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Public Health Before Wall Street Wealth

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Posted on Oct 13, 2009
Geithner
AP / Gerald Herbert

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks on his cell phone during President Barack Obama’s news conference Sept. 25 at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh.

By Robert Scheer

Wonderful. The 13 Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee get one faintly rational Republican to join them in a meaningless stab at health care reform and it throws the media into a titillated frenzy about what it all means. It means very little.

The main thrust of the proposal is to forcibly submit even more customers to the tender mercies of the insurance industry while doing nothing significant to cut costs. Insurers will now pretend that the burdens on them are onerous and will demand concessions to make this an even bigger boondoggle for the medical profiteers than George W. Bush’s prescription drug coverage initiative.

The insurers’ leverage with the few moderate Republicans and with conservative Democrats will prevent the merging of the Baucus bill with the more serious attempts at reform in other Senate and House proposals. While President Barack Obama was celebrating Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, for being “extraordinarily diligent” in working with the Democrats, she was already proclaiming the exit strategy she will use if the bill becomes worthwhile. “My vote today is my vote today,” Snowe said Tuesday. “It doesn’t forecast what my vote will be tomorrow.” 

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The health care debate has become a convenient distraction, for both political parties, from the far more pressing issues surrounding the banking meltdown. As important as health insurance is as an issue, representing 16 percent of the economy, and with so many uninsured, no sane person can deny that the current system is a sorry mess that needs to be changed. But why now and not after a growth economy has returned?

The answer is that politicians from both parties just love the health care game because it allows them to assume reflexive but irrelevant postures in that tired old debate about “socialized medicine” versus “free-market choice” although it has nothing to do with either ideological fantasy. Consumers do not have meaningful choices as it is—many have no coverage and others are frozen into some company-sponsored plan—and it is insulting to the social democracies of Western Europe to suggest that anything comparable is even under consideration in the U.S. Congress.

The health care issue should never even have been brought up at a time when the economy is reeling and we are running such immense deficits to shore up the banks. Instead of fixing the economy by saving Americans’ homes and jobs, we are preoccupied with pie-in-the-sky rhetoric on a hot issue that should have been addressed in calmer times. It came up now because, despite all the hoary partisan posturing, it is a safer subject than the more pressing issue of what to do with Citigroup, AIG and General Motors, which the taxpayers happen to own but do not control. While Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plots in secret with the top bankers who got us into this mess, we are focused on the perennial circus of so-called health care reform. 

There is an odd disconnect between the furious public debate over health care reform, with its emphasis on the cost of an increased government role, and the nonexistent discussion about the far more expensive and largely secretive government program to bail out Wall Street. Why the agitation over the government spending $83 billion a year on health care when at least 20 times that amount has been thrown at the creators of the ongoing financial crisis without any serious public accountability? On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that employees of the financial industry that we taxpayers saved are slated to be paid a record $140 billion this year.

If you want to know who actually runs this country, just look at the phone logs, released by court order last week, revealing Geithner’s nearly constant calls to solicit the advice of the fat cats who caused the banking implosion. It’s the same as when he was chair of the Federal Reserve in New York, before Obama appointed him to his current job. Only back then, as he blithely ignored the impending financial meltdown, it was easier to have lunch with the bankers as well as to chat by phone. 

In an earlier Freedom of Information exposé, The New York Times reported in April: “An examination of Mr. Geithner’s five years as president of the New York Fed, an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street’s giant financial institutions. His actions, as a regulator and later a bailout king, often aligned with the industry’s interests and desires, according to interviews with financiers, regulators and analysts and a review of Federal Reserve records.”

Nothing has changed since then. Meanwhile, we all get in a tizzy about fake efforts at health reform as immense decisions are being made to ensure the health of financial institutions that should have been left to die.


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By Chiropractic, July 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

This is a touchy issue indeed. I guess that every country will always have its own problems, and in the end the people are the ones who suffer. Healthcare is extremely important to the people. I know of some people who do not visit doctors or chiropractors because it is too expensive, yet their illnesses are already putting them through a lot of agony.

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By garth, November 19, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Robert Cay Johnston, former economics writer for the NY Times and author of “Perfectly Legal” told a story on DemocracyNow! of five bus drivers he talked to in Stockholm, Sweden while he was on vacation there.  All five had two homes, one in the city and a vacation home in the country.  Now, here’s a country, Sweden, that gets bad-mouthed among the U.S Free marketeers because of its cradle-to-grave social security programs.  All with a straight face they proclaim how Sweden has high-unemployment, neglecting to mention that they also have health care for all.

And to think, all this propaganda coming from a country that can’t even provide the opportunity for millions of its citizens to have one house, that is, without defrauding them.

At a hearing recently, Senator Marie Cantwell of Washington asked Geithner with incredulity as to how he got to his current position, “What are you doing here?”

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By MarthaA, November 19, 2009 at 12:13 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, Nov.19 at 2:22am,

WOW, you’re going to talk, instead of Night-Gaunt and OzarkMichael talking for you, but now you are trying to speak for me.  So to that, I say, speak only for yourself.

It’s Socialist Capitalism that’s preferable, as socialism can’t stand on its own.

Socialism and Democracy is the same thing.

Peruse these links carefully then go to an academic library if you can and do further investigation into Socialist Capitalism instead of private capitalism, as Socialist Capitalism is the way, you may find out you don’t know as much as you think you do about Socialist Capitalism:

http://wikibin.org/articles/community-socialism.html

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1669.html

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/commune.aspx

http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/gov_philosophy/socialists.htm

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0916/p09s02-coop.html

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090323191100AAiit6m

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By Rodrigo Riadi, November 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi,

Thanks for the comment, You said many things that I’d love to respond to but I’ll focus on the first one only for now.

If you’re entitled to the basics of life, then who’s supposed to provide those basics for you?

Would love to hear your thoughts -

Rodrigo

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By KDelphi, November 18, 2009 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

Martha/Thomas—the Socialists of America request that you stop calling your , twisted , jingoistic philsophy “socialism” or anything like it.

You wouldnt know socialism if it bit you in the ass.

Rodrigo—I disagree. The basics of life are something we are all entitled to if we are born on this planet. (I didtn choose to be, did you?) There is NOTHING “natural” about he fricking “free mkt”. Legalized greed and selfishness, so you can say ‘“thats just the way it is”. Stop pretending like you care.

No “society” survives long with it. But, for those that think so, why dont we split up the country and you can live your lone wolf fantasies to your heart’s content—maybe Texas with Ron Paul or George W.

HUmans are supposed to be social and they invented markets and money. Nothing natural abou tit.

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By ThomasG, November 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

garth, Nov.18 at 4:44pm,

Privatized Capitalism is going down the tubes and its privatization and capitalization of resources to make markets for privatized benefit will drag society down as nothing more than a resource to be privatized, capitalized and marketed in pursuit of private benefit.

