OK, I’ll Take ObamaCare

Well, I don’t know about anybody else.  All I know is that I belong to no organized political party.  I’m a registered Republican.

Will Rogers -- Famous Liberal Democrat

Nevertheless, I have deduced at least one thing out of this entire mess regarding ObamaCare.  I’ll take it as long as we balance the federal budget this year, and for the 29 years thereafter.

In fact, if we balance the national budget for the next 30 years, then who would care if the Socialists / Democrats / Progressives / Liberals want a program to send federal agents onto the streets to throw $100 bills at homeless people?  We can only hope that Congress, as our only organized criminal class capable of buying support this way, wouldn’t vote for that kind of nonsense; but it’s likely no one ever lost money underestimating their intelligence.

Mark Twain - Famous Non-Progressive Liberal

Of course, I wouldn’t support such legislation.  However, I, for one, would accept the concept of free money to the homeless knowing that balanced budgets for the next 30 years would eliminate our $17 trillion debt and that there wouldn’t be another debt ceiling vote in Congress.

Unfortunately, the reality is that, during the most recent five years, our federal government has collected only $2.2 trillion annually, while spending $3.6 trillion annually.  The resulting regular occurrence of a $1.4 trillion deficit has taken a manageable $10 trillion national debt five years ago to one that portends immediate bankruptcy today if our creditors conclude that American wealth won’t soon catch up to the printing presses at the Mint.

In case you haven’t received the memo, that is about what this government shutdown and big partisan debate is.

The coincidence that our national government annually spends on social entitlement welfare programs almost exactly what it collects yearly from all sources leads to a simple perspective: We borrow every discretionary dollar that we spend. 

From this point of view, the solution to balancing the budget through spending reductions seems clearly to lie on a line segment defined by the following two endpoints:

  1. cut $1.4 trillion (64%) out of all ($2.2 trillion) non-discretionary funding
  2. cut all ($1.4 trillion) discretionary funding

Most of us might be happy with almost anything in between.

For those who believe that we can squeeze more out of those undeservedly rich, greedy bastards without them continuing to insist on more access, influence, and attention to their interests by government in exchange, psychological counseling (now ‘free’ under ObamaCare) might be in order.  On the other hand, we could broaden the tax base, simplify the Tax Code, and attempt to raise additional, significant (relative to our annual deficits), revenues from more Americans, on top of what ObamaCare will now collect from us.

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What America Should Do About Syria

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus,”   

“That would change my equation. . . . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully.  We have put together a range of contingency plans.”  

Those who have unceasingly praised our President in the past now seem to understand his failing.  He is a man suffering from chronic verbal diarrhea, which is seldom, if ever, expelled by the force of either information or intelligence.

The predicate event for such insight arises from the impossibility of reconciling the explicit and implicit meanings of the presidential remarks, quoted above, and a recent series of retrenchments explaining, revisions of, and retreats from, his initial, inexactly defined, position regarding (his view of) America’s motivation to impose military force upon Syria’s civil war.  However, further thought among his many new critics may well generate other questions – such as why a Nobel Peace Prize recipient is one of the few on Earth now recommending violence as a solution to Syrian atrocities.

Truly, Barack Obama is the President most likely to prove the wisdom of Calvin Coolidge about keeping silent, especially in the absence of teleprompters.

One does not need the postnatal history of the quoted remarks to find the unintended humor and sad foolishness of a man whose apparent allusions to mathematical (e.g., “calculus”, “equation”) precision invite the immediate comparison to his metric of “a whole bunch of chemical weapons” in the same thought.  This alone betrays the kind of mind that believed (apparently as a matter of subjective faith and not of objective, rational thought) that it was sensible to claim that entrepreneurs did not build their own businesses, that health insurance rates would decrease under the mandates of the horribly misnamed Affordable Care Act, and that adding $7 trillion (thus far) to a $10 trillion national debt implies neither a budget nor a debt crisis.

The President may deny today that the “red lines” are his, preferring instead to claim that those behaviors to which he was referring have long been established by treaty as outside accepted international norms.  However, note that his initial remarks emphasized how the Syrian behavior would change HIS calculus and HIS equation and that it would cross a red line for (the royal) US.  Also, he is incorrect in any claim, implied or otherwise, that Syria has signed any treaty, or is obligated by any law, that prohibits the use of poisonous gas against its own people during civil war.

The first thing that we must do about Syria is never elect again an individual as shallow in thought, as poorly informed, or as inexperienced in leadership as the incumbent egocentric is.

