Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

John T. Reed’s miracle jobs program

Copyright 2010 by John T. Reed All rights reserved
In an earlier article I explained how America could have a miraculous economic growth program. But the politicians keep talking about jobs, jobs, jobs. Okay. So here’s my miracle jobs program. Like my miracle growth program, it costs the taxpayers zilch. No stimulus money. No new cabinet department. Like my miracle growth program, it simply gets the government the hell out of the way.

Two kind of jobs

First, I do not like the word “job.”

What they really mean is either a job working for someone else or self-employment that makes enough money to constitute full-time employment. The Democrats and their base have trouble imagining themselves as the boss—some sort of infantile self-esteem problem. So this article is about how to cause existing employers to hire (more…)

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ attack on health insurers

Copyright 2010 by John T. Reed All rights reserved
Obamacare requires health insurance companies to extend coverage to children up to age 26, to cover pre-existing conditions, to eliminate co-pay for preventive care, mental health care, eliminate lifetime coverage caps, and other things. Obviously, these requirements will cost the insurance companies more.

Predictably, they have raised their rates and explained to their policy holders that one of the reasons for the rate increases is the passage of the Obamacare law.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reacted by sending an angry letter to the health insurers warning that HHS will track insurers who raise premiums by “unjustified” amounts. She also threatened to exclude such companies form the federal government-run health insurance information program called for in the Obamacare law. (more…)

N-word, spitting, vandalism

Democrat ObamaCare supporters are indignant over alleged name-calling, spitting, and vandalism against them. They claim this has been done by opponents of ObamaCare who are racist and/or violent. Here is a story about it.

1. The black Congressmen walking trough the crowd of angry anti-ObamaCare protesters looks about as staged as can be. In other words, I think those guys deliberately walked through that angry mob looking for trouble and incidents they could use politically. The Congress building has all sort of ways for Congressmen to avoid people they do not agree with.

2. No one can find any video or audio that supports the allegation that the N-word was used or that anyone spit on Congressman Cleaver. Plus, there was plenty of professional and amateur recording going on at that location at that time. If there is no video or audio, it probably did not happen.

There have been numerous incidents throughout the last four or five decades of people trying to attract sympathy by falsely accusing another race of racially attacking them. Blacks like Tawana Brawley did it. Whites have done it regarding nonexistent black attackers. If I recall correctly, a black Columbia professor hung a noose on her own office doorknob and claimed it was a racist attack against her.

3. If anyone did yell the N-word or spit, who was it? America’s news channel, Fox, has said repeatedly that about 10% of the tea party crowds seem to be kooks more interested in drawing generic attention to themselves than supporting any political position. Kooks do a lot of things and no end of the political spectrum has a monopoly on kooks. Indeed, many kooks go to all demonstrations no matter the cause. I live in the San Francisco area. We have more than our share of demonstrations. Police on TV say they’re always arresting the same individuals: stoner, slacker, losers who like to annoy grown-ups. The main tree sitter at the University of California at Berkeley who was stopping renovation of the stadium including cutting down some trees was never a student there. He later got seriously injured in the Holy Land demonstrating with Palestinians against Israel. Many of these people are neither left nor right. They just love raising hell. They are the equivalent of the guys who run onto the field during a baseball or football game. TV has started ignoring them. Paying attention to them encourages more such actions by more such people. The Democrats know that. That’s why they are complaining about this so they can encourage more such incidents—maybe even some real ones—and thereby distract Americans from the impending entitlements bankruptcy of the nation.

4. Then there is the possibility of what are known as “false flag” operations in military terminology. That is where the blue army pretends to be the red army either to avoid detection or to libel the red army. In politics, they call this dirty tricks. I have always thought the man who yelled “Iron my shirt” at Hillary during the 2008 campaign was a Democrat plant. Men do not talk that way in private even. Probably a feminst wrote that script. Racial or poor-taste campaign activities in which the perpetrators pretend to be the other side to make the other side look bad are common nowadays. The Reichstag fire that Hitler used as a pretext to seize emergency powers in Germany is generally believed to have been a false-flag dirty trick. At this point, someone yelling the N-word at a black Democrat ObamaCare supporter is more likely to be a Democrat operative executing a false-flag dirty trick than a tea party supporter.

