Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SITE MOVED
by JimK

WOOHOO. The archives transferred and are working. This way they can be searched for all time.

Authors: logging in to the control panel is the same as before, only with archives.right-thinking.com plus the other part you know. Please feel free to grab a few of your most recent posts and put them on the new Wordpress blog once that is running smoothly and I’ve sent you the new logins and so forth. Please DO NOT POST NEW CONTENT HERE!

Please DO NOT POST NEW CONTENT HERE!

Everyone else: comments are now disabled here, but you can still find things and link to them with the advanced search. Just choose “Search in titles, entries and comments” from the drop down and have at it.

Posted by JimK on 04/26/11 at 02:12 PM in • Permalink

Monday, April 25, 2011

The ACLU and Terry Jones

This is interesting ... but thankfully not surprising:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has weighed in on the Terry Jones saga, filing a brief supporting the controversial pastor’s right to protest this afternoon in front of a mosque.

In the eight-page brief to the 19th District Court, the ACLU argued that efforts to make Jones pay a peace bond to protest outside the Islamic Center of America constitute prior restraint of his rights to free speech and assembly.

...

But prosecutors argued in court today that Jones’ protest could compromise public safety because the Ford Road mosque is located in a heavily trafficked area near churches, a senior center and schools. Police also argued that Jones — who has burned a Quran — has had threats against his life.

The city has said Jones can move the protest to other “free speech zones” elsewhere in the city or pay a peace bond — as much as $100,000 — to cover police costs if he demonstrates at the mosque. He refused, setting up today’s court battle.

It’s fairly obvious to me: Terry Jones is a piece of shit; even a piece has First Amendment Rights.

The courts have been fairly clear on this: people can not be charged a fee for police protection because their speech might provoke violence. This is why everyone from the KKK to the Illinois Nazis gets to have their say.  The First Amendment does not protect you from the consequences of your speech.  If Terry Jones starts a riot or blocks traffic or something, he can be punished.  But he’s an American.  He gets to say whatever he wants.  And good on the ACLU for standing with this vile creep.  I just suggest they take a shower afterward.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/25/11 at 05:41 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

MOVING DAY IS COMING
by JimK

So the bottom line is to implement my plan, I have to move three sites all at once, and this one needs to be first. So...I’m letting everyone know, if you have posts planned, get ‘em up today. Tomorrow (Tuesday 4/26/2011) I will shut off everything, back it all up and then attempt to get it working in the new place. Then I’ll be installing the new software, tweaking etc. Could be 4 hours, could be 24. If it all goes well? 4. Let’s all cross our fingers and hope for 4.

PLEASE DO NOT USE ANYTHING YOU FIND UNTIL YOU GET AN ALL CLEAR! I may have to make unfinished bits live to test them, etc. Please don’t register for accounts, post comments, any of that. When it’s done, it will be really, really obvious. There will be a big ALL CLEAR post at the top of the blog and a whole new look, with the old stuff in archived subdomains.

Wish me luck. :)

If you want to play, you can go to jameskenefick.net and play in that sandbox. Anything posted there will be killed off once this site transition is done though, so don’t put anything you give a shit about up there. :)

Update 4/26: It’s 12:26 pm my time. I’ll probably start the migration at 1-1:30 pm.

Posted by JimK on 04/25/11 at 01:17 PM in Site News  • Permalink

Sunday, April 24, 2011

No freaking way!

WTF?

A shadowy lobby group which pushes the case that global warming is a real threat is being funded by the taxpayer and assisted by the BBC.

Huh? What’s that all mean? Well, it means this:

The little-known not-for-profit company works behind the scenes at international conferences to further its aims.

One of its key supporters headed the official investigation into the so-called “Climategate emails”, producing a report which cleared experts of deliberately attempting to skew scientific results to confirm that global warming was a real threat.

Another scientific expert linked to the group came forward to praise a second independent investigation into the Climategate affair which also exonerated researchers.

Set up with the backing of Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister, and run by a group of British MPs and peers the organisation, Globe International, started life as an All Party Group based in the House of Commons.

