Friday, October 19, 2007

Republicans, Children, and Macro Thinking

I am reminded of a time many years ago when I was still in High School and my parents had gone to visit my older sister at college (not Annie). I got a call from the Electric Company saying that unless we paid the bill by the end of the day, we would be cut off from the grid. I informed the caller that I was a minor whose parents were out of town, and asked who the Electric Company wanted to punish by shutting off the electricity. Because if the company intended to cause my parents to suffer, it was failing desperately as they were out of town. After some discussion with a supervisor, I received a temporary reprieve until the day my parents returned.

What reminds me of that story? The Republicans attitude towards children. Consider, for example, the S-CHIP debate. As I have noted before, some parents might not enroll their children in an insurance program because of cost. SCHIP can be used to create an incentive to financially reluctant parents to get their children insurance. The Right Wingers oppose this concept, as David Fredosso said to me, "health care is a private choice." But, like the Electric Company in Vermont, Fredosso would keep insurance from children because their parents are screwing up.

Similarly, consider the current movements in many areas to take away benefits from illegal immigrants, including some that benefit the children of illegal immigrants. For example, Prince William County in Virginia has chosen to deny housing assistance to illegal immigrants. Who gets hurt by this? Certainly the adult illegal immigrants do. But so do their children. Why do we punish the kids for the behavior of the parents?

I think the difference between my thinking and that of the Right Wing on these issues comes from the Right Wing's macro way of looking at things, while I consider things from a more individual way. Just like the Right Wing thinks our economic problems are solved if the GDP rises regardless of individual problems, it tries to solve other problems in easily measurable ways where a a more appropriate response might be difficult to implement and measure. Illegal Immigration? Cut all benefits. Some middle class parents shouldn't get SCHIP? Don't give it to any middle class parents. They don't seem to care who gets hurt, as long as it might solve whatever problem they perceive.

This might explain the Iraq war actually. The bluntest of instruments is a war; and the most subtle is diplomacy. Will people get hurt if we invade? Sure, but who cares. Its the price we pay for the easiest of answers to our problems.

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