The rules are different for us
Posted by aogSaturday, 18 February 2012 at 19:18 TrackBack Ping URL

On this subject, I have no doubt that most (if not almost all) MALists believe, if they think about it at all, that a government is only allowed to require things like this in private insurance, and would never consider the idea that such control means the ability to forbid.

P.S. May I note that comments about how the Catholic Church (and to some extent other mainline Christian sects) are getting hoisted by their own petard? They’ve supported overreaching government intervention, and by and large support POR-care, both of which lead directly to this result. What does it say of their morality if their position is “sure, micro-manage everyone else as long as we get a waiver”?

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AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Sunday, 26 February 2012 at 14:10

Rick Santorum apparently forgot his dog whistle during an appearance on George Stephanopoulos’s show this morning, when he said that “the rigid separation of church and state makes me want to throw up.”

Oh yeah, this dude’s so nationally electable [/s].

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 27 February 2012 at 09:51

It’s a general failure of our political class that we have such poor choices. But I blame Old Media to a large extent — their blatant bias leads to the success of empty suits like Obama on the proglodyte side, and the destruction of anyone who has substance on the conservative side (e.g., Sarah Palin).

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Monday, 27 February 2012 at 17:15

Eh - as you may know, I don’t think that Palin’s a good example of “substance.” Although I love her as a person, and think that what she did in Alaska prior to being elected Governor was worthy of adulatory praise, I also think that she wasn’t ready to be a heartbeat away in ‘08, and she did absolutely NOTHING in the ensuing years to better prepare herself for higher office. While it would have been fun to see her run this cycle, I couldn’t have supported her quest for the nomination. (Although of course I’d love to have had the opportunity to cast a POTUS vote for her if she’d somehow become the GOP nominee, God help us.)

Her recently released e-mails from her last months as Governor support my position regarding her unreadiness, I believe.

While we might appropriately assign some blame to the political class itself, the majority of it must fall on the general electorate, for they ultimately determine how difficult or distasteful it is to run. And of course, the general electorate has made or allowed Old Media to become what it is.

Ne’er forget that the standard default of media, across the ages and cultures, is “yellow journalism.”

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 08:32

I think Palin was less unready than any of the other three people in the race. If you wouldn’t support her quest, who would you support? You go to vote with the candidates you have, not the ones you want.

And we’ll just have to disagree on her preparations since 2008, which I think are substantive. More than specifics, she gets to the gist of things, which is far more important for being President than knowing intimate details of policy.

While we might appropriately assign some blame to the political class itself, the majority of it must fall on the general electorate, for they ultimately determine how difficult or distasteful it is to run. And of course, the general electorate has made or allowed Old Media to become what it is.

Well, I make that same claim frequently so I can hardly argue with you about it.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Thursday, 01 March 2012 at 03:35

If you wouldn’t support her quest, who would you support?

Mitt Romney, of course, from among those actually running.

erp Thursday, 01 March 2012 at 06:58

Rough, if Romney’s the nominee, the media will have a field day with revelations about the Angel Moroni … He can’t beat Obama and that’s why the media are touting him as the front runner. A brokered convention and the hopefully a suitably attired dark horse nominee is our only hope.

Perhaps Cain could be drafted. He could and probably would beat Obama that’s why he was taken out so early.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Friday, 02 March 2012 at 18:16

There won’t be a brokered GOP convention, period.

Something very much out of the ordinary or miraculous would have to occur for Gingrich, Paul or Santorum to win the general election, so if Mitt’s not electable either, you might as well ignore political news and conversations until after Nov.

Cain might make a decent enough politician in the future, if he chooses to work on it, but for now he’s an incompetent. If he’d been working for himself at Godfather’s he’d have fired himself.

If you think that the media is touting Romney as the front runner, then you read very different media than do I. Alls I see are articles about how Romney can’t seal the deal, despite being the putative winner of many primaries and caucuses.

And revelations about the Angel Moroni are long overdue, IMO.

erp Friday, 02 March 2012 at 20:15

Of course, the media is touting Romney as the front runner. Even someone like me who tries very hard to ignore them can’t help but notice that. I’m resigned that Obama will have another four years to complete his destruction of our way of life and turn us into another dank and grey version of euroweenieville. From thence there will be no turning back.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Saturday, 03 March 2012 at 01:47

You will be delighted to learn that euroweenieville, (although far from dank and grey), has begun the process of self-destructing. Whatever happens here, they’re done for in their present form.

