Beware the ObamaCare Revolution

If the health care bill passes, prepare for a state of chronic political warfare

"I am not the first president to take up this cause [of health care reform], but I am determined to be the last one," President Barack Obama declared in September. But history will force the president to eat his smooth bravado if he signs anything resembling what's on the table right now.

Far from settling the issue once and for all, the bill will usher even fiercer confrontations—not only on health care but on constitutional matters of governance as well—that will make the current battle look like the political equivalent of a spit-ball fight.

The Senate and the House begin reconciling their versions of health care "reform" this week. But everyone—barring die-hard Obama supporters—now believes that the outcome is going to be more botched than Michael Jackson's nose. There is a growing consensus in both the right and the left that the individual mandate provision, which is almost certain to be part of the final bill, represents a kind of neo-feudalism. Liberty-lovers (like myself) hate it because it will mean that for the first time ever, Americans will be forced to buy a service as a condition of lawful residence in this country. Americans will lose control over their money without the government even having the decency to formally call for a tax increase.

Progressives are offended too—not because the mandate involves a new leap in state power, but because this power would be unevenly wielded. They would be fine with the mandate if it were accompanied with an outright ban on insurance company profits or at least a public option to drive these profits down. Absent that, all it will do, they argue not without plausibility, is deliver a captive audience to insurance companies.

Since the odds at this stage that the final bill will include their beloved public option are next to zero, the left's next big battle will involve reinstating it while Obama is still in office. The biggest impediment to their ambition—as the current health care battle has made clear—isn't going to be evil Republicans or the venal insurance industry, but America's system of checks and balances. In particular, the Senate filibuster rules.

These rules are what gave blue dog Senate Democrats the power to stand up to their party bosses and derail the public option even though Democrats control the White House, the House and have a near supermajority in the Senate. And so long as these rules exist, enacting this option will only get harder when Democrats lose their overwhelming political advantage as is likely to happen this November. Hence it is no surprise that the liberal punditocracy is demanding the annulment of the filibuster—even though, ironically enough, it was a Democratic-controlled Senate that reinstated it in 1975 after a long hiatus.

Filibuster is not a beautiful thing, but it is a long established tool for checking overweening political ambition—and it can't be abolished without a bruising political battle. To the extent that most laws involve an expansion of government power, scrapping it will inevitably empower the government against its citizens. What's more, a president—a minority of one—will be able to override Congress with a stroke of his pen. But even 49 senators won't be able to stop him from ramming his agenda through their chamber.

This will shift the balance-of-power away from Congress and toward the president, diminishing his incentive to court political opponents, further polarizing the country. If the Tea Party disgust with government expansion is approaching revolutionary fervor now, imagine what will happen if a serious attempt is made to mess with a basic internal check on government power to shove a public option down the country's throat.

But with or without the public option, both the Senate and House bills involve a de facto nationalization of health care. The government already pays for half of the health care consumed in this country through Medicare, Medicaid and the veteran's administration. Another trillion dollars-plus of health care subsidies will give the government a majority stake.

And there is no sign that it plans to be a hands-off stakeholder. The panoply of mandates and regulations that Democrats are proposing--guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions; money back to policy holders if insurance companies' administrative costs exceed 10 percent of their revenues, etc.—will put the government squarely in the driver's seat. No less than the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that "this further expansion of the federal government's role in the health insurance market [that the Senate bill entails] would make such insurance an essentially governmental program."

The upshot of all this won't be unlimited, top-notch health care for everyone, as the Democratic establishment is promising. To the contrary, with individual patients losing even nominal control of their medical dollars, the health care system will be powered less by patient needs, and more by collective social goals dictated by politicians driven by powerful lobbies adept at political marketing.

Nationalized health care systems always and everywhere face a contest between competing interests trying to capture scarce medical dollars. If, say, women with breast cancer shame political authorities into approving expensive cancer-fighting drugs, men launch their own campaign to shift medical dollars to prostate cancer treatment. Patients who lack the political savvy or represent disfavored causes—obesity, smokers, homosexuality—inevitably get relegated to second class medical status. If money poses an unfair obstacle for patients in a market-based system as progressives allege, can they with a straight face claim that the political establishment doesn't pose a far bigger obstacle in a government-run system?

