Obamacare

On Health Care, Some Perspective

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Assessing the health care bill that passed yesterday, Harvard economist Greg Mankiw writes, "my judgment is that this health bill adds significantly to our long-term fiscal problems." I agree. He also writes:

Arthur Okun said the big tradeoff in economics is between equality and efficiency. The health reform bill offers more equality (expanded insurance, more redistribution) and less efficiency (higher marginal tax rates). Whether you think this is a good or bad choice to make, it should not be hard to see the other point of view.

I like to think of the big tradeoff as being between community and liberty. From this perspective, the health reform bill offers more community (all Americans get health insurance, regulated by a centralized authority) and less liberty (insurance mandates, higher taxes). Once again, regardless of whether you are more communitarian or libertarian, a reasonable person should be able to understand the opposite vantagepoint.

On this point, believe it or not, I also agree. I think the bill sticks us with a set of fundamentally flawed policy ideas that will have far-reaching consequences for American government and economy, but I do not think it is the end of the world, nor of freedom, nor of America and its founding ideals. As Reason editor Matt Welch wrote this morning, "The sky won't fall. It almost never does." Instead of wholesale collapse, we'll likely see creeping decay. That's a problem, and a serious one. But it's one that, with effort and creativity, can be solved. And that—solving problems—is what should be the primary focus.

Now, often enough, that means shooting down bad ideas. But to a certain extent, the inability or unwillingness to acknowledge and understand the other side's point of view makes the entire problem-solving process more difficult. I wrote earlier today that I disagree with David Frum's assessment that those opposed to ObamaCare should have compromised. But he's probably right that, in the end, the level of rancor from some of the opposition made it somewhat easier for the bill's advocates to push through. Believe me, I sympathize with those who are frustrated. But in sweeping political debates, it's easy for acrimony to reach levels that are not only  counterproductive in the short term, but ultimately do little to help solve the country's long-term problems. I am convinced that, on the whole, the passage of ObamaCare made those problems worse. But, by and large, it's probably better to spend time attempting to convince its supporters that this is true than to spend it than to spend it deriding them for being ignorant or wrong.

NEXT: Conspicuous Calorie Counts Coming

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  1. Whether the sky will fall is something we won’t know until it happens. But we keep putting ten-pound weights on the camel’s back, saying “Got away with it ten minutes ago, so it must be okay.”

    I think we could survive this bill by itself, as sanity will likely prevail in its execution, or even in possible noncompliance in the real world. But the unprecedented mandate bodes ill for all of us, and this “success” for the Democrats likely means more crap is coming. Cap and trade, card check, the whole wishlist. Regardless whether we all hate it or not, apparently.

    1. This is mind control at it’s best.

      You are either for equality(democrats) or efficiency(republicans). This is typical for dickhead court intellectuals whose top priority is to defend the integrity of the machine.

      See both are plausible arguments and you can’t be anything else. If you are weakminded you will fall for this. You can’t actually believe that the government is corrupt and this is actually a pretty damn highly efficient way to make 99% of us modern corporate-state slaves. If you believe that you are a nut.

    2. I think we could survive this bill by itself, as sanity will likely prevail in its execution

      Link?

      Unless by “prevail in its execution” you mean the 2010 midterms resulting in a political landslide that makes Ds reconsider this albatross.

      1. No kidding. Sanity didn’t prevail in its adoption, why should we rely on it prevailing in its execution?

      2. I don’t mean execution by Congress. Really, I doubt anything good will happen unless the bill is struck down.

    3. Cap and trade versus Carbon Tax….you are either in favor of efficiency(Cap and Trade) or fairness(Carbon Tax).

      Whether you think this is a good or bad choice to make, it should not be hard to see the other point of view. Let us all try to be reasonable and see this with a bit of perspective without all the vitriol.

      1. I favor neither.

        1. I find them close enough to the same that it really doesn’t matter.

          Both science and economics say “Pick one and get on with it”.

          Or perhaps you like having your lunch eaten by the Chinese.

          1. Both science and economics say “Pick one and get on with it”.

            How so, Chony?

            1. You can google the polls of economists and scientists yourself. Overwhelming majorities support some sort of a price on carbon.

              1. You can google the polls of economists and scientists yourself. Overwhelming majorities support some sort of a price on carbon.

                And yet, when gas prices hit the roof one and a half years ago, Congress accused oil companies of “price gouging” instead of using global warming to justify the higher prices.

              2. And the overwhelming majority of economist didn’t see the economic crisis either. Also, the overwhelming majority of scientist are not considering economics unless of course you consider their grants and job security.

              3. A regressive price hike on carbon, you mean?

                The poor will be SOOOO fucked if gas goes to seven bucks a gallon, Chad. Unless you plan on subsidizing gas for the poor, so they can get to and from the unemployment office looking for nonexistent jobs…

        2. And I aslo favor nONe of the above

      2. SO creating an alternate market where producers can game the system to increase revenues from not being productive is efficiency? Whiskey tango foxtrot!

  2. “Harvard economist Greg Mankiw writes, “my judgment is that this health bill adds significantly to our long-term fiscal problems.”

    You know, if it wasn’t coming from a Harvard economist, I’d still wonder…

    Actually, there’s a guy down the street with Down Syndrome that already knows this.

    So water’s wet, huh? …and he should know ’cause he’s a Harvard economist?

    I’m sure this Mankiw isn’t anywhere near as stupid as he’s being made out to be.

    1. Mankiw sucks and should retreat back to the basement.

  3. From this perspective, the health reform bill offers more community (all Americans get health insurance, regulated by a centralized authority

    The immediate effect will likely be a DECREASE in people covered by health insurance, as insurance companies jack up rates to reflect the cost of covering all those new pre-existing conditions, and people respond by dropping coverage.

    Even when the get taxed or purchase coverage mandate kicks in in 2014, the likely outcome will be that poor people will chose to either evade the tax or pay it, rather than buying the extra-pricy coverage.

    1. Agreed. The penalties don’t really kick in for a few years, and neither do the subsidies.
      Ergo, pretty much *guarenteed* that rates will jump in the near term and more people will drop coverage.

    2. “Even when the get taxed or purchase coverage mandate kicks in in 2014, the likely outcome will be that poor people will chose to either evade the tax or pay it, rather than buying the extra-pricy coverage.”

      In other words the people who already qualify for Medicaid yet don’t sign up.

  4. well said.
    I just wish it was characterized factually: insurance expansion.
    It does not reform how or what the gubermint health care dollar, already the majority of spending on healthcare, is spent upon.

    At some point a VERY inconvenient truth will become apparent. With the subsidies to the poor, there will simply not be enough resources to fulfill all the healthcare desires. Those heart wrenching decisions, made under thousands upon thousands of varying financial circumstances with thousands upon thousands of different players, at state insurance commissions, will be reduced to a Federal gubermint decision on who and what to cover. Ever medical policy, because it involves resources, will be a political battle.
    What we just saw is what we are in for 24/7.

  5. but I do not think it is not the end of the world

    I hope this double negative is unintentional.

    … sanity will likely prevail in its execution, or even in possible noncompliance in the real world.

    We’ll survive the way they did for 70 years in the USSR. More people will go underground, more of the productive people will drop out of the “system,” and everyone will spend more energy trying to find ways to beat the rules than they do complying with them. The human urge to be free will not be defeated by any legislation.

    1. I really don’t think comparisons to the USSR are apt quite yet. Spain or Greece is probably a better comparison.

      1. Not comparing the US to the USSR. Rather, suggesting how people (including in Spain and Greece — and the USSR and Zimbabwe and Burma and Venezuela and many other places) always cope with the heavy boot of oppressive bureaucracy, over-regulation, and liberty-sapping institutions. They develop bartering, trading, avoidance, cash, and other strategies for flying below the bureaucratic radar. They survive.

  6. I don’t think this has anything to do with community. Communities are organic, they aren’t willed into being by fiat. A virtuous community is one that results as a result of a state of liberty. If a community stands against liberty it is unfit to exist.

    1. He’s not referring to the type of community that normal people think of.

      He’s referring to the type of community that communists think of. That is, after all, how their political philosophy got its name.

  7. Prosperous nations can tolerate a measure of mischief. But, at some point, the mischief irretrievably damages prosperity. Specially when those making the mischief are ideologically aligned to those who would destroy the conditions that make prosperity possible. Free marketers and libertarians are losing the battle for the minds of American voters. We have to do better.

    1. Actually, we’re not losing the battle. The Democrats are just ignoring the will of the people, to advance an ideological agenda.

  8. How does forcing 25 year olds making 40k/yr to buy shit they don’t want help bring about equality?

    How does setting up additional barriers to entry for big insurance/ drug companies and doctor lobbies help equality? This protects profit growth for the richest companies and groups while guaranteeing that health care costs rise….this is going to increase wealth disparity. This false paradigm is a lie. This type of statist framing of the issues is the #1 indicator that you are reading a shill.

    If you fall for this framing and pass it along you are either 1) a shill or 2) a idiot.

    Project Mockingbird BITCHES!!

    1. Doctor lobbies? What doctor lobbies? Seriously, man, physicians have some of the weakest lobbies in Washington, because as a group we have very little money. That’s a big reason why we have once again been shafted.

