "health" insurers untouched. Next, put something on the table. Preferably universal, single-payer health care. Then start negotiating over what the public might pay to get it. That’s called statesmanship, not triangulation.

Even Rush might be surprised how much that’s worth to many Americans. Companies, too, which provide about 55% of Americans with their access to health insurance, would love to get out from under the costs of that declining benefit. States and cities would love it, too, as would their schools and colleges and day care centers, their shopping malls, libraries and parks (anywhere people meet to greet). The number of hospitals that have open emergency rooms and trauma clinics might stop shrinking or even expand, if they could expect to be paid. Public health costs would decline or climb more slowly as millions more Americans start receiving adequate preventive or early care.

If the plan is to end tax deductions on the cost of company-paid health insurance, or to make the value of health care received itself taxable income, then bloody well put in place a significantly improved health care system before you encourage employers to drop their insurance programs. Tell us the destination before we gear up for the road.

As for negotiating with the GOP, bear in mind that health care for all, like voting rights and quality public school education for all (not just young Republicans), is not what they want. It’s why voters sent them packing two elections in a row. They will ask for the moon and not deliver on their promised cooperation when you give it to them. (Even Bush could almost recite the saying, "Fool me once shame on you, fool…twice…you can’t git fooled agin’.")

And someone please check the Obama family’s illustrated Robin Hood. I’m hoping the problem is just that Karl Rove edited it.