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Those who have experienced combat will generally agree that successful results are most often produced under the maxim of “Go big or stay home.” There is no practical or effective way to fight with any objectives other than the annihilation of all opposing forces, the unconditional surrender of the vanquished, and the re-indoctrination of all survivors.

The kinds of diplomatic failure that lead to the engagement of our military should always have the seven “D”s in mind before we commit our troops and treasury to combat:

  • Defeat the opposing military forces (as quickly as possible).
  • Decimate the opposing civilian population.
  • Detain all prisoners of war (until well after hostilities cease).
  • Disarm all survivors.
  • Destroy the ability of the vanquished to make war.
  • Disband the political groups that made war.
  • Depart the conquered country
    • only after a government friendly to the conquerors has been established, and
    • only after what was broken has been fixed.

Further, each commitment to use military force should require, and demand, significant sacrifice from the civilian population which supplies the military force.

Our inexperienced BHO does not, and probably can not, understand such things.  He has no combat experience.  In fact, he has no military experience.

He’s not alone.  His predecessors, draft dodger WJC and malingerer GWB, also did not understand the circumstances under which our military forces should be engaged.  On the other hand, their predecessor, GHWB, a WWII combat veteran, did.

The ending to successful combat

 The “Highway of Death” brought to you 22 years ago by
our most recent competent Command-in-Chief

Hence, the second thing we should do about Syria is never elect again an individual as inexperienced as Barack Obama is to be Commander-in-Chief.

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Listening to the arguments from this administration regarding America’s involvement in Syria reminds us what today’s Liberals often fail to understand about government.  They, who believe that the solution to every social problem is the monosyllabic cry for MORE! government, cannot understand why moral outrage should not, and can not, be the basis of government intervention – in this case, the use of military force to punish and correct the behavior of the Syrian government in gassing its own citizens.

Today’s Liberals often fail to understand the prohibition of the First Amendment against our government making laws designed to regulate our morality.  Therefore, we should not be surprised to hear their exhortations to use government to regulate the moral behavior of others.

Thus, when Secretary Kerry agrees that the atrocities of the Syrian government are things for which it needs to be held “morally accountable”, he uncovers instead a powerful argument against any American involvment in the matter.  Moral arbitration is not what our governments, especially our national government, are designed to do, should be asked to do, or, in fact, are allowed to do.

Hence, the third thing we should do about Syria is to not interfere.

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The chief source of our difficulties in the Middle East is our unquestioning support of Israel.  (Will it do any good here to claim that I am neither anti-Zionist nor anti-Semitic?)  However, many benefits may accrue for America, and for the world, if Israel is made to feel vulnerable.

Remaining out of the Syrian civil war is just what may be needed to make Israel believe that their security is no longer guaranteed by America.  An Israel, so softened, may thereby become disposed towards justice for the Palestinians and a peace that grants a long promised, viable, Palestinian State. The mechanism by which Israel will become a more humble nation in these circumstances will undoubtedly also lower the frustration and rage among the Arabs that surround the Jewish State, eventually.

A major hypocrisy in the attention now focused upon Syria is that the lawlessness of Israel with regard to its oppression of the indigenous population of Palestine has been, and is, largely ignored by America.  There are plenty of international norms being violated daily by Israel in Palestine; but this President hasn’t yet consulted Congress about lobbing cruise missiles into Tel Aviv or West Jerusalem.

Thus, the fourth thing we should do about Syria is to not interfere.

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The repetitive nature of the recommendations of this essay is intentional.

Thanks for your time and attention!

Salon – “. . . just for the fun of it . . . .”

 Picture courtesy of London Daily Mail.  Victim on left.  His girlfriend since 2008 on right.

Chris Lane and his girl friend since 2008

Salon is the hypersensitive defender of all things it deems unjust because of racial discrimination.  Thus, it was the endless source of commentary on the ‘unjust’ initial failure to arrest George Zimmerman all the way to the ‘unjust’ final failure of a jury to find him guilty of something.

Salon has many similarly-minded supporters on OS.  However, to the credit of OS authors, few seem to be willing to comment on the racial aspects surrounding the recent death of Chris Lane.  This would make the children more intelligent than their parents, since the progenitor of OS seems unaware of a potential hypocrisy in trying to stifle discussion regarding the homicidal events in Duncan, Oklahoma.

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Every retelling of how justice was subverted in the tragic case of Trayvon Martin’s death is marked by at least one significant consistency: there is never, ever, a mention of the attack by Trayvon upon George.  Why is this?

The answer is simple.  One cannot reasonably argue that Zimmerman killed Martin without cause while also mentioning the fact that Martin was beating the living daylights out of Zimmerman at the time this heartbreaking death occurred.

