Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grenade Toss

We’ve all been following the antics of New York’s megalomaniac mayor Michael Bloomberg, and I think most Americans are chaffing at the bit over his draconian measures to improve the health of “his” citizens. He feels that no trans-fat, reduced salt, and reduced sugar will reap a healthier, more productive society. Undoubtedly. More to the point, ruling by decree scratches his itch for power over the little people, and increases the dependence of the populace upon a benevolent, all-knowing, ever-wise government; something we have far too much of already.

I’m not quite as offended by the consequences of this kingly decree as many conservatives. I take more of a libertarian viewpoint. Do I want my government to tell me what I can and cannot eat? No. I want to make my own choices. I want my neighbor to make HIS own choices. However, if he makes idiotic decisions with his health, I do not want to pay for the consequences.

The fact is that working New Yorkers, and by federal redistribution the rest of working America, pay for the astronomical health care costs of Bloomberg’s dependent class. And believe me, the cost is massive. A huge percentage of our citizenry (and non-citizenry that soak up our services) are overweight, have hypertension ranging in the scary levels, waddle to McDonald’s with self-induced type ll diabetes, huff and puff to the bathroom on legs trying to circulate blood through grossly clogged arteries, and are taking a pharmacopeia of medications for these conditions and all the co-morbidities that stem from them. They’re sick. Really sick. They require lots of doctor’s visits, they are hospitalized often, and they use the emergency department for every sneeze and boo-boo. Why? Because it’s “free” to them. You, on the other hand, should start looking for a third job, because many these people are not even attempting to get well. Why?

Being “sick” is their identity, and their reason for not working. It’s justification. It settles their minds, and releases them of their obligation to leave for their children a better world than what they experienced. There are millions and millions of them/us. Doctors and hospitals gladly buy into it, and they make a wagonload of money by servicing their patients who are on the gov’t dole. Without the government paycheck for providing medical care to the nation’s “indigent” population, most hospitals would shut their doors. There is zero financial incentive for a medicare/Medicaid/Obamacare/Whatever patient to get well, or for a doctor or health care facility to strive to make them well.

It’s a spectacular failure with dire consequences for our country.

My position is: if I have to pay for someone’s health care, I should be able to dictate to them good health care practices. You give away your right to choose the moment you stick your hand in my pocket. I don’t care if you want to stuff your face with donuts and soda pop, or refuse to push away from the table when there is one more pork chop on the platter. Go for it! Just don’t look at me to shoulder the financial burden for your horrible decisions.

Hospitals should concentrate on people who are sick through no fault of their own, and people who are genuinely trying to get well and improve their lives. We must do a better job of taking care of our elderly population, and our children. Our health care system, and our society, will not survive hemorrhaging money into undisciplined adults who are of working age and CHOOSE to be a burden upon their neighbors.

And that’s my un-PC thought for the day. Pfft! Let ‘er rip, my friends. I’m hoping for a lively and spirited conversation on this one.


  1. I'm of the opinion that we can't fix something if we don't face the hard realities of what we've inadvertently created.

    I'm not a heartless old hag; I'd love to spend my career helping people regain their health, their dignity, and their optimism. I hope I get the opportunity. The whole system is teetering on the verge of collapse.

  2. I see a problem. The "if I have to pay for it I should have a say" argument is why motor cycle riders have to wear helmets. It is why police spend more time hunting down people not wearing seat belts than they do searching for those who make the use of seat belts necessary. That is why the federal government sends kids home because some bureaucrat does not think the lunch his mom made him is healthy enough.

    Making people responsible for themselves is an way to help solve the problem. An effective education system, whoever runs it, is the way to help make people learn how to be responsible for themselves. As it is now, the main goal of the public education system in the United States is designed more to teach students that they cannot exist without the government -- not how to live independently.

    1. I agree - in fact making people responsible for themselves is the only way to solve the problem, IMHO.

      lady red's formulation is accurate but contains the seed of the counter-strategy: My position is: if I have to pay for someone’s health care, I should be able to dictate to them good health care practices.

      Yes - absolutely agreed - and that's a big "if" right there. It's the Rubicon. Cross it, and you are on a slippery slope to a totalitarian state. If there is nothing the state is not responsible for providing you with, there is nothing the state cannot justifiably forbid - or mandate (there's that word!)

