Obamacare and the Decline of a Nation
A one trillion dollar package; a 2000 page bill; a win by just seven votes; and one big meltdown of a nation. That about sums up the numbers on the passage of Obama’s health care bill. While the President has just signed the bill into law, already numerous legal challenges are being hurled against it. Indeed, so far thirteen states have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the bill.
I have written before about why this bill is bad news, not least of which are its provisions for the funding of abortion. But plenty of other concerns remain. And plenty of commentators have weighed into the debate, arguing why the passage of this bill is such a major worry.
For example, Mark Steyn examines how this will cripple the American economy. He begins, “If you’re sick of talking about health care, you’d better move to Tahiti now. On Thursday, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to set up a committee to examine whether condoms should be required on all pornographic film shoots within the Golden State. California has run out of money, but it hasn’t yet run out of things to regulate.”
He continues, “Obamacare will result in the creation of at least 16,500 new jobs. Doctors? Nurses? Ha! Dream on, suckers. That’s 16,500 new IRS agents, who’ll be needed to check whether you – yes, you, Mr. and Mrs. Hopendope of 27 Hopeychangey Gardens – are in compliance with the 15 tax increases and dozens of new federal mandates the Deemocrats are about to ‘deem’ into existence. This will be the biggest expansion of the IRS since World War II – and that’s change you can believe in. This is what ‘health’ ‘care’ ‘reform’ boils down to: fewer doctors, longer wait times, but more bureaucrats.”
This is really all about big government: “Obama is government, and government is Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. You elected to the highest office in the land a man who’s never run a business or created wealth or made a payroll, and for his entire adult life has hung out with guys who’ve demonized (deemonized?) such grubby activities. Many of which associates he appointed to high office: Obama’s cabinet has less experience of private business than any in the last century. What it knows is government, and government’s default mode is to grow, and grow.”
He concludes, “From now on, it gets worse. If you have kids, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have kids, you better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to. The unfunded liabilities of current entitlements are $100 trillion. Try typing that onto your pocket calculator. You can’t. There isn’t enough room for all the zeroes, and, even if they made a pocket calculator large enough, and a pocket large enough, you’d be walking with a limp. To these existing entitlements, Obama and his enforcers in Congress propose to add the grandest of all: health care, on a scale no advanced democracy has ever attempted.”
Phyllis Schlafly is rightly worried about the decline of freedom associated with this bill. She says, “The American people have figured out that the issue is not health care, it’s freedom. It’s whether Obama will succeed in ‘fundamentally transforming’ the American nation, the first leg of which is to put complete control over every individual’s health into the hands of government bureaucrats and their appointed ‘experts’.”
And it does not look good where similar moves have been made: “Many people look upon Massachusetts as the model for Obamacare. That state imposed individual and employer mandates in 2006, and it’s time to look at the results. By 2010, one-third of the uninsured still don’t have coverage, and it’s become harder to see a doctor. Health insurance is 40 percent more expensive than in the rest of the country, and Massachusetts is expecting a $2 billion to $4 billion shortfall over the next decade.
“Obama says repeatedly that under his plan you can keep your present health insurance. But Massachusetts told 20 percent of its already insured citizens they had to buy more expensive health insurance because their existing coverage wasn’t ‘good enough.’ Remember, if the government can force us to buy health insurance, it can define what that insurance must cover. It’s estimated that a federal mandate would force 100 million Americans to drop their existing plans and buy more expensive health insurance to meet Obamacare requirements.”
She concludes, “Obamacare is a major weapon to carry out Obama’s plan to transform America into a country of incredible debt, government control of industries, redistribution of taxpayers’ earnings and savings to non-taxpayers, and massive authority exercised by weirdo czars. The American people – and the various states – are not going to accept Obama’s transformation.”
Economist Thomas Sowell is also greatly concerned about this bill. “With the passage of the legislation allowing the federal government to take control of the medical care system of the United States, a major turning point has been reached in the dismantling of the values and institutions of America. Even the massive transfer of crucial decisions from millions of doctors and patients to Washington bureaucrats and advisory panels – as momentous as that is – does not measure the full impact of this largely unread and certainly unscrutinized legislation.
“If the current legislation does not entail the transmission of all our individual medical records to Washington, it will take only an administrative regulation or, at most, an Executive Order of the President, to do that. With politicians now having not only access to our most confidential records, and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters?”
Finally, Cal Thomas offers these thoughts: “Pork is the preferred metaphor in Washington for misspending. But last weekend, pork took a backseat to baloney, which was present in abundance as President Obama and House Democrats tried to convince the public – and themselves – that their takeover of one-sixth of the economy is going to improve health insurance and the availability of medical treatment.”
He also focuses on the Massachusetts debacle: “The president promised again ‘you can keep your doctor.’ But the doctor might retire because he or she can’t afford to accept reduced fees mandated by government while paying ever-increasing premiums for malpractice insurance to protect him or her from lawsuits, which, by the way, is another reason so many tests are ordered.
