We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, November 23. 2008
A GOP strategist earlier this year, as quoted via Rick Moran in Will Nationalized Health Care Kill Conservatism? -
Rick disagrees, but opines that further govt entitlement obligations will be catastrophic for the US. There's no doubt that a government grab of 14% of the economy would be a huge shift.
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I believe nationalization of health care will be such a disaster, as it has been elsewhere, that conservatism will rebound.
At first, this kind of nationalization has broad appeal. But as more and more people get worse care and die in emergency rooms (Canada), conservative thought will win out.
It shouldn't be surprising that the world consistently returns to conservative thought processes when things go wrong with the government mandate. What is surprising is that when things go wrong during a time of deregulation, people fail to see that deregulation wasn't the problem, it was the REMAINING regulation and the moral hazard of a few individuals that lead to the problem.
Obama. (I choose to end each of my emails these days with one simple word - Obama - because it's magical and solves everything.)
The problem is that historically government power only ratchets in one direction - ever increasing - and that massive popular efforts are required just to slow the increase, let alone to reverse the process.
The silver lining in this is that we are not Europe, though some of us seemingly want the country to be run like France. I was thinking of David Brooks saying how we are now governed by the best and the brightest, who all went to one of about three universities and all live in one of about two DC neighborhoods and who all send their kids to the same school. This coming from an ostensible conservative. This world, in which everyone in effect belongs to the same party - call it the Washington Party - is profoundly static. It is overly respectful of received wisdom, of academic credentials, of hierarchy.
It is the world of the bureaucrat.
But all around that insular world is this massive, dynamic, varied, ever changing and inventive country, one that is largely unknown to many in the Washington Party. Giving people who are not part of the Washington Party a voice in how our society is governed must be our next long term goal.
I can't remember who first said it, but it may go all the way back to the Greeks. (I'm paraphrasing) "Once people figure out they can vote themselves benefits and "free" social welfare programs, it's all over." Social security is overwhelmingly popular, witness it being called the electric "third rail" of politics. Anyone who proposes to end social security would have no future as a politician here. Is there the political will to end Medicare, or the low-income child-health program? No, there is not. No matter how unwieldy and deficient it will be, national health insurance will be popular with the majority and will become another sacrosanct government program that will only grow as time goes on. Many people will support politicians who support these nanny state programs, who will be mostly Democrats. Republicans will be forced become liberals on social welfare issues but can remain conservative on other things, not that it will help them much.
Republicans will be forced become liberals on social welfare issues but can remain conservative on other things, not that it will help them much.
As in Britain and Canada, this will probably be true in the short term, say for the next 15 years or so. Conservatives as Liberal Lite. But in reality, the opposition cannot simply resign itself to that. It must propose a different model than that of a highly centralized government as the only possible problem-solver. It may take protracted failure by that government and continual abuse of government power over many years, as in Eastern Europe, to turn the tide. But the tide will turn, since these Five Year Plans and attempts to control thought always - and that is the key - always have a way of failing.
It's amazing how much talk there is of "if the Dems use more taxpayer money to buy group x, it's the end of conservatism/libertarianism." Granted, nationalizing the nation's health care would be a convenient lever to make people toe the party line. But, in case no one has heard, we are having a major financial/recession problem at the moment. That means that any health care reform will likely be focused on bringing more money into the system, probably by forcing all employers to offer and all employees to buy health insurance. Since most of the famous 46 million "uninsured Americans" are such by choice probably means a net injection of cash. Oh, that and the coming rationing of health care to reduce end of life care for those pesky Baby Boomers might reduce costs. Finally, take a look around the corner, not only do we have the imminent bankruptcy of the Big 3 automakers, but a little further around the bend we have the bankruptcy of Medicare/Medicaid and the current Social Security system. If you listen carefully you will hear that Europe already knows the end of the Welfare State is approaching. Adding another card - a bureaucratically administered, single payer system - to the top of our existing house of cards will likely only accelerate the collapse. Maybe faster in, faster out.
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple "Silly"! Your $>your health>your choice>your doc>your insurance policy>your healthcare quality.
I'm watching NOW on PBS re the sub-prime mortgage mess. A whole lotta very educated, Ivy-League MBAs got sucked in and, therefore, shafted by the ratings companies (Standard & Poors) glitzing up packages of mortgages to expand the product line. The Emperor's new clothes?
We cannot afford to let healthcare fall into a similar trap. Healthcare run by the individual with tax credits for major medical/disability, tax deductions for medical savings accounts. No more company-run healthcare "benefits" programs. Saavy docs will compete by posting fees and recommendations so consumers can CHOOSE...such as one does when buying a computer.
Government increasing its size is not a guarantee. After all, much of Eastern Europe cut the size of its government after the removal of communism. Some have even gone much further than other nations toward libertarian types of activity.
I'm a firm believer that when people learn that they have to pay double to get something for "free", they will alter their behavior.
Bureaucracy, bureaucracy, bureaucracy...
The U.S. government currently has unfunded entitlements totaling approximately $53 trillion. Government health care will add untold trillions more. Obviously the government cannot raise taxes high enough to pay for these entitlements. It's also highly unlikely that any of these entitlements will be eliminated. So the government will just print money, causing inflation to go through the roof. As they say, there is no free lunch.
"A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw
At the last, you can always encourage your children and grandchildren to become interested in space colonization. The first colonies probably aren't that many decades off, and America may simply have to move somewhere else.
Until then, just keep up the long twilight struggle, knowing that we labor not in vain.
"I was thinking of David Brooks saying how we are now governed by the best and the brightest..."
a cycnic would say that means were looking for
a repeat of Kennedy and Vietnam.
not like the news media hasn't been cheering for same.
I believe that conservatism is screwed. After eight years of Obama (and he will get a second term) Americans will be so steeped in government "benefits" that it will never be undone. Government programs live forever. Say good-bye to conservatism.
Deficit spending should never have been allowed (at least in good times), as the major counterbalance against government spending used to be: "your taxes will go up". Bush really screwed the pooch on that one.
Isn't there some kind of catastrophic illness insurance geared towards preventing bancruptcy?
Gustave le Bon, in "Opinions and Beliefs":
“The great domain which no philosophy has been able so far to illuminate is the kingdom of dreams. They are replete with hopes which no reasoning will be able to destroy. Therein all religious and political beliefs and other kinds of beliefs find limitless power. The unconquerable phantoms that inhabit it are created by faith. To know and to believe always will be different things. While acquisition of even the slightest scientific truth requires enormous labor, the possession of a certitude having faith alone as its support requires none at all. All men possess beliefs; very few are able to elevate themselves to knowledge. The world of beliefs has its own logic and laws. The scholar always has tried in vain to penetrate it with methods. One will see in this book why he loses all critical sense in penetrating into the cycle of belief and finds therein only the most deceptive illusions.”
(ed. note: yep --and they ALL get to vote, scholar, scoundrel, hero, hobo, sacred, profane, good, bad, ugly, ALL --and every vote counts the same. I know, i know --that's perverse as hell ain't it --as if we as a nation want to glow just a while, then --to be fair of course --go dark)