No Creationism in Republican “Pledge to America”

WE don’t want to get too political here, but there are times when it’s unavoidable because of the embarrassing presence of creationism in Republican political campaigns and even in state party platforms.

Today, however, we have something good to report. According to Fox News: House Republicans Unveil ‘Pledge to America,’ Call for Tax and Spending Cuts. Fox says, with bold font added by us:

House Republicans on Thursday rolled out their “Pledge to America,” a sweeping conservative agenda that calls on reining in federal spending, permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts, and repealing President Obama’s signature health care law.

Republicans are hoping the agenda, released just five weeks before crucial midterm elections, will help power them back into the majority in the House.

Okay, that sounds like good stuff; but we’re always worried about the “social” issues that we complained about here: Open Letter to the Republican Party. Let’s read on:

The plan is divided into five policy areas: the economy, government spending, health care, government reform and national security. Republicans are calling for among other things a reduction in federal spending to fiscal 2008 levels except for national security, cite constitutional authority when introducing legislation, and require all bills to be posted online three days before votes.

That’s it? No creationism? Is this possible? Are we dreaming?

We had to scramble around to find the full text, but here it is: A PLEDGE TO AMERICA, a 21-page pdf file. Hey — it’s difficult to believe, but this thing was drafted by rational adults who know how to win elections. There’s no mention of sex, abortion, gay marriage, abstinence, school prayer, and — wonder of wonders! — no creationism! Not a trace.

The election is less than 6 weeks away. We see light at the end of the tunnel.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

70 responses to “No Creationism in Republican “Pledge to America”

  1. How can 2008 levels of spending (I noticed that national security is left out of that) be “Light at the end of the tunnel?” 2008 was a record breaking budget for its time, and to ‘curb back’ to those levels is pretty hollow to say the least. If Bush had made it for a third term, we’d still see similar levels of spending, no argument of whether the most privileged in this country would be reverting back to an additional 3% income tax, and no arguments about the deficit.

    There simply is no light. We’re going to be groping around in darkness for a good while yet.

  2. If the Republicans gain a majority in House and Senate, it will create
    a huge disaster for the environment. It will prevent both houses from
    ever accomplishing anything.
    There will be endless investigations. There will be blocking of judge appointments.
    Not mentioning abortion, creationism, etc does not prevent the creationists
    from introducing legislation.
    The Republicans have one thing in mind and it is not the good of this country. They will continue to obstruct and continue to smear Obama in
    hopes that they will win in 2012.
    In my part of the country, it would make no difference what the Republicans promised. Obama’s race is the reason they failed to vote for their own
    interests in the last election and it is still their main motivater for voting
    Republican this year.

  3. I’m sorry, but if you want to repeal a law that prevents insurance companies from denying health care coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions, then you are just plain evil.

    If you only want to repeal some parts of the law then pony up what that is exactly.

  4. (you in the general sense, not any “you” specifically!)

  5. I’m very happy about this, and it’s a step in the right direction, but I’m dismayed that the Religious Right still has a clear hold on the platform. It’s infused with the “traditional marriage” anti-gay rhetoric, which is not real conservatism, but part of the same theocratic cloth as creationism. Use your Constitutional right to determine which marriages you will recognize in your church, but stop discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in the arena of civil law. Ironically, they’ve decided to focus on a battle that they’re going to lose in the coming years – and when that happens, I fear they’ll decide Darwin looks like a better target than ever.

  6. EDIT: Mea culpa. I was referring to an earlier document – it looks like the social issues didn’t make this final cut, and I’m relieved. Still wary, though.

  7. comradebillyboy

    Didn’t they endorse motherhood and apple pie too? Vague generalities that sound nice and will never be followed up with action. Tax cuts are good but how do we pay for our vast defense establishment, interstate highway system and other necessary national tasks? With our industrial base outsourced to China perhaps we will have to outsource national security to the Chinese as well. Its after all much cheaper than hiring Americans to defend their own country.

    I just started receiving social security last month and I will be eligible for medicare in 2 years, but the republicans want to kill those programs. I simply cannot afford to vote republican.

  8. “It will prevent both houses from ever accomplishing anything.
    There will be endless investigations. There will be blocking of judge appointments…
    The Republicans have one thing in mind and it is not the good of this country. They will continue to obstruct and continue to smear Obama”

    You have absolutely convinced me to vote Republican.

  9. James F says, ” it looks like the social issues didn’t make this final cut”
    It may not be in writing but the candidates, especially the Tea Party Republicans, are sure talking about them. The national party seems to want to tone them down so they don’t put off independents who may otherwise vote for them.

    I hear the GOP all over the country blaming the Dems for the ballooning of the National debt, yet I see nothing here that will reduce it. Returning to 2008 spending levels without reining in national security costs is meaningless. Actually, just returning to a 2008 budget is meaningless. We had about $460 billion budget deficit and the national debt increased by about $1 trillion in 2008.

  10. For a bit of perspective, this pie chart shows that last year, defense spending was 23% of the federal budget.

  11. “I’m sorry, but if you want to repeal a law that prevents insurance companies from denying health care coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions, then you are just plain evil.”

    Call me plain evil. It’s totally unclear to me what business the federal government has in that law in the first place. For the moment, insurance companies are private businesses- shouldn’t the terms of the contract between their customers and them be up to… their customers and them? We’re not talking about fraud here, we’re talking about forcing your notions of “what’s right and wrong” on unwilling private parties at the point of a (federal) gun.

    I suppose that, given the Scalia interpretation of the Commerce Clause, the federal government has a right to pass laws about anything. That doesn’t make this sort of compulsion legitimate.

  12. Ok. Because an “industry practice” that screws children across the board is just fine– well, it saves money! Yeah, that’s some real pro-life, family values right there.

    Whatever. Then kids need to have SOME kind of health care available to them. If industry won’t provide it, then *gasp!* government has to– that is, if we are to live in a civilized society.

  13. LRA, you are saying that every kid is entitled to everything, regardless of cost, and that the law should force some people to pay that cost.

    Insurance companies are responding by refuse to cover children at all. They are doing this so they are not forced into bankruptcy.

