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The Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
A terrible story out of Massachusetts:
As far as I can tell, the story goes like so: This girl immigrated her from Ireland. A couple of boys took advantage of her and then bragged about it. Her fellow girls then threatened, taunted and in some cases physically assaulted her until, after three months of unrelenting harassment, she killed herself. I suggest reading the entire article, as well as Kevin Cullen’s applause for bringing criminal charges and Ann Althouse’s dissent.
A few scattered thoughts:
1) I think it’s entirely appropriate to bring criminal charges for some aspects of this—statutory rape for the older boys who had sex with a 14/15-year old; assault or battery on those who carried out physical attacks. But violating civil rights? That’s a stretch. I’m reminded of the Megan Meier cyber-bullying case. What the woman did was appalling, shameful and immoral. But I was not convinced it was a crime. And I’m very loathe for the law to be stretched to punish behavior that is reprehensible but not illegal.
2) There’s a lot of “where were the parents” on this. That may be a valid point. But, in general, I do not think that 15-year-old girls find it easy to talk to their parents about being bullied because they were sexually active. YMMV.
3) I’m not terribly happy with Althouse’s implicit (and her commenters’ explicit) “blame the victim” response. It’s very easy for adults and people who’ve never experienced something like this to tell people to “fight back” or “suck it up”. It’s much more difficult for an actual teenager, least of all one living in a new country. And claiming the victim was trying to get back at her foes this way is shaky at best. Most of us can’t understand the thinking of a suicidal person and it’s dangerous to try.
4) I agree entirely with the criticism of the school. While it’s not the job of schools to hold people’s hands, it is their job to prevent bullying and harassment on their own fucking grounds. A school should, at least to some extent, be a “safe haven”. And it would not take much effort to make it so.
Story time: when I was in Hebrew School, there was one kid that we relentlessly taunted. One day, one of our teachers took the entire class into a room and really laid into us. He let us know that what we were doing was wrong, cruel and contrary to Jewish law (the Bible has more passages against gossip and cruel speech than it does against almost any other crime). He told us that the young boy had attempted suicide and that we would be responsible if he succeeded. I left the school not long after. But I certainly laid off him. And my perception was that others did as well. Shame works.
Anyway, discuss in the comments. I’m particularly interested in hearing from those readers who are teachers.
Update: In other dumb school news, it’s apparently a crime in the UK to help a kid out of a tree. On one side of the pond, bullying is tolerated. On the other side, help is not. You have to wonder about the thinking that goes on in education bureaucrats’ heads. (Note: see Stog’y comment on the school’s version of events.)
Update: Two other points to make on this.
1) We are hearing mostly from the family’s side. The possibility remains that the situation was not as bad as depicted and this girl was really troubled. However, having witnessed this sort of thing firsthand, it sounds very plausible.
2) One of the things I was constantly bombarded with in college was this: if a man sleeps around, he’s a stud; if a woman does, she’s a slut. This is true, although the reasoning behind it is as much biological as it is sociological. A man can father a massive number of children, so conserving his gametes has little value and spreading his genes far and wide is considering a success. A woman is more limited in the number of children she can have, so saving herself for the best potential father is more important. Indeed, the promiscuity dichotomy is seen in many parts of the animal kingdom.
That doesn’t justify the double standard, of course: it merely explains it. And in our modern, condom-strewn, low-hormone-pill soaked, 2.1 child/woman society, the biological justification really doesn’t work. And, indeed, the dichotomy is fading with the younger generations. A woman who is active is rarely called a slut anymore. She’s more likely to be called “speed dial #3”.
However, this article emphasizes another politically incorrect aspect of the stud-slut dichotomy: the perpetrators of this double standard are as likely to be or even more likely to be women than men. For the most part, it was not the boys in the school calling this girl an “Irish slut”; it was the girls. I’m reminded of a quote from Seinfeld.
My wife insists this is one of the truer things said on television.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/31/10 at 07:17 AM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Right Wing Lunacy Update
Boy, those Right Wingers are crazy. Making death threats, throwing eggs at buses, having angry ... what? Oh. It was Eric Cantor getting a death threat. And the Tea Partiers getting egged. Are you sure?