What I favor is Socialized Capitalism as an economic system for a socialized political system.

The concept of community is socialism; and cities, counties, and states within the United States are examples of socialism, communities and extended communities that are incorporated for the greater good.  Socialized Capitalism that is incorporated as an economic system within communities, cities, counties, states and the nation that are incorporated and chartered to operate as socialized capitalism could be managed and operated much the same as Privatized Capitalism for the greater good, rather than for the greater greed.  Capitalism that functions with capital, but without Capitalists, so that the obscene benefit of Capitalism could be used for the greater good of society as a whole, rather than the greater greed of a few.

Since the advent of Privatized Capitalism, Privatized Capitalism cyclically dies from its own greed and excess and is resurrected as a Zombie, Zombie Capitalism, so that it can continue to serve the greater greed and excess of privatized profit and benefit.

Rather than to bring Zombie Capitalism back to life with socialized resources for the benefit of privatized profit, it would make more sense to let Privatized Capitalism stay dead and institute Socialized Capitalism,  Capitalism that would work essentially the same as Privatized Capitalism, except that capital would be socialized, so that the revenue stream from capital and the markets would serve the greater good of society as a whole, rather than the greater greed and excess of a few greedy Capitalists that are a cyclical moral hazard to socialized resources that has to cyclically resurrect Zombie Capitalism without benefit to society as a whole.

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By garth, November 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG,

Point of fact worth notin:
“Until the end of World War II, there were less than $2 billion invested in investment companies of all
types. The great leap forward for mutual funds came in 1958, when the value of all investment
companies jumped from around $10 billion to around $15 billion. 1958, not by coincidence, marks
the approximate end of the postwar period of net productive investment in the US economy. With the
1958 recession, more and more funds began to build up which were unable to find investment in the
production of tangible physical wealth in the domestic economy. Part of this surplus streamed into
mutual funds. Other, more volatile funds, aptly called hot money, streamed into the Eurodollar
market being created in London at that time.”
Surviving the Cataclysm, W.G. Tarpley
The resource as yet fully untapped is the worker/eater, which numbers in the billions. What do we do wait till Capitalism does its final swan dive and takes the world with it, or do we find another solution?  If markets are an organic part of human nature in the latter part of man’s existence here, why don’t we look at another aim for markets rather than to provide a revenue stream for those that got.

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By ThomasG, November 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

garth, Nov.16 at 9:45pm,

When an asset is privatized the asset is converted from personal use, to use that provides a private revenue stream, in the same way that the Nobles in Britain took all of the peasants assets away from them by the force of law and order, privatized and capitalized the peasants assets, and forced the peasants to be a labor force for privatized Capitalism, in order to earn the use of what was taken from them by labor in order to survive.

The question of socialized use of Uranus as opposed to privatized and capitalized use of Uranus is a question of whether or not you would prefer to maintain the personal use of Uranus, or whether you would be agreeable to letting Capitalists privatize and capitalize Uranus, that is to say, make Uranus into a private asset that from your necessity of use would cause you to pay a revenue stream for the use of Uranus; this is the process for privatization and capitalization for any asset and the process is used to convert a personal asset for one individual or a group of individuals into a private asset that will provide a private revenue stream for the owner of the privatized and capitalized asset.

Most people will go along with privatizing and capitalizing other peoples personal assets to create a revenue stream for private interests of Capitalism.

My question with regard to Uranus is whether or not the same process of privatization and capitalization would be acceptable to you, or anyone else if it was attached to them personally; the personal attachment in my example and question to you is Uranus, and to try to determine why privatization and capitalization of personal assets of others is acceptable to create a private revenue stream, if the same process of privatization and capitalization of personal assets to create a private revenue stream is not acceptable for Uranus.

There is serious intent in my question, although it is framed in a rather crude manner in order to show that the privatization and capitalization process to produce a private revenue stream for the purposes of Capitalism can be applied to anything including Uranus or anyone elses.

If you and others reading this can understand the privatization and capitalization of Uranus to produce a private revenue stream, you and others can understand the privatization and capitalization of any other personal asset to produce a private revenue stream, and if privatization and capitalization of Uranus is not acceptable to produce a private revenue stream, it would not be acceptable for others for the same reason.

I think that all can agree that privatization and capitalization to create a Uranus Market is not acceptable; if this is a point of agreement, then what other markets would this point of agreement be applicable to?

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By garth, November 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

W. G. Tarpley makes it abundantly clear in “Surviving the Cataclysm” that Global Capitalism or Globaloney, is a strategy of war against unsuspecting small economies and the investors.
By definition, there are many markets.  When they have enough cash to set the scene and ensure the outcome, then that is not a market nor a free market in any sense of the word.
These market controllers have done what they are doing now for years.  Their children will do it.

They should rounded up and .....

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By garth, November 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Several inconsistancies:

Item #1: When the Fort Hood assassin was first identified, he was Nadal Malik Hasan and he was killed.  Later we find out his name is actually Malik Nadal Hasan and he was only wounded.


Item#2:The Virginia Tech rampage killer was first identified as a emigre form China.  A full day and a half later he was finally identied as a Korean student.

Item#3: The 19 Arabs of 911 fame were identified at 10:00 AM that morning by means of a miraculous passage of Mohammed Atta’s passport through the conflagration to land on the street below unscathed.

Item#4:The pristine bullet that supposedly killed Kennedy and wounded Connaly somehow did not only take a turn in mid-flight, it took a U-Turn.  It was recovered, so they say, by someone from the stretcher that carried Keenedy into the hospital.  That means the bullet made a U turn.

If you know your anus from your elbow, answer me those Riddler.

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By ThomasG, November 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

garth, Nov.16 at 3:00pm,

Would you advocate socialized use of Uranus, or a privatized FREE MARKET capitalization of Uranus?

Your post makes about as much sense as privatizing and capitalizing Uranus.

I am certain that any good Capitalist would not hesitate to privatize and capitalize Uranus, and, I am just as certain that Capitalists would not be in favor of their anus being privatized and capitalized.

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By Rodrigo Riadi, November 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Dear Garth,

I understand your anger… we have to channel that emotional energy to understanding how the world operates so we can make a positive impact.  Everything is a market - we can let it develop in ways that benefit the most people or choose to ignore this fact and try to regulate it.  When we do the latter, we only change the nature of the market - from one of products and services and customers and voluntary commercial relations to one of power and influence and politics.  When government, which is merely a monopoly on physical power, is given the power to control markets, we end up with a market of influence, power and politics.  It’s the natural result of how humans operate.  More government involvement sounds like a nice idea, but it will shatter your dreams unless you’re part of the government yourself or have a lot of direct influence over it, in which case you’ll benefit personally, but your dreams of the greater good will still be shattered.  I’ve been in that system, it only benefits those with the influence, which is not the majority of people.  Many cheers, Rodrigo

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By garth, November 16, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

As nature as proven for millions of years healthcare is not a market—we all die.

