Liberty Bled Dry: The Legacy of Phlebotonomics
By Jon Sanders
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How did George
Washington die? What felled the mighty general? What brought down the first
president of the United States, the New Cincinnatus, the Pater Patriae, the
Friend of Commerce, the Man for the Milleniums, the World's Apostle of Liberty?
The affliction Washington contracted was most likely acute epiglottitis, but what
really killed him was that he was medicinally bled to
death. Phlebotomy (i.e., bloodletting) being a prevailing practice of
medicine in Washington's time, the president and his doctors believed the
notion that bleeding a patient was necessary to restore the body's proper
balance of the humors, by which restoration to health would follow. The use of
leeches (and later of mechanical leeches) followed from this idea.
Washington was bled repeatedly during his final hours. As historian Lewis
Lehrman described it, "Washington did not lack for the best medical care,
but unfortunately for Washington that included 'bleeding'
him of nearly half his blood."
The loss was senseless, made worse by the knowledge in hindsight that the best
experts available to Washington adhered to a theory that was flat, dead wrong.
Today, the country Washington fought to establish is suffering from an acute
recession. For years the nation has been losing jobs and workers, despite a vigorous
application of the prevailing
economic nostrums by top Washington experts. Predictably,
they greet every new jobs
report with declamations about how
unexpected the bad news is.
Meanwhile, they try to make it sound as if a slight decrease in unemployment is
good news, despite its decline owing not to more people finding work, but to more
people leaving the job market entirely. If the same number of people were
in the job market today as they were in January 2009, that 8.1 percent
unemployment figure would be 11.2 percent. And the kicker: they predicted that
the stimulus plan would have unemployment down to 5.8 percent by now; 5.9
percent had there been no stimulus.
report in Investors Business Daily reveals that more bleeding is on the way
-- over $515 billion's worth of new regulatory costs desired by the Obama
administration, awaiting his reelection:
Using official government sources,
Federation of Independent Business calculates there are more than 4,000
federal rules in the pipeline, and that just the 13 biggest ones would, if
imposed in an Obama second term, cost businesses a total of more than $515
billion over four years.
Even bleaker, that staggering drain on a struggling economy
"doesn't include more than 100 still-to-be-written regulations needed to
enforce the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, or the mountain of regulations
required by ObamaCare."
North Carolina would not be spared: estimates are that the new regulations
impact nearly 800,000 workers and $107 billion's worth of the state's gross
As it is, federal regulations
and the Obama administration's own declared desire to bankrupt
coal power plants, which would help fulfill the president's vision from his
2008 candidacy of electricity rates that would "necessarily
skyrocket," are already hitting poor areas hard, throwing
hundreds out of work and indeed necessarily skyrocketing energy prices on those
least able to afford them.
The harm to North Carolina is blithely reported by The
News & Observer, which resorts to the phrase "but dirty" to
modify the fact that coal is an inexpensive energy source:
Progress Energy's planned shutdown
Saturday of its aging H.F. Lee power plant near Goldsboro marks the beginning
of a major wave of closures of coal-burning plants dating back to 1949. ... In
all, Progress is demolishing a dozen coal-burning units at five sites,
including one in Chatham County. Progress, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Duke
Energy, announced its coal-abandonment strategy in 2009 in response to expected
federal caps on greenhouse gases and stricter limits on pollution. ...
Progress is eliminating about one-third of its total coal-burning capacity,
leaving only its around-the-clock giant workhorses to run on coal. The mostly
older, smaller plants that operate part-time will be demolished and taken to
the scrap heap, rather than investing $2 billion in retrofitting them with
scrubbers and catalytic converters.
Their place will be taken by a trio of newly built plants that also will cost
about $2 billion but instead will burn natural gas, which emits half the carbon
dioxide of coal and is lower in other pollutants.
Note that changing federal regulations created out of thin
air a "need" for $2 billion's worth in changes to energy production,
one way or another. That is $2 billion that would have gone to other uses --
new and productive uses -- but now will never do so; i.e., a $2 billion loss in
investment and job creation going instead to unnecessary replacement, the
economic equivalent of spinning our wheels and going nowhere (while losing $2
billion). It's tempting to say Crucified Coal has replaced Broken
Windows as the phlebotonomists' fallacy of choice, were they not so
invested in breaking, then "fixing" so many other industries at such
great costs to society.
Feverish, weakened by multiple vein opening, the World's
Apostle of Liberty told his wrongheaded doctors, "I die hard." It
is not a fate to be wished for the land of liberty. The expression "death
by a thousand cuts" originally referred to a particularly brutal Chinese
torture. But now our economy faces four thousand plus regulatory stabs, and
untold numbers of workers in North Carolina fear the unkindest cut of all.
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Monday, Sep. 24th, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Sandy Rusak
Education and Outreach at the North Carolina Museum of Art
Monday, Oct. 1st, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest John Hood
The Carolina Campaign: How America Won Its Revolution
Wednesday, Oct. 24th, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
A Headliner Luncheon
with our special guest Dr. Charles Murray
Coming Apart at the Seams: America's New Cultural Divide