But it is not just patients who are pitted against each other; providers are too. Unlike in a market where competition and innovation is always expanding the medical pie, in a nationalized system providers are engaged in a zero-sum game. Every dollar that goes for reduction of infant mortality to a pediatrician is one that doesn't go to a neurologist for Parkinson's treatment.

Since there is no equitable formula to deal with all these competing claims, politicians under nationalized health care are constantly tinkering and experimenting to fashion the system after their own pet causes. Even basic questions as to whether a health care system should be more cost-effective or more accessible become subject to political whim. For instance, England's Labor government some years ago repealed the internal market reforms put in place by the previous Conservative government to bring some cost discipline to the country's government-run National Health Service—only to reinstate these reforms after costs started exploding once again.

In short, if ObamaCare passes next month, America's health care system won't be revolutionized so much as thrown into a state of permanent revolution. Hence, its opponents can either redouble their efforts to strangle this monster in its crib now—or prepare for endless political warfare later.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a bi-weekly columnist at Forbes. This column originally appeared at Forbes.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Old Mexican||

    Political commentator Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) warned that "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

    Like, for instance, the Great Health Care Scare of 2008-2010

  • Discord||

    FNORD!!!

  • Xeones||

    more botched than Michael Jackson's nose

    TOO SOON. Have some respect.

  • Cap'n NoStar||

    Too soon? The hatchet job on MJ's shnoz started 20 years ago and ended (I think) about 10 years ago.

    It's not like he died on a plastic surgeons operating table.

  • ||

    More like 30 years and 20, oh dated one. It is 2010.

    MJ started his nosejobbery in the 80s. By 1990, he'd already had the underlying plastic melted when his straightening-agent drenched hait caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi video.

  • ||

    Michael who?

  • Member of Gen Y||

    He was some child molester I think.

  • Micheal Jackson||

    You'll juss ignorant

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I think there was actually a small Jackson bubble. A bunch of stores were selling MJ crap and now I keep seeing it in clearance sections.

  • ||

    I only have a finite amount of sympathy to dole out to dead celebrities. With so many dying lately, it is difficult to give them all a piece of my sympathy pie. Most of my sympathy went to Brittany Murphy as she was the voice of Luanne, the rest of them can suck it.

  • ||

    Filibuster is not a beautiful thing

    Not so! Not so. In it's proper incarnation when Senators were required to keep on their feet and keep talking. It was a glorious thing to behold. In addition to leaning then names and phone numbers of countless obscure Americans, we were regaled with all manner of wisdom, from folksy to arcane. My HS history teacher told us that some valiant statesmen in the worlds world's greatest deliberative body would have a catheter inserted in preparation for a filibuster.

    Would that such masters of Realpolitik still roamed the hallowed halls of Congress today.

  • Tony||

    Now, the filibuster is essentially a way for representatives of 10% of the country (senators from small, red states) to get their way on everything.

  • Old Mexican||

    . . . instead of letting the mob [the 50% plus one] get THEIR way on everything.

  • Tony||

    It's the worst system except for all the others.

    So you support 10% telling the rest of the country what to do, but don't support 50+1% doing it?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    It's the worst system except for all the others.

    You truly trust that ridiculous aphorism, don't you?

    So you support 10% telling the rest of the country what to do, but don't support 50+1% doing it?

    That is what the gay community does to protect their rights. You're telling me you're for something wheh it is convenient, and not when it is not? Your principles change as a matter of expediency?

    Filibusters are NOT to tell people what to do, but to stop legislation that the minority believes will be detrimental to SOMEONE.

  • EJ||

    So you support 10% telling the rest of the country what to do, but don't support 50+1% doing it?

    That would be 10% telling the rest what NOT to do. Theres a difference.

  • Tony||

    Not really. Say an asteroid is coming. Some people want to blow it up, some people want to do nothing. Those advocating doing nothing are still making a choice that has consequences.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Not really. Say an asteroid is coming. Some people want to blow it up, some people want to do nothing. Those advocating doing nothing are still making a choice that has consequences.

    ... some may advocate just push it to the side, because blowing it up may just make it worse by showering the whole Earth with smaller rocks.

    You know, you may have the knack for the non sequitur, but your hypotheticals suck. Let me give you one you can relate to:

    Say homosexuals want to have the right to get married. Their number (5-7%) want this. Say now that at least 50% plus one of people say "No". Who's right?

    Be carefull how you answer - remember, you abhor the minority "telling" the majority what to do...

