Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Will The GOP Take The Senate This Fall? They Will If They Follow My Plan...


The Republican Party does not have a principle problem or an identity problem. What it does have is a messaging problem. They leadership doesn't understand why their message doesn't resonate, so they don't know what to do to fix the problem (they think they have a plan, but they’re quite wrong). They keep repeating some key mistakes that are costing them elections. They keep relying on decades-old rhetoric and tactics. They keep leaving the people wanting to know more about their policies and not feeling confident enough to cast a vote in their favor because there are too many lingering questions. And they keep trying to pick the most “electable” candidates rather than supporting and emboldening good, honest people who CAN be elected with the right marketing. Essentially, they keep putting all of their eggs into broken baskets. These mistakes are happening again, right now. They will continue to happen until the leadership of the Republican Party admits they have a problem and resolves to do something about it. The hard part is going to be getting the leadership to take off their blinders and open their eyes. The second half of the equation is the easy part. Fixing the problem is no problem at all. I have the fix. It's not complicated or shocking. It's short, sweet and quite obvious to anyone who’s been witness to the last 4 or 5 election cycles. I've got 5 steps to follow, that's it. If the Republicans can follow these steps, and follow them well, the GOP will win this November, and many election cycles to come…

Some might think that Republicans have 2014 in the bag because of Obamacare and the President’s numerous foreign policy missteps, among other things. They’d be wrong. We’ve seen “sure thing” elections in the past that have gone handily the other way. On the other hand, some might feel that 2014 will inevitably end in losses for the GOP, because the media and the Obama campaign machine are just too powerful to allow the Republicans to take back the Senate. They’d be wrong there too. NOTHING is certain, and NO assumptions should be made. The fact is, Republicans can easily take the Senate and put an end to Obama’s reign by taking the steps I’m about to detail. These steps are simple, common sense solutions to the problems plaguing the GOP in election after election. All you need to do to win elections is follow these steps (and spend some money, which the GOP has been doing at record levels anyway without success).

Before I go into what needs to be done, I want to explain how we got here. I have a key, central point that ALL Republicans are missing: We don't have the same America we had in 1864, 1944 or even 1984. This is 2014 America, and Republicans MUST retire old tactics in favor of a new method, based on a new perspective. Let me explain:

For many Americans, the Democrats’ positions rarely need to be defended, because most of the time they sound instinctively good on the surface, whether by accident or design- free healthcare, higher minimum wageamnestymore Social Security spending, “give peace a chance” etc. If it sounds good, people don’t ask too many questions, and Democrats aren’t rushing to offer any more info than they have to. Maybe people don't ask because they don’t want to be let down and maybe because they’re really only concerned with the benefits of policies and don’t care about the hidden pitfalls. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the detail beneath the surface of Liberal policies is where things fall apart. So if you think about it, why would they explain more than they have to? Instead of giving details, Democrats come up with positive-sounding names, thrown in a few positive talking points to hammer home, and treat critics as if they're hate-filled bigots for daring to disagree. I can tell you this, Democrats hold steadfast to the adage that “It doesn’t matter what IS true, all the matters is what you can convince people is true”. Now, Republicans on the other hand subscribe to ideas that often sound instinctively negative on the surface- personal responsibility,
entitlement reforms, lower corporate taxes, tougher immigration laws, even approving the Keystone oil pipeline to name something specific. But when you get into the details, Conservative ideas make much more sense than what the Democrats propose. Our ideas are more beneficial to individuals' freedom and prosperity, and they’re actually financially sustainable. You just have to get the details out into the hands of the public. Yet, Republicans continue to stick to the surface and won’t show people the best part of their ideas- the details- for fear of having their plans eviscerated before they have a chance to be seen and considered by the American people. Holding back just makes people less willing to trust us and give our ideas a chance because it looks like we’re hiding something when we’re not. At the same time, Conservatives and Republicans don’t do enough to challenge Liberals and Democrats on the details of their own ideas. We can make excuses all day, but the bottom line is we're not doing enough. If we were, the American people would have known before the 2012 election that they could not truly keep their plans or their doctors. That combination of 2 major failures is a huge factor in why the Conservative message neither reaches nor resonates with much of the nation. It’s why we keep losing elections. That is what we have to change. We have to change our entire approach and give the people something DIFFERENT. We need to give them a real choice between the bad ideas and the good ones, and we need to get specific. Often, it’s a simple matter of words. We give Liberals grief for being the “word police”, but in reality they’ve learned to control debates and shape the opinions of Americans by using key words and disguising one thing as another (like “War on terror” becoming “Overseas Contingency Plan” and so forth. It’s stupid, but it actually works!). We have to become better than the Democrats at shaping the argument, and that means changing some key words, but sticking to the substance of our policies. I’m not talking about lying, I’m talking about vocabulary.

Look at it from this angle:

If you got to choose your new boss, and that boss was going to have TOTAL control over you and everything you can or can’t do at work (which is exactly how many Americans see government and politicians’ power in their daily lives), would you rather have Boss Number 1, or Boss Number 2?

Boss Number 1

-Tells you everything you want to hear (positive)

-Gives you “free” stuff (positive)

-Tells you everything they do is to make your life better (Plausible)

Boss Number 2

-Tells you what you NEED to hear (negative) but won’t explain why that’s better

-Tells you free stuff is inherently bad for you (negative) and won’t explain why

-Tells you everything they do is to make your life better, again no explanation (Wait, what?)

Do you see it now? I think it's safe to say most Americans, if given a choice, would go with boss number 1. When you get down to the basic logic of it, "I love you all and I want to give you free stuff" just sounds a lot better than "I love you all and I want you to work hard to buy stuff for yourself". Why? Because this isn't 1776, it's 2014. In America today we have an electorate that needs to hear things a certain way, the 2014 way, and if you don't explain your platform right, they will stop listening and vote for the other guy. Too many Conservatives and Republicans assume that the value of hard work and self-reliance is apparent to all, but IT'S NOT. That's why we need to shift from "work harder" to "this is why hard work and self-reliance are better philosophies than waiting for the government to do something for you..." Many of us understand the need to really dig deep and explain exactly why our policies will benefit every individual, but to be blunt, a lot of the Republican leadership and much of the party as a whole is stuck on the same tired methods they’ve been using since Reagan’s 1980 campaign. They keep regurgitating the same one liners people understood and really got behind 34 years ago (I've been guilty of it myself at times) instead of looking for new ways to explain our beliefs and our policies to a constantly changing American citizenry. We have to change that if we're going to win elections.

So in short, the Grand Old Party must become the Grand NEW Party (tagline?). It might seem like a tall order, but it can certainly be done, and in time for November 2014. This is where we have to start...

The 5 steps Republicans must take are as follows:

1.      Define your principles

2.      Define your plans

3.      Go public

4.      Mobilize

5.      Repeat.

Each step addresses a specific pitfall that Republicans must overcome in order to defeat the Democrats this November. Each of these pitfalls must be eliminated if we're are going to win. It can’t be done by completing just 1 or even just 4 of these steps. ALL 5 must be done. Luckily, none of these steps is exceedingly difficult, so it SHOULDN’T be difficult for the GOP to follow them. But that’s also an assumption…

1. Define your principles- because the party needs consistent, tangible positives to rally around.

Due to a combination of the liberal media, biases in popular culture and the DNC distorting facts, much of the American electorate does not know what the GOP stands for. Often it appears that Republicans aren’t sure where we stand either. In order to defeat the Democrats this November, Republicans have to create a list of principles that we can ALL agree on and run on (Something to this effect was released a couple of months ago. If that’s what the party chooses to rally around then great, but everyone has to come together to celebrate and sell those ideas). Republicans must present a united front if we expect to succeed. How do we do it? Easy- be honest and upfront. We have to tell Americans what we stand for, be detailed and most importantly explain WHY we stand for what we stand for. It's not enough to be for the Constitution, we have to tell America WHY the Constitution is so great, why we need to follow it, and why doing so will make our country stronger, freer and more prosperous. Republicans keep making the mistake of assuming number one- that everyone knows why Conservatives champion small government, individual liberty, free markets and personal responsibility, and number two- that everyone innately agrees with these concepts. There was a time when people simply understood, because of family, faith, education and culture, that small government, free market capitalism and common sense are inherently better than socialism, communism anything else that restricts our liberty or increases the size of government. Not so anymore. They're not learning it at home or in school, so Republicans have to treat every encounter as an opportunity to teach someone about the genius and the greatness of small, separated government and the strength of the individual. Republicans must never ever assume that our principles are known or understood. We should always state them and always explain them, sparing no details. We shouldn’t be just “Pro-life”.  We should be “Someone who believes that life is our most basic and important right, and if we cannot be free to exist once conceived, for any arbitrary reason, then we can never truly be a free society at all.” We should be “Someone who believes that the more we learn, and the more we trust science to answer the question for us, the more obvious it becomes that a fetus is more than a collection of cells. It’s a unique individual with unique DNA who deserves a chance at life and liberty.” We should back up what we say with facts, figures and studies, know the ones that liberals will likely use against us, and have responses ready for them. This topic is just one example, but the same goes for every issue, especially the hot button issues like abortion, gay rights and immigration. If we over prepare our candidates for these topics we’ll avoid devastating gaffes (the GOP can’t afford another Todd Akin). People don’t want to know every detail of every experience that lead Republicans to our principles. They want to know that Republicans can empathize with their situation, and they want to know how Republican principles will affect their lives and their wallets. That’s what we have to show them.