      1. AMA is pretty powerful. I realize many doctors don’t feel the AMA represents them…but the AMA does a good job of restricting the supply of new doctors and making it illegal for certain task to be done without onerous government licensing. So we can’t choose the level of licensing we want to pay for….we are all forced to pay for 12 years of schooling even if we want to make the educated decision to purchase cheaper health care from someone who studied some aspect of health care for only 3 years. See there? that is government fucking shit on behalf of doctors…of course in the end they fuck you guys too in other ways. good luck

        1. The AMA represents about 20% of us and it’s a blip on the lobbying radar when it comes to power and influence. That’s why so many physicians just rolled their eyes when it came to the AMA’s endorsement of the health care bill, which I suspect strongly was in response to a guarantee of the repeal of the Medicare sustainable growth rate.

          I’m fine with you having the ability to purchase certain health care from a mid-level person. That being said, they do not have the same capabilities or training that we do and so cannot do the same things…even if sometimes they believe that they can. How could you tell if the person telling you they could give you care was telling the truth? Also, the difference per hour between a physician and a mid-level in primary care is not that great. You wouldn’t save that much money. It’s still your choice, but it needs to be an informed one.

          1. Riiiiight and the ABA is a bunch of limp wristed fairies.

          2. “I’m fine with you having the ability to purchase certain health care from a mid-level person.”

            Thank you master. That’s mighty white of you.

            “How could you tell if the person telling you they could give you care was telling the truth? Also, the difference per hour between a physician and a mid-level in primary care is not that great. You wouldn’t save that much money. It’s still your choice, but it needs to be an informed one.”

            Just like every other single good and service, the market will, over time, will inform people about their choices, the trade-offs, the relative calues, etc. Will the information be perfect? No, it never is, especially on an individual basis. But when you aggregate all experience and information people have, the market will move, through trial and error, towards a much more efficient solution. How might this work? I’m not sure since I don’t have a crystal ball, but maybe the colume of basic services that patients desire is done by lower cost, but adequate professionals. Maybe some enterprising physicians discover a way (or ways) to provide the necessary services at a lower cost to them and their customers…i.e., providing higher or equal quality at a lower price. That’s how markets work…through competition, the profit motive, consumer demands and the risk-taking of entrepreneurs we get a better and cheaper mouse trap. It works in every market it is allowed to work in. Why not health care?

      2. Physicians acting directly are extremely powerful. A few physicians from a reps district buttonholing the rep directly can generally kill a bill at the state level

        I don’t know why it would be much different for a Congressscum. I have to believe a lot of docs just couldn’t be bothered.

    2. it makes everyone equally miserable!

  9. But, by and large, it’s probably better to spend time attempting to convince its supporters that this is true than to spend it than to spend it deriding them for being ignorant or wrong.

    F that! Kick them in the balls and shame them for being morons. Decorum is vastly overrated.

  10. Odd. Why has none of you guys been pointing that the market just keeps going up and up and up, what, 9 days out of the last 10, as Obamacare has become more and more certain? You sure as hell notice these correlations when they run FOR your beliefs.

    Peter is right: the sky won’t fall, your life will go on. You will be a bit less screwed if you have to deal with the individual market, young folks will have an easier time dealing with on-again, off-again insurance while they are in college or trying to nail down their first good job, and a few more poor people will get covered.

    However, if a hedge fund manager, the new 18.8% tax rate might just encourage you to jump out of your highrise. No one will weep.

    1. Why has none of you guys been pointing that the market just keeps going up and up and up, what, 9 days out of the last 10, as Obamacare has become more and more certain?

      That’s how bubbles are, Chad. Sophisticated analysis of the market shows that the advances are supported by diminishing money flows – that is, they will soon be reversed.

    2. I agree Chad. Insurance companies a drug companies are doing awesome! What are all these whiny people worried about health care costs going up?!

    3. Why has none of you guys been pointing that the market just keeps going up and up and up, what, 9 days out of the last 10, as Obamacare has become more and more certain?

      Ah, so NOW you believe the market is a good indicator of whether or not political legislation is good for the economy. You wouldn’t say this if the market went up if this bill had been defeated. The market will improve when investors see stability, regardless of the benefit/drain the legislation has on our economy. And you’ll notice that insurers and HMO’s love this legislation because it FORCES more people to buy their product. In fact, forcing these companies to allow pre-existing will simply mean that they will raise the premiums for the rest of us to cover the shortfall. They won’t be out any money. Oh look! Healthcare stocks are soaring! What a surprise.

      You will be a bit less screwed if you have to deal with the individual market,

      Ah. So you think insurance companies will now drop prices? That’s pretty dumb.

      young folks will have an easier time dealing with on-again, off-again insurance while they are in college or trying to nail down their first good job,

      Again, you seem to believe that this legislation will offer some type of financial incentive for insurance companies to offer low price insurance. Again, this is pretty stupid.

      a few more poor people will get covered.

      Poor people were already covered with Medicaid. This is a lie.

      1. Ah, so NOW you believe the market is a good indicator of whether or not political legislation is good for the economy

        No, NOW I believe that you guys are cherry-picking hypocrites. That is all.

        Btw, both the market and the GDP do better under Democrats, but it falls just a bit short of statistical significance the last time I saw anyone calculate it.

        1. No, NOW I believe that you guys are cherry-picking hypocrites. That is all.

          Riiigght. It’s amazing that you spend so much time here and STILL have ZERO CLUE about what libertarians care about. It’s amazing to see someone remain so absolutely blind to what everyone at this site has been telling you.

          Listen closely dummy-regardless of the economic benefit to Healthcare stockholders, IT IS NOT WORTH THE PRICE IN LOSS OF LIBERTY. That’s been an irrefutable reality for most Reasoners when it comes to this healthcare debate.

          both the market and the GDP do better under Democrats, but it falls just a bit short of statistical significance the last time I saw anyone calculate it.

          The market does best under a divided government.

          http://online.wsj.com/public/a…..25843.html

          1. Oh, I know exactly what you care about. Indeed, someone was kind enough to distill your beliefs into an incredibly short, to-the-point, unabashed video right here.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ik4f1dRbP8

            Before you get pissy, ask yourself if you actually disagree with anything said in the video.

            Btw, I was one of you when I was young and stupid.

            1. And then you grew up and weren’t young any more.

            2. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to play that game Chad. If you’re going to use anecdotal bullshit like that video to try and tar all libertarians as heartless bastards, I could dump video upon video of far, far worse things that show up at liberal protests.

              Hell, just start with Zombietimes Hall of Shame.

              http://zombietime.com/hall_of_shame/

              You are never going to find the same amount of trash from Tea Party protests that I could pull from any typical liberal protest.

              1. The difference being that neither I, nor most liberals, agree with these freaks.

                Again, do you have the balls do admit that the video contained YOUR beliefs? The only thing novel about it was how purely distilled and unabashed they were in expressing them.

                1. No, it is not my belief that we should badger a parkinsons victim in that way.

                  Also, fuck you.

                  1. Again, you agree with what they said, correct.

                    It would have been perfectly fine, for example, to badger his guardian?

                    1. Chad, you don’t know what my beliefs are. Unlike you I don’t feel the need to come take a dump on every thread I disagree with.

                      And no, dummy, it wouldn’t be perfectly fine to badger his gaurdian. You are the king of misplaced judgement.

                      Sooner or later you’ll figure out that sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

                    2. Oh, so you don’t have the cajones to make these kinds of statements in front of the people who would actually be hurt by them, but only on some anonomous message board. THAT sure sounds like a winning argument.

                      Again, do you DISAGREE with what these guys were SAYING, not how/when/where they said it?

                    3. Chad, my name is Tim O’Donohue and I live in Nashville TN.

                      You could click the link on my username and find this out, but clearly it’s easier for you to make a “when did you stop beating your wife” argument under the pretense of anonyminity.

                      You are trying to frame the libertarian argument against this bill in terms that distort and manipulate the argument. I don’t agree that a poor parkinsons sufferer should be left to die in the street to die. But my disagreement against this bill doesn’t mean I want to kick people out of hospitals. And fuck you for trying to frame it that way.

                      What’s your real name Chad?

                    4. So your plan to save this guy is to hope an angry mob throws a couple dollars dozens of times per day? And if not, well, he dies?

                      And how anti-libertarian of you: FORCING hospitals to help people who can’t pay.

                      You are right: this video “frames” your ideology in a way that proves how utterly revolting it is. It IS a big “fuck you”, and you deserve it.

                      You can’t simultaneously claim that you “don’t agree that something would happen” yet be adamantly against any policy designed to fix it, because it would infringe upon your precious freedom.

            3. Btw, I was one of you when I was young and stupid.

              What made you turn to the dark side?

              1. A Jewish child molester walked up to him and said “hey, little boy… wanna buy some candy?”.

            4. Chad was young and stupid then

              He’s old and stupid now

          2. And btw, your linked article was so cherry-laden, I’ll be pooping purple for a month. It only emphasizes my point about statistical certainty.

            Either way, it is clear that the economy is not terribly sensitive in the short term to (reasonable) policy decisions.

            1. the economy is not terribly sensitive in the short term to (reasonable) policy decisions.

              Then why are you arguing that it is?

              Actually, never mind. I don’t know why I just wasted this five minutes of my life, but I know when to quit.

              Shut the fuck up Chony.

              1. I never did. I am mocking those who do, and there are plenty of them around here.

        2. There is no correlation whatsoever to how the GDP and markets do with which party is in power at that particular time. Fiscal policy often takes decades to show what effects it might have, by which time the people who put it into place may be long dead, let alone out of office.

