Monday, March 22, 2010

Obama's Big Year

Universal health insurance passed Congress last night. I believe this will be the signature achievement of the Obama administration. After all the compromises were made, both with Republicans and with fellow Democrats, the final bill was, as the president said, "straight down the center of American political thought." I think that within a few years universal health care will be as much a part of the grain of American society as Social Security and Medicare. We will look back on this debate and wonder why some people thought getting health insurance for all was such a scary idea.

I think many of the other things that President Obama wants to do have been waiting on passage of this law. Now he can go ahead with other elements of his agenda. He will be able end the war in Iraq, fight the war against our 9/11 attackers, close the Guatanamo Bay prison, end "don't ask, don't tell," draw down the war deficit, stimulate jobs in energy-efficient industries, make us less beholden to oil barons, work together with the great powers of Europe and Asia to defuse new nuclear threats. Oh, and while he is at it, improve race relations in America. I believe the president will have a big year.

President Obama's approval rating today stands at 26% strongly approve, 42% strongly disapprove. I believe that a year from now, those numbers will be reversed.

63 comments:

Black Sea said...

Would you call yourself an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist? (This is a sincere, not a sarcastic, question).

For what it's worth, I'd say you're an optimist.

Gruntled said...

How about non-foolish optimist?

We knew health insurance would be a hard fight and would take all the political capital that the president had. I think his plan from election day onward was to focus everything on health care. The previous administration left some urgent crises that had to be dealt with first, but basically he has been pursuing one legislative objective for a year and a half. And now he has it.

And now he has a big win to build on.

His opponents scared a slice of the electorate that normally doesn't pay attention to politics. These are the people who say "Keep your federal hands off my Medicare." Now that the deal is done, they will go back to their lives.

Chris said...

All that is left is for him is to die on the cross for our sins and then to rise on the third day.

"the final bill was, as the president said, "straight down the center of American political thought."

So NO Republicans are straight down the center of American political thought?

Susan Perkins Weston said...

Banking reform!

ESEA reauthorization!

halifax said...

The last time I felt this sickened by an event in American politics was when Mr. Bush and his band of warfare state cronies launched their ill-fated campaign for a democratic Iraq. Mr. Obama and his national socialist allies have just got their foot in the door, but, as soon as this Rube Goldberg contraption begins to fail, they will move more closely to a fully socialized system. (I believe that medicare and social security are equally as abominable for a supposedly liberty loving people.)

As Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor pointed out, most people prefer the warmth and security of soft despotism to the adventure and responsibility of real liberty. Our dirigiste masters are well aware of this and will continue to do everything in their power to infantilize the American population. It is already obvious that the US Constitution is a dead letter (who is authorized to declare war, again?), but this is just another nail in the coffin (though I realize that dead letters aren't actually given proper burials). Here in the 4th American republic (which is, of course, no longer recognizable as a republic), the rule of law is dead, having been replaced by the rule of policy (i.e., expediency). I just want to know when our masters will begin handing out the soma.

Will this boondoggle to end all boondoggles ultimately bring about the collapse of the American welfare/warfare state? I doubt it, but, God, I hope so.

Anonymous said...

"His opponents scared a slice of the electorate that normally doesn't pay attention to politics"

Uh, that slice is what you'd call "normal Americans." They're scared because they've recognize how far the dems have departed from the center, not because they've been manipulated by Republicans.

I'll check back in a year and see if you're right.

Gruntled said...

Chris, many elements of the final bill are due to compromises with Republicans, most especially removing the public option - even though the idea has widespread support among the voters. That Republicans did not vote for it in the end has more to do with partisan discipline than the stated convictions of the legislators.

Gruntled said...

Anonymous, normal Americans like Social Security, and Medicare, and Medicaid, and CHIP, and VA health care. A nation that supports all of those things is not really afraid of "socialized medicine." Extending that same kind of care to the remaining fraction who have been missed by health insurance is not radical, but the normal rationalization of a "system" that grew haphazardly.

Anonymous said...