Obama will lose the upcoming election. Whether that changes anything regarding the destruction of our way of life remains to be seen.

Of course, the media is reporting that Romney is the currently the front runner, ‘cause that’s just a fact. But they aren’t “touting” him. Further, you must have missed all of the articles in the past about how Cain has surged past Romney, Perry has surged past Romney, Gingrich has surged past Romney, how Santorum is the Romney-killer… Take a moment to go look ‘em up and read a representative sample. Those articles wouldn’t have been published with the spin that they had if the Media had a monolithic desire to tout Romney for Obama’s benefit.

Additionally, Cain, Gingrich or Santorum would all have lost the general election by Sep. if any of them become the GOP nominee. Even if Obama thinks that he has some edge over Romney, Mitt still has the best chance out of those currently running. The others are as the walking dead once they emerge from the sheltering cocoon of the primaries, which in any party are always dominated by ultra-committed special-interest and fringe groups.

In fact it gives me great encouragement to see that Romney is so rejected by the most fundamental social conservatives in the Republican Party, as such folk make up only a small percentage of the national electorate, and don’t even represent the majority of Republican voters.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Saturday, 03 March 2012 at 02:16

For instance, from the NYT:

Mitt Romney successfully fended off a challenge from Rick Santorum in Michigan, a key battleground state, helping his chances of becoming the Republican nominee. …

His victory over Mr. Santorum here in Michigan was far from commanding, but it was most likely sufficient to dampen the rising clamor from across the Republican Party about his ability to win over conservatives and connect with voters. The tussle with Mr. Santorum highlighted ample concerns about Mr. Romney, but his win spared his campaign from deep turmoil.

If this is an attempt to convince the nation that Romney is an unstoppable force, I’m Donald Trump. Perhaps the NYT, that bastion of liberality, isn’t part of the touting media bloc?

erp Saturday, 03 March 2012 at 09:32

Eruope self-destructing won’t convince anyone that we shouldn’t follow down their path and we’ve done a bit of traveling and everything we saw was grey and dank and the people looked angry and listless … strangely enough except in the Mexico of 25 years ago … and we didn’t go to the resort areas, but spent three weeks driving up and down the coasts and all around the interior.

BTW - I’d rather eat ground glass than read anything in the NYT.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 03 March 2012 at 09:59

In fact it gives me great encouragement to see that Romney is so rejected by the most fundamental social conservatives in the Republican Party

Why? The social conservatives (and the majority of the GOP) rejects Romney on the basis of being Obama-lite (e.g., the Massachusetts health care “reform”), not because he’s insufficiently socially conservative.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 03 March 2012 at 11:54

I saw this and want to note it -

ROMNEY: It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We’ve seen throughout the campaign that, if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusative and attacking of President Obama, that you’re gonna jump up in the polls. I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am. I’m a person with extensive experience in the private sector, in the economy.

A major concern of the base is how candidate McCain seemed to have a lot more fire for his fellow Republicans rather than his nominal opponent, then candidate Obama. They read statements like this as “I will not criticize Obama on any issue Old Media or the Obama campaign wants off limits”. I am mystified as to why you think that’s (1) good or (2) more likely to defeat Obama.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Sunday, 04 March 2012 at 04:35

The social conservatives (and the majority of the GOP) rejects Romney…

It seems to me that it would be very difficult to substantiate a claim that the person who has won the most delegates so far in the nomination process is rejected by the majority of their party. While it’s true that so far Romney can claim no more than a plurality in primary preference, he may well be the second choice of most Paul and Gingrich voters.

As to why I like to see Romney prevailing despite being despised by the deepest conservatives, it’s about national political process and triangulation. I’d rather see Romney as President than Obama, and the less right Romney has to tack in the primaries the better he’ll be positioned for Nov. The majority of the GOP and independents are NOT conservative, and Romney may well be able to attract substantial numbers of Dems for whom Obama’s been a disappointment. Santorum could never do that.

