Archive for Conservatism

Cantor Autopsy

Lots of stories about Eric Cantor, almost all of which I haven’t bothered to read. But some of which seem to be further off the mark than others.

Should Democrats be “giddy” over victories by a movement they declared dead and buried? The Tea Party is misnamed: it is a movement of similar-minded people that espouses a few common core beliefs (small government, low taxes, etc.), but nowhere near as many beliefs ascribed to them (racism, militantism, etc.). There are some Tea Party aligned organizations, but nothing as centrally organized as a party.

Whatever RINO horns the Tea Party may claim in no way redounds to the benefit of Democrats. The Virginia 7th will still have a Republican representative, likely one more hostile to compromise with Democrats than Cantor. I hesitate to draw too many conclusions from Cantor’s loss, but the little I’ve gleaned is that it was just as much Brat’s win. It took some nerve to run to the right of a seven-term congressman in a leadership position in a party primary, but to do so with no money, no national support, against prevailing polls—and win, convincingly—says something about the candidate. A caller to Rush today from that district cemented the point. She had been a long-time supporter of Cantor, but found his attitude to a qualified challenger off-putting. She recruited as many friends as she could to consider going for Brat over Cantor. In a congressional district, that sort of word of mouth can have an effect, especially if the incumbent and his supporters are taking the race for granted. As Cantor surely was.

I said before that Cantor was defeated over local issues, like potholes and bus schedules. But that’s not exactly right. Certainly, Cantor had “gone Hollywood” (Beltway, in his case): he acted as a party leader, not as a direct representative of the people who had to get his contract renewed every two years. But the concerns of his constituents were just as serious the rest of ours: immigration, federal lawlessness, etc. I also noted before that his share of the vote drifted ever lower in reelection after reelection. He doubtless would have beaten a Democrat opponent in the general election in a heavily Republican district, but he was vulnerable in the primary. Obviously.

My prediction of a repeat of 2010 in 2014 predates Cantor’s loss, and it’s only been bolstered by it. There may be a case where a Tea Party-esque candidate will prove too far to the right to win in the general election. But I think the opposite will be the rule. The Tea Party will bring out the voters.

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Have a Koch and a Smile

Harry Reid it and weep:

The United Negro College Fund announced a $25 million grant Friday from Koch Industries Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation — a large donation from the conservative powerhouse Koch name that Democrats have sought to vilify heading into the 2014 midterm elections.

The UNCF, known for its iconic motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” supports historically black colleges and universities and provides scholarships.

From the donation, $18.5 million will go toward nearly 3,000 merit-based scholarships to African-American students, and $6.5 million will go toward general support for historically black colleges and universities and the UNCF.

African-Americans are a key constituency within the Democratic Party. But Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF, said that since the organization’s inception in 1944, it has reached out to people of all backgrounds for support without an “ideological lens” because it is in everyone’s interest. The organization has awarded $100 million in scholarships to more than 12,000 students at 900 schools this year alone, but he said the need is so great that the organization turns away nine out of every 10 applicants, or about 100,000 students annually.

He said that in today’s politically charged climate, he’s prepared to take criticism from those of different political leanings than the Kochs.

“Criticism is a small price for helping young people get the chance to realize their dream of a college education, and if I’ve got to bear the brunt of someone else’s criticism to ensure that we have the resources to help those students, then I can handle it, and I can take the heat,” Lomax said.

Lomax said he and Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kansas, had lunch together and were able to find that we “shared a profound belief in the importance of education.”

“We talked about students. We talked about the kinds of support they need. We talked about the shared belief that there are a lot of talented young people there whose lives will be transformed if they get a chance to complete a college degree,” Lomax said.

In a statement, Koch said that “increasing well-being by helping people improve their lives has long been our focus” and that the partnership will provide promising students with new educational opportunities.

“We have tremendous respect for UNCF and we are hopeful this investment will further its effectiveness in helping students pursue their dreams,” Koch said.

In case you were wondering:

Reid’s office did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Let me provide a comment for Reid: sometimes, a mind is perfectly okay to waste (as he himself demonstrates every day) if the evil Kochs are paying for it.