If I refuse to buy insurance, how is it that I am engaged in any commerce whatsoever, much less interstate commerce? And since insurance companies are actually barred from competing across state lines, how can it be that they are engaged in interstate commerce? Or is it that anything that a majority in Congress decides it wants is by definition Constitutional? Why don't they just outlaw illness and mandate universal bliss? It would cost so much less.

Jan said...

Beau,I am surprised to see you being such a poor winner.

A large majority of Americans are against this. Obama rammed it down our unwilling throats. We will not forget.

You can never seriously call yourself a centrist again.

Fran said...

On CNN tonight, poll results from this weekend.Union member approval 49%, independents 41%! Union members (his base!)

This when it was obvious Obama's big adventure would pass. The whitehouse can't be happy about that. Jimmy Carter part Two?

Anonymous said...

Union members are going to get hit with a big tax on their "cadillac" health plans. That probably has something to do with their low approval of Obama.

I disagree with the notion that a year from now Obama's approval ratings with be up, especially after he signs cap and trade into law and our electricity rates "necessarily skyrocket"....his words, not mine.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to quit my job tomorrow.

Where do I sign up for my government cheese?

Anna said...

The problem isn't that "getting health insurance for all was such a scary idea," it's all the baggage that comes with it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcBaSP31Be8

(I know, a tinge biased, but a great overview of the points kept in the dark.)

I don't deny the various problems with our current system, but should we pass an detrimental and dangerous bill just so we can say "Everyone's covered"?

Anonymous said...

Anna, that video is referencing HR 3200, a bill that was never even voted on by the house. Congress enacted HR 3590, a different bill entirely.

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

Really? I’ll mark my calendar and you mark yours. If he follows your blueprint of focusing on things that are unimportant and potentially dangerous to our national defense, I predict that he will make Jimmy Carter, the worst president in my lifetime, and one that ranks right down there with James Buchanan, look positively Washingtonian (as in the president, not the city). There is another ayatollah just waiting out there for more of the usual Democratic “blame America first,” “bread and circuses” mentality to distract us and then we have another 444 days…with no Walter Cronkite to report it and no Ronald Reagan waiting in the wings to get us back on track.

Cock the gun that is not loaded,
Cook the frozen dynamite,
But, O’ beware my Country
When my Country is polite.

Peter M. said...

"normal Americans like Social Security..."

Are all Centrists as elitist as you? Normal?

Will us abnormal Americans beforced into government hospitals?

Rebecca said...

Have any of you actually read what the new laws will entail? It's time to think outside the Fox. Honestly, none of it is as big bad and scary as what you think. Tax credits to firms offering health insurance, lots of forward-planning for when all of you baby boomers are on the decline, no denial of coverage for children who have pre-existing conditions, new plans for preventive services, long-term care plans based on pay-roll deductions for those who become functionally disabled...

Is it not a good thing to keep people from defaulting on the system and filing for medical bankruptcy? Is it not a good thing to help families whose children are born with pre-existing conditions? I'm pro-life, and I bet many of you are, too. So that means I think these children have both the right to be born and the right to not die at the hands of a defunct system. Furthermore, it means (as stated above) that their parents can avoid filing for medical bankruptcy. This isn't socialism. It's good planning. Personally, I'm a thrilled Christian and middle of the road voter.

halifax said...

Insurance is a means of managing risk. Forcing health insurance companies to accept people with pre-existing conditions is like forcing home insurance companies to offer fire insurance to people whose house has just burned down. Our lefty friends believe that they live in Humpty Dumpty land where words mean whatever they say they mean.

It is not health insurance that we're talking about anymore but a disbursement/redistribution plan. It will either force insurance companies into bankruptcy, so that government can then take over, or the insurance companies will jack up premiums and the government will react by mandating premium caps forcing the insurance companies out of business so that the government can take over, or when the insurance companies jack up premiums, the government will respond with a public option in which it can use its power to tax and subsidize loss in order to undercut the insurance companies, driving them out of business so that it can take over. Any way you slice it, government power increases (and, by the way, the only thing that governments do well is kill people, and that doesn't bode well for them running a health service).

halifax said...

