Archive for July 2009
Well, there a lot of little things on which for me to comment. Lately, there’s been so much going on in the world, I wonder if the liberals are sorta running a media blitz play with all the noise on the radar in hopes of diverting attention away from the real threats, namely Crap and Tax and the Careless and Unhealthy Reform Bill. But here is a three-fer for you of bite size rabidity on which to munch…
1. Well, my friend Roy should love this one. Turns out the Cash for Clunkers program may be stalling out (as much as (p)MSNBC hated reporting this story). As I previously wrote on TRC, one of the reasons that this program was such a bad idea was my number one reason – adds to the overly exuberant government spending. The program hasn’t been active very long – just a couple weeks and about 23,000 cars have already been purchased, with a government price tag of about $95M. If left to itself, it probably could sap $1B of non-existent money from the federal treasury.
But there is a lesson to be learned here – one for the auto manufacturers to understand. If you make a product that people want and price it competitively, people WILL buy it. If people don’t want to buy your product, it could mean that your product is priced too high. Remember, the ultimate value of something is what someone will pay for it. Otherwise, my kid would be able to set up her lemonade stand, charge $58 for a 6 oz. cup of lemonade and gripe to the government for a bailout because sales are down.
2. Well, I guess the liberals think that providing funding for pornography is an important project, designed to create jobs and grow the economy. As we found out today, the National Endowment of the Arts has dropped some of their red-inked money into the red light district, funding projects like the San Fran-freak-o debauchery Perverts Put Out and putting up $50k on a horror-erotica called Thundercrack, featuring three men, four women, and a gorilla. Hmm…spending taxpayer money on porn involving killing and animals to me doesn’t fall into the “money well spent” column.
It would seem that crazy Uncle Joe is asleep at the wheel while he’s supposed to be watching for any fraud, waste, and abuse of any of the stimulus money. So what we’ll do is take an impossible task, such as monitor the expenditure of stimulus money and give it to an incompetent boob like Biden. Of course, earlier last month, Biden came out saying, “duh, yup, money’s a-being wasted!” Good one, Uncle Joe. We don’t need Urim and Thummim to figure that one out.
(can I say “boob”…considering that this bullet is all about taxpayer dollars for porn?)
3. The Queen Bee, the Head Battleaxe of the House, Nancy Pelosi lashed out in fury, demonizing all the evil insurance companies, telling us all about their immorality. Now, I won’t disagree wholly with Pelosi here, because I believe any industry that makes millions off the suffering and fear of others (insurance and legal, for example), is evil. But Pelosi’s attack isn’t over what the insurance companies do, but rather, it is to demonize them in order to push the Health Care(less) Reform Bill through Congress.
The thing is, as Rush Limbaugh eloquently pointed out in his radio program this week, Democrats need a demon, an enemy to fight. They can’t keep lashing out at Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby, or the like anymore because they’ve got all the cards now. They’ve had the House and the Senate since 2006 and for the last six months, the White House. They’ve even got the Senate filibuster-proof, so there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to get their agenda done, right? What do they need the GOP for? But that’s not enough – they don’t have a dragon to fight, so they have to attack windmills for their glory. Without a demon to fight, the Democrat party has nothing.
To my friends…
With all the brouhaha regarding the healthcare debate, the one thing that’s not really getting said is what would we on the right wing do to make improvements to the health care system. It’s true, the liberal approach to big government healthcare stinks with the fetid stench of socialism. But while we debate the topic of health care with the liberals, we also need to be aware of the ideas by which we would improve our national system and make it better.
So, I bring out these points that have been articulated by John C. Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, as written in the March 2009 issue of Imprimis. It’s not my intention, specifically to plagiarize Dr. Goodman, but it is my intent to share these ideas with you, the faithful readers of The Rabid Conservative.
Health care needs to be about real choices that benefit the patient-doctor relationship and put patients and doctors at the center of the program. These ideas, while not exhaustive, are good ways to start with that.
1. Give patients control over some, if not all, of their Medicare money. Dr. Goodman says at minimum, 1/3 of that money should be at the discretion of the patient. Yeah, put some constraints on what exactly the money can be spent, but after that, let the patients decide. I bet they’ll be far more frugal, generally.
