The NHS drops Life-Saving Drug as it would lead to more Rationing and longer Wait Times

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

In 1954 almost 35% of all workers belonged to a union.  Since then that number has fallen to about 11.3%.  As the high cost of union contracts chased manufacturing out of the country.  Today the majority of workers belonging to a union work in the public sector.  Where they enter contract negotiations with the taxpayers to secure better pay and benefits than most taxpayers have.  Of course during these negotiations the taxpayers have no say.  As politicians and unions hammer out these contracts.  Unlike trade unions.  Where the people paying the workers actually have a say.

This is another reason why national health care is the Holy Grail for the left.  They want to unionize all those health care workers.  Pay them more.  And deduct union dues from their pay to fund their political activities.  Leaving less money for patient health care.  But they’re okay with that.  But they’re not okay with a pharmaceutical company charging a lot of money for life-saving drugs.  Which, also, leaves less money for patient health care (see Breast cancer drug turned down for NHS use due to high cost by Sarah Boseley posted 4/22/2014 on the guardian).

A Herceptin-style drug that can offer some women with advanced breast cancer nearly six months of extra life has been turned down for use in the NHS because of its high cost.

In draft guidance now open to consultation, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) blames the manufacturers, Roche, who are asking for more than £90,000 per patient, which is far more than any comparable treatment…

“We apply as much flexibility as we can in approving new treatments, but the reality is that given its price and what it offers to patients, it will displace more health benefit which the NHS could achieve in other ways, than it will offer to patients with breast cancer.”

Paying health care providers more will not improve the quality of health care.  Unless health workers are doing a half-assed job now.  Which I don’t believe they are.  But Roche is helping people with death sentences live another six months or so.  That’s a pretty remarkable thing.  If the NHS can’t afford this wonder drug perhaps they should use their own.  Of course they can’t.  Why?  Because they don’t have one.  For they didn’t pour hundreds of millions of dollars in developing this drug and the all those drugs that failed.

Developing a miracle drug is costly.  Money the pharmaceuticals pay up front.  Because their employees don’t work for free.  Which is why these drugs cost so much.  That high price pays for all of the costs that went into this drug.  For all of the drugs that failed.  And provides a return for investors.  Who give these pharmaceutical companies hundreds of millions of dollars up front just in the hope they may develop a miracle drug.  Which is the only way we should invest in these miracle drugs.  Because these investors will only take a chance on a good thing.  Unlike government.  Which has a history of backing the wrong investment time after time.  And pouring good money after bad.

It’s a tough choice to make.  Take health care benefits away from other patients to pay for a miracle drug for those dying from cancer.  Or let people die 6 months or so sooner.  One thing for sure, though, unionizing our health care workers won’t give either of these patients more health care benefits.  It will only leave less money for everything else.  Leading to rationing.  And longer wait times.  Because less money will pay for fewer things.  Making those other things scarcer.  Forcing people to wait longer and pay more for treatment.

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Liberals don’t Win Elections in the Arena of Ideas

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 20th, 2013

Politics 101

Public Schools teach Kids that Republicans are Racist Homophobes who hate Children, Poor People and Immigrants

Americans are historically conservative.  Gallup shows that approximately 40% +/- of the people call themselves conservative.  While only approximately 20% +/- call themselves liberal.  Most of the rest call themselves moderates.  Gallup shows this as a general trend from 1992 through 2011 (see Conservatives Remain the Largest Ideological Group in U.S. by Lydia Saad posted 1/12/2012 on Gallup).  Yet President Obama is a liberal pushing liberal policies.  So how did a conservative nation vote in such a liberal president?

Well, there are the usual suspects.  The public schools are teaching our children to be liberal.  Thanks to teacher unions.  Who contribute generously via their union dues to the Democrat Party in return for favorable policies from the Department of Education.  So our public schools work to ‘free’ our children’s minds from the influence of their parents.  The push for public-funded childcare is just a way to get our children away from their parents sooner.  For the younger they start the longer their education/indoctrination will last.

While our kids are in our public schools they learn the ‘important’ things.  Global warming is a reason to tax and regulate business.  Capitalism is unfair and evil.  Government is good.  While glossing over the Founding Fathers and their creation of a government based on the assumption that government is bad.  And the less of it the better the people were.  No.  Our kids don’t learn that.  Instead they learn worthless things and come out of our schools knowing very little about their country.  Or their government.  Just watch Watters’ World on The Factor.  And listen to how little our young people know when Jesse Watters asks some basic questions.  You’ll get the ‘deer in the headlights’ look when asked a question school children could have answered a generation or two earlier.  But despite their lack of knowledge on anything that isn’t trending in social media they will tell you that Fox News is biased.  And that Republicans are racist homophobes who hate children, poor people and immigrants.  Which is why they vote Democrat.

Democrats expand the Welfare State to get People Dependent on Government Benefits

So there’s public education.  And for those who go on to college our public universities will pull these kids even further left.  Then there’s the mainstream media.  Which is liberal.  Reinforcing everything our kids heard in school.  And all the people they look up to in the entertainment world tend to be liberal.  Further reinforcing what these young people heard in school.  Even though only 20% call themselves liberal that 20% is a young person’s world.  So a liberal view does not seem like the minority view it is to them.  Which is why they vote Democrat.

Then there are public sector unions.  And labor unions.  Who have a vested interest in keeping Democrats in office.  These unions collect dues from their members.  And spend a large portion of those dues to help Democrats win elections.  In return these Democrats implement union-favorable policies.  Also, these union members will act as foot soldiers during elections.  Helping to get out the vote.  Making phone calls.  Going door to door.  And helping to get people to the polls to vote Democrat.

Democrats also try to expand the welfare state.  To get people dependent on the government.  So these people look to government as their sole provider.  And after awhile being dependent on the government these people become completely dependent on the government.  And fear losing their government benefits.  For after being out of work for so long the thought of reentering the workforce is frightening.  Which Democrats tell them Republicans want to do.  They want to take away their benefits.  And force them into hamburger-flipper jobs.  Which Democrats point out are beneath them.  Even if they have no education or jobs skills beyond entry level employment.  So they vote Democrat.  To protect their benefits.