I forgot one possibility. The government could set premiums at a high enough rate that insurance companies would profit and then government would subsidize those who cannot pay, thus cartelizing instead of nationalizing health care. This is the corporatist/neo-fascist way, of course, and I mean that in a purely descriptive social scientific sense. This is precisely the manner in which Mussolini ran the Italian economy in the 20s and 30s. To paraphrase old Huey Long, fascism certainly might come to America but we'll just call it by a different name (Humpty Dumpty land, once again).

Anonymous said...

Gruntled has made a point before (in somewhat different words) that for me is what health care reform always comes back to:

This isn't about some having to pay a little more and some having to pay a little less, or some buying from private companies and some buying from the government. This is about some people having health insurance and some people having none at all because they are unable to pay or because they are denied coverage.

At the last count I read, there are 47 million Americans without health insurance - nearly 9 million of those are children.

I'm okay with "haves" and "have-nots" when it comes to wealth, to big houses and nice cars, etc. But I do not believe that health care is a luxury, and if you want to call that socialism, fine. I call it compassion.

halifax said...

You can be 'compassionate' all you want, and I will certainly support any action that you take to help out your fellow Americans, insured or uninsured. However, to call the coercive taking of property from one group and offering it to another 'compassion' is just another example of how completely confused the run-of-the-mill lefty in the Western world is and has been for decades. It's like expressing your charitable disposition by stealing your neighbor's goods and giving them to the poor. Doesn't take a lot effort, does it?

Why can't you be honest? You believe that you actually know how to run other people's lives better than they do. It's condescension, not compassion.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. What a ridiculous leap to say that because I care about the passing of a bill that will help uninsured people get much-needed care, I must want to run their lives.

No one seems unduly upset that our taxes pay for public schools that every child can attend, or highways that any person can drive on, or police forces and fire departments that protect all citizens, rich or poor. Or are those also the coercive taking of property from one group and giving them to another?

I'm not in school anymore and I don't have children - would it not be supremely self-absorbed to demand that not a cent of my taxes go to public schools? I live in a city and don't use a car, so I'm not really using the highways - how selfish would I be if I didn't want my taxes to be used to repair potholes? How is health care any less a right than education and safety?

halifax said...

I was merely responding to your self-righteous claim that it is your 'compassion' that leads you to support the national socialist health care plan. Further, why should I care one whit as to your personal classification of what counts as a luxury and what counts as a right?

And, no, I don't believe that there is a right to public education nor to public financing of roads nor to health care. Each of these is furnished by taxation and redistribution to certain qualifying groups, but they have little to do with this legislation. The equivalent of this legislation with reference to schools and highways would be that, with regards to the former, the feds require everyone to have children and then force them all into the propaganda operation otherwise known as the public school system, and, with regards to the latter, the feds force everyone to buy automobiles and spend ‘x’ hours a week on the public roads (given the national socialist takeover of most of the automobile industry in the US, the latter wouldn’t surprise me much). This legislation requires American adults to buy health insurance (this is not a tax, by the way), and it offers further exemplification of the government's fanciful notions about its ability to refashion the language in some cack-handed Orwellian fashion in its misuse of the term ‘insurance’.

And still, no one will defend its constitutionality. Why is that? Because it is obvious that the American Constitution is now regarded by most of our controllers as a quaint bit of historical ephemera with less utility than a nice roll of Charmin ultra soft.

Anonymous said...

halifax, the world that you would have us live in - with no education, no roads, no garbage pickup, no police force, and no services whatsoever from tax dollars - sounds very bleak indeed. I'm glad we don't live there, and I'm very glad that some 30 million people will have access to health care despite your objections.

And yes, I know you don't care a whit that I'm glad. But I'm with Gruntled in thinking that this is a very good day for a lot of people in America.

halifax said...

