Measles outbreak in Somali community; Muslim parents refuse to vaccinate children

This article at Mic Daily makes it sound like it is all about a fear that vaccines cause autism in vaccinated children.  However not mentioned is the Islamic prohibition on the use of vaccines.

Minneapolis Doctor Madlon-Kay

Here is the story at Mic Network Inc.  Golly gee, why can’t we get our message heard, say health officials.

Minnesota’s Hennepin County is in the midst of the state’s largest measles outbreak since 2011. Nine cases have been reported since last week, and officials expect the number to rise.

So far, all of the cases are among unvaccinated children. They have something else in common too: The affected children are all part of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Somali-American community. According to a health department official, Minnesota’s Somali immigrant community has been a particular target of the anti-vaccination movement, colloquially known as “anti-vaxxers.”

“They’re very much engaged with and targeting this community,” Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease division director at the Minnesota Health Department, said in a phone call Wednesday.

According to Ehresmann, anti-vaccine groups began to target the Somali community around 2008, amid concerns about autism among Somali-American children. Anti-vaccine groups started reaching out to the Somali community and showing up at community health meetings, she said, disseminating misinformation linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR.

Since then, the population has seen a “steady decline in MMR vaccine rates.”

[….]

She [Dr. Diane Madlon-Kay, a practicing physician who has studied the low vaccine rates among Minnesota’s Somali community] and other doctors who serve that population have had little luck dispelling myths about autism and vaccines that travel quickly though the community via word-of-mouth, she said.

“We don’t seem to be making any headway with that at all,” Madlon-Kay said.

Despite countless studies indicating there’s no connection between vaccines and autism, Madlon-Kay doesn’t have much hope that science will change the minds of scared parents within the Somali community anytime soon.

Continue reading here.

What about Islam?

Not a word in the story about Islam and vaccines which is likely the bigger reason why health officials can’t educate the Somalis.  In only a few minutes search, here is one of many articles about “religious” prohibitions in Islam.

Islam and Medical Science Must Oppose Vaccination

The case against vaccination is first an Islamic one, based on Islamic ethos regarding the perfection of the natural human body’s immune defence system, empowered by great and prophetic guidance to avoid most infections. The case against vaccination is also a medical and health-related one. Incredible evidence, unbeknownst to most, has emerged in the West regarding the many serious health hazards that affect those who have been vaccinated.

For inquisitive minds, we have hundreds of articles about refugees and health issues (including mental health issues) in our ‘Health Issues’ category, here.  Measles is not the worst illness you will find there.

Yoga at Work: 5 Easy Yoga Poses That You Can Do at Your Desk

The thought of sneaking out of lunchtime for some yoga class may be laughable, especially now that jobs are more demanding than ever.  But wait, this does not mean that you have to stay stagnant for hours and keep facing at your computer all day.

There are yoga moves that you can actually do right at your own desk. This yoga poses help you get a mental breather and makes sure that your arm, neck, wrists, back and hips are in good working order. There’s a better way to utilize your free time other than chatting with your workmates in the lounge after lunch.

Try these simple moves that ease back and neck strain and let you slip in quick toning.

1.The Scale Pose

First, look for a sturdy piece of chair (one that can fully support your weight). Sit the edge of the chair, press both of your hands on both sides of your hips then raise your legs and butt off the seat.

Engage your abdominal muscle and keep the upper portion of your shoulders down. Stay for 3 to 5 breaths. Lower your body again and repeat the same process at least two times.

2.High Altar Pose

Sit on the chair erectly. Inhale and raise your arms together. Clasp your hands and invert your palms. Next, lean to your left. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths then switch to a different side.

3.Twist

First turn to your left and use your left hand on the back of the chair to deepen the twist. Keep in this pose for 5 to 8 breaths.Release and switch to the other side.

4.Cow Face Arms

Stretch your left arm across your back, and right arm behind your head. Clasp your fingers together. Make sure that you exert a little tension to both arms. Stay in this pose for 5 to 8 breathing then switch sides.

5.Ankle To Knee

Lift your left foot and place it over your right knee then drop open your left knee. Learn forward to stretch deeper (keep your back straight while doing this). Hold on for 5 to 8 breaths then switch sides.

Takeaway

Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are entitled to give yourself a break.  Doing the simple yoga poses might just be what you need to refuel your productivity at work. Do it now (breaktime or lunchtime I mean). All you need to have is a single chair and a few minutes. So, no more excuses.

Author Bio:

Alyssa Mason Prout loves traveling to different cities around the world to look for the latest trend in fashion, lifestyle and health. Aside from traveling, she also enjoys writing, and it has been her greatest passion since childhood. Whatever she learns in her journey, she writes it and shares it with her readers.

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Limit the number of Marijuana Dispensaries in Pinellas County

On Tuesday, April 25th, the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners will consider an ordinance to regulate marijuana cultivation sites and dispensaries. We have analyzed the ordinance and are concerned with the number of dispensaries it would allow.

The proposed ordinance says that it would allow each approved licensee with the state to have 2 dispensaries in unincorporated Pinellas County; this would mean 14 to 16 shops initially with more to come as additional licenses are granted by the state.

The Marijuana Policy Group research paper suggests the optimal number of dispensaries depends upon the number of patients likely to register, the local area population, and the required scale of operation for dispensaries to remain profitable. The average resident ratio among similar states (with laws similar to Amendment 2) is one dispensary per 67,222 residents (1:67,222). This ratio is found to be “optimal” by the MPG for cities an d counties in Florida.

Approximately 280,848 reside within unincorporated Pinellas County. Going by the numbers suggested by the industry, 4 dispensaries in unincorporated Pinellas would be preferred. Other counties in Florida have adopted one dispensary per 100,000 residents.

We respectfully suggest that the commission amend the ordinance to reflect language used by other Florida municipalities to reduce the number of allowed marijuana dispensaries and urge you to

Please click on the Action Alert button below and send a letter to the commissioners supporting a reduced number of dispensaries.

action alert

Since legalization export of Colorado marijuana increased by 1,700%

The latest Marijuana Report states:

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area just released a supplement to its 2016 report titled The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 4, September 2016.

The supplement includes several metrics, including seizures of Colorado marijuana the US Postal Inspection Service has made since 2009, when the state first allowed a commercial medical marijuana industry to emerge.

Then, no marijuana was mailed out of state. But by the time Colorado voters passed full legalization in 2013, almost 500 pounds that people tried to send to other states were seized. Three years after recreational legalization, that number tripled.

The report updates information about impaired driving, youth and adult marijuana use, emergency department and hospital marijuana-related admissions, and marijuana exposures reported to poison control centers.

Click here to read the SUPPLEMENT to: “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,Volume 4, September 2016.” 

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Legalizing Weed is Not the Answer

Why Is Trump Waging War on the Freedom Caucus? by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Why is Trump attacking the House Freedom Caucus? He has tweeted that “we must fight them.”

My first thought: this is inevitable. Destiny is unfolding before our eyes!

There is the obvious fact that the Freedom Caucus was the reason the GOP’s so-called replacement for Obamacare went down to defeat. They fought it for a solid reason: it would not have reduced premiums or deductibles, and it would not have increased access to a greater degree of choice in the health-insurance market.

These people knew this. How? Because there was not one word of that bill that enabled the health care industry to become more competitive. Competition is the standard by which reform must be judged. The core problem of Obamacare (among many) was that it froze the market in an artificial form and insulated it from competitive forces.At minimum, any reform must unfreeze the market. The proposed reform did not do that.

Bad Reform

That means the reform would not have been good for the American people. It would not have been good for the Republican Party. And then the chance for real reform – long promised by many people in the party – would have been gone.

Trump latched on to the proposal without understanding it. Or, other theories: he doesn’t care, he actually does favor universal coverage even if it is terrible, or he just wanted some pyrrhic victory even if it did nothing to improve the access.

The Freedom Caucus killed it. And I’m trying to think back in political history here, is there another time since World War Two that a pro-freedom faction of the Republican Party killed a bill pushed by the majority that pertained to such a large sector and dealt with such a hugely important program?

I can’t think of one.

What this signifies is extremely important. We might be seeing the emergence of a classically liberal faction within the GOP, one that is self consciously driven by an agenda that is centered on a clear goal: getting us closer to an ideal of a free society. The Caucus isn’t fully formed yet in an ideological sense, but its agenda is becoming less blurry by the day. (And please don’t call them the “hard right wing.”)The old GOP coalition included nationalists, militarists, free enterprisers, and social conservatives. The Trump takeover has strained it to the breaking point. Now the genuine believers in freedom are gaining a better understanding of themselves and what they must do.

For the first times in our lives! Even in our parents’ and grandparents’ lives!

The Larger Picture

Trump is obviously not a student of history or political philosophy, but he does embody a strain of thinking with a history that traces back in time. I discussed this in some detail here, here, and here, among many other places. The tradition of thought he inhabits stands in radical opposition to the liberal tradition. It always has. We just remain rather ignorant of this fact because the fascist tradition of thought has been dormant for many decades, and so is strangely unfamiliar to this generation of political observers.

So let us be clear: this manner of thinking that celebrates the nation-state, believes in great collectives on the move, panics about the demographic genocide of a race, rails against the “other” invading our shores, puts all hope in a powerful executive, and otherwise believes not in freedom but rather in compliance, loyalty, and hero worship – this manner of thinking has always and everywhere included liberals (or libertarians) as part of the enemy to be destroyed.

And why is this? Liberalism to them represents “rootless cosmopolitanism,” in the old Nazi phrase. They are willing to do business with anyone, move anywhere, and imagine that the good life of peace and prosperity is more than enough to aspire to in order to achieve the best of all possible worlds. They don’t believe that war is ennobling and heroic, but rather bloody and destructive. They are in awe of the creation of wealth out of simple exchanges and small innovations. They are champions of the old bourgeois spirit.To the liberal mind, the goal of life is to live well in peace and experience social and financial gain, with ever more alleviation of life’s pains and sufferings. Here is magic. Here is beauty. Here is true heroism.

The alt-right mind will have none of this. They want the clash, the war, the struggle against the enemy, big theaters of epic battles that pit great collectives against each other. If you want a hilarious caricature of this life outlook, no one does it better than Roderick Spode.

Natural Enemies

This is why these two groups can never get along politically. They desire different things. It has always and everywhere been true that when the strongmen of the right-Hegelian mindset gain control, they target the liberals for destruction. Liberals become the enemy that must be crushed.

And so it is that a mere few months into the presidency of this odd figure that the Freedom Caucus has emerged as a leading opposition. They will back him where they can but will otherwise adhere to the great principle of freedom. When their interests diverge, the Freedom Caucus will go the other way. It is not loyalty but freedom that drives them. It is not party but principle that makes them do what they do.To any aspiring despot, such views are intolerable, as bad as the reliable left-wing opposition.

Listen, I’m all for working with anyone to achieve freedom. When Trump is right (as he is on environmental regulation, capital gains taxes, and some other issues), he deserves to be backed. When he is wrong, he deserves to be opposed. This is not about partisanship. It is about obtaining freer lives.

But let us not languish in naïvete. The mindset of the right-wing Hegelian is not at all the same as a descendant of the legacy of Adam Smith. They know it. We need to know it too.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Repeal Bill Left Too Much of Washington Power Grab in Place

AHCA was NOT Obamacare Repeal or Replacement by Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

The following was contained in an email from Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX District 1)to his constituents:

Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare for seven years now. Some of us have proposed bills that had good provisions that would repeal Obamacare. In fact, we voted on a bill that would have been more of a repeal than this one through the House and Senate last year and put it on then-President Obama’s desk for signature. He vetoed the bill. But let’s be clear: the bill last week was NOT a repeal. It was NOT a replacement. It was an Obamacare tweak giving additional power to the federal government in hopes that our Republican Health and Human Services Secretary could make good changes.

Most east Texans are not in favor of giving the federal government MORE power to solve the problem of the federal government having too much power over our health care. If a true history of the rise and demise of the greatest, freest country in history is written, a chapter will detail how decade after decade, good ol’ go along folks kept providing more and more authority to the federal government rather than reining it in. But we still have a window to stem the tide and get back on track.