If I were worried about the GOP candidate being “Obama-lite”, then my guy would be Paul, not Romney. Neither Gingrich nor Santorum has demonstrated any particular passion for cutting spending during their political careers, and Gingrich in particular has a personal history of excessive spending and a public history of extremely poor fiscal management.

They read statements like this as “I will not criticize Obama on any issue Old Media or the Obama campaign wants off limits”. I am mystified as to why you think that’s (1) good or (2) more likely to defeat Obama.

If one believes that Romney will not criticize Obama or broach any subject that the Obama campaign wants off-limits, then that would be bad. I don’t happen to share those beliefs.

It’s pretty clear in the excerpt that Romney’s trying to paint his opponents as shallow bomb-throwing attention whores, as opposed to Romney’s experienced and dignified gravitas. It has exactly zero to do with Obama, except that his name was used.

Europe self-destructing won’t convince anyone that we shouldn’t follow down their path…

Well, it’s not all bad. For instance, like Europe, the U.S. will eventually have universal health care, (for real, not the Obamacare maximize-corporate-profits nonsense), driven by the unsupportable demands of Boomer medical needs and desires. That will improve efficiency in our terminally dysfunctional health care system, leaving more money in the pockets of American citizens. (Who will undoubtedly mostly squander it on Coke and Twinkies.)

erp Sunday, 04 March 2012 at 11:02

Universal Health will follow in the footsteps of all the other bureaucratic nightsmares of inefficiency and wastefulness like the post office …

Have any of you people in favor of lefty-style health care ever used their services? We have — in Paris. Not to be believed and yes, our French-speaking son was with us — so it wasn’t lost in translation.

I’m not even debating whether Romney would be a better choice for president. He would be even just because he wouldn’t be held up as a mythic messiah by the media, but he can’ and won’t beat Obama.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Monday, 05 March 2012 at 14:16

My experiences with lefty-style health care in Wales, Manchester and Stockholm were different but not worse than my experiences with American health care. Of course, although it was sufficient to my needs and I have no substantial complaints, I’ve always used blue-collar level health insurance in the U.S.

Perhaps if one is used to trust-fund-baby gold-plated style health care, then lefty-style would come as a shock. But that would also be true if a silver-spoon type had to make do with the health care afforded to the vast majority of Americans.

Or maybe you just had a bad provider in gay Paree. That happens all the time with righty-style health care too, as this PDF of complaint/investigation statistics from the Medical Board of California makes clear.

Universal Health will follow in the footsteps of all the other bureaucratic nightsmares of inefficiency and wastefulness like the post office …

Absolutely correct.

However, the problem is that the current Frankensteinian mish-mash of political influence, public mandate and private cost-shifting that we call the American health care system is ALSO a bureaucratic nightmare of inefficiency and wastefulness, and the system is at its breaking point NOW, before the Boomers have aged that much or retired en masse. In fact, our system will catastrophically fail before the majority of Boomers retire.

So therefore a lower-cost bureaucratic nightmare of inefficiency and wastefulness such as universal health care is actually the lesser evil and a step up from the current American health care dysfunction. Sad but true.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Monday, 05 March 2012 at 14:21

BTW, you may want to stop using the USPS as a negative example. Although still a bureaucratic nightmare, it’s no longer particularly wasteful or inefficient within their mandated operating parameters.

erp Monday, 05 March 2012 at 17:27

Rough, I don’t know what you mean by blue collar health care. Unions have the kind of health care us silver spoon types can only dream about and it doesn’t cost them a dime — us ss’ers pay for it all and pay for our own too. BTW - my baby boomer kids assure me that their generation is savvy in their life styles — eating right and exercising, so they won’t won’t get old age maladies like us geezers.

I hope they’re right.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 05 March 2012 at 19:40

you may want to stop using the USPS as a negative example. Although still a bureaucratic nightmare, it’s no longer particularly wasteful or inefficient within their mandated operating parameters.

Not at all — to ignore the fact that those operating parameters (the direct cause of so much waste and efficiency) were imposed by the federal government is to miss the bigger part of what’s wrong with government supplied services. Unless you are prepared to claim that any other large government enterprise (such as health care) wouldn’t end up the same way.

As for government health care not being worse, I think our federal government could in fact make it worse than it is now. There is also the concern about future progress and development, something that will happen far less and far slower under government management.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead - Winter is coming... Thursday, 08 March 2012 at 01:16

BTW - I’d rather eat ground glass than read anything in the NYT.

