Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

We need more democracy and less republic

The biggest thing wrong with our government is that we’re voting for people rather than issues. This made sense back in the old days because when our country was first founded, it was small enough that you likely knew your representative or at least his or her reputation. Communities tended to be more homogeneous since people tend to group with like-minded individuals. There was also the consideration that it was just plain hard to find out what everybody wanted. You almost had to vote for a representative because distance and travel time made it too hard to poll people’s opinions.

These days, corporations and special interests are leading politicians around by the nose since the goal of politicians is not to do what’s best for their constituents, but to get re-elected and/or retire and become a lobbyist. In the days of the Internet, it makes far more sense to poll people and get their opinion on the actual issues. We might also vote on who should be in charge of working out the details and writing the final bill, but the election should be entirely funded and run by the government, not the people/”entities” with the deepest pockets.

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Listen to what is Said

After watching the debate, as always what stands out in my mind isn’t the policies themselves but the way people hear what is said, apply their own fears, selectively filter other information, and regurgitate it to make it totally different.  I also notice that neither candidate’s plan is correct – the correct answer either lies in the middle, or is addressed by neither.

I admit I may be biased myself, but I find Obama to be the victim of this phenomenon more often than McCain.  An example:

Health Care:  Obama said he wanted to let you keep and reduce the cost of employer-based health care, but if your employer doesn’t offer health care or you don’t like the offered plan, you have the option of enrolling in the government’s plan.  He also wants to introduce mandates that exclude small businesses, but ensure that those that can afford health care plans actually spend the money to get them.

Through filters and fears, this somehow equates to government-run health care.  This simply isn’t true.  What this actually means is reduced cost of health care.  At least on the surface.  The real problems that I notice with his plan are pre-existing conditions and the failure to address the real reason for the high cost of medical care.

I’m not sure on the details with the mandates against exclusion for pre-existing conditions (I advise you to look into them yourself).  If by this, he means that the insurance company must cover your medical needs even if you had the condition before you were covered (though you were likely unaware of the issue), then I agree.  If he’s saying that you must give insurance to someone even though they have a pre-existing (and costly) condition that you do know of, then I have mixed feelings.

The problem with known pre-existing conditions is that the cost of treatment will undoubtably be more than the cost of the insurance – the whole reason it’s called insurance is that it’s something of a gamble.  For most people the cost of the insurance will be much less than the cost the insurance company pays.  This is actually necessary because those that do need insurance will need more than they put in.  Money goes into a pool and is paid out as necessary.  It absolutly should be prevented that an insurance company cut you off if you actually do start needing your insurance.  You’re paying for the assurance of health care coverage, you should get what you paid for.  You “won” the gambit, though you probably don’t see it that way.

The real reason for the high cost of health care however, is the frivolous lawsuits.  I’m not talking about criminal negligence, though I do think that the amount awarded is typically far too high, I’m talking about the cases of honest mistakes.  If a doctor makes an honest mistake or unintentionally misses something, I don’t think a lawsuit is right.  Since your chances if you didn’t go to a doctor were 0%, I don’t see how you can hold a doctor responsible for a mistake.  Again, in cases of real negligence, it’s different.

While on the topic of frivolous lawsuits, that’s a big economic issue too.  One of the reasons everything costs so much is because everyone keeps suing everyone else for ridiculous things.  Judges need to throw these things out at the start before the defendent spends loads of money on lawyers or settles to avoid the cost of a trial.  If people weren’t awarded for stupid lawsuits, they’d stop spending the money on starting them.

VP Debate

I just watched the vice presidential debate on my TiVo.  I don’t think Palin did as bad as I expected, but I’m just shocked at the after-debate commentary I heard on NBC where they were praising her.  She didn’t say anything!  Any time she was asked a tough question she “turned on the charm” and avoided it.

Speaking of the charm, the analysts all praised her for looking at the camara (where else is she gonna look…), smiling, and using her “by gollys” and “you betchas”.  Personally, I think she came off as slightly fake and rather than being endeared, it just helped remind me how she does not seem presidential – she seems like another bush.  I didn’t get a feeling of respect.  I didn’t see someone that inspires confidence.  I saw the image that she wanted people to see of an everyday, middle-class, mother, and I really have nothing against middle-class mothers, but is that really someone that should lead the country?  A president needs to be in touch with the people in the country of course, but he/she also needs to be someone that commands respect and can see issues on a national level, and I didn’t get that from her at all.

Even though I don’t agree with everything he says or all his policies, I do plan on voting for Obama and I think Biden did a good job.  I honestly don’t know much about him, but he seemed to be on the ball and I think he actually answered most, if not all of the questions asked of him.  He made valid points, poked a number of holes in the opposition, and reasonably defended against the accusations.  I also agreed with most of the points he made and Palin didn’t have a good response to the holes he poked in the McCain plan and McCain’s record.

Biden and Obama were criticized by Palin for looking too much at Bush’s career rather than “looking at the future”, but the whole point was showing how similar McCain’s policies are to Bush’s.  We don’t want the same policies.  We need change.  I’m not saying that Obama’s change is necessarily the change we need, but we can’t have more of the same.

The biggest issue discussed for me was energy.  McCain and the Republican party in general criticize Obama and Biden for voting against domestic drilling and some other methods of getting independence from foreign oil, but it irks me to no end because Obama and Biden do support independence from foreign oil – they just support it the right way via alternative, renewable energy rather than looking for oil in environmentally protected areas.  The only way to truly break dependance on foreign oil is to get away from fossil fuels entirely.  We need renewable, clean energy.  This isn’t debatable.  Oil is limited, we will run out and it’s far better to make the change now then wait until it’s simply gone.

Neither candidate went into great detail about anything – this is one of the things that irks me about capaigns in general – but I think Biden won here as well, stating more real points rather than broad generalizations.  From Palin I heard a lot of “maverik” comments about cross-party cooperation, but from Biden I got actual examples.  From Palin I heard “we’re going to change”, while from Biden I heard “here are some things we’re going to change”.