It is now run as an international climate change lobbying group flying its supporters and experts club class to international summits to push its agenda. Last year, it said, it spent around £500,000 flying its supporters to these meetings.

Emphasis mine. Read that again: people that are lobbying government in favor of AGW were important players in both of the shams that exonerated the unscientific and criminal behavior of the AGW cultists exposed by the East Anglia Climategate scandale. The rest of the story is about how this group of people is using the BBC and their government connections to get massive quantities of money to lobby others in government to favor their AGW agenda, for profit of course. This whole AGW/green scam is about collectivism writ large, but on the way the people pushing it plan to make themselves a shit load of money doing so. And in return we will get nothing but misery and government control of energy, which allows them thus to control us peasants.

At least the fucking oil companies produce a product that is giving us something in return. These crooks are just redistributing wealth created by others, in a grand scheme to give themselves incredible power over our lives, and stealing as much of it for themselves as they can. And in the process they have no problem pretending to do impartial analysis to conclude their scam, despite all the evidence to the contrary, is legit. Heh!

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/24/11 at 04:05 PM in Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   Polls and Surveys   Religion and Sky Pixies   Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Obligatry “Earth Day” post

Have at it. Seriously, I do not feel like rehasing the whole ordeal about how these people are really just watermellons - scratch the surface of a greeny, and find a died in the wool red commie eugenist- so I will just put this post up, with this video that gave me the chills, to let you vent about this meaningless and totally idiotic day on our calendar.



I screamed too at the end of this video because it reminded me of this:



Happy Earth Day, or something…

Update: I decided to add this before some moron made the point that I want to destroy the world in pursuit of a profit - as if I do not need to breath the same air, drink the same water, and live in the same world as the rest - to clarify that I am all for a clean environment. I do that by always picking up my trash, and sometimes that of others whom you can immediately tell are your usual leftard, teaching my son to love and respect the earth, the environment, and to always do sensible conservation to maintain it, and to in short practice this, and not just preach. What turns me off about the entire environmental movement is that this bunch of creeps are all died-in-the-wool communists pushing that agenda under the guise of environmentalism. The proof is out there after a century of communism that nobody is worse to the environment that these communists.

Just like the scream about fiscal responsibility when it’s a cudgel to beat up their opposition, then set new records in depravity when they control the purse strings, or scream about illegal wars and the murder of innocents, for profit nevertheless, when they are not in power, only to turn a blind eye when they do far, far worse, this is all a ruse. A means to get to an ugly end nobody would go along with but for these lies and faux concerns. It’s the vile and evil things they believe in and actually are trying to get that turn me off, not the need for a clean environment. Watermelons are evil. That’s the point.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/23/11 at 10:55 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Deep Thoughts   Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Can you tell they are lying scum?

No? Remember the donkeys telling us GWB’s government was in bed with the oil companies when gas prices was flirting with the high $3.00 a gallon amounts? Have a look at this video for a refresher and the reaction now that we are flirting with gas at $5.00 a gallon....



Let me repeat the question: where is the MSM on this now that prices are racing to $5.00 a gallon? Our economy is getting hammered by these gas prices, which combined with the devaluation of the dollar and the disastrous economic conditions the last 4 years of demcorat control of federal government spending, are causing massive inflation in basic necessities like food, and what’s the MSM saying? That high gas prices are AWESOME! Why? No, not because the Obama admin is in bed with the oil companies, which they sure as hell are if a price hike means that when Bush is president, but because it will force people to take the crappy, inefficient, and politically bullshit, green economy as something good?

What a bunch of scumbags these loser shillers in the MSM are.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/23/11 at 10:37 AM in Deep Thoughts   Elections   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Krugman Consumes His Own Tail

Paul Krugman has written a bizarre op-ed in opposition to the GOP Medicare plan.  Let’s have some fun with it.

Here’s my question: How did it become normal, or for that matter even acceptable, to refer to medical patients as “consumers”? The relationship between patient and doctor used to be considered something special, almost sacred. Now politicians and supposed reformers talk about the act of receiving care as if it were no different from a commercial transaction, like buying a car — and their only complaint is that it isn’t commercial enough.

