Thursday, June 07, 2012

Information is Power

The Telegraph reported today that "Scientists could soon be able to routinely screen unborn babies for thousands of genetic conditions, raising concerns the breakthrough could lead to more abortions."  While that is obviously a concern, I think there is a deeper consequence at the bottom of the socialist Utopian slippery slope.

Ideally, couples would use this information to plan for the care of their child.  If you found out that your baby would be born with a genetic disorder you could educate yourself.  You could prepare your home, your finances, your employer and your friends and family.  You could find a doctor, a service provider, a support group or a charitable organization.  Most importantly you could prepare yourselves emotionally.

All this could be done ahead of time so that when your baby arrived you could focus on loving them and providing them with the best possible care.  You could know that everything is already in place and that you're as prepared as you can possibly be.  This would be so much better for you and your baby than finding out in the delivery room that your life is about to be turned upside down.

Unfortunately, many people would use this test to decide whether or not to terminate the pregnancy.  Some people would destroy their unborn children believing themselves to be merciful; but for people who don't consider an unborn baby to be a living individual, they wouldn't need a medical reason.  This test could tell you the gender of the baby, which the House couldn't ban as a reason for an abortion.  If there is no restriction on the reason for an abortion, what happens when we decode the genome and can use this test to determine the baby's eye color, hair color and which parent's nose, lips and cheek bones she will have?

As bad as that is, it's not even the bottom of the slope.  What happens when this test becomes mandatory?  What happens when the government decides insurance companies can deny coverage if the results show that your child has a disorder that will make her a burden on the healthcare system.

It's not that much of a stretch when you consider the liberty-squashing steps being taken right now to make us healthier and reduce healthcare costs for the good of society.  There's already an enormous tax on cigarettes.  Here in New York, you can't allow people to smoke in your privately owned establishment.  Soon, in New York City, you will no longer be able to sell large (over 16 fl. oz.) sugary drinks.  The only justification is that unhealthy people are a burden on society.

Add to that, if Obamacare is upheld by the Supreme Court, the Health and Human Services Secretary will have the power to decide what's covered and what isn't.  Keep in mind, also, that this test is relatively non-invasive - requiring only a blood sample from the mother and a saliva swab from the father.  (Then again, this requires that the father take responsibility which goes against liberal philosophy.)

Now, I'm sure charities would step forward to help if it ever came to this and I'd like to think it would never happen; but that's where this rabbit hole goes.  Information is power.  Just like the knowledge of radioactive material can be used to power a city or destroy one, this test provides information that could be used to give a child the best possible life or end it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Actions Speak Louder

President Obama gave his State of the Union Address last night and said a lot of good things last night. He praised out troops, touted American values, recognized the importance of small business owners and the corruption caused by money in politics.

I could go on about all the things I disagree with but instead I will focus on the contradictions left me in a state of disbelief.

I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.

Wow, that's exactly how I feel about the role of government. Maybe Obama isn't that bad after all.

But wait. What about the most basic economic decision: what to do with our own money? That is definitely is not done better by themselves. He wants to take more in taxes from "the rich." He believes that investing their money in companies that use it to grow and hire more employees is bad. He knows the government would do a much better job spending that money on entitlement programs and financial assistance for those less fortunate.

What about the decision on energy sources and consumption? He supports incentives for energy efficiency upgrades for manufacturers. Apparently they look at the supposed $100 billion of lower energy bills over the next decade and are too stupid to do it. The solution is for the government to give them a tax credit paid for by those rich folks who aren't spending their money the way they should be.

Other things the government should do for us include forcing individuals to buy health care, forcing workers to join unions, forcing companies to hire domestic unionized labor and forcing Catholic institutions to provide its employees with free contraceptive coverage.

So, maybe he believes the words Lincoln said - so we won't accuse him of lying - but he definitely has a different idea about what people cannot do better by themselves.

We can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot... and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

Yes, I had to edit a lot out of even that sentence to find the part I agree with; but still, I'm all for an America with a level playing field.

How does he reconcile this with his proposal to "end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising." That doesn't sound at all like playing by the "same set of rules." Also, the assessment of "promising" is a stretch, at best.

Also, how is the playing field level when almost half of American households don't pay federal taxes and his solution is to make the tax code even more progressive?

No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.

This sentiment I agree with the same now as I did when even President Bush was pushing for bailouts at the end of his last term. Obama, on the other hand, supported the bank bailout when he was a Senator and earlier in this same address touted the results of his bailout of GM. Of course, by "bailout," I mean the contract violating union payoff at taxpayer expense.

He also took credit for Ford's success even though they didn't accept bailout funds.

Finally there were countless examples of proposing ideas or taking credit for solutions to problems he and his party caused or twisting the truth to shift blame or paint a rosier picture.

"Think about the America within our reach:...A future where we’re in control of our own energy and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world." Except that he only supports energy if it's green and heavily subsidized, he is eliminating the two-war policy and just rejected a pipeline that would increase our supply of oil from Canada and reduce the amount coming from "unstable parts."

"A[n American energy] strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs." More like less efficient, more expensive and full of hot air - to put it mildly.

"Companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world" and you support those tax rates and want higher taxes on people who invest in those companies!

"We should support... every risk-taker and entrepreneur" unless they're successful, in which case he will override the capital gains rate and make them pay more taxes?!

"Expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis." Like the practices based on federal government bullying with your party's aim of increasing home ownership among the poor and minorities?

"There are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office" because unemployment is so high even illegals can't find work here!

"I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources" that were only closed because you put a moratorium on offshore drilling!

"And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop [shale gas]" which your party is opposing right now in New York?!

So anyway, if I was completely ignorant of the actual state of the Union and the policies that got us here, this would be a fairly balanced speech that I would have the normal ideological disagreements with. Being someone who follows politics, however, this came across as an infuriating campaign speech meant to deceive as many people as possible and give shout outs to his base. Unfortunately, that's good enough for a lot of them.

"Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity." - Union vote: check.

"Our ironclad commitment -- and I mean ironclad -- to Israel’s security..." - Jewish vote: check.

"I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use." - green vote: check.

"Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship." - Hispanic vote: check.

"Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money." - Occupy Wall Street vote: check

" a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet." - senior, student and poor votes: check, check and check

Let's hope the American people are smart enough to see through this speech and the billion dollar campaign that has officially begun.