Then here’s one for you, erp, from Investor’s Business Daily which you’ve said before that you DO read, and have in fact quoted and referenced.

Emphasis added:

Super Tuesday: How Mitt Romney won and why that worries Obama, by Andrew Malcolm

…Although much of the media talk has been about Romney’s inability to “close the deal” for the Republican nomination, his opponents are far weaker closing their attempted non-Romney deal with Republicans.

With the exception of North Dakota’s caucuses, Romney finished second everywhere he wasn’t first. This means that if his two main opponents win here and there, Romney wins the most places and gets delegates everywhere.

He even beat Gingrich next door to Georgia in conservative Tennessee with its numerous evangelical voters, who are supposed to be bothered by Mormons. Romney beat Santorum for second in the deep South of Georgia. And the Mormon creamed Catholic Santorum among Ohio Catholics. […]

Romney won by assembling a coalition of moderates, self-described Somewhat Conservatives, independents, Catholics, single women, college graduates and affluent urban and suburban dwellers whose top concerns are the economy and defeating Obama. “The economy is what I do,” Romney says over and over.

Understandably, during a GOP primary in 2012, much attention has been focused on the Very Conservatives often opting for someone else when they have a primary choice. One, quietly Romney is slowly doing better with that group in each election. And in the end, if they really believe “Don’t Tread on Me,” what are they going to do on Election Day, sit at home watching a History Channel documentary on the gloriously pure Goldwater debacle?

Two, while Romney’s conservative credentials and instincts might seem disappointingly moderate among some of the dedicated Republican primary crowd seven months out, they’re perfect for a general election campaign two months out. […]

There would be two men left standing there, Mitt Romney, businessman, and Barack Obama, Chicago Democrat. Who then will look conservative?

And check out this awesome pic of Ann Romney. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a better shot of her on the campaign trail. Smokin’!!:

Rough, I don’t know what you mean by blue collar health care. Unions have the kind of health care us silver spoon types can only dream about…

Oh, my bad. I forgot that the 7.2 million private-sector union members are the only blue-collar workers in America.

So what do YOU call the health care insurance typically carried by non-union, non-professional working class people?

And also, among other things, I’m a licensed insurance agent who used to be endorsed by large corporations to sell health insurance policies to their union members for whom they were dropping group coverage. My personal experience and professional knowledge inform me that many union members DO NOT have extraordinary health care coverage, certainly nothing that you silver-spoon types would touch with a 10’ pole.

…and it doesn’t cost them a dime — us ss’ers pay for it all…

Absolutely incorrect. Almost nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll be happy to get into the esoteric details with you, should you desire. The main take-away is that you SS-ers DO NOT PAY for union health care, at least not any more so than does any other member of society.

…and pay for our own too.

*ahem* Another contentious point. SS-ers did indeed in the past pay premiums towards their current benefits, and SS-ers continue to contribute a smidgen against the cost of today’s health care, but as a group, IN NO WAY do the contributions of the past and the ongoing premiums cover the projected lifetime cost of today’s SS-eligible retirees. We’re not even going to address the Boomers. SS-ers have a moral (but not legal) entitlement to health benefits, but please don’t insult those paying for the bulk of such care by insisting that today’s SS-ers “pay for their own care.” They pay a portion.

BTW - my baby boomer kids assure me that their generation is savvy in their life styles — eating right and exercising, so they won’t won’t get old age maladies like us geezers.

I hope they’re right.

All available health care, medical and lifestyle statistics say that that’s extremely delusional wishful thinking. A shame, too, ‘cause the Boomers won’t have the kind of comprehensive health care that today’s retirees enjoy.

But of course, what is universally true of their generation may have no bearing on the specific; your kids may well be paragons of healthful virtue.

…to ignore the fact that those operating parameters (the direct cause of so much waste and efficiency) were imposed by the federal government is to miss the bigger part of what’s wrong with government supplied services.

But the point that you miss is WHY the Federal gov’t imposed parameters which are a direct cause of waste and inefficiency.

And the reason is because the gov’t is striving to serve people in places and ways which aren’t particularly profitable. Civil services are provided regardless of efficiency.

