Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Morning Politics

Monday Morning political musings:

  1. I don't like the idea of the government meddling in health care. Having already been labeled a potential domestic terrorist by the current government, I'm concerned that future governments will use labeling to impact health care decisions. There's already been questions about how the government chose which dealerships were forced out of the Chrysler group, and in the previous administration there were some serious doubts about no-bid contracts. That the Republican President increased the business of his supporters while the Democratic President simply forced his rivals out shows differences in method but not intention. Should the government become entrenched as the primary or only provider of health care in America, I don't think they can or will build in enough safeguards against those types of abuses.

That being said, I do understand that the current costs and access issues with healthcare need resolution. I think it's a safe assumption that the regulatory environment doesn't help control costs, and neither does the lawsuit culture of America. Likewise the complexities of multiple insurance plans and their varied reimbursement rates make life difficulty for medical providers. However, to plan to involve the federal government in this issue will not help it. Research might show that some of the states with more demanding insurance laws or that are worse in the lawsuit category have more difficulty with healthcare or employment. Take a look at those numbers. Do states that mandate employer coverage at certain levels or that mandate state-wide coverage, like Massachusetts does, have better or worse employment stats? Are employers leaving those states? What do you think will happen if those systems are copied nationwide? Employers that haven't already crossed a border to evade EPA, OSHA, Labor Department or other regulatory agencies will head on out. Businesses exist to make money, and will do whatever it takes to make money. And medical school isn't as easy as, say, picking up trash on the highway. Or many other things. Most doctors are in medicine to help people, but the more complicated you make it for them to help, the fewer are going to be interested in doing it. And the more complex the business model necessary, the fewer independent physicians you'll have. Rural healthcare will have some serious obstacles, because a corporate structure won't want to support small towns. (Again, businesses exist to make money. People help people. Businesses make money.) All told, reform is necessary, but it needs to be carefully considered, and while a nationwide reform is necessary, I don't think the solution is a national one. Likely better solved within states.

I am concerned, though, at the rhetoric by some of my fellow right-wing extremists. I know that by our nature, we're extremists, so we express the worst of our enemies and best of our friends, but folks, if the current law is not nationwide socialized medicine, we need to not call it that. Let's attack merits (or demerits) of the system. Let's look at what it will cost, and question where the money will come from. Let's look at, and criticize, the government intruding between patient and doctor. Let's find out exactly why all Medicare recipients will have “end-of-life” counseling every 5 years, and who's going to do it? A government employee? Or can they see their pastor for it? What is really going on there? If the current law does not, or explicitly forbids, publicly funded abortion, drop that from the critique. Why? Anybody remember the story of the little boy who cried wolf? I see that much of the agenda of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi is moving America more and more to government interference in every aspect of life. And that's not the freedom that we hold dear. But are we crying “wolf” at everything and killing our credibility? It's a similar situation with the birth certificate. What are we going to do in October 2012 when the Republican candidate for President (ME!! well, maybe not) has put major statements out about President Obama and the whole “ natural-born citizen” thing, and then out comes the document? Personally, I think that's part of the DNC's strategy. Hold the document until it can be used on offense, not defense. Then, our whole credibility is shot. We fight this healthcare reform based on the extreme “what-if's” and “this could some day be used to step into that” statements, but then it passes anyway. And in 2010, and 2012, the stats show no use of public funds for abortion, no rationing of healthcare, no euthanasia of the elderly, and a rise in healthcare access. Where are we then, folks? Set up for 4 more years, which could include a move towards those things. Attack the issue now using the facts of now. Point out that the problems when the government does private industry: Fannie Mae, anyone? Postal Service is wholly owned by the people, run on our behalf by people approved by Congress. Is that how we want healthcare for some? I've heard it said that the competition between USPS, UPS, and FedEx is proof that public-private competition can exist. Except that the USPS contracts a chunk of their work out to UPS and FedEx, and that neither UPS or FedEx provide daily routine service to every person in America. And they charge more, sometimes a lot more for certain locations, and therefore don't compete but are 'luxury' providers. It's not a good example. So, fight the federal government intruding into private lives, but let's fight the real issues, not the “ what-ifs.”