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OMG, Did You Hear What Sarah Palin Said?

I only wish I’d said it (and I probably will):

“Well, if I were in charge,” she continued, as the audience erupted in applause at the prospect, “they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

And then:

Elsewhere in her speech, she called the idea of gun-free zones as ‘stupid on steroids’ and dismissed the idea of gun stores being linked to crime.

‘Gun stores are an accomplice to crime – and that fork made me fat,’ she said.

Even:

‘Look, if you control oil, you control an economy,’ she said. ‘If you control money, you control commerce. But if you control arms, you control the people and that is what they’re trying.’

Oh boy, she’s going to catch it for that! What will she say next?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Crazy b-word, she just might!

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Conservatism is a Winning Strategy—Except in Elections

That seemed to be the message from this extended call to Rush Limbaugh yesterday:

RUSH: Here’s Ian in Fort Myers, Florida. It’s great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Awesome. I appreciate it, Rush.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: First of all, I just want to let you know that I truly appreciate your perspective and all the ideas you share every time. I’m gonna do my best to try to articulate the point I was making to the screener. With regard to the Koch brothers article and just the message there that they’re trying to communicate, I just think the Republican Party is struggling to connect with the average person.

RUSH: Now, wait. Before you continue, I just want to make sure that we identify them. This is Charles Koch. The Koch brothers are Charles and David. There are two other Koch brothers that are not part of “the Koch brothers” as the Democrats use them.

CALLER: Sure.

I highlighted the caller’s point, and will trim the excess verbiage to try to keep it short. His inarticulateness and Rush’s deafness made for some tough listening.

CALLER: [...] I think when it comes to trying to persuade people about who they want to vote for and who they want running the country, to go out there and tell them that they need to distance themselves from the government, most people are afraid of that, in the masses at least. I mean, you’ve gotta understand, these people follow the advice of these progressives for the last 40, 50 years –

RUSH: No, I agree with you. I think it’s a scary thing for a lot of people to think of the government not being involved in their lives, particularly single women.

Okay, well, let’s take this down to the basic level. Do you have any kids?

CALLER: Not yet.

RUSH: Not yet. How old are you?

CALLER: Thirty-three.

RUSH: Thirty-three. Well, let’s pretend for a moment that you have a son who is 12 or 13, maybe 15, just on the verge of getting a driver’s license and a car. Let’s also, as part of our hypothetical, let’s stipulate that you and your wife have spoiled your son. Your son is way too dependent on you, and you are worried that he hasn’t learned and isn’t interested in learning how to take care of himself.

CALLER: Sure.

RUSH: What would you do?

CALLER: Well –

RUSH: The reason I ask is because you just said we can’t confront these people with the idea that they’ve got to take control of their own lives.

Again, cutting:

RUSH: Well, now, wait a second. See, this is where I kind of have a differing opinion from yours. Why is it that people today are immune from lessons in life? Why are people today somehow, “We can’t talk about taking care of yourself with this group. We can’t talk about providing for yourself. We can’t talk about making your life your own.” Why? What is it about this group that that so scares them? My point is, you would not raise your children that way.

If you were running for office, let’s forget that you’ve got a kid that’s gone off the rails and he’s dependent. You’re running for office, you want to reach these people. Okay, you’ve said we can’t make ‘em feel alone. We can’t humiliate ‘em. We can’t tell ‘em we’re gonna take things away from ‘em but we still want ‘em to vote for us. So what would you do? What would be your pitch?

CALLER: I don’t think there needs to be as strong of a pitch like you’re assuming to get people to vote for the person that they’re confident in. I don’t think Obama had a super strong pitch when he first won. He was just somewhat of a likable person. And even though these ideas that you share on a daily basis are pretty much the gospel to get yourself to a level in society that –

RUSH: I disagree with you. I think Obama did have a pitch, and it was he was gonna take care of you, and he was gonna fix everything that was wrong. And he personally was gonna guarantee you that things are gonna be okay. And he personally was gonna guarantee that the country be loved again. And he personally was gonna do all these wonderful things.

