Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan are fair

March 29, 2010 1 comment

Ed Schultz loses his sh*t here, and Dylan Ratigan loses his here. Not on the same day and not in that order, but I just saw the Ed clip and it reminded me of the Dylan one. I love their new formula:  Liberal screams, kicks, yells, and name-calls at  the calm, rational rightwinger because the calm, rational rightwinger won’t stop being calmly and rationally rightwing.

Maybe it kills sociopathically dishonest scum like Ed and Dylan when conservatives come on their shows and don’t perform the way Ed and Dylan expect them to: by throwing bricks and lighting things on fire? I don’t know, but what ever is behind it, it’s fun to watch.

Categories: Dylan Ratigan, Politics

Why insurance?

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I know the answer to this, so I’m asking a rhetorical question here: When did health insurance become the standard? Someone decided it would be a good idea — yes, probably even profitable! — to offer insurance in the health-care market; others followed suit: more and more companies entered the market to offer insurance products, competition grew, plans varied, and all was well. Those who could afford it or otherwise thought it was a good idea bought policies. Some employers decided to offer it as a benefit.

Then the government stepped in during WWII and outlawed wage increases. Businesses started to offer health benefits as a way around these wage controls, because whether the pols in Washington who came up with the bright idea of wage controls understood it or not, businesses still had to attract and keep the best employees it could. Enter the employer-based health-insurance system. Nothing more or less than an accident of history — rather, an obvious consequence of wrongheaded liberal policy.

Now, for some unknown reason, this horribly nonsensical idea of providing health insurance that covers every visit and procedure — a model that makes NO economic sense whatsoever in the first place and which has been worsened by government mandates and hairy regulations — has become the standard.


I submit that the moral crime is not that 40 million-plus people are uninsured; it is instead that 250 million-plus people are. The insurance model itself is responsible for health care’s skyrocketing costs. Sure, medical technology is expensive and is a big reason for the increased cost, but it wasn’t cheap 10 years ago to build laptops, either, yet those prices continue to drop, despite the ever-more-powerful technology loaded up in those. And why are laptops (and DVD players, and plasma TVs, and so on) so much cheaper in real terms than 10 years ago?

You guessed it: First, because the government hasn’t established a right to Macbooks, so in order to increase market share, Apple has to find ways to reduce their prices. And second, there’s no insurance model — yet — that allows people to pay a cheap monthly premium for the right to buy a new laptop every other month for a nominal copay of $20. If such a thing existed and were widespread enough, you can bet Apple would jack up Macbook prices for those who lacked the insurance to make up for the loss it would take on all the insured who, divorced from the true cost of Macbooks, would abuse the system.

But it’s only a matter of time. You watch.

Soon enough, some Democrat will assert that no one should be forced to live without access to a computer and all of his Democratic buddies in Congress will agree. And from that day forward, the market will be distorted, twisted, and abused until it’s brought to its knees — just as the health-care industry has been — and soon enough, Macbooks, too, will be unaffordable to millions. And the government will step in again to fix the problem it created. (Think about it: what are the three major areas of the economy that have become unaffordable to most people? Higher education, homes, and medicine. What are the three areas of the economy in which the government has played an active role to attempt to lower prices for all? You guessed it: the same three. Interesting that it’s only made things worse? Or maddening. One of the two.)

And Democrats wouldn’t really care if Macbook prices rose as a result, let alone care to understand why. Because what would really matter — just as all that matters about health care — is that they’ll have locked up the laptop-user vote.

Paul Krugman is scared: Keep it up, conservatives

November 9, 2009 1 comment

Typically, Paul Krugman can’t help himself. He’s quick to call any fight for the Democrats and, when he can get away with it, has no problem starting the knockout count even before Republicans hit the ground. So when even he is worried about the next election, you know change is afoot.

In fact, the party of Limbaugh and Beck could well make major gains in the midterm elections. The Obama administration’s job-creation efforts have fallen short, so that unemployment is likely to stay disastrously high through next year and beyond. The banker-friendly bailout of Wall Street has angered voters, and might even let Republicans claim the mantle of economic populism. Conservatives may not have better ideas, but voters might support them out of sheer frustration.

And if Tea Party Republicans do win big next year, what has already happened in California could happen at the national level. In California, the G.O.P. has essentially shrunk down to a rump party with no interest in actually governing — but that rump remains big enough to prevent anyone else from dealing with the state’s fiscal crisis. If this happens to America as a whole, as it all too easily could, the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster.

The point is that the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right is no laughing matter. Something unprecedented is happening here — and it’s very bad for America.

Elections have consequences

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Republicans who sat out the election because of McCain owe the rest of us who participated in our little republic a little something for getting us into this abject mess. I don’t know — maybe some community service during the next election cycle. Or a hundred push-ups. Something.