Now, we could argue about the extent to which our society should go to serve the outliers, but so far in the modern era Americans as a whole have been relatively generous in subsidizing the standard of living for those who don’t live in massive urban areas, which for obvious reasons are cheap to service per-capita in most ways.

Regarding the USPS in particular, we could just eliminate it and mandate that UPS, FedEx and others provide all of the USPS’s former services, along with their current cherry-picked services. That would be an interesting experiment to see if somehow the USPS’s current leadership and culture were to blame for their operating losses, or if it truly is a function of mission…

As for government health care not being worse, I think our federal government could in fact make it worse than it is now.

Absolutely.

But the choices aren’t between a currently perfect, Utopian quasi-private healthcare system and an evil, degrading gov’t-run public healthcare system.

The current system is riddled with political meddling, is more socialist that capitalistic, only exists because Congress exempts it from prosecution for collusion and consumer fraud… In short, it’s a bureaucratic, inefficient mess that vastly overconsumes resources and enriches a relatively few oligarchical or connected elites. To say “better the Devil we know than the one we don’t” seems squalid.

In any case, the reason that it’s more than an argument over philosophy is because the current system is at the breaking point. It WILL change, and IMO the most likely change is to a universal, public system, with all of its flaws and faults. At least, as long as the U.S. remains a semi-democratic system. If we end up with totalitarianism, soft or not, then we may well see an even more bifurcated health care system than currently exists.

There is also the concern about future progress and development, something that will happen far less and far slower under government management.

Can’t be helped. But erp’s kids are on to something: clean living is far more effective than drug therapies for lifestyle diseases. And there will still be plenty of money to be made by developing a cancer cure or pandemic innoculation, so research in those critical areas will continue apace.

As for the rest… How may cholesterol medications does society need, for instance? There are 18 on the market, representing tens of billions of dollars worth of research and marketing. Such redundancy is very costly, and it’s obvious that none of the drugs is universally far-and-away better than any of the others.

So while there are clear social costs to a slower pace of R&D, it’s not an unmitigated negative.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 08 March 2012 at 08:59

the reason is because the gov’t is striving to serve people in places and ways which aren’t particularly profitable. Civil services are provided regardless of efficiency.

No, I was thinking far more of pensions and benefits which are far more of a problem than mandated service.

In terms of health care reform, there are some very basic things that could be done which would both move us back to a more private sector style and greatly improve health care delivery. All of them, unfortunately, would involve less government intervention and therefore less graft for our ruling class. Foremost would be to equalize tax treatment of health care premiums. So much of what’s wrong stems from that (e.g., portability, and mandates). I don’t think that’s a “Utopian quasi-private healthcare system”.

erp Thursday, 08 March 2012 at 10:53

RE: IBD - I don’t read it regularly, but find an occasional article makes some sense. That they’re shilling for Romney changes nothing about my theory that the Obama camp will be dancing in the streets should Romney win the nomination for reasons already stated.

Us ss’ers pay for everything!

That’s it in a nutshell. Every product or service coming from union shops, private or public, has built into it the costs of union demands constantly escalating to absurd levels and from your statement that this is not the case, I can only surmise that you were absent when artithmetic was taught in the third grade.

Not being absent during arithmetic classes, we are able to calculate that our “freeeeeeee” health care costs us out of pocket upwards of $12,000/year — that’s with no major problems. In 77 years, I’ve been in the hospital five times: three kids (youngest is 45), one pulmonary embolism and one knee replacement. My husband had perhaps five hospital stays as well, heart stents and other more minor matters. He had health insurance for himself when he worked, but we PAID FOR the insurance for me and our kids until they were of age. When we retired at 53, we paid for our own insurance and also the 20% not covered by BC/BS until we entered the nirvana of Medicare from which they’ll carry us out feet first.

Thank you kindly for the invite, but last thing on earth I’d want is to to hear more blather from you about the insurance industry, the fat cats, Bush …

Hey Skipper Thursday, 08 March 2012 at 15:19
Foremost would be to equalize tax treatment of health care premiums.

Exactly. Of course the unions (Full disclosure: I am a union member who has gold-plated employer “provided” health insurance.) won’t hear of it. Which is why seeing the back of this particular piece of tax-code insanity featured so prominently in Obamacare.

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