Never mind the greener grass just across the fence. How about clear across the ocean? A few days on location in Denmark quantifying the little kingdom's happiness claims made for a rugged assignment, but our intrepid correspondent took it on.
The one health care lesson the Congress should have learned in crafting their "reform" bill is the most fundamental tenet of medicine: do no harm.Unfortunately, the Congress is now playing the role of Dr. Kervorkian. So destructive are its politically-motivated machinations that it is in the process of setting back American medicine -- and the economy -- a generation. It may never be fully resuscitated.
And now that Joe Lieberman has lost his minute of sanity -- opposing the public option and the expansion of Medicare -- it seems certain that this colossus of social engineering will get passed in the Senate. It will ultimately reach Obama's desk and will be signed in a lavish "historic" signing ceremony, where it will be hailed as a monumental accomplishment in "bending the health care cost curve" or some such nonsensical lie.
Believe me: the only thing this bill bends is the truth.
Here are some facts to chew on:
-- The true cost of this bill is $2.5 Trillion -- not the $900 billion the CBO will say it is. How does it get away with being three times more expensive than they say it will be? Because the ten year CBO "score" is based on gimmickry: it accounts for ten years of taxes to pay for it, but only provides SIX years of services. The true cost of the next ten years will be in the trillions of dollars as the program becomes "pay as you go" in year 11.
-- The foundation of this plan is to compel -- under the penalty of prison -- people to buy insurance. The 10% of the uninsured in this country who have decided not to spend their money on insurance -- either because they are young and healthy or have decided to take the risk -- will now not have that option. But don't worry -- in the spirit of income redistribution, "other people" will pay for much of it in the form of subsidies. Still, the reality is that the Congress is infusing government into the private lives of people in a way that they never had before. The Nanny state on steroids.
-- The taxes on this will be enormous -- and will hit everyone regardless of age or economic status. Remember that pledge Obama made to not raise taxes on anyone making "less than $250,000 per year"? Fuggedaboutit! Everyone's going to pay on this one -- from new taxes to higher insurance premiums. And that's for starters. When this starts to break the bank, taxes on everything will rise, and you can bet that there are plans for a Value Added Tax and other stealth taxes in the works. Your pocketbook just became a lot thinner!
-- This bill includes command and control facilities run by the Federal Government that will control the private insurance industry, putting new and pernicious controls on coverage and underwriting. At the end of this road, government will be controlling every aspect of the coverage provided, and will be in charge of determining insurance premium rates and coverage levels -- and will, when things get tight, become a "rationing board". It may not be "Death Panels" -- but it will be pretty darn close.
-- The new burden on states to expand Medicaid will create even bigger problems in already-strained state budgets -- amounting to a massive new unfunded mandate. States like California that are already $20 billion in the red will have to come up with another $3 billion or so to cover the new state portion of Medicaid expansion. This will result in -- you guessed it -- new taxes to cover the short-fall.
-- There is nothing in this bill that will restrain medical malpractice liability or the massive cost that the health care tort bar places on medicine. The trial lawyers have gotten the pass that they have bought and paid for. The Democrats in Congress are in their pockets, and thus an important element of truly containing health care costs has been left out of this "historic" reform bill.
-- This bill does nothing to fix the current government health care entitlement, Medicare, which is a giant ponzi scheme that will be insolvent within 1o years.
-- The net effect of this health care bill, the trillion dollar stimulus packages and the vast unfunded entitlements in the current fiscal 2010-2011 budget are a disaster in the making. As the Wall Street Journal points out today in its lead editorial, the Democrats are now pushing for a $2 trillion increase in the federal debt ceiling, so they can not be burdened by any vestige of fiscal restraint:
It's a sign of how deep the fiscal pathologies run in this Congress that $2 trillion will buy the federal government only one year before it has to seek another debt hike—conveniently timed to come after the midterm elections. Since Democrats began running Congress again in 2007, the federal debt limit has climbed by 39%. The new hike will lift the borrowing cap by another 15%.
Our concern is that the Administration and Congress view this debt as a way to force a permanently higher tax base for decades to come. The liberal grand strategy is to use their accidentally large majorities this year to pass new entitlements that start small but will explode in future years. U.S. creditors will then demand higher taxes—taking income taxes back to their pre-Reagan rates and adding a value-added tax too. This would expand federal spending as a share of GDP to as much as 30% from the pre-crisis 20%.
And of course this is the grand design -- to resurrect the pre-Reagan 70% marginal tax rates that will maximally punish wealth creation and success. Remember, this Congress is hostile to profit and capitalism, and would prefer to see a social democratic system ala Sweden, with 90% taxes and massive government programs to support every element of social interaction.