In closed meetings we were assured, if we will just give my friend Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price this extra power, he can weaken Obamacare substantially, though he could not repeal it administratively. However, no one could give an adequate answer regarding all that additional power in the hands of the next liberal Democrat who will one day take the reins at that behemoth department. The answer is obvious: the next liberal Secretary of HHS would bring back Obamacare with gusto, never to be repealed until it does its job—to hand over full control of your health care decisions to the government, paid for by crushing tax burdens.

There were a myriad of reasons to vote against Speaker Ryan’s rejected bill. It would hit people between the ages of 50-64 with additional costs for premiums and deductibles—in addition to what Obamacare does now. In addition to the original $716 Billion that Obamacare cut from Medicare, this bill was going to hit our seniors yet again.

Most troublesome to me was that in our own Republican meetings we heard from experts who believed that this bill would not bring premiums, deductibles or co-pays down at all and they would most likely be increasing for the next two years, though there was hope costs MIGHT come down 10% three years from now.

From what I hear from my constituents in east Texas, they are really overwhelmed with health insurance and healthcare costs. They need help, and they cannot afford to wait three years. They need help now.

Some of us were exceeding concerned about a new “tax credit” entitlement scheme that did not require proof of citizenship, not even legality, before the U.S. Treasury sends a check.  This entitlement was another transfer of wealth from those who work hard and pay taxes to those not legally present in this country.

The bill also assured that nearly 1% of your hard-earned money would be paid for a Medicare tax to be sucked out of your paycheck that already has a tax of 2.9%, half paid by you and half by your employer.

To help east Texans with the higher premiums this bill would bring, my Freedom Caucus friends and I twice agreed to vote FOR the bad bill, if the Speaker would take out a few of the requirements that were going to increase premiums. We were convinced by knowledgeable analysts that removing these provisions would drive premiums down.

Please understand, we agreed to let the “pre-existing condition” provision in Obamacare remain, though some falsely reported that we refused. We agreed to let children stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26, though I would agree to a higher age or no age limit if you are still living with your parents.

There were numerous other provisions that caused some heartburn, such as giving authority to HHA to create, for the first time ever, FEDERAL high risk insurance pools at the cost of billions of new dollars. We were told not to be alarmed, and that the hope was to eventually devolve that responsibility back to the states. As President Reagan warned, however, the closest thing to eternal life in this world is a new federal program.

Even though I was called an uncompromising “purist,” I was willing to compromise significantly if we could just get the premium costs down for my constituents.

People should also be aware that if the vote had been taken, there would have been as many moderate Republicans voting “No,” which some believe is why the vote was pulled in the first place. Republican leaders would not have been able to lay blame unfairly on conservatives when it was clear within our conference that at least as many moderates were concerned about the bill as conservatives.

The House Freedom Caucus reached an agreement to vote for the bill twice with President Trump, only to have Reince Priebus or Speaker Ryan notify us that such a compromise could not be put in the bill because, they told us, it would risk violating the budget reconciliation rules in the Senate and kill the bill.

Repeatedly we were told by our Republican leadership that the Senate Parliamentarian could not tell us in advance how she would “rule” on whether we could include our requested language in the bill without killing the bill. Late last week, we learned that the reason they could not find out was because they simply had not asked her, as Senator Mike Lee reported.

Yet the whole truth of the matter is that the Parliamentarian never “rules” on anything. She or he may only whisper a recommendation into the ear of the Senate President, either Vice-President Mike Pence or a designee of the Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who sits in the chair with the gavel on the Senate floor. It is the President of the Senate who “rules” on admissibility, not the Parliamentarian. And if 51 Republican Senators support the ruling of the presiding officer, his or her ruling stands untouchable.

This letter offers just a glimpse of the many reasons that the last two weeks played out as they did. It is very disappointing that despite the several compromises that were offered by conservative members, we still were not near fulfillment of our promise to truly and completely repeal Obamacare. That is a promise I did not make lightly, and I will continue the fight to honor my pledge to my constituents and the American people by working aggressively to make sure we get a good bill, get it passed, and signed into law.

Faithfully Yours,

Congressman Louie Gohmert
First District of Texas

RELATED VIDEOS: Gohmert: ‘I Can’t Support a Bill That Does More Damage Than Good’

Gohmert on AHCA: For My Constituents – a 10% Drop Will Not Be a Help

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Freedom Caucus Is an Ally, Not an Enemy in Draining the Swamp

After Trump Threatens to ‘Fight’ Freedom Caucus, Conservatives Vow to ‘Keep Promises’

Three-Pronged Approach to Repeal and Replace Obamacare | whitehouse.gov

Promising Advice on Car Injury Claims

When a person makes a car injury claim, two things come up to mind: settle or go to court?

Many people do not know that settling can be the more viable option. Settling is even a good choice even if the possibility of going to court has yet to surface.

Settling can be a good option, but what if the insurance company ignores you? Or the terms presented to you might be considered too small? How about when you strongly feel that you are a victim of injustice? Going to court might be the wisest option you can have.

In this article, we weigh in the advantages of both Settling and Going to court.

Settlement

As mentioned above, settlement can be the most viable option there is. If you find that the company that you are suing presents you with fair and appropriate solutions, settling may not be such a bad idea.

Here are some advantages of settling:

You can get compensation much faster

You’ll be able to get a quicker settlement because the terms between you and the company you are suing, are usually settled off the court. Therefore you can avoid those long hearing schedules which could delay you much more in the long run.

Avoiding Expensive Attorney’s fees

Depending on your agreement with your attorney, you might have to incur expensive costs. These charges are sometimes too expensive to the point that the whole settlement and compensation you make out of this lawsuit can be just for the payment fees.

Make it a point to your lawyer to talk about his fees and always consider some lawyers who do pro bono services that may greatly be beneficial for you.

Cost Efficient

Hearing schedules are what you need to endure should you decide to go to court. When you do go to court, hearings are not given automatically, instead they are scheduled. The wait for your time in court may reach a few weeks, months and even worse, some cases even take years.

Avoiding an Unpredictable Decision From the Jury

Panel members significantly affect the outcome of your trial. If you don’t understand how a jury makes its decisions, then settle to avoid any unpredictability when it comes to your trial.

Even if the trial or hearing has started, you can reach the company you are suing to agree on settling. It is always safe to say to try and talk at any point in the case to come to an agreement.

