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The Public Option


 

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"And the public plan would not be subsidized by the government..." - The moment my jaw hit the floor.

I admit that, as a Scot, I found your healthcare debate hard to follow, but are you seriously telling me that this emaciated piece of shit which doesn't involve ANY government funding is the thing meeting with 'death panel' 'communist tyranny' 'liberal fascism' outcries from the wingnuts?

Unbelievable. Over here, this kind of scheme would be considered so right wing the Tories wouldn't even touch it. You really need to fix your education system.

The educational system is only one piece of the puzzle. Nearly all the US media is corporate controlled. Rupert Murdoch has massive penetration and most of the rest of the media is competing for the same knuckle-dragging morons.

It is stunning what Americans will put up with. People who have health insurance live with the anxiety that their claims will be capriciously denied and they pay more than anyone else in the world for the privilege! Right wing media and politicians successfully deflect the issue will horseshit liek the things you mentioned but also by stoking the most ridiiculous resentments: the biggest fear of right-wing Americans is that somewhere somewhere someone is going to get away with being a freeloader. The right just keeps strumming that emotion and it just keeps on working for them.

Duncan, why do you have to believe them when they say the plan won't be subsidized or supported by the government. If that is really so, why call it the 'public option'. If such a business model is viable, why would a private firm not seize it first? No, just like Fannie and Freddie, it is merely a conduit to channel tax payers money. If it does not work, the government will bail them out. They have no incentive to do a good job. Only to do things politically correct. The people opposing this are not as nutty as you think.

This is good, but it's a bit disingenuous I think to display the lobbying money from pharmaceuticals at the moment this video does, seeing as how some of that money is going to support this very plan, in exchange for the government promising not to use its bargaining power for lower drug prices.

Robert Reich knows this, seeing as how he wrote an article criticizing this very fact:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/08/10/pharma/index.html

seeing as how he wrote an article criticizing this very fact

It's hardly disingenuous if he points that out himself elsewhere. It's just beyond the scope of this particular video, and I am glad he kept things simple and straightforward, without going off on any tangents.

He says, "There are powerful groups with a huge self interest in seeing this reform fail. They are: drug companies..." and then later says "They want to scare you, and they have plenty of money...to do their dirty work."

Anyone who has not already heard of the pharmaceutical bargain with the White House would conclude from this that the plan being proposed takes on the powerful interests of the drug companies (and that by implication it would mean lower drug prices). This is just not the case. Whether Reich has been honest elsewhere is irrelevant.

I think you are making too many assumptions. He says who is fighting against this bill. I don't think anything says the Public Option is going to take on Big Pharma (and, yes, Obama's deal with them is hugely disappointing) any more than it is taking on the insurance companies and the politicians and right wingers that are fighting against it.

I can't believe anyone is arguing this point. I will quote him again. He says in the video:

"There are powerful groups with a huge self interest in seeing this reform fail. They are: drug companies..."

He says in slate that because of the agreement with the drug companies:

"...any healthcare legislation will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices. That's basically the same deal George W. Bush struck in getting the Medicare drug benefit, and it's proven a bonanza for the drug industry. A continuation will be an even larger bonanza."

There is a contradiction between reaping a 'bonanza' from legislation, and having a self-interest in seeing it fail.

I am not denying that insurance companies have in their self interest to see this bill fail still, or that the bill -- even polluted by the deal with big pharmacy -- would be a positive thing.

I know what you're saying but I'm just not sure some of the assumptions you have said should be made from what is in this video.
Did the deal Obama made with Big Pharma have to do with the public option? No one has been sure whether Obama is even going to offer the public option, right? (Or am I confused in that?) so Big Pharma might be supporting healthcare reform without the public option. No one knows whether the deal Obama made extends past Medicare (do they? Maybe they do and I'm missing it.) Perhaps it doesn't include a government run Public Option in which case Big Pharma may not be for it.
Maybe I'm missing something - maybe Big Pharma is for the public option because they are guaranteed tons of money off it (but, if prices start being more competitive, then won't insurance companies start squeezing pharmaceutical companies to charge less as a way of bringing their costs down - and they don't have a deal with them?) I don't know. Maybe he should have explained it in this film. Maybe he should've just left them out as a strong lobbying group with an interest in not seeing this succeed. I just am not making the assumptions you are based on this video and their deal with Obama.

The assumptions may not come from the video, but we do have to deal with PhRMA. See my link in the reply to anon above.

