Now here’s some cheery news showing how popular the health care bill is:

A new poll that should cause significant concerns for backers of the pro-abortion Senate health care bill finds nearly half the nation’s physicians would consider quitting if the bill becomes law. The survey, appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicates 46 percent of doctors would consider leaving their practice.

The poll finds 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of a public option will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.

Doctors also seem to understand the impact that will have as 72% of physicians feel that a public option would have a negative impact on physician supply, with 45% feeling it will “decline or worsen dramatically” and 27% predicting it will “decline or worsen somewhat.

Seems obvious that the nation’s doctors are very concerned about the proposed health care bill in Congress. And almost half say that they will either be forced out or want to leave their practice. And this bill is supposed to help the care American’s get? So what happens when nearly half of the nation’s doctors are gone?

The answer’s simple: since the health care bill will force people to buy insurance, even if they don’t want to, it’s not a stretch to imagine government forcing these doctors to remain in their jobs. After all, this bill isn’t about health care — it’s all about force.

There is an inherent problem with the concept of passing a bill because it is popular. The problem was brought to my attention again when I was doing some research about how many Americans are dependent on the government and its handouts. (Answer: too damn many – 54% in 2000 and growing since then.) In my searching, I stumbled across a post on ThinkProgress.org about the high support for Obamacare in August, 2009:

New poll finds that 77 percent of Americans still support the public option.

In recent weeks, the fate of the public option in new health care legislation has been uncertain. Yet, while the issue continues to be hotly debated in the halls of Congress, a new poll by Survey USA finds that the idea is as popular as ever amongst the American public:

More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a “choice” between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.

A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.

The SurveyUSA poll finds similar results to several other polls that also show that the public option is very popular, a fact that some members of Congress consider to be a detriment.

Quick, pass Obamacare! 77% of Americans support it! Well, not so fast. If you live by the poll, what do you do when the polling goes against you? The answer, as evidenced by the way liberals act, is to ignore the polls when they turn unfavorable and press on with the legislation anyway.

I’ve not heard of SurveyUSA before, but I have to discount this poll. Looking at Rasmussen polling from Jun 27, 2009 to Mar 14, 2010, I see only two times when the polling has been favorable for Obamacare: Jun 27-28, 2009 has it 50% for and 45% against Obamacare, and Sep 12-13, 2009 when it was 51% for and 46% against. Of the remaining 37 polling times, one was tied (Sep 11-12, 2009) and the rest opposed to Obamacare. If I compare this to a sport team’s win-loss-tie score, it comes out as 2-36-1. That’s 2 wins, 36 losses, and 1 tie. Pitiful. A coach with that sort of record would get fired. Heck, coaches get fired for performances that rate significantly better than Obamacare. But liberals in power are charging ahead with this legislation.

Why the rush? The people certainly aren’t clamoring for it. Industry isn’t begging for it. Health care in American hasn’t collapsed in the many months since President Obama and fellow Democrats first started claiming it was broken. And history has shown again and again that socializing medicine results in greater expenses and reduced services, so informed Democrats can’t possibly believe this bill will create an improved health care system. So why are they pushing so hard for it that Speaker Pelosi says it is worth losing elections for?

The answer is power. Democrats want to take the business of medicine and bring it under their political control. And when you have no option other than government for your health care, then government can tell you what to do and how to live your life. It’s happened in the UK, and in numerous other countries where medicine has been socialized. Do you really believe that some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. knows better than you how to live your life? And even if you believe he could, do you really think some bureaucrat has the right to make your life choices at all?

Contrary to what the SurveyUSA poll said in August of last year, most Americans are and have been against Obamacare. But if the American people were asked if they would be in favor of government taking more control over their lives, I believe the number supporting government takeover would drop to single digits. If Democrats continue to push for an unpopular health care takeover, then they will pay the price at the poll that matters most: the November 2, 2010 elections.

Some mention has been made in the news and online regarding the American Community Survey. You may not be familiar with this document. It replaces the long form version of the U.S. census to be administered in 2010.

