Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pop Quiz

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said: "In the [health care reform] legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs." Mr. Elmendorf added, ". . . the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run ... under any plausible scenario."

Given that the CBO has a reputation for being objective and nonpartisan, what would be the choice of a sane, honest politician, attempting to act in the public interest?

1. Reevaluate health care reform, taking into account the fact that Americans are satisfied with their healthcare in the range of anywhere from the 60%-85% range according to different surveys. Maybe things aren't so bad after all, especially since you've already run up a bigger deficit in 6 months than the last President did in 8 years. Give things a chance to settle down and hold a huge public debate how best to address the problem when recovery is well under way.

2. Consider a piecemeal approach that would address the most chronic problems first, such as helping ensure that people who don't have coverage, but need it, and want it, can get it. Following that, implement a series of measures to rein in the tremendous amount of fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid. Couple increased services and entitlements with true cost-cutting reforms for a truly cost-neutral plan going forward.

3. Take measures to decouple health coverage from employment, which would allow much more freedom of choice and would not penalize people who are laid off (COBRA is extremely expensive), or who work in a volatile industry and change jobs often. Foster other means of collective bargaining for insurance that doesn't depend on a person's employer or union to help those people who are unemployed, self-employed or who don't have the best choices in health care provided by an employer.

4. Ignore the advice, plunge wildly ahead with another 1000+ page bill that will be passed without being read by anyone voting on it. Load the bill up with all kinds of pork, guarantee huge cost overruns, completely ignore the cries of common sense or the constituents, blaspheme the Constitution, and generally treat the economy like a bunch of thugs wielding crowbars and chains beating a poor victim to death in the back alley somewhere. When the victim cries for help, whack him good, be sure to break some bones, and tell the victim you _are_ helping him. Make sure the blood doesn't splatter on your Armani. When things go exactly as expected and reform makes things worse, blame your opponents or the rich.

If you chose 4, congratulations, you have undergone enough intellectual and moral devolution to qualify for Congress. For bonus points, make seditious comments against the military, kowtow to our enemies and steal candy from babies.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Senators Respond

Well, after my strongly worded plea to Senators Warner and Webb, I eventually received replies from both.

I did not care for Senator Warner's reply. It was extremely generic and made it sound to me like he had every intention of voting for the Cap-and-Trade bill. He mentioned the seriousness of the so-called global warming program, and said that the science "supports" the need for "dramatic changes", but briefly mentioned that this need must be balanced with economic considerations.

Senator Webb's response was much better in my opinion. He more strongly balanced the rhetoric for environmental concerns with mentions of the many obvious down sides to this legislation. It looks to me like the statement of someone who is seriously considering the issue, and is willing to acknowledge that there will be many, serious side-effects from this plan.

Both may vote either way, but from these letters, I would suspect Senator Webb is more likely to vote against this horrible bill than Senator Warner.

Of course, since the carbon-dioxide-phobics never mention the very reasonable alternative of nuclear power, which proves to me that none of them are interested in anything more than they are interested in harming the American economy. Besides, isn't water vapor a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2? And why won't any of these flat-earthers, excuse me, _hot_-earthers acknowledge that the climate has levelled off and has been getting slightly cooler for the last decade.

Those inconvenient truths...

I've been following the science at sites like Watts Up With That and there's no doubt in my mind that not only is the debate not over, it's changing rapidly and not in the direction the end-of-the-world types are so invested in.

The day the correlation between the global warming issue and political spectrum (left vs. right) isn't almost perfect is the day I'll start considering the science has something conclusive to say.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Independence Day? Independence from What?

Independence Day may have finally outlasted its legacy. Independence Day may have finally outlived its meaning. Our country may not even deserve the right to celebrate this holiday any more, this recognition of a declaration of human sovereignty, this recognition of a declaration of inalienable rights that can be granted or refused by our Almighty Creator alone, this recognition of a declaration that each and every person has a right, and a duty, to govern himself, to hold himself to a moral standard, defined by God and recognized and codified throughout the history of Western civilization, to be, in a word, independent.