Check the link for video.
Of course, the existence of these angry left wingers (and at least one apparently bi-partisan nutcase) will not stop the Left from trying to silence the opposition with odious historical comparisons. Right now, the front-runner for “most obnoxious comparison” has to be Frank Rich, who decides to just fuck it and go Godwin on us:
There are innumerable historical example of civil anger and political violence that Rich could have used (indeed, he uses a slightly less stupid one later, as I’ll get to). But to denounce your opponents’ use of the Hitler comparison by ... comparing them to Hitler? My mind is bent by the illogic. (I’ll leave to others the outrage over the comparison. Having met people who experienced Kristallnacht first hand, I can only shake my head.)
Rich, as I said, finds a different comparison later on: racism.
The comparison he makes is to Goldwater (who opposed the Act for genuine federalist reasons) and segregationist Democrats (who pretended to oppose it for federalist reasons). The language they used is similar to the language the GOP and Tea Partiers are using now. So obviously they are the same, right?
No, they’re not. The 1964 Civil Rights Act took place in the most turbulent decade in American history and went right across a political and cultural fault line that had existed for centuries. Racial anger, violence and intimidation had existed long before the Act was even written. There was a context to the Civil Rights Act that is completely absent from the current debate. Unless you know of some secret society of green-hooded anti-socialism thugs I’ve never heard of.
No, if we’re going to make a historical comparison, the proper one is Clinton’s 1993 tax hike. Like Obamacare, it passed on a party line vote. Like Obamacare, it provoked anger in the electorate and even some extremist responses. And ... the only massacre that followed happened at the ballot box. Let’s just hope we follow the same narrative this time.
Update: Frank Rich gets “win” in the Hysteria Sweepstakes. But “place” has to go to Charles Johnson, whom I normally like, who mistook the Tennessee state flag for the Nazi flag.
Update: A friend reminded me that the Right Wing had a flag identification problem as well, back in 2008. To be fair, Johnson acknowledged that he was wrong. But you have to wonder about someone whose immediate assumption on seeing a flag he’s unfamiliar with is to ask if it’s a Nazi flag.
Barack Obama made 15 recess appointments last week. Nothing new about this, really. Bush made quite a few recess appointments, notably John Bolton. But this slate included one particularly odious pick—Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board:
NLRB has been frozen for about three years due to a lack of appointees. This will get them moving on what is certain to be a huge slate of pro-labor decisions. Becker is controversial enough that the Democrats could only get 52 cloture votes on his nomination. It is very likely that he will be out after 2011 if the Republicans pick up several seats in the Senate.
This is a bone to Big Labor. They aren’t going to get card check, which is highly unpopular outside of labor circles. What they will now get is a tasty treat from the backlog of NLRB cases.
Enjoy it while it lasts, guys. One day, the budget axe is going to come down. And one of the biggest problems our budgets face is exploding salaries and benefits for public employees, including many represented by SEIU. That can’t go on forever, as Ireland has figured out.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/30/10 at 09:26 AM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Monday, March 29, 2010
Facts Will Not Be Tolerated
As I noted yesterday, several companies have, in compliance with SEC law, reported that they will lose hundred of millions of dollars under Obamacare because of changes to the tax law. The biggest problem is the elimination of the tax break that kept them from dumping their retirees into Medicare Part D. So what do do?
Here’s part of the letter:
In short, your assessments disagree with the bullshit we were slinging around. So you must come to Congress on bended knee and explain why we fucked it up so badly. I should point out that the CBO and TBR are generalized projections, not specific projections. So it’s no wonder their assessments are off for bigger companies.
This is a preview of what lies ahead. Every time there is some dispute in healthcare, we will have hearings on it. And depending on how well the subjects of the hearings grovel, we will get more spending. The entire system is now politicized. Well done, guys.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The Party of Yes/No
I’ve been getting a lot of smug e-mails and comments asking if I’m happy that the GOP got spanked in 2006 and 2008, since this led to the passage of healthcare reform. The short answer is: yes.
