And the Republicans are Selling…

Nothing.

Speaking for myself only, I want affordable, high-quality healthcare for everyone, which is only achievable through changing the current system. If you’re curious what the Republican response is to that preference, check out that link. You’ll find that they’re looking to improve healthcare by… doing nothing but opposing Democrats no matter what.

Keep it up, guys. Through 2012, preferably.

Side note: the gem of a man who’s being quoted in that article is Frank Luntz, whose specialty is to put people in power in government by making words not mean what they mean and avoiding actually communicating about policy and issues. You can thank him for “climate change” as a euphemism for “global warming”, which, in classic spinster style, he’s now backed down on.

Link via my man Steve.

10 Responses to “And the Republicans are Selling…”

  1. Where to begin…

    First, there is nothing in the Constitution that allows the federal government to get involved with health care. It’s not there. I’ve looked and there is no authority granted the US Government to do anything about health care. So when the Republicans “do nothing” it’s because there ISN’T anything they could do. Of course, health care isn’t the only unconstitutional thing the federal government does (let’s start with the TARP, then the auto bailout and it goes on and on). It’s a rejection of the premise that the federal government should do something.

    Second, life isn’t fair (http://www.scragged.com/articles/joe-the-plumber-and-the-myth-of-fairness.aspx). People SHOULD help each other out (and the evidence is clear that conservatives are more generous than liberals are) but we can’t force each other to do it. As the old example goes: A guy mugs you at gunpoint and gets $100. He keeps $20 for himself and then hands $80 to a bumb. The guy that mugged you is a thief regardless of his motivation. The federal government takes, upon threat of force, money from you to give to me. That’s OK? Look, I’m the first to say that I may have a moral obligation to help you out, but I have no moral obligation to take money from my neighbor to help you out. Proving health care to everyone will require theft of money from some to pay for it for others. There is no other way. http://www.scragged.com/articles/what-price-a-life.aspx for more reading on this.

    One other really quick question: Why did Congress exempt itself from recent climate change legislation and is planning to exempt itself from the health care bill Obama is pushing? If it’s so great for all of us, why are they not participating?

    The second point is not nearly as important as the first point. The first point is that the government, under our constitution, cannot do anything about proving health care.

  2. Steve Laniel says:

    First, there is nothing in the Constitution that allows the federal government to get involved with health care.

    There’s nothing in the Constitution that says a lot of things. There’s nothing in there about Medicare. There’s nothing in there about the Department of Education. There’s nothing in there about Social Security. Somehow I think American jurisprudence has caught up with the government on these things. I don’t know the answer, but my suspicion is that the government can do it if it’s not expressly forbidden. For instance, if the Department of Ed were trespassing upon your freedom of speech, that would be forbidden, but merely setting educational standards is not.

    A guy mugs you at gunpoint and gets $100. He keeps $20 for himself and then hands $80 to a bumb. The guy that mugged you is a thief regardless of his motivation. The federal government takes, upon threat of force, money from you to give to me. That’s OK?

    Taxes are what we pay to defend our freedoms. You want that freedom of speech? Then clearly you want someone to defend it at the point of a gun.

    Taxes are also there because not all of your success accrues to you. You’re successful because you were lucky enough to be born in the United States. You’re successful because your parents and grandparents were successful. Your business is successful because there’s a system of roads that allows your suppliers to send their packages to you cheaply. (Why, in your list of grievances against the Federal government, didn’t you include the Interstate Highway System? The Constitution gives the government the right to build “post roads.” Clearly, then, the Interstate is a violation.) Your business is successful because there are police protecting you. (Why are libertarians always on about taxes levied by the Federal government, but never by the local government? Why aren’t libertarians up in arms about zoning laws, which tell you what you can and can’t do with your property?)

    Why did Congress exempt itself from recent climate change legislation and is planning to exempt itself from the health care bill Obama is pushing? If it’s so great for all of us, why are they not participating?

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. First of all, Obama isn’t pushing anything. You clearly haven’t been paying attention. Obama set out some principles for universal health care, and asked Congress to write bills that meet those principles. There’s a committee in the Senate called HELP that has written one bill; the Finance committee has written another. In the House, there’s a three-committee group getting together to write their bill.

    Second, I have no idea what you mean by Congress’s exempting itself from the climate-change bill. The main part of the climate-change bill was cap-and-trade. Are you familiar with cap-and-trade? You could try to convince me that Congress would ordinarily trade pollution credits if it hadn’t “exempted” itself, but I don’t know what that even means.

    As for the health-care bill: one large selling point from the beginning has been that the American people would get the same health coverage that members of Congress already get. So again, I don’t know what it would mean to say that Congress has exempted itself from its own law.

  3. chris r says:

    I’ll second everything that Steve said. I’m always confused by the Libertarian argument, which seems to think the Wild West will yield the best results for humanity.

