I really tried to get through this piece at National Review, but when the author misquotes the Ten Commandments I just stopped reading.
For the record the commandment is:
Thou shall not murder.
It is NOT:
Thou shall not kill.
This is an incredibly important distinction – and what makes me even angrier is that as a fellow at the Hoover Institution Mr. Thiessen should know better. If I were to put money on it I would say he purposefully misquoted here in order to prove his point.
As Mickey Kaus points out, the idea that we need to spend more money on public housing – pretty much the definition of a failed government program – is laughable.
But it’s the bit about education spending that gets me. I can’t remember a Democrat ever, even once, saying that we spend too much money on education. We’re up around $10,000 per student per year now for public eduction, and this increased spending has basically done squat to help improve results. Yet every single year, in every budget fight – state or federal – we’re subjected to cries from Democrats that we need to spend more on education.
But when we start talking health care, Democrats are suddenly telling us that we’re obviously spending too much money, and that this spending constitutes a crisis.
I don’t get it. It seems to me that if you’re going to complain about overspending, it makes more sense to complain about education overspending.
The vast majority of education spending comes from the government, so there is very little competitive market pressure on schools to control costs; that’s not the case for healthcare, where private entities exchange good for services and try to turn a profit off of it by being more efficient than their competitors.
Education is based on the relationships between teachers and students, and convincing students to perform their best; it seems that there would be an objectively optimal level of spending, anything above that would just be used to hire more layers of administration. Modern health care requires that vast sums be spent on research and equipment, and while there’s certainly a point of diminishing returns, additional money spent on health care seems more likely to be put to good use than additional money spent on education. Another secretary for the deputy assistant superintendent, or another CT machine?
It doesn’t bother me one bit that it costs more to save lives than to educate kids. That it seems to bother Democrats should be telling, but I’m not sure of what.
This problem was exacerbated because since the early 1990s Maine has required insurers to adhere to community rating and guaranteed issue, which requires that insurers cover anyone who applies, regardless of their health condition and at a uniform premium. These rules—which are in the Obama plan—have relentlessly driven up insurance costs in Maine, especially for healthy people.
The Maine Heritage Policy Center, which has tracked the plan closely, points out that largely because of these insurance rules, a healthy male in Maine who is 30 and single pays a monthly premium of $762 in the individual market; next door in New Hampshire he pays $222 a month. The Granite State doesn’t have community rating and guaranteed issue.
Crikey! For some reason, none of the websites that offer online health insurance quotes will offer quotes from Maine, so I can’t compare what my price would be. New Hampshire, though, is no bargain, with rates for me being a time and a half what they are in Texas.
For all the talk of RomenyCare in Massachusetts, it sounds like the Maine system is more analogous to ObamaCare.
Apollo posted this at 9:12 PM CDT on Friday, August 28th, 2009 as Health Care
The Boston Globereports that Massachusetts’s leaders have all but agreed to change state law to allow Governor Patrick to appoint an interim senator to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s seat.
As has been noted elsewhere, this is disgusting on a number of levels. First, Kennedy was the driving force behind the current vacancy law, which was enacted in 2004 for the sole reason of denying Mitt Romney the opportunity to select a replacement for Senator Kerry, should Kerry have been elected to the presidency. Second, we are only in this current “crisis” of not having two D-MA senators during the health care fight because Kennedy stayed in office until, literally, his dying day. Third, there’s a sickening sense of entitlement among our political class that they have a right to fill this seat immediately with a chosen crony; when it comes to inter-democratic politics in Massachusetts, we citizens are just along for the ride.
On the off-chance that Governor Patrick has second thoughts about his participation in this (and on the even remoter chance that this post reaches his desk) I refer him to the fine example set by Governor John Jay of New York when he encountered a similar situation in the spring of 1800. New York Republicans had just won a startling victory over the Federalist incumbents in the in the state legislature election, largely due to the unparalleled politicking of Aaron Burr. Since the new legislature’s first job would be to choose New York’s electors for the upcoming presidential race— and since New York was the key to Vice President Jefferson’s campaign strategy — the election had incredible national ramifications.
Alexander Hamilton, New York’s leading Federalist, was horrified. He had worked as tirelessly as Burr during the election, but without the colonel’s political ingenuity or light touch. In addition to being personally humiliated by the loss to his long-time rival, Hamilton was terrified that Jefferson would ruin America’s finances and drag it into war with Great Britain.
Paranoid and desperate, Hamilton wrote Gov. Jay – his close friend and political ally – and begged him to invalidate Burr’s victory by changing the law to create a second, special election for the state’s Electoral College delegation:
[I]n times like these in which we live, it will not do to be overscupulous. It is easy to sacrifice the substantial interests of society by a strict adherence to ordinary rules…
[S]cruples of delicacy and propriety ought not to hinder the taking of a legal and constitutional step to prevent an atheist in Religion and a fanatic in politics from getting possession of the helm of state.
Though Jay shared Hamilton’s worries about Jefferson, he was disgusted by the suggestion that they change the rules mid-stream for such nakedly partisan reasons. He never responded, and simply filed the letter away with the following note:
Proposing a measure for party purposes which it would not become me to adopt.
History is watching, Governor Patrick. Take note.