He said, the public plan will not be subsidized by the government or have the government set the rules for anyone. If the public option is not the best, they lose. I have difficulty believing that. After all did the government not just take over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, instead of letting them lose? And why would the existing insurance firms not have the scale or authority to negotiate better prices? Because it is an over-regulated industry, the government is setting the rules for everyone and the insurance companies figure out, as long as they are setting rules, why not make sure they are set so that we can benefit.

Here is the twisted approach in this whole thing. We know that rich people use their money to buy up people in the government, so let us give government more power and more control over our lives. Does anyone else besides me see that as a problem?

How does this sound instead? We know rich people use their money to buy the government, so let us work to limit or eliminate the government, so that rich people can only remain rich by serving our interests well. Any Takers?

And why would the existing insurance firms not have the scale or authority to negotiate better prices?

The point is, they aren't providing better prices. America is getting ripped off. As has been said over and over: the fact is, America is paying 3 times as much, but getting mediocre-at-best healthcare in return, not to mention the 50 million uninsured.

so let us work to limit or eliminate the government

You're saying, it's broken, let's not bother fixing it, let's get rid of it. (I assume you're speaking generally now, since the government is basically not even involved in the broken healthcare system yet, so you can't make any assertions as to its effectiveness. Other countries seem to be doing okay with government-run healthcare though...)

so that rich people can only remain rich by serving our interests well

You're saying, the market works great, let's make it the be-all and end-all.

Any Takers?

No. Which would also be my answer if someone said "the market is broken, let's get rid of it", and "the government works great, let's make it run everything".

Goverments and markets work differently, but pivot around the same principle: They will provide whatever people are able/willing to demand, but in turn they will also screw over people who still end up paying/voting for something that is bullshit. (But people can be coerced into paying or voting for bullshit; for example, via monopolies or FPTP systems.) The government and the market, as currently implemented in today's socioeconomic systems, both have different strengths and weaknesses.

In the case of healthcare, people voted for Obama's plan, because there was nobody they could pay a fair price to provide what they wanted.

I assume you're speaking generally now, since the government is basically not even involved in the broken healthcare system yet

That is not true at all. When it comes to doctors an out of control malpractice regime instituted by the government has raised prices. When it comes to drugs, un-necessary costly procedures have delayed the arrival of life saving drugs into the market. When it comes to insurance, the government treats it as if it is a mechanism for wealth redistribution. It is not, insurance is for pooling risks. Government is involved in every aspect of health care. They are responsible for the mess that they claim they can fix. People voted for Obama plan because they bought into a stupid idea, the idea that government can solve their problems, when in fact governments created the problem to begin with. These are the same people who believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when the government told them. Do not forget that. The markets could not provide a fair price, because they where prevented to by the government.

The market is not an institute that was mandated, which you can get rid off by a mandate. They tried it in the USSR but couldn't. It is an emergent phenomenon from people trying to improve their lives. Take prisons for instance which have an economy with cigarettes as the currency. There was no prison Czar that declared it to be so. No one got together and decided things to be that way. Where ever human beings congregate, markets will emerge. To get rid of them you have to get rid of people. Governments on the other hand are not emergent, they are mandated. If you refrain from passing the mandate, you can refrain from having a government.

As for government run healthcare the world over. I realize it seems better superficially. But you must recognize that they have prices from the US to rely upon while making their decisions. Also they do not have the layers of regulation found within the American system. Layers of regulation added by state and central governments in their attempts to please certain political interests groups. You seem to think that the solution to problems caused by regulation is more regulation. That is like saying that the solution to withdrawal symptoms from drug abuse is to continue taking drugs.

Wow. I am going to have a hard time not being sarcastic here.

It is an emergent phenomenon from people trying to improve their lives.

This statement applies to all social phenomena in modern industrialized countries, and you'd have to execute some very impressive rhetorical gymnastics in order to make it not apply to democratic governments. (Oh no! But they are "mandated" somehow! Um, mandated by whom, and to what end?)

You seem to think that the solution to problems caused by regulation is more regulation.

It sounds like you are going by some vast amount of research that attributes a huge majority of the problems in American healthcare to government regulations! Which is funny, because I haven't seen any amount of research indicating that at all. Kindly point me towards it! I must be missing out on some truly huge repositories of information, given the certitude of your (currently completely unsupported) assertions! I am sure you must have a huge list of sources... why not start with the first half dozen from the most prominent and respected organizations!