At the end of the day, all of this is being done on a purely partisan, party-line basis. There won't be one Republican voting for any of this. The 55 million people who voted for John McCain have been effectively told "screw you" by a president who campaigned as a "uniter" and as a "post-partisan" leader. What a joke. This is the most partisan president and most divided Congress in history. That this kind of vast social change can be foisted on the public -- 60% who now oppose it -- without a single bipartisan vote is an offense to republican democracy. When Medicare was passed it did so on a largely bipartisan basis -- 24 Republicans voted in favor in 1965. Today we have an even larger rework of the American economy and society and it will be a complete partisan putsch.
And that is typical of the left, which always thinks it knows best. The notion that conservatives might have some good ideas on health care has been scoffed at. Instead, you have a massive experiment in socialism being foisted on the American people by 60 left wing ideologues.
We are being sold down the river in a 2,000 page, $2.5 trillion boondoggle that no one understands -- but that we will be paying for in generations to come.
The current saga of Roman Polanski, who aspires to the lofty category of "artist," reminds us of the old Puritan suspicion of actors as immoral. It may shock people of all persuasions to learn that all artists–and scientists as well–were subjected to withering criticism by that patron saint of modern liberalism, Jean Jacques Rousseau. "[T]he depravity [is] real," wrote the author of the Discourse that won the prize of the Academy of Dijon in 1750, among peoples whose "souls have been corrupted in proportion to the advancement of our sciences and arts toward perfection."
Critics of Rousseau were quick to point out that he did not miss any of Moliere’s plays and thought they had espied a hypocrite. But Rousseau’s main concern was the popularization of the arts and sciences, retaining immense respect for those with genuine talents. He feared that these disciplines, if freed altogether from social or political control, threatened not only to corrupt the nations that indulged them but degraded art and science themselves.
More, as artists and scientists gain prominence they regard themselves as beyond criticism and become indifferent to the fate of their fellow citizens. They even become toadies of corrupt regimes as long as they are left free to do as they please, and those who lived under monarchies were willing to glorify them.
Rousseau believed that the passion for distinction could find an outlet in the arts and sciences no less than in politics and war, and saw clearly that many whose ambitions far exceeded their talents would attempt nonetheless to reap the rewards of celebrity and fame.
Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist that "the love of fame is the ruling passion of the noblest minds," convinced that the greatest among us would perform great deeds so as to be remembered for all time. The patriots of 1776 founded a republic and thereby won lasting fame.
However, Abraham Lincoln warned in his famous Lyceum Speech of 1838 that those who seek fame are as likely to win it by destroying republics as by establishing them, indicating that moral virtue in our leaders was necessary to avoid the fate of ancient Greece and Rome with Alexander and Caesar, and modern France with Napoleon.
Lincoln’s political critique applies to no less to other famous people, particularly artists and scientists. Is it difficult to see the passion for fame in Charles Darwin’s challenge to the natural law teachings of the founders of modern science with his theories of random chance in the biological world? Of Pablo Picasso’s revolutionizing of painting as no longer a representation of the visual world?
The dime store versions of these talented but misguided souls are persons who advance their careers by endorsing the "consensus view" in the learned academies, such as the dangers of "global warming," and Hollywood producers who confuse their passion for pushing the moral and political envelope with genuine talent.
People who seek distinction from being contrary to what the majority of their fellow citizens believe or support have convinced themselves that they are "a cut above" all those they regard as dummies, and use their status as a free ticket to a life of unaccountable behavior.
Polanski illustrates this perfectly. He committed a heinous crime and fled the country before sentencing, living on the lam in Europe for over 30 years. He and his "artistic" friends believe that his status entitles him to immunity from laws that govern everyone else. No one exposed this vanity better than The Nation's Katha Pollitt:
"The widespread support for Polanski shows the liberal cultural elite at its preening, fatuous worst. They may make great movies, write great books, and design beautiful things . . . But in this case, they're just the white culture-class counterpart of hip-hop fans who stood by R. Kelly and Chris Brown . . . "
Wasn’t Polanski in Switzerland, a neutral country, and attending an international arts festival, a world of the immortals? Who are these narrow-minded law enforcement officers who think they can arrest the producer for something that Whoopi Goldberg informed us was not "rape rape?"
The arts and sciences are among the greatest gifts of our Maker to the human race, but every gift should be treated with the respect it deserves and not used as an excuse for vicious acts and cults of personality. Whether or not they make people corrupt, it is clear that they are no barrier to corruption. Morality remains central to civilized life.
The secular progressive movement has been effective in limiting the spiritual component of issues from being more significant in popular discourse. In fact, spiritual aspects of issues have been ignored completely by the mainstream news and most political office holders. But the passion of the crowds and the grassroots nature of the opposition to President Obama’s health care overhaul is I believe derived from our nation's spiritual core as much as it is from intellectual evaluation. The spiritual question we face as a nation is simple and comprehensive, it is: “Is there enough?”
