November 29, 2013
O-Care: What the people want, good and hard
The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" rations medical services more than the mere use of a panel of bureaucrats that decides who gets what treatments. It also rations in the way it was ostensibly created to eliminate - by price.
Ms. Cantwell of the Department of Health Care Services said federal and state rules assured "geographic and timely access" for Medicaid patients, and the state closely monitors managed-care plan networks to make sure they include enough doctors. In California, she said, some 600,000 of the people entering Medicaid in January have already been assigned primary care doctors through an interim health care program for low-income residents that will end next month.
But when government mandates that doctors see more patients, and pays them less to do so, wait times become downright, well, NHS-like.
Oresta Johnson, 59, who sees Dr. Mazer through the state's interim health care program for low-income residents but will switch to Medicaid in January, said she had faced "excessively long" waits to see specialists who could treat her degenerative joint disease. Dr. Mazer is monitoring her thyroid gland, she said, and she is hoping she will not have a problem getting back in to see him next spring, when she may need a biopsy.
So tell me again how single-payer helps low income people get the same level of medical attention as middle and high income folks? Oh, right, by taking away the private insurance that 200 million already have and replacing it with a government approved alternative that is no more attractive to doctors than Medicaid. Be patient Ms. Johnson, and soon everyone else will receive the same crappy care that you do. Because it's "not fair" that people with more money should be treated better.
November 27, 2013
Even if you do not live in Colorado, be thankful that Evie Hudak has resigned!
The rape survivors who testified against a bill that would ban concealed carry on college campuses and who were disrespected by Hudak in the process reacted to the news that Hudak had resigned:
The S&P 500 Closed over 1800 for the holiday.
I'm not doing the geek thing exactly right. On the plus side, I have willingly disposed of any shred of remaining dignity to come out as a Joss Whedon fanboy. Pedant, snob, and loser in one package.
But I am missing a piece and am unlikely to remedy the omission. I. Just. Don't. Get. Comic. Books. They remain a huge part if the geek culture. I started buying the Buffy comic books when they came out. The -- only minimally Simpsonesque -- comic guys would save me two issues of each and let me drop in every other month. The store was cool and I had a genuine longing to appreciate more of the culture.
But it remains, if I may quote Stephen Fry, "a closed book on the top shelf of a locked cabinet" to me. It's a piece of Buffydom and Firefly, but with Whedon's success in The Avengers it has moved front and center. I have been TiVoing "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." religiously. I just never watch it.
I was going to save this confession for a holiday special review corner of Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" this Sunday. I read the original story because I have been enjoying the TV show which is homage and not dramatization.
But Jim Geraghty hits it in his Morning Jolt Newsletter [subscribe].
ABC's Agents of SHIELD isn't a bad show; it's just a very underperforming one so far. I concur with most of the criticisms in this article, and add a few of my own:
Geraghty is a comic book guy and critiques the show for not using the multi-decadal depth of Marvel characters.
For me, the episodes sit in DVR space. I might binge watch if I get the flu or dislocate my typing fingers. But each week, the lovely bride and I choose "Sleepy Hollow" and "Castle" instead. Both of them steal without compunction from Buffy, but it surprises me that I watch the real live imitation Whedon in lieu of the real thing.
November 26, 2013
Shark Jumpin' Show
Acculturated weaseled its way onto my Facebook feed. I suspect malfeasance as I don't truly remember signing up in an act of clarity and adult consent. But sometimes it links to good stories, so I should probably quit complaining.
This one really caught my eye. The article is "Why TV's 'Undercover Boss' Restores My Faith in Humanity" but Acculturated advertises it on Facebook as "Conservatives looking to find new ways to present free-market capitalism as appealing should take a peek." That's from the last line, right under:
The show is neither liberal nor libertarian. It emphasizes empathy and altruism, but equally highlights the importance of hard, honest work and the way a job well done, even a not-so-glamorous job, lifts the human spirit. It's capitalist, the way capitalism was intended to be.
I'll agree with every word if we may change the tense. I saw some earlier episodes and was impressed that a show celebrated work, CEOs, and Corporations. Whoa! (If you have not seen the show, the linked article provides a good synopsis.) There is a sweet moment at the end of the show, when all is revealed. The "Boss" is identified and typically thanks the workers for things he has learned ("It is insane that you have to follow this procedure or that you are not given the proper tools for this task...") In return for elucidation, the boss will find a bright worker a better job, establish some mentorship or career path, and -- used to be occasionally -- will provide financial assistance to pursue education goals or escape difficult circumstances or support a charity for which the worker volunteers.
Sweet, but in American TV, the sweet can sometimes be overwrought. And the show has now become "Queen for a Day" (Younger readers can look that up on the Intertubes.) The poor worker meets the Boss and gets fistfuls of dollars handed to then at the end! It is like winning the lottery -- sorry you have an old car, I'm giving you $60K for a new Porsche (sobs...)
At the end of each episode, a couple of stand-out employees, often people who have overcome some sort of adversity or who are dealing with some personal struggle, realize the "new guy" is actually the head-honcho, and are rewarded generously with promotions, raises, cars, homes, etcetera, tailored to the personal need of the employee. One single mom of three can't pay the rent. She gets a forty percent raise and her boss pays her rent and bills for a year. Nearly every single employee breaks down and cries, and the emotion is not canned.
What was a part of the show has now become the show. I do not watch it frequently enough to know when this happened, but I have seen enough to know it did. There once was a show that celebrated work. And earned income.
McCloskey for Pope!
James Pethokoukis posts a response from ThreeSources' Fave (or at least jk's) Deirdre McCloskey to Pope Francis's latest whack at Capitalism.
I'm going to lift it in its entirety -- sorry Mr. Brooks! You can click through for backstory and Jimi's introduction.
Friedrich Hayek, the modern master of what people in the USA call "libertarianism" and what others call "real liberals," once wrote an essay entitled "Why I Am Not a Conservative." He was not a conservative, nor am I or Robert Nozick or Tom Palmer or Donald Boudreaux or Ronald Hamowy or John Locke or Thomas Paine or (the Blessed) Adam Smith.
UPDATE: Need we add a "Papal Encyclicals" category? An alert reader offers a link to this commentary by Rev. James Martin. Plus an admonition to be wary of accepting a WaPo summary of anything that concerns economics or Catholicism.
Evangelii Gaudium is difficult to summarize, so wide-ranging is it. Ironically, something that would at first appear to be a narrow topic -- how to spread the Gospel today -- offers Francis the latitude to address many topics in his trademark open style. The exhortation moves easily from a discussion on joy as a requirement for evangelization, to how "personal dialogue" is needed for any authentic invitation into the faith, to the difficulty of being a church when Catholics are "warring" against one another, to the need for priests and deacons to give better homilies, to an overriding concern for the poor in the world -- the last being a special concern of the Pope.
I would refer his excellency to last week's Review Corner or perhaps Prof. McCloskey. Sometimes a little bit of trading in the back of thy Father's House can do more than alms.
ACA Quote of the Day -- The Musical!
Sellin' hope's like sellin' soap, son I'll tell you why -- you can't make either one without a little bit of lye. -- Remy
Happy Thanksgiving, Shoppers!