    It’s a noble sentiment, but no health care system anyware can give out everything to everyone. Someone will have to decide who gets what. It can be the federal government, or it can be the market place.

    Futhermore, it calls into question the entire concept of insurance. Can you buy insurance for a house that already burnt down or a car you already wrecked or a husband who already died? Insurance, if it is required to pay for preexisting conditions, ceases to be a voluntray method of paying to reduce risk and now becomes a way to make some people pay for other people’s problems by force.

    Your car insurance doesn’t cover your oil changes and gas; can you imagine how expensive gas and car insurance would be if it did?

  14. What this country needs is a party of people who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Open minded individuals who are used to managing budgets. Sadly, the only way to get elected now in the age of the sound byte is to be an ideologue, and an angry one at that.

    Some of what the republicans propose related to good governance, such as posting bills for a required period of time before voting, banning the practice of packaging disparate bills together, and having an open amendment process, seems very positive. That would be fairly reasonable to democrats too, however it remains to be seen if the republicans will follow through with those promises if they become the majority party. Those sorts of suggestions are always made by the minority party, for obvious reasons. However, general reform of the governing process itself would go a long way toward restoring trust in government, no matter how specific issues were decided. The present process for both houses is just embarrassing.

  15. And of course, LRA, if the government is in charge of who gets what, that gives the government a great deal of power over how you live.

    If you have to pay for the health care of polygamous Mormon families with fifty kids, then aren’t you going to demand some say in how those kids are raised and whether they should have born in the first place? Aren’t you going to demand, as Michelle Obama has, that restaurants stop giving customers fries with their meal and apple chips instead, so that we eat better and reduce our demand for health care? And does’nt that same logic mean that other people will get to have a say in your decisions?

    That’s not freedom, it’s hay and barn for human cattle.

  16. I’m not going to bother to argue my position because all you John Gaults will refuse to see my point anyway. The fact is that plenty of other countries provide health care to their citizens and manage just fine (not perfectly, but just fine). Japan is an example. And, yes, I believe that all sick children in a so-called “civilized” society should have access to health care. To say otherwise is evil. To say that profits are more important than the suffering of children is evil.

    Let the bashing begin.

  17. The fact is that plenty of other countries provide health care to their citizens and manage just fine (not perfectly, but just fine).

    Well, so do we, with the imperfect system we have. And we provide almost all the new drugs and almost all the medical innovations.

    All the sick children in our society DO have access to health care. Hospitals do not leave people on the street to die.

    To say that profits are more important than the suffering of children is evil.

    You are the only one who said that. What WE are saying is that if you force insurance companies to pay everyone for everything, there will soon BE no insurance companies. Just like if you force car companies to give away cars for free, except to rich people who will have to pay $10 million for each one, there would soon be no car companines.

  18. Oh, ok. And if polluting industries are forced to spend money to clean up or properly store their industrial waste, then they can’t compete either and will go out of business, huh?

    Really?

    And I didn’t say everything for everyone. I said health care for sick children. And if you think the emergency room is a valid/economically feasable option, then you are wrong.

  19. LRA, can I go through your income and expenditures and find all the things you spend money on that are less important than providing care for sick children, and take those things away and give them to the sick children?

    Because, frankly, it would be evil for you to value those things more than sick children.

  20. Oh, ok. And if polluting industries are forced to spend money to clean up or properly store their industrial waste, then they can’t compete either and will go out of business, huh?

    This analogy would only work if it was insurance companies that made people sick. They don’t. They insure against the possiblity that you might become sick. Since only some people become sick, the healthy people pay for the sick ones.

    It’s not fair that I can’t get insurance for a house that already burned down. Oh won’t someone PLEASE think of the children?

  21. LOL! My entire career has been about sick children!

    I’m a special education teacher. And I’ve seen first hand how devastating a chronically/terminally ill child is for a family. Not just financially, but in all areas of life. I went on to study neuroscience/mlc bio for the purpose of wanting to do work to help SICK CHILDREN. So, I have a pretty good idea of how Big Pharma works and what we can and cannot afford as a country to help them.

    You keep your ideals. I’m concerned about real people with real problems. I don’t believe for a minute that insurance companies can’t afford to pay for sick kids. They can, but they don’t want to. Bottom line gets in the way.

  22. LRA, you played the “evil” card, not me.

    I don’t believe for a minute that insurance companies can’t afford to pay for sick kids. They can, but they don’t want to. Bottom line gets in the way.

    Uh huh. Let’s go through your monthly budget and cut out everything that’s less important than sick kids. If you value those things more than you value sick kids, you are evil.

  23. Your arguments are faulty. You just won’t admit it. Now I’m getting pissed of and don’t want to talk to you anymore.

    But you keep on defending those poor helpless insurance companies! What would our society do with out such a money wasting middle man? Oh BOO HOO HOOO!!!!

  24. Interesting that they left out all the social stuff. My guess is that TEA party opposition to mainstream GOP primary candidates had a lot to do with it. After that squabble, GOP leadership now needs to get TEAers into the voting booths to support the mainstream republican candidates they were just opposing. Giving TEA issues top – and sole – billing is leadership’s way of appealing to them. If they’d given abortion or gay marriage a higher billing than any of the tax stuff, it might have reduced TEA turnout.

    But all of that is just a guess.

  25. What would our society do with out such a money wasting middle man? Oh BOO HOO HOOO!!!!

    It’s middlemen that get goods and services where they need to be. Econ 101.
    Do you live in a city? Without middlemen, how do you get food?

    You’re so quick to call people evil. Sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. Tell us about the things you sepnd money on that are less important than sick children. You are evil to value those thiongs more.

  26. @eric:

    After that squabble, GOP leadership now needs to get TEAers into the voting booths to support the mainstream republican candidates they were just opposing. Giving TEA issues top – and sole – billing is leadership’s way of appealing to them. If they’d given abortion or gay marriage a higher billing than any of the tax stuff, it might have reduced TEA turnout.

    But all of that is just a guess.

    I think your guess is spot on. The nomination of obvious loonies in preference to people who are not fiscal conservatives is, I think, putting the fear into Republicans. One senate seat is totally worth that.