We were among the several million lucky households selected to fill out the American Community Survey, known in this household as the Governmental Proctology Exam. Our bulky, multiple-page form arrived in the mail yesterday.

You might be curious as to what kinds of questions you might be asked as part of this survey. Here’s a quick rundown of the questions posed only to Person 1, usually referred to as the Head of Household in previous census documents. These questions are repeated for up to four other people residing in the house, plus additional questions asking about the relationships of Persons 2-5 to Person 1.

You may want to pause here and get yourself a beverage before you begin. Maybe a bathroom break, too. This is going to take a while.

Ready? Here we go.

Personal information

  • First Name, Last Name, Middle Initial
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Date of Birth
  • Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin
  • Race (a list of 15 options, including two fill-in-the-blank options)
  • Location of birth
  • U.S. citizen?
  • If not born in the U.S., when did you come to the U.S.?
  • In the last three months did you attend school/college? What grade were you in?
  • What was the highest level of schooling completed?
  • Bachelor’s degree/majors?
  • Ancestry or ethnic origin
  • Do you speak anything other than English in the home?
  • If yes, what language?
  • How well does this person speak English?
  • Did this person live here a year ago?
  • If not, where did the person live previously? (Address, city and state)
  • Covered by insurance? (Current or former employer, insurance purchased personally, Medicare/Medicaid, Tricare/military care, VA, Indian Health Service, other)
  • Deaf or difficulty hearing?
  • Blind or difficulty seeing?
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions due to physical, mental or emotional condition?
  • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
  • Difficulty dressing or bathing?
  • Difficulty running errands due to physical, mental or emotional condition?
  • Current marital status
  • 12-month history of marriage/widowed/divorced
  • How many times married?
  • Year married
  • If female, have you given birth in the past 12 months?
  • Grandchildren under 18 living in home
  • Grandparents responsible for basic needs of grandchild(ren)?
  • Length of time grandparent has been financially responsible?
  • Military service
  • Active duty in various conflicts?
  • VA service-connected disability rating
  • Last week, did this person work for pay at a job?
  • Last week, did this person do any work for pay?
  • Address of company where person worked last week
  • Method of transportation to get to work last week
  • Automobile occupancy going to work last week
  • Time person left home to go to work
  • Commute time
  • Laid off last week?
  • Temporarily absent last week? (Vacation, maternity leave, illness, bad weather, etc.)
  • Have you been informed that you will be recalled to work within the next 6 months?
  • Have you looked for work in the past 4 weeks?
  • Last week, could you have started a job if you were offered one?
  • When did this person last work, even for a few days?
  • During the past 52 weeks, did this person work 50 or more weeks? (Paid time off counts as work)
  • In the past 12 months, how many hours per week on average did this person work?)
  • Category of current job (8 possible categories)
  • Name of employer
  • Employment type (what does your employer do or make?)
  • Type of work the person does
  • Most important activities or duties at work
  • Income for the last 12 months (interest, dividends and rental income, Social Security or supplemental income, welfare assistance, retirement/disability pensions, other)
  • Total income from all sources

Housing

  • Describe the building.
  • When was it built?
  • When did Person 1 move in (month/year)?
  • Acreage of lot
  • Actual sales of all agricultural products from this property
  • Business on the property?
  • How many separate rooms are in the house?
  • How many are bedrooms?
  • Amenities (hot and cold running water, toilet, bathtub/shower, sink with faucet, stove, refrigerator, phone including cell phones)
  • Number of automobiles
  • Heating fuel for the house
  • Last month’s electric bill cost
  • Last month’s gas bill cost
  • Past 12 months of water/sewage bill costs
  • Last month’s fuel usage (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.)
  • Past 12 months food stamps benefits
  • Is there a condominium fee in addition to rent?
  • Ownership of housing?
  • Cost of rent
  • Does the rent include meals?
  • Estimated sale price of property
  • Annual real estate taxes on property
  • Annual payment for fire, hazard and flood insurance
  • Does anyone in the household have a mortgage on the house?
  • How much is the mortgage payment?
  • Does this payment include real estate taxes?
  • Does this payment include fire and flood insurance?
  • Does anyone have a second mortgage on the property?
  • Monthly amount for secondary mortgage
  • Annual cost of property taxes and fees

In short, this is a stalker’s wet dream. Why do the Feds need to know what time I leave the house to go to work? Why do they need a 12-month history of my marital status? What do they want with last month’s electricity bill? Is it any of their business whether I have difficulty dressing or bathing? (Are they offering to come help me bathe? If so, I have a two-word answer for them, and it ain’t Happy Birthday.)

I can understand their desire to obtain this information. But just because they want it doesn’t give them the right to demand it from me. This survey arrived with an implicit legal threat on the outer envelope: “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.” It did not explain the nature of my required response. Fortunately, I have a passing familiarity with the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2. The only information I am required to give the Census Bureau, by the supreme law of the land, is the number of people living in this dwelling. And that’s exactly what information I gave them. That cut down the “estimated time to complete this survey” from 38 minutes to 30 seconds.

We live in the Age of Information. More and more businesses, companies, and of course government entities are recognizing that your information is valuable, and they try to get you to give it away for free. Consider for a moment: how much is this information worth? How dare anyone, let alone the federal government, demand that you give them this valuable information for free?

But even if the Feds wanted to pay me to obtain this information, I would refuse–because I believe in a limited federal government, not in a nanny state that feeds me, burps me and changes my diapers every day of my life. I am an adult citizen, and not an infantile subject.

With the new year, it’s time to review the many accomplishments of Pres. Obama in 2009.

  • Sworn in as President
  • Appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court
  • Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

I’m trying to think of something else that could be legitimately credited to Obama as an accomplishment. I’m not counting bills signed into law as an accomplishment because the work is done by the House, and all the President has to do is scribble his signature on the dotted line.

OK, I’ll give President Obama credit for two other accomplishments in 2009: he asked for and got Congress to spend trillions of dollars, and he read lots of speeches off teleprompters.

Can you think of anything else?

Paul Mirengoff over at Power Line blog encapsulated the nature of government efficiency in two paragraphs:

The government has failed dramatically in its effort to make the swine flu vaccine widely available. We’re quickly approaching the time by which this was supposed to have been accomplished, but the government is nowhere close to having accomplished it. In July the Obama administration said that 80 to 120 million doses could be ready by mid-October. But now, in late October, only about 16.5 millions doses have become available.

When a similar faiure occurred in 2004, the Democrats blamed President Bush. But I don’t blame President Obama. I blame the fact that the federal government isn’t very good at delivering most services in a timely manner. The stated reasons vary from case to case, but the result is generally the same.

And this is the same far-reaching, power-grabbing government that believes it will properly manage the car industry, financial organizations, and health care in a manner better than the private sector can? It never has before, so why do liberals think that government will do a better job this time?

In the novel 1984, George Orwell introduced the world to the idea of government as Big Brother, constantly scrutinizing the people’s actions. While I agree that we as citizens should be vigilant in watching out for Big Brother actions by government, I worry more about the insidious effects of Big Mommy government.

If government passes a law for our own good, it’s acting as Big Mommy. Wearing seat belts when driving is a good idea, but Big Mommy makes wearing them a law. The same is true for putting on a helmet when cruising around the block on a bike or motorcycle. Every time the government levies some “sin tax” on goods, they are putting themselves in the role of Big Mommy instructing what we, the children, may or may not do.

So, are you a child? Do you need Big Mommy to intrude in every aspect of your life and tell you what to do? You may be a child, or you may be old enough to actually be an adult, but you still prefer being treated as a child. Whatever floats your boat. But I am an adult who resents that treatment. And being treated as a child is exactly what our government is doing, specifically Energy Secretary Steven Chu:

When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons.

Speaking on the sidelines of a smart grid conference in Washington, Dr. Chu said he didn’t think average folks had the know-how or will to to change their behavior enough to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” Dr. Chu said. “The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.”