Is it hypocritical to celebrate Independence Day when our government is far more oppressive, far more restricting of our rights, far more confiscatory of our property, than the government from which our national forefathers originally fought and gained independence?

How can the citizens of this country, in good conscience, and without hypocrisy, celebrate the founding of a Republic which no longer exists, the brilliant yet simple Constitution written by men of wisdom, based upon the eternal and objective truths, which is essentially irrelevant, the ideals of individual liberty and of a limited government with narrow enumerated powers which are mocked relentlessly by the sprawling, unholy behemoth whose existence blasphemes against the idea of a government "of the people, by the people and for the people"?

How can this country pride itself in its recognition of the unique nature of man, who owes his will, intellect and many inalienable rights to his Creator, and yet confer personhood unto corporations, nonhuman and artificial entities which can engage in any manner of illicit or immoral behavior for which their human constituents are often as not never held to account?

How can we citizens even consider the idea that we remain independent? How can we consider the idea that we have not, through ignorance, through neglect, and often through choice, slowly but surely parceled off our independence, our liberties, bit by bit, over the decades, but rapidly increasing in recent years and months, for security, for convenience, for "fairness"?

This President and this Congress are a mockery of everything Independence Day stands for. This President, who if not a literal alien, is an alien to the American experience, an alien to the America ideals, an alien to everything that sets, or used to set, this country above and apart from every other... this President who was instructed at the feet of Marxists, this President who has associated with racists, terrorists, and criminals of all stripe, this President whose success, whose career, whose election had nothing to do with his merit, his accomplishments, or any other quality than his brazenness, his duplicity and his corruption. This Congress, charged with dispensing the legislation of our government, based upon and limited by the Constitution has become a marketplace of influence, buying and trading their very own power, compromising with each other how best to squander the riches they confiscate, not representing us, but using us to further their own interests, their own agenda.

These scoundrels must hate the idea of Independence Day. These dastards must take offense at the very idea of a free citizenry. These parasites must rail and chafe against the idea that each and every person in this great nation, for which hundreds of thousands gave their lives, can and should govern themselves. These would-be tyrants should denounce Independence Day, if there were any morsel of honesty in their words. Instead, they would have us celebrate Dependence Day. They would have us recognize that we owe our well-being, our livelihood, even very existence to the State. They would hold it as self-evident that the State's inalienable rights are to determine who lives and who dies, define morality and impose it at the point of a gun, and to pursue not equal opportunity among the governed, but equal results.

This President and this Congress do not see themselves as representatives of the citizenry, but as our superiors, our masters, our instructors. They do not see themselves as bringing the ideals of their constituents from across the land, and coming together to hash those ideals out to determine the proper way for the great men and women of this country to govern themselves. No, they see it is their duty, in fact their right, to determine for us what our ideals should be, to determine how best it is for us to live our lives, to determine ultimately how best we can serve them, so they in their benevolent wisdom can nurse us on the teat of their moral superiority, ensuring that the efforts of no one result in any greater benefit to him, than to his fellow.

While denying the dominion, even the existence of God, these would-be saviors, these would-be overseers, these would-be nursemaids have claimed for themselves the very mantle of the Almighty. Our leaders would claim for themselves a moral authority that is His alone. They claim for themselves a superiority in kind and degree over the governed that is His alone. They claim for themselves an oblation of time, talent and treasure which is owed to Him alone. They claim for themselves all these things for the benefit of their subjects, subjects who they believe are incapable of taking care of themselves, subjects who must be forced to do those things which their leaders in their wisdom decree best.

They claim for themselves the right, the authority and the power to nullify any consequences of a person's behavior, so that all might be made equal, in the name of fairness. They claim for themselves the duty and the privilege to determine what each person should receive, to protect each from the actions of the other, but to also protect each from the actions of himself. They claim for themselves, and will soon achieve, if we continue to let them, the power to reduce all of us from sovereign persons in the eyes of God to subhuman animals, smothered in a ever-loving, ever-caring, ever-controlling arms of Mother State.

And we have the nerve, the gall, the stupidity to celebrate independence?