Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Death of the Political Moderate?...

In the wake of John McCain’s lambasting this past November 4th, there have been, not astoundingly at all, calls from a disingenuous MSM that “The Republican Party should turn to its more Moderate-wing,” espousing social Liberals and fiscal Conservatives, like Christie Whitman.

But there is no such broad voter appeal for those views. In fact, John McCain was and ran as a Christie Whitman Republican, because HE IS and has ALWAYS BEEN a “Moderate-Republican!”

The political moderates lost badly in the elections of 2008. In fact, there are really very few, if ANY real political moderates. Most people who call themselves “moderates,” are people who don’t have any convictions at all.

How else can the triumph of Proposition 8 in California and similar measures in Missouri and Florida, as well as anti-race based preference Bills passing in two and depending upon the outcome in Colorado, maybe three more states, be explained, in the wake of John McCain’s election-day drubbing?

For Conservatives to take back government, they must (1) appeal to Conservatives with a bold Conservative message designed to both draw in more Conservative voters and alienate more moderate ones and (2) press for real tax reform (the Fair Tax or the Land Value Tax and true fiscal conservatism – trimming down the fed’s bloated bureaucracy.

Since 2006, the bulk of the Democrat’s gains have come from Conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats, which now comprise about a quarter of all Democrats in Congress!

These “Blue Dogs” are Conservatives best friends, even while they might be the GOP’s worst nightmare. Conservatives of both Parties have a very real stake in helping the Blue Dogs take back the Democratic Party.

After all, Liberalism hasn’t offered any “new ideas” in decades and the real ideological fault-line is now between Corporatist (pro-business, fiscally conservative) Republicans and small government, free market Libertarians.

Look at the ideas that Liberals, BOTH Democratic Leftists and so-called Republican “Moderates” support;

(1) A focus on rehabilitation over punishment for violent criminals. Bill Bratton cleaned up NYC by proving that punishing crime instead of excusing it was the answer.

(2) Banning violent self-defense by banning gun ownership for non-felons.

(3) Supporting increased and widespread use of Eminent Domain

(4) Supporting a more “Open Border” policy, one that would put a consistent DOWNWARD pressure on the wage floor.

(5) Supporting tax rates hikes even when they REDUCE tax revenues for “tax fairness.”

None of these are winning ideas.

So why should Conservatives seek to embrace them or THOSE who’ve embraced them?

As much as is the far-Left an anchor around the Democratic Party, the so-called “Moderate-wing” of the GOP serves only to increase that Party’s drag coefficient.


WomanHonorThyself said...

For Conservatives to take back government, they must...metamophasize everything!..great post JMK:)

JMK said...

Well, I think the challenge, Angel, is for Conservatives to convince people that there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

We've overpaid workers (GM and Ford pay their workers over $60/hour (appx $120,000/year) compared to Toyota and Honda pay their workers (IN America) around $42/hour (appx $84,000/year) and produced products American consumers don't want.

CEO's have been rewarded for failure.

The government has allowed predatory lending, although not all subprime lenders are predatory, outfits like Countrywide and others certainly were and yet CEO's like Joe Mozillo walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars for, in effect, collapsing a business.

None of that is Capitalism.

We've moved away from sound market principles, limited government and the things that built this country because too many of us want the fruits of our labors without all the pesky work that creates those fruits.

pela68 said...

$120 000 a year?
You got to be kidding me.
That's four times the mean household income here in Sweden.
And then you have lower taxes and everything is cheaper than here in Sweden.

Please; someone give me a green card! When my knee is fixed, I'll get over ASAP.

Also- I would then probably already have got my much needed surgery in the states for only half the sum I now pay in state insurance taxes for healthcare, compared with a private insurance in USA.
Socialised healthcare- what a bluff!

I have been off the roll now for nine weeks and just recently got a surgery date (next Thursday), meanwhile I get only about half the money I otherwise would make.

Would I have been an athlete on the other hand...

If you think it's bad in the states- I'll switch places with you any time.

Great post JMK!

JMK said...

"If you think it's bad in the states- I'll switch places with you any time." (Pela)
That's why your perspective is so important Pela.

So many people here in the U.S. think that everywhere else (and by "everywhere else," of course I mean places like Sweden, France and Germany) are relative "paradises" compared to the U.S.

Now, I'll admit that it's hard to compare incomes across borders, as even in here in the U.S., standards of living and costs of living can vary greatly state- to state.

In places like San Francisco and New York, $100,000/year does not afford one a very good living, where cramped studio apartments go $5,000/month or more!

It certainly seems that the U.S. will be heading down the same path the French andf Germans (and apparently many Swedes, as well?) have rejected - higher taxes, more bloated and inefficient government and some kind of "universal healthcare," although here, it may take a more market-based form, such as simply the government mandating that all those who don't qualify for Medicair and Medicaid purchase their own health insurance.

We've gone down this road before.

Keynesian policies imploded the economy under Jimmy Carter, but we seem to be heading back to them again, under the wrong-headed guise that "Supply Side policies have failed us NOW."

The truth is that Keynesian policies have failed us NOW!

