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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Four Thoughts

(1)I find myself exaggerating my recovery so that I won’t disappoint people who ask me how I feel. If I keep saying "Lousy," especially if I follow up with details about bowel movements and such, friends may eventually stop calling. I know I would.

(2)The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a Virginia court’s ruling that an anonymous tip about a supposed drunk driver could not justify a police traffic stop of the car unless the police themselves saw the car do something suspicious. Justice Roberts issued a vigorous dissent, arguing, among other things, that the evil of drunk driving justifies the police action. He wrote: "The effect of [this] rule will be to grant drunk drivers 'one free swerve' before they can be pulled over by the police... It will be difficult for an officer to explain to the family of a motorist killed by that swerve that the police had a tip that the driver of the other car was drunk, but that they were powerless to pull him over, even for a quick check." Roberts noted that hotlines and other services encouraged the public to report suspected drunk drivers.
I thought Roberts was supposed to be one of those “conservative” judges who show “judicial restraint” as opposed to those “liberal judicial activists” on the bench who bend their interpretation of the law to conform to their personal preferences. He would never be “result oriented,” would he?

(3)The stock market rebound to above 10,000 has T.V. pundits scratching their wooden heads. How can this be, they whine, when unemployment is at 10% and other signs of the recession persist? They never read their Milton Friedman, the father of neo-conservative economics. When a recession comes, businesses wisely lay off workers to reduce costs. It is the excuse they need to do what they should have done during good times. Now, business improves (meaning bottom lines show net profits because of reduced costs), and it would be foolish to rehire workers, especially at the old hourly rates. Having been squeezed for more than a year, any worker re-hired would be glad to take a huge cut in pay and benefits.

(4)And speaking of benefits. I thought that the main benefit of a universal health care plan was supposed to be to remove the burden from business, as most of the industrialized nations of the world have done for generations and which even the “less civilized” nations of the emerging world recognize as necessary. Once government takes over the job of insuring health care, American businesses can compete with foreign companies. Wasn’t that supposed to be the prime argument — the unified field theory — that cemented the economy’s recovery with health care? Why haven’t I heard that argument made forcefully to support the “public option”?

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