5. Republican Eric Cantor said he gets threats and name-calling and violence directed towards himself because of being Republican and Jewish and against ObamaCare and so on. But he previously did not publicize it because he did not want to encourage it. Democrats know that is true and they previously did not publicize these things for that reason, too. Now they have decided it is a useful political tactic and they are literally trying to provoke as many such incidents as possible for political gain. Their allies in the media, e.g., Jim Abrams of the Associated Press in my paper today—have made the exact same 180-degree change in their policy for the exact same reason. Abrams alleges Republican Congresspeople were on the balcony of the Capitol cheering the protester and waving signs such as “Kill the bill.”

So what? Is “Kill the bill” inciting violence? It ryhmes, you know. Is there now a politically correct way to say “Kill the bill?” Like “Please gather sufficient votes such that the nays have it!”

6. Republican leaders have denounced the name-calling and spitting and violence. Why? What do these incidents or false allegations have to do with Republican leaders? They are not sure they occurred. If they did, they are not sure who the perpetrators were—maybe Democrats trying to make Republicans look bad—or the motivations or mental state of the perpetrators. If a real incident occurred, the Republican leaders neither instigated it nor wanted it. It goes without saying that such incidents, if they actually occurred, are inappropriate and not representative of opposition to ObamaCare or Democrats. By denouncing the incidents, the Republican leaders stupidly imply that their supporters did these things and accept some responsibility for them by urging them to “channel their anger into positive change” The tea party guys should tell such Republican leaders “Thanks for pleading us guilty without checking the facts first.”.

What Republican leaders should have said is,

I will comment if and when someone proves that a member of my staff or my party did this. Until then, I have no idea whether it happened, who did it if it did happen, or why they did it. Without that information, there is no basis or reason for me to comment. Everyone knows that sort of behavior is inappropriate without my telling them. And everyone knows that all of us in public life have antagonistic behavior directed towards us all the time.


Obamacare becomes law on 3/22/10

OK. I let this settle for a couple of days as I usually do. One of the problems with Internet news groups is too many people popping off instantly in reaction to another post. A little reflection is better.


I think the law is unconstitutional. That is not to predict the U.S. Supreme Court will agree with me. I have no idea about that.

It violates the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The public seems to think the federal government outranks the state governments and the people. No. The opposite is true.

The Dems claim they can pass Obamacare under the “Commerce Clause.” But that says nothing about individual Americans. It states, in Article I, Section 8 that Congress shall have power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” Its purpose is to prevent states from charging import duties on stuff coming in from other states or countries. It’s a stretch to extend it to forcing citizens to buy a private product or service. But the Supreme Court is famous for stretching the commerce clause in the past.

Ironically, I think the federal government may have the right to establish a single-payer health insurance system, which is somewhat similar to social security, a mandatory pension plan for all workers in the U.S. I actually think social security is unconstitutional, but that question has already gone through the Supreme Court and they upheld it.

There are also provisions that seem to me to violate the Fourteenth Amendment “equal protection” clause. You have to treat everyone the same. NE, FL, and LA do not get a better deal than the other 47 states.

ObamaCare may be a tax on the states that is not permitted by the Constitution. The original Constitution allowed only a head tax. Income taxes were declared unconstitutional as a result. The Sixteenth Amendment allowed Congress to tax“ incomes.” But Southern states have paid lesser Medicaid benefits than Northern states. ObamaCare forces Southern states to pay more for medicaid. As such, it is neither a head tax nor an income tax.

‘The process’

There was much talk in the media about the Dems violating House and Senate rules. That did not happen. The law that was signed was passed by 60 Senators on Christmas eve. The House passed that bill according to their normal majority rule. Deeming was not used. I do not know what they are going to do to “fix” the Senate version to make it more like the House wants. Normally, they go to conference then the resulting compromise has to pass both houses which subjects it to the Senate 60-vote cloture rule.

I surmise they are going to use reconciliation to pass the compromise version to avoid the need for the 60 Senate votes they no longer have. That arguably violates the rules pertaining to reconciliation, but the Vice President can overrule the Senate Parliamentarian and he will. The Constitution says the House and Senate can pass their own rules. The Vice President’s power to overrule the parliamentarian is one of those rules. No unconstitutionality.

All that all of this means is the Dems are darned lucky Harry Reid met one of their arbitrary deadlines on Christmas eve.

Were the bribes to get those 60 votes sleazy? Absolutely. The whole Congress is sleazy. You get in there by winning a best- liar contest back in your district or state.The president is sleazy. He won the best-liar-in-the-country contest.