    If only there were any kind of equivalent movement among Democrats… but economic freedoms are freedoms they don’t recognize and they think we are better off without them.

  27. How exactly do insurance companies deliver health care services to people? Oh yeah! That’s right! It’s actually the DOCTORS that deliver the health care! Insurance companies take people’s money to make a profit. In doing so, they deny people things they need, because that cuts into PROFIT.

    Poor insurance companies and their record profits!

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HealthCare/health-insurers-post-record-profits/story?id=9818699

    BTW… what about the money that a family gave to an insurance company, and when a parent had to move jobs (because of say… a shitty economy…), that family loses that company’s coverage but has a chronically sick child and now can’t get coverage? Where’s your burned house analogy there? The family paid in and through no fault of their own lost coverage and has NO OPTION to get it back. What about that?

    Will someone PLEASE think of the insurance company profits???

  28. Insurance of any sort works on the principle of spreading the cost of illnesses, accidents, fires, whatever, over a very large pool. For auto and home insurance, the pool includes almost all drivers and homeowners. Insurance is therefore relatively reasonable in cost compared to the exposure to any single individual of an accident or fire. It’s also widely available and competitive – witness the auto insurance ads on television.

    Health insurance is different. The expense side of the equation is very difficult to estimate, and there is no real ceiling. For example, auto and fire insurance companies can send out an appraiser to look at the damage and make a determination, but there is no real equivalent for health insurance companies, despite their efforts to pre-approve procedures etc. Even with contractually determined prices for individual procedures, there is no real insight into which are necessary and which are just precautionary to avoid litigation. Also, while auto and fire companies have large pools of people with very similar risks, health insurance companies have pools of people who generally believe they need it – in other words, their populations of insured members are skewed and not reflective of the general population. Many young, healthy people choose to not to buy insurance, or buy only minimal insurance, because they feel they don’t need it and it’s too expensive. So the health insurance pools do not have the low cost members that are necessary to absorb the high cost end of their pools.

    I believe the federal government could set up an insurance fund to be the provider of last resort, at a fairly high price, but which would not turn away anyone for any reason and would have no limits. They could contract with an existing insurance company to manage the pool. Secondly, tax deductions or credits could be designed to specifically encourage young, lower income individuals to buy insurance, from whatever provider they chose (to increase the insurance pools). Third, whatever limits are in place that prevent insurance companies from freely competing, such as state limits, should be removed. Fourth, regulations should limit exposure in malpractice suits in order to lower physicians’ insurance costs and the costs of unnecessary procedures and tests. Fifth, regulation should also be considered to open up purchasing of domestically expensive drugs from other countries, or, conversely, require US drug companies to price their drugs in the US at the same price that they sell for overseas. (presumably they will increase their overseas prices somewhat and lower their US cost) Finally, we should implement programs that encourage preventative care, reducing obesity, reducing smoking, safe sex, etc. which will substantially reduce costs for treating diabetes, heart disease and other related “life style” illnesses. I believe the money spent in these efforts will be more than recovered through lower medical costs in future years but also in a healthier more productive population.

    That’s way too much on that subject. Argh.

  29. Gabriel Hanna says to LRA:

    Can you buy insurance for a house that already burnt down or a car you already wrecked or a husband who already died?

    Insurance premiums are based on risk. A driver with a history of convictions for drunk driving and accidents is obviously a much higher risk than your average driver. It’s not realistic to command the insurance company to insure the high-risk (and high cost) driver, and to do it at the same premium they charge everyone else. That’ll run the company into bankruptcy, because the revenue they’re taking in won’t cover the expenses they have to pay. It’s the same idea for a kid with some horrible (and expensive) disorder. We can all sympathize with his plight, but it’s impossible to insure him for health care at the same premium as the rest of us. Compassion for the suffering kid has nothing to do with it. We also need to think of all the other insureds who are depending on the solvency of the insurance company.

  30. Well, I never said it had to be at the same premium. I’m talking about not being able to get ANY coverage because insurance companies refuse to cover pre-existing conditions.

  31. I don’t believe for a minute that insurance companies can’t afford to pay for sick kids.

    So, if your hypothesis is correct (that there’s plenty of excessive profits that could be used to expand coverage while still keeping the company viable), the EBITDA of health insurance companies should be much higher than the average for other insurance companies. Is your hypothesis supported by the data or do the data refute it? If the former, we all ought to be investing in those companies!

  32. I posted an article in a comment awaiting moderation.

  33. LRA: You’re not being grateful enough! If it weren’t for True Conservatives like Mr. Hanna beating back the spineless liberal hordes armed only with a copy of Atlas Shrugged, we’d all be helpless slaves like the cattle citizens of Canada or Sweden.

  34. LRA says:

    Well, I never said it had to be at the same premium. I’m talking about not being able to get ANY coverage because insurance companies refuse to cover pre-existing conditions.

    Okay, that’s a start. Now let’s be a bit more specific. If you were running the insurance company, what premium would you charge a kid who comes to you with a pre-existing disorder that costs $500,000 per year to treat? If we think about it for a moment, it’s obvious that the whole concept of insurance doesn’t really apply to this situation. There’s no “risk.” The expense of treatment is a certainty. That’s not what insurance is all about.

  35. Gabriel: If only there were any kind of equivalent movement among Democrats… but economic freedoms are freedoms they don’t recognize and they think we are better off without them.

    That pot shot’s not up to your normal standards Gabriel. You know perfectly well that the Dems have their internal squabbles too, the squabbling groups just don’t split along the same moral vs economic issue lines as the GOP. The angry far left that tends to split off when they don’t think the party is listening to them enough (i.e. TEA equivalent) are the greens. Certainly the green faction has never influenced the mainstream democratic position the way the TEA partiers have with the GOP, but they occupy the same pain-in-the-butt niche in the democratic party ‘ecology.’

  36. SKMarshall– Yes. Those commies over at the WHO just don’t know any better!

    http://www.who.int/whr/2000/media_centre/press_release/en/index.html

  37. Curmie–

    I don’t know, but what I do know is that if the government has a regulation that sick kids can’t be refused coverage, then I would think that this “risk” or “expense” or “burden” would be shared across the board because people usually get insurance through their employer, and last time I checked, having a sick kid didn’t depend of what kind of work you do. So the distribution would be pretty random and insurance companies couldn’t really complain that they can’t compete because other insurance companies also have to deal with the “burden”.

