“It’s all about the money, boys!” Big Dan Teague
Health insurance, hospitals, big pharma, retail pharma, healthcare professionals, healthcare equipment and device manufacturing, are in it for the money. And rightly so. Money is the exchange medium that enables people to trade peacefully for what they want. Without money, people kill each other. See Venezuela.
Federal, state and local governments—political organizations—write laws to manage health care and health insurance. The laws they’ve written control prices, the services available, where those services will be provided, how much the patient pays, and most importantly, how much the government funds.
Political organizations follow the money. The biggest, most ossified and intransigent spender is government. Whoever turns that money spigot on gets rich.
That’s why congress isn’t repealing Obamacare. The reason has little to do with patient or voter revolts in 2018 that could favor Democrats, though Democrats certainly portray it as such—a case of making hay while the sun shines.
The reason comes from all of the vested money interests in the great mess of a health market enabled and protected by government. When it comes time to prune it back—i.e. now—no one will step forward to shut off their tap on the government money reservoir.
Politicians want to keep receiving money for their votes on profitable laws, begging the question of who profits.
Government health insurance/practitioner/substance/health transaction controllers and regulators all want to keep their statutory jobs.
Health finance at all levels of funds flow, a massive industry, want to keep their jobs.
And so it goes with the millions of consequential transactions all lubricated by virtually unlimited government money.
The patient entitlement is the tip of the iceberg. The far more pernicious entitlements in the fabric of the health industry—the ones that removal would lead to unemployment of the comfortably well paid—form the scaffold propping the whole thing up.
The mantra offered as a solution—“Single Payor”—would be like throwing gasoline onto a raging fire with the expectation it will perform like water.
The real solution is to reintroduce the highly protected and funded rare birds in all facets of the health industry to competition and market forces.
Because it’s all about the money, boys.
When did social media become the vehicle for the American polity to enforce compliance on the part of elected officials over their magisterial discretion? Oh, that’s right. Never. America never became a direct democracy, informally or officially. We’re still a Republic.
We elect officials and thereby grant them a license to make governing decisions, for which they have magisterial immunity, for a period of time. At the end of that time we may re-elect them or put someone else into their office whom we like better.
Still, the Left practice informal direct democracy as if they, the Left, are a co-equal, if not superior, branch of government with ministerial powers.
On the negative side, they riot, burn, loot, kill, slander, subvert, abuse, misrepresent, suppress, disenfranchise, deconstruct, and foster division, unboundedly, about anything, any person, and any policy they don’t like.
On the positive side they promulgate unobtainable utopian visions to underpin all of the necessary negatives they must, regrettably, practice—the “break a few eggs” part of their duality for the greater good.
Locally, the Elbert County Left roam the county’s meeting halls and offices on the lookout for any opportunity to inject, influence, aggravate, and impose their direction. When not physically engaging government, they publish.
Their publications—social media, local press—usually construct a battle ground with social justice warriors defending all that is good and right in the world on the one hand, and the evil old guard polluters and environment destroyers on the other. They can find a morality play for a Leftist good guy and a conservative bad guy in any set of facts. And when short of facts, innuendo works just as well.
The Leftist elite in Elbert County, a mere handful of zealots, sow more division and disinformation than they’re worth. There is no greater good about these self-serving ideologues who look down upon the uneducated proles whom they must, regrettably, control.
Trump’s Way Out of the Progressive Labyrinth
In every single week of the Trump presidency, the investigators and attorneys of FBI Director James Comey or, subsequently, of special counsel Robert Mueller, have leaked information that President Donald Trump was under investigation for either colluding with the Russians or obstructing justice—allegations so far without any substantiating evidence.
In the case of Comey, we now know that his office or sympathetic third-parties leaked to the press false stories that Trump was under FBI investigation at precisely the time that the careerist Comey was privately reassuring the president himself that he was in fact not being investigated.
The appointment of Mueller was a concession to opposition demands that Trump appoint a Lawrence Walsh-type Special Prosecutor. The Comey-Mueller investigations and leaks occur simultaneously with House Intelligence member Adam Schiff’s passive-aggressive and often pompous announcements of evidence of Russian collusion—including raising the specter of a Grand Jury investigation—that are never followed by any evidence.