The central question that we should ask ourselves is, how much risk is there in losing the trial? If you are confident and feel good about the outcome of the case, ask for guidance from a good lawyer and proceed to court.

Going to Court

Proceeding to a hearing should be the last thing you consider. If all conditions do point towards it, then you must be prepared with the work that comes with it.

Here are some advantages of going to court:

Receiving full compensation

If a settlement is out of the question or if you feel that the compensation is unfair, then going to court can help you in claiming what is rightly yours. A court decision can legally enforce your rights for you, making the company liable for paying for the damages wrongfully done to you.

Gratification

Sometimes, companies can also refuse a re-negotiation. Compelling the defendant through the court’s powers can reverse that. If you do win in a court, gratification can sometimes be even a much greater thing than the compensation itself.

People at times feel that they have been wronged too much and be victims of injustice that they feel the whole process of going to court is the only way to alleviate their feelings. Compensation, as they say, can be the “icing on top.”

Takeaway

Settlement and going to court is a coin toss. Either you win the case, or you lose it. To avoid this situation, you have to carefully weigh your arguments and claims to make sure that no facts can disprove it. Knowing the advantages and the risks that come with it is hugely beneficial because it can make or break you when the time finally comes.

TAKE ACTION: Vimeo removes Christian ministry videos, closes account

If Jesus has changed your life and set you free from homosexual practice, your testimony is not welcome on Vimeo – not now, not ever. And if you see homosexuality as another aspect of sexual brokenness, something for which Jesus died and something from which you can be healed, your opinion is not welcome on Vimeo. Case closed, door shut, end of subject.

Pure Passion Ministries is a much respected friend of AFA and many other national ministries. Their videos have helped countless sexual abuse victims, people who have been sex trafficked, those who are addicted or in any other condition that causes them distress.

Sign the Petition to Vimeo!

us-appletv-1-pure-passion-tvOn March 24, Vimeo removed all 850 Pure Passion videos and closed its account.

Why? As Vimeo explained to Dr. David Kyle Foster, director of Pure Passion Ministries and himself a former homosexual,

To put it plainly, we don’t believe that homosexuality requires a cure and we don’t allow videos on our platform that espouse this point of view…We also consider this basic viewpoint to display a demeaning attitude toward a specific group, which is something that we do not allow.”

Did you catch that? Vimeo is guilty of the very same intolerance they claim Pure Passion has. Read the entire exchange between Pure Life and Vimeo here.

But Foster’s ministry is not the first to be unfairly censured by Vimeo. In 2015, Vimeo unpublished an announcement for an upcoming “Hope Conference.” The conference was sponsored by Restored Hope Network, which is an association of ministries that help people deal with unwanted same-sex attractions. Early last year, Vimeo shut down Restored Hope’s entire account. Every single video. Gone.

Vimeo also shut down the account of NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which is an association of psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists who have had the temerity to stand up to the PC establishment and who refuse to celebrate LGBT activism.

You can see why Foster described Vimeo’s move as “pure religious bigotry and censorship.”

Vimeo takes a hostile view towards groups and videos that espouse the Bible when it comes to human sin and brokenness.

Vimeo takes a callous approach towards groups and videos that preach the gospel of transformation when it comes to homosexuality.

TAKE ACTION

This is an outrage, and it needs to be addressed. Here’s what you can do today:

  • Sign our petition to Vimeo asking them to restore immediately the account of Dr. David Kyle Foster and Pure Passion, stating politely that this is tantamount to religious censorship and bigotry.
  • Share this information with family, friends and on social media.
  • Pray that the message of freedom and liberty in Jesus – from ALL brokenness and sin – would be proclaimed even more loudly and powerfully in the days ahead. Pray that Vimeo’s efforts to silence a powerful ministry (along with other excellent ministries and organizations) result in the amplifying of this ministry’s message.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

EDITORS NOTE: If AFA’s mission resonates with you, please consider supporting their work financially with a tax-deductible donation. The easiest way to do that is through online giving. It is easy to use, and most of all, it is secure.

#MAGA Questions Requiring Immediate Answers

By Wallace Bruschweiler & William Palumbo…

Last week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to pass the one thing they have consistently preached since 2010: a repeal of Obamacare.  It was the latest (and most severe) setback since President Trump took office just two months ago.

MAGAThe fallout of this failure is a fiasco for Republicans and, in particular, President Trump.  Before another Republican failure finds itself on the doorsteps of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, below are some questions for your, and the administration’s, serious consideration.  To the following questions we offer no answers.  It is the job of those in official positions to have solutions, and act on them urgently.

  • What exactly have Paul Ryan and the Congressional Republicans been doing for the last seven years, if not figuring out a viable replacement for the monstrosity of Obamacare? Really, what were they doing there?
  • Who additionally in Congress, besides Ryan, thought that a complex (in 3 separate parts, no less!), non-free market health care bill would have conservative support and ultimately succeed? Let’s be serious.
  • Why were Senator Rand Paul’s ideas and suggestions utterly disregarded and ignored?
  • What are we paying Congress for, if not to write legislation to benefit the American people?
  • Were the Republicans in Congress expecting to lose the Presidential election, and therefore were totally unprepared to govern when Donald Trump actually won?
  • Who really supports Ryan, the leader of the RINO faction who seemingly can’t count votes, in his position as Speaker of the House (second in presidential succession after the Vice President)? Again, let’s be serious.
  • Republicans control Congress, the White House, and will soon add an additional conservative to the Supreme Court – why then, with Trump having won the election and delivered them power, is Congress unable, unprepared, and/or unwilling to legislate?
  • Why did the Trump White House not immediately consider the firing of all political appointees, wherever they are in the federal bureaucracy, a top priority? They represent and operate today as a well-oiled, prepared fifth column.
  • When will the inner circle surrounding President Trump attain the level of “firmness” required to neutralize and eliminate the proliferating, and up until now successful, fifth column?
  • When will the Trump administration finally identify the leakers and abusers of classified information (i.e., unmasking of U.S. citizens)? When will these criminals be brought to justice?
  • What finally caused the pundits to begin calling for Speaker Ryan’s replacement? He opposed Trump through the election – why the change of heart now?  What happened that they finally saw the light?

