I believe it entirely appropriate that we conservatives criticize little Graeme Frost – an injured boy of just 12 years old – for…well, I’ll think of it in a minute. I know we should be skewering him for something. Maybe we should go after him for getting in front of the car that caused his injuries? How about for not being born with a silver spoon in his mouth? Perhaps we could come down on him for giving a poor performance during his response to the President for vetoing SCHIP?
I know there’s something that we should be hammering the kid for. After all, if liberals accuse conservatives of something, it’s got to be true. They never exaggerate. They never lie. They never twist words or make outrageously stupid analogies.
The problem as far as I can see it is that conservatives must have erased their blog posts in the middle of the night of all the nasty things they’ve written about little Graeme while no lefties were looking because for the life of me, I can’t seem to find a single example from any conservative blog where one negative word has been written about a 12 year old little boy suffering the pain and trauma from an automobile accident. Not one. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
There has, of course, been plenty written about his parents. Even Rush Limbaugh’s accusations of the kid “lying” are not based on anything the child came up with on his own but rather what he was handed to say. Unless the critics are saying the kid wrote that response all by himself, blowhard Limbaugh (whose shtick is really getting rather tiresome) was spot on. The Democratic response, written we are told by Democratic staffers, was full of lies, exaggerations, and distortions of the conservative position on the issue. This is not the fault of Graeme Frost but of the supposed grown ups – including his parents – who used him as a prop and human shield in their propaganda war against the right.
The point is simple and worth repeating; not one single righty blogger that I have read has criticized a 12 year old boy. Despite all the hand wringing, wailing, fake outrage, and deliberate obfuscation of the truth, to charge conservatives with the crime of piling on an injured child is outrageously false and, since the left knows it’s not true, a blatant lie.
It has, however, given liberals the opportunity to stretch their vocabulary of invectives – including this ignorant analogy drawn by the normally intelligent Ezra Klein:
This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he “really” needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.
I’m glad it would never occur to you Ezra because trying to compare a tax cut to an entitlement program is the most stupefyingly idiotic analogy I have ever seen a lefty make. It’s not even worthy of Oliver Willis. It’s not even comparing apples to oranges – more like peaches to elephants.
But Klein’s analogy is instructive. Not of leftist stupidity although you’d be hardpressed to find a more doltish example of liberal witlessness. Rather, it points up very nicely the difference between a liberal and conservative on the reason and function of government.
Klein has no trouble equating a tax cut with an entitlement program because he sees the tax cut as a gift from government. It is government as daddy giving us a boost in our allowance. More prosaically, it is, like SCHIP, just another responsibility of government – in this case, by “giving money back to the people,” consumerism is encouraged.
But tax cuts have nothing to do with government and everything to do with personal property. That money is the taxpayer’s. It is already in his pocket. A tax cut is nothing more than a law preventing the government from reaching into the taxpayer’s pocket and taking away his property. It is not a gift or a favor or even a responsibility of government. A tax cut has everything to do with expanding personal liberty and nothing whatsoever to do with government being nice to taxpayers.
This simple, basic, liberty loving concept has been forgotten by liberals like Klein who see tax cuts as part of a government “plan” for the economy hence, monies that the government will forgo collecting in order to modify or encourage some kind of economic activity. In short, the money “given back” to taxpayers is really the government’s money to begin with, theirs to do with as they see fit.
To not see how that concept turns the idea of freedom on its head reveals a moral blindness that makes it easy to posit that all property is subject to government approval and control. It justifies eminent domain and host of other egregious threats to human liberty that used to be a concern of liberals but is now seen as an impediment to government management of most every facet of people’s lives.
The struggle here is not over little Graeme Frost who no one has criticized or smeared. The ideological battle over “need” and “want” is what is at issue. Of course the middle class wants SCHIP. Why not? It’s free, isn’t it? But no one is asking if there is a better way to insure those who don’t make a million dollars a year. No one is asking if this expansion of federal largess at the expense of other taxpayers is a good thing or not – certainly no one has queried those taxpayers who are going to foot the bill for families like the Frosts whose situation, while complicated, is not desperate or hopeless where no one would begrudge them the benefit.
But if the left can’t see this fundamental issue as one of taxpayer fairness I don’t hold out much hope for entitlement reform and indeed, see a wild expansion of government programs in the future that would benefit families who aren’t needy but simply don’t want to make the sacrifices other families willingly make in order to get insurance, or send their kids to college, or go on a European vacation for that matter – something I have no doubt the left would use government to subsidize if they thought they could get away with it.
The whole problem with SCHIP and other entitlements is that we have confused “need” and “want” to the point that there is no longer any difference between the two. It is the difference between freedom and capitalism and dependence and socialism. As each incremental increase in government’s ability to make decisions for us becomes law, a corresponding loss of freedom occurs – freedom to make our own decisions about family and our futures. SCHIP does not represent much of a loss as far as our freedom is concerned. Perhaps technically none at all. We simply abrogate responsibility for supplying health care to our loved ones and place the burden on our neighbors.
Compassion has nothing to do with this issue. If it did, liberals would emote just as histrionically for taxpayers. Instead, they obscure the entire issue by hiding behind the problems of a middle class family who have clearly made choices that their neighbors may or may not have made if they were in a similar position. And because of those choices, those same neighbors are footing their health insurance bill.