You are right, I have not quoted sources. There are too many to quote. In any case, it is a well known fact that regulations have raised the prices of drugs and consulting fees for doctors. It is happening in insurance too. I can give you a link, but I do not expect you to listen to it, your sense of judgement is too clouded by your emotions:

http://mises.org/MultiMedia/mp3/MU2009/MU2009Hoppe207-29-2009.mp3

You would probably jump from the frying pan into the fire.

There are too many to quote.

Uh huh.

it is a well known fact that regulations have raised the prices of drugs

First of all, drug companies in other countries face similar or even more stringent regulations and yet their prices are cheaper than their counterparts in the USA. Secondly, add the word "significantly" and your statement becomes even more false (and without that word, the statement is rather irrevelant).

I can give you a link

A single (broken) link to an MP3, at a domain registered to a "libertarian academic organization" from Alabama that I am sure very few people regard as a neutral source of rigorously verified facts (if they have even heard of that organization).

You would be hard pressed to present me with something more underwhelming.

your sense of judgement is too clouded by your emotion

I wasn't being emotional, I was being emphatic - using rhetorical devices to emphasize the glaring logical flaws in your arguments. If you found that condescending, there is no reason to try and escalate things by being deliberately condescending yourself.

First of all, drug companies in other countries face similar or even more stringent regulations and yet their prices are cheaper than their counterparts in the USA.

Have you considered the fact that when drug companies sell cheap drugs to foreign governments, they recoup their losses by selling the same more expensively to Americans? But they cannot do that if Americans can freely buy drugs from abroad.

Why don't you lobby to remove regulations that prevent Americans from buying them. It is competition that improves quality and brings down prices.

If you insist on regulations to make rich people poor, eventually everyone is going to end up poor? If you remove regulations that keep rich people rich, then the only way they can remain rich is by working for you. They win only if you win.

As for neutrality of the source. I do not care for neutrality, I care for the truth. I do not think it is possible to be neutral in most issues anyway. But it is possible to be fair.

Now let me try to give you the link once more

http://mises.org/MultiMedia/mp3/MU2009/MU2009Hoppe207-29-2009.mp3

and a second one:

http://mises.org/story/3643

I know it is not broken because I tried it. You may have to copy paste the whole thing though.

I do not care for neutrality, I care for the truth. I do not think it is possible to be neutral in most issues anyway. But it is possible to be fair.

Semantic frivolity, empty rhetoric. You are avoiding the actual question.

Please try and justify the fact that most libertarian think-tanks are fringe organizations that aren't considered valid sources by most economists, without resorting to ideological petitio principii or conspiracy theories.

Sorry, I meant "Please try and explain the fact"

Oops, my reply ended up getting posted to the bottom.

Democratic governments are mandated. You must realize of course that historically democracies did not arise through an election. They rose undemocratically and later where ratified by the people through referendum or indirectly by their elected representatives. Democratic states are mandated by the people who founded the democratic state.

But you must recognize that they have prices from the US to rely upon while making their decisions.

That's right, every other wealthy country wouldn't be able to have any healthcare systems at all without the USA. Poor USA, it has the weight of the world on its shoulders.

Are you for real?

I am willing to stand by what I said.

Maybe Robert Reich is being quoted out of context here, although I do not think he is. Those of you who are impressed by that video ought to watch this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duQDVTczGbA

All he says is he doesn't think these jobs should simply (as in only; exclusively; entirely) go to the highly-skilled or the white construction workers. That there are others in need, too...minorities, women, etc. How shocking is that?

And, what is this doing here anyway?

Yes, it is a bit inconvenient is it not. I am questioning the judgement of a man you approve off. Basically he is telling to overlook skill as a criteria for employment and focus on ethnicity. Whites are to be avoided, minorities and women are to be considered. That is not shocking to you? Discriminating on gender basis is sexism, discriminating on ethnicity is racism. Do I have to spell it out?

read the comments on that YoutTube post... they slam on Jews, Mexicans.. you name it.

And when you are taking tax payer money and spending it on taxpayers (stimulus), I think all taxpayers deserve to be represented.

Say, how about having the tax payers represented in proportion to the taxes they pay? How would you like that idea?

How would you like that idea?

I think that is hilarious!

read the comments on that YoutTube post... they slam on Jews, Mexicans.. you name it.

And when you are taking tax payer money and spending it on taxpayers (stimulus), I think all taxpayers deserve to be represented.

I certainly do like Robert Reich. Smart, smart man. You are misinterpreting what he said completely. He is saying he would like to spread the opportunities around. He said there are other people with needs as well. Your interpretation seems to come from Lou Dobbs and the guy who posted the video (who can't spell, knows nothing about history and seems to really enjoy Bachmann and all the other right wingnuts.)

