Skip to content
July 5, 2014 / Political Fluency

Hobby Lobby Bo Bobby

The Hobby Lobby decision in one headline:

Michelle Obama Fights GOP on School Lunch Rules

The article reads:

WASHINGTON (AP) — First ladies typically avoid getting into public scraps, but Michelle Obama has jumped into perhaps her biggest battle yet.

She’s fighting a House Republican effort to soften a central part of her prized anti-childhood obesity campaign and she says she’s ready ‘‘to fight until the bitter end.’’

Mrs. Obama even mocked the GOP effort in an opinion column and argued her case before her Twitter followers.

‘‘Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches?’’ she wrote in The New York Times. ‘‘You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense. Yet we’re seeing the same thing happening again with these new efforts to lower nutrition standards in our schools.’’

I highlighted the world’s oldest and largest newsgathering organization tracking a story of the unelected First Lady fighting an entire political party in Congress who determined vegetable veracity in school lunches.


I’ve always loved Michelle Obama’s cause to encourage our nation – especially children – to eat healthier. And as a citizen and concerned mother, she should absolutely voice her concerns to Congress. But that’s where it should end. Encouragement and concern, not fighting.


Why all of this about an article on Hobby Lobby?


Because this is what is wrong with the entire Hobby Lobby case.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg is right in her “epic” dissent that employers can now object to complying with other laws that violate their religious beliefs.

The bullet points of the conservative perspective are here.

The bullet points of the liberals are here.


And lastly, from Sean Trende: Over-under on percentage of people tweeting about Hobby Lobby who have both read the decision and understand what RFRA is? 2 percent? 3?


Everyone was harping on religious rights and anti-women: all of it was hacking at the leaves on the twigs let alone the branches.


No one talked about two fundamental things wrong that would have eliminated the entire case from even existing to begin with.


The first is we do not have health insurance, we have health care financing. We have had first-dollar coverage for health care for decades by a third party payer: either from a health insurer or the government. This raises the cost for care since third-party payers get charged more by doctors. Just like college tuition has skyrocketed since the government stepped in as a third-party payer. And most health insurance deductibles are so low, it is still near first-dollar coverage.


This is ridiculous. We should have health insurance provided by either private companies and/or the government. And by insurance, it should be to prevent a financial catastrophe for an individual or family. While everyone is arguing about how unfair it is that contraception isn’t covered, but Viagra is, no one seemed to pick up on why insurance should be used to cover such low-cost items in the first place!


You wouldn’t argue how car insurance should cover the cost of a broken headlight or homeowner’s insurance should replace a worn-out  water heater in the basement. Why? Because these aren’t financially catastrophic events that require an insurance company or the government to help make you whole again. Neither is Viagra nor an aircast for a sprained ankle and certainly not a $25 – $60 pill that is meant for one-time use in an emergency.  Yet we’ve been conditioned to expect those three things to be paid for with other people’s money instead of out-of-pocket for the individual.


The second thing that is fundamentally wrong is the continued outsourcing of our individual and family life choices to government and to corporations. Both have a tendency to limit these choices as people in government seek more power over citizens and corporations seek more power and money from citizens.


One of the stupidest signs held by a number of protestors said, “Birth Control: Not My Boss’s Business.”

When the company you work for is pretty much your only option for health coverage and that employer is paying 50% or more for the cost of that coverage, then what the Boss is paying for is indeed his or her business. If the Boss simply paid you a salary then the transaction with your Boss is over and you can use that money to pay for fast-food, a gun, an SUV with poor gas mileage, the health insurance you want, the car insurance you want, Viagra, or the morning-after pill. Maybe all of the above if you’re so inclined. Now those things are none of your Boss’s business. But if the Boss is paying for 50% or more of the financing mechanism for health care that we still dubiously call insurance, then your Boss is going to be up in your mix like Betty Crocker.


And the reason the Boss has to be up in your mix about these affairs is because the government is mandating that the Boss provide these things. And now we have a spiral of citizens expecting things they should have been paying for out of their own pockets to be paid for by someone else.


Here’s an empathy check for you:

If you’re liberal, would you be offended if you had to pay for someone else’s gun?

You should be. The right to have a firearm is clearly in the Constitution, but now you have to pay for it.

If you’re conservative, are you offended that you have to pay for someone else’s abortion?

You should be. The right to have an abortion has been interpreted from the Constitution and now you have to pay for it.


How about we do this instead?


Let’s keep guns legal and if you feel the need to have one, then go buy one.

Let’s keep abortion legal and if you feel the need to have one, then go buy one.

Let’s keep Viagra legal and if you feel the need to have it, then go buy it.

Let’s keep Plan B legal and if you feel the need to take it, then go buy it.


None of the above purchases are financially catastrophic. You don’t need money from the financial reserves of an insurance pool nor from the government to help pay for any of the above.


And let’s go further.


I want gambling to be legal, but I don’t want the government to be the bookie* with state lotteries and I don’t want to have to fund the sports arenas that host the events being bet on.

I want marijuana to be legal, but I don’t want the government to be the dealer and I don’t want to have to pay for it whether it’s medicinal or not.

I want all marriages to be legal, but I don’t want the government defining what marriage is, forcing religions to marry certain people to each other, and I don’t want to have to pay for anyone’s wedding. The government should allow every person to have one adult dependent. That’s it. It is your business if you call that person “my husband,” “my wife,” “my spouse,” or “my 27 year-old sister who is in grad school and I made her my dependent so she can be put on my health insurance.”

And if these relationships  (that are all legally recognized in the same way) need to be legally ended, I don’t want the government asking why it is ending because of “Adultery” or “Irreconcilable Differences” or ”my sister got a job and now has her own health insurance.”


When the government defines marriage, then we will fight over who can marry whom.

When the government controls what we feed our children in local schools, then we will fight about what local schools serve for lunch.

When corporations are the only place we can earn an income, then what they deem is fair pay is what we will earn. And then we make the government outline minimum wage and equal pay standards those corporations have to follow.

When corporations are the primary place for affordable health care financing, then what they deem is acceptable coverage is what we will be covered for. And then we make the government outline minimum essential coverage standards those corporations have to follow.


This is why we’re so divided.

We fight over everything!

Because the government is involved with everything. Either government provides it or mandates we get it.

Corporations provide us with most of what’s left and sucks everyone around us in if we don’t have it.

“You deleted your Facebook profile?”

“How do you not have a smartphone?”


What previous generations lived in fear of government knowing about our private lives we are volunteering all of that and more to Facebook.

What previous generations lived in fear of government knowing where we are is now being posted on FourSquare by us and sometimes our friends. Which leads to:

How previous generations lived in fear of government spying on our private lives and we are now spying on one another with our camera phones to sell topless photos of nude celebs on an island halfway around the world to be viewed by millions in the National Enquirer while we wait in line for groceries.

Previous generations feared having to be censored in private conversations and being recorded by the government. And now we fear each other that we may be recording something that can be used against us in the future to make us unhireable or force us to sell the LA Clippers.


Do you think that’s air you’re breathing right now?


Oh and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria just declared a caliphate in preparation for what might be the Muslim version of the Thirty Years’ War! And one of the reasons we went in there was to prevent such a thing from happening.


Happy 238th birthday America!


*Bill Maher


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: