A quick Google search of "free" results in over 3 billion entries, and in only .22 seconds. We have an unhealthy obsession with the adverb "free" in this country that is causing our nation to decay from within. Too many people in the United States have been lured into believing that there is such a thing as "free." Free: without cost, or payment. Like sirens in Greek Mythology politicians and companies sing out the words, and we all want to believe so badly that we lose our grip on reality. "Free" is the Lochness Monster. You might talk yourself into believing that you caught a glimpse of it through the fog in the moonlight. The reality is you saw a log, and it's time to grow up. I had a great conversation the other day with a really sweet, young, hard-working, single mom. The discussion turned to health insurance, and she told me she is all set because she has a medical card. "It's great," she said with a geniune smile, "because it's free." She was talking about Medicaid, and she unknowingly hit the home run that helped me to see the problem we have in this state and in this nation. To her it is free, but there is a massive cost associated with it, and she has to understand that. Everyone has to understand that. When I sit down to do my taxes here in a few days, I'm going to write two checks, one to the Illinois Department of Revenue, and one to the United States Treasury, both of which will use a portion of that money to pay for her healthcare. Then, when my health insurer takes their monthly allowance for my health insurance premium, a portion of that will go to into the fund that pays for CHIPS, which is a state funded insurance exchange. Then when I go to the doctor, a portion of the money I and my private insurer pay to the medical provider will go to underwrite the cost they incur from providing care to Medicaid recipients, for which the state pays only a fraction of the true cost of care, and 6 months late at that. 100% of her healthcare cost is underwritten by our tax money, and by bonds that Illinois sells at the highest interest rate of any state in the union to pay unpaid bills. Enter Barak Obama, who by some self-fabricated constitutional authority has decreed that all insurance companies will provide "free" birth control. I don't care what you think about the politics of abortion and birth control. Before you get fired up over abortion and birth control, please re-read the prior sentence. The point is, the battle over the definition of "free" is already lost. It's assumed in this presidential fiat, that somehow Obama has the authority to make something "free." No one has that authority. Remember, without cost or payment, right? Does anyone really believe that? Somebody always pays. Why is it that as consumers we're skeptical of the word "free," but as citizens we eat it up like Halloween candy? IL democrat leaders who have essentially been in control of the Illinois House of Representatives for the last 28 years , have decided that it is perfectly acceptable to run budget deficits in the billions of dollars. To stay in power, they have persuaded, tricked, coerced and convinced just enough of the Illinois electorate into believing that all these pensions and services they provide are free. The cold, hard, unchangeable, rock solid rule of life is that nothing is free. The same electorate that has keeps Mike Madigan in control of the IL House is currently rioting in the streets and burning down buildings in Greece now that the bills are coming due. They are shutting down ports in Oakland, and camping out in tents in public parks in Washington, D.C. They are demanding that someone else pay their mortgages. They are demanding that someone else pay for their healthcare. They are demanding that someone else pay for their education and student loans. They are demanding that someone gives them a job. They are quite demanding, are they not? I hear the term "sustainability" tossed about by global warming fanatics quite often. Funny, it seldom enters into any serious discussion of state or federal government budgets, despite the fact that both budgetary courses are unsustainable by any measure. There is no such thing as free healthcare. There is no such thing as free contraception. There is no such thing as Bigfoot. Any attempt to convince us otherwise amounts to nothing more than theater at it's best, and lying at it's worst. Until we as a community, a state, and a nation demand true fiscal accountability from our leaders in governement instead of allowing ourselves to be hypnotized by their siren calls, we are destined to fail.