January 1, 2010

Will the terrorist kill healthcare reform?

I made the point the other day that the creation of a new bureaucracy - the Department of Homeland Security - seemingly hasn't improved the way intelligence is processed. (The Glittering Eye and Andy McCarthy make similar points.)

In fact, Instapundit, writing seven and a half years ago predicted:

The FBI and CIA did a lousy job of that where the Sept. 11 attacks were concerned. It now appears that they had the kind of information that would have tipped them off to the pending attacks � if anyone had been able to connect the dots. But the system broke down there.

Raw intelligence data didn't always make it to the analysts. When it did, it wasn't understood. When it was understood, it wasn't acted upon.

If the White House had asked for billions of dollars to analyze intelligence data, it would be onto something. But the Department of Homeland Security isn't really about analysis. The FBI and CIA � who have traditionally had trouble cooperating � will be outside the new department, which probably will simply constitute another entity with which those agencies will have trouble cooperating.

Similar problems exist across the board: anyone who thinks that shifting a few lines on an organizational chart will create better cooperation between the Coast Guard and the Immigration and Naturalization Service is, ahem, an optimist, to say the least. But what's most troubling about the Department of Homeland Security is attitude, and I think that attitude is the most important thing in our war against Islamist terrorists.

Digest that for a moment. Now read this assessment of what healthcare reform will involve (h/t my father)

Saltman believes that Obama's bill creates more problems than it solves. Among its flaws is that it is set up to raise money for 10 years but in effect will cover only six years of services, since it will not immediately offer coverage. "Not only is this dishonest bookkeeping, but you can't leave people without health insurance for years."

Moreover, Saltman argued, "the time is over for this type of big public-spending program. The Obama administration lives with the 1960s in their heads, eager to create a European-style welfare state. But the world has changed. We are in the midst of a Third Industrial Revolution, after the first launched by steam and the second by electric power. We are now in the world of computers and electronics," noted Saltman, "and the US is not the only country to do well in this."

He said that many European nations are doing everything they can to reduce state expenses,"but in the US, we want to increase taxes dramatically on both individuals and companies. You can't do it anymore. There are two billion more new workers in Southeast Asia and all are working hard. They want the things Americans already have. If the US can't come up with a smarter fiscal policy, these countries are going to eat our lunch!"

A second problem, he explained, is that the Democrat's health strategy centralizes a great deal more power in the hands of the federal government. "The Senate bill would set up over 100 new agencies and boards to supervise the health sector. That's a huge amount of federal bureaucracy. While some new regulation is long overdue, especially to rein in private insurers, the current proposal goes way overboard."

Read that last paragraph again - "100 new agencies and boards."

This is something that Charles Krauthammer noted a few weeks ago:

Worse, they are packed into a monstrous package without any regard to each other. The only thing linking these changes -- such as the 118 new boards, commissions and programs -- is political expediency. Each must be able to garner just enough votes to pass. There is not even a pretense of a unifying vision or conceptual harmony.

The result is an overregulated, overbureaucratized system of surpassing arbitrariness and inefficiency. Throw a dart at the Senate tome:

-- You'll find mandates with financial penalties -- the amounts picked out of a hat.

-- You'll find insurance companies (which live and die by their actuarial skills) told exactly what weight to give risk factors, such as age. Currently insurance premiums for 20-somethings are about one-sixth the premiums for 60-somethings. The House bill dictates the young shall now pay at minimum one-half; the Senate bill, one-third -- numbers picked out of a hat.

-- You'll find sliding scales for health-insurance subsidies -- percentages picked out of a hat -- that will radically raise marginal income tax rates for middle-class recipients, among other crazy unintended consequences.

Krauthammer concluded:

Insuring the uninsured is a moral imperative. The problem is that the Democrats have chosen the worst possible method -- a $1 trillion new entitlement of stupefying arbitrariness and inefficiency.

The better choice is targeted measures that attack the inefficiencies of the current system one by one -- tort reform, interstate purchasing and taxing employee benefits. It would take 20 pages to write such a bill, not 2,000 -- and provide the funds to cover the uninsured without wrecking both U.S. health care and the U.S. Treasury.

If - as shown by last week's terror attack - the relatively simple step of improving the assessment of intelligence was not accomplished by introducing a new bureaucracy, why should we assume the vastly more complex health care system will be improved by adding layers of bureaucracy? We shouldn't and it won't.

UPDATE: Wow, I've been instalanched. Thanks.

UPDATE II: If you're new here, please look around. If you'd like to know a little more about me, take a look at my co-bloggers Daled Amos and JudeoPundit. I'm also a co-blogger of Meryl Yourish. Finally I'm a member of a fine group of bloggers, called the Watcher's council, check it out.

