ObamaCare's Inevitable Logic

The president may be talented, but he can't repeal the laws of supply and demand.

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So it is not a leap to foresee government limiting health care, especially to people nearing the end of life. Medical "ethicists" have long lamented that too much money is spent futilely in the last several months of life. Are we supposed to believe that the social engineers haven't read their writings?

And given the premise that it's government's job to pay for our heath care, concluding that 80-year-olds should get no hip replacements makes sense. The problem is the premise: that taxpayers should pay. Once you accept that, bad things follow.

In the end, perhaps the biggest objection to nationalized health care is the "principal-agent problem." For whom does the doctor work? Ordinarily, the doctor is the agent of the patient. But when government signs the checks and orders doctors to reduce spending, it is not crazy to think that this won't influence their "advance care planning consultation."

Freedom is about self-determination. Obama's health care scheme would undermine both.

John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' 20/20 and the author of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. He has a new blog at http://blogs.abcnews.com/johnstossel.

COPYRIGHT 2009 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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  • ||

    Stossel be hatin' on da Prez! He's calling him a liar! He must be one of dem conservaterrorist nutbaggers!

  • Joe M||

    Wow, ol' Johnny just keeps pounding away on this issue. Good for him. You think most people would remember gas lines back in the 1970s.

  • Tomcat1066||

    I've asked for days now how will health care costs be controlled (as Obama claims) when you increase demand on a finite resource? You must either increase supply, which ain't happening, or else the price increases in accordance with the law of supply and demand.

    the only options for the government is either price controls which will cause a million problems, or rationing which will cause a million problems. I'd just LOVE to hear the third option.

  • <strike>strike through</strike||

    Joe M | August 20, 2009, 12:03pm | #
    You think most people would remember gas lines back in the 1970s.


    Obama and the genius Congress have conquered the lessons of history, Joe M. They also have managed to repeal economic principles. They have that power, and it's awesome, dude!

  • Federal Dog||

    "Obama, talented as he is,"

    Stop trying to cram this myth down people's throats. Obama is a blithering tool who profited from his race and [political corruption his whole life. If he had had white skin, even John Edwards would have eviscerated him early in the primary process.

  • d||

    If you oppose Obamacare, you hate Kenyan babies. It's that simple. Oh, and Stossel is a racist. Just look at that mustache!

  • ||

    Stossel rocks!

  • ||

    Well to be fair, there is a lot of waste in our current system due to a badley designed reiumursment system, AND out of control lawsuits, so, it is "possible" to actually lower costs while keeping the same level, or even increasing the quality of care (less uneeded operations etc could actually make us safer).

    Will the current plan do this, doubtful. But Stossels supply and demand example is just a bit to simple.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Out of control lawsuits won't go away based on simply providing insurance to more people, and there's a post from a few days ago that leads me to question the so called "unneeded procedure" argument I keep hearing from so many people. It showed just how successful our health care system actually is, and that figures in all these "unneeded" tests and procedures. Lawsuits may have started it, but there appear to be benefits to doctors being scared.

    Honestly, what's being proposed won't fix any of the existing problems, and as such the law of supply and demand example is still valid. After all, if they want to sell this, they have to answer the questions of how they plan on controlling costs when demand increases. So far, it hasn't happened.

  • ||

    "there is a lot of waste in our current system."

    I agree but there has always been waste in the health care system. If we can just make it go away, why hasn't that already been done? Besides, efficiency (e.g. computerized records) does not mean economy. The software for all that is expensive and needs skilled techs to use.

    The waste issue raises another question. Is it true that there are a lot of unnecessary test, procedures, etc or do we need more preventive care which means more tests and procedures? I hear both from critics of the current system and I don't see how both can be true.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    The reason can be found in Econ 101. Medical care doesn't grow on trees. It must be produced by human and physical capital, and those resources are limited. Therefore, if demand for health care services increases

    I don't believe demand will change all that much. I think demand for medical care is completely independent of practically all economic factors.

    People choose whether or not to hire a landscaper to cut their grass. People choose to buy a new flat screen TV. People choose to save money. People do not choose when or if they get sick and need medical attention.

    In any given period of time, a certain number of people are going to get sick regardless of whether we are in a recession or growth period. People will get sick regardless of their tax burden. People will get sick regardless of whether not they have insurance or the means to pay. The only possible economic condition I can see affecting someone's health, are those conditions which arise from extreme poverty.

    People get health care regardless of insurance or ability to pay. There is a specific amount of resources needed to treat people. Currently, these resources come from several different locations: employers, tax payers, charities and individuals. There is also, a specific amount of resources needed to divert the necessary capital to the places where it is needed.

    Over the years, doctors and scientists have isolated and defined several conditions and designed very specific treatments for these conditions. It does not vary very much from person to person.


    Regarding the elderly:

    Many elderly are not physically capable of surviving those costly procedures in the first place.

  • ||

    John, and everyone else, seems to conflate the end of life counseling for the "death panels" that Palin wrote of in Facebook. But read it. She didn't mention such counseling. She didn't mention Section 1233. Why does everyone seem to think that's what seh was referring to.

    What we do know is that, pick your poison, in the UK or Canada or France or Germany or Oregon or in any system where you have a budget there is something that isn't going to be funded. In a free market, you get to make it. In a non-free market, you don't. So the deciders in a non-free market aren't death panels. What would you call them?

  • creech||

    Has the actual cost of any one procedure gone up by more than inflation? Or is the populace demanding more procedures as they become better educated in taking care of their health (magazines devoted to diet, exercise, prevention, Oprah guest naggers, etc) while enjoying the benefit of "someone else" paying for it? My observation is that middle aged peers today go to doctors much more frequently than did my parents (both of whom lived into their 80s) and their middle aged peers did in the 1950s and 1960s.
    And, since good health is so much more important to many a person's well being than, say, another diamond bracelet or visit to Cancun, what is so wrong about devoting 20% or 25% of GNP to health care? [As long as the one wanting the care pays for it, of course.]

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Pablo - you'll note that most critics supporters of the nationalizing plan talk out of both sides of their mouths all the time in their desperate need to ignore basic logic.

    Well... Either that or out of sheer ignorance.

    When I explain to people that Obama's plan is going to do nothing but massively increase demand, the typical response is "What, so you're saying that people will just go to the doctor cause they think its fun!?"

    Of course, when you say "demand will increase" you don't mean that more people "want" to go to the doctor, but just that more people are now competing for the same amount of resources - and that always means higher prices.


    Ultimately I feel like they suffer from a combination of ignorance and lack of clarity of goals.

    If you want universal government run care, be prepared for massive cost increases. If you want to control costs, but still government run, then you must accept rationing as a way of life.

    or... You can get the government the hell out, accept that in the short term some people will still be priced out - push as hard as we can to increase supply and watch costs come down until we have as legitimately "universal" coverage as will ever be possible.

  • Tomcat1066||

    I don't believe demand will change all that much. I think demand for medical care is completely independent of practically all economic factors.

    Not really.

    You're making an assumption that everyone gets medical care when they feel it's necessary and those criteria will never change. Instead, plenty of people use over the counter meds to treat many conditions like sinus problems until/unless it gets so bad that there's no other choice. Meanwhile, a lot of folks may try that at first, but if it doesn't clear up in a few days, they go to the doctor. The poor may maintain sinus problems for weeks, if not months, but can still function so they never seek medical attention. It happens around here a lot.

    You're also not factoring in testing that is ordered but never happens because the patient knows they can't afford it without insurance. The doctor believes it would rule out something and therefore it's necessary, but the patient doesn't schedule an appointment or skips the one made for them because they can't pay.

    Trust me, there are plenty of different ways people decide when to seek medical attention. For some, it won't change. But for many others, they'll seek medical attention a lot more often.

  • Seward||

    Tricky Prickears,

    People do not choose when or if they get sick and need medical attention.

    Sure they do. People avoid as well as undertake care all the time based on their own personal utility. Much of that has nothing to do with the money involved, as opposed to the time and annoyance associated with seeking medical help.

    Over the years, doctors and scientists have isolated and defined several conditions and designed very specific treatments for these conditions.

    Hmmm, roughly 1/2 of what doctors tell patients to do currently has no clear medical benefit. A large segment of the rest is debated.

    It does not vary very much from person to person.

    Actually, it does. Which is why the Dartmouth study found such a variance in health care expenditures via Medicare.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Ha... see Tricky for a point in my case:

    "Demand" is not referring to people who may or may not need medical care - but rather is referring to those who are capable of becoming market participants.

    If it's true that 40,000,000 uninsured people will suddenly have miraculously perfect access to doctors that they've not had up until now with no cost to them - then suddenly the market has a potential 40 million participants that weren't in play before, or weren't in play to the same degree.

    Of course people get sick whenever they get sick - but if you start going to a doctor every time instead of just going to get a bottle of NyQuil like I usually do, suddenly you've got 40 million new people competing for the same number of resources.

    = Massive increase in demand.

  • ||

    I don't believe demand will change all that much. I think demand for medical care is completely independent of practically all economic factors.

    Presently uninsured people use 50%-70% of the health care of someone who is insured.

    Are you claiming that that percentage won't change if Congress extends insurance to them?

  • Seward||

    Sean W. Malone,

    If it's true that 40,000,000 uninsured people will suddenly have miraculously perfect access to doctors that they've not had up until nowwith no cost to them...

    They won't. And of course the cost won't be internalized, but it will be there.

  • Seward||

    I would just note of course that the uninsured make up a tiny % of overall U.S. healthcare costs. What will drive up the costs are those who would be insured by the government as opposed to those privately insured. They would be completely divorced from the price mechanism at that point.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Creech - yes, medical care costs have increased well above inflation. I'd have to look up the specific figures, but government figured on inflation are around 3% per year (which is also a lie, but whatever...)

    Also - there's nothing wrong with paying 20% or more on health care. As you said, it is rather important, and in a free market, people spending more on health care would be a great sign that people are valuing their health more.

    Unfortunately - in our government-controlled situation, the price increases have more to do with the limited supply and artificially boosted demand than they are reflective of a social value.

  • Seward||

    I mean to say, those formerly privately insured.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Yeah, Seward, I know - I'm just saying in a world where Obama's (rather asinine) numbers are accurate (they aren't) and he gets everything he's ostensibly asking for, we suddenly have a huge spike in people demanding health care resources.

    There's no way around that... Even if you think that's a good thing, pretending that somehow that will lower costs is absurd.

  • ||

    Stop trying to cram this myth down people's throats. Obama is a blithering tool who profited from his race and [political corruption his whole life. If he had had white skin, even John Edwards would have eviscerated him early in the primary process.

    I have no love for the man's policies or broken promises, but I give credit where credit is due. He turned out to be just like every other douche bag politician out there (just like almost everyone here predicted), but he did become the President of the United States, that is quite a bit of an achievement, and a pretty god damned long and hard road. And he did it while being black, and if you don't think that was a handicap, you're delusional. So yeah he is pretty bright and talented, a lying elitist douche bag who thinks he knows how to better spend your money then you do and all that, but bright and talented none the less

  • Anonymous||

    But no bill in Congress mandates end-of-life counseling, much less "death panels."

    Yeah. They'll sentence you to death without counseling. That's rationing, and that's efficient, and that's caring.


    And he did it while being black, and if you don't think that was a handicap, you're delusional.

    Yeah, it's not like governments mandate racial preferences on their institutions.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    Massive increases in demand for doctors visits, reduced demand in emergency room care. Everyone has access to medical care. In my part of the country, people go to the ER for the sniffles instead of taking some Nyquil. So much so, that my state, and many others need to subsidize hospitals so that they will keep their ERs open and running. Get those people out of th ER and into a doctor's office. At Cooper Hospital in Camden, if you go to the ER for non emergency care, they politely walk you down the hall to CamCare.

    And for the people that do put off seeking attention, how many of those people's conditions develop into something worse that requires even more attention? Or worse, premature death.

    How much of the increases in the cost of health care arise from new state of the art equipment?

    Many of the differences in treatment arise from the aggressiveness of the individual doctor. A doctor at The University of Penn is going to be a hell of a lot more aggressive than some country bumkin doctor.