There is a vast difference between claiming that no one has a right to education, etc., and being in favor of or in opposition to a particular policy. (You are either a fool or a knave in missing this point.) This is another example of the nonsense on stilts that passes as political discourse (especially about rights) these days. Just because you desire something doesn't mean you have a right to it. I'd like to make several million dollars a year for sitting around reading books and drinking beer, and I'm sure that there are others like me. So, voila, I'll proclaim that a right which some spurious entity that I'll conjure up and call society owes me.

And, by the way, you must be either very young or very innocent to believe that, before government began showering us with its largesse, no one had ever been educated (let me think, oh, yes, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hobbes, Rousseau, and these are just the silly political philosophers). And you must be equally ignorant to believe that public schools actually educate the vast majority of their indolent and ignorant inmates. Oh, but I forgot, the past is unimportant in this brave new world. As Our Ford said so long ago, history is bunk, n'est pas?

Susan Perkins Weston said...

Next time Gruntled goes on a road trip, I think he'd better take an iPhone. A full day without his cheerful engagement isn't good for any of us.

Anonymous said...

Halifax,

Thank you, thank you for your responses on this blog post. Reading them absolutely made my day. I agree with every point you have made.

I too am dismayed at the lefty governed "Humpty Dumpty land where words mean whatever they say they mean" that we currently find ourselves in.

Anonymous said...

Halifax, it's hard to have civil discourse when you resolve everything with reductio ad absurdum arguments and name-calling.

randy said...

here's something i've never yet heard mentioned at all in this whole debate; but it could be relevant...

let's say things are as they have been; no univrsal health care, millions of americans with no coverage at all...and let's say that YOU are sitting pretty-you have solid health ins or medicare....AND you're pretty well off financially; you're in good shape money-wise due to combiination of luck, work and a moderate lifestyle.

so then let's say you have a friend-a GOOD friend; you go back many years, he's helped you out, etc, etc...and let's then say this close friend has no health coverage.

let's aay this friend gets seriously ill, or is badly injured. it's treatable. he can recov er, but it's going to be very, very expensive; 10k, 15, 25k OR MORE. plus, someone must assume at least partial responsibiliity immediately.

so...this puts YOU in a very awkward spot, no? you can technically afford to foot the bill, or a big part of it(and your friend knows this), but obviously its a serious blow to yyour finances.

do you help out or not? a very tough question. and a question that is much less likely to arise now w/coverage for all.

Susan Perkins Weston said...

Randy,

My beloved uncle had a stroke three weeks ago and has been in intensive therapy to recover as much as possible of his balance, memory, vocabulary and ability to read. Watching the Congressional debate, I realized that I hadn't given a moment's thought to whether I needed to help with his bills: he's 70 and we've agreed as a country to handle his health needs as a team.

Meanwhile, I see why you phrased the question in terms of "a friend." As a Christian, I'm stuck hearing it as about "a neighbor." And I'm stuck with the parable that tells me that Jews, Samaritans, and Christians are both supposed to be good neighbors to strangers lying wounded beside the side of the road.

Fran said...

"And I'm stuck with the parable that tells me that Jews, Samaritans, and Christians are both supposed to be good neighbors to strangers lying wounded beside the side of the road."

You be a good neighbor Susan. I'll be a good neighbor too.

This bill is about voting to plunder from one to give to another by force of law.

I'm sure that is not what Jesus was talking about.

halifax said...

The debate and passage of this little bill brought to mind two quotes:

"Most people are still unwilling to face the most alarming lesson of modern history: that the greatest crimes of our time have been committed by governments that had the enthusiastic support of millions of people who were guided by moral impulses."

"It is one of the greatest weaknesses of our time that we lack the patience and faith to build up voluntary organizations for purposes which we value highly, and immediately ask the government to bring about by coercion…anything that appears as desirable to large numbers. Yet nothing can have a more deadening effect on real participation by the citizen than if government, instead of merely providing the essential framework for spontaneous growth, becomes monolithic and takes charge of the provision for all needs which can be provided for only the common efforts of many."

