Center for American Progress and New Republic Endorse Totally Private BaileyCare Plan

I was amused yesterday to find out that Matthew Yglesias over at the left-leaning Center for American Progress has stumbled across my 2004 article "Mandatory Health Insurance Now!" and sent out this tweet to his fans:

"Excellent defense of the individual health care mandate from @Reason: http://ygl.as/iaydWc"

Excellent defense? Well, not really a "defense" but an alternative to really bad ideas like a single payer plan. But thanks, I guess. 

Not suprisingly, The New Republic's chief left-wing ideologue Jonathan Chait picked up the ball tossed by Yglesias and ran with it. He quotes a bit of it and then writes:

The article proposes a plan centered around an individual mandate as a private insurance alternative to the "creeping socialism" proposed by John Kerry, who was then running for president. Now, of course, Reason considers an individual mandate a massive imposition upon freedom and even unconstitutional. (Indeed, Roger Vinson's ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional cites a segment on Reason TV.) Now, the plan as a whole is far from identical to the Affordable Care Act. But its defense of the individual mandate is virtually identical to the case liberals have been making, and which conservatives and libertarians have been angrily dismissing.

Far from identical to ObamaCare? Well, yes. 

ObamaCare involves a massive expansion of Medicaid; does not promote health savings accounts as a way encourage consumers put price pressure on health care providers; continues to link health insurance to employers; punishes companies for not covering employees; enforces the mandate by means of levying tax penalties on citizens; and will eventually attempt to restrain spending by turning insurance companies into utilities by bureaucratically setting their rates.

BaileyCare would enable all Americans to purchase health insurance in a national competitive private market. It would completely eliminate Medicaid and S-CHIP (and possibly even Medicare) and use those funds to provide vouchers to poor Americans helping them to buy private insurance in a competitive market. It also would completely delink insurance from employment; it is a consumer-driven plan that combines high-deductible catastrophic insurance with health savings accounts with the aim of using market competition to rein in health care expenses. Vouchers also mean that there would be no need for tax penalties to force people to buy insurance.

So why did I offer BaileyCare as an alternative to what eventually evolved into the economically and medically absurd mishmash that is Obama's Affordable Care Act? As I wrote:

I want to stress that mandatory health insurance is a second-best proposal. A totally free market system would be preferable; it's just not likely politically. Mandatory health insurance is a way to stop creeping socialization and preserve private medicine.

In any case, the intellectually blinkered Chait goes on to declare:

In any event, watching the right decide a policy it once advocated is not only unwise but a threat to freedom itself is a fascinating episode of ideological hysteria.

Right? Advocate? Never mind that political and intellectual subtleties are lost on uber-partisan Chait. Clearly, what I did not attempt to do in my 2004 article was offer any sort of analysis of the constitutional or legal status of a national health insurance mandate. Fortunately, Chait links to just such analysis done by my colleagues at Reason.tv. For excellent analyses of the flaws in ObamaCare I heartily recommend the work of my colleague Peter Suderman. For further analyses of the legal and constitutional aspects of ObamaCare please see numerous articles by my Reason colleagues here.

In the meantime, as we wait to see how the federal courts rule on the constitutionality of a health insurance mandate, I hope that I can count on the Center for American Progress and The New Republic to advocate the repeal of ObamaCare and support the adoption of the BaileyCare private health insurance plan.

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  • Neu Mejican||

    While there are flaws in the BaileyCare plan...there are many elements that would be included in the NeuMejicare plan. The delinking of employment and health insurance being a central issue to solve given our mobile work force.

  • robc||

    The delinking of employment and health insurance is some fucking obvious that it takes a congress to not implement it.

    I will repeat myself here:
    Delink employment and health insurance...do nothing else...wait 5 years, see if we still have any problems.

    I think we will, but that alone will make a HUGE difference.

  • robc||

    "so fucking obvious", not some.

    Dammit squirrels, a preview button would be fucking handy.

  • ||

    Ha. In all seriousness, hitting submit should just preview too, at the same time revealing the real submit button.

  • hurly buehrle||

    Fucking script-blockers, how do they work? :)

  • ||

    I see a preview button. Just tried it. Works fine.

  • sarcasmic||

    Delinking employment and health insurance would require treating money paid to health insurance like regular compensation.

    That means it would be taxed.

    Remember "McCain wants to tax your health insurance"?

    Delinking health insurance from employment, while being the single best way to bring down the cost of health insurance, is a political impossibility.

  • robc||

    see below. It could be taxed, or it could still be tax free. There are two ways to go (three below, but Im ignoring 1A an entirely impossible).

  • ||

    Raisinites having regrets about getting in bed with liberal Obama blogging machine in 2008. Very often I see almost identical stories on Radley Balko's site and Andrew Sullivan's.

  • ||

    Please don't feed the troll.

  • Joshua||

    I can't even understand the fucking troll.

  • robc||

    Speaking of delinking, there would be a number of different ways to do it, which is your preference?

    1. No longer pre tax
    A. Companies cant count it as an expense
    B. It is an expense for companies, but is a fully taxable benefit for the employee

    2. Remains pre-tax - individuals get full tax deduction for medical expenses.

    1A would cause companies to drop health insurance.
    1B and some companies might drop it, some might keep it.
    2 same as 1B.

    I would prefer 1B or 2. I lean towards 2 to avoid the political problems.

  • robc||

    Another possibility is to make health insurance tax deductible but not expenses paid outside of insurance. This encourages people to get insurance. It also encourages HSA style plans so that deductibles are paid for from inside the HSA account and are thus paid with pre-tax instead of post-tax dollars.

    But social engineering via tax policy pisses me off.

  • sarcasmic||

    But social engineering via tax policy pisses me off.

    ftfy

  • robc||

    true fix.

    No, wait a second. If someone wants to do free market social engineering, I dont have a problem with that.

    So it isnt all social engineering I have a problem with.

  • sarcasmic||

    Social engineering is manipulation.
    It is the use of coercion and/or fraud to get people to do things they would otherwise not choose to do.

    "Free market social engineering" is an oxymoron.

    Decoupling health insurance from employment is the removal of social engineering policies, not the creation of new ones.

  • robc||

    Bullshit.

    If I go to an inner city neighborhood and offer everyone age 8 a college scholarship if they graduate HS with a B average, that is social engineering of the free market variety.

    Decoupling health insurance from employment is the removal of social engineering policies, not the creation of new ones.

    True. But if you then give a tax break for individaul purchases of health insurance, you have reinstated a social engineering policy. A less bad one, but still social engineering.

  • sarcasmic||

    "If I go to an inner city neighborhood and offer everyone age 8 a college scholarship if they graduate HS with a B average, that is social engineering of the free market variety."

    I didn't think of charity as social engineering.
    That's food for thought.

  • Ted S.||

    Offering food in exchange for thought is a form of social engineering.

  • skr||

    I thought free market social engineering was simply called advertising.

  • Almanian||

    advertising

    CITIZEN'S UNITED EVUL CORPORASHUZ MIND CONTROL KOCHOTPUS HYSTERIA NAZI RIGHT WING SOMALIA ZOMG!!!1!eleven!!!

    That is all.

  • ||

    RoooooOADZ!!!!1!!!11!!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Neu Mejican,

    The delinking of employment and health insurance being a central issue to solve given our mobile work force.


    The linking is the bastard child of government, to begin with. You would have to change the philosophy of government just to get what you say you espouse.

  • DNS||

    You would have to change the philosophy of government just to get what you say you espouse.

    It also requires changing the largely intractable notion among Americans that health care is a "right", as opposed to an individual responsibility.

  • ||

    Essentially no one in my circle of educated professionals knows why they get health insurance through their employer. Market distorting wage and price controls after WWII led to market distorting tax advantaged health insurance policies in lieu of compensation, which led to more and more regulation to make it all fair, which got us to the mess we have today. But like I said, they don't know that, at all.

  • robc||

    Bailey: Your failure was not including [Standard Libertarian Disclaimer] in the first paragraph.

  • Joe R.||

    His failure was espousing a non-libertarian plan in the first place. Hopefully he's learned a lesson.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    He sucks up to welfare queen agribusinesses, talked of the liberating power of the invasion of Iraq, and proposed a mandatory health insurance plan. He's not a libertarian, he's a corporate shill.

  • ||

    This is one of my favorite pages from the progressive playbook and Chait is really the master at this.

    You find an example of some conservative or libertarian making a point which doesn't fall match up with the progressive straw man of conservative and/or libertarian positions, then you use that example to make some inane point about how it proves that all the other conservatives and libertarians have become right-wing nut jobs.