Liberals win Elections by Indoctrination, Quid Pro Quo, Dependency, Fear, Patronage and Abuse of Power

But it doesn’t end with simply getting people dependent on government benefits.  They implement policies that attack and destroy conservative institutions that encourage people to stand on their own two feet.  So they just don’t have to rely on people’s desires and wants.  But can tap into their fears.  Which is why FDR passed Social Security into Law.  And why LBJ expanded Medicare.  For these two great liberals knew they could make the elderly permanent Democrat voters by putting the fear of God in them that Republicans will cut their Social Security and Medicare benefits.  So a large percentage of seniors vote Democrat.  As they won’t be able to pay their bills or see a doctor if they lose their Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Because they trusted the government to provide for them in retirement.

And then there’s Obamacare.  Which will do to all non-seniors what Social Security and Medicare did to seniors.  Put the fear of God into them that Republicans will kill them by cutting their Obamacare benefits.  But it’s more than just the fear.  Obamacare will require a massive bureaucracy.  Layers of new government jobs.  Public sector union jobs.  Which will do what public sector unions and labor unions do on a grand scale.  But the big way Obamacare can help Democrats win elections is having the IRS enforce it.  Having the IRS determining who is eligible for a subsidy.  Determining how much someone can afford to pay for their Obamacare.  And determining how much to fine someone.  Allowing the IRS to ‘Tea Party’ the political opposition.

This is how liberals win elections.  Not by winning in the arena of ideas.  But by indoctrination, quid pro quo, dependency, fear, patronage and using the power of the executive branch for political ends.  They’ve become everything the Founding Fathers feared.  Who wrote the Constitution specifically to prevent things like this from happening.  Who didn’t believe the Constitution was a living document for future generations to interpret and adjust for the times.  Because they didn’t write it to give people stuff.  They wrote it to restrict the powers of the federal government as much as possible.  Because it is government’s nature to oppress and abuse her people.  So you don’t want them to have a lot of power.  For Lord Acton’s words are just as true today.  Power corrupts.  And absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Something at least 40% of the American people understand.

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Unions lose Members as they Spend Millions in Union Dues on Liberal Candidates and Causes

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2012

Week in Review

The past few years haven’t been great for organized labor.  They’ve spent a fortune in union dues to win President Obama’s reelection.  But though they won that battle they may be losing the war (see Spending large sums in state labor battles adds to unions’ problem of losing members by FOX News/AP posted 12/23/2012 on FOX News).

Unions represented roughly 30 percent of the country’s workforce in the early 1980s, when the federal government started tracking those numbers, but they now represent 11.8 percent.

The declining numbers are in part the result of the country’s shrinking manufacturing sector, but the situation has been compounded by recent efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin to limit unions’ power.

Unions had already spent roughly $22 million in Michigan on a failed November ballot issue regarding collective bargaining, before Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation this month that stops unions from making workers pay dues or representation fees to keep their jobs…

They also spent more than $20 million in Wisconsin to remove Republican Gov. Scott Walker this year in a recall election after he signed 2011 legislation stripping most public employees of much of their collective-bargaining power, but Walker still won that election.

The unions also spent roughly $24 million last year in Ohio to overturn an anti-union measure.

But unions spent more in California this year to defeat a ballot measure that would curb dues collection than they did total on political efforts in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

James Sherk, a labor expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, estimates Michigan unions, including United Auto Workers, will lose an additional $100 million annually as a result of the changes and members leaving.

Workers have already “left unions in droves in Wisconsin, Idaho and Oklahoma,” he said.

If you do the math that adds up to $66 million for Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.  Double that to add in California and that brings it up to $132 million.  Throwing in the estimated $400 million in the 2012 elections that brings the total up to $532 million.

That’s half a billion in union dues they spent for political purposes.  Perhaps explaining why workers are leaving the unions in droves where they can.  Especially when the American people identified themselves at the end of 2011 as 40% conservative, 35% moderate and 21% liberal (see Conservatives Remain the Largest Ideological Group in U.S. by Lydia Saad posted 1/12/2012 on Gallup).  As a lot of those union dues go to support liberal candidates and liberal causes they no doubt bothered the 79% of the population that isn’t liberal.  Especially those paying those dues.

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FT136: “Unions only represent those who pay union dues.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 21st, 2012

Fundamental Truth

The Cost of Teachers’ Salaries, Health Care and Pensions are so Costly that there is Little Left to Spend on the Children

The Chicago public school teachers’ strike is over.  And the teachers got enough of what they wanted to go back to the classroom.  Or else they wouldn’t be going back to the classroom.  Which proves the benefit of belonging to a union.  In exchange for those union dues they get a lot of political muscle.  Which they greatly leverage by having children out of the classrooms.  Suffering.  For the kids are losing out on their education.  Worse, parents are stuck with their kids longer.  And must wait longer before they get their break from having their kids home all day long.

And speaking of the children one thing you didn’t hear in the list of demands was more supplies for the classroom.  Despite good teachers everywhere dipping into their own pockets to pay for classroom supplies.  Why?  Because the cost of teachers’ salaries, health care and pensions are so costly that there is little left to spend on the children.  And that pay and those benefits are pretty generous.  Especially considering with all the time off teachers get they’re technically working part-time jobs (30 hours a week or less).  With about two and half months off during the summer and the breaks during the school year teachers work about 9 months out of the year.  Which comes to about 1,548 hours a year.  Compared to the 1,560 hours (30 hours X 52 weeks) a year a part-time worker can work.  With far fewer benefits.

But yet it’s always about the children.  Higher pay and benefits for teachers benefit the children.  At least that’s what they tell us.  The ability to retire with nearly their full salary.  And free health care until Medicare kicks in.  All paid by the taxpayers.  That’s what’s important to maintain.  So the children get a quality education.  By having their teachers live a higher quality life and retirement than these children’s parents.  Who are paying for both their own quality of life and retirement.  As well as their kids’ teachers.