Hey, the Dems squeaked it through. If the Supreme Court does not overturn it, those who do not like it need to elect a new Congress and President to repeal it. It’s as simple as that. Read the Constitution.

‘Doing nothing was not an option’

Obama kept saying that the Republicans wanted to do nothing. He lied. The Republicans CAN do nothing because they are in the minority and do not control the White House.

Obama also said that health care as now operated in the U.S. is unsustainable.

That is correct. The costs are way too high compared to other countries and the rate of increase has been way too high.

Then Obama said the fact that current costs are unsustainable means we have to do “something.”

“Something?” What does that mean?

To Obama, it seems to mean “anything” as in “Anything is better than nothing.”

That is not correct. The action we need to take is to change the way medical care is purchased and paid for in ways that reduce the costs to more appropriate levels without causing new problems.

It is not clear what that would mean. I would expect we would need to study health care systems around the world and either copy the best one or a least use ideas from the best. I have read that Germany and Singapore have universal health care systems that work pretty well. Germany’s was started by Otto von Bismarck in the late 1800s and has survived two world wars, Weimar Republic hyperinflation, and more than a century. It works through private insurance companies. Basically, Germany helps its citizens buy private insurance. Germany and Singapore also have very successful economies. The rest of Europe is a mess being bankrupted by their versions of ObamaCare.

The premier of Newfoundland, Canada recently came to Florida for medical care rather than use his country’s universal system. I am told the affluent in Canada do that to avoid Soviet-style customer service and lowest-common-denominator, we’re-all-equal treatment of people who are used to going first class. Apparently, one of the unwritten ways Canada pays for its health care is to charge the rich for it, then drive them to pay again for better service in the U.S. like what’s done to those who send their kids to private schools in the U.S. (By the way, did you know Newfoundland used to be its own country. It could not pay its bills so the U.K. annexed it into Canada.That was called gunboat diplomacy. Apparently, they still cannot pay the bill for quality health care service.)

Was Obama’s version of “doing something” better than doing “nothing?

Are you kidding? The “problem” was high costs. What does ObamaCare do to lower costs? Absolutely nothing. Part of it spends billions on attacking waste, fraud, and abuse. They should have attacked waste fraud and abuse in 1965 when Medicare started. The anti-fraud billions raise costs. Whether the money will produce a a net benefit when you achieve savings and subtract the cost of the achieving them remains to be seen. Actually, I do not need to wait. There is not a snowball’s chance in La Jolla that waste, fraud, and abuse will be eliminated or even reduced. It is endemic to all government activity. Indeed, I am certain that the bureaucracy created to stop waste, fraud, and abuse will itself have the usual amount of waste, fraud, and abuse, thereby making the waste, fraud, and abuse worse.

ObamaCare is to fixing the high-cost problem of U.S. health care what shooting gasoline from a fire hose is to putting out a fire.


Is ObamaCare socialism? Yeah, of course. So are Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. Socialism is not a pass-fail question. It is a matter of degree. Pure socialism is government spending is 100% of GDP. Pure capitalism is 0%. Our spending in 1903 was about 17% of GDP and is now about 45%.

Here is a Web site that says the U.S. spends 19.9% of GDP, 144th out of 160. This is 2006 data. Other major countries on that table come out like this:

Japan 103rd 30.9%
Switzerland 76th 37.8%
Germany 41st 48.8%
U.K. 37th 50%
France 7th 61.1%

Single payer

Obama denies it now, but in the past he said he was a single payer guy. That means total government takeover of health care. All doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and medical equipment manufacturers are paid by a single payer: the federal government. That’s the Soviet, Cuban model.

Here is a YouTube of Obama saying this. I saw him confronted with it by a media interviewer. His response: He claimed he could not hear what he was saying on the video they played for him.

That’s lame and he knows darned well what he said. Transcripts of it are all over and Obama and his advisers have discussed it behind closed doors. “I can’t hear it” is the best they could come up with? “I changed my mind” might, I repeat, might be believable. “I can’t hear it,” is not believable.

