By Dr. Thomas Patterson |
We’ve all seen them, the Medicare TV ads exhorting seniors to apply for enhanced benefits. Government appears to be coaxing often reluctant retirees into greater dependence.
But this is a colossally bad idea, even for those of us who support helping citizens in their sunset years. It stimulates greed (it’s freeeee!) and entitlement in the demographic which government programs have already made into the most wealthy. It expands the reach of government into our lives.
But it’s worse than that. The ads are pitching benefits in a program already teetering on bankruptcy. Americans were told that their mandatory payroll contributions were put in a fund to finance payouts in retirement, but that was a lie. Politicians raided the trust long ago and today’s retirees are dependent on the (inadequate) contributions of today’s payers – yes, like any other welfare program.
The rational response would be reforms that include reducing expenses where possible. Instead, we spend untold millions to pump up program outlays. Not smart. Consequences to follow.
But screeching Medicare ads aren’t the only government initiative which, partisan disagreements aside, simply don’t make sense. Take electric cars. They’re touted as a big key to a carbon-free future. We’re pouring public funds into subsidies, charging stations and other enticement for owners.
We may disagree over the feasibility of carbon reduction strategies to ultimately reduce climate change, but it doesn’t matter. Electric cars aren’t the answer. They still require energy that must be produced somehow.
The pollutants may come from an electricity generating plant instead of a car’s exhaust, but the damage done isn’t greatly different. The environmental costs of battery production and disposal as well as the extra power sources needed to service a national fleet of autos make EVs an environmental loser.
But politicians use them anyway to bolster green credentials. Buyers like the subsidies, the perks and driving a cool car. Manufacturers are joining the ranks of the uber-rich. So, the beat goes on.
EVs could have some environmental benefit if nuclear generation sourced their electricity. Once again, stupidity intervenes.
The environmental Left decreed long ago that nuclear was off-limits. Nuclear power plants would henceforth be discouraged by excessive regulation and harassment. The strategy has basically worked, but it’s a shame.
It’s still true that nuclear is by far the most environmentally friendly, non-emitting energy source available. Nuclear-producing France pays 50% less for energy with 10% the amount of pollution experienced by Germany, which sanctimoniously exited the nuclear market years ago.
Here‘s more lunacy. A year ago, America had finally achieved energy independence, after decades of kowtowing to Arab sheiks and oil-rich autocrats . Within days, the Biden administration returned us to supplicant status. Pipeline permits were canceled, offshore drilling cut back and even the remote ANWR oil deposits were shut down.
Meanwhile, with our consent, Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline was approved, which will dominate Western Europe‘s natural gas supplies. Biden unsuccessfully begged OPEC to increase oil production, so US gas prices have predictably skyrocketed and a cold winter looms.
Again, the environmental benefits of our foolishness are nil. Pipelines are the most environmentally safe way of transporting natural gas. The fuels from Russia and the Middle East are no cleaner than ours.
We have more inane policies. Children too young to vote, drink, smoke or drive are now permitted to change their socially constructed gender by irreversibly altering their bodies-without parental consent.
$450,000 payouts are seriously proposed for illegal immigrants who were separated from their children in a humane effort to avoid mixing children with adults during detention. In spite of causing no known harm, GMO bans limit the amount of food available to starving Africans.
The driving force for these nutty, harmful policies is the relentless pursuit of electoral success by pandering to special interest groups. We’ve come a long ways from Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a “wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another…”
Listen to political analysts uncritically predicting the fate of multi-trillion dollar spending bills based solely on how the vote would affect legislators’ prospects for remaining in office another term.
It’s disgraceful, but we expect no more, so that’s what we get.