The Coming Union Crackup

by Bill O'Connell on August 30, 2011

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Photo by cursedthing

We saw the beginnings with the Battle of Wisconsin. The one place were unions were growing robustly was in the public sector, surpassing the private sector for the first time in 2009. But then 2010 happened.

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Allowing Guns in Bars Is a Recipe for Disaster – NOT

by Bill O'Connell on August 19, 2011

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John R Lott, Jr. photo by fling93

About a year ago the state of Virginia allowed those who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon to be allowed to carry them into a bar, joining a number of other states. Gun control advocates predicted drunken shootouts like we used to watch on Gunsmoke and in the movies.

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The Loopy Gun Control Legislation Begins

by Bill O'Connell on January 13, 2011

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Long Island’s own Peter King (R) plans to introduce legislation that would make it illegal for someone to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of certain high-ranking federal officials, including members of Congress.  Before I take on the nuttiness of the law itself, I have to ask, “What makes them so special?” 

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Hey Democrats, Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

by Bill O'Connell on December 13, 2010

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After watching some of the Sunday talk shows and hearing the tough talk from House Democrats and learning more about the tax bill getting loaded up with subsidies it’s time for Republicans to put their hands up and slowly back away from this putrid mess.

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Al Gore Quietly Paves the Way for Ethanol’s Demise

by Bill O'Connell on November 27, 2010

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Did you hear the news on broadcast television what Al Gore said about Ethanol?  Neither did I.  You have to dig a little further to find news that goes against the progressive grain.

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This is from today’s New York Times:

“Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.”

With the ink barely dry on ObamaCare, Democrats in Congress are scrambling to keep their masterpiece from unraveling.  As I have pointed out repeatedly, there is nothing in the ObamaCare plan that helps reduce the cost of delivering health care.  It is all about controlling what doctors, medical service providers, and insurance companies are paid.  All the underlying pressures on health costs (tort reform, 3rd party payer, etc.) are still in place.

“We Have to Pass the Bill to Know What’s In It”

Nancy Pelosi’s stunning but famous words are coming into play.  Let’s see what has the senators panicked.

  • To hoodwink the American people that this abomination is cost effective, ObamaCare warms up by hitting us with four years of taxes before the expensive benefits come into play.
  • Every American will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.  That penalty will initially be $95 per adult in 2014, rising to $695 per adult in 2016 and $2,085 for a family.  This money will be collected by the IRS, not by insurance companies
  • Americans cannot be denied coverage for an existing condition

So here’s the scenario.  If you compare the cost of the penalty of $2,085 for a family vs. the cost of insurance for a family of $10,000, coupled with the inability of insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, healthy people will start dropping insurance coverage left and right.  Why not?  On the way to the hospital, you can call an insurance company and say you want to be covered for the pains in your chest and you cannot be denied.  So insurance companies will only have sick people as clients.  With only sick people that they constantly have to pay claims on, their only course of action if they want to stay in business is to raise premiums on all those sick people.  If they start doing it now, they may be able to raise them less than if they wait until 2016.

So the insurance companies are acting rationally to this mess the Democrats dragged across the finish line and now they are shocked, SHOCKED, that they should do this. 

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a research center that advocates free-market health policies, said the Democrats’ proposal was unlikely to succeed in lowering insurance costs.

“Capping premiums without recognizing the forces that are driving up costs would be like tightening the lid on a pressure cooker while the heat is being turned up,” Mrs. Turner said.

The Democratic fix is to have a new bureaucracy that will provide a check on unjustified premiums.  I think you can look at this in one of two ways, both plausible.  The Democrats were stupid enough to believe, as they typically do, that Americans don’t act rationally to their government policies.  It’s also why they don’t understand that when they raise taxes they never collect as much money as they thought, and when taxes are cut they can’t believe how much money flows into the Treasury due to economic growth.  The second scenario is this new commission will cap premiums to the point of driving private insurance companies out of business and then the Democrats will say, “Geez, we didn’t want to do this, but I guess we have to put in place a public option that, by the way, will be the only option.”