    Chait is proof that you can have a long and illustrious career in this business without ever making an actual policy argument.

  • juris imprudent||

    I've noticed this a lot too - progressives link to something that doesn't really support their point but claim it as proof about how right that point is. Pretty fuckin' weird.

  • ||

    My favorite from their playbook is giving anecdotal or statistical evidence that there's some social or environmental problem, then completely leaving unstated why they think big government should jump in and try to solve the problem.

  • ||

    Ron, could you talk to Peter and let him know that all the cool kids say ObamaCare, and that using the PPACA acronym flags him as a lib-symp Statist?

  • DNS||

    Ron, could you talk to Peter and let him know that all the cool kids say ObamaCare, and that using the PPACA acronym flags him as a lib-symp Statist?

    It won't do any good. If Mr. McArdle did that, the couch duty incurred from being dis-invited to all those swanky cocktail parties would be too much to bear.

  • robc||

    IIRC, Ron was ripped a new one for this suggestion. Which disproves Chait's point.

  • ||

    The way to a "mandate" is the way its done everywhere else in a market:

    Allow providers to turn away anyone who doesn't have the ability to pay.

    Pay up front, show an insurance card, or hit the bricks. Believe it or not, this will require some legal reform, around the issue of "patient abandonment" by doctors, liability for delays in emergency care, and, of course, repeal of EMTALA.

  • ||

    whoa, slow down. You mean like, forcing people to pay for services rendered, when they're rendered?! That's crazy talk!

  • DNS||

    repeal of EMTALA.

    Satan...skates.

  • ||

    THIS^^
    It's a wonder that so many problems have to be solved by adding new legislation. Why can't repealing ineffective legislation ever be an option?

  • sarcasmic||

    "Why can't repealing ineffective legislation ever be an option?"

    Because that would involve admitting that government is not always the answer.

  • juris imprudent||

    Jeez, it's like this guy thinks politicians can be wrong or something.

  • sarcasmic||

    There would be bodies stacked up like cord wood!
    You must hate sick people!

    Women would be giving birth on the sidewalk!
    You must hate women!

    Only the super-rich would get health care!
    You must hate poor people!

    Hater!

    /snark

  • Almanian||

    Don't forget the coat-hanger abortions in the alleys. Always we have the coat-hanger abortions in the alleys.

    Why do you hate poor, unwed mothers and rape victims, RC?

  • ||

    Why do you hate poor, unwed mothers and rape victims are you a rapist, RC?

    You didn't go quite far enough Al.

  • ||

    Pay up front, show an insurance card, or hit the bricks.

    RC, I agree with you on the policy position, but you're not doing it any favors by presenting it in this manner.

    Even before federal laws required it, there were plenty of charity hospitals who voluntarily treated people who couldn't afford to pay. Our opponents will do everything they can to present libertarianism as a heartless ideology...we don't have to help them with that.

  • hurly buehrle||

    Pay up front, show an insurance card, or hit the bricks.

    Well, if we saw all these sorts of reforms, and if we saw insurance reformed in a free-market direction (I know, I know, bear with me), my guess is that very few people would be turned away without insurance. Docs would most likely adopt sliding-scale payment for those folks.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    I hope that I can count on the Center for American Progress and The New Republic to...support the adoption of the BaileyCare private health insurance plan.

    I'm pretty sure those groups are pro-abortion in this regard.

  • alan||

    Right? Advocate? Never mind that political and intellectual subtleties are lost on uber-partisan Chait.

    Leave it to Chait not to be able to differentiate between the plans drawn up by his managerial elite socialist peeps, designed to give life to a stagnant bureaucracy, with the soft core fascism of BaileyCare that would result in the same result eventually given it isn't based upon a real free market. Bad lib pundit, no donut!

    I want to stress that mandatory health insurance is a second-best proposal. A totally free market system would be preferable; it's just not likely politically. Mandatory health insurance is a way to stop creeping socialization and preserve private medicine.

    Since Obamacare has never polled well, bet you feel a little foolish with that prediction of what is and is not politically viable, eh?

  • robc||

    People always like to say "Dont let the perfect be the enemy of the good" but this is an example of Ron letting the mediocre be the enemy of the perfect.

  • ||

    robc: If the mandate turns out to be unconstitutional (and I think there are good arguments for that), I fear that the Left will immediately begin to push for completely socialized medicine in the form of a single payer plan. And they might get it, because nobody like the current amazingly dysfunctional "system." Then private medicine will be dead as will be medical innovation.

  • ||

    errr "nobody likes"

  • DNS||

    I fear that the Left will immediately begin to push for completely socialized medicine in the form of a single payer plan.

    This is already a done deal, Mr. Bailey. ObamaCare legislation was already gathering dust waiting for the right time to attempt passage. Single-payer legislation is occupying the same shelf. Medical innovation will not be killed, it will simply be exported to more free market "medical tourism" countries like India.

  • ||

    DNS: I agree that ObamaCare is exactly such a step toward single payer. That's part of what I hoped to forestall/delay by proposing BaileyCare.

  • DNS||

    That's part of what I hoped to forestall/delay by proposing BaileyCare.

    Don't misunderstand me Mr. Bailey: I fully endorse your ideas and I don't wish to be a Negative Nancy. Selling it to the American public, who overall has no qualms trading excellent, albeit expensive, care that is available to most (all actually a la EMTALA) for mediocre, less expensive care guaranteed for all, will take a very compelling salesperson.

  • robc||

    I know they are going to push for that. They passed the current plan knowing it would fail and they could push for single payer then.

    If you had spent as much time pushing for the delinking of employment and insurance as you did on the mandate, maybe, just maybe, that would be an option on the table now.

  • alan||

    The left just lost an election that overturned their majority in the house based largely upon their ramming of Obamacare down America's collective throat. Their opportunity to pass something even more extreme has sailed in to the night for them. I hesitate to make predictions after pointing out a pretty bright fella's prediction concerning political viability proved inaccurate, but I'll make three here.

    1) The left's credibility on health reform is dead for at least a generation. It took seventeen years for them to get back on the saddle after the Hillarycare debacle, and Obamacare will prove to be an even graver matter for them.

    2) The exploding cost are the result of bureaucratic management not functioning; the more systemic sclerosis continues the more monies that have to be pumped in to the system just to keep it going. This will be more evident to more people as budgetary scarcities make it impossible for the managerial elite (the duet of public and private bureaucracies setting policy) to obfuscate the problem. Their preferred solutions will become politically non viable.

    3) Reform will be tossed back to the states for the foreseeable future. Some success will occur where there is a liberalization of the markets, and correction of the previous torture devices of public policy used upon the market.

  • ||

    I want a booth review on the timing of our posts.

  • ||

    Their opportunity to pass something even more extreme has sailed in to the night for them.

    That assumes they won't sail back in after the GOP fucks up royally. Which they are doing by not offering deep spending cuts and wasting political capital on abortion restriction on the federal and state level.

    They are doing the same thing the Democrats did in 2008, mistaking disgust at the other party as an endorsement of their entire platform.

  • alan||

    Like a good Marxist, I slipped in point two in order to emphasize my predicative powers are not reliant on the actions of an unreliable set of actors. The GOP!

  • DNS||

    Which they are doing by not offering deep spending cuts and wasting political capital on abortion restriction on the federal and state level.

    The spending cuts are great in theory, but to get the levels that are necessary would require a suicide pact if they managed to get them, and most of them would not get through the senate unscathed anyway. They want to cut spending without the political fallout and the very real risk of being booted out of office when middle classers realize how much their lives are subsidized by government.

    I agree with you on the abortion issue from a social standpoint, but I have no problems with gutting federal and state funding for something that the free market can take care of, and encouraging behavior without the thought of consequence.

  • ||

    The problem with this anti-abortion push is two-fold:

    1) It confirms that the GOP is still obsessed with social issues and beholden to the theo-cons.

    2) Nothing energizes The Left like abortion. More women are single-issue voters on abortion than the polls indicates. It's an escape clause that most women want for themselves, even if they don't want to publicly admit it. The Left will die on that hill and drag a huge indy-voting block with them.

  • ||

    The way around that "suicide pact" you mention would be for them to cut tax rates dramatically while making the cuts. If the people see a direct return of their own money to their own wallets, then they will be thrilled.

    Also, publicize every proposed cut and what the expenditure was for. It's like those minesweepers the marines use that cost around $80k and the ones the army uses that cost $250k. The savings in redundancies alone would be significant and would be a pretty easy sell to the public...especially when paired with the return of a portion of their own money.

  • DNS||

    The savings in redundancies alone would be significant and would be a pretty easy sell to the public...especially when paired with the return of a portion of their own money.

    This is what my hero, Sen. Tom Coburn, is precisely doing. Unfortunately, it is not getting nearly the press attention it deserves. It could also be argued by cutting all those federal jobs associated with the The Dept. of Redundancy Depts., that raising the unemployment level without comparable paying jobs waiting in the wings, places the more squishy spined pols in iffy districts and states in an untenable position.

  • ||

    2) .....

    So America is suffering from High Money Pressure?

  • ||

    I think you are totally misreading the mood of the country. Single payer wasn't even acceptable to moderate Democrats when they held all of the cards.

  • Matrix||

    Nobody likes it, but I doubt they'll get a Republican House to pass such a measure.

  • MJ||

    Paraphrased Bailey:

    "We have to burn the private medicine village in order to save it!"

  • hurly buehrle||

    I fear that the Left will immediately begin to push for completely socialized medicine in the form of a single payer plan.

    Paid for how, exactly? I don't think even the Fed can buy up that many Treasury securities. And the adoption of single-payer would be fiscal suicide, so I'd think the market would flee from buying our debt.

  • Fake Name||

    "Since Obamacare has never polled well, bet you feel a little foolish with that prediction of what is and is not politically viable, eh?"

    Unfortunately Medicare polls very well, even amongst the TEA party. Anyone remember the "Keep your government hands off my medicare" placards in the myriad TEA party protests?

    If BaileyCare can get rid of medicare, and medicaid and keep the government bureaucracy from deciding who gets healthcare and for how much, then I am all for it.

    As for the mandate, the mandate makes sense as long as the EMTALA is there. You don't want the mandate? Get rid of EMTALA.

  • alan||

    The overblown externalities in regard to EMTALA have been covered too many times here to even bother with that part of the problem. It is like blaming CRA for the housing bubble.

  • alan||

    Besides it was covered in bullet point 3.

    and correction of the previous torture devices of public policy used upon the market

    My point above being the dichotomy you make being an unnecessary one. There is no reason to sign on to a coercive mandate, and EMTALA is a fart in the wind worthy excuse to do so.

  • Old Mexican||

    I hope that I can count on the Center for American Progress and The New Republic to advocate the repeal of ObamaCare and support the adoption of the BaileyCare private health insurance plan.


    And I'm buying lottery today, because I feel lucky!!!

  • rather||

    competitive market?
    Not with the McCarran–Ferguson Act in play.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: rather,
    World, meet yet another nitwit who believes regulation, and so-called 'anti-trust' legislation, props up 'competition'.

  • ||

    Her views are especially puzzling since rectal is in the unregulated cunt-pickling industry. One would expect her to be adamantly free-market.

  • rather ||

    Why do you think the insurance companies fight repeal? I know, they thought Congressman Pete DeFazio's H.R. 1583 didn't sound pretty enough!

    Dumbass

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure they have endorsed it ... isn't that the point of their posts? That there's some common intellectual ground here that conservatives won't acknowledge now for political reasons?

    Do you still support your own proposal? Or is this now some form of "creeping socialism?...?

  • robc||

    I'm pretty sure they have endorsed it

    No, they havent. The plan includes EVERYTHING in the plan. They are picking on one element in the plan that they agree with it, not endorsing his entire plan. If they endorsed his plan as a replacement for ObamaCare, then their criticism would make sense, but only towards Bailey, who doesnt represent the entire right. Hell, he doesnt even represent libertarians. He doesnt even represent reason reading libertarians.

  • ||

    Ron, if this isn't a lesson to never compromise with the statists, it should be.

    Compromising only shows weakness; a chink in the armor though which to slip the blade. Always negotiate from a position of power and dominance, even if you have none.

  • ||

    Fucking journalistic integrity. How does it work?

  • Tony||

    Then private medicine will be dead as will be medical innovation.

    Let it die. There's no reason that government can't spend more money on medical research. And it could be real research, as in figuring out ways to cure people of things, rather than ways to increase a private firm's bottom line. In private medicine, it's hard to demonstrate that these things always go together.

    Surely you can appreciate the bewilderment of those of us who are watching Republicans rant hysterically about an aspect of HCR that they came up with as an alternative to single-payer back in the day. It's not really a surprise that libertarians have followed them and where they decide to place the acceptable center of the political debate. One could say they're moving it in your direction (off a cliff). I must say, as a single-payer advocate, it's nice being among the only ones who've been consistent all this time. That is, concerned with how to get decent healthcare to more people, instead of being motivated solely by political concerns.

  • Matrix||

    Not going to happen, Tony, because politics cannot be divorced from special interests... especially in this country.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Let it die.


    "Let them eat cake!"

    There's no reason that government can't spend more money on medical research.


    There is a reason: Not having any to spend. Just like it happens (oh surprise!) in those countries with single payer systems.

    And it could be real research, as in figuring out ways to cure people of things, rather than ways to increase a private firm's bottom line.


    "Real research" like for instance this?

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/.....ste-report

    In private medicine, it's hard to demonstrate that these things always go together.


    It's hard to demonstrate it to you, perhaps. The market bears a different story, especially when most innovations in medicine come from the US.

    I must say, as a single-payer advocate, it's nice being among the only ones who've been consistent all this time.


    Paranoids usually are very consistent all the time.

    That is, concerned with how to get decent healthcare to more people, instead of being motivated solely by political concerns.


    And surely there's nothing political whatsoever and ever, with sugar on top, about advocating for government control of the healthcare industry, right???

  • sarcasmic||

    I find it amusing that those who want politicians to control everything accuse those who disagree with them of being political.

  • ||

    From your New American link:

    Aber described the research as “a far more sophisticated look at how different toxic chemicals, particularly nitrogen, produced by dairy farming can be mitigated to reduce greenhouse gases.”

    I hope he didn't actually say that. Jeez, nitrogen is, what, 78% of the atmosphere. If it were toxic, I wouldn't be typing this, and you wouldn't be reading it.

  • Devil Incohate||

    Because the government spends money more efficiently than any other entity.

  • ||

    Tony: I favor free markets because its the only system that has ever lifted hundreds of millions of people out of humanity's natural state of abject poverty. Your policies amount to efforts to make us all poor again.

    Evidently, you care so much for the poor that you want to make everyone poor.

  • DNS||

    Evidently, you care so much for the poor that you want to make everyone poor.

    Except himself and his fellow travelers. Remember Mr. Bailey, Tony's ilk thinks that Americans are icky, unsophisticated imbeciles who cannot take care of themselves.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Ron Bailey,

    Evidently, you care so much for the poor that you want to make everyone poor.


    He only cares about the poor that do not buy at Walmart - those poor are yucky.

  • Tony||

    I think it takes free markets combined with a strong government. Healthcare is just one among many aspects of human basic needs in which the US has far worse metrics than other countries with more socialized systems. I would argue that this country's fetish for ceding more and more authority to corporate interests is a large part of what has led us here. But to say you favor the free market because capitalism has helped increase standard of living is to say that the best capitalism can do--which clearly does not include universal affordable healthcare (or education or any other expensive service everyone needs)--is the best we can do, which is clearly not the case. I don't feel like waiting around for the free market to deliver something nobody has ever demonstrated it is even capable of.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I think it takes free markets combined with a strong government.


    Something like needing oil in my engine combined with sand.

    Healthcare is just one among many aspects of human basic needs in which the US has far worse metrics than other countries with more socialized systems.


    Health care is not a basic need. Never was. A healthy person needs water, air and food to keep himself alive - those are basic needs. A healthy person does not need 'healthcare.' If something is required only occassionally due to special circumstances (like serious illness or injury), then it is NOT a basic need.

    I don't feel like waiting around for the free market to deliver something nobody has ever demonstrated it is even capable of.


    Your impatience is not everybody else's problem.

  • Tony||

    Health care is not a basic need. Never was.

    According to you. According to me and the standards of modern civilization, it is. I'll happily accept defeat if you can find that stone on which the total and exclusive list of human needs and rights is etched.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    According to you. According to me and the standards of modern civilization, it is.


    I don't see you as the repository of the standards of modern civilization, Tony. You don't portray that image - sorry.

    Not according to me - a CONCEPT has to describe reality, and the reality is: If you don't require it every single time for survival, then it is NOT a "basic need." Can't be.

    I'll happily accept defeat if you can find that stone on which the total and exclusive list of human needs and rights is etched.


    I'll happily concede defeat if you can shove your own head up your ass. I am basically asking the same thing you are.

  • ||

    I'll happily concede defeat if you can shove your own head up your ass. I am basically asking the same thing you are.

    Sorry, OM, but Tony shoves his head up his own ass on a daily basis. You'll have to concede this round.

  • Tony||

    Not according to me - a CONCEPT has to describe reality, and the reality is: If you don't require it every single time for survival, then it is NOT a "basic need." Can't be.

    Everyone needs healthcare at some point. It's not a daily need for most people, but it's still a need. It's not just another market commodity that people can take or leave.

    Furthermore, unless you want a society in which people don't get emergency care if they can't pay, then the costs are socialized no matter what. I just think they should be done so in a more efficient way.

    Every single right we now value as essential had to be fought for and won. Some of you are fine stopping the project in the 19th century. Some of us think it's not done yet.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Everyone needs healthcare at some point.


    Everybody needs a haircut at some point, also. And?

    It's not a daily need for most people, but it's still a need.


    Yes, for some people - that PRECLUDES it from being a basic need, i.e. universal.

    It's not just another market commodity that people can take or leave.


    Yes, it is you idiot. SOMEONE has to be willing to PROVIDE IT, ergo it's a commodity.

    Furthermore, unless you want a society in which people don't get emergency care if they can't pay, then the costs are socialized no matter what.


    And if I want that society, then it doesn't have to be socialized?

    By the way, what you say it's a lie. Costs do not have to be socialized "no matter what." The ONLY reason costs are being socialized RIGHT NOW is because of government mandates.

    Every single right we now value as essential had to be fought for and won.


    You're talking about entitlements. People are already born with rights: Liberty and property, as people can ACT and they own their own bodies.

    Some of you are fine stopping the project in the 19th century.


    The progressive fallacy. "You should embrace progress!"

  • Tony||

    Everybody needs a haircut at some point, also. And?

    Argument by deliberate obtuseness, your favorite.

    Yes, for some people - that PRECLUDES it from being a basic need, i.e. universal.

    Most people are born and die in a hospital and visit it several times in between. For almost anyone who enjoys living in a modern civilization that's the case. That's not universal enough for you?

    And if I want that society, then it doesn't have to be socialized?

    By the way, what you say it's a lie. Costs do not have to be socialized "no matter what." The ONLY reason costs are being socialized RIGHT NOW is because of government mandates.

    You're right. We could require payment for emergency health services. It's an alternative. Now explain why you think it's a better alternative. Saving people a few dollars in tax money results in a more moral society than ensuring nobody dies on the street for lack of funds? Yes, government mandates that people be treated regardless. That's because people don't want to live in a society where emergency care is wealth dependent. It's barbaric. And in our system, even the middle class is being squeezed on healthcare costs. Sorry, I don't see a society in which healthcare is reserved for the rich as the best possible one. If you do, you're messed up in the head.


    You're talking about entitlements. People are already born with rights: Liberty and property, as people can ACT and they own their own bodies.

    I haven't disabused you of this nonsense yet? People's DNA is etched with the right to claim a plot of dirt and call it their own and have it protected from trespassing? Give me a break. No, these are just the limited set of rights YOU believe in, and you want to sprinkle them with fairy dust and say their magical. Sounds very much like a common religious person who knows he's right because god said so inside his head.

    The progressive fallacy. "You should embrace progress!"

    It's a fallacy to assume that we haven't achieved the best possible world yet?

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    I'm just going to have a quick go:

    "I haven't disabused you of this nonsense yet? People's DNA is etched with the right to claim a plot of dirt and call it their own and have it protected from trespassing? Give me a break. No, these are just the limited set of rights YOU believe in, and you want to sprinkle them with fairy dust and say their magical. Sounds very much like a common religious person who knows he's right because god said so inside his head."

    First of all, calling something nonsense to be disabused isn't actually arguing against it. Nobody said rights are etched into people's DNA - OM said you were born owning your own body. It's what makes rape wrong. It's what makes murders wrong. It's what makes assault wrong. And no, you can't just claim a plot of dirt. You come to own it by using it, because by using it you combine your labour with it and make it into something more valuable of which you can be considered to be the creator. Putting up a fence is not enough. Once you do own it, you have the right to do whatever you want with it, since that's what ownership means, including passing it on to your children, or to your friends, or setting it on fire to watch it burn. We don't want to say rights are magical. You want to say rights are magical, because that allows you to dismiss them as magic. We just want to say that a person has a sole and exclusive claim to their life - meaning their body, their time, their labour and their talents - and no claim at all to anyone else's. Clear? No, of course not.

  • Tony||

    We just want to say that a person has a sole and exclusive claim to their life - meaning their body, their time, their labour and their talents - and no claim at all to anyone else's. Clear? No, of course not.

    Not entirely. Those are all admirable things and we should definitely have them secured as rights. Owning your own body is certainly good, but it's not a fact of nature. It's an idea someone had to invent, and it certainly hasn't been a fact of life forever, especially if you're a woman. All I'm saying is that every right we're talking about, a right to property or a right to healthcare, is equally an invention of human beings and not a logical result of natural forces. Call them entitlements, call them powers, call them rights, I don't care. You still can't have those rights you list without government to enforce them. And I believe in adding to the list of rights we currently have.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Now I'm sure you've had this explained to you before, but you can have Right X while Right X is being violated. I can have the right not to be punched in the face while someone is punching me in the face: it's the right that makes the punching wrong. So you may so that women didn't own their own bodies for many thousands of years, but it isn't true. What did happen for many thousands of years is women's rights to own their own bodies were violated on a massive and unforgivable scale. Laws can be unjust - and what's more I think you agree with me. If being gay is made illegal, does that mean that you don't have the right to be gay? If being gay is illegal, is it okay to throw someone in jail for being gay? I think it's wrong to do so. It always was wrong. It always will be wrong.
    Yes, I agree that your rights will be violated if there's nothing to enforce them. That something is probably always going to be something like a minimal state - has to be paid for voluntarily though, so I don't know if you can call it 'government'. Plus, you don't actually need legislators - you can just have a piece of paper outlining people's rights of self-ownership and enforce that. The thing about self-ownership, though, is it generates a full set of negative rights. If you added another 'right' to the list (assuming you had the authority to do that), it would have to be a positive right, and enforcing any positive right will always lead to a violation of someone's prior negative right. So you can't do it. It leads to a contradiction.

  • Robert||

    The thing about self-ownership, though, is it generates a full set of negative rights. If you added another 'right' to the list (assuming you had the authority to do that), it would have to be a positive right, and enforcing any positive right will always lead to a violation of someone's prior negative right.


    What about the right to travel? If I lock you in a room I own, you still have full possession of your body, but it would seem you'd need an additional negative right to travel to get out of there, yet I don't see what negative right you think that would violate. How about if instead of locking you in a room, I just park my car across your driveway, blocking it at the curb, so you can't get your car in or out?

  • ||

    results in a more moral society

    I do not subscribe to your religion, and I'm pretty sure there's something in the constitution that prohibits government from imposing it on me.

  • ||

    No. It's a fallacy to assume that the enactment of liberal policy proposals constitutes progress.

  • ||

    Everybody needs food and water at some point. You, yourself, I'd wager, will probably need food and water within the next day. And yet there is no mandatory food insurance.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Not to mention that a free market has never really had the opportunity.

    Oh wait. Nevermind. This whole mess is due to free market failure. Or something.

  • sarcasmic||

    "I would argue that this country's fetish for ceding more and more authority to corporate interests is a large part of what has led us here."

    crony capitalism != free markets

  • Tony||

    Sorry, but they are equivalent. What you guys consistently fail to appreciate is that profitable firms have no fundamental interest in a free market, especially not a fair one. If they get powerful enough, they'll just work to make the market favorable to them. Less government oversight will not charm them into behaving in a competitive and fair way.

  • sarcasmic||

    "If they get powerful enough, they'll just work to make the market favorable to them."

    How do they do this? Oh yeah, they use their cronies in government to set up barriers to competition.

    "Less government oversight will not charm them into behaving in a competitive and fair way."

    Consumer oversight will charm them into behaving in a competitive way.
    As far as "fair" goes, who the fuck cares? Oh yeah, the competition that can't make a dime because the profitable firm is producing products at a lower price. Obviously the government should step in with some oversight to see why this profitable firm is giving a good deal to the consumer, allowing the consumer to have money left to buy other things. That is terrible! How dare they?

  • Tony||

    How do they do this? Oh yeah, they use their cronies in government to set up barriers to competition.

    Yeah, that's one way. Of course in the absence of government, they needn't bother. They could just set up the barriers themselves. This is like saying, because the mafia can bribe cops, we should just get rid of cops. That would really hinder the mafia!

  • ||

    Everybody be careful when extinguishing your cigarettes. These here strawmen are quite flamable.

  • Clouds||

    Or you could just stop electing the cronies you keep voting for Tony? But no, instead we get...Pragmatism !!1ONE

  • sarcasmic||

    "Yeah, that's one way. Of course in the absence of government, they needn't bother."

    Straw man. I never said there should be no government. I said government should stay out of the free market except for contract enforcement and punishing force and fraud.

    "They could just set up the barriers themselves."
    How?

    "This is like saying, because the mafia can bribe cops, we should just get rid of cops. That would really hinder the mafia!"

    Uh, no. This is like saying, because companies can bribe government officials into creating rules and regulations that stifle competition, government officials should not make rules and regulations with regards to the market.

    Big difference.

  • Tony||

    I said government should stay out of the free market except for contract enforcement and punishing force and fraud.

    Sounds good to me, I just probably define force and fraud a little more broadly than you. On the other hand, the market clearly cannot produce some things people want and need, like universal healthcare or universal education. It never has, and I don't see any pathway from market forces alone to these things. You have to assume a big fat can opener to even argue that it can, like "if we had a free market, there would be no poverty."

    Uh, no. This is like saying, because companies can bribe government officials into creating rules and regulations that stifle competition, government officials should not make rules and regulations with regards to the market.

    So then companies are free to do this on their own without government help.

    You get two choices. Either the we get the cops' version of law and order, or we get the mafia's. There is no magical third way. If the enforcers are easily coopted, then that means we need stronger rules, not weaker ones.

  • sarcasmic||

    "If the enforcers are easily coopted, then that means we need stronger rules, not weaker ones."

    Yeah. The government is corrupt because it is coopted by the corporayshuns. If we give more power to the government that is coopted by the corporayshuns, it can control the corporayshuns that control it. This way we give power back to the people.

    Don't you see how stupid that is?

  • Tony||

    Yeah. The government is corrupt because it is coopted by the corporayshuns. If we give more power to the government that is coopted by the corporayshuns, it can control the corporayshuns that control it. This way we give power back to the people.

    Don't you see how stupid that is?

    Government is the only entity that represents the interests of the people as people. That's its job. That means, if we have a society that cares more about people than about the profits of private corporations, then government has to be more powerful than corporations. If it's easily co-opted, then it's not strong enough. You're just engaging in bizarre doubletalk.

  • sarcasmic||

    "If it's easily co-opted, then it's not strong enough."

    Government is not going to "break the chains of corporate interest" because it placed itself in those chains willingly!

    If it is co-opted (which it is) then giving it more power is giving power to those who have co-opted it!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Don't you see? Tony is sure that without regulations, corporations will be no different than the mafia.

  • Tony||

    Tony is sure that without regulations, corporations will be no different than the mafia.

    What makes you think they wouldn't be? They'd be so thankful for their freedom they'd all agree to play fair out of the goodness of their hearts?

    Corporations are sociopathic profit-generating machines. They don't care about the free market except insofar as it makes them more profitable. When people behave like this, we keep an eye on them or lock them up. When corporations do, it's supposed to be the engine of all prosperity.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony - do you know what profits are?

    I'm sure you'll say profits are theft. But they're not. Theft is when something is taken away through force or threat of force. Nobody gives money to corporations because they are forced to. Well, not unless government forces them to. Only government takes by force or threat of force.

    So again, what are profits?
    Profits are a signal that you're doing something right. Profits indicate that people like what you are selling and they like the price. When profits drop it means you are doing something wrong. Your price is too low to cover costs, your product is not in demand, someone else is selling a comparable at a lower price...
    When profits drop then it is time to innovate! Be more efficient! Improve your product so people want it more than the competition!
    So seeking profits is a good thing. It is noble!
    Seeking and generating profits means providing something that people want to the point where the voluntarily give you their money!
    By their own free will!
    No force involved!
    Seeking and generating profits means that you, the consumer, wins and those mean and nasty corporations fight with each other over who can give you what you want at the lowest price!

  • Weird||

    So, reading Hayek for the first time. It is crazy how Tony's arguments are the exact same ones made by socialists in the early 20th century that Hayek destroys in Road to Serfdom. Like almost word for word.

  • sarcasmic||

    Collectivists never change.

    People start with a free society, and being free they create wealth. Collectivists, being envious of this wealth, band together to take it. Society loses its freedom under the yoke of the collectivists, and with it its ability to create wealth. The wealth that was created is distributed until there is nothing left, and society breaks down.

    A free society emerges from the wreckage, and the process repeats.

  • ||

    I don't feel like waiting around for the free market to deliver something nobody has ever demonstrated it is even capable of.

    Yet, you're willing to wait for politically-selected research to deliver medical innovation, which it's never demonstrated capability in doing.

  • Tony||

    Without government support there would be very little science going on. Let's not overstate the abilities of the market.

  • John Calhoun||

    Yeah, nobody in the private sector would have any interest in new technologies and capabilities.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ, Ron. I can't believe you're gonna feed it.

    Tony, what substantial advances have governments made that were not surpassed by the private sector? In medicine, technology, any industry for that matter?

    Shit, our government's capabilities have eroded to the point that we can't even put a man on the moon again for at least 10 years. Now, if there was a profit to be made and the governments of the world stayed out of his way, I bet Richard Branson would have a hotel set up in the Sea of Tranquillity within 5 years.

  • ||

    The Apollo 11 flag will be the centerpiece of the lobby. The descent stage of the LM will make for an excellent fountain base.

  • Tony||

    I don't buy the ubiquitous libertarian conceit that the mere presence of government completely hobbles capitalism. It's supposed to be this great force of barrier breaking and innovation, but it can't deal with a little regulation? Government and the market are not mutually exclusive, and the latter absolutely requires the former to channel it into useful directions.

    For the sake of argument I'll concede that private research has led to more advancement in medicine than government research has (though all science depends fundamentally on government support, always has always will, since for-profit entities just don't do as much pure research).

    What the market absolutely will not deliver is universal healthcare that is affordable for all people. It can't, and you can't demonstrate how it can. That's because healthcare is expensive, and lots of people just can't afford the care they need.

    So that leaves us with two choices. Say healthcare, like access to yachts, should be totally dependent on how much you can pay. Or it's a basic need that should be socialized so that it's available to all. Just depends on what you care about more.

  • sarcasmic||

    "What the market absolutely will not deliver is universal healthcare that is affordable for all people."

    That is correct.

    Neither can government.

    The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
    -- Thomas Sowell
  • Tony||

    Except in every advanced country besides the US where it has. Evidence, it's not optional.

  • sarcasmic||

    Oh yeah. Those advanced countries that are going bankrupt or moving away from socialized medicine. Evidence, it's not optional.

  • Tony||

    What a stunning proof you have here. I can see the direct causal link between national healthcare services and country's fiscal problems.

    Oh way, those problems were caused by a massive failure of capitalism, and the most expensive healthcare in the world by far would be the most capitalistic one (ours!) Yes, you are full of shit.

  • Clouds||

    So you would also argue that say television is a basic human right? because they all have that too. and lots of other crap. is there a ven diagram somewhere we can use.

  • sarcasmic||

    Clouds - ven diagrams involve logic. Tony is immune to logic so it would not matter.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I don't buy the ubiquitous libertarian conceit that the mere presence of government completely[????] hobbles capitalism.


    "Strawmeeeeeen,
    like the corners of my miiiiind!"

    It's supposed to be this great force of barrier breaking and innovation, but it can't deal with a little regulation?


    Sure it can: That's what bribes are for.

    Government and the market are not mutually exclusive


    Nobody said they were, Tony, just like host and parasite are not mutually exclusive: both exist at the same time.

    What the market absolutely will not deliver is universal healthcare that is affordable for all people.


    Liar.

    It can't, and you can't demonstrate how it can.


    http://www.farmaciasdesimilares.com.mx/

    Next question?

    That's because healthcare is expensive, and lots of people just can't afford the care they need.


    It's expensive here, in the US, but not because of "free markets."

    So that leaves us with two choices.


    "False dilemma,
    False dilemma!
    Goes together with socialistic assholes!"

    Say healthcare, like access to yachts, should be totally dependent on how much you can pay.


    Or tomatoes, or shoes, or plumbing services, or houses, or cars, or pencils, or pizza, or clothing, or appliances, or...

    Or it's a basic need that should be socialized so that it's available to all.


    Hey, stupid - basic needs can't be socialized anymore than healthcare:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Chinese_Famine

  • ||

    That famine only existed because the Chinese government did not declare it illegal. Had they been proactive in declaring famine illegal, it never would have happened.

    This is what statists like Tony think.

  • Tonee||

    Clearly, those Chinese farms just needed more regulations, to stop the market failure allowed by too lenient regulations.

  • ||

    I don't buy the ubiquitous libertarian conceit that the mere presence of government completely hobbles capitalism.

    None of us are saying that. In fact, government is an absolute necessity for capitalism. It is needed to enforce property rights and contracts voluntarily entered upon by individuals.

  • Tony||

    Evidently, you care so much for the poor that you want to make everyone poor.

    If things keep going the way they are, almost everyone will be poor, except the top 5% or so who are the only people to have seen an average income increase since the 1970s. Those would be the people whose wealth Reason sees as its moral duty to defend to the exclusion of almost everything else, including certainly the necessity of universal healthcare.

    YOUR policies are making everyone poor. Your policies are transferring wealth upward all while denying more services to those from whom it's been taken. I suppose since we don't have your perfect system, you don't have to take credit for those disastrous poverty-making policies. But it's certainly not my policies that have been dominant in this country, and at least they have the virtue of having been tested elsewhere, to much more success than we've managed.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    If things keep going the way they are, almost everyone will be poor, except the top 5% or so who are the only people to have seen an average income increase since the 1970s.


    TOTALLY correct, agreed - IF the same things (the Fed loose monetary policies, regulations, inflation, debt) continue, all of us will eventualy become poorer than now. No question about it.

    Those would be the people whose wealth Reason sees as its moral duty to defend to the exclusion of almost everything else


    You mean when "everything else" means thieving and pillaging? Then you're right.

    YOUR policies are making everyone poor. Your policies are transferring wealth upward all while denying more services to those from whom it's been taken.


    Liar.

  • Tony||

    I can see how you're confused since you've bought the corporatists' spin on why our economy sucks. But if you agree that wealth has been illegitimately moved toward the very top, how can you say this:

    You mean when "everything else" means thieving and pillaging? Then you're right.

    Why is it only pillaging when it's the 95% wanting policy changes, but not so when the top 5% have been reaping all the benefits? That's some pretty unsuccessful pillaging on the part of the non-rich. They seem to have accomplished the exact opposite of the goal of pillaging.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They seem to have accomplished the exact opposite of the goal of pillaging.

    Yes, Tony. They usually do.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I can see how you're confused since you've bought the corporatists' spin on why our economy sucks.


    Don't be an idiot. Corporatists are not suddenly Austrians.

    But if you agree that wealth has been illegitimately moved toward the very top, how can you say this:

    You mean when "everything else" means thieving and pillaging? Then you're right.


    One thing has nothing to do with the other, first. Second, I haven't said wealth has been moving "illegitimately" from the bottom to the top, that's a vague statement. What inflation does is tax the people that cannot move their wealth around more, but that's not the fault of the rich. The blame lies with the fractional reserve banking system and government.

    Why is it only pillaging when it's the 95% wanting policy changes, but not so when the top 5% have been reaping all the benefits?


    Because what the 95% want (taking that number just for the sake of argument) is still thieving. Taking it from the 5% does not make the whole society wealthier.

  • kiazin||

    The 2002 pay rate for members of congress is $150,000 per year. Rate
    for Leaders is $161,200 per year; Rate for Speaker is $186,300 per
    year.

    Congressional Pay Rates
    http://www.congresslink.org/sources/salaries.html

    In addition to their salary –

    “Members of Congress are also allowed to make an additional maximum 15
    percent of their salary from outside sources, like speaking, legal
    practice and consulting. In addition, they are allowed unlimited
    income from book royalties.”

    They also receive retirement and health benefits the same as any other
    government employee.

    Salaries and Benefits of U.S. Congress Members

    Including all tax returns that had a positive AGI [adjusted gross income], taxpayers with an AGI of $153,542 or more in 2006 constituted the nation's top 5 percent of earners. To break into the top 1 percent, a tax return had to have an AGI of $388,806 or more. The top-earning 25 percent of taxpayers [have an] AGI over $64,702."
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

    Imagine my surprise?

    Fox/Henhouse anyone?

  • sarcasmic||

    income != wealth

    What matters is what a person can get with that income.
    Did the average person in the 1970s have a cell phone, a personal computer connected to the internet, or an mp3 player?
    Most "poor" people have those things.
    What about frozen food? Frozen food was crap in the 1970s.

    Poor people today have it better than the average person did in the 1970s, and they live better than kings of antiquity.

    Turn off the emotion for a moment and engage your mind. That is what separates human beings from animals: the mind.

    Use it.

  • Tony||

    I happen to think that as a country becomes wealthier, that wealth should be shared by everyone. You can't convince me that only the top 5% have been productive in the last 30 years. Have the other 95% just been twiddling their thumbs the whole time, or might they have contributed somewhat to our shared prosperity, such as it is? They're the ones who buy most of the cell phones and computers after all.

    But you seem to be misinformed about just the level of poverty in this country. As much as 30% of the country can't afford a basic acceptable lifestyle, forget electronic trinkets.

    But let them eat mp3 players!

  • sarcasmic||

    Divisions in income are not static Tony.
    Some of that bottom 30% were once top 5%ers who made poor choices and lost their shirts. Many of that bottom 30% are people who are just starting out in life. They will move up the scale if they improve their knowledge and skills.

    You seem to feel that the poor will always be poor and the rich will always be rich. If you stop to think about it you will see that is not the case.

  • sarcasmic||

    Another thing Tony. Those 5%ers are the ones invested. They are the business owners and investors. They're the risk takers. They gamble on ideas. Good ideas turn a profit, bad ones do not. If they fail they could lose everything. All you stand to lose is your job. You go find another one. Yeah you do the labor, but it's the owner who has the capital and the idea. Without the capital and the idea the job would never exist.

  • Tony||

    If they fail they could lose everything.

    Wow. So a billionaire making a bad investment and losing a few million dollars is worse than a person losing his job and not being able to buy food? The "risk" taken on by the former justifies his compensation in a free market?

    And the value of capital in our society has gone up like 300% in the last 30 years, while the value of labor has gone up a mere 20% or so? There is no economic justification for this. The only possibility is that the top earners have arranged things this way.

    If the market values the work of people who produce nothing, who innovate nothing except financial instruments hundreds and thousands of times what it values people who actually do work, teach children, make stuff, etc., then what the fuck is the use of a free market?

  • sarcasmic||

    There aren't many billionaires so that is a poor example. The top 5% includes small business owners who might lose their home (and put all their employees out of work) if their business fails.

    "The only possibility is that the top earners have arranged things this way."

    No Tony, there are many other possible explanations. When you say "the only" you look like a complete fool.

    Those people you say are doing nothing are actually doing something very valuable. They are determining prices.

    Prices are everything.

  • Tony||

    No Tony, there are many other possible explanations. When you say "the only" you look like a complete fool.

    I suppose it could be the evil machinations of liberals and poor people and teachers that has landed most of the country's wealth in the pockets of their enemies. After all, not only is the parasitic underclass all-powerful, they are completely hapless.

    Those people you say are doing nothing are actually doing something very valuable. They are determining prices.

    Prices are everything.

    Hahaha. I'm sure that's a lot of comfort to the person who can't get an appendectomy because of no health coverage. I'm sorry, we had to give that money to billionaires, because they determine prices.

  • sarcasmic||

    "we had to give that money to billionaires"

    Do you mean Wall Street bailouts?

    That is called crony capitalism which is not the same as free markets unless your name is Tony and you are constructing a straw man to argue against.

  • ||

    As much as 30% of the country can't afford a basic acceptable lifestyle, forget electronic trinkets.

    That's going to require a link. I ride a bus with ghetto bangers every day of the week and I see all the gadgets they have.

  • SFC B||

    "Evidently, you care so much for the poor that you want to make everyone poor."

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  • ||

    Requiring people to buy healthcare in a free market of competing providers is qualitatively different from ObamaCare.

    And I read Bailey's piece as something like what Milton Friedman used to say about the Federal Reserve.

    Friedman's take on the Federal Reserve boiled down to--I don't think we should have a Federal Reserve, but if we're going to have one anyway, then here's what I think we should do...

    I don't think there's any question about Bailey preferring private enterprise and free markets--but that wasn't one of the options the Obama Administration was putting on the table at the time. ...and there's no question that BaileyCare was a substantively and qualitatively better proposal than ObamaCare.

    That's what I read Bailey's piece as saying. ...and just in case it's still unclear to anybody, at least understand this--if Bailey Care had gone through and the individual mandate part had been struck down? We'd have ourselves a free market healthcare system to fall back on!

    Once the individual mandate part of ObamaCare is struck down, the whole house of cards that is ObamaCare falls down with it--by the Obama Administration's own admission.

  • ||

    Ken Shultz: You nailed it. Thanks

  • DNS||

    Mr. Bailey, I understood the premise of your ideas: my point is it will take truly remarkable, galvanizing leadership to sell these ideas to voters. I interpreted it as something similar to having required insurance for a mortgaged home. One is not required to buy a home, as they can rent or, in some cases, squat. But buying a home requires the mortgagee to purchase homeowners insurance even if the home is a "used" home. That doesn't mean that I can't shop for rate quotes and select the best insurer myself, it just means that the issuer of the note can not dictate to me which insurance provider I have to select.

  • ||

    When I first read the headline, I thought it referred to George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life."

    I would imagine Ol' George's solution would be portrayed as more akin to Obamacare today while a free marketer's approach would bear the name "Pottercare," where men dropped dead in the street on the way to the whorehouse/opium den while their teary-eyed children implored them to save the last dime to buy a loaf of bread.

    Oh, and it'll be a musical as well.

  • Almanian||

    Doh! Great minds - I thought the same thing (see my comment a little downthread)

  • juris imprudent||

    You may actually have a concept that could be improved by having Michael Bay direct.

  • MJ||

    Chait's focus is on mandatory aspects of what Bailey was advocating and how that is the hook of the current constitutional objections to Obamacare. To that limited extent Chait has a point, but I don't think many people on the right (especially the libertarian provinces of the right) are terribly happy with government enforced health insurance mandates.

  • Bee Tagger||

    An additional frustration beyond simply misunderstanding (on purpose or by accident) what Bailey wrote is the thinking that leads one to the conclusion that a writer for a publication believes x so that must mean the publication (imagined as some sentient being) believes x and then anyone affiliated with the publication believes x. It's hard not to think that this reveals the existence of rigid ideological purity tests as places like The New Republic.

  • ||

    Bee Tagger: Excellent observation.

  • Almanian||

    Good stuff, this. Don't know which I'm enjoying more - Bailey's orig article (which I missed first time around), or Teh STOOPID exhibited by Chait and Yglesias.

    Oh, I am sure - it's the latter I enjoy more!

  • Almanian||

    Oh, also, I kept thinking while reading this that Bailey Falls would probably implement BaileyCare, but Potterville would not.

  • ||

    Stop stealing my shit!

  • ||

    It's Bedford Falls (and Pottersville). The Baileys were too humble to name a town after themselves.

  • Almanian||

    Right you are - thanks

  • ||

    You probably agree with Homer Simpson on schadenfreude..."Leave it to the Germans to take something perfectly nice and make it sound bad."

  • Jim||

    I'm saddened but not surprised that my proposal, JimCare, was not adopted despite my frequent submissions of it via flaming bags of dog poo on my congresspersons' front doorstep.

    In brief, there is no healthcare for anyone. By only allowing the naturally fit to survive, we will speed up human evolution, thus resulting in progressively less need for healthcare. It's an exponential curve. It also has the benefit of being COMPLETELY free.

  • Tony||

    You're just saying what everyone is thinking. Libertarianism is at heart a eugenicist movement.

  • DNS||

    Libertarianism is at heart a eugenicist movement.

    Margaret Sanger and Oliver Wendell Holmes are far from what would be defined as "classic liberals." You, however, make a strong argument that we indeed have one too many generations of imbeciles.

  • ||

    Libertarianism is at heart a eugenicist movement.
    Margaret Sanger and Oliver Wendell Holmes are far from what would be defined as "classic liberals."

    There seems to be a consistent pattern of people on the left imputing to their ideological opponents views that they themselves are tied to. Any leftists with even the scantiest knowledge of history should know better than to start accusing others of supporting eugenics.

  • juris imprudent||

    Any leftists with even the scantiest knowledge of history

    Lefties don't read history, they write fictional accounts of it, e.g. Zinn.

  • Tony||

    Why, because we're lumped in with a selection of lunatic despots who happened to believe in a degree of socialism just like every country on earth has?

    Anyway, what I mean is that libertarianism, though it rarely says so out loud, is essentially condemnatory of the poor and thinks they deserve their fate. Along with this comes a substantial amount of sycophancy toward the wealthy, who are, by virtue of their wealth alone, Randian supermen.

    I think you just want the undeserving to go away, and you guys often illustrate this attitude in your rather eugenicist language--calling teachers and firefighters and the poor parasites is a favorite pastime.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    "Anyway, what I mean is that libertarianism, though it rarely says so out loud, is essentially condemnatory of the poor and thinks they deserve their fate. Along with this comes a substantial amount of sycophancy toward the wealthy, who are, by virtue of their wealth alone, Randian supermen"

    None of that is true. You are lying.

  • ||

    You heartless prick, can't you read?

    Tony said "
    "Anyway, what I mean is that libertarianism, though it rarely says so out loud"

    He doesn't even need to hear you say it, he knows you think it. Tony can read minds, and he is much smarter then everyone else here. His insightful and eloquent posts with their faultless logic have caused me to reject my free market dogma. I now love the State.

  • Jim||

    Believe it or not Tony, I disagree with you, but not in the way that you'd expect.

    I think pretty much almost all libertarians, like many others, do care about the well-being of others, and just disagree with you about the means to increase that well-being (free markets v. gov't control of everything).

    I, personally, do not care. I'm not saying I'm morally correct (if there is such a thing as perfectly objective morals), but honestly, I don't know you. I don't know your family. And I don't care (personally) if any of you starve to death on the street. I am concerned with my family and friends, and helping them to thrive. Anything which robs me of some my ability to do that (taxes) I am against. I don't WANT my money to help homeless people, or sick people, or anyone else that I'm not directly concerned with. And I don't think anyone else has the right to FORCE me to care, which is what taxes do.

  • Tony||

    Jim, you express a perfectly rational human moral sentiment. Humans just aren't wired to care about people outside their immediate sphere. Even the bleedingest-heart liberals physically cannot care more about a million strangers in another country than they do about their immediate family. In fact, a human being tends to be more bothered by a hangnail than mass suffering in a distant land. It's how we're built.

    But I'm not asking you to adopt an unnatural level of human compassion. I'm asking you to see that ensuring that poverty is mitigated is very much in your own best interest. For one, random circumstances might make you poor, and you'd benefit from the system. For two, having lots of poor people wandering the streets makes your society less stable and hence your livelihood more precarious. so you either have to depend on other people being unnaturally charitable in order to have a decent society to live in, or you have to recognize that to an extent we're all in it together.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Humans just aren't wired to care about people outside their immediate sphere.


    "So we must make them care, comrade!"

    I'm asking you to see that ensuring that poverty is mitigated is very much in your own best interest.


    Depends on what you mean by "poverty". Many of the "poor" living in the US are wealthy by Mexican standards, and filthy rich by Bangladeshi standards.

    For one, random circumstances might make you poor, and you'd benefit from the system.


    Yeah, one can be randomly stupid and lose everything, thus benefiting from your stupidity by Tony's system. No need to learn from your mistakes or anything: you will be taken care of by Daddy State.

    For two, having lots of poor people wandering the streets makes your society less stable and hence your livelihood more precarious.


    The statist paranoid mind, in a nutshell.

  • Tony||


    Depends on what you mean by "poverty". Many of the "poor" living in the US are wealthy by Mexican standards, and filthy rich by Bangladeshi standards.

    The US is the wealthiest country on earth. It can afford to have higher standards than Bangladesh. We just have to decide whether some of that wealth is applied to meeting those standards or, as is the case now, it all goes to the top 5% so they can buy hookers and coke. Neither of these scenarios is the product of a free market, so it comes down to a moral choice.

    Yeah, one can be randomly stupid and lose everything, thus benefiting from your stupidity by Tony's system. No need to learn from your mistakes or anything: you will be taken care of by Daddy State.

    If a crate falls on you and cripples you at work, making you unable to earn a living, does that make you stupid? Should you just shut up and die because of the random forces of nature? The whole reason organized societies exist is because this is the least appealing alternative, except to you.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The US is the wealthiest country on earth. It can afford to have higher standards than Bangladesh. We just have to decide whether some of that wealth is applied to meeting those standards or, as is the case now, it all goes to the top 5% so they can buy hookers and coke.


    Ah. I see.

    World, meet again the halfwit who thinks money equals wealth.

    If a crate falls on you and cripples you at work, making you unable to earn a living, does that make you stupid?


    Makes me a cripple - just that. But you're kidding yourself by thinking a cripple cannot work.

    Again, you want to think that work is toil. You're a romantic fool.

  • Tony||

    And you want to think these weak evasions actually constitute an argument.

  • Jim||

    I appreciate your giving a calm and thought-out response.

    I'm not fundamentally disagreeing with what you're saying. It just comes down to the matter of force. I don't remember who, but someone (in defense of suspending civil liberties in order to fight terrorism IIRC) in gov't once said, "The constitution is not a suicide pact". Well, I believe it is. I honestly would rather the American empire crumble into dust, than have it devolve any further than it already has into a force-based institution. I'd rather have instability than someone with absolute, monopolistic power telling me I must contribute so much of my income to such and such a cause. It's like enforced church tithing in the Middle Ages.

    You probably disagree with that sentiment. That is why I have several guns (not threatening; as in, if enough people agreed that we should be forced to do these things, and invaded my home in order to make it happen).

  • Tony||

    I'd rather have instability than someone with absolute, monopolistic power telling me I must contribute so much of my income to such and such a cause.

    If our representative democracy were to fail, you would not get a paradise of individual liberty. There will be something to take its place. It has always been thus. It will most likely not be a representative democracy, but something much more like the kind of autocracy you are worried about. Sure it entails force. Every society does. Even a society of 10 people, if they want to get along for any length of time. That's because there are vanishingly few choices you make that don't have an impact on other people. That's life. You have to accept a measure of coercion. Be glad it's via a democratic process rather than totally forced on you.

  • Jim||

    "You have to accept a measure of coercion. Be glad it's via a democratic process rather than totally forced on you."

    No. I do not have to accept it. I would rather live by my wits and daring in what I'm sure you'd consider to be some kind of post-apocolyptic hellscape, than to endure a police state. Which is what more and more gov't regulation leads to. You realize that we all break at least 1 law, pretty much every day? Even if it's just speeding, or jaywalking, or buying something with cash at a merchant who may not report it on his taxes. Hell, LYING to a federal official, even when not under oath, is a crime. Open your eyes, man. The machinery is being put in place as we speak.

    And even a democracy is just an organized mob-rule. If 51% of the people voted to shoot you in the face, is that action now morally legitmate?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    If our representative democracy were to fail, you would not get a paradise of individual liberty.


    The US is not a representative democracy, it's a republic.

    Sure it entails force. Every society does.


    Liar.

    Even a society of 10 people, if they want to get along for any length of time.


    That would have to be a society of barbarians then, if they need an external force to coerce them into politeness.

  • Tony||

    The US is not a representative democracy, it's a republic.

    Meaning what? You usually hear people whining about this distinction at right-wing sites, with the obvious implication that we should therefore vote Republican. I use these terms loosely because it really doesn't fucking matter, but feel free to explain why you think it does.

    Liar.

    Name one society that doesn't require force to operate. Fuck, just imagine you with a neighbor who doesn't like you and wants your sheep. Force and coercion are a part of life. Pretending otherwise is a good indication that you're out to lunch and nobody should take your ideas seriously.

    That would have to be a society of barbarians then, if they need an external force to coerce them into politeness.

    Etiquette works for its own sphere. What happens when those 10 people have to figure out how to divide work and resources, or how to punish people for disobeying rules? Governments emerge organically from human nature as social animals. Our job is to make sure it's a good government, not fantasize about utopias.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    No. It's not. You're lying. And that's just terrible.

  • ||

    Is this the "Organic Girl" redux we've all been patiently awaiting?

  • Paul||

    Nitpick on the alt-text... 'Acupuncture' is with one 'c', not two.

  • adam||

    Bailey = Romney?

  • ||

    Way to go everyone. Tony has actually beat his dick raw before noon.

  • NL||

    I think the real takeaway from this and other Chait-splosions against Reason is that lefties to consider it worth their time to smear libertarians.

  • ||

    The fact that kids enjoy squashing and frying ants doesn't mean they respect them.

  • Old Mexican||

    The whopper of the day:

    Government is the only entity that represents the interests of the people as people.


    As expressed by our village idiot, Tony.

    Clearly, he has NO idea of what "government" means. Certainly it is NOT to "represent" people. Not historically, not by concept, not even Constitutionally.

  • alan||

    The man said to let private research die. Why the Hell are you even bothering to read his post?

  • alan||

    To the next question, I read Baily's reply to that nonsense.

  • ||

    Wow, it's hard to believe Bailey's original article made it past the Kochtopus tentacles. They won't make the same mistake again, I'll wager.

  • ||

    The key problem is that the madate has very high mandatory minimums and forbids risk-based pricing.

    It would not be nearly as terrible if it only mandated a minimal high-deductible plan, priced according to individual risk.

    The current system forces you to make a bad bet by buying insurance at rates that are often above your actuarial risk.

  • J||

    That's one thing a lot of people seem to miss. They always call it a "minimal insurance" requirement, but it requires everyone to buy comprehensive insurance.

    Those supporting the bill say it's because people should carry their own weight. But, by forcing people who don't need comprehensive insurance to buy it, the effect is the young and healthy are subsidizing everyone else.

    However, supporters vehemently deny that the mandatory insurance provision is in actuality wealth distribution.

  • ||

    Why does anyone even engage with Tony anymore? Every time I soundly disprove his argument that libertarianism would lead to massive poverty and domination by the elite, and point out that his own philosophy has done this very thing, he either runs off or resorts to the straw man. It's really a waste of time.

    Tony - for the last freaking time: In a libertarian society there are no special protections for the wealthy and the corporate elite to violate the personal and property rights of individuals, unlike the current system where they simply can buy loopholes from politicians and regulate their competition out of existence while limiting liability for themselves and their actors behind a government-created corporate veil that socializes their externalities. Emphasis on GOVERNMENT-CREATED.

    I don't expect you to be able to process such a concept with only three brain cells or less.

  • ||

    It's like arguing with a Moonie sometimes.

    I've had more productive arguments with creationists.

  • Tony||

    In a libertarian society there are no special protections for the wealthy and the corporate elite to violate the personal and property rights of individuals

    And how would that work? Just saying it doesn't make it so. The fact that they go to the bother of rent seeking and such indicates that in the absence of restrictions they'd engage in the abuses anyway. And the abuses would be legitimized since they wouldn't be prevented!

    You're defending a system that you made up in your head and is thus free to be perfect. The fact is you'd have to have far more restrictive regulations than we have now if you actually wanted to prevent monopolistic and abusive behavior on the part of businesses, which I'm all for.

  • ||

    There would be no government corporate legal entity, therefore all individuals would be fully liable for violating the rights of others instead of receiving such protection for the minimal cost of incorporation. Thus to start a big business, one would need to purchase liability insurance to protect the personal property of the business owners from potential future lawsuit claimants (customers, workers, nearby residents, etc.) hurt by the actions of their business. The bigger you get, the riskier and thus more expensive that gets, and the more dangerous the business or the worse the track record, the cost of insurance goes up even more, as it does for bad drivers. Large enterprise thus becomes more difficult to manage and the removal of legal and regulatory red tape makes it easier and more preferable for individuals to start small businesses or become independent contractors. A true free market combined with no artificial liability limits and strict rights enforcement would more closely resemble a nation of shopkeepers than the monopolistic nightmare you claim it would.

    The system you prop up stifles small enterprise and the poor, because they simply don't have the connections to influence their political masters who determine the rules for their industry. The government can essentially bar poor people from starting low overhead, small scale food businesses or makeshift barbershops, and advocates of this like you laughably claim to be progressives. Those that have those connections are going to use it to rent-seek, often by imposing legislation like Obama's Wall Street reform bill, which makes it easier for companies like Goldman Sachs to dominate the market by creating barriers to entry to competitors. If the government is not involved in managing the economy and is not handing out subsidies and contracts, business has very little reason to attempt to influence the course of it. It's mindnumbingly dumb of the modern Left to believe somehow increasing the government management of the economy can simultaneously decrease the level of elite and corporate influence over the direction of that management. These are very simple and stunningly obvious concepts that seem to go over the head of such supposedly well-intentioned people as yourself.

  • ||

    ...once again proving my point that when Tony has no answer to you, he runs away. No point in debating him.

  • John Calhoun||

    Your posts are always well appreciated however, you have a way of putting things perfectly which has encouraged me to save a number of your comments for reference or future use more than almost any other sole regular around here.

  • ||

    Leaving the issue of which plan is superior--Obamacare or the Reason plan--How could you argue for a MANDATE!?

    Don't you know that is unconstitutional!

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