Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scott Brown Takes the Kennedy Seat

I am truly surprised. I never thought that a conservative could take such a liberal stronghold as Massachusetts, long dominated by the corrupt Kennedy clan.

Amazingly, this is what it will take to kill the President's health care agenda. I hear the mournful bells tolling now. And in some ways, it's a pity. I think we need national health care, but we don't need the Frankenstein's monster that Congress cooked up.

Apparently Brown's daughter is a former contestant from American Idol. I'm not familiar with his campaign race, nor am I familiar with his daughter. But I am led to wonder: Is this just another faddish election, like the election for Obama was? Or did people truly vote for Brown due to his principles?

Only time will tell.


Ed said...

As an Iowan looking in from the outside, I suspect the voters largely voted for Brown because he tapped in to their frustrations and anxieties while his opponent seemed business as usual. I also think a significant part of the vote was a referendum on health care.

On a related note, independent voters have once again swayed an election which they have been doing since the 2006 elections by voting for change. When are we going to be catered too?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ed, So very true. We independents are a very neglected lot. And I am SO TIRED of hearing Republicans whine that we all need to fall in line or else...

Gary Baker said...

As one who has lived under a government health care system, I don't think we need one, if for no other reason that we could get the smallest, best, most reasonable government run system in the world and Congress would never stop tinkering with it to buy more votes. I don't want the government to have that kind of power over my life. I certainly don't want them to have it over the country.

daveawayfromhome said...

Gary, as far as I can tell, you dont want the goverment to have any power over you.

As for a "referendum" on health care, yeah, it may have been that, but not perhaps like Republicans would like to paint it. Health care is a popular idea among people who actually like the idea of having a government, but many of those people do not like this "Frankenstein's monster" (as you so rightly put it) of a bill because it's less about health care than it is about Insurance Company Care (and, man, are the benefits great!)(for them, that is).
As for why Brown won in Massachusetts? Health care may well have had a hand (how many left-leaning voters stayed home out of unhappiness with leftward progress in Congress?), but it could just as easily have been that Brown was prettier than his opponent. Or maybe Coakley isnt as popular at home as the national media would have us think.
Regardless, he still is only one vote out of 101, and unless he intends to whore himself out in a manner similar to Joe Lieberman, he's not going to have all that much influence. This may have been a Democratic defeat, but it's only a Republican victory in a symbolic sense.

Gary Baker said...


For thirteen years, I was a member of the US Navy, giving the government incredible power over me. It was by my choice and the agreement benefited both of us. They got service. I got training. But the experience helped to make me keenly aware of what the government can and cannot do well.

Is health care popular with a lot of people? Yeah, that's what I hear. When you start robbing Peter to pay Paul, the saying goes that you can generally count on support from Paul. Right now, just under 50% of the country pays no federal income tax. With the help of Democrats, they've pretty much swallowed the lie that they can keep getting more services while sticking others with the bill. It's a great life unless you actually want to better yourself and your family. It also leads to a prideless, whiny entitlement mentality that destroys the spirit and the nation.

Gary Baker said...


A question for you: Government schools were not always rule. Originally they were started to help teach people read the Bible and closely associated with the church. Later, parents arranged for hiring teachers, and eventually the government made it compulsory. At that point, "the public option" for education came about and crowded out all the other options to a great extent. Now, public education is in such bad shape that parents are pressing hard against states and unions for school choice in one form or another. Which leads to the question:

Public services are generally inferior to private ones and cost more (at least the ones who are paying the bill). They are slow to reform, if ever, and generally increase in cost well beyond for profit businesses. Given all of that, why would you want the government involved in your health care?

daveawayfromhome said...

Regarding privatization: I've yet to see a privatized anything that actually saved money. Frequently, the opposite is true. Like tax collecting once was (before tax collectors became civil service), privatization is just another form of political patronage. There is no savings, only profit at the tax-payer's expense.
I often wonder what this country might be like if Republicans put the energy they spend trying not to pay taxes into making sure that their tax dollars were instead spent wisely, for the benefit of the whole nation rather than for a select few. Education, infrastructure, and yes, health care, would benefit the nation as a whole, far more than things like crop subsidies to multinational produce companies do.
As for your claim that 50% of Americans pay no income tax, I wont dispute that. However, I think you'll find that those people still pay at least the same proportion of their income in taxes (or fees) of some form as you yourself do. The real villians in the tax avoidance schemes are the very rich, who, proportionally, pay far less taxes than you or I do, especially those whose incomes come exclusively from stock market investments (otherwise known as "gambling").

Gary Baker said...


"Regarding privatization: I've yet to see a privatized anything that actually saved money."

You really should open your eyes, then.

The school system is a great example. Though they give the illusion of being low cost because they are tax subsidized, they are often more expensive than private schools and perform worse. Most of the charter schools, though still public, are free from a great deal of government bureaucracy, often get about 75% of the operating funds, and outperform public schools.

Charity is a huge example. Roughly 70 percent of each tax dollar that goes to "help the poor" is gobbled up through government bureaucracy. A private charity with that kind of rating would likely fail, and deservedly so.

Add to that, surveys now show that government employees average higher salaries than their private sector counterparts, yet when they are found to be poor workers, they are almost impossible to fire due to government unions.

Government retirement (social security) pays about 2% interest on the amount paid in, really has no guaranteed benefit since congress can change the rules and the court has ruled that you "have no right" to social security.

Probably the worst part about government services is that tax payers have to support them no matter how bad they are. And considering the protections they get, they have little incentive to work well.

We sort of agree on the crop subsidies. Get rid of them. Get rid of just about any subside really.

You and I have different definitions of villains. What you call "gambling" in the stock market, I call "investment." Is there a chance that you will lose? Yep. But the money that goes in with the idea of making money for the investor pays for new business startups (jobs) and existing business expansion (more jobs). For the people that invest in winners, they accrue wealth that will go into banks and become loans (for houses, businesses, durable goods, jobs, jobs, jobs!)

On the other hand, every new employee the government hires becomes a debt that takes four or more private sector tax payers to support.

You attitude screams of wealth envy. Why not stop blaming the successful and take actions that will help you join their ranks? It's better for you and the nation.

daveawayfromhome said...

1."But the money that goes in with the idea of making money for the investor pays for new business startups (jobs) and existing business expansion (more jobs)."

An IPO is the only time that your "investment" goes into a company. Everything else gambling, and nothing but. Once a stock is sold initially, the company never sees another dime of that money, for job creation or any other purpose.

2. "Wealth Envy"? I dont begrudge anyone any money that they earned, but I'd love an explaination for how a CEO earns 100 to 1000 times the pay of the people doing the actual work.
Management pay is much like Congressional pay, the amount of their salaray is determined by the same people who are recieving the salary.
Quite often, these raises are a "reward" for cutting costs to the company. What costs? Why, the costs of the workers, the people doing the actual work that earns the company money.
Unfortunately, there's always someone else willing to work in a factory, but for some reason, there's no one willing to be the CEO of a large company for only 20 to 50 times the pay of the average worker... Oh, except in Japan, and maybe Germany, and other European countries.
Oh, but surely the "shortage" of "qualified" personel in the Finance and Management sectors is simply due to a lack of talent, not because those two groups are basically country clubs where membership is determined by those already at the lofty heights, so that the supply for the demand is carefully controlled.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Scott Brown's daughter is not the only one who has performed in public. Scott Brown himself (just as he was getting out of college) was one of the first Playgirl (or Cosmo, I forget) centerfolds.

Gary Baker said...


"Once a stock is sold initially, the company never sees another dime of that money, for job creation or any other purpose."


"I dont begrudge anyone any money that they earned,"

And like most people with wealth envy, you feel that you are a qualified judge of what people should earn, what taxes they should pay, etc. I have a feeling that if someone came in, observed you, and adjusted your pay based on what they said, you might find that objectionable. And you would be correct. You have a right to the salary you negotiated at the time of employment without outside or government interference. Future adjustments should stay between you and your employer, and let your performance be a measure of your worth. Assuming you can live on that...

Gary Baker said...


Here's an idea for you: If you really want to go after organizations that are abusing pay systems, go after unions for teachers and government workers. Their life blood depends on separating how much or how well a person works from how much they make. Thanks to them, there are literally thousands of teachers in California drawing full salary for doing nothing because they have been judged to dangerous to let in the classroom but the union has made them too hard to fire. In the same state, government union contracts have or are bankrupting cities because of the clout they have. The automotive unions destroyed Detroit by pushing the price of labor beyond the competitive level and then abandoned the town when it predictably crashed. If you are really looking for villains, you need look no further than the nearest union hall.