Saturday, March 22, 2008

“Change”; we want change, or do we?

Everyone has something in their life they would like to change. Perhaps that's why politicians preaching "change" are often successful. But what is it in our lives that we want to change and can the politician seeking elected office make those changes?

Too often people don't think about the substance of change they think they want. Right now presidential aspirants Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are telling people to vote for them because change is good and they will give the people change. They will indeed give people change but are the changes they will make good for those that will vote for them? Actually as far as Barack and Hillary are concerned the most important change they want to make is to replace Bush with one of them in the seat of power.

If those enamored with the prospect of change really thought about it, behind the attractive prospect of change is nothing like the sort of things they want to change in their lives. Some people would like to have a house but a change of who is in charge won't give them a house. Others want to punish corporations and business, but punitive actions against business, like raising their taxes, only increases the cost of things they will buy that are made or sold by these higher taxed businesses.

Some people think everyone should have health insurance. Interestingly the demand is actually for universal "insurance" not health care. The truth is that anyone needing health care is able to get it today regardless whether or not they have "health insurance". Requiring everyone to buy health insurance, as Hillary and Obama want to do, will not make health care more available, it will just make it more costly. Another consequence of their misguided health care proposals is that the quality of health care will likely diminish. The clamor to reduce cost of health care usually means reducing the amount paid to providers for their services. This will have the obvious and inescapable result of discouraging providers from treating people and others from entering the medical profession. Another likely result is that medical professionals will withhold services from those insured and offer to treat only those able to pay for services outside of insurance programs. Medicare recipients are already victims of underpayments to physicians because many doctors will not treat Medicare patients.

Perhaps those that want "change" want the government to "tax the rich" more (but not them). Well a vote for Hillary or Obama will surely accomplish that because they want to do away with the Bush tax cuts that expire in 2010. Since about 50% of Americans don't pay any taxes, why should they object to raising the taxes of those that do pay? Well one reason if they thought about it is the golden goose story. Killing the goose that lays golden eggs does not help anybody; in this case it will make some businesses shut down and unemployment will go up. Furthermore, voters may be surprised at who is in the "rich" category for tax purposes; do you think someone making $50,000 to $75,000 a year is rich? Allowing the tax cuts to expire in 2010 will cause a culture shock to many pocket books and family budgets. It is startling that so many supporters of the two candidates for the Democrat presidential nomination are willing to sacrifice their family's welfare for the chance to make a "change". It is even more startling that some wealthy people think a Democrat administration will be good for them, or for the country.

Another reason some want "change" is that they want to exact a penalty for "Bush's war". After all there seemingly were no WMD's in Iraq, many soldiers are killed and the war is lasting too long. Of course we must forget that Hillary and almost all Democrats voted for the war in the first place because to remember that will not enable them to call it "Bush's war". Obama is against the war too and would not have voted for it if he were old enough, excuse me, I mean if he were in congress at the time. We must also forget that more people are killed every year in gun-free Washington D.C. than are killed in Iraq. It is also important to ignore the fact that if either Democrat candidate is elected, it is highly unlikely that all our military will be withdrawn from Iraq because to do so will result in calamities no president, Democrat or Republican wants to be responsible for on their watch.

Yes, change sounds like a good idea but change for the sake of change is nonsensical. Sure we all want change of some sort in our lives, but as the sages say, we should be careful what we wish for, we just might get it.

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