A Compassionate Conservative Perspective

Democrats and Liberals accuse Republicans of being heartless corporate goons…. constantly. Republicans are seen as heartless because they generally oppose government-run social welfare programs. In fact, Republicans generally oppose government-run anything.

I am personally ashamed of the Bush years. Ashamed enough I changed party affiliations to become a Libertarian. Bush 1 and 2 did not behave as real, conservative Republicans. They spent money like they were printing it in the basement (which they were) and spent it on things I disagreed with, like the war in Iraq. I bet you never expected a conservative to say they were opposed to the war in Iraq! Well, I was, and I vocalized that opinion on this very blog throughout the Bush years.

My basic premise for my political ideology is that of Thomas Jefferson, who preached small government and the power of the individual. America was founded to escape a government run amok. I could spend hours posting thousands of quotes from the founding fathers that would illustrate this point, but frankly, I think all of you, liberals included, know that those statements are true.

Progressive liberals believe that the Constitution should evolve with the times. I’m a strict constructionist, and I’m not ashamed of that. I hold no ill will towards liberals or progressives – I firmly believe that all of us want the same thing – a strong America. However, our methods do not agree.

Idealist notions for governments have never turned out well, except for the American construct of personal liberty and freedom from government intervention. The Constitution wasn’t written to promise every American happiness – just the pursuit thereof. The problem with socialist ideals is that greed will ultimately be the demise of those systems. That’s why capitalism is the perfect model for success – it harnesses greed rather than pretending greed doesn’t exist.

Now, onto the topic of the day – Obamacare. As you all know, it was passed yesterday by a narrow margin. The Democrats bought the votes they needed to get over the hump. They literally bought Stupach’s vote by giving him three airports in Michigan. You really can’t make this stuff up. And fine – that’s how Washington works. However, it should be disconcerting to us all that in addition to all of the Republicans opposition, 34 Democrats also opposed.

How they got the vote really doesn’t matter at this point. I’m sure the political pressure being exerted on their own party members was unbearable.

What does matter is the bill itself. I have not read the entire thing. It’s 2,600 pages… I’m pretty sure none of the people who voted for the bill had read it in it’s entirety, either. There are some elements of the bill that are decent enough ideas. Having a safety net for those who can’t get insurance by traditional means isn’t a terrible idea. It’s just a terrible idea to have the government administer it.

When has the federal government ever handled something efficiently? I’ll wait while you think.

Of course that’s a rhetorical question because by the nature of government, efficiency is an impossibility. Government has no incentive to be efficient like the private sector does. If the government has stupid bureaucracy, they simply throw more (of our) money at it. The private sector is constrained by competition, budgets, and profit margins.

The bill will theoretically cover 32 million Americans that were previously uninsured. On the face of it, that sounds stupendous. The trials of a person who cannot get insurance due to a prior condition should trouble any American. However, those people are a minority of the 32 million uninsured. At least 20 million of those people who previously chose not to have insurance, even though they could have had it. Those are people like me – when I first started in the workforce at 17, I didn’t carry insurance. I was healthy and headstrong. If someone had told me I HAD to have insurance, I would have had to sacrifice paying my tuition…

The new bill requires people to carry coverage. Again, in theory, a good idea. It takes a burden off of emergency rooms (in theory) much like forcing people to carry car insurance spreads the cost around. The difference is, living isn’t a privilege. Driving is. If you don’t want to buy car insurance, you can simply take the bus. The same choice will not exist for healthcare. And I really though America was about making decisions for yourself.

Where were the “get your laws off my body” feminists in all of this? Does that only apply to abortion? Now their laws are all over EVERY part of your body, ladies.

There will be a fine on companies that choose not to carry insurance plans for their employees. Now – I may have been born at night, but I know one thing that is certain… companies will do whatever helps their bottom line the most. Period. If the fine is cheaper than carrying insurance, well folks, say goodbye to your corporate group plan, you’ll be getting dropped and you’ll end up with Gubment insurance. That’s simply a fact.

Do the math. If the insurance cost is 12% and the fine is 7%, the company would actually be stupid not to drop coverage. Obamacare is perfectly designed to get a majority of Americans ultimately switched over to it. I suppose that’s what the Democrats want – but is that what YOU want? Sure you can “keep your current coverage” as they keep claiming… but only as long as your company keeps it. The companies will make their profits. If they have to cut your insurance or lay you off to do so, then you can count on it.

