A Raw Deal in Massachusetts


Scott Brown's campaign has been telling Massachusetts voters that the candidate opposes national health care reform on the grounds that it would prove a "raw deal" for voters in his home state. A Brown spokesman told Politico's Ben Smith:

"In Massachusetts, 98 percent of residents are covered by insurance through our own state reforms. The plan is not perfect, and we need to get costs down, but we have already achieved near-universal coverage. There is nothing for us in a national plan except higher taxes and more spending to finance coverage expansions in other states. It's a raw deal for Massachusetts."

Judging by this report at The Daily Caller, that's a sentiment shared by a lot of Massachusetts residents.

Brown gained ground by arguing that because the state already has near-universal coverage, Massachusetts taxpayers don't need to pay more for the rest of the country to get it too.

"Scott Brown has repeatedly been saying, 'Why do we need to pay for this? We already have our plan and now we're going to pay for everyone else to be covered,'" Paleologos said.

It's worth noting, though, that by many measures the Massachusetts plan itself has been a raw deal for the state's residents. As I've noted elsewhere, its overall costs are ballooning out of control, with state insurance commissioners and independent analysts warning that, without significant changes, the program is probably not sustainable. Meanwhile, the state's insurance premiums are the highest in the country, and more double-digit rate hikes are expected.

Supporters of the program point to its uninsured rate, the lowest in the nation. But as a new study from University of Kentucky economist Aaron Yelowitz and Cato's Michael Cannon indicates, that figure may not be quite the selling point it seems:

We find evidence that Massachusetts' individual mandate induces uninsured residents to conceal their true insurance status. Even setting that source of bias aside, we find the official estimate reported by the Commonwealth almost certainly overstates the law's impact on insurance coverage, likely by 45 percent. In contrast to previous studies, we find evidence of substantial crowdout of private coverage among low-income adults and children. The law appears to have compressed self-reported health outcomes, without necessarily improving overall health. Our results suggest that more than 60 percent fewer young adults are relocating to Massachusetts as a result of the law. Finally, we conclude that leading estimates understate the law's cost by at least one third, and likely more.

The study looks at the survey methodology used to figure out how many individuals in the state are insured and concludes that there's strong circumstantial evidence that the results are skewed toward overcounting the number of insured. Why? Because the state's individual mandate makes it illegal to be uninsured, meaning individuals are less likely to admit that they aren't. It's difficult to definitively determine the exact effects of this sort of bias, but Yellowitz and Cannon make a good case that the 98-percent-insured figure is probably off by quite a bit.

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  1. “It’s worth noting, though, that by many measures the Massachusetts plan itself has been a raw deal for the state’s residents.”

    But that is neither here nor there. Brown isn’t running for state office. For better or worse, the people of Massachusetts have decided to cover the people in their state. And Brown is exactly right to point out that it is not in their interest to pay more taxes to cover people in Mississippi.

    1. But… but… the Bible says my brother’s keeper… and, um, separation of church and state!

      1. That’s such a cliche. I prefer: We’re all in this together.

        1. yur doin it wrong

          Like THIS!

    2. John, is your dismissiveness of Massachusetts’ taxpayer funded healthcare a result of Brown having supported it? Let’s change what you said and make it, for better or worse, the people of the U.S. have decided to cover the people in their country. Is it still okay?

      1. You completely miss the point. It is not about whether it is okay or not. It is about whether it is relevant. If we had such a health care policy and someone wanted to tax the US to give insurance to everyone in the world, it would be absolutely appropriate to say that it is against our interest to fund other people’s insurance when we already pay for our own citizens’ insurance. That fact says nothing either way about the wisdom of our own policy.

        1. I understand that completely. What I was trying to suggest, John, is that your Republican bias is very obvious once again. You overlook a multitude of evils due to the big R after his name. This is the type of thing you love to bash dems about and you give the republican a pass.

          1. Bullshit. I don’t overlook anything. I just point out that narrowly speaking, Brown is right on this point. I have often criticized Romeny as a do nothing suit whose only accomplishment is the disastrous Masscare. And I have also on numerous occasions said that I have no idea if Brown is any good. But that you should vote for him anyway as a vote against Coakley and her abysmal record as a prosecutor and State AG. I have never claimed that Brown was a great guy or candidate. I honestly don’t know. I just know Coakley sucks and deserves to lose.