  • Tony||

    What exactly are you arguing here? That minorities rather than majorities should get their way?

    Supermajorities are required in certain specific cases in our system, e.g., amending the constitution, which has provisions for minority rights. They’re not meant to be required for every vote in the Senate. Furthermore, the Senate is undemocratic in its makeup, which gives the people in small states much greater representation. What is the noble reason for individual Montanans having more of a say in national policy than individual Californians?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    What exactly are you arguing here? That minorities rather than majorities should get their way?

    Glad to see you totally refused to tackle my hypothetical: it would expose you as someone that drops his principles as expediency dictates.

    Let me explain something to you, Tony: It is not the case that the majority rules over the minority or the other way around. When man starts to vote on how to give himself a leg up over others, tyranny ensues. This is why democracy IS mob rule - the majority will always vote for itself the advantage over the rights and property of the minority. And when a minority rules, it will always legislate for it all protections it can muster to keep the majority subdued (think gun controls.)

    The reason for the filibuster is to PROTECT the minority from legislation that trumps their rights, not to give it more power over the majority. You have it exactly backwards.

    What is the noble reason for individual Montanans having more of a say in national policy than individual Californians?

    The noble reason is that the Montanans are the population of a sovereign state, and the troubles and tribulations of Montanans are totally different from those of Californians. This is why the have equal representation.

    Don't like it? You can always start a campaign to redress the States' borders according to population densities. At least, you can try.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Individuals should get their way. Not majorities or minorities determining what individuals should do.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I should say individuals should get their way without interfering with each others (negative) rights.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Colonel_Angus,

    From what I have read, I don't think Tony here believes in negative rights (i.e. you have no right to kill, no right to take other people's property, you have no right to defraud, etc). He believes in positive rights, in entitlements, in pillaging the productive to give it to the non productive.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    There is no such thing as "positive rights". Obama was an idiot to bring it up, thus putting it into the minds of the kinds of gullible people who voted him into office.

  • Chad||

    Well then, stop breathing, CA, because you are violating MY "negative rights" when the foul fumes of your breath float onto my property.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You'd like that, wouldn't you, Chad...

    Then again, you're the one who should stop breathing, since you're so fucking concerned with "global warming". Killing yourself would be the ultimate carbon-footprint erasure, and if you're REALLY concerned about it...

  • Chad||

    My footprint is negative, LG. I know that exceeded your ability to comprehend, but it is actually pretty easy.

    When are you going to get it. I live my life in such a way to be untouchable by your rhetoric. I am simply a better person than you...and I enjoy every minute of it.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Bullshit. You are alive, you consume fuel (food and fuel for your car and utilities), and you buy things made WITH fossil fuels. Therefore, you cannot have a "negative footprint".

    And, to top it all off, you're an insufferably elitist piece of shit who considers himself better than everyone else... but you'll deny being such. Typical hypocritical liberal thinking.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That is quite the smarmy, elitist attitude he has, yes... but then, that's prevalent amongst both far-leftists AND far-rightists. They think they're better than everyone else, and thus seek to tell others how to live.

    At threat of gunpoint, if necessary.

  • MJ||

    "My footprint is negative,..."

    What are you then, a vegetable?

    Actually, that would explain so much.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    It's impossible to have a carbon-neutral lifestyle, let alone a negative one.

    Chad is quite the bullshitter, so I wouldn't believe whatever he says. He is fun to spar with, though his ideas are dangerous as hell.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No, he isn't, Chad.

  • .||

    What exactly are you arguing here? That minorities rather than majorities should get their way?

    What's being argued is that there are some things that should never be subject to a goddamned vote!

  • Chad||

    According to libertarians, minorities should get their way whenever they agree with libertarians. Duh.

  • ||

    "What exactly are you arguing here? That minorities rather than majorities should get their way?"

    What if 90% of your neighbors hold a vote and decide that you should cut their lawns all summer? It would be a democratic decision decided by a majority of voters so I guess by your logic that would be okay.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Chad would agree with this:

    You have two neighbors, and they each have a total net worth of one dollar. You, however, have a total net worth of THREE dollars.

    Therefore, it is okay if your neighbors come over and threaten you with harm if you do not give them each a dollar, so that all three of you now have a net worth of two dollars. After all, it's unfair for you to be rolling in so much largesse, isn't it?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I disagree... I think Chad would take all but one dime of the three dollars, as it was likely earned dishonestly in comparison to the neighbors with only one dollar.