Perhaps an anti-rant is by definition a rant. The opposition-to-retail-on-Thanksgiving contingent on Facebook seems to be growing. George Takei has now weighed in (he's agin' it).
Teevee news last night unironically ran a story on the "controversy" of Black Friday's incursion into Thursday -- and followed it with a story on the growing trend of eating the big meal out. I guess food workers don't have families, that is just the retail sector. Kitchen help is staffed from orphanages or something. This tickled:
Now, a boycott or Facebook group whine is a part of the free market. Shaming corporations to improve treatment of workers and customers is valid and non-coercive. I should applaud. But I think this contretemps is misinformed and I know that the Deirdre McCloskey appreciation for Bourgeois Dignity and commerce will not receive a fair hearing (I'm just posting this here).
I am betting that a lot of young people will get some additional hours that they'd like and that most will pay holiday premium wages. The assumption of helpless Dickensian urchins cowering before their cruel employers is a bit much.
November 25, 2013
Quote of the Day
Barack Obama sold ObamaCare with lies and damned lies. Now Krugman purports to back them up with statistics. -- All Hail Taranto!
The New Normal -- 1930s Edition
[Photographer Lewis Hine (1874-1940)]'s glimpses of the future -- and those scenes he missed -- remind us to be skeptical of technological pessimism. As the historian and economist Joel Mokyr (Robert Gordon's colleague at Northwestern) has reminded us, the idea that we have picked the low-hanging fruit of technology calls for a counter-metaphor that bring to mind Hine's photo of the toolmaker's microscope: "Technology creates taller and taller ladders, and the higher-hanging fruits are within reach and may be just as juicy."Amen. I am disturbed, less by the Krugmans and Brad DeLongs of the world, than Tyler Cowen and to some extent James Pethokoukis (to be fair to JimiP, I cannot Google up a good inculpatory quote).
The supporting concepts, like in the 1930s, are compelling: we do not have another low hanging economic nuke to compare with including African Americans, or women, or educating the intelligent but indigent. Fair enough.
But I do not see that VP Gore could not invent another thing as cool and productive as the Internet. Nanotech, asteroid mining, gene therapies? GMO crops? The increased productivity of
I think the world of Cowen. And, despite some partisan hackery, I must admit that Krugman and DeLong have their occasional insights. Yet it is difficult to disprove this theory without quantifying the future value of spontaneous order, which is tautologically impossible. I'd recommend David Deutsch's "The Beginning of Infinity" to open the vision. But Edward Tenner's AEI Piece, from which the opening quote was taken, shows how compelling were these same claims in The Great Depression, when the country was laying the technological foundation for a century of rapid expansion.
Oprima Numero forget about it...
ObamaCare® rolls out. Poor, Minorities Hardest Hit!
For the site's Spanish-language counterpart, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, [the] situation is far worse. The site does not yet include an online application, and only directs individuals to call a customer service representative. Along with a phone number to call, the site features the message "La solicitud en línea estará disponible pronto," which roughly translates to "The online application will be available soon."
This article got a lot of play over the weekend for good cause: "Seething at a President I helped elect."
The whole thing is a schadenfreude sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top, but I loved one segment more devoutly than the rest:
Over the years we've held on to our coverage by letting our co-pay and deductible rise and our covered procedures fall. You may be aware that the three-tiered state exchange policies are labeled Gold, Silver, and Bronze, reflecting their price and level of coverage. If our policy still existed it would fall into the column of Wood.
What? Thou darest elevate thine own choices over thy Lord's? ObamaCare is just another rung in the progressive ladder. The job you offer doesn't pay the minimum wage? It's illegal. Your hair-braider lacks a State Cosmetology license? You cannot pay her. Your health care plan that you like? You can't keep it.
Instructive -- in case anybody is paying attention.
UPDATE: Larry Elder: Rep Pelosi (Clueless - CA) never "met anybody who liked his or her plan."
November 24, 2013
Editor's Choice Award
I am four years late to the party. If everyone else has already read The Beautiful Tree, just giggle at my late indulgence. But I cannot remember a book I enjoyed more.
I will be buying a few copies and recommending it until I become tiresome. While the book is not political or economic per se, it encapsulates and exemplifies much of what I believe. My buddy, Brad, at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons always encourages liberty folk to appeal to the heart as well as the brain. This masterpiece does both.
Author James Tooley gets "first class BSc honours in Logic and Mathematics from the University of Sussex" and goes to teach math in Zimbabwe. His hope of, repeat after me, making a difference to the rural poor is shunted as the prize is kept for the children of government and NGOs in the city. A trip into the slums reveals a vibrant marketplace for private education. Big, beautiful, well equipped, western buildings staffed by accredited teachers are routinely eschewed for village schools in crumbling slums. By parents who, in absolute privation, devote money to pay private tuition instead of utilizing free government schools.
He devotes his life to finding out that this is true and then proving it to arrogant government officials and snot-nosed charity organizers from DfID, Oxfam, Save the Children, &c.
Curiously-- at least to me-- this was not a conclusion reached by any of the development experts. The Oxfam Education Report was typical. Let me repeat: it was quite explicit that private schools for the poor were emerging in huge numbers and that these schools were more accountable to parents than government schools for the poor. Notwithstanding any of this, its position was that "there is no alternative" but blanket public provision to reach education for all.
Universal, free, education for all! What kind of sick bastard would oppose that? I am told that Judaism holds the giver responsible not just for intention but also for outcome of charity. The outcome of "free, universal education for all" is startlingly -- even grading on the NGO efficacy curve -- poor. It seems that there are incentives in the private schools to please paying parents and fire non-performing teachers.
"We don't have that power in the government schools." He told me the story of a public school principal whom they found last year sleeping at school at 9: 00 a.m. on a classroom bench; he was drunk and no other teachers were present. "Eventually, we managed to get him transferred. That's all. There was nothing else we could do." It's always the same story, he says, "If teachers or principals are caught in child abuse or alcoholism, then all we can do is transfer them elsewhere. And then they continue with their abuse."
This story is repeated again and again. They visit the local government school and the children are playing in the yard. Very few of the teachers bother to show up and many of those that do do other work. It's the incentive model of the DMV plus the rampant corruption of post-Colonial government graft. Yet, Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono, the UN, and all the big-name global philanthropic NGOs will not admit that there is another game in town.
He told me that DfID didn't put much into education, just $80 million or so over the past five years, all of which had gone to the government for improving primary schools-- much of that was for improving their buildings. (I saw it as I traveled around later, plush new government primary school buildings proudly sporting the DfID logo. There were also European Union logos and logos for various other European government aid agencies.) But he was openly dismayed at the lack of accountability for how the DfID funds were spent.
The problem with private education to all these people is profit. A school cannot be "pro-poor" if a proprietor seeks profit. But a bunch of corrupt Ministry of Education officials driving to five-star lunches with aid workers in limousines is fine. The few that admit that these schools exist then suggest that the answer is to regulate them -- give the corrupt government officials the power to close them down! That'll help.
