What Passes in the Night

It’s not pretty, what is currently going down in Washington, DC. And I’m not talking about the snowstorm or even  Sen. Coburn’s remarks about Sen. Byrd, which has Dana Milibank in a tizzy of disgruntlement. (Why, by the way, is it unseemly for Sen. Coburn to say he hopes – devoutly – that the Dems won’t have enough members to pass the bill tomorrow, while it’s okay for Dems to drag a sick man from his bed to pass something four days before Christmas that not even a majority of Americans WANT? )

Does anyone — ANYONE — really know what is in the bill? And if  you do, HOW could you in good conscience vote for it? As James Taranto noted last week in the Wall Street Journal, even socialist Bernie Sanders was (at least at one time) opposed to it because it is simply not socialist enough.

But here’s this, from Yuval Levin on the Corner:

The CBO assessment of the bill tells the appalling story. We are going to raise taxes by half a trillion dollars over the next ten years, increase spending by more than a trillion dollars, cut Medicare by $470 billion but use that money to fund a new entitlement rather than to fix Medicare itself, bend the health care cost curve up rather than down, insert layers of bureaucracy between doctors and patients, and compel and subsidize universal participation in a failed system of health insurance rather than reform or improve it.

Again, we must wonder WHY Democrats are in such a panic? I mean, don’t they believe they have a mandate from the people? If so, what are they so worried about? Maybe it’s because what the bill will really do and who it will affect is leaking out. See this Sunday evening Wall Street Journal editorial:

Never in our memory has so unpopular a bill been on the verge of passing Congress, never has social and economic legislation of this magnitude been forced through on a purely partisan vote, and never has a party exhibited more sheer political willfulness that is reckless even for Washington or had more warning about the consequences of its actions.

Democrats say that Republicans have no alternatives. That is, of course, hogwash. How about making more minor adjustments to current insurance coverage so that it is portable, available across state lines, gives the same tax benefits to individuals as companies receive, and still ensures coverage for those with preexisting conditions? I HAVE in fact read many ideas from conservatives and Republicans that espouse just this route, and give details on how this could be done, at FAR less cost to taxpayers and patients alike.

Let’s hope the House members want to go home to a HAPPY holiday, and not one where their tax-paying constituents will be openly rioting.

This is the price we must pay so that white liberals could soothe their racial guilt? I feel sick. Guess I should call my doctor before another layer of bureaucracy wants to know WHY.

Hope is not lost — the future knows the truth

The economic truth, that is. As Obama meets with banks to try to loosen lending practices, and as he invites luminaries from private companies, the government, and, err…SEIU and other unions to forums about how to create more jobs (sigh), there is hope in this: students and younger workers are hip to the truth.

See, for example, this post by David Huffman of Chicago Young Republicans, wherein he is shocked to agree with Paul Krugman that the recent “good news” of 11,000 new jobs isn’t that good. But then the agreement with Krugman ends there, as Krugman argues for even more stimulus funds, etc etc.

And then the following note,  by Loyola University Chicago student Elizabeth Davidson about a Wall Street Journal video, reveals an understanding of Keynesian versus supply-side economics, and a thirst for rational thought: Continue reading ‘Hope is not lost — the future knows the truth’ »

Tear this (Healthcare) Wall Down!

Celebrations are kicking off in Berlin in honor of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  And this should be celebrated. The Berlin Wall was a symbol, and a potent one, of the lack of freedom and choice in communist Europe. When it fell, it proved that there is indeed a beautiful power in hope –  when that hope is for freedom from tyranny.

And this brings us to healthcare, and the passage last night in the House of the most “sweeping overhaul” of healthcare in our nation…ever.

Here’s a simple analogy. You have a yard that is 85% green and growing, but 15%  is in the shade and doesn’t get the water or sunlight it needs. To fix this, you tear up the entire yard with a bulldozer. And so there is no grass and nothing grows. Only Uncle Sam can plant the seeds now. And the seeds he will plant will be dictated by what’s politically useful and popular, not by what people need or, heaven forbid, want.

Rep. Paul Ryan put it well: “Does this bill mean the government will take over running health care? Yes. But what’s worse, this bill replaces the American idea with a European-style social welfare state.”

Socialism, friends is bad. If you’re under 25, you might just know this in theory. But it is bad. It seems like a good idea at the time, because it means you’ve appointed a middle man.  You’ve “done something” to help, but all you’ve done is passed the buck. You don’t have to take care of anyone. Someone else — Uncle Sam (or his appointed and unelected bureaucracy)– will do it.  When we take the choice and, frankly, burden away from individuals to help or serve other individuals, we have done something dangerous to the fabric of who we are as human beings. We have fed our most selfish whims. We have become something less than human. We are like those who stand by while someone is robbed and cheated, and hold up our hands and say “not my problem” and point to the government.