Posted by SoccerDad at January 1, 2010 2:24 AM
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It should be pointed out it was alert citizens, not the government that overpowered and disarmed the terrorist. More government regulation is simply going to prevent people from making sound choices for themselves. Creating new organizational lines on a chart isn't going to fix America's health care system any more than it fixed America's homeland security system. There's a moral here the Left refuses to heed.

Posted by: NormanF at January 1, 2010 9:59 AM

History repeats itself until the lesson is learned. Your father is a wise man.

Posted by: mcnorman at January 1, 2010 1:37 PM

"You'll find insurance companies (which live and die by their actuarial skills) told exactly what weight to give risk factors, such as age."

So, after forcing banks to give risky home loans [Community Reinvestment Act] we have learned nothing? Really?

Sure, lets apply that model to Health Care and expect a different result. We're so doomed.

Posted by: Fen at January 1, 2010 1:46 PM

The deep-department-of-homeland-tom.foolery happened on Dubya's watch. EARLY. Just as he began dancing for the saud's. Promising them saddam's head, this time. By forgetting how angry his dad was at the kuwaitis, going back to 1991.

How could the saud's buy so much? Well, Dubya's a brainless twit. Just as is McCain. And, so, too, John Kerry; who is still excerising powers over our military. And, decisions that seem to want to 'grab territory from Israel,' with group nut-job european approval. You can't fool me.

The "homeland" ploy is just a job grabber for incompetents. Well, what did you want to do with the trash that 'studied' african studies. Or even some low form of 'constitutional law,' that granted them, without having to show up for testing, CREDENTIALS!

Those credentials didn't make Ted Kennedy, Dubya, or McCain, any smarter. While it exposed us all to limiting childbirth among teenagers. Keeping kids juvenile till they reach their 30's. And, only then, if they get lucky, and life grabs them by the place where the sun don't shine.

More of that happening every day!

Oh, yes. Unintended consequences. If McCain had reached the threshold, AND HE COULD NOT, we'd have burning cities on our hands! The bamster was about as 'good to go' on that! Unless McCain opened up some secret door and let in all of the bamster's turkeys.

In other words? It could have been worse.

And, also, in other words, so many Americans are getting educated beyond the point they were dropped off shore by the department of education. Which was Ike's grab.

You can't fool me! Both parties are loaded with skunks.

Posted by: Carol Herman at January 1, 2010 1:49 PM

"Insuring the uninsured is a moral imperative."

What makes it so?

What happened to simple charity (which the government confiscating my hard-earned money to hand over to other people definitely is NOT)?

If you think something is a "moral imperative," throw YOUR money at it. I'd rather voluntarily give my money to a properly run charity that actually wants to help people, not help themselves.

The greedy idiots in our government are only interested in getting their hands in someone else's cookie jar. :-(

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at January 1, 2010 1:58 PM

What Krauthammer said. Can we kill this festering pile of a bill and start on REAL reform now, please?

Posted by: Tully at January 1, 2010 2:03 PM

Here, Here to Carol.

There can be no such thing as a right to a product or service that is created by the effort of others or is paid for by others. Today its Krauthammer, yesterday it was Reagan & Gingrich. When it really counts, these guys are incapable of properly defending individual rights. That's why we are on the brink of a socialist America today. Their time is up, it is time for a new voice that is unashamed to defend individual rights--full throat.

Posted by: Dave at January 1, 2010 2:45 PM

Here, Here to Carol.

There can be no such thing as a right to a product or service that is created by the effort of others or is paid for by others. Today its Krauthammer, yesterday it was Reagan & Gingrich. When it really counts, these guys are incapable of properly defending individual rights. That's why we are on the brink of a socialist America today. Their time is up, it is time for a new voice that is unashamed to defend individual rights--full throat.

Posted by: Dave at January 1, 2010 2:51 PM

The biggest issue I have with anything in that post is the notion that "Insuring the uninsured is a moral imperative."

I fail to understand how anyone's lack of insurance is supposed to be my responsibility. I do not accept the premise that health care is a right.

That is the basis on which this socialist/statist monstrosity should be defeated.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at January 1, 2010 3:14 PM

!00 new agencies and boards to supervise Health care, all manned by TSA rejects

Posted by: Joe Haskins at January 1, 2010 3:21 PM

The commenters above me have already nailed it: Everything Krauthammer said is rendered irrelevant by his concession of the left's basic premise.


Conceding that such a moral imperative exists is to legitimize the misguided assumption underpinning this whole thing. At that point you're merely quibbling over details (and indeed, that's what Krauthammer is essentially doing with the rest of his remarks).

I don't have health insurance. I haven't for several years. The idea that it is someone else's imperative to provide it to me is utterly appalling.

Dave above me is correct: "When it really counts, these guys are incapable of properly defending individual rights."

