Monday, November 30, 2009

"Blind Side" a Hit

It was nearly three years ago that we wrote about the story of Michael Oher. He's the left offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, and his story was told by Michael Lewis in The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.

Oher was a throwaway child of the ghetto and a drug-addict mother. Until he was adopted by a Christian high school and a wealthy couple.

Now The Blind Side is a major motion picture with $100 million in grosses for the first two weeks.

Star Parker writes about The Blind Side today, and, as a black conservative, well she might. It's all very well to look at the inspirational side of the story:

Michael Oher's story has already received much attention. How a homeless black 15-year-old winds up in a Christian private school and how a white Christian couple adopted him and helped him develop to get the grades to stay in school, become a star athlete, an All-American football player and a multimillion-dollar NFL draft pick.

But then there's the other side.

Our wake-up call should be that the factors that saved and transformed Michael Oher's life stand in stark contrast to the government solutions we hear from Washington about dealing with our problems relating to poverty and education.

Oher had attended 11 different public schools. He had a grade point average of 0.6. He had been in foster homes and typically would sleep on the floor at different houses, finding food where he could. Maybe was saved him was that he was a "gentle giant."

Of course, he was as dumb as a post.

When they first tested him at Briarcrest, the Christian school, he had an IQ of 80. Then later when they tested him again after he'd brought his school work up, he tested at 100-110. "The psychologists were dumbfounded."

President Obama wants to spend more government money on schools. What is is smoking? Government never did anything for education.

School choice and traditional values are the answers. It's freedom, not bureaucrats, that produces miracles. Michael Oher may be an exceptional individual, but his story need not be an exceptional story.

We can change all this liberal failure and injustice, you know. Any time we want. It's called voting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Worse the Better

That was the line attributed to Vladimir Lenin. Actually, it seems that Lenin was quoting the Marrxist theoretician G.V. Plekhanov:

If the Cadets don’t stick to the rule—the worse, the better...," says Plekhanov, "they themselves will have to admit that they have made a big mistake[.]

At any rate, when the other side is doing its best to wreck the country then you sometimes wish they would do the job properly.

Conservative commentators are falling all over each other reporting on the devastation of the Obama age.

Here is Fred Barnes:

"Change must come to Washington," Mr. Obama said in a June 2008 speech. "I have consistently said when it comes to solving problems," he told Jake Tapper of ABC News that same month, "I don't approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective."

Candidate Obama was also strongly against lobbyists: "they're part of the problem," he said. But when you grow government, as the president clearly is trying to do, you increase partisanship and you increase the need for interests to send lobbyists to Washington.

Then there is Kim Strassel reporting Sen. Jim Imhofe's (R-SC) assertion that "Cap and Trade is dead:

So declares Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, taking a few minutes away from a Thanksgiving retreat with his family. "Ninety-five percent of the nails were in the coffin prior to this week. Now they are all in."

"This week" refers to ClimateGate, or the CRUTape Letters, the revelations of cooking the books at Britain's Climatic Research Unit.

Now there is Victor Davis Hanson saying that, when it comes to bad news, "We ain't seen nothing yet." If you are worried about "High unemployment, the recession, and a terrorist resurgence in Afghanistan," don't worry. There is more bad news coming. Think: increased oil prices, increased interest rates for Uncle Sam to pay, increased terrorism, and increased taxes.

And at the center of it all is the utterly wrong-headed reinvention of health care, panned by Charles Krauthammer. It amounts to:

hundreds of new provisions, regulations, mandates, committees, and other arbitrary bureaucratic inventions. Worse, they are packed into a monstrous package without any regard to each other. The only thing linking these changes — such as the 118 new boards, commissions, and programs — is political expediency. Each must be able to garner just enough votes to pass. There is not even a pretense of a unifying vision or conceptual harmony.

It really does seem as though President Obama and the Democrats are determined to run the ship of state on the rocks. Kim Strassel:

Nearly every Obama policy has thrilled either the president's base in the Democratic Party or a liberal interest group but practically no one else. Nearly every policy is unpopular with a majority or large plurality of Americans.

Democrats have spent the last 30 years claiming that Republicans and conservatives were the most monstrous and demented extremists. Their campaign hit a fortissimo in the last years of the Bush administration and yielded bumper returns in the campaigns of 2006 and 2008.

Well, now we are getting a dose of real extremism, in contrast to the mild conservatism of President Bush, and this extemism is spelt O-B-A-M-A-R-E-I-D-P-E-L-O-S-I.

And the American people hate it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Don't Take Freedom For Granted

It's Thanksgiving, the holiday when we count our blessings. And it's the time also to count the second greatest of them all. We are talking about the trio of blessings: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Marriage activist Maggie Gallagher has something to say about this.

Freedom may well be a right, but the most important thing about freedom is that it is a good.

What's the difference? Rights are what you are owed. Goods have to be made. Freedom is a gift. We didn't make it by ourselves for ourselves. We have to be grateful for it.

We owe the simple debt of thankfulness to those who came before -- who suffered, celebrated, fought and died to create the society we now enjoy. That's history. And we owe it to those who created our freedom to pass on the gift.

Then Gallagher gets to the pure Burkean moment.

That is patriotism: the debt that we the living owe to the honored dead, which we can pay only by caring for future generations yet unborn.

I would say rather: "That is conservatism." Modern conservatism is the self-conscious articulation of the unarticulated Way of the ancestors. And the central point is the argument made by Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. Let us run the actual quote:

Society is indeed a contract. But it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible worlds, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place.

The great gift of Edmund Burke, as the founder of modern conservatism, lies in this articulation of the unspoken wisdom of the ages. The social contract we live under is not just between the living. It is "between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born." And this is not just an artifice, a trick of social control. It lies at the center of life and its purpose.

For if we humans survive and thrive it will be because we have maintained the gossamer thread that is the contract between the generations. Between us the living, between those already gone before, and those yet to come.

That is why we are thankful, on this day of all days. We are thankful to have received the gift of life and the gift of freedom. From those who have gone before.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank Goodness It Wasn't Any Worse

Many conservatives are railing today at the financial bailout of Fall 2008. After the failure of Lehman Brothers Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson engineered a $700 TARP fund to prevent the contagion from spreading. And conservatives hated it.