“Government-run health care has been tried in Massachusetts … and it’s a disaster. According to Peter Suderman, associate editor at Reason magazine, ‘since 2006, the cost of the state’s insurance program has ballooned by 42 percent, or almost $600 million. According to an analysis by the Rand Corporation, “in the absence of policy change, health-care spending in Massachusetts is projected to nearly double to $123 billion in 2020, increasing 8 percent faster than the state’s gross domestic product”.’
“Insurance costs in Massachusetts are the highest in the nation and double-digit rate increases are expected again this year. Yet, President Obama claimed Saturday that under the Democrats’ plan, rates would go DOWN. How is this possible? The only reason Massachusetts hasn’t become insolvent is because of large transfusions of cash from Washington, which perpetuates the illusion the program works.”
Thomas concludes, “As for Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak’s deal with President Obama for an executive order banning federal funds for abortions, laws trump executive orders. Stupak caved; so much for standing on principle. President Obama quoted Abraham Lincoln, who said he was ‘bound to be true’ and suggested that he, too, was bound to be true. This legislation is so full of budget gimmicks, tricks and lies that the only thing true is that it will make health care in America worse, not better.”
This is only a small sampling of the concerns being expressed about this draconian legislation. If there was ever a way to bankrupt a nation while whittling away its freedoms, this has to be it.
53 Replies to “Obamacare and the Decline of a Nation”
As just one of many ugly spinoffs from this bill, see this piece for these concerns: “College President Sounds the Alarm: Federal Takeover of Student Loans tied to Healthcare Vote puts Every Christian College at Risk”: http://www.okwu.edu/undergrad/explore/president-desk/ideas-matter/college-president-sounds-the-alarm-1/
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Read Erwin Lutzer’s book “When A Nation Forgets God”. A good read and backs up what is happening in America right now.
Jim Cooper, USA
The biggest lie of this bill is that it helps the poor. In the long-term, it is the poor who will suffer the most with inevitable extended waiting lists and rationing of health care. Many doctors have already flagged leaving. Even leaving aside the fact that evil organizations like Planned Parenthood are celebrating the US taxpayer funding the killing of children, people will die as a result of this.
Only someone blind to the simple fact of economics – that you cannot spend more money than you have – could ever support this bill.
So why should this matter to anybody else in the world? Because America’s basic underpinning of free enterprise has driven a great deal of medical research and breakthroughs in the past. That will slow down, there is no other outcome.
There is nothing to celebrate here, this was possibly America’s darkest day since its founding. This will negatively affect hundreds of millions of lives and setup an entitlement mentality that ensures future Democrat votes (‘we promise you more care!’) and further sliding into a poverty cycle. I hope the spirit of the US people will rise to kill the bill one way or another.
Here are some sobering charts that detail the true costs of this monstrosity.
How often does a government-run anything run to budget? I think this comment at the end sums it up:
“I am near tears right and know that whatever I wanted to accomplish such as planning to have a baby, owning my first home, planning a retirement… are all in jeopardy. The debt of all the unfunded liabilities is so massive that we will NEVER pay it off and there are so many Americans who couldn’t be bothered to open their eyes and understand that this is now become a fiscal crisis of enormous magnitude.”
Leaving the abortion arguement to one side. I am a (Christian) doctor from the United Kingdom where we have a brilliant government funded health service which provides health care free to everyone who needs it – especially those who cannot afford it. Admittedly I am taxed for this (40% of my income) but even if the state were not taking this money from me I would be obligated (by the gospel) to give out of my income to the poor? I’m not trying to be provocative and I don’t care about Republican or Democrat but your article hasn’t convinced me that this bill isn’t the right way forward for America (if it excluded abortion funding).
Peter Garland, UK
Whether all your fellow countrymen think it is a brilliant system may be a moot point. But let me pick up on your point about a biblical obligation to the poor. We may well have such an obligation, but it is primarily an obligation for individuals, not for massive welfare bureaucracies.
And it always puzzles me when Christians seem to minimise or downplay the abortion aside of this bill. It seems their view of Christian medical ethics is that it is OK to kill babies, but those who survive must have socialised medicine. I would have thought that the right to life is the very basis of any further discussion of medical ethics. What is so great about cheap medical care if you are bumped off before you can even avail yourself of it?
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
I totally agree. I am very much against abortion and any law which supports or fund it (ie this bill as it stands). However I’m asking because I’m interested in a Christian critique of socialised medicine. I also agree that we have an individual obligation to the poor. But are you saying that a ‘massive welfare beaurocracy’ is always wrong? I am not a communist either but in an ideal world government provision for those who cannot fight for themselves is a good thing. Your argument against this seems to be just based on money and the fact that the middle/upper classes would have to fund such a system.
