Monday, December 27, 2010

Brave New World Of Government Health Care

Do you remember back during the debate on Obamacare when Sarah Palin said it would lead to death panels? The supporters of the government takeover of healthcare went nuts. The said there absolutely would not be any death panels, Sarah was an idiot and had no idea what she was talking about, how could she be so stupid, etc., etc., etc.

I have news: The death panels are already here.

There is a new drug out for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. It has been shown to increase life by an average of four months in such patients. But, the drug is expensive; the treatment for the four months costs about $100,000, or around $25,000 per month.

A Medicare panel is deciding whether or not Medicare will cover the use of this drug.

Now, $25,000 a month is expensive. A person in that situation, however, might think it’s worth it. But the decision of whether such patients get to live for four additional months is not going to be made by the patient and his family, or the patient and his doctor, or even the patient and some evil insurance company. No, this decision is being made by a bunch of nameless, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats buried deep in the Medicare labyrinth. A death panel, in other words. The death panels are a-l-r-e-a-d-y here.

Do you also remember back during the debate on Obamacare when some people pointed out that once the government got control of our health care, they would use that as the reason to take over almost all aspects of our lives? The government’s justification, it was predicted, would be that since the government is paying for our healthcare, the government would assume the right to take whatever steps it feels are necessary to keep us “healthy”, thereby keeping healthcare costs down. Again, the people predicting this were ridiculed and vilified by those pushing the government takeover of health care.

I have more news: This, too, is a-l-r-e-a-d-y happening.

Congress recently passed and President Obama signed into law a $4.5 billion bill that dictates to schools what they can and cannot do concerning food served on school premises. This is being done, we are told, in order to reduce childhood obesity and thus reduce healthcare costs. The bill gives the government the power to decide what kinds of foods may be sold in school lunch lines and in school vending machines. The bill could even limit “frequent” school bake sales and fundraisers that give kids more opportunities to eat brownies and pizza instead of foods deemed to “healthy” by the government.

The way this will work is that the federal government can now impose new nutrition standards on schools. These standards will cover not only what kinds of foods may be sold, but also what ingredients can be used. These new nutrition standards will be written by the Department of Agriculture.

It gets worse. The bill also will limit the number of school bake sales and other school fundraisers that sell “unhealthy” food such as burgers and fries, brownies, cakes, and cookies. Such events could only be held “infrequently” under this new law. Again, the Department of Agriculture is empowered to determine how often such events can be held.

I can just see it. At the “health food sale” before the high school football game, the PTA will be selling bean curd, lettuce, spinach, apples, celery, carrots, V8 juice, and other such goodies. During half time, the concession stand will sell salads, granola, and skim milk. Prominently displayed in both cases will be their federal government permit and foodstuff approval. I’m sure they will make lots of money for their latest school improvement projects.

We have now reached a point where the federal government will determine what your children are allowed to eat in school and how often bake sales can be held. These decisions will not be made by the PTA, local school cooks or nutritionists, school principals, the superintendent, or the school board; these decisions will be made by bureaucrats in the Department of Agriculture.

Did you get that? If you want to have a bake sale, the Feds will be making sure you don’t do it too often. In order to have a bake sale beyond your government decreed limit, you’ll have to fill out a bunch of paperwork and get approval from the Feds. For a bake sale!!!!

This is all in the name of reducing the government’s tab for health care costs, as was predicted.

There will undoubtedly be much more to come in the brave, new world of government run healthcare.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Isaiah 9: 6-7

"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on upon his shoulder, and his name shall be 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the thrones of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Now The World Is Safe

The mentality of the people pushing nuclear disarmament is that if the U.S. doesn't give up it's nuclear weapons today, the whole world will be vaporized tomorrow by widespread thermo-nuclear war. I continually am amazed at how much sheer idiocy passes for reasoned thought in the public policy forum.

The U.S. Senate yesterday ratified the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia. Under the terms of this treaty, the U.S. will have to reduce it's deployed nuclear delivery systems, but Russia will not have to get rid one. The delivery systems are more significant that the actual nuclear warheads, since a warhead is of no use if it can't be sent to a target. So we have to reduce the number of deployed nuclear delivery systems, but Russia doesn't (because they are already below the limit). Does everyone feel safe, now?

