Forget Universal Health Care, We Need Universal Meal Coverage

  • Radio host Sean Hannity brags about going out to eat at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse all the time, while I’ve only been there once in my life (and that was on my employer’s tab).
  • Most of my colleagues go out to eat for lunch every day, while I have to go home and eat last night’s left-overs.
  • Many of our friends eat out two, three, four times a week, while my wife and I can only afford to eat out once a month.
    Yes folks, there’s no doubt about it, there is meal inequity here in America, and it’s high time we had universal meal coverage in the United States.

    Many of today’s politicians and the voting electorate are demanding universal health care, but they are ignoring an even more fundamental need. Wat’s more basic than the need to eat three square meals a day? Nothing.

    I have a family of four and we live on a single income. We have to cut costs wherever possible in order to make ends meet. For example, despite the inconvenience, we only have one car, and as I stated above, we rarely eat out in order to keep our food bill low.

    There is a growing divide between the meals the rich eat and those meals the poor must settle for. And it’s a travesty that our government cannot provide such a basic need to all it’s citizens. I’m calling on responsible citizen’s everywhere to petition your government officials. No man, woman or child should be forced to go without adequate meal coverage. The poor should have access to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse just as equally as the rich.

    Note from the author: I don’t know if satire is a literary device for which I have much of a talent, but this has been a meager attempt.

  • Today’s Media: A Consistently Hypocritical Pattern of Treatment

    I was listening to an FM disk jockey recently (I do occasionally switch the radio from the political news and commentary on the AM dial). This DJ was expressing his shock and outrage at the behavior of Republican Senator Larry Craig who has been in the news recently over an incident of soliciting sex in a men’s bathroom in Minneapolis. I wondered if that DJ expressed the same shock and outrage in 1998 when the President of the United States was having sex with an intern in the Oval Office.

    This got me thinking about how differently the main-stream media treats Republican versus Democrat sex scandals. And it seems to me there is a pattern, illustrated below:

    News Media’s Reaction to Political Sex Scandals
    Behavior Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican No Yes No, therefore hypocrite and excoriated
    Democrat Yes Yes Yes. Not hypocrite, therefore ignored or justified

    News Media’s Reaction to Political Sex Scandals: Example 1
    Behavior: Sexual immorality Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican Senator Larry Craig solicits sex in a men’s bathroom No Yes No, therefore hypocrite and excoriated in the media. And forced to resign by his own party.
    Democrat Barney Frank has a male-prostitution ring operating in his house Yes Yes Yes. Not hypocrite, therefore largely ignored by the media. And still in office.1

    News Media’s Reaction to Political Sex Scandals: Example 2
    Behavior: Sexual immorality Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican Mark Foley’s inappropriate instant messaging of male pages No Yes No, therefore hypocrite and excoriated in the media. And forced to resign by his own party.
    Democrat Garry Studds actually has sex with a 17-year-old page Yes Yes Yes. Not hypocrite. Celebrated by his own party and re-elected.2

    Of course, this pattern of media treatment seems to be only limited to traditional/Christian moral principles. The media’s pattern of reaction flips completely with regard to Progressive/Politically Correct principles of morality.

    News Media’s Reaction to Politically Correct Principles
    Behavior Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republican No No Yes, but excoriated for their unbelief
    Democrat Yes No No, but praised for raising awareness

    News Media’s Reaction to Politically Correct Principles: Example 1
    Behavior: Reduce Carbon Footprint Sanctions it? Does it? Consistent?
    Republicans, many of whom do not subscribe to the theory of man-made global warming No No Yes, but excoriated for their unbelief and called ‘global warming deniers.’3
    Democrat Al Gore’s home uses 20 times the electricity of the average household Yes No No, but praised and awarded for raising awareness.4

    I find it very interesting that when Republicans live inconsistent with the values they promote, they are excoriated in the media. But when Democrats live inconsistent with the values they promote, they are praised for at least trying. Of course this consistently hypocritical treatment of Republicans and Democrats in the media can be explained when you consider that over 80% of journalists vote Democrat.5 In their eyes, Democrats can do no wrong and Republicans can do no right.


    Today’s Appeasers Think We Are Creating More Terrorists than We’re Killing

    During his recent testimony1 to and questioning by Congress, General Petraeus was asked a question that really bothered me. The line of thinking embedded in this question has been bothering me for some time. Howard L. Berman, a Democrat from California’s 28th District, asked the following question about the Iraq war: “Are We Creating More Terrorists than We’re Killing?”

    To promote the idea that the United States is “creating terrorists” is absurd and irresponsible. I can hardly tell you how angry it makes me that people think that by standing up against evil, you create more evil. I completely disagree with the premise of Representative Berman’s question, but even if it was true, what would the Democrats have us do? Apologize to the terrorists for making them mad and beg them to not terrorize us anymore?

    As crazy as this Democrat line of thinking is, it is given ample attention throughout the media. Here are a few examples:
    -“You don’t know if you are actually capturing and killing more terrorists than are being recruited” Nick Childs of the BBC
    -“Democrats argue that staying in Iraq increases the threat to the United States, because it generates resentment, and it helps recruit more terrorists.” CNN’s Bill Schneider
    -“Are we creating more terrorists than we’re killing?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper

    Not once did any of the “objective” reporters above explore the absurdity of this line of thinking. Now I will admit, like the White House, that “the ongoing fight for freedom in Iraq has been twisted by terrorist propaganda as a rallying cry.” But no doubt the US’s entrance into WWII served as a rallying cry in German to recruit more Nazi’s. That in no way means we shouldn’t have entered WWII and this fact certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be fighting the terrorists in Iraq and around the world.

