Monday, August 31, 2009

Here is an interesting article that breaks down the "number of uninsured" that is thoughtlessly being thrown around by liberals and the media. The nice thing is that it doesn't pass judgment on whether any amount of taxpayer-subsidized care is appropriate. It rather serves to clarify how many people are actually uninsured (and what categories they fall into). Nice apolitical economic piece, imho.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Who is John Galt?

I found this article quite interesting, for a couple reasons. While not a member of the $250k+ club (yet), I'm smart enough to realize that taxes are soon enough going to be going up for me, too (hence why I started looking into tax shelters during last year's election). Not only does this article's advice on political protest make sense for anyone with a work ethic who doesn't want to be supporting a President who relishes enslaving them and throwing them under the bus of socialism ("From each according to their ability to each according to their need"), but it also makes financial sense for people to scrutinize their expenses and ask if something is really needed, now more than ever.

I know I have found myself actively choosing not to support this President's socialist agenda by holding back on certain purchases. Then again, no one can blame a person who has been needing a new car and can now get a helluva deal. Still, in searching for the answer to the question above, the answer can be found in all of us!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

"Opponents of Health Care Reform" ... Let's Rephrase That Now!

The supporters of Obama's ideas for health care reform really should keep in mind that just because others don't like Obama's or Pelosi's ideas of "reform" doesn't mean they are opponents of health care reform. There are other ways to try to fix some of the current problems with the system, especially ways that don't involve growing a behemoth socialist entitlement that (a) isn't affordable and (b) will fail like so many other examples of centralized planning.

I know it shouldn't shock me, but I read that liberals are honest-to-goodness attacking concerned citizens' reactions in the town hall meetings, labeling them as "becoming nasty." In reality, the people getting nasty are the leftosphere and liberal commentariat who can do nothing more than savagely attack the motives of people who care enough to show up, who simply don't want to see one group's ideas get railroaded down their throats without nary a mention of other potential options (and who are tired at this point of having hugely expensive bills get passed without sufficient debate, bills that address far-reaching and substantial issues).

But, I don't expect this to matter to people who think that their opponents are simply "opponents of health care reform" and who parrot Obama's talking points, dismissing any dissenting opinion as "bought" and "fake." It's absolutely sickening.
An EXCELLENT article from Peggy Noonan in yesterday's WSJ!

Here is SUCH a good article from Peggy Noonan, that really captures how ridiculous, insulting, and divisive the liberals are being with their responses and reactions to actual concerned citizens who have myriad issues with Obamacare! I've even seen mindless, thoughtless insults spewing from members of my own family towards people who are simply concerned enough to want to make their voices heard.

Some examples: Janine Garofalo calls them "hickish d***hebags." My own cousin (who hypocritically professes to be "tolerant" of all but the "intolerant" yet will tolerate a person's intolerance if she happens to agree with that person) can only react by hurling labels at them like "dupes" and tries to undermine the power of their grassroots reaction to what's going on nowadays in DC by sheepishly following the administration's talking points and ignorantly referring to it as "astroturf." (Apparently she and so many other liberal reactionaries like her are oblivious to the actual historical grassroots origins of the conservative movement before it became linked with a particular party.) It's the same as the unconscionable reaction to the tea parties that have taken place this year. Apparently it's okay for them to protest redwoods getting cut down or the War in Iraq (both legitimate bases for protest, don't get me wrong), but people who dare protest against their own issues are only worthy of elitist insult and contemptuous dismissal. The liberal reactionaries don't seem to realize that so many of these people are the very key people who helped elect Obama by buying into his message of "hope and change" and who are suddenly very concerned with what their votes may have bought them. If they do realize it, they appear not to care as they hurl insulting epithet after insulting epithet.

This article captures some of the themes of Noonan's excellent book "Patriotic Grace," most especially a concern for the tone of the political debate over such important, far-reaching issues (in this case, health-care and/or the deficit). She has captured some of my own concerned reaction to the tone being set by liberals, starting from the top down. Obama purported to hearken a new political tone, an era of coming together. Way to set the example, Mr. Prez! Apparently, that new tone only applies if everyone agrees to go along with every little thing he and Pelosi/Reid want to push through. It's absolutely sickening, and I think the article really does a good job of capturing that feeling.

Again, click here to read the article.



Friday, July 24, 2009

And here is an EXCELLENT article from Peggy Noonan on the healthcare debate. This is a must-read! And it even expounds on some points I was making to some friends elsewhere today (specifically, the idea of paying for the healthcare of people who don't make great lifestyle choices and the intrusion that invites when gov't (i.e., the taxpayers) is paying the bill). I pray she is right that the plan will be stopped altogether.
Here is an interesting article on Obama's recent missteps in commenting on the recent arrest of an African-American Harvard professor just outside his home.