Since January 2017, the Congress ceased being a legislative body. It is now a Star-chamber court determined to decapitate the presidency.
Never in the history of the republic have there been so many legislative and political simultaneous efforts to 1) sabotage the Electoral College, 2) sue to overturn the presidential vote in key swing states, 3) boycott the Inauguration, 4) systematically block presidential appointments, 5) surveille, unmask, and leak classified or privileged information about the elected president, 6) nullify federal law at the state and local level, 7) sue to remove the president by invoking the Emoluments Clause, 8) declare Trump unfit under the 25th Amendments, 9) demand recusals from his top aides, 10) cherry-pick sympathetic judges to block presidential executive orders, 11) have a prior administration’s residual appointees subvert their successor, and 12) promise impending impeachment.
And that is only the political effort to remove the president. [Read more…]
Much as random Islamic violence now marks time, random Leftist violence is catching up.
The system–law enforcement and social scientists–will write algorithms to signal when a citizen is about to go active and cause harm. People will be monitored, boxes will be checked, but it won’t work because each new attacker will learn from their predecessors and change their approach.
Algorithms can only model what is already known, yet, the system will keep adjusting the software and applying it to everyone because we must be politically correct and targeting groups who’ve historically spawned violence might be prejudicial.
So, as with Islamic violence, Leftists will now curtail all of our freedoms by causing the security apparatus in our society to ratchet up, forcing every American through a tighter sieve of scrutiny and acceptable behavior. And the political violence will still increase.
The choice appears to be to grant the Leftists totalitarian power by giving them votes so they can implement communism directly, or watch our freedoms diminish by the gradual constriction of safety measures.
Such are the accommodations that toleration of cults–religious and political–require.
This program touches on all of the fatal flaws of the AGW movement. It is an antidote to mass hysteria.
Advocacy – post electoral bureaucratic politics
Presenting facts in the light most favorable to your position, and most harmful to the position of your adversary, is expected of trial lawyers in the zealous pursuit of their clients’ case, or prosecution thereof. The jury decides which facts presented by the advocates to accept as persuasive, and the judge moderates the procedure to keep the process fair. Since the trial forum is balanced and moderated, advocates can go to any lengths in their representations of reality that they think they can get away with.
Political advocacy, also largely conducted by lawyers, has no jury for vetting facts and no judge to moderate a fair process. Political advocates are presumed to be tempered by the ethics of statesmanship.
It only takes a few minutes observation of the C-Span coverage of Congress to refute that myth and see how the throttle on advocacy of adherence to the ethics of statesmanship gets abused and ignored.
Locally in Elbert County, hard Left writers routinely build cases using all the devices a lawyer might employ in trial advocacy. And after one of them presents such an analysis, an applauding cadre of supporters dependably, relentlessly, repeat and elevate the case ad nauseam to drown out any questions of fact.
The longer they can keep the attention of the media, the thicker their patina of legitimacy becomes, and the more insistent the accolades get. The media rarely fail to cooperate.
Periodically the voters get a chance to reset the players after an extended clock numbered in years has expired, but the vote really only checks the most egregious offenders. Meanwhile, in the middle of the clock where untold thousands of bureaucratic actions play out, the ebbs and flows of advocacy politics do the most damage.
On our recent trip we transited numerous border crossings, each with their own armed border patrol officers, customs inspectors, baggage x-ray machines, fingerprint readers, electronic passport scanners, video and still cameras for recording face images, and rope lines for sorting and queuing people. Cameras are never allowed in border crossing areas. We processed through immigration authorities in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China again, Hong Kong again, and finally the U.S.
The U.S. is the only country in the above list that does not register your leaving the country. There is no exit immigration process from the U.S. You are free to leave any time, provided you can find another country who will let you in. The rest of the countries we visited all had both exit and entrance immigration processes. Their governments have the capacity to prevent you from leaving.
Our government controls the export of products from the U.S., but people are free to go. Let that sink in.
The exportation of people, as in the U.S. population, is not a problem for the U.S. Again, let that sink in.
We transited Taipei outbound and inbound, but since we remained in the international terminal and did not legally enter Taiwan, there was no need to go through their immigration process.
The immigration drill is fairly standard with arrival cards, departure cards and customs declaration cards for those immigrants carrying dutiable goods.
Near the end of our trip, we transited both ways through the Hong Kong and China Lo Wu border crossing one day. This crossing has foot bridges going over a moat with steep 30’ concrete walls on both sides of the water, no shallow parts, and the final wall on the Hong Kong side topped with large dense coils of concertina wire facing the Chinese side. It is a formidable boundary.
There are two immigration authorities, face to face, with an international zone between the two. Everyone goes through both an exit and an entry process in Lo Wu, whether you’re coming or going. The foreign queues had much less volume than the Chinese national queues.
As visitors to China we had to previously obtain a visa, a process through the Chinese embassy in the U.S. that involved paying a fee and obtaining a letter of intent from a Chinese entity that was planning to see us. They don’t let people into their country without a reason.
Similarly, the Chinese don’t let their own citizens out without a reason. Chinese citizens must obtain an exit visa to visit Hong Kong. This is a Chinese requirement, not a Hong Kong requirement, that probably has something to do with the fact that 90% of the population of Hong Kong is made up of Chinese people who decided to not return to China. Exit visas for Chinese wanting to visit Hong Kong may be refused by the government, and it was because this happened to our friend that we met in Lo Wu that day.
Well, I guess the main point of this little writing has come and gone, but it bears reinforcing. The next time you hear an ungrateful person talking trash about some aspect of America, please remind them that the door is wide open for them to leave.
This strangely titled article purports to speak to a familiar universal experience—what remains after a migration. As one who migrated, I recognize the territory.
My journey began in a thriving medium-sized city of wealth and opportunity. Everyone worked, banks lent money, men built businesses that provided employment, children played in the summer without much supervision, homes rarely stood empty during the day, the fine arts were produced in all sorts of forms and venues throughout the year and people went out to enjoy them, and families came together at punctual meal times.
The order and freedom allowed young people to dream about their future lives. My dream was pretty general. I thought it would be cool to live in different regions of America—to spend a couple decades in each of them and enjoy the full American experience over the course of my life. In large part this dream came true.
In the expanded time perception of youth when the clock moves way too slowly, one gets the impression that things are more permanent than they are. But the city of my halcyon youth could not stop time, and would not preserve that ideal combination of people and elements that surrounded my place in it.
People and capital always move. External forces create new opportunities, and diminish the potential of old exploits. Things change.
Regionally, my home area is more wealthy than ever, but the distribution of wealth, property, valuable real estate, and jobs throughout the region is all new. Except for service jobs—of which many more exist than before—the nature of capitalized skilled jobs in the region bears little resemblance to the factories that formerly dominated the region’s employment.
I have no reason to doubt that material shifts of this fundamental nature happen throughout America and the world. What happened to my home town region happens everywhere in the world, constantly.
I am lucky to have the option for nostalgia over the simpler time I grew up in. Someone who had a misfortunate childhood probably does not look back so fondly. It fascinates me that children today may in the future consider this time as the simpler more nostalgic period, and may even want to preserve it from whatever chaotic future they find themselves in.
It also fascinates me when people migrate to an area and adopt a nostalgic view of that area with an objective to return that area to the stasis of the nostalgic view they found there. It happens a lot in Elbert County.
People take a drive through here, see the trophy ranches owned by worldly billionaires, and develop a false foundation for nostalgia that does not reflect the hard scrapple circumstances of existence those who tamed this place endured. No one in their right mind would choose to return to such difficulties.
The romantic trophy ranches built with today’s money earned from other places are not relics. They are new, just as the current business climate in my original home region is new and bears little resemblance to what happened there in the past.
We cannot freeze time in a place, though many devote themselves to the pursuit. For young people looking to experience all the world has to offer, there is probably no more effective way to get them to leave home than to try to prevent change and growth.
Returning to the Rothman article that spurred these thoughts, the author seems more interested in connecting the alliterative labels: “dying,” “defunct,” “despair,” and “dystopic” to “Trump voter” than he is in adding any insight about the ebbs and flows of people, capital and economic activity in America.