If you believe  that the best way to ensure everyone has access to healthcare is by making it the law (requiring all but the smallest employers to provide healthcare or pay an 8% fine), jobs will be fewer, and  good healthcare hard to come by. Pharmaceutical innovations will wither. And instead, research funding will be handed out like defense contracts are now, and pulled at whim depending on who is in office. And people will die or be crippled because of it.

It is a testament to our humanity if we wish to help others. We should help our brothers and sisters. We should care for them when they are sick. But this is the role of family and friends. Or if we don’t have those, others who we pay to help us.  And if we have no money, friends, or family — private charity.  And if you think private charities are like char houses, start your own or band with others to do the same.  And there would be more charity if people who had money were free to use it to fund what they wish — churches, local community centers, etc. The point is — it’s not someone else’s job to help someone. It’s YOUR job. The government will be happy to do your job for you for now. But, like Faust,  you will pay in the end.

Comfort can be taken by those of us who cherish freedom and liberty in that the bill passed on a narrow margin — 5 votes.  Would have been 4 had Rep.  Cao of Louisiana not crumbled. But may this socialist healthcare “wall” against freedom and innovation crumble before it’s even had a chance to be built.

Irving Kristol

This may be belated, but we wanted to honor Irving Kristol, who passed away last week at the age of 89. Known in some outlets as the father of “neoconservatism”, he was actually a forward thinker. He saw problems with “progressivism” and chose to address them honestly, and was critical in helping the Republican Party (through Reagan) embrace supply-side economics. A congenial and warm soul from all accounts of those who knew him personally, we can only point to his writing. And this quote, which we read in an obit, struck us strongly.

It seems to me that the politics of liberal reform, in recent years, shows many of the same characteristics as amateur poetry. It has been more concerned with the kind of symbolic action that gratifies the passions of the reformer rather than with the efficacy of the reforms themselves. Indeed, the outstanding characteristic of what we call ‘the New Politics’ is precisely its insistence on the overwhelming importance of revealing, in the public realm, one’s intense feelings — we must ‘care,’ we must ‘be concerned,’ we must be ‘committed.’ Unsurprisingly, this goes along with an immense indifference to consequences, to positive results or the lack thereof.

And knowing the truth of this, as we do, is it any shocker that we distrust ‘healthcare reform’?

In any case, RIP to a great thinker and man.

Never Forgetting

There was never an attack so quick, brutal, unexpected and astonishing on US shores against so many regular civilians. May we never forget that it happened, and why it happened.

from www.sepetember11news.com

WTC attack (www.sepetember11news.com)

Pentagon attack (courtesy of www.spetember11news.com)

Pentagon attack ( www.spetember11news.com)

Liars look to the left

So here’s a great photo of the moment Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You Lie!” to Obama. Nancy seems shocked — SHOCKED!

Probably not as memorable a moment as some of our friends may think. Hopefully not. They may ask terse questions of the Prime Minister in Parliament, but we do not have that tradition here, and the office of the President does deserve respect. But the sentiment was no doubt echoed at other moments during the speech in living rooms across America.

And perhaps Obama can start respecting Congress (and us!) by not wasting our time with more boilerplate speeches.

Who Will Be the Decider?

That is the essential question of this healthcare debate.

Everyone agrees that the healthcare system in its current incarnation is not perfect. Anyone who has had to deal with an insurance company rejecting a claim, or forcing a certain hospital over another, or who has looked with horror at the cost of an MRI (or some prescription drugs), and been grateful that they have insurance, understands this. The problem, however, is not the revolving 40 million uninsured (if you have an appendicitis, you will get treatment in an ER. You will not, unlike this woman, have to call your insurance company to see if you can get an ambulance while you are in major pain. )

The problem is one of out-of-control costs promoted by trial lawyers, government meddling in the market, and lack of choice. Clearly, more meddling from the government — and on a MASSIVE scale  — is not the answer.

That is, it’s clear to people who understand that regular human beings are able to make decisions for themselves.  Yes, even decisions about whether or not to carry health insurance, and how much. The problem for many uninsured is that the COSTS of private insurance are too high, and they are often unaware that they can even GET private insurance if they aren’t employed. There are ways in the free market to communicate about health insurance programs, and bring costs down without spending trillions of taxpayer dollars (not to mention risking all the many problems of government advisory committees checking on your health and habits).