Peter Garland, UK
Obamah has rigourously and consistently pushed a left wing liberal and multireli agenda. It is astounding how Americans have swallowed this new secular state. From all perspectives it is worrisome to have the biggest economy in the world resting on a timebomb, created by bank payoffs and Obamah’s latest. He not only get away with it but Big Brother seems to get bigger every day. My worry would be that only a third world war or a world government is going to help them to overcome the crisis that is bound to envelope. Our worst nightmare could well be on the way. The US have made themselves more vulnerable than ever.
Thanks again Peter
I am not a libertarian or an anarchist. Of course in a fallen world there will always be a place for some government provision of services – but probably far less than what we find in modern cradle-to-grave welfare states. The biblical model tends to favour individuals, families, communities, and religious bodies offering basic care (as was the case for so much of human history), rather than faceless bureaucrats. Sure, government is ordained by God, but the question is, what sort of role – and how much – is it to play in these various areas. Christians of course can and do disagree on these sorts of issues.
And my concern is not just about money and funding. As I tried to show in this piece, it is far greater than that. It is about potentially bankrupting an entire nation; turning many freedoms over to government planners; and more to the point, in fact offering worse health care, not better.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
I would like to know how Peter Garland can argue that this bill is “the right way forward” in view of the fact that the US survival rates for specific conditions where stats are kept in a similar way for different countries are significantly better. Ann Coulter explains this in regards to different cancers.
It seems to me that the US has clearly been doing something better. There are Canadians organizations that organize medical operation trips across the border because people are on ridiculously long waiting lists there.
As far as the government welfare idea goes, even though this has more to do with the ‘Stimulus’ bill, this kind of sums it up
It’s better for an economy if people get to earn and spend more of their own money. How do you think America got rich?
Also, in regards to Stupak’s caving in on abortion:
Another thing, minor, but it’s still worth mentioning – Obama promised during his campaign that the public will have five days to look at every bill that lands on his desk. Even politicians who voted yes on it didn’t read it. Never mind the wheeling and dealing that went on with this. Obama signed it after 36 hours. Liar. He can’t even keep a simple promise like that (actually as far as I’m aware he hasn’t kept that promise on any of the bills he’s signed), so what’s the likelihood that this will run to budget?
Also, people talk of the greed of corporations, but forget about individual greed and how politicians with certain ideals effectively buy votes by leveraging that greed. Promising big, even spending big – but who pays? You can’t add tens of millions of people to the budget and honestly claim there will be savings. It’s ludicrous, but many people don’t think about it and prefer to feel warm and fuzzy about everybody being ‘covered’.
I hope the lawsuits from various state Attorney Generals are successful in finding the bill unconstitutional in forcing the American people from those states to buy a certain commodity. The founding fathers were very clear on limiting the power of government, but that certainly doesn’t seem to count for much these days.
Sounds like the US system is going to representative NSW Health. A proliferation of pen pushers, clip-board carriers and busy bodies will take the reigns of the health system whilst there will be shortages in beds, equipment, doctors and nurses.
I’ve worked in the NSW health system for nearly 10 years now and there is never a shortage of useless paperwork and bureaucratic rules and regulations that scarcely anyone pays attention to but no doubt makes some faceless up stairs feels important.
Some quarter of all employees in NSW health are bureaucrats. Its great when you consider there is no money left and the hospitals are in a shambles. A decentralised system such as Abbott proposes that will return control to hospital boards and away from the Area Health Services will be some improvement.
The federalised move that Dudd is proposing will probably only add an extra layer of bureaucracy.
“WHAT is wrong with our health-care system? Too few doctors and nurses? Not enough allied health-care professionals? Not enough hospitals, hospital beds and operating theatres? Not enough equipment? Not enough money?
Think again. According to Kevin Rudd, the correct answer is “none of the above”. The real problem with our healthcare system is a chronic shortage of bureaucrats.”
Public health care in the USA was long overdue. It was good to see a win for those working class and the supposed ‘middle class’ Americans who, for so long, were reluctant to change jobs for fear of losing their employer sponsored insurance coverage.
When one sensibly removes abortion funding, then public health is an excellent thing.
Excellent analysis, Bill. Thank you for posting.
Mindy Petersen, USA
For a great Christian perspective on economic issues and money check out ‘Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and not the Problem’ by Wesley Jay Richards. Its a great work.
The Bible sets forth three sub-authorities which God has ordained with power to discipline and punish – the church, the home/family and civil government.
The Biblical mandate for civil government is
a) law and order
b) civil and military defence
c) NO MORE (Romans 13, 1 Pet)
The Biblical mandate to families and churches is
b) education (including upholding the Truth)
based on principles of personal responsibility, and face-to-face care for one another (various NT letters like Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1 & 2 Tim)
The history of Western civilization prior to WW2 has included a significant theme, almost continuously visible, of restraining the power of civil authority – first the kings (eg. Magna Carta), and then the Parliaments & bureaucracy. This has sometimes been portrayed as the drive for individual freedom.
The most prominent feature of the post-WW2 West has been the rise of so-called ‘mixed’ economies – creeping socialism, and steadily increasing government intervention. This has manifestly curtailed individual freedom and George Orwell showed the end result in his book “1984”.
