Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Feature, Not A Bug

Last Sunday's editorial in the Saint Petersburg Times criticized Rep. Paul Ryan's plans for Medicare as not spending a sufficient amount to counter rising health care costs. My letter in Friday's paper counters that the lower spending and other reforms in the plan serve as part of the solution:

This editorial criticizes Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal for not spending as much on Medicare and Medicaid as current health care costs would require. This is a feature, not a bug. These two government entitlements deluge the health care market with dollars that chase available supplies of medical treatment, bidding up the price. This, combined with the fact that beneficiaries have little incentive to shop for the best prices, put these programs in perilous financial straits and increase costs for those inside and outside of the system.

Ryan's plan offers solutions to both of these problems. Lower overall spending puts brakes on rampant health care inflation, and his voucher system incentivizes beneficiaries to shop for the best deal. Far from being insufficient, Ryan's proposals are just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Incorporate the Fetus Too

Abortion has surfaced as a topic for debate in Florida as several bills have come up addressing the subject. Among the most prominent is a bill that would require a woman to have an ultrasound before she consents to an abortion.

I am opposed to the bill because neither Tallahassee nor the federal government (via Obamacare) should be mandating such specific decisions like a certain procedure or insurance coverage amount.

I am also pro-life. How can I square these two positions?

In the end, I believe that each person is free to live their lives in a manner of their choosing as long as they do not coerce, commit violence upon, or defraud others. Giving the state government the sanction to dictate when we receive ultrasounds and by whom is opening the door to a plethora of meddlesomeness to people who hardly need prodding to involve themselves more in our lives. A pregnant woman has the right to receive or refuse an ultrasound at her discretion. To deny this right is to deny all manner of rights personal and economic.

So too does a person, who happens to reside in a uterus, have the right to life without violence. Much of the abortion debate, at least at the philosophical level, centers around whether we define a fetus as a person or not. I happen to think that popular points demarcating the beginning of life, such as a certain amount of weeks, are arbitrary. The only two points that seem non-arbitrary to me are conception or birth, and because I cannot accept that a baby could be killed an hour before it is born, I must settle on conception as the beginning of life.

Others can and will disagree with me about my position on abortion or the beginning of life, and their arguments have considerable merit. As with any position based on principles, it leads me to unsettling real-life conclusions that are difficult to ignore.

One person that apparently happens to agree with me, however, is Democrat Scott Randolph, a Florida State House Representative. He decided to make the cute little suggestion of allowing women to incorporate their uterus. Because he is under the impression that Florida Republicans are against all corporate regulation, incorporation of the uterus would make abortion restrictions off-limits.

Any casual student of business will remember that the chief benefit of the corporate form is that it creates a separate legal entity. Doing so to the uterus, and I assume by extension the fetus, is therefore something I can wholeheartedly support. With Mr. Randolph's help, we can soon dispense of this notion that the right to life of the unborn exists at the sole discretion of their maternal parent, and instead see them as the separate, yet admittedly dependent and vulnerable individuals that they are.

Note: I am fully aware that Randolph's suggestion was in jest. I'm trying to make a point here, people.

Friday, April 1, 2011

LQ&C 4/1/11

-Connecticut considers marijuana policy reform.

-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blissfully ignores the Social Security problem, saying he'll deal with it in a decade or two. Ed Morrissey quips:
I’m not sure which is worse: the suggestion that even the easiest kind of entitlement reform won’t get any hearing in the Senate this session, or the idea that Harry Reid will still be in the Senate in 2031.
-The Cato Institute puts the budget debate in perspective.

-St. Petersburg Times editor Tim Nickens' article about Rick Scott and transparency was pretty much what you'd expect:
He says he supports open government, and he signed an executive order his first day re-establishing the Office of Open Government created by Gov. Charlie Crist. But it's been downhill since then. Scott is the Prince of Darkness, avoiding the sunshine of open meetings and public records whenever he can.
The governor and the media having an antagonistic relationship? Where did he get that idea? Maybe by, oh I don't know, newspaper editors calling him the Prince of Darkness???

-It begins: Fed official says interest rate increases could begin this year.