Obamacare

Sebelius to Announce Rules Governing ObamaCare's Health Insurance Exchanges

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Go on and hit that Facebook like button for ObamaCare. Please.

When Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announces the release of the first draft of the federal regulations governing ObamaCare's health insurance exchanges this morning, she'll do so in front of Frager's Hardware, a 90 year old hardware store on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. The official White House spin on the insurance exchanges is that they're marketplaces that "will offer affordable high-quality health insurance options" for families and "for small businesses that cannot afford small group health insurance." No doubt Sebelius will make similar claims today.

But the administration and the law's backers have had quite a bit of trouble getting individuals and business owners to buy this argument. Among the small business owners who aren't so sure about administration's line: the owner of Frager's. Kaiser Health News reports:

John Weintraub, the store's co-owner, is one of [the skeptics]. "I am not confident at all that Obamacare will lower my costs," Weintraub told KHN Friday. "It seems like whenever the government does get involved in something like this,  it never works out."

…Like many employers, Frager's has struggled to keep pace with the rising cost of providing health insurance to its workers, Weintraub said. His store on Pennsylvania Avenue pays half the cost of coverage for its 25 full-time employees and dependents.  He's been able to control some of the increase in premiums by raising the annual deductible on employees from $1,000 to $2,500. The store, though, helps pick up that extra deductible cost for employees. "We constantly have to find creative ways to keep the costs down," he said.

To be sure, Weintraub admits he hasn't followed the debate too closely (rational ignorance!). But Weintraub's less-than-enthusiastic reaction offers a telling illustration of the deep public skepticism that's continued to plague the law—public opinion about the law has gone down steadily since last year—and a reminder of the serious difficulty that the administration has had in making its case so far.

ObamaCare's backers, of course, continue to insist that once the public experiences the law's benefits, they'll come around. But they've been saying this since before the law's passage, and yet with each new round of benefits—the high-risk pools, new preventive care guarantees, coverage for adult dependents—public opinion continues to fall. Consultants who've managed to profit off the law seem to like it, but it's hardly surprising that it's popular among those who've turned the law into a new revenue stream. But maybe that suggests that Weintraub, at least, might finally see some virtue in the law after today. He told KHN that he accepted the booking in hopes that publicity from this morning's event will give his business a boost. 

NEXT: Are You Ready to Rawk? or, What's New With The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America

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  1. Rule dropped.

    http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/O…..610_PI.pdf

  2. Kathleen Sebelius obviously knows more about what’s good for this guy’s company healthcare plan than he does.

    Maybe she should go ahead and reorganize the rest of this guy’s hardware business too?

  3. Every problem this law creates will be deemed a “market failure”. See, we tried, but single payer is the only solution…….

    1. Eh. Single payer will last about 10 minutes in this country before being replaced by cash payment.

      1. How do you explain the single-payer system known as Medicare being more popular than the private system?

        1. What’s not to like about a program where you receive more than you put in?
          Of course it’s popular.
          Until it implodes. But until that happens of course it will be popular.

          1. What people “put in” is decades of work to the benefit of your precious capitalist system. What they “get” is a small measure of financial security in old age. And you act like it’s all or nothing. Medicare exists, then it disappears. That’s a nice scare story for people interested in making it disappear, but at worst it means diminishing benefits over time, which can be remedied with minor changes in the tax code and major changes in policies that drive up provider-end costs.

            1. Uh, no?
              Medicare is a Ponzi scheme.
              What people “put in” is immediately used to pay current beneficiaries. What they “get” is proportional to what is currently being “put in”.
              The scheme is peaking right now, and soon it will be revealed for what it is when the returns shrink and then disappear entirely.
              If the scheme were privately operated this would be the time when someone goes to prison. But that someone is current and past members of Congress, so justice will never be served.

              1. I think you’re a victim of hype. The only known way to reduce health insurance costs on a substantial scale is to increase the size of the risk pool–the most efficient system being single-payer. The more private you make the system, the more individual costs will rise. I suspect you don’t care about that–even if taxes are cheaper in the long run, they’re still taxes right?

            2. Re: Tony,

              What people “put in” is decades of work to the benefit of your precious capitalist system.

              Oh, please spare me from this “exploitation theory of profit.” This Marxian canard was long refuted, defeated and left for dead by Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk in his work Capital And Interest.

              First of all, people do not put in work, they exchange work for pecuniary rewards. Second, the capitalist system is simply one based on savings: Capital is savings. A non-capitalistic system is simply one devoid of savings. The capitalist is the one that, through his savings and consumption postponement, allows producers to produce and labor to be paid, before the goods are exchanged. With NO capital and NO capitalist, there would be only a little susbtinance production.

              What they “get” is a small measure of financial security in old age.

              Spare me. Giving money that belonged to others is not financial security. At one point, people will simply refuse to pay; then what? Where will your precious “financial security” be then?

              1. Okay so your system is one in which old people with no money die in their beds for that fact alone, assuming they’re lucky enough to own beds? And we should implement this system as quickly as possible!

                1. Why don’t you set up a charity and get like minded bleeding hearts to voluntarily give on their own to help those poor old people?

                  Or does it only count when you give people a choice between contributing to your charity or going to jail?

                2. psssst Tony!

                  I hate to break this to you…..they eventually die in their beds anyway. Yes you too.

                  1. I think there is something in your guys’ brain that prevents you from seeing things from a macro or statistical perspective. Obviously a free market healthcare system means more old and poor people dying. How could it not?

                    1. OK, so how would a thriving, free-market economy handle health care for the elderly:
                      a) If peole could accumulate wealth over a lifetime without having it sucked away by taxes, inflation, etc. they could afford to pay for more health care out-of-pocket in their old age. Their children would have more money to help out, too.
                      a) That’s a good thing, because health insurance is not an appropriate vehicle for providing health care for the elderly. They are a guaranteed loss. Old people might be able to pool costs to a certain degree, but any insurance plan catering to them would have to charge high premiums. Or sell insurance policies into which a person pays over their entire working life (which would really be a variation on (a) above).
                      c) A health care market in which there were more direct purchasing by the consumer and less government regulation would see more development of less-expensive treatments and a lot less price distortion.

