Consequences are for Other People

If there’s one lesson we can draw from Paula Dockery’s ill-fated campaign for governor, which ended yesterday after never really gaining traction, it’s this: When you challenge big economic interests in ways that hurt them, they tend not to give you their money.

dockery31The truth is there’s not much reward for doing the hard thing in politics. That’s why it’s hard. It carries consequences for your ambitions. Advertising costs money. Travel costs money. Staff costs money. That money has to come from somewhere, and the people generally do not provide it, especially in primaries. CSX provides it. Or drug companies. Or developers. The interests that have money provide it, which is why they so often get their way. It was ever thus.

So here’s to Paula for taking action – in accordance with her principles – and facing the consequences that came with it. We need more of that. It helps show that we voters are full of it when we say we want politicians who do hard things. We certainly don’t behave as if we do.

Contrast Paula’s willingness to face consequences of what she believes with a couple of other recent displays of public behavior.

Start with local businessman and education philanthropist Hunt Berryman’s insistence that elected officials shouldn’t publicly ask would-be superintendents of schools why they have haven’t told the truth about their employment history. That should be handled in private, where no one gets embarrassed — or something. After all, these are important people, leaders even. And their gentle sensibilities shouldn’t be riled by the plebes.

“It’s obvious that Dr. Schiller dropped out because of the way he was treated. The whole thing is a sham and a shame,” Berryman said.

Whatever. Really, why is that the “important” people must always be shielded from confrontation? Is this what Leadership Lakeland teaches?

And just for fun, check out everybody’s favorite civil rights enforcement skeptic Rand Paul from Kentucky. I’m citing him because a number of you out there have supposedly “libertarian” leanings, and Paul is something Teapartarian hero. I’ll bet Randy Wilkinson loves him.

I just want to flag this little doozy about how Rand Paul — hater of the federal government — makes his living.

But on Thursday evening, the ophthalmologist from Bowling Green said there was one thing he would not cut: Medicare physician payments.

In fact, Paul — who says 50% of his patients are on Medicare — wants to end cuts to physician payments under a program now in place called the sustained growth rate, or SGR. “Physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living,” he told a gathering of neighbors in the back yard of Chris and Linda Wakild, just behind the 10th hole of a golf course.

Note the passive voice: Physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living. What happened to living by the sweat of your brow, applying your superior talent and productivity, going all Ayn Rand on people? As I’ve said 1000 times, Medicare IS the federal government, and none of your libertarian heroes are going to cut it. That’s why it’s very hard to take libertarians seriously.

The consequences of their rugged self-reliance are always for other people.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Chuck Welch for Lakeland Local

10 thoughts on “Consequences are for Other People

  1. Lot of blame going around here, Bill-ster. So all these expenses for Paula Dockery’s campaign, and her eventual dropping out of the Governor’s race, are the fault of the lowly people for not sticking up for her? Seriously?

    Agreed on the Berryman/Schiller issue.

    And Rand Paul is not a Libertarian. He’s a religious conservative, which is clearly evident from his speeches and actions. Definitely a Tea Party creation.

  2. Lot of blame going around here, Bill-ster. So all these expenses for Paula Dockery’s campaign, and her eventual dropping out of the Governor’s race, are the fault of the lowly people for not sticking up for her? Seriously?

    Agreed on the Berryman/Schiller issue.

    And Rand Paul is not a Libertarian. He’s a religious conservative, which is clearly evident from his speeches and actions. Definitely a Tea Party creation.

  3. Ah, DR, you are forever finding things I don’t write in my posts. Can you point out where I use the word “blame” or “fault”? What I will admit to is saying people are full of it when they say they want someone who works for the people or the common good or some such abstraction. People want their interests looked after. It’s quite rational, in its way. Not blaming, observing. Paula’s not entitled to be governor anymore than I’m entitled to $2.85 gas. For various reasons, Paula didn’t have money to get her message out; Rick Scott did. In the past she had plenty of institutional Republican support. This time she didn’t, probably because she spent a lot of time rightfully kicking it in the teeth. That’s my point about consequences. I think it’s interesting that you associate an emotional verb “blame” to something that’s just true.

  4. Ah, DR, you are forever finding things I don’t write in my posts. Can you point out where I use the word “blame” or “fault”? What I will admit to is saying people are full of it when they say they want someone who works for the people or the common good or some such abstraction. People want their interests looked after. It’s quite rational, in its way. Not blaming, observing. Paula’s not entitled to be governor anymore than I’m entitled to $2.85 gas. For various reasons, Paula didn’t have money to get her message out; Rick Scott did. In the past she had plenty of institutional Republican support. This time she didn’t, probably because she spent a lot of time rightfully kicking it in the teeth. That’s my point about consequences. I think it’s interesting that you associate an emotional verb “blame” to something that’s just true.

  5. Hmm… semantics. Let’s see what you said:

    “It helps show that we voters are full of it when we say we want politicians who do hard things. We certainly don’t behave as if we do.”

