Around Colorado: 2/23/09

No Health Czar

Congratulations to Paul Hsieh, MD, for his article published today by the Washington, D.C., Examiner:

… The concept of a health czar follows naturally from the welfare statists’ premise that government should guarantee health care to all Americans. Whenever the government attempts to guarantee universal medical care, it must also control its costs. Hence, someone must determine how health care dollars may be spent.

The Obama administration would control costs by creating a new Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research to determine which treatments are deemed most effective and thus eligible to be paid for by government. These decisions would be based on statistical averages that cannot take into account specific facts of individual patients. …

The fundamental problem with universal health care is the faulty premise that health care is a right. Health care is a need, not a right. Rights are freedoms of action (such as the right to free speech), not automatic claims on goods or services that must be produced by others. … In socialized medical systems, health care is never truly a right, but just another privilege dispensed at the discretion of bureaucrats.

Hsieh goes on to summarize the free-market reforms that would bring down health-insurance costs while restoring freedom and individual rights in medicine.

The Food Stamp Bureaucracy

Another problem with food stamps is that they are distributed by a clunky bureaucratic system. The Denver Post reports, “Thousands more people applying for food stamps mean wait times in 10 Colorado counties have pushed beyond 30 days, in violation of federal law.”

True, on a free market, in which individuals voluntarily funded food banks and other programs and personal efforts to feed the poor, a recession would stress the system as needs rose. However, people cooperating voluntarily would tend to be faster and more caring in addressing such needs.

By the way, Boulder Weekly published my article on my “Low-Carb Food Stamp Diet,” and Westword published my letter following up on that paper’s story.

Go Slumdog

I was pleased that the Oscars recognized Slumdog Millionaire, a little film eminently worthy of the recognition. I’m also pleased that Heath Ledger won.

Real Six Packs

Occasionally the Denver Post will actually editorialize in favor of liberty. The paper did so just yesterday, arguing that grocery stores should be allowed to sell regular beer. I’ve said so myself. Unfortunately, the Post hardly makes a principled case, conceding the law “no longer makes sense.” But violating individual rights never “makes sense;” it is always wrong.

Speaking of beer, Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner has sensibly argued that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. If you’re old enough to fight wars and vote, you’re certainly old enough to drink a beer. Such a move would also move at least some drinking from party houses to bars, which would improve safety. Of course, as one who was no stranger to binge drinking in my younger days, I realize that there is a deeper cultural problem here, but that problem is not being addressed by the discriminatory drinking age.

Follow Up on Pork Roast Rally

The left keeps unjustly beating up the organizers of the Pork Roast Rally, so I keep responding (though I doubt I’ll need to say anything more about it). As I’ve pointed out, the same leftist organization blaming the rally’s organizers for an unknown person’s sign calling Obama a Nazi itself features comments on its web page calling Bush a Nazi.

Jon Caldara has blogged about this, Face the State has covered it, and Vincent Carroll has written about it:

[T]hanks to Ari Armstrong of, there’s one delicious postscript. It turns out — and this will surprise no one who has lived through the past eight years — that ProgressNow Colorado has a Web site whose blogs and reader comments have included a number of Nazi and fascist references to former President George W. Bush and other conservatives — which Armstrong has listed on his own blog.

What? The group can’t be held responsible for every nutty leftist who comments on the site? Maybe not, but it exerts more control over them than the organizers of an open-air political rally have over their crowd.

The protest of the stimulus is growing. A blogger from Kansas writes about a rally in Overland Park:

The protest was held outside of the office of Representative Dennis Moore, who voted for the so-called “stimulus” bill. I almost didn’t go to the protest out of concern that it would be more of an anti-Democrat, pro-Republican protest, but it wasn’t that way. There were some people who were obvious Republicans, but most of those that I saw and talked to where people who were against the massive spending that the government is pushing. Though the temperature was 10 degrees with the wind chill, I think probably 300-400 people showed up, and there was a LOT of great response from drivers who saw us.

Keep it rolling, brothers.