2. Define your plans- because Americans are convinced we’re the “Party of NO”.

It’s one thing to have a set of principles. It’s quite another to have ideas, plans and policies that you believe will benefit America. Republicans can’t rely on Americans’ dislike for Obama or other Democrats to get them over the 50-Senator threshold. Americans are in the dark about just what Republicans truly think will make good solutions to the problems we face. That’s partially because of the media, and partially because Republicans tend to shy away from giving too many details about their policies. As I explained above, they’re afraid that if they give too much, the Democrats and the media will tear their ideas to shreds before they’re ever given a fair shake. They’re afraid the “bigot” “sexist” and “racist” cards will be thrown down and the game will be over before it begins. And for some reason Republicans think that playing it close to the chest is the way to combat this, but in actuality it makes it look like they’ve got something to hide, even though they don’t. If one candidate tells you “I’m gonna give you free stuff” and the other says “That’s bad, we should do it my way instead and not give people free stuff” then they don’t explain what they mean or WHY their way is better, OF COURSE people will go with the first candidate over the second! Republicans have got to show Americans exactly what they want to do AND why. How do they do this? Again, we must be honest and upfront. We must tell America EXACTLY what we want to do and why. We must detail our policies and get specific. We must explain that we don't have all of the answers but do have great blueprints for building better foundations and allowing the people to shape their own futures. Republicans need to thoroughly differentiate our policies from the destructive, freedom suppressing, success limiting, self-righteous policies of the left, and we need to frame it in those terms. Every time a Republican criticizes a Liberal policy, they need to site specifics and explain exactly how it limits freedom, makes it harder for people to succeed (particularly the young, the poor and minorities) and takes money out of people’s pockets (again focusing on key Liberal demographics- if you can prove that the Democrats are harming the very people they claim to be protecting, AND give those people a better alternative, you can get their voters on your side). Republicans should even ask for input from the people, ask them what they want from their government and respond with either how our policies will do just that, or how our policy is actually a better way that will help them achieve more than they thought possible. We must tell Americans WHY our policies are better than those of our opponents, and tell them how our plans will give the people more liberty and more prosperity. People want government out of the business of making decisions for them, and out of their wallets. Republicans should tie every policy back to those two points, and explain how each specific policy we support will afford Americans more liberty and put more money in their wallets. Republicans need to let the people know we are going to give Americans the ability to decide their own fates, and get government out of their way. And we cannot forget to explain exactly what it is about big government that hurts people and keeps them from reaching their full potential. We’ve got to tell voters what is wrong with Nanny State policies and tell them exactly what’s right with individual responsibility and self-reliance. Republicans can’t assume that people either know or like our ideas anymore. A fair tax or flat tax may make perfect sense to you and I, but we've got to explain it and sell it to every voter at every opportunity. The same goes for every policy we've got. Whether it’s immigration, foreign policy, taxes, education, healthcare or anything else, the GOP has to detail what we want to see happen and we have to sell it directly to the people.  We should never assume our ideas make sense to everyone, or anyone at all for that matter. We should instead assume that our policies are confusing, and explain them in terms that anyone can understand. Republicans must explain our policies again and again so that voters know why our ideas are better for them than what they've been getting from the left. We should spare no details. Couple this with an explanation of the principles behind the plan, and we’re well on our way to victory. The next step is making sure that the people actually receive the message…

3. Go Public- because the media won’t deliver our message, so we must do so ourselves.

Republicans have to contend with a highly critical, liberally biased media. That's just the way it is. We have to contend with Democrats who have become more and more brazen in lying to the American people, and it doesn’t help when the media gives them a pass on their deceit. Republicans get harder questions, more scrutiny and no benefit of the doubt. People are either aware of this fact or wouldn’t care if they were. Pointing out the injustice isn’t getting us anywhere, so it’s time for a shift from whining to circumvention. The GOP has to combat the media with a full frontal assault. They must stop relying on the networks to fairly relay their message to voters. That’s like asking Al Qaeda to fairly represent America’s positions to their recruits- it makes absolutely no sense! Republicans need to take their message directly to the people. How? Once again, we need to be honest and up front. We should utilize ads that QUICKLY point out SPECIFIC flaws in our opponents, then explain EXACTLY what we will do differently to be better and to fix problems. Americans become desensitized to negative ads, but pointing out an opponent's flaws or failures in 5 or 10 seconds, then focusing on positive solutions will give them the positive alternative they’re looking for. The GOP should utilize EVERY available social media tool to constantly and consistently spread our message. We have to go into heavily Democratic counties, knock on doors, ask the people what they want in a leader and show them how we have what the people want. People respect candidates who will offer themselves up for tough questioning from constituents who they know disagree with them. It's something the Obama administration refuses to do because their candidate can't answer tough questions without weeks of prep or a teleprompter. Republicans have to give voters a reason to go to the polls and vote FOR our candidates rather than against someone else. We have to offer an alternative- candidates who will take questions from EVERYONE, and address EVERYONE's concerns, even people who have never voted for a Republican. THE GOP should buy time during network news broadcasts to run ads that directly counter media bias. We can run 30 to 60 second ads simply detailing our principles and summarizing our plans (1 principle or policy per ad). We can buy 1 hour blocs on each network spread out over time, and use those slots to stand with other members of the party, speak directly to the American people and detail exactly what we want to do, exactly why and exactly how we plan to do it. We must appeal to the people the way Ronald Reagan did if we're going to be successful. Again, if we explain to the people that the Conservative way will get government out of their healthcare, education, businesses, etc. AND out of their wallets, people will listen and the GOP will win elections. Again, some Conservative plans sound negative at first. Words like “responsibility” aren’t very attractive, especially in the new America, so Republicans have to oversimplify and over explain EVERYTHING in order to show people that we actually have very positive, highly beneficial ideas. We're going up against people whose “gimme” policies just simply sound more attractive. You don’t have to like it, but you’ve got to understand it, accept it and also understand that the only way to fight back is to show America that our plans are definitively and demonstrably better for America in the short AND long term. I know, it's not fair that people gravitate toward liberal policies because they sound good on the surface. It's unfair that people don't like Republican policies, even though they don't understand them, just because they sound harder or less “fun”. It's not fair that Republican plans receive more scrutiny and more criticism in the media. But life is not fair, and the GOP has to accept the fact that we're going to have to work much harder than liberals do in order to win elections. It's just what we have to do, at least in the short term. So we need to go Nike and JUST DO IT.