                3. Didn’t you say on another thread that you’re NOT one to exaggerate?

        2. Re: Tony,

          How do you explain the single-payer system known as Medicare being more popular than the private system?

          Any government program that offers to give you something for almost nothing will tend to be very popular. Why would that have to do with the viability of the program is beyond my comprehension – perhaps you could explain it to me.

          1. It’s perfectly viable with a few adjustments, including increasing revenues. What you fail to mention is that a private alternative is more costly for individuals than the taxes to pay for Medicare.

            1. I am definitely a bigger fan of free gas than the kind I have to pay for.

            2. Shithead offers this inanity:
              “Tony|7.11.11 @ 12:48PM|#
              It’s perfectly viable with a few adjustments, including increasing revenues.”
              So it’ll work find so long as we, oh, triple the cost?
              Go away.

            3. Re: Tony,

              It’s perfectly viable with a few adjustments, including increasing revenues.

              There are no more revenues. The government can’t extract more than 20% of GDP in revenues from people. You seem to believe that pillaging does not change people’s behavior. Not expecting this is the mark of the foolish.

              What you fail to mention is that a private alternative is more costly for individuals than the taxes to pay for Medicare.

              What YOU fail to mention is that where I pay for my OWN healthcare, my taxes pay for someone else’s I do not know nor care to know. If you believe this compulsory system is more ethical than a voluntary system, then we cannot agree on anything as our ethical systems are entirely at odds. I do not believe in stealing from others, period.

              1. There are no more revenues.

                The Bush tax cuts represent some $3 trillion in lost revenues. There’s plenty of wealth being sat upon in this country. You’re repeating Republican talking points without looking at the facts. If you want to be against any tax hike ever in history, fine, just say that, but don’t employ GOP lies to do it.

                You seem to believe that pillaging does not change people’s behavior.

                Tax code changes do not substantially change anything about market behavior, except perhaps shifting attempts to evade it.

                What YOU fail to mention is that where I pay for my OWN healthcare, my taxes pay for someone else’s I do not know nor care to know. If you believe this compulsory system is more ethical than a voluntary system, then we cannot agree on anything as our ethical systems are entirely at odds.

                Any ethics that results in more people dying from lack of access to healthcare for the reason that they don’t make enough money does not deserve the name. More relevantly, my system is cheaper. I think most sane people would be willing to sacrifice the liberty of not paying taxes in order to achieve cheaper and more universal healthcare costs. It’s not just strangers you’re paying for with those taxes, it’s your parents and grandparents. You think it’s really more freedom for you to be on the hook for their medical needs in old age rather than just having a simple safety net? It’s a no-brainer trade off for most people especially if they sit down and think about it.

                1. Your system is not cheaper.
                  Third party payer systems cause prices to rise. Period. Doesn’t matter if the payer is an insurance company or government, prices rise.
                  Competition is what keeps prices low, and when the consumer does not pay the provider there is no competition to keep prices down.

                  High deductible insurance for the unexpected combined with HSAs would lower prices because the consumer would pay the provider directly.

                  Imagine if car insurance covered oil changes and you only paid a small copay.
                  Do you think oil changes would cost twenty bucks, or more like a hundred?
                  What if all maintenance was covered by insurance. Would mechanics charge $60/hr or $150/hr?
                  What do you care, you only pay a copay.
                  Then you run to the government when you can’t afford your monthly insurance bill.
                  Duh!

                  1. I still think healthcare has to be subsidized for the poor and elderly and other people who are uninsurable in the private market. What’s to stop private insurance from simply leaving potentially expensive policyholders out altogether? Competition is great, but health insurance industry is not interested in delivering healthcare, it’s interested in making a profit.

                    Competition may keep policy prices in check, but there is no such market mechanism for healthcare delivery itself. You can’t threaten to go to the competitor down the street if the hospital you’re at charges to much to fix the heart attack you’re having. There are many cost problems on the supplier end that need to be dealt with too.

                    1. Health care and health insurance are not the same thing.

                      The price of health care is what the health care provider charges the insurance company.

                      The price of health insurance is what the health insurance company charges the consumer.

                      Third party payer: the insurance is the third party doing the paying. Get it?

                      Routine care and emergency care are not the same thing.

                      Routine care is when you get sick or get a physical. You can shop around for that (if you have an incentive to shop that is). Emergency care is when you have a stroke or heart attack. See the difference?

                      Using HSAs to pay for routine care provides an incentive to shop around, and as a result prices would plummet.

                      Get it?

                    2. But all evidence suggests that you’re completely wrong in that assumption.

                    3. That was as nice a piece of statist propaganda as I’ve seen in a while.
                      Very nice!

                    4. Re: Tony,

                      The Bush tax cuts represent some $3 trillion in lost revenues.

                      That’s a lie. You may think this makes sense but again, you think of capital in very simplistic terms. People do not keep producing stuff like aphids produce honey dew: They change their behavior in the face of pillaging from the government.

                      The $3 trillion is a post hoc calculation based on the GDP after the tax cuts. You would have to take into account the negative effect it would have on productive efforts that taking those taxes would have on production, and then figure out if you lost something or not.

                      By the way, during the tax-cutting years of Coolidge, tax revenues actually went UP, despite the decreasingly lower tax rates.

                      There’s plenty of wealth being sat upon in this country.

                      Money is not wealth.

                      http://bastiat.org/en/what_is_money.html

                      Tax code changes do not substantially change anything about market behavior, except perhaps shifting attempts to evade it.

                      And that’s not a behavior???

                      Any ethics that results in more people dying from lack of access to healthcare for the reason that they don’t make enough money does not deserve the name.

                      That has nothing to do with ethics, Tony, leaving aside the fact that is a boldfaced lie. I still don’t see how the tragedy you allude to is solved by taking money from productive people by force. What allows a greater supply of a good, which includes healthcare, is capital accumulation and investment, not thievery.

                      More relevantly, my system is cheaper.

                      Cheaper for whom?

