People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Santa Claus Will Bill You Later

It's probably a good point in time, since all the contenders for the Democratic nomination for the presidency are falling over one another trying to come up with the most universal universal health care plan, for us to come back down to earth and assess the cost of such foolishness.

What they're proposing may be approaching "universal," but it is going to come with a universally expensive price tag too. Just ask the folks up in Wisconsin:
Cheese Headcases
Wisconsin reveals the cost of "universal" health care.
The Wall Street Journal

When Louis Brandeis praised the 50 states as "laboratories of democracy," he didn't claim that every policy experiment would work. So we hope the eyes of America will turn to Wisconsin, and the effort by Madison Democrats to make that "progressive" state a Petri dish for government-run health care.

This exercise is especially instructive, because it reveals where the "single-payer," universal coverage folks end up. Democrats who run the Wisconsin Senate have dropped the Washington pretense of incremental health-care reform and moved directly to passing a plan to insure every resident under the age of 65 in the state. And, wow, is "free" health care expensive. The plan would cost an estimated $15.2 billion, or $3 billion more than the state currently collects in all income, sales and corporate income taxes. It represents an average of $510 a month in higher taxes for every Wisconsin worker. (link)
Before I suggest that these people have lost their collective minds, I should mention the fact that the state of Wisconsin is controlled by a Democrat governor.

But lost their freaking minds he and they have. $510 a month per worker. And that's just for starters. The cost will most assuredly skyrocket from there.

Those of you who think health care comes from Santa Claus should wise up. Nothing in life is free, regardless what all these Democrats want you to believe. You demand a comprehensive - and free - plan? Prepare to take out a second mortgage.

You'd Think It Was 'The Chesapeake Bay' Bill

First there was the impassioned plea that appeared in the Roanoke Times from a Washington lobbyist in support of the federal government's Chesapeake Bay clean-up effort.

Now this:
Farm Bill can help the bay
Del. John A. Cosgrove, writing in The Roanoke Times

On July 6, Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, released a draft of provisions for the 2007 Farm Bill.

Although much debate remains, this draft represents a significant amount of effort on the part of committee leaders from the Chesapeake region ...

As the farm bill debate proceeds in Congress, we encourage our region's congressional delegation to continue with the progress we have made. (link)
Uh, back it up a few sentences. This is a farm bill, right?

It is. And, if it's anything like the last one, it's going to be an eye-popping waste of taxpayer money. Not because it will provide funds for bay clean-up but because it will provide for what columnist George Will calls "corporate welfare." Not to mention manna to America's wealthiest farmers.

The last "farm bill" cost American taxpayers a quarter of a trillion dollars. And that was a short five years ago. This one may well break the bank (if the bank wasn't in charge of printing new currency when needed and sending the bill to our grandchildren).

You want a Chesapeake Bay Bill? Write one.

But this monster needs to die.

Mason, Who's Screwing Up Your Reports?

Here's an eye-catching headline in the Roanoke Times this morning:

Kaine defends funding transportation with fees

The headline, though provocative, has nothing to do - nothing - with the article written by Times reporter Mason Adams, one of the finest newsmen in the commonwealth. If anything, it's about Senator Brandon Bell calling for a special session of the Virginia legislature to revisit the "traffic fees to fund transportation" initiative.

It's not until the last sentence in the article that a related quote appears, and it's not from Kaine but from his spokesman:

"Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall reaffirmed ..., saying the governor agrees with House Speaker Bill Howell and other legislative leaders that 'there is no need for a special session.'"

Did the news editor at the Times get laid off with everyone else?

When 'Prevailing Wages' Don't Count

Lost in the furor and commotion engendered in the recent immigration bill debate was a provision demanding that employers "pay temporary guest workers the prevailing competitive wage," rather than allowing simple competitive wages, the way capitalism is supposed to work. (you can read up on it here)

A definition is in order:

Prevailing wage laws require that workers on certain public construction projects be paid a specified minimum wage (typically termed in those laws the “prevailing wage”). Depending on the state, the wage rates used may be taken from local collective bargaining agreements or may be the result of calculations to determine what wage rates are “prevailing” in a given community. (source)

That "local collective bargaining agreements" clause, in layman's terms, means union contracts. America's unions push for municipalities and major employers to be be forced to pay prevailing wages to all employees in order to make the alternative - competitive wages - impossible.

They push the mandate, that is, until they are paying the wages. Ya gottal love these guys:
Outsourcing the Picket Line
Carpenters Union Hires Homeless to Stage Protests
By Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post Staff Writer

The picketers marching in a circle in front of a downtown Washington office building chanting about low wages do not seem fully focused on their message.

Many have arrived with large suitcases or bags holding their belongings, which they keep in sight. Several are smoking cigarettes. One works a crossword puzzle. Another bangs a tambourine, while several drum on large white buckets. Some of the men walking the line call out to passing women, "Hey, baby." A few picketers gyrate and dance while chanting: "What do we want? Fair wages. When do we want them? Now."

Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members.

They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. (link)
Wouldn't it be rich if the mayor of Washington D.C. declared $8.00 an hour to be the prevailing wage in his city, and based his pronouncement on the prevailing wage established by the carpenters union?

Of course, the D.C. mayor is a Democrat. So that'll never happen.

Still, one can dream ...

A Nation Braces And Turns Into The Wind

I've had this feeling that attitudes have been shifting of late. A change in mind-set. Whether it has to do with the anti-war anti-American Democrats' antics in Washington or with a realization - a sobering - that there are implications to our pulling out of Iraq that we are only now forcing ourselves to come to grips with. To leave the battlefield is to retreat. To retreat is to lose. To lose is to bring suffering and death - repeatedly - horrifically - to our shores, the likes of which we haven't seen since September, 2001.

It was detected in the diminished noise coming from the left. The muted rants emanating from the "get-out-now" crowd. Hillary. Pretty Boy. Murtha. Sheehan.

And now it's reflected in recent polls:

Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows
By Megan Thee, The New York Times

Americans’ support for the initial invasion of Iraq has risen somewhat as the White House has continued to ask the public to reserve judgment about the war until at least the fall. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted over the weekend, 42 percent of Americans said that looking back, taking military action in Iraq was the right thing to do, while 51 percent said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq.

But two-thirds of those polled said the United States should reduce its forces in Iraq, or remove them altogether. Support for the invasion had been at an all-time low in May, when only 35 percent of Americans said the invasion of Iraq was the right thing and 61 percent said the United States should have stayed out. The latest poll made clear that a two-thirds majority of Americans continue to say the war is going badly.

However, the number of people who say the war is going “very badly” has fallen from 45 percent earlier in July to a current reading of 35 percent, and of those who say it is going well, 29 percent now describe it as “somewhat well” compared with 23 percent just last week. (link)
Hardly to be considered widespread enthusiasm. But a sign that a change in attitude is in the making.

Here's a chart showing how Americans have viewed the progress of the war over the last 40 months:

A perceptible upturn has occurred. Particularly noticeable among Democrats.

We have a long way to go, but the American people are coming around. They are once again reflecting on the broader import. On our place in the world. The fact that this war transcends Middle East boundaries. That the enemy is still intent on slaughtering us all. And that we must refuse to be victims, or we'll most assuredly be victims. There is no alternative. We know that.

To victory.

Chart courtesy of the New York Times.