Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Reform" not worth the cost.

"Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost, access and quality, and needs major reform. Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. Deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care.

In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care's dysfunctional delivery system. The system we have now promotes fragmented care and makes it more difficult than it should be to assess outcomes and patient satisfaction. The true costs of health care are disguised, competition based on price and quality are almost impossible, and patients lose their ability to be the ultimate judges of value." From "Health 'Debate' Deserves a Failing Grade" in today's WSJ.

My Perspective:

As I stated before, (located here: "The 307,471,666 Payer System: The Fallacy of the Single Payer system") the government caused the current mess we are in by fostering our current system that hides costs and creates a secondary market for insured care. Because most people have insurance, and their total combined purchasing power is lumped together, those without coverage find themselves in a market where the prices are ridiculously high, and they have now power to bring those prices down.

If people started to treat health insurance the same way they treat other areas of their lives that require insurance, like homeowners or car insurance, then we would see a drastic decline in the costs and prices of healthcare. The trick is not to insure everyone against everything no matter what (that is economically impossible), rather we should look for ways to increase people's individual purchasing power by creating tax-free health savings accounts and a laissez-faire insurance system. A system that offers differing levels of coverage, from bare bones catastrophic care to Cadillac "everything under the sun is covered" care. By doing that, and making it possible for insurance to be portable, we can see a return to stability and viability in the healthcare market.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obama Against Subsidies? Not really.

"During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Jake Tapper today, President Obama said that penalties are appropriate for people who try to “free ride” the health care system but stopped short of endorsing the threat of jail time for those who refuse to pay a fine for not having insurance.

“What I think is appropriate is that in the same way that everybody has to get auto insurance and if you don't, you're subject to some penalty, that in this situation, if you have the ability to buy insurance, it's affordable and you choose not to do so, forcing you and me and everybody else to subsidize you, you know, there's a thousand dollar hidden tax that families all across America are -- are burdened by because of the fact that people don't have health insurance, you know, there's nothing wrong with a penalty.”From Sunlen Miller's article "Interview with the President" ABC News.

My Perspective:

President Obama seems to think that free riders are a problem now. He casts subsidizing others as a bad thing, but only when it's done outside of the government's purview. Obama has no problem with "spreading the wealth around," or taxing the rich to give to the poor. He has stated his support for this time and time again. Yet, he claims that if you don't buy health insurance and get sick, then you are being subsidized by everyone else. How is that any different than the rest of us subsidizing any government program? Heck, the healthcare bill is full of subsidization and taxes meant to take from some and give to others. The only real differences are that with the government healthcare bill, government gets to decide who gets what and how much, and government also gets to take credit for providing these subsidies. This gives the government an instant voting base. As I have said before, those who are supported by government go along with whatever government says, because they won't bite the hand that feeds them.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brilliant piece on why Gov. care will destroy the industry

"Martin Feldstein explains a fatal flaw of Obamacare in the Washington Post: It will be rational for individuals and companies to drop their current health insurance, pay the penalties, and wait to purchase insurance when they get sick:

A key feature of the House and Senate health bills would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions. The new coverage would start immediately, and the premium could not reflect the individual's health condition.

Consider: 27 million people are covered by health insurance purchased directly, i.e. outside employer-based plans. The average cost of an insurance policy with family coverage in 2009 is $13,375. A married couple with a median family income of $75,000 who choose not to insure would be subject to a fine of 2.5 percent of that $75,000, or $1,875. So the family would save a net $11,500 by not insuring. If a serious illness occurs--a chronic condition or a condition that requires surgery--they could then buy insurance. Since fewer than one family in four has annual health-care costs that exceed $10,000, the decision to drop coverage looks like a good bet. For a lower-income family, the fine is smaller, and the incentive to be uninsured is even greater."

My Perspective:

Not much to say about this. Just click the link and read the entire thing. Can anyone really believe that government run insurance will help anyone? It relies on fixing markets and force. If you don't want insurance it will cost you (which is immoral). Yet, taking the fine will in many cases, especially for the poor, be cheaper than obtaining insurance and paying for it in advance. This will cause insurance companies to have barely any money coming in (mostly from the rich and tax payers) and a lot going out (mostly to the poor). It is another redistribution of wealth scheme. This is why government can neither fix economies nor actually try to.

