April 24, 2011
Marie Lozito is a Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist, wife, mother, grandmother and life-long conservative. She wrote a text on medical massage and taught at New York College of Health Professions.
Interested in, and observing politics since 1960, she
ran for elected office in 2010.
An accumulation of thoughts about a few different topics.
I don't think I can stand all these PC language controls. First you shouldn't say “God”, then “Christmas” and now “Easter”! In case you hadn't heard, they are no longer “Easter eggs”, they are “Spring Spheres”. The heck with it! I'm going to make an egg salad with my Easter Eggs.
Japan is still having trouble after over a month since the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. Efforts to stabilize Fukushima nuclear plant continue to be hampered by setbacks such as aftershocks and power outages. Japan has had hundreds of powerful aftershocks that have measured over 5 on the Richter scale.
The power of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami still amazes me. The shift in the tectonic plate that happened with the quake increased the tilt of earth's axis by 6.5 inches and increased it's rotation speed by 1.8 microseconds. A report I read said that the tsunami changed Japan's coastline – by removing 13 feet of the coast! It really boggles my mind!
Health care costs have been disproportionately increasing for years. Two of the driving forces in the cost increases are litigation and compliance. Litigation, the lawsuits, and
outrageous settlements frequently awarded, cause costs to rise so that the care providers (doctors, clinics, hospitals), medical supply companies and pharmaceutical companies can cover the costs of the litigation and awards. Compliance is a huge cost because of the time and paperwork involved at all levels of the health care system. If you aren't involved in the health care system, you have no idea how invasive and difficult all the rules and regulations are to comply with.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was given the authority to write the rules and regulations for enforcing the Obamacare law rammed through Congress last year. In the almost 2700 pages of Obamacare there are six pages that are devoted to something called "accountable care organizations." (Section 3022, pages 297-302) The HHS has written the rules and regulations to enforce this section. Guess how many pages................429 pages of new rules and regulations for only 6 pages of the law. Does this give you any idea how bad the effect will be on health care? There will be thousands more pages of rules and regulations created to enforce the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) – a misnomer if I ever heard one!
That makes me think about government regulations in general. I have discussed these a bit in a previous column. There isn't any area of business that isn't touched by government regulations and very few areas of your life that aren't affected by them. The bureaucracies created by our government are regulating all sorts of things: how much water your toilet can use, the water flow rate through your shower head, regulating incandescent light bulbs, “approved” child seats, food labels, bicycle helmets, etc, etc, etc. The size, scope and reach of government in our lives is ridiculous, offensive and borders on intolerable.
Some regulations are comical and you could laugh yourself silly if they weren't actually rules we are supposed to comply with (and can be punished for not complying with them!). My current favorite is the EPA decision, made years ago, that since milk contains fats, milk spills need to be treated like oil spills. Got that? Oil spills – milk spills should be treated as crude oil, diesel, gasoline and kerosene spills are to be treated. The regulations required: emergency management plans, trained first responders, cleanup protocol and containment facilities. I kid you not. Can't you just imagine a catastrophic milk spill? OMG! We have to call Hazmat! Responding to numerous complaints, the EPA eventually said it would write an exemption for milk. It still hasn't but at least they haven't been enforcing the regulations.
Congress has the constitutional authority to set regulatory policy. Bureaucracies that Congress created, run by unelected individuals, make the thousands of rules and regulations adopted each year.
The members of Congress get to have it both ways: They can take credit for enacting popular but vague legislation, then plausibly deny responsibility for the specific implementing regulations that follow. The result is power without accountability – a useful result politically, but an abysmal result for making policies.
U.S. Representative Geoff Davis and Senator Rand Paul, both Kentucky Republicans, have proposed legislation to force all members of Congress to vote “yes” or “no” on major rules that affect business and the economy. Called the REINS Act, “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny,” the Davis-Paul proposal is not just a procedural change. It would change the way regulations are made. Increasing Congress’s role in, and accountability for, regulatory policy-making would end a shell game for responsibility that the legislators have long played. The REINS Act would end this game by requiring every major rule, defined as those with an economic effect of $100 million or more a year, to be specifically approved by both the House and Senate to take effect. The president would have to sign the measure. Any defeat along the
way, and the rule goes down. Since they must regularly face the voters, members of Congress have a different perspective
from appointed regulators. Some rules will be turned back as unacceptable. That’s not a flaw in the process, it’s a feature. No rule should be adopted if the American people, as represented by Congress, don’t agree that it’s necessary. REINS is a commonsense step in that direction and I hope it passes.
Americans have built the single greatest nation in all of human history,
but America's exceptionalism was not preordained. Every generation has had to confront and solve serious challenges,
and because they did, each has left the next better off. Until now." (Sen. Marco Rubio, "Why I Won't Vote to Raise the Debt Limit: Everyone in Washington Knows How to Cut Spending -- The Time to Start is Now," Wall Street Journal, 3/30/2011)
I love this quote from Mark Twain: "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."