The Truth About Health Care Reform and the Economy

Separating economic fact from economic myth

Editor’s Note: Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy appears weekly on Bloomberg TV to separate economic fact from economic myth.

Myth 1: Health care reform will reduce the deficit.

Fact 1: Health care reform will increase the deficit.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes many provisions that have nothing to do with health care: the CLASS act, a student loan overhaul, and many new taxes. These provisions don't change the health care system. They just raise money to pay for the new law. Strip them away and the law’s actual health care provisions don't lower the deficit—they increase it!

The chart below uses data from Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to clarify the fiscal consequences of health care reform.  

As you can see, from 2012 to 2021, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the health care act will reduce deficits by $210 billion (note that this estimate differs from the widely cited $143 billion figure used during the lead-up to the passage of the act). During this same time period, however, the actual health care reform provisions of the law will increase deficits by $464 billion.

Of course, one should not evaluate the health care legislation on its fiscal impacts alone. In theory we should get some fiscal benefits. But the key question is how they net out. Still, no matter what you think about the benefits of the health care legislation, it is incorrect to claim that health care reform will save money. It won’t.

Myth 2: The U.S. health care system is a free-market system.

Fact 2: Roughly half of all U.S. health care is currently paid for by the government.

Even in the absence of the health care reform law, government programs including Medicare and Medicaid already fund almost half of American health care. Roughly a third of the remaining expenditures are funded by private insurers—mainly through subsidized and highly regulated employee plans. Not exactly a free market.

As this chart shows, state and federal entities make up over half of the health insurance market. Of course, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will only increase the share of government involvement in the health care market.

Myth 3: Medicare spending increases life expectancy for seniors. Reductions in Medicare spending will therefore reduce their life expectancy.

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  • Shriek||

    Libertarian: I believe that if they can't afford it, fuck em, they need to just die and get the hell out of the way.

    Tony, rebuttal?

  • ||

    In Oregon, they call it death with dignity!

  • Tony||

    I like the way Ebert put it in his Atlas Shrugged review:

    For me, that philosophy reduces itself to: "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline."

  • Emperior wears no clothes||

    You should use that line at your next party.
    Then drop a reference to Somalia.
    I want to see whether the Ebert line can gain the same kind of currency with your crowd.
    I'll check back in a few weeks.
    Is that long enough in the interwebs age for an empty line to become a meme?

  • ||

    I haven't read Ebert's review, but this quote is stupid.

    More like "I built this boat, if you want one for yourself, i've left you the tools and the plans, good luck"

  • A Serious Man||

    He reaches the same conclusion as the review posted on Reason (it's low-budget, poorly written, and turgid), only he doesn't bother to qualify Rand's ideas since he admits to be unable to read her writing due to its lack of style.

  • Tony||

    That would be a representation of the fantasy self-worship of Randians--notably, occasionally a billionaire but mostly people in underwear gorging on cheetos.

  • rather ||

    NO! Say it ain't so Tony ;-)

  • Tony||

    Let's make ad hominem attacks against Libertarians together!

  • Ice Nine||

    I thought Ebert was a movie reviewer.

  • Ted S.||

    It never ceases to amaze me that the screenwriter of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is considered a great authority on movie criticism.

  • Realist||

    And who can forget Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens???
    If Ebert doesn't like it, I see it.

  • Realist||

    "I thought Ebert was a movie reviewer."
    Nope, just a fat ass.

  • A Serious Man||

    I follow Ebert on Facebook and for three straight days he's linked sources to blogs and articles that bash Rand. The level of ignorance about her beliefs among his leftist followers is unsurprising.

  • Tony||

    I admit to ignorance sprung from a lack of interest. I've read all her books. I've read much better books.

  • ||

    "I've read much better books."

    Tony just because a book has lots of pictures and doesn't use big words, doesn't necessarily mean it is a better book.

  • Tony||

    John I like you but you are kind of an idiot. Let's just not go there. I don't feel like making someone cry today.

  • rather||

    Think of the make-up sex!!!!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Tony, the only people you ever made cry were your parents.

  • ||

    And his first heterosexual encounter gone horribly wrong.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Atlas Shrugged would definately be a better book if it wasn't so rambly but the overall message is right on. The wealth enjoyed by modern society came about through the free market. If you burden the creators of that wealth too much, society will fall apart and life will revert to what it was like before the Industrial Revolution.

    The only thing unrealistic about the book is that it has a happy ending.

  • ||

    Big difference between the wealth created in the up for grabs era of land and ideas and invention before and after the Industrial Revolution and the wealth of today. How do they do it today?

  • A Serious Man||

    And Bob Dylan sings like shit, but it's beside the point isn't it since that's not what makes him popular. Same goes for Rand and her writing ability (although 'We the Living' was superb).

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    For me, liberal philosophy reduces itself to: "Hand me that down syndrome baby; I want to rape it." Because inaccurately caricaturing the positions of those who disagree with me is fun.

  • ||

    For me, that philosophy reduces itself to: "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline."

    It would be more accurate to say: I don't know if i am on board or in the water...but if more people on board will sink the ship and kill everyone then it is best to pull up the rope.

    leftist say throw off the people we disagree with and pull up the people we agree with....of course in that instant everyone suddenly agrees with the left and the ship ends up sunk.

  • Realist||

    Ebert is a collectivist.

  • ||

    I don't know why anyone would imagine that this movie would get a positive review. Few movie reviewers have the intellectual curiosity and honesty to actually consider the message. Ebert is as intellectually dull as they come and like the others does not like political movies unless they have Robin Hood themes. And even the Robin Hood themes have to have the right type of Robin Hood. Case in point the most recent Robin Hood movie where Robin Hood advocates taking stolen money back FROM the government that stole it.

  • ||

    Strawman Libertarian: I believe that if they can't afford it, fuck em, they need to just die and get the hell out of the way.

    Libertarian: Economic truth demonstrate that by centrally planning health care more people die then with a health care system planned by the market. A centrally planned health care system can only hope of getting as close to the efficiency of saving human life but can never exceed it. this is a known fact. the only gain centrally planned health care can achieve is for those in power the ability to choose who lives and who dies...but the actual number who die will always be greater then a market planned health care system.