Let us forgive those unwilling to face the fact that they too are going to suffer and die.  Death is not an option.

Turn your attention to those who are knowingly and willingly turning this country in a den of thieves.  A fascist state.  If I could name them I would, but there are a group at the core of this problem.  Families, the lorded gentry, the big money holders, they might never be known.  But we can vote and get involved to throw out the bastards who represent them.  For example, Kent Conrad of N Dakota and Warner of Va.  And all Republicans, I might add.
Sheldon Whitehouse (D of RI) in the hearings to start a Commission to propose the revamping of Social Security and Medicare was the lone voice in those Senate hearings who said, “Without a tax increase, this is a non-starter.”  Must’ve struck a chill in the spine of that worthless bureacrat,  David Walker.
We definitely need a revolution.  Line ‘em up and shoot ‘em.  Bury the corpses in Utah.  Get back to business. That is my solution.

Three cheers for Al Franken and his handling of of the Margaret Thatcher-like woman in the Hearings on health care about a two weeks ago.  Al’s got guts and brains.

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By garth, November 16, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

As nature as proven for millions of years healthcare is not a market—we all die.

Let us forgive those unwilling to face the fact that they too are going to suffer and die.  Death is not an option.

Turn your attention to those who are knowingly and willingly turning this country in a den of thieves.  A fascist state.  If I could name them I would, but there are a group at the core of this problem.  Families, the lorded gentry, the big money holders, they might never be known.  But we can vote and get involved to throw out the bastards who represent them.  For example, Kent Conrad of N Dakota and Warner of Va.  And all Republicans, I might add.
Sheldon Whitehouse (D of RI) in the hearings to start a Commission to propose the revamping of Social Security and Medicare was the lone voice in those Senate hearings who said, “Without a tax increase, this is a non-starter.”  Must’ve struck a chill in the spine of that worthless bureacrat,  David Walker.
We definitely need a revolution.  Line ‘em up and shoot ‘em.  Bury the corpses in Utah.  Get back to business. That is my solution.

Three cheers for Al Franken and his handling of of the Margaret Thatcher-like woman in the Hearings on health care about a two weeks ago.  Al got guts and brains.

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By Rodrigo Riadi, November 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

Glider et al,

The healthcare market displays a number of hurdles to market perfection, as Ken Arrow’s article points out.  However, that does not imply that the only or best solution is to involve government in any way.  In fact, I will argue that only the private markets can produce the type of innovation that over time can truly lead us to a healthcare market that is competitive and effective.

Arrow’s piece lays out many of the reasons why Healthcare is an imperfect market.  I agree with most of them.  But although the piece is written from a wellfare standpoint, the author never prescribes what the solution is and I applaud him for that.

What that means is that we don’t know how the perfect healthcare market might be structured, and reality is we don’t know how any perfect market will be structured because everything is changing all the time (As a mental exercise, consider any thriving industry today, go back 25 years and try to plan it out and have government run it…. would we still have a thriving industry today?).  That’s ok, uncertainty is part of life, and the perfect market will only evolve if change in that market is unhindered.  Government intervention creates a system of hurdles for the market to become competitive, it will slow or paralyze innovation in all aspects of healthcare from technology to business models to market dynamics to operations to the politics of healthcare.  That happens for three reasons: 1. Government systems are inflexible; 2. Government systems are subject to lobbying instead market forces; 3. Government systems do not face true competition.  What this means is whatever government system is created will benefit those that put it in place – the lobbyists and their principals – instead of the populace that would otherwise vote with their pockets.

The thought of having government “take care of us” is a beautiful thought, but government is not a caring parent, government is an institution run by people, the same people that would otherwise run insurance companies, medical practices, or stand in line for service.  To trust government with this important function is to believe in a nice fantasy, and to create a monster: If government runs healthcare, you’ll never take it away from it, no matter how poor the service is or how high the costs are.  And we’ll create the belief that the only way to fix it is to increase the role of government, by pouring more money into a bottomless pit.

I’ve lived in that system.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Let the market play itself out.  Instead of urging more government involvement, let’s remove barriers to competition and over time a better system will evolve.

Let me hear your thoughts -

Cheers,

Rodrigo

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By ThomasG, November 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Dalmazio, Nov.12 at 4:08am,Nov.12 at 4:07am,Nov.10 at 2:44am,Nov.10 at 2:42am,

All your above posts are a rehash of the Reaganesque Dream World that “borrowed and spent” the United States into bankruptcy, deindustrialized the United States for cheap labor, financialized the U.S. Economy for short-term profit and created the biggest financial bubble in the history of the world, that broke in 2008, and from 2008 to the present in 2009, has resulted in TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of socialized resources of the masses of the U.S. Population to be spent by the U.S. Government to recapitalize private TOXIC capital without benefit to the masses of the population of the United States that will sacrifice for the terms of their natural lives and generations of their progeny without benefit; rehashing and starting this whole “dumb show” all over again is cyclical lunacy that is beyond comprehension; except as a Ponzi Scheme, or a Neo-Madoff politician with a view of building a New American Pyramid.

Even Vice President, George H.W. Bush recognized it was “blockheads and dummies” following Reagan.  The following quote from Mikhail Gorbachev was made during an interview on September 23, 2009, with Editor, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and her husband Stephen F. Cohen, a Contributing Editor of ‘The Nation’ magazine:

“By the way, in 1987, after my first visit to the United States, Vice President Bush accompanied me to the airport, and told me, “Reagan is a Conservative, an EXTREME Conservative.  All the blockheads and dummies are for him, and when he says that something is necessary, they trust him.”

Apparently you are one of the “blockheads and dummies” that were for the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Movement from Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II that were led against your best interests as “blockheads and dummies” by the “Great Communicator”, Ronald Wilson Reagan and the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Media Echo-Chamber.  And, you are still to this day supporting the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Movement, as a “blockhead and dummy” and you are trying to resurrect the whole “dumb show” all over again, aren’t you?  You should ask yourself, why it is that I support a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Movement that considers my support as that of a “blockhead and dummy”? 

You should also ask yourself why am I not supporting the Political Left, the Left-Wing Liberal Movement where my best interest is served, and where I am not regarded as a “blockhead and dummy”?

It is time to end American citizens being led as “blockheads and dummies” and to make certain that people like you do not resurrect the whole “dumb show” all over again, that leads to the same place that Goldwater, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II led the United States; bankruptcy, financial collapse and the masses of the U.S. Population being forced to pay TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS to recapitalize private capital without benefit.