I maintain that a banking bailout was the right policy, and a banking bailout--designed to prevent a meltdown of the credit system--is the only kind of bailout that makes sense in an economic crisis. If the credit system goes, then everything goes.

Today, at Thanksgiving 2009, it looks like the worst is over and that the economy will survive its worst crisis since the Great Depression.

That is something to be thankful for.

But it is clear that the national elite has not learned the proper lessons from the crisis. We have seen no effort to reduce the subsidization of debt. We have seen not effort to get the government out of gunning the economy. We have seen no effort to reduce the politicization of the economy.

The lesson of 2008 is clear. Government can't be trusted with monetary policy. It can't be trusted with credit policy. It can't be trusted with economic policy. The reason is simple. The only thing that politicians and activists and lobbyists are interested in is power. Their interest in monetary policy extends no further than printing money when the government gets in a jam. Their interest in credit policy extends no further than subsidizing their supporters. Their interest in economic policy extends no further than apologies for government domination of the economy.

The only thing that government can do is fight against enemies foreign and domestic. To this end, of course, it needs complete access to the nation's wealth when it is actually fighting a war. But after the war the resources should be surrendered back to the private sector.

Because politicians know nothing about money, credit, and business. And they like it that way.

The best way to celebrate future Thanksgivings would be to give thanks to the day when we got the government out of the economy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"I have also felt really tired"

The dam has burst on the politicized climate science operation, the Hockey Stick Team, run by Phil Jones at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and Michael Mann of Penn State University.

The release of a decade of emails between the principals of the Hockey Stick Team shows that the team was not really doing science. It was doing politics. Roger Tracinski's piece on the release of the CRUTape letters is as good a review of the situation as any.

What does it mean? It means that Steve McIntyre, the Canadian statistical expert and proprietor of Climate Audit (and now CAMirror), is vindicated. It was years ago in the early 2000s that McIntyre started looking at the Mann Hockey Stick paper, MBH98, and discovered what was to him a startling lack of due diligence.

Since then Steve has plugged away, "auditing" the work product of the Hockey Stick Team, exposing all the shoddy work and trying, with increasing success, to get access to their raw data and their methodology.

On November 22, 2009, in a comment, Steve McIntyre responded to a commenter asking him about the data in the CRUTape Letters.

Sure, I’ve nibbled at it, but I’ve spent more time on the mail so far. It’s hard to know where to start. I also have felt really tired.

Yes. I imagine after a decade of work, and after years of battling against calumny and obstruction, there is a "Nunc Dimittis" feeling about this moment. For you folks without a religious education, it means: "Now let thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word." In the large sense, McIntyre's work is done. He has got the world to pay attention to his voice crying in the wilderness. Now the consequences will play out according to their own momentum.

Because now the Hockey Stick Team has been exposed. The Team members have fiddled with the data; they have politicized the scientific publication process; they have had troublesome people fired.

And all the world knows it.

The Hockey Stick Team has had millions of dollars to play with. Other climate researchers have had billions to spend.

But one thing we can say today for sure. We do not have a scientific basis for spending trillions of dollars battling climate change. We just do not have the knowledge to justify it.

Especially now that we know that we can't trust the scientists doing the research.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Now It's Obama's "Boob Panels"

The current flap over breast-cancer screening illustrates the utter folly of the government-expert model for health care.

Recently the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued new guidelines for women getting mammograms to screen for breast cancer. It recommended that regular screenings not start till the age of 50.

Unfortunately, the government has been running a PR campaign for decades advising women to seek regular mammograms from the age of 40. Naturally the breast cancer activists are all in a tizzy, and now the White House has gotten into the act trying to damp down the firestorm. Reports Fox News:

The White House went on defense Wednesday about new government findings that advise against routine mammograms for women under 50, saying the guidelines are merely a recommendation and that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that produced the report out this week has "no power" to deny health care coverage.

Well, no. Of course not. No power. Not today. But this is just another outbreak of the "death panel" syndrome. Of course this is just an advisory from a government task force. But you can easily put two and two together and predict that down the road, when ObamaCare is desperately trying to reduce health care costs, that it will start to make the findings of advisory panels mandatory, and that the "boob panel" will decide when and where women can get mammograms.

This is not rocket science. It issues from the very concept of rational government by experts. You set up a bureaucratic program based on rational, scientific findings. You implement the rules uniformly, nationwide.

The problem here is with the whole concept of government health care. In a world of freedom women pay for most of their health care at the point of delivery. Women that believe themselves to be at risk of breast cancer based on family history or other causes pay to get regular mammograms. They discuss the risks with their doctors and they understand that there are risks associated with regular X-rays. No problem here, unless you can't afford a regular mammogram. In that case, you are dependent on the kindness of strangers.

But in the liberal government model, mammograms are a "benefit," paid for by the government-mandated health plan. Whether you like it or not, mammograms are included in the standard benefit package mandated by various government advisory panels. Or they are excluded by order of one of the government expert advisory panels. Now everyone is dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Only trouble that politicians and activists and experts are not kind. They have other interests: power, notoriety, fame, science. To them, any one woman worried about a strange lump in her breast is roadkill, unless she can be used as a helpless victim, a prop in a media report on New Hope for Cancer Sufferers. Even then she is roadkill.

So the solution is not to have dozens of advisory panels mandating this and that. The solution is to have a free and prosperous citizenry that can afford to pay for their own preventative care, if that is important to them, or not, if it is not.

This is important. You can spend you money on cancer screening, or maybe you want to spend it on better schooling for your child. Either way, you are taking a risk. Maybe you should spend the money on screening. Maybe the special enrichment program you send your kid to turns on a lightbulb and changes a life.

It's not a very hard concept to visualize. Not unless you mind is clouded by the idea that government experts make all these decisions: who should have breast examinations and where; which kids have enrichment programs and how.

The concept is called freedom.

Friday, November 20, 2009

ObamaCare: To Pass or Not to Pass

With the news that Harry Reid is scheduling a vote on ObamaCare in the Senate this Saturday it looks like the battle is being joined.

The question is this. If you believe that universal government health care is a terrible idea, is it best to pass this bill now or defeat it now?

Some commentators suggest that Bill Clinton's presidency was saved because Congress failed to pass HillaryCare. The argument is that, after the 1994 election, there was nothing left for conservatives to fight for. So Clinton got re-elected proposing S-CHIP and midnight basketball for the Soccer Moms.

If we want to reverse the life-by-government-bureaucracy model we have to have, in my view, a decisive battle as envisaged by Clausewitz.

I think we need to look at the question of the welfare state as a war. The only way to turn the tide, and start moving western civilization away from the bureaucracy model towards a civil society model is with a demonstration of political power, so that liberals receive such a shock that they will be afraid to propose their government takeover ever again.

To get that effect we need a two to three election cycles where Democrats get defeated in droves. I'd say that it would take a 2010 election with 50-60 losses in the House of Representatives and a 2012 election with 35-40 losses. You want a 55-45 GOP Senate in January 2013. You need to have President Obama defeated in 2012 by 55%-45% or better. You need every Democratic incumbent running for reelection besieged by angry protestors all the time, waving signs reading "Unjust!" "Cruel!" "Corrupt!" on and on, day after day, week after week.

The point is that you don't get that kind of energy and rage unless ObamaCare goes into law and the tax increases start in 2011 (and don't forget the Bush tax cuts that are scheduled to expire Jan 1, 2011).

There's no escaping the conflict. We have to decide this once and for all. This is the question:

Shall the United States become just another social democracy with a vast liberal-run administrative bureaucracy calling all the shots, or shall Americans live as free citizens making the key decisions about they lives without the constant supervision of liberal government officials and activists?

You can't decide that without a political donnybrook ending in a decisive outcome: clear victory or decisive defeat.

Win or lose, let's get it on!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Liberals Get Catty with Palin

When a woman walks into a room, according to lefty art critic John Berger in Ways of Seeing, she defines what can be done to her and for her.

And that tells you a lot about Sarah Palin's problem. She is having a dickens of a problem getting liberals to stop raping her. Ever since she was introduced as a vice-presidential nominee it has been open season on her person and her family.

So it's not surprising that she does a lot of score-settling in her new book Going Rogue. And it's not surprising that the indefatigable AP assigned 11 reporters to fact-check her book. And it's not surprising that WSJ house liberal Thomas Frank should use his column to sneer at her.

Politics is about power, and the first thing that a politician needs to do is to demonstrate that it is dangerous to mess with her. There are various ways to do this. You can do it the Clinton way, with a bimbo patrol to teach bimbos that it is really dangerous to mess with the Man. Or you can do it the Chicago way, like Barack Obama, and surface secret court records at election time on your opponents' messy divorces.

Most likely Palin can't go that route; she doesn't have a Chicago/Arkansas-style political machine. She's probably got to do it the hard way by building her own powerful base of supporters, in other words, a Palin army. Politicians respect armies.

So it makes complete sense that she should try a little king-making in NY-23. And it's a no-brainer to go on an extended book tour, complete with bus, long lines at book stores and adoring crowds. Guess what: she started her book tour in Michigan, the state she wanted to visit but the McCain campaign wanted to abandon.

Judging from the AP's report on Palin's visit to Grand Rapids, MI, Palin is well on her way to building a base.

"She's a person of faith, she has a family, she has gone through a lot of the trials and tribulations we have. I'd vote for her in a heartbeat," said Lana Smith, a dispatcher at a bus company who took the day off work and had been waiting in line since 5:30 a.m.

It looks like Palin is really getting to the "bitter" people that Obama talked about in 2008 to a roomful of rich San Francisco liberals. And it looks like, pace Thomas Frank, that those What's the Matter With Kansas folks--the the deluded boobs that ought to be Democrats but aren't--still don't get it.

I mean to say, a bus company dispatcher supporting an eevil country-club Republican? What's the matter with America?

But that is what defines American exceptionalism. In the most religious and open-hearted nation in the world, most people, even modest people with routine jobs, think of themselves as rugged individualists. What a country!

(Note to liberals: I know it sounds crazy, but trust me, it makes complete sense. Anyone who has the generosity and the compassion to help others with their own money would have to be a tough, self-sufficient religious individualist.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Terror and American Justice

Conservatives have their knickers in a twist over the decision by the Obama administration to try terror mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and associates in civil court. Consider the 11/14/2009 editorial in the Wall Street Journal:

Attorney General Eric Holder... called his decision to move their trial on war crimes from a military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay to American soil "the toughest" he has had to make. Other words come to mind. For starters, intellectually and morally confused, dangerous and political to a fault.

The Journal's editors sneer at the idea that trying KSM & Co in a NY courtroom has anything to do with returning to the rule of law after Bush illegalities. After all, the Obama administration finds it OK to try the USS Cole bombers with military tribunals. The decision flies in the face of common sense.

Most Americans, we suspect, can overlook the legal niceties and see this episode through the lens of common sense. Foreign terrorists who wage war on America and everything it stands for have no place sitting in a court of law born of the values they so detest. Mr. Holder has honored mass murder by treating it like any other crime.

But if you read The New York Times editorial of 11/13/2009 you get the reverse argument.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. took a bold and principled step on Friday toward repairing the damage wrought by former President George W. Bush with his decision to discard the nation’s well-established systems of civilian and military justice in the treatment of detainees captured in antiterrorist operations. From that entirely unnecessary policy (the United States had the tools to detain, charge and bring terrorists to justice) flowed a terrible legacy of torture and open-ended incarceration. It left President Obama with yet another mess to clean up on an urgent basis.

You get the point.

Of course, as a card-carrying conservative, I'm with the Journal on this. I think that the trial is political, in that the Obama administration, after riding liberal outrage all the way to the White House, needs to give its supporters the red meat they desire. In my view the Democrats were probably in on the early decisions on the treatment of unlawful combatants in 2001-2002 and probably nodded them through. But then they changed their minds.

Nevertheless, I think that we need this trial. There are a number of issues on which liberals are determined to disagree with conservatives, among them the argument over Keynesian or supply-side economics for fighting recession and growing a healthy economy, the argument over the use of US military power, and the argument over the welfare state and its compulsion.

In my view, the conservative side on these great issues has been proved again and again. Keynesian economics is rubbish; it merely rubber stamps what politicians like to do: spend money and play favorites. US military power is a force for good, and we want it to promote democratic capitalism against its enemies. The welfare state is a murrain upon the poor and one of the greatest injustices of all time.