                      I think most sane people would be willing to sacrifice the liberty of not paying taxes in order to achieve cheaper and more universal healthcare costs.

                      That’s not an argument, that’s an opinion.

                      It’s not just strangers you’re paying for with those taxes, it’s your parents and grandparents.

                      My grandparents are dead, and my parents live in Mexico, where they pay for their own care. I am not willing to pay for fat, wealthy gringos.

                      You think it’s really more freedom for you to be on the hook for their medical needs in old age rather than just having a simple safety net?

                      You’re asking the wrong person for that, as my folks saved for their years or have a pension. Besides, what makes you think there are enough children to pay for their parents’ or grandparents’ healthcare? There’s a reason why the single-payer systems in Europe and Latin America are heavily rationed: You can’t trump the Laws of Economics.

                2. Re: Tony,

                  The Bush tax cuts represent some $3 trillion in lost revenues.

                  That’s a lie. You may think this makes sense but again, you think of capital in very simplistic terms. People do not keep producing stuff like aphids produce honey dew: They change their behavior in the face of pillaging from the government.

                  The $3 trillion is a post hoc calculation based on the GDP after the tax cuts. You would have to take into account the negative effect it would have on productive efforts that taking those taxes would have on production, and then figure out if you lost something or not.

                  By the way, during the tax-cutting years of Coolidge, tax revenues actually went UP, despite the decreasingly lower tax rates.

                  http://www.calvin-coolidge.org…..perit.html

                  There’s plenty of wealth being sat upon in this country.

                  Money is not wealth.

                  http://bastiat.org/en/what_is_money.html

                  Tax code changes do not substantially change anything about market behavior, except perhaps shifting attempts to evade it.

                  And that’s not a behavior???

                  Any ethics that results in more people dying from lack of access to healthcare for the reason that they don’t make enough money does not deserve the name.

                  That has nothing to do with ethics, Tony, leaving aside the fact that is a boldfaced lie. I still don’t see how the tragedy you allude to is solved by taking money from productive people by force. What allows a greater supply of a good, which includes healthcare, is capital accumulation and investment, not thievery.

                  More relevantly, my system is cheaper.

                  Cheaper for whom?

                  I think most sane people would be willing to sacrifice the liberty of not paying taxes in order to achieve cheaper and more universal healthcare costs.

                  That’s not an argument, that’s an opinion.

                  It’s not just strangers you’re paying for with those taxes, it’s your parents and grandparents.

                  My grandparents are dead, and my parents live in Mexico, where they pay for their own care. I am not willing to pay for fat, wealthy gringos.

                  You think it’s really more freedom for you to be on the hook for their medical needs in old age rather than just having a simple safety net?

                  You’re asking the wrong person for that, as my folks saved for their years or have a pension. Besides, what makes you think there are enough children to pay for their parents’ or grandparents’ healthcare? There’s a reason why the single-payer systems in Europe and Latin America are heavily rationed: You can’t trump the Laws of Economics.

                3. Re: Tony,

                  The Bush tax cuts represent some $3 trillion in lost revenues.

                  That’s a lie. You may think this makes sense but again, you think of capital in very simplistic terms. People do not keep producing stuff like aphids produce honey dew: They change their behavior in the face of pillaging from the government.

                  The $3 trillion is a post hoc calculation based on the GDP after the tax cuts. You would have to take into account the negative effect it would have on productive efforts that taking those taxes would have on production, and then figure out if you lost something or not.

                  By the way, during the tax-cutting years of Coolidge, tax revenues actually went UP, despite the decreasingly lower tax rates.

                  There’s plenty of wealth being sat upon in this country.

                  Money is not wealth.

                  Tax code changes do not substantially change anything about market behavior, except perhaps shifting attempts to evade it.

                  And that’s not a behavior???

                  Any ethics that results in more people dying from lack of access to healthcare for the reason that they don’t make enough money does not deserve the name.

                  That has nothing to do with ethics, Tony, leaving aside the fact that is a boldfaced lie. I still don’t see how the tragedy you allude to is solved by taking money from productive people by force. What allows a greater supply of a good, which includes healthcare, is capital accumulation and investment, not thievery.

                  More relevantly, my system is cheaper.

                  Cheaper for whom?

                  I think most sane people would be willing to sacrifice the liberty of not paying taxes in order to achieve cheaper and more universal healthcare costs.

                  That’s not an argument, that’s an opinion.

                  It’s not just strangers you’re paying for with those taxes, it’s your parents and grandparents.

                  My grandparents are dead, and my parents live in Mexico, where they pay for their own care. I am not willing to pay for fat, wealthy gringos.

                  You think it’s really more freedom for you to be on the hook for their medical needs in old age rather than just having a simple safety net?

                  You’re asking the wrong person for that, as my folks saved for their years or have a pension. Besides, what makes you think there are enough children to pay for their parents’ or grandparents’ healthcare? There’s a reason why the single-payer systems in Europe and Latin America are heavily rationed: You can’t trump the Laws of Economics.

                4. Any ethics that results in more people dying from lack of access to healthcare for the reason that they don’t make enough money does not deserve the name.

                  Well, then you’re an idiot. Your system has the same problem – it doesn’t make people immortal. People die from lack of healthcare every day. Know anyone who’s died from cancer? Ever bought a film or videogame or album? You could have spent the money you spent on that on cancer research, but you chose not to. Indeed, we could ban videogames and albums and films and dedicate the entirety of that money to cancer research, and then to AIDs research, and then life-extension technologies. Indeed, we can always trade off more liberty for more healthcare until we have no liberty left. But you’re not willing to do that, and neither are we, so don’t act like you’re superior because you put less value on freedom than we do.

                5. More relevantly, my system is cheaper. I think most sane people would be willing to sacrifice the liberty of not paying taxes in order to achieve cheaper and more universal healthcare costs.

                  ______________________

                  But that is not all they will be asked to sacrifice. Single payer will beget extensive regulation of what we eat and drink, at the very least. Of course you’ll deny this (as will every leftist), only to beat the drum of compulsory broccoli years from now. These grand, progressive social plans always require major “adjustments” down the road, which is why the real cost of this social engineering is always far higher than advertised. Would Medicare have passed had its real costs been advertised?