Of course, this is an intellectual dishonesty that is obvious even to the most casual observer.  Nevertheless, Salon is so comfortably ensconced among the emotional and the unthinking that it believes that it can continue to foist such deceit upon its weak minded readers.

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Salon apparently cannot be shamed on this topic; and it hasrecently published an opinion by its political reporter decrying any comparison between the case in Sanford, Florida, in which a ‘white’ killed a ‘black’ and the case in Duncan, Oklahoma, where three ‘blacks’ are alleged to have killed a ‘white’.

Of course, this article does not mention a single word about the attack by Martin on Zimmerman.  No sir . . . . No way . . . . No how . . . .

The sarcastic question that this article begs is, “Who in their right mind would ever believe that when blacks kill a white comparisons could be made to a white killing a black?”

To be fair, what little credit this article is due stems from its recognition that the deaths of Chris Lane and Trayvon Martin are both “tragic” and “senseless”.

Wow. . . . Really?

Salon still betrays its racial investment in this discussion by pointing out that one of the three boys who has been accused of killing Chris Lane is probably white, and (apparently thereby) faces “lesser charges”.  It omits all reference to the facts alleged in the killing of Chris Lane, which are, in brief, that:

·      the boys chose Chris Lane, at random, as their target when they saw him jogging by the yard in which they were “playing”,

·      their primary motivation for killing someone whom they did not know, and with whom they had never interacted, was to indulge in the thrill “ . . . just for the fun of it . . .”

·      they, with obvious premeditation, retrieved the murder weapon, climbed into a car, drove to catch up with their victim, shot Chris Lane in the back, and immediately left the scene of the crime, and

·      prior to shooting Chris Lane, in what may have been a practice run, these three homicidal maniacs shot a mule.

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You know, maybe Salon is correct.  There isn’t any comparison that can be drawn between the killing of Trayvon Martin and Chris Lane.

Nevertheless, Salon’s duplicity is astounding in trying to stifle an opposing viewpoint to the propaganda they so voluminously and vacuously published regarding their racial perspective on the George Zimmerman shooting and subsequent trial.  Further, what Salon fails, utterly, to understand is the concept of prosecutorial discretion, which should obviously have been maintained in the George Zimmerman case.

Race hustlers, whom Salon approved from the president on down, pressured the County in which Trayvon was killed to send a man to trial who did not pick the decedent at random, did not kill the decedent without a brutal interaction beforehand, did not premeditate the killing, and didn’t practice killing in advance of the homicide.  Those who think and believe as the Salon article suggests deserve what they are reaping from those who are now asking to whom the president will eventually compare himself among the accused principals in Duncan, Oklahoma.

If Salon wishes to comment substantively on the racial aspects of the killings in Sanford, Florida and Duncan, Oklahoma then it might consider two statistics from the national BJS crime report.  First, blacks comprise 13% of the American population while accounting for 53% of its homicidal perpetrators (table htus8008to1, cells D27 and E27).  Second, black victims of gun violence are the targets of black perpetrators 94% of the time.

There’s a racial component to gun violence in America, alright.  It’s just not what Salon believes, much less understands.

The Trouble With Marriage Equality

female - lesbian wedding

male-gay wedding The debate about what is euphemistically called “marriage equality” is stunning in many ways.

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THE SHALLOW COMPLAINT

In its most common and intellectually shallow form, the current argument of those who contend that marriage should be gender neutral is that it is a “right”.  Among the many concepts that these claimants obviously don’t grasp is the notion that anytime a government issues a license to sanction or to allow an activity, then a restricted privilege, not an unrestricted right, is involved. In fact, civil marriage is a secular and temporal benefit that has never been granted to everyone.

At times, some local ordinances proscribed interracial marriage.  At times, some States forbade marriages where one or both applicants were infected with certain diseases.  National statutes, enacted long before DOMA, have made marriages involving more than one wife or more than one husband illegal.  Moreover, we don’t confer marriage upon men and their gerbils, or women and their horses, no matter how committed the human grooms and brides may be to their rodent or equine pets.

Distinctions may be drawn that humans may own their pets or plants but cannot own each other.  Humans may possess estates whereas all other members of the plant and animal kingdoms cannot. These differences may stop the argument that marriage is a civil right from proceeding across the entire taxonomic classification system.

However, they do not address the direct motivation for the current claims that marriage should be genderless among humans.  Moreover, they overlook two significant impediments to national interference in the concept of marriage.