  38. Also, I don’t know of any condition that costs a half a million dollars to treat per year! Maybe over a whole lifetime…

  39. comradebillyboy wrote: “I just started receiving social security last month and I will be eligible for medicare in 2 years, but the republicans want to kill those programs. I simply cannot afford to vote republican.”

    I don’t think you need worry about Republicans killing social security or medicare. A large majority of those receiving social security & medicare vote Republican. Now, some R polititians have said some stupid things, but they’re not THAT stupid. BTW, where did you hear that the Republicans want to kill soc. sec. & medicare?

  40. SC says:

    The expense of treatment is a certainty. That’s not what insurance is all about.

    Isn’t that one perfect arguement for the cost of healthcare to be in the realm of things that government is actually FOR, along with stop signs, fire departments and national defense? So that all of us can be responsible for our share of taking care of certainties like a child with a disorder before an entire family has to be financially ruined, and then we pay for it anyway? Maybe I’m missing something here.

  41. eric wrote:

    If they’d given abortion or gay marriage a higher billing than any of the tax stuff, it might have reduced TEA turnout.

    I don’t know about that: Sen. Jim DeMint, for example, seems to be combining “social conservatism” with the TEA movement pretty effectively, as with Christine O’Donnell.

  42. LRA says:

    Also, I don’t know of any condition that costs a half a million dollars to treat per year! Maybe over a whole lifetime…

    Okay, whatever. My point is this. Someone comes to an insurance company and says: “I have a medical condition that we already know will cost $X per year. What premium will you charge me?” The company responds: “You’re going to cost us $X? Okay, then we have to charge you $X.”

    My point is that this really isn’t an insurance situation. That person is asking to have his known expenses paid, and that’s not what insurance companies do. The person with a known condition isn’t trying to hedge against risk that he might get sick. He already is sick, and he wants his bills paid. So do we all, but there ain’t no tooth fairy.

  43. Ed, your entire post above (” Insurance of any sort works on the principle of spreading the cost of illnesses, accidents, fires, whatever, over a very large pool… Health insurance is different. …”) is spot on. Well-said!

  44. skmarshall says: “Maybe I’m missing something here.”

    Just one little thing — the US Constitution doesn’t give Congress any power to do what you think it would be so nice for them to do. Until there’s an amendment, it’s only the states that can legitimately provide that service.

  45. Then why does a person’s insurance follow their job? Why can’t a person keep their insurance regardless of job?

    Because insurance companies won’t give a discount for large volume of a captive consumer that way.

    The point is that the whole thing is screwed up. We rank 37th in the world and plenty of other countries don’t deal with these insurance problems because they have nationalized health care. Apparently, France has the best health care system in the world… why can’t we reform ours so that it is better using France (or Japan, or Spain, or Singapore— who all outrank us) as a model?

    Health care is a right, not a privilege. I don’t think I’m just being a bleeding heart liberal, here. The folks over at the WHO say that too.

  46. LRA says:

    Health care is a right, not a privilege. I don’t think I’m just being a bleeding heart liberal, here. The folks over at the WHO say that too.

    A right? Well, yes, if I try to stop you from visiting your doctor I’m definitely violating your individual rights. But that’s also true if I were to interfere with your right to go to the movies or anywhere else. You are free to go where you like (as long as it doesn’t involve trespassing on the property of others) and you can make any contractual arrangements you like — with consenting adults, as long as you’re not cheating or stealing. But if you claim you have a “right” to force others pay your bills, I’m afraid we must disagree.

    Your compassion for suffering children is lovely — it’s the thing that makes charity work — but your compassion doesn’t make you the dictator of how people spend their own money — only your own money, because that’s your right. As for the opinion of WHO — who cares what they think?

  47. Then why does a person’s insurance follow their job? Why can’t a person keep their insurance regardless of job?

    Why doesn’t your seniority follow you when you change jobs? Why doesn’t your salary follow you when you change jobs?

    If those things don’t violate your rights, why does it do so when it’s insurance?

    You can always buy your own insurance and not the one your employer provides. You won’t get the same benefits and it won’t cost the same, by why do you think you are entitled to what you want at the price you want? Why do you get to decide what’s fair for everyone?

  48. @eric:

    Certainly the green faction has never influenced the mainstream democratic position the way the TEA partiers have with the GOP, but they occupy the same pain-in-the-butt niche in the democratic party ‘ecology.’

    Where is the movement among Democrats calling for reduction in goverment spending and taxation? That’s what I meant by “equivalent movement”. Not “what movement is a pain in the butt to the establishment”.

    I know the greens are difficult.

  49. Meh. What is the news here, has the GOP ever talked about Creationism or Intelligent Design in any of their national party platforms? Maybe they have; if so I missed it. Seems to me, though, that Creationism/ID has mostly been an under-the-radar, local school board type issue that hasn’t involved the national GOP in any meaningful manner. So, the current “Pledge to America” not mentioning Creationism/ID is hardly news or unexpected. It would be nice if the national GOP would denounce attempts to sneak religion into the science classroom, but politically that would be asking for too much (big tent and all that). Silence should be sufficient.

    IMO there are much more pressing issues the national GOP should be addressing than Creationism/ID and not talking about the topic is a good way of dealing with it because it shouldn’t be a federal issue to begin with. Neither should health insurance, for constitutional reasons (but the Constitution is effectively a dead letter anyway since the Supreme Court has expanded the 14th amendment far beyond the letter of the law, so as to give itself virtually unlimited power). One thing that is a rather pressing national issue, and which is a federal issue, but which the GOP won’t do anything about, is illegal immigration (an issue which also dovetails with other issues such as runaway spending at local, state, and federal levels).