4. Mobilize- because without votes, nothing else matters.

Election wins will not come without very high voter turnout. Voter turnout elevated Obama to the Presidency in 2008 because Liberals were fed up with George Bush and minorities were excited about finally breaking through the most prominent glass ceiling in politics. In 2012, Conservatives turned out, but not nearly in the numbers we saw from Democrats in ’08. Obama’s team pushed hard, scared a LOT of people and got the necessary voters off their butts and out to the polls. In many cases they physically brought them to the polls. Obama's team mastered the art of voter turnout, now the GOP must PERFECT it! If Republicans are going to get the wins we need, we HAVE TO beat the Democrats at mobilizing voters. That’s all there is to it. We can learn from their tactics (the legal ones that is). We have to rally the base by telling them the truth about the situation- this November is going to be very close, and the GOP needs EVERY single vote we can muster. We’ll need to rally independents, by telling them that this country is governed by those who show up and let their voice be heard, appealing to their patriotism and appealing to their sense of duty. Republicans should tell the people that we all have the right to vote, but when you don't exercise it, you relinquish credibility, and so when you take issue with the policies of a government you refused to take part in, you have no standing. We need to demonstrate the failures of the Obama administration and tell independent voters exactly what we will do to fix his failures and set us back on a solid path. Independents want a CHOICE, not Obama light or an Obamapublican. Republicans can't be afraid to be bold and different. We need to get people excited about our policies. Local chapters of the RNC should organize voter sign ups and organize transportation to the polls for EVERYONE who needs it. It’s going to cost money, but we all know you have to spend money to get results, and if we spend like this is a presidential election, we will win. Republicans need to get young voters excited about their futures. We need to get older voters nostalgic about returning to a strong and prosperous America. We need to get minority and low income voters excited about a positive alternative to big government, and get them excited about having more freedom to make choices on their own, more money in their pockets, and being treated as equals rather a than pawns in a political chess game. Republicans have to give people a reason to be motivated and give them a reason to vote FOR our candidates. It's not nearly enough to rely on people voting against Democrats. If we can do this effectively and produce a large enough voter turnout, the GOP can easily take the Senate and pick up extra seats in the House this Fall.

5. Repeat- Practice makes perfect. Don’t try until you get it right, try until you can’t get it wrong.

The Grand Old Party must become the Grand NEW Party (tagline anyone?). Day in and day out, Republicans must speak directly to the people and tell them about ourselves. We must let the people know who we are, what we believe, and why we believe it. We must tell Americans what we plan to do to make this nation whole, put people back to work, and restore our standing in the world. We have to tell them just how we plan to do it, and why our way is better. We must spare no details, and no expense. We must speak to our fellow Americans early and often, through every outlet we can get our hands on. We must utilize technology, but should not forget the old stand-bys like mailers or a good old fashioned knock on the door. It’s not a one-size fits all situation either. We have to cater our approach to specific states and counties to achieve the best results. Republican candidates must be open and honest at all times. If the GOP does this, exactly this, on a wide scale across the nation, we can't lose. But as soon as we let up or begin to cut corners, we’ll condemn ourselves to failure.

For this plan to succeed, it’s going to take cooperation from Republicans and Conservatives in every corner of America. From the establishment and rank in file members to the tea party and the libertarians, we must stand together, and let America know who we are and why our way is better than what the liberals have deemed their best try. We have the better principles, and we have the better policies. We have to sell them to the people, which shouldn’t be too hard considering how much better we can make America with our ideas. If we follow these guidelines, we will see a stronger, freer, more prosperous America in the very near future. We can make it happen, but we need a plan of action and a set of agreed upon principles. The party must decide how inclusive it wishes to be. We must find common ground among the libertarian wing, the tea party and the longstanding establishment members of the House and Senate. That's where this plan comes in. It’s a road map to victory. Blanks will need to be filled in, and agreements to disagree in the short term will have to be struck, but we can win with this plan. This plan is not all of the answers, but it’s the beginning of a new direction.  It's short and simple. It's subtle but assertive. It will win, I guarantee it. The only obstacle is getting Republican politicians to agree and take action, particularly those who are stuck in their ways. But together, we can do it. We've got to do it- for America, for our children and for all those who came before us who sacrificed their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for you and I to be able to enjoy liberty. If liberty is to endure, we must act, boldly, and it must be now.

Thank you.

God Bless.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My New Plan For America- A Summary


Hello all!

I've been working on this one for quite some time. It's not perfect, but my New Plan for America is a step toward a better future. It's rooted in the need for Republicans and Conservatives to get out of the mindset that the value of our principles as apparent to all, and out of the practice of denouncing big government while advocating for wholly big government "solutions" to the problems that plague our nation. Our principles are sound, but we must stick to them, and we have to change our messaging to truly match those principles. We need rein in the overreaching politicians and bureaucrats, increase the influence of individuals in the private sector, and give the American people a direct say in the direction of the nation.

If you believe in America and you're open to new ideas, then please visit the link below to learn more!

http://dannysmith8806.wix.com/conservativedan

Feedback is highly encouraged!

video

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Problem With Liberal Problem Solving


True American conservatism is about preserving the things which have been proven to make us great (individual liberty, self-reliance, personal responsibility, etc.), and correcting the mistakes we make along the way, so that new greatness can continually be achieved, better opportunities can continually manifest, and socioeconomic hardships can continually be minimized and eventually eradicated. Again, that's American conservatism, not classical Conservatism, and I'm not talking about Republicans either. American liberalism on the other hand, is about trying to correct unfairness, as defined (arbitrarily) by government or other small groups, by any means necessary, regardless of what such actions will do to those things which make us great. When you get to the heart of it, the real meat and potatoes of either side, what it boils down to is this: conservatives believe a great nation is built by empowering the individual, while liberals believe that perfection can be achieved by empowering government. We can all argue about the specifics of all the issues- about where we stand on gun control or abortion or taxes or marriage, but the end game is always the same. True liberals, or progressives as we sometimes call them (there are "conservative" progressives too) want government to solve the problem, and true conservatives want the people whom government serves to solve the problem.

I know better than government what is best for me and my family. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. I can't trust government to take my specific circumstances, my ambitions or my needs, nor those of my family, into account when they make a decision. Therefore, I believe wholeheartedly in empowering individuals and accomplishing as many of our goals as possible without government. Even when government is "needed," it's far more effective to localize solutions at the city, county or state level than it is to make sweeping legislative moves at the federal level. In general, the only time we need the federal government to step in is for matters such as national defense, coining money, interstate commerce and so forth as the enumerated powers in the Constitution detail. In most cases, local government is better informed and equipped for the circumstances at hand, and in every case it's more accountable to the people.

There are viable, effective methods of solving a lot of our problems that don't have to involve government, like helping the poor and needy in our communities. You don't need government to do it. Private, local entities like churches, charities and not for profits should be supported by all who are able. And I mean by choice, not by law, and only insofar as to empower them to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and rehabilitate those who've made terrible choices in life. There is a difference between compelling citizens to donate to these causes and asking them to fund a bible study or promote a specific religion or doctrine. Most businesses are more than happy to contribute as well, and they do so in astounding numbers (Wal-mart donating over $1 billion in cash and products in 2012, and they’re among companies like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs and Google as some of the most charitable companies in America according to Forbes). Back to my point, we can help people, especially those who truly need it, by enlisting the assistance of individuals, businesses and private charitable entities, and they do a much better job than the federal government. I know I feel more comfortable giving to a charity than to government, because you can research and vet the organization, choose the one you believe will do the most good, and follow up on what they do. With government, you never know where your money will end up, and you have NO choice in whether to give or where it’s going to go. They even spend taxpayer money on things that most Americans don’t want the public paying for (i.e. planned parenthood abortions). In these cases, government, specifically local government, would be a better tool for promoting the morality of helping others of your own free will than a tool for actually imparting help to those in need. Think about it: if we taught people from a young age that society functions much smoother and people live much better lives when we all CHOOSE to help those who need it, whenever we are able to, and we continued that teaching throughout elementary school, middle school and high school, then by the time we get one generation from diapers to diplomas we would have a massive swing in the number of people who CHOOSE to help their fellow man rather than wait for the government to force them to do it. Charity has zero moral value and does nothing to change society for the better if we “serve” others solely because the government threatens us into compliance. The value lies in CHOOSING to help your fellow man. It makes society better for everyone, and that choice means the difference between resentment of those whom you’re forced to support, and empathy for those whom you choose to help. It just makes sense. Unfortunately, our government would rather hold a gun to our heads, take what they feel we don’t need, and put it to whatever political use they see fit. That solves nothing, and breeds anger and frustration rather than love and compassion. Bottom line: government is NOT the best or only solution for taking care of those in need, and the same is true for most of our nation’s problems.