    You’re “observing” that people don’t behave as if they want a politician to do hard things, even though we say we do want politicians to do hard things.

    What does the all-powerful Google have to say about this?

    DR: “Oh great master Google?”
    G: “Yes, my child?”
    DR: “wilt thou please defineth the word *blame* for me? Pretty please? With binary on top?”
    G: “Why, yes, my minion Donkeyrock, I will do as you request, for you are part of my flock and… well… this is kinda what I do.”
    DR: “Bless you, bless you, bless you!”
    G: “Aww shucks, ’twas nothing.”

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS324US324&q=define%3Ablame&btnG=Search

    # incrimination: an accusation that you are responsible for some lapse or misdeed; “his incrimination was based on my testimony”; “the police laid the blame on the driver”
    # attribute responsibility to; “We blamed the accident on her”; “The tragedy was charged to her inexperience”
    # a reproach for some lapse or misdeed; “he took the blame for it”; “it was a bum rap”

    Y’know, Billy… I’m gonna stick with what I wrote before, and say that you “blame” us — the lowly people — for Paula’s problems and subsequent bow-out from the Governor’s race.

  6. Hmm… semantics. Let’s see what you said:

    “It helps show that we voters are full of it when we say we want politicians who do hard things. We certainly don’t behave as if we do.”

    You’re “observing” that people don’t behave as if they want a politician to do hard things, even though we say we do want politicians to do hard things.

    What does the all-powerful Google have to say about this?

    DR: “Oh great master Google?”
    G: “Yes, my child?”
    DR: “wilt thou please defineth the word *blame* for me? Pretty please? With binary on top?”
    G: “Why, yes, my minion Donkeyrock, I will do as you request, for you are part of my flock and… well… this is kinda what I do.”
    DR: “Bless you, bless you, bless you!”
    G: “Aww shucks, ’twas nothing.”

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS324US324&q=define%3Ablame&btnG=Search

    # incrimination: an accusation that you are responsible for some lapse or misdeed; “his incrimination was based on my testimony”; “the police laid the blame on the driver”
    # attribute responsibility to; “We blamed the accident on her”; “The tragedy was charged to her inexperience”
    # a reproach for some lapse or misdeed; “he took the blame for it”; “it was a bum rap”

    Y’know, Billy… I’m gonna stick with what I wrote before, and say that you “blame” us — the lowly people — for Paula’s problems and subsequent bow-out from the Governor’s race.

  7. Me wants Dockery for Guvna but what are my choices now?

    We have a man who has thrown his name into the ring and has upset the political apple cart. The cold reality is that this new candidate narrowly escaped indictment because of fraudulent billing practices. His former company paid $1.7 billion in fines while he was CEO due to the fraudulent actions. He has admitted that so far he has spent at least $5 million of his own money to get his campaign going with very little in contributions and his circle of “conservative outsiders” claims that he is prepared to spend $26 million of his own money toward his media campaign. I can hear his political adviser saying “We are going to buy this election so secure every available spot on the most popular network shows and don’t forget heavily viewed cable programming because we have millions to spend.” As a bonus cable buy, I personally would lean toward the Sunday morning ESPN 2 crowd with your hunting and fishing shows.

    We also have “I hear that train a comin McCollum” who has some tarnish on his silver lining. Remember when he was under investigation because he allegedly used taxpayer dollars for an ad campaign at an elevated cost without sending the project out to bid. By the way, the project was awarded to a personal friend of McCollum. This is a government no – no. It’s ok in the private sector but in government – it’s the best of three bids baby. He has also been accused of indirectly using taxpayer dollars to campaign for governor.

    On the blue side of the street we have Sink and during her watch the SBA (pool for local governments to secure short term cash) lost $61.4 billion in seven months until SBA cash withdrawals were frozen in January 2009. This was not all state money – much of it was city and county money and the frozen cash operations nearly crippled some small local governments. The fund has since recovered about $30 billion but there were several audits and a SEC investigation. There are questions whether J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, and Lehman Brothers were involved in a scheme to defraud by over valuing what essentially turned out to be toxic paper.

    So, now we have three choices, a millionaire with a shady past and two politicians – one who has made poor ethical choices and another who indirectly made one costly mistake.

    What we desperately need is a leader that is for the people and for the greater good of the Sunshine State. We need a leader who operates in the sun and not behind closed doors. We need a leader who does not sell out to big business. We need a leader who fights for the little people and who does the right thing even if it causes political repercussions – we need Paula.

  8. Me wants Dockery for Guvna but what are my choices now?

    We have a man who has thrown his name into the ring and has upset the political apple cart. The cold reality is that this new candidate narrowly escaped indictment because of fraudulent billing practices. His former company paid $1.7 billion in fines while he was CEO due to the fraudulent actions. He has admitted that so far he has spent at least $5 million of his own money to get his campaign going with very little in contributions and his circle of “conservative outsiders” claims that he is prepared to spend $26 million of his own money toward his media campaign. I can hear his political adviser saying “We are going to buy this election so secure every available spot on the most popular network shows and don’t forget heavily viewed cable programming because we have millions to spend.” As a bonus cable buy, I personally would lean toward the Sunday morning ESPN 2 crowd with your hunting and fishing shows.

