Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Conservatives Should Point and Laugh as Detroit Dies

Detroit represents the epitome of the blue state, Democrat machine liberalism that Barack Obama represents. Well, not one damn cent for Barry’s Kids.

Liberal media mouthpieces like the New York Times are all in a tizzy because the consequences conservatives have been warning America about for years are finally arriving. “We have to step in and save Detroit,” it cries.  We don’t have to do any such thing.

Steven Rattner, writing in the Times, says “But apart from voting in elections, the 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs, and eventually Congress decided to help them.” And apart from the iceberg, the Titanic’s maiden voyage went swimmingly.

This is a problem created by the people of Detroit. It’s their problem to solve – without our money.

If you listen to the hand-wringers, you’ll never hear an honest examination of why Detroit is imploding. Nor do they offer any evidence that the half-wits who elected the quarter-wit Democrats governing them have learned anything at all from this trip to the precipice.

The most hilarious arguments are the ones where liberals whine about the middle class fleeing from the city, taking jobs and the tax base with them. Sure, regular folks took a look at the well-governed, stable, crime-free Utopia that was Detroit and thought, “Yeah, we need to get the hell out of here.”

Liberalism and the political, economic and social pathologies it spawned drove everyone out of Detroit who wasn’t feeding at the municipal trough, whether through some form of government job or some form of government handout.

This isn’t a chicken and the egg brainteaser. It’s simple cause and effect. Liberalism turned Detroit into a hideous dump that milked those who contribute to society to pay off the Democrat machine’s constituents who don’t. People didn’t feel like living in a pig sty while serving as piggy banks for corrupt Democrats. The productive decided that while the non-productive might win by voting at the ballot box, the productive would win by voting with their feet.

Yeah, Detroit had some hard knocks. The auto industry collapsed, which is not surprising since it was the blue state model in corporatist form. But every city takes hits. Dallas and Houston have been slammed again and again by the energy sector, and they keep coming back.

Not Detroit. It keeps milking the “GM went bye-bye” excuse, with its apologists never mentioning that GM didn’t just disappear. GM just went to places that didn’t suck.

What did Detroit do about it? Nothing. The auto industry started changing decades ago, but liberals act as if that change somehow excuses Detroit’s legacy of corruption and incompetence. Detroit’s most significant export in decades was Eminem. That’s reason enough to want to see a stake driven through its metaphorical heart.

But, of course it’s all the Republicans’ fault…for some reason. Rattner says, “If I thought it could pass Congress, I’d happily support a special appropriation, but the politics of any spending are toxic in Washington these days.” Yeah, it is toxic to suggest that those of us who didn’t vote in a succession of criminals to run our governments give our money to morons who did. And, in any sane universe, no one would ever suggest doing so.

But this is the Times, the voice of Big Liberalism. It opines that, “America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility.” Except, America isn’t about “aiding the less fortunate.” It’s about the “less fortunate” working to make themselves “more fortunate” – understanding that liberals think people become financially stable not through hard work but by dumb luck.

Not surprisingly, in a Times article referring to the miserable condition of a city run by a liberal Democrat machine for half a century, there is no mention of either liberalism or Democrats. That’s like writing about obesity and not mentioning food.

The liberal elite, which loves root causes, absolutely refuses to admit that the root cause of Detroit’s woes is liberalism itself.



The US could learn from Britain's healthcare mistakes

After the sordid mud-wrestling session in the [House of] Commons last week (official title: statement on the Keogh report by the Health Secretary), could anyone still believe that politicians are the right people to be in charge of healthcare? As Jeremy Hunt and Andy Burnham traded accusations and self-serving denials of blame for the thousands of unnecessary (remember that word) deaths in 14 NHS [British government] hospitals, they almost clean forgot to offer expressions of remorse, regret or sympathy to the victims and their families.

For what it’s worth, Mr Burnham was rather worse than Mr Hunt, but that is by-the-by. This was about as low as party politics gets. Egged on by their screaming supporters behind them, the front bench spokesmen presented us with a very nearly perfect case for removing the care of the sick from government manipulation altogether.

