Conservative Political Commentary

...usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Shot at Health Care “Reform” – Part 2 of 2




Continuing a presentation of facts and opinions about Obama's health care “reform” and my reasons for opposing it (Also see Part 1).

7. The main issue is loss of freedom. Government is supposed to protect our liberty, not take it away. This consideration alone is enough reason to reject Obamacare. By writing about other aspects of the issue, I do not want to give the impression that I am willing to accept the premise that socialized healthcare ought to be considered for our country. But still, we may learn from the experiences of other countries.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." — Benjamin Franklin [1]

The proposed “reforms” are very intrusive and would affect virtually everyone.
A. Control of our own body is a very fundamental right; are we willing to allow the government to take title to our body? They would end up with physical and decision-making control over our physical body. This is slavery.
B. Health care is one of the most intimate personal things a person deals with. The entire process and information about it should be treated with respect, privacy, and great care. All this is in danger under government insurance. Also, there is no reason to suppose that information uncovered through health care would not be used for other things the government is interested in. Especially this government.
C. CNN Money, hardly a bastion of conservatism, recognizes five rights that will be lost:
1. Freedom to choose what’s in your plan
2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs
3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage
4. Freedom to keep your existing plan
5. Freedom to choose your doctors [2]

8. Government Health Care and Insurance We Have Now
a. Military b. Veterans’ c. Medicare d. Medicaid
These are well established, and to a great extent, fall under government’s legitimate functions, and were set up under presidents who, while possibly liberal, were not out to destroy and rebuild the political and social structures of America, as Obama is, and were not seeking dictatorial control, as Obama is.

9. Comparing Foreign Countries’ Health Care with Our Own
Proponents of government health care in the U.S. can point to data that shows or appears to show that European or other foreign countries’ health care leads that of the U.S. in various categories. But there are some cautions to bear in mind. Various factors can make such comparisons misleading.

The U.S. is a comparatively wealthy country and spends more for health care because we have more to spend. And if we have funds available, we are willing to spend for better insurance and better care. Also, the actual costs for government-insured health care in other countries are higher than reported as government outlays as a percentage of GDP, since significant costs are hidden and passed to non-government entities as administrative costs and taxes. Also, there’s the fairly true maxim that you get what you pay for.

Socialized systems have been subject to physicians’ strikes because they usually pay doctors a great deal less than doctors can earn in America. The ways these systems try to hold down costs include lower pay for medical personnel, refusal to purchase certain expensive medicines, waiting lists for treatment, refusal or delays of certain treatments. And so on.

Some show longer life spans than the U.S. has, but in America, when accidents and homicides are taken into account, we have some of the best life span numbers. Many people (tens of thousands) do come to the U.S. for medical treatment. A couple of notables include former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (heart surgery) and Canadian MP (and champion of the Canadian health care system) Belinda Stronach (breast cancer surgery). Many of those who come to America are rich enough to pay directly. [3] It is also true that a good many Americans go abroad for treatment. Medical tourism is a growing industry. India, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and others are able to offer common surgeries and other treatments at a fraction of the U.S. costs.

As for infant mortality, in the U.S., more low birth-weight babies are brought to term than in other countries. “Some of those low birth-weight babies die soon after birth, which boosts our infant mortality rate, but in many other Western countries, those high-risk, low birth-weight babies are not included when infant mortality is calculated.” [4]

While the World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th overall in healthcare, the ranking was strongly influenced by political considerations not directly related to health care. The Cato Institute reports that WHO rated the U.S. first in “responsiveness to patients’ needs in choice of provider, dignity, autonomy, timely care, and confidentiality.” [5]

There has been a history of mostly successful outcomes in these systems. However, the fact that socialized systems have shown some success in foreign countries does not mean that we need them here. They certainly have their drawbacks.

The Heritage foundation reports: “As Philippe Maniere explains, France’s health care system faces an impending crisis. His overview here offers America’s health care reformers some valuable lessons.
“Lesson #1: Universal coverage does not mean universal access to quality care. In France, health care is non-negotiable. It is simply unacceptable that a person should suffer from the lack of care. Although people should have access to some form of health care coverage, the results of France’s guarantee is a cash-strapped system riddled with abuse.
“Lesson #2: Making across-the-board price cuts on pharmaceuticals to save money can have adverse effects. In France, such cuts tend to restrict research and development and to reduce the availability of cutting-edge drugs, while other areas of medicine requiring significant reform are overlooked.” [6]

Trends suggests that the countries with the most direct government controls have the most problems, and the least problematic are those where private insurers participate significantly and market forces are allowed to operate.[7] Switzerland, notably, “has the least paternalistic health care system in Europe. It is the only country in Europe with a health care system that is based totally on private insurance.” [8]

There are interesting and informative comparisons of European and Canadian health care plans, and while we may learn something from them, it would be illegal and not beneficial for the federal government to take control.

10. Who Doesn’t Have Health Care Coverage?

a. People who are able and willing to buy the best cars, TV’s, phones, etc, but won’t purchase health insurance because they consider it less important. About 17.8 million people whose household income is over $50,000 do not have health insurance. [9]

b. Low-income families who qualify for Medicaid or S-CHIP but have failed to apply.

b. People who are in the United States illegally (approximately 8 million). They are not entitled to free health insurance. Emergency treatment is already provided, and some get coverage through their employers. [10]

c. People who currently have some type of high-deductible coverage but are somehow counted as uninsured. They don’t need any help with this, and typically could afford whatever coverage they want.

d. People who are truly needy and unable to purchase insurance. Government could focus on help for them through Medicaid changes, insurance premium help, or other means, through the states, for much less cost than the proposed overhaul.

Conclusion
Government can help the needy to get insurance coverage and good health care without wrecking and rebuilding the current system.

Hopefully, this misguided attempt at “reform” will be defeated and won’t show up again for another decade or two. On the positive side, people are thinking about, and sometimes thinking through, the issues related to health care and health care insurance. It can be improved and upgraded by common-sense measures that would be acceptable to most Americans.

Notes:
[1] Quoted at goodreads.com
[2] http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/24/news/economy/health_care_reform_obama.fortune/index.htm (cited at rushlimbaugh.com)
[3] Michael D. Tanner, “The Grass Is Not Always Greener: A Look at National Health Care Systems Around the World,” Policy Analysis No. 613, 03/18/08, at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9272, page 5
[4] Ibid., page 4
[5] Ibid.
[6] Robert E. Moffitt, Ph. D., Philippe Maniere, et al, “Perspectives on the European Health Care Systems: Some Lessons for America.” The Heritage Foundation, Lecture #711, 07/09/2001, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/HL711.cfm
[7] Tanner, Executive Summary.
[8] Moffitt, Maniere, et al.
[9] “Deconstructing the Uninsured,” RSC Policy Brief at http://www.house.gov/hensarling/rsc/doc/pb_042808_uninsured.doc
[10] Ibid.