The Energy Department issued a clarification of Secretary Chu’s statement since people are too childish to understand what he said:

An update: Energy Department spokesman Dan Leistikow added: “Secretary Chu was not comparing the public to teenagers. He was saying that we need to educate teenagers about ways to save energy. He also recognized the need to educate the broader public about how important clean energy industries are to our competitive position in the global economy. He believes public officials do have an obligation to make their case to the American people on major legislation, and that’s what he’s doing.”

I don’t envy Leistikow his job. I couldn’t go out before the American people and say something that is so obviously untrue. He said, “Secretary Chu was not comparing the public to teenagers.”

But Chu’s own words are clear: “The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” That silly word “like” is comparing the American public with our teenage kids. And Big Mommy government is here to tell the American public, just like America’s teenage kids, what we all need to do.

So sit up straight. Stop wasting water. Recycle your trash. Shut up, and do what you’re told. Big Mommy government is telling you what to do. And you had better obey.

A year or so back, one of my nieces asked me what my plans were for the summer vacation. I explained that other than the one week I’d take off to attend the family reunion, I’d be working the whole time. I tried to explain that I only get about three weeks of vacation, and those tend to get used up around Christmas and the family reunion in the summer. Other than that, I work the whole year through. Since she’s still in school and her father is a university professor, she doesn’t understand how most people work hard throughout the year.

I say most people because not everybody does. But if you can’t tell the difference between work and recess, you are congressional material!

Based on Uncle Jay’s calendar, Congress had only 97 work days in 2007. By comparison, I have 253 work days in 2009. Boy, am I in the wrong business!

Here are two dueling news stories that caught my attention today within seconds of each other. The first comes from MSNBC.com:

White House won’t try to directly limit exec pay

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration, which partly blamed out-of-whack executive pay for the nation’s financial crisis, says it won’t try to directly limit such pay, choosing instead on Wednesday to try to tame compensation through shareholder pressure.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the administration will ask Congress to give shareholders a nonbinding voice on executive pay and to require corporate compensation committees to be independent from company management. That second provision would give the Securities and Exchange Commission authority to strengthen the independence of panels that set executive pay.

Separately, the administration is preparing to issue new, more specific regulations governing pay at financial institutions that have received infusions from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Those regulations, following legislation already passed by Congress, would limit top executives at these companies to bonuses no greater than one-third of their annual salaries.

An official said the administration will appoint a “special master” to oversee compensation at firms receiving large amounts of government assistance. The pay overseer would have the power to reject excessively generous pay plans.

The second comes from the New York Times:

Overseer to Set Executive Pay at Rescued Companies

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration on Wednesday appointed a compensation overseer with broad discretion to set the pay for 175 top executives at seven of the nation’s largest companies, which have received hundreds of billions of dollars in federal assistance to survive.

The mandate given to the new compensation official, Kenneth R. Feinberg, a well-known Washington lawyer, reflects the federal government’s increasingly intrusive role in the corporate affairs of deeply troubled companies. From his nondescript office in Room 1310 of the Treasury building, Mr. Feinberg will set the salaries and bonuses of some of the top financiers and industrialists in America, including Kenneth D. Lewis, the chief executive of Bank of America; Vikram S. Pandit, the head of Citigroup, and Fritz Henderson, the chief executive of General Motors.

The compensation of executives at some companies receiving aid provoked a firestorm of political outrage earlier this year. In revising a previous proposal to set pay limits, the administration has decided to take an approach that will leave the success or failure of the effort to curtail high compensation at the assisted companies in the hands of Mr. Feinberg. (Mr. Feinberg himself will not receive any government compensation.)

So which is it? Is the Obama administration planning on overseeing executive pay or not? Just looking at the title of the MSNBC article, you’d come away with the idea that the White House is not limiting exec pay, but the third paragraph puts the lie to the title. The New York Times title and article are in complete agreement. For this article at least, the Grey Lady is reporting the news, while the MSNBC article is spinning the news. Shame on MSNBC for attempting to deceive their readers. And shame on the Obama administration for their heavy-handed actions. So, what’s the correct term to describe government control of business?

When I read the two headlines in my RSS news feed, I recognized instantly that they couldn’t both be true, and in my mind’s ear I heard the Dueling Banjos tune, so here’s a good rendition you can listen to while rereading the two dueling stories.