2. Allow doctors to price and package services like every other professional does. Right now, doctors have to live under the constraints of Medicare and the insurance companies. The way I see it, if you allow doctors the same flexibility as other professionals and inject that good ol’ entrepreneurial spirit, suddenly, competition becomes real and the market deals with price control.
3. The stimulus bill had provisions for digitizing medical records. I would tend to agree with this one, just so long as the database does not give the government power to dictate clinical guidelines and make national coverage decisions. The information remains in the hands of physicians and accessible by them and their patients. I believe it’s time to begin re-writing HIPAA for the 21st century’s world of information.
The difficulty with digital records is where to keep the information. If you create a central database, you can bet the insurance lobby will push for access to that database in order to manage their risk and exposures.
I agree that information should be visible and quickly accessible, but in so doing, stiff controls need to be put in place to ensure that information is secure.
4. Promote more self-help services for medical care. Allow doctors and health professionals to be more conversant with patients (phone and e-mail – what a concept!) as well as build better databases for helping people provide their own medical care at home. Things like WebMD are a start, but government grant money to build such a repository of information can reduce the burden on the system.
5. Get the system pre-funded by encouraging people to save for their own health care. Give them incentives to do it, such as tax protection or even dividends. Encourage HSA’s more in the marketplace and in the workplace. Encourage people to start putting money away to pay for their own expenses. Dropping $50-$100 a month into an HSA with a potential employer match (like a medical 401k) will pre-fund the system and reduce the burden on the tax payer.
6. Mandate warranted care for major hospital procedures and require hospitals and clinics to disclose error and infection rates. A big drag here is if you go in for a procedure and they jack you up or they don’t get it right, you go back for re-treatment and pay for that. Wouldn’t be nice to go to the hospital just once and get whatever is broke fixed?
These are just a few ideas from Dr. Goodman and I think while we as Conservatives carry on the fight against socialized medicine, we should also promote ideas that would actually fix the system without putting Washington as the comptroller of the system. We don’t need the government involved in this. All we need is the good sense and determination to sort this on our own and then go get it done.
And then Congress won’t have to worry about reading a thousand page document in one night to make sure the legislation actually make sense.
BTW – Tell your reps and senators that if they don’t have the common courtesy and decency as an elected official to read what they are signing, then just say no!
Today, a story came out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area about a poor schlub who ended up seeing a $23 quadrillion charge on his credit card bill. Jon Seale was surprised to say the least when his statement rolled in with a mega-charge after dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s. National Broadcasting Corporation (stress National), produced this article that would probably end up being filed under the Oddly Enough category.
$23 quadrillion is 2000 time that of the current National Debt (despite Obama’s best efforts to put the next twelve generations of Americans into poverty). $23 quadrillion is far more money than there is on Earth. In fact, the Gross World Product (basically the planetary GDP) in 2007 was estimated at $54 trillion. Now if you added up all the money in the US coffers (M1, M2, and M3), you’d get around $6 trillion. These numbers are but a drop in the bucket to Mr. Seale’s $23 quadrillion bill.
Now this is all in jest, obviously. Mr. Seale won’t be having to pay off the crazy charge nor even the $20 overdraft fee, which is a good thing. And he’ll have something to laugh about next time he buys anything from Wolfgang Puck.
But there is a bigger lesson to learn here – who is actually going to pay for nationalized health care, cap and
trade tax, the stimuli bills that get pumped out of the government coffers, and every other big government program that the liberals in Congress have promoted in the last few months? Well, we are of course!
And just like Mr. Seale’s initial reaction of “what the ______” (fill in your own explicative) when he saw his statement, we’re going to start seeing it in everything we do. We’ll see gas prices go up when the cap and tax bill goes in, a bill that is designed to attack energy production in the US and will line the coffers of companies like Goldman Sachs and others who will profit. We’ll see the costs of big government in our food, clothing, and basic sustenance when the millionaire business owners that will get the 5.4% tax hike when nationalized health care is pushed into our lives like a bad prescription. And while we’re out enjoying the fruits of the Stimulus Bills that keep rolling out, well someone has to pay for that. And I don’t see the suits in Washington turning their pockets out to pay for it, but rather, are requiring all of us to do it.