Gruntled said...

Ah, such a fruitful discourse.

I think that basic health care is something that everyone should have
access to, just like basic education. No other agency but the
government can make sure that everyone has access to basic health
care. If sick people stagger into the emergency room, doctors cannot
just let them die on the floor because they cannot pay. So we are all
better off if we arrange the "how to pay" part ahead of time,
involving everyone, in as rational a fashion as possible.

All legislation is full of compromises and debatable choices about how
to achieve the policy goal rationally. And some things are just
unknown, and need to be tweaked later.

I believe what we have established here is the principle that all
Americans will have basic health care covered. That seems to me a
worthy goal of the commonwealth.

Gruntled said...

May I request that the various Anonymi choose pseudonyms? It is hard to reply to the right person otherwise.

Gruntled said...

Peter M.

"Normal Americans" came from the first Anonymous comment.

halifax said...

Just because some people or a lot of people or a majority of people would like something to be the case (say, that everyone becomes healthy, wealthy, and wise; or that all of our daughters marry decent young men; or that all of our children become above average), it doesn't follow that the government should do it or that it can do it. Two questions (among many others) still remain for me.

First, since many people still give lip service to the notion that we live under a constitutional (i.e., limited) government, can anyone show me where or how the national government is authorized to engage in such activities? (Apropos of this question, do you think that, under the current dispensation (i.e. the attitude toward constitutional niceties shown by both parties), the notion of actually passing an amendment to the constitution authorizing the national government to collect an income tax would be recognized as necessary or would the government just say, ‘well, we need it, so it must be constitutional’? The answer to the next question is obvious, but I’ll ask it anyway. If Mr. Wilson or Mr. Roosevelt were around today, do you think that they would ask Congress for a declaration of war or just go galloping off into whatever adventure tickled their fancy?) Is there a constitutional justification for the nationalizing/socializing/cartelizing health care or is that just passé in this advanced age?

Second, about the only thing that national governments (especially ours) have proven themselves to be good at is killing large numbers of people (wars and authorized abortions), so I have serious doubts about whether the government can guarantee access to 'basic' health care. What do you define as basic, and what is health care? I can guarantee you that you will find neither here in Quebec. In any case, everyone has access to health care currently in the US. There are no laws excluding people from going to the doctor, and there are hospitals and other health care facilities for the indigent. This appears to me to be just another step down the road to making everyone dependent on the government.

And I'm still unclear as to why the all-powerful Oz in DC didn't just declare us all healthy.

pseudonym said...

Is there a more cynical political movement than the modern right? Government can see big pictures and long term trends in a way that companies cannot.

A short list of good US federal government deeds:

Infrastructure (roads, bridges, sidewalks, etc.)
Scientific research (NASA, NSF, ETC.)
Universal Education
Regulation and oversight (arguable to the cynical I'll grant, but none of those people live in Picher, Oklahoma or next to the Aral Sea)
Human rights including public health, federal housing, welfare (It wasn't the Alabama Police that let blacks into schools, )
Ensuring freedom

Government is not perfect, and has not done these things perfectly, but these Ayn Randians want us to look to Somalia as a role model.

Susan Perkins Weston said...

I'd rank winning World War II and then the Cold War as government work that's also worth some respect.

Of course, once could call that just "killing large numbers of people."

One who sees America's international role that way may be drawn to monastic-or-Amish retreat from the world or called to prophetic opposition. It's really not the stuff of serious participation in existing civic institutions.

halifax said...

So, pseudonym, before the leviathan state took over in the early 20th century, the US looked like present-day Somalia. I see that government propaganda is working its wonders. Once more, perhaps some elementary tuition in American (not to say European) history might be in order. (And I think A. Rand is a grade-a moron, by the way.)

Susan, I was thinking more along the lines of Switzerland, than the Amish. And, yes, I am a proud isolationist who believes that the past 60 years worth of warfare/welfare state has left us (we Americans) less free than we were before. And I would agree with you that this legislation is not outside of the mainstream of American political culture these days. That's where I happily reside.

