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February 2008

Health care is a lot of things, but it’s NOT a right

Who knows more about your family’s health needs?  A politician?  An employer?  A government bureaucrat?  The reality is nobody knows more about your situation than you do.  With that in mind you should have the right to purchase health care and health insurance as you see fit.  You should be free to provide for your health care needs without restrictions being placed on you by the government, or the threat of penalties hanging over your head.

Knowing your needs (not to be confused with wants), you have the capability, the opportunity, and the right to purchase health care.  You also have the right not to make that purchase.  Because you have a right to freely earn an income and spend it as it as you wish – to buy food, shelter, transportation, whatever else - means you have choice.  Health care is a choice.

Health care is an expenditure.  You can buy DVDs, TV’s, eat out often, purchase laptop computers, another car, a nicer home.  You can buy health insurance in any number of packages - or not.  The decision, the freedom, the right to purchase health insurance is no different than deciding to buy shelter, transportation, or any other life expense. 

Health care is an individual responsibility.  You should not have it in your head that your neighbors have to buy health insurance for you.  That’s why it’s so frustrating when people opt out of their responsibility to themselves and/or their family. Too many people in this country don’t want to use their own assets to pay for their own health care.  They want someone else to do it.  It’s a matter of individual priorities, not a right.

Picking up on that ‘someone else should pay’ line of thinking are Democrats.  Liberals like Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton have abused people with the notion that health care is a right, when it’s not.  We need to get liberalism and socialist notions out of health care.  We don’t need more government in health care, we need less.  Less government intrusion will lead to lower costs and increased competition so that more people have the opportunity to be taken care of well, so that people are not left to fall through the cracks.

For those truly in need, we have Medicaid for the poor.  We have the S-CHIP program for poor children, we have Medicare for the elderly.  It is our moral obligation as a society to take care of people who otherwise cannot afford health care.  But that doesn’t make it a right, and it definitely doesn’t mean buy things of privilege and expect your fellow citizens to pick up the tab for your health care.

Getting Down to Business

Floor debate in the Iowa House had an interesting turn this week, when House Democrats admitted that without a tax increase on Iowa businesses, they will be unable to balance the state budget this session.

Prompting the comment was an amendment put forth by House Republicans that would have mirrored the federal economic stimulus package by allowing an accelerated write-off for businesses for certain assets they own, called bonus depreciation.

The Democrats defeated this amendment on a partisan vote, 53 to 47, with every single Democrat casting a vote against the bill.

This was a great opportunity to stand up for hometown Iowa businesses, who will be hit with a tax increase of up to $30 million. The reason the Democrats gave for voting down the amendment, as stated above, is that the additional revenue generated through the tax increase was needed to help them balance their budget.

This is a sad statement – when state revenues are coming in at record levels – that Democrats need to raise taxes just to balance the budget.

Recently, the Legislature gave Microsoft a big tax break to land a server farm in central Iowa. Tax incentives are an effective way to lure new businesses to the state. Shouldn’t our hard-working, existing businesses in Iowa be offered some tax relief as well?

The Democrats, with their runaway spending, don’t think so.

The Heritage Foundation had this to say about bonus depreciation:

“The best part of the agreement is tax cuts for businesses.  "Bonus depreciation," which allows companies to rapidly deduct qualified investment from their tax liability, makes new investment opportunities more profitable and attractive. This provision would increase business investment, which would create jobs and strengthen the economy.”

Republicans will continue to offer real tax relief to stimulate the economy and help Iowa’s businesses.

Stewart Iverson

Chairman, The Republican Party of Iowa

What To Do About Climate Change

by Indur Goklany

The state-of-the-art British-sponsored fast track assessment of the global impacts of climate change, a major input to the much-heralded Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, indicates that through the year 2100, the contribution of climate change to human health and environmental threats will generally be overshadowed by factors not related to climate change. Hence, climate change is unlikely to be the world's most important environmental problem of the 21st century.

Analysis using both the Stern Review and the fast-track assessment reveals that notwithstanding climate change, for the foreseeable future, human and environmental well-being will be highest under the "richest-but-warmest" scenario and lower for the poorer (lower-carbon) scenarios. The developing world's future wellbeing should exceed present levels by several-fold under each scenario, even exceeding present wellbeing in today's developed world under all but the poorest scenario. Accordingly, equity-based arguments, which hold that present generations should divert scarce resources from today's urgent problems to solve potential problems of tomorrow's wealthier generations, are unpersuasive.

Halting climate change would reduce cumulative mortality from various climate-sensitive threats, namely, hunger, malaria, and coastal flooding, by 4–10 percent in 2085, while increasing populations at risk from water stress and possibly worsening matters for biodiversity. But according to cost information from the UN Millennium Program and the IPCC, measures focused specifically on reducing vulnerability to these threats would reduce cumulative mortality from these risks by 50–75 percent at a fraction of the cost of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Simultaneously, such measures would reduce major hurdles to the developing world's sustainable economic development, the lack of which is why it is most vulnerable to climate change.

The world can best combat climate change and advance well-being, particularly of the world's most vulnerable populations, by reducing present-day vulnerabilities to climate-sensitive problems that could be exacerbated by climate change rather than through overly aggressive GHG reductions.

The full text of this policy analysis is available here.