Lomask, Milton. Aaron Burr: The Years from Princeton to Vice President, 1756-1805. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979. pp. 240-247
Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton, Penguin Group USA, 2004. pp 609-610
Brookhiser, Richard. Alexander Hamilton, American. Touchstone, 1999. pp 147-148.
Freeman, Joanne. Affairs of Honor, Yale University Press, 2001. pp 231-234
Romney won’t run for Kennedy’s seat. It’s an open seat, in a year that will be the best chance for Republican pick ups since 1994. And Romney can’t be bothered to try to pick up this seat.
He’s a one-term governor who refused to let his constituents pass judgment on him in a reelection bid. His most remarkable political feat thus far has been his failure to unite conservatives against John McCain in a Republican primary. And he lost a senate bid a fifteen years ago. He’s stiff, comes across as the guy who will say whatever he thinks will get him elected, and has a history of saying whatever he thinks will get him elected.
It makes me cringe when conservatives talk about him like he’s some sort of hero, and the obvious conservative candidate in 2012. If he’d won a senate seat next year, I would have reconsidered. But it should be obvious that Romney has no faith in his ability to win in his own state, and Republicans are damnfools if they think he can win elsewhere. He is a sure loser, and the sooner more Republicans get past him, the better we’ll be.
This is an atrocious article for several reasons: its poor argumentation, pathetic attempt use of strawmen, its shameless exploitation of Ted Kennedy’s recently-departed ghost, etc. All of that pales, however, in comparison to this quote:
Kennedy knew – as his friend Congressman Barney Frank says – that Government is nothing more than the name we give to the things we choose to do together.
My astronomy club is not government. My outdoors club is not government. My trade-association employer is not government. This group blog is not government. Nor are whatever other private associations or relationships I choose to make outside of a very limited set of institutions.
From the depths of my libertarian soul, screw you and all you stand for, Robert Creamer.
[T]here are no frickin’ death panels of disembodied voices in metallic rooms eager to pronounce Trig Palin ‘not worthy’ so the Cylon Centurions can drag him off. There’s a hint of truth to the whole thing in that some kind of government imposed rationing is likely, but it’s still a dishonest, fear mongering claim.
I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama’s desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) — as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill — decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive.
The death panels will not be anything so monstrous as what Tom described. But under Obamacare, there will be well meaning government bureaucrats who will be forced to allocate scarce resources to those under their control, and they will make those decisions based on considerations like quality of life, length of life lived, and liklihood of recovery. These decisions, abstractly speaking, will be completely rational. Indeed, if any of us were put in the same positions as those well-meaning bureaucrats, we’d probably make the same decisions.
Hannah Arrendt, writing about the trial of Adolph Eichmann, marveled at the “banality of evil” under a modern regime. Most of the decisions that brought about the Final Solution were made by men in offices who never personally killed a Jew. Many, if not most of them, were well-meaning bureaucrats. They pushed papers and allocated scarce resources to those under their control. They did their jobs, earned their salaries, and went home to their wives and children at night without a drop of blood on their hands. It’s a strange definition of “monster” that includes them.
Given the state of rhetoric on this matter, I think it’s incumbent upon me to point out now that the evil of Obamacare will in no meaningful way approach the evil of the Final Solution. But we may use the past as a guide to the future in this regard: that life and death decisions are made in a banal manner by well-meaning bureaucrats in suits does not in any way alter the life and death results of those decisions. If you only define “death panel” in the caricatured way that Tom does, then I suppose there probably aren’t death panels in Obamacare. But if you’re willing to define “death panel” as meaning “a group of well-meaning bureaucrats who will decided whether or not your life is worth saving,” then death panels are at the heart of the plan.*
*Let me say here that there has been much equivocation between health insurance companies denying coverage and Obamacare bureaucrats denying coverage. There’s some equivalence there, but the nature of their calculations is completely different. An insurance company will weigh the cost of a treatment versus its chance of success. So far as I can tell, they don’t weigh in things like your quality of life; particularly, Medicare certainly does not factor in quality of life. Under Obamacare, a treatment may not cost a lot, and it may have a pretty high chance of success, but if you’re not worth saving, you wont’ get it. Just ask the lady with the 105 year-old mother who had a pacemaker put in when she was 100, and Obama said it would have been better to just give her some pain killers. Watch that video, please. Note that he doesn’t say pills – which might possibly have described something that could have helped her. He said “pain killers.” He just said that we should have eased her mother’s death. That he said so in a casual, banal manner does not change by one whit what he said: an Obamacare death panel would have decided she wasn’t worth saving.
One imagines that if George W. Bush had accused Democrats of bearing false witness, there’d have been much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth. It seems as though President Obama is not as wise as his predecessor and has blundered that trap:
Repeatedly invoking the Bible, President Obama yesterday told religious leaders that health-care critics are “bearing false witness” against his plan.The fire-and-brimstone president declared holy war in a telephone call with thousands of religious leaders around the country as he sought to breathe life into his plan for a system overhaul.
Without naming anyone specifically in the 10-minute conference call, Obama said opponents had been spreading lies.
“I know that there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness,” Obama said.
“I need you to spread the facts and speak the truth.”