          I have friends who think Clinton was this awesome President because the economy was doing so well while he was in office. Sadly, the housing bubble was building while he was there, in some part (not in total by any means) due to his policies. During this time, he said nothing.

          Similarly, the bubble was near bursting in 2006, but oddly enough nobody from the Democratic party was saying a word. Instead, you had Barney Frank and his ilk feeding the coming tragedy by urging more poor lending practices. Then they blamed the Republicans when it all went south.

          I blame both parties for this current mess. Neither of them has been fiscally responsible in my lifetime. We are coming to the end of the era where we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t have problems or, if we do, that they are someone else’s fault or responsibility. Go ahead and call people hypocrites. Hope it makes you feel better.

          1. Contrarian P|3.22.10 @ 5:37PM|#
            There is no correlation whatsoever to how the GDP and markets do with which party is in power at that particular time. Fiscal policy often takes decades to show what effects it might have, by which time the people who put it into place may be long dead, let alone out of office

            Agreed, though the non-significant trend of Democrats doing better only grows stronger by the day.

            You are exactly correct, however, in noting that policies take DECADES to manifest. Indeed, I would argue that of all presidents, the policies of FDR are having a bigger impact today than any those of any other. The burst bubble is a direct manifestation of speculative excess that seems to happen every time the rich get hyper rich.

            1. No, the burst bubble is a direct manifestation of a demand for easy credit to purchase homes and other consumer goods, a lending industry being encouraged to provide said credit by the government, that lending industry not saying no to easy profits, and a serious lack of sense. These loans that were made were there because ordinary people wanted them, not because eeeeevil business decided they would take them. The speculative excess was on both ends, the consumer as well as business (oh, and the government too).

        3. I’m copying this post and will be referring to it after the current bubble bursts.

          If you think the current stock market value has anything to do with the reality of the economy, then you should be counting on your SS check for retirement, because your IRA isn’t going to be worth dick.

        4. Yes, I remember how the economy prospered under Carter’s two terms, with low gas prices and all, then sucked — SUCKED — when Ronald “malaise” Reagan made the mistake of opening up the gas markets and became a one-term president, losing in a landslide.

      2. Poor people were already covered with Medicaid. This is a lie.

        This bill extends medicaid benefits to 133% above the poverty line.

        Uninsured people who don’t qualify for medicaid up to 400% of the poverty line receive credits to participate in an insurance exchange program.

        1. So poor is now 400% of the poverty level?

          Those goal posts sure have some great wheels on them. You tell GM about it. They could use some help.

          1. I guess poor is legally defined as below the poverty line. In reality, try getting by on double the poverty line. Thanks to the dominance of libertarian-inspired Reaganomics a lot more people have become functionally poor than our legal definition can keep up with.

            1. You could always define the poverty line as “slightly more than the median voter earns”, so that a majority of the electorate would have a personal incentive to vote in favour of benefits for “the poor”.

            2. Reaganomics was not really libertarian inspired, but such for the sake of argument, humor me and tell me how exactly Reaganomics created functional poverty, as opposed to, say, gross devaluation of our currency by both parties?

              1. It’s true when Reagan doubled Social Security payroll taxes it was libertarian.

                It was also libertarian to increase military spending.

                1. You people spend so much time denying you have any real-world influence one wonders if you don’t prefer it that way.

                  1. Which would be interesting, since there is very little good in the world libertarians can take credit for, unless you count puppet dictators and mass starvation.

                    Whenever something goes wrong, after all, there’s always a nearby government agency to blame.

                    1. Tony, could you please try being a little more coherent?

                    2. “Foreign aid” aka “dictator support” is not a libertarian idea…that belongs to the mainstream serious foreign policy analyst that have been the backbone of the Democrat and Republican parties for the last 50 years.

                    3. Tony, you want to know what real-world influence I have and what good in the world I take credit for? I take personal credit for saving some thousands of people two or three hours a day. Is that supposed to make me Mother Theresa or something? No, but I feel lucky to be able to do it. Hours are hours, and you only get so many of them in a day, so at least for my customers, it’s a pretty big deal, as they routinely tell me.

                      I don’t need to try to save the whole world at once; I’m just happy to be able to help some dad get to a few little-league games he otherwise would have missed. Because as someone said, ‘those are the precious moments; they don’t come back again.

                    4. Tony, when have we ever put “puppet dictators” in power, or starved one single person?

                      You’re full of shit.

            3. I guess poor is legally defined as below the poverty line. In reality, try getting by on double the poverty line. Thanks to the dominance of libertarian-inspired Reaganomics a lot more people have become functionally poor than our legal definition can keep up with.

              Define functionally poor.

              1. Define functionally poor.

                Take average brainpower, then compare yours to it. Analogize appropriately.

                  1. He’s a sore winner. Obama finally grabbed the Ring of Power, and Tony is STILL not happy.

    4. The Democrats’ HCR may actually be net positive for the DJIA and S&P 500. HCR passage certainly has some advantages for big corporations and quite a bit of corporate welfare. It transfers a portion of their health care benefit costs to others, especially those now uninsured. Long term retiree health benefits at large corporations are also reduced, so it could improve balance sheets somewhat. For the HC industry per se, it expands the market of paying customers. Perhaps just as significantly, it entrenches the competitive position of big corporations.

      HCR most directly hurts small entrepreneurs, small businesses, and the self-employed with its mandates, fines, higher premiums and higher overhead costs for compliance with its 2000 pages of red tape.

      Of course, the DJIA is up for a multitude of reasons that are totally unrelated to passage of HCR.

      It’s a myth that Democrats are pitted against big corporations. Republicans and Democrats are just competitors for the crony role in crony capitalism. All politicians love big corporations that will pay proper tribute and obesiance to their betters in government. Especially those which reserve positions on the board and no-show consulting positions for retired politicians.

      It’s also a myth that libertarians want government to make life easy for big corporations with large dollops of corporate welfare. Crony capitalism is not capitalism.

    5. Why has none of you guys been pointing that the market just keeps going up and up and up, what, 9 days out of the last 10, as Obamacare has become more and more certain? You sure as hell notice these correlations when they run FOR your beliefs.

      Thomas Sowell pointed out that on the day after President Nixon announced price controls (including price controls on health care), the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest daily increase to date.

  11. What world do we live in where the entrepreneurial money I make from putting my sweat and assets on the line is referred to as “unearned income”?

    Further, why is this taxed to subsidize the Government-Healthcare-Industrial complex?

    1. Because if it is “unearned” then you don’t really need it if someone else needs it more. You may think this new tax just starts at 3%, but they’ll start pushing that puppy up fast using that exact logic.

      Seriously, ask Obama about “fat cat investment bankers” and “hedge fund managers” and he’ll tell you that the 18 hour days they work isn’t really hard work. The only people who work hard in his world are employees, not “the man”, and we sir, are “the men”.

      1. Not to worry, as in the UK, the “fat cat investment bankers” and “hedge fund managers” will just move to lower tax jurisdictions and take their incomes with them.

        I forecast that within 10 years wealthy Americans will be renouncing their citizenship in record numbers.

        1. And that sir, is the impetus behind “tax equality” or whatever they call it. Barry has that covered, too.

      2. IIRC, the top marginal rate when the income tax was enacted was 7%.

        It, too, only covered the “rich” since it applied only on income over $500,000, which would be about $25 million per year today.

        Now nobody has a rate that low, not even the poor who are burdened with a higher rate with their payroll taxes.

        You can safely bet that the initial round of taxes, fees, and fines will grow in the future. We’ve already been told that HRC is a “starter home” with lots of opportunity for expansion.

  12. “But to a certain extent, the inability or unwillingness to acknowledge and understand the other side’s point of view makes the entire problem-solving process more difficult.”

    Wait. What? What? They’re forcing me to do something I don’t want, and I’m supposed to understand *their* point of view? I’m sorry, it doesn’t work like that. I don’t need to have a constructive dialogue with people who include me in their coercive “we”s and “us”es without my consent. They need to have a constructive dialogue with the business end of a ballot box. (What, did you think I was going to say something else there?)

    1. Ding.

      Get the fucking guns out of my face. Then we can talk.

  13. big tradeoff as being between community and liberty.

    This is, of course, the big false choice that serves as a libertarian first principle.

    There are a thousand ways we are all individually more free because of communal action.

    This depends on defining freedom as something other than “freedom from government,” of course.

    1. Okay, how about “the choice between coercion through physical or economic force in the name of community and liberty”? How’s that?

      1. You are just renaming it.

        Who is more free?

        The lone man starving on a desert island, or the Wall Street tycoon?

        Only the insane and libertarians would argue the former.

        1. Analogy does not compute. Don’t get me wrong, Tony has a point, but does he think there’s a tipping point I wonder…?

          1. No, you mean “analogy completely refutes my ideology, don’t want to think about it”.

            Answer the question. Who is more free? It really is simple.

            1. That is one goddamned tired argument, Chad.

              1. Who’s freer, Chad? A millionaire doing time in federal prison or a working class guy who is not in prison.

    2. Freedom from majoritarian rule. Communal action only works if it is voluntary. And who decides what is good communal action? Whats your definition of freedom then? Freedom from having to make tough choices? Freedom to make other be responsible for your bad decisions?

    3. Government mandate is not the same thing as “communal action”. You are conflating two very different things.

      Government is, by nature, coercive, which is why it should be invoked only where coercion is required.