Big Cities set up Generous Public Sector Pay and Benefits based on an ever Expanding Population Growth Rate

Whenever a city is having trouble paying their bills they always threaten to lay off police officers and firefighters.  As if that is the only expense a city has.  They never talk about cutting back on their health care plans or their pension plans for all city workers.  Like everyone working in the private sector has gone through.  How many times have you been told by your employer that they cannot make a contribution to your 401(k) retirement plan this year because business was down?  It happens a lot.  And that’s the retirement plan most people have today.  It’s mostly what you put away for your retirement.  Pensions in the private sector are long gone.  Only those unionized sectors with enough political clout still enjoy generous pension plans.

Recessions reduce tax dollars flowing into city coffers.  But that’s only part of the problem.  The bigger problem they have is a flat population growth rate.  All these big cities set up generous public sector pay and benefits based on an ever expanding population growth rate.  But that growth rate flattened out in the Sixties and Seventies.  Thanks to widespread use of birth control and, to a lesser extent, abortion.  Women stopped having a lot of babies.  Which means there are a larger number of people retiring than there are entering the workforce to replace them.  So you have a higher growth rate of those consuming taxes.  While you have a lower growth rate of those paying taxes.  Which means cities will pay more out than they collect unless they raise tax rates.  Which they often try to do.  While threatening to lay off police officers and firefighters if voters don’t approve a new millage.

Things can be especially hard for some city workers because of that flat population growth rate.  Not to pick on the firefighters but look at a typical firehouse.  Say a firehouse with one engine/ladder truck and one rescue squad.  That’s about 6 firefighters.  If a city has 30 firehouses that’s 180 firefighters.  If they are 24 hours on duty and 24 hours off that brings it up to 360 firefighters.  If a firefighter academy graduates 100 new firefighters a year that’s about a third of all firefighters.  Now unless each firefighter only works 3 years there will always be more firefighters than open positions.  New building technologies and fire alarm/suppression systems have greatly reduced the number of building fires.  All of this on top of a flat population growth rate makes it very difficult for anyone wanting to be a firefighter these days.  Making matters worse a lot of the old cities are actually seeing population decreases.  Which cities respond to by closing firehouses.  Which reduces the number of firefighters.  Making it even harder for aspiring firefighters.

A Union Represents those who pay Union Dues—not Children, Taxpayers or Patients

Cities collect property taxes to pay for the services they provide.  As well as other taxes and fees.  From that pot of money they collect they divide it between the various departments they have.  Such as for education.  From that money educators have to pay all their bills.  From classroom supplies.  To teachers’ salaries, health care and pensions.  They can only spend this money once.  So if they give more to the teachers there is less for the classroom.  So when teachers strike and say it’s for the children it is probably not for the children.  For the children pay no union dues.  As unions don’t represent the children anymore than they represent the taxpayers.  They represent the teachers.  Because they pay the union dues.  And it is their job to get as much of that money spent on education to the teachers as possible.

There are some moves to unionize nurses and other health care workers.  In fact, that will happen under Obamacare as health care workers will all become government workers.  And eligible to join public sector unions.  Which is why all the unions were so adamantly for Obamacare even though many of them have gotten waivers to opt out.  Because it will swell the ranks of the public sector unions.  While greatly increasing the cost of health care.  And hurt the quality of our health care system.  For if we pay nurses like government bureaucrats we will shift more health care money to these new public sector workers while leaving less to spend on patients.

It is remarkable how selfless all public sector workers are.  For they never want more taxpayer money for their own selfish needs.  It’s always for the children.  The safety of our citizens.  And when Obamacare fully kicks in, the quality of health care our patients receive.  It’s just a coincidence that while protecting the children, the taxpayers and our patients that they benefit, too.  Funny how that works.  Which is what happens when you belong to a union and pay dues.  For a union represents those who pay union dues.  Not children, taxpayers or patients.

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FT134: “There will always be poor and oppressed people because someone has to vote for liberal Democrats.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 7th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Liberal Democrats would Not Like an America without Poor and Oppressed People

In the anti-nuclear power movie The China Syndrome Jack Lemmon’s character wanted to warn everyone about his dangerous nuclear power plant.  He was a control room operator at the plant.  During one event there was a vibration.  The reactor shut down (SCRAM) safely.  But Lemmon’s character did some investigating and found that some safety reports had been falsified.  And in his quest to publicize this fact people died.  So he did the only thing he could.  He locked himself inside the control room at the nuclear power plant.  Requested that the characters played by Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda come down to put him on the air live.  And threatened to create a nuclear catastrophe himself if that didn’t happen.  That’s right, as dangerous as that reactor was he did NOT shut it down.

Odd, really.  He threatened to cause what he was trying to prevent.  Why?  Well, consider what would have happened if he did everything he did with one change.  Instead of threatening his own nuclear catastrophe he shut down that reactor.  So it was safe and could not harm anyone.  If he did that what do you think would have happened?  No one would have brought that news crew (Douglas and Fonda) to the plant.  And plant security would have just broken into the control room and subdued Lemmon.  But because he left the reactor hot and dangerous they didn’t break in and subdue him.  And they brought in that news crew.  Because his threat of causing a nuclear catastrophe gave him power.  While a safe and shutdown reactor gave him no power.

So what do we learn from this?  Sometimes the thing you’re fighting against is the very thing that gives you power.  A purpose.  A reason for getting out of bed in the morning.  Something that gives you a job.  Something that pays the bills.  And it’s just not disgruntled nuclear power plant operators.  Imagine a world with no crime.  If there was no crime we wouldn’t need any police officers.  Something police officers wouldn’t like.  Just as firefighters wouldn’t like a world without fires or accidents.  Just as cardiologists would not like a world without heart disease.  Just as environmentalists would not like a world without global warming.  Just as advocates of affirmative action would not like a world without discrimination.  Just as liberal Democrats would not like an America without poor and oppressed people.

The Poor and Oppressed are a Favorite Constituency of the Federal Government

The more horrible the things people are fighting against the greater are the need for these people.  The Left makes use of this strategy all of the time.  Falling test scores means we need to spend more on education.  As in hiring more teachers.  And paying them more.  This works the other way, too.  When municipalities are running budget deficits because of costly public sector contracts calling for high pay and generous benefits they place a new millage on the ballot.  And warn the people that if they don’t vote ‘yes’ for these higher taxes they will have no choice but to increase the number of rapes, murders and assaults.  As well as increase the number of deaths from fires, heart attacks in the home and car accidents.  Because if the people vote ‘no’ they will lay off police officers and firefighters.  Instead of renegotiating those contracts that are causing their financial problems.  No.  It’s never cutting back on the things that are bankrupting their cities.  It’s always putting the fear of God into their electorate.  So the public sector workers can maintain their generous pay and benefits.

