Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/830180

Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 2, 2014

Reform of mental health a great success

By Jarad Klein | May 25, 2012

In my last newsletter I summarized the progress made on the state budget. This week I am going to give you the final story on Mental Health reform for this year (SF 2315). I want to assure you that if there are problems with the execution of the plan, it will be addressed in future sessions of the General Assembly. I also recognize the local issues with the current system as identified by local officials in recent weeks and constituents who contacted me directly with very personal and emotional problems.

One of the biggest achievements in the Legislature over the past two years has been the reform and redesign of the mental health system and services provided to Iowans. This system serves some of Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens and we have a responsibility to help those that cannot help themselves. The services received by our citizens with mental health needs should not be dependent on where a person lives in the state.

The redesign includes the creation of mental health service regions to provide local management of the system, establishment of a core set of services that would be offered in all parts of the state, changing financial responsibility determination from county of legal settlement to residency, and improving data collection. The redesign does provide for counties to continue operating on their own, if they can meet the criteria required for regions.

The mental health property tax levy would be revised in FY 2014, and will be based on a per capita amount. The per capita property tax rate target is set at $47.28 per person in the county. Counties currently levying above the target will be required to reduce their levy to the per capita levy amount of $47.28. This change is estimated to reduce the statewide total of property taxes collected for mental health by $10 million. Counties with a levy below the per capita target would receive an equalization payment from the state; therefore no one will see an increase in their county property taxes due to the mental health levy or changes to the system.

There are other provisions that will provide for better and more efficient delivery of services including standardized assessments and standards for the provision of case management which will be implemented to ensure fair access to services across the state. It is important that Iowans get the services they need in an effective and efficient manner that helps Iowans and also provides the best service for the taxpayers of Iowa.

In a separate bill, but a closely related issue, we addressed Mental Health redesign issues within the DHS and the judicial branch.

Senate File 2314 implements a number of recommendations from the Judicial Branch/DHS Workgroup regarding improvements to mental health proceedings within the judicial system. The bill includes:

 

-Establishing standards for law enforcement continuing education in the field of mental health

 

-Expanding access to pre-assessment screenings

 

-Setting consistent definitions for “Mental Health Professionals”

 

-Establishing standards for mental health advocates

 

-Studying the consolidation of commitment provisions and studying implementation of a statewide jail diversion program

 

This year was the first significant attempt at reform of the entire mental health system in many years. I am happy we made progress, but there will be more to come in future sessions of the Iowa General Assembly.

Comments (6)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jul 02, 2012 01:55

Socialist or Fascist?

by Thomas Sowell
It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a "socialist." He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama's point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the "greed" of the insurance companies.

The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.

One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg's great book "Liberal Fascism" cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists' consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left's embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.

Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.

It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot — and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.

What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.

The left's vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, "We the People..."

That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution's limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges' new interpretations, based on notions of "a living Constitution" that will take decisions out of the hands of "We the People," and transfer those decisions to our betters.

The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.

Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jul 02, 2012 01:30

"The Secret History of the American Left"
By Jonah Goldberg

The original fascists were really on the left, and liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism.

Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.

Modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.

Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. The modern heirs of this “friendly fascist” tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood.



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jun 21, 2012 08:48

Guess who said the following: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work." Was it Sarah Palin? Rush Limbaugh? Karl Rove? 
 

Not even close. It was Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of FDR's closest advisers. He added, "after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . And an enormous debt to boot!"  

This is just one of the remarkable and eye-opening facts in a must-read book titled "New Deal or Raw Deal?" by Professor Burton W. Folsom, Jr., of Hillsdale College.

Ordinarily, what happened in the 1930s might be something to be left for historians to be concerned about. But the very same kinds of policies that were tried-- and failed-- during the 1930s are being carried out in Washington today, with the advocates of such policies often invoking FDR's New Deal as a model.

Franklin D. Roosevelt blamed the country's woes on the problems he inherited from his predecessor, much as Barack Obama does today. But unemployment was 20 percent in the spring of 1939, six long years after Herbert Hoover had left the White House.

Whole generations have been "educated" to believe that the Roosevelt administration is what got this country out of the Great Depression. History text books by famous scholars like Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., of Harvard and Henry Steele Commager of Columbia have enshrined FDR as a historic savior of this country, and lesser lights in the media and elsewhere have perpetuated the legend.

Although Professor Schlesinger admitted that he had little interest in economics, that did not stop him from making sweeping statements about what a great economic achievement the New Deal was.