      1. Government mandate is not the same thing as “communal action”. You are conflating two very different things.

        But that’s what they always do. Ask a statist why he supports high taxes and he’ll tell you that it’s our “duty to take care of each other” or something like that.

        They don’t get the distinction between government and society and that is the biggest problem we face.

        1. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

        2. Government is the only entity that society has collective control over.

          1. I think you got that one backwards, chief. 😉

    4. This depends on defining freedom as something other than “freedom from government,” of course.

      Such as doing what you’re told. Now roll over when it’s your turn to be fleeced.

    5. Name one asshole.

    6. This depends on defining freedom as something other than

      … “freedom is slavery”?

      How come leftists alway want to “redefine” freedom?

      Why IS that?

      1. Not redefine, include more than one aspect of it. Not live by an ideology that rewards itself for simplicity.

        1. Just reward yourself for making things more complicated than they need to be.

          1. It’s often the case that complex systems, such as economies, are complex.

            1. Yes, but Tony, you are wielding the word “freedom” imprecisely. Perhaps many libertarians do the same, but…c’mon, man.

              1. The difference is that Tony and his ilk wield the word “freedom” imprcisely *on purpose*.

                It is a long-standing tactic by the left to use linguistic manipulation to try to “reframe” issues in a way that caters to their statist agenda.

                It is exactly what Orwell was parodying with the “Freedom is Slavery” slogan. The intention effort by socialists to “redefine” words like freedom to mean the exact opposite of what they should mean.

                1. Orwell… was a socialist.

                  His target was totalitarianism, which is different.

                  Doublespeak can be used skillfully by any tyrannical system or ideology. No one is better at it in the western world, in my opinion, than the American GOP. Clear Skies Initiative. Operation Iraqi Freedom. The list is endless.

                  The concept of doublespeak is not the same thing as having a nuanced definition of a word. To you, freedom is the absence of government. To me, freedom is the absence of impediments to freedom, which can take many forms.

                  1. Tony, you can’t use the word in its definition like that. You could create an infinite regress like that.

                  2. And whats with the constant reference to the GOP? I thought this was a Libertarian site? I’ve seen as many articles on here negative about Republicans as I have Democrats. I think we’ve actually been over this before.

                  3. The concept of doublespeak is not the same thing as having a nuanced definition of a word.

                    And my point is that your efforts to add “nuance” are disingenuous in a way that makes them functionally identital to doublespeak. You guys are only interested in changing the definition of the word so you can do some “reframing”. It’s not about any sort of quest for philosophical truth, it’s about “positioning” and “messaging”.

                    The GOP Masters of Doublespeak? HAH!!! The left invented this shit. They wrote the fucking manual. Compared to people like Naomi Klein, Bush is like a little kiddie playing at dice.

                    Remember thst brief period last year when suddenly it was patriotic to pay taxes? Or how about how Tea Partiers are “unamerican”? How about the fact that “Yes We Can!” is literally an English translation of “Si! Si Puede!” the slogan used by Cesar Chavez of all people.

                  4. Yes, Orwell was a socialist, but he also believed that socialism would inevitably lead to totalitarianism. (Hence why he was so unhappy.)

                    1. That’s because Orwell was a pragmatist, Doc. Since he KNEW socialism becomes totalitarianism, and there’s no escaping that fact… well, it’s kinda hard not to get depressed.

                2. I agree, Hazel. It’s specious and it’s sophistry.

            2. Which is exactly why government intervention doesn’t work. Government couldn’t possibly know what millions of people need or want and adjust accordingly with the amount of efficiency and prosperity that the free market brings. But economic realities aren’t as complex as you seem to think – it just serves to suit some left wing goal of making people think that economics are really complex and scary and unfair, and government is the only thing that can save us.

  14. Interesting letter posted over at NRO

    A View from Britain [Ramesh Ponnuru]

    A British friend who has been following the health-care debate writes in:

    In Britain the introduction of the NHS was passionately supported by both parties. Tory opposition to the legislation accepted the principle of medical care free at the point of consumption and concentrated instead on secondary questions. It could hardly have done otherwise since Churchill’s wartime coalition government had developed its own plans for a single-payer system of universal health insurance?along with other statist social welfare measures.

    At the time of its passage the cost-benefit structure of the new British system was radically opposite to that of Obamacare. Its benefits?mainly the extension of free medical care from the poor to the middle class?came at once; its costs were delayed for a decade and a half as almost all budgetary health allocations went to current spending and almost none to capital investment. Not until 1962 did a British government embark on a hospital building program; until then?and for many years afterwards?the national health service lived off the fixed capital invested by private Victorian philanthropy. (Even a few years ago you could tell this from the appearance of the buildings.) The advance of medical science today makes a repeat of this performance quite impossible. So the money to meet the increasing demand for medical services will have to come from somewhere other than the capital budget. Where?

    Rationing is implicit in both Obamacare and the NHS. But the customers of both systems are very different. Most modern Americans get good health care. They have learned to expect it. They will complain if they don’t get it. And they have their present care as a method of comparison to any new system. Brits in 1948 had just survived a terrible war. Rationing was part of their everyday lives. They were a deferential people to begin with in a much more hierarchical society. Brits of today would be much much harder to convince?if they had not got used to getting free but inadequate health care.

    And the ratio of winners to losers in both cases is very different. As the previous paragraph suggests, there were no real losers in the Britain of 1948. Only a tiny handful of very rich people had any experience of great medical care?and they were rich enough to pay higher taxes AND private insurance premiums. Everyone else got roughly the same medical care; but now the middle class got it for nothing as most of the poor had done before. Nobody lost?not for another fifteen years when the quality of medical care began to decline noticeably. And by then they were hooked. By contrast almost every insured Ameerican is a potential loser under Obamacare. And some of those considered to be winners?i.e., the currently non-insured?will feel like losers if they are forced to insure and then remain inconveniently healthy.

    So, for all sorts of reasons, opponents of this bill should not feel deterred from hope of repeal by the British experience. At the very least they have a window of opportunity to reverse the legislation of about eight to ten years. It’s doable if you think it’s doable?not if not.

    Finally the wise words of . . . John Maynard Keynes: “The unexpected always happens; the inevitable never.”

    1. You know, standard libertarian disclaimer and all, but there are plenty of other national healthcare systems besides the NHS, and they work pretty well.

    2. Why are you blathering about Britain? This plan is NOTHING like their system. Try the Swiss plan instead, which is much closer (but still well to our left). The Japanese system is yet one step further left. Also, I recommend looking at Singapore’s system – you libertarians might like it. Switzerland and Singapore have arguably the 2nd and 3rd most right-wing systems of any rich nation, falling only to the left of the ultra right-wing Obamacare plan (and the ultra mega right wing status quo here in the states).

      1. Switzerland has roughly the same population and area as Virginia. Singapore has about the population of Wisconsin, but in a really small space. Not saying this means anything, just pointing some stuff out.

        1. This is relevant: the US’s size makes it uniquely rural among developed nations, skewing its politics conservative.

          That means we are the last to enact universal healthcare, but there’s no reason to think that our relatively high population prohibits it or would be better served without it.

          1. The U.S. Government enacted universal health care?

            When?

          2. That means we are the last to enact universal healthcare, but there’s no reason to think that our relatively high population prohibits it or would be better served without it.

            If universal health care was such a good idea, at least one of the fifty states would have enacted it by now. I mean, at least half of the states would have a higher proportion of supporters of such a plan than the national average, and it is not as if the federal government is in the way

          3. Has anyone of your ilk ever considered why rural areas are more conservative than urban areas?

            Could it be that rural people are more *gasp* self-sufficient, and they are much more used to viewing the pride/productivity of their neighbor rather than beggars who have nothing to offer but their sores and hard-luck story?

            Now, why beggars choose urban areas to ply their trade…that’s easy. It’s called the law of large numbers.

            1. It’s no great mystery why more self-sufficient rural people would be for less government, though I would note that important socialist movements originated in Kansas and Oklahoma.

              Being around fewer people means there is less need for rules that govern interacting with people. It seems to be the case in many countries that rural areas are more conservative. The entire red/blue state divide is really a rural/urban divide. But that doesn’t mean the guy living in the rural area knows what’s best for everyone else.

              1. There are already plenty of rules that govern interacting with people, we typically refer to these rules as “etiquette”.

        2. You should look into Japan. Despite its image, much of Japan is very rural, and its rural health care excellent to the point that many in Japan argue it is TOO good. They also have 20% seniors to our 12%, and still manage to spend only 9% of their GDP on health care (oh, and they live longer than anyone…did I mention that?).

          1. They also live a much, much healthier lifestyle generally. Lower rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hard drug use, car wrecks, violent death, etc. That will dramatically increase average lifespan even if there are witch doctors in that community. Additionally, they have a much more realistic view of terminal illness than we do. We spend an inordinate amount of money continuing to treat patients who are at end of life even when there is no chance for recovery, rather than providing them comfort. Most other countries don’t. We have a customer mentality when it comes to health care. They don’t.

            1. Oh, and none of those things have anything to do with government, now do they? They live longer because (heaven forbid) the government has enslaved them to automobiles, for example. A good health care system includes good wellness and prevention policy.

              1. They live longer because (heaven forbid) the government has enslaved them to automobiles, for example.

                How does the government enslave people to automobiles?

                No one in Brooklyn, let alone Manhattan, is aware of that.