Canada...Here we come!

From the AP:

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

"It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans. It offers everyone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will have access to affordable health care when they need it," said Rep. John Dingell

My Perspective:

I'm just gonna get down to it. short and sweet, although expect a bitter taste when you're done reading.

Rep. John Dingell claims that this bill, a bill that will cost over $1 Trillion dollars, will provide coverage for 96 percent of Americans. I must admit, at least he is honest in saying that it won't cover 100% of the population; however, I wonder how that is possible since the Democrats state that, "practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history...[government will] provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it...[and] both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government's mandates." If insurers can't deny coverage and Americans are mandated to get coverage, or risk being fined, or worse, how is it that not 100% of the population will get healthcare?

Aside from that, the total number of Americans who unwillingly don't have coverage now is less than 7 percent. So, Dingell is saying that the American people, most of who will already be paying for their insurance already, will be footing a trillion dollar bill all to give around 3% more people health coverage? seems like government math to me.

but besides the money, there are other things that should worry us all...

"Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history. In a further slap, the industry would lose its exemption from federal antitrust restrictions on price gouging, bid rigging and market allocation."

This is basically the "Community Reinvestment Act" of healthcare. The government is telling the insurance agencies to disregard all market tools for reducing risk, forcing the companies to take on more risk, under threat from the government, and giving it all a government "safety net." Hmm, sounds a lot like the plan for affordable housing...And we all know how that worked out. I would expect the same results from this plan. Only this time it will be a healthcare crisis, which is far worse than a housing one. In the housing crisis, if you made a bad decision, you could sell your house or at least have the opportunity to buy a new one. The same cannot be said for your body.

One last point. Where is the bi-partisanship?

funny how our fearless leader, who promised to bring change, has once again stuck to the old way of doing things. The only place where there was bi-partisanship in this bill was in those who voted to oppose it. Only 1 republican, a RINO for sure, voted for the bill. However, 179 Republicans and 39 Democrats voted together against the bill. I guess bi-partisanship is only a good thing when they vote your way.

"The bill drew the votes of 219 Democrats and Rep. Joseph Cao, a first-term Republican who holds an overwhelmingly Democratic seat in New Orleans. Opposed were 176 Republicans and 39 Democrats."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember Remember the 5th of November!

Today was one of those red letter days. I was surfing the net and stumbled across an essay reviewing the movie "V for Vendetta" and comparing it to Hobbes' view of politics. I wasn't looking for anything "V" related, and quite honestly this movie flew under my radar for quite some time. Later, in a political science class, I handed the essay to a friend of mine and suggested that he read it. Not 3 minutes later, another classmate, one who had no idea about the essay, declared that it was Guy Fawkes day. I almost jumped out of my chair. It had only been a half hour since I read the "V" essay, and it was in that paper that I actually learned who Guy Fawkes was and the significance of today's date, November 5th.

I decided then that I had to watch "V for Vendetta" that day, and I just finished it a little while ago. I must say that it is now one of my most favorite movies, and I plan on watching it every November 5th. I would love to write on the movie but to be honest I can't focus enough right now because my mind is still racing over the story line of the film and all its philosophical subtleties -- I'd be here all night trying to get all of my thoughts down and coherent. My only recommendation is to see the movie if you haven't, and if you have watch it again.

"Remember, remember the 5th of November. The gunpowder, treason, and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."


"Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story (Overture). After a $57K per theatre average on 4 screens last weekend, the picture broke to a wider 962 locations with terrible results. The “documentary” only sold an estimated $1.3M in tickets to start the weekend, and it will finish at about $3.9M for a PTA of less than $4,000."
Pulled this off of the Left Coast Rebel

My Perspective:

I find it interesting that Michael Moore abhors capitalism -- or should I say "capitalism," for what he is really protesting is Cronyism -- considering until his last film it was serving him quite well. More on Cronyism later.