    Now at the risk of being accused of being politically incorrect and linking to some people who are pro-science but otherwise “not fit to be admitted into the public debate” according to the ruling elites and their chattering classes, there are other reasons for conservative, pro-science people to be dubious about this latest GOP “promise”, as noted here on Steve Sailer’s blog, about an issue (opposition to illegal immigration) that is supported by over 70% of the electorate, but which both parties refuse to do anything about, and in fact actively work to frustrate the enforcement of the laws:

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2010/09/gops-pledge-to-america.html

    ***It’s basically a George W Bush Redux. It advocates no useful policy on enforcing the borders. It merely advocates (buried way down on page 20) to reaffirm the right of states to enforce immigration laws – a right they already have.

    And I’m gunna go out on a limb and wager that it says nothing about eliminating racial preferences or CRA.

    But it’s opening lines are the best. “America is more than a country. America is an idea…America is an inspiration to those [immigrants] who yearn to be free…”

    Aunt Zeituni couldn’t have said it better.

    Republicans have learned nothing from the Bush years. It’s not a question of whether or not GOP policies will win votes, it’s a question of whether they will actually make America better. We already know the answer to that.***

    (Note to above, if you don’t understand the Aunt Zeituni reference, please watch the interview of her from Boston local TV; it is also on YouTube. If you don’t understand why people are hopping mad about illegal immigration and the welfare state, you need to watch this. Dismissing this all as “racism” is to be in denial and completely detached from reality.)

  50. The folks over at the WHO say that too.

    The folks at the Discovery Institute say that we were created by ooga-booga. So what? No one voted for them, either.

  51. Unlike TSC, I don’t see much light coming from Republicans. They have managed to present taxation as akin to theft. Extending the Bush tax cuts (to those who need it least in some fantasy of trickle-down economics) guarantee more red ink and an acceleration of the slide in the USA’s status to a ho-hum country.

  52. retiredsciguy
    “I don’t think you need worry about Republicans killing social security or medicare. A large majority of those receiving social security & medicare vote Republican. Now, some R polititians have said some stupid things, but they’re not THAT stupid. BTW, where did you hear that the Republicans want to kill soc. sec. & medicare?”

    Check out Pat Toomey, former head of the “Club for Growth” and currently running for Senate in Pennsylvania. Look at the Club for Growths website headlines. Something like “kill Social Security? Hell Yeah!!” Of course, “kill” is a euphamism for “privatize” because we all know that turning over our retirement funds to Wall Street brokers will make us all rich!!!!!!!
    Rethugs are now out in front about destroying the social safety net in America. All for profit. Screw the “Greedy geezers”.
    I would rather stick a needle in my eye before voting Repuke-lican.
    Anti-American scumbags, every one of them.

  53. koyote_ken says:

    I would rather stick a needle in my eye before voting Repuke-lican. Anti-American scumbags, every one of them.

    Lots of diversity tonight.

  54. koyote_ken,
    Pat Toomey = one Republican.
    comradebillyboy was concerned that “the republicans” wanted to kill Social Security & Medicare.
    As I interpret that, “the republicans” = the Republican Party. Do you see anything in the party platform that suggests the Republicans want to do away with SS & Medicare?
    Yes, many Republicans were calling for an option that would let you self-direct a part (5%?) of your Social Security account. Optional, not mandatory. That would hardly “kill” Soc. Sec.

  55. I remember, during the 2000 elections, hearing scare stories that if Bush were elected, Social Security and Medicare would be phased out. If I had believed that, I would have voted for him. As it happened, my cynical view of him as just another hack politician who wanted to expand government and reduce freedom was correct, and my equally cynical view of Obama (or, as I like to call him, Bush III) was also correct.

  56. LRA, you’re always welcome up here above the 49th parallel – where somehow nationalized health care hasn’t screwed up our entire country. Heck, government control over the banking industry / mortgages up here pretty much saved us from a serious recession compared to you Yanks. Maybe y’all ought to examine the evidence? Jus’ sayin’.

  57. I think it might be nice to live in Canada, but as a Texan, I’m afraid that the sun withdrawal would be killer. Plus, I really, really hate being cold!!!!

    Thanks anyway! 😀

  58. (There’s something really awesome about being able to wear flip-flops in November!)

  59. It’s the tungsten-melting summers in Texas that make me miss my Montana home…

  60. hmm – national, humanitarian heathcare AND nice weather in November? sorry – you’ve got us there. Maybe we should try get the weather privatized…

  61. Here I go on vacation and I miss another libertarian patellar reflex. Oh well, I hope I am not too late to the party.

    I find all this worrying about the poor, defenseless insurance companies endearing. Very noble. But, in their zeal, Curmy and Gabriel make a fundamental error. Namely assuming the insurance companies need help. Their reverence for the market doesn’t seem to require them to know anything about it. If they had bothered to even look at how the insurance companies are doing, they would have seen that the stocks of Cigna, United Healthcare, and Wellpoint have outperformed the S&P over the 12 months (since Obamacare passed) and the last 24 months (since the debate began). Only poor Aetna has lagged the S&P over those time frames.

    Given that the market pretty much incorporates information immediately into a security’s price, one would have expected the stocks to drop with all TEH SOSHULIZM!!!!1!!!1!1!!

    Oh, and Gabriel? This little statement:

    All the sick children in our society DO have access to health care. Hospitals do not leave people on the street to die.

    I am surprised that a libertarian would favor a system that lets people show up at an emergency room to get healthcare for free and have the cost foisted onto those of us who pay into the system instead of a system where people have insurance that requires them to pay some premiums.

  62. gabriel:

    Maybe we should try get the weather privatized…

    True story. I have a number of friends who work for the National Weather Service’s Severe Storms Lab. One of them had made a positive comment on Facebook when the healthcare bill passed. A coworker at another office went on a rant in the comment section about how the bill was socialism and how the government would destroy the private health insurance companies.

    In a rare flash of brilliance, I posted a followup comment about how the government’s “socialized weather forecasting” was destroying private weather forecasting companies and needed to be stopped. This guy got his back up and went on about how the NWS was providing an important service yadda yadda yadda and HOW DARE I make fun of his employer. I almost felt bad pointing out that I wasn’t making fun of his employer, I was making fun of him. There is nothing that tickles my funny bone more than a libertarian that pulls down a government paycheck.

  63. Here I go on vacation and I miss another libertarian patellar reflex.

    Classy. I’d not have responded to you if it weren’t for the snark.

