Thursday, October 15, 2009

Healthcare is a Symptom of the Disease

In my myriad discussions on health care reform, one point that I have neglected to bring up is that one stopgap to the current mess would be if our economy hadn't taken the nose dive it had.  Then we could afford more overall, and in fact, it would make the call for government health care more feasible, if only by the fact we could afford it.

Then I got to thinking (shudder, all talking-point-spewing automatons). What if the problem we face is not limited to health care?  After all, the health care mess, if everything else were humming along fine, could be resolved my Obama plunking his magic twanger, reading the incantation from his teleprompter, and pulling the scrolls containing the blueprint for  government health care out of his ass.  Really, it could.  Because much of the crisis mentality propagated today is to move people toward an option that continues the trend we've been on since those guys we call the Founding Fathers threw down a Constitution designed to limit the government from doing what it's doing now.

The disease I speak of is the Dependence Mentality.  This is something I know of personally, because I have been, and still continue to be, plagued by a desire to coast as long as I can doing as little as I can.  I recognize this flaw, but I did so a little late in the game, so it will take time to overcome it.

Now consider that a massive amount of the population thinks this way.  The expectation, from the dolts standing in line for an application for "Obama money" up in Detroit, to the perpetual welfare family, to the company who's business is living on the government tit.

The problem is exacerbated because, while it's both generous and sometimes necessary to intervene in a crisis, there is a certain part of the population that will latch right on when the money is handed out.  And there is another group that may not always need it, but will use it if it's there (that's where I am).  And this cuts across all lines, all races, all income levels. After all, who doesn't look for "free government money?" Hell, half the commercials I hear are for things related to something the government is giving out.

So it comes to a single point.  Either we continue down the path to creating more dependent government subjects or we do something radical:  We deprogram America to the dependency mentality.  It won't be easy.  some people may be hurt/bankrupted/killed along the way.  But the choice is either take the lumps for the damage already done, or reap an orgy of pain and suffering later when the cancer is spread everywhere.

Ok, here's the list:

1. The 5-Year Freeze - The first thing to do is to stop the bleeding.  This means freezing ALL federal spending above current levels.  No exceptions but for a declared war by another military power strong enough to actually invade us (we're talking a WWII situation here).  After 5 years and a lot of cuts, then we can address what we need to fund again.  But if we keep spending like crack whores on crack cocks, we're never going to stop until we're bankrupt.

2. Fix (I Mean Scrap) the Tax Code - Nothing paralyzes us as a nation more than the fact that so much money goes into dealing with taxes.  From the insane embedded costs to the forced taking of money that you loan to the government at a loss (and with savings account yields as low as .1%, that's saying something) before they "generously give it back," it's choking off any motivation to do anything other than hide as much as possible from the roving brigands.  Fix this, and the economy booms, which helps fix everything else (health care, jobs, etc).  In lieu of another post, I'll just link to the FairTax, which would do exactly this.

3. Start Shutting Down the Bad Safety Nets, and Fix the Rest - The big ones include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the myriad other parts of the welfare state.  Having see how easy it is to waste money in these myself (I could use some good egg recipes for the WIC-bought eggs), major overhauls, or even the killing of said programs are key.  Most of these are meant to cover people when there is no other option.  Social Security and Medicare have essentially replaced personal (and family) responsibility for the elderly, and are money-sucking uber-leeches too boot.  And moving more control for these to state, and even local control are steps that could fix much of the waste.   I don't have all the specifics, but reducing the money spent, the numbers on the rolls, and the time people spend on the rolls, is the only solution.

And on a related note...

4. Find Value in People Other Than for Votes - I was watching many hours on FDR today, and one thing that struck me about his big government and our big government was that he bet his big government on the productivity of citizens, not on their needs.  If we're going to sustain any safety net programs, it must be by empowering individuals receiving them to be as valuable a member of society as possible.  If we're going to be handing out welfare, we need to make sure people are working for it rather than penalizing that success.  If we are going to cover people with disabilities, let's find what they can do.  If we're going to take care of the elderly, let's make sure the people who benefited the most (their children and their family) are shouldering the burden.  We've stopped expecting things from people other than the ability to fill out paperwork.

5. Return the Senate to State Representation -This requires the repeal of the 17th Amendment.  The reason for this is that this will allow the states to have an actual voice in Washington.  It will act as a check on representatives who have to get elected every two years. The whole purpose of our bicameral legislative branch was so that nothing could be rushed through solely on the drive of popular support, but would also have to pass muster with the states, who often have to carry the burden of the insanity that rolls out of Washington.  Right now, I have three (more or less) representatives in Washington while my state can only bluster (or with our current governor, suck Obama off), and hope that the Imperial government doesn't mandate shit that bankrupts the state.