Of course some will say that our teachers, police officers and firefighters don’t get paid that much.  If that’s true then they belong to some real crappy unions.  Because you join a union to get better pay and better benefits.  And you pay union dues for the union’s help in getting better pay and better benefits.  Also, if we didn’t already pay them very well you would know what their pay and benefits were during these millage requests.  For it sure would help their argument for higher pay if most people made more than they did.  Because, let’s face it, we need good teachers, police officers and firefighters.  If we paid them less than most other people everyone would feel guilty and vote ‘yes’ without hesitation.  But during these millage requests they don’t make public their current pay and benefit schedule.  And it’s hard to find this information online.  Because that’s ‘personal’.  Even though we pay them with public money.  Which should tell you something.  They’re paid better than most people.  Because they’re asking for more without telling us how much they currently make.  For it is hard to get sympathy for your pay level when you make more than most other people.

It’s no secret that government workers get better pay and benefit packages than people in the private sector.  Especially in the federal government.  Where federal employment grows by leaps and bounds every year.  And they create ever new programs to fight against something.  So they can keep hiring more people into the federal bureaucracy.  To reward friends and cronies.  And to endear a growing federal government to ever more people.  So they will continuously help to support and promote that sprawling bureaucracy.  Through their votes.  And by making as many people as possible dependent on the government.  Making the poor and oppressed a favorite constituency of the federal government.  As it has been for a very long time.  Despite the numerous battles to end poverty and oppression.

The Liberal Democrat Answer to Poverty is Not a Job but a Government Entitlement

JFK was a tax-cutter.  Just like Ronald Reagan.  They both believed that you had to create a business-friendly environment to create jobs.  Because if a business did well it grew and hired more people.  That’s why both JFK and Ronald Reagan had strong economic growth and low unemployment during their presidencies.  And they each brought in a lot of tax revenue into Washington.  Even with their low tax rates.  So low tax rates are good.  They help businesses grow.  They help people get jobs.  They lower the price of consumer goods so people can buy more for less.  And they bring in more revenue to the government to help those who need help.  Of course liberal Democrats hate this.  Because if everyone is doing well there is no need for all their agencies and programs.  Or them.

Shortly after the assassination of JFK things changed.  LBJ became president.  Who was a big liberal Democrat.  Who declared unconditional war on poverty.  This was in 1964.  The plan was to explode the size of the federal government.  Which is what he did when he gave us the Great Society.  The war on poverty would become one of America’s longest war.  Longer than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Longer than the Vietnam War.  Even longer than the Cold War.  The war on poverty continues to this day.  Requiring ever more government agencies.  And programs.  Yet they’ve all failed to end poverty.  Proven by the fact that every generation of liberal Democrats running for office is an advocate for the poor and oppressed who have no voice but theirs.

The liberal Democrat answer to poverty is not a job but a government entitlement.  Because jobs lead to lower unemployment.  And less purpose for a liberal Democrat.  Liberals don’t want jobs and low unemployment.  They want high taxes and high unemployment.  So they can matter.  And make a difference.  So they can have a cushy job with high pay and generous benefits.  So they attack tax cuts.  They attack any lowering of regulatory costs.  And anything else that would help businesses create jobs.  Which would take the poor and oppressed away from them.  They don’t want people to be rugged and independent.  They want them needy and dependent.  And they want as many people as possible to be needy and dependent.  Even if it leads to a little rioting.  Especially if it leads to a little rioting.  For a little level of danger can be useful.  As it can be in a nuclear power plant in an anti-nuclear power movie.  Because it’s very hard to get taxpayers to vote for people that want to increase your taxes and make your lives more costly.  While some liberals genuinely care about making people’s lives better many more are like Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome.  Who understand that they must maintain a certain level of poverty and oppression in the nation.  Or they will have no power.  As no one will vote for them.  Because if you’re in the business of ending poverty and oppression you need a certain level of poverty and oppression to fight against.  Always.

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Charter Schools outperform Public Schools in America and Britain

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Public education today is more about politics than education.  Which is why charter schools often outperform public schools.  Because the charter schools focus on education.  While the public schools focus on politics (see A 20-year lesson posted 7/7/2012 on The Economist).

FOR decades too many educationalists have succumbed to the tyranny of low expectations, at least when it comes to those at the bottom of the heap. The assumption has been that the poor, often black, children living in some of the world’s biggest and richest cities such as New York, Los Angeles and London face too many challenges to learn. There was little hope that school could make any difference to their future unless the problem of poverty could first be “solved”, which it couldn’t.

Such attitudes consigned whole generations to the scrapheap. But 20 years ago, in St Paul, Minnesota, the first of America’s charter schools started a revolution. There are now 5,600 of them. They are publicly funded, but largely independent of the local educational bureaucracies and the teachers’ unions that live in unhealthy symbiosis with them.

Charter schools are controversial, for three reasons. They represent an “experiment” or “privatisation”. They largely bypass the unions. And their results are mixed. In some states—Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri—the results of charter pupils in maths and English are significantly better than those of pupils in traditional public schools. In others—Arizona and Ohio—they have done badly.

Yet the virtue of experiments is that you can learn from them; and it is now becoming clear how and where charter schools work best.  Poor pupils, those in urban environments and English-language learners fare better in charters (see article). In states that monitor them carefully and close down failing schools quickly, they work best. And one great advantage is that partly because most are free of union control, they can be closed down more easily if they are failing…

It is pretty clear now that giving schools independence—so long as it is done in the right way, with the right monitoring, regulation and safeguards from the state—works. Yet it remains politically difficult to implement. That is why it needs a strong push from national governments. Britain is giving school independence the shove it needs. In America, artificial limits on the number of charter schools must be ended, and they must get the same levels of funding as other schools.