    Also, I’m not sure where the idea of “fair” came in. Believe me, I’ve experienced the unfairness of life. But to extol the virtues of a mythical laissez-faire government ignores the reason why we participate in government and construct a system of participation in the first place (flawed though it may be): to raise the lowest levels. It’s not a matter of fair or unfair. It’s a matter of creating as much chance to bounce back from hardship and tragedy, and acknowledge that the value of a human being is not simply their ability to operate in the free market. Your hair-slicing about I-like-helping-but-not-that-kind-of-helping is hard to swallow when we’re considering issues of national and international scope.

    Taxes are the price of liberty. And, speaking for myself, I’d rather not spend my time on my roof with a rifle trying to defend my freedoms all day. Someone will always have the monopoly on violence. I’d rather it be the U.S. government, armed forces, and police than just about any other group on the planet. Again, it’s far from perfect, but just look around the world for examples of how easy it is for things to go wrong in far worse ways.

  4. PaulBegala2 says:

    You guys honestly believe this stuff? Really?

  5. Cylar says:

    Steve, it’s cute that you apparently see nothing wrong with the US government attempting to nationalize an entire industry (health insurance) which in this case would amount to around 1/6 of the entire US economy.

    I’m not even going to delve into the details of your “analysis” of the first guy’s post. As he said, I would hardly know where to begin.

    I will, however, address one salient point. You said:

    “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says a lot of things. There’s nothing in there about Medicare. There’s nothing in there about the Department of Education. There’s nothing in there about Social Security.”

    Yes, none of which are authorized by the Constitution, none of which existed before the early 20th century (or in the DoE’s case, 1979), which we somehow got by without for a long, long time before that.

    “Somehow I think American jurisprudence has caught up with the government on these things.”

    Whatever. I guess we’re more enlightened today than the Founding Fathers, eh?

    “I don’t know the answer, but my suspicion is that the government can do it if it’s not expressly forbidden.”

    Dead wrong. You’ve got it exactly backwards. I refer you to the 10th Amendment:

    Those powers not expressly granted to the federal government by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved for the states, or to the people.”

    In other words, the federal government is only empowered to do EXACTLY what the Constitution permits, and the states/people are empowered to do anything NOT EXPRESSLY prohibited. (Examples: sign treaties, coin money, revoke habeas corpus.)

    For further reading:

    http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/

    I think you’d better check it out. Clearly you were sick that day in high school civics class.

  6. Cylar says:

    I’ll second everything that Steve said. I’m always confused by the Libertarian argument, which seems to think the Wild West will yield the best results for humanity.

    You’re even further off the deep end than Steve is, and that’s saying something.

    Also, I’m not sure where the idea of “fair” came in. Believe me, I’ve experienced the unfairness of life.

    Cry me a river.

    But to extol the virtues of a mythical laissez-faire government ignores the reason why we participate in government and construct a system of participation in the first place (flawed though it may be): to raise the lowest levels.

    You’re like those enlightened souls of late who throw around the phrase “peer reviewed” without any understanding of what the term really means.

    And here, I thought the purpose of government was to keep the peace – keep foreign armies out of our territory and put criminals in jail, not “raise the lowest levels.” You’re confusing a free nation with a socialist one.

    It’s not a matter of fair or unfair. It’s a matter of creating as much chance to bounce back from hardship and tragedy, and acknowledge that the value of a human being is not simply their ability to operate in the free market.

    You don’t get out much, do you? Maybe you need to turn off CNN and stay off Huffington Post for awhile. Clearly they’re clouding your judgement and giving you a skewed idea of what “fair” really is. The value of a human being (I don’t mean in the philosophical sense, merely the economic one) is PRECISELY what he can produce via the free market. Silly me again…I thought this was what we used to set salaries – the value attached to someone’s labor and skills.

    Your hair-slicing about I-like-helping-but-not-that-kind-of-helping is hard to swallow when we’re considering issues of national and international scope.

    And like so many good little leftists, you are utterly confused about the difference between government welfare payments and private charity. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d banish forever from the world, this absurd idea that giving other people’s money away somehow equals compassion.

    Taxes are the price of liberty. And, speaking for myself, I’d rather not spend my time on my roof with a rifle trying to defend my freedoms all day.

    ….which has absolutely no bearing on the subject at hand (the Constitution). Taxes are provided for in the 16th Amendment.

    Someone will always have the monopoly on violence. I’d rather it be the U.S. government, armed forces, and police than just about any other group on the planet.

    Funny. I’d rather it be the American people. The government is supposed to be afraid of us, not the other way around. Speaking of the Bill of Rights again, that’s the entire reason we have a 2nd Amendment. It’s not there to protect our right to hunt or to make sure everyone understands that the army and police are allowed to carry weapons. It’s a bulwark against tyranny, nothing more. I have a huge problem with all these morons on the Left who think that capitalists are greedy swine who must always be held in check, but the politicians are just benevolent wonderful angelic beings who always look out for society’s best interests.

    Foreign governments and groups don’t enter into the discussion here. We’re talking about domestic policy. The only thing I want the government’s armies doing is killing our enemies, preferably before they get anywhere near our territory or interests.

    Again, it’s far from perfect, but just look around the world for examples of how easy it is for things to go wrong in far worse ways.