  • Federal Dog||

    Val: That's rather the point. If Obama had been the same person in every respect except for his skin color, he would not have even been in the running for office. Far from any "handicap," his skin color -- and white guilt -- alone account for his election. He has no qualifications or experience whatsoever that would support allegations that he has "talent."

    You are delusional to think that had he been just some white guy, he would have had any chance against John Edwards -- much less Hillary Clinton.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "How much of the increases in the cost of health care arise from new state of the art equipment?"

    Quite a lot - is that something you'd want to cut though?

    I mean... Cuba hasn't updated any of their facilities (except for the ones they show American tourists) in 50 years - that saves on costs.


    Also - I agree with Mr. Federal Dog there... Obama's race did come into play, but not at all as a negative. People I talked to yapped endlessly about how awesome it would be to elect the first black president - or alternatively, the first woman president. Very little attention was paid to the fact that they were electing yet another economically illiterate boob with a shiny veneer.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    A little while ago I heard an Obama soundbite played on the Limbaugh show where he said that all the "lies" about his healthcare plan is "obscuring" the "moral and ethical" obligation we have to "look out for our fellow man", etc. etc.

    The "healthcare is a right" belief is just about the highest article of faith in the secular church of liberalism.

    I utterly reject the premise and everything that flows from it.

  • Jordan||

    If Obama was white, he'd be John Edwards. Ask John Edwards how well that worked for his presidential run.

  • ||

    Listen, I'm all for keeping the government out of most things... Spare a few important ones, like military and police... right? We all take that for granted, right? How much money do we spend on the military and police forces? How much more efficient would it be if we let the free market handle our "monopoly on violence"?

    Oh but wait, there are HUGE externalities to that situation, aren't there?

    Can't you see that there are HUGE externalities to the health care situation as well?

    You all like to talk about Econ 101, but did you take any more courses than that? I don't remember them mentioning externalities in Econ 101. I think that was at least Econ 203.

    So what are some of those externalities? Here's just one of many examples:

    By not guaranteeing that our entire populace is healthy, we increase the burden on future generations by having to deal with preventable measures from earlier in life. Merely pushing their fate off to the free market is hardly the intelligent thing to do. Insurers are not interested in maintaining the well being of anyone other than their customers and it wouldn't quite be a free market if one insurer had all of the citizens under their umbrella, now would it? We have Medicare in place. It's not going to go anywhere. Why? Old people like to vote. So, what we're doing is basically putting a burden on our own system by not promoting health coverage from all stages of a citizen's life. It's a pretty simple and rational argument.

    I come to Reason for just that. Reason. A rational argument. Something free of the political stigmas of right and left.

    So please people, don't listen to Stossel. He is a monkey in a suit dancing in front of a camera and he has never had a rational thought in his life.

  • Tricky Prickears||


    Quite a lot - is that something you'd want to cut though?

    Of course not. But no doctor or any hospital wants to wait at all. That's where the main part of the competition lies, at least in my area. There's a lot of competition for quality of care. Thomas Jefferson (Will Eye), UPenn, Fox Chase, TempleU, Deborah Heart and Lung, it's all based on quality of care and no restrictions placed by the market for cost effectiveness. People pay the same out of pocket regardless of where they go.

  • John Edwards||

    "If Obama was white, he'd be John Edwards. Ask John Edwards how well that worked for his presidential run."

    Damn, that's cold.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    By not guaranteeing that our entire populace is healthy, we increase the burden on future generations by having to deal with preventable measures from earlier in life.

    Not only that but, keeping people healthy and able to work and be productive. Or at least more productive than if they had a nagging illness which could be treated. Can anyone deny that giving a laborer a new knee wouldn't make him more productive? Or better yet, giving someone who is disgusted and depressed a big fat prescription of Prozac. Perhaps a big bag of kind bud would be better.

  • ||

    President Obama may be highly talented, writes John Stossel,

    Don't forget that any sentence that contains the word "may" means exactly the same thing if you add "or may not". Thus:

    President Obama may or may not be highly talented, writes John Stossel,

  • Jordan||

    Oh but wait, there are HUGE externalities to that situation, aren't there?



    The state needs a monopoly on violence to secure individual liberties. Healthcare is not a right.

    So, what we're doing is basically putting a burden on our own system by not promoting health coverage from all stages of a citizen's life.



    So? We're not utilitarians.

  • ||

    I don't believe demand will change all that much. I think demand for medical care is completely independent of practically all economic factors.

    So I guess we don't need to worry about all those uninsured people? Since their demand for care is completely unrelated to whether they are insured or not, they will get the care they demand regardless of whether we spend a trillion dollars on health care reform?

  • Jordan||

    Not only that but, keeping people healthy and able to work and be productive. Or at least more productive than if they had a nagging illness which could be treated. Can anyone deny that giving a laborer a new knee wouldn't make him more productive? Or better yet, giving someone who is disgusted and depressed a big fat prescription of Prozac. Perhaps a big bag of kind bud would be better.



    Somebody else's productivity is no concern of yours.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "We have Medicare in place. It's not going to go anywhere"

    It most certainly is going to go somewhere - sooner or later. It is financially and economically unsustainable.

  • Seward||

    Haakon & Tricky Prickears,

    By not guaranteeing that our entire populace is healthy...

    Government healthcare will not guarantee a healthy populace.

    ___________________________________

    Oh and Tricky, I don't exist so that I can be productive for other people. Or to paraphrase Kant, I am not a means, I am end.

    Can anyone deny that giving a laborer a new knee wouldn't make him more productive?

    Well, the laborer should expect longer wait times for such a knee under a fully government run health system.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    Somebody else's productivity is no concern of yours.

    If he works for me, it sure as hell is.

    Care to expand?

  • ||

    Val: That's rather the point. If Obama had been the same person in every respect except for his skin color, he would not have even been in the running for office. Far from any "handicap," his skin color -- and white guilt -- alone account for his election. He has no qualifications or experience whatsoever that would support allegations that he has "talent."

    You are delusional to think that had he been just some white guy, he would have had any chance against John Edwards -- much less Hillary Clinton.


    I'm curious what in your opinion qualifies a man to be described as talented and intelligent, when becoming a self-made POTUS (no daddy's coattails to ride on) is not enough? And, yes, being black is a statistical handicap. After the media began to deliver the 'black' message, you're right it actually became a boon for him. But he didn't just appear out of the ether.

  • Seward||

    Haakon,

    How much more efficient would it be if we let the free market handle our "monopoly on violence"?

    The state in the U.S. does not have a monopoly on violence or even a monopoly on security for that matter. Which is why, for one thing, private police outnumber the public variety. In fact it is becoming increasingly clear that the best way to protect yourself is via private means; security lights, alarms, etc. do far more to dissuade burglers than any local or state police force does.

  • Seward||

    Tricky Prickears,

    That is a voluntary relationship, unlike that between the state and the individual. Now if there was ease of exit and entry from states as well as their citizenship requirements the situation would be a bit more analagous, but states do not like people to so easily enter and exit national borders, etc.

  • Seward||

    Haakon,

    Oh, and private courts (e.g., mediators, etc.) outnumber public ones in the U.S. as well.

  • Federal Dog||

    Again, you are missing the point: He's not a "self-made POTUS." He did not make the color of his skin, and his skin color alone got him into office. Some white guy with his "qualifications" would be some local grunt still working in Chicago.

    He did not appear out of the ether: As already stated, he's benefited from affirmative action his entire life.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    they will get the care they demand regardless of whether we spend a trillion dollars on health care reform?

    I never said I supported the current proposals in Congress.


    Well, the laborer should expect longer wait times for such a knee under a fully government run health system.

    That's a pretty big assumption. I never said I supported a government run system. I am merely trying to make observations and point out flaws in our current system and the arguments at hand.

  • Haakon||

    Why should someone else's individual liberties be of any concern to me, then, Jordan?

    You know what also isn't a natural right? The right to drive on a paved road. The right to have internal plumbing. The right to have a nice park down the road. Should I continue?

    Unfortunately we will never live in the ideological wonderland that you subscribe to, dude, because there are lot of people out here like me who are moderate, rational, and productive, and we DEMAND certain things. Saying that health care is not a right is your opinion. It is also your opinion that individual liberties are a right, an opinion that pretty much everyone agrees upon, but an opinion regardless, something I think you've forgotten.

    Dude, back when the Federalist Paper's were written they were still curing disease with leaches. Health was something that just happened by the whims of nature. Things have changed quite a bit.

    So please, if you're going to want to discuss something, you're going to have to shatter some of the illustrious "truths" you've discovered about the nature of mankind and rational thought before we continue.

    I don't even consider health care to be a necessary right. I don't give a fuck about other people. However, I do give a fuck about the civilization that I live in and what it going to be like over the rest of my lifetime. That concerns me greatly. Universal health care seems like the best option for a culture that will continue to prosper and create a more productive environment for my big sack of skin and bones to live in. I'm what's known in economic terms as a "rational operator". Wait, I guess they didn't cover that in Econ 101 either. Maybe it's time to educate yourself a bit more?

    You're not going to change my attitude be resorting to 8 word statements inspired by a high school level reading of Ayn Rand.

  • Jordan||

    If he works for me, it sure as hell is.

    Care to expand?



    If you value his productivity enough, there's nothing stopping you from paying for his knee replacement.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    There are very good arguments to made on both sides (government run or true free market). I personally feel that move towards either is just another Band-Aide on a broken system. Unfortunately, I feel this situation requires extreme change. There are no easy answers. But the one point I keep coming back to is this:

    There can not be a truly free market until the government gets out of health care. I really don't think the government can get out of it. There's a very large population of uninsurable; that being the elderly. I really don't think there is a free market solution to providing for the elderly. Are we really to consider denying them care? That's the real question at hand that no really wants to deal with (although some here have tried).

    I think the minor fluctuations of demand by providing insurance to the 8 million uninsured will have little overall effect. And a streamlining of resources will have a bigger effect.

  • Haakon||

    Seward, you're a bit off the mark with the "monopoly on violence" thing... Civilizations don't even begin to function without government having that. And we absolutely live in a civilization where government has this right that we don't. You can not run around killing people without the government getting involved.

    That is, unless you think we live in a state of anarchy, and the last time I checked, that wasn't the case.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    If you value his productivity enough, there's nothing stopping you from paying for his knee replacement.

    Ultimately, I would need to decide if the cost of replacing his knee is less than finding a replacement (not always an easy task). In which case, he becomes someone else's problem. And ultimately that cost would be passed to the consumer or investor.

  • Jordan||

    You know what also isn't a natural right? The right to drive on a paved road. The right to have internal plumbing. The right to have a nice park down the road. Should I continue?



    And? We don't need a government monopoly to provide any of those.

    Unfortunately we will never live in the ideological wonderland that you subscribe to, dude, because there are lot of people out here like me who are moderate, rational, and productive, and we DEMAND certain things.



    I got it the first time, dude. Individual rights are what the majority says they are. Certainly rational, but not a place I want to live.

  • ||

    OK, I admit I didn't read ALL the posts here, but I do have a question (as someone who is relatively ignorant to economics): Is health care really a finite resource? It seems to me that as long as there are people willing to enter into the field of medicine, and as long as there are people willing to continue to produce drugs/medical devices, then it wouldn't be finite, would it? Not that it would necessarily impact the laws of supply and demand if it wasn't(more people need/want it, price increases...I get that) but health services aren't fixed like commodities, are they? I've read several posts here indicating that they are. Or maybe their referring to a nationalized system only. But doesn't Obama keep saying that people can still go with a private provider if they want? Don't get me wrong...I dont' actually believe that healthcare is a "right", but I'd like to understand exactly what is being proposed and criticized before getting all freaked out.

  • ||

    "People choose whether or not to hire a landscaper to cut their grass. People choose to buy a new flat screen TV. People choose to save money. People do not choose when or if they get sick and need medical attention.
    "

    Of course they do. They see ads for drugs and procedures and say "oh they make a drug for that now? Maybe I should get that nagging pain checked out I've been ignoring" This is the very reason the Democrats in Congress want to curtail drug ads in the first place.