In the video, he says, “we may not get there immediately.” ObamaCare 2010 is not getting there immediately. But make no mistake, every single hard- core proponent of ObamaCare regards it as merely the camel nose inside the tent. They are not stopping with ObamaCare. They will push for moving to single payer or closer to it as soon as they think they can get away with it. And they will not stop pushing for single payer until they get it. Shame on the American people who believe the Dems have abandoned their dreams of single payer. 2010 ObamaCare is to the left what Czechoslovakia was to Hitler. The British agreed to let Germany have Czechoslovakia to get an agreement that they would seek no more territory. It was called appeasement. The Peace in Our Time Munich Agreement was signed by the British and Germans on 89/30/38. Germany invaded Poland starting World War II in Europe on 9/1/39. Americans who oppose single payer but who are OK with 2010 ObamaCare are clones of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain who sold out the Czechs for a worthless agreement that Germany would seek no greater territory. The left will pursue single payer until they get it and they will use ObamaCare to get American addicted to government health care so they can later get single payer.

The next step will be leftists using ObamaCare rules and law to drive all health-insurance companies out of business. Then they will say, “See!? We told you those people were no good. We’ll take care of you now. And be sure to vote Democratic in the next election—if you know what’s good for you.”

Effects of government intervention

Socialism doesn’t work. Government intervention makes things worse. Here is what I expect will happen as a result of ObamaCare:

• The best and brightest Americans will stop going to medical school.
• Medical students interns and residents will abandon medical school and medical careers.
• Current American doctors will quit the profession or retire early.
• More hospitals and doctors will refuse to take Medicare patients. The Mayo Clinic refused to take them before ObamaCare.
• Your heath insurance plan, and doctor, whom Obama assured you that you would be able to keep, will shut down and no longer be an option.
• The addition of 32 million new insureds and the reduction in the number of doctors will result in a severe doctor shortage that will be partially taken care of by importing Third World doctors who cannot speak or understand English well enough to adequately understand your symptoms, adequately explain your situation and therapies to you, or establish any sort of cultural or personal rapport with you.
• The same will be true of nurses.
• The U.S., which is the last country to aggressively seek new medicines and medical devices, will stop doing that because of lack of profit incentive. The number of new patents for new medicine and equipment will flat line worldwide. Tenured University personnel will putter around continuing efforts to develop new therapies, but without the profit motive, they will do so only at glacial speed. Recently, the rest of the world has gotten away with not doing medical research cause they could count on us to do it for the whole world. When, we, too, allow a government takeover of all health care, neither we nor the rest of the world will be able to benefit from technological progress.
• All prescription medicine will become generic in about 17 years (patent term)
• Hospitals will deteriorate and age more than in the past. As in rent control, the building owners will have no incentive to rehab or replace them.
• Waiting lines will get unbelievably long. Waits for appointments will get longer.
• Many therapies and diagnostic tests will be rationed because the equipment or medicine is expensive.
• All medical personnel from doctors to nurses to orderlies to janitors to administrators will unionize and seek and get generous benefits like retirement when they are in their 40s, suspiciously high rates of disability, cost-of-living adjustments to pensions, high pensions.
• the best people and managers will leave health insurance companies to be replaced by gum-chewing, union, it’s-not-my-job, bureaucrat drones

Author of Is the Welfare State Justified?

On 3/28/10, I heard a brief interview with Professor Daniel Shapiro of WVU. He wrote the book Is the Welfare State Justified?

Basically he said that those who favor government health care and all that are even wrong when judged on their own priorities. Liberals say their priorities are right and those of the right wrong. Shapiro says, OK, let’s use your priorities. He then shows that the priorities of the liberals—like social justice, fairness, and egalitarianism—are better served by letting the market run health care. His evidence is to show how actual market and government health care systems around the world work. For example, in government-run health care systems, the poor end up at the back of long lines and waiting lists for health care. The rich pull strings, use connections, or spend money to get better health care and better service. Plus, the government-run system costs more so there is less health care for everyone, especially the poor, than in a market system.

Shapiro agrees with me that the proper health care delivery system is the 1970s and before approach. You pay out of your own pocket for routine and semi-routine and moderate cost care—like car insurance. And, as in car insurance, you have major medical insurance that only covers catastrophically high-cost care.

Essentially, that is what we will have, either because we are smart enough to recognize it, or because we act like idiots and bankrupt ourselves in which case we will be forced into the pay-your-own-way plus major medical system because we cannot get anyone to lend us the deficit spending necessary to offer Santa Claus level universal health care with no deductible.