Corporations aren’t evil. Corporations are made up of, well, Americans. I work for a corporation, don’t you? I have a vested interest in my corporation making a profit. You do to. Big corporations are also made up of Americans. Sure, there are some corrupt rich bastards at the top, but I’m PRETTY EFFING SURE that’s true of the government, too.

My biggest problem with Obamacare is that it didn’t address the two main problems with insurance and healthcare costs in America.

The first is tort reform. Say Joe the Plumber goes in for surgery and the doctor accidentally renders him unable to work. Now, let’s say that Joe the Plumber’s lifetime earnings potential was 2 million dollars (being generous). And let’s say that Joe the Plumber will need a million dollars worth of health care related to the malpractice. That’s a total of 3 million dollars. But Joe the Plumber can sue for 300 million dollars, and the insurance will end up settling for 50 million dollars. 50 million dollars has to come from somewhere, and the place it comes from is raised malpractice insurance premiums, and that money has to come from somewhere, so the cost of medical care goes up. We’re literally paying for outrageous pain and suffering settlements every time we go to the doctor. Obamacare doesn’t address it, probably due to the fact that Obama and most of Washington is made up of tort lawyers.

The second thing Obamacare doesn’t address is that it doesn’t allow insurance companies to comIncredipete across state lines. It’s completely un-American and retarded that we don’t allow insurance companies to comIncredipete. Think about utilities like TV service. Those are also government regulated. In my neighborhood, I had two choices when I moved in – Comcast cable, or Dish Network. I picked Comcast because I sometimes like to watch TV even when there are clouds. Comcast had no direct competition and their prices reflected that. Then, AT&T Uverse moved into the neighborhood by using a loophole to the government regulation. They offered better service for half the price. I switched. Now guess what – Comcast lowered their prices. Like magic, the free market made my cable cheaper. Now imagine if ANY cable provider could offer me service! The same concept is true of health insurance. Competition ALWAYS lowers prices. Always. Always. Always. So why doesn’t Obamacare provide for this? Well, because Obamacare is about keeping the most people possible on the government dole, because that’s effectively like buying votes.

I titled this article “A Compassionate Conservative Perspective” and so far I haven’t really addressed the compassion element head-on.

I’m a pragmatist, and I acknowledge that there are a small minority of people who fall through the cracks. People who have preexisting conditions, or that are simply too poor to afford decent coverage. And not only do I acknowledge the problem, I strongly believe we as a society have a responsibility to provide a safety net for these people. America is the most generous (by far) nation in the entire history of the world. We aren’t mandated by the government to be generous… we’re generous because it’s part of the fabric of our society, originally as a result of the Christian influence in the founding. And please people, don’t argue with me that Christianity had nothing to do with the founding, because I will simply write you off as ignorant if you do.

My point being, government shouldn’t be running things, they should be governing. That means creating incentives for people to do what people naturally want to do. Creating better tax incentives to give to charity. Incenting charities to BE the safety net for the uninsured. There’s a chicken and egg problem going on right now – people are taxed at such a high rate, they don’t have as much money to put towards charity. If the government cut out their involvement in some of the more egregious areas of their existence, they could really incent people to give. And America WOULD give, if given the chance.

It’s a better idea because private sector companies and charities will always find better ways of doing things than the government, because unlike the government, they can’t just print more money or borrow from China. They find better ways out of necessity. The government has no such motivation.

There’s currently only one sector growing in America – the government. It’s virtually ensuring that unemployment will stay this bad or get worse. That’s not compassion… that’s idealism getting in the way of actual thought. As Americans, we have a duty to help our fellow man, but we also have a duty to stand in defiance of a government that seeks to dictate rather than govern. A majority of Americans opposed Obamacare, yet it was passed against our will. Oh, I forgot to mention – the bill that passed does force taxpayer money to pay for abortions. I’m sure some of you think that’s fine, but I’ll bet there isn’t one Christian/Catholic person in the country who isn’t sickened by that thought.

As Thomas Jefferson so wisely said, “A government big enough to give you everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.”

  13 comments for “A Compassionate Conservative Perspective

  1. March 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    We found out last year that Hubby’s employer doesn’t contribute ANYTHING to help us with the cost of our health insurance despite saying they do. Makes me wonder if they’ll stop offering it anyway or let us keep it. Doesn’t matter either way; the quality of my health care will suck either way.