There is one more question, one to conclude the story if you will, and one for which we will hazard a guess: Who is right now laughing most at Trump and the so-called and hapless Republican Party?

The answer is a complex yet simple one: George Soros, Barack Hussein Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and Hillary Clinton.

Why Single-Payer Health Care Delivers Poor Quality at High Cost by Daniel J. Mitchell

I shared last year a matrix to illustrate Milton Friedman’s great insight about the superior results achieved by markets compared to government.

Incentives explain why markets work best. When you spend your own money on yourself (box 1), you try to maximize quality while minimizing cost. And that drives the businesses that are competing for your money to constantly seek more efficient ways of producing better products at better prices.

This system generates creative destruction, which sometimes can be painful, but the long-term result is that we are vastly richer.

Governments, by contrast, don’t worry about efficiency or cost (box 4).

Today, though, let’s use Friedman’s matrix to understand the shortcomings of the US health care system. Way back in 2009, I opined that the most important chart in health care was the one showing that American consumers directly paid for less than 12 percent of health expenditures.

For all intents and purposes, instead of buying health care with their own money, they use other people’s money (box 2), a phenomenon known as third-party payer. And because most of their health expenses are financed by either government (thanks to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc) or insurance companies (thanks to the tax code’s health care exclusion), consumers focus only on quality and don’t care much about cost.

That 2009 column was written before Obamacare’s enactment, so let’s see if anything has changed.

Well, we know health care has become more expensive. But do we know why?

The answer, at least in part, is that consumers are directly financing an even smaller percentage of their health care expenses. In other words, the distortions caused by third-party payer have become worse.

Here’s the most-recent data from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (specifically the National Health Expenditures by type of service and source of funds, CY 1960-2015). Consumers are now paying only 10.5 percent of health care costs.

Now let’s consider the issue of efficiency.

Are we getting better health care for all the money that’s being spent?

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Here’s another chart from the archives. It compares per-capita health spending in various nations with average life expectancy.

As you can see, the United States is not getting more bang for the buck. And I very much doubt an updated version of those numbers would show anything different.

Heck, we even have more government spending on health care, per capita, than many nations with fully nationalized systems.

So if we’re not buying better health outcomes with all this money, what are we getting?

The blunt answer is bureaucracy and inefficiency. Here are some excerpts I shared years ago from a column by Robert Samuelson.

There are 9 times more clerical workers in health care than there are physicians, and twice as many clerical workers as registered nurses. This investment has not paid off in superior outcomes or better customer service, however. …Every analysis of medical care that has been done highlights the significant waste of resources in providing care. Consider a few examples: one study found that physicians spent on average of 142 hours annually interacting with health plans, at an estimated cost to practices of $68,274 per physician (Casalino et al., 2009). Another study found that 35 percent of nurses’ time in medical/surgical units of hospitals was spent on documentation (Hendrich et al., 2008).

Let’s close with a chart from a left-wing group that wants a single-payer system.

And this chart clearly makes a compelling case that the current approach in the United States is very wasteful.

For what it’s worth, I’m slightly skeptical about the veracity of the numbers. Why, for instance, would there be a sudden explosion of administrators starting about 1990?

But even if the data is overstated, I’m sure the numbers are still bad. We see the same thing in other areas of our economy where government-instigated third-party payer enables waste and featherbedding. Higher education is an especially shocking example.

The real issue is how to solve the problem. Our leftist friends think a single-payer health care system would solve the problem, but that would be akin to nationalizing grocery stores to deal with the inefficiencies created by food stamps and agriculture subsidies.

The real answer, as Julie Borowski explains in this video, is unraveling all the government interventions that caused the problem in the first place.

And if you want another video on the topic, here’s a Dutch expert making similar points. I also recommend this clever cartoon video that explains third-party payer. And this Reason video on how costs are lower when actual markets operate.

And if aren’t already numbed by lots of data, Mark Perry and Devon Herrick have more evidence of lower costs when third-party payer is reduced.

Republished from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Defeat. Conservative Victory.

Real vs Fake Health Care Reform, and How to Tell the Difference by Jeffrey A. Tucker

You want to know why the “freedom caucus” has balked at passing the Trump-backed Ryancare health care proposal?

Because the package does not address the core problem of the existing system. They are leaning – correctly – on a brilliant insight from F.A. Hayek.

Let’s think this through.

What was the most fundamental problem with Obamacare? It attempted to set up an artificial market that lacked the most salient feature of markets: genuine competition. Real competition. I don’t mean teams struggling for control. I mean an institutional setting in which producers can innovate. They face free entry and exit. Their well-being depends on serving the consumer.Obamacare has flopped because it disabled what remained of the competitive system with defined benefits packages, mandates that everyone be covered, requirements that everyone must purchase, and geographic limits on service provision. All these together took health care out of the realm of markets and made it a form of central planning.

And so: Obamacare resulted in soaring premiums, soaring deductibles, shoddy access, and ever-increasing bureaucracy. It became untenable. Objecting to it doesn’t have to be a matter of ideology. The contraption just didn’t work.

The core insight of the “freedom caucus” comes from Hayek and his fascinating piece “The Meaning of Competition”:

It is only through competition that we can assume that these possible savings of cost will be achieved. Even if in each instance prices were only just low enough to keep out producers which do not enjoy these or other equivalent advantages, so that each commodity were produced as cheaply as possible, though many may be sold at prices considerably above costs, this would probably be a result which could not be achieved by any other method than that of letting competition operate …

Yet the current tendency in discussion is to be intolerant about the imperfections and to be silent about the prevention of competition. We can probably still learn more about the real significance of competition by studying the results which regularly occur where competition is deliberately suppressed than by concentrating on the shortcomings of actual competition compared with an ideal which is irrelevant for the given facts.

I say advisedly “where competition is deliberately suppressed” and not merely “where it is absent,” because its main effects are usually operating, even if more slowly, so long as it is not outright suppressed with the assistance or the tolerance of the state.

The evils which experience has shown to be the regular consequence of a suppression of competition are on a different plane from those which the imperfections of competition may cause. Much more serious than the fact that prices may not correspond to marginal cost is the fact that, with an entrenched monopoly, costs are likely to be much higher than is necessary …

Competition is essentially a process of the formation of opinion: by spreading information, it creates that unity and coherence of the economic system which we presuppose when we think of it as one market. It creates the views people have about what is best and cheapest, and it is because of it that people know at least as much about possibilities and opportunities as they in fact do. It is thus a process which involves a continuous change in the data and whose significance must therefore be completely missed by any theory which treats these data as constant.