It’s acceptable to call them consumers and providers because that’s what they are.  The only reason this language strikes Krugman as odd is because he, like many liberals, has becomes used to thinking of healthcare as a “right”—something akin to Freedom of Speech. But any time there is a voluntary exchange of services, the relationship is one of consumer to provider.  There’s nothing repulsive or sinister about this.  Teachers, fireman, cops, doctors, clergy—none of these people work for free.  All of them provide services that we consume.

Note also that Krugman is engaging in the “I’m On Your Side” tactic.  He praises the doctor-patient relationship as something sacred.  But, as we will see, he does this on the way to severing and controlling that bond.

We have to do something about health care costs, which means that we have to find a way to start saying no. In particular, given continuing medical innovation, we can’t maintain a system in which Medicare essentially pays for anything a doctor recommends. And that’s especially true when that blank-check approach is combined with a system that gives doctors and hospitals — who aren’t saints — a strong financial incentive to engage in excessive care.

I agree.  One way we can do this is to put more responsibility on the consumers who have shown the ability to make complex and difficult decisions about homes, cars, schooling, computers and other supposedly opaque disciplines.  We could, for example, adopt David Goldhill’s proposal of moving back to a major medical system where the first few thousand dollars of healthcare—the most discretionary part—is controlled by the consumer and either the employers or the government provide a voucher for a $5000 deductible.  It’s difficult to imagine such a system now because we’ve gotten so used to first dollar coverage.  But that’s what we used to have when our healthcare spending wasn’t so out of line.  That’s what we have in non-insured regions like lasik surgery or fertility treatments, where price guarantees are normal.

Alternatively, we could move toward something like the Australian system.  In Australia, there is a socialized insurance system that provides basic care and pays a basic fee.  If you’re poor, you can go to lower-tier hospitals that accept those fees.  If you have more money, you can buy additional insurance or pay out of your own pocket to get better care.  But the key is that you pay the bills and are then reimbursed.  So the consumer is decidedly in the loop.  (My understanding of the Aussie system is based on talking to my wife and her family; blame any errors on them.)

So certainly Krugman, an economist, is going to suggest something along ... oh.

Hence the advisory board, whose creation was mandated by last year’s health reform. The board, composed of health-care experts, would be given a target rate of growth in Medicare spending. To keep spending at or below this target, the board would submit “fast-track” recommendations for cost control that would go into effect automatically unless overruled by Congress.

Dr. Krugman, please send a nice package of whatever it is your smoking to my house.  Have you been watching the budget debate?  We endured weeks of rending of garments and gnashing of teeth over the cutting of unspent budget authority.  Do you think Congress is going to stand up to seniors and tell them they can’t get care?  Even assuming this board makes some tough choices—do you really think Congress will let unpopular ones stand?

We don’t even need to ask these questions—we’ve already seen what will happen.  When PPACA was being debated, a study came out claiming routine mammography should start at 50, not 40.  Congress immediately moved to prevent this from being acted on, whether the result was valid or not. Their previous mandate on unproven CAD technology led to a huge surge in this expensive procedure. One of the reasons Republicans want insurance sold across state lines is that state governments have become incredibly pliable in mandating coverage, including “alternative medicine”.  During the PPACA debate, several senators tried to get alternative medicine like therapeutic touch and prayer therapy into the bill (these being fringe guys like um, ... the 2004 Democratic nominee for President).  Any government board is going to be controlled by special interests (who are solidly behind the idea) and overridden by a spineless Congress.

Where is this sudden surge of political courage going to come from?  This seems like an inverse of the “starve the beast” theory.  I’ll call it “gorge the beast”.  The idea is to let government healthcare spending get so out of control that Congress will have to act.

Now, what House Republicans propose is that the government simply push the problem of rising health care costs on to seniors; that is, that we replace Medicare with vouchers that can be applied to private insurance, and that we count on seniors and insurance companies to work it out somehow. This, they claim, would be superior to expert review because it would open health care to the wonders of “consumer choice.”

