Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barack Obama should be ashamed of himself

I can guess what his reasoning must be for his otherwise inexplicable position on Kennedy v. Louisiana. He is envisioning attack ads painting him as a defender of child molesters, leaving helpless children at the mercy of sexual predators, and does not want to expend the energy to confront such slime. Also, it's consistent with what he has said in the past:
"While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes - mass murder, the rape and murder of a child - so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment," he wrote in his book "The Audacity of Hope."
But he should still be ashamed by his position.

He does not seem to have considered that it will make these molesters harder to convict, or even catch, and will likely make recovery a lot harder for the victim.

A lot of this happens within family units, or with trusted adults. That makes it hard for the victim to point out the abuse, and often for the rest of the family to accept the truth of the accusations. How much more difficult would it be if a life hangs in the balance, and not just jail time? And how much harder will it be for the victim to know that they have been the cause of the death of a family member or close friend? How does this affect the support that the victim is definitely going to need from other members of the family?

How much more likely that the family simply reacts with denial, leaving the molester to continue to prey? As many already do.

That's my objection to Obama's position--by making things easier for himself, he has said that it should be harder for the victim. Even though his position will have no real-world influence (the laws are unconstitutional), the moral dimension of his position is abhorrent.

Nearly the entire country has abolished capital punishment for child rape. Proponents of the policy have had to resort to specious reasoning to justify it.

This wasn't an issue where he faced a significant risk of damage. This was an issue where he could have helped to teach the country something about politics and reason. Instead, he capitulated to unreason. Satisfying public outrage is the worst reason I can think of for making a rape victim's trauma even worse.

He had a teaching moment there and he blew it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fraud, and certainly abuse

The Cato Institute gets its knickers in a knot about Medicare fraud, citing a report that puts health care fraud at over $60 billion per year.

Let's put this number in a bit of perspective:

Medicare actually lost about seven cents of every dollar spent to fraud, waste and mistakes in 1998, government auditors said earlier this month.

That amounts to more than $12 billion -- but it's only about half of what was lost by the government's health insurance program for the elderly and disabled just two years ago.

Yep, a fivefold increase in less than a decade.

Let's see, what happened in that decade?

Oh, yes, the administrators at the top changed.

You don't send Republicans to do a man's job.

Update: Medicare reduces costs for providers, it turns out. I guess the Bush League couldn't fix that.