Reason’s Jacob Sullum says there should be no fundamental right to health care.
A right to health care thus requires the government to infringe on peoples liberty rights by commandeering their talents, labor, and earnings. And since new subsidies will only exacerbate the disconnect between payment and consumption that drives health care inflation, such interference is bound to increase as the government struggles to control ever-escalating spending. Rising costs will also encourage the government to repeatedly redefine the right to health care, deciding exactly which treatments it includes.
Enforcing this right demands an involuntary contribution from all taxpayers. Once it is decided by our Congress that health care coverage is mandated for all of us and primarily funded by tax dollars, then we are in danger of losing more than the ability to buy private health care coverage. I used to think that the relationship between liberty and the health care debate was tenuous at best, but it’s becoming clear to me how wrong I was about that. Expanding the reach of government into health care beyond its current bureaucratic regulations and restrictions is something we need to consider carefully before going forward with such plans. While I’m proposing all these radical things, how ’bout one more – if we are going to copy another country’s health care system, we might want to copy one that actually does what President Obama promised with expanding choices and competition for the health care consumer, and take steps to make health care more affordable for every American. That’s not what the Senate and House are doing with their proposed health care legislation. We need to start over from scratch and try again if we want a health care bill that is truly worthy of the claim of “health care reform”.
Read Sullum’s entire argument here.
Now for something a little different and somewhat holiday-themed…
Eventually it would come to this – someone is compelled to attack the lifestyle and behavior of Santa Claus. Honestly, there’s just no good excuse for that.
Some “public health expert” in Australia says that Santa is a bad example for children. The charges against St. Nick include encouraging obesity and drinking alcohol while steering his sleigh through the wide-open sky, where he is endangering no one but himself and the reindeer. Seriously, dude, if you want to bring a more significant complaint, you might point out the greed it produces in otherwise sweet little children who produce gigantic lists of very expensive gifts which they fully expect to get on December 25th. And God bless the parents who try to keep up with those expectations out of their own finite pockets, because there will never be enough money to cover that wish list. This reminds me of a certain group of Americans who expect their fellow citizens to completely finance their health care bills…and believe that the federal government has an endless pot of money to meet their every need.
At some point, there needs to be a reality check for the little kiddies as well as the uninformed chuckleheads in the citizenry of this country — the money has run out. The credit cards are maxed. Time to cut the spending.
Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble – but Santa Claus is totally fictional. Focusing on his perceived sins is amusing, but unnecessary. On the other hand, the financial damage this proposed health care “reform” will cause in this country, is quite real — and yet some Americans refuse to wake up to the truth that the federal government doesn’t have the money to do what our Congress has promised us it would do.
What makes Michael Steele great on TV and talk radio makes him controversial as the RNC Chairman. There are very few Republicans currently holding political office who could be successful pundits, and there are even fewer Republican politicians that would continue to win elections saying things that the members of their party don’t want to hear or acknowledge. Those who have survived doing this, like Senator DeMint, most likely come from solid red states, where the base completely supports their efforts to fight the Washington mentality. We are more likely to find honest political dialogue from those who never intend to make a profitable career out of politics than from anyone currently engaged in that pursuit.
This is the difference between Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh. Each man has a different objective. For Michael Steele, the goal should be to get back to basics on core principles of our party, and to regain the confidence of the country in the Republican brand — which can only be done by acknowledging where our politicians have failed and increasing the level of accountability to show that we are serious about more than just winning elections. His job is also to present our party in the best light possible, which means he cannot continue to speak off-the-cuff when the media is now closely paying attention to every word he says and looking for an opportunity to further divide the Republican party into factions by using our Chairman’s own words against him.
Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, and a darn good one at that. You don’t get paid what he gets paid without delivering the goods and the advertisers 3 hours a day / 5 days a week. In the process of that entertainment, he shares his own opinion on the present administration and what he believes the next steps should be for conservatives who don’t agree with the direction of this country under President Obama. Love him, hate him, or call him a drug addict — it doesn’t have any effect on the guy at all. It might make lefties feel better about themselves to rip Rush every day, and good for them if that’s the case. It just doesn’t do much to move the leftist/statist agenda forward. At some point, surely even the leftist might question the wisdom of all Barack’s free spending. Or maybe not. Some people are just hard-core enough that they don’t care that these bills will be paid by our children and grandchildren just as long as they get their “free government stuff”.
To Michael Steele, I offer these words of advice from former (?) pro wrestler and current Disney “star” The Rock, “Know your role”. There’s a time to speak out, and a time to shut up. A wise chairman knows what time it is.
Senator Arlen Specter finally makes the decision to leave the Republican Party and officially join his fellow Democrats by running for re-election as a Democrat. I can’t say I’m terribly upset about this news. His motivation for doing this doesn’t really matter to me. It does open up more options for challengers like Pat Toomey…or it could lead to a different Democrat replacing Specter, because there’s no guarantee that he gets the Democrat nomination without the other candidates pulling out of the contest. I do think that his announcement was self-serving, and it failed to acknowledge those Republicans, such as President Bush and VP Cheney, who supported him against Toomey the first time. The national Republican Party hasn’t thrown Specter under the bus. He chose this path for himself. When he votes the way he does, he should expect conservatives to loudly oppose those votes. But the Beltway Republicans have a far different agenda than the rest of us — they would have us go further to the left and abandon social conservatism or any pretense of fiscal accountability / responsibility.
It is not the agenda of the leadership of the Republican Party to weed out the moderate / liberal elements of its membership. If you need evidence of that, witness our presidential nominee, John McCain. He agreed more than he disagreed with Barack Obama on domestic policy, although I suspect he would have embraced keeping more tax cuts than President Obama has. Our party supported Arlen Specter, even though he hasn’t done very much to merit our support. We don’t even consider challenging Snowe and Collins. So our far-right takeover hasn’t occurred yet, and my guess is you won’t see that until we can recruit much stronger candidates to challenge the Republicans already in the Senate and House.
There’s much about this move that I can be happy about. Allowing the Democrats a 60-vote majority means they take full responsibility for anything they screw up. On the other hand, I’m not sure I am willing to accept the consequences of the Democrats passing whatever laws they want to pass, no matter how crazy or misguided those laws may be — and I’m certainly not optimistic that all the damage done would be reversible. Once we all get national health care, there’s no going back. Look at Britain. If you even hint at NHS (national health service) reforms that would assign some responsibility back to the recipients, don’t expect to win any national elections. That’s the danger here. We need to keep a close eye on what’s happening in Washington, and raise awareness of how all this will affect our lives in the long run, because we might only get one chance to keep this country from absorbing some big mistakes made by the politicians.
After spending part of my weekend with my fellow right-wing extremists from the York County Republican Party, the experience left me feeling more reflective on the current direction of the national party rather than energized about the good stuff happening on the local level. I’m going to try to put those impressions into words, but it may not all make sense. I’m still trying to work through what I believe the next steps should be for the Washington Republicans, but I’m going to suggest a few things and throw them out there for discussion.
So here goes…
Step #1: Recognize and acknowledge your own failure to live up to the standards you set when running for office. For the Party itself, acknowledge the deviation from what we claim as our core values — limited government and a commitment to fighting wasteful spending. It also wouldn’t hurt to find strong candidates to replace any corrupt Republican survivors in our Congress.
There is so much criticism of Democrats and President Obama (most of it well-deserved) about their agenda and the outrageous sums of money that will be spent by this administration. Republicans (and especially fiscal conservatives) are correct to be concerned about that. What Republicans fail to recognize is their own culpability in the wilderness state than our party now finds itself in. We did start this fiscal irresponsibility, and a few folks in our party are in fact corrupt. Failing to admit that continues to damage our credibility, and it prevents my party from becoming a viable alternative to the President and the Democrat party.