Indur Goklany is the author of The Improving State of the World, from which much of this paper is derived, and The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment, both published by the Cato Institute.

Evidence mounts against global warming

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has reported that many U.S. cities have endured record cold temperatures so far in 2008. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

Not widely reported, the snow cover over North America, much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

Global_warming_3 In a review of hard scientific fact, all four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

Scientists are linking the cooling to reduced solar activity, a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases.

Friday night at the Wig & Pen

The best indicator of a favorite local restaurant/pub is a full parking lot.  Showing up twenty five minutes early for a 7:30 appointment and not able to find a parking spot right away prompted the question, "Was it a good idea to have a meeting here on a Friday night?"

It all turned out ok.  The wait for a table was about a half-hour, the rest of the meeting party showing up around 7:30 didn't have a long wait at all.  It was a bit loud around the bar area, but it was after all a Friday night.

The food was great, the service was top notch, the prices very reasonable.  The Wigatoni - a signature dish - was outstanding as usual.  Another in the group stated that the fish & chips were the best he had ever eaten.  That's what's so great about the Wig & Pen, consistency.  The always good food and friendly service are why it's a favorite place for so many people.

5_star On a scale of five stars, the Wig & Pen rates a five!

The Wig & Pen is located at:  1220 Hwy 6 W, Iowa City, IA. 52246  PH:  319-354-2767

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon

Attending a dinner meeting, the casual steakhouse chain proved to be a decent place to conduct one.  Seated in the Alamo Room, the surroundings were quiet, the food was good, the service was adequate.

The steak was prepared as requested, however the serving size was larger than asked for.  Prices have also climbed at the Lonestar, a Texas Ribeye, two sides, and two drinks came to about $30.00.  The wait staff did their jobs, but in a 'just going through the motions' kind of way.  That being written, if the choice were to be between the Outback or the Lonestar, the choice would be the Lonestar.

3_star The Lone Star receives three out of five stars.

The Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon is located at:

210 Second Street
IA, 52241-2608
Ph: 319 / 341-8444

Enthusiasm Gap

Message from Matt Pinnell

As I listened to the Sunday political television lineup, a common theme kept arising from both Republican and Democratic pundits: the talk of a wide “enthusiasm gap” between the Republican and Democrat tickets. I would agree that there may be some truth to this, but there certainly shouldn’t be, and let me tell you why.

Six. That’s the only number conservatives need to remember for the next ten months. Create a bumper sticker, iron press it on some t-shirts, get one of those cool Henna tattoos, whatever it takes for you to remember that number.

Why? Six Supreme Court Justices will be over the age of 70 or nearing that age when the next President is sworn into office. Justice Stevens is 87, Justice Ginsburg 74, Justices Kennedy and Scalia 71, Justice Breyer 69 and Justice Souter 68.

Maybe all of them will still be in place eight years from now. Maybe all of them will be retired. These nine Justices protect our fundamental rights as citizens and even govern over human lives. They matter more than the person living in our Governor’s Mansion, more than our local school boards and city councils, and matter even more than who is in control of the U.S. House and Senate. And one person alone has the power to fill empty Supreme Court seats….the President of the United States .

Two of the most loud and proud liberal Democrats in recent memory, Senators Clinton and Obama, are running for President. If one of these two liberals became our next President and had the power to name six Supreme Courts Justices, historians may look back on this presidential race as the most damaging and destructive ever for conservative Republicans. One we as conservatives may never recover from.

You enthused now?

(Pinnell is Director of Operations at the Oklahoma Republican Party & Director  of ' Oklahoma Victory '08')

Mary Mascher knows how to run your life better than you do

Mascher "For us to say, 'Well, we're just going to keep doing local control, and we really don't want to step on anybody's toes and the local always know best' - I can't go along with that anymore.  I think we've gotten to the point where we as a state have to intervene." ~ Power hungry Mary Mascher (D - Iowa City), busy pushing a statewide mandate on school curriculum.  It's like she's saying, to hell with you people in Iowa Falls, do it my way!  I don't care if test scores in Sheldon exceed the proposed state standards, you're going to do it my way!

Proposed Johnson County ballot issue wrapped in secrecy

Trench_coat In the name of 'preservation', the Johnson County Conservation Board wants to tax the residents of Johnson County the sum of $20 million, so they can buy up undeveloped land in rural areas.

Without publicly identifying how the money would be used, without outlining any specific projects, the Johnson County Conservation Board is using the results of a small telephone survey to claim the general public is in support of being taxed $20 million.

A polling outfit called American Viewpoint of Alexandria, Virginia was contracted to conduct a public opinion poll of just 400 likely voters in the county.  The summary of that polling claims that a majority of voters would support the $20 million bond referendum.  Surveying just 400 people represents less than 1 percent of the county's population.  In addition, how the questions were phrased in the telephone poll is not known.  That's a key point, because how a poll question is written can often determine, or taint, the outcome. 

Using such a small sampling to move forward with a bond referendum that completely lacks any mention of project detail is anything but open government.  When asked if the polling questions could be reviewed, Johnson County Conservation Board Executive Director Harry Graves responded with, "That is proprietary information that belongs to the Trust for Public Land."

Your government at work, and the county supervisors are going along with this.

Write your county supervisors, and ask them why they are ok in putting this on the ballot in November.