The most obvious example is the most recent: the so-called ‘global financial crisis’. The purported solution to a crisis of asset deflation after the period of overspending was to spend, spend, spend and thus re-inflate the economies to stave off the inevitable. Along with the cash-splash has come more government intervention – free this, subsidised that, BUT all you have to do is apply to the government for permission.
Particularly in Australia’s case this was totally unnecessary, and in all cases was wrong.
Socialised medicine is the same as socialised welfare and education – an example of the civil government exceeding it’s God-given mandate, and encroaching into the domains of the other two authorities.
All of this is contrary to the Scriptures, and in my mind a further outworking of the rebellion of Saul (and the people who demanded a king) recorded in 1 Samuel.
If you notice there, when Samuel recited to the king and people the rules of kingship, he did not command the people to obey the king, but commanded that both should obey God’s Word.
Peter calls the UK’s socialized medicine “brilliant”. The following articles would disagree:
Kidney cancer patients denied life-saving drugs by NHS rationing body NICE [Daily Mail (UK), 29 April 2009]
Police probe death of hospital patient who begged for water [Telegraph (UK), 6 March 2010]
Girl, 3, has heart operation cancelled
three times because of bed shortage [Times (UK), 29 April 2009]
Cancer survivor confronts the health secretary on 62-day wait [Scotsman, 21 March 2009]
Disabled children wait up to two years for wheelchairs [Guardian, 4 March 2009]
Only five out of 51 hospital trusts pass hygiene test, say inspectors [Guardian, 24 November 2008]
How many “isolated incidents” does it take to become a pattern? As the great Margaret Thatcher said, the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money. And socialized medicine copes with this by rationing, long waiting lists, and reducing quality.
Compare this to the truly excellent Lasik treatment, which is not funded by government or insurance, but gets better and cheaper all the time. Of course! To prosper, Lasik surgeons have to attract customers, rather than please faceless bureaucrats.
Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane
On a related state versus individual debate from the United States, is anbody aware of the on-going ‘warfare’ between Jim Wallis’ Soujourners and Fox’s Glenn Beck over the definition of ‘social justice’? I’d be interested in hearing what others here think of the matter. I receive Soujourners’ emails (just out of interest) and they’re not too happy with Glenn Beck pointing out that progressives have hijacked the term to mean big government and wealth redistribution. Any thoughts?
I tend to side with Glenn on this one. See his demolition of Wallis here: http://networkedblogs.com/p30099671
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
I believe you are living in a country (Oz) which has universal health care – although unfortunately it funds abortion as well.
In this light your crit of the recent decision in the US seems a bit odd.
I appreciate your column is read more widely than Australia but I do think you’d be much better concentrating on addressing Australian concerns in an Australian context.
I’ve recently been viewing the DVD series Doctor Findlay’s Casebook which is set in the post WW2 period when the NHS was introduced – not without controversy. It’s a useful reminder of the very difficult situation for many ordinary people who for the first time were able to access reasonable health care.
I’m sure what Mr Angelico describes as “socialised medicine” has bad aspects, but as an endeavour to express care for people I would say it is far more Christian than anything else. Naturally it can be improved.
I’m afraid that as a conservative old school Calvinist I can’t understand the extravagance of opposition to what Obama has done.
It reminds me of a time I was in London in September 08 at the Foreign Mission Club. This chap, a Presbyterian minister from the US, complained bitterly about the talk of Obama being elected, inveighed equally bitterly against “socialised medicine” while acknowledging a third of his salary went on private health insurance, and capped it off by assuring me that the financial issues in the USA were of minor moment exaggerated by a hostile media.
Lehmann Brothers collapsed a week later.
Now some of my best friends are Americans Bill, but I think on this one we can leave the Americans to sort it.
Further to John’s comment, if the people’s asking for a King was seen by God as a rejection of Him, logic follows that calls for greater powers for Government – beyond that God mandated – are God hating.
But I fail to see why it is “odd” or inappropriate for me to be writing about this. I am an American after all! So I should have some interests in all this. And what happens in the US tends to greatly impact the rest of the world. And simply because I live here does not mean I approve of your health care system. Indeed, if you are suggesting that the Australian system or Obama’s system is some sort of panacea, then we respectfully must agree to disagree here. You simply ignore all the evidence I and others have presented here thus far.
And while your theology may be conservative, evidently your politics and economics are not! But as I have already said, Christians can and do disagree about these things. But to be honest it is I who find it odd that you think that I was somehow being out of line for even daring to raise the issue of Obamacare!
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
While I understand you are politically biased to the far right, a little balance in your report is surely called for. All you have done is to quote spin from right-wing bloggers, and it is well-known that the Right has mounted a vicious and at times untruthful scare campaign against the Democrat proposals. No doubt the health insurance industry and the medical lobby in America have contributed big dollars to the campaign, because they stand to lose some of their massive profits.