I happen to believe that most of our problems, particularly those which lead to screaming matches in bars, college classrooms and the studios of cable TV networks, can be solved by limiting the amount of legislation aimed at “fixing” the problem, maximizing the amount of awareness about the problem, letting people make their own choices, and holding people accountable for the choices that they make (there are a few issues where I feel there are extenuating circumstances where certain rights trump others, such as the right to life trumping the right to an abortion, which is why I consider myself a Conservatarian, but I digress…). We need to empower individuals to make their own decisions and teach them to take responsibility for the decisions they make, while ensuring equal opportunity and equal protection under the law for everyone. Liberty and justice for all. The freedom to buy, the freedom to try, AND the freedom to fail (and start from the beginning again). We DO NOT need to dictate or legislate their wants and needs to them, nor coddle them from cradle to grave. When you localize government solutions, it has the same benefits as empowering individuals. Competition breeds better solutions, and localities have the freedom to try things their own way, implementing policies and programs tuned to the specific needs of their city, county or state. Again, government may be needed to help solve some of our biggest problems, but state and local governments are innately better at dealing with those problems than the federal government. They know their demographics, their trades, their resources, their economies, their ecosystems and, most importantly, they know their people. They are closer to the people, geographically and politically, and that enables local government to make smarter, more effective decisions. The federal government has very little direct accountability to the people, even in the House of Representatives (Can you say gerrymandering?), and they have absolutely no accountability to the states (thanks in large part to the 17th amendment making U.S. Senators elected by citizens rather than state legislatures, thereby eviscerating the ability of states to hold the federal government accountable to its citizens). At this point, the odds of correcting the lack of accountability are slim to none, so it makes more sense now than ever to empower state and local governments to solve problems, in conjunction with private individuals, businesses and community organizations. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the last century of American politics, it’s that growing the federal government and taking power from the states and the people solves nothing, and creates exponentially more problems. Just look around, and consider the amount of lasting “good” accomplished by Congresses and Presidents of the last hundred years. Don’t worry, it won’t take long…
Government is rarely a good solution, and even more seldom the best one. To refuse to pursue solutions that don’t include government is just plain stupid. Let me explain with a historical reference:

During a time when women were widely considered property, the philosopher Plato decided, in imagining his republic, that it would make absolutely no sense to exclude women from the rigorous physical and mental tests that he envisioned would yield the best and brightest to lead the nation (I disagree with Plato quite often, but not on this point). He realized that arbitrarily eliminating women from contention would instantaneously cripple the odds of developing great leaders. Think of it this way, if you took a freshman class of med students and cut out everyone with brown eyes (or the blondes, those over 30 or all the Republicans, or what have you), you're eliminating a giant number of potentially great doctors for no reason at all. THAT is why none of our problems can be solved by relying solely on government, because it automatically excludes potentially great solutions, for no reason at all. Being open to all possibilities is just common sense.

It is utterly counterproductive to choose to arbitrarily eliminate viable options for making America better. When you choose, as liberals do, to dismiss all solutions that originate in the private sector, you choose to severely handicap your chances for success. The same goes for conservatives who refuse to let government do anything at all. We can't fix a problem by looking solely for either a government solution or a private sector solution. We have to look for the right solution, the solution that works for all involved and maximizes liberty. We have to plan for everything and foresee the unintended consequences, but we also have to account for human nature, and the fact that we could be wrong. History must be considered, and we must look further into the future than one day, one crisis or one election. Sometimes we're going to fail, because perfection is out of reach. But as a Conservative, I can tell you that if we err on the side of the individual, get the government and bureaucracy out of the way, and look for answers that protect life, liberty, private property and the pursuit of happiness, wherever that solution may come from, more often than not we're going to fix the problem, and more importantly, it's going to STAY fixed.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A President Without Leadership, And A Plan Without Standing

Barack Obama is a President, but he has no concept of leadership, and never has. He's been in office for 5 years now, and not one single time has he actually shown a hint of leadership ability. Every promise, every declaration and every commitment made along the way, has been made to create a false sense of trust for the President among uninformed, apathetic voters. That’s it. This President is a Marxist through and through, and he’s used every trick in Saul Alinsky’s bag to push his agenda, because after all the man has no idea how to lead on his own. He has to follow rules and guidelines others have laid out (the ironic thing is that the founders laid out an amazing set of rules that anyone can follow, yet he chooses to ignore their proven system and replace it with his own, Marxist plan). That’s exactly why Obama has such a hard time keeping track of what’s going on around him, and why it takes weeks, months or years to address problems within his administration. He’s great at following the pre-written steps, and reacting to pre-determined outcomes with pre-determined responses. But when something happens that he’s not expecting, he panics, and that’s when we get false promises or outright lies about justice and accountability. He has no courage and no instincts. Furthermore, he relies heavily on a small circle of narrow-minded, fellow Marxist friends for advice. That same circle of friends either shields him from every shady thing going on around him for the sake of unprecedented plausible deniability, or they simply supply him with the lies and spin needed to cover up their blatant corruption. If a CEO with no experience and no instincts relied on a small group of like-minded, anti-profit buffoons to make all of his decisions, draft all of his statements and design all of his policies, said business would fall faster than Obama’s current approval ratings. In the private sector, “I didn’t know” is trumped by “IF you didn’t know, you should have. It’s your job to know”. Our Presidents, Republican and Democrat alike, should be held to the same standard.

When it comes to the President’s leadership ability concerning the Affordable Care Act, or rather lack thereof, let’s look at the record. The White House, particularly Press Secretary Jay Carney, likes to boast that “The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court, and affirmed by the American people with the President’s reelection”. Looking at the facts, that argument holds no water, but plenty of bull…

The ACA was not passed by Congress. It was passed by Democrats. That’s an important distinction that the left conveniently forgets. Every Democrat voted for it, and zero Republicans voted for it. “Congress” implies some minimal degree of bipartisan support. Obama, Carney and the like refuse to admit that the ACA and all of its failures rest squarely on the shoulders of Democrats. It’s one thing for a Democratically controlled Congress to pass a bill, but it’s another for a Democratically controlled Congress to pass a bill with 0 Republican votes. Back then they championed the “Democratic” achievement. Now it was “passed by Congress”. Funny how the rhetoric changes with the wind…

The bill was also passed through a process known as reconciliation. The Senate rule on reconciliation allows a budget bill to come to a vote with debate being limited to 20 hours. It’s explicitly meant for budget matters, not for full-scale overhauls of 1/6 of our economy, otherwise known as our healthcare system. Knowing that extended debate could only hurt the chances that the ACA would pass Democrats invoked reconciliation to push their precious bill through (because as we’ve seen, the more we learn about Obamacare the more we find out how detrimental it will be…remember Nancy Pelosi’s telling remark, “We have to pass this bill to find out what’s in it”). In violating the rules of reconciliation, the Senate Democrats showed their hand. They were not confident enough in the merits of their own bill to let it be submitted to free and open debate. Rather than let the bill speak for itself, Democrats decided to use political sleight of hand to force the bill upon us. They decided one of two things: either 1. We are too stupid to understand their “highly enlightened” thinking behind the bill, or 2. We would understand it just fine, and see it for the destructive force that it truly is. In either case, they knew they couldn’t let the American people see the ACA put under the microscope before it was made law. More than 3 years later, it’s all too clear exactly why that was the case…

Now, while the ACA was certainly not a budget bill, few would argue that it was not a revenue bill, meaning that it was meant to raise revenues for a particular purpose. In this case, the bill seeks to raise revenue for the subsidizing of health insurance premiums (I can’t stress enough that the “Affordable Care Act” has nothing to do with CARE, but everything to do with destroying health INSURANCE). They will take the premiums paid by all who enter the exchanges, as well as the tax penalties paid by those who don’t get insurance (more on that shortly) and use it to pay for the expenses of the sick and elderly. That’s called raising revenue. No matter how you slice it, one of the ACA’s most explicit goals is to raise revenue, and as such, the law cannot be constitutional. Here’s why…

Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution states:

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”

In other words, if the bill intends to raise revenues, for any purpose, it must originate in the House of Representatives. The Democrats found a way to circumvent the Constitution on this too. Many Americans are completely unaware that the ACA was introduced in the House as the "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009". That bill passed the House by a vote of 416 to 0, for obvious reasons considering the title. Harry Reid and Senate Democrats then gutted the bill, “amended” it (more like completely replaced it) with what we now know as the ACA, and passed it on a straight party line vote. The bill then passed the House on another party line vote, soon to be signed by Barack Obama. So, rather than having the bill originate in the house, the Democrats erased one bill and replaced it with another under the guise of an “amendment”. Then the DEMOCRATS passed it, not Congress as a whole. So on the one hand, you have a complete corruption of the legislative process in the perversion of the amendment process, and on the other you have a revenue bill originating in the Senate, which is expressly prohibited by the Constitution. Long story short (I know, too late), the ACA did receive the necessary number of votes required to be considered “passed,” but the manner in which this bill passed was a corruption of the constitution and our legislative principles. Boasting that “Obamacare passed Congress” is the same as boasting that the Reds won the 1919 World Series. Manipulating rules and procedures which exist to deter and prevent corruption and tyranny, to achieve a corrupt, tyrannical goal, is no more acceptable than breaking the rules outright. Our laws exist to maintain order, and if we are to use the rules that govern how our laws are written and passed, we are opening ourselves up to whatever tyranny may wish to attack us.