And, finally, Rush concluded:

RUSH: I can tell you that this radio audience is filled with converts, people that used to be dependent liberal Democrats who now listen to this program. You think that might not be possible because of the way they’re being approached because I make them afraid or feel vulnerable or whatever. But nobody that I know of anywhere is demanding that people be left alone.

That is not what “self-reliance” and “individuality” mean. It doesn’t mean alone. It doesn’t mean with no help. It doesn’t mean with no assistance. What it means is, “Be yourself, find out what you love, find out what you really want to do, and go do it. And don’t depend on people who don’t have your best interests at heart,” i.e., Democrats and the government.

If we’ve gotten to the point where we are literally destroying people’s futures by creating this dependency and then we can’t wean them off of it because that’s gonna make them vulnerable, then it’s not just that we’re gonna go to the grave never winning an election; we’re gonna go to the grave with the country never recovering. That, for me, isn’t an option. Tough love. You may think that’s too direct and so forth.

But I’m telling you, the question I asked you about how you would take care of somebody in your immediate orb that you feared was ruining their life is relevant here. If you love people, if you love the country, if you believe that everybody in the country contributes to making it great — if you love everybody and you want the best for them and if you know how they can achieve the best for them — you can’t be afraid to tell them.

As Rush said at CPAC five years ago:

I want to tell you who conservatives are. We conservatives have not done a good enough job of just laying out basically who we are because we make the mistake of assuming people know. What they know is largely incorrect based on the way we are portrayed in pop culture, in the Drive-By Media, by the Democrat Party. Let me tell you who we conservatives are: we love people. When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don’t see groups. We don’t see victims. We don’t see people we want to exploit. What we see — what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don’t think that person doesn’t have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government.

It’s up for debate if this is a winning message. But it’s the only message conservatives have. Liberals own the other side, the argument that you need government to complete you (which is appealing to some, repugnant to others). Where conservatives can win is if they persuade people that realizing their potential not only benefits them, it benefits that country. With ever greater numbers leaving the job market and going on aid, the liberal siren song sounds sweeter and sweeter. Until the ship capsizes (like Guam) from too many people rushing to one side to listen.

But as appealing as the conservative message is to me on its own, sometimes you win elections by pointing out the shortcomings on the other side.

ObamaCare.

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State of the Bunion

Actually, I have a higher opinion of President Obama: he’s a pain in the ass, not the foot.

People for the American Way, founded in 1981 by television producer Norman Lear, makes no secret that it is an advocate of a “wide variety of liberal causes.” The nonprofit’s 501 tax-exempt status has never been challenged by the Internal Revenue Service.

It’s a different story for Friends of Abe, a right-leaning Hollywood group whose membership includes actors Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer. The nonprofit’s application for tax-exempt status has been “under review” by President Obama’s IRS for two years.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the federal tax authorities presented Friends of Abe (as in Abraham Lincoln) with a 10-point demand for detailed information about its meetings with various conservative political figures.

That follows a previous IRS demand that Friends of Abe give its enforcers enhanced access to its security-protected website, enabling the feds to identify the group’s members.

The agency’s demands on the Hollywood nonprofit raise renewed suspicion that the IRS continues to target conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they apply for tax-exempt status; continues to hold right-leaning groups like Friends of Abe to a different standard than unabashed liberal groups like People for the American Way.

The IRS hasn’t been been punished in the least for its disenfranchisement of American citizens, delivering the 2012 election to Obama. They couldn’t have been more intimidating if they had worn black fatigues and berets and carried truncheons.

Oh sorry, that was 2008:

James Taranto addressed this story yesterday:

FOA members have good reason to fear being identified to the IRS. Last year the agency was revealed to have leaked confidential donor information about the National Organization for Marriage to the Human Rights Campaign, an antagonist in the debate over same-sex marriage. HRC promptly posted the purloined information online. LifeSiteNews.com reported in October that congressional investigators had identified the leaker, “but in an ironic twist, the Internal Revenue Service is forbidden from disclosing whether the employee has been prosecuted, fired, or even reprimanded.”

