Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lessons from the middle III: 1/4 cup less crazy; 2 cups more content

In my continuing series of "Lessons from the middle" I've previously offered advice to both liberals and conservatives. In this bit of continuing education, I once again offer advice to those right of the center line. In this particular bit I refer to government health care. But as always: I beg you to generalize. It's about so much more than that.

Now I feel I should offer a few disclaimers right up front, just so I don't blind side you or mislead you. First off, I am vehemently opposed to any form of government run health care. (Remember: generalize.) I will also offend you by saying I am NOT opposed to some sort of rational euthanasia, assuming the person receiving said Chinese child is a willing and knowledgeable participant. I certainly believe people own their own lives and are the final arbiter on the use and disposal of said life.

Now, as I mentioned, this advice is for those with only a right wing. (For those keeping track, this would be the ones that can only fly nowhere in counterclockwise circles.) Those in the left and center can move along. Have a nice day. Come back real soon.

Okay, now that we're alone, let me just tell you in plain English. You sound crazy. No, listen to me. You really do. You already know I totally agree with you on the whole government health care thing. I said that up front. And while we disagree on so many things, you should know this and know it well: you're attacking the wrong issues entirely. Instead of whining an moaning and bitching and complaining that the "Obama Plan"1 is going to create government sanctioned euthanasia, you should oppose the concept of government health care. Between you and me -- isn't that what you are really opposed to? Arguing over the specific rules in a game of "let's eat poo" is really only going to change which end of the poo you bite first and how much you are going to have to consume. Let's for a moment just not care what's in the damn plan. Let's -- for one split second -- argue that the general concept that one man's ill fate (be it disease or self inflicted wound) is another man's servitude is just wrong. It's wrong for health care and it's wrong for subsidized bubble creating housing and it's wrong for clunker cash and it's wrong in general. Taking one thing rightfully owned by one man and giving it to another -- even "for the good of society" -- is wrong. Period. End of sentence. Asking for help is fine. Giving help is fine. Taking help by force: not fine.

Now, back to the euthanasia. Between you and me -- I sent the liberals home, remember -- we know that's not what is going on, right? If there wasn't "end of life counseling" then you'd probably bitch and moan that you've turned your back on the poor folks in hospice and say the plan is wrong (while admitting to the left that you think the concept of a health care plan is okay). And when you bring up the whole "you're killing old people" thing, you sound frickin crazy. Seriously. Batshit crazy even.

It's like Looie Gomer Pyle actually standing in front of Congress to argue gay marriage and saying "the Bible says Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." And while that may perfectly be the case of what the Bible says, it has no bearing on the law and only serves to ruinificate the shreds of credibility Mr. Pyle has left. There may well be a perfectly logical argument for opposing gay marriage, but toss one crazy rancid bone in the soup and you've got rancid soup.

So. Please: Content, not crazy. If you oppose something on principle -- say it. Use nouns and verbs and logic. But when you make a bunch of scary noise and scream with wild animal eyes -- it doesn't help your cause.

Now. Go oppose this crap in general. Don't pick it apart. Knock it down.

    OCD footnotes

  1. which is really Congress's plan with Obama as a pitch man.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Crash (the economy) for Clunkers

Generalization. People can't do it. Take a concept, apply it elsewhere in a different, possibly wider context. Why is that so hard?

Most of us remember how the Federal government spent the terms of 2 presidents pouring federal money into building the housing market "to help those that could not afford it." Most of this was done by convincing folks to borrow. And most of us can remember the outcome: The crash of the housing market that drug the entire economy down with it. Thanks a lot guys. You helped the poor a lot.

Now take that same idea and bolt wheels on it. We want to take a bunch of folks that have a car that is most likely paid for... and replace it with a brand new car that comes with payments. And we want the taxpayers to shoulder this burden. Convert one asset (a car) into 2 debts (one for the consumer and one for the government). Oh, and it's "for the good of the environment." Oh, please.

I've mentioned before the intrinsic value of a paid for car (or house or tractor or ....) And our wonderful government is trying to remind you that it isn't cash that's important, it's credit. Forget the whole "greatest generation" that worked hard to eliminate debt and reach retirement. Pay for it later. Save for retirement some other time. There's always social security to fall back on. And medicare. It's not your responsibility anyway.

We're told this will help the economy... by asking people to reach out and buy something they weren't sure they could afford.

And remember: it helps the environment. You know, because getting 4 mpg more is going to save the planet. Forget, for a moment, that it actually takes some amount of actual resources and even petroleum based energy to produce a car out of nothing. Forget that the ultimate in "recycling" isn't taking a car and crushing it flat: it's reusing it for as long as it is usable. Come on -- it's more "environmentally friendly" to drive a clunker than to smash it, throw it away and build a new one.

And let's not forget that the "wonderfully altruistic" concept of asking me to subsidize someone's car they can barely afford removes their old car from the marketplace. And don't forget that the old clunker was destined for someone that really couldn't afford a car. In "helping" the new car buyer, the end result is hurting the used car market -- where there are now fewer inexpensive cars for the poor folk to choose from.

Does anyone want to make a prediction on the amount of increase in repossessed vehicles in 3 years?