    Secondly, don't forget how they want more "preventative" care. If you aren't paying for the doc anymore you will go more often. Get more tests just to be safe. Go for every little thing, whereas before you just toughed it out.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "because there are lot of people out here like me who are moderate, rational, and productive, and we DEMAND certain things."

    If you are demanding something from someone else, you are not being productive - you are a leech.

  • Seward||

    Tricky Prickears,

    U.S. healthcare is deeply flawed; that isn't a market problem generally speaking, it is a result of government failure.

    I really don't think there is a free market solution to providing for the elderly.

    Buying insurance for when you are uninsurable. Many U.S. states make this sort of insurance difficult to craft, but it is common in other areas of the world. I would also note that most countries that have so-called "universal health care" (none of them actually have that) do not do it via a public option. They just mandate that "everyone" (really, it is never everyone) gets insurance, public they leave the details of how that comes about in sigificant part up to the marketplace.

  • Seward||

    Haakon,

    No, I am not off the mark. You are just plain wrong. As I have demonstrated.

    And we absolutely live in a civilization where government has this right that we don't.

    In most states you have the right to repel by violence someone from your home, etc. who has broken in, is threatening you on the street, etc.

    You can not run around killing people without the government getting involved.

    Your claim was that the state had a monopoly on violence; it clearly does not. It simply cannot have such in a society which is free. A minimal requirement of a free society includes self-defense.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Seward, you're a bit off the mark with the "monopoly on violence" thing... Civilizations don't even begin to function without government having that."

    Except for something like 500 years in Iceland, you mean?

  • Seward||

    Sean W. Malone,

    Well, I don't want to get into a debate on anarchism, but the Harappa civilization was likely stateless as well.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    Go for every little thing, whereas before you just toughed it out.

    Going to the doctor for frivolous reasons? I don't really think so. For most people, going to the doctor is too inconvenient for their "busy" lifestyles. I doubt there are many hypochondriacs out there, either. I think the frivolous office visit argument is tenuous, at best. The real costs in the system come from treating major illnesses. But I could be wrong.

  • Seward||

    Tricky Prickears,

    Surely with all these other countries with universal healthcare you can prove mentally challenged libertarians like myself that sans price and supply controls that government mandated healthcare will balloon in cost.

    Of course we should keep in mind the British experience, where the NHS has stepped up its spending significantly in the last decade or so with little value to show for it.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Is health care really a finite resource? It seems to me that as long as there are people willing to enter into the field of medicine, and as long as there are people willing to continue to produce drugs/medical devices, then it wouldn't be finite, would it?"



    First... Yes, it is a finite resource - but you're sort of missing what that means.

    When we talk about finite resources - we are referring to things which are scarce over a given period of time, not things which over an infinite period of time will continue to be developed.

    If that were the case then the term "finite" would be meaningless. There are not inifinite cars in the world - but there could be (according to the logic you're using) if people continue to make cars forever. But of course we know that in reality, only about 15 million cars are sold in the US in a given year and we have about 300,000,000 people living here, right. So..... only 5% of the population can be purchasing new cars. No matter that 100% might have a new car at some point over the course of their lives.

    Any resource that doesn't exist currently in infinite or functionally infinite quantities (like air) is a finite resource.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    And I should add - the laws of supply and demand affect any good that is scarce and might be traded... That is to say, nearly everything.

  • Seward||

    Sean W. Malone,

    Like I've been saying for a while, one cannot legislate away healthcare's commercial aspects.

  • ||

    Econ 101. If more people have healthcare coverage, they will go to the doctor. This increased demand will cause rationing.
    Much better for the haves for the have-nots to have be uninsured and not able to afford to go to the doctor. Let em suffer. Darwinism at its finest. I've got mine, and that's all that counts. What a country!

  • ||

    "I do give a fuck about the civilization that I live in and what it going to be like over the rest of my lifetime. That concerns me greatly. Universal health care seems like the best option for a culture that will continue to prosper and create a more productive environment for my big sack of skin and bones to live in."

    Dude, if you truly give a fuck about the society you're going to be living in, you should oppose universal health care and all the rationing it will cause. You should care about the double digit unemployment we'll be living under due to the high taxes we'll be paying as is the case in other countries with universal health care. You should care about the lower quality of health care you will be receiving under universal health care. Countries with universal health care don't create the large quanity of new medicines and amount of high technology that we create here. Countries with universal health care don't have the high cancer survivor rates that we have in this country.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Deebee, you must be confused.

    A government plan virtually guarantees that the have-nots will suffer miserably. This is because the plan will further increase demand while further stifling supply.

    More people will be chasing after fewer & fewer goods - and the more the government tightens it's grip on producers & developers of medicine and health care services, the less incentive anyone beyond those with a "calling" to go into the field will have to participate, eventually crushing innovation as it has in virtually every other nation.

    So do the math.

    Demand for various health care services goes up by a double digit percentage... let's say 15-20%

    Supply decreases by a lesser percentage, say 2-5%

    Long term innovation is killed.


    What exactly do you think that brilliant combination of events will lead to, Deedee? If history and rational thought is remotely any guide at all (and it is), it will lead to an explosion of higher costs - just as we've seen over the last 50 years, coupled with ever-increasing scarcity.

    So who gets treated first? Many bio-"ethicists", notably Peter Singer, would ration based on age - if you are 80 and need the same treatment as a 20 year old, the 20 year old wins and you die. But that assumes that the planners of health care aren't susceptible to bribery or coercion - and that's simply not the case. In reality, if you're 80, but you are politically connected or wealthy, you are going to get the treatment at the expense of the 20 year old regardless of what the system's designers intend.

    In either case, we're rationing care arbitrarily or based on some "utilitarian" standard.

    Even the current system, as screwed up as government has made it, is better than that.

  • ||

    "Econ 101. If more people have healthcare coverage, they will go to the doctor. This increased demand will cause rationing.
    Much better for the haves for the have-nots to have be uninsured and not able to afford to go to the doctor. Let em suffer. Darwinism at its finest. I've got mine, and that's all that counts. What a country!"

    deebee, there are other ways to make health care more affordable for more people as opposed to putting us all under socialized medicine which will bring about rationing and lower quality health care for all of us. The first thing we should do is allow interstate purchasing of health insurance so we can have a greater choice of affordable health insurance. State mandates need to be repealed to bring down the prices of health insurance. We need to give more incentives for high deductible catastrophic policies that would be more reasonably priced. Tort reform would bring down the price of medical care. There are all sorts of things we can do to make insurance more affordable for more people instead of going the socialized medicine route. But big government people like Obama don't like those solutions because they don't give them the power they crave.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I just don't get it...

    I keep having this discussion over and over and logic takes a vacation with most people the minute we start talking about it.

    Supporters of UHC: We have the same goal - the most & best possible health care for as many people as possible.

    Unfortunately, your support of a government-run system will have the opposite result. Please take the time to think through the consequences and the logic of what you're supporting and realize that simply writing a law solves no problems. And when the laws you're writing violate basic principles of economics, you are headed for severe trouble.

  • ||

    Some good points here. It is not wise to rush into things. Especially now that the deficit is skyrocketing. But the opposition I see seems to just want to defeat the whole debate. Let it go away - kick it down the road as happened in 94. Well, we see what great followup there was on that.
    I say, keep pushing. Don't let this be swept under the rug. Those who want to keep things the way they are need to get used to the idea that things never stay the same.

  • ||

    Okay, this is pretty much what I've been arguing on this board for the past month. So, I'm forced to conclude that Stossel is a Reason lurker and has been reading my posts.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "But the opposition I see seems to just want to defeat the whole debate. Let it go away - kick it down the road as happened in 94."



    I honestly don't know anyone who's doing that. I do know and have seen dozens of people who are actively trying to make this into a real debate - especially about the failures of central planning, the magical thinking of the Democrat's plan, sound economics and the embarrassing track-record of history government involvement in medical care has had - and watched the central planners & their supporters try at every opportunity to stifle said debate.

    Just two days ago in fact, I was called an "inhumane, selfish prick who wants everything for himself and nothing for anyone else."


    On top of scrupulously avoiding the pitiful economics of the whole thing (which seems to be a hallmark of the Obama admin), there's even less discussion of the morality of forcing other people to provide for your life.

  • ||

    People do not choose when or if they get sick and need medical attention.


    This isn't true for me. I may have a bad cold, but be worried that I might have something worse. So I might go to the doctor to get it checked, just in case. Depending on how much it's going to cost me.

    Or I might have a sprained ankle, and I could decide to stay at home, put an icepack on it, and let it heal by itself. Or I could go to the doctor, and he could wrap some elastic around it and tell me to put an icepack on it.

    Of course there is a marginal benefit to me from having the doctor tell me it's not anything worse, so if it's cheap ($10 co-pay) or free, then I'm much more likely to go to the doctor than not. Even though it's actually costing the system $100 per visit, which I wouldn't pay if I had to pay out of pocket.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Hazel - I've been making the same arguments :P A little credit?

  • ||

    "Saying that health care is not a right is your opinion."

    You do not have a right to my money. If I want to provide for your healthcare out of the goodness of my heart, that's my right, but you don't have a right to demand that I provide your healthcare.

  • ||

    "But the opposition I see seems to just want to defeat the whole debate."

    Wrong! It was the Obama Administration which tried to keep from allowing a debate to take place by trying to rush Congress into passing it before August recess, knowing that the Congresspeople would be hearing from their constituents. It's like a salesman trying to get you to buy the Brooklyn Bridge NOW and not giving you a chance to ask anybody's opinion on it.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Obama as used car salesman is an underutilized meme.

  • ||

    "Let it go away - kick it down the road as happened in 94."

    We've been kicking it down the road ever since Truman tried to pass it and I hope we continue to kick it down the road forever.

  • Tony||

    You do not have a right to my money. If I want to provide for your healthcare out of the goodness of my heart, that's my right, but you don't have a right to demand that I provide your healthcare.



    What makes it substantially different from other taxpayer-funded services such as police and fire protection? Other than where you arbitrarily decide to draw the line?

  • ||

    By not guaranteeing that our entire populace is healthy, we increase the burden on future generations by having to deal with preventable measures from earlier in life. Merely

    Define "healthy" and "guarentee".
    If someone gets cancer, do you want the government to guarentee they'll be cured?
    Impossible, of course!

    If someone has allergies is it worth it to society to subsidize their purchase of anti-allergy prescription medication, rather than over-the-counter Sudafed? Probably not.
    Of course, they'll be slightly less "healthy", and hence less productive on the Sudafed.

    Healthiness is a vague term. It could mean anything from "able to work" to "in perfect shape". Putting forth a "guarentee" that everyone remain "healthy", you might as well be saying "we're going to try our best to make sure everyone lives forever". Which of course is a recipe for utterly uncontrolled costs.

    At some point, the state is going to have to ration the care it provides. It's inevitable. It has to decide that the cancer patient is a hopeless case. It has to decide that marginal improvements in worker productivity aren't worth paying for prescription allergy medication. And those decisions will be made by a political process - ultimately by voters, in some indirect way. They will not be made by the cancer patient and his doctor. They will be constrained by the pressures of electoral politics.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "What makes it substantially different from other taxpayer-funded services such as police and fire protection?"

    For one, neither one those are entitlement programs.

    For another both are local government functions - not federal government ones.

    The federal government is constrained to enumerated powers in the Constitution by the 10th Amendment. And there is no enumerated power authorizing a national healthcare scheme.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "By not guaranteeing that our entire populace is healthy, we increase the burden on future generations by having to deal with preventable measures from earlier in life"

    The only entity that is creating burdens on future generations is the government itself - by enacting entitlement programs in the first place.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "What makes it substantially different from other taxpayer-funded services such as police and fire protection? Other than where you arbitrarily decide to draw the line?"



    I'm glad you asked.

    In one sense, nothing at all. All taxation is theft, what the thief spends the money on after the fact is irrelevant.


    However, there is a plausible distinction that should be made between government programs whose aims are to protect the citizenry from violations of their rights - to protect them from violence and such (ironic that one would use coercion to "prevent" coercion I think), and government programs whose aims are somewhat the opposite of that. If police are there to stop thieves, welfare programs are essentially designed to enable them.


