Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 550, December 27, 2009

"It will not end with medicine."

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Our Watchmen
by Chris Claypoole

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

The looming monstrosity that is the so-called health care bill (yet to be worked out in conference committee) is reminding me a bit of the Dark Freighter subplot of "Watchmen". It seems to drive those who are in proximity to it to a form of madness that becomes a monomania. Harry Reid has made repeated statements, on the record, that he will get something passed, no matter what the bill does or does not contain, and regardless of the cost. And the financial scoring, by the Congressional Budget Office, of the various bills presented by the House or Senate, is another Washington, DC joke.

For those who don't know, the CBO is constrained to analyze the financials of a proposed piece of legislation by how the bill is written. That is, the CBO must assume that the costs and benefits laid out in the text of the bill by Congress are realistic and accurate. Despite decades of these bills having underestimated the costs and overestimated (or even made up out of whole cloth) the benefits, the CBO must take them as gospel and present the "savings" to the budget in its report. In the health care scam, this is further exacerbated by the fact that the new taxes (which we were promised weren't supposed to have levied by Saint Hopeandchange) would begin immediately, but the vast majority of the alleged benefits don't begin to kick in until sometime in 2013. This allows the bill's supporters to claim a "savings" over the first ten years of the new system. If this was in a prospectus for an investment, few potential investors would be inclined to buy in. Except, perhaps, people like those who invested with Bernie Madoff, who assumed and expected that their in-crowd status would get them special treatment in the form of extraordinary returns to which the peasants would not have access.

I find it amazing that so many people seem to truly believe that they will derive great benefits from this or any other government program without paying some kind of price. The price may be intangibles such as loss of self-respect or freedom of action and speech, but TAANSTAFL, folks. Some of these may actually understand that they have become domesticated animals, but believe that they are pets, rather than chickens or hogs. But when times get tough, when the Chinese decide that they will no longer finance our bacchanalia, and the ruling class gets hungry, even the dogs and cats will go to the dinner table. But I, as so many others, have digressed.

The health care bills, and the even worse Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bills, are meant to transform what little of the free market is left in our economy into a Soviet redux. The hubris of the ruling class is as monumental as it is unearned. At least, in "Watchmen", Adrian Veidt, the superhumanly smart Ozymandias, created a business empire on his way to plotting the deaths of millions in order to "unite" humanity and "end war". Our elected representatives have been spectacularly inept at nearly everything they have tried to do. They have been smacked in the face by the Law of Unintended Consequences so often they should all look like Rep. Waxman or Sen. Mikulski, each of whom constitutes a possible proof of the old saying that most people get the face they deserve by age fifty. Even Veidt, like the congresscritters who always assume that they can pass laws into a static environment in which no one will change their behavior to avoid the new law or to take new advantage of it, thought that his plot to frighten humanity into cooperation by a faked alien attack (graphic novel, not movie) would be the end of it. But as Dr. Manhattan reminds him, "Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends."

So Firstman Bobo, who seems to think he has Veidt's level of genius, despite never having accomplished anything in the real, non-political world, ostensibly remains convinced that he can remake our economy and have only positive consequences. When even average, blue-collar folks that have never paid attention to policy before can see the bad things that could happen, one has to wonder if the ruling class is guilty of massive self-delusion, or if they intentionally desire to reduce the vast majority to near-poverty. The United Nations' Agenda 21 comes to mind. (Look it up, but have strong drink at hand.) Our ruling class is so besotted with their self-importance that they not only think they can micromanage the economy, but they seem to believe that they can fix the BCS college football mess. (Anyway, why bother? It provides millions of fans with fodder for endless discussions in bars, around the water cooler, and any other place fans gather. To borrow from Heinlein, a favorite team is like religion: most people have one, and seem to derive considerable pleasure from talking about it.)

At this writing, the Senate bill was passed in the dead of the night, and it needs to be reconciled with the House version. This is not a totally done deal, as the abortion provisions as well as a government option may provide sticking points that the hardcore pro- and anti- camps on each side may not be willing to reach a compromise. And the recent release of the emails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit may throw a monkey-wrench into the cap-and-trade bill. Not to mention what is shaping up to be an unusually harsh winter. (Yes, yes, it's weather, not climate. But it's also politics, and if the country as a whole gets a lot of snow and very cold weather this winter, that won't play well in the media for those who still proclaim that we're in danger of being overheated.)

So all is not lost, yet. The manipulators haven't won beyond the possibility of redemption, yet. That doesn't mean I'm cutting back on my ammunition budget, though.


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