Leonard E. Read
Saturday, September 01, 1956
“They who employ force by proxy, are as much responsible for that force as though they employed it themselves.” Herbert Spencer, Social Statics, 1865
The popularity of Robin Hood derives from the fact that he robbed the rich to aid the poor. Let it be acknowledged that he was popular not with the few he robbed but with the poor he aided, they being the more numerous.
Robin would not have been popular even with the poor had he robbed the rich to aid himself. Nor would the poor have been popular had they robbed the rich to aid themselves.
However, the rich were no less robbed by reason of Robin’s doing the robbing. Nor were the recipients of stolen goods any the less thieves because someone else did their stealing.
The issue in this fiction is not robbery, for that has been established. The issue is: Why, when someone else does one’s stealing, is there an absence of a guilty conscience, a sense of absolution? Can anything be done about it?
The analogue to this Robin Hood fiction is the taking-from-some-giving-to-others reality of our own political establishments. The recipients of subsidies, for instance, have no more sense of guilt than did Robin’s “beneficiaries.” Absolution is assumed, and for the same reason: Someone else—in this case, the government—does the plundering and the bestowing.
As long as this blind spot prevails, it will induce a feeling of absolution; and as long as this false feeling persists, political plunder will be increasingly embraced as proper national policy.
What can be done to replace this blind spot with understanding?
A bit of imagination may suffice. Take the recipient of a farm subsidy as an example. Let the government policy of subsidization remain exactly as it is. It is decreed that Farmer Jones (he may be rich or he may be poor) is to receive $1,000 as payment for taking some of his acreage out of production. But instead of the government forcibly collecting this amount in taxes, Farmer Jones is assigned a policeman and authorized by the government to call personally on all American families, rich and poor alike, and forcibly collect from each a specified amount. Disregard, please, the inefficiency of this type of plunder. Think only of Jones personally doing the collecting, with his policeman in tow, of course.
One can readily see what would happen the moment such personal plunder replaces impersonal government plunder. The blind spot would cease to exist. Guilt would stand where absolution had stood. Farmer Jones would no more use force to collect one penny from Widow Doakes or 50 cents from Mr. Gotrocks than he would steal his neighbor’s cow.
It isn’t necessary to adopt this collection plan to be rid of spoliation. It is only necessary to understand that morally there is not an iota of distinction between the collecting and disbursing method now in practice and the one here depicted.
The difference between the impersonal and personal methods is not moral but psychological, an unwholesome gap in thinking. The impersonal evokes a false absolution; the personal, if merely imagined, compels us to see that we would act solely on our own integrity and moral scruples. 
The Field of Personal Responsibility
It must be remembered that 95 per cent of the peace, order, and welfare existing in human society is always produced by the conscientious practice of man-to-man justice and person-to-person charity. When any part of this important domain of personal virtue is transferred to government, that part is automatically released from the restraints of morality and put into the area of conscienceless coercion. The field of personal responsibility is thus reduced at the same time and to the same extent that the boundaries of irresponsibility are enlarged.
Government cannot manage these fields of human welfare with the justice, economy, and effectiveness that are possible when these same fields are the direct responsibility of morally sensitive human beings. This loss of justice, economy, and effectiveness is increased in the proportion that such governmental management is centralized.
Clarence Manion, The Key to Peace
Government by the people seems to be our problem. States, Feds, Regulators, and Planners stand ready for manipulation by interest groups for the institutionalization, legalization and ossification of rules to benefit the health, safety and welfare of the majority.
A veneer of honorable partisan politics provides cover and election rhetoric to periodically move the needle left or right, and re-order the primary beneficiaries under successive elected administrations.
Consent of the governed is a myth. We will be governed one way or another as opportunities for acting freely outside of the rules of our free society shrink each day.
Got an interesting idea with attractive optics that speak to the health, safety and welfare of Americans? Can you generate funding for communications, contributions and legal process? Then you will get to direct the legal machineries at whatever level of government to write some law that must be obeyed.
The tautological requirement is that each new law must be a consistent development from the law already on the books. Our great construct of reasoning grows each day. No human behavior is immune from its reach. More importantly, no human behavior will be permitted to frustrate its objective.
The beneficiaries of whatever class, corporate interest, or personal feature, benefit. The rest provide at least obedience, indirect funding, and implied consent.
I’m sure this is not the system the Founders intended.