Another Shot at Health Care “Reform” – Part 1 of 2


“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” — C. S. Lewis [1]

I have written several items in opposition to the proposed Obamacare legislation. At the risk of repeating myself a little, here is another attempt to show that it is bad legislation and would be harmful to our health and economy, as well as being incompatible with our Constitution. I am writing partly in response to mattwion’s BloggersBase article claiming that health care does not fit a free market model, and his comments in response to my comments in which I generally ranted against President Obama’s desired “reforms.” Here I have provided some supporting documentation that I think ought to be considered.

1. The Proposed “Reform” Legislation Is Unconstitutional
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
– Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

There is no constitutional authority for the Federal government to run health insurance or health care in the manner proposed. States could constitutionally act, perhaps with some federal help under existing programs. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has said Texas may assert its 10th Amendment rights to avoid participating in this plan if it is enacted.

2. The Free Market Has Been Working and Will Work.
Ronald Reagan said that an economist is someone who has observed something that works in practice and tries to find out if it will work in theory. Apparently Kenneth Arrow tried this with health care in a free market environment and thought he showed that it won’t work in theory.
Of course, care provided is a “loss” to the insurer. Any service in the economy is a cost, or “loss,” to the provider and the payer. So? If Paul Krugman’s idea held up, all providers of, or payers for any services would have to be considered untrustworthy and just out to grab a profit without providing a corresponding value in exchange. There are always bad apples, but this is certainly not the norm in insurance or elsewhere in our economy. The fact is that insurers are (as government would supposedly also be) careful about handing out large sums of money, but it doesn’t follow that they are always or very often trying to deny legitimate claims. Also, if people “don’t trust” HMO’s, why should they trust government? I understand Mr. Krugman is a respected Nobel prize winner, but I still disagree with him. Milton Friedman was another Nobel laureate and champion of the free market, with whom I very much agree.

As in any industry so regulated (as it is now), you will have something considerably less than perfect competition, but nevertheless, competition is present and functional, and people have meaningful health care and insurance choices.

3. Politicized Health Care
Some diseases and conditions are politically correct and others are not. The favored sufferers will get preferential treatment. An example is given by the Heritage Foundation. In Belgium, multiple sclerosis sufferers had to resort to protest demonstrations, etc. to finally get access to an expensive new treatment, while around the same time, AIDS victims, better-connected politically, had only to request a very costly new drug to receive approval. [2]

4. There is ALWAYS rationed care. This is an economic fact that is true of all economic goods and services. The question is, do we want care rationed through a centralized government authority? Or rationed by the free market, which encourages individual choice, innovation, improvement and competition? A person does not have to be a medical expert to learn which features and qualities of insurance and health care are preferred by him/her. It is possible to find something acceptable and appropriate, and this usually happens. If dissatisfied, the person can go elsewhere. If the government rations care, there is no “market” and everything awaits a bureaucratic decision. England, Canada, and Spain experience severe rationing in their “universal” health care programs.
There’s usually no “elsewhere” to go to without leaving one’s country.

According to an article in the New York Post by Betsy McCaughey, "[Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel] has been appointed to two key positions: health-policy advisor at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research.”

“[Dr. Emanuel] believes that ‘communitarianism’ should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those ‘who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens … An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.’” [3]

I find that more than a little disturbing. You may say that this type of thing won’t happen under Obamacare, but if not, it’s alarmingly close. Government-rationed care leads to enforced eugenics.

Also at the extreme, Heritage Foundation cited a Belgian magazine report of “economic euthanasia” in hospitals, where patients were killed by giving them higher levels of morphine or injecting them with pentothal when more beds were urgently needed. [4]

5. Health Insurance vs. Health Care
We need to distinguish between health insurance and health care, but if government controls insurance, it will control health care, whether there is a “public option” or not. If there is a public option, it will, in a relatively short time, put health insurance companies out of business. “Public” insurance does not have to post a profit. Others do. Forget about a “level playing field,” or “competition.”

6. Obama – Another Big Reason To Oppose This Health Care “Reform” Proposal
The President is an announced proponent of single payer health insurance (2003).
He is also a power-seeking socialist-fascist who uses what I consider unethical methods to get Congress to vote on bills no one has read, and probably couldn’t understand them if they did, without help. Rep. John Conyers recently complained of this. People may hear what the spokesmen are saying, but who knows what’s really in the bill?

(CNSNews.com) - During his speech at a National Press Club luncheon, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), questioned the point of lawmakers reading the health care bill.
“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.
“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” [5]

The proposals as discussed will reward Obama’s allies (unions, trial lawyers, etc.) and punish his “enemies” (doctors, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.) Obama wants to go after their profits. He thinks business profits are his piggy bank to tax as desired.

Strange as it may sound, I am convinced that Obama doesn’t care about the economy (except as a PR issue) and welcomes more unemployment, which should lead to more demand for government health care. It should be abundantly clear, even to liberals, that the Administration’s current policies cannot help the economy. If it recovers at all, it will do so in spite of the actions of Obama and Congress (on their current path), not because of them. If they were interested in helping the economy, they would reduce taxes and provide incentives for economic activity. These things, they aren’t doing. Don’t expect any quick recovery.

Even if some economists say the recession is over, unemployment remains high and is still increasing. The tax increases mentioned in connection with financing health care “reform” would bring about more unemployment and actually less revenue to the government. When Obama says “deficit neutral” and “I mean it,” he means that taxes will be raised and care rationed as needed, even though the statement itself is unreliable. I suppose he “meant it” when he said any family earning less than $250,000 a year would see no tax increases of any kind.

Obama does not mention tort reform , which could actually do a lot to help our healthcare situation. When asked about it by the AMA, he would not commit to doing anything about it. Malpractice lawsuits, and fear of them, contribute greatly to health care costs in the U.S. and would be a stronger disincentive to medical practice under government-run health care.

Stay tuned.


