Maybe this should be subtitled, “Time to make some choices.” I definitely want to expand on a point I began to make while I was on the show today.
And maybe I’m my own worst critic, but I didn’t think I did all that good of a job defending my point of view. I have to say John was lucky that he hit his bottom of the hour break when he did because I was a little perturbed about the subject he brought up, health care. I think he forgets that health care is NOT a right. I mean, I’m sorry his dad passed away from cancer and that the cost of health care is quite daunting, but placing the government in charge of it or even just mandating insurance coverage – all that will do is drive prices and premiums up farther and make it even more difficult to afford medical care. After all, while Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, etc. are “free” to the end user, all of us who actually pay taxes pay for it. The vicious circle will continue to spiral out of control and the government will be “forced” to increase taxes to Carteresque levels to shoulder the cost of every hangnail our citizens (and selected non-citizens) receive.
I suppose today is what happens when you place two people who are both ADD-types in the same place and try to have a discussion. We sort of went all over the map on a lot of things but I’m not sure that any lasting points were made. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have the opportunity to do some of the preparation I would have liked for the show, but that’s the breaks and I suppose I have no one to blame but myself.
I do thank John for giving me the opportunity to say my piece. We do have somewhat of a good point/counterpoint going – “John, you ignorant slut” – and it might be fun to do again. By the way, I saw Joe Albero pointed out on my prior post that we had one call. It’s only because I noticed it that John even picked that one up! What’s odd about their studio is that if John’s speaking to and facing a guest (or his laptop), he can’t see the phone easily nor can Captain Jim. So leave it to the guest to notice the blinking light!
Now it could be that most radio studios are set up like that – honestly before this year I’d never been in one. Unfortunately I don’t think DBC can move that phone too easily. It is fine for Bill Reddish because he doesn’t take calls when he has in-studio guests and faces forward (toward the phone) during his show when he’s doing the news, but if John’s facing his guest as he has with me on the two occasions I’ve been on his show he’s not going to see the phone flash.
That takes care of the nuts and bolts, and I’ll give myself a C minus for the day. Having brought up the point and also having a little bit of time to mull it over and formulate the thoughts that will go into the remainder of the post, let’s see if I can do some A plus writing.
The main point I wanted to get into besides the Long War and the GOP Congressional race was brought out by the Minneapolis bridge collapse. Working for a company that also has a Professional Engineer on staff, I get a little more insight on how our infrastructure really is and the shape it’s gotten into. Without being too technical, the calamity in Minneapolis isn’t going to be commonplace anytime soon but neither is it going to be as rare as a bridge collapse should be. Fortunately, most engineering of the sort is governed by codes and practices that reflect a conservative safety factor. From what I’ve been able to gather the Interstate 35W tragedy was a confluence of several factors, most importantly an obsolete design style and an unusual loading pattern where the loads were to one side and slowly moving. Another important factor present in that area of the country but not nearly so much here in Maryland was the amount of road salt used. Obviously the frequent freeze-thaw cycles create minute cracks in the concrete and the salt used corrodes the steel supports. It’s not quite Engineering 101, but fairly close.
The theory I really wanted to explore though is that of priorities. Obviously today John Robinson and I spent a lot of time arguing about the Long War and health care. Both take a good deal of money out of our pockets, and for the moment I’ll hold off on whether that is money well spent by the federal government.
But a new push for infrastructure spending is going to take another slice of the fiscal pie rapidly being devoured by the federal government as is, not to mention state and local entities. It’s becoming a question of what’s most important, and everyone already partaking in the federal largesse won’t want this monetary suitor taking any of the share they already have. They’ll scream, “you can’t cut spending on my program!!” and find a set of “victims” who would be hurt by any spending decline.
The day is coming when we as American society will face a stark choice – have an ever-expanding government at all levels take a larger chank out of our paycheck or make government at all levels prioritize their spending.
Since I’ve already brought up Bill Reddish once in this post, let me bring him up again. During the heated debate over the Salisbury city budget Bill noted that, as he saw it, the city had five spending priorities – water/sewer, fire/EMS, police, garbage pickup, and roads. In general and at any level the idea of government should be “to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations.” (That’s straight from the Republican Principles.) Rather than each individual maintaining the road in front of his or her house, in return for the usage of public roads each of us pay taxes to the county or state to maintain them. And with roads come the necessity of bridges, otherwise we on the Eastern Shore aren’t getting too far.
So let me ask you, the reader: are you willing to pay additional taxes so the government can add another item to its already-burgeoning plate of things it does? Or, do you ask yourself if having a small stipend at your retirement or 18 kids in a classroom instead of 21 is more important than making sure the bridge you drive over is safe or the sewer pipe your toilet flushes into doesn’t leak?
What saddens me is that more and more people seem to be willing to allow the government to reach farther and farther into their wallet in order to have them play nanny state and make their life decisions for them. I suppose that’s what upsets me the most about today because, even though I like the guy personally, John is just wrong on so many levels regarding the impact government should have on one’s life that it’s not even funny. (Of course, this is a guy who wouldn’t have minded an 80% tax rate yet also said that if Maryland keeps raising their business taxes he’ll up and move his shop to Delaware.)
So this little post is my way of setting the record straight on what I wanted to say today. I’m not the most effective at saying what I mean to on the radio but I don’t have to as long as I can keep saying my piece here.
In my last post you may recall I alluded to a letter I received today from Wayne Gilchrest. I think what I’m going to do is run that on Sunday. Tomorrow I’m going to take a day off from politics because with the back-to-back doubleheaders the last two nights I missed my normal month-end standings report post. So I’ll indulge myself with that tomorrow and get back to the serious stuff as people check back to start the work week.