I think ThreeSourcers are beginning to see what I like (I've highlighted probably 100 quotes). It is about education, incentives, and actually helping through -- mirabile dictu -- prvate enterprise. The author is not some crazed libertarian but a chattering class brit IMF worker who took the time to discover reality. The same situation existed in India, Nigeria, and rural China. At each place he was greeted with a laughable "no, there are no private schools for poor people." Everyone knows the schools for the poor come from Save the Children and Oxfam and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and DfID and other wealthy white people writing checks to government bureaucrats.
In the closing sections Tooley explains the title and makes the greatest pattern comparison of all time. Gandhi accused the British of damaging the soil and killing "The Beautiful Tree" because they destroyed the indigenous institutions in favor of transplanted western replacements that were less appropriate and effective. Eighty years later, check writing Brits repeat the performance: demanding schools that look like theirs whether they will educate the poor or not. I am amused to no end that the funders who would be offended most by the charge of "Colonialist" are the ones most fiercely pressing ahead.
What I see this means now is that, when Gandhi said that he wished to return to the status quo ante, he was saying he wanted to return to a system of private schools for the poor, funded in the main by fees and a little philanthropy. Not only has my journey into Indian history provided unexpected evidence of private education for the poor in India before the British took over, it has also provided me with an even more unexpected ally.
It is a masterpiece of heart and mind that promotes everything I believe (well, there's nothing about the crime of the AL's Designated Hitter...) so softly and subtly as to be almost by accident. It has returned to the news in the wake of Malala, the brave young woman shot by the Taliban for going to school. I saw it referenced in this Cato article and bought it. Better late than never.
Five Stars and the Editor's Choice Award.
November 22, 2013
"Congressmen" Udall and Bennet Vote to Discontinue US Senate
"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
For five years, Senate Republicans have refused to allow confirmation votes on dozens of perfectly qualified candidates nominated by President Obama for government positions. They tried to nullify entire federal agencies by denying them leaders. They abused Senate rules past the point of tolerance or responsibility. And so they were left enraged and threatening revenge on Thursday when a majority did the only logical thing and stripped away their power to block the president’s nominees.
Part of the Times' defense of this headlong rush to make the Senate indistinguishable from the House is that it only applies to Presidential appointment nominations, not including the Supreme Court.
But now that the Senate has begun to tear down undemocratic procedures, the precedent set on Thursday will increase the pressure to end those filibusters, too.
"A republic, madam, if you can keep it."
"Keep it? From what?"
"From becoming a democracy."
Yesterday, Colorado's two Democrat Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet joined 50 other Democrats to resolve that the United States Government shall henceforth have two majoritarian chambers with little difference between them. In the process they essentially "demoted" themselves from Senators to Congressmen, and I for one shall refer to them as such.
Appearing as himself in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," then-CBS radio commentator H.V. Kaltenborn called the filibuster "democracy's finest show: the right to talk your head off, the American privilege of free speech in its most dramatic form."
How to Save the Republic
Blog patriarch jk established, almost 6 years ago, Prosperitarianism. Today I read, for the first time in my publicly educated life, the Unspoken Speech that JFK was on his way to give when he was assassinated 50 years ago today. I feel I may offer the last piece of the puzzle for organizing the new American liberty party when I suggest jk's excellent platform be joined with a far better party name than Prosperitarian - The "JFK Party."
It is clear, therefore, that we are strengthening our security as well as our economy by our recent record increases in national income and output -- by surging ahead of most of Western Europe in the rate of business expansion and the margin of corporate profits, by maintaining a more stable level of prices than almost any of our overseas competitors, and by cutting personal and corporate income taxes by some $11 billion, as I have proposed, to assure this Nation of the longest and strongest expansion in our peacetime economic history.
Prosperitarianism can save the American Constitutional Republic by promoting private enterprise and restricting government to its proper sphere. JFKism can actually inspire people to take it seriously.
This Nation's total output -- which 3 years ago was at the $500 billion mark -- will soon pass $600 billion, for a record rise of over $100 billion in 3 years. For the first time in history we have 70 million men and women at work. For the first time in history average factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. For the first time in history corporation profits after taxes -- which have risen 43 percent in less than 3 years -- have an annual level of $27.4 billion.
'Papas, Don't Let Yer Babies Grow Up to be Princesses'
Lifted directly from a Slate article: This Awesome Ad, Set to the Beastie Boys, Is How to Get Girls to Become Engineers
This is a stupendously awesome commercial from a toy company called GoldieBlox, which has developed a set of interactive books and games to "disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers." The CEO, Debbie Sterling, studied engineering at Stanford, where she was dismayed by the lack of women in her program. (...) As the GoldieBlox website attests, only 11 percent of the world's engineers are female. Sterling wants to light girls' inventive spark early, supplementing the usual diet of glittery princess products with construction toys "from a female perspective."
I'll let readers know my daughters' reaction to it.
Damn! I came to ThreeSources to get away from JFK nostalgia and boomer self pity!
Sorry, Ann Athouse gives her ten rules for writing about the 50th. I'm rather fond of #8:
Don't commemorate murder. A man managed to kill the President. He's already gotten far too much press. He doesn't deserve our endless attention. I'm sick of "celebrating" a death day. We don't make anything of Lincoln's death day. We celebrate his birthday, like Washington's, because he was such a great President. We don't celebrate JFK's birthday -- I don't even know what it is -- because he was not great enough. We celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday, not the day he was assassinated. Why? Because of his greatness, and because we don't want to direct our attention toward his murder. So why do we focus on Kennedy's death day? It must be because he was not great enough, and because of points #1, #2, and #3, above. It's about ourselves. A man died and we morbidly relive it annually, for some reason that must make little sense to those under 50.
President Kennedy should be celebrated for his war heroics, curiously best portrayed in Robert Caro's LBJ biography (Vol 4, Passage to Power). His presidency was mixed at best.
Proud to share a Species with Richie Parker
Share eight minutes with the young man discussed in Thomas Sowell's column that we discussed yesterday.
November 21, 2013
Grab a Kleenex!
Veteran House Democratic aides are sick over the insurance prices they'll pay under Obamacare, and they're scrambling to find a cure.
I. Feel. So. Bad.
Solidarity--the concept that we have concrete duties to others with whom we share society, especially the poor and marginalized--has never been a word with much cachet in American politics. It's not that Americans lack compassion for the poor; we appreciate the concept, but not so much the word itself.
ThreeSourcers will enjoy a sound and consistent refutation of the Administration's complicity in facilitating the dependence society. [I will not rewrite that sentence; it is unwieldy but it says what I mean.] My favorite is its tying the controversial Brosurance and Hosurance PSAs to the Administration's "Life of Julia;"
"The Life of Julia" is, of course, presidential campaign propaganda, and so we should expect a focus on federal interventions in Julia's life. What is extraordinary is how alone Julia is. She has none of the connections or responsibilities that are intrinsic to natural human society. Her only duties are those which she chooses--even having a child is rendered sterile, framed as a discrete, consumerist, individual decision, rather than the natural result of forming a family with another person. And it is the state--specifically in the person of President Obama--that is promoted as enabling this alienation.
Pretty good stuff, non?