    But, in their zeal, Curmy and Gabriel make a fundamental error. Namely assuming the insurance companies need help. Their reverence for the market doesn’t seem to require them to know anything about it. If they had bothered to even look at how the insurance companies are doing, they would have seen that the stocks of Cigna, United Healthcare, and Wellpoint have outperformed the S&P over the 12 months (since Obamacare passed) and the last 24 months (since the debate began). Only poor Aetna has lagged the S&P over those time frames.

    So you think it’s morally and legally okay for the government to force companies to do things they weren’t set up to do, and never would have agreed to do, as long as those companies are making money doing it?

    As I said, some people here don’t believe in economic freedom. Some people believe, it seems, in fascism.

    It’s not okay for me to steal a Mercedes because the rich bastard can afford it and I don’t have a car.

    I am surprised that a libertarian would favor a system that lets people show up at an emergency room to get healthcare for free and have the cost foisted onto those of us who pay into the system instead of a system where people have insurance that requires them to pay some premiums.

    First, there’s such a thing as “the lesser of two evils”. Second, no libertarian opposes hospitals or anything else giving away its services for free, as long as it is their choice and not government compulsion. And every business has to factor the cost of people who don’t pay into the prices they charge. (Of course libertarians hate children and would shut down the Shriner hospitals if they could.) Third, you don’t know very much about what libertarians think and apparently have them confused with some kind of cartoon.

    In a rare flash of brilliance, I posted a followup comment about how the government’s “socialized weather forecasting” was destroying private weather forecasting companies and needed to be stopped. This guy got his back up and went on about how the NWS was providing an important service yadda yadda yadda and HOW DARE I make fun of his employer. I almost felt bad pointing out that I wasn’t making fun of his employer, I was making fun of him. There is nothing that tickles my funny bone more than a libertarian that pulls down a government paycheck.

    insert amusing anecdote about a liberal who said something stupid and didn’t realize it. What an idiot! By extension all liberals are that dumb.

    One time I paraphrased John Maynard Keynes about paying people to dig holes and fill them in again, and carlsonjok said “way to flog that strawman”.
    Clearly everyone who agrees with him on unrelated subjects for totally different reasons is discredited thereby.

  64. Classy. I’d not have responded to you if it weren’t for the snark.

    Cool. Always up for a good argument.

    If they had bothered to even look at how the insurance companies are doing, they would have seen that the stocks of Cigna, United Healthcare, and Wellpoint have outperformed the S&P over the 12 months (since Obamacare passed) and the last 24 months (since the debate began). Only poor Aetna has lagged the S&P over those time frames.

    So you think it’s morally and legally okay for the government to force companies to do things they weren’t set up to do, and never would have agreed to do, as long as those companies are making money doing it?

    It happens all the time and is, for the most part, uncontroversial. Government forces companies to operate safe work environments. It tells them how much it can pay employees and how many hours they can work. It even tells them what types of people they can hire. It regulates the types of products they can sell, the characteristics of those products, how those products are marketed, and who the products can be sold to. It regulates plant emissions and makes companies clean up the pollution it creates. Heck, there is even regulations limiting exclusions for pre-existing conditions already in existence and has been for some time (see HIPAA).

    The point here is that the health insurance companies that you are rising to defend really are doing quite well. And the recent healthcare bill will not change that. Indeed, I had read somewhere in the business press that the insurance companies will be one of the prime beneficiaries of the healthcare bill, probably only exceeded by the pharmaceutical companies (who got a real sweetheart of a deal).

    As I said, some people here don’t believe in economic freedom. Some people believe, it seems, in fascism.

    Is this the room for an argument or for abuse?

    It’s not okay for me to steal a Mercedes because the rich bastard can afford it and I don’t have a car.

    Do you believe public transportation is an acceptable use of your tax dollars to help people who cannot afford any car get back and forth to their jobs? Or is that just another socialist program robbing you of your hard earned dollars to give a hand out to those too lazy to walk?

    Look, this isn’t difficult. I believe that societies works best for everyone when it makes some provisions for it’s most vulnerable members. In most cases, that may only be temporary assistance but, in some cases, it may be permanent. I have travelled on business to countries with extensive government regulation and a pervasive welfare state and to some with neither. I am quite comfortable saying that I would not chose to live in either type environment. The former tend to uncompetitiveness and the latter are, for lack of a better word, [hell]holes.. But, I believe there is a place in the middle that can pair economic freedom with economic responsbility.

    First, there’s such a thing as the lesser of two evils. Second, no libertarian opposes hospitals or anything else giving away its services for free, as long as it is their choice and not government compulsion.

    Umm, you understand that the government mandates that emergency rooms cannot turn anyone away, right? And you also understand that while the services may be free to the specific person receiving them, they are not given away by the hospital. Doctors, nurses, intake clerks, orderlies, and janitors are still paid. And the supplies and ancillary services consumed still have to be paid for.

    And every business has to factor the cost of people who don’t pay into the prices they charge.

    .

    Indeed. They do so by charging paying customers more. In the case of hospitals, that means folks who pay out of pocket and/or via a health insurance policy. So, to repeat my point, you are apparently preferring the system where the poor can show up at a hospital, get services, not pay a dime, and have the total cost passed on to you versus the proposed system that would have some level of financial contribution, as well as actually create a larger group of participants to pool costs across. What leaves me scratching my head is that your preference is, essentially, a pure welfare system.

    Third, you don’t know very much about what libertarians think and apparently have them confused with some kind of cartoon.

    When asked to describe my political philosophy, I usually respond by calling myself a “weak libertarian.” I have read Rand extensively and Milton Friedman much less so and found them influential in my political thinking. Heck, I even voted for Harry Browne in 2000. I believe that markets, by and large, work and can, for the most part, work without government interference. I do also think that there are times that markets can fail and fail spectacularly and, in one recent such case, government intervention was necessary to stop the contagion from spreading. I also think, to the extent that civil society has not fully stepped up to the task, government can play a productive role in promoting the general welfare.