The federal government mandated banks to offer more subprime loans to poorer Americans in the mid-1990s, and starting around 2005, 0% down, no income verification (a/k/a "Liar Loans") became prevalent.

Some of this was indeed "predatory lending," and the government's watchdogs (the SEC and the Federal Reserve) fell down on the job.

Rating agencies like Moody's and Standard and Poors were under pressure to give triple A ratings to some of the newer high-risk CMOs and when the default rates on those soared, the global credit crisis took hold.

In effect, America's misguided subprime lending triggered the current credit crisis. It was exacerbated by a new formula for CMOs (collateralized mortgage obligations) that re-constituted CMOs from blocks of mortgages that could be easily valued, to a hodgepodge of portions of numerous mortgages, some conventional, some subprime, that became difficult, if not impossible to accurately value.

When ratings agencies like Moody's and Standard and Poor's were pressured to value those assets and give them high ratings (pension funds and other such investment instruments are bound NOT to invest in any vehicles with less than a certain rating, usually triple A) to make them more marketable, the die was cast and the fuse was lit.

All that could be done after that was to await the inevitable surge of defaults on those high-risk, often predatory loans.

It was a perfect strom of governmantal and business incompetence and greed.

The problem's origin, at least here in America, is rooted in toxic regulation and financial sector abuses - slick, smart investors saw the opportunity for incredible profits in bad business.

They indulged themselves and people like Angelo R. Mozilo walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars for, in effect, running Countrywide Financial (a major private mortgage broker) into the ground.

Now government is bailing out and rewarding these crooks for doing harm to millions, probably hundreds of millions of people, worldwide.

THAT'S not shouldn't even be a part of the regulated-market" that's been the default economy of the industrilaized world over the past fifty to one hundred years.

Deb said...

I certainly admire Firefighters and the work they do. That being said, as a New York City Firefighter, you receive an incredible benefits package and a competitive salary that more than doubles in your first five years on the job - all paid for by the government.

Benefits include:
* Lifelong medical overage for you and your family;
* Flexible work schedules,
allowing you to be a free lance writer on the side.
* Up to four weeks paid vacation per year
* Generous pension after 20 years of service.

Firefighter Salary:
AFTER 5 YEARS: $86,518

Promotion Opportunities:
Lieutenant: $119,671
Captain: $140,173
Battalion Chief: $145,645

* Fringe benefits reflect overtime, holiday pay and other differentials

Deb said...

Get the facts straight about the health care system in this country.
There is a reason why it is a huge issue with Americans.

Did you know that inmates in prisons and jails are the only U.S. citizens with a constitutional right to health care. They get some of the best medical care in the country.

Meanwhile,unacceptable numbers of Americans are uninsured, to say nothing of the many under-insured. Being Uninsured is Hazardous to your Health. The uninsured often cannot afford preventive care. They wait until their minor symptoms become serious before seeking care.
The uninsured are more likely to postpone seeking care, leave prescriptions unfilled, or skip recommended treatment. There are over 20,000 deaths each year caused by lack of insurance.

Although it offers many cutting-edge treatments, the US health system has mediocre outcomes for patients when measured by standard indicators.

* Number of countries that have higher life expectancies for males than the US: 28
* Number of countries that have higher life expectancies for females than the US: 43
* Infant mortality rate in US per 1,000 babies: 6.9
* Infant mortality rate in Sweden: 3.4
* Overall rank of US on a World Health Organization survey of healthcare systems: 37
* Rank of Costa Rica: 36
* Rank of France, which has a single-payer system: 1

Our medical system drives staggering numbers of families to financial ruin. It is now commonplace to hear stories of families, co-workers, and churches holding fundraisers and garage sales to pay for medical bills.
My husband had emergency surgery last year and paid we paid over $10,000 in co-pays and deductibles. Just last week he was charged a $200 co-pay for a routine colonoscopy. He has about $400 a month taken out of his paycheck for health insurance.

* Number of bankruptcies in the US in 2001: 1,458,000
* Percent of these bankruptcies for which illness was a significant cause: 50%
* Percent increase in bankruptcies between 1981 and 2001: 360%
* Percent increase in medical bankruptcies between 1981 and 2001: 2,200%
* Percent of medical bankruptcies in which the sick person was insured when they fell ill: 75.7%
* Percent of these bankruptcies that happen to the middle class: 90%
* Percent of terminally ill patients reporting that medical costs caused financial problems: 39%
* Rank of “lapse in health insurance coverage during the two years” as a predictor of medical bankruptcy: 1
* Rank of US in fairness of financial contribution to health care: 55
* Rank of Iraq: 56

Healthcare is getting more expensive by the minute.

* Dollars the average American spent in 2002 on medical expenditures: $5,440
* Increase in dollars from the previous year: $419
* Number of American families for whom health care consumes more than ¼ of their spending: 14,300,000
* Percent of US economic growth absorbed by healthcare costs: 24.1%
* Percent increase of health care spending in US between 1980 and 2002: 410%
* Percent increase in the average annual family premium between 2002 and 2004: 59%

Hospitals are Closing their Doors.
Because people cannot afford basic services, the uninsured often end up in hospitals needing expensive treatments that they cannot afford. The hospitals can only absorb these costs for so long before going out of business. ERs are over crowded. We have waiting lines for health care!