Notes:
[1] Quoted at goodreads.com
[2] Robert E. Moffitt, Ph. D., Philippe Maniere, et al, “Perspectives on the European Health Care Systems: Some Lessons for America.” The Heritage Foundation, Lecture #711, 07/09/2001 at http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/HL711.cfm
[3] Betsy McCaughey, “Deadly Doctors: O Advisers Want To Ration Care,” at
http://www.nypost.com/seven/07242009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/deadly_doctors_180941.htm
[4] Moffitt, Maniere, et al.
[5] At http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=51610&print=on
Cited at rushlimbaugh.com

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Still Blaming That Bad Ol’ George W. as Things Get Worse


1. Obama Keeps Complaining about His Predecessor.
In his July 22 press conference, Obama complained about the huge deficits inherited from the Bush Administration. Never mind that the last two years of G.W. Bush had a Democratic majority in Congress. The Bush deficits pale in comparison to Obama’s.
This debt will be there for generations to come. And we have yet to see the inevitable inflation. At some point, Bush can no longer be fairly blamed. I think that point is well past.

2. The Economic Problems Now Belong to Obama.
If Obama is trying to help the economy, it’s obvious that he and his congressional allies have no clue about how to do it. But it’s not quite that simple (See #5).

3. His “Remedies” Are Making Things Worse.
The “stimulus” (which could better be named the Pork and Earmark Cornucopia Act) has not stopped the steady increase in unemployment, with millions of jobs being lost. The Obama people are saying that their projections of unemployment figures were too low because they “misread” the economy. Of course, it’s that fiend Bush’s fault. In fact, they’d been ranting for most of the G. W. Bush years about how the sky was falling and it was the worst economy since the Great Depression. That was even before there was a recession. If they didn’t know the state of the economy when Obama took office, it could only be because they didn’t do their homework.

So how are we doing now? Here’s a clue:

Bernanke to lawmaker: Jobless recovery may loom
Thursday, July 23, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sees the possibility of continued high unemployment even after the recession loosens its grip, a key U.S. senator said on Monday after talking to him.
“It was a rather sobering meeting,” Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, said on CNBC.
“I said, ... ‘Could this be a jobless recovery?’ ... and he said it could be,” Shelby said.

Most recessions don’t last very long if left to the market. But Obama was on board with Paulsen, Bernanke and, of course, Bush in demanding an immediate “bailout” package that had to be passed so urgently there was no time for study or debate. After the government and the Fed had already spent billions for various bailouts, Obama and company took over GM and Chrysler, etc., which cost many more billions, led to bankruptcy anyway, cheated creditors, dealers, and stockholders, who were chastised if they dared complain. So here we are. Thirty-plus czars will work all this out, while making sure that financial company executive pay is kept in line.

4. Cap and Trade, and Health Care “Reform” Will Do Us In Economically.

Cap and trade will massively increase taxes and unemployment, sending many jobs and companies overseas and closing many manufacturers. It also will do nothing to help the environment. Even if “climate change” were a legitimate issue (which it is not), this law wouldn’t help. India and China aren’t on board and several other countries are realizing that this kind of law is counterproductive. Check the carbon results of the Kyoto signers.

Health care “reform” is as much of a nightmare as cap and trade. It will wreck our health care system, put insurance companies out of business, and greatly disincentivize health care providers and pharmaceutical companies. It will in a relatively short time have everyone on the “public option,” with rationed care. In his July 22 press conference, the President said that health care reform will decrease deficits. It will not decrease deficit levels and the only way to reduce the deficits it will produce will be rationing care.

Rather than making health care more affordable and more available, it will actually deny and delay health care in many cases and degrade quality in just about all. People will be required to purchase insurance. The problems in our health care system do not warrant such an overhaul. The government can address the actual problem areas by helping to, for example, provide affordable catastrophic coverage, and as I and others have suggested, provide tax incentives to employers providing coverage, etc. But the Administration wants to “pay for” their plan by increasing taxes. If you think we’re in a recession now, just wait.

Either of these bills would seriously deepen and extend the recession; both together would make it seem permanent. These are among the very worst laws ever considered in America.

5. It’s OK with Obama, Though; His Plans Are Really Working.
Obama is working feverishly to amass power, avoid scrutiny and reduce people’s ability to resist by making them more and more dependent on government. He wants to follow Rahm Emanuel’s advice and not let any good crisis go to waste. And believe me, there won’t be any shortage of crises. And, he has the mainstream media working for him. However, his popularity is beginning to fade.

6. It’ll Be OK for Us If Enough People Wake Up Before It’s Too Late.
How much loss of freedom and personal independence are the American people willing to put up with? Keep in mind that whatever Obama has done to others he can do to any of us. Obama wants as much control over the daily lives of Americans as he can get. He is working to put the Democratic Party in a perpetual majority by pandering (and lying) to the people and increasing Democrat voters by courting illegal immigrants and enlarging and perpetuating a dependent class.

How much of our Constitution are we willing to rip out as though it meant nothing? I don’t think Americans will stop being Americans. They will act once they see the errors that need to be corrected. Don’t re-elect these people! Contact your elected representatives! I’m still optimistic. Disappointed, but optimistic.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gangster Government, or Mob Rule


Columnist Michael Barone, certainly no right-wing extremist or crackpot, but a highly respected writer and political analyst, has referred to the Obama Administration’s actions as “gangster government” in the Chrysler takeover, where secured creditors were forced to take a lower percentage of what they were owed than the unsecured creditor the United Auto Workers, political allies of Obama. Barone cited what he believes to be credible evidence that one company among the secured bondholders was threatened by the Obama people into agreeing to their proposed settlement. Those who didn’t agree were criticized by Obama and called “speculators”. [1]

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) used Barone’s description as she saw how it related to a dealer shutdown in the GM takeover (June 10, 2009):



I have characterized several of the President’s actions as power grabs, and I think I have yet to see any significant announcement or decision that did not seem to be designed to accumulate and consolidate political power, mostly at the expense of the Constitution and the economy. Outrage is building among the American people.

[1] http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=326589766764151

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Czar Power


A Plethora of Czars
An article called “Obama’s Czars ‘R’ US!” at GlobalResearch.ca lists 31 “czar” positions in Obama’s White House, a few of which have not been filled. Pundits on the conservative side have been sounding warnings about the dangers of this situation, and, to me, the closer one looks at it, the more frightening it appears.

I suppose most everyone knows that a “czar” is supposed to be someone of great power who rules over others. The word comes from “Caesar.” It is not an official title as used here, but has become a common way to describe important advisors who are White House appointees who generally work independently of the Cabinet and Congress.

Czars are appointed by the President and often do not require Senate confirmation, and thus they are accountable only to the President without congressional oversight. Obama previously said something about transparency in government, but his leadership style demonstrates the opposite of transparency. His “shadow cabinet” czars seem to have as much authority as Cabinet officers confirmed by the Senate, or perhaps more.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) is sponsoring legislation to bring czars under congressional oversight and subject them to Senate confirmation. It seems only reasonable, since they have so much power and no accountability except to the President. As Kingston points out, these 33 or more czars with their staffs and their ample pay comprise a significant bureaucracy with corresponding potential for corruption and abuse.