    So, if you feel the need to insult my level of understanding, have at it. I am quite sure I would fail any libertarian purity test. And happily so.

    insert amusing anecdote about a liberal who said something stupid and didn’t realize it. What an idiot! By extension all liberals are that dumb.,

    While true, the story was intended more as a parable than as an exhibition of my wit, although it has seemed to fail on both counts. The point of the parable is this and only this: People’s aversion to socialism ends at the lip of their pocket.

  65. . Government forces companies to operate safe work environments. It tells them how much it can pay employees and how many hours they can work….

    Yes, everyone knows that. Nobody here is arguing that every and all regulation is bad and should be done away with. We’re arguing about an incremental change in the law regarding health insurance policies–which, immediately, we were told it was “evil” and “greedy” to oppose. This change is ostensibly to provide affordable health care to more people who don’t have it without lowering the quality too much or raising the price too much. The question is, does it do that, and why is the business of the national government to be involved in doing that, and what will the long-term consequences be? Instead of arguing about that, you seem to think I’ve written Plato’s Republic or some such, and want to criticize axioms.

    The point here is that the health insurance companies that you are rising to defend really are doing quite well. And the recent healthcare bill will not change that. Indeed, I had read somewhere in the business press that the insurance companies will be one of the prime beneficiaries of the healthcare bill, probably only exceeded by the pharmaceutical companies (who got a real sweetheart of a deal).

    I don’t care if they do well or poorly by it. I am not a lobbyist for the insurance company. I am a person who desires health care, and needs insurance, and only has so much money for those things, just like you. And I do not think it is the national government’s business to a) change the law to force insurance companies to do something they did not want to do and b) compensate them in other ways with other parts of the legislation, for example by giving them a captive audience of consumers. I am opposed to crony capitalism AND socialism, as is our host. I don’t want businesses to make money by siccing the government on people. I don’t want people to have a Constitutional right to force others to pay their bills, either.

    Do you believe public transportation is an acceptable use of your tax dollars to help people who cannot afford any car get back and forth to their jobs? Or is that just another socialist program robbing you of your hard earned dollars to give a hand out to those too lazy to walk?

    You can argue with cartoons if you want. Public transportation has a lot of functions to fulfill, not just helping poor people get to work. There are many cost and benefit questions to be addressed besides that one. I’m too busy twirling my mustaches and counting my sacks with dollar signs on them to get to that argument now. I use public transportation every day, as a matter of fact, but I don’t demand it as an entitlement. The entire population of my state is taxed to pay for it and if they decide they don’t want to any more, I will find another way to get to work, or pay enough in fees that it pays for itself.

    Umm, you understand that the government mandates that emergency rooms cannot turn anyone away, right?

    Yes, I know that. I also know that the government says you can’t open a restaurant that refuses to serve black people. The government mandates a lot of things.

    What leaves me scratching my head is that your preference is, essentially, a pure welfare system.

    I believe that children shouldn’t have to pay their parents for meals and clothes and rent. Is that a “welfare system”? It depends on the role of the government in that system, not the fact that some people get something they don’t pay for.

    I believe that markets, by and large, work and can, for the most part, work without government interference. I do also think that there are times that markets can fail and fail spectacularly and, in one recent such case, government intervention was necessary to stop the contagion from spreading. I also think, to the extent that civil society has not fully stepped up to the task, government can play a productive role in promoting the general welfare.

    Yeah, pretty much everybody believes that. But the government literally takes with one that it gives with the other. Lately it’s been spending a great deal of money, to little observed benefit–but the interest payments are quite real.

    People’s aversion to socialism ends at the lip of their pocket.

    Any seventeen-year-old would say this. The fact is, any libertarian who is not an anarchist believes that the government has some function. And so I don’t see any contradiction in being a libertarian and being a cop, or a sergeant in the Marines, or even a Congressman.

  66. Rather than going point-by-point, which may get lengthy and tedious, let me just try and summarize.

    This change is ostensibly to provide affordable health care to more people who don’t have it without lowering the quality too much or raising the price too much. The question is, does it do that, and why is the business of the national government to be involved in doing that, and what will the long-term consequences be? Instead of arguing about that, you seem to think I’ve written Plato’s Republic or some such, and want to criticize axioms.

    Actually, no, I don’t think you wrote Plato’s Republic. In fact, solely as presented in this comment thread, your argument has lacked an internal consistency and a demonstrated an inconsistent grasp of the facts. First, you were concerned about insurance companies going bankrupt but that morphed into them receiving “ill-gotten” gains through crony capitalism. You think “[i]t’s not okay for me to steal a Mercedes because the rich bastard can afford it and I don’t have a car,” but don’t seem to have much objection to people showing up at emergency rooms where they cannot be turned away and get medical services that we end up having to pay for. You don’t “want people to have a Constitutional right to force others to pay their bills”, except of course, that is the role of government in a representative democracy. You don’t get veto power of Medicaid any more than Cindy Sheehan gets veto power over the war in Iraq.

    Now, I try to proceed from the assumption that, as you believe it, your argument does have an internal consistency. And the only way I can reconcile it is this. You are perfectly okay with the governments ability to tax and provide services, so long as it is services you benefit from (like law enforcement, national defense, and, apparently, public transportation). But, the government taking actions to fund programs you don’t benefit from is socialism and must be stopped. And that was the point of my little parable. Everyone is perfectly happy having the government shower services upon them, but God forbid that guy over there get something they didn’t. Now, I am perfectly willing to accept that isn’t your motivation. But, thus far, you haven’t given me anything else to go on. The floor is yours.

  67. carlsonjok

    You are perfectly okay with the governments ability to tax and provide services, so long as it is services you benefit from (like law enforcement, national defense, and, apparently, public transportation). But, the government taking actions to fund programs you don’t benefit from is socialism and must be stopped.

    I’ll respond to that, although it wasn’t aimed at me. It’s not at all a question of approving government spending only as long as it benefits me. There really are principles involved. Going back to the Revolution, we learn that they had specific reasons why there should be governments (securing very definable individual rights, not granting everyone’s wishes) and they went to war because government was wildly exceeding those functions they thought appropriate. In drafting the Constitution, they gave a small list of powers to Congress, and specifically said they were withholding everything else.