Katie said...

Halifax,

I'm just curious about what kind of "giver" you are. Do you like to make charitable donations (if so, what percentage of your salary before taxes) or do you believe in spending all your hard earned money on yourself? I ask because I'm curious about the giving profiles of people on both sides of this health care debate.

Our household is incredibly happy that this bill has passed. But, we're also people who give 10% of our income to charity, too. We really believe in spreading the wealth around and being in favor of this bill seemed like a natural extension of that belief.

Also, even though I don't love the Canadian health care system, I have yet to meet a single Canadian here in Ottawa who hasn't been extremely thankful for their "free" medical. Have you found otherwise?

halifax said...

I don't talk about my personal habits on blog sites.

In re the Quebec health care system, I'm glad that you put 'free' in quotation marks because it certainly isn't free here. And, in terms of satisfaction, I have yet to meet any non-Francophone Canadians or Americans in Quebec who have positive things to say about it. But, then again, I don't talk about it much with the locals either.

In fact, the one comment that I heard regularly here in Montreal about the American health care debate was that the local population were worried that, if Americans nationalized their health care system, then Quebecers would have nowhere to go to get treated.

Mac said...

re: pseudonym's entry at 2:28 PM, March 24, 2010

Your list includes some really good things, but the only item on the list that the Constitution assigns to the Federal government is roads.

No government can guarantee "Human rights" or "Ensur[e]freedom." In fact,government is, by definition, antithetical to freedom and will step all over human rights to achieve its desired ends. Dr. Franklin wasn't kidding when he told a citizen of Philadelphia that the Constitutional Convention had given us a republic, not a monarchy, but "only if [the citizens are alert and] can keep it."

Since the Northwest Ordinance of 1787,"Universal Education" has been a local responsibility.

The others you list (Scientific research, Regulation and oversight, and "public health, federal housing, welfare" which you define as human rights, but the Constitution surely does not) have merely been assumed by the federal government as an indifferent citizenry slept.

Russell said...

Black Sea, halifax and Max give me hope for the future. Cheers to you all.

Black Sea said...

Under the current system, there are three groups of people who are uninsured: those who can't get insurance, due to prior illness or pre-exisitng conditions, those who are eligible for insurance, but who can't afford it while meeting their basic needs, and those who could be insured, but choose not to be.

Only the members of one of these three groups has chosen, some would argue irresponsibly, not to be insured. What about those in the first two groups? If they are uninsured, how exactly are they supposed to get medical care? The answer is that, even now (prior to the new legislation) they still receive some degree of medical care, often in emergency rooms, but almost nothing in the way of preventative care, and with almost no follow up or routine care.

My point is that, even prior to the health care bill, our society determined that those without adequate resources would receive some sort of medical care, which would be subsidized by others. As the cost of medical care has increased, and thus the cost of insurance, more and more people have found themselves unable to obtain affordable insurance. I don't think that our society is ready to let those people die on the street if they happen to collapse with a heart attack or get hit by a car, nor to let uninsured children die of easily treatable diseases.

I'm not qualified to speak to the particulars of the curent health care bill, because I don't know all the particulars, but a more rational approach to American health care seems to me to be in order. If you're opposed to the notion of a national health care bill on principle, you can take some small comfort in the thought that, one way or another, you've been paying for the health care of the uninsured all along, albeit in a particularly slapdash way.

btw: I suspect halifax is right that there is no Constitutional authority for such legislation. I fear that the Federal government abandoned the Constitution a long time ago.

A said...

In response to being asked why it will take until 2014 for the recently enacted health care reform bill to take full effect, Congressman John Dingell (D-Michigan) said that such time is needed for the government bureaucracy to take the necessary steps to “control the people.”

“The harsh fact of the mater is, when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways, it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

Katie said...

Halifax,

I didn't mean to be rude by asking a money question--sorry if I offended. Having spent some of my early adulthood living in Asia (where money is discussed like the weather), I'm a bit more casual about such discussions. And, I tend to forget that Americans are really squeamish about money talk.

