Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Stimulus Concerns

Over 200,000 Americans have now signed the petition at NoStimulus.com, which states:

“Congress should not enact an expensive spending bill under the pretense of stimulus or recovery. We cannot spend our way to prosperity, and such an expansion of the federal government will put a crushing burden on taxpayers in the long-term.”

More than anything, as I've said before, there is a lot of money tucked into the bill that seems mostly to be a Democratic Party wish list than an economic stimulus. Yes, there is some money that will go toward "shovel-ready" projects (such as this list of road projects in the Austin area), but most of it appears more to be either a handout to Democratic supporters or an unnecessary expansion of the federal government.

And then, on top of what's been covered here and elsewhere, there are some questionable health provisions in this bill (courtesy Betsy McCaughey/Bloomberg):

One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions...

I don't know about anyone else, but the idea that government will be guiding my doctor's decisions doesn't sit well with me. Given that our current medical system needs a paradigm shift to begin with (from treating symptoms to encouraging whole-body wellness), I worry that this will reduce the amount of thought put into treating difficult issues. Ms. McCaughey points to former future HHS Secretary Tom Daschle as the architect of these ideas, using a philosophy that "doctors have to give up autonomy and 'learn to operate less like solo practitioners.'" Mr. Daschle's viewpoints on this area are rather scary:

[Daschle] praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Oh, good, so my friends with MS and migraines and other things that are not so easily treated should just learn to live with their problems? No, thanks.

It's this kind of hidden item that makes it imperative for people to read this bill before it's too late.

Neal Boortz has summed up this whole rushed process. While Mr. Boortz is definitely not a fan of President Obama (and his summary is admittedly colored with this bias), it's worth a read.