If it is a socialist state (European model) that is sought by the left, why don’t they come out of the closet and proudly proclaim it to the rest of the country? If not just the needy are to be taken care of by government but also anyone and everyone who has their hand out, why not take your case to the people and run on it?
It won’t happen, of course. And liberals will keep playing Santa Claus while painting conservatives as Scrooge. Damned effective politics, that. Whether it’s the right thing to do as far as maintaining our liberties is concerned just never seems to enter into the discussion. And I have no doubt, we will rue the day that we stopped weighing the consequences of what we give up in freedom for what we gain when abrogating our responsibilities to live as independent, self reliant people.
Two additional posts I believe are well worth reading.
First Michelle Malkin’s thoughts – especially in her syndicated column – touch on some of the themes I’ve written about above.
Appropos of stupid analogies, some idiot published her personal information on their website. I guess the thinking was since she “stalked” the Frosts, someone should do it to her.
I thought that Ezra Klein’s jaw droppingly stupid analogy above was pretty dumb. But whoever pulled that crap is beyond stupid and enters the world of metaphysical mindlessness.
Also, Dan Reihl’s piece from yesterday reflects much of my thinking as well.
I don’t agree with everything either blogger has written in those posts nor do I necessarily subscribe to the tone of their criticism of the Frosts. But that’s a matter of taste. I agree with the idea that the Frosts entered the political fray of their own volition. Ignorance of what might happen to them as far as criticism of the choices they have made is not an excuse.
The Democrats hoped that using the family as I say above as a “human shield” would not only mute criticism of their tactics but also give them a nice juicy opening if anyone had the temerity to criticize the Frosts. In this, they have well and truly succeeded in scoring points against their critics. As I said, damn smart politics.
But I’m not going to sit here and be accused of “smearing” a family when the Democrats believe it is perfectly legitimate political discourse to use the Frosts as a poster family for what is good about SCHIP while not allowing me to use them in the exact same political context to show what is wrong with the program.
Reader DC Lemmon points out that SCHIP is not an entitlement but is funded through a block grant to the tstates. My bad. Doesn’t let Klein off the hook for his poor analogy, of course.
This part was precious:
And this doesn’t even address the most insidious thing about this whole
story…..the need to attack this kid. You and your ilk are low life scum for
perpetuating this trash. You should be ashamed, but you’d have to have a
conscience, so I know that’s not an option.
I suggested the gentleman attend a remedial reading course at his local JC. Poor reading comprehension seems to be an epedemic in lefty circles these days.
UPDATE III: CORRECTIONS
Here’s an email I received from Marc Marton who is Communications Director for a children’s advocacy group in Georgia. regarding some specifics about the SCHIP program that I neglected to mention as well as some corrections and misstatements I made about the program:
Not only is SCHIP not an entitlement, it requires enrollees to pay a monthly
Opponents of SCHIP, including President Bush, have been mischaracterizing the expansion initiativewith blatant falsehoods. It’s not socialized medicine because most, if not all the each state implementation of the SCHIP program use private insurance companies to manage them. That’s also why most insurance companies support SCHIP.
Families with incomes over $80K are not eligible for SCHIP. That figure was a waiver request from New York to cover families at 400 percent over FPL and was denied.
SCHIP was also not designed to cover children from families who are necessarily poor. Medicaid cover them. SCHIP was intended for working families.
The “crowd out” argument that says parents with access to private insurance will bypass that for better, cheaper SCHIP is also overblown. The vast majority of uninsured children don’t have that luxury.
You can point fingers at Democrats and the lunatic left all you like, but the Republicans and ridiculous right are just as guilty of spreading false information and sliming others.
Mr. Marton makes some good points and I thank him for his corrections.
However, SCHIP is being used not just to insure “children:”
According to the statesâ€™ budget projections, 13 will spend more than 44 percent of their SCHIP funds in 2008 on people who are neither children nor pregnant women.
Michigan tops the list with 71.6 percent of its SCHIP money earmarked for adults who have no kids. In New Mexico, 52.3 percent of the stateâ€™s SCHIP dollars will be spent on childless adults.
Source: Department of Health and Human Services/CMS Data
And Mr. Marton may accuse Republicans and conservatives of “misrepresenting” many of the facts surrounding the Democrat’s planned expansion of the program, but what does he think about the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office?
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 50 percent of the upper-income enrollees added to SCHIP under the Democratsâ€™ proposal currently have private health insurance but will drop their current health insurance coverage and shift these costs to the taxpayers.
And what about waiving the requirement that enrollees must prove they’re citizens?
H.R. 976 says that simply writing down a Social Security number is good enough to prove you are a citizen, although the commissioner of the Social Security Administration says emphatically that Social Security numbers are laughable as proof of citizenship because thousands are issued every year to non-citizens. Moreover, the Democratsâ€™ SCHIP bill doesnâ€™t even require that an applicant flash an ID to demonstrate that he or she could be the actual owner of the number.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that erasing the mechanism that reserves welfare for Americans instead of illegal aliens will cost U.S. taxpayers an extra $3.7 billion in federal spending and $2.8 billion in added state spending.
Again, I thank Mr. Marton for pointing out my errors (especially the fact that enrollees pay a premium – something of which I was totally unaware). But there is plenty in this bill to dislike not the least of which it seeks a top down government solution to a problem that should be addressed – along with all other Americans who are unable to afford coverage if they desire it – by reforming many aspects of the insurance and health care industry in order to bring premiums down to a level most Americans (and American employers) can afford.