6. Shrink the Size and Role of the Federal and State Governments - I know this is a catch-all and often a trite phrase.  But the principle behind it is more powerful, and absolutely critical.  One concept is something called the 10th Amendment Commission.  In essence, it looks at everything the federal government does, and seeks to remove things that the federal government was never meant to do (like Washington-screwed government schools, for example).  What this will do with all the above safety net stuff is move the primary responsibility for handling this to the states.  So on the state level, much of the nanny government must be pared.  But this must be done at the state level (most certainly starting with California), except where the state has stepped on either federal jurisdiction or individual rights.  And if something is important enough to enough people that the federal government HAS to do it, that's what the amendment process is for.  Put bluntly, if you want health care as a right, it needs to be an amendment.

7. After All Else, Enable our Government to Say NO -This goes along with the last two points.  When the government is functioning properly, the people know that they can't go to their representatives with a hand out and expect it to be filled.  And when there is no easy path, they people do what they have to do.  And while the laws and the governments must flex to make sure that all have equal opportunities, and that no one who is trying to do right by his country is left to die in the ditch, compassion is something that mandates that the government open the door, not form a line.  And this requires responsibility from us all, to do that which the government will not.

In the end, what I have outlined above will probably not come to pass in the short term, until a leader with both the vision and the will to carry out such a radical change comes forth.  Because both parties today quibble over the trivialities while growing the government for their own ends, while we simply stand in each new line that forms.  But combining what we know will work (because, in the past, it has) with what we've learned and perfected (in terms of equality and understanding) is the key to resolving everything we face today.


Satyavati devi dasi said...

I am too sick to read this in detail, but I got far enough to see that at least you've admitted you're an enormous hypocrite.

Good for you.

TAO said...

The reality is our economy took a nose dive BECAUSE we could not afford the economy that we had; it wasn't a real it imploded on its own.

The same will happen to our healthcare system; as more and more people lose their jobs there will be less and less people with insurance and as you say, health insurers have to make a profit so healthcare will get more and more expensive for those who still have insurance. Then as less and less are able to pay hospitals will be burdened with treating the uninsured and they in turn will raise their rates, which will be passed on to those with health insurance...

Eventually no one will have health insurance because of the price and the health insurance will get a bail out from Washington...

Patrick M said...

Saty: Fair enough. I am honest about it, and I know what has to happen to stop me.

It's that way with every business and every person. if there's "free" money, why not take advantage of it? Especially when that looks like the course we're going to be on from here on out?

Tao: I'm not sure where you're going with your comment unless you're agreeing with me. Because the scenario you outlined is exactly the path we're on. Add more government, and it only happens faster.

Or did you drop it on the wrong post?

Beth said...

I had a liberal friend argue with me about farm subsidies and how big corporation like Archer Daniels was buying up farms and getting their greedy hands on the sudsidies and I am like "HELLO! Stop giving out free money because why wouldn't big corporations want a piece of the action?"

American businesses and individuals need be be weaned off the teat of the federal government, it's really that simple, because it's not Constitutional, it's not even fair, and it doesn't work.

Beth said...

Here's another reason why politics should stay out of our lives as much as possible, this example coming from one of my Blogger friends on the right (more center-right). He mentioned the Backus bill and how Dems voting for it one way could cause political suicide, whereas letting it go through could help Republicans down the road, and I say THIS is why we need to take these issues away from politics where it's about buying votes, and wishing ill-will on one political party for their action or inaction or what have you. And this happens on both sides of the aisle.

I think our Founding Fathers knew this about government which is why we were set up differently but damn it if we haven't drifted so far from their original intent that we don't even SEE this happening or try to stop it! I just don't understand why there isn't total outrage from all Americans on what is happening to our country. There is outrage, of course, just not enough.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I think you have to take on some of that individual responsibility you keep preaching about, Patrick, and start with yourself, rather than waiting for society to rearrange things. It just doesn't carry a whole lot of credibility for you to preach all this crap and then to tell us that because you 'realized it late in life' it's okay for you to continue to go against everything you claim to represent, and indulge in all the things about government you profess to hate.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And just like you found it so unbelievable that I can sit there and tell you how nobody ever helped us, not even when we needed it most, and yet I remain a socialist determined that we should as a country help those who need it...

...I find it unbelivable that you can sit there and selfrighteously condemn all these programs, while you live off them.

Beth said...

I don't know your story Satyavati but I cannot imagine that you sought help in this country and were unable to get it. I would think any church if not able to help themselves could direct you to places that can.

Beth said...

One more thing, and then I am really heading to bed because it is late, but it is this: I truly believe with my whole heart that there will always be people in need, but when you try to have one entity provide for everyone's need, then people who actually need real help get lost in the shuffle of, well, everyone. A government run health care system will not really help those who need it, in my opinion, and will end up bringing everyone down to a low level of care. Making clinics available to those in need makes more sense to me, whether they be run by charities or state run (not fed run).

TAO said...

No Patrick, I dropped it on the right post and we are headed right to a disaster...either way.

While you point to weaning the public of its need for government largress you tend to totally miss the boat that our whole corporate system of capitalism is what it is because of the same government largress...

So, to downsize government is to downsize our economy and to downsize our standard of living....

Right now we have an overall unemployment of something like 17%...what happens when that hits like 25% and we have people out on the street with no money....lost their homes, their jobs, everything.