The second point that Obama and his team rattle off about the “support” behind the ACA is that the bill was signed in to law by the President. Some might go after this one by spouting off about birth certificates or residency or the fact that Obama attended school in Indonesia at a time during which you had to be a citizen to attend school there and dual citizenships were not allowed…but I’m not going to do that. I’ll just skip ahead to point 3: the Supreme Court argument. There are plenty of arguments for and against the Constitutionality of the ACA. In fact, I made one above regarding the origination clause. However, for the sake of this argument we will “accept” the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the ACA’s individual mandate is constitutional, because the penalty incurred by those who do not get health insurance is, in all actuality, a tax. Now, to accept that decision, you have to accept that President Obama broke yet another major promise that got him elected, namely that “Your taxes will not go up”. You must also accept that the administration lied to the public about the nature of the ACA’s individual mandate. We were told that we would all have access to better, more affordable healthcare. Aside from the fact that the ACA does NOTHING to address health CARE quality or costs, but instead makes health INSURANCE LESS available and LESS affordable, there is the tiny little detail left out of the speeches, the YouTube videos and the Andy Griffith commercials: The ACA would raise your taxes if you decided the plans available on the exchanges were not a good fit for you and your family. They also downplayed the fact that the ACA depends on millions and millions of young, healthy Americans signing up. They assumed that by repeating “affordable, affordable, affordable” the young and healthy would come running and begging to sign up. Now that we know that’s not a reality, especially now that Harvard has released a study finding that less than 30% of people 18 to 29 years old plan to sign up, it has become quite clear that millions and millions of young Americans will now see their taxes go up. They may think they can avoid the President's expensive health plans by opting not to sign up, but come tax time they'll find out what many of us have known for more than 3 years. Had they been told of this possibility during the shadily shortened Senate debates in 2010, or had they been told of this in the wake of the ruling instead of being duped with the subsequent dismissal of the “tax” portion of the written decision by the mainstream media, they may have voted differently in November of 2012, and the ACA may not have done so much of the damage we’ve already seen. But this administration doesn’t operate in the light of day. They hold up false banners of “transparency” behind which they conceal their true motives and intentions. They spent months and months trumpeting the ACA as no-strings-attached-affordable-healthcare, and when the Supreme court made its ruling, shedding light on the very much attached strings, Obama and his team ran from its damning truth, touting it as a win while ignoring the fact that the people they were claiming to help would be robbed of all choice in the matter of their healthcare, and forced to pay new taxes if they tried to get out of it. This may seem like a small offense compared to the "You can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor" lies, but it's an important tell for this administration's true intentions. It's one of numerous instances of politics before substance that Obama and his team regularly engage in. In this case, with Obama and the Democrats claiming victory with the SCOTUS decision, while ignoring what that decision meant to the people, we see a recurring motif of this administration: jumping to declare political victory while refusing to acknowledge the existence of very real, unintended, unforeseen (by the ideologues hell bent on Marxizing the US) consequences of their policies. They set their eyes on the ultimate progressive prize of universal healthcare, and donned impenetrable blinders that let them ignore every negative effect their legacy legislation would have on the American people as they raced toward political victory. They were never in this to help Americans. They were in it to get the holy grail of Marxism, the sword in the stone of Socialism, the gateway to the liberal progressive utopia- universal healthcare. If they truly cared about helping people rather than making them dependent upon government, they would have considered Republican proposals in 2010. Instead, Obama adopted the mantra “Elections have consequences, and I won”. After 8 years of railing every word out of Bush’s mouth, Obama and the Democrats suddenly believe our republic is built upon everyone doing what the President says without delay or dissent. Had they taken the time to consider the consequences of the ACA, intended and unintended, this law would not have passed. But as always, Obama and his disciples put politics and ideology ahead of fact and the good of the people. That will be his true legacy, mark my words.
Finally, there's the "affirmation" of reelection. Some argue that the President didn't run on Obamacare and that Romney didn’t run hard enough against it. I submit that neither is true and neither is false. We all know the President lied when he repeated over and over, "If you like your plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor". That in itself is a huge reason for the president's reelection. A reelection based on lies is not something to be proud of, and it's certainly not "proof" that Americans support the ACA. If you sold billions of dollars worth hamburgers by calling them fat free, when they were actually quite the opposite, you could hardly claim that people love your hamburgers based on the number sold. That's exactly what Obama, Carney et. al. are doing when they boast that the President's reelection affirms support for Obamacare. It's an outright lie, an they know it.
From my vantage point I saw 2 different campaigns. I saw a campaign of facts, where Romney did an awesome job (not perfect), and could have beaten Obama handily. And I also saw the Obama media campaign that cherry picked what most Americans saw, and also how they interpreted what they saw. There were instances of journalists hiding facts and going to bat for the president to be sure. Who could forget Candy Crowley defending the President in the third debate, right? But what truly defined the media's role in Obama's reelection was not what they did or may have done. It was by far what they did not do: vet and scrutinize the president and his policies like a free press in a free nation should.
The press spent 8 years tearing Bush apart. From the moment Gore oh so reluctantly conceded Florida, the hounds were at the ready. I spent a lot of time disagreeing with them, but given the choice between an overly analytical, excessively negative press and a press that laps up & regurgitates everything the White House says, I'll take the former every damn time. If the press is eager to mow the president down for even the slightest offense, tyranny has no hope of advancement. But if the press resigns itself to nothing more than an obedient extension of the state, tyranny can slither in and overcome us in a heartbeat. That is what happened in the case of Obamacare and the 2012 election folks. If the press had done its job like it did during the Bush administration, Obama wouldn't have made it past the '08 primary, let alone into a second term. They betrayed the very essence of journalism by picking sides rather than reporting the facts and letting the people decide. The American media joined the liberal progressive movement in an attempt to forcibly abolish the principles of American liberty and replace them with the communist manifesto. They disparaged everything that a free press should stand for, and they did so with neither care no remorse. Yes, America reelected a self-professed wealth redistributor, but again, the Reds also won the game 1919 World Series. It's much easier to win when key players decide to throw the game.
Our government, our media and even our schools have been infiltrated by people who believe:

1. That ends justify means

2. That they know what's best for us because we're too stupid to know for ourselves

3. That liberty is dangerous and fairness is the key to utopian existence

4. That human nature can be altered by legislation, taxation and the barrel of a gun, and

5. That they have the legal and moral authority to fundamentally change the foundation of our republic, regardless of constitutional constraints, and with or without the support of the people.
A hundred years ago we would have called these people tyrants. Today, they're liberals, or progressives. Whatever you want to call them, the fact remains that they are reshaping America for the worse. They are doing exactly what the founders tried to prevent anyone from doing, and we are standing here letting it happen. Obamacare, the underhanded, backdoor way it was passed, the lack of investigation from the media, all of the lies, cover ups and power grabbing executive actions, the lack of accountability and the sheer corruption surrounding every step of the process tell a very grim tale that ends badly for everyone. I love my country, and I want her to survive. I want everyone to be successful. I want everyone to have what they need and want. But I believe they key to that end lies in empowering individuals to help themselves, and in turn help others to do the same. Obama and his followers believe the key is shackling all of us to the government, and letting them determine our wants, needs, abilities and everything else from cradle to grave. As long he Obama is President, and as long as we let him get away with advancing his Marxist agenda, America will continue to devolve into nothing more than another failed attempt at a free republic, quite possibly the last one ever attempted on this Earth.
I leave you with this:
A true leader is the man at the front of the battalion, sword drawn, charging forward at the enemy. The power thirsty coward sits idle and apathetic atop his horse, behind the battalion, commanding them to charge. Ask yourself: Which man is Obama?