The IRS’s intrusive tactics thus have a chilling effect on people who wish to exercise their First Amendment right of free association without attracting public attention–or, more precisely, the attention of vicious ideological antagonists. Even calling attention to those tactics can compound the problem, as illustrated by FOA’s need to reassure its members in the wake of the Times story. The gradual accretion of power by a vast administrative state, combined with an administration intolerant of dissent, has produced a clear and present danger to basic American freedoms.

Remember one of the demands by the IRS on one of the Tea Part groups?

“Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers.”

I’m pretty sure that violates some part of the Constitution—maybe the part about not coveting your neighbor’s donkey—but I know for a fact it’s one of the most poorly constructed sentences ever written in what I take to be English.

Obama has seen what he’s gotten away with so far, and just keeps going. The executive branch will now ignore the legislative, leaving only the judicial branch as a check or balance. How you feeling about our chances?

Me neither.

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Everything is Spinning Out of Control! Except in Wisconsin

OMG! Chris Christie in the soup! Bob McDonnell under indictment! Dinesh D’Souza primed for arraignment! Either the Republican Party is going to the dogs, or Eric Holder has lost his mind.

Is there no sanity in modern politics?

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is scheduled to go on trial Monday in federal court here, the highest-profile defendant to face a jury on criminal charges for alleged corruption in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Nagin, 57 years old, rose to national prominence as levee failures flooded roughly 80% of the city when Katrina made landfall in August 2005. And while his trial focuses on a narrow series of business deals and city contracts, its backdrop is the massive rebuilding effort spurred by billions of federal dollars and the drive by New Orleanians to build a city free of the corruption and mismanaged government that festered for decades.

Where does George Bush go to get his reputation back? Something was rotten in Chocolate City.

Meanwhile, across the country…

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has completely changed the “state of the state” and Wisconsinites are reaping the benefits.

In 2011, Wisconsin had a whopping deficit of $3.6 billion dollars. But a cooperate tax cut and collective bargaining reforms invigorated the state economy. Now, the state is boasting a $911 million surplus, credited to “good stewardship of the taxpayers’ money.”

And what will Walker do? Buy his wife a $19,000 dress? Increase his paycheck? Go on vacation?

Nope. He’s proposing $800 million in tax cuts.

“What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money,” Walker said.

Hey, isn’t it time to indict another Republican? Get the lead out, Eric the Red, they’re not going to indict themselves.

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Dammit!

Untitled

Rush says he lives “rent-free” in Obama’s head.

Then why don’t we warrant a broom closet or a corner of the boiler room?!

RUSH: Well, ladies and gentlemen, it looks like I continue to live rent free in the head of the president, Barack Obama. It seems that the New Yorker has just posted more from their 18-page Obama interview. I don’t know if the whole thing has been on the Internet. I didn’t read the whole thing. It may have been up there all the time. But here is what the president said, the New Yorker interview with David Remnick that they have just posted.

“Another way of putting it, I guess, is that the issue has been the inability of my message to penetrate the Republican base so that they feel persuaded that I’m not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, but I’m somebody who is interested in solving problems and is pretty practical, and that, actually, a lot of the things that we’ve put in place worked better than people might think. And as long as there’s that gap between perceptions of me within the average Republican primary voter and the reality, it’s hard for folks like John Boehner to move too far in my direction.”

So it’s me again, and Fox News. We are the reason Obama can’t advance his agenda, because Boehner is afraid to move too close to Obama because I have made you — along with Fox News has made you — think Obama is something that he isn’t. And it’s such a shame. I have so distorted who the real Obama is in your mind, that it is paralyzing our government. It is paralyzing the Speaker of the House, who really, really, really, really wants to go in there and really, really work with Obama, but he just can’t. It’s hard for people like Boehner to move too far in my direction because of the misperception of me, Obama says, created by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

Rush and Fox, Fox and Rush—what have we been for the past eight years?!?!?! We’ve called him doofus, fascist, Omoeba, and any number of other names! We’ve opposed just about everything he’s said or done.

Where’s our space in his jug-eared head?

Naturally, Obama doesn’t want to portray the opposition is principled. He himself is rational, centrist, practical. It’s the foamy-mouthed radicals on the right who just spew hate. (You don’t know the half of it, General Secretary!)

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OMG, America is So Sexist, Racist, Etc., Even the American Dream is Sexist, Racist, Etc!