I have to agree with this criticism of Obama sticking his nose into something he didn't fully understand. He should be using his pedestal in a manner consistent with his campaign foster improved relations between police and the minority communities they serve, rather than to aggravate tensions. Isn't he the one who declared a post-racial America?!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Over at Café Hayek, Russ Roberts has posted the link below to the org chart that shows how the Democrats' healthcare plan will work. And he rightly notes that our current system wouldn't look all that much better.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Here is a letter I have written to my Congressman on the recent events in Honduras. If you agree with my point, please write your representative and Senators on this issue, too.

Mr. Wittman,

I am writing to ask, as one of your constituents, that you do what you can that is within your power to help the nation of Honduras fight against the authoritarian whims of its would-be dictator, Jose Manuel Zelaya. The press, world government, and Latin American states are all trying to stack the deck and rewrite the story about what's going on in Honduras. The simple fact is that the country is trying to abide by its own Constitution, and Zelaya continues to try to subvert the process to achieve his own ends. Honduras only allows one-term Presidents, and Zelaya tried to change that via referendum, but in an unconstitutional way. When that failed, he tried to forcibly push through the referendum process. The Honduran Supreme Court ordered the military to abide by the Consitution and disallow such a referendum. That is the side of the "military coup" story that folks like Chavez and los Castros don't want the rest of the world to know.

Please do what you can to ensure the U.S. shows solidarity with the lawful Honduran government and doesn't bow to the whims of this would-be dictator.

Ben Bursae

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A friend forwarded me this article by Jesse Jackson in the Chicago Sun-Times. I am mystified and absolutely astounded that this man can honestly continue to serve as a spokesman for anyone.

Short review: This laughing-stock of a human being is honestly saying that discrimination against white males should be okay. That is literally what he is saying at the end of the piece. My assessment is, therefore, that he is truly a useless piece of human excrement!

Longer review: Jackson seems as bound by his tunnel-vision of U.S and human history as ever. He seems to think that blacks are the only group of people in this country to ever face any systemic form of discrimination (false). Worse than that ignorance of U.S. history, he comes to what can be described as specious-at-best conclusions regarding the rectifying of past wrongs against an entire race of people. He apparently hasn't subscribed to his President's vision of a post-racial America.

He summarily dismisses without any reasonable argument Justice O'Connor's assessment of the 14th amendment's applicability to a "group." His are the bygone and mistaken arguments for a system that only serves to perpetuate the judging of people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character...that white males could use a little system-imposed setback here or there. As if that is going to serve to heal the racial divide in America!

I pray that folks in the black community have already begun dismissing his loony rants and ravings as coming from someone who clearly benefits from race-baiting and hate-mongering. Jesse Jackson operates solely to increase his own power base, which is influence/control over others of his race. I pray they have already begun to reject that irrational and mind-numbing control.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Just wanted to share a link to a facebook exchange between a friend and me on cap-and-trade that illustrates the closed-mindedness of so many liberals and "environmentalists" out there, who can't acknowledge dissenting opinions (or aren't aware that they're out there, thanks in large part to a liberal media). The ramifications of something as broad and sweeping as cap-and-trade are too big to allow liberals to do their typical shrill screaming and labeling of folks they disagree with. The debates need to happen...the debate on the science of this issue and the debate on the consequences of the socialist response to this issue (i.e., the cap-and-trade bill). Here is the link where you can hopefully read more of what was said between my friend Dave and myself. Take care.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Here is a recent exchange between a friend of a friend and me on facebook about this article by Robert Reich that conveniently (and blindly) ignores government behavior and the shortcomings of central planning while trying to lambaste critics of Obama's healthcare plan.

Me: Obama's plan is not a compromise when the government can then use taxpayers' money to knock the private players out of the market, thus becoming the only game in town. Private players have to use investor's funds and make smart business decisions in order to stay in business. Gov't gets to use taxpayer's money at a deficit to write off the bad business decisions that are inevitably made. Public/private hybrid is a shell game.

And socialized healthcare only "works" in the military because the military is an authoritarian organization, and because it is a really a relatively small-scale operation. If you want to see the effects of a nationalized healthcare system, go to Great Britain. It will scare least, it should. You'll also see that those in power don't go to the same crappy hospitals as the lowly proletariat. Obama will never have to worry about waiting 8 hours in an ER with a kidney stone before being seen even once (like my mom did at a British hospital).

Economics says subsidized health care will suck, too. When the price for something artificially goes to zero (via govt subsidy), demand increases unnaturally. When you subsidize health care for people, people will go to the doctor for things they otherwise wouldn't consider to be "worth it." Hospitals become overcrowded, doctors can get overworked, you lose talent because some people who would've become would-be doctors don't see enough incentive in it anymore...these are all just some of the ill effects of a socialized system.
And regardless of all this, how can the title of this article say the critics are wrong and then acknowledge that their opposition is out of economic self-interest?! Who the 'f' is the author to decide that the subject critics already make too much money and should suck it up and make less? We owe the amazing technological advancements in our society today to the economic self-interest of the free citizens of the freest country the world has seen...take that away, and society regresses to the Stone Age (a la the Soviet Union and the countless other failed experiments in "socialist idealism").