            So go find bias somewhere else.

            1. I’ll use your argument again. This time about Coakley. She’s not running for prosecutor or state office. The people decided they needed her as prosecutor and AG, for better or worse.

              1. And she abused that position and did horrible things. It would be nice if she wasn’t rewarded for that behavior with a Senate seat. Whatever Brown’s sins, and maybe he does love Masscare I don’t know, they don’t rise to the level of Coakleys. If you care about civil liberties and the rights of the accused, you should want to see Coakley lose even if that means Brown and his less than perfect views wins.

                But maybe you hate Republicans so much that you will forgive any sin when committed by a Democrat. But, I am not that way.

                1. I don’t like either one. I wouldn’t vote for either one of them. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

                  1. If you thank Brown is evil, you might want to reconsider you definition of “evil”. Mistaken probably, but evil is a bit much.

                  2. And if by not voting you help Coakley win, don’t you in some way bear some responsibility in her winning? Suppose David Duke were running against a nanny Republican. You would honestly refuse to vote and let someone like Duke win?

                    1. How is it helping either one of them win if I don’t vote for either one? A vote for Kennedy, in this case, is just that. It is a vote for Kennedy. Nothing more, nothing less. If all the people voting for Brown in protest voted for Kennedy instead, it certainly would increase Kennedy’s chances. It may have brought over more independants that are uncomfortable with Coakley that also didn’t want to vote for a Republican.

                    2. If just everyone else would give up their view and agree with you we would all have a merry Christmas. Again you assume that only you hold sincere views and everyone else either agrees with you or is just being stupid. Maybe the people who are voting from Brown and not for Kennedy have as many problems with Kennedy as you do with Brown?

                      But no, they should vote for Kennedy and swallow their beliefs because you know best right? Again, if you would bother to try to see things from the other side or convince anyone you might do better.

                    3. John, I don’t think that’s the point of what brotherben is saying.

                      He is simply pointing out that saying “If you don’t vote for Brown it’s your fault if Coakley wins” means that it is equally true that “If you don’t vote for Kennedy it’s your fault if Coakley wins”.

                      If people have to give up the candidate of their choice or be guilty, that goes for Brown’s people just as much as anyone else.

                    4. This is the one case where the facts are really clear. You can vote for Brown and Obamacare goes down and the Dems no longer can do much. Given that, I don’t see how you can justify a protest vote. Again, be practical. Vote in protest where it will do some good or at least will do no harm. In this case it does real harm.

                    1. That’s so sweet! Thanks for thinking of me ; )

                  3. You must never vote for any D or R on the ballot if that’s your standard.

                    1. I hate strategic voting. Your vote is not going to decide the election. Write in Mickey Mouse for all I care.

  2. “Our results suggest that more than 60 percent fewer young adults are relocating to Massachusetts as a result of the law.”

    Ohh, that’s a recipe for economic growth.

    1. I actually was considering a job in Massachusetts briefly. The extra $3200 a year to get insurance from Massachusetts definitely showed up when I was considering the costs of living there, as did the income taxes. I can’t say I decided against it because of the mandatory health insurance there, but it definitely didn’t help.

  3. BTW, here is a nice list of Brown’s accomplishments in the Ma. Senate. Lots of handouts and wealth redistribution. He looks to be a tax and spend nannyist republican. And this is from his own website. not a smear piece.

    At some point, I think Libertarians and truly small govt tea party folks are gonna have to vote for the candidate that best mirrors their own views. As long as the least worst person gets the votes, the movement will be stagnant.

    1. I agree, but this particular election has much broader implications. Usually, I think that voting limited government candidate/LP makes the most sense.

      1. I’m tired of the argument that we should vote for the least worst of the two major party candidates because of the implications. Not voting for an LP candidate means the LP will always be marginalized when push comes to shove. I don’t have any love for the LP, but why continue to prop up the D & R by any means?

        1. But this is not a typical case. There’s no clear GOP win in all of this, after all. Just a possible victory against the status quo.