                  Also, you have to love the notion that your system is “cheaper.” For whom? It won’t be cheaper for millions of people who will be taxed at confiscatory rates, and many of them do not share your religious zeal for equality at all costs. Keep in mind that for every truly deserving Medicare recipient there is another who pissed away all his wealth when young. What moral claim do those people have on my savings and income? What moral claim does a smoker have? A 350 pound slob who has never even attempted to run a mile?

                  1. What I see happening in the future is it becoming a crime to disobey your doctor.
                    Punishment could include agents visiting your home, reeducation, and even internment.
                    It’s for everyone’s good.

                  2. Just like in all those other countries–every single developed country except the US–with single-payer systems, where they all force you to eat broccoli.

      2. Yes! Your “contributions” will of course continue to the single payer program after you have ceased to use it.

  4. Good Lord. They couldn’t find a friendly business to backdrop their announcement? Amateur hour.

    1. It’s because everyone is racist.

    2. Would it have been too obvious to announce at Unitedhealth Group’s corporate headquarters?

  5. ObamaCare’s backers, of course, continue to insist that once the public experiences the law’s benefits, they’ll come around.
    Especially if the public forgets about those 1,400+ waivers that Sebelius granted to the administration’s group of unconditional friends…

    1. AAarggh!!

      ObamaCare’s backers, of course, continue to insist that once the public experiences the law’s benefits, they’ll come around.

      Especially if the public forgets about those 1,400+ waivers that Sebelius granted to the administration’s group of unconditional friends…

      1. That sounds complicated.
        When is American Idol on ?

        1. If you have to ask when it’s on, you don’t watch it.

          1. It’s “every night”, right?

            1. No idea. I’ve never watched it on purpose.

  6. But if they eat gruel every day for a year they will develop a taste for it. Eventually it will lead to a golden age of gruel recipes and consumption. People will forget about cereal, bacon, eggs, etc. becuase they will all be so accustomed to gruel that they will love it.

    1. Let them eat cake!

    2. Re: Spencer,

      That explains the Hawaiians’ odd tast for Spam.

      Upside Down Spam Cake

      Ingredients:

      2 sticks margarine or butter; 3 cups brown sugar; 1 pineapple; 2 cans Spam; 8 maraschino cherries Your favorite cake mix.

      Preparation: Melt margarine in 9×1.5 inch round baking pan. Stir in sugar. Slice and halve pineapple and Spam. Arrange Spam, pineapple, and cherries in bottom of pan. Prepare cake mix according to directions. Spoon batter into pan. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 min. or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for five minutes. Loosen sides; invert onto a plate. Serve warm. Serves 8.

      It also explains the Americans’ odd taste for Fascism:

      http://news-releases.uiowa.edu…..-poll.html

      1. Hawaiian’s like unsolicited bulk messages? Some people don’t deserve nice weather.

      2. My Dad lived in American Samoa for a couple of years. He said their favorite foods were Spam and mayonnaise. When the mayo jar was almost empty he said they would fill it with water, shake it up, and drink the resulting beverage for refreshment.

        1. There is also a statistical over representation of Samoans as offensive lineman in the NFL. I know, Correlation does not equal causation… just sayin.

  7. If this abomination isn’t repealed, it’ll be time for secession and armed revolution

    1. Never happen.
      The descendants of the free and brave people who founded this country are too domesticated to do anything.
      This parasite will only die when it kills its host.

      1. I sincerely hope and pray that that isn’t so. Jesus fucking Christ, where are the minutemen of the 21st century?

        1. Unfortunately if there is a revolution in this country, things will only get worse.
          If anything what would happen is not the returning to principles of limited government, but rather a leap towards a truer form of socialism.
          The public school system has succeeded in indoctrinating enough generations of people into truly believing that government is the answer to all of our problems, and they will be the ones to charter whatever replaces our current mess.

          In short – we’re fucked.

          1. Whether or not that’s true, I’m proud to say that a huge minority (and this is unusual for the quasi-statist northern South) of people in my neighborhood would die fighting usurpers of that sort with rifles in their hands. I just hope it doesn’t come to that.

            I read it on some website relating to a novel, I think, but it matches this situation nonetheless:

            “We could solve the world’s energy problems by connecting electrodes to the grave of Thomas Jefferson.”

            1. Maybe the South could try rising again via better health and education metrics instead.

              1. 1) That remark about “the South rising again” indicates you’re assuming we’re neo-Confederates, so to that I’ll just say this: eat shit and die.

                2) Citations/proof needed for those claims. Thanks.

                1. Please don’t feed it.

                  1. Sorry, I would have slipped arsenic into its food if I could find any.

                2. Here’s a good resource for state comparisons of a large range of metrics. I think you’ll find that a Southern state is lucky to be in the top 50% for any of them.

                  You’re right, my jab was unfair. Back then the South fought for real things, like their right to keep people doing backbreaking labor for no wages. Now you get worked up over a relatively anemic change in healthcare policy? I suppose you were all napping during the 8 years of horrific abuses of power of the Bush administration.

                  1. Really Tony, you should pay at least some attention, I don’t think you will find any GWB fanboys here… But here is a neat game I like to play with BHO drones:

                    Lets see if you can figure out who I am talking about, BHO or GWB.

                    -Intiated at least one “war of choice”

                    -Pushed mind numbingly expensive social programs and exploded the national debt and deficit.

                    – Doled out a bunch of money to bail out politically favored private companies.

                    -Authorized the use of torture for detainees.

                    1. Bush, Obama
                      Bush
                      Bush, Obama
                      Bush

                    2. Bzzzt!

                      I am afraid that you have answered incorrectly the correct answer is….

                      Bush, Obama
                      Bush, Obama (14 trillion in debt)
                      Bush, Obama
                      Bush, Obama (Still hasn’t closed of Guantanamo or written any policies to counter his predecessors’ policies)

                    3. 35N4P2BYY

                      Does Tony at least leave his own “home” version of the game and other lovely parting gifts?