Enough what? Many will ask and then attempt to throw the question away, unwilling to consider the deeper meaning. “Is there enough, of anything?” Is there enough food? Is there enough wealth? Are there enough votes? A portion of the population answers this basic question in the negative. There is not enough, of anything. Therefore we must take from one group that has and transfer it to those without. Democrats in general fall into that mindset and President Obama has organized his entire administration around the premise that redistribution of all things including power is not only possible but mandatory for survival.
Nowhere in the policy and discussion of this administration do you find reliance upon or confidence in the proposition that humans create their world and that the universe is abundant. Many in the world experience starvation, but food is limited by choices of those in power, more than by material limits. North Korea suffers shortages because of Kim, not because there are limited resources.
Some in this country suffer financial hardship. I include myself in that group. But it is my experience of lack, not the imperative of lack that is at work. I know I can create a new business and recover my life. I need not take anything from another in order to have some of it.
President Obama believes that health, not health care, is limited and so he proposes equalizing the amount of health mandates by taking from some and redistributing to others. President Obama is willing to sacrifice the health of some to change the experience of illness of a few. Wellness is abundant in the universe but free people sometimes experience lack and suffering. Reducing the wellness of some will never increase the wellness of others.
Across the country thousands are seeing the debate about health care and financial recovery and are reacting in a truly spiritual manner. They know something is wrong with the core belief of lack and redistribution. Americans want solutions that recognize creative genius and American excellence. Obama promises a future of failure and works from the basis that there is never enough of anything. So he takes what others have.
John Lennon’s 1971 lyrics to “Imagine” reflected the head Beatle's lofty idealism -- which was embraced by many, while others attacked the song's brazen, impudent, hardened, and bold promotion of socialism. Imagine there's no Heaven , It's easy if you try No hell below us, Above us only sky Imagine all the people, Living for today
Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too Imagine all the people, Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us, And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world
You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us, And the world will live as one
Lyric highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective): IMAGINE THERE’S NO HEAVEN…IMAGINE THERE’S NO COUNTRIES…AND NO RELIGION TOO…IMAGINE NO POSSESSIONS…IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE, SHARING ALL THE WORLD…I HOPE SOMEDAY YOU’LL JOIN US, AND THE WORLD WILL LIVE AS ONE.
Weren’t statements like "imagine no possessions" characterized as un-American in 1971? How about no religion, no countries, and his vision for a one world society? John Lennon expressed his world vision to a rebellious and sympathetic post-Vietnam war America. Was his agenda idealistic, therefore, unrealistic? Was he promoting Communism or Socialism, therefore, a radical agenda? Most assuredly.
According to Wiktionary “What goes around comes around” is an English Proverb which means the status eventually returns to its original value after completing some sort of cycle. That can be a frightening thought, but, unfortunately, it is true. Fast forward 38 years…
Can you IMAGINE a police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts arresting a hostile and unruly Harvard University professor late one night after which the President of the United States, shooting from the hip, hastily and irrationally jumps into the fray offering “I don’t have all the facts, but the police acted stupidly.” After several days of hectic damage control meetings and frantic back peddling by his minions our “beloved” President spoke again saying “I should have chosen my words more carefully.” No, Mr. President, you should have stayed out if it. But I am thrilled you have alienated every policeman and policewoman in America. And to cap off several days of irresponsible remarks our #1 hothead-in-chief offered “it might have been better if cooler heads had prevailed.”
Don’t you have anything else to do Mr. President? How about dealing with the unprecedented debt, reckless spending, massive unemployment and the economic crisis you and your cronies in Congress foisted upon an unwilling America? Or yet another “Obamnation” due to your ill-advised and disastrous cap & trade plan which is nothing more than a new tax on the working class? How about the health care program you are forcing down our collective throats despite our repeated protestations? And all you can do is resort to name calling for those who oppose your plans (“obstructionists”). That doesn’t sound like really mature leadership and the change we need, Mr. President.
To add fuel to the fire Massachusetts “beloved” African-American Governor Deval Patrick chimed in with this ill-advised remark, “A policeman coming to your front door is every black man’s worst nightmare.” What? Oh, did I mention Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley is white and the unruly Harvard professor is an African-American and the neighbor who called the police to report the apparent home break-in was also African-American? It should all be irrelevant.
While others may say President Obama is arrogant I cannot agree. He is more than arrogant...perhaps elitist. It has been said his arrogance is exceeded only by his lack of integrity. Shame on President Obama and Governor Patrick for their racially divisive and uninformed remarks.
EPILOGUE: My personal response to the very talented Mr. Lennon whose life was cut way too short and the perhaps well-meaning but certainly inexperienced Mr. Obama regarding your shared agenda for socialism in America… no, I cannot IMAGINE that!