          In the vast majority of cases, voting for the right guy is the correct course of action. I generally vote LP, when possible, but I may very well vote straight GOP for Congress to undo the situation in DC right now. I think we’re reaching a crisis in our political system, where we can either rebel against the continued growth of the state, or we can submit. The Republicans are dangerous in their own way, but the current bunch seems far worse.

          1. Oh come on. In election after election, we are told “in a perfect world, you could vote your principles, but in THIS ELECTION, the implications are TOO BROAD and the stakes are TOO HIGH — we all have to band together and support /* insert major-party empty-suit candidate’s name here */”

            At some point, people have to step up and say “no” to the fear of imminent disaster if they dare to jump the rails that the GOP and Demos have so carefully laid for us. If you are not normally taken in by this scam but have bought it this time, I’m sorry for you. If you are just being disingenuous, and merely trying to appear principled and reasonable in order to gull the rubes, shame on you.

            1. Maybe you should just be practical and vote your principles when it does some good or at least doesn’t do any harm. Voting your principles in this election and helping Coakley win and the Dems achieve their goals does a lot of harm.

              1. Mmm. Pragmatism and focusing on the outcome. Sounds suspiciously like utilitarianism.

            2. Nah, I don’t buy that argument generally. It’s too vague, and plays too much of a role in preserving the status quo of not-so-limited government. This time, there’s a specific gain to be had in voting for this joker. He wins, a number of Democrats in Congress are likely to run for cover. It could even derail the healthcare bill. I think it’s worth a wasted vote this time around.

              1. There is nothing that says being practical with your vote means buying into vague promises. This may be the only time you should throw out your principles. But it is such a time nonetheless.

                1. I’m not throwing out my principles. I’m not in Massachusetts, of course, but if I were, I think there’s a difference between a defensive move to help restore gridlock and to block that God-awful healthcare crap and dedicating my time and resources to advocating Brown’s general views. I’m tossing my pawn away to save my queen.

                  1. We have a smart, hispanic libertarian candidate, named kennedy in mass. He’s not weird or misshapen in any way. Kennedy is getting national coverage because of this close race, so I agree with everyone else here,let’s throw him under the bus and vote for the man that will save freedom Scott fuckin’ A Brown.
                    Oh Yeah, he spent most of his time in the private sector.

                    1. I think the healthcare bill is enough to take defensive action, but it’s your election, not mine. I’ve wasted and will continue to waste most of my votes on LP and libertarian candidates. For the same reason. But I think this is a special case.

    2. brotherben,

      Thanks for pointing out the paltry list of Wall Street TeaBagger Brown’s accomplishments. If anti-Satanist heroine Coakley had been in office in his stead, I can assure you the list of programs helping the working poor would be 5 or 10 times as long! And I bet Brown has never had his commissars beat up a fascist reporter, either!

    3. Of course he is a nannyist Republican. He is running in Massachusetts. They love that shit up there. But it is not like Coakley is anything different. And Brown will at least kill Obamacare. It is called the lesser of two evils.

    4. “At some point, I think Libertarians and truly small govt tea party folks are gonna have to vote for the candidate that best mirrors their own views. As long as the least worst person gets the votes, the movement will be stagnant.”

      No. At some point they are going to have to convince more voters to agree with them. Brown is a nannyist because that shit sells in Massachusetts. Until that changes, your choices will be nanny and nannyer. A protest vote doesn’t change anything. Go out and convince people of your views and the elections will take care of themselves.

    5. Vote for whomever the GOP puts on the ballot! That’s the only way we will ever get liberty! You libertards seem to think that someone cares about your principles. The truth is that you think to much. Follow the crowd! Who cares if Brown will raise taxes and increase spending? At least it won’t be a Dumbocrat doing the taxing and spending! There will be asmall government candidate on the next ballot, so don’t worry about it. If you libertarians had any brains you will be running statist thugs yourself, and maybe winning an election or two.

      Do what the GOP tells you and no one will get hurt!

      1. The solution is clearly to do everything you can to get Coakley in office. That will show them.

    6. irrelevant. this election is not about principles (at least, not ones that matter to people here) but about dividing the government. two groups of mutually hating nannists can accomplish much less than one group where everyone gets along.

    7. As long as the least worst person gets the votes, the movement will be stagnant.

      Since the system is binary, which preferable:

      (1) The least worst person gets the votes, or

      (2) The worst person gets the votes?