Notice the two-step here.  Krugman has spent his time running down consumer-controlled healthcare.  But now he’s running down a very different proposal on privatizing Medicare.  These are not the same things, unfortunately.

“Consumer-based” medicine has been a bust everywhere it has been tried. To take the most directly relevant example, Medicare Advantage, which was originally called Medicare + Choice, was supposed to save money; it ended up costing substantially more than traditional Medicare. America has the most “consumer-driven” health care system in the advanced world. It also has by far the highest costs yet provides a quality of care no better than far cheaper systems in other countries.

You know, it must be nice to be a Nobel Prize Winner.  It apparently means you never have to bother with facts anymore and can just pull things out of your ass.

Because this is pulled out of Krugman’s ass.  RAND has studied consumer-controlled healthcare and shown considerable savings, a result that has held up under some scrutiny.  And we are most decisively not the most “consumer-driven” healthcare system in the world.  According to the OECD’s 2008 data, out of pocket spending accounts for 12.1% of healthcare spending in the US. That’s less than Switzerland (30.8), Sweden (15.6), Japan (14.6 in 2007), Australia (18% in 2007), Canada (14.7% in 2007) and just about every country except France (7.1%).  Decisions might be consumer controlled; spending is not.  And any economist—any economist not talking out of his ass that is—can tell you what happens when consumers have no restrictions on spending other people’s money. The Kaiser Foundation has specifically identified the decline in patient responsibility (from 40 to 10%) as one of the reason for rising healthcare costs.

Medical care, after all, is an area in which crucial decisions — life and death decisions — must be made. Yet making such decisions intelligently requires a vast amount of specialized knowledge. Furthermore, those decisions often must be made under conditions in which the patient is incapacitated, under severe stress, or needs action immediately, with no time for discussion, let alone comparison shopping.

This is a straw man made of red herrings.  Under consumer-controlled plans, no one would be comparison shopping when they are incapacitated, under sever stress or need action immediately.  Such situations would be well into the insurance-controlled regime.  Additionally, the idea that healthcare spending is “involuntary” or that patients are incapable of making difficult choices is ridiculous and arrogant.  Two thirds of healthcare spending occurs in non-emergency situations.  Patients make decisions about healthcare every God-damned day, including about the most expensive and wasteful of care—end of life management. Medical procedures, by law, have to be explained to the patient who then has to be told of his prospects and alternatives.  They almost always do everything the provider says.  But is that, at least in part, because they’re not paying the bills?

The idea that all this can be reduced to money — that doctors are just “providers” selling services to health care “consumers” — is, well, sickening. And the prevalence of this kind of language is a sign that something has gone very wrong not just with this discussion, but with our society’s values.

No.  This is reality.  It’s not repulsive to describe patients and doctors and consumers and providers.  That’s precisely what they are.  We’ve just forgotten because of our diseased system.  All economic transactions—all movements of goods and services—take place between consumers and providers.  Describing that relationship as “sickening” is like the describing the Law of Gravity as “sickening”.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/23/11 at 07:03 AM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, April 22, 2011

No Right To Work

I always thought we would know Obama by the people he surrounded himself with.  Well, lookie what his new NLRB has done:

For businesses, it was the type of action they have feared from a National Labor Relations Board dominated by Democrats. For labor unions, it was the type of action they have hoped for. And for both, it may be a sign of things to come.

These fears and hopes were stirred this week when the labor board’s top lawyer filed a case against Boeing, seeking to force it to move airplane production from a nonunion plant in South Carolina to a unionized one in Washington State. Boeing executives had publicly said they were making the move to avoid the kind of strikes the airplane maker had repeatedly faced in Washington; Lafe Solomon, the labor board’s acting general counsel, said the company’s motive constituted illegal retaliation against workers for exercising their right to strike.

It cost Boeing $2 billion to build their South Carolina plant. 

