I read the other day that 57% of Americans support the government-run healthcare proposal, and I saw a smug liberal on Fox News (she looked all of 12, but then, I’m getting older so everyone looks about 12 to me these days), stating with some force and absolute conviction that the majority of Americans support the “public option.” This gave me pause. I strongly believe in our democratic process and honestly feel that if the majority of Americans do want this, then the rest of us need to shut up and let it go. Kind of like Gore didn’t do when he lost to President Bush in 2000. But then you look at Rasmussen’s poll, and it says that only 42% favor ObamaCare. What to think?
Both of these polls, conflicting in their results as they are, serve to highlight the confusion that people feel about this proposal. Not the least of which is due to the secrecy that’s been involved since Congress understood that we are reading the bills and not much liking what we’re seeing, they decided to go behind closed doors and hatch up new plans (including a crazy “opt out” policy that grants states the “freedom” to opt out of the government option but requires the citizens of those states to pay taxes to fund it and that states can NOT opt out of for the first two years–wtf?). And why wouldn’t we be confused? The whole process has been a sham with Democrats complaining that Republicans are saying “no” just to say “no” and Republicans whining that they’re being left out of the process and Moderates being torn because they want to help the uninsured but don’t see how to do so without massive spending (which most people should realize is a big mistake, but more on that in a sec).
The biggest sticking point is that the majority of Americans, oddly the same majority that WaPo reports, 57% oppose a single-payer healthcare system. This is a problem, right? There is no way that the government option can work even if it were single-payer (and we know this because it is a failure everywhere it’s tried). All it will do is drive up costs, impair our quality of care, and tax us into oblivion. People seem to understand this and say they don’t want it. But they do want the public option? So perhaps it comes down to what we believe the government option will lead to. If you believe that it will lead to a single-payer system (as I do), then you oppose it. If you believe that it will be a wonderful plan that provides unlimited coverage to all at no cost, then you support it and probably also believe that we can continue this deficit spending and racking up more and more foreign debt until our economy (like our dollar) simply collapses. It’s very worrying that Moody’s has threatened to drop America’s rating in the next three to four years if we don’t stop deficit spending (um, that probably includes sprawling healthcare overhauls that don’t even cover all of the people that they’re intended to cover.) We don’t want socialized medicine because it doesn’t work, it’s expensive, and it gives the government too much control over every aspect of our lives. Once the government gets involved in anything, they start imposing all sorts of crazy limits, regulations, and policies that strangle freedom (free market, free speech, civil liberties . . . you name it).
We see this in the banking industry where Feinberg is setting compensation limits on the highest paid executives in the banks that the American taxpayer bailed out. I’m of two minds about this one, actually. On the one hand, I was pretty ticked off by the huge bonuses these buffoons paid themselves with our money after they’d successfully bottomed out their companies. Yay! We are so great, let’s pay ourselves several million. It grated on my last nerve. I was indignant. Also on this hand (it’s a big hand), I do think that Feinberg has hit on something with tying the executives’ pay to the banks’ performance. After all, that’s how capitalism works (and it does work): if you do well, you get yummy piles of cash. If you do poorly, you go out of business (or you should . . . getting to the newspaper bailout in another sec). So, it seems okay, in a way. I’m not one of those who get all puffed up about monstrous salaries, so I don’t really care if they make a gazillion dollars as long as they are doing it responsibly and ethically.
On the other (equally large) hand, I have a problem with the government dictating private industry salaries . . . for any reason. That’s not the role of government. . . . well, it never has been, and it shouldn’t be now. This is a slippery slope that is already showing a domino effect in that now the government is threatening to begin dictating salaries in banks that we did NOT bail out. The government is tangentially involved in a lot of sectors from health care (currently Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, etc.) to the companies that they contract work from to any and all citizens and companies that receive any federal aid (states, students, scientific research, you name it). If the government’s rationale for setting salaries is that they partially fund it, where does it stop?
And if you buy that rationale, then frankly, when China starts dictating our economic and foreign policy, you need to keep your mouth shut. We have borrowed $801.5 billion from China . . . so far, and we have borrowed a lot of money from Japan, as well (among other nations). Obviously, if you agree that we can tell the bailed out companies how to spend the money we gave them, then you agree that the people who have and who continue (for now anyway) to bail us out can also dictate to us how we spend it. Personally, I have a bit of a problem with that (and doubt that China’s going to start telling us what to do, but the point is clear, I think).
But the government used the auto bailout as an excuse to dictate to GM how it should do business (and BO fired the CEO), and the government is dictating salaries to banks (so far only the ones that were bailed out, but they’re working on expanding that). And now, they want to get their hands on print news. The problems with this are (or should be) incredibly obvious. The press, before the advent of BO anyway, is supposed to investigate corruption in government, to (in the libs favorite catch phrase) “keep the government honest.” Does anyone imagine for a second that once the government has bailed out the newspapers that they won’t dictate to them just as they’ve done to GM and the banks? There goes the free press that is the cornerstone of our republic, our one means of checking and balancing our government. The Constitution purposefully grants freedom of speech to the press to ensure that they are watch dogs for the people.
The primary problem that I have with all of these bail outs isn’t only the unprecedented control granted the government but the fact that it is anti-capitalist, anti-free market, anti-progress (that’s progress, not “progressive,” though that’s good, too), anti-supply and demand. The newspapers are a good example. They’re out-dated with the advent of the internet, and they’ve contributed to their perhaps slightly premature demise by long ago abandoning their role in society. The second they started getting quivery and orgasmic over BO they were heading for bankruptcy. Period. The fact that fewer and fewer people get their news from print media is another factor–not lesser, just separate. They were and are doomed. We have moved past that form of news delivery, just as we stopped using whale oil as fuel. BO would have us supporting that industry to this day, I’m sure. Sorry, Ahab, but your whaling days are done, and yes, NYT, you’re a bloated beach whale that is of no use to anyone. Except perhaps the government?