The truth is almost everyone in America knows their health system sucks big time. I’ve lived under their system for a few years and experienced it. What kind of a system allows insurance clerks to approve treatment before you are allowed to have it, or cancel insurance policies arbitrarily, or decline to cover people who are sick? The horror stories about system failure are legion.
Furthermore, the system doesn’t even deliver good quality health care when compared with other countries. America has the lowest life expectancy of all Western countries, and the highest cost per capita in health care. Even Republicans know the system stinks, but all they do is wage war against the so-called socialists. The new system may not be perfect, but has to be an improvement on the current shambles.
I agree with you that America is in decline. It started with the Presidency of George W. Bush, who ignored the budget and economic consequences of waging massive unwinnable wars. The collapse of the financial system demonstrated to all but the most stubborn free-marketeer that unfettered capitalism is a deeply flawed economic model. Yet instead of working together to solve these problems the two sides of politics are at loggerheads fighting a bitter and unwinnable propaganda war with each other. The Republicans have lurched further to the right than at any time in their history and they seem to have no policies other than hate-mongering.
As a consequence of these political/culture wars, and because of the ridiculous filibustering rules of Congress, America is becoming ungovernable even when one party has a sizable majority.
God help America!
Eric Agnew, Caloundra
John Angelico (and others).
As a conscientious Christian I have a problem with us standing up and fighting for the sort of limited government you describe (which I accept is a Biblical ideal), when the other side of the coin – an effective church doing the welfare, education and such – is not in place.
I am happy to join you in the fight for a MUCH smaller government footprint, but I want to see the church pulling its finger out FIRST.
Otherwise, successful efforts to shrink government (without an effective church) would leave gaping holes that would, of all people, offend the Lord.
By the way, I think eschatology explains a lot of why the church is NOT doing what it should be doing, but that’s more typing than I can justify right now 🙂
Sometimes I really wonder what alternate universe you live in. (And this is also in response to Rowland’s “I can’t understand the extravagance of opposition to what Obama has done” comment.) Try this link: http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2010/03/huffpo-debunks.html
Keep in mind the Huffington Post is far from a right-wing source. This is not the same as what is in Australia. Yes, it is not single-payer, but it is still a huge increase in government control of people’s lives and in many ways, amounts to the same thing. And then, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have heard of medical breakthroughs pioneered here going to the US. (Not all of them, I admit, but I can’t help but wonder how this will affect medical research globally) Remove profits from companies and you adversely affect the incentive to innovate in finding cures and treatments. That translates into lives.
And then, take a look at this graphic and try to tell me that adding another few hundred billion will actually be good for the poor in the USA. Without a nation having any economic strength, they will be the first to suffer when the inevitable crash comes: http://www.moonbattery.com/visualize-debt_big.jpg
And you seem to have a level of cognitive dissonance in regards to abortion. If the Democrats weren’t so totally pro-death then they could’ve passed this thing months ago. Stupak’s defection has forever killed the myth of the pro-life Democrat. But you seem to think that it’s just an aberration that abortion is in it – would you accept anything at all from people who consider killing children an essential part of health care and also lied the whole time about it being in the bill? In other words, they lie routinely about killing, but you can still trust them on other matters? I rather think you are being outrageously naive here. Abortion is the issue that forever changed my politics years ago because I could not fathom why a political movement that sells itself as looking after the needy overwhelmingly supports it. I found out that the distance between the marketing and reality of leftist ideas is huge on that and virtually every other matter. In other words, I grew up.
The worst thing is, Obama isn’t finished, not by a long shot. He still wants his cap ‘n’ trade and there’s yet another ‘stimulus’ being bandied about. This administration is a total disgrace, but then the lamestream media who facilitated the election of the Democrats is even more to blame: http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j186/DonaldDouglas/Americaneocon/obamacare15.jpg
I like this, but I can’t help but think of the Chief’s real name in Get Smart.
And all your comment tells us is that you are politically biased to the far left. And with inane statements like this: “The truth is almost everyone in America knows their health system sucks big time,” I don’t think we do need to take the rest of what you say very seriously.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
It might be good if we all give away the ‘left’ versus ‘right’ because the Catholic understanding is not based on that at all but looks at what is due to each person and community in terms of ‘what is due’ in JUSTICE and CHARITY. There are some gaps in private insurance arrangements that appear to me to be insoluble and hence he need for socialisation ( not socialism) of the industry. Pure PRIVATISATION of everything including medicine leads to some very real situations of injustice. This is not ‘biblical’ to borrow from the bible aloners.
When the government is the nanny, the Church has no incentive. That unfortunately explains a great deal.
If you follow the link I gave above from Ann Coulter, she answers that ‘life expectancy’ furphy. As far as your contention that the Republicans are only interested in waging war and have “lurched further to the right”, you really should stop getting your news from the lamestream media. It’s a lie. In fact, the big problem with the Republicans for a couple of decades now is that they have not been anywhere near careful enough to stick to their conservative base principles, which have one redeeming feature over all leftist fuzzy-warm feelgood ideas.
