As I watch the goings on in Washington DC I can’t help but wonder if people are insane, stupid, or evil. I’m not even sure which way I lean on the question.
For example: the Sequester. It’s very well established by now (to anyone who pays attention) that the Sequester was the Obama administration’s idea. Specifically, Jack Lew came up with it and Obama signed off on it. A year ago, Obama said that if Congress tried to get around making those cuts, he’d veto the bill. Now, Obama is telling us all how terrible all of those cuts will be. Of course the things that must be cut will be all of the people and things people actually like: national parks will be closed, air traffic controllers won’t be on the job (apparently planes will be crashing all over the place), and naturally (it’s always these people) teachers, firefighters, and police will be cut (I will never understand when teachers, firefighters, and police became federally paid employees, but I guess they are since any cut always includes them). It’ll be a freakin’ disaster! He’s suddenly blaming Republicans for the cuts… The cuts that were an idea from his administration.
That one seems to me to be evil depending upon stupidity. Obama is the perpetual campaigner, the man who brings everything to the brink because he doesn’t lead or administer the Executive Branch of government, the Chicago politician who will say anything and twist anything and hide his true intentions behind rhetoric that is the opposite of both the truth and his real agenda. The stupidity comes from the media and those who can’t seem to bring themselves to see through this guy. I mean, come on… The Sequester idea came from his administration and now it’s unthinkable and horrible and, of course, someone else’s fault. People can’t pause for a minute and put that math together? We have a man with no integrity in the White House.
The Sequester itself is really nothing. In typical Washington math, what we are talking about is not actually cutting anything. We’re cutting the rate of growth. Somehow, all these services will disappear if we don’t spend more on them next year than we spent on them this year… How the hell did we do it this year? It’s a reduction of the baseline growth that we are talking about. At a time when inflation (according to the government) is near zero, the shit hits the fan if we don’t grow the government by some number some people made up.
Even if it were a real cut, like anyone in business would have to make, or anyone might make in their home budget to save some money, it’s a lousy 2.3%. Are you telling me that all discretionary and military spending is so tightly controlled that nobody can find a way to cut 2.3% without catastrophic damage? The military can’t cut 5% without rendering us helpless in the face of our enemies? We are talking about $85 billion out of a $3.6 trillion dollar budget. “But,” you say, “62% of government spending is on entitlements, so it’s really $85 billion out of $1.368 trillion.” OK… We can’t cut 6% without catastrophic consequences? The government is that lean and mean? Apparently all good things the government does are on a budget so razor thin that 6% causes a virtual collapse of government services and institutions. Is this insane, stupid, or evil? It’s certainly nonsense. And, remember, we’re not talking about “cuts” in the real sense, we’re talking about Washington math, where a cut is actually a decrease in the rate of increase.
The other thing that makes me wonder if there is rampant insanity, stupidity, or evil is related to this, but is more general. Why would anyone think that more government makes things better? That’s what we’re sold all the time. Politicians and bureaucrats are problem solvers that make life better. There’s no evidence for it, though. While there is plenty of evidence that politicians and bureaucrats are inept, wasteful, and hamper people in creating prosperity.
For example, exactly what about Obamacare is turning out well? Insurance rates are going up. The cost of Obamacare itself is skyrocketing. Care providers are clearly going to be screwed, and they will have plenty of paperwork to fill out while being screwed. The quality of care is going to diminish. The great NHS in Britain is a perfect example. Care there has become a constant scandal, wherein instead of professionals providing the best care they can provide you have bureaucrats in lab coats and nurses uniforms allowing people to die as they figure out who is supposed to (seemingly framed usually as “who has to”) take care of the poor sick or injured schlub who is unfortunate enough to need hospitalization. The whole thing is an unaffordable, bureaucratic nightmare. I’m sure there are bright spots, but papers in England sure find a lot of dark and dingy spots.
By tampering with the market for insurance, politicians and bureaucrats have all but guaranteed that insurance will be unaffordable. They are putting in more mandates for what a policy has to cover, and further removing the consumer of the product from the actual payment for the product. They’ve actually gone in the exact opposite direction of what would have brought prices down. Allowing people to buy catastrophic care policies and having health savings accounts where they save pre-tax money and actually shop for their care (putting the consumer back in touch with the provider, instead of having a third party payer) would have started bringing prices down and getting more people insured. The big government answer was to make everything harder and worse, and to sell it as a good thing that is cost effective. Come on! Are they insane, stupid, or evil? Are the people who keep buying into it insane, stupid, or evil?
How many examples can you come up with? The debate about gun control… Re-instituting a ban on assault weapons–which account for a tiny percentage of gun deaths and which did not work the last time it was implemented, nor did Connecticut’s state ban on them help prevent anything–but not doing a damned thing about making it easier to institutionalize the crazy sons-o-bitches that do these kinds of shootings… We’re supposed to take these politicians and their “comprehensive solutions” seriously. The politicians and bureaucrats think that passing laws stops people who have no compunction about breaking laws. All it does is put more burden on the law abiding citizen. Isn’t that obvious to anyone who isn’t insane, stupid, or evil? (I can forgive Joe Biden for his point of view, because I’m convinced that he’s just stupid.)
It’s frustrating in the age of Obama… the age of big government. Those of us who believe in individual liberty, free markets, and limited government have no choice but to look around at the goings on in Washington and in politics in general and wonder what the hell people are thinking.