In a hilarious twist of irony Moore's attempt to show how capitalism has failed everyone, including himself, has actually caused him to fail in capitalism. See, capitalism does not fail people, people fail capitalism. Sure there are people who have bad luck, but that is not an attack on the system of capitalism at all, for people have bad luck regardless of political or financial policy. decrying bad luck is simply decrying a fact of life. If you plan your wedding for a time of year that is supposed to be warm and dry, yet the weather is cold and wet on the day you tie the knot, then who is to I guess you are the one that picked that day, but you could not have known the weather that far in advance so the blame falls on no one. It is simply the cause of nature and that is reality.

When Moore says that capitalism has failed him in his life he is outrightly lying (which he seems very good at doing, I mean it has earned him millions of dollars). It is simply not true. Moore has reaped the benefits of capitalism his entire life. Yes, even before his movies made him filthy rich. How? well quite simply, Moore, like all people who live in a capitalist society, get to where they are by way of capitalism. When Moore was a child and needed food (albeit more than the average kid) he was able to do so by way of the capitalist system. When he decided to buy a car to get to work he did it by way of the capitalist system. He worked a job, saved some money, went to the car dealer who sells cars made by men in machine shops, who make cars out of materials made elsewhere by other people all who get paid for their labors so that they can better their lives by earning wealth. This is the capitalist system. Capitalism sets prices, wages, and provides people with products and services that better their lives; yet, it does it all without force.

Seeing as capitalism is a system that emphasizes freedom, it only makes sense that capitalism is good for all. If participating in a capitalist system did not better people's lives then no one would choose to participate. If Moore really hates capitalism then he should not be making movies, he should not be buying any products. He should live on a farm on which he grows just enough food for his own consumption. No profit Michael!! (although he may need a bigger farm than the average individual). By simply participating in the capitalist system, he is validating it.

I wonder how he makes his movies. I would imagine he buys cameras and lighting, hires employees, and uses all forms of computer technology. Would that exist without capitalism? Could people like Moore even exist in a non-capitalistic world? The answer is plainly no. Without capitalism, which is simply the distribution of wealth across people whom freely decide where to distribute it according to their best interests, the modern world could not exist.

Back to Moore and the poetic justice of capitalism...

Since Moore created something that people did not want, and since they were free to choose how they wish to spend their money, very few people bought his product. I find it hilarious that in his attempt to disprove capitalism, Moore disproved himself. Not only did Moore use capitalism to make his film, but the movie which was supposed to be the fall from legitimacy for capitalism turned out to be the fall from legitimacy for Moore. Was the movie a success? I think so, but not the one that Moore had hoped for.

Now, to get back to Cronyism:

In short, Cronyism is when companies/special interests use government to obtain a desired result that benefits themselves, usually at the expense of others. This is an area that Moore and I agree on, although Moore thinks it is a problem solved not by less government but by more government. Of course one run by the people he likes. Cronyism is a direct effect not of business or capitalism, but of government. It relies on the use of force, and business cannot do that on its own. It requires government.

Moore would have you believe that Wall Street greed caused the financial mess and now they are taking our money to pad their bank accounts. The truth is, this entire crisis was caused primarily by the power hungry actions of government who thought they could make the world a perfect place all while using their generosity to stay in power. They make political decisions to gain power and then political decision to stay in power, and when their imaginary wonderland they promised conflicts with reality, they must change reality or they risk losing their power. It is no different than middle school government when the popular kid promised the students new vending machines, no homework, and to reinstate recess. These people flock to them because they want those things, but they rarely stop to think if its even possible to have everything you want. The world is not perfect, and we should stop trying to make it so.

There will always be death, There will always be homework, and the poor we will always have with us, but there is one system that can and has made life better for all and that is capitalism. It seems as though there is a choice being posed by Moore: Capitalism or Government? Government is power, and power corrupts. The more government, the more corruption. However, Businessmen cannot control people without the arm of government to force people in their decision making. So the choice remains: Capitalism or Government? Liberty or tyranny?