Admitting there is a problem with the lack of direction / leadership in our party is not the most painful part of this recovery process, however. We must make a choice to change our behavior — not so much to attract the independents and moderates, but to regain lost credibility on the issues we used to own over the Democrats. You can’t win elections without the base, and moving left loses that base for the Republicans.
Taking this first step won’t automatically fix our problems. There may be a few more lost elections in the current future of the Republican Party. But we can accelerate the process of regaining what we have lost if we start by admitting our mistakes and making a clear break from our past failures. Then when we attack the Democrats for wasteful spending and President Obama for his entire agenda, people might actually start listening to what we have to say.
Well…at least it was around the world of MLB. For the rest of the country, the discussion was about tea parties and the annual rite of passage for taxpaying citizens to fund wasteful government programs for all Americans. Another April 15th has come and gone, but nothing really has changed. The tea parties, while meaningful and important because of the message the participants delivered (no on Washington and the wasteful spending), will not sustain whatever momentum could have been gained from these events. For a political protest to have any staying power in the long run it requires some kind of ongoing commitment to the cause for those who are involved in that protest. Many of the participants have that kind of commitment — to keep fighting for limited government, lower taxes, and reduced government spending — and they will stay involved locally and hold their local politicians accountable in these areas. That would have been true without the tea parties. The success or failure of Tea Party Day should be measured by what happens next. Will this spark lead to more involvement in the political process by those who are disconnected from both parties as a result of finding common cause with these protesters? Or will we all go back to our own lives and forget all the great things that happened today?
Future results are TBD.
Republican Rep. Tom Davis makes a few suggestions:
So what do we do? First, we eliminate checklists and litmus tests and focus on broad principles, not heavy-handed prescriptions. Free trade. Strong defense at home and abroad. Government as small as is practicable in these times. Economic, education and energy policies that promote growth, energy independence and a competitive agenda that will allow businesses to grow and compete, not be protected by artificial barriers.
Thats it. Believe anything else you want, but advocate for those things outside the structure of the party.
I’m all for broad principles, and creating a basic framework of beliefs for the Republican Party — a party that should always support a strong national defense, free trade, pro-growth economic policy, etc. But denying that there is a strong bloc of grassroots support for our party that comes from people who care about issues like abortion, the 2nd amendment, and gay marriage is a mistake. We seem to believe that we will become a more popular party by nominating more candidates like John McCain, who don’t threaten the less religious and all those independents and “centrists”. Wow. That worked out brilliantly , didn’t it?
The current batch of Republican leaders haven’t followed the principles articulated by Rep. Davis, especially those who decided to vote for the stupid bailout. In this rebuilding process, that’s a good place to start. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to de-emphasize social issues, since there are much bigger fish to fry and problems to confront, as long as social conservatives know that they always have a home in the Republican Party.
Most of the current leaders of the Republican Party are creatures of Washington who are completely out of touch with the values of the state parties and their grassroots foot soldiers. We dont have problem-solvers. We have problem creators. While nothing can be done about advancing limited government and fiscal discipline while in the minority, our leaders have decided that no compromise is too great to make in the game of winning elections. This is a mistake. This mindset leads to a Republican Party perfectly willing to stand by while corruptocrats like Ted Stevens run for re-election just because they dont want to lose that seat to a Democrat. This mindset leads to nominees like John McCain. We must draw the line of compromise somewhere.
We cannot and must not make excuses or compromises when it comes to corruption. I would rather lose a million seats in Congress than for us to continue to lose credibility as a Party. Social conservatives arent killing the Party. Corrupt members of Congress are killing this Party. Fiscally irresponsible members of Congress and requesters of massive amounts of pork are killing this Party. In order to fix the problem, we have to correctly diagnose it. This is something that the leaders of our Party have failed to do. That’s why we have been losing elections.