      Bloomberg's position seems to be: All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. Who said that? Oh right. Mussolini.

      There are a lot of people who reflexively like the idea of the government providing you with health care. Many fewer prefer to be dictated to with regard to what they do and eat and drink. Bloomberg's soda ban and the "individual mandate" are aspects of the same principle: if the state gives you everything, then hell yes the state is the boss of you. Rights, schmites. Do what we say.

      (Actual) Constitutional scholar Randy Barnett advocated and popularized the idea of fighting the individual mandate based on the idea of finding a "limiting principle" in the commerce clause: that clause can't be construed as giving the Federal Government the power to simply enact any law that it sees fit.

      Similarly, people have an intuitive idea that a Mayor who can decree what will and will not be served is pretty much free to enact his whims. Where is the limiting principle?

      The awesome thing is that fans of Bloomberg's action are big fans (I spent a while perusing the comments on this story at the NYT) and really repulsive. People who generally like to identify liberal might be given to second thoughts, provided with the example of loudmouth busybodies who love the idea of dictating menus and can't wait for more dictates.

      This works especially well as a talking point in Portland, whose foodie culture is not exactly healthy (donuts, braised pork bellies, and other NYC contraband.)

      Heighten the contradictions. If someone chooses totalitarianism, fine, they label themselves for reference. But make them choose.

  3. I see your grenade and raise you a MOAB. :-) If we're going to make people responsible for their nutritional health, are we going to hold people responsible for their sexual health? STD are out of control and have a wide array of negative societal realities including infertility and cancer, and that's entirely aside from the psychological costs and relationship destruction.

    I could argue that there's even more rationale for regulation in that area than food since is is entirely possible to live without sex.

    /grins evilly and ducks and runs...

    1. It IS entirely possible to live without sex (sigh) as I've been proving for a number of years, now (sigh).

      And if we still had anything APPROACHING a moral society people would not be, in any way, responsible for the results of others sexual activity.

      But we do not, in fact, live in a moral society now. When even the GSA* allows pamphlets from Planned Genocide at their meeting, talking about the joys of unfettered sex.

      No. We do not live in a society of liberty, any more, but in a society of libertines.

      And the Constitution was not made for the cesspool that America has become.

      *GSA = Girls Scouts of America?!?!?!?!?!?!

    2. Too true, Mr. Typos. I have dear friends who have adopted 5 children, four from the same birth mother, a woman with significantly diminished capacity and a sadly typical background. Of that sibling group, they had initially adopted two, and the mother was pregnant again. The state was going to let her try one more time to see if she would actually take care of this baby, but they asked my friends if they were willing to adopt him/her as well if it came to it. The expected result occurred, and they got the third sibling a few months later. Less than a year later, they got a call stating that she was pregnant again, and did they want the baby. I think she finally agreed to be sterilized.

      I'm glad my friends have five beautiful children who are growing up in a loving family with a great mom and dad, but at what point can we say "ENOUGH!!"

  4. No argument here lr. The UK is far more advanced and worse off in welfare dependence and lack of responsibility. Successive Labour (Socialist) governments have ensured that any one disinclined to work gets rewarded for having children without fathers (someone you f***, is not a father). They get housing and clothing and food and transportation and a (few) trips to the pub...every day.

    For an example of how truly ridiculous the "social/welfare" state has become, look no further than Mick Philpott, the "father" of 17 children by 5 different women. Unemployed (shocka!) and living with his wife Mairead, and his lover, Lisa, in a three bedroom Council house (subsidised housing) he demanded a bigger home. When his demand wasn't met, his house mysteriously burned to the ground.

    Six of his children died in the fire.

    He and his wife have now been charged with setting the fire.

    Words fail me.

  5. Great comments folks. It is a slippery slope, for sure.

    Lyana, I had to look up your MOAB reference. I'm thinking "Why would she raise me a small town in Utah?" :))

    Fay, words fail me too. :(

    1. LOL - sorry, lady red! :-)

      You're so right that this is a reality fraught with potential disaster. When you allow someone else to pay your way, you allow them a measure of control over your life. Road to Hell, good intentions and all that... I think that's why, despite living with nationalized healthcare for the past 15 years and having enjoyed uniformly positive experiences with it, I'm still uncomfortable with it.