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THE FUNDAMENTAL MOTIVATION OF THE COMPLAINT

Marriage licenses are primarily issued today for the purpose of documenting a relationship entitled to receive various governmental benefits: welfare, tax, privileged communication, and a plethora of others.  Consequently, the attempts to pervert this institution by same-sex partners are, in reality, not fundamentally provoked by reference either to any high-minded ideas of human equality, or to the inalienable rights endowed by the Creator, or to equal protection under the law.

Indeed, they are driven primarily by considerations such as Ms. Windsor’s complaint about paying estate tax, when she would not have been required to do so in the same situation had she been married to a man.  They are underwritten by same-sex partners who want survivor benefits from Social Security, hospital visitation rights under HIPAA, protection from being forced to testify against their partners in certain court cases, and favorable income tax treatment under the national Tax Code and any State tax codes that might apply.

This debate is fueled by worldly, trivial considerations associated with the gender discrimination of the current legal definition of marriage relative to the award of benefits by government.  Hence, when one hears about “marital rights”, both civil and otherwise, then what one sees is the cart that follows the horse of base human materialistic desire.

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AVOIDING SUCH COMPLAINTS THRU FEDERALISM

The gender-based definition of marriage is enshrined nationally in nearly 1,100 federal statutes, along with their associated interpretive rules, regulations, and court judgments or opinions.  Consider what might have been had the Congresses, Presidents, and Supreme Courts over the past 80 years understood, and adhered to, the Constitution.

For example, the General Welfare clause was inserted by the Framers to ensure that our national government always acted for the benefit of the nation as a whole and never in the specific interest of one sector, State, or individual. Had this interpretation been retained, Social Security would not have been enacted, nor would Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, national unemployment, housing subsidies, nor a host of other welfare programs, all of which provide national entitlement benefits to a limited number of individuals who qualify for them on the bases of their indigence, age, infirmity, employment, family size, and/or marital status.

In the absence of such national charity, specifically as such benefits are increased for couples deemed to be married, part of the motivation to have the national government recognize a same-sex union vanishes.  In fact, there go nearly one-half of the sources of the complaints regarding “marital equality” at the national level.

Similarly, the Framers inserted the Capitation clause with the vision that the national government would raise revenue by taxing the States in proportion to their populations.  Had such a system been retained, no direct taxes would have been laid upon individuals, their incomes, or their estates by the national government.

In the absence of such national taxation on individuals, specifically as such taxes are decreased for couples deemed to be married, part of the motivation to have the national government recognize a same-sex union vanishes.  In fact, there go nearly the other half of the sources of complaints regarding “marital equality” at the national level.

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AVOIDING SUCH COMPLAINTS THRU THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Debate about the definition of marriage beyond the shallow end of the intellectual pool is always tied to the moral imperatives found within oneself or such books as the Bible, Quran, or Torah.  Consequently, when Congress legislates in this area, directly or indirectly, it (probably) crosses the First Amendment line that prohibits it from making any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

This would also be true for legislation Congress passes that seeks to define, outlaw, or regulate in similar areas such as abortion, assisted suicide, (perhaps) euthanasia, unassisted suicide, etc.,.  In these cases, there is no great public interest at stake, outside of the aforementioned, congressionally-created, welfare, tax, and other public policy programs that generally should have been avoided to preserve the federal relationship the Framers envisioned between the national government and those of the States.

Unlike murder, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, where, for example, the inalienable rights are involved, congressional legislation of our morality, absent such significant public welfare, is either equivalent to a specification of religious (spiritual or moral) belief or an interference with the practice thereof.  All laws may have a moral component; however, the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses foreclose the possibility that Congress has any power to legislate on the basis of moral, spiritual, or religious conviction either primarily or alone.

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LET’S NOT KID OURSELVES . . . .

Obviously, government is neither wise enough nor humble enough to restrain itself from overreaching.  This is because government is composed of the same type of humans who wish to be declared married to their same-sex partners. Each wants to extend its power over, and influence within, our society and culture.  Each wishes to garner a majority in electoral support. Each likely believes that its advocacy was, or is, undertaken with the best of intentions.

However, our national government violated the liberty that the Founders had in mind when they drafted our Constitution by incorporating a definition of marriage into the body of our national laws.  Same-sex couples offended the sensibilities of many who wished to restrict the definition of marriage to its cultural norm for the purpose of distributing welfare and entitlement benefits.

There is little doubt that both the government and the electorate will tolerate alternative lifestyles in America.  This isn’t the fountainhead of the debate. Indeed, tolerating alternate lifestyles is one thing; but paying for them is quite another.

