Thursday, August 20, 2009

Whole Foods

Well, I was a more frequent shopper at Fresh Market, but now I will shop at Whole Foods. First, because of John Mackey's Wall Street Journal article on healthcare reform. Second, because of the rabid nutbags who are boycotting him. A guest on Greta Van Susteren just called him a bad person for not supporting single payer healthcare. Well, I guess I'm a bad person.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

President Pantywaist?

This headline made my night. On the last sentence, I say from his computer to God's ears.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Your Cash Is Buying Those Clunkers

It seems like a great plan, right? Get people to buy new cars by offering a rebate if they buy a car with better gas mileage than their old car. People spend money and the car industry gains. The government probably hopes you’ll buy a GM, of course. But, like the government’s misguided meddling in lending practices that ultimately led to the housing crisis, this is another government brainstorm gone awry.

People are flocking to the dealerships to take advantage of the big rebate. However, what the program comes down to is taxpayers subsidizing the car industry. Again. You may not be taking advantage of the program because you don’t have a “clunker” or you aren’t in the market, but trust me, you’re paying for it. First you own the company and then you pay for the cars as well. The car industry gets a temporary and artificial boost and you get the bill.

In addition to this questionable soaking of the taxpayers comes the waste of destroying perfectly decent cars in the name of reducing emissions. Since the clunker cash only comes with proof that the old car was rendered inoperable, cars that run and would be reliable transport aren’t going into the used car market. People who can’t afford a new car now won’t have access to thousands of older reliable cars because they have to be destroyed. But, it’s all for the environment, right? So, it’s worth it, right? The cars still have to be scrapped, filling up with landfill with non-recyclable parts. Are people really trading in Ford F150s for Honda Insights? Just like cap and trade, the environmental benefit isn’t worth it when you consider the cost.

Just like everything else the government touches, cash for clunkers is a mess. Artificially inflating the car industry sales on the backs of taxpayers just adds more debt without solving any of the problems it pretends to tackle. Time to pull the plug and let the car industry succeed or fail on it’s own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Townhall Event: Cincinnati, Ohio

The Women’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati hosted a healthcare townhall on August 3, 2009, with Congressman Steve Driehaus. The event was held at a local church and was standing room only with overflow into an adjoining room with speakers. Congressman Driehaus began with a speech after stating that he had no prepared remarks. About ten minutes into his “speech” audience members lost patience and demanded that he move on to questions and tempers flared from that point on.

Driehaus echoed the talking points that we’ve all heard, first touting the number of uninsured in this country while failing to mention that that number includes those who can afford insurance but don’t carry it, children who qualify for SCHIP but aren’t enrolled, illegal aliens and the temporarily unemployed. When faced with the budget breaking examples of Massachusetts, Tennessee and Hawaii’s flirtation with government healthcare, he seemed to have faith that things would be different with the federal government’s public option. Remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Second he bemoaned the pain of the small business owner trying to cover their employees. Certainly, things are difficult for small business owners and paying for health insurance is a burden. So are taxes. Either you will be paying for insurance for your employees, or you’ll be taxed by the government for covering your employees. Pick your poison. Hard as it may be, the solution to this problem is not government run healthcare, but separating insurance form employment (a quirk of our country which came about during WWII), as was suggested by McCain during the campaign. A suggestion for which he was soundly criticized.

He also addressed the end of life provisions of the bill. He claims that during discussions with doctors he learned that 70% of healthcare spending occurs at the end of life. He favors compensation to doctors for consulting with patients about the end of life decisions, believing this will save money in the long run. It will only save money if it leads patients to refuse those expensive treatments. So, your doctor will be receiving money to convince you to refuse what in some cases may be life-saving treatment? This should be a personal decision, not a source of pressure. What’s next? Rebate checks to family for voluntary euthanasia?

Eventually, both sides in the townhall meeting lost their cool. Conservatives attempted to get in their 10 second questions and give Driehaus their perspective, while liberals lost their patience with the opposition. The meeting ended with some chanting “vote for Chabot” (the former Congressman who Driehaus defeated and who will be running against him again). Hopefully, the Congressman will not discount these challenges as many in the media have done. Hopefully, he will see that Obama’s change is not the only change that is possible and will vote against this bill.