Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vampires in broad daylight

The premise is the same in every cheesy movie that features them; vampires are really, really hard to kill. And even when they appear to be dead, they rise up again--sometimes not until the sequel--to menace unsuspecting, half-dressed teens. Silver bullets, wooden stakes, copies of Jon Stewart's book--none of them is effective against every vampire variation.

These mythical un-dead creatures came to mind when I was considering what has recently resurfaced in American life. Ideas considered dead and buried by most sensible people have crawled from their musty graves and stumbled forward, dirt-covered and smelling not at all well, to land squarely in the little minds of our government officials. Some examples:

--"Ease up on credit standards." Government officials have been pressing banks to lend more money, and ease their credit standards, especially on new and existing mortgages. This sounds like a fine idea. What could possibly go wrong with lending money to anyone with a pulse, and requiring little or no down-payment?

--"Fairness" in the tax code. This one has a definition that's more slippery than one of Mr. Gutfeld's houseboys after an oil massage. I've heard that "the rich should pay their fair share." Really. According to IRS statistics for 2005, the latest I could find on the IRS web site, 2.3% of U.S. tax filers paid the 33% or 35% marginal rate on their income. Those 2.3% of filers paid 41.9% of all personal income tax that year. Note that the 2005 income tax year was several years after the "Bush tax cuts" had been enacted by Congress. It appears "the rich" are paying their fair share, and some of ours, as well. But let's push the top marginal rate to 39.6% and beyond, as Obama wishes. Add to this the increasing levy imposed by cash-strapped states and, if one is self-employed, the higher limits on Social Security taxes, and a self-employed high-earner could lose 60% of each additional dollar to taxes. Those additional dollars are looking less appealing by the day. Perhaps it would be best to avoid expanding the business, after all.

--"Single-payer health care." That's supposed to make medical access controlled by government bureaucrats sound oh-so-efficient. Kind of like the way the Soviet Union had a single-party political system, and children trapped in rotting public schools have a single educational provider system. Once buried under a tombstone that read "Hillary-Care," this particular vampire has risen again. Despite the wreck that is the British system, and the fact that most life-saving drugs and medical equipment are invented by for-profit U.S. businesses, and the manner in which socialized medical societies make it a criminal offense to pay for your own medical care, the mythical 47 billion (or whatever the number is today) uninsured Americans prod us toward this health-care final solution. But I wonder; if we have socialized medicine, where will Canadians go to get medical care?

--Socialism/communism. Nationalizing banks? Rewriting mortgage terms by legislative fiat? Is this America, or Venezuela? Placing American law subordinate to U.N. committees and "international courts?" Assigning, in perpetuity, a portion of American GDP for tithing to U.N. bureaucrats do distribute as they are bribed to do see fit? Orwell, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!

By the way, who is John Galt?

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