2. And, to the Democrats, people voicing their opinions are exercising democracy. That your people can't get a word in is evidence that you don't have anything useful to say. Or that the people your party members represent have no trust in you. Are these people organized? Not particularly. Not any more organized than the people and other liberal groups are sending to the same town hall meetings. You're just ticked that people won't listen to you, even though you're in power. It took the Republican Party from 1994 to 2006 to lose touch, and that included 2 wars. You guys are doing it inside of 4 years. Are some of these people just mad because we have a non-white President? I doubt it. A lot of them voted for him. They're mad because they feel unrepresented, unlistened-to. That the government is running away with their country. Down here in the South, the average man has two basic realities: at some point, he's served his country, and he's voted Democrat most of his life. When he had the uniform on, he was fighting, seeing his friends die, for freedom, and when he voted Democrat, he was voting for the party of the working man. You are looking like the party of the non-working man and it sounds to him like you're moving on from freedom. Why do I say this? Because I hear a lot of it down here in south Arkansas. They're starting to not even believe in Blue Dog Democrats down here. Are they becoming Republicans? Probably not. They're just becoming angry. Conservatism is probably not far from being 2 separate parties, but you're not far behind. Let the people vent. Better they yell at your Congress now than they bottle up that frustration, isn't it? We conservatives learned in 2008 you can't count on a base you've lost touch with, else Senator Obama would be one of the biggest obstacles to President McCain's platform.

3. Republicans: Let's get over Sarah Palin. And let's get some ideas. We need to be known as much about what we're for as what we're against. Same problem we have in Baptist life. Define who you are as well as who you aren't. And to my brothers in the Constitution Party: we really sound like we're advocating a violent revolution sometimes. We don't need to be there. Really, we don't. Most of us claim to be solid, conservative Christians as well, and you can't quite get around Scriptural examples like David waiting for God to strike Saul rather than doing it himself, and I really don't think you can put that loophole into Romans 13 by saying that 'The Founding Fathers did it!' The Founding Fathers also owned slaves and justified it by Scripture. Some of their behavior was no better or worse than anyone else at the time, and some of their exegesis was no better, or worse, than their time. Should we contemplate what will happen if America collapses under the weight of bureaucracy? Yes. Do I think we should have church firearms classes? Sure. Do I think we need to be talking about a 2 nd American Revolution? No. I don't it's anymore justified than shooting abortionists. It may seem like it helps, but it doesn't. Will I think this way next year? Maybe not. Will I think this way if we end up with a President that won't leave office when he/she should? Probably not. For our country, the Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law, that's the authority God has established, but He has also allowed our Presidents. I'll give this nod to Constitution Party people though: at least you don't see all prior Presidents through rosy glasses.

4. For the record, you can email my stuff to so they can add me to the list of people that don't like the healthcare plan. In fact, I'd love to see their website/email server collapse for a few hours because they get so many emails. Asking the people to forward the “misinformation” emails to you is the wrong play. It makes it look like you're out to get people. The “misinformation” is readily available. Just check Townhall or WorldNetDaily and you'll see almost all of it. You don't correct misinformation by attacking the providers. You correct it by providing correct information. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? For politicians and religious leaders? If someone is spreading that page 255 of the healthcare bill requires everyone to stand on their twice a day, and that's not true, than say what page 255 requires! If it a plain reading of it supports the first interpretation, but that's not true, than EXPLAIN IT! And not with the “We've said we don't support mandatory headstands” line. With a simple, easy to understand, explanation of what that page really means. Correct “misinformation” with real information. It works wonders. I know it's counter-cultural, especially inside the Beltway, but the truth, it's really a great thing. And many Americans are getting tired of not hearing it anywhere. So, try the truth. And preachers, on the side, try it too. Present the truth as truth, not opinion. You might be surprised as well.

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