C: I'd rather wait 8 hours than not be able to go at all. Millions of people can't even afford to go in the first place. I'd be willing to bet they'd rather wait in line for hours and at least be able to be seen.

I hear scare tactics from people all the time about "oh, go to Canada/Japan/Great Britain/etc. and see what you think", but I know people in Canada, and they say that their health care works, and yeah, they may have to wait sometimes for less common procedures, but they can still get them, and they've never had to agonize over the decision to take their kids to the doctor when they're sick.

Also, people wait here for appointments, too! My mom broke her foot and it was 7 weeks before she could see an orthopedist.

Let's say for the sake of argument that you're right, Ben (which I don't think you are). What do we do, then? Poor people just don't deserve to see doctors? You're really ok with that??

Me: C, you say "you're not willing to let people die...", then you and other like-minded citizens should organize an effective charity for these uninsured. If it's a popular-enough cause, it will be a raving success, and as private investors/contributors, you'll certainly have the incentive to get involved and make sure it is run efficiently so as not to waste your money.

When you use the government, you take everyone's money at the point of a gun and force your moral dilemma and judgment on everyone, which runs counter to the principles of liberty and freedom that this country was founded on. It is downright immoral to rob persona A's money (which is what person A earned in exchange for their life's work) and give it to person B without person A's consent. Liberals are always so "charitable"...when it's other people's money they're spending.

C: Nobody is taking my tax money at the point of a gun. The truth is, we live in a society, and as members of that society, we have obligations to one another. Should we privatize all schools, too? Why is it that we as a society see the real benefit that comes from providing public education, but not public health? The failed logic behind that ... Read Moreboggles my mind. Our society benefits when its people are healthy and educated. For the life of me I can't see why we WOULDN'T make healthcare affordable to everyone.

And the whole charity suggestion is flawed. People as a rule aren't charitable enough. They're selfish. They're only willing to part with their money when they have to. What if there weren't enough charitable donations to cover health care? Again, poor people should just suck it up and die quietly because they were unfortunate enough to get sick? Your lack of compassion astonishes me.

Me: The facts don't support your claim that my charity suggestion is flawed. Economic studies have shown that as overall wealth increases (for individuals and society as a whole), charitable giving increases. Don't pass judgment on my "lack of compassion." I have plenty. I give to a couple of different health-related charities (St. Jude's and Shriners). What I *also* care about, though, is liberty and allowing people to make the choice of whether or not to provide other people's health care for them. We Americans are incredibly charitable. More was given to private charity for the Indonesian tsunami relief as well as Katrina than the federal gov't provided. And the private charities do a better job (Exhibit A: FEMA). If we reduce the amount of taxes the gov't takes and increase everyone's wealth, there will be more disposable income for people to be charitable with.

... And it is the point of a gun when it's the government taking the money. Nobody can choose not to pay their taxes...the penalty is jail-time. That *is* taking people's money at the point of a gun.

There are far better ways to "fix" healthcare. First off, deregulating insurance companies in a number of areas would greatly help. Many regulations were put in place at the behest of certain insurance lobbyists as a form of protectionism against others in their own industry. The result is a system where people cannot buy insurance from a limitless number of suppliers...the supply is controlled via regulation, which then drives prices higher.

Also, another factor into high healthcare costs is the insurance that doctors/hospitals have to take out on themselves in the event they are hit with a malpractice suit. Getting rid of frivolous malpractice suits would help pull the pendulum out of that wall.

There are ways to make healthcare better without bringing about the ill effects of a socialist system. Relying on gov't to force everyone to be charitable is lazy and shortsighted, as it ignores the unintended consequences that come with all centrally planned systems.

And your argument about public versus private education is specious...the education system is sufficiently complex that it can't really be compared with the equally complex healthcare system. Yes, it's true that some basic amount of education for all benefits society. Then again, how many parents don't give a rat's ass about how their kid does in school since they don't see themselves as personally invested in it? I went to public schools, too...they can succeed. But many of their failures could be chalked up to a lack of competition. That is, public schools don't *really* have to compete with any other school system to get $. A parent who wants to pay to send their kid to a better private school still has to pay property taxes to cover local school system costs, in addition to the private tuition. I'm not advocating the complete privatization of schools (yet...still have to think more about all the options), but I can at least see how adding a privatized aspect to school systems (like school choice and voucher programs) would serve to benefit individuals and society as a whole.
The same thing goes for healthcare. Removing regulation on the system, which only serves to protect special interest groups, including doctors, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, who are already in the game, would take the system closer to perfect competition, which would result in better and cheaper healthcare.

