Smile Politely

Chump change you can believe in

Bill Maher has a mission: to disabuse believers of their faith. He wrote a book to convince Americans of our national oil addiction, and its financing of international Islamic terror. He made a movie to demonstrate the ridiculousness of modern American evangelical Christianity, and its similarities to international Islamic terror. (Richard Dawkins’ version was better.)

Now he’s campaigning to get the Democrats’ leadership, and anyone fed up with the GOP’s backwardness, to recognize a simple truth: We won.

This week, Bill Maher began pointing out that Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress have accomplished Change You Can Believe In Like You Believe In The Toothfairy. With both houses of Congress and the White House, the Democrats must recognize their mandate to do things differently. Then, they must do things differently — just like they said they would. The first act should be the long sought after national health care program.

Maher’s thesis is that Obama, Pelosi and Reid must act now while they have the votes. His next point is that it ain’t gonna happen. He cites Obama’s recent speech to the AMA as evidence that it ain’t gonna happen. The AMA is a lobbying organization, he posits. And lobbying is about money.

It makes sense that Maher is speaking up, calling the bluff of an Obama Revolution. Maher was also the first to challenge the Bush Administration, and the nation’s response to September 11th.

After doing his spiel on his own show, Maher took the message to Keith Olbermann’s Countdown.


The reason it has not happened: America is hung up on the middleman. For some reason, our National Discussion is focused on health insurance. But here’s the thing …

Nobody needs health insurance.

Everybody needs health care. I know a lot of doctors who want universal health care. I have two in the family. I’ve never had a conversation with them about universal health insurance, only about universal health care.

The world’s largest bureaucracy has fixed its sights on creating the world’s second largest bureaucracy. Instead, the U.S. should build (or buy) hospitals; hire doctors, nurses, orderlies and janitors to work in them; and hang out a shingle.

We do it already. The VA has 1393 hospitals and clinics already up and running. Every American over 65 is on the National Health already. How far away can universal health care be?


I like capitalism, for better or worse. For example, I don’t like the government propping up General Motors. Let it die.

But I don’t mind socialized medicine, especially if it’s merely in competition with private medicine, and not a government mandated monopoly. The problem with our current socialism is that it’s too coddling of failure. Poor people are paid to have kids they can’t afford. There’s a financial incentive in this country — a direct cash payment — for having children; but only if you can’t afford them.

I often mention the Section 8 house down the block, where the mother once hoped aloud that both she and her teenaged daughter could get pregnant because it would increase the size of their check.

How can government cut off the free money without seeming like cold-hearted dicks?

Easy, change the incentives.

Instead of money, focus on benefits. Give free health care to all people, and then grant benefits to two offspring per couple (yes, gays too). Unlike China, no one will be pressured to abort extra children. They’ll simply have to choose between more children and continued free health coverage. The people who have plenty of money can have more kids, and pay for their own insurance. The people who can’t afford to have kids will have no government-funded incentive to have kids. If they can’t figure out how to prevent pregnancy, the benefits will pass on to kids three and four as the parents learn to go without. Yes, it’s tough love. But given their previous inability to learn, it’s fair.

After reproducing themselves (not far from the 2.1 fertility rate America enjoys now, thanks to all the educated, wealthy folks having zero to one) people can choose to keep going. They’ll just have to make a choice about health care.


The reason GM failed was its benefits burden. $7,000 from each car had to pay pensions and health costs.

During Campaign ’08, when John McCain often plugged Ireland’s economic success. he failed to mention (or comprehend) the reason so many companies sited there recently: They have a shiny new national health service.

International trade negotiations always consider the external and internal costs imposed/alleviated by government subsidies to industry. We should take advantage of the fact that everybody else does it, because we wouldn’t have to negotiate any new terms.

If you are a conservative, be pragmatic. You are paying for public assistance already. You are paying to get that mom and daughter pregnant.

America can’t compete unless we level the playing field. So let’s do it now, while we have the votes.

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