30 May 2009

Why I Am (Still) a Registered Republican


I have seen several statements--on fliers, on television, on Twitter, on blogs--about becoming a Republican, or turning conservative. Many people have said that they've been a Republican since the Reagan years, or even because of Ronald Reagan. Others, like Dennis Miller, moved toward conservatism because of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. I respect that. Growing and changing one's mind is part of living.

There is a quote I've seen attributed to Winston Churchill that goes something like, "A young man who is conservative has no heart; an old man who is liberal has no brain."

Apparently I'm heartless. I'm sure you've heard tales of the "heartless conservatives." I guess I'm one of 'em. I have always believed in individual achievement bringing rewards, self-reliance, all those conservative ideals. I cannot remember ever wishing that some powerful entity would take wealth away from, for instance, Howard Hughes and give it to me.

Like many others, I am totally disgusted with the Republican party. There is a sizable portion of the party that seems to be for lowering taxes, but not for shrinking the State Bureaucratic Apparatus (what many people call "the government"). They believe that lowering tax rates will result in increased revenue, which they can then spend on their pet programs rather than the Democrats' pet programs. These people are not truly conservative.

So to the title of the post: Why I am (still) a Registered Republican. The fact is that there are two major parties in the United States, and anyone not running as a member of one of those two parties is not at all likely to win an election. Of the 535 voting and half-dozen non-voting members of Congress, only two identify themselves as Independent (and Joe Lieberman is listed as "ID", which I suppose means "Independent Democrat").

In the general elections, I have endeavored to find the candidate whose philosophy and positions most closely match my own. Most candidates that run as Democrats have a philosophy nowhere near my own. I have voted for Republicans, and for Independents (mostly the American Independent Party), and even for a Libertarian or two. But my county does not hold a primary election for independent and minor-party candidates.

I register as a Republican so that I can vote for the most conservative candidate in the primary elections. I have also started attending local "town-hall" meetings at the county's GOP headquarters. That gives me a chance to hear what our Assemblymen and State Senators are doing, and perhaps express my position for their consideration.

21 May 2009

The Test of Tolerance


The following quote was tweeted by a fine educator:

“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”--Ralph W. Sockman

If conservatives are indeed in the minority, as the collectivists claim, the majority's "test of tolerance" has been failed time and time again.

Intolerance of George W. Bush. Intolerance of Dick Cheney. Intolerance of Rush Limbaugh. Intolerance of Carrie Prejean. The list goes on.

A correspondent tells me of a recent election where he/she, upon leaving the polling place, picked up a pamphlet from a table staffed by Republicans. There was, of course, a Democrat-staffed table there as well. Two of the Democrats accosted him/her, demanding that they be given equal time. They could not tolerate someone who had his/her mind made up, that did not agree with them.

Collectivists and statists realize that when given a choice, and an opportunity to think, most people reject their views. They know that they will never be able to control the masses if any other opinion exists. That is why they cannot tolerate the individualists' opinions, and will do everything they can to heap ridicule upon us.

I do not actually believe that conservatives are the minority. I believe that individualism and self-reliance are part of human nature, just as is the willingness to work to make one's own life, and the lives of his children, better. I thank God that I was born in a time and place where we can do just that, and I will do everything I can to preserve that for myself and the next generation. That is my test of courage.

12 May 2009

The Solution to High Healthcare Costs


Competition.

"But," you say, "there is competition already! We are free to choose whatever provider we want to see." Are you, really?

If you are not self-employed, it is likely that your health insurance is provided as a benefit of your employment. It is likely that your policy has a list of providers contracted to provide services at an agreed price. The phrase "usual and customary" really means "the price that the insurance company agrees to pay and the providers agree to accept." In other words, all the providers available to you effectively charge the same price. There is no competition there.

To bring true competition back to the health care marketplace, I propose as a first step that we do away with employer-provided health insurance. Insurers can still offer group plans, including some like the so-called "affinity" plans for social clubs, university alumni, and the like. People can choose to join one of those, or buy an individual policy as some insurers are offering now. The differentiators would be in what is covered and the limits.

To improve those options, I propose that we strongly discourage, if not prohibit, the price-fixing that is now called "usual and customary charges." In fact, I think price-fixing is illegal, and that is precisely what this practice constitutes. People could then shop around for providers they like that charge affordable prices. I realize that many people, especially younger people, make so few visits to the doctor as to make this difficult to do. Sure, one could ask prices over the phone, but that's only part of the story. Talking to friends and coworkers could help, or even referral services.

Please comment on this. And I hope you'll send all your ideas (they must be better than this) to your Congress-critters.

04 May 2009

Orwell Would be Proud/Humbled


Good/bad old/new Doublespeak!

Thanks to @hotairblog, from the Business & Media Institute comes this post about the "crackdown" on legal tax avoidance by U.S. corporations. It contains a couple of sentences about President Obama's speech Monday:

In his late morning speech, Obama condemned “corporate loopholes” and said that such practices “cost taxpayers” billions of dollars.

Obama also claimed that his changes would save taxpayers $210 billion in the next 10 years.
The President asserts that when American businesses use legal means to avoid providing revenue to the State, it costs taxpayers money. He also apparently said that forcing the businesses to provide revenue would save taxpayers money.

That's like saying, "Your Uncle Frank baked and sold a wedding cake for $100, and only gave me $30 instead of $35, so that costs you $5. If we force him to give me $35, it will save you that $5." Never mind that you will be forced to give me $25 regardless of what Uncle Frank does. Never mind that I'm not really doing much at all to benefit either you or your Uncle Frank. Never mind that I'm going to keep $15 for my own uncle and spend $45 buying a couple of Shamwows for somebody you don't even know, who doesn't produce anything or ever give me anything except votes. Your Uncle Frank is obviously a cold-hearted misanthrope who doesn't care if children go hungry.

Doublespeak at its finest/worst.