For example, why does the FDA have a monopoly on what we can and cannot be prescribed? That's another HUMONGOUS reason why healthcare costs so much...the development costs of bringing drugs to market (along with associated costs like buttering up FDA officials) is huge. This is largely due to the regulatory beast and the risk of a drug not getting "approved" (companies have to make up for the losses they incur on drugs that don't get approved). Oftentimes, they just didn't schmooze the FDA well enough. Why can't a cancer patient who is terminal decide whether he/she is willing to try a potential breakthrough drug?? If anything, remove that regulatory function and open the market up to "certification" companies, who would provide the assurance about a particular drug.

An example of this in another industry is Underwriters Labs, who certifies that electrical devices have met certain specifications of safety and reliability. We could have those for drugs, and then people (and doctors) could decide what amount of certification they would require for their risk tolerance. One side benefit of this would be a better informed public.

These are just some ideas that would work better than a socialist system. Sorry for the rant, but imho, socialism runs counter to so many aspects of human nature that have made us great. Bringing people down to the least common denominator is immorally repugnant to me, and that is ultimately what happens in socialism. Also, central planning results in inefficiency and corruption, among other ills I've mentioned. Why not hold Obama and Congress to a higher standard of thinking though healthcare system reforms that really make the system better and don't just lazily rely on the Nanny State to "take care" of us.

C: I'm leaving now to go to the park with my kids, but quickly wanted to say that I don't disagree with you that there are innumerable things that need to change in the current healthcare system, but I disagree with some of the things you're suggesting. I think if anything we need more regulation, not less. And absolutely we need to reduce the power of lobbies. Also, I'm not talking about the government taking over the entire industry. Honestly, I don't think anyone is, but it's something the right likes to throw around, along with the "socialism" fearmongering, to rile people up and scare them away from progress in this area. All I would like to see is something along the lines of an extension of Medicaid to a larger portion of the population. I don't think everyone in America should get free healthcare, but I think we need to make it realistically affordable. That's all. what we have now isn't working.

Yes, some people do give to charity, but it's to very targeted groups such as the Shriners and St Jude's, and primarily serves the needs of children with life threatening illnesses. It's the average kids who are falling through the cracks. It's also worth nothing that the Shriners are closing down a bunch of their hospitals due to lack of donations. I don't believe that if we did away with Medicaid, the American population would step up and donate enough to cover the costs privately.

I also agree with you wholeheartedly that we need to overall our torte [sic] system and stop letting people sue for malpractice at the drop of a hat. You don't know me, obviously, but I've been very vocal about that for years.
All right, leaving for the park now. Best to you.

Me: How is more regulation going to help anything? The current rules in the insurance industry are stifling competition, which means they are driving up costs. Adding more regulation just makes the system more prone to interference from politically connected lobbies and will elbow out newer competitors before they have a chance to get established and make their product available.
Like I said before, a public/private hybrid can only have one conclusion, and that's government takeover. Private companies can't compete with the govt's coercive power to take more and more "investment capital" to cover up for their poor business practices. And they can't compete with the "company" that makes the rules of the game. I'm not fear-mongering here, I'm simply applying logic and history (I'm also not "on the right," as I'm very much an independent).

I agree what we have now isn't working, but there are options that don't involve stealing from person A to give to person B or making people used to the idea of relying on the Nanny State to take care of them.

Best to you, too, Cheryl.

Also, just fyi, the Shriners *may* need to close some hospitals due to operating costs and donations, but part of that is also due to the economy, which is causing their endowment to not provide returns as much as in previous years. The Shriners Board hasn't officially decided how to try to combat the problem yet, though.

Also, one option they would like (billing third-party insurers for those who do have insurance) doesn't make sense for them yet because...... the convolutedness of the current regulations on the insurance industry. (Just sayin'.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here is an EXCELLENT article from John Stossel of ABC's Dateline. It's nearly unfathomable how idiotic such an apparently intelligent person as Obama can be when it comes to the topic of economics. Enjoy.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Okay, it has been a while since I have posted, but I am going to try to make it a much more regular thing. I have previously been posting articles and thoughts up on my facebook page, and I will now be using this forum for that primary purpose.

Here is a link on the upcoming July 4th Tea Parties. The initial Tax Day Tea Parties were wildly successful, despite the BS attempts of so many elitist liberal pundits to disparage the movement. Their responses were offensive at best...I can't wait to see what they try to say about us this time. If you feel as strongly as I do about tax freedom and the wrongheadedness of Obama's "Big Government" tax-and-spend socialist economic policies (in a recession, of all times), then please try to attend one of these July 4th Tea Parties.

God bless.