    I’d like to ask Representative Berman and the rest of the anti-war Democrats…
    -By fighting the Nazis in WWII, were we creating more Nazis?
    -By fighting the Japanese Empire, were we creating more Kamikazes?
    -By resisting communists around the globe during the cold war, were we creating more communists?
    -By arresting and jailing murderers in our cities, are we creating more murderers?
    -By prosecuting rapists in our communities, are we creating more rapists?
    -By standing up to a schoolyard bully, are you creating more schoolyard bullies?

    A the heart of this Creating More Terrorists than We’re Killing thinking is a policy of appeasement. The world, in vain, tried to appease Nazi Germany, thinking Hitler would be satisfied with gaining control of parts of Central Europe and then leave the rest of Europe alone. That was a foolish policy then and it is a foolish policy today. The terrorists will not just go away if we leave them alone and retreat from Iraq. The terrorists organizations we are battling have carried out countless unprovoked and unwarranted acts of death and violence against innocent people, and they must be defeated.

    Yes, there is a cost to standing up to a bully. But that cost is far less than the cost of letting that bully go unchecked.2

    1. Highlights from General Petraeus’ Testimony to Congress:
    “the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met.”
    “the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in 8 of the past 12 weeks”
    “We have also disrupted Shia militia extremists, capturing the head and numerous other leaders of the Iranian-supported Special Groups”
    “Coalition and Iraqi operations have helped reduce ethno-sectarian violence, as well, bringing down the number of ethno-sectarian deaths substantially”
    “The number of overall civilian deaths has also declined during this period (the surge)”

    2. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “You know, when you grow up in a neighborhood, if there’s a bully, people do one of two things: Some people turn their head, when the bully is beating up on somebody and pretend it isn’t happening and say, “Gee, if I don’t notice it, if I don’t get involved, I’ll be safe.” And of course, you aren’t safe because, ultimately, the bully finishes with that person and comes after you. And it seems to me that that history is replete with instances where believing that you can feed the alligator, hoping it eats you last, doesn’t work…It should not be a surprise today that there’s still remnants of that (Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi) regime that would like to take it back. They had a very good thing. They could go around killing tens of thousands of people and piling them in mass graves. They could torture people and have rape rooms and the world would turn their head from that and let it happen. But they can’t do that anymore. The 25 million people in Iraq are free and they just developed a new constitution and they’re now fashioning a way forward for a democracy of some sort. It’ll be an Iraqi democracy, not an American or a French or a German or a British democracy, but it’ll be something that will give rights to the women for the first time in a long time. It’ll give rights to the ethnic minorities and religious minorities and that’s a good thing.”

    Take the Money Out of Politics: Reduce the Size of Government

    Two recent news items spark today’s column:
    1) Norman Hsu, one of Hilary Clinton’s top fund raisers, has been making headlines for his illegal activities (Clinton Expresses Surprise at Big Money Donor’s Wanted Status)
    2) Hillary Clinton Could Use Bill Clinton’s Foreign Cash for 2008 Campaign. Though it is against the law for a candidate to take political contributions from foreigners, it is perfectly legal for a candidate to use personal income earned in foreign countries (Bill Clinton has made more than $27 million from overseas speaking engagements).

    These two items have got me thinking about the Campaign Finance Reform legislation that was supposed to “take the money out of politics.” John McCain, a chief sponsor of that legislation said it’s passage would “help change the public’s widespread belief that politicians have no greater purpose than our own re-election. And to that end, we will respond disproportionately to the needs of those interests that can best finance our ambition, even if those interests conflict with the public interest.” (

    I don’t want to debate the points of this legislation, though I do think it is bad law and completely ineffective, as demonstrated by the two news items above. What I do want to discuss is a far better way to take the money out of politics: Reduce the Size of Government.

    The only way to take money out of politics is to take money away from the government. When a candidate wins, regardless of the campaign finance process, that winner is in control of a $3 Trillion dollar federal budget (that’s trillion with 12 zeros). Reforming the campaign finance process only addresses a symptom of the problem. The root problem is that the Federal government is too powerful and its coffers are way too bloated. As Ronald Reagan said, “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.” And I love that Walter E. Williams always promotes, “the moral superiority of personal liberty and its main ingredient — limited government.”

    Now in theory, Republicans generally support limited government and Democrats usually support big government. True to the title of my blog, I wanted to get some data to quantify this and analyze the size of government under Republicans and Democrats. To do this, I plotted the size of government over the past 60 years, with size of government defined as the amount of tax revenues in proportion to the size of the overall economy. The results were not what I expected and quite fascinating.

    I expected to see the size of government going consistently up over the years, but to my amazement, it has remained relatively constant at about 20% (tax revenues are equal to about 20% of the GDP, or the federal government is controlling about 20% of the economy). While I feel this is way too high, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, over the long-run (60 years in this case), the size of government is not trending upward.

    But if you take a closer look at the data, you will see some definite trends that differentiate Republicans from Democrats. Without exception, when a Republican president is in the White House, the size of government decreases, when a Democrat is president, the size of government increases. Even more interesting is what you find if you look at two-term Republican presidents. Again, without exception, Republican presidents reduced the size of government in their first term, but increased the size of government in their second term. Democrat two-term presidents unabashedly increased the size of government in both terms.

    My theory: both parties are appealing to their base during their first term in order to get re-elected (the Republican base wants smaller government, the Democrat base wants bigger government). What I’m not sure of is why second-term Republicans change course. Perhaps it is due to a desire to build a legacy through enacting government programs. But I’d be interested to hear your theories: Why do Republican presidents reduced the size of government in their first term, but increased the size of government in their second term?

    Though second-term Republicans change course and increase the size of government, they always net, overall, a reduction. And thank goodness they do because if it was left up to the Democrats, the size of government do nothing but increase and our freedoms, in turn, would do nothing but decrease.