Those not still choking on the lede and our "concrete duties to others with whom we share society, especially the poor and marginalized" will cough a lung at the conclusion.
Conservatives can't condemn political marketing like "Life of Julia" or "Got Insurance?," then pivot and peddle our own hackneyed individualism. We must be the voice for civil society, for social responsibility, for solidarity. We cannot let solidarity die, because with it will pass away limited government as well.
Compelling. I bristle at the dismissal of "Individualism" even if I overestimate ThreeSourcers' opposition. But just as Burkean fuddy-duddy law and order is a sturdy foundation for liberty, the Tocquevillian formation is worthy of consideration.
Silver Linings Thursday
It seems to me that there is a silver lining to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (Fascist-NV) rule change to eliminate any semblance of a filibuster process and make the Senate's advise and consent function a purely democratic process, subject to the same transient passions as any other majority-rule institution. "Cooling saucer" be damned.
On the bright side, there may no longer be any practical use for the once powerful RINO politician. After all, not a single Republican vote will be required to impose the Democrats' will upon the once Constitutionally protected American citizen.
The Cancel Button Will work for most customers in December
A chilling PPACA02010HSOTD in the Wall Street Journal. A lifelong hard working dairy farmer finds her coverage cancelled. She uses the (functioning in the foothills of Redmond) Washington State website to evaluate her choices. There is one: Washington Apple Health, the State's rebranded Medicaid (one suspects Microsoft won the naming contest there as well).
Ho Hum, another ObamaCareTaleOfWoe®, really I have to get to work jk...
The website not only presented her
Instead, almost mockingly, her "Eligibility Results" came back: "Congratulations, we received and reviewed your application and determined [you] will receive the health care coverage listed below: Washington Apple Health. You will receive a letter telling you which managed care plan you are enrolled with." Washington Apple Health is the mawkish rebranding of Medicaid in Washington state.
I jumped into a Facebook argument yesterday (Moi?) in which Blog Brother Bryan had posted a superb guest-ed in IBD by Thomas Sowell.
The last thing the political left needs, or can even afford, are self-reliant individuals. If such people became the norm, that would destroy not only the agenda and the careers of those on the left, but even their flattering image of themselves as saviors of the less fortunate.
Dr. Sowell, would you say that enrolling web visitors in Medicaid qualifies? Back to Ms. Hopkins's Mom:
It was a deliberate choice on her part to pay that monthly $276 out of her own pocket. Clearly she had judged that she received a personal benefit from not being on Medicaid.
Clearly, I wasn't arguing with Brother Bryan on this. A workmate of ours had piped in that "This is outrageously incorrect, and I'm surprised that someone with [Bryan's] keen understanding of people, positions, and complexities would endorse this perspective by sharing it."
Nope, no predilection toward dependency, we're just making this up.
UPDATE: JK unsurprisingly misspells "Bellevue." Worse, the better joke line was "Redmond" (since corrected -- thanks to Evergreen State emigrant dagny).
November 20, 2013
On The Presidents George Bush
I will talk loudly and late into the evening about my personal disappointments and philosophical differences with both Presidents Bush.
But I believe GHWB41 to be perhaps the finest man to ever hold the office. After I read a sequence of presidential biographies a few years ago, it was my conclusion that there were no better persons -- there were certainly better presidents. But read his All the Best, My Life in Letters and you will be swept away by his integrity and decency.
I ache at the policy differences that have grown between me and GWB43. Yet I remain proud of my efforts to elect him in 2000 and 2004 and hold no illusion that VP Gore or Senator Kerry would have been half as good as W, with all his failings.
And -- as far as integrity and decency. Prof. Mankiw links to this and says "Students often ask me what George W. Bush is like as a person. This story from Dana Perino gives a great sense of what I saw and experienced as well."
He spent too much and trusted Executive power -- and government in general -- too much. But. yes, I miss ol' W.
Equal Time to The Other Side
I told you brother jg had great hair! Here he is sharing his true feelings about capitalism!
Hat-tip: Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity on Facebook.
Glenn sez Not yet!:
"I will happily pay you today, for a free lunch I don't eat before tomorrow"
In an apparent attempt to deflect attention away from the federal exchange portion of O-care, just as we are learning that the entire functionality of the system is not even built, much less tested, numerous democrats have cheered that the state-run exchanges are working well.
More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October - most in Medicaid - and around 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant Amazon.com, officials credit the exchange’s success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent.
Wawazat? "most in medicaid?" Yup.
Mansfield and Rodriguez huddled together over a shiny new laptop in the busy trailer, setting up the older woman’s account. Rodriguez led Mansfield through a series of questions, typing in the necessary information about citizenship, tax filing status, family makeup.
And Colorado's metrics are very similar, with most enrollees being in Medicaid - 47,306 versus 6,001 in "private health insurance" through the first six weeks.
I don't know about you but I sure am relieved that, under O-care, no insurance company can interrogate me about my medical history. Now I only have to answer questions about "citizenship, tax filing status, family makeup" and "prove how much money [I make] each month."
But the LA Times story says nothing about website security on the state exchanges, which is what I was researching when I found that Connect for Health Colorado was so forward thinking on the issue that they sought a third party security review for the 2011 startup's flagship, nay, only ship, website way way back in ... June. The proposals were due in less than 3 weeks after the date of RFP and would be reviewed for a full week before awarding a contract, possibly not to the lowest bidder, or at all, before work could begin on July 22, leaving ten weeks and a day for the third party to "Provide additional inputs to the C4HCO team for risk management activities as the system Go Live date of 1 October 2013 approaches."
What could go wrong? No matter, since the result is so comforting. Wonderful! At least, until you try to see your, or any, doctor.
Hey, hey, FDA, how many did you kill today...
I've been too kind to the FDA of late. I am clearly losing my edge. Take it away, Mister Gillespie (sans Jacket):
(~8:26): "[If the FDA had continued with the fast track procedures allowed for HIV drugs] we would be a decade or two ahead of where we are today on curing a lot of intractable diseases."
Take That, Vietnam!
Super interesting article by Prof Mark J Perry in AEI, discussing the economic output of America's largest cities. Many are surprising and, to be honest, somewhat disappointing to this urbaphobe and champion of bucolic values.
3. The colossal economy of New York ($1.33 trillion) produced more economic output in 2012 than 48 of our states, and was surpassed only by California ($2 trillion) and Texas ($1.4 trillion) and Los Angeles ($765 billion) produced more economic output in 2012 than 46 states
I saw a Facebook argument last week where a lefty commentator invoked Sweden (I know, must have been a day that ended in -y). I'm all for comparisons, but the magnitudinal differences of domestic and foreign GDP must not be forgotten:
Chicago's economy ($571 billion) is larger than the economies of Sweden ($525 billion) and Norway ($499 billion).
November 19, 2013
Quote of the Day
Barack Obama is not scheduled to be present at Gettysburg on Tuesday to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the address. Maybe he figured that the world would little note, nor long remember, what he said there. -- Bret Stephens
All Hail Harsanyi!
