Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Condescension, Prosperity, and Health Reform

There is nothing more likely to betray a man into absurdity than condescension.
Samuel Johnson(1709-1784), in Boswell’s Life of Johnson
July 25, 2012 – When I lived in Minnesota,  I would occasionally hear Minnesotans sniff  and remark condescendlingly, “North Dakota is not the end of the earth, but you can see it from there.”
I wonder what the Minnesotans are saying now.  North Dakota is the second leading state in energy production after Texas, has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.8%,  and is undergoing an unprecedented boom.    All of this is due to hydraulic fracking with release of natural gas and oil from underground shale.   
North Dakota may not be the end of the Earth anymore.   Instead, It may mark  the beginning of American’s new prosperity with America meeting its own energy needs without relying on the Middle East.   North Dakota is even generating a budget surplus , which will relieve the pressure of Medicaid on its state budget.  Indeed, with generalized prosperity, the number of Medicaid recipients, numbering 108,000 in North Dakota may even drop.
One of President John Kennedy’s more famous quotes is “ A rising tide lifts all boats.”  He was referring to the general economy condition of the country.  Some have interpreted this to mean President Kennedy was espousing the “trickle-down economy, “ meaning if you lower taxes on the rich,  riches  will trickle down  to the middle class, and everyone will benefit. There is some ideological dispute about what Kennedy meant,  especially among those on the left.

But there is no dispute that that the current president,  Barack Obama,  advocates "trickle-down government.“  He condescendly believes  most good things flow from government, that government provides t infrastructure that greases the wheels of prosperity,   that government boosts the health of the nation,  and that government is responsible for restributing the wealth and profits of the private sector.    In Obama's  mind, there may be no such thing as the self-made man who built his wealth and personal initiative,   hard work , and imaginative ideas.
In President Obama’s rhetoric and his policies,    a condescending tone pervades his attitude  towards the private sector and  state gvernments.  Obama  attacks the states on Medicaid policy. He does not not trust them to cover their poor through block grants. He seeks to force  upon them exchanges run by the federal government.   Obama would impose increased taxes on small businesses making more than $250,000.
Obama seems to believe that energy policy should be dictated from above, that the future belongs to wind, solar, and fast trains and that fossil fuels and the Keystone pipeline will soon be history.  
Tell that  and sell that  politically to boom states like North Dakota, to energy-rich states like Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and even Coal-rich West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.    Tell it and sell it to 270 million Americans who own their own cars, and to the 70% who drive to work in their own vehicles,  and to state governors who cannot stay within budget because of unemployment, stagnant economies, and sky-rocketing  Medicaid populations. Oil is the fuel that drives America and will be for a far as the mind can reach and the eye can see.
Tweet: America is undergoing an energy and economic boom with relief on state budgets and Medicaid costs  in states producing oil and gas from fracking.

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