Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Single-Issue Legislation. Why on Earth was a change in college-loan and -grant procedures enacted in the same bill with healthcare "fixes"? This is utterly improper. No law should cover more than one subject, unless the two subjects cannot rationally be separated. Health insurance and college financing are easily separated. It is abusive to merge two such different matters into a single act of legislation, in order to force thru a less-popular measure by piggybacking it onto a more-popular measure. Congress should legislate each issue on its own merits.
As to the substance of the college-financing reforms, it is reverse-privatization, predicated on the expectation of savings to the government from NOT letting private banks do college lending but from having the Government handle these loans itself. I have always been puzzled as to how we could possibly expect that an entity that needs to make a profit could lower costs as against an entity that does NOT need to make a profit. How can costs + profits come out to be lower than costs alone? It makes no sense, and privatization of government functions has proved, in many places, to be an outrageous transfer of wealth to the rich from the rest of us, that has given the public no benefit. In my state, New Jersey, a private water-and-sewer authority was paying HUGE salaries to dozens of people until the new Republican governor, Chris Christie, forced the CEO out. But Christie seems inconsistent about privatization. On the one hand, he recognized that in NJ it has gone very wrong; but on the other, he wants to see more privatization! Grow up. Our Department of Motor Vehicles was apparently privatized for a while (perhaps before I moved back to NJ from NYC), and it proved a DISASTER, of long waits and unresponsive "service". The DMV was returned to public control, and works brilliantly now. Privatization is just another scam by the rich to steal from the poor and middle class. It is NEVER reasonable. Government responsibilities must be performed by GOVERNMENT.
Kathleen Sebelius, Heroine. Yesterday, health-insurance companies announced their intention to ignore the intent of the new healthcare law and continue to refuse to cover children with pre-existing conditions until 2014, because of what they claimed was a defect in drafting of that provision. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was having none of it. She sent what NBC News called a "strongly [harshly?] worded letter" to the health insurance trade association to tell the heads of the defiant companies in no uncertain terms that HHS would not let them get away with any such defiance, but would issue regulations making plain that such defiance is ILLEGAL. One day later, the health-insurance scumbags backed down. Good for her! I'd have had them flogged, but this achieves the same end, if without the satisfaction of beating the crap out of those enemies of society.
Huh? The present Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is appealing the results of an election his government presided over. Is he out of his mind? If his government couldn't run an election, why does al-Maliki think he should be allowed to run the nation's government in all things? Absurd. YOU held the election. If it wasn't clean, it's your fault, and you have no right to complain. Accept the results, and move on. That's what little-d democrats do, and a peaceful transfer of power is something Iraq very much needs. George Washington stunned the world in actually giving up power to John Adams after two terms as President. Let al-Maliki stun the world too by transferring power to a democratically elected successor with grace and good humor.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,386 for Israel.)
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