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By Dalmazio, November 12, 2009 at 12:08 am Link to this comment

(...continued)

QUOTE: Regarding the typical libertarian attempts to justify extreme greed with
documents such as the U.S. Constitution, you are surely aware that this is a
guiding document, and is in fact highly subject to interpretation, as you
yourself prove.  There is nothing in these documents that would exclude the
government from demanding reasonable contributions from its citizens. 
Indeed I can just as well argue that the pursuit of such “rights” as life, liberty,
and happiness demands a social structure that provides a reasonable
education and basic health care for all citizens.

These documents represent the rule of law. One could even call it the “social
contract” that you so passionately spoke of earlier. To say that it is highly
subject to interpretation is a myth, and, unfortunately, one that is gaining
traction among those who wish to transgress the rule of law or “social contract”
in order to force their views, opinions, and desires on others. The Articles of
Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution are clear
in their intents.

In order to understand these documents, one needs to read them. And if one is
still confused, one needs to consider them in the context of the supporting
letters and documents of those who wrote them. Here are some quotations
from several of these individuals to make it more clear what there intentions
were. And I might add, education and healthcare for all, were clearly never
among them.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon the limitation
of the phrase “general welfare” in the preamble of the Constitution in a letter
to James Robertson:

“With respect to the two words “general welfare,” I have always regarded them
as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a
literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into
a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its
creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the “Articles of
Confederation,” and received so little notice in their admission into the present
Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest
explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or
meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted.”—James
Madison

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but
only those specifically enumerated.”—Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Albert
Gallatin, 1817

“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”—James Madison

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end
of the republic.”—Benjamin Franklin

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all
powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited
by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single
step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of
Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power no longer
susceptible of any definition.”—Thomas Jefferson, 1791

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By Dalmazio, November 12, 2009 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

@Glider,

QUOTE:  […] But I most strongly disagree with your ultra extreme individualism
and your baseless contention that government should not have any role in
forming a social contract that benefits the aggregate.

When you refer to “social contract” I assume your talking about the social
contract theory/philosophy describing legitimate state authority derived from
the consent of the governed. I have no issue with this and in fact do support
this. That is, in fact, what the Constitution is. It is necessary to give up a few
freedoms in order to establish a peaceful and ordered society that benefits the
whole. But when I say “few” I mean it. The less the better—only what is
absolutely necessary.

QUOTE: To paraphrase your most basic founding belief:
>>” neither does society have any “right” to demand anything of me”...except
... “to refrain from harming others”<<.

That is not my most basic founding belief. My statement was in response to
your statement that said that society had a “right” to demand things of me. And
I replied society has no “rights” over me—except perhaps to require that I
abide by certain rules that allow civil society to function—as for example, not
harming others. And “harm” comes in many forms, including stealing,
trespassing, lying, etc. However, even this is not a “right” of society. It is an
agreement, or “contract” that I willingly enter into.

In any case, this arrangement is the foundation of all societies everywhere. The
smaller the social organization the more inter-dependent they become, down
to the tribal society. In these cases, the ideas I’ve advocated still apply. For
example, I may not be able to survive on my own, particularly if the
environment is harsh. Therefore, it is in my best-interest to partner or
associate myself with a group of others so that we may achieve economies not
possible individually. In all these social organizations, what makes them work
is that it naturally benefits all those who are involved. I.e., it is in the self-
interest of all those involved to enter into them. It is also in my self-interest to
maintain good relations with the members of this tribe, as I may require their
aid one day. And then, as I develop relationships with various members of the
tribe, I may grow fond of them. It becomes my self-interest to see them happy
and well, as it gives me joy.

You misconstrue what I am saying. My mother and father brought me into this
world, cared for me, nurtured me, and loved me. The care and love given freely,
makes them an object of reciprocal interest, concern, love and gratitude for me.
As such, I want these two individuals to be happy, healthy, and free. It is my
desire. It is my interest. It is my self-interest. And so, I happily give to them of
my own volition, so that they may experience the joy which then brings me joy.

The difference here is that you are trying to force people into “social contracts”
by imposing externals upon them such as moral imperatives. In contrast, I wish
to leave people free, and let them decide if they wish to enter into the given
tribal social order, if they feel it would be in their best interest to do so. In
considering this, they will need to also consider whether the (few) freedoms
voluntarily surrendered are worth what they receive in return. No force. No
coercion. No violence. And always mutual self-interest. This is the foundation
of all great societies. And it was precisely how the United States was founded-
-voluntarily, and by consent of the governed.

(continued…)

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By Dalmazio, November 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

(...continued)

QUOTE: Dalmazio, if you’re still following this thread. I’m open to your ideas,
but it seems that there are a few too many assumptions in your theory. I’ll start
with just one: you keep insisting that the free market will quickly adapt to
whatever needs arise from the populace. Are there any historical precedents for
this assumption? It seems to me that, even if problems EVENTUALLY correct
themselves, many many people can suffer, entire lifetimes and even
generations can be lost, in the meantime.

The historical precedent involves our own semi-free-market activities in North
America, Europe, and Asia over the last two hundred years. All the great
discoveries, advancements, and leaps forward have been due to individuals
pursuing their own self-interest (the love of discovery, learning, creation,
culminating in a larger-scale profit motive). History shows what can be done
within a partially free-market in an increasingly unfree environment. Quality of
life for the vast majority of the industrialized world is still reasonably high.
Imagine the possibilities if people were more free with even less government
restrictions on what they could or could not do. In no other time in recorded
human history have the common people, on the whole, been more well-off
than in the last two hundred years. I am referring to the industrialized world
here where these free-market principals were at least in partial operation.
However, we appear to be at the dawn of economic, social, and political
disintegration due largely to the increasingly free-market unfriendly activities
over the last several decades that are now catching up with us.

Your last sentence makes a very good point. In this thread, what we have been
discussing up until now is which system of socio-economic organization is
best. And in my mind there is no discussion on this point: a genuinely free-
market system is superior on all counts to any other. And up to now, I have
been trying to show why. Your question moves now to the area of
implementation. It would require a partial reorganizing of society and the
taking of some painful but necessary medicine given where we are currently. As
a society, we are like the heroine addict. It’s extremely difficult to break free of
the addiction of government subsidy, handout and protectionist government
involvement in so many aspects of civil life, but it’s essential because the only
alternative is increasing societal decay and death. Milton Friedman, for
example, offered some tools to help make this transition from where we are to
where we would like to be whilst minimizing the suffering you are talking
about.

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By Dalmazio, November 9, 2009 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

@ WriterOnTheStorm,

You make some interesting and thoughtful points.