I have a few very significant questions for the nuclear disarmament people:

1. Does anyone in the world have to be worried about being nuked by the U.S. or Russia, the countries signing this treaty?
2. Does anyone in the world have to be worried about being nuked by Pakistan, Iran, or North Korea, who are not covered by this treaty?
3. Now that the U.S. has proved it's righteousness to the world with regards to nuclear weapons via START, how long will it be before Iran stops developing a nuclear bomb? They will now stop, won't they?
4. Now that the U.S. has proved it's righteousness to the world with regards to nuclear weapons via START, will the little maniacal despot in North Korea see the error of his ways and destroy his nuclear weapons (or stop trying to get them)? How long will it be before he does that? He will now stop, won't he?
5. If all of the nuclear weapons in the world vanished this instant, would the slaughter of millions of people in Sudan, Congo, and Liberia stop?

Here is my challenge to the nuclear disarmament people: Comment on this posting with your specific answers to the above questions, one by one. Platitudes and moralizing will not be accepted; only specific answers to these questions will be accepted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Terrorists Attack Attempts In The Last Two Years.

James Carafano, a national security expert at The Heritage Foundation, reported on a news show today that there have been a total of 36 foiled terrorist attempts on the U.S. since 911 (some major, some minor), and that there has been an uptick in attempts in the last two years, and particularly in the last year.

More terrorists attempts in the last two years. Hmmmmm. What changed a couple of years ago that could lead terrorists to increase their efforts in attacking us? Maybe perceived weakness in our national leadership?

Meanwhile, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, said recently that her department in working hard on the threat posed by global warming

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gingrich and Cuccinelli At Heritage Foundation

At Heritage's President’s Club, Gingrich Calls for New Conservative Revolution

The keynote speaker at Heritage's annual President’s Club dinner in Washington on Dec. 9 and 10, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, did not disappoint.

Gingrich outlined his plan for a new conservative revolution, suggesting 2021 as a date by which America will be re-oriented towards conservative principles. And, the former Georgia Congressman added, “there is no better place than The Heritage Foundation to create a new outline of the conservative movement.”

Speaking to the unique nature of power, Gingrich explored the differences between how liberals and conservatives view the source of power. In the conservative view—the view of the Founders, the view that makes America exceptional—”power comes from God to each one of you personally. You loan power to the state. The state never loans power to you.”

Gingrich explained a plan to teach American exceptionalism to future generations. He demanded that “every student in a school: elementary, high school, and college, if funded by tax dollars, should encounter the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

Addressing the controversy over TSA screenings, Gingrich said what should be obvious: “We have to tell the truth about who is trying to kill us and act on that truth… Checking out an 83-year-old nun from Des Moines is not national security. It’s stupidity.”

To watch Gingrich's full remarks, go to

Read more coverage of this year's President's Club meeting, including speeches by Sen. Jim DeMint, Erick Erickson, Heritage President Ed Feulner, and more.

Cuccinelli Calls for 'Federalism in Action' at President’s Club

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made a rousing case for “federalism in action” and for reading the Constitution as it was written during an address last week to The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club meeting in Washington.

Cuccinelli, who has led the legal charge against Obamacare, said it’s encouraging that states are starting to check federal power–”and that’s exactly what the Founders intended.”

Cuccinelli's legal case against Obamacare, stating that the individual mandate is in violation of the Commerce clause of the Constitution, was recently upheld by a federal judge.

“This is supposed to be a government of limited, enumerated powers,” he said. “It would no longer be such if we lose this case” and overreaches of federal power like individual mandate are allowed to stand.

“The health care fight is not about health care,” he added. “It is about liberty.”

But Obamacare is hardly the only threat to constitutional government and liberty, Cuccinelli argued. Government agencies like the EPA and NLRB are “smothering liberty” with their regulations that micromanage Americans’ lives and overstep the federal government’s authority.

Defeating these assaults on liberty will require conservatives to return again and again to America’s first principles. Cuccinelli cited the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights, which held "that no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."