              2. They live longer because (heaven forbid) the government has enslaved them to automobiles, for example.

                How does the government enslave people to automobiles?

                No one in Brooklyn, let alone Manhattan, is aware of that.

                1. What about the other 99.9% of the country?

          2. (oh, and they live longer than anyone…did I mention that?).

            It may have something to do with diet.

            1. You mean their government subsidizes healthy local foods instead of corn syrup? Yep, they do.

              1. Corn subsidies aren’t libertarian anyway.

                1. No, but they ARE corporatist Republican, whom you support.

                  Intentions don’t count. Votes do.

                  1. It’s weird that you think you know how I vote.

                  2. It’s a good thing that Japanese are generally healthier, because their health care is inferior.

                  3. Anyone who uses a computer to bitch about corporations, is a hypocrite.

                    1. Same thing goes for the Internet and government, I expect.

  15. but I do not think it is not the end of the world,

    Is there a superabundance of “not”s in there?

    1. No, P Brooks, I don’t think there is.

      I’m perfectly willing to engage in rational dialogue with rational people. But, the people who won’t question the ludicrous premises behind this bill are not, by definition, rational.

      They are motivated purely by emotion, greed, and/or lust for power, such that the only appropriate response is mockery, ridicule, and abuse.

  16. I know Peter’s trying to see the bright side, but let’s face it, there is no bright side and his attempts to try to mitigate this falls misguidedly short.

    First of all, the Democratic leadership does NOT care about the human condition. That’s laughable to even suggest that this bill was about progress and humanity. It’s about power, mediocrity and ensuring votes by keeping people on the government dole.

    Secondly, the MAJORITY of people did not want this bill to pass. You cannot say, “Ah, well. Our representative government is no longer representative — it’s all good.”

    Freedom is a fight worth fighting for. We have no community if we don’t have freedom!

    1. Secondly, the MAJORITY of people did not want this bill to pass.

      First, our government was not established to follow polls. Just ask Dick Cheney.

      Second, a majority of this country either supports the bill or is against it because it’s not liberal enough. Only a tiny minority do not support healthcare reform at all.

      1. That’s why Massachusetts elected a Republican. Because he was promising to make the healthcare bill more liberal.

        1. I think they elected him because his opponent was an embarrassment.

          At any rate, numbers.

          1. And Ted Kennedy was a bastion of class and manners.

            And if you want dueling polls, how about what the people of Massachusetts actually said.

            From Politico “Fifty-two percent of Bay State voters who were surveyed as the polls closed said they opposed the federal health care reform measure and 42 percent said they cast their ballot to help stop President Obama from passing his chief domestic initiative.”

            But it doesn’t matter, because politicians shouldn’t govern based on polls, right?

            1. Yeah, I’m saying you are right that most people are against this bill.

              But there are more people for this bill or for a stronger version of this bill than are against the idea altogether.

              This bill is certainly not what I would have wanted. But I’m for it because its passage is the only chance for stronger reform to come any time soon.

              1. But the Massachusetts election directly contradicts your assertion. More people voted for a man who campaigned on stopping this particular reform altogether. For a Republican to win a Senate seat here is nearly unthinkable, and it clearly reflects the will of the people.

                Let’s not forget that the only reason this bill passed was because of a seat-filler, and the rules were changed explicitly to let him vote.

                1. I don’t think we have enough data to say that Brown’s election was mostly about health care.

                  But if you’re gonna say that I presume you feel that the majority of Americans were for healthcare reform when they voted for Obama, who campaigned on it.

                  1. They weren’t (and aren’t) for this particular bill.

                    Come on man, you’re not really falling back on the old strawman of opposing this bill means opposing all reform, are you?

                    1. As long as you don’t interpret opposition to the bill as meaning opposition to progressive reform.

                  2. A lot of people voted against McCain.

                    1. A lot of people voted against Coakley. I’m not trying to interpret election results as policy mandates, only wackyjack is, and it only seems to go one way.

                  3. “But if you’re gonna say that I presume you feel that the majority of Americans were for healthcare reform when they voted for Obama, who campaigned on it.”

                    Obama campaigned on Louisiana Purchase etc…and 2700+ pages of HC reform?

                    I wish he had because he’d have lost by a landslide -see November 2010.

          2. Thanks for the link, Tony. I hadn’t seen any hard numbers on that before.

            So every time a conservative or libertarian claims that they represent the majority, they are lying.

            1. Let’s see…supposedly 72% of citizens are registered to vote and yet apparently 94% of the people in that poll were registered voters. How does a poll get so fucked?

              1. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a strong correlation between those who vote and those who are willing to talk to a pollster (or indeed, those a pollster is able to contact at all).

                1. I’d be surprised if registered voters didn’t skew older and more conservative anyway.

                  1. Older? OK. More conservative? Don’t know.

                    1. Older = more conservative.

                    2. Yeah, I have heard that. But more conservative on what scale? In other words, how much more conservative than their younger selves? More socially conservative, fiscally conservative or both?

                    3. Not more conservative on Medicare or Social Security.

      2. “First, our government was not established to follow polls. Just ask Dick Cheney.”

        What the hell does Dick Cheney have to do with anything? Because his administration did stuff that was unpopular gives every new group license to do the same? Didn’t your ilk scream at the top of your lungs while Bush/Cheney were in office about how evil they were and how they should have been impeached?

        The fact that this bill is wildly unpopular is only one of the myriad of reasons why it should never have been passed. A complete lack of transparency, utter disregard for economic reality, special kickbacks and payoffs, and, lest we forget, the fact that nobody has any idea what’s in this bill yet all combine to make this one of the most odious pieces of legislation that I remember or have read about.

        1. Contrarian P, right on!!

      3. “There are a thousand ways we are all individually more free because of communal action.”

        I bet your definition of freedom differs from mine.

        1. Slavery is freedom.

          Or, if you prefer, “Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.” (R. Giuliani, 1994)

          1. I thought that quote had to be made up, but I looked it up. I think you just cured me of my soft spot for pre-2008-election Giuliuani.

            1. Giuliani deserves a sound beating just for saying that.

      4. Tony said: Second, a majority of this country either supports the bill or is against it because it’s not liberal enough. Only a tiny minority do not support healthcare reform at all.

        Nice classic strawman.

        Since you’re obviously lacking some reading comprehension skills, let me repeat myself…I said that the majority doesn’t support the bill that passed, not that the majority opposes any kind of healthcare reform.

        1. Cookie, it is also clear that a majority doesn’t support ANY plan, including the status quo.

      5. ?! I just looked at your link, Tony. Ami Misunderstanding something here:

        Oppose, too liberal 43%
        Oppose, not liberal enough 13%
        No opinion 5%

        So I’m reading that 43% of those who oppose the bill oppose it because it’s too liberal.

        1. Yes, which implies a MAJORITY want to move to the left. The problem is that there isn’t a particular set of policies that appeals to a majority, including the status quo, which has little support from anyone.

        2. K, so add the 13% to the 39% who favor the bill, and you get 52% who either favor the bill or want a stronger one.

          1. Q.29

            In your view, does the Democratic party’s health care proposal create too much government
            involvement in the nation’s health care system, not enough government involvement, or about the
            right amount?

            Too much – 56%
            Not enough – 16%
            Right amount – 28%

          2. I’ll repeat this.

            Let’s see…supposedly 72% of citizens are registered to vote and yet apparently 94% of the people in that poll were registered voters. How does a poll get so fucked?

        3. Also, about 30% of the liberals were too stupid to understand that the bill would increase the deficit.

          1. That’s 30 percentage points of the 52 percentage points comprising responses that “favor” or “oppose not liberal enough”.

            Obviously there are a lot of people who really think money grows on trees.

  17. “The sky won’t fall. It almost never does.”

    One very good way to make the sky fall is to print money. Our debt matures in 3 years, and we are unable to raise our interest rates to the necessary level because the interest on our debt would cost too much. How long is it going to take for the Chinese to realize we cannot pay them back. By the time the mandates of the health insurance kick in there will be high inflation and widespread acknowledgment that we are broke.

    1. The Chinese know we cannot pay them back. Their reasoning is straight out of the Bible…the borrower is slave to the lender. Make sense now?

      1. Don’t worry China will accept our sellout of Taiwan as an interest payment.

      2. Their reasoning is straight out of the Bible…the borrower is slave to the lender.

        So it would seem at first glance, but think about it. If one has borrowed and consumed all or most of a bank’s assets, who truly owns the bank?

    2. Yeah – no currency has ever collapsed. No country has ever defaulted on their debt.

      What bad thing could ever happen?

      1. Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years…

  18. There are a thousand ways we are all individually more free because of communal action.

    Freedom is Slavery.

    Thanks, Tony.

    1. You’re not welcome.

      You know Orwell was a socialist, right?

      1. So his personal political beliefs were dumb. He wrote a good novel. Henry Ford was a Nazi sympathizer…still made some good cars.

        1. Okay but let’s not pimp out the cliches of Orwell (the political novelist) in the service of a political philosophy he would have found abhorrent.

          1. So 1984 was actually a love story and the whole anti-totalitarian thing was just for kicks?

            1. Perhaps you’ll stop being confused when you learn that socialism and totalitarianism aren’t the same thing.

              1. I’m talking about liberty you nitwit, which you said he would have found “abhorrent”. I seriously doubt that, unless I read the wrong book about rats and a dude named Emmanuel. (Maybe that was a very special episode of Webster?)