Do you really believe that those people are going to sit around and accept their lot in life and take blame for it?

Beth said...

I beg to differ, if you shrink government, we'd have fewer taxes to pay and then we'd have more money to spend, invest, donate, whatever WE want to do with OUR OWN money.

Novel concept, huh?

Satyavati devi dasi said...


The one time in life that we tried to get assistance, we were $100 over the income limit. Period.

We did without, until we got to a point where we were able to do with.

But that wasn't really the point.

The point of the argument was that Patrick told me my personal life and my political ideals didn't match. He just couldn't understand how I could be a socialist while saying that we did what we had to do by ourselves. I guess the thought of someone working their ass off to get somewhere, and even after that, wanting a system that helps everyone to get there, was just too much for him to handle.

Meanwhile, he's said in this post "I know what has to happen to stop me." This is reminiscent of serial killers and more than a couple of drug addicts, who put the onus of 'stopping them' onto other people. Rather than step up and utilizing some of that individual responsibility that Patrick wants everyone ELSE to adopt, he wants to change the entire system rather than just take a little responsibility and change himself first. Now, if that's not a contradiction in terms, I don't know what is.

But Patrick seems to think that it's all right, as long as he admits it: but because he realized it late in life, we have to give him a break, cut him some slack, and just listen to him preach on about individual responsibility. Sure. This is about as convincing as I'd be moonlighting as a weight loss counsellor.

It all comes down to ever so much candy-coated conservative bullshit.

Beth said...

What my take on what both of you have said is that most people are capable of getting through tough times, but when we enable people to NOT look to themselves too quickly then human nature is such that they will tend not to, and over time this trend only snowballs into major dependency. The problem is that is unsustainable, and it takes away from those who truly need help because they are lost in the shuffle, in my opinion.

Now I used the word "wean" because I know you can't stop programs overnight, and I also know some people truly need help and have nowhere to turn. But we are going 180 degrees in the opposite direction of getting people to look to themselves first, and it worries me for the future of our country.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Uh.. that's not what I said at all.

What I said is that Patrick needs to step up and practice what he preaches, not expect society to completely revamp itself to 'stop him'. It's, again, about all that personal responsibility I hear everyone on the right screaming for.

Except, of course, it doesn't quite apply to themselves.

Advantage Right said...

I’m really grateful for blogs like this to expose the hatred of the left..

You have a handful of smart people here like yourself and Beth and a few others that try to lead the sicko's to the right path and then you have the NUT-JOBBS like Tao and Satyavati devi dasi , and TRUTH101 and Saw that prove my point that the left are sicko's.

Keep it up my friend and thank you for exposing the obvious.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I'm not sure how pointing out hypocrisy would make me a 'sicko' but I invite you wholeheartedly to attempt to prove it.

Patrick's clarion call for 'individual responsibility' is diametrically opposed to his statement that society needs to 'stop him' from depending on them. I'm just stating the obvious. Which part of that is sick? The hypocrisy itself or the truthfulness in exposing it?

Coming onto a blog and just tossing insults around is cheap and cowardly. I've been insulted by more intelligent people than you: if you want to label people, back up what you say with some objective and rational argument, otherwise you just look like someone who resorts to namecalling to vent the anger they feel at being unable to come up with a cogent rebuttal.

Patrick M said...

Saty: I attach the programs because I've seen how they affect me. And while I know my own failings in this respect, I also know that I do best when the offer of free stuff is just not there.

And I will document as I get my head out of my own ass in the future (because it'll take time to dig myself out of my own hole, and I don't think it's right), because as I point out the contradictions of your personal life with your politics, so my family has done with me.

As for your situation, I don't find it unbelievable. If the programs worked as they were advertised, we wouldn't have nearly the numbers on the rolls.

Beth: I can back up Satyavati's story in the sense that this is what happens when you are reduced to a number by the state. YOu are assessed by numbers, judged by numbers, and supported by the numbers. Add children, and the numbers change.

Tao: If you missed my point that corporate dependence on government is just as bad, then let me clarify: Dependence on government largess is bad. And that continued dependence is what is destroying us as a nation.

As for "accepting their lot?" No, I don't expect people to "accept" it. But with government giving incentives to people to not look as hard (am guilty of this), it becomes easier to coast.

Step one above was meant to stop the government bleeding. Step two, on the other hand, is specifically meant to kick the economy in the ass and resolve a lot of the problems we have now.

Short term, we might be downsized a little. But the result long-term will be growth the right way.

Advantage whatever: You should try giving the "sickos" credit when they do get it right. You might learn something.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmarks said...

"He just couldn't understand how I could be a socialist"

I just can't see how anyone with any knowledge of history can be one, honestly. There's a fatal flaw in this ideology, one of placing absolute trust in the ruling class to do what is best for us, that has resulted in it being the ideology-of-choice for almost all of the worst mass murderers of the 20tn century.

The "obey the leaders" idea of socialism is also rather retro, and wipes out any progress on human rights that have been made over the centuries (progress which has always limited the power of the rulers). It takes us back to the days of ancient Egypt, where the Godking ruled over all.