We need more choice, not less. And one of those choices should not be the federal government, which cannot even attempt to stimulate the economy without putting us into major debt, thus killing all chance of real stimulus. A government “option” would not be an option at all, and would indirectly force other options out of business.

So who will decide whether this passes? Let us hope it is people, through their elected representatives, as God and the Constitution intended, rather than the ghost of Ted Kennedy.

Fighting the good fight

I currently am, over at Crooked Timber…

Liberals genuinely would be happy to have a lively policy debate with moderate conservatives – a debate in which they get to signal tolerant respect for the opponent’s different point of view and, to some degree, different values. By contrast, conservatives would find nothing more dreadful than such a debate.

Please join in.

additions to the blogroll

I added a few new people to the blogroll, some oldies but goodies (The Belmont Club and Blackfive), some oversights (City Journal), and some newer discoveries (Coyoteblog, To Miss…).

Some samples…

From City Journal:

It’s something of a parlor game among the commentariat to compare one era with another. Every time America’s power ebbs, the pundits conjure the fall of the Roman Empire—and every time America’s power increases, they fear it’s the collapse of the Roman Republic. Each new war must be either Vietnam again or World War II. And if we had a dollar for every time a journalist compared the current economic downturn with the Great Depression, the current economic downturn would be over.

From To Miss:

And suddenly the confusion I have always had when discussing with those who believe adamantly in the goodness of the welfare state starts to dissipate. No wonder everyone thinks I am mad. I argue for a society which would allow some people to live in serious poverty. I believe in not handing out free flats and free money. I believe in making people work for their achievements. Why? So that they can know those words: ‘values’, ‘self-respect’ and ‘kindness’. To never know these things, no matter how rich one might be, is to live a life which, in my view, is not worth living.

And therein lies the devastating irony: the welfare state does save millions from a life of financial poverty, but in doing so, it necessarily subjects people to a life devoid of value.

Read the whole thing.  Really, just page to the bottom and start reading up there.  Really interesting lady.

From Coyote:

The fact is that this was a normal recession blown out of proportion first by the Bush and later by the Obama administration.  From the very beginning, it looked much like the recession of the early 1980’s or the bank crisis of the early 1990’s, and it recovered for the same reason – there are fundamental strengths in the economy.  In fact, the length of the Great Depression was in fact the aberration, caused more by FDR’s wild proposals (the worst of which was the National Industrial Recovery Act) which tended to dampen the investment that normally picks up at the bottom of the cycle to take advantage of reduced asset values and input costs.

Read it all.  Have fun and check back later for actual posting!

All the silliness in the world is piling up…

So high that it’s even going to other planets.  From the BBC we have news of methane on Mars:

Scientists in Paris used a computer climate model for the Red Planet to simulate observations made from Earth…

“The problem is if we just take into account the photochemistry as we know it on Earth and if we put it in the model, then we cannot reproduce the model and that was a surprise.”

Surprise?  The model doesn’t match the data.  But gosh, we’re certain we’ve got all the physics in there.  Just like those earth-bound models that keep predicting things that aren’t happening.  But we know we’ve got it right.  Now, in the defense of those studying Mars, they admit there must be something going on they don’t understand, unlike our friends in climate science.  Wattsupwiththat (read the link first or the quote won’t make all that much sense) has a great take down of the missing hot spot in the tropics the modelers have been trying to ignore for a decade now:

Yet surprisingly, some proponents of global warming alarmism actually resort to this very strategy. “True,” they say, “the hot spot isn’t developing. But that is because the heat is being stored up elsewhere—it’s “in the pipeline”—and one day it will burst forth with even greater severity and vengeance.”

What can we make of that claim? Well, thinking back to Fred again, it amounts to this: We use our temperature probe in Fred’s darkened bedroom and we see a pattern like that in (E) above, corresponding to no blanket: Fred should be freezing! But actually, the heat has all gone into Fred’s body, despite the complete absence of the hot air which is the mechanism for making it do so. In other words, Fred got warmer by disobeying the second law of thermodynamics—in other words, by magic. Likewise, if someone says heat is being secretly stored somewhere by global warming, despite the absence of the very mechanism that does the warming, they are saying global warming is happening by magic. That is the harsh truth of the matter.

Bang.  Of course, the modellers of earth can’t admit they don’t know what’s going on because the whole global warming myth is built on those models.  Nothing in the observed data record leads anyone to believe there is anything going on but a small, gradual and harmless warming of the earth that has occurred many times before.  The models are the only thing that allows governments around the world to take over the economies of the free world and to tax the US exorbitantly.  So the models must be right, the measurements must be wrong and you and I are just recalcitrant luddites.  hrmph.