  4. “You should not drink and bake!”

    1. i’m sorry, but i need the beer to rid me of drymouth.

  5. Because the state’s individual mandate makes it illegal to be uninsured,

    You gotta license to be breathin’ here, boy? Didja pay yo’ permit fee?

  6. A protest vote doesn’t change anything.

    I am pretty sure that a fair amount of votes for Obama and the dems were protest votes.

    While you’re trying to convince people of your views and commitment to small government, how do you reconcile to them that voting for one nanny of another is the right thing? If everyone voted their conscience instead of trying to vote for the winner or against someone, would more small govt types win elections?

    1. Has it ever occurred to you that people do vote their consciences and they just don’t agree with you? A lot of people believe in parts of the libertarian agenda, but very few people are strict libertarians.

      Instead of dismissing them as sellouts, you might try engaging them and giving them at least the credit for holding sincere views. Running around smugly claiming that you are the only one with a conscience isn’t likely to get you far.

    2. And you also might try to compromise once in a while instead of purging anyone who doesn’t hold the perfect ideological view. And maybe make alliances of convenience where you can. You know try to get something accomplished rather than just score points and south your precious conscience.

      1. This isn’t about purging anyone. I am not trying to judge the strength of their views. I am suggesting that they vote for the candidate that best fits those views.It is about principle. Compromise on strategy, never on principle. Voting for a nannyist is compromising on principle, even if it is done to try to keep a bigger idgit out of office.

        1. For the fifth time on this thread. They don’t agree with you. They like Brown. You act like everyone agrees with you and just are not smart enough to vote for the right guy. No, they are plenty smart and know exactly who to vote for. And you will continue to be in the wilderness until you manage to convince a few people to agree with you. In the mean time running around doing what you can to see the worst candidate win, doesn’t help much.

          1. Great. They like Brown better. It’s easy to do considering the dem in the race. As long as small govt folks vote for big government folks to keep bigger government people from winning, this wilderness will not be a lonely place. Since I have run out of ways to make the same point, I’ll give in and stop arguing with you.

            1. If Brown wins, obamacare doesn’t get passed and the Congress, rather than passing cap and theft and card check and God knows what else will degenerate into a do nothing mud fight for the next year. What exactly is the downside of that?

              I just don’t understand why you are so pissed off.

              1. John, I am not pissed of at all. If Brown is elected and if it puts a stop to the Obamachine, that is a good thing, no doubt. But it does nothing to disrupt the coming Republican theft of more rights in the name of security. In fact, it probably gives it more strength.

                1. The Democrats promised to end the Republican abuses of rights in the name of security such as they are. And they have totally broken those promises. And yet you don’t seem to want to punish them for it. In fact you want to reward them by advocating people wasting their vote and helping Coakley win.

                  At what point do you hold Dems accountable for their promises? You have such venom against Republicans but none for Dems.

                  1. Jesus fuckin Christ John! You aren’t usually this goddamned stupid. The Democrats are terrible. The Republicans are terrible. Voting for either one does nothing to help get us away from terrible representation. Yes, we may be able to control the type of assholes that have the power in the D.C. but you know what? They are still assholes. If we are ever gonna have a smaller, less intrusive government it will be because we started voting for it. It won’t be because we simply changed to a different brand of douche.

                    1. And it won’t be because people like you went made stupid protest votes that allowed one side to get 60 votes in the Senate. Are you so stupid that you don’t realize that there is a time and a place for a protest vote?

                      Apparently not. You obviously would rather see Obamacare pass and have something to bitch about than make any progress towards anything.

            2. I do think there is a legitimate argument to be made in favor of Brown, not because he’s just fractionally not as big government as Coakley, but because he is the 41st vote against this health care nonsense. That is THE issue. Stopping this disaster is crucial. It’s been said before, but the goal for Dems is to get their foot in the door, and expand later.

              Things are as close as they could be right now, and I’d rather see the bill go down in flames than see more votes for Kennedy. He’ll probably pick up a bunch of votes from confused/stupid Dems anyway.

              1. I think that this is the reason that might convince me to vote Brown if I lived in MA. But I don’t. And I have sworn never again to vote D or R in any general election for a national office.