                    4. He gets a lovely american flag refrigerator and a box of cheezits for playing… and loosing.

                    5. refrigerator magnet, I meant magnet.

                    6. Obama’s “social programs” were more or less paid for, unlike Bush’s. And Obama doesn’t allow torture. There is some debate at the margins regarding extraordinary rendition, but it’s a vicious lie to keep trying to equate Obama and Bush on torture. One of them had it as stated policy.

                    7. Paid for.. hmmm your claim is dubious at best, especially held against the long and consistent history of social spending ALWAYS overrunning projections by a wide margin.

                      As for the torture, its all good so long as it isn’t a stated policy? Do what you like but just don’t tell me.

                    8. Barack Hussein Obama: George W. Bush’s third term.

          2. Spent some time with family over the fourth, and my brother let me know ahead of time, he wanted to talk to me about my (libertarian) views on education. He’s an educated guy, but simply could not imagine how kids would get an education if the government doesn’t run the schools. His trump card was, how will poor kids get schooled under “my” plan ? He didn’t grasp that “his” status quo is failing the poor kids right now. I tried, gently, to help him see that the market will provide what people value (e.g. education for their kids), and that people’s charitable impulses will help educate “little Carlos” as he put it. To no avail. IF the government doesn’t do it, it won’t get done.

            So, yeah, we are probably fucked.

    2. Don’t think it will happen. PPACA re-inforces the status quo, so lots of people who get health care through their employment will continue to do so and won’t feel enough effect to get angry. And other unintended consequences will happen: more black market medicine and gray market medicine imported from Canada or wherever; growth of medical tourism to Mexico, etc.; perhaps more cash-only medical clinics.

  8. The official White House spin on the insurance exchanges is that they’re marketplaces that “will offer affordable high-quality health insurance options” for families and “for small businesses that cannot afford small group health insurance.” No doubt Sebelius will make similar claims today

    I thought leftists hated the market. The source of all evil, inequality, etc.

    1. Maybe if the market demonstrated it was capable of reducing inequality.

      1. Maybe if we actually had a free market it would.

        Actually, it has anyway. Compare inequality in North Korea to inequality in Singapore.

        Or less dramatically, inequality in the United States to inequality in Saudi Arabia.

        When the government is the one that “evens things out” it is those who have political connections that benefit.

        1. I’m not so sure the differences in those countries is 100% correlated to how much capitalism is allowed to flourish. The most equal societies in the world are ones with relatively highly socialistic systems. America is far from the most equal society, and it’s far from the most regulated. It’s in fact the least equal society among modern democracies.

          The essential difference is democracy vs. authoritarianism. In a democracy, people secure rights and benefits for themselves because they are in charge and it’s what they want. Good luck getting enough people to buy your system!

          1. We aren’t among the modern democracies, dipstick, because we aren’t a democracy, but a republic. Get that through your thick fucking skull.

            https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_2325883

            How many fucking times do people have to go over this?

            1. We haven’t been a republic since the 17th Amendment took away state government’s representation in D.C.

              1. That, and shitloads of other happenings and events, but I’m trying to drill it into Tony’s tiny cranium that the United States, if it is indeed a democracy IN PRACTICE, it’s because shitheads like him have spent the last 200 years fucking it over.

            2. You can be relieved of the burden by realizing that I understand the difference between straight democracy and representative republic. I did have Civics in 8th grade. It’s completely irrelevant to the discussion but you guys sure do get worked up over the distinction.

              1. Was it at a public school?

                1. Yes, though I must have been sick the day they taught that the 50 states are all sovereign nations.

                  1. The very word state MEANS socerign nation. That is why the federal government has a STATE DEPARTMENT.

                    As anyone from the UK what the word “state” means to them.

                    1. The United States was plural until the federal government wages a war to bring the states under its control.

                      Only then was it referred to as a single entity.

                    2. Actually, I’m genuinely proud that the natural, instinctive way for me to refer to the country is as a plural — “the United States are”

          2. Tony,

            Take North Korea and South Korea. Same ethnic group, same language, same climate, same culture same everything – except the polico-economic system.

            Why?

            Coercive socialism (as opposed to voluntary socialism like in a Hippie commune, a monastery or a kibbutz) IS a form of authoritarianism. What libertarians oppose is authoritarianism in any form ? including economic.

            As for democracy, it is just a nice name for mob rule.

            1. Why do you have more inequality in North Korea than in South Korea?

              1. Because one is a totalitarian dictatorship based on a cult of personality and the other is a democracy? When people are free, they tend to freely choose to have a welfare state, which decreases inequality.

                1. “When people are free, they tend to freely choose to have a welfare state, which decreases inequality.”

                  Interesting use of the word “free”. What of those who do not choose your prefered form of government? Are they also free?

                  1. Yes. Nobody ever said you were entitled to exactly the country you want. If you were, that would make YOU the dictator. If you want change, participate in the marketplace of ideas and convince people, and good luck with that.

                    1. “Nobody ever said you were entitled to exactly the country you want. If you were, that would make YOU the dictator.”

                      I don’t want a country. I want to be free. I have no desire to rule over others. I would not be a dictator except of my own life.

                      Why do you want to impose your values upon others?

                    2. Seems like I don’t want to impose my values to any greater degree than you do. What do you want exactly? You want a country with policies you favor, right, such as not taxing you? Should everyone be under your system, or just you, because you’re somehow special and get to opt out of civilization?

                    3. Nothing is stopping you from sending extra money to the government, Tony.

                      Do you send extra money to the government, Tony?

                      Somehow I doubt that you send extra money to the government, Tony.

                      If, Tony, government always spends more wisely than you, why do you not send them more of your money?

                    4. sarcasmic I am not interested in making a symbolic gesture nobody will pay attention to. I’m interested in the best policy, just like you.

                      Or why don’t you just stop driving on roads? Pthh

                    5. Why not get rock stars and Hollywood on board?

                      Or is it only a good cause if you can get men with guns to back you up?

                    6. “You want a country with policies you favor, right, such as not taxing you?”

                      No, I don’t want any country at all.

                      “Should everyone be under your system, or just you, because you’re somehow special and get to opt out of civilization?”