A right response to a left invitation – Socialism 2a

Socialism 203

The image above of the title page of a paper written by Barak Hussein Obama is both complete and accurate.  It is offered here as a test for prejudice.

Minds are like parachutes.  They both work best when open.

As always, I am grateful to those who originally expressed an interest in this series.  I doubt that I am living up to anyone’s expectations.  I know that I am not meeting my own.  It was unwise to have obligated myself in this way.

My claim will always be that I did not come to OS to change minds.  If that is the applied metric to determine my success here, then I am clearly an abject failure.  However, it is always my intention to improve the quality of political discourse in this country.

Hence, it is with great appreciation that I read the responses and participate in the discussions that have occurred since the first installment was written.  To this end, this second installment is also designed to solicit your thoughts.

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Socialism 202

Propaganda

THUS FAR . . .

American Socialists are Stupid 

As we learned last time, in the foggy land of American Socialist philosophy, those with common sense need not worry much about whether they will eventually be able to change Progressive minds.  This is because checkbook arithmetic is infinitely more powerful than the most ardent or persuasive American Socialist/Progressive.  The only substantive question is whether advocates for the American model of social welfare will stop supporting our current entitlement programs before or after our country is financially broken.  That question, in fact, may already be moot.

The total annual collection by our national government in each of the previous three fiscal years has equaled what our national government outlaid solely on such social entitlements.  For each of these years, this amount has been approximately $2.2 trillion dollars.

From this perspective, every dollar our government in Washington DC spent outside of funding this welfare state was borrowed.  The average amount of such annual borrowing for the last three fiscal years has been approximately $1.4 trillion.  In other words, America borrows about $0.39 of every dollar it spends at the national level.

These facts alone make spending 61% of a $3.6 trillion total annual budget on social entitlements unsustainable.  This is the conclusion of even the most casual observers who are not blinded by socialist ideology; and this was the point made by the first installment in this series.

While the Senate has not passed a budget for 1,046 days (as this is being written), the budgets passed by the House for the past three fiscal years have all allotted, and we have spent, approximately, $800 billion annually for the Department of Defense.  This is the largest sub-budget after our entitlement program spending.

That’s correct.  We spend $3 on entitlement welfare in America for every $1 we spend on defending our country.  To many, this represents an unacceptable order of priorities.

Don’t misread the implied meaning of the previous paragraph.  We haven’t fought a justified war since WWII.  However, the stupidity of our nation building, combat diplomacy, foreign policies is exceeded only by the stupidity of the policies underlying our homegrown brand of social welfare.

As an example of how dim-witted our entitlement programs are, consider the social contract invoked when a single mother in America receives welfare benefits in order to care for her children.  In most cases, she will lose those benefits if she becomes employed, or if she marries a man who is employed. Further, her benefits often increase if she has more children.

We might applaud the opportunity our brand of social entitlement welfare gives this mother to stay home with her children.  On the other hand, little additional thought is required to horrify most taxpayers when they realize that the incentives being provided by public expenditures under these social programs are for single, unemployed mothers to remain single and unemployed, and to become baby factories.

American Socialists are Stupider 

American entitlement welfare programs are rife with such notorious contracts.  Take the case of entitlements offered if one is involuntarily terminated from employment within most jurisdictions in this country. Unemployment benefits paid by the national government and by most State governments in America are acquired if the applicant generally can simply show three things:

  1. He became unemployed involuntarily.
  2. He was not terminated “for cause”.
  3. He remains unemployed.

That’s it.  In most American jurisdictions, your unemployment benefits are acquired, and continue within the allowed benefit period, so long as one remains unemployed under these conditions.

We may argue about whether such benefits are “sufficient”.  However, I find it amazing how many in this condition are able to dump their cars and attendant gas, insurance, maintenance, registration, and license costs, along with installment purchase or lease payments, to make ends meet.

They move back into the homes of their parents or in-laws.  They don’t have to pay for childcare.  Their incomes may become so low, and their assets so depleted, that they qualify for food stamps, subsidized housing, Medicaid, WIC, and host of other programs that leave many recipients wondering if they aren’t better off not working.

Again, a bargain is struck between government as welfare-provider and citizen as welfare-receiver in these cases under which the beneficiary is practically discouraged from seeking employment, while receiving benefits simply intended to tide him over between jobs.  In fact, while unemployment benefits may end, subsidized housing, food stamps, Medicaid, and a host of other social welfare benefits eventually attendant to his unemployment seldom have a date certain under which an unemployed beneficiary can no longer qualify to receive them – unless, of course, he dies.