Just keep in mind: Without government there is no corruption, but without capitalism there is nothing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The mistaken view of Walmart

This is off of Carpe Diem

My Perspective:

Not only can Walmart offer a decent Thanksgiving dinner for around $20, but it provides everyone, especially the middle and lower classes with affordable options to maintain today's standard of living. It boggles my mind when people complain about Walmart putting other people out of business. These people are essentially saying that they don't like Walmart, because they are too good at what they do. They claim that since Walmart gives such high value at such low prices, they are pushing other small local stores out of business. Okay? and the problem is? the only people that should complain about that are the local store owners, yet it is everyone, and they are all suckers. The local shop owners are trying to keep Walmart out so that they can keep charging higher prices. Not that they are price gouging (although that can take place), but rather they are trying to save their own livelihood at the expense of everyone else's. Seems pretty selfish and arrogant to me.

Why should we punish businesses that produce services and products better than anyone and make it possible for all to share in a high-end lifestyle? It is business, especially good business (Walmart) that creates wealth and lower prices so that we can spread our wealth around more to other business. This enriches us more with material goods and it enriches those who sell the products. Capitalism is the most efficient and ethical form of redistribution. anything that a government does is not based on the best interests of you or I. Government redistributes wealth to the areas that will bring them the most return and that is measured in another currency: Votes. Politicians dole out money to special interests and to the people that will be most effected by it, the poor. That is why the liberals are always trying to appear compassionate, but it is a lie. True compassion is first voluntary and then it does no harm. True compassion can not be evil by its nature, and yet the compassion claimed by the left is only achievable through coercion, which is evil.

True compassion is when someone aids another in getting through a rough patch. It is returning them to freedom, not dependence. It is taking the time to teach someone to fish, not just giving them one everyday which makes them reliant and obedient, for they will not bite the hand that feeds them.

Vegetarians are causing global warming!

Glenn Beck clip Here

My Perspective:

When Al Gore says he thinks including meat in our diets causes more global warming and then does not become a vegetarian he is indeed a hypocrite. Although he touts vegetarianism as a healthy lifestyle that will help the earth too, because it does not release the methane gas that cows and other livestock do, he neglects to mention the amount of CO2 is emitted by organic substances.

Since CO2 is the main problem, according to Gore, shouldn't we be curtailing the amount of the fruit and vegetables we eat? I mean, considering the fact that of all the CO2 in the atmosphere 95% is naturally occurring. We have no part in that, except when we grow massive amounts of food. When these things die and decay they release more CO2 then what humans create in all of their activities.

So, I think vegetarianism will be the next thing to get banned...I mean, who needs food right? and who needs oil or natural gas? seriously. I think we are all taking this whole government control thing the wrong way. Of course they know what's best for each and every one of us at all moments of the day. Sounds like God to me? They would have to be all intrusive. Government will have to be able to know all and see all. But hey, who cares right?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Don't need to say much for this.

"Brown: Do you think Fox News is biased?

Jarrett: Of course they’re biased. (laughs)

Brown: Well, do you also think MSNBC is biased?

Jarrett: Well, you know what? This is…this is the thing. I don’t want to generalize and say Fox is biased or another station is biased. I think what we want to do is to look at it on a case-by-case basis. And when we see a pattern of distorition, were going to be honest about that pattern of distortion.

Brown: But you only see that at Fox News. That’s all that you’ve spoken out about.

Jarrett: That’s actually not true."

My Perspective:


Stay Out of My Life

"The truth is that it is not necessarily unsafe to text behind the wheel. It all depends on the situation. If you are in a traffic jam, and are late to an appointment, the ability to text can be a lifesaver. Or if there are no cars around, you might be able to risk it. On the other hand, it would probably be a mistake to attempt this doing 80 mph around slower traffic on a freeway.

How can we know the difference between when it is safe and when it is not? The principle applied on American roads is that the driver himself makes that decision. If this principle didn't make sense, there would be no way that the roads themselves could work at all.