  2. Livieloo
    March 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Well said, Incredipete.

  3. March 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I completely agree with you, Incredipete.

    My opposition is primarily based on how unconstitutional ObamaCare is. Supporters of it don’t understand (more) government intervention in the private sector, especially health care, isn’t the answer.

    I can’t abide using altruism as justification for passing it but supporters obviously can. I’m not opposed to compassion or charity at all but this philosophy conflicts with the foundation and framework this nation was built with. America was never intended to be a Nanny State but we’re a heck of a lot closer to being one now.

    There is a clear difference between a right and a privilege, as illustrated in what you wrote. Freedom of speech is a right. Health insurance is a privilege. ObamaCare blurs this distinction for all Americans and in time it’ll certainly be crippling. The Massachusetts Health Care Law failed miserably and ObamaCare will too. Like socialism, we’ll eventually run out of everyone else’s money.

    I was a Republican for the longest time and then I became a Democrat in the beginning of ’08. Now I find myself disgusted with both parties for the same reason: corruption. ObamaCare isn’t necessarily terrible legislation because of any partisan politics, race or class issues or serious discomfort with my religious comfort zone. The primary reason it’s terrible is because it’s violates the very core of our nation. It violates our Constitution. What’s worse is that our federal government knows it and pushed it through anyway to make names for themselves in the history books. Like I said, terrible.

  4. March 23, 2010 at 12:02 am

    As Thomas Jefferson so wisely said, “A government big enough to give you everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.”Bush did that!!!

  5. Jon
    March 22, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I agree with a few of your points, disagree with some others, and thank you for ending your post with something more intelligent than the now-popular all-caps “don’t tread on me”. Can you explain your logic regarding the inevitable loss of corporate group coverage? If companies currently voluntarily provide insurance coverage, why would they drop this benefit simply because it has become required, and then incur fines? Seems to me that it would be foolish to drop the insurance coverage if they are already paying for it, but you see it the other way around? If corporations are only concerned with their bottom line, why do so many currently provide health insurance coverage?

  6. March 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Jon, my point was that it may be cheaper to pay the fine than to pay for group coverage. Companies provide group coverage as a benefit to their employees, but they may see it as an unnecessary expense if they know their employees will still be covered and it will be cheaper for the company. It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility…

  7. March 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Bush took everything you had?

  8. March 23, 2010 at 11:35 am

    OK, you and I both know that I don’t have a “political brain”, but may I just make a few highly irrelevant comments … first, the ONLY people I know who oppose healthcare reform are the ones *who already have health insurance* (seriously). Second, HMOs SUCK-SUCK-SUCK. Third, I just heard on the news that Texas schools are now removing all references to Thomas Jefferson.

    Do I have a point? well, no, not really, but I just wanted to hang with the cool kids around here. 🙂

  9. Incredipete
    March 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Yes, that’s true – the only people opposed are those with health insurance – which most of them pay for themselves. 84% of Americans already have coverage, and those 84% don’t want to pay for the 16% when they already have to pay for themselves. That’s the summary of the entire argument.

  10. March 23, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Huh … I don’t actually know anybody who pays for their own insurance. Everybody I know who has insurance gets it from their employer. Although, I did have one friend who *was* buying it for his family but he’s now getting divorced so he’s no longer having to pay for anyone as he gets his own coverage from his employer. *sigh* I don’t have the answers or solutions, it just seems to me that after paying taxes for 30 years I ought to be able to get medical/dental care without having to go into life-threatening debt.

  11. March 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Most employers only cover a portion of insurance, if at all. The portion is taken directly out of the paycheck, so I suppose it might SEEM like you aren’t paying for it, but…

  12. Capnclive
    March 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Employers allow a certain amount of their gross every year for expenses. Every employee is an expense to the company. ie compensation, vacation, health insurance, taxes, liability insurance, sick time off, work tools, and other perks the company pays for. If your contribution (in work) to that company is not more than it costs them, you will not be hired. So you are paying for your insurance via your work (time) contribution to that company. Do you believe that you do not pay your own taxes too, just because you have your taxes deducted by your company.

    I oppose any government taking over business (Fascism) and any government taking money (time spent working) from one person and giving it to another (Marxism).

    I pay for my family’s health insurance.

  13. March 24, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Obamacare doesn’t “GIVE” health insurance to you if you are a working adult. It FORCES you to purchase insurance. So if the reason you don’t have insurance is because you don’t think you can afford it, you’d better start eating Ramen now, because unless you make below the poverty line, you’re going to have to.

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