QUOTE: As an example, I would call attention to Dalmazio’s attempts to argue
that his version of free market policies would eventually be more humanitarian,
because enterprise would be more free to address the specific needs of the
less privileged. It strikes one as disingenuous.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Enterprise would be freer to address the needs
of the less privileged, but not because they would be directly involved in
humanitarian activity (the vast majority would probably not), but instead
through the pursuit of their own self-interest. They would provide products
and services to meet the needs for those segments of the population, as it
represents a reasonably large market as far as market segments go. And this is
the fundamental point: it’s through the pursuit of self-interest (contrast to
selfishness) that we automatically provide for the needs of others. The idea is
that self-interest could produce an orderly society benefiting everyone.
Bringing Adam Smith’s ideas to the fore, it is as though there were an invisible
hand at work. In the words of Milton Friedman discussing Adam Smith’s
Invisible Hand:

“Individuals who intended only to pursue their own interest were lead by an
invisible hand to promote the public welfare which was no part of their
intention. Adam Smith was talking about the economic market: about the
market in which people buy and sell. He pointed out that in order for a
butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker to make an income, he had to produce
something that others wanted to buy. Therefore in the process of promoting
his own interests and looking to his own profit, he ended up serving the
interests of his customers.”

QUOTE: If Libertarians were a bit more intellectually honest, their approach
might actually get more traction. For example, why not argue that while there
will always be the downtrodden, the underprivileged, and those who will fall
through the cracks, the greater society will benefit because the market will
eventually adapt to its needs, not the needs of the elite? … [The Darwinian
marketplace you are proposing appears to be more about protecting the
welfare of the market, than it does the people who function in that market.]

What you say may be true, that there may always be the downtrodden, the
underprivileged, etc. And your latter point may also be true—but I think it’s
beside the main point. It’s not about ignoring these less fortunate individuals in
favor of the greater society, but rather, by allowing a genuine free market to
operate they would be brought into the fold of increased prosperity by
individuals that are pursuing their own self-interest. For example, employers
may be looking for individuals to employ with no skills or special talents and
pay them less than minimum wage in exchange (no minimum wage
laws/regulations). The former would be able to make at least something of a
living, and the latter would be able to obtain good value. And as the worker
gained in experience and proficiency their salary would slowly rise as the
employer would not want to loose them to a competitor. All in a genuinely free
market mind you. Similarly, it is in the employer’s best self-interest to insure
that the worker stays fit and healthy, and so he might provide some kind of
health assistance if the worker could not afford it and required it—just as
examples. The point being that the employer ends up helping the down-
trodden and underprivileged by pursuing his own self-interest. But only in a
genuinely free market.

(continued…)

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By ThomasG, October 26, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 26 at 7:00am,

Blah.

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By ardee, October 26, 2009 at 4:00 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 25 at 6:00 pm

Have you no self respect whatsoever? Do you not care how stupid you appear with this incessant and space wasting childish nonsense?

You are obviously in need of a mental health professional.

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By ThomasG, October 25, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 24 at 9:18 am,

Blah.

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By ardee, October 24, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, October 23 at 3:05 pm #

his stuff about right wing in big caps is really making alot of threads very tiring to read.

My own solution is to skip such childish crap. I do not even read the generally interesting posts of “prole”, a poster with much to contribute, because that poster fails to use paragraphs and I refuse to wade through a post made more difficult when it is so simple to make it readable .

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By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, October 23 at 3:05pm,

Blah.

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By KDelphi, October 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

This stuff about right wing in big caps is really making alot of threads very tiring to read.

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By glider, October 23, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Hello Dalmazio,

I agree with many of your points regarding the value of maintaining a vibrant competitive well functioning system of free enterprise.  However, I disagree somewhat with the means by which you would seek to achieve that end.  Perhaps we can go into that later.  But I most strongly disagree with your ultra extreme individualism and your baseless contention that government should not have any role in forming a social contract that benefits the aggregate.  So, I prefer to question the very foundation of your psuedo-religious-belief system itself.  Because if you can not counter that, your philosophical groundings fall apart, and we need not go into the incredible minutiae you have built up from that base.

To paraphrase your most basic founding belief:

>>” neither does society have any “right” to demand anything of me”...except ... “to refrain from harming others”<<.
 
This arrangement has never existed in any society and there is no basis for your argument, other than it is what you desire.  Have you tried running this by your parents?  That you owe them and the rest of society nothing for raising and bringing you into the world, except to refrain from hurting them?  How nice of you.  Please get back to us on what they have to say.  Go ahead and say this has nothing to do with greed, but let the objective reader make that assessment for themselves rather than relying on your unsubstantiated statement.  My own personal assessment is based on the fact that we humans are, as an evolutionary genus unit,  some millions of years old.  Do you think that in the pre-farming nomadic period that encompasses most of the time frame of our evolution, that you had no obligation to your nomadic peers?  Do you think that you could just blow off the members of your nomadic tribe of say 25-400 personally known individuals for the sake of greed and suffer no consequence?  That your only responsibility to your tribe was to not hurt them?  Do you not think that tribe might then turn on you?  I disagree, and think that this fundamental “tribal peer pressure” likely forms the basis of what one might call our inherent “rights” as humans.  Seeing as our bodies did not come with an owner’s manual it may be the best we can do.  You have a responsibility to look after your fellow man based on evolutionary history.

Regarding the typical libertarian attempts to justify extreme greed with documents such as the U.S. Constitution, you are surely aware that this is a guiding document, and is in fact highly subject to interpretation, as you yourself prove.  There is nothing in these documents that would exclude the government from demanding reasonable contributions from its citizens.  Indeed I can just as well argue that the pursuit of such “rights” as life, liberty, and happiness demands a social structure that provides a reasonable education and basic health care for all citizens.

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By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 21 at 6:33am,

There, YOU said it, YOU are too dumb to perceive what Shenonymous and YOU previously termed OBJECTIVE “shit in a bucket” in Truthdig’s War on Language thread.

Since YOU are too stupid to perceive YOUR own OBJECTIVE “Shit in a Bucket”, how do you propose to get others to believe that your OBJECTIVE “Shit in a Bucket” is SUBJECTIVE?  Since, as YOU and YOUR Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST minders are trying to convince everyone that your OBJECTIVE “Shit in a Bucket” is SUBJECTIVE.  What are you going to do about the stench?——Don’t you think that those being fed the doctrine of SUBJECTIVE Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST “shit in a bucket” will start to smell the stench of YOUR OBJECTIVE “Shit in a Bucket”, and start to question whether Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST “Shit in a Bucket” is SUBJECTIVE, as YOU and the Right-Wingers claim; once the OBJECTIVE stench from the mass and volume of Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST “Shit in a Bucket”, becomes to great to bear?——The TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of communal resources that has been paid to maintain the value of “private capital” has a stench of OBJECTIVE “Shit in a Bucket” that is NOT SUBJECTIVE, don’t you think?——and, people recognize the smell is OBJECTIVE; rather that SUBJECTIVE.