They work – and preserve freedom.
There are still some RINOs, but on this issue, not one Republican voted for it, which makes November mid-terms all the more easier for them.
Honestly I can’t understand why some people still want to support any leftist ideas when the history of the world clearly shows what works. As far as I’m aware, when the 55 delegates got together in Philadelphia to draft the US Constitution in 1787, one of the first things they did was read up extensively on the history of systems of government. And here we are today, and what have we learned?
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana
Wrong Bill. I think the Loony Left is every bit as dangerous as the Rabid Right. I have voted at times for both major parties in Australia. I vote for people and policies I have confidence in, not what colour their posters are. But the further a party drifts from the mainstream the more concerned I get. That’s why I’m worried about the GOP. They seem to be drifting further and further to the right, and that’s not good for America or the world.
Maybe a large part of the reason America is so divided arises because Americans tends to make “the American (capitalist) way” part of its religion. And that religion is a very individualistic way of looking at things. European countries traditionally had a better sense of community with Christianity in one form or another recognised in law. That of course is breaking down but the residual effect is evident in a much greater recognition of the need for safety nets etc.
There are plenty of European countries that have universal health systems and are not broke because of it.
The reason the US is in bad financial shape is because of the greed and other unethical practices than ran riot.
I know you are American, Bill (obviously), but if your main focus is to comment on matters relevant to Australia then why not do that more often? I think too much is just an importation of right wing attitudes from the USA that jar on most people’s ears in this country. Or put it another way, If you attacked our system of universal health care in the way you attack Obama’s, I imagine some of your readers would look at things rather differently.
A Biblical Christian looks at things as much as he can in a biblical fashion. I guess I’ve always voted on the conservative side of politics but one needs to be very careful. Conservative versus the lefties sounds like a dangerous polarisation to me. If, for instance, you know how the Scots were often treated by the English-dominated UK Parliament, you’d understand why Scottish Socialists once had a big influence. I got over my notion of “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves” a long time ago. Its the pervasive sin in everyone’s heart, our total depravity if you like, that makes be critically appraise both left and right, rather than ignore something because on some other issue the person is from the left. Your correspondent Michael Webb is to the point.
I’d love to see you analytical and communication skills employed more in this way.
I agree broadly with your comments, but it is the free market and not the church that can most efficiently provide the bulk of services we demand. I’m thinking of things like healthcare, education, nursing homes etc. And the first and only step required is for the government to undertake a staged withdrawal from their current meddling and distortion of these markets. So it is right for people to fight and vote for limited government.
Of course, there will still be a need for a small not-for-profit sector to provide basic care to those who are unable to pay for these services. And it is in this much smaller role that the church has a place. But I don’t necessarily mean the church as an institution. Ordinary Christians can and should take the first steps here, as well, by founding and financially supporting these charities as the need arises. In this way, I don’t think there will be any gaping holes to offend the Lord.
But who said my “main focus is to comment on matters relevant to Australia”? Why should I? This is the Internet age for heaven’s sake! In the past month people from 134 different nations were looking at my site. Is that problematic for you? Why should I limit myself to just what you think is appropriate for me to write about? I still find this to be extremely odd!
On the one hand you seem to accuse me of being American-centric, yet on the other you seem to want me to be Australia-centric. Why should I be either Rowland? We live in an international community, so I am quite happy to write about global issues as well as local ones.
You seem to condemn the fact that as an American I may be influenced by my country of birth. I may very well be, but so what? Who isn’t? Are you actually claiming that you have somehow totally risen above your own land of birth, language, culture and upbringing?
And you clearly have not read much of this site. I not only have written many hundreds of articles on the Australian scene, but I have said time and time again that Christianity ultimately transcends any one political or economic ideology.
Having said that, we live in a real world. So we all find ourselves somewhere on the various political and economic spectrums. I have made many moves over the years. I have rejected my Marxist past, and now find that a more-or-less conservative stance better reflects my understanding of the biblical data. That is where I am now at, and I see no reason to apologise for it.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Of course, Rowland Ward’s Presbyterian minister friend’s high insurance costs in the US are due to the already huge government meddling with it. E.g. they are not allowed to buy insurance across state lines, and various lobby groups bribe politicians to force insurance companies to cover minor things. And there are tax incentives for employers that individuals lack, which mean that consumers of medical care are somewhat isolated from the costs. We should also not forget the trial lawyer lobby, which owns the Dems, as their chairman Howard Dean admitted–they force up costs with their vexatious lawsuits. Obamovcare does nothing to solve these problems.
Our other socialist Eric Agnew also swallows a few furphies, including confusing health care and medical care. America is a world leader in medical care, which is why they have far higher rates of cancer survival, and patients can obtain MRIs quickly without waiting for months. It falls down with obesity-related conditions, but that has nothing to do with medical care; and everything to do with how people take care of themselves. America is also good for neonatal survival; many other countries inflate their figures by simply refusing to count babies born before 26 weeks.
Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane
GK Chesterton once said something about one way of reducing confusion and of reducing our being at cross purposes is to define one’s terms.
‘conservative’ is a good thing I agree however it isn’t all encompassing and cannot comfortably be aligned with the Bible just as socialism cannot either.
‘Conservative’ crosses many divides and is not just found in parties of business but also in Labor type parties. If by conservative you mean social conservative then you have in me a supporter. Conservative can also be associated with no change or degrees of change; it can also be regressive in seeking to go back to old models that are unworkable today compared to a century ago.
Conservative can also be for some people neo-conservative or paleo-conservative/traditional.
What I see amongst some contributors is a conservatism that is actually neo economic liberal and some even highly libertarian in the same way that our opponents in the culture wars are libertarian/libertines ( no or few rules on personal morals/life issues.
That is why this thread is going the way it is however, if we define our terms as Chesterton calls us to then people can avoid claiming a biblical monopoly on the truth because of their particular politics.
You mention in your first comment that ‘every Christian College will be put at risk’. Does Hillsdale College not take any government funding or enrol students who use student loans to pay tuition fees?
The largest hospital, nursing home and general social welfare agencies and work worldwide is the Catholic Church, yet I don’t see them calling for the kind of extreme limited government economic libertarian ( alleged biblical approach) I have heard here from some contributors.
Ask yourselves: why?
Eric, I agree fully with Bill. Anyone who can claim as you do that the problem with the GOP is that in recent times it has drifted “further and further to the right” when in fact the opposite is the case, has to be by definition on the far left. It doesn’t much matter that you have in the past voted for both major parties, since on many issues there isn’t much difference between them anyway.
For those who reckon we have such a great system here in Australia, there was a good article in The Australian a couple of weeks back which has some interesting figures on Queensland Health and it’s level of bureaucratisation, a situation that Rudd’s plan will only exacerbate.
Ewan McDonald, Victoria.
Alister, I agree with you that the churches, Church and/or Christians will need to re-fill the gap which they vacated generations ago.
But as someone else has already written, commercial enterprises can take up a lot of the slack too. Progressive divestment could allow progressive take up by the private sector.
Let’s start with the public/private hospital divide – governments could be persuaded to simply sell off the hospitals, as they have sold off other government businesses (did I hear someone go ‘ha!’ ?).
And there are other private/public dualities like schools and child care centres where the same could happen.
Then the primary welfare sector could eventually be divested until we got to the core of straight hand-out welfare, which would have to be dismantled in parallel with the equivalent government hand-outs to businesses, unions and other special interest groups.
As I said before, the government’s mandate is law and order. If the government focussed on swift and effective detection and punishment of criminal behaviour, and swift processing of civil claims through the court system, a lot of shonky ideas wouldn’t get far before they were found out and at least challenged.
Notice I haven’t touched on taxation policies relating to family yet.
Chunks of the welfare system are recognised as second-best efforts to deal with the consequences of earlier bad policies in other areas eg. policies that attack family life (as depicted in the ideal Christian household ‘model’).
Further chunks should be recognised in the same way (de facto equivalence, easy divorce, indiscriminate income support f’rinstance).
Cripes, I could go on! 🙂
I don’t know about Hillsdale funding arrangements.. You might check their website.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
And please point to one person here who has said church groups should not be involved in the delivery of social services.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Mark Rabich, yes it boils down to the poor will be the worse for this Obama drama.
It’s interesting how, for all the denials and protests to the contrary, those who line up behind Obamacare are the “religious left”, whom Nancy Pelosi praised for their support, as seen here:
It would appear from that report that erstwhile Christian supporters of Obamacare are in bed with some strange, even unsavoury companions!
Michael may not like the “left-versus-right” divide, but it is a fact of life just the same.
As for Rowland Ward’s comments, he seems to imply that no-one, Bill or anyone else, should post a comment without first running it past him! Not that he has said so in as many words, but there is that undertone. Rowland, if you really think that Bill should not comment on events in America, but only on things here, then may I urge you to start up your own website with your own emphases, and not legislate for Bill as to how to run his!
And as to the content of your posts, you do seem to display a remarkable ignorance of both American politics and the American mindset. “I can’t understand the extravagance of opposition to what Obama has done.” Precisely! You simply do not understand.
Murray R. Adamthwaite
Thanks Bill, I really appreciate this article and especially your comment ” I would have thought that the right to life is the very basis of any further discussion of medical ethics. What is so great about cheap medical care if you are bumped off before you can even avail yourself of it?” I couldn’t agree more!