    Don't mistake that as support for the fuzz though. I said the distinction was "plausible", but I don't see much of any distinction between using force to pay for cops and using force to pay for doctors - both are immoral and a terrible idea.

    On a personal note, I'm sure I've paid quite a bit to fund the police already in my life and the one time I needed their help they managed to be entirely useless and all I have to show for it is an open fraud investigation gathering dust and nary a phone call in 2 years.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Also - what Gilbert Martin said.

  • Joe M||

    Obama was on the radio today, "clarifying" once again:

    In Radio Appearance, Obama Insists Plan Will Pass

  • Brian Combs||

    "What makes it substantially different from other taxpayer-funded services such as police and fire protection?"

    The case law is pretty clear that you don't have a right to police protection. I believe the same is true for fire protection.

    And in many localities, the fire department will bill you for any services they deliver.

  • ||

    Anyone who thinks implementing universal coverage won't drastically increase costs in the absence of rationing should learn more about the RAND Health Insurance Experiment. A pretty conclusive empirical demonstration that costs and utilization go up in rough proportion to the level of coverage.

  • Tony||

    I don't see much of any distinction between using force to pay for cops and using force to pay for doctors - both are immoral and a terrible idea.



    Thanks for being consistent. I'd rather a libertarian argue that all taxes are theft rather than only the taxes that support programs they don't like are theft.

    Of course I disagree that taxes are theft.

  • Corvair||

    Like RC Dean said way earlier...
    If you don't think providing health coverage for those currently not covered will lead to an increase in demand then, you must believe those same folks are already getting the medical services they require. So, why provide them coverage if you don't think they're going to use it?

    UHC will lead to an increase in demand, I don't see how it couldn't.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Of course I disagree that taxes are theft."

    I know you don't, Tony - but out of (actual) curiosity... How do you justify that position?

    Surely you'll admit that taxation isn't voluntary. As such, it amounts to the taking of property - specifically of money - from individuals by force... Which, as far as I can tell, is definitely theft.

  • alan||

    By not guaranteeing that our entire populace is healthy, we increase the burden on future generations by having to deal with preventable measures from earlier in life.

    As I've pointed out before, to the leftist, mortality itself is a condition of market failure. Get rid of the last trace of the free market on this planet, and the dead shall rise again, and eternal life shall be a right of everyone granted by the benevolent and omnipotent state.

  • alan||

    Are We Not Men, Or Are We Mere Aggregate?

  • ||

    Sean,

    Taxation is voluntary inasmuch as a democratic government acts according to the voluntary will of the majority of the people. Democracy inherently results in some people not getting the policies they want, but that's how it works and there hasn't been a better system invented yet.

    Taxes are thus the price citizens pay in exchange for services from their government as a part of the social contract between the two. The contract (which naturally must be enforceable) says you pay taxes on your property in order to receive the service of protection of that property provided by the government.

    The services taxes pay for can range to anything the people want them to (via the democratic process); there are many things governments can be useful for. I believe social insurance to be one of them. The constitution (the prime document in our social contract) allows for taxation, so it's not illegal, and it's not theft which is by definition illegal. (What's defined as theft is up to the terms of the contract as well.)

    Now if you never get what you want out of democracy then I can understand the impulse to see its actions as tyrannical. But to my mind the only alternatives to democracy are various forms of tyranny.

  • ||

    "Is health care really a finite resource? It seems to me that as long as there are people willing to enter into the field of medicine, and as long as there are people willing to continue to produce drugs/medical devices, then it wouldn't be finite, would it?"

    Clearly you are unaware that the AMA limits the number of medical licenses issued each year. Something libertarians have been complaining about for decades.

    Going to the doctor for frivolous reasons? I don't really think so. For most people, going to the doctor is too inconvenient for their "busy" lifestyles. I doubt there are many hypochondriacs out there, either. I think the frivolous office visit argument is tenuous, at best. The real costs in the system come from treating major illnesses. But I could be wrong.

    Yes, they probably do. The unfortunate reality is that we have the technology to keep a lot of people alive on expensive machines, but not the money to pay for it. You want to guarentee unlimited health care at the end of life to everyone in society. And a lot of people are going to chose to stay alive, even if it means on a heart and lung machine in the ICU. But society as a whole cannot afford to do that for everyone. Thus, rationing decisions will need to be made.

    Econ 101. If more people have healthcare coverage, they will go to the doctor. This increased demand will cause rationing.
    Much better for the haves for the have-nots to have be uninsured and not able to afford to go to the doctor. Let em suffer. Darwinism at its finest. I've got mine, and that's all that counts. What a country!


    Why is rationing by way of politics better than rationing by way of economics?
    If I can't get treated because "society" has decided that it can't afford to treat me, why is that morally superior to not getting treated because I can't afford to pay?

  • Anonymous||

    The services taxes pay for can range to anything the people want them to (via the democratic process); there are many things governments can be useful for. I believe social insurance to be one of them.

    Too bad that's not an enumerated power.

  • ||

    there are lot of people out here like me who are moderate, rational, and productive, and we DEMAND certain things.

    Right now, it looks like the moderate, rational, and productive are demanding that Obama back off his attempt to seize control of healthcare.

    I've got mine, and that's all that counts.

    As opposed to a taxpayer-funded healthcare system, in which the motto will be "I've got yours, and that's all that counts."

  • ||

    Taxation is voluntary inasmuch as a democratic government acts according to the voluntary will of the majority of the people.

    Under this definition, rounding up the Japanese for internment during WWII was "voluntary" as well, as were the Jim Crow laws, segregated schools, etc. ad infinitum.

    "Voluntary" means I agree to it, not you and your buddies agree to it for me.

  • ||

    So, what we're doing is basically putting a burden on our own system by not promoting health coverage from all stages of a citizen's life. It's a pretty simple and rational argument.

    Simple, very, but not rational.

    You're begging the question assuming the government will have a better result. The evidence is quite the opposite. Hayek showed that government cannot possibly allocate resources better than freedom. Certainly all of the history of governments backs that up.

    Increasing demand will increase costs, period, which will mean the overall availability will be reduced. Which will mean more people will die. Period. It's no accident that outcomes in the US are so superior.

    Taxation is voluntary inasmuch as a democratic government acts according to the voluntary will of the majority of the people.

    Oh the fascist chimes in, wb.

    That's not voluntary for the minority, much less the individual. What's the difference between a monarchy, an aristocracy, and a democracy?

    Just the ratio of rulers to ruled.

    Democracy inherently results in some people not getting the policies they want, but that's how it works and there hasn't been a better system invented yet.

    Sure it has. In 1776. It took the collectivists over a century to destroy it.

    Taxes are thus the price citizens pay in exchange for services from their government as a part of the social contract between the two.

    A price is something set between consenting parties in a transaction. This doesn't apply to taxes unless they were voluntary.

    The contract (which naturally must be enforceable) says you pay taxes on your property in order to receive the service of protection of that property provided by the government.

    Again wrong. A contract is a voluntary agreement between parties. You can write whatever you want on a piece of paper saying I owe you something but that's not a contract. That's why you have to use guns to collect your tribute.

    The constitution (the prime document in our social contract) allows for taxation, so it's not illegal, and it's not theft which is by definition illegal.

    See previous. It ceased to be a social contract, or any sort of contract, when parties were disallowed to voluntarily disassociate.. and it authorized theft.

    At best it's a set of rules for a kinder gentler oligarchy.

    It's theft if it's involuntary. It's involuntary if I don't volunteer.

    But to my mind the only alternatives to democracy are various forms of tyranny.

    Again see 1776.

    Democracy is tyranny. That's what the framers were trying to avoid.

    It almost worked too.

  • ||

    Why is rationing by way of politics better than rationing by way of economics?

    I agree with your point but I don't think you should let them make the word rationing meaningless by assertion that it means any resource allocation.

    A ration can only exist in a monopoly and a sustainable monopoly can only exist if with the help of force, ie government.

    I don't go to the Apple store to get my 'ration' of Iphone or to Walmart to get my 'ration' of shampoo.

    Rationing has a specific meaning because it has specific results. Because people will draw their ration regardless of need, it will make for inefficiencies and people who have greater needs will not have any way within the system to obtain the resources. This causes a black or gray market, which is a cause for corruption, but is a natural way to try to compensate for managed market inefficiency. It's no accident that black and gray markets are the natural response to managed economy inefficiency.

  • ||

    there are lot of people out here like me who are moderate, rational, and productive, and we DEMAND certain things

    You DEMAND others spend lifespan working for you?

    If you have the balls to DEMAND that I suggest you have the balls to wield that whip yourself instead of outsourcing the enforcement of that DEMAND to the government. But you don't do that do you? You're too much of a pusillanimous coward to steal for yourself.

    Universal health care seems like the best option for a culture that will continue to prosper and create a more productive environment for my big sack of skin and bones to live in.

    Universal health care doesn't exist and cannot. You can call it that but it won't make it true any more than it's true in Canada or the UK.

    In their simplistic Disney understanding of economics like yours they've managed to reduce the supply of health care resources. There's a reason people diagnosed with a serious illness come to the US. Americans don't run to Canada when they get cancer.

    You should try it tho and report back.

    You should check out this video of the Captain Krugman of the Mickey Mouse Economics club in a debate about health care.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EPd2i4Jshs

    At some point even a moron should find cause to question why Disney economics approaches always makes things worse.

  • Anonymous||

    You're too much of a pusillanimous coward to steal for yourself.

    I just want to note that what you've identified here is an example of using the collective to redeem (or excuse) the actions of an individual; AKA means to an end, social justice, tyranny.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Man... Faithkills kinda just pwned up there, but I'm going to at least finish what I started, Tony.

    Your comments have a wide array of holes which definitely bear discussion:

    Taxation is voluntary inasmuch as a democratic government acts according to the voluntary will of the majority of the people.



    Dealt with by both Faithkills & RC Dean but, seriously - what?

    Without even dealing too much with your complete bastardization of the idea of "voluntary", since in your scenario conceivably 50.1% is a majority and in America, that would mean that perhaps 150,300,000 people would be "voluntarily" paying for X service, and yet 149,700,000 would be forced into it.

    Not that the principle changes based on the numbers involved, but are you really telling me that Democracy is the only determining factor here?

    "Democracy inherently results in some people not getting the policies they want, but that's how it works and there hasn't been a better system invented yet."



    Democracy was widely recognized as a pretty mediocre system as far back as the Roman empire... Jefferson, Madison, Adams and most of our nation's founders were rightly mistrustful of Democracy and as such didn't set up the US to be one!

    We're a Republic. Properly guaranteed natural rights - individual liberties, for example as defined by our Bill of Rights is a better system. And as Faithkills said - is what we had, more or less, for a good while before it was completely killed by 1913 or so.

    "Taxes are thus the price citizens pay in exchange for services from their government as a part of the social contract between the two. The contract (which naturally must be enforceable) says you pay taxes on your property in order to receive the service of protection of that property provided by the government.



    Social contract theory is bunk, man. Way bunk.

    Maybe if we were talking community to community - but in a nation 3,000 miles across, which makes it very difficult to expatriate or to renounce citizenship and then taxes the crap out of you if you do, and in the process can seriously destroy your ability to make any alternate life hardly qualifies as a voluntary arrangement (and the US is one of the better countries in the world for that kind of thing). So now you've got to explain how it is I can be part of a "contract" I didn't agree to, which was set up before I was born, and cannot possibly escape from.

    "The services taxes pay for can range to anything the people want them to (via the democratic process); there are many things governments can be useful for. I believe social insurance to be one of them."



    "The people", via the democratic process have wanted a lot of things over the years. Slavery... Internment... Extermination of races & ethnicities. Not to godwin anything here, but Hitler was elected through the democratic process. Southern segregation. Hell, California just banned gay marriage through the Democratic process.

    One can only hope you realize the mistake in using Democracy as your conception of right & wrong.

    ...But then I read on and discovered how wrong I was about that...

    "The constitution (the prime document in our social contract) allows for taxation, so it's not illegal, and it's not theft which is by definition illegal. (What's defined as theft is up to the terms of the contract as well.)"



    So the Constitution allows for some societally sanctioned theft. Theft is not "by definition" illegal. Theft is defined by the involuntary taking of another's property. You're either mixing cause & effect here or you are saying something remarkably silly.

    If you're mixing cause & effect, let me help: Some things, like theft, are immoral, wrong and violations of other people's unalienable natural rights. It is for that reason that we make them illegal. Other things are legal which are none-the-less wrong, immoral and violations of liberty. Legality of an action does not determine that action's moral worth.

    See: Wiretapping, War on Drugs, Gay Marriage, Taxation, Pre-emptive War, Death Penalty... Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Now if you never get what you want out of democracy then I can understand the impulse to see its actions as tyrannical. But to my mind the only alternatives to democracy are various forms of tyranny.



    First off, I don't really ever get what I want out of our Democracy, but that's not what makes it tyrannical. However, since my worldview broadly rests on being opposed to tyranny, when I don't get "what I want" out of the political process, there happens to be a strong correlation to the alternative being tyranny.


    Anyway... You've got some assumptions that need revisiting. I hope I've helped with that.

  • Morton Kurzweil||

    Costs ar not the problem. We have spent more to subsidize big business and keep failed capitalists from bankruptcy than will be saved by universal health care. The nation's health is our greatest resource. We no longer produce products. We import debt and sell credit. We are a failed empire living off a class of debtors and defended by foreign mercenaries and the poor who join the armed forces for lack of private opportunities
    to support a new class of capitalists who buy government protection.

  • ||

    "to support a new class of capitalists who buy government protection"

    it is through excessive taxation and regulation that government props up businesses. eliminate anti free market govt. intervention = problem solved.

    the govt. is only useful to unscrupulous businessmen because of its over broad power.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Not that he was wrong at all about any of that, though Ransom.

    Just bears repeating that the actual power is in the hands of government - reduce their power, and we reduce the power of the wealthy men & women who barter for it's favor.

  • Anonymous||

    Sean W. Malone, that's exactly it. That's why everything to Leftists is about federally collectivizing social problems, which is pretty much exactly what the Constitution was designed against. And where State governments do it (California) we are able to see the results clearly.

  • ||

    Sean: true. i sometimes have a visceral reaction and miss the point...

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Yeah..... I live in California. :(

  • ||

    the rent seeker republic

  • Chad||

    Obama may not be able to repeal the laws of supply and demand, but HEALTH INSURANCE, paid for by ANYONE, does.

    The only way for the "free market" to work would be to get rid of insurance entirely, as insurance in any form leads to over-consumption, overly risky behavior, and lack of prevention. Increasing deductibles and co-pays ("catastrophic" insurance) is just one way of reducing the market failures caused by insurance via eliminating the insurance itself.

    Even if you got rid of these market failures by the complete elimination of insurance, you would still be left with a host of others which are smaller but still non-trivial, such as various agency failures and massive asymmetry failures. "Negotiating" with your doctor contains every bad element that "negotiating" with a plumber and an auto mechanic does, with the stakes being a hell of a lot higher.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Okay, we have a problem here. We start out with a great big BASH TO THE RIGHT (an apparently common knee-jerk part of the modern libertarian nervous system).

    False charges about Obamacare don't help....

    "See how F***ed up the right is?" he goes on to say.

    Oh but wait THEN he goes on to say THIS:

    So it is not a leap to foresee government limiting health care, especially to people nearing the end of life.


    What the great big F*** was that?

    First he says they're fucking lunes. Then he says that what they said -- is right on.


    This Stossel guy just lost all his credibility.

    Bashing the Right for saying that what the Right said is essentially correct, is incredible.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Chad,

    You know damn well that insurance as a thing by itself is a market response to managing risk. Why don't you leave the economics lessons to the big boys?

  • Tony||

    Democracy was widely recognized as a pretty mediocre system as far back as the Roman empire... Jefferson, Madison, Adams and most of our nation's founders were rightly mistrustful of Democracy and as such didn't set up the US to be one!

    ...

    "The people", via the democratic process have wanted a lot of things over the years. Slavery... Internment... Extermination of races & ethnicities. Not to godwin anything here, but Hitler was elected through the democratic process. Southern segregation. Hell, California just banned gay marriage through the Democratic process.



    Yeah my fault for not explaining that I was using the term "democracy" as shorthand for the more sophisticated minority-rights-protecting representational system we have. Majority tyranny is certainly as oppressive as any other form.

    So now you've got to explain how it is I can be part of a "contract" I didn't agree to, which was set up before I was born, and cannot possibly escape from.



    Your parents, acting as your custodians and contracting for you, choose your residency upon your birth and thus enter you into the social contract governing your presence there. You are welcome to revoke your affiliation with the contract at any time by renouncing your citizenship.

    If you're mixing cause & effect, let me help: Some things, like theft, are immoral, wrong and violations of other people's unalienable natural rights. It is for that reason that we make them illegal. Other things are legal which are none-the-less wrong, immoral and violations of liberty. Legality of an action does not determine that action's moral worth.



    This is getting too far into mysticism. Any liberty an individual enjoys doesn't exist spontaneously and naturally, but because people were enlightened enough to guarantee it within the social contract. Without collective defense of rights there are no rights. Your liberty to keep your property is guaranteed by specific collectively-agreed-upon moral standards, not a universal principle. Where do you get your right to force others to abstain from using (what you determine is) your property?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Where do you get your right to force others to abstain from using (what you determine is) your property?"




    Umm... From the fact that it's my property?

    I'm a little confused as to how you think it's any more or less "mystical" to assert that you have some claim on the lives, actions & property of other people.

    Self-ownership is first of all, self-evident, and secondly, about as close to an Occam's Razor level assertion as you're going to get.

    I mean, is Descartes "mysticism" to say "I think, therefore I am"?

    I think. I am.

    Corollary: You don't have any epistemologically sound way of knowing what I'm thinking or who I am & what my interests and values are.

    Therefore, you are A. not me, and B. not capable of making decisions for me that reflect my values (which you don't know).

    So...... It's pretty fucking self-evident that you have no claim on my actions or my life.

    Beyond that, frankly - I'm telling you that you don't. So if you think you can come and steal my things or run my life or anything else of that sort, you will be met with perfectly morally justified "force" defending against your aggression.

    You have no claim on me. You have no right to the products of my labor or the things that I have acquired voluntarily from other people through mutually beneficial trading relationships.

    And the founders of the United States were utterly crystal goddamn clear on this point.

    Your rights are inalienable. That's why that word was used. They come from your own individual humanity by being a sentient creature who is capable of asserting said autonomy. One of the most significant pieces of enlightenment era thought led to our Constitution, which limits government to very specific, enumerated powers and protects natural rights. Jefferson & Madison and the rest were not "giving" you rights by writing a bill of rights. They were quite clear that your rights are intrinsic to your humanity and expressly NOT a product of government.


    What's the real mysticism is how you can remotely assert that you any claim over someone else's life. More to the point, I'm seriously wondering when you'll realize the implications of what you've said.

    "Your liberty to keep your property is guaranteed by specific collectively-agreed-upon moral standards, not a universal principle."



    Translation: Your freedom is a privilege that can be revoked whenever the collective decides that it's inconvenient.

    Rights that can be "revoked" by some majority decree are hardly rights at all Tony. The philosophy buttressing your world-view is remarkably inconsistent...


    Some bigger questions here - for you - are these:

    1. Why is slavery wrong?
    2. Why is murder wrong?
    3. Why is theft wrong?

    According to the logic and assertions you've made thusfar - the only answer you can legitimately give is "because they are illegal". Way to abdicate your mind, dude.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    It's sort of surreal to have to have basic discussions of identity with people before you can even address their points...


    I am me. You are you. We are not the same person.

    Seems like something people are supposed to learn by about age 1...

  • Inspector Fu||

    "This is getting too far into mysticism"

    *police siren*

    Violation: incorrect nomenclature- Using a religious-based word in a non-religious based discussion. Inspector Fu will let you off with a warning this time. Next time, check a wiki.

    *drives away*

  • Ratdog||

    Now, John, your new found appreciation for freedoms and general awaking are valued, but before you start charging others with making false charges let's try to keep in mind that by your own admission you spent much of your early life and career as a complete sucker. No offense intended by that, you did wake up, now you understand the meaning and value of freedom, welcome to the brotherhood.

    That being said, you need to a better job of looking at the wider picture, and reference it against what is known about these Liberal crusaders and their history of conniving and deceit.

    Do you honestly think it makes a bit of difference whether or not Obama the meat puppet is sincere? What does Obama, all his cronies in his regime, or his comrades in the congress have to do with it anyway? Let them put this stuff in place and it's going to do more than instantly complete the government's absolute ownership of our physical bodies, it's going to mean another bureaucracy, by far the most powerful they've ever made.Since discovering that US Constitution can be circumvented by creating bureaucracies to do the dirty deed, just how many have ever saw there size or powers reduced? Doesn't it concern you how future rulers are going to be tempted to abuse that kind of power?

    Come on, my friend, the warnings are everywhere. Example, I just saw this in an AP story:

    "The agency said that percentage rose because baby boomers _ born between 1946 and 1964 _ continued to use drugs as they got older.

    SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick said the continued drug use "is likely to put further strains on the nation's health care system.""

    OK, not hard to see where this is headed, I imagine more than a few of my fellow baby who thought this will be wonderful will be a little upset ten or so years from now when they receive their orders to report...

    ***OUR RECORDS SHOW YOU WERE BORN BETWEEN 1946 and 1964 PLACING YOU IN NATIONAL HEALTH CARE THREAT CATEGORY 4

    YOU ARE HEREBY ORDERED TO REGISTER AND PARTICIPATE IN THE AMERICANS FOR WELLNESS VOLUNTARY BI-WEEKLY ENHANCED DRUG SCREENING PROGRAM

    WARNING: UNDER THE FEDERAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS ACT, VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION IS MANDATORY, FAILURE TO REGISTER BY YOUR ASSIGNED DATE OR TO REPORT ON ALL SCHEDULED SCREENING DAYS IS PUNISHABLE BY A FINES OF $800,000 OR 55 YEARS IN PRISON (OR BOTH) ALL VIOLATIONS WILL BE AGGRESSIVELY PROSECUTED.

    REMEMBER, AS CITIZEN IT IS YOUR DUTY TO OBEY ALL HEALTH RULES.

    COMPLIANCE IS FREEDOM, CONFORMITY EQUALS HOPE.***

    Speculation? Certainly. But given the track record of those pushing the current flavor of government, and the history of abuses on and contempt for freedom associated with the flavor. The idea any of the politicians pushing for this have our health in mind, or want to save any of some money, or anything else of the sort is absolutely preposterous. For anyone to see the same self-serving manipulative power hungry conceited callous sociopathic coward elitist jack-asses I see whenever I examine any of these petty tyrant clowns, and somehow see people who would do anything ever involving their well being serving as the motive must viewing these politicians from a parallel universe where everything appears the opposite from the one I'm in, because, we are not seeing the same people.

  • Ratdog||

    *boomers

  • Chad||

    Sean W. Malone | August 21, 2009, 12:15am | #
    Chad,

    You know damn well that insurance as a thing by itself is a market response to managing risk.


    Of course it is. The problem is that insurance distorts the markets that it is ensuring. For other forms of insurance (auto, home, life, etc), this is not a major problem, as excess risky behavior due to being insured is fairly small, leading to small dead-weight losses that are dwarfed by the benefits of being insured.

    Health insurance is different, as the excess risk and consumption, and the lack of prevention, are very large and create massive market distortions. The only way the "market" can get rid of these distortions is by reducing the very insurance that causes it. In a "free market", there is an inherent trade-off between risk and a functional market which the market cannot escape.

    The political right is correct that the market would work better if we nerfed the hell out of insurance. But of course, that increases risk dramatically. Is this really a good thing?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I see Tony is still yapping about a "social contract".

    There is no such thing as a social contract - period.

  • Anonymous||

    Health insurance is different, as the excess risk and consumption, and the lack of prevention, are very large and create massive market distortions. The only way the "market" can get rid of these distortions is by reducing the very insurance that causes it. In a "free market", there is an inherent trade-off between risk and a functional market which the market cannot escape.

    What you just said is that people are too stupid to manage the risk in that sector.

    Fuck you.

  • ||

    Just bears repeating that the actual power is in the hands of government - reduce their power, and we reduce the power of the wealthy men & women who barter for it's favor.

    Man this is the elephant in the room that lefties outside of politics never seem to grasp. We're for the little guy. Their policies lead to corporatism. I'm a little guy. I have some, but not limitless ambition. Further I don't like to cheat. So I will never have the resources nor the inclination to game the system and play with the big fish. I want to gain as much success as I can gain via effort and frugality, and be left the fuck alone. It's interesting we've pretty much tamed the mystics of spirit in the west. It's unfortunate that they are our best allies against the mystics of muscle.

    The rich never pay for all the stuff the left is 'gonna make the rich pay their fair share' of. They pay the government to write the rules that the rank and file leftist rubes give them power to write.

    The only way for the "free market" to work would be to get rid of insurance entirely, as insurance in any form leads to over-consumption, overly risky behavior, and lack of prevention. Increasing deductibles and co-pays ("catastrophic" insurance) is just one way of reducing the market failures caused by insurance via eliminating the insurance itself.

    Holy crap you're dense.

    You're right in a sense because you didn't specify.. it was a market failure. It was a managed market failure. Not that managed markets failing is novel, nor that one should consider managed markets might ever not fail.

    Your parents, acting as your custodians and contracting for you

    Lol, so slavery is ok as long as you're parents sell you into it?

    In any case this is full of shit. Even if we subscribed to the immoral 'sins of the father' rationalization they in turn must have voluntarily agreed, and they didn't. There is no 'heritable' consent because there was no original consent.

    Any liberty an individual enjoys doesn't exist spontaneously and naturally, but because people were enlightened enough to guarantee it within the social contract.

    Oh please. Liberty is indeed natural and spontaneous because it resulted naturally and spontaneously from evolution. Every child knows 'MINE!' and protects his property rights as he understands them. So do animals of all shapes and forms. We protect our food, territory, mating privilege, etc.

    Aggression is also natural.. that's where you fascists fit into the picture.

    1. Why is slavery wrong?
    2. Why is murder wrong?
    3. Why is theft wrong?

    According to the logic and assertions you've made thusfar - the only answer you can legitimately give is "because they are illegal". Way to abdicate your mind, dude.


    Hehe, thanks Sean I needed that:)

    Of course it is. The problem is that insurance distorts the markets that it is ensuring.

    FFS, it distorts the market because it's subsidized and managed. Just like big Ag, public education, or real estate.

    Follow the path of reason a few steps past the simplistic. Causation.. it's not just for breakfast anymore.

  • Tony||

    "Where do you get your right to force others to abstain from using (what you determine is) your property?"

    Umm... From the fact that it's my property?



    No. You have the right to force others to abstain from using your property because a government exists to enforce that right. In the absence of this contractual arrangement we are free agents--meaning you are free to try to keep your property and I am free to try to take it. Any addition of morals to this equation is inadequate--people can make up any moral law they want. Maybe your claim to your property is a moral one. Why is that claim more legitimate than the one expressed by a passing nun who says she has to take some of your property to feed some starving people? Lacking a contractual agreement in which the terms are known, it's just because you say so.

    They come from your own individual humanity by being a sentient creature who is capable of asserting said autonomy. One of the most significant pieces of enlightenment era thought led to our Constitution, which limits government to very specific, enumerated powers and protects natural rights. Jefferson & Madison and the rest were not "giving" you rights by writing a bill of rights. They were quite clear that your rights are intrinsic to your humanity and expressly NOT a product of government.



    If rights are so intrinsic how come they weren't discovered until the Enlightenment came around? However rhetorically nice "intrinsic rights" sounds, it's baloney.

    Translation: Your freedom is a privilege that can be revoked whenever the collective decides that it's inconvenient.



    I prefer a government wherein individual rights are vigorously protected from the whims of majorities. Luckily we have one. But you can't deny that even our system has mechanisms for denying even the most basic of rights. In theory the Bill of Rights can be repealed. In an autocracy you may assert your universal intrinsic rights but you don't in any real way actually have them. The entire point of government, and I believe the founders to have thought this, is to act as the protector of rights. If it becomes the enemy of rights then it's a bad government.

    1. Why is slavery wrong?
    2. Why is murder wrong?
    3. Why is theft wrong?



    Well it's not because God said so. They're wrong because humans at some point decided that they had a better shot at living a reasonably decent life if they collectively agreed to punish people who crossed certain boundaries. In an anarchic world there is no right and wrong; any such claims can be met by opposing claims with no appeal possible to determine which is more legitimate.

  • ||

    Sean W. Malone | August 20, 2009, 5:29pm | #

    "Of course I disagree that taxes are theft."

    I know you don't, Tony - but out of (actual) curiosity... How do you justify that position?

    Surely you'll admit that taxation isn't voluntary. As such, it amounts to the taking of property - specifically of money - from individuals by force... Which, as far as I can tell, is definitely theft.


    Whatch you talkin about, Willis? Most taxation is voluntary. I want my police and fire protection, my protection against other countries that would do me harm, our parks and the SEC. I just dont want to pay for other people's health care. You are happy to utilize what most taxes bring, but you would just as soon let someone else pay for it.

  • ||

    No. You have the right to force others to abstain from using your property because a government exists to enforce that right.

    People protected their property before there were governments, and will still do so outside of governments.

    Animals do the same thing.

    If rights are so intrinsic how come they weren't discovered until the Enlightenment came around?

    Property rights always existed. They exist everywhere in the animal kingdom. Which is not to say they are magical. They have to be defended.

    I prefer a government wherein individual rights are vigorously protected from the whims of majorities.

    Lolwhut? You're a constitutional relativist. You think the law should be whatever the majority says it is. That's exactly opposite of protecting individual rights. You think individual rights are subject to disposal at the whim of the majority.

    In an anarchic world there is no right and wrong

    Asinine. Right and wrong preceded the invention of government as a mechanism to protect right (the US) or enforce wrong (collectivist states).

    Laws do not create right and wrong. Laws against theft don't create thieves and honest people.

    The US Constitution didn't create liberty and collectivism. It was created because it was recognized that collectivism was a threat to liberty and that was one of the few things they agreed on.

    The US Constitution represented an intersection of what they could agree on. It embodied the principle of consent within the logistical limitations of the times.

    Most taxation is voluntary.

    What taxation is voluntary?

    I want my police and fire protection, my protection against other countries that would do me harm, our parks and the SEC. I just dont want to pay for other people's health care.

    Oh I see. Because you steal from me that's justification to steal more.

    You've justified stealing from me 'for my own good' for some things so that must mean there is no limit to your rationalizations for theft.

    I'd prefer to pay for my own police and fire protection, but I have no choice. I'd prefer to patronize recreational areas that I chose and pay for the privilege.

    I sure as hell don't want to pay for the SEC.

  • ||

    Of course demand would NOT increase if the Gov't started offering free health care. Think about it, if the Gov't started giving away FREE CARS in the cash-for-clunkers deal it is not like people would change their behavior and go out and get a FREE CAR when their old one still had life in it, no they would be considerate of the limited amount of cars and the fact that others may need it more than them, they would only take what they truly needed. Am I right or what??? Obama2012

  • Lee Cruz||

    I think it's interesting to see Tony's viewpoints. Atleast whoever the poster is, they're very polite.

    In regard to the Constitution, the only legal taxes are direct and indirect proportionate taxes. This makes a progressive income tax unconstititutional. Since the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified, it is not Constitutional. A thing to remember: Progressive income tax was one of the ten tenets of Communism. Marx also said Democracy leads to Socialism.(For a full critique of Democracy why not read, "Democracy the God That Failed.")

    As for local services rendered by taxation: I suggest to you the following. There is no contract because I do not consent nor have the right to revoke the terms rendered. You can't accurately determine the cost of law enforcement, because there is monopoly of such services in any given territory. Socializing things like roads and education have led to losses in wealth and in time. Why haven't we socialized Food, Grocery stores, Clothing and Shelter? Those are far more vital than roads.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Tony:

    Epic Fail. So huge a fail, that I don't think I can devote any time to explaining the 100,000 year old history of humanity, then an explanation of the myriad political philosophies and their various consequences around the world in order to even get you up to speed on the basics of the topic at hand - only then to have to explain why 99% of what you just said made no goddamn sense.

    Little Gary:

    Most taxes are voluntary? If by "voluntary", you mean completely involuntary... Sure. This ain't exactly rocket science here, but since I have no say in what taxes are used for, didn't agree to the taxation in the first place, don't agree with at least 90-100% of what taxes are used for now and yet will get thrown in jail for non-payment, you're gonna have to do a little better in explaining how you get to "voluntary". Tony made this mistake already.

    It shouldn't be hard to understand that if I'm not taxed (or simply taxed less), then I can actually use the money that is not going to government for things that are important to me. That is voluntary.

    My ability to freely choose, as Faithkills said, anything from roads to fire protection to my recreational destinations would be voluntary. Forcing me to pay for these things and then claiming moral righteousness because I am later forced to use them and because they've crowded out many private alternatives (roads being a fine example), is asinine. And pretty obnoxious.

  • Tony||

    Taxes are voluntary because you are free to renounce the citizenship conferred to you upon birth by the terms of the social contract your parents (as your custodians) also willingly agreed to by not renouncing their citizenship.

  • Lee Cruz||

    I the individual have rights that cannot be alienated in any circumstance because they are as natural as my hands. My Citizenship, or lackthereof, does not render my rights null or void. The Constitution is the act of a people constituting a government, because our rights preceed the State. This means that my rights exist beyond any state decree and my rights inherently restrict the authority of any State decree.

    So the idea of a Government Ran Police Force or Road System was nothing more than Risible at the time of America's founding.Simply because private citizens offered these services already. You have no right to violate my Economic nor my Civil Liberties.

  • ||

    Taxes are voluntary because you are free to renounce the citizenship conferred to you upon birth by the terms of the social contract your parents (as your custodians) also willingly agreed to by not renouncing their citizenship.

    Somehow I expect that if I renounce my citizenship, I will still be required to pay taxes.

    Mind you, I wouldn't plan to leave the country: I would merely renounce the citizenship you tell be binds me to a social contract I never read and never signed.

    Surely you don't imagine that this social contract I never read and never signed gives the government any legitimate authority to abrogate my inalienable rights to travel, reside, and work inside the dominion the government claims to rule. Do you?

    If you are correct that I merely need to renounce my citizenship not to pay taxes, please let me know where to do so.

  • ||

    Taxes are voluntary because you are free to renounce the citizenship conferred to you upon birth by the terms of the social contract your parents

    Do tell! Rockin good news!

    Lol, so all I have to do is renounce my citizenship and the IRS will get off my back? That's great news. And I'm sure they won't go after any assets I have if I try that trick. (cough Waxman)

    Because no nation taxes any non citizens, amirite?

    I am free to renounce citizenship. I am not free not to be taxed. In fact if I do renounce it I will be taxed more.

    So I wonder, little fascist, are you immoral or just deluded? Cuz the statist crap you spout isn't even any effort to refute.

  • ||

    You have no right to violate my Economic nor my Civil Liberties.

    They are not distinct. Neither exists without the other.

  • Lee Cruz||

    As things currently are, they don't exist at all.

  • ||

    Amazing how everyone overlooks the fact that insurance companies and HMOs control doctors and surgeons already.

  • Tony||

    Well you have to renounce your citizenship and leave, of course. All of the territory in the United States is governed by U.S. laws according to the terms of the contract. You may own property on that territory, but you do not own the territory itself.

    So you're welcome to enter the marketplace of governments and find the one that most suits you. Of course don't expect the countries with the lowest taxes to have the best amenities.

  • ||

    Well you have to renounce your citizenship and leave, of course.

    Why "of course"?

    By what authority does the government abrogate my rights to own property, to live on it, to voluntarily associate with others and their properties, and to travel commons and rights of way? I grant the government can grant and revoke citizenship: citizenship is a political and entirely derivative construct. But government has no authority to abrogate my natural rights.