Regulatory Czar
One of the most disturbing of these appointments is Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein as regulatory czar. Sunstein is no friend of free speech, having suggested that a form of the Fairness Doctrine applying to the internet would be worth considering.

Julian Sanchez at juliansanchez.com states that Sunstein does not support these ideas now since they would be seen as unconstitutional.[1] But to have seriously suggested them is grounds for concern.

He wrote, “A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, it is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government. Democratic efforts to reduce the resulting problems ought not be rejected in freedom's name.”

Kyle Smith discusses the possible chilling effect Sunstein could have on the blogosphere in an article called “Gag the Internet,” concerning Sunstein's new book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done. See it at http://www.nypost.com/seven/07112009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/.

Sunstein has stated that he favors banning hunting (for sport) in the U.S., which shows he is not a fan of individual rights and not fond of the Second Amendment.

Sanchez claims that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the White House Office of Management and Budget(the proper name of Sunstein’s czar domain) is not particularly powerful.[1]

The Wall Street Journal takes a different view, reporting as follows:
“Mr. Sunstein, who declined to be interviewed pending his Senate confirmation, expected this month, has been picked to run the obscure but powerful Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the White House Office of Management and Budget. Created by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 to reduce paperwork and weigh the usefulness of new regulations, the office is the final clearinghouse for rules written by agencies government-wide.” [2]

Sunstein was a colleague and friend of Obama at the University of Chicago who has admittedly radical leftist ideas. He has been mentioned a possible Supreme Court nominee.

The very existence of many of these czars raises serious constitutional questions, and call into question Obama’s leadership style, which appears to be to avoid scrutiny wherever possible and wield great influence without having to deal too much with checks and balances. He learned his methods from the Chicago Democratic machine and likely developed some of his techniques as a community organizer.

There are 30-plus czars in all at present, many more than Reagan or Bush had. Probably, there should never have been any. They are assigned to do things that should be done by the existing cabinet departments or not done at all. But then these things would have to be more or less out in the open. Under czars, they are pretty well hidden, so that no one is quite sure what they are doing, let alone given much opportunity to question them.

I have only discussed one of these czars, one who is subject to Senate confirmation, but there are many more who are not, some with potentially a great deal of power. Sunstein was chosen for this article because he has shown anti-liberty leanings and is in a powerful position when ever-more regulations are being issued. Obama also has czars for cars, pay(!), climate, energy, the economy, the Middle East, and numerous other things. I hope to write more about them over the next several weeks. This arrangement certainly needs to be examined and the public needs to know what is happening. Don’t count on finding out much from the Administration. If they wanted us to know these things, they wouldn’t be using a system like this. By comparison, Bush’s “secretive” administration looks like a glass house.

[1] http://www.juliansanchez.com/2009/04/30/lying-about-cass-sunstein/
[2] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124683695891298003.html

Photo: portrait of Cass Sunstein found at Worldnet Daily - http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=96301.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Obama Wants Quick Action on Health Care “Reform”

“We’re Gonna Get This Done!” says the President.
Well, I certainly hope not. If the Republicans have any fight left in them, they should oppose this tooth and nail.


The Plan Is Unconstitutional.
Where does the Constitution give the federal government the power to control health care and healthcare insurance? It doesn’t. This plan is illegal since it is unconstitutional.

What Kind of Support Does This Plan Have?

This is simply another Obama power grab. He claims there is widespread consensus when in fact most Americans are satisfied with their current coverage, and many uninsured Americans are satisfied with their current status. He claims that various health-related professional groups and insurance companies and even pharmaceutical companies are on board, since he was able to meet with some “representatives” of these groups and do enough arm-twisting to get some kind of agreement to cut costs, etc.

Doctors – Many doctors are strongly opposed to government healthcare. It would reduce their incomes considerably. It would provide a disincentive for people to go to medical school, since the government would end up with close control over their compensation.
And the formerly sacred “doctor-patient relationship” would suffer a devastating blow.
Many doctors would probably take early retirement. Other providers would share similar concerns.

Pharmaceutical companies – The pressure this plan would put on them to lower costs of medicines would seriously damage their ability and willingness to develop new drugs, ultimately lowering health care effectiveness.

Insurance companies – Health insurers and agents are greatly concerned that a government plan would burden them with compliance costs, reduce their profits and finally put them out of business.

Hospitals – In this great drive to cut costs, hospitals would be less likely to invest in high-tech equipment and would necessarily reduce the quality of care. Hospitals, already burdened with Medicare and Medicaid compliance costs, would see their record-keeping, bookkeeping and documentation costs rise significantly, while in effect they would be under price controls and therefore more hard-pressed to earn a profit.

Politicans
– People who are most strongly in favor of Obamacare would be those politicians who want America under a socialist, central planning environment in general, and those who want to get back at the hated insurance and pharmaceutical industries and other entities that have enjoyed commercial success.

The Public – Public support would come from people who want to see everyone covered by affordable insurance and people who are losing their jobs and coverage, or feel they can’t afford coverage, and would like some government help.

The Cost – Ah, There’s the Rub.
Cost figures over a ten-year period are variously estimated at $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion. And this may be just a low, preliminary estimate. Budget deficits are already gigantic and growing steadily, with no letup in sight. All this debt has to be repaid with interest. Tax increases and cost cuts, we are told, will be needed. Any problem with that? In fact, it is the big problem. Consider:

We are in a severe recession. Tax increases of any kind would only aggravate this and lead to more job losses and suffering for American families. This is common sense. The government thinks that taxing “the wealthy” wouldn’t harm Americans who are not wealthy, and would generate a lot of revenue. In fact it would be the most definite way to reduce employment, slow investment and close businesses. This is not rocket science, but more like Economics 101. And when taxes are raised, overall revenues will in fact drop.

Various taxes are being considered, such as taxes on Cheerios, Pepsi, and similar products. Most people are already paying sales taxes on most items anyway and don’t need further price increases. Also, the government will perpetually use phony health care concerns to take ever more control of what people can buy, eat, etc. Between that and environmental issues, they’ll run our lives morning, noon, and night.

Obama looks to save billions by cutting waste, etc. They always say that, but never do much about it. One thing of concern is that he plans to stop government “giveaways” to insurance companies for Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, the insurance companies are saving the government a lot of money by administering Medicare supplement and “advantage” plans much more efficiently than government can do it. Older folks, look out, you could easily lose these plans. And eventually Medicare and Medicaid entirely, with everyone on the public “option.” When that happens, older people and the chronically ill will find themselves to be low priority. AARP ought to oppose this plan, not support it.