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said: “Health insurance companies’ profits for one year equal about two days of health care spending in the United States. So even if we were to take away all the profits of the so-called greedy insurance companies, that would still leave 363 days a year when health care costs are expanding at a rate our country cannot afford.”

Now that I think about it, it is probably the second scenario that is more likely, that is, force the public option.  Your government is about to swallow up another big chunk of the economy if  we don’t turn them out in November.

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Liberty and Mobility

by Bill O'Connell on June 1, 2009

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Movin' Out

One of the great blessings bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers was federalism. Our federal form of government evolved from the Articles of Confederation, where states had primacy and the national government acted only with the consent of the states.  This proved to be too cumbersome.

In writing the Constitution, the Founders identified very specific roles and responsibilities for the national government and left everything else to the states or the people (see Tenth Amendment).  In doing so it gave the people the power of liberty through mobility.  If you didn’t like the way they did things in Massachusetts, you could move to Virginia.  If the people of Pennsylvania didn’t want a mass migration of people to Georgia, they needed to be careful regarding the laws that they passed so as not to alienate a large block of their constituents.

The War on Federalism

The statist, who loves government and believes government should control every aspect of our lives, hates federalism, because it weakens its control.  So they attack it through the courts.

Here is their standard battle plan.  Let’s the case of Gay Marriage.  Vermont’s legislature approves Gay Marriage.  Whether you are in favor of that or oppose that it shouldn’t affect you if you don’t live in Vermont.  If you are in favor and you live elsewhere, you can move to Vermont.  If you live there and are opposed you can either fight to overturn it in Vermont, or move elsewhere.  That’s the beauty of federalism.  If continued to its logical conclusion, some states would approve it and those in favor would migrate there, and those who are opposed would concentrate in states that would ensure that it would not be adopted in their state.  You could have a raging debate, but your liberty would be preserved through mobility.

However, the statists have a different view of things.  After the law is passed in Vermont by the legislature (as is proper), or made up out of thin air by the court in Massachusetts (judicial activism and improper), some couples who are married in these states move to another state.  By doing so, they should leave their state sanctioned rights behind.  However, what they will typically do when their Vermont sanctioned rights are not honored in, say, Tennessee they will rush to federal court and says their Constitutional rights are being violated.  A court stocked with judicial activists, will find some fig leaf of justification with words like emanations and penumbras, to make a new law of the land and with the stroke of a pen, the liberties of all Americans will be swept away based on the will of the people of Vermont.  You no longer can protect your liberty through mobility.  You cannot go anywhere to live in proximity to like minded people and live the life you believe in.  Mobility is no longer a tool to protect your liberty it is a weapon against you.  People can secure rights elsewhere and use mobility to come to your doorstep and use the courts to force their beliefs on you.

Fierce Fighting

I believe that is why the fighting over these issues become so fierce and acrimonious.  If something is allowed anywhere, it will soon be allowed everywhere, because of an activist judiciary.  Our rhetoric has become more strident, our politics is anything but bipartisan, all because everything is being elevated to the federal level.  States are becoming less and less important.  If you don’t believe it  ask people, who was responsible for the fiasco after hurricane Katrina?  If they say President Bush, ask them to name the mayor of New Orleans or the governor of Louisiana at the time. Bush and the federal government should have been the third line of defense, not the first.  The first should have been the city, then the state and then the federal government.

Back to Federalism

Show me where in the constitution it says the government should own General Motors and Chrysler.  Show me where it says that a tunnel, entirely in the city of Boston should be paid for by the taxpayers of Arizona.  Show me where in the constitution it says education is the responsibility not of local government but the federal government.  It doesn’t.  And until well roll back this juggernaut, our liberties will be crushed little by little, day by day.

This is why it is also important to guard against activist judges getting on the bench or being elevated to higher levels of the court. It is just these activist judges who are taking away your liberty to move away from those who don’t believe what you do and moving toward those you do agree with.  Take note of the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

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