A few comments on political developments this week:
1. New Nuke Policy. Obama announced this week that we will not use nukes against any non-nuclear nation, even in self-defense. Right wing talkers immediately denounced this as projecting weakness. But, honestly, can you imagine any scenario where we would ever use nukes if they hadn't been used against us first? The truth is, no actual state is ever going to be able to launch a meaningful war against the US. Even at the peak of Soviet power, they could have attacked us, but they could never have invaded us. Terrorists may strike us, but nukes aren't the proper tool for retaliation. And, given the scope of our air power, even without nukes we have the ability to turn any city we want to strike into a plane of black, smoldering glass in under a week. I just don't see how this new position weakens us in any way.
2. Offshore Drilling: Meh. I'm dubious the policy change to allow offshore drilling along certain areas of our seaboard will lead to any actual oil wells, unless the amount of oil that's out there is greatly underestimated at the moment. The number of regulatory hoops that would be jumped through to tap wells that would be drained in under a decade will probably dissuade development. This seems like a strategic move to silence the "Drill, Baby, drill," crowd. It won't work. They'll still complain.
3. Lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare: Specifically, the lawsuits challenge the individual mandate to purchase insurance. Personally, this one area of the law does strike me as constitutionally dubious. The idea that the government can compel you to purchase a product from a private company seems to me to be a real abuse of the interstate commerce clause. The analogy to being forced to buy car insurance doesn't hold water, because you can avoid buying car insurance just by not buying a car. Here, you could only avoid the mandate via suicide. This seems harsh. But, on the other hand, if this one provision is struck down, we will be screwed, because the rest of the law will likely remain in effect, and health care premiums will sky-rocket due to the new mandates on the companies. And, because our government is no good at saying, "Oops!" and repealing bad laws, they will use the sky rocketing costs that this law generated as a reason to go ahead and take over the whole system. I'm terrible at predicting the future, but here's my feeble attempt at playing Nostradamus: The individual mandate will be struck down by the courts a few years from now. By 2016, health care premiums triple or quadruple, and the quality of care dives due to hospitals scrambling to implement new regulations this bill imposes. By 2020, people are so disgusted with the whole system that they elect a libertarian to repeal it all and let the free market reign. NO! Just kidding. By 2020, the system is so bad the people in mass support a full public takeover to create a system like that in Canada or the UK. And, it will be a better system than what it replaces, but only because the government went out of its way to cripple the old system.