In defense of the flat tax.

April 18, 2010

The poor. Look at ’em there. Whooping it up on my dime. Just look at them. Eating. Getting basic medical attention. Gah. What a life. Sometimes makes me wish I was poor.

How can we fix this? How can we make this system fair? Even things out, you know? Can’t let the poor have all the fun, while I sit here, toiling away for their benefit, getting taxed more just because I’m successful! I’ve got it! Flat tax!

Great idea that flat tax. A 20% across the board tax rate would affect earners equitably, no matter their circumstances. The impact of a 20% tax on both an income of $10000 and an income of $250,000? In a word: Fair.

Speaking of fair, it swells my heart with reverence to think of just how perfectly the market rewards the best things about us, how it’s such a proficient indicator of the things that should be valued in a society. It brings a tear to my eye, thinking of all those starry-eyed idealists out there – the investment bankers, the IT managers, the real estate developers, the software architects, actuaries and professional atheletes – toiling away at a mere pittance of what they deserve. I’ve lost count of the times I have lain awake, squirming in bed, fretting over the inequality of the average CEO making 400 times the salary of his lowest paid worker. Only 400?!? Jeez, we’ll be giving the knuckledraggers at the bottom the impression that they’re real human beings if we keep this up!

Conversely, all those social workers, child-care workers, teachers, research scientists, home-care workers serving the disabled and the elderly, those who work for charitable organizations, conservation workers, public defenders… Getting just what they deserve, thank you very much. The market rightly exposes the frivolity of compassion and intellectual curiosity.

And, hey, only those who work – really WORK, pal – get the big payoff in this society. Those schlubs toiling 60+ hours per week, pouring sweat into working in a warehouse or steel mill or digging ditches? Well, there’s a word for those people where I come from: lazy. I mean, hey, who else do they have but themselves to blame for being born into families and communities that didn’t value intellectual rigor? Come on, get some better genes, people! Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get a real job! Show some gumption, fer chrissakes, you goodfornothings.

If I get my fair share of the pie in this country, who are you, you liberal weenies, to tell me I need to contribute to the functioning of society? I worked for what I got, gadnabbit! Next you’ll be telling me that commerce these days depends on public transportation, a publically maintained internet, public highways, public fire and police services, workers educated in public schools and universities, and other socialist(!) instituations. No way, no how I’ve benefited from these things. There’s no way that government’s guiding hand, keeping society from going too far off the rails, keeping us safe from threats within and without has benefited me at all. I’ve earned what I got, pal, fair and square, by the sweat of my brow alone! Go live in your liberal lala land where people care about each other and work toward societal goals! I’m moving to Dubai, where a man can be free! Free from taxation and regulation! Free from the chains of caring about the lowliest among us! And there’s 12 year old prositiutes too!


Source of some of the “death panel” stories

August 13, 2009

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Now where would Sarah Palin have gotten this kooky idea? From a set of talking points provided by a far right religious group based at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University? Shocking. I would never have guessed.


Health care quote of the week

August 13, 2009

“Adolf Hitler was for exterminating the weak, not just the Jews and stuff… and socialism — that’s what’s going to happen.” – Diane Campbell, Kingston, NH

This quote was taken at Obama’s town hall in New Hampshire. Ms. Campbell delivered this precient statement while holding a poster featuring Obama’s face imposed over a Nazi soldier’s body. The sign, she added, had been designed and constructed by her chronically ill mother, a Medicare recipient. Ms. Campbell’s sister is disabled and also covered by Medicare.

The full story is here.

ps. Hitler killed socialists too.


Smartest man in the world endorses “death panels”

August 13, 2009

Contrary to the statements of Investor’s Business Daily, who said recently (and inaccurately)…

“The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof, are legendary. The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror script…

“People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

…it seems Great Britain’s govenment-run death panels never caught up with Stephen Hawking. Remarkably, he seems quite happy with his single-payer health care.

But then, who are you more likely to trust: some fancy pants theoretical physicist/cosmologist/mathematician or fine upstanding folks like these?


God’s gonna getcha, Senator!

August 12, 2009

Here’s a little sampling of the town hall looniness; this bit from Lebanon, PA. I have to hand it to Arlen Spector for keeping his cool and trying to deal sensibly with this crackpot. It doesn’t seem that cool and sensible is working in the public dialogue about this, however. As has become usual, the media has presented this as an even two-sided argument, and given equal time and attention to both sides. The problem is that one side is completely nuts. Like the birthers, these death-panel-kill-my-grandma-keep-yer-stinkin-government-mitts-off-my-government-run-medicare morons deserve nothing but bemused ridicule. Free speech doesn’t entail that anyone actually respect your opinion – especially if its totally bonkers.


Swaztikas?!?

August 12, 2009

Wow. These town halls are really getting nuts. It’s unfortunate, with all of the issues that this country faces, that the people most easily riled into action are the complete kooks. That these willfully misinformed rabble rousers could derail the chance of getting a fair and decent health care system in this country is nothing short of tragic.