This is a lot more than a labor dispute.  Solomon has also filed suit against four states that passed Constitutional Amendments against card check and is expected to forbid workplaces from trying to decertify until at least a year after certifying..  When you look at his actions, the motive for tabbing him and the other new members of the NLRB becomes clear: the Obama Administration quietly taking sides in an interstate economic brawl.

Pro-labor states has been steadily losing jobs, businesses and entire industries to right-to-work states for decades now.  When I lived in Texas, Toyota opened a plant near our house.  They didn’t choose Texas over Michigan because of the big hats.  Well, not entirely.

The NLRB is taking steps to try to stop this from happening.  If companies continue to vote with their feet, the future of Big Labor is bleak—at least outside of government jobs.  And so they must be stopped.  Because, apparently, trying to minimize the headaches of a labor union is now retaliation.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/22/11 at 08:26 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Joining the Tweeting Twats on Twitter

OK, I give in.  I’m tired of being outside the noise.  So as part of the site changes, I’m finally getting a Twitter feed for my RTFLC identity.  It’s Hal_RTFLC.  My hope is to get in a few more links and wisecracks than I normally do.  Jim has also mentioned, on the new site, having a sidebar for the feed.

I don’t anticipate this will diminish by blogging output.  I enjoy long-form blogging way too much.  For an academic, 140 characters is simply not enough to enjoy the sonorous sound of your own typing.  In fact, I think this will increase my long-form blogging output by clearing out my head of random thoughts and my Safari tabs of stories.

Don’t expect much.  I’m still figuring out what to say.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/22/11 at 07:31 PM in Site News  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

We Know You

Every time Walmart tries to open a store in a poor neighborhood, a bunch of well-meaning wealthy people object to it.  Their argument ... I think ... is that bringing jobs and cheap goods to poor neighborhoods is somehow a bad thing (Penn and Teller did a great episode on this some time ago; you really should watch it).  Funny enough, the poor people who live in these areas really don’t have a problem with jobs and cheap goods.

Reason has been covering a similar incident from the “we know what’s best for you” Left in Jamaica Plans, a largely Hispanic neighborhood of Boston:

For 47 years, the Hi-Lo grocery store provided J.P. residents with staple items and a vast stock of Latin American products. But when Knapp Food group, the Massachusetts-based owners of Hi-Lo, decided that they had had enough of the supermarket business, they pulled out of Jamaica Plain, shuttered a local landmark, and negotiated a 20-year lease with Austin, Texas-based grocery giant Whole Foods.

You can guess what happened next.

Whole Foods, of course, is a bete noire of the Left right now because their owner—while stocking organic food and compensating his employees generously—opposes unions and opposed Obamacare (Balko has posted a hilarious guide to creating a lefty-protest-proof store).  Mackey’s employees are happy, his customers are happy—but because he does not have correct views on unionization and healthcare, he’s evil.

You really have to read the entire article from Reason.  It’s filled with all kind of over-educated fact-free pontification from activists.  They are so completely wrong on everything—gentrification, the quality of Hi-Lo, the needs of the community—that it’s almost laughable.

And it gets even stupider.  Balko flagged a blog from a liberal who just moved into the neighborhood.  He wrote a piece opposing Whole Foods and his website was flooded with long-time local residents disagreeing with him.

His response?  He shut off comments.

We sometimes talk about the intellectual insularity of the Left, but you will rarely find as perfect an illustration as we are seeing in this Boston neighborhood.  The economists tells us Whole Foods isn’t hurting the neighborhood, the employees tell us they like working for Whole Foods, the residents say the want a Whole Foods.  Whole Foods is exactly the kind of business the Left should applaud.

But they have their point of view—Whole Foods bad, local businesses good.  And nothing and no one will be allowed to challenge this received truth.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/22/11 at 09:30 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yes, I am gloating

News like this is music to my ears. As long as the members of the DNC propaganda arm of the MSM suffer financial losses and dwindle in power, it gives me hope that Americans have had enough of the constant shilling and often outright lying to help the collectivsts and their depraved causes.