Let me paraphrase and apply: no, there will not be a perfect world. Total freedom is not a political option right now. So what’s the priority for any reform? The most crucial institutions in any society are the signaling systems of prices that reflect existing knowledge and possibilities.

When those are malfunctioning, nothing else works. Costs go up, quality goes down, innovation stops, and the sector starts to atrophy.

Competition Restoration Means Health Care Restoration

The first priority is that competition must be restored through some measure of deregulation. The mandates must go. The pre-set benefits packages must die. Insurers must gain control over their business affairs and customers have to be able to shop and choose.

We must regain flexibility to inspire innovation and achieve profitability. This must happen or else premiums will keep going up. This is a requirement. Obamacare failed because it disabled the market. Any reform must restore that market. This is more important than any other feature of reform.Trumpcare or Ryancare or whatever you want to call it does not do that. It replaces a mandate to buy with a tax incentive to buy. Otherwise it leaves the problem of the absence of genuine competition in place. True, the alternative doesn’t do anything about the transfer of payments, but, if you follow Hayek, you know that these are less important to eliminate than are the barriers to competition.

The restoration of competition will discover for us things we do not know about service provision: treatments, plans, new institutional arrangements, new forms of insurance, new methods for serving the public. Competition will grow the market and make profitability the test of success or failure.

If that does not happen, premiums will keep increasing, quality will go down, access will continue to shrink, and public anger will grow as a result.

Now is the time. Again, it is not about ideology. It is about a system of health care insurance that actually works to serve the common good.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Trump Sabotaging Obamacare? – POLITICO Magazine

RELATED VIDEO: Senator Rand Paul Doesn’t Want the GOP to Fail at Obamacare Replacement Plan.

EDITORS NOTE: Learn real skills from successful entrepreneurs at FEEcon: June 15-17 (Register by May 15).

It’s Fake News to Call the ‘Freedom Caucus’ the ‘Rebellious Far Right’ by Jeffrey A. Tucker

My hope is that this article will settle this nonsense once and for all. It won’t. Fake news outlets will persist as long as they are allowed to get away with it. It’s a smear and an outright lie but it goes on often, especially recently.

The Background

First of all, as you undoubtedly know, there is a faction within the House of Representatives gaining consciousness of the great task of our time: to get government out of the way of the productive forces of freedom, and to do this in every area of life. It is called the “Freedom Caucus,” and their influence just brought down the false alternative to Obamacare that preserved all its essential features.

Given the upheaval in the Republican Party, these people are developing a new understanding of themselves. They stood up to Trump. Clearly, they don’t exist on the common left/right spectrum.In how they handled the great Obamacare/Ryancare debacle, they should be called “libertarians,” because this is the word that has emerged to describe them in our times.

But more correctly, they should be called “liberals,” because they are the successors to the great cause of human liberation that began in the late Middle Ages, extended through the Enlightenment, drove the revolutions against power in the 18th century, ended slavery and the subjugation of women in the 19th century, and fought socialism and fascism in the 20th century. In the 21st century, they’ve championed digital innovation, privacy, and technological progress.

Here is good tutorial.

What They Believe

This group, which is undergoing a revival in many forms in our times, is trending toward being a consistent force of freedom. It’s not there just yet but the trend line is unmistakable and good. It’s not just about lower taxes, though they do desire that. They also want free trade, free migration as an ideal, free speech, deregulation, penal and prison reform, and an end to wars of all sorts. In short, they see the free society as the answer and government as the problem.

They have few connections to what is called the Left, except in areas like prison reform, drug decriminalization, and free speech. But neither do they share the values of the emergent far Right we’re seeing in Europe or the United States. They reject authoritarians of all sorts, which is why they are not reliable friends of the Trump administration. They will back him when he is right but fight him when he is wrong. They are independent in this way, recognizing that both Right and Left are forms of statist ideology, two flavors of the same cause.They are often called “conservatives” in American political lexicon, and sometimes they too have to embrace this term because it has resonance with the media and the voters. But they don’t like it, and it doesn’t really describe them. They do not want to conserve any old habits of government. They want government out of the way precisely so market forces and society in general can discover new and better ways of doing things.

Now, having described the Freedom Caucus in the House as best I can, consider what the New York Times says. The article “Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War” is by Glenn Thrush (twitter.com/GlennThrush) and Maggie Haberman (twitter.com/maggieNYT). Here is what they write:

In stopping the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years, the rebellious far Right wing of his party out-rebelled Mr. Trump, and won a major victory on Friday over the party establishment that he now leads.

You see that? The “rebellious far Right wing.”

The Real Far Right

Any reader would equate that designation with Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, Norbert Hofer in Austria, and so on. Actually, you can read all about the rise of the far Right in Europe in a very authoritative source: the New York Times, in an article published only a few months ago.

Their policies are by now predictable. They want protectionism, restricted immigration, some form of industrial economic planning, a strong welfare safety net, and, very often, they favor national health care systems.In fact, even in the United States, the most highly-trafficked Nazi website (please forgive me for not linking) came out with a front page editorial on the day of the Republican vote that came out explicitly for nationalized health insurance.

These policies are not pro-freedom. They have more in common with an interwar-style fascism. Most people who hang out on Twitter know them well. They are masters of the troll, self-proclaimed edge lords who tweet racist, anti-semitic, and nativist slogans and memes all day and all night. There are whole packages of software designed to block them.

Libertarianism is different, very different, from the alt-right, the far Right, the fascist right, the Nazi right, and so on.

Rebellious, Yes; Far Right, No

With health care, in particular, you see a striking difference. The Freedom Caucus opposed the Trump/Ryan plan because it preserved the statist features of Obamacare. It did not introduce market competition. They knew, as a matter of personal conviction and experience, that the replacement would not work. They acted out of principle but also out of a genuine knowledge of the sector, what has broken it, and how it must be fixed.

