Saturday, February 14, 2009

Some Ugly and Some Scary from the "Stimulus" Package

Declan McCullagh reports on some of the real ugly and real scary stuff in the "stimulus" package.

This is sad:
A month ago, the New York Times reportedthat the Democratic proposal "will devote bout 40 percent of the cost to tax cuts." But now the tax cuts have shrunk to only 22 percent of the House-approved bill, according to a handy chart created by the Washington Post.

This is scary:
One section of the bill, about 140 pages, would radically reshape the nation's medical system by having the federal government establish computerized medical records that would follow each American from birth to death. A new health care bureaucracy will be handed the "goal of utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014." The databases will, "at a minimum," include information on every American's race and ethnicity. They will be used for "biosurveillance and public health" and "medical and clinical research" and become a "nationwide system for the electronic use and exchange of health information."

Doctors that don't comply will see reimbursements whittled away. Although a single paragraph promises that data-sharing will "be voluntary," there's no obvious way to opt out.
And this is the truth:
There is no logic to this. There is no sense to this. There is no reason why trendy projects like wind power are favored -- and promising ones like biotechnology and nanotechnology ignored -- except the usual Washington excuse of influence-pedding and closed-door politicking.


  1. For some reason after reading this post and the report by Declan McCullagh you cited, this quote ran again through my head: "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

  2. Now, Richard Gregg, architect of the cashless society, is back at the Treasury."Richard+Gregg"+treasury.