Why Is Obama So Anxious To Do This Right Away?
The plan is quickly losing public support. People are expecting yet more 1000-page bills which no one has read, or possibly even seen, to be voted on. We hear what the spokesmen are saying, but who knows what’s really in the bill?

Obama’s popularity is fading.
Therefore, he needs to rush this through now, or it won’t be possible.

Also, this is not an election year. If it were, congressmen and senators would be much more reluctant to support it, since it would likely be a mark against them come election time. They who support it hope the public has a short memory, but by November 2010, they may already have bad experiences with this plan if it passes.

There is hope that it won’t pass. People weren’t ready for Hillarycare in the ’90’s and this is worse. Republicans don’t like it. Blue Dog Democrats are seriously concerned about the cost. When Obama says “deficit-neutral,” that is about as reliable as the Administration’s predictions on unemployment. There’s no way! It simply isn’t possible. The only way to reduce deficits or business losses caused by this plan will be to ration care, and that is an inevitable consequence of government health care. Just check Britain and Canada.

There are better ways for government to help with healthcare, and without creating unpayable debt. Provide tax incentives for employers to provide coverage. Encourage insurance companies, with incentives, to provide more affordable portable coverage.
Provide taxpayers with better deductibility of health care expenses. Don’t even think about taxing health care benefits. Many other ways are also available, if the focus could be off government control of every step of the process. The private sector knows how to run their businesses. The government does not.

I think there will be massive voter communications with elected officials over this, similar to what we saw when the immigration “reform” bill was up for consideration. If that happens, congressional incumbents must pay attention. Here’s hoping.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wise Sayings of the Political Elite




Vice-President Joe Biden, defending the $787 billion stimulus package:
“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation,” Biden warned…. “People, when I say that,
look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” he said. “The answer is yes.”[1]

If spending is the way to avoid bankruptcy, then health care and cap and trade should keep us in the black forever. Sure, this ineffective stimulus is keeping us back from the edge of collapse … how’s that again?

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
“When we asked questions of the white male nominees of a Republican president, we were basically trying to find out whether -- to make sure that they would go far enough in understanding the plight of minorities, because clearly that was not in their DNA.” [2]

Isn’t the senator a white male? I guess he knows his own nature, but that’s quite a claim, knowing the DNA of all white male court nominees. Some scientist, eh?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.” [3]

This is a surprising and even shocking comment. What populations is it that “we don’t want to have too many of?” Those who might use Medicaid? Who is the “we”? So Roe v. Wade is a eugenics tool? Speaking of eugenics, that’s what we’ll see after Obama’s health care plan is implemented, if it passes. That’s what rationed care produces.


[1] Quoted at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/16/biden-challenges-critics-stimulus-gop-turf/
[2] Quoted at http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_071509/content/01125109.guest.html
[3] Quoted at http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100002972/what-the-hell-did-ruth-bader-ginsburg-mean-when-she-linked-abortion-and-eugenics/


Photos: Dick Durbin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Joe Biden, from the internet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reasserting Conservative Principles


When I say “conservatives,” I mean fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and national defense conservatives, all of whom have traditionally allied with the GOP, and conservatism is best represented by people who belong to all three types of conservatism.

Conservatives generally are, and should be, pro-life. Millions of babies, including whites and minorities, have been put to death in the womb, and some after they were born. This is a horrendous moral evil, and is disastrous in many ways. It desensitizes people to the kind of concern we should have for human life, and especially little life. When the president has opposed legislation that would require medical help for babies born after a failed abortion, we have an abominable example before us.

But beyond the profound moral failure that is abortion, it is also a costly economic fact. The generations that were supposed to pay for social security and medicare, etc. are largely not there because of abortion. And who knows what great discoveries and accomplishments are missing because the ones who would have made them are gone because of abortion. And how many mothers have suffered from having abortions?
Isn’t it a denial of the “right to life” the Declaration of Independence asserts?

Conservatives stand for individual liberty. They are not willing to sacrifice their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the great government (fascist, socialist) program of the left, which calls for renouncing self interest, cheerfully “volunteering” and “sacrificing” as the government may direct, and giving up rights that have been enjoyed for over two centuries in America.

These include (1) the right to be born once conceived, (2) the right to choose one’s own medical care and insurance, (3) the right to have the benefit of one’s earnings without confiscatory taxation, and (4) the right to choose not to support any labor union, political party, “community organizer” group or other group outside the proper realm of government. Also, (5) the right to speak, publish, broadcast, or otherwise promote one’s own point of view, political or otherwise and to read, view, and hear whatever one desires, without any government interference or harassment.

And (6) the right to believe and practice religion or not, as one’s conscience dictates, and one’s preferences and convictions guide, while respecting the same rights of others. The (7) right of self defense, and the individual right to keep and bear arms must also be maintained and protected. And all the other rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, literally and definitely, not interpreted away by some collectivist authority. Conservatives insist upon, and are willing to defend these rights, confronting as necessary any who threaten them. These rights are not granted by government, but by God, and are not to be infringed.

As part of our liberty and constitutional rights, conservatives support free markets. We all know that free markets cannot mean perfect competition in many industries, but real competition and economic activity free from government control is the ideal. Government has the task of preventing and dealing with crime and abuse, and maintaining an environment which promotes free competition and trade. Government is not to take over or operate businesses in competition with the private sector.

Government ought to promote commerce and free trade by minimizing taxes and regulation. The free market has been shown consistently and in numerous examples to be the best economic form for general prosperity and freedom. No other system this side of the pearly gates comes close.

As suggested above, conservatives support limited government. Over the last seventy years or so, especially since the establishment of the Federal Reserve, then the New Deal, Great Society, etc., government has abandoned its constitutional limitations in many areas. American Progressivism promoted the idea of an activist government taking to itself the privileges of overbearing control of many things previously off limits. This peaked with World War I, but the activists tried to extend these controls beyond the war years. Warren G. Harding was elected largely because he opposed this, and the people were weary of Woodrow Wilson’s dictatorial control.

Wilson succeeded in making it a federal crime to criticize the government or the war effort. Harding’s first official act was to pardon Eugene V. Debs, who had been jailed for opposing a wartime draft.

In wartime, the government, with some justification, has sought to limit some freedoms, but usually went overboard, as in price controls during World War II. Some said that these controls worked well, but they worked well when the controlled price was in fact near the market price. Otherwise, there were unnecessary shortages. The gasoline shortages of the 1970’s were caused primarily by government price controls.