                Next you’re going to tell us that Animal Farm was just a cute little story about some pigs in Russia and not an actual allegory on Socialism and/or Communism, which, of course, just hasn’t been done correctly yet. Right?

                1. Socialism and authoritarian communism aren’t the same thing either.

                  Having basic needs met by the public sector is not the same thing as having a man-god dictating your every move, difficult as that is for you to understand.

                  1. What is apparently difficult for you to understand is that the former ALWAYS devolves into the latter. The public-sector is authoritarian, by definition.

                    1. WTB,

                      That’s nonsense. Every functioning country is socialist to some degree. If there’s a slippery slope then we’re all already on it.

                    2. “That’s nonsense. Every functioning country is socialist to some degree. If there’s a slippery slope then we’re all already on it.”

                      That’s what they call the “New World Order”. “They” being the politicians and academics of the worlds nations. It’s the “open conspiracy” (Orwell wrote a book about this by that name) to establish a One World State. These elitists have been putting their plans in publicly available books, magazines, and videos for at least a century or so.

                      That’s what you are working towards – a global dictatorship. To prevent war and solve all of our problems. Yep. That’ll work.

                      Tony, you ever consider joining the Baha’i faith? I recently studied this fascinating religion, it’s spiritual Communism, a genuine New World Order cult! The people seem to be much nicer than other cults and will most likely be very cheery and pleasant as you march to hell.

                  2. Lenin said socialism is the go-between to get from capitalism to communism. One look at the police state known as the UK proves it.

                    Coulter was warned to check speech laws before she speaks in Canada.

                    1. I’d rather err on the side of universal healthcare and have the big debates over speech codes and traffic cameras (I’m against both), than not have universal healthcare and be arguing over whether darwin was right.

                2. And, FWIW, your saying that quoting Orwell isn’t kosher because Orwell was a socialist and would have found liberty “abhorrent” is the equivalent of reading Federalist 51 and saying that “Madison thought that politicians are capable of being angels, hence we should trust them”, which is exactly what a friend of mine tried to pull on me last week. It’s taking the plain meaning of the words and turning them on their heads. No can do.

              2. Socialism is a totalitarian economic system.

              3. Perhaps you’ll stop being confused when you learn that socialism and totalitarianism aren’t the same thing.

                Perhaps you’re walking down the road to serfdom. Rather, perhaps you’re being carried down that road with your head looking up at the stars.

                1. Or perhaps Hayek was a nobody until business and theocratic interests decided to subsidize his work so they’d have a philosophical excuse for the plunder they were committing in this country and around the world.

                  How come libertarian ideas never seem to be able to sell in the free market without some well-financed operation giving them affirmative action?

                  1. With all due respect to CATO…

                  2. “In my opinion it is a grand book…Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it: and not only in agreement with it, but in deeply moved agreement.” – John Maynard Keynes

          2. Actually, he was more of an anti-authoritarian than a socialist. He would not support this bill or the Democratic Party, thats for sure.

            1. That’s probably true. They’d be too right-wing for him.

              1. No. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want a central governing authority making decisions for 350,000,000 people. Maybe socialist on a local level. Not not in D.C. It is ridiculous to say he would find libertarianism abhorrent. He may not agree with everything, but we’re about as anti-authoritarian as they come. I doubt he would mind.

                1. Let’s say he was a socialist with libertarian streaks. Sounds like a liberal.

                  1. Small central government Liberal maybe.

          3. “Okay but let’s not pimp out the cliches of Orwell (the political novelist) in the service of a political philosophy he would have found abhorrent.”

            Yeah! Especially when we have the more up to date “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” so “yes we can” version of “some animals are more equal than others”.

            1. I’d say “more equal than others” describes the capitalist-Jesus-for-powerful-men-who-deserve-it philosophy of the elite American right–a real proto-fascist movement.

              But I don’t see how Obama’s campaign is relevant. We ARE the ones we were waiting for, after having our economy and world standing almost completely destroyed by the sociopaths who came before.

              1. So we can get some partisan abuse instead of the standard bipartisan abuse.

      2. Yes, a socialist who pessimistically believed that socialism would inevitably end in totalitarianism.

    2. I wish that those people like Tony who wish to twist what freedom means to their own ends would have a better sense of history:

      “[The state] is not simply a mechanism which limits the sphere of the supposed liberties of the individual… Neither has the Fascist conception of authority anything in common with that of a police ridden State… Far from crushing the individual, the Fascist State multiplies his energies, just as in a regiment a soldier is not diminished but multiplied by the number of his fellow soldiers.”

      The Doctrine of Fascism” (“La dottrina del fascismo”) Benito Mussolini, 1932.

      Tony and Benito have much in common when it comes to belief in the beneficence of the State. They hardly ever use the jackboots to crush those who do not believe as they do – until they really, really need to shut those nay-saying fuckers right up.

  19. I personally resent being told, as happened at least 5-6 times today when I talked to various useful idiots, that they’re sorry I “don’t know anyone that will be helped” or “I know you don’t agree, but we need to help people” or some other doe-eyed sob story rationalization for this pile of dung.

    Because, of course, all my talk about first principles and federalism is just a big lie to cover up the fact that I like watching people suffer and go broke and there’s no other way to fix our healthcare system but to turn it over to the IRS and Nancy Pelosi. YOU CAUGHT ME!

  20. fuck civility

  21. Whether you think this is a good or bad choice to make, it should not be hard to see the other point of view.

    I see the other point of view, but it’s a hallucination. Most progressives/liberals see nothing but sunshine and lollipops … a fundamental transformation that will achieve greater equality.

    Nonsense, I say. It will accomplish nothing of the sort. There’s no way that the US government will make good on existing entitlements for much longer. It has already squandered too much of the nation’s wealth.

    At best this will knock down the quality of middle class and retiree health care a notch or two to make it more equal to the lower quintile’s. But I don’t think Congress and other Federal employees are going to suffer a diminution in the quality of their care. If it were quantifiable in some way, I’d expect the Gini coefficient for health quality to increase as a consequence of this bill — i.e., make it less equal.

    1. I see the other point of view, but it’s a hallucination. Most progressives/liberals see nothing but sunshine and lollipops

      100% bullshit.

      1. SkepticalTexan,

        Chad is right. Let me rephrase for you: “I see the other point of view, but it’s a hallucination. Most progressives/liberals see nothing but sunshine, lollipops, and 100% bullshit.”

        1. Subsidized sunshine, lollypops, and bullshit.

      2. 100% bullshit? So you don’t see any sunshine or lollipops?

      3. Tony had the numbers above … I think only 13% of the total responded that the bill wasn’t liberal enough and 39% favored HCR. 39% out of 52% is most progressives/liberals.

    2. The consensus among pro-Obamacare liberals is that the bill doesn’t go nearly far enough, but at least will save a lot of lives, and the Dems going down in defeat would only doom reform forever. Even Noam Chomsky is on board with this now, though he hates the bill.

      The rest of the liberals think it’s a big useless shit sandwich, period.

      1. “The consensus among pro-Obamacare liberals is that the bill doesn’t go nearly far enough, but at least will save a lot of lives”

        What lives might those be? As I understand the Senate bill most of the benefits don’t kick in until 2014.

        1. This is governing. 3,000 dead people all at once = $3 trillion in pointless wars. 15,000 dead yearly each year = statistics–we’ll get around to ’em.

          Anyway, a lot of immediate benefits will save lives.

          1. Not to sound cold-hearted, but way more Americans commit suicide every year than that.

            1. Not cold-hearted at all. An interesting point. If there were known typical causes of suicide, we should know about them and determine whether any social change would decrease them. If it’s poverty-related, that’s something that can be handled. Access to drugs? Same. A normal and irrevocable part of human nature in some proportion? Not much you can do that I can think of. Good to keep a liberally open mind about these things.

              1. I know I’m going to commit suicide because I don’t have enough money to pay my bills. Hmmm, if only I could pay less taxes, then maybe this problem would be surmountable without burdening anybody else. I’ll let you know what lead tastes like on the other side mother fucker.

          2. Anyway, a lot of immediate benefits will save lives.

            How? Just who isn’t getting lifesaving treatment now because they don’t have health insurance?

            I confidently predict that no one will be able to look at mortality data in 2020 and be able to identify when, or if, any provisions of this law went into effect.

        2. What lives might those be? As I understand the Senate bill most of the benefits don’t kick in until 2014.

          If this was such a crisis, why wait until 2014 for benefits to kick in?

          1. “If this was such a crisis, why wait until 2014 for benefits to kick in?”

            It’s so that the state can implement the equality-through-universal-enmiseration policy that will weaken the resistance to the New Zion that will be America under Universal Healthcare. It also gets the State a running start at the really yummy tax increases that must happen to fund the coming utopia.

          2. Because they know the republicans will be in power when the bill (including some of the nasty parts) kicks in.

          3. A.) To get the CBO score to work; and

            B.) Obama will conveniently be through his final election cycle and will therefore still be able to campaign on false puppy-and-rainbow descriptions of what he brought instead of the real deal.

            Doubly cynical all around.

  22. “…it’s probably better to spend time attempting to convince its supporters that this is true than to spend it than to spend it deriding them for being ignorant or wrong.”

    This is a false dichotomy: There is at least a third alternative, which is to convince the folks who have no strong opinion because they have other things that call for there attention that, while they were otherwise occupied, they got taken advantage of.