    By the way, you do realize that all your highfalutin' talk of "social contract" and the like boils down to nothing more than "might makes right".

    What makes the US social contract any more legitimate than the Soviet Union's, Nazi Germany's, or King George III's Britain?

  • Lee Cruz||

    Insurance companies control their terms of payment. They don't control doctors. Plenty of Doctor's Offices simply refuse to accept or process insurance. They work on cash and check basis and require the patient to do all the paperwork.

  • Tony||

    citizenship is a political and entirely derivative construct.



    So is property.

    By the way, you do realize that all your highfalutin' talk of "social contract" and the like boils down to nothing more than "might makes right".



    Actually, it's the civilized response to the notion of "might makes right." It allows for disputes to be settled by agreed-upon nonviolent means.

    What makes the US social contract any more legitimate than the Soviet Union's, Nazi Germany's, or King George III's Britain?



    Because it exists via the consent of the governed.

  • ||

    The most well known statement of the argument I am making is...

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed



    You essentially ignored -- in fact, with the claim that property is a political construct, you directly contradicted -- every word here.

    Then you bring out the last four words as your rebuttal.

    How can you type with all that irony dripping on your keyboard?

  • Lee Cruz||

    Here we get to the crux of the matter. If I do not consent to say, search and seizure. If I don't consent to income tax. Lets say I don't consent to prohibition. At what extent is the governance consensual? There were plenty of German's who supported Hitler. In fact after Hitler was put it in, Germany began to recover and did exceptionally well until he waged war. Those who opposed Nazi Germany were a minority shortly after the Nazi Rise to power.

  • Tony||

    MikeP the Declaration of Independence isn't part of our social contract. It's basically propaganda in support of rebellion. Putting that aside, it's also the argument I'm making. What I've said is that government exists to "secure these rights" is it not? Where is property mentioned there, by the way?

  • Tony||

    Lee Cruz,

    You enter the contract upon birth. Others enter it through naturalization. You have to consent to the laws of the territory you reside in. What's the alternative? Little islands of anarchy? Representative democracy ain't perfect but do you have a better idea?

  • ||

    Where is property mentioned there, by the way?

    In the "...among these..."

    ...as well as everywhere else in natural rights theory the expression "Life, Liberty, and Property" exists.

    See, for instance, Article I of the Virginia Declaration of Rights...

    That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.



    Representative democracy ain't perfect but do you have a better idea?

    The US Constitution was a better idea. But it wasn't perfect, or we wouldn't be having this discussion right now.

  • Lee Cruz||

    Sure, A Constitutional Republic. Lincoln and Douglas debated this very subject during the Presidential Campaign. Douglas argued that in a Democracy the will of the majority is the law. However unperfect that system may be. Lincoln's rebuttle was simple: We live in a Constitutional Republic. There are somethings the Government can't do irregardless if 99% of the people want it. Hence the establishment of Natural Law and the idea of Rights.

    Anarchy? Define that as a system of governance. Would you say the aftermath of Katrina?

  • Jesus||

    There are somethings the Government can't do irregardless if 99% of the people want it.



    Unless of course the constitution is amended to allow it. If 99% of the people want to remove free speech what's to stop them from doing it through perfectly legal means?

  • Todd Lido||

    Insurance companies are already rationing care - Rationing care won't all of a sudden start with a passed health care reform bill. What a public option does is offer a insurance alternative at a lower cost because it's not offered by a for-profit company. Yes, the cost of care increases with demand, but the cost of insurance can decrease if there is an insurer offering lower rates because they don't need to maximize profit margins.

    The other thing is, there's so much panic about loosing control of health care because the government is going to "get between you and your doctor". At least we elect our government -- right now insurance comes through America's employers. We don't elect our employers so they are in no way accountable.

  • ||

    Of course don't expect the countries with the lowest taxes to have the best amenities.

    I expect the country with the lowest taxes to have the greatest prosperity and quality of life for all. How could it be otherwise? Why do you think America has became so prosperous? Because people that wanted to be free and prosper came to America.

    To avoid the necessary consequences of collectivism immediately, the progressives have borrowed instead of taxed. Now we are seeing the inevitable result.

    Because it exists via the consent of the governed.

    There is no consent. Consent is consensual.

    So is property.

    Property exists in nature. It's not merely a political fabrication.

    Actually, it's the civilized response to the notion of "might makes right." It allows for disputes to be settled by agreed-upon nonviolent means.

    The guns of 51% are non violent but the guns of the 49% are violent? I gotcha. You better be sure which side of that number you are on at all times.

    You enter the contract upon birth.

    You can write something on a piece of paper that says I consent whether I wish it or not. That doesn't mean I consented, hence nor does it make it a contract.

    It's just an edict backed by guns.

    The US Constitution was a better idea. But it wasn't perfect, or we wouldn't be having this discussion right now.

    I've often wished I could go back in time with history books and give them to Jefferson and Madison so they could know what to guard against.

  • Tony||

    I expect the country with the lowest taxes to have the greatest prosperity and quality of life for all. How could it be otherwise?



    So why don't you go check out some other countries and see which ones have the highest quality of life and how that correlates to their tax rates. You might be surprised.


    There is no consent. Consent is consensual.



    Huh? We give our consent by electing representatives of our interests and not rebelling. Rousseau's social contract theory allows for rebellion, however, if the contract admits tyranny.


    Property exists in nature. It's not merely a political fabrication.



    Okay well in nature your property is whatever you say it is and can defend. In nature I could come along and take your property and my claim to it would be no less legitimate than yours. That's why we have contracts and governments.

    The guns of 51% are non violent but the guns of the 49% are violent? I gotcha. You better be sure which side of that number you are on at all times.



    A social contract can contain pretty much anything its signers consent to. Ours includes provisions for minority rights and such. Why not, say, healthcare?

    Which brings us to

    You can write something on a piece of paper that says I consent whether I wish it or not. That doesn't mean I consented, hence nor does it make it a contract.

    It's just an edict backed by guns.



    You tacitly consented by being born in US territory. It's the type of contract that, once entered into, the terms continue with no effort on your part until you explicitly revoke it, which you are allowed to do, so it's not coerced.

    All contracts are in principle enforced by guns. Even if government were so small that it amounted to the one rule "don't initiate force" you'd still have to enforce that rule with guns. Again, what's the alternative?

  • ||

    You tacitly consented by being born in US territory.

    Au contraire.

    I was born where I was born. The US is the second mover here, explicitly claiming dominion over where I was born. But its claim does not overrule my rights.

    As we know from the Jefferson we quoted above, I have a right to be born as well as a plethora of other rights. Any authority of the government to do anything to me is secondary, derivative, and solely to secure those rights.

  • ||

    We give our consent by electing representatives of our interests and not rebelling.

    In other words, we give our consent by all being trapped in the same prisoner's dilemma.

    Incidentally, in over 20 years of voting in every election I was eligible to, no one I have ever voted for has won office.

    How much longer before I can declare the government in breach of this social contract I never read and never signed?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Tony's logic is, as usual, astoundingly bad.

    To an extent I'm glad I missed most of these last bits because I could have burned up my whole day trying to prevent my brain from exploding.

    The thing I really don't get though is that he keeps saying the exact, same shit over and over as if that suddenly makes it more true.

    I am bound by a "social contract" that my parents made by happening to be born in this geographical region? And if I just agree to renounce citizenship (nearly impossible by the way), and further agree to leave the US forever (because apparently all parts of the EARTH are owned by the Federal Government, and if I agree never to return... THEN I'll be able to choose what other social contract suits me best (sidenote: There's no place I'm currently aware of on the planet which fits that description).

    ........Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    So based on an accident of birth, and an "agreement" which doesn't exist, which isn't written down, and which I was neither party to nor able to extricate myself from - I am subject to the whims of whoever can convince the majority of people to back them? Not only am I subject, I likewise have to pay tribute - regardless of whether or not the products of my time & labor (money) will be used to support things that are intelligent, moral or even functional and regardless of whether or not I agree. But that's all ok, because 26 years ago, I was born here, and 50 some years ago my parents were born here, and going back 400 years to the goddamn Mayflower (not kidding).

    Ironically of course, my people left England precisely because their "social contract" wasn't being honored. They had a place to go where they could start over & set up a new system in a way that provided them the liberty that the Church of England wouldn't allow in Britain. They didn't have to "withdraw citizenship", they weren't hunted down by the IRS (there were no income taxes then anyway). They simply got the money together, packed up a boat and took the risk... And it paid off for them.

    The asserted their right to freedom. They took charge of their own destiny, and 400 years later, I am a testament to their success.

    It's funny to hear/read people like Tony claiming that I've benefited from taxes, when what he's actually benefited from by being born into the US is liberty.

    For 125 years or so we managed to be the only nation on the planet which had ever ensconced individual liberties and the protection of private property as the primary aim of the government. Instead of setting it up by divine right, or "might makes right" tyranny - even & especially the democratic kind - we set it up to protect the natural rights of humanity.

    And it was good. There is no dispute that the United States has made more progress in it's short history than any nation that has ever existed, we have presided over the greatest increase in world wealth and standard of living, we've contributed immensely to the ideas & technology of the world... And now we have people like Tony pushing us back into the dark ages where liberty isn't intrinsic at all but merely extends as far as our betters will allow.

    Especially unfortunate that he seems not to even understand.

  • Justen Robertson||

    Stossel, thanks for saying it: making ridiculous arguments, even if they're for a good cause, discredits the cause itself. You and your silly mustache get 1 big point each. ;)

  • Justen Robertson||

    Tony: I'd like for you to point out the "opt out" procedure for this "social contract" your philosophical idols imagined up.

    Here's a social contract for you. Bob, Jim, you, and I all live on a tiny planet. Bob, Jim and I declare the planet under the sole authority of the Republic of Three. As a citizen of our planet, you have a right to vote but the implicit responsibility to participate in our "social contract" since, after all, it must exist - the majority declares it so and we have concluded that the world is ruled not by objective fact but by fiat. One day, Bob proposes an initiative that will divide your land up between me, Bob, and Jim; we all vote, and you're outnumbered 3 to 1. If you don't like it, go ahead and leave - but you'll need to leave using Bob's rocket ship, which he doesn't rent to non-citizens, and you'll need to go to another planet, none of which accept immigrants, and you won't be able to sell your property since you no longer own it, but you can be sure you have the right to withdraw - we declare it to be so.

    It doesn't really take a silly story to illustrate the fallacy of the social contract idea, but a ridiculous idea tends to be best presented in a ridiculous light.

  • Tony||

    I am bound by a "social contract" that my parents made by happening to be born in this geographical region? And if I just agree to renounce citizenship (nearly impossible by the way), and further agree to leave the US forever (because apparently all parts of the EARTH are owned by the Federal Government, and if I agree never to return... THEN I'll be able to choose what other social contract suits me best (sidenote: There's no place I'm currently aware of on the planet which fits that description).



    There are more than 200 countries on earth. They have been created and compete in an essentially anarcho-capitalist way. The market won't produce the exact car you want, what makes you expect it to create the exact country you want? My suggestion is to stay here and influence the political process in the normal way, but you are perfectly free to emigrate from the US, whose territory is governed by US law. But if your differences with your place of birth are irreconcilable then your only recourse is to choose among other variations of the "product" nation and see which you like best. Assuming they'll let you to make a contract when them, of course.


    So based on an accident of birth, and an "agreement" which doesn't exist, which isn't written down, and which I was neither party to nor able to extricate myself from - I am subject to the whims of whoever can convince the majority of people to back them? Not only am I subject, I likewise have to pay tribute - regardless of whether or not the products of my time & labor (money) will be used to support things that are intelligent, moral or even functional and regardless of whether or not I agree. But that's all ok, because 26 years ago, I was born here, and 50 some years ago my parents were born here, and going back 400 years to the goddamn Mayflower (not kidding).



    The agreement is in fact written down. The constitution and the various other constitutions and statutes that govern the territory you reside in are part of your social contract. A reasonable person might thank the forces of luck for placing him in a relatively free society.

    You can extricate yourself from the contract you were entered into upon birth by renouncing citizenship and leaving.