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By ardee, October 21, 2009 at 3:33 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 20 at 7:06 pm

An entire post that says absolutely nothing…congratulations on continuing your streak. I’ll bet the girlfriend is getting her nice and soft winter coat about now, huh?

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By ThomasG, October 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 20 at 3:19pm,

As a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST knuckle dragging Neanderthal troglodyte sheep, who has nothing to say, but baaaaah; I can understand why you identify with sheep, rather than those who are more evolved.

The big question is whether or not you are a subjective sheep or an objective sheep; whether or not if you are a subjective sheep you can perceive objective “shit in a bucket” along with Shenonymous, and if you are not a subjective sheep, who is it that is posting for you in the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Boiler Room as an objective sheep, and lastly, if indeed you are an objective sheep in the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Boiler Room, whether or not Shenonymous is making you shit in a subjective or an objective bucket.

I can understand the cause of your distemper if indeed you are an objective sheep in the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Boiler Room, you are not provided with an objective bucket and Shenonymous is forcing anal retention upon you by requiring that you “shit in a subjective bucket”; Shenonymous has now had an epiphany and realized that “shit in a bucket” is an objective reality, so you now have a chance to relieve yourself in an objective bucket; I suggest that when you do that you compare the outcome in the bucket with Shenonymous for objectivity, so that she can pass on the results to the rest of the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Boiler Room Crew.

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By KDelphi, October 20, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Here are stats from Physicians for a Natl Health Program:
http://www.pnhp.org/news/2005/december/health_plan_costs_co.php

This is from 2005 and singles out BC in CA:

Concerned that some health insurers may be price gouging to boost profits, California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi said Thursday that he might seek to raise the percentage of premium dollars that, by regulation, must be spent on healthcare.

At a hearing in Los Angeles, Garamendi grilled executives of five health insurance companies about why premiums have soared 60% in four years, causing more employers and individuals to drop coverage.

“At the same time that this meltdown is occurring, many insurers continue to enjoy very healthy profit margins,” Garamendi said.

Garamendi singled out Blue Cross of California for criticism, noting that its profit margins on certain insurance plans rose from about 15% to 24% in recent years. The company’s trend on healthcare spending, he noted, was just the opposite ? declining from 80% of premiums in 2000 to 68% last year.
Back in 1993, 95 cents of every premium dollar was used to pay medical claims. Now, it’s down to about 80 cents. That is a direct result of the demands of Wall Street.

What I’m talking about here is something that’s referred to in the industry as a medical-loss ratio. Insurance companies consider what they pay in medical claims to be a loss, so they want to lose less money. In other words, they want to spend less and less of every premium dollar on claims, and that’s been happening. So more and more is available to pay executives and to reward shareholders”

This is what makes it immoral.

us.http://www.devicelink.com/links/venture.html
Venture Capitalists in Medical device industry:

What you say may be true for the hospital in question, but the stats I question are that the insurance industry , aS A whole, is only making 3-4%.

This is what the Baus Bill would do:

“Within each industry, the fees would be split among all companies according to their market share, so companies with the most business would pay the highest share of the industry fee, and vice versa. But the fees borne by each of the three industries follow a different logic. The pharmaceutical industry, for instance, would be required to pay a relatively low annual fee of $2.3 billion, even though it represents one of the biggest components—and the most profitable segment by far—within the overall healthcare industry. The medical device industry would pay a higher fee than Pharma, even though it’s a smaller industry. And hospitals and other healthcare providers wouldn’t pay any annual fee at all, even though that sector represents the biggest chunk of the overall healthcare industry, with more than twice the revenue of all pharmaceutical firms combined.”

Without regulation of the insurance industry, as the monopoly that it is, it is true, they can just raise rates.

The data on this googles like so much propaganda, thats one reason I wanted to avoid it. But, I think we can agree that this is a huge corporate “reform” that is planning to benefits Wall St , not people.

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By garth, October 20, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

Uwe Reinhardt’s statement was his own taken from his appearance on C-SPAN.
The hospital I referred to was Somerville Hospital in Somerville, MA.  They were aiming to become an Oncology destination.
I think they took a lot of the investor’s money and sunk it into Wall Street where they met their Waterloo.  Now they are closed.  I assume they bought a lot of the newest medical devices in Oncology during that time.
If you want to put it into perspective, aside from the lucrative salaries of the Health Insurance executives, 3 % to 5 % on investment, especially in the last 2 or three years, is not bad at all.  Then you add in the tremendous payoff from the investment in medical device companies, I think that the rich are doing extremely well.
No one’s hurt by the closing of Somerville Hospital except the people in the area who relied on it.  And everyone knows, under Obama as well as under Bush, the people don’t matter.  Felix Rohatyn of New York austerity fame of the 70s can tell you, control the media and the herd will adjust without so much as a murmur.
We can gather around the fire in the barrel in the empty lot and sing praises to Onama’s Austerity.

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By ardee, October 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 20 at 12:04 pm

You seem to have absolutely no sense of humor. A shame that.

I’ll bet your girlfriend the sheep laughs all the time though.

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By KDelphi, October 20, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

At the very least, the insurance industry should lose its special status , apart from other insurance, in the market, that allows it to hold a monopoly.

I find the stat quoted by Uwe Rienhardt to be self serving, although I could quote you people who would give me different stats all day along—in light of that, perhaps we can agree that the truth is probably somewhere in between. A further truth is, I dont give a damn about industry profits of any kind and the business of govt (in my mind)is not to protect profits, but people. We can agree that medical equipment companies makes out like bandits (“I didnt pay a single penny for my jazychair..” Well we did! Did she really need it? Who knows), and we may or may not agree that big pharma is ridiculous in this country, not allowing any current govt insurance (paid for by taxpayers) to bargain for quantity or, as in the Rx drug bil for Medicare, for generics. It was a big wet ass kiss for Big Pharma, and, in other countries they pay about 1/10th of what we do (I could look up actual stats if someone wishes)

The truth about the “Libertarian” position (and the reason I find that I cannot agree with it—about the only reason) is that , if they were honest about it, the “philosophy” exhibits a lack of concer n for those that “fall through thc cracks, ” which are getting wider every day, and, those that do give a damn, tend to be dumped by other “libertarians”. Libertarians, would, I think answer that “charity” from those not being taxed would “fill the bill” , although that is a very dissatisfactory answer.

I guess the only real decision to make is as to whether health care is a human right ot not. If one believes that it is , the current situation, as well as the Baucass bill, are intolerable.

Although I share many Libertarian views about govt, that concept of yoyo (youre on your on) is simply alien to me and it will probably keep Libertarianism a fringe party…I agree with ardee, the “mkt” is formulated by men. There is nothing sacred or natural about it, although those that benefit (or are convinced that they “will soon benefit”) would like you to believe so. To “individualize” so thoroughly is to disconnect oneself from society and is a giant step backwards, in my opinion.