    It is easy to speculate that at least some of the proponents of centrally planned health care desire the power to choose who lives and who dies and are perfectly willing to sacrifice the greater number of people who will die because of it for that power.

  • Gaijin97||

    Veronique is smart and thoughtful. It is difficult to follow her explanations at times though...I fear many of her cogent points get lost in the less-than-fluid style of her dialogue.

  • Sudden||

    Especially tough to really get her points across in these 24hr news programs where the hosts are always rushing, interrupting, restating/misintepreting, and trying to create controversy or entertainment value.

  • Greer||

    that was my point.

    She's hot, and seems really smart but not that articulate for the TV news channel format.

  • ||

    Veronique is smart and thoughtful. It is difficult to follow her explanations at times though...I fear many of her cogent points get lost in the less-than-fluid style of her dialogue.

    Try reading the PPCA. Nonsense rendered as such, in Costco-pallet sizes. Reading Veronique here is comparative Shakespeare.

  • Ralphie||

    Try reading the PPCA.

    I double-dog-dare you.

  • ||

    I'm waiting for the movie. I am sure Ebert will love the movie even if it is filmed 100% in the pitch dark and needs to be subtitled from the original I'm Eco Imbecilian.

  • e||

    Not sure what seniors need Medicare for. Can't they just go to the emergency room with the other poor people?

  • Tony||

    I love the shining optimistic GOP argument that people are living too long now. Wonder what so concerned them about death panels.

    What goes unsaid is that people are living longer in large part thanks to Medicare.

  • Tony||

    Wow I should really RTFA. What I should have said is "Veronique de Rugy seems to think it her calling to make absurd claims with distorted charts. Taking away healthcare access from seniors by diminishing or destroying Medicare would have an obvious correlation to mortality rates, cherry picked bullshit studies notwithstanding."

  • nekoxgirl||

    If older folks were given less money for Medicare, what do you think doctors will do? Stop working? Are they going to go all John Galt on us?

    The majority of people that require medical care are older. If they aren't given endless amounts, the market will readjust and health care costs will be more affordable for everyone.

    Doctors may make less money but I'd think a guy like you would be onboard. Doctors are some of those people making over $250,000 a year after all ;)

  • Joe R.||

    Yeah, but then he wouldn't be able to loot as much tax revenue from them.

  • ||

    Its easy to charge an arm and a leg for healthcare when Uncle Sam is paying for most of it.

    I believe if Tony had watched the video, he would understand why the current healthcare system is not even close to a free market. The price is high because the pockets of government are deep and the regulations force "Big Insurance" to take on risks they would not otherwise take . . . hmm where have I seen that strategy before . . .

  • some guy||

    You're assuming that phasing out Medicare would take healthcare access from seniors. You know what they say about assumptions?

    So do FICA taxes reduce working folks' access to healthcare? Are FICA taxes therefore a bad thing?

    Also, how are the charts distorted?

  • ||

    Medicare and Social Security both were implemented with assumptions that people would be dying much sooner.

    If memory serves, the average American's lifespan was 63 when Social Security was passed. Tells you what kind of 'deal' Social Security was supposed to be, no?

    And if you compare Medicare's current cost with the Ivy League beancounters of yore who scored Medicare and 'predicted' the future costs...well I bet they were off - even in inflation adjusted dollars - by at least an order of magnitude. That is financial future of PPCA as well without some kind of rationing scheme to hold down costs.

  • Tony||

    So what's the claim here... that we need to make things so that people don't live as long? Longer lifespans doesn't mean healthcare needs are any less at age 65. If the claim is really that Medicare is totally unaffordable in the future, then at least own up to the fact that you want "death panels."

    SS is not in crisis at all... Medicare can certainly be preserved if we just rearrange our priorities a little, like say putting to bed supply-sider bullshit.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Or like expecting that people who have had the opportunity to work their whole lives should have to pay for their own shit just like I do.

  • ||

    Or work longer so they can contribute more to their own retirement/health care.

  • ||

    If you take the average person's Medicare contributions over typical career from say, 1978-2008 let's say...and just bought Treasury securities with those contributions, you'd be sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars when you turned 65. All with the hallowed security of Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government. Far more definite contract there than a politician's promise...which are all Social Security and Medicare both are.

    That's a couple heart-transplants and a shopping-cart full of statins and Viagra, delivered on your stupid old-man scooter. No bureaucracy needed. How's Medicare better than that?

  • rather||

    be sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars isn't a large sum in terms of medical dollars

  • ||

    Hundreds of thousands of dollars is a lot of money...average Medicare beneficiary draws ~$350,000 out of the system, but directly deposits (counting employer matching too) ~$100,000. That in essence is why its a giant fiscal liability, and a balance-sheet disaster from actuarial perspective.

    You'd come out ahead for the typical Medicare beneficiary by that measure. And you didn't fuck your grandchildren either to pay for it. You'd actually leave them money behind more likely than not.

    The scheme I outlined above is still backed by government reliability in very real marketable debt securities owed to YOU the beneficiary by contract. That's a better promise than Chuck Schumer fighting for my Medicare. Nobody passes a law that says the 30 year T-bill you're holding suddenly became a 38-year T-bill. That's the essence of what financially happens when politicians tinker with Medicare and SS bennies: The debtor gets to change the rules as he sees fit depending on his ability to pay. Imagine calling up the bank and being like 'Remember my 5 year car loan? Oops, I meant fifteen years...thanks!' That's the 'promise' of Social Security and Medicare. But Treasuries? Not so easy to rip people off like that if they have a choice about buying them.

    Like I said, how's Medicare any better or 'safer' or 'guaranteed' then just buying Treasuries with your Medicare deduction?

  • rather||

    I would have to study your figures but

    Estimates show that about 27% of Medicare's annual $327 billion budget goes to care for patients in their final year of life.

    While that's not altogether surprising given Medicare's demographics — most patients are over 65 — researchers say it's important to find out if that is money well spent.

    While not the major factor driving health care spending, costs involved in sustaining patients in their final days are likely to get a closer look by both Medicare and private insurers as health costs continue to spiral and the population ages.