As I have pointed out repeatedly, the core of Obamacare is a set of “reforms” that Republicans have been flogging for quite some time. The GOP leadership has embraced the pre-existing condition ban. Implicitly, that embraces the coverage mandate, since the pre-exist ban doesn’t work without the mandate. Explicitly, check out this story, about the individual mandate, which the GOP claims to so adamantly oppose.
Here are details of the Heritage Foundation’s mid-90’s healthcare plan that was almost indistinguishable from Obamacare. Here is more from Chait about Republicans proposing similar plans (Chait describe Obamacare as “moderate” on this basis. I guess getting screwed by both parties is moderate, in some sense). Here Bruce Bartlett notes that even AEI secretly liked a lot of Obamacare but opposed it because they had to.
For the record: Obama, during his campaign, opposed the individual mandate. McCain, when he advocated for the mandate, was the darling of the neocons (aka, Big Government Conservatives) who are now screaming the loudest about Obamacare. I’ve mentioned Romney before, but I can’t think anyone on the 2008 Republican Presidential Roster, apart from Ron Paul, who would have opposed this.
And the individual mandate was not just the favorite of “RINOs” like McCain, Lincoln Chafee and Bob Dole. According To Michael Tanner’s Leviathan on the Right, proponents have included, at various points, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, the New American Foundation and Bill First. In fact, Leviathan, which is a great book about how the GOP went wrong, has an entire chapter devoted to Republican health care plans. I defy anyone to read it and find substantive differences between the Republican ideas and what just passed Congress.
If the GOP were in power, we could expect one of two things to be happening. They would either be ignoring healthcare problems completely. Or they would be putting in a plan similar to what we actually got. Maybe we would have gotten some more movement on HSAs. Maybe.
Their opposition to the plan is entirely a product of being the minority party and trying to portray Obama as a socialist monster. In that case, they are “useful idiots” for accidentally getting the message out about the plan and giving people like Paul Ryan a voice. And this opposition, feigned or real, had positive results. Because the Republicans were united against Obamacare, the Democrats had to ditch some of the more odious parts of the plan (e.g., the public option) in order to get support from Blue Dog democrats.
So, yes, I’m still happy about what happened in the last two elections. It has forced the Republicans to at least pretend to be conservative. It may, after 2010, force the GOP to make changes to the bill that will result in a far better situation than if we’d let them take the reigns of reform in the first place—encouragement toward high-deductible plans, severing the employer link to healthcare, trimming the subsidies and softening the tax blow. We’ll see if they’ve learned their lesson.
But don’t be fooled. If the GOP had remained in power after the spending and regulation orgy they engaged in for the six years under Bush, we would not even have a hope of a conservative resurgence. We would still be at the crossroad we were at four years ago—choosing between the Little Socialist Party and the Big Socialist Party. We’re hopefully seeing the first indications that we could get a No Socialist Party at some point. For that, I’ll take my lumps with BSP in charge.
(In other Obamacare news, one of the few good things that got into Medicare Part D was a tax break to encourage employers to keep their retirees on their current prescription drug insurance plans rather than dump them into Medicare. Obamacare eliminates this tax break. Three guesses as to what this is causing to happen. This is double trouble, budget-wise. Not only will Medicare Part D grow faster than expected, tax revenues will be less than projected under the CBO scoring. I’m not sure the GOP can fix this. Once these people are dumped in Medicare, they’re not coming back.)
Update: Just to clarify, since there seems some confusion on this point. I was and remain opposed to the healthcare plan. What I’m pointing out is that, until they were in the minority, the GOP were in favor of it.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Set Your Clocks For the Stone Age
Earth Hour is tonight. I can’t even begin to convey how unexcited I am about it. It represents everything that is wrong about the feel-good, celebrity-driven pile of nonsense that is most of the environmental movement. You can drive a gas guzzler, live in a drafty mansion and fly private planes. But as long as you turn the lights out and fumble around in the dark for an hour, you’re a good person. If environmentalism is a religion, Earth Hour is the equivalent of making up for your sins by saying three “Hail Mary"s.
