‘So insurance coverage has increased, but largely thanks to tax-funded subsidization. Yet that’s created problems too: As more people got coverage, the system has struggled to keep up with increased demand for services. Uncompensated care, frequently cited as the justification for ObamaCare’s mandate, has remained expensive as emergency rooms have been flooded. And we’re not even getting into the cost overruns.’
Reason also interviews Canadian Sally Pipes who thinks Obamacare is mostly a foot in the door to single-payer, and what that could mean.
Ignatius (adapted from a lecture at Harvard) writes:
‘The United States has an interest in the secure supply of oil from the Persian Gulf, and Saudi Arabia in particular, to itself and to its allies. It has an interest in combating terrorist actions by al Qaeda and other groups that seek to target Americans. It has an interest in the security and well-being of Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East, and a concurrent interest in a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The United States also has an interest in the growth of stable, democratic regimes and the expansion of human rights. The intersection of these interests is the zone of ambiguity in which foreign-policy choices must always be made.”
And Europe has even more of an interest in Libyan oil especially, and security and immigration in North Africa, than we do. I can see the argument that Obama’s overall policy direction toward international support for AfPak all the way to Libya (Britain and France defending their own interests) is consistent with what he laid out (and one that may lessen the tension which increases our presence in the region with our military and security agencies). Politically though, I’m probably more skeptical of the humanitarian and Western universalist ideals that seem to be guiding this administration as well as the administration’s ability to lead. The softer ideals can have harder edges, and many unintended consequences. While the injustice of the Israel/Palestine situation is grave (and a rallying cry for most Muslims as well as a guilty pleasure and target of a most serious, righteous anger and dehumanization against the Israelis), seeking for a ‘just’ solution comes with many problems, especially if you expect to actually find justice. Perhaps it’s as much a shift in American public sentiment as it a shift in conditions on the ground in Israel/Palestine.
‘But there is a time for low-key, and there is a time for clarity. On the final two strategic imperatives I cited — America’s obligation to assist the democratic revolution in Egypt and its need to be clear and forthright about its own national interests — I think Obama needs to speak as clearly and forcefully as Marshall did at Harvard’s commencement 64 years ago: “I need not tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the future security of the United States depends on the success of the Arab Spring.”‘
Well, both Obama being more forthright and an Arab Spring would be nice. Perhaps globalization is changing the game, perhaps there some other forces at play in the increase of access to information, education, and opportunity. Perhaps with Obama we can harness something in the Arab world that wouldn’t have been as likely under a McCain administration. Perhaps there’s a deeper yearning in the Arab world to not merely associate freedom with a religious idealism and purity quest that can banish all else from the public square and civic life. Perhaps the oppressed religious group or sect won’t merely be silenced under the thumb of the semi-corrupt tribal autocrat as he makes another deal with the West…but I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.
Here’s a quote from Edmund Burke (correction: Albert Jay Nock) again:
‘According to my observations (for which I claim nothing by that they are all I have to go by) inaction is better than wrong action or premature right action, and effective right action can only follow right thinking. “If a great change is to take place,” said Edmund Burke, in his last words on the French Revolution, “the minds of men will be fitted to it.”‘
Addition: In foreign policy as well as domestic, Obama seems pretty far the the Left.
‘President Obama has authorized the use of armed drones in Libya, deepening U.S. involvement in the stalemated conflict and once again putting U.S. assets into a strike role against loyalist ground forces.’
‘Both Britain and France have clearly stated that a major focus of the air campaign is to destroy Gaddafi’s military and weaken his grip on power. By their yardstick — helping rebel forces topple Gaddafi — the bombing campaign has fallen short.’
‘…beginning in April, the Geffen—a satellite of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art—will host what MOCA proudly bills as America’s first major museum survey of “street art,” a euphemism for graffiti.’
She takes a moralistic tone, but makes a decent point:
‘A neighborhood that has succumbed to graffiti telegraphs to the world that social and parental control there has broken down.’
So is it worthy of institutionalization? How does one weigh the aesthetic value of graffiti against the criminality that often goes with it…and the hypocrisy of those who don’t have to live around graffiti and the gang activity who are legitimizing it? MacDonald has been consistently focusing on the harm done by crime, and to the victims of criminals against those (usually on the Left) who wish to view criminals as victims themselves…within a larger ideological framework…with consequences for the rest of us.
Down the road, someone is going to get the shaft. It could be my neighbor, it could be me, or it could be both of us. That is, people who are relying on the unfunded systems–public sector pensions, Social Security, and Medicare–might find their benefits cut. Or people who are relying on personal savings could wind up having those savings taxed away in order to address the shortfalls in the public systems. Or all of us could have our savings eroded by inflation, from which we may not be able to protect ourselves
Gelb is unhappy about our open-ended role, and subsuming our sovereignty and strength into the politics of NATO as well as with Britain and France:
‘Most certainly, NATO can feel good about saving innocent Libyan lives. But it is very hard to have a good feeling about how and when NATO’s humanitarian intervention will end. And as time passes inconclusively in Libya, it becomes harder still to convince Iran and North Korea that NATO is not a paper tiger.’
It’s still quite a change to have foreign policy guided by these ideals.
“It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.”
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Maybe Machiavelli was just really an artist and writer working well within the bounds of traditional moral thinking (Catholic and Aristotelian through the church), but just wanted an audience? to be little shocking?
He’s left the establishment (though he was involved in some important policy decisions) and moved to Palo Alto:
‘On present-day Republicans, in fact, he is downright caustic: “All of the Kissinger-era realists have gone away, like Robert Zoellick, James Baker, and Brent Scowcroft. Today, the party is just a wasteland. They are total amateurs on foreign policy.”’
and on why he may have been lamenting the lack of synthetic thinkers in the social sciences:
‘His new book, The Origins of Political Order, which hits bookstores this week, seeks to understand how human beings transcended tribal affiliations and organized themselves into political societies. “In the developed world, we take the existence of government so much for granted that we sometimes forget how difficult it was to create,” he writes.’
Relations are not good at the moment, as popular sentiment is very much against us:
‘The U.S. strategy in the war in Afghanistan hinges on going after militants taking refuge in Pakistan. The breakdown in intelligence cooperation has cast a pall over U.S.-Pakistani relations, with some officials in both countries saying intelligence ties are at their lowest point since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks spurred the alliance.’
Of course, we need this cooperation to succeed, and The Pakistani state is likely quite involved with terrorism.