I was reminded of the post below from something I heard on Limbaugh’s show on Friday – once again that everything that is old is new again:
You heard Clinton in this bite (impression), “The elderly people on Medicare, they’re now faced with the choice of whether to buy food or buy medicine!” That’s during his administration, by the way. This is the budget battle of 1995. We didn’t even touch on the fear tactics they were using on starving kids, but there was one bite in here where we had Jay Rockefeller talking about health care back in 1995.
He said, “We will spend close to a trillion dollars this year on health care. By the year 2000, we’ll be spending $2 trillion. We can’t wait…” What he was saying was, “We can’t wait to expand the budget. We can’t wait to do health care. We are already,” in 1995, “spending $1 trillion a year. In 2000, we’re gonna be spending $2 trillion.” What are we spending now on health care? Is it getting any more affordable? Is it getting any more plentiful? Is it becoming any more available for anybody?
It hasn’t improved at all. It has gotten more cumbersome. It has become more of an obstacle course. It’s become more expensive, and the only thing that’s changed in US health care is the Democrats have had their hand in it all these year. The only thing that’s changed is that the government has gotten more and more involved in it. This is a profound education right here. We’re spending $1 trillion a year on health care back in 1995, and they had the red flag warning signals up back then.
They were worried. Rockefeller said: If we don’t do this budget deal here and start spending more on health care now, it’s gonna be out of control in 2000. That’s 13 years ago. Thirteen years ago. Actually, this is an 18-year-old sound bite! In the year 2000 he was worried about when it was gonna be $2 trillion in spending. Look at all the money, folks, we’re spending on health care, and look at how much worse it’s getting. And I don’t care where you go in the federal government.
It’s gotten bigger, it has become more cumbersome, and is it any better? Has anything the government is running improved with all of this money?
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. This might as well be printed on every dollar bill. Does it strike anyone else that the answer to the issues of both left and right is less government, not more?
This is what I wrote and posted on October 21, 2011, it seems to have more relevance today:
There has been a significant amount of comment here on these pages regarding the Constitution, health care reform and current governmental policies. There are many more on the Internet comment pages associated with the letters and articles, many points/opinions stated, refuted and stated again but it strikes me that this discussion is not just about liberal/conservative or corporatist/socialist views but rather what role “we the people” want our government to play in our society and our daily lives.
I am a small government conservative. I choose to believe that the best government governs least. Here’s why:
- I believe that the less that a government takes from society in taxes, resources and capital, the more there is for individuals to leverage to the benefit of society.
- I believe that power and money are drugs that fuel bad decisions in governance.
- I believe that a government should be as close as possible to the people it is responsible to, that this is necessary for it to truly operate with the consent of the governed. The smaller the governmental unit, the better it can understand and accommodate local issues.
- I believe that the Framers contemplated a limited federal government and reserved the balance of the governing to the States for this exact reason. They certainly understood the logistics issues of post-colonial life and the sheer impossibility of governing a nation as expansive as our new country. In modern life, distances have been bridged but now information and the speed that it travels serve to pose a similar challenge.
There are certainly issues of national importance that have arisen with the coming of a modernized society. Some would argue that there is no possibility that a person in 1789 could know what wonders would exist in 2011. While that is absolutely true, it is also true that a core principle will be just as true today as it was then. The basic concepts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are just as relevant today, even with a different economic and societal context. If we accept that premise, the question becomes: what is the role of our government in today’s world? Should it be limited as in the Constitution or should it be an omnipotent, controlling entity as in Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic, Metropolis?
My opinion is that there is even less reason today for overweening government rather than more. While I opt for less, the current version of the FDR progressives who adhere to the “to each according to his ability to each according to his need” beliefs, opt for more. These are the people currently running the policy engine in the Democratic Party – I dare not call them socialist, Marxist or communist else I be labeled a fascist, Nazi racist. They are what I call “evolutionary Progressives” because they embody bits and pieces of all of these ideologies. This “evolutionary” political theology exists in a “flexible” view of the Constitution as a “guideline”, immigration reform, health care law, financial reform, social policy, budgetary policy and soon to exist in tax policy due to our ballooning national debt.
We are experiencing the modern day version of “Atlas Shrugged” where the output of the producers is transferred to the non-producers. It is without argument that the Federal government takes taxes from the state and local level only to repackage them and redistribute them to “equalize” funding and in some cases, send the money right back to the location where it started (the Grand Lagoon bridge in Panama City for example). Earned income credits for people who pay no income taxes, “stimulus” programs, earmarks and now the health care mandate are prime examples.
Why would we have such an inefficient system? The answer is that the real product of this process is power…and lots of it.
The cause of this drift is feckless politicians more intent on self preservation and mollifying whatever constituent/lobby group that they believe can keep them drinking from the cup of power. We have too many of our representatives who “grow” in office in opposition to the principles they were elected on. We make too many laws with no intent of enforcing them (or selectively enforcing them). There is more interest in pulling a sleight of hand, the old “plausible deniability” dodge, to stay in office than standing on principle. It isn’t exclusive to either major party. Bush ran as a conservative and became one of the biggest spenders in history. Even Obama ran as a left of center, post racial president and yet he has failed to close Gitmo, is still in Iraq and Afghanistan and will tax people making less than 250K, uses race and class as a wedge and isn’t even really “left” – he’s just an incompetent and a crook. Adding insult to liberal injury, he has adopted almost all of Bush’s national security initiatives and even expanded on the very programs that he ran against – his promises come with an expiration date.
Unless and until we are able to start electing representatives who are capable of standing on traditional Constitutional principles, politicians who trust in, and have the trust of, the people they represent, we are going to continue to drift away from the individual liberty that built this country.
Both sides are angry at the government – some, like the #OWS crowd ignore the government’s role and aim at the wrong target – but the anger is there. Obama has taken more money from Wall Street than any president before him, yet even the Democrats and President Goldman Sachs wants you “progressives” to be blind to his excess. Barney Frank just threw in with #OWS hippies right before he went to Wall Street to gladhand for money…
As I have said, “progressives” are bereft of any apparent sense of irony and hypocrisy. My three requirements to be a modern “progressive” are more in evidence today than ever:
- Selective memory/political amnesia
- Cognitive dissonance
- Confirmation bias
Not really a recipe for a way to “progress”, is it?
My grandfather, Baker Thomas Goodwin, used to say that Washington, D.C. was the only place in the world where a poor man could go, spend a few years, produce nothing but hot air and walk away a millionaire…and if they didn’t leave rich, they were too stupid to send in the first place. My grandfather was born in 1888, so this is nothing new.
Given that this condition still exists in American government today, why would any rational being want more of it?