    There are a lot of policies of our government I detest. The same is obviously true of you. Your choices in the matter are rebellion (good luck!), renunciation of citizenship, or participating in the pragmatic democratic process your forebears set up for you as a marketplace of ideas. Again, good luck.

    For 125 years or so we managed to be the only nation on the planet which had ever ensconced individual liberties and the protection of private property as the primary aim of the government. Instead of setting it up by divine right, or "might makes right" tyranny - even & especially the democratic kind - we set it up to protect the natural rights of humanity.



    Well I don't think there's such a thing as natural rights because I also don't believe in unicorn. Rights only exist in any real form because something exists to enforce their protection. Even if natural rights were encoded in DNA or etched on a stone they wouldn't mean anything if not enforced by a legitimate government.


    And it was good. There is no dispute that the United States has made more progress in it's short history than any nation that has ever existed, we have presided over the greatest increase in world wealth and standard of living, we've contributed immensely to the ideas & technology of the world... And now we have people like Tony pushing us back into the dark ages where liberty isn't intrinsic at all but merely extends as far as our betters will allow.



    The idea that liberty is intrinsic is simply refuted by historical evidence (if it's so intrinsic why did it take us so long to find it?) and also mystical nonsense (on which stone are they etched?)

    Furthermore, this country's greatness would never have been achieved by libertarian means. The founders were geniuses but they weren't dogmatic libertarians--they are more aptly described as pragmatists, setting up the best system thus far for achieving some degree of pragmatic individualism in the context of a large society--which always needs some form of government, the lack of which leads to the "nasty, brutish, short" reality of any animal including humans existing in nature.

    But this country's advances to worldwide superiority did not come from an excess of economic freedom alone, but from deliberate government action resulting in the winning of history's largest war and most ambitious and directed public works actions.

  • Tony||

    but you can be sure you have the right to withdraw - we declare it to be so.



    Or you could just be happy you weren't born in North Korea.

    The US places no restrictions on emigration from its territories. Countries that do could be said to violate the concept of a social contract.

    But it's not terribly convenient to do so, but anyway you do live in one of the freest territories on earth, so why not engage in the pragmatic marketplace of ideas the contract encourages via the first amendment and try to influence policy by democratic means? If your ideas about the best way to live are so self-evidence they shouldn't have too hard a time.

    But if you're intent on withdrawing from the social contract you entered into upon birth (the government does in fact retain sovereignty over its own territory--which it acquired by various legitimate [though perhaps often cruel and unjust] means, including purchasing on the marketplace), you are free to do so. You're likely to find yourself in another territory governed by another social contract. But countries like cars don't grow on trees. You just have to choose among the alternatives offered by the market.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Tony, we've already dismantled your bullshit theory of social contract like 16 times.

    The rest of what you just said is utter nonsense. Please learn what words mean before using them.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    And what I still don't get is: Why don't you move to Sweden or France or China or wherever. The US Constitution is, for the record, one of the most libertarian documents ever created to run a government. If we went back to just obeying that, I would be pretty happy... But instead, it's people like you who have no conception of liberty as something all humans deserve merely by product of being human (and having nothing to do with where they were born) who have spent a hundred years dismantling & outright ignoring the Constitutional limitations on Government power.

    So... I mean, I'm essentially saying: Why can't I expect the written "contract" the government of the United States has with its people to be followed?

    I would like the government to be what it was designed and intended to be. You're the one who's regularly advocating that the government involve itself in things it has no authority to do. So if you don't like it... WHY DON'T YOU MOVE?

    Or, of course, actually amend the constitution instead of just ignoring it outright?


    Of course that would be inconvenient for you. You're not just playing with fire at this point, Tony, you've already torched yourself.

  • Tony||

    Sean,

    Your assertion that most of what the government has been doing for most of this country's history is unconstitutional is fringe nonsense. At any rate, there is a mechanism for determining what's lawful or constitutional, and it's not "Sean says so" but vested with the courts.

    Why should I leave? I have no desire to end the contract I share with my co-Americans.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Tony, READ the fucking Constitution for once. Seriously. The Constitution proscribes a few, rather specific, powers granted to the Federal Government. Anything that is not specifically listed, according to the 10th Amendment (you know... part of the Bill of Rights that you claim you care about while not caring about it at all), are left to the States & to the People themselves.

    There's no provision for cradle to grave Health Care provided by the American taxpayer. There is no provision for the control of industry or using the Treasury to bail out private companies - in fact, taxes are to be collected & apportioned "uniformly" throughout the states, so it is actually forbidden to do such a thing.

    Likewise, the President has no authority to go to war without a declaration of Congress - yet we've been doing that for decades. And the 4th & 8th Amendments should be all you need to know that Wiretapping & torture are illegal and unconstitutional - but they happened anyway, and have even managed to be "defended" by some shady lawyers...

    It's hardly fringe nonsense to read something that's written in plain English and understand what it meant. It's just basic reading comprehension skills.

    Yet still you abdicate your own mind and relinquish all your critical thinking ability to your masters.

    How pitiful.

    "Obviously it's not illegal because the courts would have said so" is a really bad argument from authority, nothing more. You presume that things are how they ought to be because you're too lazy to stop and realize that the courts are made up of people who are not only fallible in their own right, but are also appointed by the very people writing & passing other unconstitutional legislation. So ultimately your entire position is a silly version of Hume's "is-ought" problem - saying that things as they are are how they ought to be (and thus, you don't have to concern yourself with it).

    And you should leave, because: If the US Constitution is the "written version" of the social contract you keep yapping about, then the things you regularly advocate on this board are massive deviations from that social contract. Since you and your ideological compatriots have never actually taken the time to modify the US Constitution to allow you to do the things you want to do, you are the one advocating for a change. As such, why don't you leave the country for a nation like Sweden or France that you believe has a better social contract - or, as I said, work to actually change the Constitution instead of just ignoring it and writing whatever laws you feel like anyway.

    What i'm saying is - using your own logic, the US Constitution is a social contract that you are born into and if you don't like it - then you are "free to leave". You obviously don't like it as it is, so leave already.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Also;

    "The US places no restrictions on emigration from its territories."



    Are you retarded? It places hundreds of restrictions on emigration - the difference is that fortunately, unlike North Korea, you just have to show up to a series of hearings and have most of your money, assets & property stripped away instead of getting murdered.

  • ||

    To people not realize what "computerized medical records" means? The government will have access to every Americans medical records. To people trust the government? Trust them with your medical records? What about individuals/groups who oppose the people in power, the political "enemys" of those in power.
    J Edger Hoover kept records on people and blackmailed them. Gulf of Tonkin, Iraq, government lies (trust them?), NSA illegally wire taps every computer and telephone converstation in the U.S. (you trust that Gov.t?), power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. You trust the government with your medical records?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Noooo no no Andy, you're just being paranoid :P

  • ||

    It is true that as demand rises from the people who would have access to health care that they didn't have previously, the supply of care will be diminished, and will result in higher costs for the entire system in the short run. However, in the long run the costs to the entire system would be lower when covering eneryone. When people don't have insurance, they tend to wait until a problem is catastrophic before seeking treatment. The resulting problems are vastly more expensive to treat than they would be if the person was screened and healthy in the first place. This is an angle that really needs to be considered in the policy debate, if costs are to be used as any sort of guidance.

  • ||

    When people don't have insurance, they tend to wait until a problem is catastrophic before seeking treatment. The resulting problems are vastly more expensive to treat than they would be if the person was screened and healthy in the first place.

    That sounds kind of reasonable. Nonetheless, it's not true.

    Per person, he uninsured cost the health care system only 50-70% of the insured. If indeed their neglected problems are "vastly more expensive to treat", that simply wouldn't be the case.

    For every health problem that someone uninsured comes down with that he wouldn't have had were he insured, there are many more uninsured who didn't come down with it and many more insured who paid for tests for it but didn't come down with it.

  • ||

    I have no desire to end the contract I share with my co-Americans.

    I have no desire to free my slaves.

    Fixed.

    You have no contract with me. I never agreed to anything.

    And you don't need a contract, you have a whip.

    The agreement is in fact written down.

    Lots of crap is written down that I didn't agree to nor am I signatory to. That doesn't ethically bind me to it. But again, you don't need my agreement. You have guns.

    Huh? We give our consent by electing representatives of our interests and not rebelling.

    Who did I elect?

    Or because we don't rebell? The fact that we don't kill you statists is consent?

    "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" - Mao Tse-tung

    This is the core of your statist philosophy indeed, because you perceive that you have control of the guns.

    You better be sure. The mystics of spirit won't fail to use that as an excuse if they get the upper hand.

    But basically you're just a cock pouch for the fascists in red. I would love to see all how much you talked about social contract rationalizations when Bush was in power. "Well you must have agreed to all this.. you were born into a social contract!"

    One difference between us and you, is we are not hypocrites and we can smell a statist no matter what direction he comes from.

    The reason you can't make a coherent argument is because your philosophy is founded on arbitrary self serving contradictions.

    You want to be free to do what you want to, including to be free to dispose of the life and labor of others. What you don't want them to be free, especially not free of you.

  • ||

    What Stossel conveniently overlooks are a few important points: First, "ordinarily" the doctor is not an "agent" of anyone -- doctors are usually either salaried as part of a larger HMO, by Keiser for example, or they're in private practice, in which case they derive payment from third party insurers.

    Very seldom do doctors work directly for patients, "ordinarily."

    Second, Stossel tip-toes around the fact that care is generally given to everyone who needs it, but only as a last-minute intervention. This is of course the Emergency Room where, quite rightly, even those who are unable to pay are given life-saving care.

    If emergency room care demand decreases and primary care physician demand increases, this is a *net savings* in the overall economy.

    Moreover, while Stossel's criticisms of Obama's health care proposal might be meritorious, albeit incomplete, he and many other libertarians never do address the elephant in the room: That a for-profit market will never, ever provide care for people who simply cannot afford it; like someone with type 1 diabetes.

    If you drop the government option, Obama's health plan makes a lot of sense. It's almost like a school voucher system: Everyone is in the system, and everyone uses either their own money, or government subsidies, to buy care. In exchange, insurance companies are required to accept patients with pre-existing conditions.

    It's involuntary participation in a system, but get over it: The same could be said for paying taxes to support the military, having to get a drivers license to open a bank account, and being quarantined by the CDC.

  • ||

    he and many other libertarians never do address the elephant in the room: That a for-profit market will never, ever provide care for people who simply cannot afford it; like someone with type 1 diabetes.

    Interesting, except false. They already do.

    The real elephant in the room is that single payer or public option does nothing to make more health care available.

    The current plan extends the exact same policies at the federal level that caused the problem in the first place.

    Rationing is bad because people draw their ration that don't need it and people that do need it have little recourse.

    That's what insurance mandates do. You must have this coverage. Well if you have the coverage whether you want it or not you will tend to use it. This means there's less for people that do need it and drives prices up.

    That's the plan. Drive prices up until no one can afford it and then use this as an excuse to nationalize the whole system. Don't take my word for it, take Obama's word for it.

  • ||

    If emergency room care demand decreases and primary care physician demand increases, this is a *net savings* in the overall economy.

    No, it isn't. For the third time this thread, uninsured people consume only half the health care of insured people per capita.

    Getting care solely in emergency rooms is pretty much the cheapest way to get it. Unlike the insured, the uninsured aren't using any health care services when they don't need health care services.

    There is a reason the CBO priced the reform legislation at more than $1,000,000,000,000 over the next decade: preventative health care is more expensive than acute health care.

  • Epicurus||

    "That's the plan. Drive prices up until no one can afford it and then use this as an excuse to nationalize the whole system."

    The Great Commie Conspiracy. Been to the American Opinion bookstore lately?

    Where do these commie basterds have their secret meetings?

  • ||

    Been to the American Opinion bookstore lately?

    I have no idea what that is. Some religionist place?

    Where do these commie basterds have their secret meetings?

    It's not a secret. They say it in the open.

  • ||

    A+B+C=D A is the offer of end of life counseling(see the VA recipe) B is the govt. determining which treatments are effective. C is the $500 M that Obama proposes removing from Medicare to fund single payer. D is of course the inevitable rationing of care to the elderly and disabled

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets..

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  • قبلة الوداع||

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