But some basic questions here:
Who really wants cap and trade? The greens who believe that we’re destroying the earth every time we breathe (a message they’ve been hammering on the drums for over 100 years, back at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution). Well, countries that are interested in making money and advancing into the First World have already shrugged off Cap and Trade, such as India, China, and Mexico (which will basically render our efforts towards reducing emissions useless and give these countries an economic advantage). And all of this has been set in motion to combat a problem that has never truly been scientifically vetted amongst the critics or the climate community.
Who really wants nationalized health care? Do we really want to see a wait for nine hours to get seen for a potentially broken arm? What about a two week wait immediately after a “heart problem” which could end up being fatal? What about having to wait *years* before being able to see a specialist, waiting for some government bureaucrat to make a decision about whether it’s viable and in the public’s interest to treat you.
Who really wants these stimulus bills? Who wants to watch us sacrifice the futures of our kids to spend on programs that the liberals want to fund? Who wants to see $1T spending bills that promise to lower unemployment if they are passed, but do nothing but commit money to government programs that create nothing but dependency on the government?
The government is spending money it doesn’t have, running up the country’s credit card, and hoping that by dumping exorbitant amounts of cash on the problems of the world that they will go away. Unfortunately, the only thing big government does is get in the way of those things that actually would solve the world’s problems.
The sad thing about all of this is that Mr. Seale may end up seeing another bill come in with some nice high charges on it, but this time, they will be real.
Most of what I write about on this blog is political commentary. I look at topics in politics, compare them to what the Founders had hoped. The Founders never intended that the American political system be corrupted by the putrid stench of self-interest and elitism that has plagued Washington today. Washington has become a place where people can learn about cut-throat maneuvering, quid pro quo, corruption, and fiscal irresponsibility – because those are recurring themes inside the Beltway.
There are so many good people out there who could serve, who should serve! But good people are becoming less and less welcome in the American system, when, in fact, the American public want good people in the public square. Yet people of good moral character and pure desire to do something great for their country are targeted for removal.
Today, a good woman, Sarah Palin, decided to step aside as Governor of Alaska by not seeking re-election and transferring power to her Lieutenant Governor. Here’s the video of her rather stirring and inspiring comments today:
As soon as she made her announcement, the Democrats pounced, saying that she was running from the political pressure – because she got beat up by the some fifteen ethics complaints (all of which dismissed), beat up for being a woman, beat up for coming from the middle class, beat up for being beautiful, lambasted because her daughter had a premarital pregnancy, and scathed by morons like David Letterman. Democrats who looked at her with fear and contempt are now celebrating once again because they have learned (whether it’s true or not) that if they badger and bully enough, they can push good people like Sarah Palin out of the public square.
But why do her opponents hate her so much? Because she is real. She’s not an empty suit like Barack Obama who bows before anyone and anything for popularity. She’s not a typical, spit-shined politician who could really care less about the values of their constituencies (and I speak on both sides of the aisle). She approached her role as a public servant, not out of elitism entitlement, but out of a pure desire to do something good for Alaska and her country. She governed from her middle-class values, not from upper-class snobbery.
And it was because of that style that made many of us Americans fall in love with her. She illustrated what the greatest majority of Americans want in the political system – common sense, fiscal responsibility, personal accountability, and a servant’s heart.
I’ve been asked by more than one person out there why I don’t seek office. And I think my answer is simple – I hate politics. I can’t stand the personal attacks that one party makes to another in order to eliminate or marginalize someone who has the dream of doing something great for his/her country. I hate the games that politicians play, so they can negotiate and get what they want for their districts in order to get re-elected. I hate the media because they don’t report the news anymore, but rather, act as political sounding boards for people of their belief. I despise the bias against personal values and religious beliefs that are leveled against good people, just because their sins are revealed when they stand next to a person of impeccable character.
In short, I hate the political system, because the good people have no desire to serve in an environment like that. And as such, the political system is populated by not-so-good people – people bent on milking the system for their own self interests.
And in the end, America suffers and begs for some real hope – not the sham that is in Washington today.
Good luck in your next big thing, Sarah. We’ll miss and pray for you and your family.
Oh, and happy Fourth of July, everyone…sorry I’ve been away for as long as I have.