Categories: Conservatism, Politics

Nobel Oh-Please Prize

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Needless to say, conservatives aren’t the only people in the world who stand aghast at the Nobel committee’s announcement today that President Obama is this year’s peace-prize winner. Mickey Kaus says he ought to politely decline, and other liberals across the blogosphere are saying this comes way, way, far too soon.

I guess I have a less political, more compassion-driven complaint about the whole thing. How many thousands of beauty-contest winners have done, said, and accomplished every bit as much as the president in advancing the cause of world peace? They’re all sad this morning, even if a few might act happy. Who’s going to defend them? I, is who; I am!

Categories: Politics

Matt Latimer: turncoat or change agent? (Why the “or”?)

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

In principle, I’m generally opposed to tell-all memoirs of the kind that capitalize on one’s former, high-profile position as a trusted employee. An important ethic used to dictate that serving at someone else’s “pleasure,” as Colin Powell so frequently (and honorably) put it, required keeping behind-closed-doors conversations quiet and solemnly — even at the risk of less notoriety and financial remuneration — taking such conversations and insider insights to the grave. But as a weak mortal, I suffer from a voyeuristic attraction to the halls of power and as a student of political history, I can’t help but want to read this Latimer fella’s book, Speech-Less. It’s created a fair amount of controversy because he, apparently, so roundly criticizes Bush and many of his advisers as pseudo-conservatives, while praising the likes of Cheney; Rumsfeld; Senators Kyl, Coburn, and DeMint; and Governor Palin. So now my curiosity is piqued, because this Latimer dude sounds like my kind of conservative, even if he’s not my kind of honorable conservative.

Anyway, some interesting stuff about him on NRO’s “The Corner”.

Be sure to read the original letter Latimer sent to NRO (which Lowry links to in the above post).

So now, in conclusion, there’s another principle in tension here, one that might supersede my principled opposition to profiting from disloyalty and one’s own breech of trust: Does Latimer’s book serve a larger political goal, even if his aspirations in writing it might have been more puerile? I might have to read it to see, but either way, that others might profit from his folly makes the folly no less his. Maybe I can be a bit Solomonic about it: Perhaps I’ll just pick it up from the library or borrow it from someone to gain what I can from it while withholding my financial endorsement of his disloyalty.

Because the last housing bubble wasn’t enough fun …

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

… the Obama administration is setting us up for another one. You wouldn’t expect a political party that thinks the New Deal worked to learn from history, of course, but this isn’t history; the last housing bubble is still a current event. Considering Democrats have tripped over themselves to hang the last bubble’s responsibility around Republicans’ necks, you’d think they’d slow down on extending credit to people for homes they can’t afford. But alas, another election is nigh, and Democrats have to be able to say they gave a lot of people free stuff.

Baucus plan doesn’t pay for itself, but it sort of does if you’re the Senate Majority Leader

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

By now, most know it’s impossible for the Democrats to produce a health-care bill that “pays for itself.” First of all, it’s a silly rhetorical concept that really only exists in the fantasy world of late-night infomercials and the heads of politicians, but even if it were a real-world economic possibility, no one believes Washington can absorb 47 million people into a system that, by the plan’s defenders’ own account, is already unsustainably, outrageously expensive — all without adding costs.

So, if Washington allegedly won’t have to pay a dime for this “budget-neutral” plan, who or what will? A-ha … trick question, glasshoppa, because we’ve already established that Washington (i.e., federal taxpayers) will, in fact, be on the hook. But Democrats are blowing smoke and holding up a lot of mirrors — about 50, to be exact — to maintain their zero-cost story. The 50 mirrors? The states (i.e. state taxpayers, whom typically are federal taxpayers, too, so we can loosely call this a double tax for the new health-care plan: see preceding sentence). Yes, it’s the states that will be on the hook for a staggering expansion of state-funded Medicaid to cover many of the 47 million who lack coverage today.

But wait — I don’t want to exaggerate: it looks like only 49 of the 50 will bear the brunt of the Baucus plan’s full cost. From a senior GOP Senate aid:

[There’s a] special Nevada provision that Baucus slipped into his managers amendment (page 10, 3rd item on page, modifying page 44 of the bill).  This will substantially increase federal Medicaid payments into Nevada to offset the changes in the bill.

Why would Nevada need increased payments from the federal government to help pay for this allegedly budget-neutral plan? (Keep up, will ya? We’ve already discussed this: because it’s — bzzzzt! — not budget-neutral.) And why Nevada? Let’s just say the politically vulnerable U.S. Senate Majority Leader can only run for re-election in one state at a time.

Categories: Health Care, Politics