To ensure these principles endure, he argued that conservatives must educate the American people about why the Founders’ principles matter. And, he said, “Heritage is a key player in this.”

“We can fight back,” he concluded. “We can win this battle.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Republicans Vote For A Big Tax Increase

The tax deal passed this week in Washington contains an increase in the death tax (a.k.a. estate tax) from the current level of zero percent to 35% in some cases. Many Republicans in the House and Senate voted for this.

The death tax is arguably truly evil. Here's how it works. Let's say you work hard all your life and pay your taxes. You manage to save over the years from what the government doesn't take from you, and you build up a nest egg. Being a frugal and self-reliant person, you save it instead of spending it. Who knows, someday, you may need that money. As a result, when you die, your nest egg is still there. Remember, it's all money left over from the many taxes you paid during your life. But when you die, you will pay a 35% tax on your "estate" (actually, your "estate" will pay the tax, but let's not get into technicalities). So, for example, if you managed to save up $100,000, when you die, the government will take $35,000 of it, if the estate tax is 35%.

Yes, I know that the bill just passed in Congress exempts estates valued at under $10 million; but the push over time will no doubt be to lower that threshold as we continue to hear about making the rich pay their fair share.

There are even more pernicious aspects to an estate tax.

Keep in mind that a person's "estate" consists of everything they own, not just money in the bank. One's estate includes land, buildings, personal property, everything. So when a person dies, the total value of everything they own is added up and that is the amount that would be subject to estate tax laws.

Consider small, family farmers. Many of them are land rich and cash poor. A small farm of two or three hundred acres that has been in the family for generations may be worth a few million dollars due to the increased market price of the land over time, but the farmer's current annual income may very well be modest, since it takes a lot of acreage to make a little money in farming. $200 per acre is considered a standard rate of return for many small farms. So the value of the small farmer's land may be high, but his income will probably be very moderate. When such a farmer dies, his "estate" will include the value of the land, and if it goes over the exemption limit, his heirs would have to pay the estate tax. If the estate hits that $10 million mark that is in the recently passed law, the 35% tax would be levied, which comes to $3,500,000. Since the small farmer almost surely does not have that much money in the bank, in order to pay the estate tax, his heirs would have to sell off a big chunk of the farm (or cough up the money themselves).

So the government is essentially confiscating one's property via the estate tax when they die. Truly evil.

As I said, the current death tax (a.k.a. estate tax) is zero percent across the board, and the new tax "compromise" raises it to 35% on estates valued at $10 million or grater, a hugh increase. Many Republicans in both the House and Senate voted for this tax "compromise" bill. In addition, the stage is now set for the exemption limit to be under continual attack in attempts to lower it, thereby causing more and more people to pay the death tax. Anyone who resists these attempts to continually lower the estate tax exemption limit will be demonized as not wanting the "rich" to pay their fair share. Thanks, Republicans.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Business As Usual In Washington

One commentator said that the Americn people didn't have an election in November, they issued a restraining order. Senator Jim DeMint said that the election results were't a mandate for Republicans, but rather the Republicans had been given a second chance.

It seems as though the Republican leadership still doesn't get it.

The tax compromise recently struck by Obama and the Republican leaders (McConnell and Boehner) is more "business as usual" in Washington. It's as though the election never happened; nothing has changed in their approach.

The tax proposal does leave all current tax rates in place, thus preventing an economic catrastropy come January 1 by raising taxes. But the extension of current tax rates is only for two years. Our fearless leaders are just kicking that can down the road. It does nothing to remove the tax uncertainty on businesses, thus still leaving them reluctant to spend money by hiring. They still have that looming tax increase (in two years) hanging over their heads.

Message to Republicans: You won the election!! People want to see a new approach coming out of Washington, not more of the same old political maneuvering. If keeping tax rates where they are now is a good thing, then it's also good in two years. Fight that battle now, Republicans, while you are fresh off of a big election win; don't leave it hanging out there. The tax rates should be made permanent. Do that, and let the Dems propose tax increases whenever they so desire. "The votes aren't there", you say. Well, in January, they will be.

