- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SHUT UP AND VOTE

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, thinks it’s ludicrous to expect members of Congress to read legislation before voting.

“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’ ” Mr. Conyers said at a National Press Club luncheon last week.

“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” he asked.

ODD LEGISLATION

“The fresh news about Washington - the White House and Congress - is that things are not going very well,” Pete Du Pont writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“A new president in full command of public-policy matters is having problems, from health care to taxes to massive federal spending and now to the Waxman-Markey bill, one of the oddest and most far-reaching pieces of legislation advocated by the new administration,” Mr. Du Pont said.

“It passed the House a few weeks ago by a 219-212 vote - not much of a margin. Most interesting was the fact that of America’s 50 state delegations in the House, 28 voted no and 22 aye, and one quarter of the 219 majority votes came from New York and California. Most of America’s states and communities didn’t much like the bill.

“No wonder, for it would regulate many things - energy, wages, imported goods, corporations, states, cities, buildings and houses, snowmobiles, lawnmowers, light fixtures, candelabra base lamps and many others - while containing broad exemptions for regulation of agribusiness, ethanol and biofuels. The Waxman-Markey bill would be without question the biggest expansion of federal government control over our economy since the 1930s.

“The Heritage Foundation concludes it would reduce America’s real gross domestic product by $400 billion each year - a cumulative loss of $9.4 trillion by 2035 - leading to almost 2.5 million job losses, and raise inflation-adjusted electricity rates by 90 percent. For a household of four, it would cost on average $2,979 annually, and in 2035 the total family cost would be over $4,600 for everything, including power, food, supplies, gasoline and transportation.”

PALIN’S FAREWELL

“The fact that Sarah Palin gave her farewell speech at a picnic is probably a metaphor for everything we’ve come to know about the now-former Alaska governor since John McCain selected her as his running mate,” Matt Lewis writes at www.politicsdaily.com.

“Picnics, of course, are not the kind of thing that people in New York or Georgetown know much about. Well, they know about the ones where you take along some wine and cheese - but not where the whole town turns out to hear country music and eat fried chicken,” Mr. Lewis said.

“Most politicians wouldn’t have given their farewell address on a Sunday evening at such an event, and that’s why - for good or bad - Sarah Palin is not like most politicians. Ironically, for all the clamor that we want ‘non-politicians,’ the media expect a certain routine and protocol. Office holders mess with that at their peril.

“It’s also ironic that Palin chose to bow out at a picnic, because her time in the spotlight has been anything but a picnic.

“Having been brutalized like few other politicians in history, I wonder how good it feels to be Sarah Palin today. (I would go on vacation, but that’s just me.)”

HONEST DEBATE

“Forget for a moment whether you believe health care is an inalienable right like freedom of speech or a service one purchases like auto repair. Do you prefer honestly debating the issue or hiding behind Orwellian doublespeak?” Bill Frezza writes at www.realclearmarkets.com.

“Do you support open and transparent deliberation or do you believe that ‘change’ justifies the use of misinformation, intimidation and obfuscation?” said Mr. Frezza, a partner at Adams Capital Management, an early-stage venture capital firm.

“Are you thinking through the likely consequences of the detailed health care ‘reforms’ being proposed or are you more invested in making sure that your tribe - be it Red or Blue - ‘wins’ this particular legislative fight?

“Do the questions above matter or is your remedy for one screwed up presidency piling on another one? …

“Don’t get me wrong. Maybe a majority of Americans really do want every citizen to be taken care of according to his needs while ‘the rich’ are forced to pick up the tab according to their ability. Many other countries work that way, although the definition of ‘rich’ has a way of expanding as quickly as the entitlements. And maybe we do want wise central planners telling our doctors how to treat us. But before we enshrine this into law, doesn’t it make sense to have an honest debate?”

RACIAL SPOILS

President Obama used his considerable powers of persuasion to try to sell his health-care package in a nationally televised press conference this [past] week. But Americans are growing skeptical - and for good reason. The gargantuan new bureaucracy ObamaCare envisions would not only be inefficient and expensive but could give birth to a new racial-spoils system,” Linda Chavez writes in the New York Post.

“Among the provisions in the House version are special set-asides aimed at training ‘underrepresented’ minorities in health-care professions. The idea is that some minority groups - but not all - will be better served if their doctors share their racial and ethnic background. It’s an idea that has been floating around for years,” the columnist said.

“In 2002, the Institute of Medicine released a study entitled ‘Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care’ that sparked a flurry of accusations that minority patients, especially African-Americans, receive bad health care because their doctors were biased.

“The study said that ‘some evidence suggests that bias, prejudice and stereotyping on the part of health-care providers may contribute to differences in care.’ But as Dr. Sally Satel, a highly respected physician and author, observed at the time, the ‘evidence’ in the study was thin.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.


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