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” : John Kenneth Galbraith

Just saying, “I dont actually give a damn what happens to my fellow citizens” would be much more honest. Dalmalzio, do you really think that battering is a good means to pay for cancer care?

If “libertarians” do care about their fellow citizens, perhaps they just havent lived or worked in a place where they have had to confront what “free mkt” philosopphies can do to those not as fortunate—if they had to, they might have a didfferent philosophy. It seems to never enter into their consciousness that this person could ever be themselves.

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By ThomasG, October 20, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 20 at 6:32am,

ardee said: “Considering your apparent proclivities, shouldnt that response be….baaaaah?”

ThomasG’s answer:  Your response of “baaaaah” is appropriate for YOU as a Right-Wing Conservative Sheep, a knuckle dragging Neanderthal troglodyte that has no communicative skills other than to “baaaaah” like a sheep and hit whatever it is opposed to with a rock.

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By the worm, October 20, 2009 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

Why would anyone want to spend $100 dollars for private sector health insurance
and have $20 to $30 go to the insurer, leaving as little as $70-80 of your original
$100 for doctors, pharmacies and hospitals, i.e. the folks who are going to
provide you with health care ?  The obvious answer is ‘no one’, and that’s why the
‘controversial public option’ was always the public’s (not the politicians’) preferred
model.

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By ardee, October 20, 2009 at 3:32 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 19 at 2:56 pm

Considering your apparent proclivities, shouldnt that response be….baaaaah?

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By Bud, October 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Barack Obama,and the democrats IN CONTROL do not deliver on a STRONG healthcare plan for the American public,NOT ONE SOUL IN MY FAMILY WILL VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT IN ANY UPCOMING ELECTION!!!I don’t care if JESUS CHRIST is running as a democrat,he will NOT get our vote!!!!!

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By ThomasG, October 19, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 17 at 10:31am,

Your Blah is not an answer, so my answer to you is Blah.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 19, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

Dalmazio and Ray Duray,

Your debate made this thread most enjoyable. It is rare to encounter someone
capable of and willing to defend the Libertarian position on TD.

Political philosophy aside for a moment, I find that many who espouse
Libertarian ideas have an odd mix of liberal and conservative personality traits.
These seemingly countervailing psychological impulses makes them, for me
anyway, difficult to understand at times.

As an example, I would call attention to Dalmazio’s attempts to argue that his
version of free market policies would eventually be more humanitarian,
because enterprise would be more free to address the specific needs of the
less privileged. It strikes one as disingenuous.

If Libertarians were a bit more intellectually honest, their approach might
actually get more traction. For example, why not argue that while there will
always be the downtrodden, the underprivileged, and those who will fall
through the cracks, the greater society will benefit because the market will
eventually adapt to its needs, not the needs of the elite?

Dalmazio, if you’re still following this thread. I’m open to your ideas, but it
seems that there are a few too many assumptions in your theory. I’ll start with
just one: you keep insisting that the free market will quickly adapt to whatever
needs arise from the populace. Are there any historical precedents for this
assumption? It seems to me that, even if problems EVENTUALLY correct
themselves, many many people can suffer, entire lifetimes and even
generations can be lost, in the meantime.

The Darwinian marketplace you are proposing appears to be more about
protecting the welfare of the market, than it does the people who function in
that market.

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By garth, October 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

This article explains a lot of things.
I went to my doctor last week and the hospital that he is affiliated with has closed and he is moving to another city.  He told me that the hospital thought they were going to make a lot of money and when it didn’t pan out they closed the hospital.
(I spent most of my time watching him type into a computer.)
Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton said on C-SPAN last week that Michael Moore’s criticism of medical insurance profits aimed at the wrong target.  The companies make about 3 to 5 cents on the dollar.  They take their money and invest in expansion, new expensive equipment and such.
About 25 years ago, a friend of mine got a call from from a stock broker and the borker sold him some shares in a medical equipment company at 30 dollars a share.  The broker said the company was on the verge of developing a new piece of equipment and it would be very successful.  My friend held onto the shares for a while.  Then he got another call from the broker.  This time the broker said the company was going nowhere and that he should sell the shares.  He did.  A short time after, my friend saw in the WSJ that the company released its machine and the stock shot up to 100 dollars a share. He chalked it up to just his luck.  I suspect the broker was “squirreling” away the shares to unsuspecting buyers for sale at later more opportune time to a better, bigger customer.
I’ll bet the insurance companies are buying up shares in these medical equipment companies and that’s where these insurance company shareholders are making a killing.
As far as the secretive bailout money goes, I remember last November when it came out that Paulson et al had a Purge Protectin Team (PPT) to ensure that the market would not take a sudden nose dive.  It was estimated that they had 400 billion on hand to drop in the market to prevent a sudden plunge.  I suspect that that is what Bernanke, Geithner and Summers are doing with the 12 or so trillion in TALF money.  They raised the market to an unbelievably high level in such a short period of time.  Wait and see, this market is going to drop like a lead ballon.
Wall Street is now cutting its investment in Charlie Rangel.  He’s beginning to smell like a dead fish wrapped in the in Living section of last week’s Sunday newspaper.

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By KDelphi, October 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

The concept of for profit necessary treamtent needed to live is immoral. That is the only argument worth having here. If its not a human right, then, the “mkt” will take care of the “weak”, right? Indeed it is HERE, in the uS, that Stephen Hawking would have been allowed to die or to bankrupt his family!

MarthA-Its known as the “liberal” marketplace, even though it is not what one might call “liberal” today.Maybe a little work on “definitions” is what is needed here..

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By ChaoticGood, October 17, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Yes, it is an odd response to argue about health insurance, yet accept bailouts for Wall Street nabobs.  Also odd that health insurance must be “revenue neutral”, while Iraq and Afganistan campaigns do not have to be “revenue neutral”.

But remember we are in America where money is valued above people and imperialistic wars are our manifest destiny, so this is not so odd afterall is it?

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By ardee, October 17, 2009 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

AAhhh Thomas, so its the sheep that are to blame. Please, do we have to suffer because you had a bad breakup with one such?

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By msgmi, October 16, 2009 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Geitner the ex-FOX of the NY Fed and now SEC-TREASURY has not given up control of the hen house. If the post-2008 financial meltdown is any indication of the future health of the economy, the same players who have no angst know that they are too big to fail and Main Street will be pick-pocketed again as hubris on Wall Street keeps rolling along.

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By ThomasG, October 16, 2009 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 16 at 10:01pm,

Amorphous nonsense; it was Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS that expropriated and privatized all of the real and personal property of the peasantry of Britain to enable the emergence of Capitalism, there was nothing liberal about the whole process of taking the real and personal property away from Britain’s Peasant Class to force them to be a homeless workforce dependent upon wages for their sole means of survival, and then used the peasants’ expropriated property as fields to graze sheep and provide wool for the emerging textile industry of privatized capitalism.