David Boaz notes
When you get down to it, Earth Hour is a smirking luddite middle finger to the progress that has made us so heathy, so rich and so drenched with free time that we can afford to worry about the side effects of our progress. It’s actually celebrating barbarism. It turns its back on the tradition of innovation and invention that is the most likely cure for our environmental ills.
Global warming isn’t going to be fixed by bashing your shins on the barcalounger, but by industry and technology. To hell with Earth Hour.
(As an aside, Earth Hour is a typical left wing sham. Most people burn candles to provide light, which is actually worse for the environment.)
Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/27/10 at 01:29 PM in Science and Technology • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Obligatory post on the left’s assalt on those of us angry at their tyranical actions
You would think that after such a monumentous victory as the left pretends their ramming through the government takeover of healthcare bill we refer to as Obamacare was supposed to be, that if they really thought they had served the will of the people and done something that was good for America and Americans, they wouldn’t be so focused on burying the story by shifting focus to those that oppose it.
When people calling Bush a Nazi, it was because of dignified anger. When Hollywood produces movies where Bush was murdered or soldiers are portrayed as villainous barbaric morons, it’s because of justified anger. When immature students on the dole riot on college campuses because they are told they have to do more than rely on government handouts to subsidize their college partying years, it is dignified anger. When animal rights douches douse rich folks wearing coats with paint, it is dignified anger. When environmental wackos force things to happen that cost people jobs, destroy other people’s property, or even kill people when engaged in real acts of terrorism, it is because of dignified anger. When collectivists in government label military vets as war criminals ready to turn into right wing terrorists, and the left gets mad at them and calls them names, that’s justified anger. When leftist twits wish death upon the people they hate on the right, that’s justified anger.
The right hasn’t been responsible for collectivist ideologies that have murdered hundreds of millions, imprisoned billions, and in general been some of the most vile and horrific expressions of man’s evil towards man the last century or so: the left and what it believes in, is responsible for that. People on the left that believe in this vile stuff and act, or incite others to act in anger, become heroes. People on the right that are indignant that their government has ignored their will and screwed us all over, are painted as evil. Even worse, most of the evidence of this bad behavior seems to be made up whole cloth. Do you really believe that if these lying scumbags had evidence of this behavior, that it wouldn’t be doing the rounds 24/7 on the usual DNC outlets that comprise the MSM? In this day of phone cameras and people filming everything, what are the odds? Instead it is all circumstantial bull followed up by letters asking people to donate money to the DNC.
Let us not let the left set the tone or focus of this discussion. Focus on the real issue, and what should be the story: the tyrannical way that government went about taking over our healthcare system, and the massive infringement on our freedoms that comes with that takeover. This stuff about angry tea partiers is nothing but a distraction. It is intended to shift the focus away from the royal screwing that we just got by the left. Don’t fall for it. Whenever this stuff comes up, don’t waste time apologizing or trying to distance yourself from their accusations – likely to be fabricated anyway – and focus on the problem at hand: how Obama and the democrats just royally fucked over all Americans.
Looks like all the liberal morons that got all excited about O’Keefe’s the government’s reaction stunt to show Marry Landrieu of Louisiana’s office’s disregard for their constituents, and were all happy to tell us O’Keefe was a criminal and hence his expose on the crime syndicate ACRON was null & void, are going to again be very disappointed about their premature ejaculations. Of course this tuff won’t be doing the rounds much in the MSM, where the bullshit and lying that favors the left’s agenda and narrative are front and center, but the retractions and revelation of the real facts in a story that hurts the lefts agenda, rarely happen.
Want to know what these guys “crime” was? They were filming the LA office of Landrieu avoiding the angry calls of their constituents. Looks like they never did anything to or intended to do anything to phone exchange, as the leftist twits pretended, when the whole made up story came out front page in every liberal rag. You aren’t going to get 24/7 news cycle coverage now correcting all the bullshit though, because the story no longer fits the agenda. The government’s sole recourse after the whole episode was to charge them with a misdemeanor, and that’s probably so they can keep the embarrassing video O’Keefe made for this story away from the public for as long as possible.