Thanks to government meddling in the free market and individual greed, we are living in serious economic times. During any economic downturn, the government has four basic options:

Reduce government spending – When a family has less money to spend, it just makes sense to cut back on the extra expenses. Yes, it might mean sacrificing your favorite morning pick-me-up, but do you realize that skipping your daily Starbucks drink could save you over $1,000 in a year? Do you have any other daily or monthly expenses that you could reduce? Not that the government lives in the real world. Can you remember the last time our government voluntarily cut back on its own expenses? Neither can I.

Raise taxes – Any time the government sees a need for more money, a cry will echo down the halls and rooms of D.C. to raise taxes, often targeting those evil, nasty rich. While campaigning, President Obama said that he’d only tax people making $250,000 a year, but that promise was quickly broken when he raised taxes on cigarettes. Most of the people who smoke make nothing close to $250,000 a year. Setting aside Obama’s broken promise, raising taxes acts as a damper on whatever is being taxed, so raising taxes on income will have the effect of damping people’s efforts to raise income. You can think of raising taxes as similar to placing a few stones into a hiker’s backpack. It’s unlikely that the extra pound or two will cause the hiker to give up altogether, but the added weight will make him work harder than he would have done. And that extra effort means less energy for other activities on the hike. That’s similar to raising taxes in real life. When people are already burdened with bad economic times, it’s a dumb idea to add to their burden with tax increases.

Borrow more money – The government can always raise more money by borrowing, but to do so, it would have to find someone willing to finance the debt by buying our bonds. In his excellent post, Peter Murphy explains that China, Japan, and Russia are not in the position to buy up our bonds. And as the economic problems echo around the world, the pool of people able and willing to finance our debt will shrink even more. But borrowing even more money while already deep in debt is foolish at best. If you are already maxed out on ten credit cards, will you be any better off financially if you max out another five? (And is it really all that wise to attempt to raise money from people who consider us their enemies?)

Print money – The government could just print more money. If the money were backed by something concrete like gold or silver, then producing more gold or silver would make it possible to print more bullion-backed bucks. But our money is fiat currency, meaning it isn’t backed by anything tangible, just the full faith of the U.S. government. But what tangible items does the government actually produce? I see government producing laws, regulations, press conferences, and scandals, but I don’t see anything of value actually produced by the government. It is the people of these United States that do all the real producing. So any additional money printed by the government is backed by the future productivity of the people, not the government. When borrowing money and raised taxes won’t bring in the needed funds, the only option left to the government is to print more money. So get ready for the coming looming threat of inflation.

100 Quintillion Pengo Bill

Americans haven’t had to deal with high inflation since the early 1980s, so the coming inflation may be a nasty surprise to those who haven’t been through it before. But it could be worse–we could experience hyperinflation, when the government shifts money printing into overdrive. The bill in the image above is a 100 quintillion Pengo bill, printed by the Hungarian National Bank in 1946 during its worst period of hyperinflation. Since there are no zeroes on the bill, allow me to make it clear just how much that bill is worth:

100,000,000,000,000,000,000 Pengos

That’s 20 friggin’ zeroes! It’s no wonder they used text instead of numbers on the bill, or the peasant girl would have fled in shame. Unless our government reins in its rampant spending, we will see inflation hit the U.S. hard.

Hopefully, we won’t experience hyperinflation like that experienced in the Weimar Republic of Germany, when it was cheaper to burn stacks of money than it was to buy firewood. Don’t forget that the German hyperinflation damaged the Weimar Republic’s reputation and left it impoverished and dispirited, allowing a certain poisonous charismatic leader to be elected. And don’t forget the effort it took to remove him from power.

Burning money

In 1916, William J. H. Bötcker published a pamphlet titled The Ten Cannots. Ninety-three years later, these words are well worth repeating:

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

The above text is taken from the Wikipedia article on Bötcker. The version sent to me was mistakenly attributed to Abraham Lincoln and was missing the third and sixth lines, but they are needed to bring the count up to ten.

The Ten Cannots should also be posted in every office in the government to remind them that there are things they cannot do.