Conservatives believe in low taxes and responsible spending. It was said by someone that Republicans lost popularity when they “didn’t do what God put them on earth to do, that is, cut taxes.”

The Reagan tax cuts and later Bush tax cuts demonstrated their value, encouraging the 25-year economic recovery and leading to record tax revenues. Liberals pretend they can’t connect lower taxes to higher revenues, but the link is undeniable. Low taxes encourage economic activity, leading to higher employment, and more people paying taxes. Opposition to high taxes has two aspects, (1) the right of earners to keep their earnings, except for a reasonable amount to support legitimate government functions, and (2) the demonstrated value to the economy. Everyone prospers more when taxes are low.
Liberals can’t stomach the idea of very wealthy people not paying extremely high taxes. But it’s not poor people who provide the jobs or take risks that move the economy.

If taxes get too high, people have a disincentive to invest and hire. People and businesses begin to close down or leave the country. Many people and businesses are leaving California these days due to overwhelming taxes and government control. Yet the state government seems unable to believe this. And they themselves are responsible, and also the people who keep electing the tax and spend officials. The United States, under Obama’s agenda, is heading down a very similar path. The difference is that the U.S. can print money and California can’t. But even the printing press can’t supply the need because it all has to be repaid somehow. Or not, if it isn’t possible. What happens then?

Conservatives support a strong national defense, knowing that all our rights and prosperity are subject to suppression if we can’t maintain our sovereignty and protect our people. “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!” Perhaps you have an opinion about the Obama Administration wanting to gut defense in terms of new weapon systems, and give up some missiles to hopefully impress Russia. And what about missile defense?
I would much rather spend on military systems and war costs than socialized medicine.

I believe most Americans support these conservative principles to a significant degree. To defeat the leftists in elections, the ideas of conservatism must be articulated, and there must not be a presentation of a simply watered-down liberalism, i.e., “we can run this socialized leftist government better than the liberals can.” That’s the formula for assured defeat.

Conservative principles, if followed, would greatly improve our economy and restore trust in our government and financial system. Also, it would help us to at least appreciate what has made America a great nation.

The Obama Administration now owns this awful economy. The President’s popularity is sagging. That’s why he wants to rush through his health care and cap and trade plans, allowing no time for scrutiny or debate. Again, we’re likely to see thousand-plus-page bills voted on without having been read (and maybe not even made available), much less posted on the web for the public to see. That’s the game plan. Will they succeed? If so, much more is on the way, and these two things alone are enough to sink our economy for years to come. But they’ll get even with those rich people.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Buckle Up, America, It's Going To Be a Bumpy Ride!


(Apologies to Bette Davis in the film All About Eve).

Republicans have often referred to the Democrats as the party of “tax and spend.” Then the GOP got involved in some excessive spending themselves in the Bush Administration. But all prior tax and spend activity pales in comparison to Obama’s agenda.

The financial crisis provided an excuse for “emergency” action which cannot help the economy and is actually calculated, I believe, to create more of a crisis as time goes on, which “only the government” can deal with. Obama says the “stimulus” is working just as planned, being a two-year and not a six-month plan. Which means, we are going to see increasing unemployment and no growth in the economy. Doesn’t it make you feel better to know that it’s working as planned?

There is no help in sight for the reeling private sector. Proposals on the horizon and presently in Congress somewhere are plans for higher taxes and greater government control, which will lead to deeper recession, higher unemployment, more companies leaving America or closing, and a great deal more of government in your face.

Obama’s “firm pledge,” is already pretty well out the window:



Did anyone really believe it when he said it? Rush Limbaugh said, “We are learning the two most meaningless words in the Obama presidency are what? ‘Obama said....’” He appears to be right. Mark Steyn, on the Rush Limbaugh Show recently, observed that double-digit unemployment rates are the norm in Europe, and will be the norm here if the Obama program is not stopped. We’re well into double digits in some states now.

Obama is literally decimating the private sector economically. The stimulus only stimulates government. New regulatory requirements and higher taxes can only impede or reverse any movement toward recovery. There are no plans to reduce taxes and several plans to dramatically increase taxes and living costs: Health care “reform” and cap and trade to name the two most obvious. We need a new stimulus like a moose needs a hat rack.

It had been pointed out frequently that Obama’s mentors include Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, and Hugo Chavez (among other radicals), to which I would add Benito Mussolini and Karl Marx if his agenda is any indication.

If anyone thinks that things are improving for the American people, or that Obama even wants things to improve in terms of the economy, or individual liberty, they should think again. Obama despises Americans’ self interest and wants us all to devote our energy, time and money to his great fascist program, a program that becomes stronger and more noticeable each day.

Time is short and the need is great for conservatives to unite and stop this destructive program. Fortunately, public opinion is starting to shift away from Obama. According to Rasmussen, Obama’s “favorability index” is now at -8 (the percentage of voters who strongly approve of Obama’s work as president, minus those who strongly disapprove). That’s the lowest it’s been, after a considerable time as a positive number.

Photo: Benito Mussolini (from the internet).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Minor Instance of Abuse?


WAUSAU, Wis. – An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern Wisconsin village [Crivitz] was seized by police before a Fourth of July parade and the businessman who flew it — an Iraq war veteran — claims the officers trespassed and stole his property. – from an AP news item by Robert Imrie, July 10, 2009, found on Yahoo! News.

The flag may properly be flown upside down as a distress signal.

The news article states that Mr. Vito Congine, Jr. was flying an American Flag upside down as a protest. Police removed the flag and returned it to him the next day. Congine, according to the article, was protesting because the village board refused to grant him a liquor license although he had spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a building for a restaurant. The flag was removed hours before a Fourth of July parade, the article said.

So what’s the problem?

Simply that a man had his property seized and his protest halted by police for no good reason. This incident, though relatively minor compared to some things governments are doing to abuse citizens by denying them their rights, represents a disturbing attitude by the authorities and an ignorance of or disdain for constitutional rights.

I’m not in favor of flying the flag in any way that is not in accordance with legitimate flag-display standards. But what Mr. Congine was doing is a legitimate act of expression, if not the best flag-flying etiquette. What happened to him was abuse of a law-abiding citizen. I am certainly not a fan of the ACLU, but in this case, I wish them and Mr. Congine success if they challenge this action in court.

Mr. Imrie’s article stated that the flag was seized on the advice of the district attorney.
The DA should know better. The Supreme Court has held that even burning the flag is a legitimate act of protected free expression (Texas vs. Johnson, 1989 and United States vs. Eichman, 1991). Flying the flag upside down is not an act of violence and arguably not disrespectful of the flag.

