Suppose President Obama asked citizens to exercise more, smoke less, and eat healthier foods to reduce healthcare costs. And let's say he was frank about telling us we have no choice because there isn't enough money to keep going the way things are going. Would citizens respond?

I think so. One of the frustrations people have with the current economic downturn is feeling they are helpless to do anything about it. We are told by the media that only the government is big enough to fix our problems. I think people would feel happier knowing that exercising and eating broccoli was part of something larger than their own health.

Or suppose the president asked the citizens who still have money to spend a bit more freely to stimulate the economy. Suppose Obama explained that our only two choices are that the government taxes us and spends the money inefficiently or citizens spend more of their own money than they would normally spend, buying things they actually want, and it adds up to the same thing. Would the citizens who still have extra money respond?

I think they would. Again, it would feel like you were doing something patriotic to help the country, and as a bonus you would get some new stuff.

Suppose President Obama ordered the power companies to make one change in policy. Not only would they credit the bills of customers who have solar panels on the roof when they generate more power than they use, as is the current situation, but they would actually pay customers cash for any energy created beyond the limit of their own monthly bill. That would make any home with a Southern exposure a potential generator of electricity. The President could ask citizens to invest in solar panels, as an act of patriotism, knowing the payoff would take years, but the collective benefit to the country would be great. It would stimulate the economy, create jobs, and drive down the cost of solar panels. And your neighbors could see your new solar panels and know you were doing your part.

What would stop Obama from asking the citizens to contribute in these ways?
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Mar 8, 2009
http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=s&hl=en&q=shopping 9/11&btnG=Google Search

Hmmm... Bush told New Yorkers to go shopping after 9/11, and the press was pretty negative. So I don't think it would be wise for Obama to do that, either.
Feb 15, 2009
Hmmmm, I don't necessarily agree with all of Obama's views on the issues, although I do consider him to be likeable as a person. However, I find it interesting all of the times this section says "if Obama asked the people to...." I really think Obama has been cut an awful lot of slack compared to any other past president, in people wanting him to succeed (whether that is for better or worse)....
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 13, 2009
That's why so many people ran out and bought duct tape to combat terrorism. It was such a huge fear with nothing concrete the average individual could do about it, so when some talking head suggested duct tape to cover your windows in the event of a nuclear strike, millions of rolls of duct tape were purchased. It didn't matter that it was essentially useless, it was something to do instead of nothing.

Make it something simple and inexpensive to solve something huge and frightening, and the average Joe will do it.

Recycling is a good example--doesn't cost you anything except a few cents' worth of water to rinse your cans, but makes you feel like you're saving the planet.

Speaking of which, time to go rinse my cans in the hot tub.

Feb 12, 2009
Those are great ideas.
Feb 12, 2009

i understand where you are coming from. i disagree with you on a very deep level though.

financial decision making is a subset of absolute liberty. they are inseparable.

when govt takes your money, they are then obligated to make sure your outcome works for you. that is not liberty, that is dependence on the state. i don't mind people believing in socialism so much, its the arrogant blindness for them to pretend they simultaneously believe in equality and freedom AND socialism.

freedom to use your earnings as you wish is most definitely a part of the superset called liberty.

giving govt your money and demanding they fix your life is not equality either, that is separation of labor and an assumption that some are smarter than others. that is nowhere near equality. our society is quietly marginalizing the opinions and wishes of those without doctorates.

see what happens if you refuse cancer treatment (western medicine) for your child. you end up in jail. that is not equality, and it sure as heII is not liberty.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 12, 2009
This is an obamanation by obama nation.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 12, 2009
I hate referencing other posts but Verni is spot on. 4 packs of cigs a day for everyone would certainly clean house for social security. U would drive up hospice care but save lots of medicare medicaid as well.

Not siding against pro-choice but Ms Pelosi's comment that more birth control/abortions would give the welfare roles a little relief falls into the same category. Sounds like she wants to kill that hotbed of horatio alger stories.

Sounds a little like Clockwork Orange, social engineering with unintended consequences needs a little thought. (Personally I think someone should have just snapped his neck when when he was laid up at the end of the movie instead of giving him a big settlement and reversing his operant conditioning.)

Feb 12, 2009
Your suggestions do not accomplish what Obama is after. He doesn't want to solve problems, he wants the appearance of solving problems. He wants to push as much power to Washington as possible, and keep socialists in power forever, or until our government collapses, whichever comes first. And as the induhviduals have been able to prove, they will cheer gleefully as they willfully give over power to tyranny.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 12, 2009
In my state (NY) at least, power companies are already required to buy back excess power from their customers.
The power meter runs backwards. (Really!)
Solar panels are still not a good investment for most people, though, when you add up the total cost of ownership.
Feb 12, 2009
Well Scott, this is a great concept, and a radical one. The role (as it seems to me) of Governements is to encourage and foster a sense of dependency in its citizens. Anarchy is a dirty word in politics and yet what it means is self rule. So what your are proposing is a system of anarchy, a dismantling of the power of the state, something perhaps akin to the Native Indian Traditions of collective decision making and collective action, based on everyone's input.

We live under the illusion that our Government's 'take care of us'. This nurtures a sense of powerless. So you see the implications of your ideas are very profound indeed.