Turns out the secret to wealth and success is love, marriage, and hard work.

The bastards! (Okay, you can skip love.)

Rich America is working America: Wealthy households contain on average more than four times as many full-time workers as do poor households, and, surprisingly, inherited wealth constitutes a smaller share of their assets than it does for middle-class and poor households. They live modestly relative to their means and for the most part do not work on Wall Street or as corporate executives. The caricature of the rich American as a child of privilege who inherited a fortune and spends his days shuttling between mansions in a private jet is largely a product of the imagination of such would-be class warriors as Elizabeth Warren and Robert Reich, neither of whom lives in Section 8 housing, or even downwind of it.

For the hated “1 percent,” inherited wealth accounts for about 15 percent of holdings. Contrary to the story the Left likes to tell about economic inequality in the United States, those numbers have gone down over recent decades — by almost half for the wealthiest Americans. Meanwhile, inherited money makes up 43 percent of the wealth of the lowest income group and 31 percent for the second-lowest. In case our would-be class warriors are having trouble running the numbers here, that means that inherited money on net reduces wealth inequality in the United States (measured as a ratio) rather than exacerbating it; eliminating inherited wealth would have approximately twice as much of a negative effect on modest households as on wealthy ones.

So, go ahead! Hammer them, Lieawatha!

There is a reason that money earned from work accounts for a relatively large share of the holdings of rich Americans: They work more — a lot more.

There is, to be sure, such a thing as the working poor, but the most salient characteristic of poor households is the lack of full-time workers in them. For the bottom income group, there is an average of 0.42 earners per household, with 68.2 percent of householders not working at all, as opposed to 1.97 earners per household and only 13.3 percent not working for the highest income group. The answer to poverty turns out to be “get a job,” after all.

Not surprisingly, 78.4 percent of those highest-income families were married couples, as opposed to 17 percent for the lowest-income group. What this all means in brief is that the highest-income families are composed almost exclusively of two-earner households, the overwhelming majority of them married couples. Those who are inclined to see public policy mainly through green eyeshades may sniff at the social conservatives and their quaint worries about marriage, but there is a very strong connection between how we conduct our family lives and our economic outcomes.

This is not an invitation to moral crowing about the virtues of the rich — okay, maybe it is. The country would in fact be far better off if more people lived the way the top 20 percent do: married, working their butts off, saving and investing their money, and living within their means. (In his research for The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley found that the most popular make of automobile among the wealthy was not Ferrari or Mercedes but Ford, and that the most common Ford model owned by a millionaire was the F-150 pickup truck.)

You know what’s funnier than the secret of wealth turning out to be Leave it to Beaver (with Mrs. Cleaver running a successful catering business, employing Eddie Haskell as a delivery driver)? It’s no secret!

This guy crunched the numbers, but who doesn’t know this intuitively? Two incomes, stable homes, kids learning the value of education—it sounds like the Obamas. And they’re stinking rich! (Relax, it’s just an expression.)

If class warriors like Fauxcahantas really wanted to help the middle class, she’d… she’d do nothing. Most government programs for the poor have led to more poverty. The successful household model—two working parents—has only gotten further out of reach for the poorer among us. God help us if Liberals get their talons into the rest of us. We’ll be skinning each other’s dogs and cats for food. Or living in Detroit.

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Road Kill

And the accusations of racism will commence in three… two… one…

It’s almost like a blank slate, isn’t it? Some may see murderous hostility; others a simple, straightforward dismissal of a vexing problem. Would that Obamacare were so easily dispatched. One YouTube commenter asked why the driver didn’t back up and drive over it again, but I think the point had already been made. America (the truck) rumbled over a speed bump (Obamacare). Other than a minor realignment (election), no further corrective will be required.

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Why Was Martin Bashir Permitted To Resign?

Why didn’t MSNBC fire him?

Just over two weeks ago, MSNBC host Martin Bashir delivered a harsh piece of commentary that culminated in the suggestion that someone should “s-h-i-t” in former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin‘s (R-AK) mouth. Bashir offered an abject apology on his next broadcast, but a chorus of critics continued to demand action against the host. After a reported “vacation” for the host earlier this week, Bashir announced, in a statement to Mediaite Wednesday afternoon, that MSNBC and Martin Bashir are parting ways.