But liberals clearly have not been won over by argument, or by the successes of conservative government in recent years: the Reagan boom, the end of the Cold War, the success of welfare reform. Therefore I think that they need to be able to implement policy their way one more time and then let the American people judge the worth their ideas and their governance, one more time.

It will cost a fortune; it will cause untold misery in the world. But I just don't see any other way. And it looks like the Obama administration is shaping up as a gift to America, a stark demonstration of the folly of liberalism.

In my view, the American people are in the middle of a huge reassessment about the nature of the political parties in the USA, and they are discovering that they never liked liberals. I think we may be heading towards a staggering mid-term election in 2010 that will blow the doors off politics-as-usual.

But first liberals have to have their civil trial in New York to demonstrate their opposition to torture and Bush lawlessness. And their corrupt stimulus. And their unjust health care reform bill. Then we shall see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Government Can't Be Trusted

Here are two stories that illustrate perfectly the limits of government.

In the Washington Post the edit page is taking Congress to task for smoke and mirrors in its administration of Medicare. To make the budget figures look good, Congress has legislated a program to cut reimbursments to doctors. But every year, Congress rescinds the cuts.

This is the so-called doc fix, to prevent scheduled cuts in Medicare reimbursements to physicians from taking effect.

In other words, Congress is kidding itself that it actually intends to run a serious program for senior health care. It makes promises to seniors about glorious health care, then it tries to figure out how to prevent the program from eating the budget. But whenever it is time to take a scalpel to the program, Congress chickens out.

Then there is the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve Board. According to the Wall Street Journal edit page President Obama on his Asian tour is getting an earful from Asian governments upset over the easy money sloshing into their economies from the US quantitative easing (i.e., money printing).

President Obama is getting an earful from leaders this week about what all those greenbacks are doing to their economies. Many of these nations peg their currencies, formally or informally, to the greenback. So they are getting a huge dollar liquidity kick from the carry trade, in which people borrow U.S. dollars at exceptionally low U.S. interest rates and invest them for higher returns elsewhere.

Now that the government has successfully rescued the banks it is time to tighten up the money supply and resume normal operations. But the Fed won't do this because politicians don't want to get blamed for high unemployment.

The simple fact is that government cannot be trusted to run a health program and it cannot be trusted to run economic policy. That's because the government is run by politicians. They are not interested in what is good for the nation's health care or the nation's economy. They are interested in buying support for reelection, and they are interested in papering over the previous disaster with no thought at all for what their actions are doing to set up the next one.

There's a simple moral to learn from all this. Government is force; politics is conflict. You cannot trust government for anything beyond wars and policing. In just about everything that government touches it substitutes for peaceful and voluntary cooperation the club of force. Politicians tax, they spend, they waste. They play favorites, they divide people. They do it because that is what politicians do.

If you don't like force, if you don't like privilege, if you don't like playing favorites then you won't vote for government programs.

Because government is waste. Government is force. Government divides.

Humans are social animals. We just want to get along, right? So we do, unless someone gives us a chance to lord it over our fellow humans and make them pay to support us in the way we deserve.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Government Healthcare is Force

This morning, the WSJ text is the government's health care rationing commission, Sarah Palin's famous death panel.

It turns out that the commission is not quite as fearsome as Palin predicted. But that's because the commission won't have all the powers it was supposed to. Not yet. The Baucus committee in the Senate defanged it a little.

To avoid a senior revolt, Finance Chairman Max Baucus decided to bar his creation from reducing benefits or raising the eligibility age, which meant that it could only cut costs by tightening Medicare price controls on doctors and hospitals. Doctors and hospitals, naturally, were furious. So the Montana Democrat bowed and carved out exemptions for such providers, along with hospices and suppliers of medical equipment. Until 2019 the commission will thus only be allowed to attack Medicare Advantage, the program that gives 10 million seniors private insurance choices, and to raise premiums for Medicare prescription drug coverage, which is run by private contractors.

Notice what is happening? The commission will only penalize Republicans, who presumably are the chaps using Medicare Advantage.

The issues on health care aren't that complicated. If you want to lower health care costs you have to get the government out of it and find out what people are willing to pay for.

Obviously some people are going to make no provision at all and they will be charity cases. We could have the government do this, but I suspect we would get better results if private givers and foundations did the work.

For the rest of us, we need to ante up and pay for our own care. The issue is simple:

The core problem with government-run health care is that it doesn't make decisions in the best interests of patients, but in the best interests of government.

If you want health care in your own best interest you are going to have to pay for it yourself. If you are willing to put up with the care that the government provides then good luck to you.

What we need to do in this nation is create webs of support so that when people need medical care they either have the support of their own resources or their family.

If we are really ambitious we could learn a lesson from our great grandparents. Back in the 19th century ordinary people created an artificial extended family for themselves, the fraternal association. It provided basic social benefits such as sick pay and death benefits.

All the rest is force. Government is force; government health care is force. And when politicians, the agents of force, make decisions about health care they will make decisions, using the many weapons of force available to modern governments, that benefit themselves and their immediate supporters.

Politicians don't care what happens to you. They don't care what happens to the nation in ten years. They just care about what benefits them in the next electoral cycle.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Our Behind-the-curve President

Oh Goody. Faced with rising unemployment, President Obama is going to hold a "jobs summit" next month.

Obama said the White House forum will gather CEOs, small business owners, economists, financial experts and representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups "to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again."

Usually, Mr. President, it works the other way around. First the economy gets moving, and then employers start to create new jobs. Then we get together and talk about it.

But Democrats can't wait. They are talking about Stimulus 2.0 to be announced at the State of the Union in January. Writes James Pethokoukis:

How much money are we talking about? Alec Phillips of Goldman Sachs calls $250 billion over three years a “conservative” estimate. And what might be in the bill? Look for more highway spending, more aid to state and local governments and some sort of business hiring tax credit.

I'll tell you what I think. I think the president is way behind the curve. He's wasted his entire first year priming the pump for Democrats and pushing unpopular programs that the American people don't want. Now all of a sudden he's worried that the economy is going to be hurting Democrats in 2010. Not to mention 2012.

Well, it's about time that the president and his party got with the program.