Posted by AlexinCT on 03/27/10 at 10:19 AM in Left Wing Idiocy The Press Machine Tooting My Own Horn • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Friday, March 26, 2010
Tea Party Quality Control
My favorite liberal blogger, Ta-Nehisi Coates, makes a great point about the Tea Party movement and the crazies who are constantly portrayed on the news as its representatives. He talks about how much effort the organizers of MLK’s protests and even the Million Man March made to ensure there was absolutely no violence that could be denounced in the media.
I disagree with what he goes on to say, which is that the Tea Party would lose its energy without the crazies. The problem here is that the Tea Party movement is still young, less than a year old. It’s still trying to coalesce around ideas and leaders. The Civil Rights didn’t go from zero to “I Have a Dream” overnight. It’s kind of ridiculous to expect a group of people who are mad at both political parties to already be on message every time the cameras are on. Especially as their issue is not as clear or as epic as the one previous movements faced.
On the other hand, the conservatives in this country don’t have a lot of time to fool around. We lost on the stimulus, we just lost on healthcare. If we’re going to keep things from sliding too far, we have to get on message and disciplined.
However, I remain optimistic about our chances. The problems we face are tiny in comparison to those faced by previous movements and have fairly straight-forward solutions. We have a massive plurality, if not a majority in the country. And the mathematics of the debt will force us to be heard, sooner or later.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/26/10 at 09:36 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
All The Sex That’s Fit To Silence
Don’t know if you caught the latest update on Loud British Sex Woman:
I would suggest reading the article but it has a picture of Noisy Sex Woman and ... well, you don’t want to think about that. But, according to her, they moved the bed downstairs, had sex for ten minutes and the neighbors called the cops. They used to have sex for two hours a day.
A few random thoughts:
1) Maybe I’m reaching here, but it sounds like the neighbors had their ears pressed to the wall, waiting to here these people go at it. The occasional ten minutes of sex, even noisy sex, doesn’t sound too bad to me. When I lived in apartments, I had neighbors I would gladly trade in for that.
2) Maybe I’m stereotyping. Or just jealous. But if these people were having two hour sex marathons every day, I’m guessing they were not the most employed people in the world. So we’re seeing both sides of the Nanny State at work here.
3) I have a solution to this problem: move these people to America. Here they will get all the free healthcare and subsidized housing the want, but with none of encroachment of judges. The worst that will happen is the occasional YouTube upload.
In fact, that should be our motto to encourage immigration: America. All of the welfare. None of the Asbos.
Update: In other British Sex News, an airport worker is in trouble for using one of the new scanning machines to take a gander at his busty co-worker’s assets. The abuse of these machines is something that I’m sure no one could have foreseen, of course.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Anger Out There
First things, first. Anyone urging Americans to smash windows, anyone screaming epithets or anyone making threats against Congess-critters who voted for healthcare can not be taken seriously and is not representative of the conservative movement.
Second, for the umpteenth time this month alone, these incidents represent the fringe of conservatism. 99.9% of the bill’s opponents are responding to this the way we always do—trying to vote the supporters out of office.
Of course, you already know what my next paragraph is about. Because we’ve been seeing the ensuing kabuki dance about once a month.
Once again, the Left is pretending that these incidents are unique to the Right Wing and entirely a product of the unprecedented hysteria and anger of the Right over the last year (e.g., Glenn Beck et al.). Money quote:
What sanctimonious claptrap.
First, trying to panic people has been a hallmark of the Left for as long as we’ve had a Left. And we don’t have to go very far back in time to find examples of it. All we have to do is look back as far as ... um ... the healthcare debate during which they claimed that defeating the healthcare bill would kill hundreds of thousands of people. That wasn’t some nut job tea party activist; that was Ezra fucking Klein. Every election I’ve ever witnessed has had Democrats claiming that Republicans are going to send women to back alleys for abortions, are going to end Medicare and, in one particularly vile incident, wanted black people dragged to death behind trucks. Is this less hysterical than “death panels”?