American Socialists are the Stupidest

It is well beyond most American Socialist minds to contemplate that there may be a different manner by which to render government aid in such circumstances.  To them, the only solution, ever, is to cry for more government, more taxes, and more benefits for those who find themselves among the unfortunate.  To them, these terrible social contracts, made between governments and the beneficiaries of such entitlement programs, are simply an unfortunate, unavoidable, byproduct of the Socialist imperative for government to take care of those who seem unable to provide for themselves.

Bullshit . . . .

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  “I, a Socialist, think we should strive toward a Socialist society, all the way to Communism.”

“If you understood what Communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that one day we would become Communist.”

Jane Fonda

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Nordic Socialists are Smart 

One result of the discussion after the first installment in this series was the disclosure that Swedish Socialists are smarter than American Socialists are. For example, in Sweden, before one can receive the first Kroner of unemployment benefits, an applicant must prove that they are working at least three hours per day.

That’s correct.  One must be working in order to collect unemployment benefits in Sweden.

Now, I don’t know what this “work” entails.  Since every third job in Sweden is a government job, it may be that it’s easy to obtain part-time public work to satisfy this requirement.  Alternatively, simply claiming you work three hours per day looking for work may also be work, so to speak.  Perhaps, working on your Uncle Swen’s farm milking cows for room and board is work that qualifies.  Who knows?

What’s important here is that one must be gainfully employed in order to collect unemployment benefits in Sweden.  Let’s pause here for a second to understand exactly what this does to motivate the Nordic unemployed to quickly find other work after being involuntarily terminated from their previous job.

Nordic Socialists are Smarter 

However, it gets even better under the Nordic unemployment benefit model.  Beyond this, a potential Swedish unemployment beneficiary is practically obligated to accept work that is offered; and he must be registered as a job seeker for public work.  He must also promise, in writing, to be:

• actively seeking additional work,
• prepared to travel long distances to work at a job that is offered, and
• able to relocate, and willing to be retrained, to work at a job that is offered.

In addition, the unemployment benefit associated with these conditions is reduced in the event the job from which the beneficiary was terminated was less than full-time.

These conditions almost make it worthwhile to honor a job instead of taking a risk that one would have to shovel out Uncle Swen’s cow stalls for the rest of one’s working career or risk being installed in a boring, part-time, government job just to keep collecting the unemployment checks.

Nordic Socialists are the Smartest 

The foregoing describes the ‘basic’ unemployment benefit in Sweden.  In addition, a supplementary benefit exists.

This supplementary benefit is funded as an insurance policy by private enterprises approved by the Swedish national government.   Generally, a new worker will not even be able to join an unemployment benefit group that offers this supplementary benefit until he has worked for at least four weeks, for at least 17 hours per week.  At that point, his application may be submitted and may be evaluated for five additional weeks before it is granted.   Once granted, the employee will still not qualify for unemployment benefits under this supplementary part until he:

• qualifies under the ‘basic’ conditions mentioned above,
• has been a member of the unemployment insurance group for at least 12 months,
• has worked at least six continuous months, for at least 80 hours per month, prior to making the supplementary unemployment claim.

This implies that most new workers won’t be able to even obtain a supplementary unemployment for more than 14 or 15 months after they initially begin to work and, even then, not unless their work is more than half-time, approximately.  Further, this supplementary unemployment benefit is something for which the beneficiary pays directly into his own insurance account.  It is not the Ponzi scheme derived benefit from general tax revenues for which everyone (who is employed) in America pays.  Moreover, in Sweden, but not in America, this supplementary component of unemployment benefits is also based on the beneficiary’s past employment record as well as his compensation therefor.

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Socialism 201

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I Wrote All of That to Write This . . . .

Entitlement welfare doesn’t have to be as stupid as it is in America.  The better debate to have would be one that centers on how to provide such welfare without the multiple and significant disincentives within it.  The better debate to have would be the one that centers on how to provide such welfare in more cost-effective ways.  The better debate to have would be the one that centers on what welfare our national government should supply, what welfare our State governments should supply, what welfare our County and City governments should supply, and, most importantly, what welfare should not be supplied by governments, at any level.

Within the context of our current national fiscal condition, today’s entitlement debate, to the extent it exists, is tantamount to fiddling while Rome burns.  We argue about how we are going to tinker with existing programs, when the underlying policies promoted by the foundational statutes incorporate the problems that insure that no rule, nor regulation, reform will work.

Further, within the context of the financial crisis of our national government, for those of you who care about the environment or technology, the EPA’s FY12 budgeted amount of $9 billion and NASA’s FY12 budgeted amount of $18 billion are, effectively, rounding errors.  As mentioned above, the most specific and highest constitutional duty of our national government is funded only a third as much as the possibly unconstitutional duty our governments have assumed to redistribute wealth from the fortunate few to the unfortunate few.