 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Arguing With Liberals

I've been finding myself in a lot of arguments with liberals lately. I say argument because it's impossible to have a "debate" with people who lack common sense and the willingness to concede that they might actually be wrong. Debates contain give and take, and there's mutual respect amongst the participants. But arguments are just back and forth attacks, in one ear and out the other, and at least one side harbors contempt for the views of the other. That's why there's shouting, personal attacks and no productive outcome. I believe debate is vital, and that we should have them with friends, family and even strangers whenever possible, because it keeps us honest and helps us to know what we believe and why. But at the same time, i hate letting an ignorant liberal get the last word. So I put together a few thoughts that I use specifically when I'm confronted by a Libby looking to fight. I've never really written them down like this, so I figured why not. Enjoy!

I'm neither rich nor wealthy, but if I were it would be because I worked for what I earned. The fact that someone HAS wealth is not a reason to vilify them. And just because someone else HAS and you don't, that doesn't mean they somehow owe you anything. You want something? Go out and EARN it instead of waiting for someone to give it to you. It's usually faster that way, and it ALWAYS lasts longer, because you protect that which you earn. Not that you would know anything about earning. I'm sure you're sitting in your parent's basement using a phone or computer they paid for...

I may be white, but that doesn't make me a racist or a bigot. For you to assume so is inherently discriminatory, and that means YOU'RE the racist. When you you run around shouting "racism" every time you lose an argument, you trivialize true racism and you disgrace all who have suffered at the hands of real racists. Those who would tell Black or Hispanic citizens (or any member of a non-white race) that they have no control over their own lives and that their individual situation is always someone else's fault, are telling them that they are inherently incapable of achieving success on their own. THAT  racist. Telling a race of people that they NEED the government in order to succeed is racist. Asking that everyone play by the same rules and expecting everyone to learn self reliance, individual responsibility, and pride in one's personal talent is not racist. Telling a race of people that they can't live up to these expectations, IS racist. You would know that if you didn't take everything Al Sharpton says as law. Tawana Brawley comes to mind...

I am not a homophobe. I have no problem with homosexuals or anyone who does not fall into the category of "straight". I do not feel uncomfortable in their company. They are people and they have rights. Furthermore, I do not believe in legislating upon, that which cannot be  proven when it comes to people's inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I say if homosexuals want to get married, adopt children or what have you, then let them. I reject the argument that allowing gay marriage or adoption will corrupt children or the family unit. It seems obvious that heterosexual parents are fully capable of producing dysfunctional family units and turning their children into bad human beings. It seems just as obvious that homosexual parents probably have the same odds as heterosexual parents of making a family work or raising their kids to be good productive members of society. That said, it's important to note that there are 2 different kinds of marriage. There's the legal, courthouse, marriage license, new tax bracket marriage, and there's the religious sacrament of marriage. Whether you agree or disagree with a certain religious custom or edict, it is not government's role to dictate who can participate in religious customs. Government can no more legislate churches into conducting marriages for gay couples than it can legislate that Catholic churches must allow women to be priests, or that Lutherans must allow baptists to partake of communion. Government can't force a Muslims cleric to marry a Jewish couple, nor vice versa. Have the "its not fair" argument all you want, but legally government has no authority to dictate to religious institutions who can partake of what sacraments or other customs. I know you want to control what people believe, but unfortunately for you we live in a free republic instead of Nazi Germany...

I do not hate the poor. I want everyone to be successful and able to provide for themselves and their families. However, I believe teaching a person the skills to succeed, and how to work toward success is far more beneficial and long lasting than teaching people to be dependent on government. If you believe we should teach the poor and needy to seek out government handouts instead of arming them with the ability to flourish without government, then it is you must harbor contempt for the poor, and you who wishes them to remain in their current socioeconomic state. Government cannot create wealth, regardless of how much you desire it to. Effort, drive and determination create wealth and success. To tell those who are in poverty that they are incapable of rising out of it on their own, and that they need the government to take care of them is inherently discriminatory towards those people. I believe they have the ability to succeed and I want to teach them to focus that ability and put it to use. Yet liberals, who tell them they are doomed to fail, call me the evil one. A little bit of introspection might do you some good, but it's hard to look within yourself when your stuck so far up Obama's ass...

I do not hate the elderly. I believe we should help our elders as much as we can. But I believe in helping those who NEED it, and I believe the private sector is much better at helping the needy than government. Government cannot be trusted to put the needs of our elders ahead of their own campaign needs or lust for legacy. We get much more done, at a much lower cost, when we empower private entities like churches and charities help feed and care for our elders than when we rely on the politicians and bureaucrats of the federal government. We also need to prepare people well ahead of time for the expenses and circumstances of getting older by empowering them to achieve personal success. That is the first and most important step to caring for the elderly and making programs like Social Security and Medicare solvent, to start, and eventually obsolete. Of course that wouldn't do you or your President any good since your goal is to expand dependency and implode the American economy in order to replace our republic with a communist state...

I do not believe in anarchy, we need the rule of law. But government does not need it's hands in every facet of our lives. You and I are better equipped to make decisions for ourselves and our families than government will ever be. Only we as individuals can be certain of our intentions and motives. We can't trust government to look out for us, do what's best for us and our individual circumstances and all without ulterior motive. So it's simply common sense to leave as many decisions as possible up to the individual, and to limit the size and scope of government to that which individuals cannot accomplish on their own, such as defense of the nation, etc. But in order to understand common sense solutions you have to actually have common sense and the ability to think logically, and you fail on both accounts...

I do not support tax breaks for those who do not need them, but I do believe our tax system must be welcoming to businesses. No businesses means no job, no products or services and no money for anyone to be able to make ends meet. Our tax system should be based on consumption rather than income, because it gives consumers a choice in how much they pay in taxes rather than giving the government carte blanche to assign ambiguous tax rates based on wealth or a particular administration's definition of "fairness". With a consumption tax, businesses and "the rich" still pay more, but only because they spend more, not because the government declares them responsible for more. In addition, for those who claim we need income taxes in order to care for the needy, everyone has more money in their pockets with a consumption tax, increasing our ability to make ends meet and allowing us to choose to give aid to those in need as we see fit, rather than giving our money to politicians and bureaucrats who spend OUR money as THEY see fit. A consumption tax would also replace the more then 70,000 page tax code, with a much simpler and easy to abide by system, automatically reducing the time and costs associated with paying income taxes. It's just common sense. Unfortunately you can fit a common sense peg into a liberal hole...

I do not hate women. Women are just as capable as men at pretty much everything. I acknowledge we are each generally better suited for certain things from a genetic standpoint, but women are in no way inferior to men. I do however believe in protecting life, and this seems to be the point where I lose most liberals. By any definition a fetus is alive, and that life must be protected. Personhood and viability don't matter, life matters. I believe men and women should be made aware of the consequences of their actions, and when unintended pregnancies arise they should be responsible enough to see it through to birth for the child's sake. Human life is sacred, and life in one of our inalienable rights. That right should not be taken from a child because the parents did not take the responsibility of creating life seriously.  After birth, parents have the option of adoption if they are truly ill equipped to raise the child. However, I do not believe in leaving a mother who chose life to fend for herself. As long as she's willing to help herself, we should be willing to help her. By that same token, the father should be held responsible, and he should be the first line of help for the mother. If the father and mother and their families still are not enough, then obviously help should be available.  That said, I believe we can provide assistance through private entities much better than the government can. We get much more done, at a much lower cost, when we empower private entities like churches and charities help those in need than when we rely on the politicians and bureaucrats of the federal government. Unlike you, I'm not willing to end a life simply because I made a choice to have sex and a life was created. I see life as precious, not an insignificant inconvenience...