The issue of abortion is so foundational to healthcare that it should not be set aside even for the sake of argument: IT’S THE BABY, IN THE BUCKET, IN THE BASEMENT of ‘healthcare’. If Obamacare is built on this foundation of assuming the ‘right’ to kill babies, it’s not looking good for those on the rungs above. And it’s hardly a side issues with God, who sees the shedding of innocent blood as an abomination that pollutes the land. And sorry to all those who think American issues should not be discussed here, but for good or bad, what happens in America, impacts the world – a city set on a hill cannot be hid. Who hasn’t heard of Roe v Wade or been impacted by its ambit?
Can the most strident pro abortion President in America’s history who even voted against medical care being given to babies who survived an abortion, be taken seriously in relation to other life, death and health issues? If he has no innate value for life at it’s inception and in fact just the opposite, as witnessed by his consistent pro abortion voting record and now his total tax support through this scheme, on what basis should we imagine he would value the lives and health of other Americans who may or may not be facing life and death issues within ‘healthcare’?
This is not a side issue, this is the defining issue of Obamacare. If he vigorously upholds the legislative slaughter of the seedlings of American society, why not the saplings and so on…This is not about health care – it’s about control and it’s not about to change its spots.
This Bill is tainted by termination and you get the feeling it won’t be limited to the unborn… Let’s hope it doesn’t get the time to tell if it’s so before Americans rise up to defeat this legislation before it defeats America. The prospect of a defeated America does not bode well for the world. Now where is Mrs Palin…?
May God bless America, and may God bless the world…
McDonalds just introduced the Obamov value meal — you can order everything you want and the person behind you has to pay.
Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane
Apparently Eric must think the following ideas are all “dangerous”:
(it’s just an incomplete list off the top of my head)
– Limited Government only there to secure a nation and protect basic freedoms.
– Consequences of behaviour should be paid for by that individual.
– Freedom to succeed requires the freedom to fail. (pretty much the same thing as the one before)
– You can’t borrow yourself rich or even out of debt.
– Wealth creation is not automatic or guaranteed – at the very least it requires smart and hard work over a long period of time.
I reckon that the concept of a ‘centre’ between left-wing and ring-wing positions being inherently more reasonable and “mainstream” is actually leftist gobbledegook. It’s still a step in a direction which in the long term hurts more people than it helps and I think is usually only reached by people out of fear for being associated with a conservative point of view.
The most insidious messages of the media are the unspoken ones. Eric – or anybody else for that matter – shouldn’t be voting for “people or policies”, but principles that reflect the real world, since it is those principles which will govern all decisions those politicians make in the future, not just the ones they campaign on during an election campaign. It even helps to see how principled they are if they fail in some way, which all people do. Which is why Howard was 10 times the prime minister Rudd will ever be, and why Obama and his team are simply repellent.
Joe Biden, the vice-president, dropped a blatant swear word at the public function for this bill, and then Obama, arrogantly taunted the Republicans to repeal it when (it almost certainly isn’t ‘if’) they regain power. “Go for it.”, he is quoted as saying. Also in a shameless display, Speaker of the House Nacy Pelosi walked through a crowd of protesters with an oversized gavel crowing about their victory. Pure class, eh?
‘Universal Health Care’ – from the same people who brought you baby-killing on demand.
I also consider it a basic principle not to kill the defenceless. But Eric probably thinks that lobbying a government to adopt policies on the basis of that straightforward and moral principle is “dangerous” too.
The connection between Obama and Pharoah, i.e. both kill babies, has been established. Can anybody out there give me a link to articles or depictions of this.
Fidel Castro congratulates Obama on the health care bill;
‘Doctors haven’t benefited very much, either, from Cuba’s health care “miracle.” Because they earn the equivalent of only about $20 U.S. per month, Cuban physicians have quit the medical profession in droves — turning instead to the only industry that offers them any degree of economic opportunity: the Cuban tourism industry. It is not uncommon to see former doctors driving cabs, working as tour guides, or waiting tables in restaurants and family inns in Havana.’
Another gem from the article Damien linked is:
Venezuela’s Communist dictator Hugo Chavez, admiringly called our President ”Comrade Obama” and told Castro: ”Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his [Obama’s] right.”
Obama and Pharaoh are also both African despots who hate and fear God’s people, and who led (or are leading) their country to ruin.
I have heard and read the different sides to the Obama Health Care and really am very confused. I really don’t know what to believe. Why can’t Obama explain it where most people can understand what it entails? Please help me to understand is it we have democrats who voted for it because they really believed in it or are they afraid of Obama? And are the republicans against it because they really don’t like it or is because they are against Obama?
There would be many reasons why people vote the way they do, but part of the equation has to do with differing ideologies and differing worldviews. I have written before about why those on the Left believe and act as they do, and why those on the Right believe and act as they do. See here for example: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2007/10/19/a-conflict-of-visions/
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
A new article points out the many serious implications of Obamacare, not least of which is its provision for abortion funding: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040115.html
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
“You elected to the highest office in the land a man who’s never run a business or created wealth or made a payroll,……”
America talk show host Michael Savage has said “He has not even run a lemonade stand.”
And a handy summary of the mess that will be Obamacare is found here:
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch