The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

On “Crazy Chicken Lady” Conservatism

It’s come to this. Conservative thought has degenerated to the “Crazy Chicken Lady” school of reform.

I kid you not. Meet Nevada’s GOP candidate, Sue Lowden — a/k/a “The Crazy Chicken Lady.”

This is at least a few days old by now, but that she’s actually sticking to her guns on this, as though it’s everyone else who’s crazy, makes it worth a post.

Again, with the nostalgia trip. Just because something was done in the “olden days” doesn’t mean its a good idea now, if indeed it ever was. People use to own other people in the “olden days,” and Sue Lowden wouldn’t have been allowed to vote, let alone run for office in the “olden days.” Depending on how far back go, bloodletting used to be considered a legitimate treatment a wide range of illnesses in the “olden days.” In the olden days, people got sick because their “humors” were out of balance.

There are so many questions I wish she’d answer about this.

Like, does she realize that the reason people “bartered” with their doctor in the “olden days” is because they were too broke to pay for the care they needed? Does she realized that the reason people “bartered” is because they didn’t have anything else?

If so, is she assuming and even accepting that some Americans will never be able to pay for care? Is her goal to get back to a time when Americans had so little that they couldn’t afford something as basic as health care?

Does she realized that doctors can’t pay their employees — nurses, assistants, receptionists, etc. — with “barters”? Does she realize that Doctors can’t pay for their medical supplies and equipment with “barters”? Does she realize doctors can’t pay their own bills with “barters”? The bank won’t accept a chicken for a mortgage payment. Neither will the water company, or the power company, for starters.

Does she realize that the only reason doctors accepted “barters” from some patients is because they had other patients who paid for their care with actual money? Does she get that those patients most likely absorbed the cost of care for those whose only option was “bartering” — effectively raising the cost of health care for them — and thus “bartering” wouldn’t “drive down costs in a hurry” as she claims?

Does she realize that “Little House on the Prairie” has gone off the air, and that Doc Baker has closed his practice and left town along with the rest of Walnut Grove?

In fact, the actor who played Doc Baker — Kevin Hagendied of esophageal cancer back in 2005. What would one “barter” for cancer treatment? I’m guessing a chicken, or even two, won’t begin to cover it. Even a few dozen free-range, organic, antibiotic-free chicken wouldn’t be enough. A cow or two, maybe? A whole herd of cattle?

Does she realize that most people don’t own livestock or farms, so a chicken or a bushel of potatoes isn’t a realistic “barter”? Does she realize that much of what people did have to “barter” with has already gone to the pawn shops or been repossessed? Get diagnosed with chronic illness and you can take what you do have, and “barter” yourself down to bare walls. What you do when you still need care but have nothing left to trade is beyond me.

I suppose her other option — “I’ll paint your house” — has some limited potential, but not much. How many times can a doctor have his house painted, her car washed, etc.?

And what amount of services for what amount of time could one “barter” for more expensive treatments? (The kind that would even wipe out the medical savings accounts she touts before “bartering?”) It’s possible that one might have to “barter” years of services for major surgeries or longer courses of treatment. Should we effectively bring back indentured servitude? They had that in the “olden days” too.

This isn’t so much to pick on Lowden, but to point out the non-reality based ideas she’s touting — and seriously, at that — as solutions, and that she’s so far out of touch with challenges facing Americans today that the best she can offer are yesterday’s solutions.

But that seems to be true of conservatives across the board lately. The answers they propose are either non-answers or based in some alternate reality.

And it’s not just the GOP either, either. It’s conservative Democrats like Sen. Kent Conrad, whose plan to reduce deficit which Dean Baker says would likely leave millions out of work.

That would have been an appropriate title for an article describing North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad’s plan for sharp cuts in the budget deficit over the next four years. Conrad’s plan would reduce the projected 2015 deficit by approximately 1.6 percentage points of GDP more than President Obama’s budget. Since most projections still show the economy to be well below full employment levels of output by this year, the cuts in spending and higher taxes in Senator Conrad’s plan will reduce the level of output. If we assume an average mulitplier of 1, then output will be 1.6 percent lower in 2015 than would otherwise be the case. If employment falls by the same amount, then Senator Conrad’s plan would throw roughly 2.3 million people out of work.

The impact of Conrad’s plan wouldn’t be that different from the one proposed by Texas Tea Party coordinator Phillip Dennis, which includes “massive reductions of federal spending,” the abolishmen of “useless” agencies like the departments of Afrigulture and Education (as well as the EPA), and the termination of most of the federal workforce.

Second, the number of government jobs must be substantially cut, and those employees must return to the private sector. Overpaid bureaucrats with fat benefits and pensions not found in the real world are simply not needed. Or wanted.

Of course, Dennis doesn’t say which agencies he’d allow to remain intact, and thus which of the 2.8 million federal employees the Office of Personnel Management counted as of last month he’d retain out. It’s safe to assume that at the very least the Department of Defense would remain, so that’s 707,430 that still have jobs, leaving about 2.1 million packing their desks. (See the breakdown by agency here.) It’s a stretch, but asumming the judicial, legislative, and executive branches remain, that still leaves more than 2 million newly jobless — a step in the right direction, according to Dennis. But he says they can “return to the private sector”.

Except he doesn’t say where in the private sector. We’re at 9.7 percent unemployment, according to the still-intact Department of Labor. And of last month, there were about 9 job seekers for every job. So, that leaves the question of where in the private sctor the newly unemployed federal workers would return tounless the jobs magically appear once they “return to the private sector.”

I’m sure many people far smarter than I am have said all of this before (like Dean, above), but isn’t the problem that people are focusing on short term deficit reduction vs. long term? Yes, it would be great to reduce the deficit someday.

But we won’t see that day if we don’t get serious about jobs and unemployment, because believe me we won’t be reducing the deficit in four years, eight, ten, or twenty years if we’re still looking at double-digit unemployment. That seems to me where we’ll end up if we hobble ourselves by not investing in getting people back to work, keeping people working, and increasing the size of the workforce in the next several years.

You want a recovery? Increase demand. That means focusing on jobs and wages, so people have more money to spend, and the potential to increase demand enough that businesses are confident enough to start hiring again. Not getting people borrowing again.

You want to reduce the deficit in the long term? Get people working, keep them working, and increase the number of people paying taxes. I’m not an economist, but it sounds like a good start to me.

Increasing the ranks of our unemployed won’t get us there. And we can’t “barter” our way there.

No matter what the Cr… Sue Lowden says.

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