Here’s the statement to Mediaite, from Martin Bashir, via email:

After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday.
Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.
I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.’

MSNBC released Bashir’s statement, plus the following statement from MSNBC President Phil Griffin:

“Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with msnbc. Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best.”

Seriously, why is it ok to suggest that someone piss and shit into a woman’s mouth, just because she has the gall to be a conservative woman? Why is this ok? Why did it take this long for him to go, and why was he allowed to resign?

- Aggie

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Milton Friedman Warned Us

Over 30 years ago, and in less than 2 1/2 minutes:

And with a smile and a laugh, no less. Friedman would have swatted Obama like an annoying fly. Who’s around any more to articulate his philosophy, his truth?

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RepubliCare

Watching ObamaCare topple across the fruited plain like Saddam’s statue in Baghdad is glorious to behold, I think we all agree.

But is there something to put in its place? We’re starting to see some options:

What Republicans can and should do is offer the public something better. Now is the time to advance a conservative reform that can solve the serious, discrete problems of the health-care system in place before ObamaCare, but without needlessly upending people’s arrangements or threatening what works in American medicine. That the Democrats are now making things worse doesn’t mean the public wants to keep that prior system, or that Republicans should.

The biggest Republican misconception about health care is that the system before ObamaCare was a free-market paradise. On the contrary: It has consisted chiefly of massive and inefficient entitlements that threaten to bankrupt the nation; the lopsided tax treatment of employer-provided coverage that creates incentives for waste and overspending; and an underdeveloped individual market struggling to fill the gaps.

Exploding health-care costs and millions left needlessly uninsured are a result of misguided federal policies. Solutions require targeted reforms to those policies.

The first step of a plan to replace ObamaCare should be a flat and universal tax benefit for coverage. Today’s tax exclusion for employer-provided health coverage should be capped so that people would not get a bigger tax break by buying more extensive and expensive insurance. The result would be to make employees more cost-conscious; and competition for their favor would make insurance cheaper.

That tax break would also be available—ideally as a refundable credit sufficient at least for the purchase of catastrophic coverage—to people who do not have access to employer coverage. This would enable people who now choose not to buy insurance to get catastrophic coverage with no premium costs. It also would give those who want more-comprehensive coverage in the individual market the same advantage that people with employer plans get.

Medicaid could be converted into a means-based addition to that credit, allowing the poor to buy into the same insurance market as more affluent people—and so give them access to better health care than they can get now.

All those with continuous coverage, which everyone could afford thanks to the new tax treatment, would be protected from price spikes or plan cancellations if they got sick. This guarantee would provide a strong incentive to buy coverage, without the coercion of the individual mandate. People who have pre-existing conditions when the new rules take effect would be able to buy coverage through subsidized, high-risk pools.

By making at least catastrophic coverage available to all, and by giving people such incentives to obtain it, this approach could cover more people than ObamaCare was ever projected to reach, and at a significantly lower cost.

I have a bedrock aversion to using the tax code for social policy—my version of a 1040 would be a post card—but I salute everything else. The big, big, big, big difference between this and all Democrat notions is individual responsibility. ObamaCare is all about mandates and the government’s unimpeachable determination on what passes for coverage. (I still can’t get over that part—who is Obama to tell you that your plan is inadequate? Go to hell! … Sir.) This model allows individual Americans to pick from a broad range of coverages, using supply and demand to hold prices as low as possible.

I’m serious when I say that’s a big If in today’s America. Do we still have it in us to make our own choices? That’s been debatable for a while, and our decision to allow ourselves to be folded into the bosom of Big Government erodes what faith I have in even our desire to decide our fates for ourselves.

Many countries have socialized medicine, just as many have strict gun control, limits on free speech, and other manifestations of federal control. Some of them are lovely countries, delightful to visit. But do we want to live there? I love America’s “exceptionalism”, it’s treatment of its citizens as sovereigns jointly working together. I grant you that that’s an outdated notion, at least two centuries past its heyday, but a boy can dream.

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