Second, "inconvenient?" Hmm...not the word I would use. Putting the video here means you aren't trying to talk about the message - you are trying to discredit the messenger. Gee, yeah, you're very right. He's no Lou Dobbs.

And, as far as your call to give Bill Gates the majority of the stimulus money - that's truly brilliant - he's obviously been held back by his lack of funds. You know, isn't it too bad it turns out the nation needs more than the richest 1% to survive (and when they blow it, it turns out their not to proud to come to their poor relatives for a loan - whoda thunk it?).

I put the video here because I wanted to focus on the sanity of the messenger as well. Despite appearances, his is a dangerous message. But I have spend more time discussing the message than the messenger. This person thinks that a person’s gender and ethnic background should take priority over a person’s skill. That is judging a person by the way they where born rather than the content of their character. It is a shameful stand to take and it needs to be criticized. And the fact that you support it, is shameful too.

I floated the idea of tax payers represented in proportion to the taxes they pay. That is in spirit with the all American idea of taxation with representation, although this is a variation to it – representation with taxation. Bill Gates won’t be the most well off in that case, because despite the high dollar amount, he pays a lower proportion of his income as tax. People who pay a higher proportion of income as taxes are the middle class. They work hard and do not rely on government handouts, in fact they fund the government. The burden of all these bailouts will fall mostly on them. So yes, how about having the tax payers represented in proportion to the taxes they pay? How about those people whose money is being spend have a say in how it is being spend.

I think if you listen to him you'll hear that's NOT what he's saying. He was saying that stimulus projects should be looked at over a wider context than simply construction projects which are generally staffed by white males. He CLEARLY said that the money should be spent in a variety of ways so as to not just benefit one segment of society based on they way they were born (white males).

What's unreasonable about saying there are many ways stimulus can be spent to benefit the ENTIRE populous, or better explain to me whats reasonable about saying the opposite - as you seem to think he should have?

You cannot think of anything wrong by redistributing wealth along ethnic lines? Ok.

Back to Duncan - "unbelievable"!

I am Soooo gladI live with a National Health Service that does the job - most of the time.

I was discussing the US situation with a friend (Roy) the other day and he sent me a message which I would like to quote:

Two stories you might like to share with your GOP relations, told me recently, en passant, about the NHS.

(1) Roy to local butcher: "On holiday last week?" LB: "No, keyhole surgery for a kidney stone. Hospital/operation Thursday, discharged Friday, back at work on Monday. And they moan about the NHS."

(2) Retired headmaster/friend: "I got pains in my chest, about six in the evening. The surgery's only 200 yards away but I drove down to see if I might catch the GP. He gave me a series of tests and said he couldn't find anything, so I thanked him and made to leave. 'No,' he said, 'I want you to go to the hospital'. 'Fine, I've got the car outside.' 'No, you're not driving, I'll take you there'. We arrived about 7.00. At the hospital, more tests. Nothing. I make to leave. 'Oh no, you must stay here overnight. We have to wait twelve hours to get the results.' At 0730, the results arrive. 'All well. You can go home now. Let your GP have another look at you in a couple of days. And they moan about'..."

I wonder if Fox news would be interested in these stories? I'm almost sure they would.

I see we've attracted another nut. If he were older he'd be quoting "None Dare Call it Treason".

And if he were younger he'd be quoting Ayn Rand. Unless he just hasn't got round to it yet.

I think Outliers: The Story of Success should be required reading for all Libertarians.

I have read Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I did not agree with all he said, but over all it had a positive message. What is your point?

http://mises.org/story/3643

There is not a single cold hard fact on this page. It just mirrors your existing assertions without backing them up. Where are the citations?

I was already aware of what your position was. If your position on the universe was that it was run by a supernatural creator (as opposed to being describable by testable scientific theories), linking me to the Vatican's website would not count as a source of facts and evidence.

Give me the cold hard facts, the evidence, the results of real-world experiments, the numbers, that you are using to reach your conclusions. If your conclusions are correct, I will reach them on my own after seeing your evidence.

But so far the great number of facts and evidence I have seen, do not lead one to your world view at all.

Look man, I am dealing with the same cold hard facts that you are. Just deriving different conclusions from it because you use a flawed sense of reasoning. Economics does not rely on empirical evidence, but proper logical deductions through pure reasoning.

If I say that a ball cannot be red and green all over at the same time, will you ask for evidence about that too?