  • ||

    I seem to remember that word "filibuster" being kicked around a few years back when someone mentioned social security reform...

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's okay when Democrats filibuster. Remember that, and you'll be okay.

    Oh, and stick this ice pick in your forehead. To think like a liberal and agree with their every idea, one must get rid of those pesky frontal lobes.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    It's Newspeak Version 2010!

  • ||

    In the vast majority of cases, nothing is better for this country or more beneficial to liberty than legislation being stopped dead in its tracks.

    Remember, our government was designed to be slow, unwieldy, inefficient, and subject to all sorts of internal and external checks.

  • Tony||

    It's designed to be slow and subject to checks, but that doesn't mean it's always better when legislation is killed. Not acting is still making a policy choice, so the minority who is killing legislation over the objections of a near-supermajority not only are defying the principles of democracy but are getting their way on policy matters.

  • ||

    Given that adhering to constitutional limits is at least partially out the window, I think requiring a supermajority for major legislation would be a lovely idea. We're talking about laws that affect the entire country. Why should one party get to make that decision? Bare majority gets us things like USA Patriot and the current abomination. No thanks.

  • Mike||

    Not that I disagree with your point, but the patriot act passed with 98 votes in the senate.

  • ||

    Oh, yeah, bad example.

  • Chad||

    Actually, the founders were against supermajority requirements, and were very careful in defining the few conditions where they would be required, such as constitutional amendments or impeachment. The practical requirement for a supermajority in the Senate is likely unconstitutional it is current form, and surely defies the will of our founding fathers.

    It also plain doesn't work. The world is passing us by, and we look like idiots because we allow ourselves to be held up by a minority within a minority.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And when Democrats are in the minority, they do the same thing the Republicans are doing now.

    I think it's entertaining as hell.

  • Chad||

    If you think our current political paralysis is entertaining, you are simply mentally ill and need to be treated for being a psychopath.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The less that is accomplished by government, the longer we stave off the inevitable collapse.

    Besides, it's fun watching the minority Brand X Party use obstructionist tactics to slow things down - and BOTH Brand X Parties use those tactics. Don't lie and say it's just the Republicans.

    However, it is amusing to be lectured by someone who wants one-world government/one-world tax rates. Talk about psychopathic tendencies.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    True, and don't forget Chad is also advocating that every man, woman, and child must contribute at least $10K for living expenses...

    Then again, Chad is a dumbass who pays more in taxes than he should - and he does it happily and voluntarily. What a sad, pathetic excuse he is.

  • MJ||

    "And when Democrats are in the minority, they do the same thing the Republicans are doing now."

    When Democrats are in power they tend to use things like the filibuster in ways that are traditionally unjustified, loke for partisan blocks on judicial nominations.

    The partisan hackery of the Dems supporters saying how bad the filibuster is now is amusing as hell.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    True, the two-facedry of the Current Ruling Party is indeed fun to watch.

  • ||

    Not acting is still making a policy choice, so the minority who is killing legislation over the objections of a near-supermajority not only are defying the principles of democracy but are getting their way on policy matters.

    When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad.

    Being and non-being create each other.
    Difficult and easy support each other.
    Long and short define each other.
    High and low depend on each other.
    Before and after follow each other.

    Therefore the Master
    acts without doing anything
    and teaches without saying anything.
    Things arise and she lets them come;
    things disappear and she lets them go.
    She has but doesn't possess,
    acts but doesn't expect.
    When her work is done, she forgets it.
    That is why it lasts forever.

    - Lao Tzu

  • Teddy Freedom||

    We are a Republic. We are not a democracy. Learn the difference please...

  • Tony||

    Republic = rule by teabaggers?

  • ||

    Are you capable of arguing without strawmen?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Democracy = rule by big-government nannies.

    There ya go, Tony. That'll be five bucks.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Not acting is still making a policy choice, so the minority who is killing legislation over the objections of a near-supermajority not only are defying the principles of democracy but are getting their way on policy matters unless it's a Democrat-led filibuster."

    There ya go again, Tony. Your tab now comes to ten bucks.

  • jimbowatermelon||

    yeah, we'll see what happens to your "near-supermajority" in November...or maybe earlier in some states.
    Will that change your tune?...hmmm, I am guessing Not.