To maintain the social welfare state, in whatever form, is expensive.  It’s the most expensive thing our national government currently funds and is ever likely to fund, bar none and by far.

We try to maintain this welfare state with an overall tax burden of 23.6% of GDP.  In Sweden, they maintain their ‘universalist’ welfare state with an overall tax burden of 51.1% of GDP.

In America, governmental spending at all levels exceeds 25% of GDP. Approximately 14.1% of our workforce is employed in the public sector.  In Sweden, public spending is about 56.6% of GDP.  More than a third of Sweden’s work force is employed in the public sector.

The big difference between America and Sweden is that America is in serious financial trouble.  Sweden isn’t.

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“A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

Barry Goldwater

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The first graphic in this post is an image of the front cover of a paper written by Barak Hussein Obama, senior, regarding Kenyan socialism, after he was separated from junior’s mother.

Baptists Against Smoking!

The government wants you to quit smoking.  What enumerated power is that?

Sensible liberal thought, the open-minded consideration of government policy that is supposed to balance liberty and equality, seems abundantly absent these days.  One of the reasons for this appears to be that liberal perceptions of equality are now often reduced to simplistic notions that all citizens should enjoy the same outcomes.

Couple this utopian concept with the socialist philosophy that it is the duty of government to force the Nirvana of equal outcomes for all; and one quickly understands why socialist and liberal ideals often merge these days in marriages made in Hell.  Liberty is not only forgotten in, but also is antithetical to, these relationships.

Such thinking allows our national government, under the guise of majority rule, to determine what it believes is best for all us, whether or not our founding values or our national interests are at stake and whether or not such authority has been granted under the enumerated powers of Congress.  Further, the motivation to regulate in almost any area for these reasons is so strong that both common sense and logic are often trampled in the process.

No Choice!

WHAT GOVERNMENT REGULATES TO EXTINCTION . . . .

To use one of Barbara Joann’s examples, we are not threatened if one of us smokes.  Neither our country nor our culture will be substantially harmed if someone lights up.  That’s been proven trillions of times.

Smoking doesn’t violate anybody’s inalienable or constitutional rights.  In fact, one might argue that smokers have their unique and insane ways of appreciating a product of nature, pursuing happiness, peacefully assembling, and speaking.

Smokers may bother others; that is true.  If they bother you, then accommodate the smoker’s needs, or ask the smoker to accommodate your needs, or suck it up in the name of humanity.  Such techniques have worked billions of times.  There was, and remains, little reason to get the government, or its police forces, involved.

. . . . IT SIMULTANEOUSLY SUBSIDIZES . . . .

Similarly, our country isn’t threatened if 100 million of its citizens smoke. Unless, of course, in the pursuit of the Socialist Nirvana, we pledge the resources of all citizens to take care of the health consequences of this apparently insane smoking minority who cause their expensive nicotine delivery systems to successively disappear in a series of small fires.

This is insult added to injury.  The government, through other, similarly motivated, social welfare concerns, subsidizes smoking.  In providing healthcare for those afflicted with smoking related diseases, the government protects smokers from personally having to absorb the consequences of their choices to smoke.  Instead, it makes us all liable for the poor choices of these few.

No matter how poor or how rich you are, no matter what your lifestyle, no matter what your life choices, Liberal simpletons, married to envious Socialists, believe that we should all enjoy the same “free” healthcare at some point.  They believe we should all live to the same age, have the same quality of life, and the same access to healthcare, thereby relieving us all from much of the personal responsibility of having to provide for ourselves in these areas.  Lest we believe that all this is free, let’s contemplate for just a second on how expensive it has become to try to achieve these objectives.

. . . . WHILE ELIMINATING CHOICE  . . .

In the presence of ‘one government policy fits all’, if a certain type of business is forced to expel smokers, then all similar businesses must abide by the same rule.  Thus, liberty is limited to the extent that bar owners, for example, can no longer choose whether to allow smoking in their establishments to suit the tastes of their clients.  Their clients also lose the choice to go to bars that prohibit smoking indoors or to those that allow it; because all similar bars, per governmental policy, are the same when it comes to smoking.  In this way, we don’t get happier and more free; we get sadder and less free.

. . . . . AND ENCOURAGING SENSELESS ACTIVITY

One thing leads to another as we march to Utopia.  Since taxpayer money is at stake for social welfare programs like Medicare and Medicaid, rationales are developed to put labels on cigarette packages.  Government makes rules about where one can smoke and what one can smoke and what cigarette manufacturers may include in their products and what they must not include in their products.  Lots of bureaucracy is created and lots of money is spent enforcing the rules and regulations that follow.