It is way past time to step up and start fighting this stuff at the philosophical level. There has GOT to be a way to do this that resonates with the American people. There's GOT to be a way to do it where it's not easily crushed by fear-mongering leftists, who have managed to denormalize liberty by wielding mindless notions of "equality" and "justice." There's GOT to be a way to make democracy stop being the enemy of freedom. I'm not smart enough or rhetorically savvy enough to know what that way is, but surely somebody must.

Posted by: TT at January 1, 2010 5:35 PM

Excellent comparisons. Krauthhammer cuts through all the crap to the truth.

I'm still hoping that any health care bill will be defeated.

Walter E. Williams said on Rush Limbaugh's show, that all this trying to remove one part, add another part, improve this or that is just crazy. What opponents need to be doing is saying NO. No to the entire catastrophe.

Posted by: Debbie at January 1, 2010 6:48 PM

Enjoy flying the Obama-airlines...

Things are getting even more interesting these days. Obama-security (CIA, TSA, FBI) failed to stop and check a moslem terrorist who tried to blow up an airplane full of passengers. Notice that it's not like the guy was terribly inconspicuous. In order to list all the obvious signs of his suspicious behaviour, I needed to make a list since I could not fit everything into one sentence. Each of the points should have been enough to get this man an extra pat on the groin at the airport, and yet, he was allowed to roam freely, while the blond blue eyed 70 year old Norwegian women had to strip naked in front of the entire security apparatus in the airport to make sure they are not jihadists on a suicide mission.

Read the entire article here:

Posted by: Hyphenated American at January 1, 2010 10:08 PM

Now that the Dems have a majority in Congress the only thing they can see is a path for them to pass the legislation they have dreamed about for year. There is no room in their agenda for trivial things such as whether or not it will work, or if it will actually benefit U.S. Citizens. A chance to create hundreds of new agencies and suck thousands more into federal employment is the only thing they can see. They have all the mental capacity at this point of a 4 year old in a candy store with no adults.
Listening to their rationalizations of this disgusting excuse for reform is enough to make me vomit.

Posted by: Jason at January 1, 2010 11:15 PM

That's what Obama gets for being so lax on security issues. Terrorism is going to dominate the debate for quite some time to come. We were so used to Bush keeping us safe we begin to forget about it...Read: Growing all Nostalgic for Bush...at..

Posted by: cooperscopy at January 2, 2010 12:22 AM

I wish something would kill this fake healthcare "reform" but I don't think the corruptocrats are going to stop. They are on a suicide mission: http://spqr-us.blogspot.com/

Posted by: SPQR US at January 2, 2010 4:09 AM

I wish something would kill this fake healthcare "reform" but I don't think the corruptocrats are going to stop. They are on a suicide mission: http://spqr-us.blogspot.com/

Posted by: SPQR US at January 2, 2010 4:10 AM

I don't know how many "bricks in the wall" it will take to kill our trajectory towards socialized medicine. This latest terror attack, among the many others in 2009, definately is "one more brick in the wall". John

Posted by: John Oines at January 2, 2010 7:05 AM

This man was not caught until the actual act of terrorism failed.
This PC madness has got to stop. The "Flying Immans" backed down an entire airline and country and made it way to inconvienient to point out suspicous behavior. As cair would sue you and lionize you.
The man watched the terrorist put on the plane without a passport said nothing and then boarded the same plane. (litigated into silence) Almost 300 people would have died including the witness to the start of the terrorist operation all because people are afraid to challenge what does not feel right or look right.
One only has to look at all the Mon. morning quaterbacks in the Ft. Hood terrorist attack but very few acted and certainly not those who's innaction and PC mentality (courtesy of cair) could have stopped the murder of 14 human beings.
Don't be surprised if cair doesn't insist the man who subdued the crotch bomber be prosecuted for assault and battery, and hurting his feelings

Posted by: Dan ONeil at January 2, 2010 9:21 AM

I do not believe the administration cares one wit about the 'connection' between poor management, not connecting the dots ets., of big government and its persistent failures.

With 60%+ against a bigger role of government in health care insurance ... the Congress presses on oblivious of causal tied, or national desires. They want more control, and believe that a 'Nanny' state knows best - and this is but one of the ways to do it.

The American people got lazy, didn't stay involved and got snookered into believing that a Govt could/can take care of them... as it is said, "Those who take care of themselves sleeping get beaten by the meek." Meek meaning 'stupid.'

Europe, except England, is running away from Big Govt ... the US and England are running toward it. Go figure?

Posted by: National Socialist Party at January 2, 2010 9:28 AM

Back when the talk was all about how the authorities had failed to "connect the dots" prior to 9/11, I realized that the only way to fix that would not be to consolidate the various agencies, which I saw as rearranging the deck chairs. The failures were due to the bureaucratic mentality and the idea that everything we did had to pass muster with judges who no longer understood that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. We now seem to think that in order to demonstrate how superior our system is, we have to let them kill us.

