Monday, May 25, 2009

Breaking point

Yesterday I read a quote from Jen Terrasa in a Baltimore Sun article that really surprised me. I was surprised at how ridiculous her comment was. I was going to leave the comment alone since I already blogged about the same article here, but it is worth mentioning based on its own merit (or lack thereof).

"What you're talking about is punishing these folks for success," she said. Taking money from Healthy Howard would send a damaging signal of no confidence and force the nonprofits into a competition for funding, she added.

"Why take one recipient and pit them against each other, unless you just don't like providing health care," Terrasa said.

The best thing that could happen to the non-profit world is that they would have to compete with each other for funding. The act competition will force these non-profits to innovate new and exciting ways of doing good deeds and create the most bang for the buck. Ideally, the non-profits should be competing for funding directly from the citizens rather than getting money from elected buffoons, but some competition would be better than no competition.

The absolute worst scenario imaginable would be that the Council would fund any moronic idea that any non-profit put in front of them. That would be the complete lack of competition, and would create wasteful spending on "feel good" programs that have low return on investment.

While I am on the subject, another recent comment from Jen Terrasa that made me cringe was the following:

"How do you put a dollar amount on a life?" Terrasa asked at one point. Later she said she'd spent an hour talking to a doctor who treats Healthy Howard patients who felt the program and its health coaching feature is having a positive effect. Removing the anxiety of not having affordable health care makes a big difference in people's lives, Terrasa said.

Here's the thing: everyone puts a value on human life everyday. By choosing to spend many of her evenings doing work as a County Councilperson instead of running on a treadmill at the gym, Jen Terrasa has made a decision about the value of her own life. By not choosing to live in a cheaper house and spending the extra money on exercise equipment, Terrasa has placed a value on her own human life. By spending money on new clothes rather than visiting the doctor for a checkup, Terrasa has placed a value on her own life. Does Terrasa oppose giving more money to HHAP than she voted to give to the school system? If so, according to her own logic she is placing a dollar value on human life.

Intelligent decisions are made at the margin- not by dismissing any criticism of funding HHAP as an attempt to value human life. For Terrasa to pretend that all criticism of the funding the HHAP is wrong because it is "placing a dollar value on human life" is extremely naive. That kind of nonsense has no place in an intelligent debate.


Anonymous said...

The fact that you're surprised indicates you haven't heard her speak much.

She was elected to the shoe-in position or district for weak democrats who couldn't get elected elsewhere but will tow the line. This includes working for lobbying organizations who won't disclose how she votes on matters they take to our legislature (MACO).

Anonymous said...

Terassa is clueless. Why did the County create HHAP and put it in competition with the non-profits? She seems to have her facts a little backwards.

Poeple like her don't want non-profits running these types of programs because people like her (politicians) don't get to directly run those non-profits. She wants the government to have the power and control, no matter how much of a failure the program is (sort of like public schools).

Anonymous said...

I agree about the schools. Massively chaotic atmosphere in and out of the class room. It's a miracle anyone learns anything.

If not for moneyed parents and night tutors, Howard County schools would have scores like Baltimore city.