13 10 2008

and how what you don’t know might hurt ya…


I was watching the local news tonight and they presented the results of a local poll on the economy. I believe 44% blamed the current economic crisis on the republicans, while something like 25% felt that the democrats were at fault. What do those statistics tell us? That the press hasn’t done a very good job of informing the public about the facts concerning the issue. The evidence that the democrats are at fault here is overwhelming. This crisis can be easily traced right back to its very beginning, and its roots are clear. There is no doubt. No wiggle room.


Most people only know what they are told. The press, one would think, would have a responsibility to make sure the information it presents doesn’t mislead, or cause wrong impressions of the issues of the day. The press, it now seems, only tells us what the press wants us to know. That is the nature of today’s political scene. The press has interjected itself into the process, and they’ve done so, most of the time, quietly and almost unnoticed. Sometimes its blatant. Sometimes through what they say in a story, and sometimes through what they omit.


CBS had a story about McCain’s and Obama’s health care plans and the differences between the two. Their story concerned a restaurant and its employees and gave us a few examples of how things are now and how they might be with the coming new presidency. Discussing McCain’s plan they talked to a waitress who didn’t like it. She didn’t like it because she was scared that McCain’s plan would offer too many choices. So many choices that she was scared she would choose wrong!  I never did see the point of how Obama’s plan would be better, only that it would at least provide another option for coverage.


When they talked with the restaurant owner he expressed his desire to continue to provide coverage for his employees through his company plan. The report failed to tell how McCain’s plan would help with that desire by allowing his employees to buy into that plan with the tax credits (a simple option for the concerned waitress). And something that would most probably allow for even better coverage, as it would most likely increase the pool of insured. However, the report just left me with the impression of an implication that there was some kind of fault with McCain’s plan.


Reports like this leave me more and more jaundiced about our future. I’m not now, nor have I ever been a big McCain supporter. I do feel he is the far better of the choice we have in this election, but that’s not the only real worry that I have in this coming round of elections. There are a lot of things hanging out there right now. Most of them not so good.


I’m conservative, but by no means a libertarian in my beliefs. I do feel that government has its place, but governments intrusions into our lives, homes, and our workplaces should be at a minimum. Obama claims to offer change. And change is sure to come if the congress goes even further left as it now seems to be headed. I worry that those changes won’t be for the better.


Even in this current administration we’ve seen government agencies stretch their grasp toward more control and requirements. Take such things as wanting to make television shows emphasize the product placements within their programming. Seeing the KFC label on the bucket on the table isn’t enough. The government wants them to tell you that that bucket that said KFC on it was a KFC bucket and KFC paid to put it there. What that matters I don’t know. It seems rather obvious to me that the KFC bucket was a KFC bucket… why do they need to point out that somebody (KFC) was willing to pay to put it there? Does it really make a difference to somebody? I mean, I know ‘Hollywood’ does like to exert its influence nowadays, but if it was Hollywood wanting us to buy KFC they’d put the KFC bucket there and not charge KFC to do so, wouldn’t they? Couldn’t they.


While the above may seem a bit on the silly side this one isn’t. How about a “calorie tax”? According to the October 6 issue of Nation’s Restaurant News health watchdogs are urging activists and public health officials to “push the envelope of the legal system” in addressing obesity. The magazine tells us that the Public Health Advocacy Institute has turned its attention to the coming new federal administration and has begun formulating an agenda that would do such things as encourage funding for mass transit and building more biking and walking trails. Innocent enough for sure, right? But it doesn’t end there, they also want to mandate (?) the cultivation of more vegetables, restrict food marketing to children, and possibly even tax high-calorie ingredients in products.


It points out how taxes on foods with high sugar or fat content, or those high in calories in general might reduce consumption of those foods. It was pointed out that increasing prices on tobacco products by increasing taxes resulted in a whole 4% reduction in usage. Not much research has been done yet on determining how prices of certain foods affect people’s weight, it was admitted.


My mother, I’d like to point out here, ate chocolate seemingly by the handful and had trouble keeping weight on. Would a skinny folk tax exemption be in order too?


At a meeting between those activists and officials, Marice Ashe of the Public Health Institute in Oakland, Calif., discussed strategies like having the government require business it works with to have obesity prevention programs, much like the required drug testing as now. (Does that mean you can’t get, or keep the job if your overweight?) She also suggested such things as zoning requirements for corner stores to carry fresh fruit. Now, to me, that’s starting to get intrusive.


Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.) told a recent conference of the National Restaurant Association that “It’s important to pass legislation to get people to eat the right foods.” Imagine, federal laws telling you what you can, and can’t eat. Intrusive? Ya think? The magazine tells us that passing some of this stuff would be challenging… but with some of this “change”, and some new faces in congress, who knows for sure?


There are new and continuing proposals for changing labeling laws, changes in the American Disabilities Act, immigration reform, food safety, farm subsidies, and on and on. Some probably great! Some probably not.


In this current economy businesses are struggling to just to meet the bottom line, pay their bills, and keep their employees employed. Burdening them with more and more requirements isn’t a pleasant prospect.


The future is scary enough with just having to put bread on the table. What changes even to that very loaf are right around the corner? We used to could depend on sane heads to separate the wheat from the chaff with some of this legislation. Once we could depend on the press to tell us of the fallacies with some of this stuff. Nowadays, I’m not so sure. And, with the prospects of the coming election, I’m beginning to fear the worst.


If the press won’t give you the straight scoop on the causes of our current economic condition, can we depend on them to tell us, the public, the real story on some of these proposed changes? Intrusive changes. Changes that it’s looking more and more are sure to come.







One response

17 10 2008

Excellent points. Keep up the great work!

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