* Uncompensated health care in California in 2001: 540,000,000
* Number of California emergency rooms that have closed between 1990 and 2003 due to uncompensated health care: 60
* Percentage of California emergency rooms that have closed between 1990 and 2003 due to uncompensated health care: 15%

Workers Bear the Burden.
As the cost of health insurance rises, more employers are shifting the burden to workers. The cost of medical insurance is now the most contentious sticking point in labor disputes.

* Percent increase in the costs of employer health plans in 2004: 11.2%
* Percent increase in 2003: 13.9%
* Percent of employer’s insurance premium paid by California workers in 2003: 30%
* Percent increase in workers' contributions since 2002: 4%
* Days in 2004 California grocery workers went on strike over health care benefits: 139

Abusive Corporate Profiteering exists in our system. While medical bankruptcies skyrocket and coverage erodes, the profits of health insurance corporations are ballooning and their executives are taking home 8-figure salaries. In browsing the financial listings, I did not find a single health insurance company whose profits decreased any year since 2002

* 2003 Salary of Wellpoint CEO Leonard Schaeffer: $11,895,355
* 2003 Salary of Wellpoint CFO David Colby: $21,360,790
* Gross Profit of Wellpoint in 2003: $4,930,928,000
* Increase in profits over 2002.9: $803,478,000
* Gross profits of United Health Group Inc in 2004: $10,218,000,000
* Increase since 2003.9. $2,109,000,000

Insurance costs are so high because the insurance system has grown into a bloated bureaucracy whose purpose is not to serve consumers better or make health care more accessible, but to maximize profits. These bureaucracies function to confuse consumers, restrict coverage, and reject doctors’ claims.

* Percent change in health care employment between 1970 and 1998: 149%
* Percent change in employment of health care administrators in the same time: 2,348%
* Minimum cost in dollars of medical bureaucracy and paperwork per year: $294,300,000,000
* Minimum cost in dollars of medical bureaucracy per capita in the US: $1,059
* Cost per capita in Canada’s single payer system: $307
* Percent of medical spending in US that pays for paperwork and bureaucracy: 31%
* Percent of medical spending eaten up by waste, fraud, and excessive prices: 50%
* Approximate percent of insurance claims from doctors that insurers will reject: 30%

Free market health insurance was supposed to lead to competitive rates and better service, but because policies are tied to jobs, the opposite has happened.

* Percent of Americans who change plans because they want better care: 9%
* Percent who change health plans because employer changes: 74%
* Percent who live in areas so sparsely populated that HMOs cannot be competitive: 36%

JMK said...

No question, police and firefighters in NYC do OK.

Ironically enough, their compensation pales in comparison to nearby suburbs. NYC cops make significantly less than their Nassau and Suffolk cohorts on Long Island...Yonkers firefigters earn more than their NYC counterparts.

As much as that's been a bone of contention for Unions, it's due to the economies of scale. Nassau and Suffolk not only get huge amounts of state aid, they also have much higher property taxes, largely driven by the costs on their police and teacher compensation packages.

Local governments HAVE to learn to do more with less and become leaner. That's what Michael Bloomberg wants for NYC - a smaller, more well-trained and better paid workforce.

But we can't have BOTH.
We can't have a LARGE, highly trained, and well paid workforce without risking chasing out "the founder of the feast," the private sector.

The private sector businesses and the taxes the jobs they create pay for EVERYTHING.

JMK said...

"Get the facts straight about the health care system in this country.

"There is a reason why it is a huge issue with Americans..." (Deb)
Actually that was Pela (from Sweden) who mentioned healthcare, not I, Deb.

He's currently dealing with a system he finds frustrating, overly bureaucratic and less than efficient at dealing with patient needs.

That tends to be a hallmark of all government-run healthcare, or "socialized medicine" everywhere.

That and healthcare rationing, long waits and all too often age and other restrictions on certain kinds of care.

I am resigned to our getting some form of government-managed care here in the U.S., because big business (the airlines, the auto industry, etc.) ALL want it....and why NOT?!

Why should American business pick up the healthcare tab for their workers? It's what's killing Ford, GM and Chrysler and it's harmed many other industries too.

Will we also get rationing of care, limits on visits and other restrictions, along with a painstakingly inefficient bureaucracy?

I'm positive that we will.

I understand American industry's complaint and sympathize, BUT I also feel that along with a bare bones, "no-cost" option, there will be various supplementary insurances one can purchase to get around rationing, and cookie-cutter care, as that kind of "catering to the individual" is part and parcel of "the American way."

The over 85% of Americans cvovered by their employers - and with nearly 40% of that 15%of "uninsured" being "ILLEGAL immigrants, we're really talking about over 92% of American citizens now covered by their employers - have really gotten over HUGE all our lives.

That compensation (the cost of those healthcare benefits) SHOULD'VE been declared as income on all our tax returns all these years, as it IS a part of our compensation.

Anonymous said...

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I've added a link to it with a quotation at BlogWatch Culture Wars

JMK said...


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