Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Propaganda Anyone?

Go read this and come back – I’ll wait.

You didn’t follow the link – try again.  My comment isn’t going to make any sense until you read it.

You didn’t listen, whatever.

Wait a minute - things got SO bad that he had to quit his practice and at no time prior to that point he thought maybe a blood test would tell him what was wrong?  A blood test that would potential mean that he wouldn’t lose everything?

Or that selling his Porsche might pay for the blood test before things got so bad he was destitute?

How does this story even pass the smell test?  Oh wait, anecdotal terror stories are what amounts to honest discussion these days.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Profit Opportunity

Fiscally conservative/socially liberal folks seem to be disenchanted with Obama.

President Obama is exceeding all their fears on fiscal and economic issues. After promising a “net spending cut” during the campaign and denouncing “the most fiscally irresponsible administration in history,” he has sent federal spending and the deficit soaring into the stratosphere.

Meanwhile, he’s not delivering what some of his voters hoped for on social issues. No gay marriage, even as Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, conservative superlawyer Ted Olson, and the legislature of crusty New Hampshire sign on.

No end to the drug war, even though he’s the third president in a row to have acknowledged using drugs. He even mocked a question about drug legalization at his online town hall. (“Dude, we elected that guy, what’s up with that?” is Reason editor Matt Welch’s summary of the blogosphere’s reaction.) No pullout from Iraq.
So once again fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters are starting to wonder if they made a bad bargain.

Independents who turned against the Republicans are likely to become equally disillusioned with Obama, and there’s already some evidence of that in the polls. Support for “smaller government with fewer services” has risen in the ABC News/Washington Post poll, and independents prefer it by 61 to 35 percent, a margin three times as large as a year ago. The number of people who see Obama as an “old-style tax and spend Democrat” has risen by 11 percentage points.

In a USA Today poll, a majority oppose Obama’s health care efforts and 59 percent say he’s spending too much. In another ABC/Washington Post poll, only 25 percent “strongly approve” of his health care plans, and 33 percent strongly disapprove. His honeymoon may turn out to be as passionate, yet brief, as Britney Spears’ Las Vegas marriage.

It’s hard out here for a fiscally conservative, socially liberal voter. But at least there’s always the other party to try again.

“Well, duh” is the best response that I can think of.  Of course the Democrats aren’t going to give this electorate what they want.  Neither are the Republicans.  There is a true opportunity for a third way to take advantage of the situation – who is going to step up?  I don’t think it’s the LP.

HatTip: Below the Beltway

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Libertarian Prospects for Office

Underneath the Beltway has an interesting post on the impact of the Barr Presidential run on long term Libertarian Party prospects for relevance.

with the selection of Bob Barr as it’s nominee, the Libertarian Party received more mainstream media news coverage than at any other point in it’s history. And it was specifically because of who the candidate was. Not only was it due to the fact that there was no small degree of media fascination with the idea of a former Republican Congressman (and not just any Congressman, but one who had led the Clinton Impeachment drive) was running as a third-party candidate, it was also due to the fact that Ron Paul’s candidacy had brought attention to libertarian ideas, and the LP had selected a candidate that was both media- and politically savvy. It was, as many observed at the time, a smart choice for the LP

As long as the LP keeps embracing an all-or-nothing approach to policy they will continue to be marginal fringe has-beens.

Too many people see too many libertarian ideas as wacky, especially from a policy standpoint.

The only way that a libertarian-like party can ever gain any relevance is to approach marginal changes to mainstream views.

Run on a platform that takes the best of the right and the best of the left, perhaps throw in something that is new. But adopt something too radical and no one will take them seriously.

What they really need to do is adopt a populist rhetoric around libertarian ideals. Denounce corporate welfare. Frame regulation as monopoly enhancing. Create villains that can be rallied around. But that isn't every going to happen because most LPers are nutjobs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saving Money on Obamacare is a Pipe Dream

If you want to know why Obamacare will never reduce spending on healthcare you don’t have to look any farther than California.

Medi-Cal doctors, meanwhile, this year have managed to roll back a $1.1-billion cut in their reimbursements. A federal appeals court declared illegal a 10% cut in what physicians are paid by Medi-Cal, the government healthcare program for the poor, that was implemented in July 2008. The court ruled the cut would drive doctors out of the program, endangering the ability of patients to get care and thereby violating minimum federal standards for the program.

Once the government gets involved decisions aren’t made on the basis of common sense, logic or even what is best for Everyone (whoever that person is).

Decisions are based on politics and the temperament of the bureaucrat or judge that is sitting on the other side of the bench (or 40 page form or the impersonal telephone line).

I can’t wait.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Missing the Point

I think that Ezra is missing the point.

The likelier outcome, I think, is that Congress will dismantle the filibuster when it realizes that the filibuster is making it less relevant. If you look back at the financial crisis, the lead response came from the Federal Reserve, because everyone understood that Congress couldn’t move quickly enough. If you look at global warming, there’s considerable pessimism that the Senate will be able to pass cap-and-trade, and many expect the Environmental Protection Agency to simply embark on its own campaign to regulate carbon emissions. If you look at health care, ideas like the Federal Health Board or the Independent Medicare Advisory Committee are an explicit effort to entrust the continual process of health-care reform to a more agile body than the Congress.

The Senate loves the filibuster because it absolves them from actually doing anything.  When nothing gets done they are allowed to demonize the ‘evil opposition’ with the understanding that they have delegated the actual responsibility for policy making to the administration anyway.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Benefits of National Healthcare

I’m beginning to think that it may be better to just take the plunge and commit to a single payer plan.

The alternative seems to be to slowly chip away at anything resembling a market and with that quality slowly declines, prices slowly rise and people slowly become less satisfied.

While single payer won’t make everything go to shit overnight it will certainly happen faster than the slow erosion that we are currently experiencing.

Bite the bullet, jump off the cliff, make it worse so that it can get better.

If nothing else, at least I’ll know wtf is going to happen – the suspense is killing me.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Opportunity of a Lifetime

You would think that this would be good news for someone.

Since Obama was inaugurated, not much has changed in the political party landscape at the state level — the Democratic Party continues to hold a solid advantage in party identification in most states and in the nation as a whole. While the size of the Democratic advantage at the national level shrunk in recent months, this has been due to an increase in independent identification rather than an increase in Republican support.

Most of the Big-L Libertarians are nutjobs - but isn't this a prime opportunity for some third party or independent?

I've never understood why someone hasn't been able to cash in on the "all politicians are the same" sentiment.  Maybe I’ll start the None-Of-The-Above Party.

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