I do not hate immigrants. I believe we should welcome those who wish to become a part of our grand nation. However, we have laws for a reason. There is a legal way to come here and an illegal way. If you come legally, you should be free to flourish as you please, and enjoy the same liberties all Americans do. As long as you're willing  to follow our laws, contribute in your own way, become part of our society and assimilate into our culture, at least somewhat, you're more than welcome here. If you want to enjoy America the legal way, you should be free to do so. However, if you choose to break our laws and come here illegally, you should not receive the privileges that LEGAL immigrants do, and you should go to the back of the line behind those who did it the right way. By the way, if you believe in encouraging people to come here illegally, work here illegally-exploited as cheap labor and often in poor conditions, and live as fugitives, then you are the problem. It takes a special kind of disdain for a person to encourage them to live such a life. If you tell these people they deserve government dependency in the form of welfare, food stamps or other handouts, you are telling them that they cannot succeed without the government, and that is truly discriminatory and destructive to those people. Asking them to abide by our laws is not racist or discriminatory, it is simply matter of equal protection for ALL under those laws. I know you want to bring in as many people as possible and train them to be obedient, dependent liberal voters, but I actually give a damn about their well being and that of their families...

I do not want limitless access to guns and other weapons. We need laws to protect us from those who wish us harm. But I hold the 2nd amendment dear. Law abiding citizens should have the ability to arm and protect themselves. Criminals should not. Liberty and our inalienable rights are guaranteed unless we commit some heinous act to forfeit those rights, such as infringing upon the life, liberty or property of another individual or individuals. Any gun legislation we pass should aim to preserve the rights of law abiding citizens and keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and those who lack mental stability. Most importantly, a well armed, well practiced and well informed population is the best deterrent of tyranny. It is not only bad individuals that we have the right to protect ourselves from, but also bad government. The second amendment was written as a defense against those who would seek to rescind our liberty, and impose tyranny upon us, namely you and your President...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Obamacare: Government's Role And The People's Rights

Someone I regularly debate via Facebook posted this on my timeline today with he caption "Thoughts?". My first instinct was actually to rattle off some talking points. When I realized I was about to do that, I decided to do what I often demand others do, but don't do often enough myself- truly think about my opinion, and whether I actually think I'm right or wrong about some of the things I believe regarding Obamacare, and our health care and health insurance systems in general. Below is what I came up with. If you have any PRODUCTIVE opinions or criticisms, I would honestly like to hear them. But, if you just want to blast me with misinformation and obscenities, kindly find another outlet for your petulance...

 


First, I want people to know that I understand there are people who try and try and just can't get to where they need to be, and then disaster happens. I believe in safety nets, and lending a hand up. What I don't support is a system that rewards those who are able to help themselves but instead choose not to, and rely on the aid of others, specifically the government. I believe that considering all technological, economical and sociological factors, safety nets are vital to our nation's endurance. Some people really do need help. That's a legitimate concern that supporters of the ACA claim it addresses. But in actuality, it doesn't. It simply mandates minimum products and services that a health insurance plan must cover, and still makes you pay a lot more if you have a preexisting condition. So they frame the conversation to make people think you're getting a deal, when you're just getting exactly what you would get in the private market. The difference is, where a private company might turn you down because you can't afford the premium to cover the preexisting condition, Obamacare forces you to buy a plan, and if you can't afford the premium, you're either covered and terminally indebted to the government because of the unaffordable premium,  or you choose not to buy a plan, you pay the fine (which gets more expensive every year), and you're still not covered when something happens. Not exactly the picture perfect dream law that Democrats, especially President Obama, have made it out to be.

It's important to note something here that does not get discussed. Most hospitals take their charge to care for the sick very seriously, and many of them will not turn someone in serious/immediate need of medical attention away just because they can't pay. So what happens if you do receive care and can't pay for it? You get the care you need and then you're in serious debt to the hospital. You're alive, but you owe a lot of money. I've actually heard people argue that it's not fair that the hospital saved their life and then stuck them with a bill for their services, but most people would rather be alive and owe the hospital than dead and *insert-anything-at-all-here*. Now, what is the difference between the scenario I just described, and paying huge premiums and deductibles to the government via Obamacare? Some would argue that the Obamacare option will still be cheaper and easier than owing the whole bill to the hospital. That's actually a valid and debatable point, but I disagree. Here's why...

You can pay $20 a month, even $10 a month on a medical bill for the rest of your life, and no one can come after you for the balance. It may get sent to a collections agency if you never pay anything at all, but if you pay something then you're fine. I'm not an expert on medical laws, but this makes sense to me because after all, losing your life is a far more serious event than losing your car or house, so it makes sense that if the situation forces you into debt in order to keep your life, then the law should allow for much more leniency in paying back that debt than if you wrecked your car without insurance, or what have you. Medical debt does not hurt your credit either, as long as you pay something and make an effort. Whether by accident or design, that's the way our system is setup (was set up). So if you had no insurance or your plan didn't cover something, you could get the care you needed and just pay a small amount towards your bills, if necessary for the rest of your life, or just until you reach a point in your life where you can afford to make bigger payments or even payoff the balance. Most often, it's not fair when a health disaster strikes. Sometimes it's your fault if you made certain bad choices, but much of the time health issues arise through no fault of your own. But on the other hand, life's not fair- a lot. It may sound harsh, but maybe if more people were taught from a young age, and perpetually throughout life, to spend their time finding ways to make situations and circumstances work for them, instead of complaining about unfairness and socioeconomic injustice, they'd be in a better position to take care of themselves. Again, I know that in some cases people truly can't change their situation. There are certainly circumstances where people actually need help, but if we taught everyone the mindset needed to succeed, instead of teaching them to rely on others (namely the government), the majority of people who would otherwise end up relying on social programs or other forms of dependency, would instead become self reliant, leaving all the more aid available for those who truly need it. But I digress...

The way things were you had options. Under Obamacare, options go out the window. We all know the government always makes sure it gets its money. And with the IRS in charge of Obamacare, you can be sure there will be no $20 payment after a $50,000 surgery. They will get every last penny of premium, or you will go to jail. They'll get every last penny of your deductible, or you will go to jail. Since you're mandated to have insurance, you now have to pay the premium every month, which for someone with a preexisting condition can be upwards of hundreds of dollars under Obamacare, and you have to keep that coverage current- forever. Instead of $20 a month, you're looking at hundreds. Then you have to cover the deductible, which in many cases is going to be several thousand dollars. Then if something else happens after a year's time, there's more deductible (and still the high monthly premium). It's a vicious cycle. There's no blanket low price, either. Obama wants people to believe everyone will be paying the same rates, and that they'll be very low rates at that, but that's simply not true. However, there is blanket coverage, and that minimum coverage simply goes well beyond what many people want or even need, so the plans are unnecessarily expensive. And the kicker, you still have to pay more if you have a preexisting condition. So these plans start out as expensive, and as you age and need more care, they become an all encompassing debt trap. And the people who will be hurt most are those with preexisting conditions.

Now, as somewhat of a reiteration,  there's no mention of the premium or the deductible in this "statement" we're talking about. The whole point of this law was affordability not availability, because contrary to what the President would have us believe, private insurance has long been available, but due to numerous factors- including bad business practices by insurance companies, high costs of equipment/doctors, frivolous malpractice lawsuits, etc.- health insurance can be very expensive. It could also be quite affordable until now, if you picked a plan to suit your specific situation and needs (I'll address the preexisting condition argument against such plans momentarily). However, because of the new requirements, all plans must now include numerous "benefits" that make inexpensive "catastrophic event" or similar types of insurance plans too expensive for lower income individuals to afford. "If you like your plan, you can keep it" was an outright lie, because if you had an inexpensive plan that you chose for your specific situation, but it did not include all of the newly required benefits, you're either losing your plan or the price is jumping way up, and the price is jumping high enough that you'll no longer like your plan. Talk about political slight of hand...

