Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Idiotic Politicians

I know this is a little late, but I had to say something about the string of idiocy that came out of the mouths of our fearless leaders/ would-be-leaders a couple weeks ago.

First, let's talk about gas tax holidays. I think by now we've all seen the commentaries that have been floating around about the idea. The thing that gets me is that a lot of the pundits seem to be suggesting that Obama is making a "complicated" argument against Clinton/McCain's "simple" argument. This I don't get. How much simpler can it be to say "You'd only save 18 cents on the gallon, and that will get eaten up by higher summer prices anyway"? Nevermind the 900 million it would cost the federal government in badly-needed infrastructure repairs. I just wish that the media and the politicians would stop assuming that we're idiots.

Next, McCain's recently unveiled health care proposal. Once more we are being told that if everyone went out and bought their own health care, the market would reduce the costs.

I have a good health plan right now. I know it's a good health plan. I'm happy with my health plan. A $5000 tax credit wouldn't cover what I get with my health plan. Here's the thing: it took a group of very intelligent, very skilled benefits specialists 3 months to put together my health plan. And I guarantee that the only reason they were able to get the deal they did was because they were negotiating on behalf of 700 people.

Health care is one place we can't rely on the market. Since it's a necessity of life, the market can charge whatever they want and we have to pay it. On top of that, the whole point of insurance is group risk. How can you distribute risk if you have a whole bunch of groups of one to four people? There's only one solution for rising health care costs: eliminate the middleman insurance companies, regulate health costs, and provide single-payer health care to every American. I love the market too guys, but it won't work with this.

Finally, our dearly beloved decider deigned to speak to the riffraff of the press corps a few weeks ago, and in response to questions about the economy and fuel prices, he essentially whined that Congress isn't listening to him. He took direct aim at Congress's failure to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.

Georgie, listen to me. ANWR isn't going to help us. Our best estimates indicate that we can probably get 7.7 billion barrels of oil out of ANWR. The U.S. is currently using about 20,687,000 barrels every day. In other words, the entire amount of oil recoverable in ANWR would power the country for a little more than 1 year. Even if we take the extremely optimistic end and assume we can get 11.8 billion barrels out of ANWR, that only gets us less than 2 years.

So stop and think. In fifteen minutes I can pull that data off our own government's websites. Why is this still an issue? Why haven't more politicians started asking why we can't real find alternatives to oil?

Sadly, I think we know the answer.