Posted by: AST at January 2, 2010 11:46 PM

"History repeats itself until the lesson is learned."

McNorman, meet my friend the infinite loop.

Posted by: Bob at January 3, 2010 3:11 AM

To the editor;

Recently the United States suffered yet another attempted act of war from a terrorist acting on the misguided notion of jihad. This particular fellow evaded airport security, then while seated on the aircraft attempted to detonate a bomb in addition to the fuel tank positioned below him. The jihadist�s failure was a result of a lack of preparation; neither his will nor our efforts to keep him off the plane did anything to ameliorate his plans. This jihadist, like many who have attacked this nation in the past, are men educated in mind and not in morals, and as such are a menace to civil society, and must be stopped at any cost. After 30 years of the free world trying to stop various forms of jihad we are no closer to stopping the next attack because the ideology that creates the next radical Islamic terrorist still exists; so long as it exists we will neither have peace nor security - nothing short of a regional war that redraws the boundaries of countries in the middle east will bring us the opportunity of lasting peace. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan did not alter their evil plans upon the sight of a TSA agent. That said; a small suggestion.
Credit card companies monitor spending behavior to detect fraud. They do this by setting limits based on historic spending patterns, and computers monitor daily transactions to detect purchases that may be fraudulent. For instance, if I make a few small purchases in one geographic area and then drive many miles away and make much larger purchases the credit card company will deny the charge, and request that the merchant verify my identity. Why is it that a credit card company is motivated enough to monitor, successfully detect, and challenge potentially malfeasant behavior? Further, why is it that the Transportation Safety Administration is unable to detect a known explosive attached to the genitalia of a known threat, and is unable to stop future malfeasant behavior? In a word - profit. The credit card company is trying to maintain profits by limiting its losses by devising ingenious ways of detecting fraud to protect that profit, the TSA does not operate for the purpose of profit.
The Transportation Safety Administration has a completely different standard to meet and it must do so by engaging in willful blindness to threats in order to accomplish its mission without raising the ire of the ACLU. Thus, precious security detection resources that could be directed to more plausible threats must be redirected to less likely threats in order to satisfy the politically correct among us. For the same reason my local police department does not set up sobriety check points near our local churches or temples the TSA ought to spend more time looking for the telltale signs of jihad from likely sources. This recent attempt was a no brainer, our security apparatus had everything but a red alert warning from the starship Enterprise before this fellow made it to the airport gate even sans passport; if we can�t stop this guy we can�t stop anyone.
If an airline operated a system akin to my credit card companies in the atmosphere of airport security what would that look like? Might a pre-flight approval system consist of various credentials already in a citizens possession; a system for non-citizens would perform the same function of verification with cross referenced forms of identification, the elimination of the option of using cash to purchase a ticket, and the elimination of purchasing a ticket without being pre-qualified to do so in the first place. In addition, the airline would be responsible for all security; remember the $50 Billion per year TSA could not stop this jihadist, and frankly in a world where people willingly swallow prophylactics filled with narcotics to breech our drug laws, the TSA will not stop the next one; an airline that is one hundred percent responsible for the occupants and operation of the aircraft can and will. They will have the ability to reject people who do not meet their flight criteria identity policy in a way that the TSA is forbidden from by organizations like the ACLU. The profit driven airline can drive the innovation that will be required to detect individuals whose behavior is suspicious even before a ticket is purchased by combing all the data points that separate out frequent travelers from those that have never flown, or are traveling in a manner not consistent with past patterns, and thus require more scrutiny at security checkpoints prior to boarding the plane. In fact much like credit cards issue a FICO score in some future world they may have a central organization for all airlines that compiles this information and issues an �Approved Travel Score.�
In closing, it is almost treasonous that after so many kicks to our collective complacency we are still only fighting the last battle, and not the next one. Securing an aircraft is best left up to the airline and the crew of the airplane, and not the federal government. The private airline possesses the incentive to maintain the safety of the airplane that the TSA and the rest of the security apparatus lacks. The federal government lacks the economic incentive to do a quality job, but the private airline is nimble and can evolve the policies and procedures the government is not permitted or politically unable to do. The current setup seems to serve only one purpose - to avoid responsibility for anything at all, in that atmosphere you can bet we are going to lose much more then an airliner in the future. The radical Islamic threat from 1979 to 2010 has grown stronger, and developed a greater reach into the west then our side has developed a defense or plan to defeat; we are fooling ourselves if we think a watch list, that no one even bothers to check, is anything more than a placebo for the cancerous philosophy of radical Islam.

Posted by: Joe Doakes at January 3, 2010 4:07 PM
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