Friday, August 14, 2009

One graph to rue them all

The following is a personal perspective paper of The Jacksonian Party.

I had started thinking on what the current environment of the population would mean for the elections in 2010, what with the vehemence that is being shown against House and Senate members and that so many of them are of the Incumbistani Party, which holds its head up high inside the DC Beltway and disdains the vassal State of Electistan that they really don't wish to represent but must as that is their 'duty'. The Emirs of Incumbistan are very, very cozy in their relationship with their respective parties, both of which have worked very hard to make it impossible for a new party to form on even a State to State basis, not to speak of a National basis.

As the Incumbistani do have to stand for re-election from time to time, although often in 'safe' districts that their parties have gerrymandered into existence to protect those 'safe' seats, most of that is a rubber stamp affair with those backers who get goodies from the Incumbistani government wanting to show up to continue the goody stream, while those not getting goodies feel that they are left out and, soon, unrepresented by their 'Representative' who has the vested interest of those who gain from his or her votes to get goodies to them as a higher principle than the rest of the plebians there.

From memory I had dredged up that this was a modern symptom due solely to the changes of the 'Progressive' era. Thus I dredged through my posts and found the lovely graph of the problem, itself:


And there they are!

My initial feeling was that it had been a long time since there was even a 30% turnover in Congress, and I was right. The last times that happened in the post-'Progressive' era were: 1904, 1912-1916, 1922, 1934. As the top graph's red line is percentage, the startling artifact is that all Congresses prior to 1902 had never REACHED a 70% return rate. That era of 1896 to 1902 was the one-way 'ratchet' to modern Incumbistani politics, in which America went from 'throwing the bums out' on a continual basis to 'throwing the bums back in' on a continual basis. That percentage shift is as clear as night and day where the left half never reaches up to 70% turnover and the right half rarely reaches below 70%.

That increase that temporarily went outside all historic bounds up to that point changed the political landscape of the United States in ways I have gone over before: the Senate became a directly elected body and no longer represented Statehouses in the federal government, taxation was allowed to be directly and disproportionately levied upon all the people so that the federal government could discriminate who paid how much which was previously left to the States to do, the House capped its size outside of the proportionate powers given to it in the Constitution, and the federal government got the notion that it could restrict the use of medications and criminalize them and arrest doctors for the distribution of them.

The after-effects are astounding to contemplate, in that the government changed from being the protector and care-taker of the Nation to being the dominant player in the Nation, politically. Washington, DC went from a sleepy town to a metropolitan capitol with powers resident in it that none of the signers of the Constitution could imagine, although many of the Anti-Federalists could and did imagine them and stated them quite clearly. We went from the politics of the knock-down, drag-out fights of local concern to ones of huge party machines saying to the States just how a party could form and get on the ballot in each and every State. And when a new party could manage to gasp some air, the rules were changed, yet again to deprive them of air supply. Having come from a family that supported a third party that was once on the State ballot and then lost that due to political changes from the two major parties, I can say that with confidence and the party, itself, reported this happening in more than one State. Even if you don't like socialists, their right to be on the ballot with a party should not be DENIED by any political system.

That change-over would see the federal budget go from modest means, and barely able to support a foreign war in the Philippines, to a massive, government involved complex that would support the last standing million man army in Europe after WWI and be the key part of defeating three of the most dictatorial governments in WWII and defeat the last one in the Cold War. The expense of that was and is astronomical, to gain the most powerful and robust fighting force the planet has ever seen not just once, but multiple times: WWI, WWII, Cold War with Conscription, Cold War without Conscription, and the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately that power went far beyond just defending the Nation and has put in places schemes now causing the government and the Nation to go insolvent in trying to 'help' retirees, the sick, elderly, home owners... each of these places of intervention have drained money from our economy, concentrated power into government at the highest level, and now leave the people at the mercy of the Emirs of Incumbistan who feel that a bureaucracy can actually 'fix' health care while the bureaucracy is the PROBLEM in health care.

NOT conniving pharmaceuticals who now sign on with money and influence to get a bill THEY like.

NOT big retail chains who sign on to the concept so they can make the cost of becoming big insurmountable by PURCHASING political support.

NOT by overseas oil companies that seem to make the same 8% profit no matter where the market is because they have to cope with a fast paced and changing marketplace that has booms and busts thus making the ability to keep experienced hands on the payroll very difficult.

NOT the doctors who now spend as much money and time for staff to fill out paperwork FOR insurance companies as they do in TREATMENT of the ill.