                Keeping either party from having 60 votes in the senate is a worthy goal, regardless of who the asshole you are electing is.

          2. Well, John, I for one hope Brown wins, but you’re definitely selling me on one thing:

            If Republicans really do like big-government, nanny state, torture-happy Republicans better, then fuck ’em – who cares if the Democrats win and fuck them over? Who cares if we get good government or not? Good government has to be for someone, John, and if the entire citizenry is composed of fuckwads then I prefer bad government that makes them suffer, if I can personally avoid the consequences of that bad government. [Of course, that’s the hard part.]

            1. Gee generalize much? I don’t think it is a Republican or Democrat thing, I think it is a Massachusetts thing. The people up there like a bigger government. Since I don’t live there, I really don’t care what kind of health care system they have. That is their business.

              See, I actually believe in federalism. I don’t spend my life obsessing about the politics of people I don’t know and places I don’t live. And moreover, I actually have respect for other people’s autonomy and don’t wish them ill because they think differently than me. If the people of Mass want masscare, good for them, I wish them well. It is called being open minded. You should try it sometime.

        2. Aren’t you the guy who admits to being on welfare? Should you really be lecturing anybody else on principles?

          1. Don’t be mean. He simply has no marketable skills. That, and he’s too lazy but not too lazy to comment here all day. Every. Day.

          2. I assume that you’re talking to me. Yes I recieve a gubmint disability check every month. My life is subsidized by taxes. Yup. I guess I better keep my yap shut. Ya’ll have a good day. I’m out.

            Oh BTW, I assume you get not a pennie’s worth of benefit from taxes the government collects? Principles and all you know.

          3. That was directed toward brothben, stupid threaded comment gap.

            1. Quite a difference between driving on public roads and actively seeking welfare.

              1. I’ll make you and anonymousguy above a deal. You outline for me the rules about how much and what type of taxpayer funded services I am allowed to use along with what level of wealth production I must maintain to be a citizen in your world. Be honest and completely serious. If you will do that and make the list accurately reflect your beliefs and principles, I will abstain from commenting here in any form under any name until I fall within your guidelines. Show your work so there are no misunderstandings on my part as I am a bit of a dullard and very lazy as well.

              2. Yes I am waiting for your guidelines on the productivity of people wanting to engage in discourse about politics. I’ll check back later. I look forward to your answer. That or are you just another troll that enjoys belittling those unable to produce enough wealth to fit you criteria?

            2. stupid threaded comment


              1. No, hating threaded comments is not part of the drinking game. Though threaded comments may drive some of us to drink.

                1. I’ve added the rule, you heard? We libertarians like to drink. We like excuses to drink. There are lots of comments about threaded comments. So there.

                  1. Sounds like a scam to me.

        3. In this case, voting for Brown IS strategy.

          There are very few elections that are as important as this one is. In 99% of the cases I would say vote for the person you agree with most — but here you have to do lesser of two weevils.

  7. Certain law schools ask graduates if they’ve been offered a job; responding is optional. But, if you respond, it’s printed in the graduation program. The statistics they tout to US News and elsewhere = the percentage of SURVEY RESPONDENTS w/ job offers. Good way to move from 60% employment to 98%.

  8. we find evidence of substantial crowdout of private coverage among low-income adults and children.


  9. The study looks at the survey methodology used to figure out how many individuals in the state are insured and concludes that there’s strong circumstantial evidence that the results are skewed toward overcounting the number of insured. Why? Because the state’s individual mandate makes it illegal to be uninsured, meaning individuals are less likely to admit that they aren’t.

    Further evidence that the State cannot have the knowledge necessary to fulfill people’s needs. Given the incentives to lie, people will lie.

  10. It’s the same reason I’m always skeptical of drug use numbers: Hey, tell us if you’ve been doing something that’ll get you thrown in jail! It’s anonymous! Really! And we’re not law enforcement agents at all! We’re scientists! So, whaddya say, buddy? Toke up lately?

    1. I am always skeptical of those to. They also never try to square those numbers with the estimates of how big the drug trade actually is. No one has ever explained to me how the illegal drug trade is hundreds of billions of dollars, yet only crack whores and deadbeat teenagers use drugs. That money is coming from somewhere and it is not just welfare checks and teenager’s allowances.