Professors Commager and Morris of Columbia likewise declared: "The character of the Republican ascendancy of the twenties had been pervasively negative; the character of the New Deal was overwhelmingly positive." Anyone unfamiliar with the history of that era might never suspect from such statements that the 1920s were a decade of unprecedented prosperity and the 1930s were a decade of the deepest and longest-lasting depression in American history. But facts have taken a back seat to rhetoric.

In more recent years, there have been both academic studies and popular books debunking some of the myths about the New Deal. Nevertheless, Professor Folsom's book "New Deal or Raw Deal?" breaks new ground. Although written by an academic scholar and based on years of documented research, it is as readable as a newspaper-- and a lot more informative than most.

There are few historic events whose legends are more grossly different from the reality than the New Deal administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. And there are few men whose image has been more radically different from the man himself.

Some of the most devastating things that were said about FDR were not said by his political enemies but by people who worked closely with him for years-- Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau being just one. Morgenthau saw not only the utter failure of Roosevelt's policies, but also the failure of Roosevelt himself, who didn't even know enough economics to realize how little he knew.

Far from pulling the country out of the Great Depression by following Keynesian policies, FDR created policies that prolonged the depression until it was more than twice as long as any other depression in American history. Moreover, Roosevelt's ad hoc improvisations followed nothing as coherent as Keynesian economics.

To the extent that FDR followed the ideas of any economist, it was an obscure economist at the University of Wisconsin, who was disdained by other economists and who was regarded with contempt by John Maynard Keynes.

President Roosevelt's strong suit was politics, not economics. He played the political game both cleverly and ruthlessly, including using both the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service to harass and intimidate his critics and opponents.

 



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jun 20, 2012 23:50

The Vision of the Left

By Thomas Sowell

Conservatives, as well as liberals, would undoubtedly be happier living in the kind of world envisioned by the left. Very few people have either a vested interest or an ideological preference for a world in which there are many inequalities. Even fewer would prefer a world in which vast sums of money have to be devoted to military defense, when so much benefit could be produced if those resources were directed into medical research instead.


It is hardly surprising that young people prefer the political left. The only reason for rejecting the left's vision is that the real world in which we live is very different from the world that the left perceives today or envisions for tomorrow.Most of us learn that from experience but experience is precisely what the young are lacking. 

"Experience" is often just a fancy word for the mistakes that we belatedly realized we were making, only after the realities of the world made us pay a painful price for being wrong. 

Those who are insulated from that pain — whether by being born into affluence or wealth, or shielded by the welfare state, or insulated by tenure in academia or in the federal judiciary can remain in a state of perpetual immaturity.


Individuals can refuse to grow up, especially when surrounded in their work and in their social life by similarly situated and like-minded people. Even people born into normal lives, but who have been able through talent or luck to escape into a world of celebrity and wealth, can likewise find themselves in the enviable position of being able to choose whether to grow up or not.


Those of us who can recall what it was like to be an adolescent must know that growing up can be a painful transition from the sheltered world of childhood. No matter how much we may have wanted adult freedom, there was seldom the same enthusiasm for taking on the burdens of adult responsibilities and having to weigh painful trade-offs in a world that hemmed us in on all sides, long after we were liberated from parental restrictions. 

Should we be surprised that the strongest supporters of the political left are found among the young, academics, limousine liberals with trust funds, media celebrities and federal judges?


These are hardly Karl Marx's proletarians, who were supposed to bring on the revolution. The working class are in fact today among those most skeptical about the visions of the left. Ordinary working class people did not lead the stampede to Barack Obama, even before his disdain for them slipped out in unguarded moments.


The agenda of the left is fine for the world that they envision as existing today and the world they want to create tomorrow. That is a world not hemmed in on all sides by inherent constraints and the painful trade-offs that these constraints imply. Theirs is a world where there are attractive, win-win "solutions" in place of those ugly trade-offs in the world that the rest of us live in.


Theirs is a world where we can just talk to opposing nations and work things out, instead of having to pour tons of money into military equipment to keep them at bay. The left calls this "change" but in fact it is a set of notions that were tried out by the Western democracies in the 1930s — and which led to the most catastrophic war in history.


For those who bother to study history, it was precisely the opposite policies in the 1980s pouring tons of money into military equipment — which brought the Cold War and its threat of nuclear annihilation to an end. The left fought bitterly against that "arms race" which in fact lifted the burden of the Soviet threat, instead of leading to war as the elites claimed.