NOT in insurance companies who do make a profit so they can expand coverage and pay back those that invest in them with dividends (and just why don't folks pick up mutual funds that invest in them to get some of THAT money back?).

No, there is a source of these problems and they don't start in 2004, 1992, 1986, 1978, 1966, or even 1948. They start in 1942 when the system was SUBSIDIZED to convince those who were retiring due to Social Security to stay at work: it was a non-cash benefit that wasn't taxed. That's right we subsidized the retirement and then had to subsidize convincing folks to COME BACK TO WORK. Social Security you can trace back to 1934-36, right after that last big turnover in Congress of 70%.

When the President cites 'history' of how we pay for health care,he isn't going back into deep and ancient history, not back to the Founding, not back to the Reconstruction, not back to the Progressive era, nor even back to the Roaring 20s (and damn I would love to have a Chicago Typewriter!). Nope, it is recent history within the living memory of our parents and grandparents! Only to the Baby Boom and post-Boomer generations is this 'history' in that it pre-existed them.

This 'problem' starts WITH government trying to do 'good' and having it backfire on them because they paid ZERO attention to changing demographics for life expectancy when they signed the bill into law back in the '30s. The US Census had that information THEN, BTW.

Even worse is that prior to the 1940's there was no problem in health care AT ALL.


The 'problem' comes when you subsidize insurance and get the problem of subsidies.

European Nations went one step further and made their systems 'universal' for State run coverage and got the Tragedy of the Commons.

Prior to the post-WWII era the US had universal coverage. They got it through charitable hospitals and doctors. Local physicians who did FREE work for the poor and less well off. Pharmacists who could give price breaks to long standing customers. And because the multiple immigrant communities had their own ideas about 'health care' they also went to barbers, butchers and other tradesmen who had a dab hand at injuries and setting bones as they had been doing that for decades as part of their trade. Not as doctors, but being a doctor wasn't all it was cracked up to be and is still more of an 'art' than a 'science'. Which is why doctors 'practice' at it. In case you missed what those things doctors set up are called.

To get to that era of 'change' in the 1930's you needed an entrenched elite class in DC.

That started in the 'Progressive' movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

It was a light switch going from government doing very little and people exercising full liberty to government taking control in people's lives and restricting liberty.

You want medical marijuana? The 'Progressives', those lovely moralists, took that right from you as they did with all medications by demonizing the worst practices with them. The would NOT allow merely telling the people of the Nation what was in their foods and medicines to be enough... yet in the few years of that the people started to move from snake oil and to better prepared foods and medications... no the idea of restricting your liberty due to the abuses of a very few was the idea across the board.

There were problems with many of those medications, yes.

Restricting the liberty of the people and throwing them in jail for the abuse of those medications was not and is not an answer. Unfortunately church groups of that era didn't want to get that involved on a personal level but wanted government to just outlaw the stuff on moral grounds. Yes get government to do your dirty work for you, and forget that YOU are the one with the moral imperative from the Creator.

Before that era there were NO national restrictions on what you could take and a damned good thing that was because many of the Civil War vets were addicted to morphine due to war injuries and nothing, then or when the restrictions went into place, would solve their pain problems. Yes to do a moral 'good' those surviving veterans were made to SUFFER.

Just like the modern Left wants to do with 'The Greatest Generation' by health care 'reform'.

You know, the folks who went overseas to kill Fascists, Nazis and Imperialists?

Gotta love how they are being called Fascists by those too young to know what Fascism is as they begin to practice it.

That all starts with that light-switch in the Congress.

Things were not all smooth and sweetcakes before it, but it sure as hell beats being berated for what you eat by food Nazis, that's for damned sure. The abuses, even the very worst of them, were never amenable to governmental power in a land where liberty is the highest value for all citizens.

Of course if you don't give a damn about liberty and love authority, then you love the modern era, no end.

Tyrants, authoritarians, despots and dictators always love power and the fellow travelers looking to give it to them.

Perhaps, just perhaps, liberty is not dead in America.

We shall see if the authoritarians, who always say they will win and that you shouldn't resist... we shall see if they are right, and we are supine sheep for the fleecing and slaughter of the lambs... or if we are a free people willing to suffer the problems of liberty so that we can use our liberty to address those same problems without the help of government.

Because that is what We say as We the People.

Soon we will learn if we should have listened to the Anti-Federalists just a bit more, and paid less attention to the erudite supporters of a system that had the readily seen problems in it that we now see manifesting themselves today.

That choice rests in you.

Do your trust a bureaucrat more than yourself?

If you don't, then just when do you say: enough is enough?

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