During the impeachment of President Clinton, numerous leftists described it as a “right wing coup”. Their hysteria was highlighted by this quote from Alec Baldwin
That’s not stoking fear, my friend. That’s a direct call to violence. And it was not the only one.
Second, the Left’s amnesia aside, this rhetoric has occasionally provoked violence or the threat of violence. Here is Eric Cantor talking about a bullet being fired through his window and threats being made. Left wing rhetoric turns every World Bank meeting into a city-wide riot. Hell, they couldn’t even let Bush leave town without shoeing him in effigy. I’m old enough to remember when hysteria about nuclear arms created such incidents as Norman Meyer threatening to blow up the Washington Monument.
Nor is violence in the wake of healthcare legislation unique. Or perhaps they’ve forgotten the image of seniors attacking Dan Rostenkowski’s car after the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act was passed.
Finally, Cantor is exactly right in the linked quote: the Democrats have constantly tried to take advantage of any Right Wing violence for political ends. When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah building, many on the Left tried to blame it on talk radio and anger over the Waco incident. Here is Media Matters blaming right wing rhetoric for the Kennedy Assassination. Every incident of violence over the last year—from the Austin airplane bomber to the Pittsburgh shootings—has been hijacked as an example of how evil Right Wing rhetoric is endangering the nation.
Spare your selective memory, guys. When controversial legislation passes—whether it’s right or wrong—people get angry. And when people get angry, a few nuts are going to behave badly. Stupid political violence and threats go back as far as stupid politics. And when one party is in power, that stupidity tends to come disproportionately from those with opposing political views.
Update: Richmond Police are disputing Cantor’s account, claiming the bullet was fired into the air and not into his office. The Left, of course, is pronouncing Cantor a liar for, if I read this correctly, not knowing what the preliminary police investigation was going to turn up before it was finished.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Daddy’s got a brand new toy.
Just to blow my horn a bit.
Within an hour, the decision will have been made. Having read quite a bit on the Hanks Skinner case, I have two thoughts:
1) It’s likely that Hank Skinner committed the triple murder he is about to be executed for.
2) But before Texas executes him, I think it behooves them to make absolutely fucking sure the DNA doesn’t exonerate him, especially in light of the recent revelations about the Cameron Todd Willingham case.
Update: SCOTUS has issued a stay.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/24/10 at 02:45 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Obamacare guarantees a single payer system
Now that Obamacare is the law of the land, and likely to stay so, we should have a look at what this means for everyone. Before you make the case that we can repeal this behemoth, understand this: to roll this back we will need a majority of people that are opposed to it - meaning republicans - in both the house and the senate. That means 60+ republicans in the senate and a majority in the house. Then we would need the house and the senate to agree on the bill in question to make it law and be bale to send it to the president. If this happens while Obama is president we will need 66-67 senators and 290 congress critters - that’s 2/3s out of a 100 member senate and a 435 member house for those wondering - to override the presidential veto. That’s the reality the democrats banked on, and why Biden dropped the f-bomb on national TV, the idiots that wanted blood when Cheney did it, are making excuses for Biden, the snooty left is talking about the end of the “American Empire” - they forgot to add their usual “Evil” prefix – and democrat John Dingell has no problem saying that Obamacare will allow them to eventually control the people. They think they have won. When republicans now also talk about fixing what’s wrong with Obamacare instead of repealing it, you can see why demcorats feel that way. This country has now made a permanent shift to the left, and the odds are there is no going back.
Considering the above, it should be obvious that reversing this disaster is statistically as likely to happen as Obama and the demcorats admitting they have screwed us, and screwed us hard. Not saying we shouldn’t try, but understand what the obstacles and chances are before we start this fight, so we do not fall short. And no, I am not trying to prevent or discourage people from pursuing the repeal of this monstrosity. We need to try, even if we fail. What I am doing is pointing out how stupid the people that let the demcorats gain this majority in the last election cycle, due to whatever reason, principled or not, were. They are the ones to blame for this disaster happening. How well did your “principles” serve you now? Elections have consequences, and this one hada doozy of a consequence. And the collectivists don’t think they are done yet. Thanks!
