Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Modern Prometheus

A very famous literary work subtitled “The Modern Prometheus” showed what happens when good, far-reaching, intentions are combined with arrogance to the point of hubris. For now, let’s just remember that in Greek mythology, Prometheus was a son of Zeus who befriended mankind by stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mankind. He made things much better for man but was severely punished.

Last year, Democrats rushed through a health care plan with more holes than Swiss cheese used for target practice by a platoon of sharpshooters carrying Thompson Submachine guns. It wasn’t just the GOP that the Democrats, particularly the US Democrat House leadership, brushed aside; it was also a large portion of the American public. Now that there is a GOP majority in the US House and now that most folks have figured out that there are a lot of problems and a lot of additional expenses, the Democrat tone has changed.

“Let’s sit down and work this out. I’m sure we can come to an agreement. We both know that you like some of our ideas. There’s no need to throw away all of this work.” Reasonable words, soothing words, and words that when put into context are, oh so very, easy to reject.

It’s about relative power in relationships and about timing. It’s also about a few assuming that they know what is best for the people of this country, better than the people themselves.

If Democrats wanted to compromise on government health care or to even debate government health care, that opportunity was last year. As you remember, Democrats had absolutely no interest in allowing Republicans to debate, much less amend, their 2,000 page bill. The Reality Check Moment was former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi standing in front of reporters telling the nation that in order to know what was in the mysterious, impenetrable health care act, it would have to be passed first. Pelosi might as well have said, “Trust us. We’re from the government and here to help you.”

Oh, wait. Sorry. That IS what she was saying. Nancy Pelosi is no longer a joke. She has specialized. She has actually become the punchline to a joke. Congratulate her when you see her, will you? It's a big step up for her.

I won’t go into the many other examples that show Democrats were in suicidal haste to pass their bill. They are easily found and there are far too many to list. What is clear and incontrovertible is that Democrats made no actual effort to even consider other ideas. There was no offer to compromise or to debate.

When President Barack Obama met with Republicans, he rejected all of their ideas because he said that they were not “revenue neutral”. This means that the GOP did not play games with numbers the way that the Democrats did.

Now we know that Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf was not pleased with the manipulation brought forward by the Democrats. The CBO is often cited by Democrat leaders as a “neutral” body whose econometric models are without political bias. The problem for the CBO is that when they construct an econometric model they are restricted by the assumptions given them by Congress. What that means is, "Garbage In, Garbage Out."

If congressional leaders say, “Our model needs to assume that the economy will grow by an extraordinary rate for the next ten years, then that – though it is ridiculous – is what the CBO must do. If the CBO is told to assume that Medicare money can be spent multiple times, in multiple places, then that is what the CBO must do. This is why Doug Elmendorf raised a ruckus about the assumptions made by the Obama administration and by Democrat congressional leaders – he did not want the CBO to look like fools. I don’t blame him.

So the GOP, rather than mine through more than 2000 pages of regulations, looking for the occasional nugget of gold will likely want to scrap the whole plan. Most Americans agree and that is why the Democrats are sweetly asking for a compromise now that the health care plan has passed.

The Democrat line is that people need Obamacare whether they know it or not. While the Democrats claim to be Prometheus, bringing a great benefit down from Mt. Olympus, others of us will look upon them instead as “The Modern Prometheus” and understand that hubris is no substitute for knowledge. We remember that “The Modern Prometheus” was the subtitle for Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s great work, “Frankenstein”. The Democrats have indeed released a monster among us that must be stopped.

1 comment:

  1. An excellent analysis, and a spot on description of Nancy Pelosi.


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