The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media have spent the last generation sneering at the common-sense economic policies of the Republicans. They don't want to listen when Republican presidents lower tax rates. The don't want to hear about the damage caused by meddling with regulations, subsidies, and cheap credit. They don't care about the simple weight of government that hinders all productive effort.

Well now we are in a serious recession. Now it's time for serious policy to get the economy moving. Now Democrats need real economic ideas instead of cheap talking points. But they are politicians. They want a cheap fix so they can go back to politics as usual in a year or two.

Here's an example of the mess we are in--because of Democratic programs. For the poor, tax rates are about 100 percent. Huh? Check out the Taxprof Blog. He's got a chart of pre-tax against post-tax income for a family of three.

It shows income after taxes and transfers as a function of earned income. Notice that as earned income rises from about $15,000 to $30,000, income after taxes and transfers is roughly flat. Indeed, it could even fall. The bottom line: If you are poor, the government is inadvertently ensuring that you have little incentive to try to improve your condition.

In other words, up until about $40,000 of earnings, you face a marginal tax rate of 100%. As you earn more, you lose benefits from the government that roughly match your additional earned income.

Conservatives and Republicans have been whining about this for decades. Even liberal economists have got into the game. They call it The Poverty Trap. But they don't do anything about it.

Well, now it's gut-check time. The president needs some serious policy. But he has a problem. He leads a party that has refused to get serious for a generation or more.

Are you feeling confident that the nation is in good hands? Or do you think that the president is way behind the curve--on this and a lot of other things?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Liberals' "Other" Problem

For the last decade or two liberals have been lecturing us on the "Other." The narrative goes something like this.

The reson there is domination, conflict and oppression in the world is that some people (not liberals, of course) stigmatize and marginalize people who aren't like "Us." The people that are different are the frightening, dangerous "Other."

Sexists relegate women to the "Other;" racists condemn blacks and minorities to the "Other." Homophobes gay-bash gays as the "Other." Because they are different, because they are not like "Us."

In its finest versions, e.g., Charles Taylor's version in Sources of the Self, it is incandescent:

Perhaps the most urgent and powerful cluster of demands that we recognize as moral concern the respect for the life, integrity, and well-being, even flourishing, of others... Of course the scope of the demand notoriously varies: earlier societies, and some present ones, restrict the class of beneficiaries to members of the tribe or race and exclude outsiders... But they all feel these demands laid on them by some class of persons, and for most contemporaries, this class is coterminous with the human race (and for believers in animal rights it may go wider).

In a practical world, there are people who are legitimately outside the pale. There are foreign governments that actually wish us ill. And there are domestic enemies: robbers, rapists, killers, who we hunt down and imprison.

But liberals go to extremes. They are unwilling to regard domestic enemies as the "Other." They "blame America first" because they believe that criminals act out their violence because of their poverty. That's why liberals are big on police brutality and on "racial profiling."

Liberals are unwilling to regard foreign enemies as the "Other." They "blame America first" because they believe that America provokes enemies with its imperialist foreign policy. That is why liberals were so contemptuous of President Bush and his forward policy against the terrorists, and why President Obama is "resetting" our relationship with Russia and Iran through negotiations.

This philosophy works well as long as you don't have a conflict with anyone. When you have a genuine disagreement then you have a conflict and then you start to divide the world into "Us" and "Them."

It is in domestic politics that liberals find their enemies, and where they draw the line and declare that people opposed to their politics are the enemy. This is not surprising. Politics is civil war by other means. Government is force. Whenever you propose a new government program you are proposing a new expansion of force and compulsion. Not surprisingly, the people that are going to be subject to force as a result of the new program object to their marginalization. Then out come the political rottweilers, the Rahm Emanuels and the Nancy Pelosis and they start to demonize the opposition.

Here's a good argument for limited government. The more the government does, the more that the American people are pitted against each other, and the more they stigmatize people that don't agree with them as the "Other," outside the boundaries of Taylor's moral concern.

It was easy for President Clinton to blame talk radio for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, although there is no evidence that the bombers were influenced by talk radio. It was effective politics though, and started Clinton on the road back to reelection.

But President Obama and the mainstream media find it hard to blame Islamic jihadism for the Ft. Hood shooting. They would rather it was all a case of post-traumatic stress syndrome. And we know why. Liberals are desperate to avoid anti-Muslim violence. They are afraid that if we call Maj. Hasan a terrorist then angry Americans will turn on Muslims all across America.

It may be, of course that liberals are right, and that if Maj. Hasan is identified as a terrorist that no Muslim in America will be safe. But the trouble is that their belief system is encouraging them to deny reality. Islamic jihadism is real. It proposes to annihilate the culture of the west. It may be, of course, that it is not a serious movement, not world-historical, but just a bunch of hot-heads in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Or maybe not.

Whatever it is, liberals need to get back to reality. They are wrong to make everything domestic into a political issue, because when they do that they divide the American people. They are wrong to hide from the fact that there really are enemies out there, and we ought to be serious about them.

Otherwise they will do this nation enormous harm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ft. Hood and Reality

There's a huge chasm between what is and what we want to be, Call it the Reality Canyon.

But in our personal lives we must constantly adjust our lives to deal with the reality of reality. We can't dream our lives away pining for what life ought to be. We can look across Reality Canyon and dream of what we yearn for. But we know we must live in the Land of "Is." We must live life as it is.

It is in politics and religion that we get to build Bridges to Nowhere. Why? Because we can. In religion we can imagine a hereafter of eternal peace and love. In politics we can try to create that heaven on earth.

So politics is a process of building castles in the air and then cleaning up the mess afterwards.

The reaction to the Ft. Hood shooting is a prime example. Our liberal friends are terrified of the American people. They are convinced that, without the intervention of wise liberals, American would put on white sheets and proceed to annihilate the "Other," meaning blacks, gays, and any traditionally marginalized group.

Ever since 9-11 liberals have been terrified that Americans would burst out and victimize Muslims in a new eruption of the Ku Klux Klan or right-wing militias.

That's why nothing was done about Maj. Nidal Hasan, Army psychiatrists and presumed Ft. Hood mass murderer. That's why we've had a week of the mainstram media muddling on about post-traumatic stress syndrome, and why the president has said that it is inevitable that someone, somewhere will "crack."