What's remarkable is not that there are so many wrecks. The miracle is that it works at all and that, for the most part, people get to where they are going. And consider too the demographic behind the car: old, young, abled, disabled, experienced, inexperienced. Some people have a facility for driving and others do not. Some people have spatial agility and others do not."Think of this the next time you are in a big city zooming around curves and between lanes along with thousands of others, doing top speeds. Here we have 4,000-pound hunks of steel barreling down the road without aids other than a dotted yellow line on the road. These are real-life death machines in which one wrong move could cause a 100-car pileup and mass death. We do it anyway." From the Mises Institute "A Penchant for Controlling Others."

Hate Crime = Thought Crime

"Now, I'm no fan of hate. Hate, in all forms, is ugly, even when performed by beautiful people (that's a shout out to Stephanie Von Pratt, who turned me down for my senior prom). But here's what I don't get: if I kill someone, I'm a killer. But hate crime law says that I also broke a new law - one that has to do with my thoughts when I committed the crime. So it's a thought crime more than a hate crime."

My Perspective:
I think Greg hits the nail on the head here by saying that hate crimes are additional crimes, ones centered on thoughts, not actions. I think this is a horrible thing for government to do since that is obviously an infringement of the 1st amendment, which gives us freedom of speech, and to speak one must first think. Without the freedom of thought there is no free speech. I would argue that since hate crimes are separate crimes, dealing both with what the person was thinking at the time and doing, instead of just what the person was doing. For that reason, I do not believe that hate crimes are constitutional at all, and all sentences that have been extended due to hate crimes should not be legal.

The way a free society functions requires the most basic freedom of thought. There are many cases already that have stricken down laws that infringe on speech and thought. Yet these hate crimes still remain. It is if the law is circumventing itself by punishing people for their thoughts after the fact. It must do this because to outright ban hate thought would be an obvious infringement of the 1st amendment.

The 1st amendment was created to protect our ability to think and speak freely. Once the government can start to curtail that freedom it is only a matter of time until they can control it. If they could outrightly ban hate speech then that would de facto give them the ability to decide what is and is not hate speech. Of course they wouldn't use congress to decide this, that is too easily stopped by the American people. Instead they will create a regulatory agency or use one that already exists (FCC and the Fairness Doctrine anyone?) This will make it nearly impossible to stop once it is regulatory policy. For a government to outlaw hate speech, they must first be implicitly given the power to define speech, and once that occurs, government can control speech by making anything it doesn't like defined as "hate speech."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Obama Puts the Lie to His Own Policies

"Michelle Obama explained her husband understands the struggles of low-income families.

"He understands them because he was raised by strong women. He is the product of two great women in his life. His mother and his grandmother," she said.

"Barack saw his mother, who was very young and very single when she had him, and he saw her work hard to complete her education and try to raise he and his sister," Michelle Obama said."

From World Net Daily. Read the whole story here.

My perspective:

I am not big into the birther movement. I think there are definite questions that need be answered and legitimate claims concerning discrepancies. It does make one wonder why else would a man spend over a million dollars of his own money to keep this out of the courts, when he could easily put it to rest by just showing his full birth certificate.

However, the point I find the most interesting here is Obama's childhood. It seems like he had it hard. A broken family with not much of a father figure. They were poor, moved around a lot and a minority. Although he had all of these things going against him, he not only managed to go to a great law school, but he also became a successful lawyer, statesman, and now the President of the United States.

When he was a child, there were no where near as many public programs to help him from his "situation" (it's called life). Yet, Obama worked hard and made good choices along the way. He made it through almost every difficulty and came out on top. This begs the question: do we need those programs that are now offered to help others in his same "situations," or would our country and the struggling be better off without them?

I find it interesting that a lot of timeless individuals were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths. I always like to use Abe Lincoln as an example. This man was dirt poor, learned to read himself by candle light, had very little formal education, and had disabilities. Yet, Lincoln was able to become a lawyer, statesman, and president just like Obama. There were no programs to help Lincoln do what he did. He worked hard and was rewarded for it.

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