These reporters really must find a way to clean up their language, or risk sowing a very dangerous confusion. It is ridiculously misleading to persist in these old habits of describing any non-Leftist as associated with the “far Right.” It smacks of propaganda. These reporters have to do better if they want to describe the emergent liberal faction of the Republican party with any accuracy.On a personal note, I adore the New York Times. I read it thoroughly every day. I don’t agree with it, but I find it an indispensable source of news. I would like to see the ideological reporting of this paper improve.

If you tweet to these reporters, please be nice. No trolling. They are human beings. They are trying to do their best. They just need a bit of help. It is crucial they get this right.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Trump Sabotaging Obamacare? – POLITICO Magazine

RELATED VIDEO: Senator Rand Paul Doesn’t Want the GOP to Fail at Obamacare Replacement Plan.

EDITORS NOTE: Learn real skills from successful entrepreneurs at FEEcon: June 15-17 (Register by May 15).

In California, Florida and Illinois 50% of all babies are born on Medicaid

Terence P. Jeffrey in his March 24th, 2017 column In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72% writes:

In 24 of the nation’s 50 states at least half of the babies born during the latest year on record had their births paid for by Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

New Mexico led all states with 72 percent of the babies born there in 2015 having their births covered by Medicaid.

[ … ]

In California, Florida and Illinois, for example, 50 percent of all babies were born on Medicaid in the latest year on record.

Read more…

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report Implementing Coverage and Payment Initiatives: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017:

Medicaid has become one of the nation’s most important health care programs, now providing health insurance coverage to more than one in five Americans, and accounting for over one-sixth of all U.S. health care expenditures. [Emphasis added]

The KFF report concludes that, “Medicaid programs now play a significant leadership role in the health care systems in every state.”

Kaiser Family Foundation published a map showing the percentage of babies by state who are born on Medicaid:

babies born medicaid by state

You may view a chart with the details of each states births paid for by Medicaid by clicking here.

american_health_care_actMedicaid reform is much needed and will be part of the next version of the House of Representatives American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA website lists 8 Need-To-Know Facts About the AHCA, one of which addresses Medicaid:

6. Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by transitioning to a “per capita allotment” so states can better serve the patients most in need.

KFF gave this analysis of “per capita allotment” contained in a previous House Republican Healthcare Plan:

The House Republican Plan (“A Better Way”) released on June 22, 2016, includes a proposal to convert federal Medicaid financing from an open-ended entitlement to a per capita allotment or a block grant (based on a state choice).

This proposal is part of a larger package designed to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reduce federal spending for health care.  Often tied to deficit reduction, proposals to convert Medicaid’s financing structure to a per capita cap or block grant have been proposed before.

Such changes represent a fundamental change in the financing structure of the program with major implications for beneficiaries, providers, states and localities.

Read more…

There was a time in America when babies were paid for by their families. Perhaps it is time for government to get out of the baby funding business and let families take control?

The Importance of Proper Sleeping Positions: What You Need to Know

Do you find yourself waking up with unbearable aches and pains? Does your stiff neck or sore back prevent you from feeling rejuvenated and truly rested?

For most of us, sleeping positions aren’t something we give a second thought to since they’re habits that we’ve formed early on in life. While we can’t picture ourselves sleeping in any other ways, studies show that the way we sleep can have a significant impact on our general health.

Why is it important to mind how we sleep?

Assuming each of us spends an average of eight hours of sleep a day, then we dedicate one-third of our lives to sleeping. That is a significant amount of time, and if we spend it all on a single position that isn’t healthful can be detrimental to our well-being.

Awkward sleeping positions can stress our neck and spine, instead of providing our body its needed support. Unideal positions can also put pressure on other parts of our body and cause discomfort and adverse effects in the long run.

Through the years, people have linked poor sleeping positions with neck and back pain, muscle cramps, fatigue, impaired circulation, headaches, sleep apnea, digestion problems, premature wrinkles, and heartburn.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from these health problems, then it might be time to reassess the way you sleep at night, so you can enact the changes you need to get better.

woman sleepingAssessing the best positions for sleeping

When experts determine a person’s best position for sleep, they will consider the support the body receives from the kind of mattresses an individual uses in general. They will also identify if any point in the body experiences excess pressure and if the neck and spine are in proper alignment or not.

Different sleep positions

Supine Position

Many people would agree that sleeping on one’s back is the most optimal position for sleeping. That’s because the head all the way to the spine are in a neutral position, which will lessen pressure on the other areas of the body.

Sleeping in a supine position will help prevent neck and back pain, and reduce acid reflux. It will also minimize chances of having premature wrinkles as well as maintain a person’s breast health. However, this position will likely promote the snoring of an individual.

Prone Position

Sleeping on one’s stomach can help ease the intensity of a person’s snoring. However, it is not the best position to sleep in should you want to take care of your overall health.

When you sleep in a prone position, it is unlikely for you to keep your spine and neck properly aligned. Without the proper support, it is possible for you to have back and neck problems. Also, sleeping on your stomach will put unnecessary pressure on some of your muscles and joints, and will likely disrupt your breathing.

baby sleeping with toy bearOn Your Side / Fetal Position

Lying on your side is the most common alternative to the supine position. And by far, most people prefer sleeping on their sides than any other position.

Unlike sleeping on one’s back, side sleeping can help keep a person’s airways open. And so, to an extent, it prevents snoring. However, contracting your body inward will put unnecessary pressure on your diaphragm. And that, in turn, can obstruct your breathing.

Also, side sleeping does not promote the proper alignment of your body’s neck and spine. As a result, it can lead to severe shoulder pain and stiff neck.

So, while side sleeping can reduce snoring and acid reflux, it can also cause shoulder and neck pain, complications in breathing, distortion of breasts, and premature wrinkles, particularly on the side where there is extra pressure.

To avoid the adverse effects one can associate with the fetal position it is best to stretch your body by keeping your legs and neck aligned and relatively straight, instead of pulling them inwards.

Takeaway

If you feel tired or you wake up with your body aching, it might be time to try out a new sleep position. Even small changes like untucking your legs and keeping them aligned with your neck as you sleep on your side can have significant effects on your sleep and health.

And aside from the sleeping position you choose, comfort will also enhance the quality of your sleep. That is why it is also important to have a bed that’s cozy enough to help you have a good night’s sleep.