However, the authorities showed disrespect for Mr. Congine and his rights. The sheriff gave about the lamest excuse possible for their actions. According to the news article: “Marinette County Sheriff Jim Kanikula said it was not illegal to fly the flag upside down but people were upset and it was the Fourth of July.” He said it is illegal to cause a disruption.

Disruption? Now a flag-burning in the middle of a July Fourth parade could have been a disruption. But apparently legal. Mr. Congine did not “cause” a disruption. If people were upset, it was their own responsibility, not his. Free expression is free only if it can be done even though people don’t like it.

This is a seemingly small example of government interference with a citizen’s constitutional rights. As noted in other articles in these blogs, the Obama Administration seeks to destroy important constitutional rights on a large scale. But constitutional rights deserve protection at all levels.

The AP article quoted Mr. Congine as saying, “It is pretty bad when I go and fight a tyrannical government somewhere else, and then I come home to find it right here at my front door.” He also said he plans to keep flying his flag upside down.


Photo: Detail of AP photo, furnished by Susan Willems, taken July 5, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Obama Cares So Deeply About … What?


Must we learn the hard way what Barack Obama’s intentions are? It should be painfully obvious by now that he is not particularly concerned with helping the economy. I think, rather, he’s trying to destroy it. And has “success” in his sights. Obama’s goals involve seizing as much power and control as possible, and redistributing as much wealth as possible. Once a good majority reaches non-taxpayer status, the remaining citizens can have their wealth taxed away to support the great fascist program. And there will be a majority willing to re-elect Barack, Biden, and their Congressional helpers. At least that’s what they seem to think.

1. The $800 billion dollar stimulus has thus far helped nothing. It is noted that only a small fraction of it has been spent so far, but it would be just as well, better even, if no more were spent at all. Now they’re talking Son of Stimulus which won’t help either, except for whatever benefit can be gained from pork projects and bridges to nowhere.

2. Cap and trade, if approved will be the biggest drain ever on our economy, not to mention our freedom. It will effectively “cap” any chance for economic recovery, probably for as long as it is in effect. As Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) observed, it could be called a stimulus bill for India and China. They are not going to allow these mindless restrictions and economy-destroying taxes, because they are trying to build their economies rather than tear them down.

The current employment situation is bad and getting worse. With cap and trade, we will see depression-era unemployment numbers and a steady exit of businesses to other countries, simply because they can no longer afford to stay in business here. Many of the ones that can’t move will simply shut down. Or maybe the government will take them over.

And all this activity, with its massive bureaucracy won’t help the climate one bit. The world of cap and trade is truly a fool’s paradise.

3. Health care and health insurance should not be the domain of the federal government when it comes to replacing private services. What is being proposed must lead to a single-payer government-controlled program with government eventually becoming the provider. If the government controls the insurance, they in effect control health care. The proposed plans seem to be comprehensive, placing all activity under some kind of government scrutiny if not direct control. As Mark Steyn pointed out on today’s Rush Limbaugh Show, an inefficient and unfair private system is far better than an inefficient and unfair government system, because under a private system, you can go somewhere else, but under a public system, you have to go where and when they tell you.

In health care, we are dealing with the most personal and intimate information. It has traditionally received a degree of privacy, protection, and choice. We may be about to give that up for a government system that has physical and decision-making control over our bodies. That is a serious and probably permanent surrender of freedom.

And people are worried about the government taxing our employer-provided health care benefits? That’s only a minor worry in the whole picture, but it is a problem. They’ll eventually be taxed out of existence and everyone will be on government health insurance, forcibly if necessary. “Competition” will be a forgotten concept in the health insurance field. Insurance companies will have to take up some other line of business. All of which is fine with Obama.

The hated pharmaceutical industry will be pressured to provide cheap medicine, which means they’ll have less money and less incentive to develop new medicines.

Oh, and cost? If you have some kind of coverage now, you will be paying more, since you’ll also be paying for a lot of other people’s insurance.

If you want to get treated for, say, a broken arm, you’ll be told when and where, probably put on a waiting list, restricted on any high-tech examining procedures (whatever your doctor might want to do), and all your records will be online for all and sundry to examine if they have the slightest connection with your medical care. Come to think of it, the North Koreans would probably be able to access it as well, along with your Social Security Number, etc., expert hackers that they are. If you’re old or chronically ill, look out for long delays and frequent denials of treatment.

Conclusion
The same folks that brought you Fannie and Freddie and FEMA are ready to offer you climate-saving cap and trade, plus cost-cutting health care insurance. And if you believe that, they might be willing to sell you a bridge somewhere in Brooklyn. Snake oil doesn’t sound all that bad by comparison.

Illustration: “Business Is Business”
From Squibs of California, Or, Every-day Life Illustrated by Palmer Cox, fig. 3, p. 171. This image is in the public domain. Found at http://books.google.com/books?id=Ri8PAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA17&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4

Monday, July 6, 2009

O Stimulus, Where Art Thou?


Er, uh, how’s that stimulus working out for you?

Unemployment rates, age 16 years and older, 2009
January 7.6%
February 8.1%
March 8.5%
April 8.9%
May 9.4%
June 9.5% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)


“Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in June (-467,000),
and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.5 percent, the Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.
Job losses were widespread across the major industry sectors, with
large declines occurring in manufacturing, professional and business
services, and construction.” – from BLS News Release, “The Employment Situation,” July 2, 2009

Obama’s own economic advisors predicted an unemployment rate of under 8% by now, with passage of the stimulus, and well under 9% without the stimulus. What we have is 9.5% with the stimulus.[1]

The stimulus has had enough time to show some impact if indeed it is going to have any success. But the economic facts limit its benefit to minimal levels while the debt incurred is very high, although it is just another part of the historically high deficits and public debt that will burden generations to come. It’s a bad bargain.

The government’s efforts to help the unemployment situation, combined with other proposed legislation actually will do serious damage. The unemployment problem is now projected to get worse through 2009 and not improve until some time in 2010. If we get cap and trade, that will put a damper on hope for improvement in employment any time soon, and if we get healthcare “reform” on top of that, financial disaster may turn into catastrophe.

The Heritage Foundation January 15, 2009 article by Brian M. Reidl, “10 Questions About the Economic Stimulus Bill,” points out serious concerns and weaknesses in the Stimulus bill, including this:

“We're told that government spending will add new spending power to the economy. But Congress doesn't have a vault of money waiting to be distributed: Every dollar lawmakers "inject" into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. If government borrows the money from American investors, investment spending drops accordingly. If it's borrowed from foreigners, net exports drop accordingly. How does borrowing $800 billion from one group of people and giving that $800 billion to another group of people make us wealthier?” [2]

Other concerns involve faulty economic models, historical examples of failures of similar approaches, etc.