Personally, I wish Ronald Reagan could have talked the Soviets into being nicer, instead of having to spend all that money. Only experience makes me skeptical about that "kinder and gentler" approach and the vision behind it.


 

 

 



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jun 20, 2012 23:07

John Maynard Keyes (June 1883–April 1946) was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern economics, as well as the economic policies of governments. Keynes is widely considered to be one of the founders of modern macroeconomics, and to be the most influential economist of the 20th century. Keynesian economics is the basic underlying economic philosophy that President Obama has embraced.
The father of Keynesian economics best summed up his theory with the following example: You can pay someone to dig a hole and pay someone else to fill it. The fact that nothing productive is occurring doesn’t matter. The spending alone stimulates the economy.

What is missed in this theory is the fact that government does not create wealth. So, it cannot spend money on anything, including job creation, that it does not first take from the economy either through taxes, debt (bonds) or inflation. In most cases, debt and inflation (printing money) are used in lieu of taxes, because they are less destructive to the indicators of health for the current economy and they also allow politician­s to simply pass the tax burden and resulting economic repercussi­ons onto future generation­s through debt, or by secretly confiscating­ the wealth through inflation by printing money.

“The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation government­s can confiscate ­, secretly and unobserved ­, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.”
— Vladimir Lenin



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 30, 2012 04:04

by Thomas Sowell
Democrats have been having a field day with the cry of "tax cuts for the rich" — for which Republicans seem to have no reply. This is especially surprising, because Democrats made the same arguments back in the 1920s, and the Republicans then not only had a reply, but one that eventually carried the day, when the top tax rate was brought down from 73 percent to 24 percent.

What was the difference then? The biggest difference is that Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon took the trouble to articulate the case for lower tax rates, in articles that appeared in popular publications, using plain language that ordinary people could understand. Seldom do Republican leaders today even attempt to do any such thing.

In 1924, the ideas from these articles were collected in a book which Mellon titled "Taxation: The People's Business." That book has recently been reprinted by the University of Minnesota Law Library. Today's Republicans would do well to get a copy of Mellon's book, which shows how demagoguery about "tax cuts for the rich" can be exposed for the nonsense that it is.

People in the media could also benefit by seeing how the "tax cuts for the rich" demagoguery collapses like a house of cards when you subject it to logic and evidence.

Those who argue that "the rich" should pay a higher tax rate, and that the revenue this would bring in could be used to reduce the deficit, assume that higher tax rates equal higher tax revenues. But they do not.

Secretary Mellon pointed out that previously the government "received substantially the same revenue from high incomes with a 13 percent surtax as it received with a 65 percent surtax." Higher tax rates do not mean higher tax revenues.

High tax rates on high incomes, Mellon said, lead many of those who earn such incomes to withdraw their money "from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities" or otherwise find ways to avoid receiving income in taxable forms.

That is even easier to do today than in Andrew Mellon's time. The very same liberals who complain that Mitt Romney — among thousands of others — puts his money in the Cayman Islands nevertheless act as if raising the tax rates automatically raises tax revenues. It can instead drive money out of the country and drive jobs out of the country with it.

The United States has long been a place where foreigners from around the world have sent their money to be invested, more than offsetting the money that Americans invested abroad. But, in recent years, the net flow of investment is out of America to places overseas that don't tax as much.

Mellon cited statistics that showed the opposite of what the high-tax advocates claimed. Although incomes in general were rising from 1916 to 1921, the taxable income of people earning $300,000 and up dropped by about four-fifths.

That didn't mean that "the rich" were becoming poor. It meant that they had arranged to receive their incomes in forms that were not taxable. Mellon asked where the money of these high income earners went. He answered: "There is no doubt of the fact that much of it went into tax-exempt securities." In today's global economy, much of it can also easily be sent overseas — much more easily than workers can go overseas to get the jobs this money creates in other countries.

After Mellon finally succeeded in getting Congress to lower the top tax rate from 73 percent to 24 percent, the government actually received more tax revenues at the lower rate than it had at the higher rate. Moreover, it received a higher proportion of all income taxes from the top income earners than before.

Something similar happened in later years, after tax rates were cut under Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and G.W. Bush. The record is clear. Barack Obama admitted during the 2008 election campaign that he understood that raising tax rates does not necessarily mean raising tax revenues.

Why then is he pushing so hard for higher tax rates on "the rich" this election year? Because class warfare politics can increase votes for his reelection, even if it raises no more tax revenues for the government.

 



If you wish to comment, please login.