Try to answer this question to me first. What is insurance? Or rather, what is the principle behind insurance? Because I will not know if I am addressing you properly unless I know what your understanding of insurance is.

Just deriving different conclusions from it because you use a flawed sense of reasoning.

It must be hard to be such a master of reason and logic while idiots like Paul Krugman win Nobel Prizes. Don't worry, I am sure someday your genius will be recognized.

What is insurance? Or rather, what is the principle behind insurance?

As much as I would love to explore this tangent with you, I shall decline. Thanks anyways.

Yes your reasoning is definitely flawed. The problem with insurance is the core of the issue and you call it a tangent.

As for Paul Krugman being an idiot with a Nobel Prize, I concur. Tell me are the people in the Nobel committee gods that their endorsement carried weight with you?

Richard Feynman won a Nobel prize too, yet he hated the idea. Now I do not think of Feynman as a god, but I suppose he is one person we both respect. So I quote it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f61KMw5zVhg

Feynman's reason was that he thought they were smug, not that they were idiots. Not by a long shot. And it's right there in the title, he just didn't like "honors", he didn't say the Nobels were not honorable.

He does not seem to understand why he his work suddenly becomes so important just because a few people in a Swedish Academy says it is. As if, if they do not say that, it is of no worth. That is a good point. Those people are human just like him and fallible. It is not wise to be too dependent on their competence.

Economics does not rely on empirical evidence, but proper logical deductions through pure reasoning.

That's a stunning position to take. After I listened to the clip you posted for Herr Hans-Hermann Hoppe, I was amazed that anyone who talks about reason as much as you do could really swallow the swill he was dishing out - now I understand.

You know, the creationists where made to look like idiots because they criticized without understanding what they where criticizing. And when they did understand all they could do was try to deceive, for which they where called foul and mocked. Now it could be someone else’s turn to be in the same shoes. Except this time the subject is economics.

Clicked on the wrong reply button - see below.

insurance is the core of the issue

Not to me. But obviously you think financial instruments make the world go round, and human beings are merely the puny subjects of a godlike Economic System in the Sky.

If you ever become open to the possibility that your ideology isn't an unassailable universal truth, I'll be open to having a discussion.

Human beings are not the subjects of financial instruments, they are its makers. It is not our god; it is our servant. If financial instruments are like a web, then we are the spiders that weave the financial web, not the insects that are trapped in it. And like any spider, we have to be careful not to get caught in our own web. Especially since there is more than one spider involved in making this web. Which is why it is very important to understand how financial instruments work. If you don’t you can only end up criticizing what you cannot understand, of course like all webs, the more you struggle, the more entangled you are in it.

Creationists are mocked because as time has progressed the evidence has made their beliefs absurdly untenable. They are made fun of precisely because they refuse to take empirical evidence into account and instead weave ever more ridiculous (and, as you said, dishonest) 'explanations' to avoid accepting what quite naturally flows from recognizing the reality of evolution and addressing the powerful theory that explains how it operates. Since empirical evidence (drawn from many disciplines) is central to the robustness of evolutionary theory, I find your analogy to be singularly inappropriate - seeing as you find empirical evidence to be irrelevant.

If you don't consider empirical evidence, even if your logic is impeccable the assumptions that underlie your economic model are not tested (in fact, that is the case especially if your reasoning is sound). It's been awhile since I listened to Herr Hoppe's presentation (and I really don't want to go through that again), but I remember it as filled little more than bald assertions which were really nothing more than assumptions: 'people get sick because of personal choices', 'provide health insurace to people and they become malingerers', and 'unemployed people choose to be unemployed.'

There are twisted ways to make some of these statements nominally true, and in one instance Hoppe shows quite clearly how twisted you have be to buy into his viewpopint when he points out that if 'the unemployed would just work for 10 cents per hour, they wouldn't remain unemployed.' Gee - that's a deep analysis - and his voice sounds like he is being serious. From that point of view, I guess Krugman was silly to have parodies his position: "The Great Depression really was the Great Vacation." Hoppe never provides a shred of statistical data to support the extent to which his claim that 'health insurance causes malingering' hold even a few drops of water ... and perhaps Herr Hoppe can publish a list of life choices that will ensure that we'll be perpetually healthy and, I presume, immortal.

...never provides a shred of statistical data to support... his claim

He shares that in common with Nambiar, and most right-wing libertarians.

That's what really started the discussion for me, was Nambiar making an assertion and me asking for the data to back it up. And his inability to do so was what finished the discussion for me.