Next, the current tax compromise extends unemployment payments for another thirteen months by means of borrowed money. There were no offsetting spending cuts. Again, more business as usual. The people let it be known forcefully that they were fed up with out of control deficity spending in Congress, yet only a month later, there they go again.

And the tax compromise is larded up with earmarks in the form of special tax breaks for such vital national interests as NASCAR and Hollywood.!! Unbelievable!!

I recommend that the Republicans come to their senses, quickly. The tax question should be in a bill addressing that alone. Let's have a debate and vote on the tax issue by itself, so the positions on whether or not taxes should be raised will be clear. Have that debate clearly; don't cloud it with other things thrown into the bill. If you can't do that now, then do it in January when you will have a big majority in the House, and increased numbers in the Senate.

If the Republicans continue with "business as usual", they will squander their big election win and probably put themselves into extinction by means of the rise of a third party that "gets it".

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Nanny-state's Work Is Never Done

The government has been telling us for years about all the things we eat that are not good for us: fried foods, red meat, sweets, salt, etc. As soon as we fix one bad eating habit, we are informed by the government of yet another one. It never stops; we never reach a point where our diet is now OK. Their work is never done.

Here’s the latest effort by the nanny-state to protect us from our bad eating habits. Kids in San Francisco will no longer be able to get a toy with their Happy Meal. The city’s board of supervisors recently banned the inclusion of a toy with meals that they deem to be unhealthy. In other words, Happy Meals as we know them have been banned in SF. Really; I’m not making this up.

The wise solons in San Francisco have decided that those pernicious Happy Meals are killing our children because the meals are so unhealthy, with all of that fat and red meat and, well, lot’s of other bad stuff.

Those evil fast food restaurants go so far as to put toys in those deadly Happy Meals to lure unsuspecting children into wanting them, not caring a whit about the death and destruction being so wrought on the young, all in pursuit of PROFIT. It’s an outrage!!!

It’s as bad as the witch with the ginger bread house who lured Hansel and Gretel in, and then threw them in the oven for dinner.

And you parents are either so dumb about what’s going on or so complicit that you readily take your kids to these fast food places and happily buy them a Happy Meal!! Revolting. You’re a menace to your children, and the government has now stepped in to exercise oversight on you irresponsible parents.

Now that Happy Meals have been taken care of, what’s the next diet danger for kids? All of that “trick-or-treat” candy kids get on Halloween is also wrecking their health --------.

The nanny-state has been busily at work in other areas. They have also been telling us for decades how bad smoking is for our health. In order to combat this national health hazard, cigarette advertising was banned from radio and TV and billboards, warning labels were put on cigarette packs, public information campaigns were conducted, and the rate of smoking went down dramatically. (Except in Asia. Don’t ever go to a meeting in a small room with Korean businessmen, as I did many times. You’ll suffocate due to all of the smoke.)

But here again, the nanny-state’s work is never done. Reducing the rate of smoking wasn’t enough. After that was accomplished, the nannies switched to second hand smoke. In this next phase of the anti-smoking campaign, smoking was no longer a matter of personal choice where one could take the health risks if they so chose. No, we were told that smoking was not only bad for the smoker, but also bad for anyone who happened to be in the vicinity. Smokers became miscreants in the eyes of the nannies, and they had to be controlled, for the good of all. Planes and restaurants had to have “no smoking” sections, to protect the non-smoker from the smoker. And it was done,

But even that wasn’t enough. The nannies then told us we had to ban smoking in planes and restaurants and public building all together. And it was done.

Still the problem wasn’t fixed. Next, entire college campuses and office complexes and shopping malls had to become “smoke free”, to protect passers-by from the slightest whiff of drifting smoke.

The war on smoking is another example of how the nanny-state’s work is never done. No matter how extreme the measures are that are taken in response to some issue, we later learn that it’s not enough; more must be done.