It remains politically difficult to implement because public education has two goals.  Generate union dues that can fund the Democrat Party.  And to produce Democrat voters.  The proof of the latter is that the youth vote goes to the Democrats.  There’s a reason for that.  And it’s the same reason why school kids hold picket signs with their striking teachers.  These kids don’t understand life, politics or economics yet.  They only know what their teachers tell them.  Who are not exactly unbiased when it comes to their politics.  Or their salary and benefit packages.  Which they put before their students.  At least, based on the success of the charter schools over the public schools.

There are a lot of great teachers in the public school system.  But they aren’t all great.  And it’s all but impossible to get rid of the bad teachers.  Or to close the bad schools.  And it’s impossible to pull the politics out of the educational curriculum.  Kids today can barely name the Founding Fathers or explain what republican government is but they know everything about global warming.  And everything bad America ever did as a nation.  Which just doesn’t prepare students today for the high-tech economy.  

Even the liberal elite admit public education is a failure by the fact that most of them have their kids in private school.  And these are the people responsible for the failure of public education.  They implemented their progressive views.  Because they knew better than we did.  Knew what was best for our kids.  Yet when it comes to their own kids they don’t want anything to do with the train wreck they made of public education.  If there was ever a vote of no-confidence for public education this is it.  They don’t like.  Want nothing to do with it.  But it’s not only okay for our kids but it’s necessary to rescue our kids from our bad parenting.  Because if the public schools weren’t there to make Democrat voters how can they trust parents to do that most important job?

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Despite Addendums the NHS Reform Bill still faces Opposition from Health Unions and GPs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 18th, 2012

Week in Review

The Royal College of GPs oppose the National Health Service (NHS) reform bill.  The bill that is trying to improve the quality of health care while reducing costs.  By introducing market forces.  And reducing the bureaucratic weight of the NHS.  Which these doctors are opposed to (see BBC News: GPs offer to help with NHS change posted 3/13/2012 on BBC News Health).

The Royal College of GPs has indicated it is willing to work again with the government on implementing changes to the NHS in England, it has emerged.

The body had been omitted from talks since declaring its opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill last month.

Chief among their concerns is the government’s determination to introduce greater competition into NHS provision.

The bill aims to allow more private companies and voluntary organisations to compete with NHS providers, something critics fear could damage the health service and undermine the drive towards integration of care.

Under the plans, family doctors are expected to play a key role in managing the NHS budget…

Dr Gerada told the BBC on Tuesday: “We still want this flawed bill, this complicated, complex bill to be withdrawn.

“But we’re not politicians, we’re doctors, and it’s the 33,000 family doctors across England that are going to have to make the health service work for their patients.

“The letter to the prime minister was one of many that we’ve written to him over the last 18 months saying ‘let’s stop polarising this debate, lets see if there’s some common ground for the sake of our patients, for the sake of the NHS’…”

Other bodies opposed to the bill include the three major health unions, the British Medical Association and the Royal Colleges of Nurses and Midwives…

But Health Minister Simon Burns said: “Patients want doctors to make decisions about their care, not managers, and that is what our reforms will deliver.”

The changes would improve services for patients while saving billions in administrative costs, to be reinvested in healthcare, he said.

Yeah, right.  They’re not politicians.  It’s just coincidental that these doctors align themselves with the three major health unions.  And the union position is nothing but politics.  Because unions protect their dues-paying members.  Patients don’t pay union dues.  So the unions don’t represent their interests.  No, they represent the interests of those treating the patients.  And chief among their concerns is how is this competition that will lower costs affect the pay, benefits and pensions of their members?  Could this be what these doctors are worried about?  Their pay, benefits and pensions?  Or is that just another coincidence?

The NHS is a bureaucratic behemoth.  Where bureaucrats make health care decisions for patients hundreds of miles away.  The NHS reform is trying to put that decision-making into the hands of the doctors who actually treat their patients.  To improve the quality of care.  And lower the cost.  By making health care more about doctors treating patients.  Than maintaining a bureaucratic behemoth that provides a comfortable life for the bureaucrats running it.  While chalking up massive annual deficits.  And creating the bulk of Britain’s national deficit.  Which can’t continue.  They have to reform the NHS.  Before it drowns under its massive costs.  And takes the country with it.

We should follow what’s happening in the NHS closely.  For it’s coming our way.  Unless they repeal Obamacare.  And if they don’t things will be worse in America.  Because America is bigger than the UK.  And the US budget for health care will dwarf that of the UK.  And if the UK can’t do it after doing it for some 60 years it’s the height of arrogance for those in the U.S. to think they can do it better.  Sadly, for what government bureaucrats lack in talent and ability they do make up for in arrogance.  Which means the collapse of the American health care system will be far greater than the problems they’re trying to fix in the ailing NHS.  Because they will ignore all empirical and historical evidence that national health care doesn’t work.  For they will just say that’s because no one as smart as they are has tried it yet.

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Democrat (dĕm’ə-krăt’), n., A member of the Democrat Party, the more liberal of the two major political parties in the United States.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 17th, 2011

Politics 101

The Planter Elite was a Small Minority in the South but these Southern Democrats Wielded the Political Power

People often say that the Democrat Party is for the working man.  Which is rather ironic as it has more often been the party of privilege.  It was also the party of slavery.  The party of Jim Crowe Laws.  The party of segregation.  And the party to have an Exalted Cyclops of the KKK as a high-ranking member of Congress.  Senator Byrd.  Who later filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Which is another irony.

Black voters tend to vote Democrat despite this history.  At the time of the Civil War it was Northern Republicans against Southern Democrats.  The Southern states seceding from the Union to keep their slaves.  And the institution of slavery.  For the plantation system was a throwback to Old World aristocracy.  Only with slaves instead of peasants.  The Planter Elite was a small minority in the South.  But they wielded the political power.  And owned all of the good land.  Like in any landed aristocracy.  And slavery worked that good land.  That peculiar institution that survived long past the 20 years the Founding Fathers thought it would.  Of course, the Founding Fathers never counted on Eli Whitney.  Or his cotton gin.

Today’s Democrats can trace their lineage back to Thomas Jefferson’s Republican Party.  And to the man who wrote “all men are created equal.”  The hero of the yeoman farmer.  The backbone of the new republic.  Only Thomas Jefferson was more equal than most.  He was part of the landed aristocracy of the South, the planter elite.  Wealthy.  Refined.  A bit of a dandy.  And a hypocrite.  To some.