Now we come to the biggest point of contention. Preexisting conditions are the toughest piece of the health insurance puzzle to solve. On the one hand, any business should have the right to freely choose what services it will provide to whom and at what price, based on the potential costs and benefits of administering said services, and mutually agreed upon terms. They should also have the right to choose contracts to enter into and to negotiate the price at which to enter into such contracts. On the other hand, there's the natural human instinct that tells most of us that it's inherently wrong that the people who need health insurance most are so often priced out of the market or simply denied coverage outright. I would point out that in the example being discussed here, this woman went without insurance for a long time. She had the option of buying health insurance in the private market before the tumors ever showed up, but she obviously made a choice not to. I could go into whether that's a good or bad decision and why, and I could go into the "responsible for your own choices" debate, but that's another argument entirely. The point is, she did have options. It's misleading to throw this woman's statement out there as an example of the "good" Obamacare does without including specifics about why at age 34 she's working at a job with no benefits but chose not to purchase private health insurance, or what she had done to attempt to change her situation, and even whether she made any choices that put her at risk for developing the tumors (I'm not saying "She did it to herself!" so don't put those words in my mouth. I'm saying that the choices we make of our own free will matter IF they cause harm and we need help because of it). It's entirely possible she's one of those people who truly can't do anything to change her circumstances, but it's equally possible that she simply did not do enough to prepare herself for the possibilities of life. That said, let's look at preexisting conditions in general...

Obviously, I believe Obamacare is not the solution to the preexisting condition quandary, for the reasons I have already stated, and others. Some believe we need to make health insurance more like auto insurance so that it travels with you from job to job. I think that's certainly an avenue worth pursuing, although I can't think of a way to have employers adopt transferable plans without having a lot of the same issues I'm addressing now, like mandates and the lack of choice. There are other options that deserve debate too, like health savings accounts, but in the long term, I believe the solution is in the free market. Obviously the market hasn't solved the problem yet, in fact it honestly hasn't done much to help the issue of preexisting conditions at all. However, I still think it can happen. We just have to alter the circumstances to make it beneficial to private insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions. As I see it, there are 2 options for achieving that end: either make it profitable to cover preexisting conditions, which is the thinking behind the higher premiums and deductibles that have not helped the situation at all, or you make it less profitable not to cover preexisting conditions than to cover them. Most people don't think of the negative option, but it's an important, worthwhile possibility. My idea, or beginning of one, is simple. Some would call it naive or unattainably ambitious, but I still think it's a great starting point. All it takes is one person at the top of one insurance company to volunteer...

So basically it works like this, one health insurance company decides that from now on, they cover all preexisting conditions. The plans covering preexisting conditions could cost a small percentage more on premiums, or a small percentage more on deductibles, or both, or the cost could end up the same if someone figures out a workable method of going that route. So some company puts all their research and development efforts into finding a way to make covering preexisting conditions possible.  I don't have a step by step plan for this, but I know that the ingenuity and drive to make it happen exists in someone out there. Might be a current higher up at a big insurance company, or it might be a third grader who is on a path to one day make it happen. In any event, it's more than possible and we should be encouraging all viable possibilities rather than insisting that "this is the only way". Getting back on topic, this one company now accepts anyone and everyone, at the same affordable price, regardless of any preexisting condition. Whether they decide to get by with less profit or they become a not for profit company or whatever the case may be, one company figures out a way to make covering preexisting conditions happen. After that, millions would now be able to get and afford coverage they once couldn't. Then, this company begins an extensive advertising blitz that emphasizes the fact that they worked diligently to find a way to make covering preexisting conditions possible, and the fact that they offer affordable coverage to everyone, to attract people and business away from their competitors. Now, you have a non regulatory, non legislative, competition based change of circumstance in the market. The government could even devise a strategy to convince one or more companies to do this by incentivizing them somehow (I'm not talking about bribes or kickbacks, but some kind of award or prize for the company that comes up with the solution first). As long as they're not legislatively mandating it, I'm on board. As more individuals and businesses choose to go with the company that chose to put taking care of people ahead of making more profit, more pressure is put on the other insurance providers to either follow suit or risk going under. It's a simple, yet involved market based solution that lacks only one thing: a leader in the health insurance industry to step up and make the call. You can call it naive, you can say it will never happen, but that is the attitude that creates most of our problems, and solves none. If we put the energy we waste bickering and debating into finding a way to actually make it happen, it will work. (Side note for those who would attack my statement about putting people ahead of profit: I fully support profit, there is no business and no jobs without profit. However, I also believe that once a person or business is successful and sustainably so, they should use that success to give back in some form or fashion to those who need it. Unlike the President, I believe it should be a choice, based on either business morals or market pressure, to take such a course, not a government mandate. Government can advocate certain ethical and moral practices, but legislating and regulating them is another matter entirely. Although certain basic protections are certainly necessary, most ethical decisions can be left for the market to regulate for itself,  especially in the super connected world we live in. If a business is engaging unethical practices, people have hundreds, if not thousands of avenues to find out about it and/or relay the information to others. So now more than ever, it's in the best interests of businesses to do the right thing, and put customer service above all. We should focus on pressuring businesses to do the right thing via public opinion and consumer participation rather than through legislation and regulation. We don't teach people to put enough thought into market participation and thoroughly consider the moral and ethical practices of a company before doing business with them. We don't teach people about Capitalism and our role in the markets anymore, but I digress...)

I don't believe our health care and health insurance systems are perfect. But I do believe that if we are going to make progress we have to choose solutions that are consistent with our principles and which address the actual problems (expensive health care), rather than cherry picking symptoms (expensive health insurance) and pretending to provide solutions to them, while actually creating even bigger problems, all in the name of scoring political points, and in hopes of capturing control of the entire government and ramming more failed ideology down the throats of the American people (BOTH parties are guilty of this).

Look, I'm one person, with some ideas. A few of them good, and none of them perfect. There are a lot of good people out there with a few good ideas. That's why our founders designed the system that we have. We're supposed to have a few hundred people debating ideas, coming to agreements, making compromises, and passing laws that serve the will and best interests of the people. No one man or party has all the answers. Hence, our system of divided government, and checks and balances. Over the last century, Republicans and Democrats alike have taken it upon themselves to change our government from a representative body serving the will of the people, into a ruling body that dictates the wants and needs of its subjects at will, based on the agenda of the people who happen to be in charge at a given time. If the people wanted Obamacare, I would still be working to convince people that it's a bad law, but at least the system would be working the way it's meant to, with the people's will being done. However, the majority of Americans have been against this law from inception, and polling has been consistent on that fact. That's because there are still enough people left who can think for themselves, at least some of the time, and who can see that there are big problems with Obamacare. Some of its stated intentions are noble, but that actual intentions are far from noble, or even practical. It was a political, partisan, ideological move from the start. It was meant to begin to transform our health care system into single payer, socialized medicine, and it was done under the "who the hell would be against this" guise of "affordability". It does not make health care more affordable, it makes health insurance more expensive. If it was truly meant to help people, Conservatives' concerns would have been heard and debated, and compromises would have been reached three and a half years ago. But Democrats rammed it down our throats without debate, without public support, without a single Republican vote, using reconciliation- a backdoor loophole limiting debate, which is meant for expediting budgetary legislation, and which has never before been used to make a large scale, sweeping policy change amounting to 1/6 of our economy (or any policy change for that matter-more political slight of hand...). The method of passing the bill, the hypocrisy of suspending the employer mandate while forcing individuals into the exchanges, the 3 year, 600 million dollar epic failure of a website, and the absolute refusal by Obama, Pelosi, Reid and most of the Democrats to even consider that this law will hurt the American people, should tell you all you need to know (FYI, Obama will never budge on the individual mandate, because the system depends on exploiting the young and healthy in order to cover the poor, elderly and yes, even the lazy. They knew full well that most people would pass on Obamacare's health insurance plans because their premiums and deductibles would actually be more expensive, so the only way to guarantee enough participation in this garbage heap of a law to hopefully cover the cost, was to mandate it.). Any objective observer can see that there are too many variables unaccounted for, too many unintended consequences overlooked, too much time and money wasted, too much spin shifting day by day, and too much stubbornness and hypocrisy surrounding the entire debate to move forward with this law as it stands.

Government has overstepped its bounds. The people have lost their right to choose (which Liberals champion for abortion but NOTHING else). Government's role has been ramped up to unsustainable levels, and the people's ability to influence what is and is not acceptable in the market, has been all but diminished. There is a better way folks. We just haven't created it yet. Had proper consideration been given to this law in the beginning, a better version carrying both public support and Republican votes may well be on the books. But unfortunately for you and I, that's not what happened. The system needs fixing, but Obamacare is not the solution. I say that now, I said it 3 years ago and I guarantee you as I sit here right now, that I will still be saying it 3 years from now, because I can see down the road, and if our path remains unchanged, health insurance premiums will be the least of my worries, and yours.