  23. You know Orwell was a socialist, right?

    It’s also pretty clear Orwell *disapproved* of the subordination of the individual to the State implied by the slogan “Freedom is Slavery”. Try not to be such a prissy little nuisance.

    Okay?

  24. But, by and large, it’s probably better to spend time attempting to convince its supporters that this is true than to spend it than to spend it deriding them for being ignorant or wrong.

    So if the opposition would have played nice the bill would have passed anyway and the opposition would have been weaker.

    Opposition did not play nice and now they are in a stronger position with a pretty good chance of taking power away from the majority….

    I fail to see the advantage of playing nice.

    1. Got my vote next time around. Compromise and jettisoning the few principles they have would’ve just made me vote LP or Independent. Now I’m in active not-these-fuckers-anymore mode.

      1. You’ll regret that vote. The Republicans won’t resist the temptation to own this program, just like they didn’t resist the temptation to own Medicare. They won’t pass it, but they sure as hell will perpetuate it, with minor changes designed to make it more “employer friendly”.

        If you do decide to vote for a Rep this time around, ask him or her if they support Paul Ryan’s roadmap. If no, run screaming. If yes, consider holding your nose and ticking the box.

    2. If the opposition had “played nice”, we could have had a better bill.

      For example, one of your primary objections is that you are going to be forced to buy health insurance from a private company…after YOU killed the public alternative. *facepalm*

      I am sure that if Republicans wanted to rectify this issue, it could be done in a matter of days.

      1. For example, one of your primary objections is that you are going to be forced to buy health insurance from a private company…after YOU killed the public alternative. *facepalm*

        It was in a completely wrong direction.

        Hell, direct price controls on health care services would have been far less harmful. (And that had been tried before, by President Richard M. Nixon of all people.)

        1. If go in the other direction, then you create an even worse problem with adverse selection.

          The mandate is necessary for community ratings to work.

          1. If go in the other direction, then you create an even worse problem with adverse selection.

            The mandate is necessary for community ratings to work.

            So the only way to make this work is via forced participation.

            A couple of cotton plantations in the Carolinas worked similarly, I have heard.

            1. Plantation massas aren’t government bureaucrats, so presumably they can treat their slaves as they want, and that equals freedom. Or do we need government to intervene here?

              1. You neglected to mention something, Tony, and I think you know what it is.

                1. What, your arbitrary first principle of individual autonomy?

                  That’s not gonna happen by magic. You need government to protect it. What else is gonna?

                  1. Who else but government is trying to destroy it?

              2. Plantation massas aren’t government bureaucrats, so presumably they can treat their slaves as they want, and that equals freedom. Or do we need government to intervene here?

                Slavery was enforced by the government.

    3. I fail to see the advantage of playing nice.

      Me too, since what we got was a thoroughly Republican bill anyway.

      Of course now they get to campaign on repealing all the reforms that appeal to pretty much everyone (doughnut hole fixed, kids on parents insurance to 26, end of rescission and preexisting conditions), which exactly how the Dems are gonna paint it. So good luck with that.

      1. Tony|3.22.10 @ 7:38PM|#
        “Me too, since what we got was a thoroughly Republican bill anyway.”

        Chony, disregarding your early attempt at passing the blame for the fact that the bill will be a failure, how can it be a “Republican bill”:

        https://reason.com/archives/201…..sponsibili

        “As Democrats made cable-news victory laps in the wake of securing the necessary votes to pass a massive legislative overhaul of the American health care system,”

        And:
        “Tater Salad|3.22.10 @ 3:50PM|#

        House Roll Call ? Archived For November
        March 22nd, 2010
        From a joyous Associated Press:

        House Roll Call: Health care overhaul
        By The Associated Press The Associated Press Sun Mar 21

        The 219-212 roll call Sunday by which the House passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

        A “yes” vote is a vote to pass the bill.

        Voting yes were 219 Democrats and 0 Republicans.

        Voting no were 34 Democrats and 178 Republicans.

        There are 4 vacancies in the 435-member House.

        ALABAMA

        Democrats ? Bright, N; Davis, N.

        Republicans ? Aderholt, N; Bachus, N; Bonner, N; Griffith, N; Rogers, N.

        ALASKA

        Republicans ? Young, N.

        ARIZONA

        Democrats ? Giffords, Y; Grijalva, Y; Kirkpatrick, Y; Mitchell, Y; Pastor, Y.

        Republicans ? Flake, N; Franks, N; Shadegg, N.

        ARKANSAS
        ………..
        etc.
        ………….
        Just a little something to store away until the mid-terms.”

        So what say you, asshole?

        1. Chony, disregarding your early attempt at passing the blame for the fact that the bill will be a failure, how can it be a “Republican bill”

          Because it resembles the ideas of Mitt Romney, Richard Nixon, and Bob Dole more than any idea of any Democrat worth the name, and will still be the most free market system in the world.

          They acted like psychotic assholes and still got a bill that could only come from a Republican governing a blue state. Thanks to corporate whore Democrats, of course, and the Rs’ egregious abuse of the filibuster in the senate.

          Granted, Dems own it.

          1. Oh I forgot The Heritage Foundation, the originator of the health insurance exchange idea that’s in the bill.

            Those aren’t exactly red commies over there.

          2. I finally found Chony on YouTube! He’s worked in commercials advocating for his fellow progressives:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfS0Gvp6f_I

            1. Nah, that kid couldn’t be Chony – he’s brighter, more useful, and more honest than Chony ever thought about being.

          3. The plan Romney got through is proving to be a fiscal disaster, Nixon was a chronic enabler of bad liberal policies, and Dole was a largely non-ideological establishment Republican, and people on the right should love this crapsack because it looks like what those three favored? Please.

            1. It’s the Heritage Foundation’s bill. You don’t have to like it but you can’t call it radical socialism.

      2. “(doughnut hole fixed, kids on parents insurance to 26, end of rescission and preexisting conditions)”

        all that and only 2700+ pages, aren’t they wonderful?

        1. You’re BORING. Page counts are irrelevant. What’s in the pages matters, but the number of them is a complete distraction for stupid people who are afraid of words.

          1. Actually, a bill that long is somewhat difficult to read due to the legalese, amount of self-reference and length. I’ve read parts of the most recent H.R.s.

          2. “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood”
            – James Madison -see November 2010

      3. “Kids” cease to BE kids after age 18, Tony.

      4. “…kids on parents insurance to 26…”

        What a bunch of goddamn babies we have become. You know why kids need insurance until they are 26? Because they need 8-12 years of education now just to get ahead, they major in bullshit that has little direct real world application, mininum wage laws priced them out of the market without a “higher education”, or they are lazy shits. People used to do things with their lives BEFORE they were 20. Now we are lucky to live before we hit middle age. Say what you will about all the other “good-intentioned” fairy shit shoehorned into this abomination, but letting kids be kids for even longer is not going to help anybody. Hell, it will at least motivate them not to work ,thus not paying income tax, even longer. I mean, adulthood used to have value and this is just another indication that responsbility is being avoided by everybody everywhere.

        Have you people been to a high school in the last 10 years? They are awful. Kids watch movies half the time. No wonder this country has become such a failure. No wonder young people want to major in nebulous crap for 8 years. They are taught nebulous crap their entire lives.

        And here is the thought that should make the progressives of the world wet their pants. These people, my generation, are the sad morons that have to carry the torch and sustain all the bullshit foisted upon us. How are these poorly educated, lazy, entitled, eternal man-children supposed to create the wealth that feeds this machine? It can’t be done. At least not for long.

        Responsibility people. I must take care of YOUR parents but not mine. I must pay for YOUR misbehaving child’s shitty education, but not a better one for my child. It’s about responsbility people. If your parents were dicks to you, screw them. If you are a piece of shit parent, don’t be surprised when your kid guns somebody down in a fit of rage and you drink yourself to death as a result. Our “safety nets” are more like reality-blinders, obscuring the nature of our own place in the events of the world while preventing us from taking action to save ourselves, because “somebody else will do it”.

        1. You’re right, young people should just man up and find one of those jobs that don’t exist.

          1. Excellent observation about there not being jobs… but can you learn from it?

            Try this thought experiment:

            Say Company A has gross sales of $20 per hour and enough work for 4 new employees. Also assume that it wants to hire as many employees as it possibly can without losing money. In other words, revenues must always be greater than or equal to expenses.

            So, with those constraints, two questions:

            A.) How many employees can he hire?

            and

            B.) How much can he pay them?

            You might find part of the answer to that lack of jobs conundrum if you think hard enough.

  25. This bill is fantastic. Now you don’t have to carry insurance until you get sick. I figure 20 years of insurance (100k); I can make some of that back by dropping coverage until it’s needed. Then, I’ll get into shorting the insurance companies. No kids to worry about having to pay the VAT tax. Maybe I’ll take off to a more community oriented country like Venezuela.

    Thanks Obama, Pelosi, Chad, Tony et al and all the assholes that stuck it to Bush by hooking us up with this Congress and White House.

  26. Thank you Cosmotarians! With your tight pants and martinis, you convinced yourself that voting for the black guy was the right thing to do because you’re so open-minded and forward-thinking that it makes Will Wilkinson blush and Julian Sanchez’s nipples hard even though the black guy had a past straight out of red diaper baby autobiographies. Your open-mindedness just gave us the biggest lurch toward socialism since the Great Society but I bet you still eat up every word your articulate, well-behaved magical negro utters.