      1. It would be very interesting to see an attempt to square drug survey numbers with the estimates of the total size of the drug market. If I recall correctly, most of the survey results do indicate that the majority of drug use is by people other than the usual crack whores and street junkies, but I agree that the numbers are rather suspect. Most drug users are invisible because they don’t get into trouble and ruin their lives.

        1. Exactly. Lots of people use drugs for recreation. And they never get hooked or become degenerate addicts. And they never get caught because they are otherwise law abiding people who never come up on the police radar screen.

          There is a tremendous amount of lying and hypocrisy about drugs. But of course if we told the truth we might have to admit that people are responsible for their own actions and addicts are just degenerates rather than victims. And we can’t have that.

  11. Our results suggest that more than 60 percent fewer young adults are relocating to Massachusetts as a result of the law

    Can they provide any more data than that? What is this based on? What kind of young people? Are they moving to RI and NH instead? That would be a very damning indictment of Masscare if it were a number I could trust.

    1. More specifically but less generally, it’s that more than 60 percent fewer less young adults are relocating to MA compared to more older adults, which is 40 percent less greater than last year, more or less.

      I can’t make that any clearer.

  12. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01…..beral.html

    The characteristics that define one’s political orientation are also at the fore of certain jobs, the sociologists reported. Nearly half of the political lopsidedness in academia can be traced to four characteristics that liberals in general, and professors in particular, share: advanced degrees; a nonconservative religious theology (which includes liberal Protestants and Jews, and the nonreligious); an expressed tolerance for controversial ideas; and a disparity between education and income.

    1. Saw that article. Headline is something like “Professors tend to lean left” and I’m like, that’s news?

  13. Classic arguments from other posts (ok, not classic because it is just from a few posts ago, but it does put the socialist thinking in a nutshell)

    Re: Chad,

    OM, as long as your definition of “freedom” logically leads to the conclusion that a lone man starving on a desert island is more “free” than a multi-billionaire Wall Street banker,

    But that’s the problem for you, Chad – it does NOT logically lead to that conclusion. A person starving in the desert is JUST AS FREE as a banker in Wall Street. The difference is that they have different WANTS AND NEEDS, but having wants and needs does not preclude being free.

    Freedom is not simply the abscence of restriction by law.

    Of course it is not that. Freedom means the ability to act without undue restrictions – does not matter where they come from, if from legislated regulations or from some asshole busybody . . . you know, like a socialist.

    1. Freedom is not simply the abscence of restriction by law.

      1. I thought it was nothing left to lose.

  14. I don’t know if anyone here can answer this question, but why does the Cato study only rely on survey data to measure the number of uninsured? When I fill out my MA State Tax form, I’m required to submit an insurance provider id# as well as member numbers for my family. I’m fairly sure the insurance provider submits this information to the state as well. So couldn’t the number of insured (or uninsured) be computed from data provided by the Commonwealth Treasury Dept. (or whatever it’s called)?

    I would think that people would be less inclined to lie on their taxes than they would on a survey.

  15. I am posting this here and wherever I can, because it completely destroys the myth espoused by the left that without a State, you cannot have binding agreements and rights (this is Tony’s favorite canard)

    One of the biggest myths is that China managed to succeed with heavy central planning on the one hand and no property rights on the other ? an impossibility unless China had found a new way of doing things!

    The truth was that that the amazing speed of economic activity in the 1980s had little to do with planners and everything to do with property rights.

    In 1958 the agricultural commune system was imposed by the government. For farmers and their families it was little more than serfdom, or slavery, by another name. It was a disaster.

    For the next 20 years they laboured and suffered under an unworkable system. Then in 1978, two years after Deng Xiaoping assumed the leadership, something remarkable happened.

    Picture this.

    A poverty stricken farming community in a tiny village called Xiaogang, in Anhui Province, one of the poorest provinces in China. Late in 1978, the actual date is uncertain, 18 impoverished farmers met. They agreed to break up the land between each household and farm it individually. They would not ask the government for money or grain, they would meet their quotas, but whatever was left they would keep and sell themselves. This was against the law.