ThreeSources' favorite Denver Post columnist takes a lengthy and serious whack at SecEd Arne Duncan. His "white suburban moms" comment has caused a fuss, but his entire tenure is a textbook example of bureaucratic interference in the opportunity of children.
Now, it's possible that little Caleb and Riley may not be the prodigies their parents suspect, but antagonism towards Common Core is more likely propelled by a belief that centralizing education allows Washington to, over time, destroy local autonomy. Even if these fears are exaggerated, they are far from outlandish -- and hardly "fascinating" to anyone who's paying attention.
Against data, Duncan's Department of Education, again and again, chooses the ideological over the effective.
The administration isn't interested in "suburban white moms" getting in its way, and it sure doesn't want minority moms having too many choices. Duncan's recent comments weren't "clumsy," they were part of a pattern. A pattern that undermines innovation and allows the achievement gap to get worse.
One suspects Secretary Arne Duncan says "suburban white moms" with the same tone, timbre, and prosody that Elwood Blues uses for "Illinois Nazis."
UPDATE: J.D. Tuccille is not too happy with Sec Duncan's soi-disant apology.
He immediately walked it back, of course, because when politicians occasionally let slip the impatience and contempt they feel for their constituents, it's usually a good idea to fake a little contrition lest their careers suffer. But he condescendingly lashed out at "white suburban moms" for rebelling against Common Core education standards, saying it's because their feelings are hurt when their kids don't score as well as they once did. Thanks for letting the mask slip, Arne, and revealing your disdain for anybody who might insist on leeway in educating their own kids.
Nope, not a horror story! Everything is great! You guys stop hyperventilating!
One of the most important changes in the law is a huge collection of bureaucratic nudges designed to incentivize the health-care system toward delivering higher value rather than churning out higher cost. That experiment, while still extremely early, is going far better at this stage than even the most optimistic advocates hoped. A wave of innovation is in full bloom, manifesting itself in such things as lower rehospitalization rates, rapid growth of accountable care organizations and retail health providers, and employers shopping around for less expensive plans rather than endlessly footing higher bills. -- Jonathan Chait
Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty
November 18, 2013
The Review Corner that didn't Bark
It is no secret that the average Review Corner score is likely well above four stars. Am I just another pawn of "Big Book," getting checks from Shuster's sons to inflate scores? Why don't I write rebarbative reviews to show off my classic wit? Or am I so cheap that I only buy books I like?
Well, I am cheap enough that I rarely take the Tyler Cowan option. Cowan rails poignantly against our desire to "finish" a book or movie we don't like. Time is your most valued asset -- Cowan thinks we should walk out of theaters and leave books unread. I rarely do that. I watch bad movies to see what happens and I read bad books to see if they get better.
But I doubt that I'll return to The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life
The Why Axis is meant to follow Steven Levitt's popular "Freakonomics:" using hard data to answer softer questions on behavior, preference, and social science outcomes. I enjoyed Freakonomics. While I had some concerns, it was a net gain for the corpus. Levitt is an advisor in some capacity to "The Why Axis" but not an author.
Let's enjoy a sample of The Why Axis's prose:
[Businessman-turned-superintendent of Chicago Heights District 170, Tom] Amadio is a passionate, straight-talking guy with good business instincts. He may be the only school superintendent in the country who, in a previous life, was a stock trader making a good living. Unlike stereotypical Wall Street traders, though, Amadio cares deeply about the plight of the underprivileged.
Houston? We may have a problem... Freakonomics leaned left in an academic proclivity, but it had other virtues. This book starts out proving faculty lounge pieties. It seems that gender really is a social construct. Because there is a matriarchal tribe somewhere in which females exhibit risk traits associated with males in the West.
The team does quite a bit of research around this and presents hard data from experiments they have devised -- my paraphrase sells them short. Yet, at the end of world travels and exhaustive studies, and loads of money shelled out to do game theory on people, there seems to be quite a leap. And -- surprise of all surprises in this most surprising of worlds -- hard data supports the faculty lounge belief! Are you as shocked as I am?
They moved on to explain racism, and I moved along to two other books on my Kindle that are a lot more serious in tone and structure.
I thought of writing (this very nasty) review yesterday and thought it unfair. If I do not finish a book, I will not review it.
Then, I saw this on Facebook: "Nature vs. Nurture: New study shows we knew morality as babies." There's a juicy altruism angle that could be fun.
Is it correct to say that Mike's actions were "moral"? Where does morality come from? Are human beings born with an innate moral sense, something like a conscience that helps us tell right from wrong? Or are we born as blank slates and learn morality as we make our way through life from infancy to childhood and beyond? If morality is innate, are we born good and corrupted by society, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought? Or are we born as brutes and civilized by culture, as "Darwin's bulldog" T.H. Huxley thought?
Well, click on through to the Atlantic and "a new study" has solved that oft concerned question. This brought up "Why Axis." We're going to get a grant and busy 100 grad students to prove something we think. In the hard sciences, I'd say that's how it is done. I think the softer sciences should show a little more humility. Over the years, they have earned it.
November 17, 2013
Obamacare for Thee, But Not for Me
JK Tweeted, "More people bought Yoko Ono's debut album (250,000+) than bought Obamacare policies." I believe the charitable figure for Obamacare "purchases" is around 100,000. I say "charitable" because they count filled shopping carts the same as "pay now" clicks.
But I wondered how those numbers compare to, say, the number of Americans who "support Obamacare" or who are registered members of the President's political party? Actual numbers are surprisingly difficult to find, but Rasmussen has Obamacare and Democrat registration percentages and Wikipedia has census figures.
"Support Obamacare" 145,360,000
So if we assume that all democrats support Obamacare, about 42 million non-democrats also support it. And yet, despite an apparent belief that the law in general is a good idea, less than 3 in 1000 non-democrat Obamacare supporters and less than 1 in 1000 democrats as a whole, actually believe the program is a good idea for themselves.
"Oh, you meant, 'Do I support Obamacare for my rich neighbor!"
November 16, 2013
"How could this be going so spectacularly wrong?" goes the hand-wringing lament.
And The Discussion Continues...
The part of jg will be played by former Federal Reserve trader Andrew Huszar, jk will be represented by Jeapordy! champion and AEI Scholar, James Pethokoukis.
I found it enjoyable and was glad to find video online. As far as our local discussion, I am squishier than JimiP. Q-E-One-and-done is somewhat compelling, yet so is Pethokoukis's reference to the contractionary policies of an overly-tight ECB.
November 14, 2013
Brutal Partisan Hackery
But it is all true:
If you can't take some joy, some modicum of relief and mirth, in the unprecedentedly spectacular beclowning of the president, his administration, its enablers, and, to no small degree, liberalism itself, then you need to ask yourself why you're following politics in the first place. Because, frankly, this has been one of the most enjoyable political moments of my lifetime. I wake up in the morning and rush to find my just-delivered newspaper with a joyful expectation of worsening news so intense, I feel like Morgan Freeman should be narrating my trek to the front lawn. Indeed, not since Dan Rather handcuffed himself to a fraudulent typewriter, hurled it into the abyss, and saw his career plummet like Ted Kennedy was behind the wheel have I enjoyed a story more. -- Jonah GoldbergHonorable mention (same column):
The media feeding frenzy it has triggered from so many journalistic lapdogs has been both so funny and so poignant, it reminds me of nothing more than the climax of the classic film Air Bud, when the lovable basketball-playing golden retriever finally decides to maul the dog-abusing clown.