                      I support anyone’s right to form whatever voluntary relationships they want. All I ask is that they not impose their system on others. Want socialism? Fine, just don’t impose your socialism on others. Above I already gave three examples of voluntary socialism : a Hippie-like commune, a monastery and a kibbutz. I have no problem with people who live in any of these three examples. You can set up a different sort of voluntary socialist community if you choose ? no problem. Just don’t impose your system on others.

                    7. How the hell do you do voluntary in a world where children are born? At what age do they get to choose? You need an overall policy just for that first simple question!

                      Modern democratic states like the US are how you do voluntariness on the scale of modern societies. You just can’t accept that for some reason, but you can’t describe an alternative either. Just arbitrarily small societies that fit your lifestyle.

                    8. God I’m such a deep thinker! You should all worship me!

                    9. Modern democratic states like the US are how you do voluntariness on the scale of modern societies. You just can’t accept that for some reason, but you can’t describe an alternative either.

                      But we constantly describe the alternative: people become part of whatever organisation they want voluntarily. Your solution clearly isn’t voluntary for some individuals. You can have a society as big as you want following whatever rules you want as long as all members consent. Just for fuck’s sake argue honestly, like you’ve actually read anything anyone’s said to you.

                    10. “How the hell do you do voluntary in a world where children are born? At what age do they get to choose?”

                      At the age they can support themselves to the point they can put a roof over their own heads.

                      “You need an overall policy just for that first simple question!”

                      No, you don’t.

                      “Modern democratic states like the US are how you do voluntariness on the scale of modern societies.”

                      Who is this “you” person you are talking to?

                2. When people are free, they tend to freely choose to have a welfare state, which decreases inequality.

                  In other news, polls show that the third-party beneficiaries of theft don’t think theft is that bad.

                  More after the break.

          3. I do not want to live in “the most equal society.” I would much rather live where I and others were most free to pursue our interests.

            “There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.”

            –F. A. Hayek

      2. Re: Tony,

        Maybe if the market demonstrated it was capable of reducing inequality.

        It can’t. That much has been demonstrated. Only a totally unfree, controlled society enjoys the benefits of total equality, like North Korea’s. They are equally poor, equally malnourished, and have equal haircuts.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let‘s_trim_our_hair_in_accordance_with_the_socialist_lifestyle

        What the free market allows is for people to improve their present condition. It cannot make people equal, as we’re not ants, we’re individuals with different abilities, levels of intelligence, culture, looks, strenghts, weaknesses, sizes, girths, needs and wants.

        1. I’m pretty sure that’s many statists’ goal — to make us equally poor, malnourished, and subservient. All equal.

          1. The rich do not pay their fair share.
            We know this because they are rich.
            If they paid their fair share then they wouldn’t be rich.
            Therefor the rich must be taxed until they aren’t rich anymore.
            Then there is nobody to envy because we’re all equally poor.

          2. There is not a single sane liberal in this country who wants to enact any policy whatsoever that will make any rich person not-rich.

            There are plenty of ostensibly sane conservatives and libertarians who think that then fairest system is one in which almost everyone is poor and miserable.

            1. You just want your side to be able to decide when rich becomes too rich and are therefore entitled to less of what they earn.

              1. Who said it was all earned? Why is all the money in the pockets of the rich always “earned” but any in the pockets of the poor was probably looted? Do you think the massive gains at the top in the last few decades compared to virtually none everywhere else were because only the richest worked harder, and many many times harder? Come on. At some point you have to look at the distribution and recognize that no fair market system was responsible for it.

                1. You confuse money with wealth.

                  If I sold everything I own except the clothes on my back and put the money into a briefcase, would I suddenly be rich?
                  What’s the point?
                  Or am I wealthy because I have those things I could sell?

                  The poor in this country are much better off in terms of wealth than they have ever been. They may not have much money, but they are certainly wealthier with their cell phones, computers, internet, microwave ovens, color televisions…

                2. You really should read The Constitution of Liberty by Hayek. The chapter titled, “Equality, Value, and Merit” is especially apt to this discussion.

            2. How do you know that the rich don’t pay their fair share except by them being rich?
              I mean, there’s always someone to envy, and they need to be punished!
              There’s always someone with less than the rich guy, and that’s not equal!

              The logical conclusion of equality through force is the lowest common denominator.

              That may not be the stated intention, but it is the logical conclusion.

              1. All I can do is compare rates to historical trends. We have a massive budget imbalance and tax rates are at their lowest in 60 years. What does that tell you? It’s not beyond the realm of sanity to assume that they’re too low for the circumstances.

                But your problem is circumstances don’t matter a single bit. Taxes should always be lower, no matter what, right?

                1. What does that tell you?

                  Let me quote from Bastiat.

                  Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves.

                  What does that tell me? It tells me that our government resembles that third system of government, and has for a long time.

                2. How about this for a historical trend, regardless of how the tax code is fiddled with government revenues have averaged a smidge below 19 percent of GDP over the past 5 decades, given that wouldn’t it be better for government to live within its means vice trying to extract more revenue that its not going to get?

            3. There is not a single sane liberal in this country…..

              I really should have stopped here!

        2. That may be so, but the problem is that any incremental policy you offer (i.e., one that makes sense in the real world and not the ideal fantasy in your head) leads to greater inequality. Every single time. Why should anyone trust small-governmentism when it claims only when we achieve utopia will things work as intended? And that after huge amounts of pain to get there.

          1. Typical progressive utilitarianism on full display, ensuring equal outcomes by any means.

      3. Why are you so worried about inequality, anyway? Inequality, as such, doesn’t hurt anyone.

        What you should be worried about, if you are worried about people’s well-being, is efficiency and productivity, not inequality.

        1. RC,

          Tony is focused on inequality because he is animated by jealousy:

          You are actually missing Tony’s main point: We libertarians aren’t envious enough!

          Haven’t you noticed all the digs about people starving so that a billionaire can drive a Bugatti Veyron?

          We say “keep your mits to yourself!” But when one does that someone might amass alot of wealth! To an envious person this is a big problem. To a libertarian, it’s not a problem at all – so long as the wealth is amassed through production and/or voluntary trade.