    So when the feds tax us, or incur debts we’ll have to pay, and they use the proceeds to do unauthorized things, it’s wrong. And when they tell me I have to fill out zillions of forms just to get through the day — well, anyone who loves liberty will understand the growing opposition to such madness.

    As for stuff like social security, I would have vigorously opposed it back in the day, but it’s now been encysted for a couple of generations and it’s difficult to undo without causing harm. But however popular it may be, it’s wrong in principle.

  68. You are perfectly okay with the governments ability to tax and provide services, so long as it is services you benefit from (like law enforcement, national defense, and, apparently, public transportation). But, the government taking actions to fund programs you don’t benefit from is socialism and must be stopped.

    carlsonjok, you can argue with me, or the cartoon of me you have constructed. If you’re going to make up things and attribute them to me I’m not going to bother to respond any further. Consider yourself the winner if you like.

    Nobody can calculate “my share” of the benefit I receive from the US Navy keeping the sea lanes open. It is a benefit diffused over the entire population. When I spend your money on my health care, it’s a little different situation, isn’t it? The benefit is going to me, and the costs are borne by you. Now if I were your child, you would do this voluntarily, but when the law says I am entitled to it that is another situation entirely.

    First, you were concerned about insurance companies going bankrupt but that morphed into them receiving “ill-gotten” gains through crony capitalism.

    My argument changed because I was arguing with different people. LRA said it was EVIL to disagree about this. Since I wasn’t laying out axioms in Plato’s Republic, I didn’t see the need to answer EVERY POSSIBLE OBJECTION ANYONE MIGHT RAISE. Both objections are based in the same principle. If you can’t see why that isn’t a contradiction I just don’t know what to tell you. It’s because you insist on attributing to me views I do not hold that you think it’s contradictory.

    If the government forces insurance companies to operate at a loss, there will be no insurance companies. Correct? And if the company doesn’t think it can do something without losing money, it will quit doing that thing. These are what we call if-then statements. I never said or implied that the companies are in imminent danger of bankruptcy. LRA said it was EVIL for companies to worry about losing money when CHILDREN are at stake. That is what I was arguing against. If companies don’t worry about that they can’t help the sick children.

    Now you said that the insurance companies will do quite well out of the health care bill–which of course is a much bigger subject than the issue of pre-existing conditions. I don’t dispute that–it will be because the government is rigging the game in their favor in many ways, at the price of making them do some things they don’t want to do. This is how monopoly utilities work, for example. But the government does not have the same interest that the insurance companies do, and neither has the same interests as consumers of health care. However, the government has a the power of coercion. The government will fatten these insurance companies like cattle, and milk them like cattle, and protect from competition like cattle, and the result will be an uncompetitive system which may or may not give most of us better outcomes than what we currently have.

    You don’t seem to have much objection to people showing up at emergency rooms where they cannot be turned away and get medical services that we end up having to pay for.

    I don’t have an objection to supermarkets I patronize giving free food to the food bank; food that I have to pay for. Again, you only think this is a contradiction because you insist on attributing to me positions I don’t hold. Furthermore, you don’t seem to grasp that since I do not get to wipe society clean and build my libertarian utopia, I have to argue about incremental change. Some people want to change the system we have. Is this a change for the better? Sure I can say yes or no to this question without having to justify all of my principles. I can surely argue against something that is less consistent with my principles than what we currently have, and still be reasonable, can’t I?

    You’re not stupid. You’re doing this as a rhetorical trick. If I did say that all hospitals and cops and firefighters and the US Navy should be run privately and whatnot you’d say I was irrational ANYWAY. So either a) I’m pragmatic and inconsistent or b) I’m completely logical and an utter looney which no has to take seriously. Either way, you don’t feel any obligation to jump through the hoops you insist I must.

    You don’t “want people to have a Constitutional right to force others to pay their bills”, except of course, that is the role of government in a representative democracy.

    No, that’s the role you think it should have, and if you were in France or Belgium the vast majority of people would agree, I’m sure. But you seem to have confused your opinions with objective fact. In America, we are free to decide this question consistent with our Constitution, as SC pointed out.

    I am tired of your misrepresentations of what I have said, and your continual demands that I prove that I am motivated by a self-consistent philosophy and not my self-interest; which you never demand of yourself or anyone who agrees with you.

    Declare yourself the winner if you like, but I will not engage you further on this subject.

  69. If you’re going to make up things and attribute them to me

    I’ve gone to great pains to ensure that I was only reacting to what you wrote and only what you wrote. Obviously, you feel I have failed to achieve that. Perhaps the format is too limiting to make ourselves clearly understood. Since you are disengaging, I won’t bother to respond to most of what you wrote. But, there are a couple things to say in closing and one sincere question.

    No, that’s the role you think it should have, and if you were in France or Belgium the vast majority of people would agree, I’m sure. But you seem to have confused your opinions with objective fact.

    The minute a government in a represented democracy chooses to spend that first dollar, it has made the choice to force someone to pay someone else’s bills. Because, for every dollar in the budget, there will be someone who objects to the expense and someone who benefits beyond their contribution. There is no way around that, except by abolition of government. Your argument seems to come down to you only want the government to spend on things you approve of. The only thing I can say in response (with some humor intended) is that there is a club for people like you. It is called “Everybody.” Which, of course, brings us full circle to how exactly do we arbitrate amongst all those preferences and objections? As you correctly note, “[i]n America, we are free to decide this question consistent with our Constitution,” And we do, every time we vote.

    I do have one last question? It is a point of curiousity and not a setup. Indeed, I won’t even respond should you choose to answer the question. Is there some other country in the world that more closely approximates the libertarian ideal that you aspire to?

    your continual demands that I prove that I am motivated by a self-consistent philosophy and not my self-interest;

    The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Indeed, a philosophy that openly admits self-interest is a self-consistent philosophy.

  70. carlsonjok asks:

    Is there some other country in the world that more closely approximates the libertarian ideal that you aspire to?

    Gabe may not answer, but I’ll give you my own response regarding my ideal. I can think of a couple. One was Hong Kong, before the mainland Chinese re-absorbed it. Like Hong Kong, the other I’m thinking of is also gone — or radically changed — but many of us remember it or have read about it. The name should be familiar: The United States of America.