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As Long as We Remember...

January 4, 2010

The Apple of Politics

Steven R. Berryman

In the beginning, the good Earth contained only two human beings.  They had only one apple between them. Therefore, politics was born.


It is the only profession that is actually older than the “world’s oldest profession!”


And the fact that politics itself has become a profession now has made all of the difference.


“Should I eat the apple, should you eat the apple, should we split it between us, or should we trade it with the chimp for some bananas,” become only some of the possible issues in this simple example. It could also be left to compost to make fertilizer, or dried into apple-chips, too.


Some would suggest we leave it on the tree, which is yet another choice – as in the choice to do nothing – but what fun would that be?


So then, after some time, we evolved into what we are today.


As humans, we have become particularly adept at the creation of our own problems, and then compounding them with false answers. The entire field of “career politicians” has figured out that there is an everlasting industry in the fashioning of problems – mostly out of whole cloth – and then convincing others that they are going to solve them.


At a fundamental phase, a law that is made and is imperfect is perfect. It allows for endless tinkering and adjusting, plus facilitates another self-invented industry, lawyering, which operates on exactly the same principles.


To further hammer the process of self-perpetuating, self invented profession, if modern medicine both created and treated illnesses, then they would be in the club, too.


And should dentists really own stock in Hershey Chocolate?


More specificity in examples takes us to solving the aftermath of the Great Housing Bubble of 2008: Demonstrably, big government forced lax mortgage industry standards upon lenders, and then claimed “unanticipated consequences.”


Matters became worse when the root problem of oversight was traced backwards and found to be……well……you get it.


A solution based upon root causes is my proposition. Minimizing the influence of politics on solutions could, for instance, have traced the 911 sneak attacks on New York City to radicalized Islam.


However…politicians figured out a way to then attack Saddam Hussein, enemy of Al Qaeda, instead. Whatever happened to “the enemy of my enemy is …..”  Well, never mind.


Lastly, a fair politician could evaluate our current economic conundrum, manifested as joblessness, and find a real solution, at least in theory. A side effect of this “joblessness” is that loss of covered health insurance – that had been employer provided – ensues, and those that had relied on paying medical costs from pocket as a gamble sometimes went to the poor house.


Now when a gambler loses all chips in Vegas, the floor boss hardly ever shows up at the door and hands over more chips….but that’s just real life, not politics.


Had politics ever been a method, or just a way to be creative in rationalizing potable solutions?


Then there’s pending healthcare legislation, now awaiting the final arbiters of the conference committee.


Health care costs too much, plus healthcare can’t be afforded by the unemployed, plus emergency rooms were overwhelmed by freeloaders, became the rallying call for the 2,000 page bill legislatively, mostly by Democrats.


That paying the full insurance premiums for all un-insured would cost our nation two-thirds less than any long-term estimate of “ObamaCare” fiscal impact has been a non-starter for some reason in conversations. Me, I blame mainstream media-bias for not arguing the fairly arguable out in the press.


For the sake of argument, let’s say our main national problems now – facing our career professional politicians – is jobs and the lack thereof.


Our federal government cannot create jobs, as it must pay for salaries out of tax dollars. This costs taxpayers in aggregate more than the net benefit of having more jobholders does.


So, we rely on the private sector to generate real wealth-creating jobs via innovation and risk taking, so big government can then skim off tax dollars to the Treasury and redistribute them fairly as they see fit. Well….except for that “politics” thing.


So, as we now go to conference committee to resolve two vastly differing bills – each one opposed in some way by over 56 percent of our population – why must small business, America’s real engine of capital, take the big hit?


Measured any way you want, the aggregate payment to Treasury by small businesses is the engine that should be getting fixed!


According to a Washington Post evaluation from December 24th, a subsection chart “Health-care reform: How the proposals stack up,” the employer mandate is dissected.


“Employers must pay 65 percent of family premiums or pay a penalty based on payroll. Small business with less than $500K in payroll are exempt.” This is the House Bill.


In the Senate Bill there is no mandate, but there might as well be one as: “if even [only] one employee of a firm with more than 50 employees receives a subsidy through the new exchanges, the firm would face a fine equal to $750 for every person on its payroll.”


We must not have the same definition for the term “small business.”


So, is “politics as usual” somewhat off of the Founding Fathers’ “purpose line” for America?




How do you like them apples?


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