But truth has a way of shouldering its way to the front, in the end. It seems pretty clear that Maj. Hasan was a "jihadist." He was angry about US policy in the Middle East and admired the tactics of jihadi terrorists. He talked about terrorism; he interacted with terrorist sympathizing imams.

The government did nothing. We can easily speculate why. Anyone bringing an accusation against Maj. Hasan would find himself pushing against the huge weight of the liberal diversity culture. His report would be sidelined. He might even be sanctioned for insensitivity, or sent for diversity training. He might even get a bad performance review.

So who would step out of line to finger Maj. Hasan? Nobody.

People are once again raising the meme of 9-11. They are asking why the government didn't "connect the dots."

The answer today is the same as it was 8 years ago. People in government didn't connect the dots because they knew it would hurt their careers.

You could say: liberals lied; people died. And you'd be right.

Eventually, the liberal Bridge to Nowhere across Reality Canyon will collapse from the overwhelming weight of contradictions and hypocrisies.

Meanwhile, America suffers under the corrupt, cruel, unjust, wasteful, and deluded rule of its unaccountable liberal elite.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Some Subterfuge is Historically Necessary"

It's one thing when President Bush "lies" about WMD. Actually he didn't lie. He stated that, on the most reliable information, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

But it's another thing when it comes to pushing through a massive new government program which will be almost impossible to "rescind." In that case, according to John Cassidy at the New Yorker:

"Putting on my amateur historian's cap, I might even claim that some subterfuge is historically necessary to get great reforms enacted."

So. It's OK for liberals to lie about a massive upheaval, a seizure of one sixth of the nation's economy. That's OK because it is historically necessary.

But woe betide if Republican President Bush puts a bit of polish on his argument for invading Iraq.

The real reason for ObamaCare, according to John Cassidy, is that achieves two political goals for Democrats. It makes "the United States a more equitable country" and it helps keep Democrats in power, long term.

Well, looking really long-term, government mandated equality doesn't improve equality and meanwhile destroys "civil society," the web of voluntary organizations that is the real warp and weft of human sociability.

Anyway, the question really becomes: What do the American people want, and how hard are we willing to push to get what we want? We'd better face facts. The educated and cultural elite are perfectly happy with increasing government power. In fact, they want more more for the government. They think it means more power for the elite.

Properly, the national elite, through their domination of the aristocratic branch of government, the judiciary, should have stopped the expansion of government power. But they didn't. They have stood by for a century and applauded, and rumbled about historical necessity while politicians have steadily increased government power and piled taxes, regulations, and restrictions on the American people. We cannot look to the national elite to protect freedom.

So it's up to the American people. Do we care that we are going to be shoved into government health care, designed for the convenience of the governing elite? Do we care that we are being manipulated into a grateful dependency which will more or less force us to vote our corrupt masters into power again and again rather than risk the horror of losing our benefits?

Democrats either hope or believe that they can get this cram-down through and make most of it stick even if they lose their majorities in Congress in 2010.

Maybe they are right. After all, their experience is that you can always ratchet up government spending with another government program. Once you have got your program in place then you can get to work expanding it.

But then maybe they are wrong. Maybe the US has reached the tipping point on government programs. Maybe we are reaching a historical turning point, and the Democrats have gone a bridge too far.

The only way to find out is to find out.

But whatever happens it has to start with a massive off-year election in 2010 with at least a 50 seat pickup in the House of Representatives for the GOP.

Anything less than 35 seats means that the Democrats have won and that the American people want more benefits rather than more freedom.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Health Care: No Win Without Fight

On the face of it, the 220-215 win for the Democrats' health reform bill in the House of Representatives on Saturday November 7 is a discouraging moment for conservatives.

But let us look on the bright side.

If the United States is to turn from the path of ever-increasing government, then there will have to be a decisive battle over the future of the country.

The politics of the last decade, of so-called 50-50 America, has been a period in which neither side in the great debate attempted to go for a big win.

Bill Clinton was elected in the aftermath of the Bush recession, and found pretty quickly that he didn't have a mandate for comprehensive government health care. So he trimmed his sails and tried to do the same thing incrementally.

President Bush never tried to go whole hog on the conservative agenda. He just tried to get whatever the political process would allow him. Education? Ted Kennedy put the hammer down to prevent school choice. Taxes? Democrats were completely opposed, so the Bush tax cuts were temporary. Medicare drug benefit? Bush passed the least bureaucratic solution possible.

But when Democrats elected Barack Obama last year they decided to push for a breakout. So this year they have been running a cram-down, trying to get all of their signature agenda items passed before opposition could mobilize.

Obviously they have failed to do that. But like World War I generals, they are unwilling to call off the offensive once it becomes clear that a breakout is impossible.

Really, our Democratic friends are presenting conservatives and Republicans with a gift. They are creating the opportunity, as their advance grinds to a halt, for a decisive counter-offensive. If Democrats lose 50 or more seats in the House next year, and if Obama loses in 2012 it will be a decisive message from the American people to the political class.

It will say that the expansion of government power of the last century is over. It will say that the American people really do believe in freedom.

But first we have to win, baby.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Double Digit Unemployment: The Wasted Year

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment went over 10 percent. Here are the basic stats:

Jobs Lost:
Household Survey589,000
Establishment Survey190,000

The really disturbing thing is the continued hemorrhaging in the Household Survey numbers. In previous recessions the employment in the Household Survey picked up earlier and stronger than the Establishment Survey, reflecting, experts assume, the formation of new businesses. Today's numbers seem to indicate deep damage in the small business/startup sector.

It all adds up to the biggest presidential blunder in modern times. All through the winter I was wondering if Obama and his people were really going to continue with their damn-the-torpedoes agenda. I thought that they couldn't be so stupid as to focus on their liberal white whales while ignoring the only thing that mattered: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

I was wrong, and they didn't. So now they are going to reap the whirlwind.

Charles Krauthammer has already pointed out in "The Myth of 08, Demolished." that the 2009 elections have told us that Obama's win was a fluke, a perfect storm that elected a left-liberal in a center-right country. The reversion to the norm was sharp and severe.

But the fact is that we ain't seen nothing yet. Obama has wasted a year on the non-stimulus package, the fiddling over healthcare and the madness of a climate change bill.

Obama should have been working like mad on fixing the "too big to fail" culture on Wall Street, on cutting the cost of government so that businesses can start up and expand and create jobs for Americans.

