LINCOLN, SLAVERY AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
As Republicans I believe we are quite aware that Abraham Lincoln was the first successful Republican candidate for President of the United States of America. However, it is very worthwhile to recall the issue that gave birth to the need for a unified new political party was the topic of slavery—a frank violation of the very principles of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the hearts of the Founders.
In keeping with that ideal, the Republican Party has fought a more insidious type of slavery for all of its existence—enslavement to the governing bodies of our country. Just as enslavement of the black man was a policy central to the ideology of the Democrat Party in the 1800’s (some would say that it persists to this very day), enslavement to the government is even more pervasive today. And, of course, still a central tenet of the Democrat credo.
Recall from history and from Civics class that the Founders were very concerned that any form of government under human control could deteriorate into a self-serving system that favored the few and enslaved the many. They understood that greed and power are irreconcilably joined together. They attempted to prevent such oligarchy (or in current terms “elitism”) by pitting the lust for control of each the three branches of government against each other creating a protective balance for the citizenry. In the 1850’s the Democrats, staunch proponents of black slavery, controlled all three branches of the federal government resulting in such hideous legislation and court decisions as the “Runaway Slave Act” and the “Dred-Scott Decision”. Most of the last 50 years the Democrats have held excessive control of the reins of government enacting crippling, enslaving tax laws, “entitlement” programs, and have usurped control of individual freedoms in all areas of life and culture.
To this day it is still the Republican Party that stands against enslavement of the individual in any form while the forces of the opposition (including many who are “Republican In Name Only”), leaders of other major world governments, elitists in academia and opportunists in the media seek to topple this great republic. Our Republican message has not changed since Lincoln. It is about freedom, respect, and responsibility in government, in the marketplace, in culture, in society and in the fundamental unit of society, the family.
We are not seeking to promote hero worship. Any thinking person knows that even great people are human and they err. Our basis, our foundation is truth. So, when the Congress does well or the President leads, applaud the victory of Right. The contentious nature of politics with its petty jealousies and self-serving abuses of power make it nearly impossible for just decisions void of insidious compromises that erode the very intent of such changes. Such victories for Right and Righteousness are rare, so they need to be celebrated, for they are not accidental. They are hard-fought…and even providential.
Looking forward to 2018, to Lincoln Days in April, and to this election cycle, let’s remember our anti-slavery roots. When you are asked what the Republican Party stands for you can say, “We are against slavery in any form.” Seek to break the chains forged over the last fifty years and claim a new day of individual freedom with mutual respect and responsibility.
We are coming upon another election year in 2018 and I hope everyone is gearing up to take on the candidates. What do I mean by that? Every candidate has a list of issues that he or she feels government needs to address. Some of the times we agree with their goals but in a substantial number of cases either the goal or the method of achieving it violate our sense of limited government. So, we need to scrutinize the talking points and platforms but then we also should be telling them what we want them to do in the elected office they aspire to. After all, we are the job panel who will decide whether or not to send this person to government office to represent us. They need our input, and I believe they need our perspective because it is likely much different than theirs.
A prime example is the shortage of medications that has become a routine problem in health care. Drug shortages in the United States were unheard of before the “managed care revolution” that started in the 1990’s but have now reached intolerable levels (greater than 200 NEW drug shortages per year!) as a result of federal takeover of the health care segment of the economy. I realize that most conservatives are quick to blame “Obamacare” for the crisis but, in truth, the root of the problem lies with the Medicare and Medicaid laws and regulations spawned when the Democrats controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress in the 1960’s. Since then each administration has shared some of the blame for the accelerating pace that has nearly regulated health care to death. To be sure, Obama led a critical and dangerous turn toward socialism with the PPACA but George W. Bush betrayed his supporters as well when he pushed the Medicare Part D legislation. Each law that supports, creates or legitimizes socialized medicine pushes the United States deeper into the hole of debt and compromises the quality of care for U.S. consumers.
Among these medication “shortages” the most highly publicized in the last couple of years was the massive price surge associated with the life-saving medication, “Epi-Pen”. Many were quick to blame the pharmaceutical industry, especially those on the left. Of course, they are not totally innocent. However, careful analysis shows that in most cases Big Pharma was guilty of making opportunistic business decisions to work around the government regulations that increase manufacturing costs. A recent paper by Christopher Stromberg of Bates-White Economic Consulting titled, Drug Shortages, Pricing and Regulatory Activity identified several predictors of new drug shortages among which were: (1) the allowable reimbursement prices under Medicare (regulatory price controls) and (2) FDA citations and inspections, even when no adverse findings were identified. In the latter case, a tremendous amount of lost productivity and man-hours are lost in the preparation for and compliance with these inspections. The same is true in hospitals where the threat of “State” and “Joint Commission” inspections entail mountains of paperwork and staff time as well as the resources expended.
Within the past few weeks we have been beset with shortages of lidocaine (aka xylocaine), an injectable and topical anesthetic with a plethora of uses in daily medical practice. This old medication should be easily and cheaply produced since there are no associated research and development costs and the chemical process has been known and established for decades. Again the culprit is burdensome government regulation, much of which is tied to the regulation of health care. Whether you have “great” insurance or none, you are paying for all this government waste and inefficiency again, and again through taxes, license fees, copays, coinsurance, premiums, and subsidies to keep Medicare and Medicaid afloat. Add to that list the medications shortages requiring the use of more expensive alternatives.
The true source of cost overruns is the manner in which government overtly or inadvertently picks winners and losers in industry rather than letting the free market perform its magic through fair and open competition. These rules create obstacles for some segments of the industry to competitively produce a product. Larger manufacturers often have a financial incentive to produce new and more expensive drugs protected by patent laws. Foreign producers are faced with tariffs to “protect” domestic companies and smaller enterprises sell out to the larger because of narrow profit margins. So, we suffer as the providers and recipients of health services from shortages of essential medications and devices that were readily and cost-effectively available prior to the burden of federal regulation.
This is just one example of a system that we recognize as dysfunctional and replaced with one that is limited, efficient and respects the Constitution. The “swamp needs draining” but that is going to require us to build a protective barrier around the Constitution to prevent judicial activism with legislation from the court bench. Whatever your frustration with government, ask yourself, “How can we more permanently end these recurring problems?” Do we need a Balanced Budget Amendment? Should we dismantle some of the recently created federal departments and administrations like the Department of Education or the Environmental Protection Agency that have become rule-making behemoths to the detriment of the country? Perhaps new legislation that sunsets every regulation after a fixed number of years (if not repealed sooner) and new regulations cannot be created without removal of others (hmmm maybe remove 3 for every new 1)?
Use your high position as citizen of the United States to get good ideas into the heads of candidates. Hold their feet to the fire. And remove those who obstruct common sense legislation – for example Claire McCaskill who has voted the Democrat Party line for the past 12 years to pass bad laws like Obamacare and to obstruct good laws and federal appointments. She voted against the Trump administration’s push for an Obamacare repeal, the confirmation of Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court and Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. She infamously stated that the police are the problem not the solution in cases like the riots in Ferguson, MO in 2014. And don’t forget, despite her adds she is not a “daughter of rural Missouri” at least far from a typical one, travelling in a private jet, owning a $2.7 million condo in “City Center” of Washington, D.C. and part ownership in a chic restaurant in the same elite development. If we don’t do our job as Republicans and as Conservatives we will feel the effects for decades.
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
— Winston Churchill