Pre-existing conditions

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that pre-existing conditions have to be covered by health insurers. Good for them, but they’re nuts.

By definition, insurance cannot cover pre-existing conditions. Insurance covers risks. There is no risk in a pre-existing condition.

The answer to pre-existing conditions is pre-existing insurance. My sons were covered from birth. That ought to be the case with everyone.

What about people who for one reason or another did not do that or had gaps in coverage which caused them to be disqualified when they attempted to get new insurance?

1. Pay out of your own net worth for the needed health care. Your pre-existing condition is certainly not any one else’s fault.
2. Seek charity from relatives, friends, organized charities.
3. When you run out of money or private charity, go to Medicaid.

A bigger picture solution is to end government and employer involvement in health insurance. This was sort of done with pensions. It used to be that those who lost their job lost equity they had built up in company pensions. The pension was switched to the person, not the company, with 5401(k)s, IRAs, SEPs, and so on. Good law.

The same should be done with health insurance. You buy it from an insurance agent like car insurance or fire insurance, not through your employer. The stupidity of employers providing health care started during World War II as a way to get around another stupidity called wage and price controls. It was a way to give raises. Employers have better things to do than provide health care or insurance, like employ people. The requirement that they provide health insurance deters starting new businesses and expanding them. Everyone should buy their own health care and health insurance the way they buy food, clothing, housing, and so on. That would fix the high cost and rapid price increases too. Only bureaucrats tolerate high, rapidly rising costs. Consumers would shop around and refuse overly expensive treatments.

Letting people with pre-existing conditions buy health insurance that covers that condition is like letting you buy life insurance on dead people or letting people at the race track bet on races after they are over. It’s stupid on its face. People with pre-existing conditions don’t need insurance. They need to pay for their care themselves or get charity.

Essentially, people with pre-existing conditions have long been covered for health care by Medicaid. The real problem is that middle class and affluent people want someone else to pay for their misfortune. They do not want to have to burn through their net worth until they qualify for Medicaid. I understand the economics of their motivation. What I do not understand is why they do not see the economics and fairness in mine. Sorry about your pre-existing condition, but no you may not bankrupt me, my children, or my country to pay for it. You pay for it until you are bankrupt. Then become a ward of the state.

With ObamaCare, the law will now “cover” them, but only briefly before trying to do that bankrupts the insurance companies and the country.

End lifetime policy limits

Another “we can all agree” provision is prohibiting insurance companies from putting a lifetime cap on health care coverage.

Why don’t we repeal the law of gravity while we are at it? That would eliminate injuries from falls.

We cannot force insurance companies to end limits on the amount of are they will provide. They are not bottomless pits of money. All insurance policies have limits.

Of course, ObamaCare went ahead and outlawed lifetime limits anyway. Enjoy it while it lasts. It will bankrupt the companies then the country.

Bankruptcy of the U.S. government

We have been told for decades that Social Security alone will bankrupt the country. It will. The first of the 78 million Baby Boomers still have not yet started collecting. They have to be 67 to get full benefits that are not reduced by their other income. Social Security went into the red—outlays exceeded inflows— in 2008 for the first time in history. The first Baby Boomers turn 67 on January 1, 2013. You have to be 65 to get Medicare. The first Baby Boomers turn 65 on 1/1/11. The 12/9/09 Daily Paul—Congressman Ron Paul’s web site—says,

The 2009 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached nearly $107 trillion in today’s dollars! That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt.

Actually, the current national debt is

An Internet article said his about Medicaid unfunded liabilities:

In the next 50 years, Medicaid, the program for the poor — broadly, sometimes very broadly defined — could become a bigger threat than Medicare to the nation’s prosperity.

Even Barack Obama says current U.S. fiscal behavior (spending, taxing, and borrowing) is “unsustainable.” He’s right. Everyone says that. They are all right.

But no one, I repeat, no one, is doing the slightest thing about it. Obama says ObamaCare will reduce the deficit by $118 billion in the next ten years according to the Congressional Budget Office. If you believe that, you are too dumb to vote. Please stay away from the polls. Second, even if it were true, it is a drop in the bucket. The problem is over $100 trillion. $118 billion is one tenth of one percent of the $100 trillion problem.

