Representative Ryan’s balanced budget

Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal would have balanced the budget by 2040. His 2013 budget proposal would have balanced it by 2023, but it wouldn’t have touched Medicare, Social Security, and would have increased defense spending. To balance the rest in 10 years would have required nearly a 50% cut in other discretionary spending such as – Medicaid and children’s health insurance, food stamps, child tax credit, unemployment assistance, veterans benefits, transportation, education, and medical research. This isn’t a knock on Paul Ryan, but just the arithmetic of what painful cuts or tax increases would be required to balance the budget in the next few decades.

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Socialized defenses

Why is it alright to have socialized defense against external threats (like terrorists and murderers) in the form of police and armed forces, but not alright to have socialized defense against internal threats (like bad organs and microorganisms) in the form of a single payer universal health care? Surely both threats are serious and both threats need to be responded to, proportionate to their severity. And microbes and malfunctioning organs kill and maim far more citizens than human beings. What is the difference between the argument “I don’t want my taxes to pay for that bum’s treatment” and “I don’t want my taxes to wage wars of choice”?

Blame the people, not their representatives

democracy originated in Greece and was adopted by the founding fathers here, but both groups knew the big flaw in this system. ergo, Plato’s philosopher-king and the founding fathers’ electoral college and checks and balances. and the flaw is that people are ignorant, hooked to self-interest, and engulfed by that strong emotion – fear. when a representative institution has an approval rating of 10% but an incumbency rating of 90%, the problem isn’t the institution but the people whom they represent. and the second biggest culprit is the media with this accurate description of what it is doing: “false equivalency – the practice of giving equal media time and space to demonstrably invalid positions for the sake of supposed reportorial balance – is dishonest, pernicious and cowardly.” (Bob Garfield – theguardian.com)

Healthcare insurance

The liberal-left thinks government knows best and is the best vehicle for social progress, ergo the liberal-left wanted a single payer government sponsored health insurance for all. The conservative-right thinks individuals know what is best for them, and individuals also have the responsibility to take care of themselves so the burden doesn’t shift to the state. Ergo, the conservative-right wanted a market-based health insurance where private companies compete for rates and coverage, but it is the responsibility of the individual to take insurance or pay a fee so that in case of emergency, the state doesn’t suffer while paying for the irresponsible individual’s health issues – either through ER visits, disability payments, unemployment payments, and lack of economic productivity of the ill/disabled individual who could not afford treatment. It was a true government knows best vs individual liberty and responsibility. Except today, for a faction of the population, socialism of medicare is untouchable, and mandated private health insurance is socialism.

The perilous path of government shutdown

When two parties run on a single issue in the general election and one party wins the most votes in the presidential, senate, and house elections…you know the people have spoken on the issue. It was true in 2004 about the Iraq War, it was true in 2012 for universal health care (disclaimer: Democrats won the popular vote in the Senate in 2004 and the House in 2012 without winning majority of the seats in either chamber). Opposition to that war was as passionate as the opposition to the affordable care act. But in a constitutional democracy, the only thing that matters is the ballot box, not the decibel level of the opposition. The people supported the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy and rising military power, just like the people supported the candidate campaigning on universal health care for two elections in a row. The people turned against the GOP in 2008 because of mismanagement of the mandate in 2004, just like the people will turn against the Democrats in 2016 if the ACA is disastrous. But the point of a presidential or a parliamentary form of government is that a candidate or a party campaigns on an issue, and is allowed to implement those policies if elected and given a chance to let it work. If a party, person, or a faction cannot accept that and holds a nation hostage, then the precedent set will be the end of representative democracy.