None of this makes any real sense.  For instance, labels don’t impart information that both smokers and non-smokers don’t already know intuitively.  Smoking is simply not good for one’s health; it never has been; and it never will be.

Smoking is unhealthful no matter what one smokes and no matter where one smokes.  Consequently, we have a large, expensive burearcracy regulating what is unquestionably bad for us.

Way to go guys!


Choice!

Would it have been so terrible had the government allowed us to keep the money it took from us for Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance?

We could have invested such assets for our own emergency funds, retirement plans, private insurance premiums, or irresponsible spending.

Would it have been so wrong for our government to leave us all responsible for our own outcomes?

Who the hell knows. . . . . or much cares . . . . at this point.  What is done is done and the inertia of national government, good or bad, makes changing it practically impossible outside the context of an impending apocalypse these days.

Choice!

Whatever, . . . . I nevertheless appreciated the ironic humor of the foregoing when I recently read the following on the career page of Baptist Health, the entity that manages several of the Baptist-sponsored hospitals still in operation:

ATTENTION APPLICANTS: Please note that as of January 1, 2011, all Baptist Health facilities will be tobacco free. For the protection of our patients, visitors and co-workers, no tobacco products will be allowed on any Baptist Health campus, including buildings, common areas and parking lots. We thank you for your cooperation. 

Uhhhhhhhhhhhh  ohhhhhhhhhhhh. . . . Here we have a set of church sponsored institutions denying access, on all of  its campuses, to what many believe is a medical therapy for many illnesses.  Further, since many Baptist Conventions oppose smoking, as well as dancing and drinking, this clearly has religious overtones.

WHERE IS THE RULEMAKING IMPERATIVE OF THE ACA NOW, WHEN WE REALLY NEED IT???????????     

It’s NOT a debate about access to contraception

In the recent, and apparently endless, dustup over a rule promulgated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (‘ACA’, or more accurately, ‘ObamaCare’), it is surprising how many near-sighted tree experts exist and how few far-sighted forest rangers there are.

Look at the forest . . . .

. . .  not at the trees

Had such rulemaking mandated that religiously affiliated institutions be required to provide insurance to their employees to cover injuries specifically resulting from dancing or illnesses specifically caused by drinking, then Baptists would likely be upset. Had such rulemaking required that medical doctors be consulted every time a child fell ill, then Christian Scientists would probably be upset.

Baptist Dancing

In these cases, it would not have mattered whether most Baptists danced and drank, or whether most Baptists favored dancing and drinking.  Nor would it have mattered whether most Christian Scientists consulted medical doctors when their children fell ill or favored consulting doctors when their children fell ill.  What matters is that the national government is perceived to be crossing the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment by requiring an allegiance to a medical practice opposed by a religion.

Pump Shoe

However, the point to be made can be supported without a First Amendment reference. Let’s contemplate policies under Obama’s health care reform that will subsidize podiatric treatment for injuries to women sustained only while wearing flats, thereby excluding injuries to women sustained while wearing heels.  Given the passions already associated with government funding of abortions, perhaps we are lucky that such fashion lines haven’t yet been crossed by HHS rulings.

The 50,000-foot view of the forest understands the following:

  • The national government’s industrious rulemaking engine generates only one policy for the nation no matter where you live, no matter what you believe, no matter what you want, and no matter who you are.
  • When national legislation, no matter how well intended, entwines local institutions in an intimate, pervasive, financial relationship with the national government, without which funding such institutions cannot survive, then these institutions become mere outlets of the foregoing voluminous, monolithic, policymaking machine.

Hence, it seems ill informed and myopic to cast the current situation as Catholics imposing their will on others, or as a renewed debate about access to contraception or abortion, or as a debate about the aspects of feminism, women’s health, or wherever examining the tree bark of the consequences leads.  The only real debate here is whether government is too big, generally, or too big under ObamaCare, particularly.

Trust me; health insurance companies saw this coming.  They raised their rates in anticipation of this day.  Sure enough, the incumbent socialist-in-chief, who believes that he knows what is best for all of us, is now demanding that non-governmental entities supply something for which they cannot charge.

Fortunately, for the shareholders, and unfortunately, for the premium payers, these health insurance companies beat the socialism of the ACA to the punch.  However, you can bet that more mandates are coming from those in Washington DC who believe that they know best.

Be careful for what you ask of our government.

Facts and Logic – Political Discourse In America