    IOW, it ain't cheap.

  • rather||

    Opting out of HC would also harm the bottom line for others. Why do you hate grandma?

  • ||

    People tend to spend money like there's no tomorrow when that's a literal possibility. It doesn't matter if you're eight or eighty, age is irrelevant to that fact of life. Matter of fact, that reality makes the notion of a defined-benefit scheme based on calendar-age for maturity of said benefits rather stupid in concept much less application, especially if altruism is the alleged goal. If you're worried about poor people not having access to health-care...then call a pig a pig and its charity. Why the lefties feel a need to construct a giant Rube Goldberg fantasy around their altruistic impulses is bizarre.

  • rather||

    Why do you see societal obligation as altruistic impulses?

  • ||

    Societal obligation? There is none. You can think there is, but for that there is no political majority. What makes people - a political majority obviously or we wouldn't have it - support things like Medibomb is altruistic impulse. You see a man down, you want to help him up...at least most normal people do. That's an altruistic impulse, not a societal obligation: I don't feel compelled to help the guy, it's more of a want.

    That includes you rather. Take your HealthCare grandma for instance. You want to help proverbial grandma. But not really. You're not volunteering at the Senior Center, checking out the local VFW ward, visiting forgotten souls in every old folks home who sit alone and no one sees them as they slowly die. You'd rather sit here and type bullshit posts like the rest of us.

    But you feel bad knowing those people are out there somewhere. So you outsource your altruism to the government 'rather' than earn it with your own time and sacrifice. You can think: forgotten Grandma withers away in front of the TV on Uncle Mao's loan your dime. And you vigilantly make sure we all pay in some dimes. So you feel better. And feel better than everyone else just a little bit too. Its just like Christians who give at the church and do the motions but don't really help anybody, its more about feeling better about themselves.

  • rather ||

    I almost mentioned earlier the difference between societal obligation, and duty.

    I have volunteered my whole life, and I can remember visiting a sick woman when I was five, I still visit retirement homes, I mentor young girls, and I do art projects for shut-ins.

    I know I volunteer more than most because I have fond memories of my experiences

  • Joe R.||

    "Why do you see societal obligation as altruistic impulses?"

    You have that ass-backwards.

  • rather||

    Only someone who never participated in both would not comprehend the distinction

  • Binky||

    Profound. Much better than "You're a dirty rotten doody."

  • rather||

    I promise you, I have never written "You're a dirty rotten doody."
    in my life

  • DLM||

    ... just bought Treasury securities ...

    Which is what is done now pretty much. The only difference is the huge inefficient bureaucracy in the middle putting a big dent on any net gains.

  • Free Radical||

    Nothing to do with 'death panels.' Healthy people shouldn't be expected to pay for others' sickness.

  • rather ||

    We don't live in your selfish world, and most choose not to either

  • Free Radical||

    *We don't live in your selfish world, and most choose not to either*

    You don't get a choice. Rights are something people get to opt out of.

  • Free Radical||

    That should be: "Rights aren't something..."

  • rather ||

    Rights are something people get to opt out of.

    You are trying to opt out of your social contract. If you don't like the deal society (your ancestors have chosen) then live outside the populated world. IOW, Peter Pan,you can't have Neverland and this life too

  • Free Radical||

    I'm not bound by any contract my ancestors might have been party to.

    Besides, can you prove this supposed contract requires the healthy pay for the sick?

  • ||

    Yes, do you remember the elected President passed Health Care reform? You can kick and scream all you want, but you should listen to those that know best, and brush your teeth and wash behind your ears.

  • Free Radical||

    And can you also answer this?
    http://reason.com/blog/2011/04.....nt_2237970

  • rather||

    How is it a problem? I have made the social contract that benefits the elderly and infirm while enjoying the fruits of their labor and when I take their place, I expect those who have taken my turn rowing the boat to not let it drift too.


    Yes, you are under no obligation to continue with the social contract, virtually known since the beginning of man but you may not steal the benefits and claim abuse later

  • Joe R.||

    I'm not sure where you get "steal" from, since everyone here is arguing in favor of paying their own medical expenses.

  • rather||

    Unless, you hatched from a pod as an autonomous adult, you have benefited from our social contract

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Well, then that wouldn't be stealing benefits, would it? You can't charge for benefits conferred without consent.

  • DLM||

    We don't live in your selfish world, and most choose not to either

    That would be no problem if there were actually two worlds. Selfish people would be able to live in their world and suffer the consequences of bad decisions and bad luck and you would be able to live in your world and force everyone else there to pay for your bad decisions and bad luck.

  • Tony||

    I think it's quite expected, since most healthy people realize that their parents and then they will not always be healthy, and that a social agreement to account for this reality is preferable to the alternatives.

  • rather ||

    The most interesting part of our social contract to take care of the infirm and elderly is that it developed independently all over this world, despite cultural differences

  • Free Radical||

    Waiting for the proof of this mystical 'contract....'

  • rather||

    Prove to me there is no contract. Why are we living as a society instead of independently? Why did civilization simultaneously evolve to mimic others without interaction?

  • ||

    The social contract that has emerged time and again is filial bonds, not abstract social constructs. Ancient Rome's patriarchy is a great example. You still see it alive and well in places like Iraq...the cradle of civilization.

    And same with China. Read Confucius and tell me where he wants the State to handle generational responsibilities in lieu of the family? You don't know what you're talking about dude.

    The Mesoamericans had a social contract? Really?

  • rather ||

    You still see it alive and well in places like Iraq...the cradle of civilization decivilization

  • DLM||

    The Mesoamericans had a social contract? Really?

    It's a living document.

  • Free Radical||

    Why are we living as a society instead of independently?

    Gains from specialization and trade, numbnut.

  • rather ||

    boy thinking

  • Free Radical||

    You really should know that you have the burden, not me.

  • Joe R.||

    "Prove to me there is no contract."

    OK. But first, you have to prove that I'm not Queen of the Space Unicorns.

  • DLM||

    OK. But first, you have to prove that I'm not Queen of the Space Unicorns.

    Oh, come on. Everyone knows there are no unicorns in space.

  • Tony||

    You can't prove a philosophical construct. It's a thing that is useful. The peaceful organization of a large number of homo sapiens is something that tends to benefit the concerned homo sapiens. Thank the arbitrary idols that nobody has enough power to assert his will over a complete majority of slaves. Western democracy is the best thing we've discovered that results in a political reality that pleases the most people. It involves the construct of a contract opted into automatically at birth. To me, this construct is only amenable to freedom if it is able to be rejected, which ours is. That doesn't mean you are entitled to sovereignty over an arbitrary claim. In the end, the government you rail against does, indeed, have an army.

  • rather||

    Existence is proof

  • Rock Action ||

    Look, it's late, and I don't feel like getting into this, but it would seem fallacious to take an abstraction, claim it exists, and then claim that therefore, its existence is proved because it exists. That's...not very good. Question begging.

  • rather ||

    An abstraction? Come on!

  • rather ||

    Have you not argued against societal responsibility? The libertarians have proven 'social contract' with their I don't want to pay for it meme

  • Rock Action ||

    @rather 3:02. Not really, and I don't think you could find anything I've said here that would contradict that. Most thinkers that I've felt a true kinship toward had some sort of allowance for the indigent.

  • Rock Action ||

    Then prove the social contract exists by pointing to manifest examples. If not, it would seem to be a philosophical abstraction. Proving either is a tall task. I'm not sure I could do it off-handedly, and I've read everything Rousseau ever wrote, plus Two Treatises by Locke (that doesn't mean I remember a thing).

    On a more practical level, scroll down to the Calvin and Hobbes part of this link. It's relevant, and I think funny.

    http://www.rationalskepticism......74-40.html

  • rather ||

    The family unit itself is the best example of societal obligation. Why do we keep our children? Why do we care to have a connection with our own parents? Arguably, the usefulness of our mothers and fathers would not extend into our own adulthood, with the exception of their care giving to our own offspring.

    Yet, we see this family unit develop independently throughout history. The common theme of the libertarian is a solitary existence, and yet you participate in society through this site? Why?

    Do we have a biological need for family, even extended relationships? If we do, then we have an obligation and even the need to ensure the health of the group, our society.

  • Rock Action ||

    You have to accept a lot of premises to accept the steps in your argument and conclusion.

    The family unit itself is the best example of societal obligation

    The desire for family may be completely natural and not obligatory.

    Do we have a biological need for family, even extended relationships?

    Possibly family -- which I think is what you are getting at -- though certainly not for each and every person. But the desire for community may not be biological, it may be merely desired. Rousseau would argue it was borne of amour-propre, a self-love which was the corrupting impulse of natural man, one that moved him to join the unjust societies that Rousseau believed were the standard experience of human history, if I remember correctly.

    Thirdly, and to your middle paragraph, libertarians might seek out community because they want to, not because of "need," which you jump to in the next paragraph. Would lives be empty without human contact? Probably. But matter exists indepedently. This voluntary and personal association doesn't necessarily extrapolate out to any sort of political duty.

  • rather ||

    Rousseau believed Have you not lived? Trust your own experiences, and I based my belief on more than just premises but H&R is not ideally suited to long arguments.

    I want to read more before I give a thought out answer based on what you call proof, and I call collaborating evidence ;-)

  • Rock Action ||

    No, I've lived. Plenty. I was trying to keep it within the bounds of standard social contract arguments, rather than branching out into other disciplines or personal beliefs (which I don't discount, but get tricky when debating). The reason I cited Rousseau was to point out that even the first adherents of social contract theory would fundamentally disagree with your assertions/proof/premises above.

    By the way, you're right -- H&R does not seem to be the place for long debates. Its merit is in the displays of immediate recall, brevity, and wit, and I value them all, even if I don't always follow suit.

    And with that said, good night.

  • ||

    Rather, you have persistently conflated a biological imperative with some abstract social obligation to complete strangers all night. Redunkulous.

  • rather||

    I was trying to keep it within the bounds of standard social contract arguments, rather than branching out into other disciplines or personal beliefs

    A quixotic reply that enlightens my concept of 'boy thinking'. Historical conclusions have been narrowly interpreted through this telescopic research. KFB, what you called a badge of honor, I call missing the chance to search for other methods of reaching a conclusion, more than the denouement

    We are not robotic machinery but living human beings with a primitive understanding of our own brains. Hundreds of years from now, people will read our arguments and laugh at our provincial conclusions

  • Rock Action ||

    Talking about personal beliefs would be less quixotic than limiting it to standard contract theory and its premises and conclusions? Please.

    That must be an example of girl-thinking. Let's talk about my feelings and opinions!

    Quixotic? Did you recognize the irony before or after you submitted that, because you can't have missed it.

  • rather||

    You remind me of a bird with wings who refuses to fly off the cliff
    -Not every conclusion requires the same path.

    Did I mention I liked the Calvin and
    Hobbes strip?

  • ||

    Also, what is "boy thinking"? If by that, you mean using reason rather than vague "feelings", I wear that as a badge of honor.

    We all have feelings. Some of us are just not ruled by them.

  • Rock Action ||

    @KfP 5:30

    Aw, hells, KfP, you beat me to that.

  • ||

    Tony I won't waste much time on, as my intelligence guided by experience tells me it would indeed be a waste.

    *******

    You can't prove a philosophical construct. It's a thing that is useful.

    ********
    That goo speaks for itself. While it is indeed impossible to disprove a negative, failure to prove a positive assertion completely negates the argument.

    *******

    In the end, the government you rail against does, indeed, have an army.

    **************
    That statement speaks for itself as well...

  • Joe R.||

    "The common theme of the libertarian is a solitary existence, and yet you participate in society through this site?"

    The common theme of the libertarian is voluntary association. I can visit this site, or not. I can pay for your health care, or not. And it doesn't count if I get thrown in jail or kicked out of my home for choosing not.

  • rather||

    the raptness is in that the majority choose to participate, despite our varied cultural upbringing
    -wonder why?

  • ||

    The common theme of the libertarian is a solitary existence

    yeah sure then why the fuck are libertarians so big on trade and the division of labor?

    Both require community.

    And if the left is so big on community then why the fuck do they spend so much time and money trying to break down trade and the division of labor two of the largest foundations of community beyond the family unit?

  • ||

    The common theme of the libertarian is a solitary existence

    I should also point out that you are conflating government with community when you confuse libertarians desire to be free of government with being solitary.

  • rather||

    On a personal level, I've noticed most libertarians have that solitary streak

  • ||

    On a personal level, I've noticed most libertarians have that solitary streak

    Correlation but not causation.

    libertarianism is marginal therefor the believers of it tend to be marginal socially...conviction over popularity and all that.....and also in many cases intentionally marginalized by less marginal competing political philosophies.

    You find the same solitude with hard core communists.

  • DLM||

    ... two of the largest foundations of community beyond the family unit?

    1. Break down lower levels of community (family, tribe, etc.) in order to
    2. replace them with higher levels of community (state, nation, etc.).

    'Bigger' is better because 'bigger' means more power to to those things you want to do, at least as long as *you* control the power.

  • Slave Master Tony||

    I has papers on these here slaves. Here, it's in this social contract for which these fugitives are duly bound! I expect you bes' be ah honoring it that which is mah rightful proper-TAY!

  • God||

    Gee, thanks, rather!

  • Xenocles||

    "It's a thing that is useful."

    Yes, Tony, I certainly agree that it would be useful to you to institutionalize the idea that I owe you something because I exist.

  • ||

    So take care of your own damn parents, I am busy taking care of mine. This is how life is. We associate with each other and make families and friends, we then take it upon ourselves as individuals to take care of our friends and families. There is no contract. The doctor did not make me sign something as I came out of the womb. I didn't sign anything that says I am responsible for some random strangers health and i am not really responsible for the health of my family and friends, but I do what I can for them because I care for them. Maybe it is selfish of me, but I do not want to see my friends and family die or get sick, but you wouldn't know that about me because I am a libertarian and according to all the liberal research on libertarians, we don't give a shit about anyone but ourselves.

  • ||

    No what we want is for people to take care of themselves and their own. End of fucking story.

  • ||

    Whitehouse.gov came out with a "Federal Taxpayer Receipt", which allows you to calculate how much of your tax dollars go to each federal program.

    We piss away a lot of money.

  • ||

    Unlike a real receipt, I cant take it back to the store and tell them which Items I didn't actually buy when they accidentally ring up things I did not get or want. And I know the government solution to this problem will be to hand out a punch card so after six visits I get something free, like a book of stamps or a body cavity search. I should get something for funding the TSA's dildonics division.

  • DDavis||

    "Myth 2: The U.S. health care system is a free-market system."

    This is where even libertarians just don't get it. You don't have a free market when just because consumers write checks. You have free markets when people are free to buy what they want, from whom they want, and the govt isn't distorting those purchases through import restrictions or licensing.

    What part of our market looks free?

    Is it a free market when we can't import drugs from the lowest cost provider, and can end up paying 100 times the price in another country? Is it freedom when I have to spend a couple hundred dollars asking permission to take a statin, that costs 4 dollars for a month's supply? Is it freedom when drug and supplement manufacturers can't provide consumers with truthful information if the FDA does not approve?

    Health Care is Cheap
    Central Planning is Expensive

  • ||

    "This is where even libertarians just don't get it. "

    I'm pretty sure most of the people here "get it".

    "Is it a free market when we can't import drugs from the lowest cost provider, and can end up paying 100 times the price in another country? "

    No, because the lower prices are the result of foreign governments distorting the price of drugs through price controls.

  • rather ||

    that is such BS

  • ||

    Are you suggesting that Canada, and the majority of EU countries, don't implement price controls for prescription drugs?

  • rather ||

    No, they do but I am suggesting you are buying the drug companies' story. If you owned a business would you continue with unprofitable contracts?

  • ||

    I don't see what that has to do with your original reply to my comment.

    I simply stated that the lower prices for prescription drugs are a result of foreign governments distorting the price through price controls.

    Your reply to this was "BS", but then you later agree that foreign governments do implement price controls.

    When the price for a product is set by the government, and not as a result of supply and demand, then the product doesn't compete in a free market.

  • rather ||

    OK let me make it simpler. Drug companies can charge whatever they feel like in the US, and they routinely jack-up the price on drugs when their prescription status changes.

    Why would they continue doing business in other countries when they don't have price freedom there?

    IOW, why aren't they dropping the 'losers'?

  • ||

    There's that "social contract" you believe exists. They do so in order to appear "socially responsible". I.E., they are buying good will through a PR campaign.

  • ||

    Rather, I understand this may be difficult for you, but please try to focus for a moment. I never made an argument for or against the drug manufacturers. My comment was in reference the price controls and the free market, in which your response was "BS".

    You chose to inject an argument into my statement, that I never made, when you stated "I am suggesting you are buying the drug companies' story".

    If the drug companies story is that government price controls are not elements of a free market, then I am buying the drug companies story.

    Any other conclusions that you may have drawn from my comment, are merely a figment of you imagination.

  • Xmas||

    rather,

    The manufacturing of drugs is usually pretty cheap. Drug companies sell in price controlled countries because they can still charge close to the marginal manufacturing costs for most drugs. Also, there is also the fear that if they don't produce the drugs themselves, the price-controlling countries will simply drop their patents and protections and allow local drug companies to produce the drugs.

    They will never make up the research and development costs for the drugs at the marginal price. And a major chunk of the development costs are the regulatory hurdles required for safety and efficacy testing (aka FDA approval).

    So, by buying the drugs from importers at the marginal prices, you're basically saying to the drug companies, "I don't want to pay for the safety testing, but I want you to still do it anyway." (After all, if you didn't care about safety and efficacy, you'd just go to a Chinese herbalist and pick up some ginseng and powder rhino horn for your ailments.)

  • nekoxgirl||

    The true price of those drugs is likely higher than what Canada is paying and less than what we are paying. Tax money is used to depress the price in Canada and monopoly is used to raise the price in the United States.

  • nekoxgirl||

  • rather||

    there are a lot of myths and propaganda associated with drug companies, research, foreign sales/production that do not quadrate with common sense or reality.

    I intend to write about this later and focus on the collusion by drug companies including a study by the investment bank Credit Suisse found that prices for all drugs from the eight largest United States pharmaceutical companies had risen, on average, at the highest rate in at least five years

    Here

  • ||

    And the central planning we have now is half or less than what is coming. But the Libtards don't get that the cost of everything is going to go through the roof. And health care is but one little piece of the puzzle.

  • ||

    News from our supposedly Free Market in health care.

    Senate Bill Would Jail Food Makers for Ten Years!

    As if Congress does not have enough urgent work to do, a bill has just been introduced that would vastly expand the FDA’s power to put food makers in jail for ten years!

    Just a few days ago, you learned that a walnut grower capitulated to FDA pressure and removed truthful health claims from its website. The bill just introduced in the Senate would grant the FDA far more draconian powers to censor this kind of health information.

    This Senate bill will enable the FDA to incarcerate food makers if they cite findings from peer-reviewed published scientific studies on their websites.
    ...

    http://www.lef.org/featured-ar.....-Years.htm

  • rather ||

    The trend of lobbyist tactics have changed from demanding protective legislation to killing the competition, and it has the added benefit of hiding under the radar.

  • nekoxgirl||

    But isn't the Senate still controlled by Democrats? Aren't they suppose to be champions of truth and protecting the "little guy"?

    On a serious note, killing competition has been the game since man first began to trade. The fact you are just now figuring that out rather illustrates the bankruptcy of the Marxist perspective of history.

  • rather||

    Both the democrats and Republicans collude with drug companies. It is a myth that Dems receive more, as was the case in the past

    The pharmaceutical industry has long been a first-rate interest group. PhRMA employs one of the largest lobbying staffs on K Street, makes hefty political contributions, and funds extensive issue advertising campaigns; and the trend has been increasingly partisan. In 1990, for example, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company donated $150, 260 to political candidates, with 31% reaching Democrats and 69% reaching Republicans. By 2002, Bristol-Myers Squibb was donating $1,590,813 to politicians, and only 16% went to Democrats (opensecrets.org).
  • DLM||

    ... killing competition has been the game since man first began to trade...

    And the best way to do this is to get in bed with Government since *it* has the power (both financially and physically) to quash any competitors.

  • ||

  • ||

    It is an occupational hazard for politicians to think that they and their ilk know best, and by all indications Mr. Obama rather likes centralization. In my professional lifetime in the centralized British health-care system, however, I have seen a hundred schemes of cost reduction, but I have never seen any reduction in costs, or at least any that lasted more than a few months. I can't remember a single health minister who did not promise more efficiency at less cost, or a single one who actually managed to achieve it.

    The long-term solution, I imagine, is the same for health care as it is for pensions: to pay for it with the income generated by dedicated savings accounts, which can be transferred to the next generation after death. The important thing is to reduce the insurance element, which encourages a pay-as-you-go system, a kind of Madoff scheme ensnaring the whole country.

    If we are to have health-care systems that don't bankrupt us, people will have to accept paying more bills out of pocket and perhaps lowering their standard of living. Tiresome as the advice might be, we had better start saving a good deal more.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....97016.html

  • Otto||

    "The writers [of Yes, Minister] were inspired by a variety of sources... Some situations were conceived as fiction, but were later revealed to have real-life counterparts. The episode "The Compassionate Society" depicts a hospital with five hundred administrative staff but no doctors, nurses or patients. [Co-creator Jonathon] Lynn recalls that "after inventing this absurdity, we discovered there were six such hospitals (or very large empty wings of hospitals) exactly as we had described them in our episode." "

  • ||

    Amazing.

  • MNG||

    Liberals Too Tolerant?

    The list of liberal laments about President Obama keeps getting longer...What is the problem here? Is it a lack of leadership from the White House, a failure to out-mobilize the tea party or not enough long-term investment from liberal donors? The real problem isn’t a liberal weakness. It’s something liberals have proudly seen as a strength — our deep-seated dedication to tolerance. In any given fight, tolerance is benevolent, while intolerance gets in the good punches. The result is round after round of knockouts against liberals who think they’re high and mighty for being open-minded but who, politically and ideologically, are simply suckers.


    Social science research has long dissected the differences between liberals and conservatives. Liberals supposedly have better sex, but conservatives are happier. Liberals are more creative; conservatives more trustworthy. And, since the 1930s, political psychologists have argued that liberals are more tolerant. Specifically, those who hold liberal political views are more likely to be open-minded, flexible and interested in new ideas and experiences, while those who hold conservative political views are more likely to be closed-minded, conformist and resistant to change. As recently as 2008, New York University political psychologist John Jost and his colleagues confirmed statistically significant personality differences connected to political leanings. Brain-imaging studies have even suggested that conservative brains are hard-wired for fear, while the part of the brain that tolerates uncertainty is bigger in liberal heads.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ml?hpid=z4

  • Otto||

    In the frantic final hours of the budget negotiations, instead of calling the GOP’s bluff, he agreed to historic cuts in progressive programs.

    The fuck? Good thing [modern] Liberals obviously don't suffer from an excess of historical knowledge, lack of hyperbole, or an overabundance of specificity.

    ...And Wednesday, in response to conservatives’ focus on the deficit, Obama said that we have to “put everything on the table.”

    Conveniently, right after he rammed through a colossal budget that will increase US debt by a fucking trillion or so, during a process where he stated that many, many things would most definitely not be on the table.

  • Otto||

    Then she goes on to name-check the KKK and Fred Phelps. Jesus wept.

  • ||

    Yeah, you can see evidence of liberal tolerance of competing and dissenting ideas in how readily liberals welcome conservatives into liberal dominated fields like the humanities and Hollywood.

  • ||

    You can also see evidence of liberal tolerance in the high level of civility exhibited in the comments sections of liberal blogs like Kos, Atrios and Little Green Footballs. And of course even the most controversial right wing politicians like Peter King ever recieve hate mail much less death threats from the left.

  • MNG||

    Is he getting death threats from "the left?" I thought he himself said "I’m getting a lot of hostile phone calls now, but the main threats I’m getting are from overseas,” Rep. King said.

  • ||

    This one seems to have been domestic

    http://www.politico.com/news/s.....53197.html

    And of course there was the death threats against Republican law makers in Wisconsin as another example of leftwing tolerance.

  • Tony||

    If you think the level of death threats against GOP lawmakers is anywhere near the level on the other side, then you've simply bought into the fact that any such instance is used as a political weapon by the GOP--the Dems get it on a regular basis, especially during episodes such as the healthcare law fight. This shouldn't surprise you, since it's your side that makes everything into an apocalyptic battle, until the next news cycle/apocalypse.

    Furthermore, I can't think of anyone who's actually been killed because of his conservatism. The crazies on your side have taken out an abortion doctor among other things.

    (Secret John thoughts: but he WAS a baby killer!)

  • ||

    Lefty terrorists tend to hate everyone. So it is hard to say that the victims of say the Unibomber or the SLA were killed because of their conservativism. And the defense that "well we only make death threats we don't actually kill people so it is okay" is pathetic even for you Tony.

  • ||

    And since we haven't had a significant political assination in this country since the 1970s Tony, it is safe to say that no one has been killed for their politcs, other than the odd victims of random terror attacks like the unibomber.

    It is also especially funny to hear you accuse conservatives of making everything an apocolypitc debate after the behavior of liberals in Wisconsin and during the healthcare debate.

    Realy Tony, MNG is just dishonest sometimes. You in contrast really seem to be this stupid. I have to ask, how do you do it?

  • Tony||

    While this is a pointless and rather disgusting sort of dick contest... you guys certainly corner the crazy market, and I think you should embrace it.

  • ||

    ... you guys certainly corner the crazy market,

    tony are you really that unselfaware? Seriously. I wouldn't worry about you if you would admit you are lying. But if you honestly believe that, your grasp on reality must be questioned.

  • nekoxgirl||

    I don't think tolerance has anything to do with political affliation. By definition, if you are a partisan, you aren't very tolerant of opposing view points.

  • ||

    Nekogirl,

    I think people as a species are pretty intolerent of each other. I don't I am going out on much of a limb saying that.

  • ||

    I think people as a species are pretty intolerent of each other. I don't I am going out on much of a limb saying that.

    Depends.

    intolerance by law is not the same thing as intolerance by taste.

    I am not a big fan of say homosexuality and I block it out of my lifestyle and avoid it culturally.

    Yet i have absolutely no desire to have government regulate or prohibit it in any way.

    As a species we are fairly intolerant in the former manner but less intolerant in the latter.

    you may argue that for agricultural societies that society has been pretty intolerant in the latter form...i would argue that most of the evolution of our species occurred pre-agricultural...when tolerance or intolerance mattered very little. You either killed your neighbor and defended your family giving you a chance to survive or you did not....what you did culturally within your family could not be intolerable...because what you did was your families culture.

  • ||

    I think people as a species are pretty intolerent of each other. I don't I am going out on much of a limb saying that.

    I should also state that if we were absolutely intolerant by our genes then the division of labor would be impossible and trade would be inconceivable.

  • DLM||

    The crazies on your side have taken out an abortion doctor among other things.

    Could you please come up with someone (anyone!) besides a single abortion doctor? This gets tiresome after a while. I'm starting to believe this is pretty much all there is.

  • ||

    You are confusing libertine vs conservative socially with politically liberal vs politically conservative.

    Leftists/democrats are not libertine they are in many ways defenders of the status quo.

    Tea pirate conservative...hell even christian conservatives hold some of the most liberal economic politics in the country second only to libertarians.

    Your whole premise when examined closely breaks down on so many levels that it boggles the mind.

    You would be better off reading horoscopes to get accurate predictions then with your mumbojumbo.

  • MNG||

    California May Require Teaching of Gay History

    In California public schools, students are required to learn about black history and women’s history. And if a bill approved by the State Senate this week becomes law, the state will become the first in the country to mandate that schools also teach gay history.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04.....l?_r=1&hp;

  • ||

    I couldn't tell if the aim was to include the topic to an existing course, or mandate a specific course in Gay History.

    It always concerns me when an institution adds more to it's plate, when it is already struggling to meet it's current responsibilities.

    California's education system has been in decline in area's of basic education, such as reading and math. Maybe the state of California should focus on using their resources, and improve these core education components, before adding more to their plate.

  • 4chan||

    It would probably be a standard in the new state standards that California will be rolling out soon. The current social science standards are like 200 pages long covering pre-k to 12th grade for any and all subjects outside of elective classes such as Psychology.

  • ||

    Isn't that what we have the Bravo network for?

  • DLM||

    California May Require Teaching of Gay History

    I suppose we can drop Algrebra to make room. No one really needs that anymore anyway.

  • ||

    I have nothing against Gay, Black, Latino, Asian or Native American history per se, but if we are to believe that we are all "human beings" who should be judged by the "content of our character" rather than by race, creed, color or sexuality, then it is really odd to me to single out individual races, creeds, colors and sexualities to study and celebrate their history.

    If you disagree, please first ponder the possibility of having a national white history month and then let me know what you think.

  • MNG||

    http://www.jta.org/news/articl.....strategies

    The path to international recognition of Palestinian statehood by September -- when the Palestinians plan to bring the matter before the U.N. General Assembly -- seems clear.

    The question before Israel and its supporters who oppose such recognition is how to create a detour.

  • ||

    The question before Israel and its supporters who oppose such recognition is how to create a detour.

    If there was no Israel there would be no Palestine. The lands of a would be Palestinian state are lands taken by Israel from neighboring states.

    To claim that Israel is against a Palestinian state is not only historically inaccurate but it runs counter to the fact that many in Israel and many supporters of Israel support a Palestinian state and have done so for some time.

  • ||

    lol, Wow, I never really thought about it like that before. Makes sense.

    www.web-anonymity.at.tc

  • Tony||

    It's sad that a mindless bot is the most open-minded person here.

  • Warty||

    Yeah, since you're here to learn with an open mind, you dishonest fuckstain.

  • Tony||

    It was just a lament... I didn't claim to be uniquely open-minded.

  • Slave Master Tony||

    Ahz ah keeps mah mind closed up tight less more of mah brain materials slips out from mah ears as ah commence to sleep. Lord knows ah cant afford to lose much more before death overcometh!

  • alan||

    Quite a good read. Likely to challenge both right and left preconceptions about Japan's Lost Decades.

    http://mises.org/daily/5170/Th.....st-Decades

  • ||

    http://vimeo.com/21576604

    behold the beauty of donut porn.

  • ||

    Anyone who blemishes a donut with almonds should be drug out into the street and shot.

  • Rock Action ||

    And donut makers everywhere had new ammunition for their long-standing but previously unprovable grievance that conservatives are downright hostile to any sort of diversity when it comes to baked goods.

  • ||

    Be content that my fascism does not reach beyond the donut industry.

    Plus I am not a conservative.

  • Rock Action ||

    libertarian, conservative, centrist...same thing to the donut makers, who are notorious for their self-proclaimed leftism.

  • ||

    Actually my donut fascism has its political traditions firmly rooted in the ideology of left wing Mussolini socialism and is directly in opposition to the free wheeling almond sprinkling objectionist/libertarian bourgeois donut bakers.

    My donut regulation is a revolution for the people's justice!!

  • ||

    http://www.vegasinc.com/news/2.....-contract/

    Interesting article. At the bottom you find out that Democratic Underground is suing Righthaven. God, that is like Stalingrad, Nazis killing commies and commies killing Nazis. Hard to know who to root against.

  • ||

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....vid-french

    Business school is a joke. What a surprise.

  • alan||

    Group activities, bbbrrrr.

    I came back to a class after having to spend a few days on jury duty to find myself stuck in a group project with the six worst dregs in a class picked from a class of thirty odd students. Naturally, they had not bothered to begin the project, so I was thrust in the leadership roll. Wellll, being the asshole I am, and for my own amusement, I wrote out a ten minute play for our presentation. It was brutal, and it punished everybody who had to sit through it. Goddamn it, if I was going to be screwed over I was not going to be alone.

  • alan||

    I even had us sing a stupid little song at the end as a closer. I admit it was bizarre, but fuck that whore professor. If she wasn't going to take the class seriously and assign a retarded group project where my grade is dependent on some randomly thrown together motherfuckers, there was no way in Hell I was going to cooperate by taking it seriously.

    Twenty years ago, and I'm still a little ticked off!

  • Warty||

    But what was your grade?

  • alan ||

    Funny, I don't really recall.

  • Warty||

    "All I want out of life is to be a monkey of moderate intelligence who wears a suit. That's why I've decided to transfer to business school!"

  • ||

    the premise of splitting people into conservatives/liberals for study is stupid on its face.

    that bullshit "psychology" is the pop psychology that helps you "be your best you" "unlock your creative potential" and explains why men are from mars and women from venus.

    it just feeds into the retarded binary logic that pervades u.s. politics.

    for all the europhiles out there, do you honestly think they would have any respect for studies that try to find meaningful data in diffs between what we call cons and libs? no, because they have a much more pluralist concept of politics.
    they would rightly say, "what about social cons vs fiscal cons?" and same for libs. yes, there is overlap, but glossing over concepts like that immediately dismisses all credibility.

    those stupid studies are as valuable as comparing fans of hot dogs vs hamburgers.

  • ||

    I like hot dogs and hamburgers.

  • Alejandra||

    Want to buy you a super good quality and low price baby it? What are you waiting, action!
    Spring in March to come over immediately to seize the warm summer sun to give you the last charm the most crazy
    All the store outside the single star nike shoesjordan, prada, ... hundreds of new styles are all ex-factory price also will come out in the end! ~ Any goods are still cute plush pillow Oh ~ ~ ~ ~ T Shirt Shop price: $18

  • ConfederalRepublicBy2030||

    It is with the sincerest form of hope that I await the repeal and abolition of ObamaCare, Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

    I wish I could just close my eyes and make the statists disappear.

  • luke||

    I agree with the above commentator, the statistics are scary enough as they stand

  • NotSure||

    Tony, there a some very sick children in Africa, please help them. I know you are altruistic and open minded, the funds for old American people would better serve young Africans, don't you agree ?

  • Tony||

    I'm not anymore altruistic than you are. Not that being selfish is anything to be proud of. It is in my selfish best interest to have a safety net for old people, and everyone else's. That's why they like having one.

  • NotSure||

    Not for everyone else, you refuse to hand over vast wealth for the worlds neediest people.

  • Tony||

    Well I'm not the utopian. Perhaps one day we can have justice, fairness, and decency all over the world. But we have to wrest it from the capitalists in this country first if that's ever going to be possible.

  • NotSure||

    So you are only a Utopian for within America. More of a Stalinist and his nationalist goals as opposed to a Trotskyist. America is not capitalist you stupid buffoon, they have more socialist welfare than most countries in the world.

  • jacob||

    Cost containment is a good thing, but the Democrat plan is somewhat absurd.

    Let's say I want to order an MRI on a Medicare patient.

    A libertarian cost containment would pass off some or all of the costs to this to the patient.

    The Obama plan is that they would make the process of ordering the MRI so difficult (via forms I'd have to fill out and bureaucrats I'd have to argue with), it would dissuade me from ordering the MRI in the first place.

    Completely fucking absurd.

  • jacob||

    Cost containment is a good thing, but the Democrat plan is somewhat absurd.

    Let's say I want to order an MRI on a Medicare patient.

    A libertarian cost containment would pass off some or all of the costs to this to the patient.

    The Obama plan is that they would make the process of ordering the MRI so difficult (via forms I'd have to fill out and bureaucrats I'd have to argue with), it would dissuade me from ordering the MRI in the first place.

    Completely fucking absurd.

  • repair denture||

    I love my new repair dentures, I can finally eat in confidence and it has completely changed my life.

  • meat grinder||

    This plan has no merit

  • قبلة الوداع||

    ThaNk U

  • kangzhu||

    This plan has no merit

  • دلعني||

    good man

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