Feb 12, 2009
There are two problems economically with this idea: firstly, the free-rider problem. As patriotic as many people are, many individuals would rather wait for someone else to do his bit and then reap the benefits with none of the costs. So some would do their patriotic duty, but others would feel patriotic with the new policies but actually do nothing to support them. Secondly, the tragedy of the commons - with so many people using what little effect can be generated by those swayed sufficiently by patriotism, the effects get diluted and we might even end up in a worse situation than before. Besides, there is another problem: what if the campaign is unsuccessful? Then Obama has lost credibility.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2009
Hi Scott,

Cool Idea,

I think all of us will love to see Scott as next President!!!!

Scott, I think it isnt such a bad idea -maybe your next blog could be an eassy titled "If I were the president of USA"!!

I think most americans would be laughing all the times under Scott's presidency - and naturally healthcare costs would come down!!
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2009
Webgrunt hit it right on the head: "See how Obama is going to force everyone to live a certain way! The liberals are out to take away all our freedoms and force us to live the way they want!"

I mean, that's what anarchists say whenever the government wants to regulate anything, or even ask for taxes. You think it'd be any different?

And staceyorman is right about Denmark as well - there are lots of things we can learn from (mostly social democratic) nations who have better quality of life than we do. We could try to produce our own energy like Denmark. We could successfully nationalize the banks like Sweden did. But you know why we won't ever do that?


We don't want what works. We want a.) to go our own way because we are, by definition, the best people in the world and b.) money for ourselves, because that's the American way.

If you care about logic and evidence, well, think for a second why social democracies have the best quality of life in the world. They're the healthiest, most educated, most free people in the world. What do they "sacrifice" for these things? Money. That's it.

As long as we conflate "money" with "freedom" and "happiness," and make no mistake about it that's what the entire country's culture is based on, we will never be truly free nor truly happy.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2009
I would like to contribute a guillotine. Put it outside the Capitol building. Some of the bankers would walk away with bailout money. But they would have to do some deep soul searching when walking past that monument to the "Let them eat cake" attitude that the French dealt with awhile ago.
Oh, and a few of the Toyota repuglican senators also.

Viva la revolucion, liberty, equality, community
Feb 11, 2009
Aardwizz is dead on right. What got us in financial trouble are many living beyond their means. Thinking they are entitled to live like that and scornful of anyone that tells them different. Well the grasshopper and the ant Aesop fable still holds and not looking to the future is foolish. It will take common sense, people doing the right thing and strong leadership with vision to bring us to our senses. The media is such a Henny Penny the Sky is Falling self-promoting aggrandizing profit machine they could care less if the economy tanks. More news for them to distort. The average hard working American wants their fair share and they are willing to work for it. There are a lot of them out there and they will prevail. Things are going to get better and like anything else that goes down the pipe, good or bad, it all come out at the end. This too will pass.
Feb 11, 2009
Charlesfunnish, you imply that what you say is truth. But it isn't.

It's false.

Thus, you value falsehood more than truth. This is a travesty. Don't you think you should value truth, especially when you imply that truth is a good thing?

Respond angrily or this will be boring and I will have to stop being a dick.

(Note to people who think I'm irresponsibly making this debate worse: I'm not. I'm making it better. Making assumptions about all of you shows you for who you really are. Only my interpretations matter.)
Feb 11, 2009
Hah! Germany already pays extra for the electricity generated by private solar.

The USA beat them in the last 2 world wars, but since WW3 is an economic one, I'd say they have the upper hand at the moment...

How many Panzer divisions is a thousand solar panels worth in the combined fight against economic terrorism, pollution, climate change and poverty?
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2009
Charlesfunnish, et al.,

For what it's worth, I'm a white collar professional working in the domestic auto industry in mortal danger of losing his job and, no, I generally despise unions.
Feb 11, 2009
To charlesfunnish:

Calm down. You are reading a COMMENTARY on the bill, and assuming that what is printed is fact.

I read the commentary. Then I read the section of the bill she referred to. While I could see how she could make the mistake, she's wrong. That "National Coodrinator of Heath Information Technology" job is not to ensure that the MEDICAL standards are being followed, but that the INFORMATION practices are.

That is, ensuring Grampa's health records are in the standard format, using the standard codes, so that when he has that heart attack while visiting you at Thanksgiving, that your hospital (who doesn't know anything about him) can properly treat him.

She makes some valid points, but also seems to try to intentionally cloud the issue by treating the bill as if it was a chapter in Daschel's book. It's not, and he will not be the one to interpret and execute the law, so much of her argument is moot.

Please, examine your attitudes carefully. You are so convinced, already even though he's barely begun, that President Obama is going to wreck everything that you hold dear, that you can't see straight. This sort of division MUST STOP!!!. On both sides. Clinton-bashing. Bush-bashing. Now Obama-bashing. Yes, both of the first two made mistakes. So will Pres.Obama. It's inevitable. But if you work to HELP lessen the mistakes, to make the intent come off, even if the execution doesn't, it will be better for EVERYONE. Especially those you have to listen to you rant.

Feb 11, 2009
There is a scary element to the stimulus package, which is the govt saying "If you won't spend your money, then we'll spend it for you." So Scott, I'd likely feel that it would be better if I spent the money on stuff I want. But I can't really spend my money to fix potholes or build bridges or public schools or missile shields. A new plasma TV is nice for me, and it's good for Best Buy and some guys in Korea, but it doesn't do much to improve things here. So somehow, I think that just leaving it up to individuals wouldn't do the trick.
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