Basically, the bond market and/or foreign exchange market will go on strike with regard to the dollar at some point. It’s called a run on the dollar. Anyone who owns dollars or dollar-denominated assets like U.S. government or corporate bonds worldwide will frantically try to sell them. That will drive up interest rates dramatically. It may be that no one will buy dollars or dollar bonds at all. In that case, the Congress and the President will not be able to deficit spend. They will have to raise taxes or cut programs drastically to pay the government’s bills. In fact, they will simply not have the money to pay pensions, bond interest and principal, government employee salaries, government bills for ammunition, fuel, electricity, and so on.

That was going to happen without ObamaCare. ObamaCare greatly accelerates it.

So in the end, the issue is not how Obama Care will hurt health care. The issue is when will ObamaCare and all the prior entitlement programs stretching back to 1933 cause the world financial markets to say “No more.” I saw a Harvard economist get asked when that will happen on Charlie Rose or some similar show in 2009. He thought a moment and said,

Five years—not ten.

In other words, he expects the U.S. to go bankrupt in 2015, 2019 at the latest. It’s really not possible to tell. It depends on events worldwide.

ObamaCare, therefore, is not something that you will experience in a hospital or doctor’s office. It is something you will experience on Fox Business TV, Wall Street, at your bank, your 401(k), your IRA, and, after the bankrupt federal government figures out how to pay the judges and bailiffs, in your recently re-opened local bankruptcy court.

Can the “greatest country in the world” actually go bankrupt?


What the ObamaCare and Cap & Trade laws are really about

Why don’t they understand that socialism does not work?

Ever since I became old enough to figure out that socialism doesn’t work—at around age 22—I was perplexed that liberals still want it. Why don’t they see capitalism is better and that economic freedom is necessary for all the other freedoms?

People who work for the government do not have freedom of speech. They are afraid they won’t get promoted or may lose their pension and other benefits. Similarly, a nation that gets all its health care from the government is a nation that is afraid to criticize the government out of fear that they or their relatives or friends may be retaliated against by the rationers.

Joseph Schumpeter

Joseph Schumpeter was a Harvard economist. He invented the phrase “creative destruction” to describe the effect of entrepreneurs. He also said entrepreneurs and their innovations were the engines of prosperity Liberal Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith said Schumpeter was the most sophisticated conservative of the twentieth century. Schumpeter was the subject of the 2007 book Prophet of Innovation by Thomas K. McCraw.

Schumpeter was the polar opposite of John Maynard Keynes. Both were born in 1883. As a young professor in Europe, Schumpeter was perplexed by intelligent leftists not recognizing that capitalism was infinitely superior to socialism as a way to organize a society and an economy. Indeed, one of my Harvard Business School section mates, Michael Rothschild, wrote the book Bionomics which says capitalism is analogous to the way the plant and animal kingdoms are organized and operate. In other words, capitalism is the all-natural, organic way of organizing living things.

Schumpeter finally figured it out. As have I reading about him and seeing other evidence of it.

Social justice

The left does not care which system produces the most prosperity or freedom. They want power. Dictatorial power. They are not in favor of anything. They hate capitalism because it lets the “wrong” people win. People like Sam Walton, founder of nonunion Wal-Mart. He was the richest man in the world for a while. His company is still the biggest in the U.S.

The left does not want maximum prosperity for all. They want all rich people who disagree with them to be stripped of their money. They understand that this will impoverish all but the government apparatchiks. That is what they want. They plan to be government apparatchiks. The left wants to wipe off the face of the earth anyone of whom their side is envious.

Journal editorial

The 11/10/09 Wall Street Journal has an editorial titled “Confessions of an ObamaCare backer.” It is about remarks recently made by leftist John Cassidy of the New Yorker magazine.

Cassidy, the Journal said, “let the mask slip” briefly and revealed the “real political motivation” behind ObamaCare. I add that the same motives are behind cap and trade and a great many other leftist initiatives. The green movement is nothing but the red movement in disguise.

Cassidy continues:

The Obama Administration…is creating a new entitlement program, which, once established, will be virtually impossible to rescind. [The reason is] making the United States a more equitable country

The Journal says the “…purpose is to further redistribute income by putting health care under government control, and in the process making the middle class more dependent on government. As the party of government, Democrats will benefit over the long run.”

The Journal says this explains why the Democrats are not afraid of angering the public by going against their will and even losing many purple district seats in the 2010 election. They figure if they can get this law enacted, they will be like drug dealers living off a nation of entitlement addicts within the next ten years and the few losses in 2010 will be irrelevant ancient history as the U.S. becomes a one-party nation.