I guess it's like Stephen Colbert said at the 2006 Correspondent's Dinner: "Reality has a well-known liberal bias!"

You need statisitcal data to know that if you pay people for not working they will choose not to work?

Since median annual incomes typically run ~200% of maximum unemployment benefits, then the answer is YES - I would require statistical evidence to support the contention that very many people would choose not to work to collect those benefits. The following is statistical evidence of the comparison:

unemployment benefits

median incomes

That is evidence - try it sometime.

You have not dented my argument. If you pay $405 in New York for someone not to work, then you will find no one to work work for $400. It makes perfect sense.

This decreases the standard of living. If you can employ these people, you can pay them less, which means you can out do the competition, by selling for less. Which means they have to bring down the prices, which means money has become more expensive relative to the good being produced, which means more people can buy it including the person who makes $400, so he is not so poor anymore, because money has become more valuable. But he is because he is forbidden to work for $400, and paid not to work, so the quality of people's lives do not improve.

I did not need any data to arrive at that conclusion. You can plug in a different set of numbers from a different state. As long as you are using the right theory things will make sense. Without a good theory, the numbers are meanningless.

Now do you need statisitcal data to know why life insurance is a good idea, but it is a bad idea to cover suicides?

Do you know how unemployment benefits are calculated? People who are making $400 a week don't get $400 a week in unemployment benefits. You incorrectly applied the maximum benefit to every worker's benefit. Anyone who loses their job takes a significant pay cut.

The people doing janitorial work in my building aren't making more than the state of Texas unemployment benefit, $378/mo. Yet I see them a t work every day, every week, every year, for years on end. If it all makes perfect sense, why is that?

I know that. How economy is supposed to work is that when people make less money, the prices of things come down, but the quantity of good go up because people are working for less, thus producing. And what is produced needs to be sold. Real wealth is created and money becomes expensive. If you print more notes, money becomes cheap. You are not making more things. You are only redistributing them to people favored by the government.

Are you living in the state of Texas? I will assume you are. Then the answer to your question is that not everyone is eligible for unemployment benefit. They may not be state residents or they could be illegals. There is an informal economy in the US and given the speed that the government is cranking new regulations, more productivity will be channeled into this sector.

If it all makes perfect sense, why is that?

Because American* Libertarianism uses zealous reverance for the "free market" in order to construct a comforting but dangerously simplistic ideology? Or am I answering a different question.

* I say "American Libertarian" in place of "right-wing" since Nambiar thinks that label only connotes purely state-driven authoritarianism and does not include the plutocratic variants. Note the capitalized "L"... as in, the respective American political party.

Yeah - it is difficult to deal with reality - which is why it is so convenient to declare evidence to be irrelevant. The workers of whom I speak are not illegal immigrants (darn, another assumption shot to hell!). Their teeth are rotting out of their heads, their kids will never get a college education, they're stuck. And their contribution to holy grail of productivity - very low - they'll be doing unskilled labor their whole lives and many of their kids will too - except for the ones who sponge of the public eduaction teat and manage to escape.

And don't you just love the way he jumps to generalities when pure blistering reason fails. (Oh shit, that's right, everyone gets a big pay cut, so there is no reasson for a person to want to lose their job. Well, quick, let's launch another tedious lecture demonstrating the wonderfulness of pure thought! Maybe they won't notice that my foot is in my mouth.)

You called me a right wing libertarian. Wow. That is only as oxymoronic as dry water. Having said that I do notice libertarian ideas being taken up with interest by the right wing. But I do not think they will care once they seize power.

Thanks for misleading everyone by strawmaning Hoppe. When good arguments fail you need something to fall back on.

"This person thinks that a person’s gender and ethnic background should take priority over a person’s skill." This is NOT what he said. He said he did not want all the stimulus money to automatically go to etc. I don't know what is so hard to understand about it. Robert Reich is an outspoken liberal, he has written books, he has a blog, he was in Clinton's cabinet - if you don't know who the messenger is and that you are not going to like what he says, you probably should be aware of Brave New Films.

I believe you said proportionally represented by the taxes they paid - not the percentage of their worth. Yes, you are very right the middle class carries the burden. A friend of mine who is a multi- multi-millionaire and makes a whole lot more money than I do yearly was helping me with my taxes and laughed because I paid more in taxes than he did He's also skilled and out of work. Do you think he should get some stimulus money? Although he was a C student at Cornell (Daddy's went there and got him in) he has all kinds of offers from his buddies - one a former crooked hedge funder who is right back on his feet - oh - otherwise, maybe the ex-hedge funder could get some stimulus money...