An edited video of that squalid parliamentary occasion should be made available to every member of the Obama administration and every Democratic congressman who is desperate for the US federal government to take charge of healthcare. Lesson: this is what happens when political parties are directly responsible for the dispensation of medical treatment. If you have power over a system, then you are held responsible when it fails. If medical and administrative personnel know that they are accountable to government, they are liable to put the demands of politicians over the concerns of patients – even if they know those demands to be mistaken or absurd. Not that the White House plan (inevitably known – in spite of the President’s people insisting that it is the Affordable Care Act – as Obamacare) is as remotely monolithic as our own government-owned, government-run, government-funded system. That would be anathema to the political culture of the United States.

In fact, our two countries have precisely opposite phobias: in Britain, anything that is private (or worse, privatised) must be assumed to exist solely to produce Profit, which is axiomatically regarded as wicked. In the US, anything that is run by central government is seen as inherently threatening to personal liberty. So Obamacare had to square an impossible circle, and ended up with something like the worst of all worlds. In order to guarantee medical care for everyone in the country while avoiding universal government provision – which would be socialist in the true sense of the word – the plan makes it a legal requirement for everyone to buy private health insurance.

The original rule was that all companies with more than 50 employees would be required by law to provide them with health cover but that has gone out the window (sorry, been delayed) because the business community objected.

Unfortunately, the poor individual, not having quite the same clout in Washington as big companies, is still stuck. He will have to pay for a health insurance policy – whether he wants it, or thinks he needs it, or not – or be fined.

Now that would be a very strange sort of law in any free society, let alone one that is positively paranoid about personal liberty. Should a democratic government be able to make it legally necessary for you to buy a product you do not want to cover the cost of your potential needs? It is true that in most countries you are legally obliged to have certain kinds of third party cover – on car insurance, for example – but that is to provide for the protection of other members of society, not yourself. What the Obamacare law is designed to do is pull the young and fit compulsorily into the health insurance net so that, in actuarial terms, risks are spread more widely and the cost of premiums comes down. It is a matter of hot debate at the moment in Washington as to whether this will actually be the result. In the meantime, there is huge popular resistance to the compulsion involved and to the overweening political interference in what most Americans see as the highly personal relationship between doctor and patient.

But America’s stumbling healthcare programme is not alone in creating bizarre anomalies. The absolute terror in which politicians of all parties in Britain confront the impossible dilemma of funding the NHS has led us into a positive Wonderland of self-contradiction and absurdity. The Nuffield Trust estimates that there will be roughly a £50 billion deficit between funding and demand for healthcare by the end of the next parliament.

Every sane politician knows that the present arrangements are unsustainable: even if we managed to reform the standards of hospital care to prevent patients dying of starvation and thirst, there is no way that a fit-for-the-21st-century comprehensive medical system can be afforded solely out of taxation. But say this to a Tory minister (or one of his team) and he will start shrieking about electoral doom. As one very sensible Conservative said to me recently: “You can’t start charging for things that people now get for free. We’d lose the next election.”

Well no, that is not the way to introduce a mixed economy in healthcare: you don’t “start charging for things” willy-nilly. You just start allowing people to pay for things above and beyond their NHS care without penalising them. Which, of course, is what they do already every time they go to the chemist and buy aspirin for a headache – on which grounds nobody threatens to take away their right to NHS treatment for the headache.

But try that with a cancer drug that the NHS doesn’t believe is cost-effective and will not administer, and you will be accused of illicitly “topping up” your NHS care and possibly (as has actually happened) be denied further treatment for your illness. Our healthcare system is so monopolistic that it will not permit you to spend your own money (for fear of creating “two-tier” healthcare), while the proposed US system is determined to force you to spend your money on a product you don’t want. This is crazy.