But he didn't, and that year can never be recovered. It is down the toilet.

Let's just call it "Obama's Wasted Year." It was a year in which Democrats tried to ram their extreme left-wing agenda on America: government takeover of health care, government takeover of energy, government goodies for Democrats, bailouts for unions and Wall Street. Probably the only thing they'll get will be their dreadful "porkulus" bill.

Guess what? America watched all this, and said: No Thanks.

Next year will be different. Next year Americans will be saying something different: Hell No!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Affluent Suburb Question

The exit polls have spoken. Affluent suburban voters are returning to the GOP. Uber-analyst Karl Rove agrees. Here's Rove in the Wall Street Journal:

The trend here is that suburban and independent voters moved into the GOP column. The overall shift away from Democrats was 13 points in Virginia, 12 points in New Jersey, and eight points in Pennsylvania.

What is going on? Michael Barone has the answer. Affluent suburbanites are back to voting their pocketbook. That's a change from the recent past.

High earners in non-Southern suburbs have been voting Democratic since the mid-1990s largely because of their liberal views on cultural issues[.]

It's the "social liberal, economically conservative" political axis. For ten years, since Democrats began seriously demonizing the Christian Right, affluent suburbanites have leaned to the Democrats. On social issues like abortion and gay marriage they didn't like the intensity of the Christian Right. But now economic issues have come to the fore.

A health-care bill financed by either higher taxes on high earners or on those with generous, employer-provided health insurance, looks like a hard sell in high-earner constituencies.

This gives conservatives a golden opportunity to do a bit of "consciousness raising" among the affluent set. Affluent voters inside the conservative movement have long ago accepted the Christian Right as "one of us." We see the liberal line on the "religious right" as anti-religious bigotry.

We know that enthusiastic Christianity is the best way for newcomers to the city to change their culture from the fatalist peasant culture to the purposeful commercial culture. A strong dose of Christian doctrine turns the undeserving and the failing poor into productive and happy citizens imbued with the spirit of democratic capitalism. For men there are the rules: work hard, stay sober, stay faithful; for women there is the loving relationship with Jesus.

But the folks in the affluent suburbs don't get to hear the conservative message. They go to liberal public schools and liberal colleges and all they know is the liberal line and liberal anti-religious bigotry. They weren't listening to conservatives because they didn't need them.

But that was then and this is now. The affluent suburbanites voted for Obama thinking they were doing their bit for racial progress; they were "ready for a black president." They thought they were getting a moderate, post-partisan president. After all, the MSM wasn't exactly stretching itself to report on Obama's left-wing past, corrupt connections, and curious way of getting damaging court records released on his political opponents.

But now the health reform bill is before Congress. It collapses the US medical care system into a vast health bureaucracy in order to pay for the health care of slacker liberals. And guess who's going to pay for it? I'll tell you: the social liberal, economically conservative small-business owners and high-tech entrepreneurs of the affluent suburbs.

For some reason, the Obamites neglected to tell them that part of their agenda.

The movement of the affluent suburban voters into the GOP column is a golden opportunity for conservatives. It means that for the next election cycle or two they will be listening to us. We need to reach out to them, using a language that is comfortable for them. Now we can get our message out to them.

That message must be that "social liberal" sounds good, but, in the hands of liberals it isn't very social and it isn't very liberal. We need to communicate the idea that social liberalism works only if society has well-developed social and cultural norms, standards of personal and social behavior that most people follow. If you don't encourage that then you have to run everything with law and government supervision. You have to do it the liberal way, with the government interfering not just in economic regulation but as smoking Nazis, food Nazis, life-style Nazis.

And don't be fooled. Under this liberal fascism we'll end up under the rule of the liberal bedroom Nazis, too.

If we can talk to the affluent suburbs and teach them a little tolerance for the social conservatives then maybe we can solve conservatism's big problem: The Affluent Suburb Question.

Then we will really have Karl Rove's conservative majority.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Voters to Obama: Stuff It.

The voters have issued their first bulletin on Obama's America, and their verdict is unequivocal. You can stuff it. You can put it where the sun don't shine.

The blowout governor's race in Virginia where Bob McDonnell beat Creigh Deeds by 58% to 41% was a shocker. Only three years ago Democrat Jim Webb swept into the US Senate and it looked like the Old Dominion was settling into the D column. But that was 2006, when everyone and his brother was teeing off at President Bush. They were shocked, shocked at the laughably mild corruption and overspending of the Congressional Republicans. This is 2009. Now we know what corruption means. Now we know what overspending means. Put a D on it.

Even the terminally corrupt blue state of New Jersey decided it had had enough, and voted in a Republican governor. Chris Christie won by four points, 48% to 44% over Democratic Goldman Sachs jillionaire Jon Corzine. New Jersey is a poster boy for out-of-control government. It's not that the government is corrupt. It's not that government workers now earn 50 percent more than people in the private sector. It is more basic than that. What's the point of all that spending, just sluicing into the gutter: failing to educate the poor, smashing the low-income family to smithereens, encouraging people to look to handouts from political patrons rather than their own efforts? No really. What is the point?

The only dud in the Republican firework show was NY-23 where the Democrat Bill Owens beat the Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman by three points. But let's look on the bright side. The race has sent a message: The GOP party bosses can't ignore the base; it deserves to have a least a reasonable facsimile of a conservative candidate in the R column. And conservative Republicans can't afford to get into a cat fight with Republican moderates. Otherwise the Democrat will win. We're in this together, folks.

The exit polls are daunting, if you are a Democrat. Here's the scoop from ABC News:

  • "A vast 89 percent in New Jersey and 85 percent in Virginia said they were worried about the direction of the nation's economy in the next year"
  • "In Virginia on Tuesday, voters who were "very" worried about the economy concern supported the Republican winner, Bob McDonnell by a wide margin, 77-23 percent. In New Jersey, [very worried voters] backed the Republican Chris Christie by 61-34 percent[.]"

Back in the good old days of FDR and the New Deal, that could never have happened. Back in those days FDR and his Brains Trust were focused like a laser on connecting their policies with helping the working man.

Yes, I know that the New Deal didn't help the working man, but the working man thought that FDR and the Democrats were fighting for him against "them."

Obama and the Obama Democrats have lost the plot on this. Their "stimulus" bill was a goodie bag for Democrats and governments, not a jobs program for the American people.