Thomas Jefferson saw the Corruption Resulting from Mixing Money and Government

Thomas Jefferson was brilliant.  Well read.  And had strong beliefs.  He understood politics.  And he knew world history.  He hated bankers and merchants.  Saw the corruption resulting from mixing money and government.  And especially hated Alexander Hamilton.  The secretary of the treasury.  And puppet master of George Washington.  Or so he believed.

Hamilton was a capitalist.  He understood money.  And the power of capital.  Ergo he was a sneaky bastard.  Corrupt.  And possibly the devil.  In Jefferson’s eyes.  So he worked tirelessly to destroy Hamilton.  Put a man on the federal payroll to help fund an opposition newspaper.  And slandered the hell out of him.  Exposed the affair with Mrs. Reynolds but left out the part about the Reynolds being crooks.  Mrs. Reynolds seduced Hamilton so Mr. Reynolds could blackmail him.  She did.  He did.  And Hamilton paid.  With his own money.  But Jefferson accused him of embezzling from the treasury to pay off the Reynolds.  And later lamented that Hamilton was such a good thief that they found absolutely no evidence of his heinous crimes.

When Jefferson was president, though, he did something very Hamiltonian.  He bought the Louisiana Territory.  Something that Hamilton would have done in a heartbeat.  And something Jefferson would have fought tirelessly against if he tried.

The Democrat Party is the Party of the Working Man as long as that Working Man belongs to a Union

So was Jefferson a hypocrite?  Sort of.  To many he was.  To himself, though, he wasn’t.  In his mind there was no contradiction in any of his actions.  For Jefferson’s mind could believe two conflicting truths at the same time.  He didn’t lie.  He didn’t flip flop.  These were not contradictions.  But paradoxes.  For the truth was nimble and flexible in his pragmatic vision.  And in that vision was an agrarian economy.  No banks.  A weak merchant class.  And a very limited and anemic federal government.  That spoke with a southern accent.  In other words a federal government was okay per se as long as Virginia and the planters of the other southern states controlled it.  Which they did for nearly a century thanks to the Three-Fifths Compromise.  That counted slaves as three-fifths a person for representation (giving the South more representatives per district than the North).  But not for taxation.

Privilege.  Born of the plantation system in America.  Based on the institution of slavery.  Where a small minority wielded great political power.  And exploited people (slaves) to accumulate wealth.  Protect their power.  And their privilege.  Not unlike the modern Democrat Party.  But today, because of the abolition of slavery, they have to do things differently.

Yes, the Democrat Party is the party of the working man.  As long as that working man belongs to a union.  Pays union dues.  And that union supports the Democrat party.  Working men who don’t are scabs.  And don’t deserve to have jobs.  So Democrat legislation favors Big Labor.  And unions.  Makes it hard for nonunion companies to compete for work.  And jobs using federal money have to pay union wages.  Either by union employees.  Preferably.  Or scabs earning union scale thanks to Davis-Bacon.  Which they would rather not have.  Because scabs earning union scale thanks to Davis-Bacon still don’t pay union dues.  But it at least makes it harder to compete against union companies.

Privilege Begets Privilege

This is the formula for most Democrat support.  Automotive workers (UAW).  Health care workers (SIEU).  Public sector workers (public sector unions).  Public school teachers (teachers unions).  And so on.  Privilege begets privilege.  You get favorable legislation as long as part of your union dues goes to Democrat coffers.  And if Democrats win control of Congress they will implement more anti-capitalistic legislation.  Impose tariffs to protect union jobs.  Increasing costs to taxpayers everywhere.  To support this privilege class.  So it’s who you know.  And not your ability.  Just like it was in the good old days.

To bolster their power they have to appeal to others in the electorate who aren’t union employees.  Because there just aren’t enough union employees.  Yet, at least.  So they also delve into crony capitalism.  Picking winners and losers in the private sector.  By supporting companies in favorable industries with grants and loan guarantees.  The winners being those who support Democrat candidates.  Privilege begets privilege.  The losers being those who don’t.  And these poor bastards not only don’t get grants or loan guarantees.  But the government saddles them with costly regulations to boot.  Or the Justice Departments initiates antitrust proceedings against them.  Like Microsoft.

Of course it takes Big Government to play like this.  And Big Government needs a lot of taxes.  For to spend money you have to first tax.  Or play with monetary policy.  Which is why Democrats will always oppose returning to the gold standard.  Because sometimes you can’t tax and spend.  Sometimes you have to print money and spend.  And you can’t do that with a gold standard.  But because of the problems inherent with printing money (inflation), they will tax every last penny they can first.  And their weapon of choice is class warfare.  To get the poor and middle class to agree to increase tax rates on the rich.  Which they are all for.  But what they don’t know is that Democrats are constantly redefining who is rich.  Which they would not be for.  Because a lot of people are being surprised to find out that they are now rich.  Especially modest middle class couples (say a cop and a teacher) whose combined income make them rich.  Much to their surprise.

The Democrat Party is For Sale to the Highest Contributor

The Democrats round out their base by appealing to populist issues.  They play down the God stuff and keep abortion legal to keep the youth vote.  And the feminists.  By showing that the government is not your parents when it comes to sex.  Or drugs (the youth is ever hopeful for the Democrat who finally decriminalizes marijuana).  Which is ironic as that same government acts like parents everywhere else.  Policing what we eat, drink and legally smoke.

They increase welfare spending to keep the poor dependent.  And voting Democrat.  They appeal to special interests (environmentalists, gays and lesbians, etc.) to get their support, too.  By painting their opponents as vicious monsters who want to destroy the environment.  Who want to criminalize being gay.  And who want to bring back the Spanish Inquisition.

You see, the modern Democrat Party has to buy votes.  Or lie to scare people.  Because people don’t willingly vote to give privilege to others.  Unless there’s something in it for them.  And this is where the modern Democrat Party breaks from Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson did things to prevent money from influencing power.  And he did some pretty shady things.  But they were for a higher purpose.  To keep the spirit of 1776 alive.