November 13, 2013
The shelf-life of "common-sense"
"Common-sense" is one of those adjectives politicians use to describe legislation they're afraid will get them fired either way: if they support it or if they don't. It means, "If you don't agree with this you are senseless" and it has to be employed because if they didn't cover it with that fig leaf, there's little other reason for voters to agree with it.
Vulnerable Senate democrats are running away from Obamacare as fast as they can. That includes Colorado's Mark Udall but since "he’s not viewed as being nearly as vulnerable as [Sen. Landrieu, D-Louisana] or Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas" he isn't running as far. Fox31:
"I share the concern that some health insurance companies are choosing to cancel thousands of Coloradans' plans. That’s why my common-sense bill will allow Coloradans the option to keep their current coverage if they want or to purchase new plans through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace that may better meet their health care needs."
What a swell guy - he wants to "allow" Coloradans options! We shouldn't be surprised. After all, he is well known as a pro-choice politician.
But don't let that power of choice go to your heads, fellow Centennial-staters.
With support building for a plan introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, that would allow people mislead by the president's promise to keep their plans to actually do so indefinitely, Udall has come up with a scaled down version that would allow policyholders to keep their current plans, being cancelled under the new law, for two years.
So now we know that "common-sense" has an expiration date: 2 years.
I have a better idea. How about, instead, we "allow" the stability of the insurance market while "protecting" people to hold on to their current plans? But you shouldn't be surprised. After all, I am a well-known "extremist, hostage taking" TEA Partier.
If you did not care for my Typhoon rant, I bet you won't like this:
If you feel it's urgent to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, then deep in your heart you also support Obamacare. -- Matt Miller
Obamacare is in much more trouble than it was one week agoThat is not the headline of some Koch Brothers wing-nut site Schadenfreude-fest. That is a WaPo Editor summarizing juicebox Mafioso Ezra Klein's expressing -- with genuine sadness -- eleven Administration problems. I'd recommend all 'leven. But throwing darts to pick one to excerpt, I threw low:
11. The biggest problem for the Obama administration in protecting the law is that they're losing credibility with congressional Democrats -- and, frankly, everyone else. They passed the law based in part on promises they couldn't keep. They botched the implementation terribly. And now it looks like they may not have HealthCare.gov fixed by the deadline they set for themselves. Congressional Democrats feel burned by them -- but even worse than that, they don't feel able to trust them. And Democrats looking toward 2014 are going to be made very nervous by this chart, first posted by our friends at The Fix:
November 12, 2013
"My Name is Andrew, and I am a Redistributaholic"
Or, as he entitled his own WSJ piece, "Confessions of a Quantatative Easer."
You'd think the Fed would have finally stopped to question the wisdom of QE. Think again. Only a few months later—after a 14% drop in the U.S. stock market and renewed weakening in the banking sector—the Fed announced a new round of bond buying: QE2. Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, immediately called the decision "clueless."
There's more criticism from this first-hand witness to said largest intervention in world history if you can bear to click through. I'll leave you with this line though, referring to QE1:
We were working feverishly to preserve the impression that the Fed knew what it was doing.
A Bake Sale to Buy a Bomber?
Great Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons last night! The lovely bride and I have missed several to care for dear Harriet, and it was good to get back.
The program featured three winners of the Leadership Program of the Rockies' "Defending Capitalism" speech contest. We heard three great speeches and multiple ideas to reach those not immediately disposed to the wonders of liberty. The (excellent) crowd also coughed up $800 to supply impressionable youth with Ayn Rand books and their teachers with instruction materials.
None of the speakers seemed to be radical big-O Objectivists, but Rand's writings were obviously influential -- and I believe are a sizable part of the LPR curriculum. National Defense came up in the Q&A session. Only one of the speakers was anarchist enough to suggest private defense.
When I got home, and saw that a US Carrier and supporting ships were headed to the Philippines for typhoon relief, I wished I had asked the group about plunder and taking money from my neighbor at gunpoint to fuel a carrier group on a relief mission.
Your friendly blog Deepak-Lallian libertarian has no problem with this. I wonder if others do have a problem or how they rationalize it if they do not. This is a tertiary at best relation to actual defense, but it is important to the maintenance of a Liberal International Economic Order. Of benefit to all taxpayers:
Do I have a fight? Robbing Peter to help Pinoy? Or is this valid use of our defense infrastructure and budget?
November 11, 2013
Meanwhile, In the People's Paradise of Venezuela
President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military "occupation" of the company's five stores as he continues the government's crackdown on an "economic war" it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.
And, yet the spirit of Capitalism is difficult to extirpate.
Water and snacks were being sold outside the store by savvy Venezuelans keen to profit from the commotion. Happy customers weaved giant television screens and other items back to their cars through the crowds.
And, in completely unrelated news:
Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months.
Shortages? Really? Let me put on my shocked face...
Happy Veterans' Day
Thanks to all who serve(d)!
I hope it won't be considered flippant if I include one of my favorite quotes. As Veterans' Day falls on the eleventh, I am reminded of Kurt Vonnegut. My first Vonnegut book was "Breakfast of Champions," and indeed it was an introduction to adult reading to an adolescent who was more interested in guitars, weed and young women than books. I remember reading this and being especially touched:
When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
November 10, 2013
The idea of the countermajoritarian difficulty rests on the premise that laws enacted by legislatures reflect the will of electoral majorities, which in turn relies on the assumption that the latter possess sufficient political knowledge to control what their representatives do. Yet most of the vast literature on this subject ignores the relevance of political ignorance.
I recommend Bryan Caplan's Myth of the Rational Voter so frequently, it is something of a verbal tic. ThreeSourcers have plenty of philosophical or pragmatic concerns with plebiscitary democracy, but I think any thinking person could look at the intelligence level of modern campaigns and not wonder "is this any way to run a railroad -- or our lives?"
I don't know the geography or organizational structure of George Mason University. But Law Professor Ilya Somin has built on his Economics colleague's important work. Where Caplan is forced to conclude with "sucks to be us," Somin integrates it into a thoughtful critique of over-expansive government. Still sucks to be us, but there are several new ideas along the way.
Starting with a look at the irrationality of being an informed voter, Somin visits many of Caplan's ideas. Factoring the likelihood or your vote being decisive, devoting time to understanding the candidates and issue of the day is idiotic from a self-interest perspective. "Well, the final vote came down to me, and I just wasn't sure if ObamaCare was going to be good or not, but the President promised..."
Somin also has a healthy dose of data showing just how disconnected the "average" voter is. Some of his tables are a little better than Jay Leno's "Man on the Street" interviews. But not by much.
So. Considering that voters do not know what's up and have no rational reason to learn, Somin asks, what is the best structure of government? I referred to this in a comment last week, but one particularly interesting section was a look at different democratic theories and their demands on their respective polities:
To demonstrate this point, we must compare the actual level of political knowledge to that demanded by four prominent theories of representation. In ascending order of their knowledge requirements, the four are retrospective voting, Burkean trusteeship, representation of popular preferences on specific issues, and deliberative democracy. All four theories require substantial levels of political knowledge in the electorate to ensure majoritarian control of the legislative process.
Somin has no magic bullets for fixing voter ignorance and he takes the time to shoot down some popular suggestions. The American culture will not accept diminution of the franchise and it is difficult to imagine that the level of knowledge can be brought up to an acceptable level.
The real solution Somin offers is Federalism. Before I pack up my family to move to Detroit, I might do a little research; my "foot-voting" is 100% decisive.
THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES of constitutional federalism have been debated for centuries. We have also had centuries of debate over the extent to which there should be constitutional constraints on the scope of government power more generally. But one major possible advantage of decentralization and limited government has often been ignored in the debate so far: its potential for reducing the costs of widespread political ignorance.
It is a good argument for limited government and a great book -- five stars, no question. If there is a flaw to ThreeSourcers, it would be the soft-pedaling of coherent philosophy:
The second salient aspect of ignorance is that most voters lack an "ideological" view of politics capable of integrating multiple issues into a single analytical framework derived from a few basic principles; ordinary voters rarely exhibit the kind of ideological consistency in issue stances that are evident in surveys of political elites.
I think most folks 'round these parts recognize themselves in that group. I need study an issue only long enough to fit it into a measure of its Constitutional principles and individual liberty. And if I am wrong, I will get knocked around around here. If I ever get the opportunity to enjoy a beer with Professor Somin, I'd ask him more about that. I do not present it as a flaw in the book because I do not expect more voters to develop a coherent philosophy than learn the issues in depth. It's a statistically meaningless difference.
UPDATE: CATO Video Forum on the book.
November 9, 2013
He must know that the Democrats who stunk up the Oval Office with their fear-musk will flee him like he's a urologist with hook-hands if the White House doesn't hit the new deadline for Healthcare.gov. If all that Torschlusspanik doesn't have you feeling just a little Schadenfreude, you're kaput inside. Or as I say in my opening sentence in the magazine: "To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the unraveling of Obamacare." -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
November 8, 2013
Dear fellow TEA Partiers,
Please, PLEASE... don't nominate this guy.
Tancredo was caught on camera giving the finger to a Hudak supporter at a rally of signature gatherers who want Hudak kicked out of office.
Wrong, Tom. You have to learn to ignore verbal taunts. While it's true that this sort of thing endears you to your acolytes, it also shows poor judgment, character and temperament to the rest of Colorado's voters who would be even less inclined to make you their governor.
November 7, 2013
Yet Another #CMA Clip!
I don't recall ever reading:
Looking extra pretty in a ruffly, lemon yellow party dress that showed off his killer legs, Grover Norquist...
David Boaz? Ron Paul? No. Yet, it works for Kacey Musgraves.
Her fierce libertarian anthem was apparently too much for the censors. But John Stuart Mill would have approved. In a ruffly. lemon party dress...
Libertario Delenda Est
I should be starting this argument on Facebook -- I have a surfeit of third party loyalists there.
Robert Tracinski dispels the concern that the Virginia LP Gubernatorial candidate somehow spoiled the race and handed it to McAuliffe. But then he follows with a truth that is far more damning:
But this story still says a lot about the uselessness of the Libertarian Party and its failed four-decade experiment in creating a third party. In the Virginia race, the Libertarian offered no distinctive agenda. On social issues, he was opposed to the religious right and was pro-abortion rights, and on economics he opposed tax and spending cuts and told a reporter that he embraced "mainstream economics" (i.e., big-government Keynesianism) rather than "Austrian economics," i.e., pro-free-market economics. Which makes him--what? A moderate Democrat? No wonder he drew more votes from McAuliffe. My guess is that he got the Democrats who really, really want to legalize pot.
Libertario Delenda Est!
Otequay of the Ayday
PPACA Edition - (I regret to admit that I misnamed the "Horror Story of the Day" category for Obamacare. I left out the P P.)
This difference in reactions to failure dramatically highlights the primary reason for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with market-based reform. As the Edsel flop demonstrates, businesses in the free market are quite capable of making colossal mistakes. However, when they do so and the customer rejects their products, they make the necessary adjustments. And, despite the widely believed myth that the market fails to work for health care, any private enterprise that had produced an unpopular mess like Obamacare would by now have shut it down. But the President won’t even consider delaying it. Why? Because his customers are required by law to avail themselves of his third-rate services.
From 'Obamacare and the Edsel: A Tale of Two Lemons' in American Spectator
"Do you have that Obamacare?"
Though it might have been a big risk several months ago, with the growing dissatisfaction over Obamacare emerging just in time for the CMA Awards, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hit it out of the park with this year’s funny skit.
Back story here.
Jay Carney Will Never be a Real Boy!
The lovely bride observed that Glenn Kessler, the WaPo Fact Checker, had awarded Three Pinocchios to Jay Carney for his defense of President Obama's lying about his previous lies.
At this rate, she quips, he'll never be a real boy! (And he'd look pretty good with donkey ears...)
The Worst Day Ever!
You want to really cheese off a [L|l]ibertarian? Give them a great experience at the DMV.
I needed to get my license renewed. As I renewed online last time, I had to go in. [Horror music swells in background...] Well, I was in for a day of hell, no doubt, but all my suspicions would be confirmed. I'd have some good stories to tell without having to join the Army.
I was able to make an appointment online using the www.colorado.gov website. While it is not Amazon, it is not ObamaCare either. It was functional and serviceable. I made appointments for myself & the lovely bride, cancelled them and rescheduled at another time. Pretty easy, email confirmations were sent. Pretty slick, gub'mint boyz, pretty slick...
Arrived on my appointment day, there was a tablet to sign in. It looked up my appointment and vended a "take your number" slip with an estimate of 7:00. In less than five, I was called up. A pleasant and professional young lady started the process. When I needed to go to the car to find a proof of address, she handed me off to young man who was also very personable.
We both got in and out in a half hour. Everybody was nice. And today, two weeks before promised, our cards were in the mailbox.
Damn. Ruined my whole day.
November 6, 2013
"Free" Healthcare, but can they afford it?
Obviously this is the insurance companies' fault:
Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia has four plans that are free to some customers, but the company, as well as other insurers, has been careful not to publicize its free coverage out of fear of alienating customers who will need to pay more for coverage more appropriate for their needs, the Times said.
But maybe there's another reason they aren't publicizing the "free" plans: They aren't free.
While varying in design, bronze plans generally cover about 60 percent of a person's medical costs in addition to standard benefits such as prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health treatment. All plans limit annual out-of-pocket costs to $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. But insurers and advocates said out-of-pocket costs can be discouraging to people with low incomes.
I'm discouraged, how 'bout you? Oh, did I mention?
Three independent estimates by Wall Street analysts and a consulting firm told The New York Times up to 7 million people, under provisions of the Affordable Care Act, could qualify for the no-premium plans, the majority in the bronze category, the least expensive available. (...) ACA supporters say the availability of free-premium plans and inexpensive policies that cover more indicate the law is achieving its goal of making health insurance more widely available. (...) "The whole point of the law was not only to cover the uninsured, but so people didn't have to make choices between food or drugs, or going to the doctor or dentist," said Karen Davis, a health policy expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It's what it is designed to do."