Lessons: no country can afford modern health care without a mixed funding system of some kind. The more power politicians have over the running of that system, the more likely it is to get bogged down in partisan point-scoring. The more choice and responsibility reside with the patient and the clinician respectively (rather than with the bureaucrat and the government), the greater the chance that people will receive proper care. The more government tends to function as an exacting purchaser and regulator of services, rather than as a provider of them, the less likely it is to cover up or ignore the fact that thousands of people are dying unnecessarily on its watch.

Couldn’t we start treating voters like grown-ups, and talk sense about this?



Lies, damn lies, and America’s astonishingly partisan, corrupt media

The disgracefully slanted coverage of the trial of George Zimmerman is only the latest, prominent example of liberal media bias. Since the 2012 presidential election, America’s national media hasn’t let up. It’s pushing harder on its pro-liberal Democrat and anti-conservative Republican slant.

Consider Obamacare.

In recent days, organized labor turned harshly and vocally against the so called “Affordable Care Act.” Three leaders of America’s largest unions, including Jimmy Hoffa, wrote a jaw-dropping letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Excerpts of their arguments sound like a Republican opposition brief:

“When you and the President sought oursupport for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

“We have been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision. Now this vision has come back to haunt us.”

“Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios.”

“The law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits”

“As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies.”

“On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans”

Days later, the Laborers International Union of North America (“International of North America? Gee, do they consider themselves American? But I digress) followed up with a letter to President Obama, warning of “the destructive consequences” of Obamacare if it weren’t drastically modified.

Scathing criticisms of the president’s signature achievement from bulwarks of the liberal Democratic establishment should register high on America’s political Richter scale. Instead, they’re practically tree-fall in an empty forest, because the corrupt broadcast networks aren’t reporting them. Consider if America’s biggest business leaders had delivered comparable blasts at the economic policies of Presidents Bush, Bush, or Reagan. The network amplifiers would have blown their fuses, prolongedly.

The deception reaches deep into new media, as well. This weekend, AOL News informed its millions of viewers that Republicans are “still attacking Obamacare.” Yes, Republicans like Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters. The kids online don’t have a clue.

From Big Labor’s pains to the IRS’s depredations, the media con game shifts from silence to farce.   Congressional hearings last week revealed the scheme to target conservative groups was directed out of the Office of the IRS Chief Counsel. The Chief Counsel is one of only two agency employees who are appointed by Barack Obama! That bombshell might do more damage than all the explosions in “White House Down,” Hollywood’s flop valentine to Obama.

But it’s not the story from our leading talking heads, who, if they deigned to cover the story at all, either mocked Republicans’ clumsy questioning, or gave heroic, spotlight treatment to Ranking Member and Court-Distractor Elijah Cummings’ idiotic queries whether any witness had discovered a murder weapon with the president’s fingerprints on it, or something like that.

The script is universal and firm: Play stories that help Democrats hard, thoroughly, repeatedly. Stories that help Republicans, if they can’t be ignored, should be delivered quietly and, especially if they hurt the president, for no more than two news cycles at most.

Thus, a recent study by Obama’s own Justice Department concluding that gun control laws are ineffective in reducing gun violence likely will never cross the silky lips of Brian Williams.

An EPA study that failed to link fracking—hydraulic fracturing—with environmental contamination will not see the broadcast big screen.

Coverage of abortion must emphasize that pro-life is extreme and pro-choice is reasonable. You will never hear the network big-hairs try to pin down Democratic politicians on extreme positions or defying public opinion on things like late term abortion, partial birth abortion, parental consent, or many other vulnerabilities of the NARAL Democrats. It’s not in the script.

No, they’ll stalk and bait and quiz pro-life Republicans, eagerly hunting the next gaffe that can go big time.

The cynical, despicable thing about all this is that even though the public knows it’s being played by cosmopolitan liberals, the game still works. Average  Americans might not trust the media further than Barack Obama can throw a game-opening pitch, but the networks still set the agenda and control the subject.

Partisans of right and left seek their favored outlets. But the consciousness of the non-political middle is shaped by the legacy media, and the legacy media is a corrupt PR arm for the Democratic Party.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

Careful about Detroit, the Chinese may either buy it or offer to bail it out.