Finally, some progress. Let me put it down more clearly so that others can understand.

If the government takes a bigger chunk of your income, you deserve more say in how it gets used.

That's what you got out of what I wrote? That is really interesting because I'm starting to think we don't even speak the same language.

No - I don't think a plutocracy is a good idea. I think the middle class not carrying the burden of the taxes is a good idea - the taxcuts for the super wealthy need to be rolled back. Of course, if you are going to start buying government projects with your tax money, I suppose the top 1% will jump in under their own accord and that those pesky poor people will be the servants to the rest of us like they deserve to be. And, why should they get health care when they're just making enough to get by, right? Who cares what they have to say about anything.

Helping those less fortunate than you is a private choice that each individual has to make on his own. The Robin Hood ideal of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor simply will not work. You will only spread poverty and make the situation worse.

Really? You don't like the Swift? :)

I like how you turn to Robin Hood - an example of what happens when people lose everything - they turn to crime. You can also look at the French Revolution or see what fertile ground for unrest poverty is with Nazi Germany. There are already some pretty strong feelings against immigrants (often not making the distinction between legal and illegal) can you imagine what it will be like if people are struggling even more? I don't feel like dealing with an uprising of hardcore white supremacist groups - today's Republican party is bad enough...

At the very least, it is self-serving to offer people hope and opportunity.

I do not have a shadow of doubt that if there is a civil unrest, riots will break along ethnic lines. However, the solutions currently proposed will not prevent it, only postpone it. It is like taking a medicine to extend life rather than cure the illness.

Please elaborate. Perhaps we could discuss some modest proposals?

Bring your tax return to the polling place and the voting machine weights your vote according to the amount you paid?

If you got an earned income tax credit - your vote subtracted from your candidate?

You have linked me to what I would have called a very sick idea for joke.

If Jonathan Swift offends your sensibilities, I suggest you grow a thicker skin or give up the internet altogeher.

I understand you are a bit slow. But eating babies offends my sensibilities, Jonathan Swift or otherwise.

You think "A Modest Proposal" is actually about eating babies? Are you being deliberately obtuse?

I thought this was about the health care debate? If so I would like for someone who is opposed to a government take-over/intervention in providing health care to point to a single successful system in which the government is not involved—and please don’t fucking say the US or I will strangle you, you idiot. I live in Spain and their system has its problems but overall people are extremely satisfied with their government-run health care. Some folks chose to have private insurance but when push comes to shove, almost every Spaniard is born in a public hospital and dies in a public hospital. I suppose this offends the conservative idea that we should be separated by class and income throughout our lives. Just the mere mention of a society working in cooperation is enough to send the dittoheads into fits of apoplexy.

In all honesty I don’t think there is any way to combat the opposition to Obama being fomented by retards like Rush, Michelle Malkin, and other nitwit elements of the far right. Most of the hillbillies protesting in Washington the other day were talking so much insane shit that you just wanted to throw a net over them. “Impeach Obama?” Seriously, that is absolutely insane. I hate to be a pessimist but I don’t think there is much hope for a nation that seems to be so bitterly divided on every substantive issue. Let's just split up into a few, more easily-manageable parts.

For some slightly good news, 63-73% of physicians support a public option, depending on how you read the stats, and 50-70% of citizens support it.

On the phones, y'all!

+1 gypsy sister. As I listened to that story yesterday, I was wondering how the Party of No would spin that. How messed up is that? I can't even enjoy good news.

Doncha know? Npr is a liberal bastion media player! Just cause they rolled over and played dead during the run-up to the war in Iraq and all, don't let that fool you. They must've polled only left-wingers, and hell, only 70% of those damn socialites - oops; socialists! - support the public option.

Hope that I didn't ruin your day! ;~)

Time wrote:

'And don't you just love the way he jumps to generalities when pure blistering reason fails.'

Tim, if you start distoring what I say, you will get fools to agree with you.

As for your two Texans, You could start by asking them first. Presuming that they do not lie to you, you can know their state of affairs before jumping to the conclusion that this rule applies to them, I speculated that they could be illegal, or out of state residents, but these are not the only two options. You are the one making presumptions here by claiming before hand that this rule must apply to them without knowing the exact nature of the law or their situation.

'the unemployed would just work for 10 cents per hour, they wouldn't remain unemployed.'