    We also have “I hear that train a comin McCollum” who has some tarnish on his silver lining. Remember when he was under investigation because he allegedly used taxpayer dollars for an ad campaign at an elevated cost without sending the project out to bid. By the way, the project was awarded to a personal friend of McCollum. This is a government no – no. It’s ok in the private sector but in government – it’s the best of three bids baby. He has also been accused of indirectly using taxpayer dollars to campaign for governor.

    On the blue side of the street we have Sink and during her watch the SBA (pool for local governments to secure short term cash) lost $61.4 billion in seven months until SBA cash withdrawals were frozen in January 2009. This was not all state money – much of it was city and county money and the frozen cash operations nearly crippled some small local governments. The fund has since recovered about $30 billion but there were several audits and a SEC investigation. There are questions whether J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, and Lehman Brothers were involved in a scheme to defraud by over valuing what essentially turned out to be toxic paper.

    So, now we have three choices, a millionaire with a shady past and two politicians – one who has made poor ethical choices and another who indirectly made one costly mistake.

    What we desperately need is a leader that is for the people and for the greater good of the Sunshine State. We need a leader who operates in the sun and not behind closed doors. We need a leader who does not sell out to big business. We need a leader who fights for the little people and who does the right thing even if it causes political repercussions – we need Paula.

  9. I will miss Paula Dockery and her breath of fresh air campaign. I was afraid she was Donna Quixote from the git-go.

    Out of fairness to Mr. Paul and Mr. Scott – I have worked with physicians and/or hospitals all my adult life. Medicare has been a nightmare of paperwork the entire time. If you are not aware, Medicare pays physicians 80% of what Medicare deems allowable, after annual deductible. The physician’s office is responsible for all the clerical work involved in filing the claim and trying to secure payment. They disallow claims if the “procedure code modifier” is incorrect, a diagnosis code is missing a digit for two places after the decimal point, when the system dumps claims for whatever reason, etc. The review process can take years on rejected claims. Medicare providers (physicians, etc.) are legally prohibited from charging more than the Medicare allowable.

    Billy, are you aware of the length of time physician Medicare reimbursement rates are to be frozen under the current plans? How long can one stay in (any) business with virtually negative growth of their income? Many doctors have huge Medicare populations, by virtue of the demographics of their areas. Overhead for office/staff and liability insurance (in the million dollar/year range for some specialties) expenses don’t decrease just because income does. I’m grateful Dr. Paul sees Medicare patients, in spite of the problems, so they have good care available. The pickin’s are slim for patients in some areas, as more and more doctors who can, opt out of the program.

    Mr. Scott, as CEO, took the blame for a corporate mistake – honest or otherwise. That’s the way of a CEO. Medicare law is so complicated as to befuddle many intelligent folks.

    We probably would have been better off without the whole Medicare program, but that’s a moot point now. It’s like the IRS = here to stay until they drown us all, I reckon. Even Russia gave up on their version of a progressive income tax program in favor of a flat tax – which upped their revenues and the percentage of citizens in compliance. But those are arguments for another day.

    Worth just what it cost ya,

  10. I will miss Paula Dockery and her breath of fresh air campaign. I was afraid she was Donna Quixote from the git-go.

    Out of fairness to Mr. Paul and Mr. Scott – I have worked with physicians and/or hospitals all my adult life. Medicare has been a nightmare of paperwork the entire time. If you are not aware, Medicare pays physicians 80% of what Medicare deems allowable, after annual deductible. The physician’s office is responsible for all the clerical work involved in filing the claim and trying to secure payment. They disallow claims if the “procedure code modifier” is incorrect, a diagnosis code is missing a digit for two places after the decimal point, when the system dumps claims for whatever reason, etc. The review process can take years on rejected claims. Medicare providers (physicians, etc.) are legally prohibited from charging more than the Medicare allowable.

    Billy, are you aware of the length of time physician Medicare reimbursement rates are to be frozen under the current plans? How long can one stay in (any) business with virtually negative growth of their income? Many doctors have huge Medicare populations, by virtue of the demographics of their areas. Overhead for office/staff and liability insurance (in the million dollar/year range for some specialties) expenses don’t decrease just because income does. I’m grateful Dr. Paul sees Medicare patients, in spite of the problems, so they have good care available. The pickin’s are slim for patients in some areas, as more and more doctors who can, opt out of the program.

    Mr. Scott, as CEO, took the blame for a corporate mistake – honest or otherwise. That’s the way of a CEO. Medicare law is so complicated as to befuddle many intelligent folks.

    We probably would have been better off without the whole Medicare program, but that’s a moot point now. It’s like the IRS = here to stay until they drown us all, I reckon. Even Russia gave up on their version of a progressive income tax program in favor of a flat tax – which upped their revenues and the percentage of citizens in compliance. But those are arguments for another day.

    Worth just what it cost ya,

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