“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Conservatives' Legislative Mistakes

The current debacle over health care legislation points up an important error which Republican Party members of Congress and Presidents (Reagan, Bush and Bush) made over the past thirty years.

Beginning with their attaining a Senate majority in 1982 (?), Republicans should have moved to cement their preferred approaches to social security, medicare, medicaid, energy policy and health care into legislation. By 1994, when the Republicans took the House, as well, they were well-poised to draft and push preferred solutions to issues in these areas.

As a conservative, it's very sad to see, some twenty years after Reagan left office, that little of his term's accomplishments remain in place. Spending has gone wild, taxes are rising, and government is big and getting even bigger. The only lasting achievement seems to have been breaking up the old Soviet Union and its penchant for extending communism around the globe.

How different things would have been, had Reagan led by example and sent legislation to Congress to simplify and solidify, in law, health care reforms which, only now, his party's Congressional members are hastily finding the courage to champion?

Even to the point of pushing, during the George W. Bush's two terms, Constitutional amendments to effect key conservative objectives?

It's the same with energy policy, social security and medicare. The latter two are an ever-growing drag on the nation's economy and federal treasury. The former is something which, once and for all, should have been set on solid, clearly-conceived ground and then left to operate.

In the past, conservatives have obviously felt that the less they did and legislated, the better. They naively believed that others, specifically, liberal Democrats, would not continue to push for legislatively-based changes in these key areas of government and societal policy.

By leaving the topics unresolved through legislation, Republicans left themselves vulnerable to those whose mantra is to continue to encroach on individual liberties while enlarging the government's 'safety net.'

Perhaps this generation of Republican leaders, e.g., Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, have finally learned this lesson and will move adroitly and quickly, when in power in the House, to fix in law conservative solutions to important social issues, the liberal approaches to which will cost infinitely more money and confiscate many more individual rights and liberties.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Real Competition In Health Care

So Wonderboy spent an hour or so last night demonizing CEOs in the private sector and calling for more government control of our health care and insurance sector.

Blah blah blah blah.

They say they want more "competition" among insurers, to lower costs for consumers. Their solution? Get the federal government into the business of health insurance as a taxpayer-financed, cooked-books, unfairly-advantaged player.

This is really just about socialism and government control over more of our economy.

Here's what is telling about the liberal Democrat approach to this problem.

If Democrats really wanted more competition in this sector, with their majority in both houses, they could pass a law tomorrow ending state-based insurance regulation and barriers to inter-state health care insurance marketing and provision.

Presto! Every health insurer would be instantly in competition with companies from states to which they may not even be proximal.

Furthermore, the Democrats could also remove all mandates, so that consumers could purchase the items they wished from insurers' menus. That's what would almost certainly occur, once a marketing free-for-all erupted. Why?

Well, the more mandates you have, the fewer variants in policies you'll see. For example, my health insurance varies policies only by deductible. There's no other dimension on which to choose my health insurance. No menu from which to choose, allowing me to cut my costs by tailoring my coverage to my situation.

If I were allowed to customize a health care policy, I wouldn't pay for coverage involving obstetrics, child birth, pre-natal care, or lung cancer, because I won't be having more children and don't smoke. There are probably a host of other lifestyle-related contingent diseases on which I could also save money by declining.

But that's not possible in the current environment. I am forced to "choose" among policies which all cover conditions irrelevant to me.

Now, that's wasteful!

For those with expensive pre-existing conditions, the government could offer a backstop policy, or voucher.

But if competition is really what Wonderboy and the liberals want, they'd get much more competition from legalizing inter-state health insurance and repealing mandates.

Because that's not where our First Rookie and his socialist clan is heading, we know that they aren't truly concerned about health care cost management. Or consumer choice and competition among providers.

No, they simply want to drive the last private health insurers out of business, and control doctors and big pharma, too.

I may be wrong, but I think this is the issue on which the Democrats will lose one House in Congress in the next election, and, then, the White House in 2012. At which point whatever abomination they have passed into law will be repealed by a Republican Congress and President.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

All Energy Sources Are Not Treated Equally

The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting editorial yesterday concerning ecological side effects of various energy sources.

It seems that the oil industry has been hounded for years regarding deaths of wildlife, particularly birds, around its facilities. Of course, we all know about the infamous Santa Barbara channel spill, not to mention Prince William Sound.

However, beyond oil-soaked birds, it seems that simply running refineries often results in various bird deaths. As do some power line configurations, resulting in fines for some utilities.

But it turns out that another form of energy makes those two- oil and electric power- look positively humane by comparison.

Care to guess which one?

It's wind. Windmills.

That's right. Those clean, eco-friendly wind turbines are estimated to kill several thousand birds each year. Not pigeons and starlings, mind you.

No, we're talking eagles and other protected species. And not in red state territory. No, think Altamont pass outside of San Francisco.

Yes, it seems that the federal and state governments have simply turned a blind eye to wind power's destruction of birds.

The editorial notes that, were the usual lawsuits filed against these new-age energy producers, the industry would likely collapse, or shrink significantly, from the prospect of ongoing penalty payments, not to mention the horrific black eye wind power would suffer from the publicity around this news.

Nice to know our government doesn't play favorites, or politics, with important things like energy sources and the enforcement of environmental law, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Van Jones Resigns!

Simply Googling 'Van Jones,' I came across these two articles, here and here, from the past day or so. I only caught on to the furor with this post last Friday. Just in time, apparently.

Bret Baier of Fox News wrote about how the liberal-leaning major print media and networks studiously avoided mention of Jones' resignation. Especially coming, as it did, in the middle of Labor Day weekend, apparently late one night,

"The resignation of President Obama's green jobs "czar," Van Jones, might have come as a shock if you do not watch cable news. In fact, the "big three" evening news casts and two of the nation's most-prominent newspapers barely covered the story.

There was no mention of Jones by CBS, NBC, ABC, The Washington Post or The New York Times on Wednesday — the night Jones' first issued an apology for past statements.

The same was true on Thursday, although a Washington Post blog picked up the story. That night Jones again apologized for a slew of old remarks and the signing of that petition that alleged the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attacks.

ABC and NBC failed to cover the story on Friday, although CBS finally did.
There was no mention from the "big three" evening newscasts or The Times print edition Saturday. But The New York Times blog finally addressed the story as did the print edition of the Post.

And on Sunday — the morning after Jones' middle-of-the-night resignation — it was too late for the papers, but the three evening newscasts filed reports.

The New York Times print edition finally ran its first mention of the story on Monday, on the lower-half of the front page."

The other website to which I linked is, in my opinion, very revealing. A Chicago Sun Times column, written by Mary Mitchell, a black woman, seeks to goad Glenn Beck as impotent, if 'this is the best he could do.'

Being a black woman writing in one of Wonderboy's hometown newspapers, it's not surprising that the columnist sees nothing wrong with Jones' speeches or positions. In fact, she implies Beck dug up a written speech, when, in fact, as my prior post shows, the video of Jones' incindiary verbiage is on YouTube. Style and context counts for a lot. Mitchell deliberately turns a blind eye to what is obviously the problem about Jones.

That is, Jones, a black in the administration of the first black president of the US, is decidedly and proudly partisan and venal. Hardly the sort of guy who would lend credibility to Mr. 'post-racial politics.'

Then there's the 9/11 Commission petition. Jones is a loon. If any Republican administration had a guy who had signed that petition, you can bet the New York Times and NBC would make it front-page, prime-time news.

I also found it funny that Mitchell seems to think that, less than a year into Wonderboy's term, losing a fairly high-profile, radical administration member is the end of his troubles.

I think, on the contrary, it's only the beginning.