Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Medicare cuts

I just came across this fantastic analysis of the relationship between Medicare payments and benefits. This is one of my biggest complaints to how Republicans are picking the fight on Obama's healthcare plan.

Medicare is a wildly unsustainable program that should never have existed in the first place. I have no problem with providing some degree of care to the indigent (at the state level) but the government is not competent to manage health care for the elderly. The main problem with Obama's approach to Medicare isn't that he's cutting benefits that recipients have paid for, it's that he's making the easiest cuts (and probably some that I would object to) in an utterly insolvent program and using the "savings" to fund a new, more unsustainable, program.

That's like me having a mortgage at three quarters of my salary, facing foreclosure on my home, managing to convince the bank to renegotiate to half my salary and then turning around and spending the "savings" on credit cards.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Watering the Tree of Liberty

I was listening recently to a comment about a recent protester at an Obama rally who had a shirt mentioning "watering the Tree of Liberty" which, of course, comes from Thomas Jefferson's famous quote "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Unfortunately, the situation is more bleak than he seems to realize. The Revolution of 1776 work only because the majority of the colonists, through the unanimous approval of their elected representatives, supported first the revolution and then the Constitution. Though we certainly don't have a Constitutionally limited government anymore, we clearly still have a democracy (in fact, the root of the problem is that we have too much of a democracy and not enough of a republic). This means that our government oversteps the powers granted it by the Constitution not in spite of the approval of the majority, but because the majority wants it. This is of critical importance to this protester's cause.

If we can convince most Americans that limited government is needed to secure our freedoms, then an armed revolution is unnecessary. If we can't convince them, it is insufficient. Even if we overthrew the government it is only through tyranny that we could inflict "freedom" on a populace that wants to vote themselves the fruits of others' labor.