    Fearful of what might become of their families they drew up an agreement which said that if any of them were arrested and imprisoned everyone else in the village would look after their children until they reached 18 years of age. It was signed with signatures and thumbprints.

    And this, according to the story, was how it all began.


    1. You don’t need state planners, but it helps to have a court system and a predictable rule of law. It doesn’t even need to be a very good rule of law. You just need a predictable and consistent one that people can plan around and that protects property rights and makes ownership easy to determine.

      If you look at the poorest places in the world, they almost always have terrible legal systems and horrible systems of property rights. In many countries, Haiti being one of the best examples, it is nearly impossible to transfer title to land. So few people have clear title to land and everyone is effectively a squatter. That means no one can borrow money on land or make any permanent improvements beyond a shack. And of course, most people are in danger of being evicted so they have to pay off the cops or the local thug to keep from being so. That is a surefire recipe for poverty.

      1. Well, the state could just take all the land and then distribute it equitably to all the poor people.

        1. If it gave them full alienable title, that would work. The land would eventually end up in the hands of those who would put it to the most productive use. Any title, as long as it is free and clear, is better than no title or a clouded one.

      2. John,

        Indeed having courts to settle disputes saves in costs, but you do not need a government for this. Imagine for a second that the rest of the peasants follow the lead of the original 18 that decided to make the agreement to parcel out their communal land. There may be in the future some breaches in the agreement – who to turn to? Why not the local elder, as mediator? Why not the local history teacher, or anybody of good standing in the community? These Chinese peasants arrived at something that was so common sense by themselves, that one has to question the need for wise overlords bringing like Prometheus this knowledge to the mere mortals, and they could perfectly arrive at something just as sensical as asking a person of good standing to mediate in disputes. Most statists want to see, instead, the raw and brutal power of the State when it comes to mediation – you must know how this unleashed power ends up destroying lives and property.

        The poorest places in the world are not poor because of lack of this knowledge (people KNOW how to fence their property and have sealed deals with handshakes for millenia). The problem is local governments with overcomplicated laws and regulations that are taken as justification for all kinds of thievery, starting with taxation. Whenever you see poverty where there should be none, you will always find the dirty hand of government. The difference between the USA and other places is that the people of the USA have been (at least, until before the 1900s) very suspicious of government.

        1. Everything is great in peasant land until I show up with my gang of armed thugs and take over. Who are the peasants going to go to? There is no government or army. They can fight back. That might work, but not if I am big enough and have enough weapons.

          There is one other characteristic of poor places, they tend to have a lot of gangs and warlord types and weak law enforcement and government. Without some kind of even rudimentary law enforcement and central authority, it just becomes rule by the gun and rule by whoever is the biggest sociopath.

          We have had this discussion before. You seem to think that no long term evil in the world can exist without government. I don’t see how that is true. Those evil people who run governments, don’t go away when the government goes away. They just go out into society and do more evil only this time with no check on their behavior. Or, even worse people, outright criminals and murderers take over. Indeed, the worst cases of government abuse, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, have been where sociopath gangsters have taken over. Those sociopaths are still out there. And without a government, they become cappos and warlords and such. That is who runs things in anarchy. Your nice peasants wouldn’t stand a chance.

          1. Re: John,

            Everything is great in peasant land until I show up with my gang of armed thugs and take over.

            Go and find hungry samurai.

            There is no government or army. They can fight back. That might work, but not if I am big enough and have enough weapons.

            Maybe, but that is why Mikhail Kalashnikov is so deservingly revered.

            [Reason? Cheap, reliable weapons for defense! Just ask the Afghanis.]

            There is one other characteristic of poor places, they tend to have a lot of gangs and warlord types and weak law enforcement and government.

            That’s nonsense – that is what you would see in such places as Sudan where these gangs are government sponsored, or in places where there is a civil war (i.e. a war to take over [what else?] the government.)

            The VERY REASON you would find roaming gangs doing what they please is precisely a population conditioned to expect protection from government.

            Without some kind of even rudimentary law enforcement and central authority, it just becomes rule by the gun and rule by whoever is the biggest sociopath.