And the Democratic health reform proposal has recently been described as "111 new bureaucracies" by Congressional Republicans. No Fair! the Democrats have responded:

A Democratic source dismissed the list of "bureaucracies" as an exaggeration, calling them "demonstration projects" instead.

Yes, and we know what "demonstration projects" usually turn into: Huge mega-bureaucracies that can never be reduced, controlled, or eliminated. Not until Attila the Hun rides over the horizon.

Don't worry, folks. The Democrats still don't get it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day Prognostications

It's Election Day, and hopes are high in the conservative camp. Our Democratic friends seem to think that Republicans and conservatives are badly split.

The line seems to be that conservatives are turning towards extemism and scorning nice unifying moderates in the Republican Party.

Maybe so. But some experts seem to think that Obama won last year because conservatives stayed home to teach the GOP a lesson. They knew they were electing a lefty, but they didn't care.

And it's beginning to seem that independents are warming to the conservative message of smaller government, lower taxes, and less intrusion into private life.

At any rate, I'd say that if conservatives win the trifecta, with McDonnell winning in Virginia, Christie winning in New Jersey, and Hoffman winning in NY-23, then it is really, really big.

If Christie loses in New Jersey, then we can chalk it up to ACORN and the corrupt Democratic vote machine. That would just be a really big result.

If McDonnell wins in Virginia and the others lose, it's pretty discouraging. Look for ObamaCare and bureaucracy coming out the ying-yang.

But I expect encouraging results. Here are two bellwethers. First the young blogger John Hawkins. His schtik is a numbers game. Today it is "Three Reasons the Conservative Movement Should Be Grateful to Rush Limbaugh."

Hawkins tells that he got the liberal line from his college professors about politics, and he wasn't impressed.

It was an eye-opening experience to be told that America needed to abandon its military and use non-violent resistance as a defense strategy.

So what did the conservatives have to say, he wondered? Well, the only conservative he knew about was Rush Limbaugh. (Hello liberals: How come he couldn't check out conservatives at college? What happened to Conservatism 101: From Burke to Palin? Eh?) So he started to listen to America's Doctor of Democracy at the off-campus Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies.

That's just one of the things that Rush Limbaugh has done. Hawkins:

He helped inspired a whole new generation of conservatives. Personally, I'm a conservative because of Rush Limbaugh.

Then there is Michelle Bernard from the conservative Independent Women's Forum. Quoted in a roundup of pundit opinion at The Hill, she pitches the notion that independents don't like the sharply partisan tone of the Obama administration.

Democrats are losing independents in droves... Independents had believed that the President would govern from the center and truly work with both sides of the aisle. Today, many of them appear to question this.

There's a pretty simple reason why this is happening. Obama campaigned as a post-partisan center-left moderate. He is governing, or seeming to govern as a left-wing partisan. That represents a fundamental betrayal of trust.

If Obama were truly a moderate then his signature health reform proposal would include Republican agenda items so that it could be a bipartisan reform. But it isn't. He has deliberately adopted a divisive strategy to try and shame and bully opponents into submission rather than build a coalition.

My guess is that the Obama first year will go down as a textbook example of How Not to Do It.

But then that makes complete sense. The whole idea of the canonical government administrative bureaucratic Circumlocution Office is: How Not to Do It.

Monday, November 2, 2009

No Way Out vs. Worst Bill Ever

Last week, Nancy Pelosi unveiled the final House health reform bill, a 1,990 page monstrosity that The Wall Street Journal calls the "worst bill ever."

Coincidentally, Peggy Noonan's weekly op-ed moaned about pessimism in the nation's elite, a feeling that there is "no way out" of our present difficulties. We are ruled by America's luckiest children, Peggy mourns, people who have never been foreclosed upon.

They are stupid and they are callous[.]

My op-ed this week deals with the nasty little situation the Democrats are in, the one that drives the "no way out" meme. This is the first time that Democrats have come into office during the nail-biting stage of a recession. It's hard for them. Usually in a recession, it is a Republican president in charge and the Democrats are barracking from the sidelines, asking why the insensitive president hasn't got everyone back to work yet.

But I think that the "no way out" chaps are weenies, like Falstaff on the day of battle telling Prince Hal that "I would 'twere bedtime, Hal, and all well." (Henry IV Part I) Sorry, Sir John, but to win the war you first have to win the battle.

I happens that I have just started reading the monumental German History 1770-1866 by James J. Sheehan. It starts with a discussion of the transition from traditional corporate political organization in Germany to the centralized bureaucratic state.

The paradigmatic centralized state is, of course, the France of Louis XIV. Centralized administration concentrates power and resources at the center and makes the state into a unitary weapon in the hands of its ruler.

But, of course, bureaucracy has its limits. It cannot adapt to changing situations at all well. And it tends to run down over the years, becoming a mechanical monster that spins its wheels, using up resources without delivering any power for traction.

The absolutist monarchy developed into the welfare state, most notably beginning with Bismarck in the 1880s. Bismarck's intention was to enroll the working class into the patronage system of the state, brining the workers inside the power structure rather than continuing on the outside creating trouble.

The question is, as we contemplate the "worst bill ever" that concentrates all health care into the state, when does the administrative model reaches its limit? Can it compete against the more decentralized capitalist system?

Let us not be romantic about this, and think just in terms of what is good for the people. The question for me is: how does the administrative model work for the high game of politics in 2009? How does it serve the interests of the political elite in maintaining power and satisfying its supporters. Or does it create too many enemies, people outside the charmed circle?

My guess is that the administrative system will eventually crash and burn, for a number of reasons, including:

  • Overpromising of the benefits
  • General inability of bureacracies to adapt
  • Excessive consumption of resources to maintain political power
  • Population decline due to unwillingness of welfare state adults to have children
  • General lack of vigor in welfare state populations
  • Inability to maintain enough resources for military power

The thing about politics and the human condition is that you can always stop and change before you really have to, before you hit the wall. But usually, we don't.

But I am an optimist. I hope that the American people do not feel there is "no way out." And I hope that the American people will take one look at PelosiCare and ObamaCare and upchuck everyone from Obama to Reid to Pelosi.

We'll know tomorrow after the off-off-year elections whether the Great Upchuck has begun.