Sunday, November 22, 2009

The New American Populism

How to describe the groups of Americans who demonstrate fear, confusion, doubt, belief in conspiracy theories when considering their government. They are populists, Crazy populists in the minds of some. They are angry at everything: They are angered at the bailouts of major financial and industrial institutions. They are angered at the proposed health care plans, both of which (Congressional and Senate) will add significantly to our national debt, not to mention individual costs and small business costs.

They are angry at their government, all levels—they cannot understand why there appears to be no effort to create jobs. They are angry at their elected representatives who, in the face of promises to the contrary, are prepared to offer free health care to illegal immigrants. Everyone knows that "free" means higher taxes for the rest of us.

There is also general opposition to our policies relative to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. We don't want to spend any more national treasure in support of a corrupt government (Afghanistan)or a corrupt, religiously divided government (Iraq). We wonder why our government won't react against despotic regimes chasing after nuclear weapons (North Korea, Iran).

Finally, we are angry at our government for chasing after ridiculously expensive health care, ridiculously expensive bailouts when, for hoi polloi, there is the eternal state of unemployment. For those still employed, there is the constant fear of losing a job and joining the unemployed. Unemployment hangs like a black cloud of doom over tens of thousands of salaried white collar workers and wage earning workers alike.

Am I a crazy populist? No, at the moment I'm just a populist. Check back in a week or two to see if I've crossed the Maginot Line spearating the two.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Administration’s Health Care program - an absence of feng shui in policy making

What a fantastic opportunity for those who see cabals and conspiracies behind every column on the Capitol. At the onset of the debates over health reform, many conservatives portrayed the administration program as a plan to ration health care for seniors. Seniors are the most expensive part of the population to maintain in good health. To the degree that the government can trim health care for this group, it can reduce the overall costs. This debate then moved on to the point where groups like the Tea Party came to believe there was a government plan to establish “Death Panels” that would have the final word on health care for our aging population.

And then along came the results of a committee established under the George W. Bush administration concluding that, according to their studies, breast cancer screening for women under the age of 40 did not merit the costs involved; such mammograms revealed relatively few cases of breast cancer for this group of women. In effect, mammograms should not be considered until the age of 50. Folks seeking evidence to support their beliefs in an active conspiracy claimed that this committee’s results proved the administration wished to trim or ration health care. The administration took such flak on this, Secretary Sibelius felt it necessary to announce the Obama administration would distance itself from the mammogram issue.

Talk about bad timing. In my opinion, this illustrates an absence of feng shui in policy making.