            There is no bigger sociopath than the government – remember Waco? Remember Ruby Ridge? So saying that without the biggest bad-ass gang there could be, there would be other little gangs roaming – that may be possible, but surely it is more LIKELY for free people to deal with THEM than to deal
            with a sociopathic, thievering government.

            1. “That’s nonsense – that is what you would see in such places as Sudan where these gangs are government sponsored, or in places where there is a civil war (i.e. a war to take over [what else?] the government.)”

              That is not nonsense at all. Have you ever been to a truly poor country? What happens is those gangs and warlords fuse themselves with the government. This goes hand and hand with tribalism. The local thug will also be the local sheriff and ensure that his tribe is taken care of and everyone else is screwed. It has a veneer of government in that people have government titles. But it is not government in any real sense. It is just rule by the gun. And if you got rid of the government and declared anarchy, nothing would change. The same thugs would have all the guns and still run things the same way.

              No offense, but you are very naive about this.

        2. And I am all for a pre-1900 US government. But, that is still a government with courts and cops and such.

          1. John,

            The reason I have these dicussions is that maybe at one point, you will find the idea of having a government so abhorrent, you will become ever so more vigilant of the government’s actions. Otherwise you run the risk of being too lenient even if you don’t want to. You don’t need to become an active anarchist, just a passive one, to better keep a close and suspicious eye on government.

            1. I am very suspicious of government. I am fully aware of its evils. But anarchy has some real evils to.

              1. John,

                If you believe “anarchism” has its evils, then you don’t have to be an active anarchist – just a passive one.

                1. Old Mexican, do you frequent the mises.org boards? You would find many intelligent people to speak with on this issue in case you were looking (not that John isn’t).

                  1. Zoltan,

                    Many times.

                2. I endorse, nay, embrace, the notion of “passive” anarchy.

        3. Indeed having courts to settle disputes saves in costs, but you do not need a government for this.

          At some point, you need a final, undisputed body to resolve disputes.

          By the time you get that set up, you’ve given somebody exclusive final jurisdiction, and I’m not sure you can do that without having that court looking an awful lot like the ones we have as part of our government.

  16. “more than 60 percent fewer young adults are relocating to Massachusetts as a result of the law” BULLSHIT! Try to find ONE live human who actually said that.

    1. Are you doubting the word of University of Kentucky economist Aaron Yelowitz?

      Jews are living people, despite what they teach you at Prussian Blue concerts, you anti-Semitic piece of shit!

      1. I got nothin’ against Jews, I just go to Prussian Blue concerts for the hottie Aryan jailbait, man.

        Off-topic: I was once told by a buddy of mine that he thought the Klan where he grew up was a bunch of racist retards, but he went to meetings because they did good pig pickins.

  17. OK. Hitler, Mao, and Jefferson on the ballot. Hitler Party one vote from fillibuster-proof majority. Mao with razor-thin chance of cracking up Hitler’s dominance of legislature. Jefferson polling at 2 percent. How do you vote?

    1. I’ll vote for whoever has an ornament on the Obama Christmas tree.

    2. With a gun or a moving van?

  18. Tulpa! I love you, man!

    1. Wait, I should ask — what’s Mao’s position on China taking over the middle east?

  19. I’m glad I played a key role in placing Joe Kennedy on the MA special election ballot. He was, and remains, an excellent candidate. Moreover, he intends to use the database and campaign model he has built this election to run for a more winnable office in the 2010 or 2012 election. (Many people didn’t want to contribute to an election that had so little time to campaign –just 1.5 months from ballot access to the election) Joe’s candidacy and future candidacies are well likely to throw a monkeywrench into the power party’s gears. Well worth the effort.

    If any of you want to facilitate Joe running again in the 2010 election cycle (for the coming November election), please contribute online at http://www.joekennedyforsenate.com That will be the result for all contributions that take place today and beyond.

    Keep in mind that Joe had many mainstream media appearances. (Two of which were enabled by the helping hand of that tireless libertarian media presence, Wayne Allyn Root.) Joe showed up on time and represented himself in a professional manner in both of the televised debates. This last part of the equation is key: it doesn’t happen enough.

    Rather than heap scorn on our candidates we should build them up. It’s a thankless job, when you have no patronage jobs to award, no palms to grease, and no special interests to payoff. …Just ask Dr. No about his early candidacies.



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