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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cruising the Web

Amity Shlaes has a great column using the lyrics from the 1950s song "Lie to me." Her major point is that the politicians have figured out how to game the CBO making its forecasts meaningless. What a surprise that politicians would design a system and then figure out how to get away with it. Campaign finance reform come to mind?

Is anyone happy with the new NFL overtime rule for post-season play? I agree with Gene Wojciechowski that it makes no sense to have one rule for the season and one rule for the postseason. Does anyone buy that the rule change was based on a concern for the safety of the players? If that's their concern, why not shorten games? The previous coin-toss rule had its obvious defects. But if it was worth fixing, why not fix it for the entire season? And why still give the first team the extra opportunity to score and win the game on another field goal if both teams end up kicking field goals.

David Brooks expresses the concern that, with this bill, a little more of the vibrancy that led to creating the country we are today is being lost. They've made our exploding national debt problem even more critical and political perilous to address.

Jonah Goldberg
explains how the Democrats' plan has "nationalized health care by proxy." George Will argues that the Democrats' agenda is to foster dependency, particularly by creating middle-class entitlements. And he points to the vote-buying deal that was the most emblematic of how the Democrats' control of government is so pernicious.
Besides, some of the transactions were almost gorgeous: Government policy having helped make water scarce in California's Central Valley, the party of expanding government secured two votes by increasing rations of the scarcity. Thus did one dependency lubricate legislation that establishes others.
Will hopes that the big push for health care means that the Democrats won't be able to push through some of their other terribly destructive ideas such as cap and trade. I wouldn't be so sure. Now that they've paved the way to get around the rules, why stop now, especially if they fear losing control of one of the houses of Congress?

The Washington Post continues to implore the Obama administration to protect the D.C. vouchers plan. They've been asking him to do that for a year, but the pleas are falling on deaf ears.

Brad Warbiany explains how the provisions that take place this year in the health care plan will all lead to more government spending and increased insurance premiums right away. Forget about all those promises about bending the cost curve. There is only one way that this curve is trending and that's straight up.

This is scary. A Turkish tanker carrying fertilizer was hijacked by pirates connected to Al Qaeda 1000 miles off the coast of Yemen.

David Kopel weighs in
on what a Supreme Court finding allowing the federal government to mandate that people buy health insurance means for our understanding of government power.
Does Congress have the infinite power to control people's behavior (such as by ordering them to engage in commercial transactions) via the tax power? I suggest not. When the Bill of Rights was being debated in front of Congress, the skeptical Rep. Theodore Sedgwick of Massachusetts asked if there should also be an enumeration that "declared that a man should have a right to wear his hat if he pleased; that he might get up when he pleased, and go to bed when he thought proper." . . . Sedgewick's point was that national laws about bedtimes and hat-wearing were self-evidently beyond the authority of Congress. . . .
forget the whole idea that we have a limited government only able to carry out its enumerated powers from Article One of the Constitution. A rule upholding the mandates means that government can truly do anything it wants under the Commerce Clause. The Antifederalists were right to fear the elasticity of those powers granted to the federal government.

Change is possible. New Jersey's Democratic legislature passed public employees pension reform and health insurance rules to save their government from the calamitous promises that they had enacted a decade ago. They ignored the teachers unions who tried to claim that, somehow, it would harm students to require teachers to pay at least 1.5 percent of their salary toward health care benefits for them and their families. What does such a common sense idea have to do with the students? It shows what a change in the governor's office can mean. Jon Corzine had refused to sign such reforms. Chris Christie happily signed the bills.

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake
, no mouth-breathing Republican, explodes 18 myths of ObamaCare.


Locomotive Breath said...

The new bill imposes a 2.3% tax on lifesaving implantable medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Explain to me how this reduces costs? The cynical answer is that fewer people will get them and so die from sudden cardiac events without all that really expensive longevity.

So Cal Jim said...

We are truly standing on the edge of a precipice. If the Commerce Clause allows for unfettered, unlimited federal governmental intrusion into all aspects of our lives, then the balance of the Constitution becomes meaningless. If a bare majority in congress can enact any law as long as it has some possible connection to any aspect of interstate commerce, then our tradition of constitutionally limited government is at an end.

The Supreme Court can end this travesty but I don't have any faith that it will.

Pat Patterson said...

Personally I also think Liar, Liar by The Castaways would also work. Plus this version has the cast from Gilligan's Island.

Bachbone said...

David Brooks says he's " longer spiritually attached to the Democratic Party." Geez, I'm not a mind reader. I can only go by the little I've read of his writings and some of his sound bites and quotes, but based on those, he fooled the heck outta me! It wasn't long ago that he was telling me how impressed he was with the "educated class" Obama and his campaign team were as opposed to the "uneducated/stupid" Tea Party members. Maybe David was one of those who got pink slipped from the NYTimes and he's trying to write a new resume? I, for one, ain't buyin'.

Re: that Turkish tanker - On a tour of the Los Angeles Harbor a few years ago, the guide told us something like 40% of the products used west of the Mississippi came through there, and there was absolutely no way every shipment could be checked. If a terrorist cell managed to get a dirty bomb through on some ship and explode it in port, it would shut that facility for months and disrupt all those products. Re-routing through other ports would take exraordinary measures and weeks if not monhs. I've read similar concerns about ports along the East Coast, as well. Adding to the problem is the fact that state and local governments are laying off police to control budget deficits.

Pat Patterson said...

It's not really that dire in California as Oakland is underused as is San Diego. And for those who haven't been to Baja in the last ten years or so the port at Ensenada is now as modern as any on the West Coast. Goods will continue to come in but there will be a queue, some goods might be in short supply but basic items will be available though perhaps a bit more expensive.

However a dirty bomb blocking the Cajon and Tejon passes and two weeks later Lord Humungous will be beseiging the cities.