The higher purpose of the Democratic Party?  The Democratic Party.  And unlike Jefferson, they’re all for influencing power with money.  In fact, the Democrat Party is for sale to the highest contributor.

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Nancy Pelosi Hates Nonunion Workers because She Can’t Collect Tribute from Them Like She Can from Union Workers

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2011

Week in Review

Nancy Pelosi believes there is such a thing as a bad job.  And I’m not talking about flipping burgers.  I’m talking about building jet planes.  Normally good.  As jet planes dominate U.S. exports.  But these jobs are only good jobs when they are in Seattle.  Not in nonunion South Carolina (see Pelosi Vs. Boeing — And Jobs posted 11/1/2011 on Investors.com).

“Do you think it’s right that Boeing has to close down that plant in South Carolina because it’s nonunion?” asked host Maria Bartiromo.

Pelosi’s quick answer was “yes.”

Pelosi said she preferred the plant in the right-to-work state would unionize; failing that, the National Labor Relations Board is right to shut down the plant where Boeing hopes to build its Dreamliner passenger aircraft.

So instead of adding jobs to the economy Ms. Pelosi would prefer these people collect unemployment checks.  Why?

Union representation must be forced on them so they can be forced to pay union dues, a big chunk of which is funneled into Democratic campaign coffers. Over the past two years, the [International Association of Machinists] donated $1.98 million to Democratic candidates and $34,000 to Republicans.

Similarly, the trillion dollars in wasted stimulus and other legislation have gone mostly to projects using union workers, in particular teacher and construction unions. Stimulus money has also gone to failing but politically connected firms like Solyndra, whose major investors are big Democratic donors.

Nancy and her Democrat colleagues are greedy.  And pine for the days when people like them ruled over others.  Simply by being born into the nobility.  With democracy putting the kibosh on aristocracy they have come up with this clever ruse to put taxpayer dollars into their pockets.

They still steal it.  But not directly.  They give it to someone else.  Who then gives some of it back to them.  If this sounds familiar you may have seen this in the movies.  We call it ‘money laundering’.  She calls it tribute.  The proper respect paid to her privileged class.

This is what it’s all about in the Democrat party.  The money.  So when you hear them talk about creating jobs and stimulating the economy it’s what we call in politics ‘lying’.

They just want the money.  And could care less whether or not they create a job.  If you disagree answer me this.  After 5 years of Pelosi/Obama and all of that stimulus, where are the jobs?

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President Obama uses Class Warfare to Increase Spending and Reward Political Cronies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 19th, 2011

They have Learned in the UK that Government can’t Pay for Everything

China may be subsidizing high-speed rail.  But in the UK, the government is moving the other way.  Because it is just too costly (see Arriva Trains: Fare rise in Wales 2% lower than England posted 9/19/2011 on the BBC News Wales).

The Welsh Government has told Arriva Trains Wales it can increase prices by 1% above the inflation rate.

Last month the UK government announced an average increase in England of 3% over inflation…

Tony Miles, from Modern Railways magazine, said the decision was good news for Welsh commuters but it would impact on the Welsh Government’s budget.

He said: “This is a policy decision by the Welsh Government, which is very much in line with their outlook that the burden of financing public transport should fall more on taxpayers centrally than on the individual passengers…

“The UK Government wants to shift the cost of the railways more away from taxpayers and towards users.

The UK went farther down the socialist road than the Americans.  They nationalized a lot of their industries.  Nationalized their health care.  And, of course, their transportation.  Now there are efforts to reverse this.  Continuing on the work of the great Margaret Thatcher.

There are some in the UK that have a novel idea.  To let people pay for a train ticket.  If they want a train ticket.  Imagine that.  Paying your own way.  How fair.  And rational.  But not all are keen on the idea.  For in Wales they want everyone to pitch in and pay for train tickets.  Even those who don’t ride on the train.

They have learned in the UK that government can’t pay for everything.  And some are now trying to undo years of government growth.  In transportation.  And elsewhere.  To unleash more free market capitalism.  That they were so kind to introduce to the Western World all those years ago.

Was the Great Depression the Worst Economy Ever before Obama Took Office?

In America, though, government continues to grow.  Even with election losses.  And economic malaise (see End of Recession Doesn’t Mean Good Times Return Right Away by David Johnson posted 9/19/2011 on Random Samplings).

Numbers just released by the Census Bureau, however, illustrate that while the recession may technically be over, household economic conditions did not improve…

During the 2010 calendar year, median household income was $49,445, 2.3 percent lower than in 2009 after adjusting for inflation.

The Obama administration’s Recovery Summer ended the Bush recession in 2010.  Or so they say.  The unemployment rate is still above 9%.  If you factor in the underemployed and those who’ve given up looking for a job it’s closer to 16%.  And real household income is down 2.3%.

But just imagine how bad things would have been if Obama didn’t end the Bush Recession with his Recovery Summer.  People would be saying that the Great Depression was the worst economy ever.  Until Obama took office.

To end the Bush recession Obama spent $800 billion in ‘stimulus’ spending.  Which failed.  Because he’s asking for another $450 billion stimulus package.  Despite the first one failing.  Well, it may have failed to stimulate the economy.  But it did stimulate government.

Only Union Jobs are Good Jobs in the Obama Admin because only Union Jobs Fill Democrat Coffers

So we know that their stimulus spending fails to stimulate the economy.  But why?  Is it because they don’t understand things economic?  Or is it because their stimulus has more political goals than economic?  Perhaps it’s both (see Illinois among worst states to do business: Survey by Ameet Sachdev posted 9/19/2011 on the Chicago Tribune).

Illinois ranked among the three worst states for business, according to a survey of U.S. corporate executives released Monday…

Taxes and high costs were among the factors that contributed to the state’s poor showing in the survey. California was deemed to have the worst business climate, followed by New York and Illinois.

So California, Illinois and New York have the worst business climates.  Because of taxes and high costs.  No surprise, really.  For these are big blue Democrat states.  With big blue Democrat cities.  And big public sector unions.  At both the state and municipal levels.  Which is why they have such high taxes and costs.  Those public sector pension and health care benefits are absolutely killing their economies with the high taxes required to fund them.