          Now serious students of economic history recognize that in the presence of free markets, you get a large middle class, some rich people, and a shrinking pool of people in poverty. It wasn’t the existence of unions, for example, that ensured that a poor woman had access to stockings that 100 years previously were only available to the very wealthy. It was the expansion of production prompted by the opportunity to get rich off of one’s own labors.

          But to the envious, the very existence of the wealthy is the problem. To them it’s as much a crime as a mugger taking someone’s baby’s milk-money is to us.

          I think this is the cause of Tony’s frustration. A very envious person thinks it’s OK to take stuff that other people has because it’s intolerable that they don’t share their good fortune. Or, if they are opposed to taking, using force to prevent someone from getting more stuff.

          Consider Paris Hilton, for example. Now, I think we can all stipulate that Paris Hilton will consume far more than she produces. And her consumption is so frivolous as completely revolt my half Scotch-Yankee love of frugality.

          However, the wealth she consumes was amassed by people who loved her and gave it to her, and to a libertarian the fact that her dad and granddad wanted her to have that wealth they had worked so hard to produce is sufficient reason for her to have it.

          Someone filled with envy, though, looks at Paris Hilton and screams she doesn’t deserve that wealth, decent people do! They view her as being the beneficiary of a natal lottery, and rather than seeing her wealth as a gift of love, view it as a theft from their pockets.

          This is why I don’t think Tony will ever accept all the evidence thrown at him that he is wrong. Because to admit that forcible redistribution of wealth away from the halves would require him to confront the envy & greed that is the core of his being. Far more comfortable to repeatedly type out the same jingoistic slogans and to close his mind to reason.

          1. All of those who claim to be motivated by “equality” are in fact motivated by envy.
            They want something that someone else has got.
            That’s envy.

          2. “I have no respect for the passion for equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy.”

            –Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

      4. What we call the “market” isn’t some magic system that one can control by pressing the “correct” buttons. You statists refuse to understand that.

        In any case, my point was that it’s weird for the administration to tout a “marketplace” when they hate markets so much. I suspect they’re being disingenous. As other posters have suggested, I suspect they know this scheme will fail and are trying to set it up as a “market failure” when in fact it will be nothing of the sort. It will be a government failure.

    2. The definition of “market” she is using is a cage for rodents in which they control the maximum speed of the wheel.

  9. Tax code changes do not substantially change anything about market behavior, except perhaps shifting attempts to evade it.

    You’re fucking hopeless.

    Seriously.

    1. Just go find a chart that compares tax rates to employment, or any other macro indicator you please.

      1. You need a chart to demonstate common sense? If tax rates are jacked up to 50% you really think that will have no effect on behavior? The extent to which 35% to 39.6% affects behavior is open to debate, but to say there is none is delusional.

        1. Yes I fucking well need a chart to demonstrate that libertarian “common sense” is so much bullshit it’s hard to fathom how you even move around on a daily basis. We’re not talking about ridiculous swings in tax rates, but we’ve gone as high as 90% at the top and had a perfectly prosperous society.

          1. I understand.

            When the intent behind a tax is to curb behavior, for example raising taxes on tobacco, then because the intent it to curb tobacco use fewer people will use tobacco.

            When you raise taxes on fossil fuels with the intent of getting people to use less fossil fuels, the effect will be people using less fossil fuels.

            When you raise taxes on the production of wealth, but your intent is not to curb the production of wealth, then the taxers will not curb the production of wealth.

            When you raise taxes on creating jobs, but your intention is not to curb the creation of jobs, naturally these taxes will not curb the creation of jobs.

            I understand now.

  10. “shifting attempts to evade it”

    was EXACTLY the point old Mexican was making, you blockhead.

    1. I don’t like tax code policy by extortion. That’s only a reason for stronger government police power.

      1. “I don’t like tax code policy by extortion.”

        So you oppose the current tax code in the United States?

  11. Re: Tony,

    The Bush tax cuts represent some $3 trillion in lost revenues.

    That’s a lie. You may think this makes sense but again, you think of capital in very simplistic terms. People do not keep producing stuff like aphids produce honey dew: They change their behavior in the face of pillaging from the government.

    The $3 trillion is a post hoc calculation based on the GDP after the tax cuts. You would have to take into account the negative effect it would have on productive efforts that taking those taxes would have on production, and then figure out if you lost something or not.

    By the way, during the tax-cutting years of Coolidge, tax revenues actually went UP, despite the decreasingly lower tax rates.

    There’s plenty of wealth being sat upon in this country.

    Money is not wealth.

    Tax code changes do not substantially change anything about market behavior, except perhaps shifting attempts to evade it.

    And that’s not a behavior???

    Any ethics that results in more people dying from lack of access to healthcare for the reason that they don’t make enough money does not deserve the name.

    That has nothing to do with ethics, Tony, leaving aside the fact that is a boldfaced lie. I still don’t see how the tragedy you allude to is solved by taking money from productive people by force. What allows a greater supply of a good, which includes healthcare, is capital accumulation and investment, not thievery.

    More relevantly, my system is cheaper.

    Cheaper for whom?

    I think most sane people would be willing to sacrifice the liberty of not paying taxes in order to achieve cheaper and more universal healthcare costs.

    That’s not an argument, that’s an opinion.

    It’s not just strangers you’re paying for with those taxes, it’s your parents and grandparents.

    My grandparents are dead, and my parents live in Mexico, where they pay for their own care. I am not willing to pay for fat, wealthy gringos.

    You think it’s really more freedom for you to be on the hook for their medical needs in old age rather than just having a simple safety net?

    You’re asking the wrong person for that, as my folks saved for their years or have a pension. Besides, what makes you think there are enough children to pay for their parents’ or grandparents’ healthcare? There’s a reason why the single-payer systems in Europe and Latin America are heavily rationed: You can’t trump the Laws of Economics.

    1. The $3 trillion is a post hoc calculation based on the GDP after the tax cuts. You would have to take into account the negative effect it would have on productive efforts that taking those taxes would have on production, and then figure out if you lost something or not.