I just find myself wondering where everyone stands on this issue. Aside from the odd wealthy philanthropist, the most consist givers are religious conservatives (If I'm remembering correctly!). But conservatives are the very group that are opposing this bill. To me, regularly giving to charity and supporting this bill seem to naturally go hand in hand. So, I'm just interested to find out what, if any, correlation there might be.

And, it appears that there is a Ontario/Quebec divide on the issue of healthcare. The folks in Ontario seem much happier. I'll have to ask what the provincial differences in coverage are.

Port said...

When the government collects or plunders someone's money and gives it to another it is not charity.

I'm glad you asked the question because many people are confused about this issue.

Gruntled said...

Port, there is of course a big difference between taxation and charity. However, I agree with Katie that if our main objective is to be sure that everyone, even poor people, have health insurance, then self-help, charity, and, in the end, the government are all complementary means to be sure that the end is reached.

port said...

The bill creates 10,000 or more I.R.S. agents to enforce this charity as you call it.

What would Jesus do? Not that I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Most people right or left want to help the helpless but not the clueless.

This bill helps the clueless and that is what most peolple are against.

This is why the President must tour the country to sell a bill that has already passed.

Gruntled said...

Port, my church is rich and generous, and has made many medical treatment facilities of all kinds, but I know that we are not up to the task of treating everyone.

Anonymous, my church thinks that we have to take care of the clueless - even the willfully self-destructive.

I don't see any alternative to partnering with the state to get these jobs done. I am open to another suggestion of how we as a nation can do it.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, my church thinks that we have to take care of the clueless - even the willfully self-destructive."


Really. Why do you say that? Please explain. What do you mean my my church?

Gruntled said...

The Presbyterian Church regards our calling to be stewards of all of society.

Anonymous said...

"The Presbyterian Church regards our calling to be stewards of all of society."

Where does your church find the authority for that calling? Is it scriptural?

Gruntled said...

Jesus' charge to Peter. We differ from the Catholics in seeing this as a charge to Christians, rather than to the (Catholic) church alone as an institution.

Anonymous said...

It is a poor steward that rewards the lazy. It doesn't help the lazy and it demoralizes the non lazy who are expected to subsidize laziness.

Dumb is dumb no matter the church.

Gruntled said...

Yup. Still, it is wrong to let the dumb die from dumbishness. This is why health care is different from other kinds of stewardship.

Most of the stewardship that Calvinists pursue is through education in the greenwood to help us all behave more sensibly. But anyone can need help in the season of the dry wood.

Anonymous said...

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

Fortysix percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three bedroom house with oneandahalf baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Seventy six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than twothirds have more than two rooms per person.
The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly threequarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.

Ninetyseven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventyeight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Seventythree percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

Katie said...

Latest Anon,

Those stats just say to me that our educational system has failed to teach financial management. People from every socio-economic level have problems with spending too much and saving too little.

Back when my husband was working as a financial planner, there was a client in his firm who made $400,000 a year but had a net worth of only 10K.
He was obviously neither lazy or stupid--he just fell into the same trap of the "American Dream" that so many have fallen into. On the whole, Americans believe that they "deserve" luxuries (be they club memberships and nice cars for the rich or dvd players and cable for the poor).

We don't deserve luxuries. But, basic health care is not a luxury it is a basic need. And, we should strive to help all people get their basic needs met.

Susan Perkins Weston said...

Anonymous with the numbers on families identified as poor,

Can you identify any of the government reports you refer to?

I've been googling your statistics, and all I can find is other people reporting the exact numbers you report, but they do not name any of the reports either.

Also, can you provide the year when those numbers were true?

Susie said...

Found this on wikipedia.

The federal poverty line also excludes income other than cash income, especially welfare benefits. Thus, if food stamps and public housing were successfully raising the standard of living for poverty stricken individuals, then the poverty line figures would not shift since they do not consider the income equivalents of such entitlements