The same is true with gasoline mileage for cars. One may reasonably ask what legitimate right the government has to dictate how efficient the cars we drive must be, but that’s a different issue. The point here is that miles-per-gallon requirements were set for cars, and they were achieved. But, now it’s not enough. We continually hear how congress wants ever more stringent mileage requirements. The problem is never solved. No matter how high the mpg of modern cars is, it’s not adequate. More must be done; mpg must go even higher. Eventually, we must be forced to switch to electric cars. The nanny-state’s work is never done.

I could go on and on. Air pollution: Much has been done over the past decades to clean up the air, but, again, it’s never enough. New boogie-men must continually be found, the latest for the air being CO2 (green house gasses). And you can bet that even if harsh CO2 rules and regulations are put in place, it won’t fix the problem in the eyes of the nannies. Once CO2 emissions are reduced, or if the CO2 boogie-man just goes away, a new air pollution problem will then be found, and the whole cycle will start anew.

How about guns? Alcohol? Same story.

The nanny-state mentality is very dangerous to freedom. These people do not believe in “live and let live”; they believe in “live according to our dictates”.

If the nannies are vegetarians because they think that is a healthier diet, they feel compelled to force everyone else to become a vegetarian also. If they ride a bike to work in order to reduce their “carbon footprint”, then others should do likewise. If they want to use squiggly light bulbs to save energy, then a law needs to be passed forcing you and I to get rid of incandescent bulbs. If they recycle, so must we. Etc, etc, etc.

The lesson here is to be aware of what is going on, and to oppose the expansion of the nanny-state.

Jessee Ring
Nov. 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Obama Finally Gets It On Unemployment And Agrees With Me

You may remember from the primary/convention campaign last spring that I kept saying that government doesn't create jobs, private enterprise does. I said that businesses large and small in a free economy are where jobs come from, and if the government wants to create jobs, it should reduce the tax-disincentive to businesses for hiring by reducing the payroll tax. I said that many times.

After one failed "stimulus" after another, Obama has finally seen the light and now agrees with me. In the tax rate extension deal he has proposed, he included a provision to reduce the payroll tax (albeit temporarily) as a jobs-creation move!!!

If he had listened to me months ago, we could have saved the tax payers all those trillions of wasted "stimulus" which pushed the unemployment up not down. If he had listened at that time, we could have reduced the payroll tax way back then which would have brought unemployment down by now, thus increasing tax revenues, helping the economy, and saving the government money by not having to pay out so much in unemployment benefits (which have also been extended yet again in the tax rate deal). The problem would have been solved by now, if he had listened back then.

But better late than never.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Obama On How To Reduce Unemployment

Today I heard President Obama say that unemployment payments need to be extended, yet again, because it will help the economy and thus reduce unemployment.

Is this man sane?

This is not rocket science; it's actually pretty simple. The way to bring unemployment down is to have fewer people be unemployed. That happens when they get a job - when they become employed. Jobs come from businesses large and small when they hire people. So, to creat jobs and thereby reduce unemployment, we need to create an economic environment wherein businesses can prosper and grow and hire people. Is it really so hard to understand this?

The unemployed need a job, not another handout.

But yet here we have the President of the United States actually saying that the way to reduce unemployment is to keep the unemployed on the government dole for as long as possible.

2012 is coming.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Death Panels Already In Operation

Do you remember back during the discussion on Obamacare when Sarah Palin said that it would lead to death panels? The supporters of the government takeover of health care went nuts. The said there absolutely would not be any death panels, Sarah was an idiot and had no idea what she was talking about, how could she be so stupid, etc., etc., etc.

I have news: The death panels are already here.

There is a new drug out for the treatment of advance prostate cancer. It has been shown to increase life by an average of four months in such patients. But, the drug is expensive; the treatment for the four months costs about $100,000, or $25,000 per month.

A Medicare panel is deciding whether or not Medicare will cover the use of this drug.

Now, $25,000 per month is expensive. A person in that situation, however, might think it was worth it. But the decision of whether such patients get to live for four additional months is not going to be made by the patient and his family, or the patient and his doctor, or even the patient and some evil insurance company. No, this decision is being made by a bunch of nameless, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats buried deep in the Medicare labyrinth. A death panel, in other words.

Just try to get in touch with them to express your opinion, and see how far you get.

The death panels are already here.