  27. “the health reform bill offers more community (all Americans get health insurance, regulated by a centralized authority) and less liberty (insurance mandates, higher taxes).”

    Do you notice that more community (getting subsidized insurance) and less liberty (taxes) will be enjoyed / bourn by different people.

    I’m sure the people paying for it will notice.

  28. “my judgment is that this health bill adds significantly to our long-term fiscal problems.” Jeeze, you fuckin’ think??? It takes an Ivy League edjemmikated economist to figure that out.

  29. Equality is easy. It only requires a mandate. Efficiency is hard, because mere mandate will not achieve it.

  30. I was treated to the milqtoast “on the one hand” commentary on NPR this morning.

  31. I have understood the left’s desire for “universal” health coverage, but I don’t think they understand the perspective that it is an unattainable ideal that very quickly builds up high costs and diminishing returns, and awful unintended (hopefully) consequences. Therefore, it is the lowest priority of any health care system.

    1. I have understood the left’s desire for “universal” health coverage, but I don’t think they understand the perspective that it is an unattainable ideal that very quickly builds up high costs and diminishing returns, and awful unintended (hopefully) consequences. Therefore, it is the lowest priority of any health care system.

      Remember that even in countries with universal health care, quadriplegics are still being wheeled around.

    2. MJ|3.22.10 @ 8:05PM|#
      “I have understood the left’s desire for “universal” health coverage, but I don’t think they understand the perspective that it is an unattainable ideal that very quickly builds up high costs and diminishing returns, and awful unintended (hopefully) consequences.”

      There’s several presumptions built into this and Chony repeats them as if they are facts, They’re not:
      1) “Healthcare” is less a given quantity or quality than is “food”. Yes, we as a society wish to make sure no one, regardless of any sort of disability, starves. As a society, we do not wish to provide caviar to slackers for sitting around.
      Chony posits “adequate healthcare” with out the slightest clue as to what that means.

      2) Costs of any economic good *will* be established by the market; the cost of good healthcare is now increased greatly (I hope I can afford it), while horse-meat healthcare will cost what beef did.

      3) Regardless of Chony’s ignorant griping, profit is the reason for improved healthcare. If new healthcare pharms and techniques did *not* exhibit elasticity in pricing, there would be no new pharms and/or techniques.
      The supposed profit ‘waste’ of ~7% doesn’t begin to match the waste of any purely bureaucratic organization. Instead, the discipline imposed to achieve that profit produces efficiencies of which Chony is totally ignorant.

      1. >[T]ony posits “adequate healthcare” with out the slightest clue as to what that means

        You’re right, I don’t really know, because I’m not a doctor. I do know that because “adequate” is vague doesn’t mean it can’t be estimated and codified.

        Costs of any economic good *will* be established by the market;

        Yeah and rich people should pick up the tab for poor people.

        profit is the reason for improved healthcare

        Profit is also why we don’t have cures for things but instead pills you have to take every day forever.

        You can’t reasonably argue that profit motive is enough to establish a fair system that advances medical treatment based on the needs of patients.

        If you have a specific end, the market does not promise to deliver it. It delivers what profits the shareholders. That’s not always in line with what society needs.

        1. We have cures for things, Tony.

          1. Yeah and the people who found them were scientists. If only that power could be used for good, instead of profit.

            1. How ’bout both? Let me do some research on big pharma and then I’ll get back to you.

            2. “If only that power could be used for good, instead of profit.”

              If profit didn’t exist, the scientists would not have made the discoveries. By syllogism then, profit is good since it drives the creation of desireable things such as cures for diseases.

              Or have you not been around long enough to recognize that element of human nature?

              1. Most science is funded by governments, and science should never be subjected to profit motive.

                1. Really, you’re intellectual caliber has gone downhill lately Tony.

                  “Profits Bad! Ban profits equal make good! Baby find pee-pee fun!”

                2. Between science being subject to the profit motive or political goals, the profit motive is more defensible as being for the good of society. People serving profits have get results, people serving politics just have to put up the correct appearances.

                  1. So all those tobacco experts were really interested in finding the truth?

                    1. Just like those tobacco experts pushing the horrible effects of second and third hand smoke in order to justify more intrusive bans on smoking. A scientist working for the government is just as likely toproduce findings that are in the government’s interest.

                      Working for the government does not grant one a divine sense of ethics.

        2. You can’t reasonably argue that profit motive is enough to establish a fair system that advances medical treatment based on the needs of patients.

          You can’t reasonably argue that profit motive is not enough without also believing that most humans are congenitally evil.

          Such a belief would be in line with the “progressive” project to establish government control over everything. We just need to get the right people in power, eh?

        3. “Profit is also why we don’t have cures for things but instead pills you have to take every day forever.”

          That’s because we get chronic conditions as entropy breaks down the body. There are not many conditions that can be done with a one shot treatment. Removing the profit motive won’t change that fact on the ground and only a fool would believe that it would.

          There is no motive that promises perfect results. Partly, because everyone has a different definition of perfect results. Your specific end may be of no interest to most people. If the system is run off of political motives then your end will be ignored.

          There is no system that will line up with what “society” needs because that is an unreal abstraction like the “average person”, but the free market serves better what most people need.

        4. If you have a specific end, the market does not promise to deliver it. It delivers what profits the shareholders.

          Only if the shareholders offer something that people want or need.

          The market certainly did not deliver profits to the shareholders of Smith-Corona.

          Profit is also why we don’t have cures for things but instead pills you have to take every day forever.

          So you cure them, if that is important to you.

          And maybe you can give them hand-built typewriters while you are at it.

  32. This writer assumes that what just happened is the result of democratic processes as described in a high school civics text, rather than the tax predator ruling classes use of common irrational “moral” bromides (a right to healthcare) to seize control of 1/6 of the economy for both power and loot.

    1. The real problem is that these same high school civics textbooks don’t do a good enough job of defining “rights” in the first place.

  33. Another reason that our absolute top priority should be beating every Dem we can:

    After the election, the Deficit Reduction Commission is going to recommend a national VAT. If the Dems have even a one-seat majority, they will saddle us with a massive new tax.

    As with McCain v. Obama, sure, the Reps will probably suck, but you are guaran-damn-teed the Dems will be worse. By an order of magnitude.

    Have we learned nothing in the last few days?

    The Dems cannot be trusted with both the Presidency and the Congress. Period. That is all that is at stake this November.

    1. We’ve learned nothing new and it will be forgotten by most people come November anyway. Most people will be reminded of it when they do their taxes but that won’t be until mid-april ’11.

    2. you are guaran-damn-teed the Dems will be worse. By an order of magnitude.

      Unless we have another major terrorist attack, and we’re reminded just how many orders of magnitude of suck the Republicans can offer. The next Patriot Act could have us pining for the innocent days of HCR.

      That said, I wouldn’t put something like that past the Dems either.

      Can’t we just admit that we’re doomed? Doomed, I tells you?

      1. Marc|3.22.10 @ 10:56PM|#
        “you are guaran-damn-teed the Dems will be worse. By an order of magnitude.
        Unless we have another major terrorist attack, and we’re reminded just how many orders of magnitude of suck the Republicans can offer. The next Patriot Act could have us pining for the innocent days of HCR.
        That said, I wouldn’t put something like that past the Dems either.”

        Crisis? We gotta CRISIS that needs government ACTION! Right NOW! And only the government can solve it!
        (/sarcasm)
        Agreed.

    3. hack, hack

      Sorry, little cough

      1. I’ve got some phlegm buildup as well.

        1. Try Mucinex?. Tame your cough!

          Disclaimer: satire.

      2. Cum sure can make you phlegmy, eh?

  34. Great SITE for documentaries check it out, knowledge is power

    http://freeviewdocumentaries.com

  35. This article is meaningless enough to be scary were it not so badly written. It would only make sense to someone so determined to conclude that repubs are just a big a part of the problem as dems that they would ignore everything from the polls to Obama’s Fox interview meltdown.

  36. Very delightful.

    It seems that most of us have decided to to be angry, angry, angry because we’re shocked that the Democrats are trying to work toward National Health. And anyone who suggests that maybe we ought to argue them out of it instead of holding our breath and stamping our feet until we get what we want is howled down.

    Brilliant. You might reinforce your will to resist but you’re also reinforcing their will to drive forward. That’s worked out great, hasn’t it? If you think about it, instead of wailing that Republic has fallen, you might understand what Suderman was getting at.

    1. I’m betting that unbridled anger and a voter’s revolt will get the point across much, much more effectively….

  37. But to a certain extent, the inability or unwillingness to acknowledge and understand the other side’s point of view makes the entire problem-solving process more difficult.

    But some of us don’t want the government to try to solve the problem at all, because any attempt to do something about the perceived problem through the force of government will only inevitably make it worse.

  38. Is this the magazine that calls itself “libertarian,” that had half its writers vote for Obama?

    FU dave Weigel

    1. in the ass with the wide end of Nancy Pelosi’s hammer

  39. This is the most reasonable Reason piece covering the health care debate I’ve seen. Well done.

  40. This is the most reasonable Reason piece covering the health care debate I’ve seen. Well done.

  41. The piece so nice I commented on it twice! D’oh!

  42. of course Greg is a “New Keynesian”, for all you “ekonomiks 79′ types.

    ha ha. srsly. excellent posting! thanks!

  43. Sprechen sie French?

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