Our Bloated Budget - Personified!

 I come writing to you today with some hope.  I found not one, not two, but three excellent articles from my preferred periodical of all things political – The Washington Post.  Funny how a libertarian like myself reads a generally left-leaning paper.  What can I say?  Well,  The WSJ doesn’t have enough politics even if what I get is left-leaning bias.  Not today though!

#1 – Health Care Summit – Kathleen Parker opinion piece

Here, Kathleen Parker does a pretty good job of keeping the bias out.  I believe she hits the nail squarely on the head.  Especially when she talks about the Tea Party and Independent voters.  I quote:

“Health-care reform is now about the November election. It’s about gamesmanship. And though the parties differ in fundamental ways that really do matter, a growing majority of Americans no longer care who’s up or down, who wins or loses. A pox on everyone’s house, they say.  The tea party movement is partly a manifestation of this perspective. And, contra wing-nuttery in the margins of the movement, most constituents are everyday Americans who don’t think the federal government should control one-sixth of the economy.  This is not an irrational position, but rather suggests respect for human nature and chaos theory.  At the same time, more and more Americans are abandoning traditional political parties, with about 40 percent of the electorate identifying as independents. A perfect storm this way comes.”

  She’s talking about me and others like me.  We’re not a fringe.  We’re not an extension of the Republican Party, and we certainly don’t think Washington is broken – only most of the people and the political games that makes the city run.  Our Founders created a system designed to fight bad policy and it is doing just that.  Hopefully we’ll toss the bums out.

#2 – Wall Street and its Woeful Lack of Reform – Harold Meyerson opinion piece

Lets set the record straight.  I am a free market capitalist.  We still have the best socio-ecomonic-political system in the history of mankind.  However… ignorant consumers, greedy men, above-the-law-corporations, bailouts, and politicians make for a dreadful combination.  When we reward bad behavior, save companies that should have cratered, give criminals passes, and tell our citizens to spend – then even I am tempted to scream for more regulation.  How about this though?  Re-enact some of the good legislation – like Glass-Steagal?  Enforce what you have on the books – someone wake the tools over at the SEC up.  Hold the ratings agencies like Moodys accountable (do not give them a pass on their compromised position of being paid by the same companies they are supposed to grade).  Finally, don’t make new agencies or give the secretive Federal Reserve more power.  Give the FDIC the  ability to unwind too big to fail companies just like it does with banks.  Its a similar process – make a sub-department!  Yes, I realize that this is over-simplified, but no one else has proven the ability or trustworthiness to do the job right so give it to Sheila Bair and her lieutenants.  

Meyerson says it better than I though:

“But none of that apparently matters on Capitol Hill, where Republicans oppose all reforms and center-right Democrats carve out lovely loopholes, as they both scramble for the mega-contributions the bankers dole out.  Over the past two years, no group has received more government support, or has more rigidly opposed government regulation, than the banks. Compared to Wall Street, the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries are pushovers.”

3# – Singaporean Healthcare – Matt Miller opinion piece

You know its pretty bad when Singapore is held up as the model of health care that this country should emulate.  Reading the article, you know that this level of consensus and control is impossible and illegal in this country – but cutting out some of the fraud, waste, and abuse (from all sides – and yes, I am looking at you the consumer as well) can go a long way.  Miller boils it all down to this paragraph:

“We obviously can’t transplant Singapore’s approach wholesale to the United States. But the reason we can’t emulate even some of Singapore’s success has to do with that iron law of health-care politics: Every dollar of health-care “waste” is somebody’s dollar of income. As a stable advanced democracy, we’re so overrun by groups with stakes in today’s waste that real efficiency gains are perennially blocked.”

Amen, Matt, amen.  And I thank Kathleen and Harold as well.  These 3 articles are a smorgasboard of thoughtful opinion from 3 different journalists.  They are not claiming the government is broken or that capitalism is dead unlike CNN and MSNBC.  They are saying that the people and the politics at the helm of this government are not doing their job and hence are running the country into the ground.  There are plenty of problems to fix, but not enough reality or political will-power in Washington to get it done.  Democrats control the show, but because their policies are just enough out of touch with America, they can’t get a single Republican to vote with them most of the time – which provides them NO political cover and makes them worried come Election Day when they have to face pissed-off voters.  I don’t lay any credit at Republican feet either.  People (to include me) don’t like you because of your expansionist government that abrogated our rights to ‘protect us’ all while screaming about how you want to cut taxes despite all of your spending and big government.  You’re only marginally better than the Dems because you haven’t figured out you have to cut both.  The zero-sum political games you guys play don’t help either.  This critique is obviously pointed more at Congress, but the other two branches catch my ire as well.  I am no fan of President Obama’s politics nor of The Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on how corporations can contribute as much as they want to a campaign on behalf of a candidate. 

The bottom line is that there are a list of serious problems in the country longer than my arm that aren’t getting done – The Economy, Deficits, Energy (to include clean and green), Health-Care, Unemployment, Education, Immigration, Terrorism, and my ‘favorite’ – compromised politicians. 

 I truly believe that if we as a nation solve this last problem first, the rest will fall into place. 

– G.S.


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