EXPLAINED: Government Healthcare is not Christian

The latest salvo against Christians who are politically conservative is to charge in the most morally superior of tones that failure to continually expand welfare programs is in direct defiance of biblical teachings.

This is true, of course, as long as you don’t actually read the Bible.

But the lack of truth rarely slows a political assailment, particularly against Christians who are politically conservative.

So this quickly became an attack line against the healthcare reform program Republicans proposed in Congress last week. It wasn’t the substance of the need to stem the bleeding of Obamacare; it wasn’t the skyrocketing insurance costs the program incurred; it wasn’t the all-important personal freedoms at stake that we spelled out previously.

It was this, best represented in a couple of tweets from CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers retweeting one of her followers. Her follower tweeted: “We do not require religious writings to know that it is right for gov to have compassion for the poor.” To which Powers added: “This is true. And it’s sad that so many people demanding scripture citations have such antipathy toward the poor.”

They are probably demanding those citations in relationship to the role of government. And in that, there are none to be found.

Personal experience with this

This is not a new line of attack.

Many years ago, I was at a luncheon function sitting at a large table with others from the newspaper where I worked. As the speaker was walking up to the podium, the editorial page editor — an older, liberal atheist man who knew I was both Christian and politically conservative — turned and said, “Based on Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, I don’t understand why all Christians aren’t liberals.” He then turned away toward the speaker as the program began, allowing no time for a response.

That was purposely timed. I wrote him an extensive explanation. But he never responded, nor could I get him to engage when I saw him, because he did not want a discussion or a better understanding. He wanted to take a cheap shot, feel smugly self-satisfied and move on.

That is a lot of what we are seeing here today. Many of the people saying that any opposition to government-funded or government-run healthcare insurance is un-Christian are themselves not even Christians. (Powers, to be noted, is a Christian.)

It’s a dual purpose political attack line to score points for big-government welfare programs among the uninformed while also taking a whack at RWRN (social media slang for Right Wing Religious Nuts.)

But they have an empty case on multiple levels, and they should be and can be knocked down vigorously.

Christianity and government healthcare

Let’s take the Sermon on the Mount, as this is a favorite for those who skim the Bible, or hear it paraphrased from others who have skimmed it.

The problem with the editorial page editor’s cheap shot is that it suffered from a fatal fallacy. Jesus teaches for three full chapters in Matthew on the deeper Christian life of joy, suffering and generosity toward others. In one portion of one chapter, Jesus says:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Jesus not only is speaking directly to his followers — that is, those who are now called Christians — but he is also telling them to not be generous in ways that call attention to ourselves. Do it quietly, even secretly when possible. In the very passage he is talking about giving to the needy, he exhorts his followers to do it tacitly, humbly.

No place in these three chapters does he mention a role for government in his teachings. This is consistent throughout Scripture. Some argue that just because Jesus did not overtly say this should be done by government does not mean he opposed it.

That is true, but that is not what defenders of big government welfare programs are asserting. They are saying Christians are compelled to support helping the poor through government programs because they are Christians. But Christianity is based on the Bible, and it is clear that is not what the Bible says at all.

Further, Jesus had plenty of opportunities to spell out a Christianized government role when talking to soldiers, centurions, Roman leaders, Pontius Pilate and so on. And he stayed mum.

Given his teachings that were always aimed at the responsibilities of the individual believer and not the government, and his choice to stay mute when given the open opportunity to spell out the role of government, it seems more than likely that he was disinterested in government doing what individual Christians should be doing.

The error of compassionate government

Compassionate government is an impossible combination.

An entity such as a government cannot have compassion. People can have compassion because it is a uniquely human trait. Anthropomorphizing government is a grave error leading to terrible policies — exactly what we’ve seen for decades.

Government as an institution has a critical role, but it has nothing to do with compassion or love or anger or any other human emotions or traits. The American government’s primary role was meant to be the protection of individual human rights. That’s why the very Declaration separating us from a distant tyrant launches with:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Government is meant to secure the rights of the individual, and protect them from intrusion by other individuals and by the government itself. Hence we have a system of checks and balances within the government so as to keep itself in check because by nature it is not compassionate. It was a machine designed to protect us from itself.

Endowing government with human attributes such as compassion and placing upon it the burden of caring for individuals is a doomed proposition. We see it fail again and again and again.

Opposition to government healthcare is not hatred

Kind of an absurd point to have to make, but alas, here we are. Powers used the word “antipathy.”

An American, whether Christian or not, can believe that X should be done and also think that it is wrong for government to do X. We can believe in helping the poor individually, through churches and synagogues and other charitable organizations and oppose the government doing the same. It is not an either/or proposition.

What we’ve seen is that when government fills this space, it displaces charities that would otherwise be doing the work. And it does it inefficiently while creating an entitlement mentality among those receiving it. Instead of gratefulness to an individual or a church or an organization, recipients see the gifts bestowed from government as a virtual right. And if the gifts are not sufficiently large, they are angered and will protest for more.

That alone is a bad sign for the soul.

So we spend about $1.3 trillion every year on various safety net programs and in return we get deep familial dysfunction, enablement of bad behavior, more debt that eventually we will be unable to pay off and, maybe as much as anything, we lock the poor into generational poverty and ingratitude.

Opposing the system doing this is not hatred. In fact, it may actually be more loving and therefor more Christian. But politicians cannot take credit for that system. Only when ladled by their generous hand can they take the credit and secure future votes — accomplished by forcibly taking money from others. There is no love in any of that.

There is nothing virtuous about giving other people’s money to the poor. In fact, if you want to go to Scripture, Jesus has a few harsh things to say about such grandstanding.

We cannot outsource moral obligations

Shifting responsibility to the government is a pathway for us to feel relieved of any personal duty to help those in need. For many, merely advocating for more money to go to the poor proves our compassion and moral superiority.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Conservatives tend to want a system where there is minimal welfare, just enough to help people get back on their feet. The institutional variety we have now breeds ever more welfare and robs people of their self-worth, making them comfortable living in poverty on handouts.

That is not loving and it certainly is not Christian.

So any Biblical case for Christians being required to support government healthcare and other welfare programs is DOA — if we actually read the Scriptures.

RELATED ARTICLES:

In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72%

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.