More Than a Little Liberal

Christian Science MonitorI was over at the Christian Science Monitor, and I got tricked into taking their Are you more (or less) conservative than Mitt Romney quiz. My result was: “You’re more than a little liberal. You’re a lefty! You might even be more liberal than President Obama. You won’t be voting for Romney come November.”

Ya think? Even more liberal than President Obama? More liberal than that corporate lackey? Let’s hope!

More interesting were the questions, which I found highly biased. Here is question number 11, with the choices:

Most Americans say decreasing US dependence on foreign oil is important. What do you think is the best plan for doing that?

  • Fossil fuels and CO2 emissions should be banned from America. Everyone should use public transportation or ride their bikes.
  • We need to work to make renewable energy and green technology economically feasible. Meanwhile, we should cautiously drill for domestic energy reserves.
  • Green technologies are too expensive. We should make permitting simpler for the energy industry, and make sure they’re not overregulated. We should also invest in nuclear power. We should worry less about decreasing CO2 outputs; that’s harmful to business.
  • Drill, baby, drill! Forget green technology. We should be exploiting domestic resources of oil and natural as as quickly as possible, whatever the cost. We can worry about the environment later.
  • What’s the big deal about energy independence? The US imports a lot of products from volatile nations. Should America also decrease its dependence on diamonds from Africa, or computer parts made in China?

So let’s see, the choices are: I’m hopelessly naive; I’m reasonable and yet I think we should drill; drill and nuke; drill; and let someone else drill.

I picked the second choice, because the first is just silly. CO2 emissions come from a lot more things than gas for cars. This choice shows how lowly the CSM thinks of environmentalists. All of the questions had similar problems. I’ve never thought of the CSM as being conservative but apparently it is. Or at least the designers of this test were.

Two Points About Libertarians

Libertarian Glenn BeckThis always bugged me when I was a libertarian. Libertarians, almost to a man, hate unions. I, on the other hand, always thought that strong unions were absolutely essential to a libertarian utopia. If the work force could not organize themselves the same way companies do, there could be no justice. Instead, we would just have a bunch of monopolies—the great world of the robber barons. The fact that most libertarians hate unions makes me think that libertarians are not really for freedom; they are just self-congratulatory third basers[1] who only care about freedom for themselves.

One other thing about libertarians: they tend to love corporations. But the corporation is just a government provided legal status. There is nothing natural about it. If libertarians were honest about their beliefs, they would be against the corporation. But libertarians, like all conservatives, worship the rich. Thus, anything that benefits the rich, regardless how interventionist (e.g. patents, copyrights), is okay. Anything that benefits the poor, regardless of how minor the intervention (e.g. the 0.2 cent—cent not percent—per person that goes to abortions for rape victims), is tyranny. Tyranny I tell you!

And yes, Glenn Beck is very much a typical libertarian. I know there is a brand of “serious” libertarians—especially on the internet. They are even more ridiculous than the Glenn Becks of the world because they should be better able to see their obvious blind spots. I don’t know what the demographics look like, but my guess would be that Ayn Rand appeals mostly to people born of reasonably affluent people (middle class and up). I don’t mind people looking out for their own interests. I do mind when they claim what is good for them is good for everyone. And I really mind when they claim that their philosophy is “natural” and that it can be proved deductively. Please!

[1] I’ve noticed that the term “third baser” does not seem to be common. It maybe refers to Jim Hightower’s comment about George W. Bush, who was “born on third base, thought he had hit a triple.” I’ve heard similar quotes from others. Recently, it seems to be quoted, “Born on third base, thinks he hit a home run.” Romney is an excellent example of this, but I think it is more correct to say that he was born on home plate. Regardless, a “third baser” is someone who started wealthy and ended more wealthy. I think that everyone understands that the hardest thing is to get on base. It is all downhill from there.

Bad News for Romney’s Healthcare Plans

Sarah KliffSarah Kliff has a very provocative article over at WonkBlog called Romney’s Health Care Plans Don’t Exempt Today’s Seniors. As usual for the WonkBlog staff, she bends over backwards to be fair. (Fun Fact: before working for Ezra Klein, all staff must have worked for at least a year as a circus contortionist.) But the article is damning to Romney’s campaign.

The substance of the piece is not terribly new. Much of it I knew. The ACA gets rid of the Medicare prescription “doughnut hole” and Romney plans to savage Medicaid, which would hurt low income seniors and those needing long term care.

In the name of fairness, Kliff notes that some seniors will see their costs go up. The main increase would be on seniors making more than $85,000 per year—they would see their premiums increase. This represents 5% of seniors. She sums up, “Overall, though, analysts say that out-of-pocket spending by seniors would increase if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.”

The one thing not mentioned in the article is how long there would be widespread support for a program that only benefits those currently over the age of 55. I think the program would slowly and then quickly be looted. This is especially true when you consider that as this population ages, the per capita costs would skyrocket.

All of this bad news about the Romney plan could normally be blown off. But Romney’s main attack on Obama has been that the ACA is going to harm current seniors. The facts say otherwise. The majority of seniors will see no change or improvements. Those upper class seniors who will see their premiums rise can handle it. Anyway, they won’t be voting for Obama.