    By the way, the majority feels that certain drugs should never be legalized, so I am sure you agree...correct?

  • ||

    I wonder if you'll still be singing that song when the Democrats are the minority party again.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    ...but it's okay when Democrats do it.

    Right, Tony?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Tony, if your party were in the minority, you'd be yelling and screaming for them to filibuster and do whatever else they could to jam up legislation by the Rs.

  • ||

    You've outdone yourself with that whopper of a lie, Tony. You're on today!

    Actually most Americans self identify as conservatives these days.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/120.....group.aspx

    So what you really have is 21% who have captured the government due to corruption and gerrymandering dictating to 79%, with the fillibuster as the only thing in the way.

  • Some guy named Paine||

    "Give me filibuster, or give me death."

  • Old Mexican||

    Nationalized health care systems always and everywhere face a contest between competing interests trying to capture scarce medical dollars.

    This is because national health care systems work based on political expectations. Instead, private health care systems operate based on profit opportunities, which come from finding unmet demand. The for profit system does not cater to special interest groups but to a customer base, and finds out its effectiveness through a profit/loss test. Instead, public systems cannot be gauged on their effectiveness to fulfill demand, but on the size of their budgets.

  • Tony||

    Just because demand is a variable in the profit calculus of private companies doesn't mean they eventually satisfy all demand. For healthcare the demand is pretty predictable: everyone needs it at one point or another, and they don't get it because they want it, but because they need it. The private sector is a proven failure at satisfying this type of demand. It's why every other advanced country has a government system, and no country has modeled a successful free market approach, a fact you still refuse to address.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Just because demand is a variable in the profit calculus of private companies doesn't mean they eventually satisfy all demand.

    You have NO idea of what you're talking about. Absolutely NO idea. Once an equilibrium price is reached, demand IS satisfied. You're just arguing from anecdotes.

    For healthcare the demand is pretty predictable: everyone needs it at one point or another,

    The same is with food, shoes, water, umbrellas, socks, pants . . . EVERYBODY needs them at one point or another.

    [...] and they don't get it because they want it, but because they need it.

    The same with food. What's your point?

    The private sector is a proven failure at satisfying this type of demand.

    "Proven Failure". Wow - you must be privy to some knock-out studies, to talk with such assurance.

    It's why every other advanced country has a government system, and no country has modeled a successful free market approach, a fact you still refuse to address.

    No, YOU have refused to address what I have been telling you MANY times: In MEXICO, there IS a totally free market system, with a public system competing (and losing). I have told you this many times.

  • NeonCat||

    You're missing Tony's point. "Every other advanced country has a government system." Therefore any countries that don't have a government system cannot be advanced. QED.

    Not that Mexico is all that advanced, of course.

  • Tony||

    Therefore any countries that don't have a government system cannot be advanced.

    No, I think the U.S. is charitably included in the list of advanced countries.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow, damning with faint praise is your strong suit, Tony.

  • ||

    For healthcare the demand is pretty predictable: everyone needs it at one point or another, and they don't get it because they want it, but because they need it.

    Not "everyone". I simply plan to die, because unlike you, Tony, I'm not selfish.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "The private sector is a proven failure at satisfying this type of demand."

    Prove it fuckhead, using examples where the market was NOT distorted by government manipulation.

  • Tony||

    There are no such examples, which is good for you because it lets you blame any and all market failures on government.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    There are examples where a real private sector, free market health industry works well when it is allowed to, even within the U.S.

    Examples of problems with the "private sector" health industry on the other hand, are often clearly caused by government meddling.

  • Old Mexican||

    Tony, you brought up the case that the "private sector is a proven failure" when it comes to fulfilling needs. The word "proven" implies there is proof. Where is it?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    ...while you blame any and all failures on anything but government, eh, Tony?

    Long as it's your party calling all the shots, that is...

  • Chad||

    Prove it fuckhead, using examples where the market was NOT distorted by government manipulation

    That is impossible, of course. Libertarians will always blame all problems in the neareset government program. This makes your rhetoric unfalsifiable, and therefore largely worthless.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And liberals always blame all problems on a lack of government programs.

    That'll be five bucks, Chad. Tony owes me ten, by the way.

  • jimbowatermelon||

    "dick" is short for Richard, so I wonder if "tony" has a short Richard? Or is "tony" just small for something else?

  • ||

    Totally.

    The only reason the market provides food and water is because people can go years without those things and there's no steady demand.

    Jesus Tony you don't even make this a challenge.

  • ||

    The private sector is a proven failure at satisfying this type of demand.

    That's only true if this half-government controlled system we have today meets the definition of "private sector." Let me look it up. . . . Nope!

  • PoliTech||

    "Liberty-lovers (like myself) hate it because it will mean that for the first time ever, Americans will be forced to buy a service as a condition of lawful residence in this country."

    Liberty Lovers have more than just those concerns. The Zomblog has a great piece on the real reason to hate government funded health care. You see, once the country (myself included) is forced to pay for people's reckless, foolish, dangerous, stupid, or self destructive decisions and behavior, I will fininancially obligated to become one of "those people" ... you know, the "Moralist" who takes it upon himself to tell the every frickin body how to live. I'll have to, because I (and you) will have to foot the medical bill when many times someones "health problems" are their own damned fault.

  • ||

    That's it! The goal is to force us all to be nannies! Insidious.

  • monkeys||

    bingo

  • Tyler||

    "Liberty-lovers (like myself) hate it because it will mean that for the first time ever, Americans will be forced to buy a service as a condition of lawful residence in this country."

    Why didn't anybody tell me that taxes were actually voluntary this whole time, and that I can choose a different security and justice provider? 'Cause this one sucks. I tried to call customer service, but they told me that if I wanted to change anything I'd have to do this whole "election" nonsense or "just leave."

    I don't know how they keep all their customers with such a crappy attitude. And they still take money out of my paycheck, even though I told them to cancel my service!

  • PIRS||

    "Why didn't anybody tell me that taxes were actually voluntary this whole time"

    Actually they are but lawyers are not allowed to inform juries of this at your trial. The game is rigged.

  • ||

    I'd propose competing federal governments, but they'd probably just compete in spending money they don't have to bribe us into voting for them.

  • ||

    Sounds like satellite TV providers. If you switch every few years, you're always cashing in. I like it!

  • Tyler||

    See, I thought this provider was overcharging, but then I was informed it was paying for expensive bases all over the world. I asked if I could opt out of this service, since I thought it was kind of a waste, but apparently that isn't an option.

    They also spend a lot of time and effort harrassing myself and my friends about our recreational activities. I don't recall signing up for that service, and I'm still not sure what the draw is. It would be cool if someone told me how I can cancel it, because it's really getting on my nerves.

  • Teddy Freedom||

    The Federal Income Tax IS voluntary. They just lock you up if you don't pay it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What a waste of prison space.

  • Chad||

    You are free to move wherever you like.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You move first, Chad. North Korea has to have some kind of decent weather...

  • Chad||

    How many times will you beat the same strawman, you moron. I am NOT calling for communism. I never have, not once. Zero times. Each time you claim or imply that I did, you are a liar. I hope you are religious, because you can spend the rest of your day reflecting on how people like you fry for all eternity.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Any movement towards communism, is a step towards the brink, Chad. And you are a cheerleader for the American leftist movement - hell, you're a one-world government cheerleader, which makes you even more dangerous.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Socialism is just the poor, red-headed step-cousin of communism - and you, Chad, are a socialist.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Why should anyone have to move from their own country, Chad? YOU live YOUR life, and we'll live ours. Why is that such a foreign concept for the far-wingers?

  • ||

    I'm pirating my government over some other dude's wireless network. Don't pay a dime.

  • Some Guy||

    prepare for a state of chronic political warfare

    Prepare? I think it's a bit late for that.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Not really. Say an asteroid is coming. Some people want to blow it up, some people want to do nothing. Those advocating doing nothing are still making a choice that has consequences.

    ... some may advocate just push it to the side, because blowing it up may just make it worse by showering the whole Earth with smaller rocks.

    You know, you may have the knack for the non sequitur, but your hypotheticals suck. Let me give you one you can relate to:

    Say homosexuals want to have the right to get married. Their number (5-7%) want this. Say now that at least 50% plus one of people say "No". Who's right?

    Be carefull how you answer - remember, you abhor the minority "telling" the majority what to do...

  • ||

    "Say homosexuals want to have the right to get married. Their number (5-7%) want this. Say now that at least 50% plus one of people say "No". Who's right?"

    I think this is totally unrelated to your question to Tony.
    I ask you whether you believe anyone can be granted the "right" to be married by the government?

  • Old Mexican||

    Ron,

    The question is pertinent. Tony believes in the legitimacy of the rule by the majority (i.e. democracy or "mob rule"). I am testing his principles by asking a question on a theme he is interested in.

  • ||

    Got it.

  • ||

    I can see it was. And I can see Tony is more than willing to invent "special" circumstances, with those "special" circumstances decided by (surprise!) Tony:

    "I never said I don't think some things shouldn't be subject to a simply majority vote. But those things are specific. Every-day senate votes were never meant to require a supermajority."
    Good question and I'm sure you got the answer you suspected....

  • Tony||

    The whole point of the marriage debate is equal protection, which is something that would require a supermajority to do away with, as explicitly spelled out in the constitutions provisions for amendments. I never said I don't think some things shouldn't be subject to a simply majority vote. But those things are specific. Every-day senate votes were never meant to require a supermajority. I realize libertarians think government being deadlocked is a good thing, but that doesn't mean the other 95% of the country should have to suffer.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Suffering? Where?

  • ||

    95%? There's only 21% liberals.

    I thought the majority having their way was a good thing Tony?

    Though it's not as if that's happening. They are just trying to stop the 21% from forcing their way on the 79%.

  • Soonerliberty||

    Why do leftists never promote universal food or water care? Are they not rights? If they did, they would see the absurdity of their arguments. And food and water are much more important to our survival than health care.

    Oh, and I can't wait for the universal education debate. It will fun to watch Big University liberals oppose Big Government liberals. Who takes whose cash cow? Since they love Europe so much, they should come here and hear the complaints and see the sorry state of things.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Some idiots believe food and water are "rights". If they get their health care bill passed, they'll go after more handout programs and steroidize those as well.

  • Soonerliberty||

    No doubt. Perhaps we shouldn't give them any ideas.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Too late. Even if Dems lose their majority, they'll still push their stupid collectivist nonsense.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The Dems changed the rules after Ted Kennedy died... they'll change them again. Anything to insure their misbegotten colletivist schemes - the end justifies the means, y'know.

  • Soonerliberty||

    As for Tony, would he have filibustered majority-supported slavery? Or maybe a gay marriage ban? Or maybe segregation? That's the great thing about liberals and conservatives. They drop all of their principles whenever they smell one iota of power.

  • Chad||

    Nationalized health care systems always and everywhere face a contest between competing interests trying to capture scarce medical dollars.

    If you think our current system, or any system even remotely politically viable here in the US, or even your vaunted mythical magical free market system, would not have the same, you are beyond stupid.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And Chad knows beyond stupid.

  • Soonerliberty||

    You can always count on a hanging Chad to point out what we already know and constantly say: our system is not even remotely politically viable. Ding, ding, ding!!! That's what libertarians have been screaming for decades. Perhaps, he'd like to visit me in Germany to see how even less politically viable Europe's system of wealth destruction, I mean redistribution, is. It's no small wonder productive people are leaving here in droves, while the welfare state attracts hundreds of thousands from Eastern Europe. And guess what? Their governments are going bankrupt by the minute as companies leave. As Milton Friedman said, look at where people go with their feet. How people vote with their feet is the best indicator of what the best system is. And, it just so happens that they choose mythical and magical free markets time and time again.

    Maybe you should spend some years in some of the countries I've lived. Russia, for instance. See how well suppressing the mythical and magical free market worked there. There are many wonders from a previous planned society for your statist eye to behold. Hell, even the Chinese are fleeing from China to go to Russia, where at least some free markets exist. I wonder why that is . . .

  • Chad||

    Again, you beat the strawman as hard as you can. Where did I ever claim we should adopt communism?

    Here is my model...and by your "voting with their feet" logic, they are doing just great.

    http://www.workpermit.com/news.....s-2006.htm

    Please try again.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Struck a nerve, eh, Chad? No wonder you're so defensive.

  • Soonerliberty||

    You missed my point entirely. I live in continental Europe, the paradise of mixed economies. I was railing against statists in general, whether they be "liberals", "progressives", or whatever you like. They all believe they know exactly how to find the right equilibrium between state and free markets. Unfortunately, that is a pipe dream that always favors one side. It's like two teams coming to a football game, but one side has the rule book and can amend it during the game. Which side do you think will win? This is what we mean by the slow road to tyranny. Yes, what you advocate is not as tyrannical as what will follow. Unfortunately for us, these are not strawmen. They are very real, or perhaps paying 50% taxes in Germany isn't really happening.

    Actually, this quote pretty much proves the point:

    "The reason for such large numbers seems to be Norway's booming, natural resource-driven economy and large demand for labor. In addition to the development of natural resources, there has been a steady building boom for several years. The country is currently sitting on $300 billion, thanks to profits from oil exports over the last decade."

    Hmm, like I said, they vote with their feet. People travel to where economies are booming. In other words, they go where markets provide work.

    However, if your point is that people go there because Norway offers social services, then that is what Germany offers, too, as well as most Western European countries. Real businesses are leaving because of crushing taxes.

    So, in order to attract immigration, we should raise our welfare state to the maximum and copy Norway's system of governance. Is that the conclusion? Germany has a big social state, so why are Germans moving to Norway? Sweden also has a massive social state, so why are Swedes moving to Norway?

    But what allows Norway to have a massive social state and a thriving economy? Could it be the oil and gas in the North Sea that allows them to subsidize such programs? Does that sound like a good long-term policy? Do you want to depend on oil and gas as a national plan? I thought liberals wanted a responsible energy policy. How does that differ from the Middle East? Are you really advocating tapping all of America's resources to fund the health care and retirement systems? In that case, would you nationalize the energy industry or would you create something like STATEOIL in place of Norway's STATOIL? Will you open up the US to drilling so we can fund these grand projects? How will you deal with the massive influx of foreigners that will come to your great state? I want your full-fledged plan.

    Maybe the UN might rate us higher on its great states list. I really trust an organization with lifelong bureaucrats and internationalists to rate the best state. I doubt liberty is one of the main priorities. Where does low taxes rate on their best states list?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Chad wants one-world government and a worldwide tax rate. He is, therefore, incapable of rational thought.

    He is entertaining, though. He goes around berating people he sees as his inferiors, yet claims to NOT be an elitist liberal. Quite fun to watch.

  • Soonerliberty||

    Ha, not a statist, though. I just wonder what he would do when the opposition party took over the one-world gov't. Would he promote a universal gov't then?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Oh, Chad IS a statist... of the highest order.

    One does wonder, though, if Chad would be in favor of a right-of-center one-world government... probably not, would be my answer. But it's hard to tell what a traitor like him is thinking when he doesn't type it out.

  • ||

    "But what allows Norway to have a massive social state and a thriving economy? Could it be the oil and gas in the North Sea that allows them to subsidize such programs?"
    That is certainly a contributor, but you can also point to the Euro nations' free-riding on the US defense budget, allowing Euro politicos to offer "free-stuff" to the voters; buying votes on the US taxpayer's dime.
    And listening to the Euro-trash claim of some moral 'superiority' while paying to cure their clap is really more than anyone should deal with....

  • Mr. FIFY||

    When a liberal uses the strawman card, it's because the argument being offered fails to align with the liberal template.

    That's ten bucks you owe me, Chad.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Better check under your car for explosives, Mr. FIFY... you're exposing liberal trade secrets, and Rahm don't like shit like dat, if you get my meanin'.

  • ||

    Can you explain why most medical tourism in the world is too the US?

  • ||

    Can I presume you have one bit of evidence to support your claim?
    Or can I presume you ran your mouth at random?
    Please cite evidence to show that latter presumption wrong.
    Or, well, quit spreading lies...

  • ||

    Yes, when Democrats are in the minority, they're always wringing their hands and pleading with the courts to "protect the rights of the minority against an overbearing majority". then when they get in power, they say, "hey, the majority gets its way, the minority can shove it" It's the "we won, you lost" argument.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And when Repubs are in the minority, they use the same tactics.

    "It's okay if WE do it"ism in action.

  • MJ||

    I would not entirely disagree with you, but I would say that Republicans tend to be more respectful of established conventions on such rules then Democrats are. Democrats are much quicker to change a rule or procedure when they see the change will be of advantage to them. See their flip-flopping on how interin Senators should be replaced in Massachusetts depending on whuch party holds the governorship.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Maybe you have a point about Rs, but both parties are like pro-footballers pointing at each other after a penalty is called.

    You definitely have a point at the end of your post, though. Blatant rule-changing in midstream by the Dems on that one.

    But they still both suck.

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