      Wow, aren’t you the fallacy police? So the determined cost is not the actual cost once we implement all of your assumptions, which conveniently enough appear to negate the entire price.

      I want to see any chart comparing tax rates to productivity or employment and I dare you to find a correlation that fits your claims.

      I still don’t see how the tragedy you allude to is solved by taking money from productive people by force.

      By productive people of course you mean “people with money.” Always the conflation, as if only the poor are capable of thieving or gaming the system (those all-powerful poor!)

      In my system wages would be fairer so there would be fewer poor people (and, alas, fewer CEOs making 10,000 times their employees), more people buying in, fewer to subsidize.

      It’s solved because a basic need is taken care of and is divorced from people’s ability to pay out of pocket, since while that ability varies hugely, the need for healthcare is universal. It’s just not something that works by normal market forces.

      Cheaper for whom?

      Everyone. Single-payer systems the world over are about half as expensive per capita as our system. You can go on defending ours because it’s more free, but give people a choice between “free” and cheaper and see what they choose.

      There’s a reason why the single-payer systems in Europe and Latin America are heavily rationed: You can’t trump the Laws of Economics.

      As opposed to our system which is not rationed? You’re speaking in right-wing mythology again. Our system has long lines and rationed care just like anyone else’s.

      1. Re: Tony,

        So the determined cost is not the actual cost once we implement all of your assumptions, which conveniently enough appear to negate the entire price.

        That’s because you do not understant economics, Tony. A cost is the best next choice you faced. You cannot figure “costs” after the choice is made because the choices change. The GDP before the tax cuts will NEVER be the same as AFTER the tax cuts because producers already took different choices, so this idea that a tax cut “costs” the governent X or Y is pure drivel.

        I want to see any chart comparing tax rates to productivity or employment and I dare you to find a correlation that fits your claims.

        Sure: http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-0302-13.pdf

        The Mellon tax cuts of 1921-1929 INCREASED the tax share of the wealthy towards 60% of the total burden, whereas right after WWI and under Wilson’s tax rates, only 30% of the total rtax revenue came from the wealthy.

        What does THAT tell you? That by taxing the productive MORE, you obtain LESS revenue as potential investment capital is instead placed in UNproductive tax shelters like treasury bonds or municipal bonds. Instead, at a LOWER tax rate, wealthy individuals invest MORE of their capital, which explains the HIGHER revenue and MORE share of the revenue compared to the others.

        THAT is the correlation you asked for.

        By productive people of course you mean “people with money.”

        Yes. The unproductive have no money, Tony, as they do not have exchangeable labor or goods. That is a fact that should not be surprising, only to the economics illiterate and intellectually challenged (or “Leftist boob” to put it more succinctly.)

        1. OM,

          In crafting the government criminal court system, there is the adage that better a thousand guilty men go free than one innocent man get punished.

          In Tony’s philosophy, it is reversed; better a thousand rich men who earned their wealth be forcibly reduced in means that one Paris Hilton be allowed to keep that which her parents gave her.

          His rage at Paris Hilton knows no bounds.

          1. It really has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with my moral feelings about people, just what makes economic sense. You guys are the ones pointing the moral finger at everyone who’s not “productive” in your eyes.

            1. You guys are the ones pointing the moral finger at everyone who’s not “productive” in your eyes.

              ROFL, no we don’t. Again, a libertarian wants to remove aggressive violence from society. It means we want to leave both the productive and the unproductive alone.

              It is you, with your snide remarks about trust-fund babies and hedge-fund managers that is on a moral crusade to rework society.

              You will not find happiness until you examine your own heart and excise the envy that is poisoning it. There will always be people who are better off than you due to dumb luck. They will have rich parents. They will go to better schools. They’ll have that coach who produces a disproportionate number of major leage batters. They won’t get acne in their teenage years. They’ll have the cute girl boyfriend. They’ll get assigned a seat next to some guy on a plane who at the end of the flight offers them a dream job etc. Your happiness should not depend on the existence or absence of these lucky people. Rather your happiness should come from within, from the things you do control.

  12. “By productive people of course you mean “people with money.” Always the conflation, as if only the poor are capable of thieving or gaming the system (those all-powerful poor!)”
    There are three ways to obtain physical wealth.
    1. Receive something as a gift (i.e. inheritance or the charity of others).
    2. Theft
    3. Earn the money through trade with others or homesteading resources that no one owned before you used them.
    The only one of these that libertarians oppose is theft. It is also theft through which the government receives almost all of its resources.
    Do you oppose one of the other methods? If so which one?

    1. I’m pretty sure that taxation is the only method of which he approves.

      Inheritance is bad because the receiver didn’t earn it, and that is how multi-generational rich pass along their wealth. Therefore it should be taxed away.

      Profit is theft. So any wealth accumulated through trade is theft and should be taxed away.

      Taxation is not theft because it is legal.
      Theft is when you receive wealth when it is voluntarily given to you or through voluntary trade.

      Taking wealth by force or threat of force is not theft if it is legal.

      I hope that helps.

  13. In my system wages would be fairer so there would be fewer poor people (and, alas, fewer CEOs making 10,000 times their employees), more people buying in, fewer to subsidize.

    _____________________

    Uh, a government setting wages according to “fairness” IS a subsidy.

    1. Well, our government should subsidize our workers. If capitalism means competing with a billion chinese peasants then who needs it?

      1. The Chinese peasants who want to improve their lives.

      2. More stoopid.

  14. I just don’t get stories like this. Nobody from the Obama Administration thought to check with this Frager guy ahead of time to make sure he was on board?

  15. I’m still waiting for a coherent, logical definition of “fairness” that doesn’t include angry emotional caterwauling.

    I wait in vain, I think.

  16. Healthcare is not subject to normal market forces! Anything that you have to buy at any random moment in order not to die is not something to which a rational supply/demand calculus can apply. Check out “Penny Health” articles on how to reduce the cost of insurance.

    1. This is why some people choose to purchase insurance.

    2. Nonsense. There are lots of similar unpredictable areas that markets have evolved mechanisms for dealing with.

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