The nation is going bankrupt because of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, but there are no Americans who want to reform any of those three programs. Indeed, the mere suggestion of such reform is the “third rail of American politics.” Even the slightest criticism of any of those programs dooms the Republican who dared to suggest it. The Democrat program is to make their party platform in its entirety the third rail of American politics. And there is no indication whatsoever that they will not succeed after the push they got from George W. “TARP” Bush and the Wall Street plutocrats in 2008.

More Cassidy:

Putting on an amateur historian’s cap, I might even suggest that some subterfuge is historically necessary to get great reforms enacted.

Translation: Our noble end of turning America into a Democrat party dictatorship justifies our means, namely, lying about our motives.

Rush and Sean

The main guys who have figured this out and who are condemning it for what it really is are Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. I have trouble finding fault with Limbaugh. Hannity, on the other hand, is not quite smart enough to hold the position he does, and he admits using tedious repetition of his propaganda phrases, like “unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayres,” to brainwash his listeners and viewers. He is also often incorrect, for example, with regard to his worship of Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s actual record is far more mixed than Hannity understands or admits.

You can measure the preeminent effectiveness of these two men by how hard Obama and his people are trying to stifle them through proposals to bad mouth them and to censor them through misleading proposals like the one to require local ownership of radio and television stations.

The problem with these two men being the main leaders in our nation against what the Democrats are trying to do is they are both ratings-seeking entertainers. They do, indeed, maximize their ratings by their mixture of humor and exaggeration, relative to other entertainers or headline news-type programs, but they simultaneously limit their audience in the wider population. Most importantly, their entertainment focus causes the majority of American to not take seriously the evidence they present and the logical conclusions they draw from that evidence.

I am a libertarian, not a conservative or a Republican.

The solution to all this is a third party. The libertarian ideas are generally the right ones. I do not endorse their actual platform in its entirety. It includes stuff like opposition to the draft and recreational drug regulation.

Are the Libertarians as a party poised to start winning elections? Not at all. They are talkers, not doers. They almost never elect a Congressman, let alone a president so they do not really have the organization or skills to win a majority. They have the ideas. I think most Americans today are actually libertarians but they either do not realize it or refuse to admit it. My mom was a Catholic, but I call her a social Catholic. I think she was actually an atheist based on knowing her for 47 years, but she would have vehemently denied that out of fear of it harming her relationships with her friends and relatives—who were probably also actually atheists. People who do not admit to being libertarians are afraid it might adversely affect their social status.

But ultimately, socialism does not work. Ultimately, the Democrats, with plenty of help from Republicans, will bankrupt the country. Best guess as to when? 10 to 20 years.

Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff just came out with a new book This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. On Charlie Rose on 11/10/09, he was asked how long until the irresponsible U.S. government fiscal policy (taxing and spending) triggers a catastrophe. He said something like, “Probably five years. Sooner than 20.”

When that happens, the public will turn to a third party. Unfortunately, no third party is currently ready to turn that support into electoral victory in Congressional and presidential elections.

Why preventive Obamacare raises, not lowers, costs

Obama says he’s going to give 49 million people who do not now have it health insurance and the nation’s bill for health care will go down. If you believe that, stop reading. You’re too dumb to comprehend the rest of this.

One way Obama says he is going to cut costs is to emphasize preventive medicine. Well that makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, we all know that a stitch in time saves nine.

Actually, it does not make sense if you think it through.

Charles Krauthammer is a conservative newspaper columnist and regular Fox News contributor. He’s also a licensed medical doctor and psychiatrist. He’s great. I just added him to my living national treasures list. He should have been there before.

When asked about preventive medicine on Fox News, Krauthammer said it was a good thing for a number of reasons but lower cost was most definitely not one of them.

I researched and wrote about preventive medicine in the second edition of my book Succeeding which came out in 2008. It relates to that book because being healthy helps you succeed and enables you to enjoy your success.

As far as cost is concerned, preventive medicine does not cost less. It costs more.

1. Preventive medicine costs more money to pay for additional medicine, exams, tests, vaccinations, health club membership, and safety devices.
2. Preventive medicine causes people to live longer which costs more because they receive more medical care, not to mention Social Security benefits, during their longer lives.
3. Living longer means you are more likely to die of a degenerative disease that requires prolonged intensive health care and hospitalization.