The New York Times Company reported a sharp drop in net income in the first quarter as the print advertising market remained stubbornly depressed for newspapers. The company said net income fell 57.6 percent to $5.4 million, compared with $12.8 million in the quarter a year ago. The weakness in print advertising, coupled with an unexpected drop in revenue at About.com, led to earnings of 4 cents a share before special items are excluded, compared with 8 cents a share in the period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter dropped 3.6 percent to $566.5 million. Total advertising revenue declined 4.4 percent, but the performance by advertising sector varied widely. At The New York Times Media Group, which includes the namesake paper, NYTimes.com and The International Herald Tribune, the decline was 1.9 percent.

Here is hoping it gets even owrse for you bastards. At a minimum this is some tiny payback for straddling us with Obama.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/21/11 at 11:54 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The next time some libtard tells you that the corporate world is in bed with republicans…

Point out that the facts don’t back that lie up and that the big corporations know the party that will help them rake in the cash while giving them all those evil loopholes moonbats go bonkers over are the donkeys. Don’t expect the MSM regulars to say anything: they are usually too busy covering for the crooks in this administration, but the WSJ has the scoop.

General Electric Co. reported a 77% increase in first-quarter earnings, lifted by marked improvement at its GE Capital financing arm and gains at most of its industrial units. The company also boosted its quarterly dividend by a penny to 15 cents. The move marks GE’s third dividend increase in the past year, although the payout remains well short of GE’s 31-cent dividend from before the financial crisis and economic downturn.

“Our environment continues to improve and get better,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt on a call with analysts, noting that the restructuring of GE Capital was ahead of plan while the quarter saw a record backlog of orders for its industrial products and services.

See that bolded section above? That’s corporate speak for “Them donkeys are helping rig the game so we can send jobs overseas, rake in big cash from both government subsides and sales, and avoid paying taxes in the US - which usually really means they avoid making their consumers pay taxes - while squashing anyone that could compete with us, and they do it for peanuts on the dollar”. Obama didn’t make Immelt a member of his Czar entourage for nothing. That billion dollars he wants to raise for the 2012 campaign is going to come from big unions and big corporations like GE, which love how the government helps them squash the competition - with the consumer losing out all the time - in return for cash. And GE isn’t the only one they do this for. They made the tax payers bail out the unions and turned General Motors into Government Motors for a reason. Now they want to sell off GM stock, at a big loss for the tax payers to boot. Maybe that move is so the GM execs can then start raking in big money and donate big money, right in time for the 2012 race, since when GM is no longer owned by the Obama Admin, it becomes free to hand out huge pay raises and bonuses to the GM execs again. I don’t buy the story that they are panic selling because it will be good for the tax payer.

The next time some moron tells you how the republicans are the party in bed with corporate America, remember and remind them that corporate America, those mega-billion dollar giant companies, are always friends with demcorats. That’s not a coincidence or a fluke, but precisely because those large corporations know, not just who is for sale and whom they can get to write laws that let them avoid taxes or competition, but that demcorats love the relationship between big government and big industry. It’s one of the mechanics behind the whole government planned economies bullshit you get in collectivists governments. Look how well it worked for the USSR.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/21/11 at 08:42 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Elections   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Hate Democrats

If you ever needed an illustration of why, while I hate the Republicans, I really fucking hate the Democrats, I give you this:

The lies are so egregious that Polifact gave them the coveted pants on fire rating.  This is pure scare tactic, nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/20/11 at 08:27 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Why Polls Mean Dick, Part 795

A number of Debt Deniers—hmm, it’s nice to thrown their own verbiage at them—are crowing about this poll:

Despite growing concerns about the country’s long-term fiscal problems and an intensifying debate in Washington about how to deal with them, Americans strongly oppose some of the major remedies under consideration, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey finds that Americans prefer to keep Medicare just the way it is. Most also oppose cuts in Medicaid and the defense budget. More than half say they are against small, across-the-board tax increases combined with modest reductions in Medicare and Social Security benefits. Only President Obama’s call to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans enjoys solid support.

78% oppose cutting Medicare.  69% oppose cutting Medicaid.  56% oppose cutting defense (you won’t hear the left talk about that one, however).  72% favor raising taxes on the successful.