An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.
November 5, 2013
You Know it is True
Election Night Colorado
A couple of big issues on the statewide ballot today. A nearly billion dollar annual tax increase, primarily to prop up public employee pensions, and a smaller tax on legalized marijuana.
Here are Six Items to Watch for in Tonight's Election from local pollster Floyd Cirulli.
And the latest, and last before returns begin to come out, voter turnout data statewide, by county. Lookie there, El Paso county turnout exceeds Denver's!
You Guys Sick of Discussing ObamaCare®?
Hahaha -- kidding!
As huge pieces of the hull go tumbling into the sea, let's not ignore obvious malfeasance in the bar and laundry accounts...
One of the lies -- misspoke my ass! -- used to sell this bill and the reelection of its benefactor was that "it will not add a dime to the deficit." I call that a lie because anybody paying attention knew that the ridiculous machinations used to finance it would be unwound by future Congresses and the phantom revenues replaced with general largess.
Exhibit A: The Medical Device Tax. There is broad and bipartisan support for repealing this government impediment to innovation.
Strong, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress have already taken preliminary votes to repeal this tax -- twice in the House, by 270-146 and 231-192 margins, and once, by a 79-20 margin, in the Senate -- and repeal appeared to be on the table during last month's government shutdown.
As a customer and likely future beneficiary of medical device innovation, I applaud its repeal. But that paltry$30 Billion that it was slated to raise. Well, Portia, from where will that pound of flesh be extracted? And when the Unions' Cadillac taxes are inevitably repealed, whither and whence on that $80 Billion? Megan McArdle:
Moreover, the people who end up in those plans won't just be choosing them as the cost of other plans goes up; they’ll be forced into them because the other plans aren't offered at all. They are going to be screaming mad, and Democrats should not delude themselves that they will be soothed by all the marvelous things that may then be happening in the individual market. That's why I still think there is a good chance that this gets rolled back before it goes into effect -- but that is going to create its own, not insubstantial, budget problem: The Cadillac tax is supposed to raise about $80 billion by 2023.
The $500 Billion in Medicare cuts will not hold as the ACA pumps up Medicare and Medicaid enrollment (not that anybody ever truly expected them to stick).
Looks like $610 Billion of offsetting revenue will be forgiven to try and prop up this abject failure.
In my lifetime the good word liberal was discarded by the Democratic Party. Over the decades they'd run it into the ground and changed it from a plus to a minus. Liberal came to suggest a whole world of bad ideas--soft on crime, eager for gun confiscation, big taxing. So the past 20 years Democrats tried to change their label, and in the Obama era it was finally definitively changed. They were now progressives.
But How's ObamaCare® Doing in the Tarheel State?
Blue Cross Blue Shield has more than 3.7 million customers in [North Carolina], but internal emails obtained by WNCN show that as of last Friday, only one person had enrolled for health insurance through the Exchange and that person hasn't paid.
Hat-tip Jim Geraghty.
Quote (& ACAHS) of the Day
They lied because people wouldn't have passed it if they told the truth. Now they're lashing out as people point out that they lied. Back during the campaign they lied and said that Mitt Romney cut off a woman with cancer. Now they're lying about the woman with cancer that they cut off. Fraudulent, indeed. But lashing out at critics won't stop the rot -- Glenn Reynolds
November 4, 2013
If only somebody had told them...
ACA Overreach "is Freedom"
It's one thing when a dyed-in-the-wool pure capitalist like me says it, but now the respected centrist Lawrence Kudlow says the "Affordable Care Act" is anti-freedom, unfair, unaffordable, and "well on its way to collapsing of its own weight" before concluding:
But here's the bigger point: All this is the inevitable result of massive central-planning exercises to control the economy. That's not freedom.
If you like your plan, you're a moron.
One peculiar fallout of the ObamaCareDebacle®: the effects are so egregious that sometimes over-the-top commentators appear completely reasonable. I don't link to a Townhall.com post with a Hannity clip very frequently, but I am happy to share this one.
There was a time not too long ago when feminists and liberals within the Democratic Party condemned men for telling women how to handle their healthcare choices. In fact, President Obama got re-elected thanks to the argument, "Don't let Republicans let the government get between you and your doctor."
One hopes some basic themes of liberty will come out of the debate -- here's to the lovers, the dreamers, and me! In the meantime, enjoy this patronizing old white statist male telling a young woman she is too stoopid to choose her own healthcare.
If only he could get on the exchange with that dumb chick and show her how to find a good plan.
November 3, 2013
How About a Little Fiction, Scarecrow?
And who, really, is so fancy-schmancy they can't appreciate "Volare," arguably among the greatest pop tunes ever written? Young man dreams he's flying in the sky, above it all, defying gravity and time, like having midlife early, in the second verse he wakes up, back on earth, first thing he sees is the big blue eyes of the woman he loves. And that will turn out to be sky enough for him. All men should grow up so gracefully.I don't know that I have grown up or grown gracefully. But the novels of Thomas Pynchon have been the signposts along the way. His impenetrable "Gravity's Rainbow" remains my favorite novel of all time. And, as he chunks them out only a little better than once a decade, you can remember the span just as well from the Pynchon release as the hair style, fashion or dance moves.
Non-fiction guy missed the last two (Jeeburz, your favorite only writes nine books and you miss two? Some fanboy.). But I enjoyed the latest, Bleeding Edge. Many of his tend to be challenging. Bleeding Edge is downright accessible for Pynchon. I don't know that I'd pass a graduate level Lit test on it, but you won't get the swimming lost feeling that creeps up in Gravity's or V.
The reason to read Pynchon is to experience the inside of his preternatural intellect. He is quite the polymath. Whatever oases of knowledge you have on specific topics, he'll seem informed when he discusses them and you have to assume he sounds just as credible to the expert on ancient French literature, the NY sewer system, plastics, banana farming or the Zulu wars. Bleeding Edge discusses computers and the hacker community right at the burst of the dotcom bubble through 9/11. Unsurprisingly, he nails it.
The other reason is plain old style. A good friend of this blog once complimented an author (not Pynchon) with the line "he makes words dance." So does Pynchon:
Aah, God help us, how sleazy is it, and how has it come to this? a rented palace, a denial of the passage of time, a mogul on the black-diamond slopes of the IT sector thinks he's a rock star. It isn’t so much that Maxine can't be fooled, it's more that she hates to be, and when she finds anybody trying too hard to fool her, she reaches for her revolver.
I would not call it his best work. If one wants to start Pynchon, I'd suggest "Mason & Dixon" to those who don't like pain or "Gravity's Rainbow" to those who do. But it is enjoyable and smart. Four Stars.
November 1, 2013
"M for Mankind"
Promoted to embed from a comment by brother Keith, offered in response to melancholy references to the archaic and the obsolete, that among these are the idea that every man is an end within himself. And yes, it is today's ACA Horror Story.