The cheapest health care for the government would be if everyone died suddenly of a heart attack after they stop earning taxable wages but before they started colleting Social Security. Like I said in the title, “You’ve had a good life, now drop dead.”

In Succeeding, I listed six categories of preventive medicine:

1. good health habits including:
• diet quality
• diet quantity
• exercise
• hygiene
2. regular physicals
3. getting recommended tests for detection of symptomless illnesses
4. recommended vaccinations
safer activities and places where you spend time
6. promptly getting professional advice when you have symptoms

Obama sets the diet quality and quantity example with his consumption of arugula from Whole Foods and his Somali warlord physique. But he smokes cigarettes. Sound preventive medicine would ban tobacco products. If not, the people who use them should not be eligible for health insurance that I contribute money to. Call use of tobacco a pre-existing condition—stupidity—that either excludes the user from all public health care or at least from health care that relates to tobacco use.

Same thing applies to fat people and alcoholics or problem drinkers and illegal drug users.

Obama may set an example with regard to exercise. We occasionally see him playing pick-up basketball. But he needs to work out more systematically every other day—both cardio and weight training. Maybe he could lead an exercise TV program daily like the Richard Simmons in Chief.

As far as hygiene is concerned, we’re gonna need daily inspections.

Basically, since good health habits are the main thing in preventive medicine, Obama is going to have to enact a law that requires universal daily attendance at a weigh-in, inspection of your personal hygiene, a drug test, and calisthenics. Let’s call it reveille. There’s even music for it. It sounds like this. He can bring all sorts of R. Lee Ermey types out of retirement to supervise it.

Persons who benefit from universal health care but who are AWOL from daily reveille will have a warrant issued for their arrest.

Overweight persons will be required to report to a fat boot camp where their food intake will be restricted and they will be required to exercise.

These steps will cost more money than the current heath care system.

Mandatory regular physicals

Mandatory universal health care that emphasizes preventive medicine require mandatory physicals that are at least annual or more often for persons with certain risk factors. If you do not attend your scheduled physicals, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Mandatory tests

Similarly, according to your age and other risk factors, you will be required to get the tests recommended by the medical profession including sigmoidoscopies and breast exams. If you do not appear for your scheduled tests, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Mandatory vaccinations

Ditto. You will get your flu shots, DPT, etc. No exceptions. These shots will kill some of you but not getting them will kill more of you. You’ve had a good life.

Hazardous activities and places

All hazardous activities will be outlawed, like riding motorcycles. All places frequented by humans like homes, workplaces, and public areas will be inspected periodically for safety hazards. If you have a safety hazard and do not correct it promptly, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Regular dental care

Since dental care is part of your health and affects all of your health, daily brushing and flossing will be required and inspected for at reveille. Also, regular checkups will be mandatory and recommended dental therapies must be performed when recommended by your dentist. If you fail to take care of your teeth, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

All of the above will cost more than the current health care system.

False positives and negatives

The more tests you perform, the more false positive and false negative results you get. I lost half my thyroid gland to a false alarm benign lump that was discovered during my annual physical. False negatives cause you to ignore continuing symptoms that warrant a second or third opinion. In short, federally mandated mandatory preventive medicine will cause far more false test results and those, in turn, will waste more money.

A stitch in time saves nine

Preventive maintenance is usually wise because a stitch in time saves nine. One is cheaper than nine.

But preventive maintenance is not wise in some cases because sometimes the stitch only saves one or a half a stitch. You have to do a cost-benefit analysis and be careful not to cross the point of diminishing returns.

From a strict dollar standpoint, much health care given to older persons is not cost effective given their likely remaining life span. Other countries that have universal health care deny much of the health care given in the U.S. to seniors. Preventive medicine increases the percentage of people who live to become seniors.

The stitch-in-time advice does not apply to many health-care decisions. For example, preventive medicine can prevent or delay heart attacks. But everyone has to die of something. Preventive medicine that prevents heart attacks will almost certainly result in the person in question dying of a far more expensive disease, like cancer or Alzheimers, not to mention all the health care costs they will trigger for other things during their expanded-by-preventive-medicine life span.

Preventive medicine is wise policy, but not because it reduces medical care costs. It raises them. Furthermore, most preventive medicine relates to lifestyle choices and the government will not dare make effective efforts to change those choices.