Between the Birthers, the Tea Party goons and these town hall usurpers, the Republicans really have a monopoly now on the wingnut vote. Sheesh, and i thought that the 9/11 “truthers” were loony.

I have (guarded) confidence that most people will see through the bellicose inanity of the anti-health care crowd and not let the boisterous ravings of a minority of dimwits and nutcases sink a plan that will be a vast improvement over the current system.


Health care myths

August 11, 2009

I plan on doing a much more comprehensive post on the health care legislation being proposed (and hopefully implemented!), but, as I am extremely busy this week, this AP article will have to suffice. It covers many of the bogus arguments being made against President Obama’s health care proposals. Like the global warming issue, there are so many outlandish statements being made that the truth gets completely obscured and everyone ends up arguing points that have no basis in the real world. This effectively shifts the “middle ground” (where both sides of an issue can be reasonably debated) into complete cuckoo territory. Proponents of health care are forced to keep clearing the air from the stink of questions that have no good reason (no reason based in reality, at least) to be asked in the first place, thus eating up time that could be spent discussing the real issues. In other words, keeping proponents constantly fighting strawmen off in lala land keeps the debate from ever the entering the real world. This is exactly the place where opponents of reform on both issues (health care & climate change) want it to be, because in the real world, the facts simply don’t back them up.

It doesn’t help that in this country, people take retarded drivel like this seriously:

The ol’ blubbering patriot here is referring to Sarah Palin’s completely fabricated “death panels“. Ironic that he warns of the dangers of putting a dollar value on human life while defending the insurance industry. Hoo boy.

Anyway, here’s that AP story…

FACT CHECK: No ‘death panel’ in health care bill

WASHINGTON – Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says the health care overhaul bill would set up a “death panel.” Federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors are worth enough to society to deserve life-sustaining medical care. Palin and other critics are wrong.

Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision. The provision that has caused the uproar would instead authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care, if the patient wishes. Here are some questions and answers on the controversy:

Q: Does the health care legislation bill promote “mercy killing,” or euthanasia?

A: No.

Q: Then what’s all the fuss about?

A: A provision in the House bill written by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. The conversations between doctor and patient would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill, and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort. The sessions would be covered every five years, more frequently if someone is gravely ill.

Q: Is anything required?

Monsignor Charles Fahey, 76, a Catholic priest who is chairman of the board of the National Council on Aging, a nonprofit service and advocacy group, says no.

“We have to make decisions that are deliberative about our health care at every moment,” Fahey said. “What I have said is that if I cannot say another prayer, if I cannot give or get another hug, and if I cannot have another martini — then let me go.”

Q: Does the bill advocate assisted suicide?

A: No. It would block funds for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.

Q: Who supports the provision?

A: The American Medical Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Consumers Union are among the groups supporting the provision. AARP, the seniors’ lobby, is taking out print advertisements this week that label as false the claim that the legislation will empower the government to take over life-and-death decisions from individuals.

Q: Should the federal government be getting involved with living wills and end-of-life questions — decisions that are highly personal and really difficult?

A: It already is.

The government requires hospitals to ask adult patients if they have a living will, or “advance directive.” If the patient doesn’t have one, and wants one, the hospital has to provide assistance. The mandate on hospitals was instituted during a Republican administration, in 1992, under President George H.W. Bush.

Q: How does a living will work, and how is it different from a health care proxy?

A: A living will — also called an advance directive — spells out a patient’s wishes if he or she becomes incapacitated. Often people say they don’t want to be kept alive on breathing machines if their condition is terminal and irreversible.

A health care proxy empowers another person to make medical decisions should the patient become incapacitated.

There’s also a power-of-attorney, which authorizes another person to make financial decisions for someone who is incapacitated.

Such legal documents have become standard estate-planning tools in the last twenty years.

Q: Would the health overhaul legislation change the way people now deal with making end-of-life decisions?

A: It very well could.

Supporters of the provision say the main consequence would be to formally bring doctors into a discussion that now takes place mainly among family members and lawyers.

“When you execute a legal document with your lawyer, it ends up in your files and in the lawyer’s files,” said John Rother, a senior policy and strategy adviser for AARP. “Unless the doctor is part of this discussion, it’s unlikely that your wishes will be respected. The doctor will be the one involved in any decisions.” The American Medical Association says involving doctors is simple common sense.

“There has been a lot of misinformation about the advance care planning provisions in the bill,” AMA President Dr. James Rohack said in a statement. “It’s plain, old-fashioned medical care.”

Q: So why are some people upset?

Some social conservatives say stronger language is needed to protect seniors from being pressured into signing away their rights to medical treatment in a moment of depression or despair.

The National Right to Life Committee opposes the provision as written.

“I’m not aware of ‘death panels’ in the bill,” said David O’Steen, executive director of the group. “I’m not aware of anything that says you will be hauled before a government bureaucrat. But we are concerned … it doesn’t take a lot to push a vulnerable person — perhaps unwittingly — to give up their right to life-sustaining treatment.” The White House says it is countering false claims with a “reality check” page on its Web site, http://www.whitehouse.gov.