Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12, 2012

The Secretary Determines
by Ebben Raves
August 12, 2012

Ronald Reagan once said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help."  Many found humor in this quip, which had more than a kernel of truth to it.  There is nothing funny, however, about the three words that will replace those nine.

"The Secretary determines."  These words appear 139 times in Obamacare and should strike fear into the hearts of all Americans, on both the left and the right.  Obamacare, once implemented, will introduce something completely new.

Until now, the government has only taken your wealth or labor without you having committed a crime.  Now it will take lives.  Those who cheer Obamacare's passage need to understand that health insurance is not health care.  Costs will increase and rationing will occur.  Doctors will leave the profession or may set up practice in a more hospitable country.  Emergency rooms will be just as crowded because the people who go there for the sniffles will continue to do so because that is all they know.

The highest quality care that remains will be exempted from the normal healthcare system in order to administer to the rich, the well connected, and anyone else "the Secretary determines."  There will be death panels, starting with the elderly, and as resources become scarce, whomever else "the Secretary determines." There will be exemptions for some religions and coercion for others, as "the Secretary determines."

As doctors and other medical professionals leave, "the Secretary determines" who will be trained to replace them and in what specialty and where they are located.  Anyone who is familiar with the joke about what you call the person who graduates last in his medical school class may not laugh when "the Secretary determines" that the curriculum is too hard to achieve the desired result.  Couple this with placing the blame for the system's failure on the usual suspects and you have a recipe for disaster.

"The Secretary Determines" are now the three most terrifying words in the English language.

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Three Challenges for the 2012 Republican Party Platform
by Newt Gingrich
August 11, 2012

Party platforms have both an immediate and a long term role.

For the immediate future they should help win the election and communicate the core values and proposals that rally activists and voters to the party and its candidates.

There are a number of obvious planks that have been in our recent platforms including Right to Life, defending the Second Amendment, balancing the budget, etc.

However, for the long run a party platform can also play a very useful role in educating the country and setting the stage for a big discussion about big ideas.

As we prepare for the 2012 platform it is worth looking back to the first Republican platform in 1856 for an idea of how influential these documents can be. In the 1856 platform, the party made a series of commitments that quite literally changed American history. Most obvious was the platform’s commitment to opposing the extension of slavery in the territories—a stand that helped lead to the Civil War and the abolition of slavery.

Pivotal platforms

The 1856 platform previewed Lincoln’s moral arguments for the abolition of slavery, harkening “our Republican fathers, [who held] it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction.”

The platform made another commitment that was soon to become a major policy initiative: the development of a transcontinental railroad.

This commitment was a defining characteristic of the emerging Republican Party. In 1859 candidate Abraham Lincoln stood on the banks of the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, Iowa and pledged his support for a transcontinental railroad.

This commitment to railroads as a key part of a better future was not something new for Lincoln. As early as his very first campaign for state legislator in 1832, at the age of 23 (he lost), Lincoln had a railroad construction plank in his campaign literature. The amazing thing was that Lincoln had never seen a train. The railroad engine was only invented in Great Britain in 1829 (Stephenson’s “the Rocket”) and the first engine arrived in the United States in 1829. Yet Lincoln read about it in a newspaper and intuitively understood how important railroads would be to cross the vast prairies of the American West.

Lincoln, the first Republican president, was fascinated by technology. He made a good living as a railroad attorney, winning a key case that enabled railroads to become the dominant method of transportation. He is the only president to hold a patent for a technological development. And as president he displayed great interest in new technologies for winning the Civil War.

The 2012 Republican Platform Committee should consider deeply this sense of historic technologies, long-term developments and writing to set the framework for the future as well as to win the immediate election.

There are three particular areas in which Republicans need to take a long view and write an historic section of the platform: 1. Radical Islamists, 2. Religious Liberty, and, 3. Innovation as the central engine of both economic growth and government reform.

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Chris Matthews Slams Paul Ryan Budget as 'Screwing' Needy People
by Brad Wilmouth
August 11, 2012

On a special Saturday edition of Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews twice claimed that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget "screws" needy people. During a segment with Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, as he asked what it was like to work with Rep. Ryan as his colleague, the MSNBC host asserted that the plan "really screws the people who desperately need Medicare and programs like that."

Speaking to Rep. Van Hollen, Matthews posed:

You sit next to this guy with a totally different philosophy. What does he say when you whisper to him, when he comes out with his budget that basically gives a great break to the richest people in the country, and really screws the people who desperately need Medicare and programs like that?

What do you ask him? How can you do this? How can you reward rich people who already have all these breaks in this country? And hurt the people that have no breaks? What does he say? What's his answer?

A bit later, after the Washington Post's Ezra Klein argued that Ryan's budget would affect programs for the poor more immediately than programs for the elderly, Matthews again saw the Republican Congressman "screwing" people. Matthews:

He's screwing the people he doesn't expect to vote for him. The people he doesn't expect to vote for him, he's screwing.

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