There is a school of thought in the Republican Party today that our party needs to move further to the left in order to attract moderate and independent voters. Hasn’t this past election proved the ineffectiveness of a strategy like this? Look at our nominee, John McCain, whose nomination was propelled by the support of Democrats who voted in all those open primaries and by the media (his former base) . The same argument made for McCain was also made for Rudy Giuliani namely, that Republicans could get those independents and moderates by nominating someone more like them than the scary social conservatives we tend to nominate. Wow. What an awesome strategy that was. If we continue to water down the conservative message to get these elusive voters, we will keep losing. Our party leadership doesn’t seem to understand this. We hoped that they would get a clue after 2006. No such luck. They are continuing to follow the same failed strategy that gets us the same results every election.
Those who are still pushing this absolutely-must-have-right-now-or-the-world-will-explode “emergency rescue plan” aren’t all that concerned with sticking to the $700 billion price tag. Is it too much to ask from this Congress that we have a straight up-and-down vote on whether we should bail out private industry? Why yes it is. They just couldn’t resist adding pork to a bill that they believe will eventually pass.
Here are some of the “incentives“:
- Sec. 105. Energy credit for geothermal heat pump systems.
- Sec. 111. Expansion and modification of advanced coal project investment credit.
- Sec. 113. Temporary increase in coal excise tax; funding of Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.
- Sec. 115. Tax credit for carbon dioxide sequestration.
- Sec. 205. Credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles.
- Sec. 405. Increase and extension of Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund tax.
- Sec. 309. Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa.
- Sec. 317. Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility.
- Sec. 501. $8,500 income threshold used to calculate refundable portion of child tax credit.
- Sec. 503 Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.
Wooden arrows? Cost recovery for a motorsports racing track facility? All hail to our bipartisan overlords. We might very well get stuck with the bill for all this, and this is a very high price to pay for opening the eyes of many Americans to the failure of both parties to get our fiscal house in order.
One day after the House Republicans, with the help of a significant number of Democrats, stopped this disaster of a federal bailout, the world hasn’t collapsed. The Dow rebounded a little today after its terrible day yesterday. I still think those who voted against this bill did the right thing. I am, however, unsympathetic to the Republicans complaining about Pelosi’s partisan speech, and making that a reason to oppose the bailout. The bailout should be opposed on its lack of merit, and its expansion of government welfare to those who acted irresponsibly. Republicans haven’t been making this case, and that’s why Democrats could still win the PR war.
Some of my fellow conservatives are trying to tell us the sky is falling and that we must pass Bush’s plan NOW. Not so fast. A federal takeover of this kind must be carefully studied and discussed, and alternatives must be presented. Any acceptable plan must attempt to correct past errors as well as to hold those responsible for this mess accountable for their actions. We aren’t there yet.
To the Democrats still willing to support their Speaker, I would ask them: Doesn’t it concern you that the Bush administration wants to expand the reach of the federal government to take over a large section of our economy? I thought you all were against more power for the federal government under George Bush. Why all of a sudden do you believe the Bush administration and Secretary Paulson when they insist that the only way to save the economy is through a federal takeover? If this bill passes in its current form, then Democrats will share the blame with our President when it fails to achieve its objectives. Hope you all are ok with that. Looks like a no-win to me.
There are a few economists who are opposed to this bailout, and I would take their opinions over those of some of the know-nothings in Congress.
Here’s part of what one of them, Jeffrey Miron (day job- Harvard), had to say:
So what should the government do? Eliminate those policies that generated the current mess. This means, at a general level, abandoning the goal of home ownership independent of ability to pay. This means, in particular, getting rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with policies like the Community Reinvestment Act that pressure banks into subprime lending.
The right view of the financial mess is that an enormous fraction of subprime lending should never have occurred in the first place. Someone has to pay for that. That someone should not be, and does not need to be, the U.S. taxpayer.
Read the whole thing.