    BZZZZT! Perfection was never the point. And I’ve got a HUGE problem with anyone who thinks the institution is perfectible. Efforts to get it there have given us concentration camps to hold the millions who had to be slaughtered on the way to utopia. You’d think people hadn’t just finished living through the assorted horrors of the 20th century.

    Government, in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst, an intolerable one. I don’t remember who said that, but it’s gold. The less of it we have, the better.

    Morons. Both of you.

  7. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says a lot of things. There’s nothing in there about Medicare. There’s nothing in there about the Department of Education. There’s nothing in there about Social Security. Somehow I think American jurisprudence has caught up with the government on these things. I don’t know the answer, but my suspicion is that the government can do it if it’s not expressly forbidden.
    Taxes are the price of liberty. And, speaking for myself, I’d rather not spend my time on my roof with a rifle trying to defend my freedoms all day. Someone will always have the monopoly on violence. I’d rather it be the U.S. government, armed forces, and police than just about any other group on the planet.

    Well SAID, you two!

    Let’s call the new bill “The Declaration of Dependence”!

  8. chris r says:

    You guys honestly believe this stuff? Really?

    Yes.

    Also, my favorite part of Libertarianism is that I’m meant to trust people who want to measure human worth in terms of dollars. That sounds really good. Because history shows that corporate dominance of a people works out very well for everyone.

  9. Steve Laniel says:

    You know, I honestly think we’d all do fine if we sat down and had a beer with one another. You folks are probably not “off the deep end.” Neither is Chris. Neither am I. We are all perfectly sane people. Put us on the web, though, and we’re allowed to sling ad hominems to our hearts’ content. When you do that, and it’s the only thing I know about you, it inspires me to think that you’re all sorts of bad adjectives. Which is a shame, because you’re probably none of those things.

    So here’s my offer: if you’re on the east coast (I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and right now I’m in Manhattan), let’s grab a nice cocktail. It’s on me. If you’re not on the east coast, we may need to work harder at it. Anyway, I like cocktails. Let’s do it.

    Second, let’s set up a rule that when we’re debating something, we won’t address each other specifically. We’ll address the argument. You can call my argument stupid, but how about not calling me stupid? I’m not stupid. I doubt you’re stupid. I may have made the mistake of saying some ad-hominemish things, like suggesting that my correspondent hasn’t been paying attention to the news. I’m sorry about that. Won’t happen again.

    Now, as to the substance of your arguments: the Supreme Court resolved the issue of whether Social Security is constitutional back in the 30s. The Social Security Administration links to those Court decisions here: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/court.html

    The proposed health-insurance programs will not “nationalize” health insurance. Medicare didn’t nationalize health insurance. I respectfully request citations backing up the assertion that these bills will nationalize anything. The bills are actually quite minor, though they do bring health coverage to millions of poor people who’ve never had it. Poor people, when they’re not insured, die more often of preventable diseases. They delay necessary dental care and live in pain for far longer than they should.

    That’s the heart of the matter: there are suffering poor people, and we — as human beings — owe them surcease from their suffering. We can argue over whether the government is the right agent to end suffering, but it’s clear to me that they are. There is, of course, much to argue on this point. The first of many things I could say is this: before Medicare, the elderly poor were a national disgrace; Medicare ended that disgrace. In fact, Medicare fixed the problem so thoroughly that we now picture the elderly as wealthy golf players living in Florida.

    I’m not saying that government miraculously fixes problems. I am saying that it’s not automatically the case that government = failure.

    It’s also not the case that government = socialism. Ronald Reagan recorded a famous series of ads in the 60s in opposition to Medicare, as part of a project called Operation Coffee Cup; he asserted that Medicare was the first stage of socialism. (Look up Operation Coffee Cup if you’d like. The recordings are on YouTube.) Socialism didn’t come to the U.S., and there’s no reason to think that it would.

    There’s of course plenty more to say here. I’d be glad to say it over a beer. You game?

  10. Steve,

    I don’t know if that was directed at me — it probably wasn’t — but if it was, it’s a very classy move and you’re absolutely right. You are to be congratulated for being classy and for being right, whether it was directed at me or not.

    I’m in Sacramento. So if you’ve already had the beer summit, consider me to have been there in spirit. If it’s in the future, I will attend, again, in spirit. But I must say: You will not resolve the differences in politics this way. It has to do with placing greater value on personal independence and responsibility, over & above guarantees and personal security — versus — guarantees and personal security over & above personal independence and responsibility. Such issues are inextricably intertwined with our personalities. The solution is not an exchange of niceties over a cold beverage, the solution is isolation. We need to take these unreasonable “libertarian” folks like myself, with our unreasonable viewpoints about what community spirit really is, who want the opportunity to succeed even if it involves a little more personal risk…band us together, and get rid of us. Maybe send us off to some isolated land mass to start our own country, while the rest of the world goes all wonky and socialist, with some founding documents that dwell on the truths we hold to be self-evident, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…

    I’m at a loss for what this country should be called. Do you have any ideas for me? United, United, Unites States of…after that, I’m at something of a loss.

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