The Democrats can say what they want.  But they are not business-friendly.  They are only friendly to political allies.  Unions.  Teachers.  And public sector employees.  Which is why businesses want to leave these Democrat areas.  Not to exploit cheap labor.  But to stop their own exploitation by these Democrat strongholds.

Illinois recently increased its income tax rate, which has prompted several companies, including Chicago-based CME Group, to consider leaving the state.

Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina were viewed as having the best business climates, according to the survey.

Boeing built their new 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina.  But the Obama administration is trying to shut that plant down.  Why?  Because they don’t like South Carolina.  Or its people.

You see, all jobs are not good jobs.  As the Obama administration sees it.  And these new South Carolinian jobs are not good jobs.  Because they are nonunion jobs.  No union means no union dues.  And no money to flow into Democrat coffers.  So the Obama administration has nothing to gain politically.  And that’s why they are using the power of the National Labor Relations Board to shut that plant down.  And make Boeing expand production in Seattle.  Where the jobs will be union jobs.  And union money will flow into Democrat coffers.  Via union dues.

President Obama and the Democrats Prefer Crony Capitalism over Free Market Capitalism

We call this crony capitalism.  Some may even say extortion.

Crony capitalism is the opposite of free market capitalism.  Where merit wins the day.  In crony capitalism, though, it’s who you know.  And what kind of political power you have (see Obama administration ‘pressured Air Force general to change testimony’ by Toby Harnden posted 9/16/2011 on The Telegraph).

According to Republicans on Capitol Hill, General William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, told them in a closed session the White House urged him to alter his testimony about the Pentagon’s concerns about a new wireless project by a satellite broadband company…

LightSquared, based in Virginia, is funded by the multi-millionaire Philip Falcone, a frequent donor to Democrats. The satellite and broadband communications company plans to build a nationwide, 4G phone network that many generals believe would seriously hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS receiver systems used by the military…

The row over the allegedly improper intervention came as a Republican-controlled House of Representatives Committee investigated a federal loan guarantee to Solyndra, a solar firm also tied to a major Democratic contributor, which failed after receiving a half-billion US government loan guarantee.

A spokesman for Gen Shelton said that his testimony was “his own, supported by and focused purely on documented tested results”.

LightSquared insisted it had not sought to interfere with the properly regulatory process. The White House said reviewing congressional testimony was routine.

Interesting.  The White House says this is just routine.  Which it apparently is.  Whether you’re funneling tax dollars to a green energy company.  Connected to a rich Democrat donor.  Or trying to throw a contract to a communications company.  Also connected to a rich Democrat donor.  Even if it compromises national security.

It’s just business.  And our politicians are just business people.  In the business of rewarding political friends.  In return for generous campaign contributions.

So much for hope, change and transparency.

If You Confiscated all the Rich’s Income it would Wipe out Obama’s Deficit…for One Year

Crony capitalism.  A little extortion.  Mixed in with a generous helping of class warfare.  In other words, Obama politics (see Obama calls for broad tax increases by Stephen Dinan posted 9/18/2011 on The Washington Times).

President Obama on Monday proposed a deficit reduction plan that calls for about $3 in new tax increases for every dollar in additional spending cuts as he seeks to put his imprint on the ongoing talks with Congress over reducing the government’s staggering debt…

“This is not class warfare, it’s math,” Mr. Obama said in the White House’s Rose Garden as he laid out the outlines. “The money’s got to come from some place.”

Real incomes are down.  Unemployment is still above 9%.  If you count the underemployed and those who have given up looking for work the actual number is closer to 16%.  So how best to create more jobs to help people go back to work?  And boost those real incomes?  Well, if you’re a member of the Obama administration, you raise taxes.

But this won’t help the employment numbers.  So why do it?  Because it is class warfare.  Despite the president’s denial that it is.  For there is no other reason to do this.  It won’t help the economy.  And it won’t help reduce the debt.

If you took all income from those earning $200,000 or more you’ll be lucky to get $2 trillion.  At least this is all they had in 2008.

(Source:  SOI Tax Stats – Individual Income Tax Rates and Tax Shares)

See?  You can raise tax rates to 100% on the rich but it won’t help.  If you confiscated all their income you’d raise a lot of money, yes.  Enough to wipe out the Obama’s $1.6 trillion deficit.  For one year.  But it will be $1.6 trillion the following year.  Unless you cut spending.  Because you can take this money only once.  Unless these people agree to keep producing all this wealth as indentured servants.  Which I don’t see happening.

So Broke that We Must Raise Taxes but not too Broke that We can’t Throw $7 Billion to the USPS

So it is class warfare.  And cronyism.  Helping those who help them.  With taxpayer dollars.  Which is why they need to raise taxes.  Not to retire the debt.  But to help their political supporters (see President Obama deficit plans back ending Saturday mail by Ed O’Keefe posted 9/19/2011 on The Washington Post).

The White House is also calling on Congress to return $7 billion that USPS paid into a federal retirement fund to the delivery service to help pay for other retirement and health-care costs. Obama’s plans also would allow the Postal Service to raise stamp prices beyond the rate of inflation to better match the cost of delivery…

Though the Postal Service is a self-funding entity that doesn’t accept taxpayer dollars, it is a significant piece of the unified federal budget because its workers and retirees draw benefits from federal workers’ compensation, retirement and health-care accounts.

The country is so broke that it must raise taxes.  But it is not too broke that it can’t throw $7 billion to Obama’s friends in the USPS.

We are Regressing back to the Totalitarian Regimes of the Old World

All this talk about balance approach to deficit reduction?  And getting the rich to pay their fair share?  It’s all class warfare. To increase taxes.  To keep funding important political constituencies.  It has nothing to do with deficit reduction.  The numbers are just too large to be able to reduce the deficit with taxes alone.  You have to cut spending.

And this just isn’t going to happen with Democrats in power.  Because government spending is their lifeblood.  Their economic policies don’t work.  And they’re not designed to work.  They have but one purpose.  Politics.  Rewarding political favors.  With taxpayer dollars.

And they will sacrifice anything to keep spending.  The economy.  Our real incomes.  Our national security.  Even the American Dream.  Our liberty.  For we are regressing back to the totalitarian regimes of the Old World.  Where, if you’re not politically connected, you are fast becoming a second class citizen.

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