Working for 10 cents is a problem because you cannot buy anything with 10 cents right? Would you see it as a problem if people can buy more things while earning 10 cents an hour? But what if you have someone printing press like Bernanke messing things up for you, so that even $10 an hour will not be enough. When are you going to appreciate the fact that the power of money is in its capacity for being exchanged for things?

As for the rule itself, ‘if you pay people for not working they will choose not to work’ I had simplified it for your ease of understanding. But you are only too eager to misquote and misunderstand. So now let me actually quote it in all its technical glory, ‘If the government subsidizes unemployment, then, voluntary unemployment increases to then extent that is made possible by the subsidy.’ The assumption I am making is that people choose to have money than not to. This will not apply for Buddhist monks.

The more we talk, the more we are digressing from the topic at hand. So let me bring it back to health care. Without providing a shred of statistical data, let me repeat, without providing a shred of statistical data, Hans Herman Hoppe predicted as early as 2005 that the next logical step after making health care prohibitively expensive, would be to prevent people from opting out. Which is exactly the direction we are headed right now. And he goes on. Here is the link:

http://mises.org/media.aspx?action=author&ID=164

Search for ‘Economics of Risk and Insurance’

Eventually the government will have to ration out medical services to everyone, which is when you realize that they have finally achieved the power to decide who lives and who dies and by then you cannot opt out, it will be too late. With a little bit of luck you might get them to pay you to get your surgery done by a doctor in Thailand or India, but if the dollar has lost its value, you may not be able to afford even that. The whole health care system will function like one big death panel if you have the politically incorrect disease and then the stupid people at the tea party won’t sound so stupid anymore.

Think about it.

As for your two Texans, You could start by asking them first. Presuming that they do not lie to you, you can know their state of affairs before jumping to the conclusion that this rule applies to them, I speculated that they could be illegal, or out of state residents, but these are not the only two options. You are the one making presumptions here by claiming before hand that this rule must apply to them without knowing the exact nature of the law or their situation.

I don't have to ask them because I know who my employer is and I know my employer doesn't hire illegal aliens - is it possible that one or two of them have managed to deceive my employer - possibly - but is there wholesale hiring by a State of Texas institution of illegal aliens - not bloody likely! But then, it doesn't even occur to you that there might be a way that I could be quite confident that janitorial staff aren't illegal aliens - because you are a zealot.

As far as I'm concerned you're just not that interesting to converse with. I get the feeling that you are, perhaps, 23-4 years old. I hope that's the case, because it is my experience that anyone much older than their early twenties with views like yours is usually hopeless. You are so focussed on your ideology that it has narrowed your perspective tremendously. You really didn't seem to understand that A Modest Proposal is satire - one of the most famous examples of satire ever written in the English language - and it is not about eating babies. You actually had the temerity to compare someone with a creationist in the same breath that you declare that evidence is unneccesary to validate your views. The irony the derives from the superposition of those two views entirely escapes you.

In light or that, your pat lectures on how prices will fall when production efficiency is maximized are come off as nothing more than patronizing – though I find them much more offensive coming from an asshole like Hoppe who is old enough to know better - maybe, if I'm right about your age - you'll grow out of them.

I take issue with so much of your loony stuff, but your love affair with your ideology just doesn't make the conversation worthwhile – and talking with a person who thinks he can disregard evidence because he knows the ultimate "secret" just doesn't interest me much.

your love affair with your ideology just doesn't make the conversation worthwhile – and talking with a person who thinks he can disregard evidence because he knows the ultimate "secret" just doesn't interest me much.

Thanks for eloquently saying pretty much what was on my mind, Tim.

I was just going to make my exit with a tinfoil-hat crack over Nambiar's last paragraph (Rationing! Death Panels! Being shipped off to doctors in India! "You'll all be sorry when the government repossesses your spleens!") ...but I figured that wouldn't be productive.

For a person that you are not interested in, you have spent an awful lot of time conversing me. Hoppe would call it a performative contradiction. I never said all janitors are illegals. I was trying to make better sense of what you said, given that you where not being forthcoming. And you are liberal at twisting my words, tell me that you are desperate. Doesn’t matter, what I wrote is there

'You actually had the temerity to compare someone with a creationist in the same breath that you declare that evidence is unnecessary to validate your views.' Evidence, by which you mean statistical data? Yes, it is about knowing to apply the proper interpretation. Otherwise you may make the forgivable mistake of thinking the sun goes around the earth, that our ancestors did. It is not enough to see and record, it is important to reflect.

I think you are making a fool of yourself, but for your sake, I wish I am wrong.

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