A few things:

1) The critics are being very selective.  When you pair tax hike with cuts to entitlements, support rises to 45%.  This is why I think a grand bargain, a la Simpson-Bowles, will be the eventual resolution.

2) This is not really new information.  We’ve seen polls like this before that show the only spending cuts people really want is foreign aide.  We’ve also seen governors and nations cut spending drastically, become extremely unpopular in the immediate aftermath but then regain popularity when people realize the budget problem has been fixed.  The budget fixes of the 90’s weren’t popular either.

3) We are not a democracy.  Polls mean nothing.  Yes, I know the GOP cited polls in opposing Obamacare (and I dinged them for it then).  But the Left is living in a glass house.  They chose to ignore the polls last year on Obamacare.  Now polls suddenly mean everything.  It is always thus in politics: when polls support you, they’re intensely important; when they oppose you, they mean nothing.  I’ve always said polls mean nothing, because…

4) What this polls tells me is that many Americans are still in denial.  We simply can’t balance the budget without taking on entitlements.  Left unattended, Medicare and Medicaid will eventually consume 10-15% of the GDP by 2050, at least.  Social Security will consume another 10-15%.  Taxes will go up on everyone—and massively—to pay for that.  As for “taxing the rich”, raising taxes on the rich will not solve our debt problems, as we have demonstrated about a million times.  You would have to raise them to nearly 100% just to balance the budget today.  And that’s under a static assumption that thinks the rich will continue to work and earn money when the government is taking all the marginal income.  (Or under magical liberal thinking, were taking all the rich’s money mystically spurs the economy.) Even Obama’s own projections—with his fantasyland Medicare cost controls, tax hikes on the successful and a booming economy—still leaves us tens of trillions of dollars in the hole.  If you don’t believe me, believe him.  Even under the most optimistic liberal assumptions, the budget problem does not solve.

Of course, we could cut entitlement spending in other ways—such as eliminating the doc fix to Medicare and enforcing price controls on prescription drugs.  This will improve the financial situation ... by chasing doctors out of the Medicare system and making sure no new expensive medications hit the market.  This is assuming the government has the courage to enact such controls, a courage it has demonstrated ... um, never.  You could also believe—as many liberals do—in the magical power of government to deliver better healthcare for less money, this being a power it has a demonstrated ... um, never.

The only information contained in this poll is that 80% of American do not understand the nature of the problem we face.  That’s a massive fail by the GOP and our media.  We need more people playing with balanced budget calculators of any kind so that they can see firsthand what kind of challenges we face.  It also demonstrates the political risks the GOP are taking in attacking the debt issue in realistic terms.

But as for informing policy?  I’d sooner decide policy by sheep entrails.

Update: I want to put this as bluntly as a I can.  No one—no one who is serious about the debt is denying the need to control health care costs.  From the leftiest liberal to the rightiest conservative, all of the serious pundits and politicians know that entitlements are the problem.  They disagree about how to address this.  Liberals think that more government control will make the system more efficient.  Conservatives believe that market forces will bring costs down.  But fundamentally all serious players in this debate know where the money is.

If anyone cites this poll as a reason to oppose the GOP plan, you know that they are fundamentally unserious about the debt.  Because this poll reflects a mentality that is unserious about debt.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/20/11 at 01:51 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lose your account? Read this.
by JimK

Wow, do I need to stop doing server stuff tonight. I may have just deleted some user accounts while trying to remove the THOUSANDS (seriously, over 24,000) spammer accounts in the pending queue. If your account is missing, just sign back up, because what I just did is unfixable.

I’ve been at this for 10-ish hours, it may be time to stop for the night. Sorry.

Update 4/20 <- heh : This morning I was able to shave 400 - four freaking hundred - megabytes off the database in spam, spammer accounts and thousands of spammed forum posts. All new user registrations have been spammers, so I’m closing that. If you *need* to comment this week and can’t, email me and I’ll manually set you up. Otherwise be patient and register at the new joint.

Posted by JimK on 04/19/11 at 06:59 PM in Site News  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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