Back to my point about the end goal of Obamacare now that I got that little rant out of the way. The demcorats are banking that Obamacare is a done deal, and that it will politically be a big win for them, even if it costs them in the short run. And they are also banking on it leading to that single payer system they pretended to drop. Hear me out, here.
Obamacare basically imposes a tax or penalty on those that don’t buy healthcare. That tax currently is so low that it behooves practically everyone to pay it and avoid likely higher insurance premiums. After all, when you do get sick you can just go out and get insurance anyway. Insurance companies will find themselves with a gigantic pool of sick people. Considering that scenario where the only people buying insurance are the ones that need costly medical care and government is capping insurance costs, expect private insurance companies to go under, and do so very quickly. When that happens the collectivists in government will step in to save us! They will use this crisis opportunity, or as Rahm Emanuel pointed out, and take over the insurance business going under.
Now you could argue that the fix is to make the penalty bigger than the cost, but that’s not going to happen until they have their single payer system. Sooner than later government will be in charge of all insurance and thus control a single-payer system. Actually they won’t need a penalty because you won’t have a choice. You will pay whatever they want and suffer crappy government controlled and rationed healthcare, and learn to like it. We have traded freedom for the illusion of security, and as Ben Franklin long ago and eloquently pointed out, we will end with what we deserve: neither.
Posted by AlexinCT on 03/24/10 at 09:10 AM in Elections Election 2010 Health Care Left Wing Idiocy Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
The Morality of Choice
If I read this correctly, they were playing the classic game of Dictator. It works like this. A pile of money is available. The first player can decide how much of the money each player gets. He can divide it equally or he can take it all. Some players will regard it as found money and divide it up more or less equally. Others will take the entire pile. What these researchers found was that the players from small town America were the most “fair”, the most likely to simply divide the money up equally. Why is this?
I actually find more insight from the version of this game in which the second player can either accept the first player’s offer or decline it, making all the money vanish. It’s been found, repeatedly, that people will reject any offer that does not share a substantial amount of the prize. The interpretation of game theorists is that this is a moral enforcement mechanism—people punish the selfish even if it means hurting themselves so that society as a whole is better off.
To me, this gets at the heart of why I am such a free market supporter. It is moral and it is fundamentally egalitarian. In the free market, no one’s money if more valuable than anyone else’s. And the entire system is dependent on trust, cooperation and fairness. And it functions best when the government stays out of it except to enforce property rights and contracts. When the market has become unfair, the slime engine of government has usually been the culprit.
It’s no accident that the rise of the free market has corresponded with the most peaceful era in human history. It’s no accident that the “selfless” citizens socialized European countries give less to charity than the “greedy” citizens of the less socialized US. It’s no accident that the most economically restrictive political philosophies (mercantilism, fascism, communism) have historically been the most aggressive. In a free market, you have to respect others and you have to play by the rules. Otherwise, no one will do business with you and all you’ll have left is for the government to extract their money by force.
That’s not to say the market is perfect. Crooks and swindlers, like the poor, will always be with us. But it’s the best system we’ve got. P. J. O’Rouke’s closing chapter of Eat The Rich has an entire section on this, in which he argues that property rights and rule of law are the most basic constituents of a functioning economy and a functioning culture.
What we have had for the last decade in this country, what we have going on now, is a fundamentally immoral and un-egalitarian controlled market. In this economy, one person’s dollar is more valuable than another’s if they have enough political clout. If you engage in shady business practices, you get a bailout and a tax break. If you, for example, rescind someone’s insurance coverage, the government will force everyone to buy insurance from you. There are different sets of rules for different people (e.g., the exemption of Congressional staff from Obamacare). In the controlled economy, cooperation and respect for others isn’t important. It’s every man for himself. As long as you have someone in your pocket, you’re good.
This is good for politicians, who live for the donations and genuflection of their betters in the private sector. But it’s death on the America we love.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/24/10 at 09:07 AM in Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
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