Monday, August 24, 2009

A Few Modest Questions Answered

Paul Toner from Upper Darby e-mails...
Hi Gil, Can you address some questions?

1. I notice you think Obama a liar. What about Bush and Co getting us into Iraq - no lies there - right?
2. Why are Conservatives so afraid of competitiion - I thought the free enterprise system was all about competition?
3. Have you ever been without health care insurance or has the paper always picked up the tab for you?
4. If the free enterprise system is so great what about these three letter words AIG, BOA, and Citi (alright a 4 letter word).
5. How come Conservatives can see their 401k's become 201k's during a Republican administration but go nuts when there taxes are raised a little..

Thanks in advance for answering these.

Fair questions all. I'll try to answer them.

1. Telling a lie is an attempt to intentionally deceive. The main supposed "lie" that the left clings to over the invasion of Iraq was over the lack of "weapons of mass destruction" found in that country. If the Bush administration KNEW there were no such weapons then that would have been a lie. However, it is more plausible based on the record that the administration was simply WRONG. Intelligence services from all over the world, including our own, believed Saddam Hussein was hoarding chemical and biological weapons. Saddam wanted his enemies to BELIEVE he was hoarding them, so as to maintain his power. He certainly he acted as if he had them. Anyway, it was Saddam who was attempting to deceive and Bush and others who decided trusting him one way or another was a fool's errand. Obama on the other hand, said in 2003 said he favored a single-payer, universal healthcare system. He now says, he favors a "public option." Has Obama changed his mind or is he simply changing tactics and deceptively trying to lead the country down the path of a single government-run health "insurance" system? I think the evidence leans toward the latter.

2. The naivete of this question is quite stunning. Government doesn't exist to compete with private enterprise. It is supposed to exist to play referee among private actors and let the free market work. Government already intervenes too much in the healthcare market, distorting incentives and the transparancy of the costs. The government, state and federal, already regulates the crap out of healthcare for good and for bad. But when it becomes a direct competitor of private health insurance companies it can't help but drive most of them out of existence. Profits and losses discipline the marketplace. What discipline has government ever shown when it comes to controlling the costs of any of its programs?

3. Yes, I have been without health care insurance, when I was younger, like millions of other young people. And today, like millions of other workers, I pick up a pretty good portion of the tab of my own insurance. But then I work in the private sector. Those who work for government entities and their unions have managed much better deals for their own health coverage but only on the backs of private taxpayers. School boards, city and state governments offer very generous health plans to their "workers." This is all the more reason to doubt politicians will have the courage and inclination to tame health care costs. They never have before.

4. I didn't like the bailouts of those companies. And that isn't "free enterprise." When badly performing businesses can rely on the federal government and taxpayers to bail them out, they take financial risks that wouldn't be justified in the "free market." These sorts of bailouts are moving us toward a "state capitalism" that is unjustified and dangerous. (See George Will's column below.)

5. It isn't just conservatives who had the 401Ks hit by the financial market crash. A lot of Independents and liberals got socked too. It wasn't a Republican adminstration that caused the market crash but politicized government entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that helped drive it. The markets have been chastened a great deal by what happened last fall. But politicians like Barney Frank and Barack Obama have not. They have more faith in themselves and the government to run things than ever. Fortunately, a good number of taxpayers are standing up and saying "WHOA!" Whether these vocal citizens will be enough to stop the liberal intellectual class from their grand plans of taking more and more control of the U.S. economy remains to be seen.

Paul, you're welcome.


Anonymous Bob said...

Gil - If, as you state in your answer to question one "Telling a lie is an attempt to intentionally deceive", then Bush and his administration are without a doubt, liars. Anyone paying attention to the run up to the war, remembers the yellow cake issue when Bush initially said we had evidence that Saddam attempted to buy yellow cake from Africa. Once he was told by intel that the information was bogus, he should have dropped it. Instead he continued to use this charge in his speaches by changing the language to "the BRITISH believe that Saddam has attempted to purchase yellow cake" And then there's Powell's admission during the Russert interview that portions of his UN speach were meant to intentionally deceive. Then there were the constant attempts to link Iraq to 9/11 during the run up to the war, even though Bush knew, and later admitted that there was no connection. Now answer this question Gil. Given your definition of a lie "an attempt to intentionally deceive" was Bush and his administration lying?

August 24, 2009 at 10:38 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) The Bush Admin KNEW their were no WMD's. Prior to the war the weapons inspectors came up empty at every site the CIA sent them too. They were prematurely yanked before their results became widespread.
Colin Powell even admitted that he was given information that was intentionally deceptive.
2) Well, the military is a bloated, expensive and inefficiently run organization. The seniors that are happy with Medicare and complaining about the public option, don't even understand that Medicare is a government run program.
The job of government is to help and protect its citizens. We've got state colleges running right along side of private colleges.

3) "Those who work for government entities". Like the troops? Do you want to take away their healthcare?
Why shouldn't people have good health benefits? Actually, you are making the argument for people to be in a union, because collective bargaining works.

4) Spencer would have preferred the system crash like in the Great Depression.

5) The conservatives are the ones still against sufficient regulating the industries.
The "liberal intellectual class" is better than the "conservative ignorant class".

August 24, 2009 at 11:29 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

700 a month is a good deal on health insurance? That is what us govt. employees pay on average and around 30.00 a visit! Get the facts GIL!

August 25, 2009 at 12:46 PM 
Anonymous Jonas said...

Anon - give us a frickin' break. you don't pay $700/month for your US Gov't health insurance. with the fact you read Gil's article, i'll assume you live in PA. on the governments OWN website, there are over 30 plans related to PA. and only 1 (read that again - 1 out of 30) cost above $650 a month.

why don't you go ahead and get your own facts straight again... its the people like you, who can't even read or interpret their own healthcare prospectus, who put this country into the position it is in today.

August 28, 2009 at 9:02 PM 

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