If the government is truly serious about improving the unemployment situation they could do so quickly, not by more moves to “help” the economy, but by removing some hindrances. First, repeal what’s left of the stimulus. Second, cut corporate tax rates. Third, cut capital gains tax rates. Fourth, stop trying to regulate anyone’s pay or trying to tell business people how to run their businesses. The government does not know how to run them. These things would have a virtually immediate positive effect on employment and economic growth.

Remember when Al Gore called Bush’s proposed tax cuts a “risky tax scheme?” The tax cuts have demonstrated their value. What Obama has done and has proposed is truly risky. It’s very dangerous and we urgently need some corrections.

[1] http://blog.heritage.org/2009/07/02/unemployment-spike-defies-%E2%80%98stimulus%E2%80%99-claims/#more-9921
[2] At http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed011509a.cfm

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Barack Obama: Thoroughly Statist Politician


“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” – Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

I have referred to Barack Obama as a fascist, even calling him Barack “Benito” Obama. I suppose that may be counterproductive and taken as simply an insult, when my wish is to show how the Obama Administration has apparently set out, with whatever motivations, to systematically destroy much of America’s social and political structure and free market and replace it with something they might think is more fair and equitable, but looks suspiciously like totalitarian and socialist things that have been tried and have failed before. At any rate, the Constitution, already seriously stretched, is being pushed toward the breaking point as the federal government in all branches far exceeds its constitutionally permitted powers.

Individual freedom is now under its greatest threat in a long time in the United States. Other than in times of world war, we have seldom seen such a broad based assault on personal liberty. Maybe it’s inappropriate for me to call it “fascist,” but it certainly fits the term “statist.” You may read Ayn Rand, or Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny to get a good idea of what statism is. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism points out fascistic features of the Woodrow Wilson Administration, American progressivism, FDR’s New Deal, etc.

“The Fascist State organizes the nation, but it leaves the individual adequate elbow room. It has curtailed useless or harmful liberties while preserving those which are essential. In such matters the individual cannot be the judge, but the State only.”
– Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile [1]


That said, in what ways is Obama a thoroughgoing statist?
He pursues statist corporate takeovers and has succeeded in taking control of various commercial entities (auto makers, banks, insurance companies, etc.)
He is very sensitive to criticism and works forcefully to stop it.
He wants the government (i.e., himself) to dictate as many daily life activities of the American people as possible. The following items illustrate this. In many instances, the matter is nearly complete. Others represent the logical result of plans already in motion. Obama and the leftists in government control or want to control these items (partial listing):

Your home, your TV, your thermostat, your building code, your toilet tank, your water, electricity and gas, your pets, your landscape, your mortgage …
Your car, what you can and can’t buy, who you can buy from (including what dealer is still around to sell you a car), how much gas mileage it must get, quantity and type of emissions it can have . . .
Your travel plans …
Your healthcare, what procedures you can and cannot have, how much they should cost, who can and cannot perform them, when they will be available, who will be paying, what kind of insurance you may purchase or be forced to purchase, which and what kind of medical providers you may see and when…
Your sports, baseball’s steroid problems, the BCS bowl situation …
Your exercise requirements at school, work, and elsewhere …
Your nutrition, how much and what kinds of food you can buy, where and when you may buy them, how you may cook and eat them, what your and your kids’ body mass index must be …
What religious activities you may and may not engage in, what religious beliefs may be construed as “hate” …
What you may say and must not say, about what and whom, especially with reference to what may be deemed “hate speech” …
You will lose tax incentives to contribute to charities, but may be forced to provide “community service” if the 13th Amendment can successfully be overcome.
Your guns, your right of self defense (It shouldn’t be too difficult to eventually get the Second Amendment reinterpreted.)
Your reading material, radio programming, entertainment (Some variant of the “Fairness Doctrine” is being attempted)
Your bank accounts, 401(K) account, IRA (There have already been many changes, and more are planned, some of which could wipe out your investment accounts, remove pre-tax status, or replace stocks and bonds with new government “securities”)
Your job, determining whether your employer is a winner or a loser in the economy, based on things other than market forces. (Markets are subject to serious government meddling and manipulation.)

He has a program of maximum spending, that will achieve very little good and will cost trillions of dollars, burdening this and future generations, and causing massive inflation, and threatening our national security. (Cap and Trade, the “Stimulus,” Healthcare “Reform,” Financial Institution regulation, Fannie and Freddie expansions, etc.)

He seems to want the U.S. to become a Third World country, with the middle class being economically wiped out, they and the upper economic groups having their wealth confiscated to pay for his fascist program. When the wealth runs out, having been squandered by government, there will be a privileged few (political class and their supporters) with others being reduced to subsistence level standard of living. That seems to be the long-term plan. Maybe a few decades, assuming the leftists can stay in power or at least wield influence. Remember, Obama’s mentors are Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, and other radicals. His style is after the Chicago political boss methods.

Even though some people (for now) think he’s going to make things better for America, there’s often going to be a “crisis” to provide an excuse for failure and an occasion for even more expansion of government power. We have seen several examples of this since Obama took office. (At some point, they won’t be able to blame Bush any more.)

We now have the Census Bureau politicized and moved to the White House. We will, in effect, have ACORN and Black Panthers working the elections to defraud and intimidate as needed in critical areas. There will be armies of leftist lawyers to question any election of a conservative where the vote was at all close. (We saw some of this in the 2008 elections.)

The statists will do their best to destroy any effective conservative candidates they can, by investigation, harassment, and slander. They will attempt to criminalize any actions by authorities the leftists don’t like … (Think Sarah Palin and Scooter Libby.)

Obama appoints “czars” for many aspects of his program, and they are not subject to Senate confirmation and appear to be accountable only to Obama.

The free market has already taken quite a beating under Obama. It is conveniently blamed for problems that were primarily caused by government misconduct, meddling and incompetence, and not the free market. That is the statist tactic. We’ll see a lot more of it if Obama gets his way. The Administration has already asked for authority to seize any financial institutions as the government deems necessary…

Benito Mussolini’s motto: “Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

I’m getting to be a little suspicious of the government. I don’t know anyone’s inner motivations, but we can evaluate their words and actions. Even if they have the purest motives, they are leading our country on a destructive and dangerous path.

“America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.”
– President Warren G. Harding


Maybe the Tea Party movement and the next two election cycles can influence the government in the right direction. But it may take quite a while to restore the Constitution to its proper place.

[1] The Doctrine of Fascism, 1932, at www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm, a website that seeks to educate for the purpose of promoting democracy.