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By ardee, October 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

I will repeat the wiki article I pasted earlier, if only to point out to Thomas/Martha that facts are like them in one respect. They dont go away either:

Some theorists might argue that a free market is a natural form of social organization, and that a free market will arise in any society where it is not obstructed (ie Ludwig von Mises, Hayek). The consensus among economic historians is that the free market economy is a specific historic phenomenon, and that it emerged in late medieval and early-modern Europe. Other economic historians see elements of the free market in the economic systems of Classical Antiquity, and in some non-western societies. By the 19th century the market certainly had organized political support, in the form of laissez-faire liberalism. However, it is not clear if the support preceded the emergence of the market or followed it. Some historians see it as the result of the success of early liberal ideology, combined with the specific interests of the entrepreneur.

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By ThomasG, October 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

Dalmazio, October 16 at 6:35pm,  6:34pm,and 5:31pm, and ardee,

“Free-Market” Capitalism is a false frame.  There has never been “Free-Market” Capitalism, since Capitalism emerged in Britain as a result of the Enclosure Movement, sheep and the textile industry based upon wool from the sheep.

With regard to “Free-Enterprise”, anyone can engage in “Free-Enterprise”, but only those who have political power or connections to government can obtain resources at competitive prices and access markets for what “Free-Enterprise” produces.  You have only to look at the law, trade agreements and regulations that allocate benefit of markets to some and deny markets to others to realize that “Free-Market Capitalism” does not exist; this has always been so, except in the minds of the ignorant and stupid that are given to belief in the sophist propaganda of amorphous nonsense.

Gunboat diplomacy in pursuit of cheap resources and markets is the reality of Capitalism and markets and the standard is that given by Admiral Perry and his armada of black ships as they were firing cannonballs through the Emperor of Japan’s Palace; Admiral Perry sent word to the Emperor fo Japan to hoist the white flag when he was ready to enter into a Trade Agreement; this is the reason we are in Iraq and Afganistan, and it has nothing to do with “Free-Market” Capitalism.

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By Dalmazio, October 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

(...continued)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these
rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from
the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government
becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to
abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such
principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most
likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Your last statements would be anathema to the founding fathers and only
serves to further chip away at the foundations of the Constitutional Republic
that the United States is/was. And they would most certainly be distraught at
the sight of so many individuals today falling prey to the propaganda of big
government and collectivism (Dems and Repubs alike). I fear this will only
worsen unless and until sufficiently many patriots stand up for their
unalienable rights and demand that the Constitution be honoured, instead of
pandering to party politics. Unfortunately, Aldous Huxley was correct: as a
people we have become increasingly conditioned from cradle to grave, to love
our servitude.

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By Dalmazio, October 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

@Glider,

QUOTE: “The government does not have a right to force me to subsidize high-
risk individuals. Just as I don’t have a right to force others to subsidize any of
my questionable high-risk pursuits. If I have a penchant for tornado-chasing,
or crocodile-handling, or smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, or self-
indulgent over-eating, or eating unhealthily, why should others be forced to
subsidize my high-risk activities?”

The above quote does not have anything to do with a foundation of worship of
greed and self. Quite the opposite. Let me explain. I believe greed is the
underlying cause of much of the evil in our world. However, human nature
being what it is, we would be best to check it only to the degree necessary.
Government has an economic prerogative here: ensure the market remains
free, competitive, and fair. If we try to go beyond this, under the well-
intentioned but mis-guided ideal of removing greed entirely, we will end up
creating a Leviathan of greed thereby compounding the problem.

How? When government get’s increasingly involved in affairs of trade, business
and commerce (healthcare included), they become more powerful as a
regulating authority—they can make or break companies and whole industries.
This then makes them the target of powerful yet greedy organizations,
corporations, lobbies, multinationals, etc. that don’t want to play by the
genuine free-market rules (competition, price, quality, etc.) and instead want to
usurp the legislative and regulating powers of government for their own
financial benefit at the cost of freedom, choice, and quality for everyone else.
And this is the pinnacle of excess which must be avoided. It is precisely this
excessive greed, dishonesty, and lack of integrity that has created the
destructive political and economic landscape we live in today.

QUOTE: “My fundamental point would be that society does indeed have every
right to demand a return on its investments in you as a benefiting member. 
You are not an island.  Everything about you, from your ability to even speak
and indeed even survive is enabled by society.  What right do you have to
exploit all the benefits you have and return nothing?  It is not unreasonable for
society to demand that its members contribute to the greater good to a
reasonable degree.”

Oh? I don’t believe I, as an individual, or anyone else, is an “investment” of
society. And neither does society have any “right” to demand anything of me,
except that I abide by certain basic laws and principles of civil conduct that are
in the best interests of all members of society: to refrain from harming others.

What right do I have to “exploit” all the benefits I have derived from society and
return nothing? I beg your pardon? Are we living in a Communist society? Have
we forgotten our roots and what the Great American Experiment represents? I
don’t recall my entering into this world being contingent on my signing of a
contract that required anything of me in return. And if I do *choose* to “give
back” something with the little time I have here—that will be *my* choice. But
*no one* can demand it of me nor from anyone else. Society and government
do not have any “rights” over the individual. From the Declaration of
Independence:

(continued…)

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By Dalmazio, October 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

@Hulk2008,

You make some good points.

QUOTE: “When profit, not health, is the goal, cures become trade secrets,
treatments become market leverage, physicians become procedural drones,
health becomes just a commodity, and patients become customers.  Lives are
no longer in the equation.”

Cures can become trade secrets, and treatments can become market leverage -
- but only for a very limited time. In a genuinely free-market, another group
would quickly reverse-engineer the cure and make it available at a more
competitive price.

Physicians would not become drones. It is in their best interest to provide
high-quality affordable healthcare. In doing so they would develop their
practice and business,  develop a reputation for being quality physicians par
excellence, and reap the rewards from their hard work.

Neither does health become a commodity. Healthcare becomes a competitive
service. And those that offer a better service and a better price would be
rewarded for it.

Finally, patients would become customers. But what’s wrong with that? As
discriminating consumers, they would select the best product/service, rather
than have their choices made for them by bureaucrats who *say* they have
their best interests at heart, but do they really? Who’s payroll are they really on
anyway? As one thoughtful man once said: “follow the money.”

QUOTE: “Consider the conservatives who suggest patients should be the ones
choosing treatments on the basis of lowering costs - if one is conscious, what
patient would choose a lesser procedure, perhaps risking a life doing so ?”

Patients should be the one’s choosing treatments in consultation with their
physicians on the basis of relevance, quality, cost, and many other factors.
They wouldn’t be “risking their lives” in doing so. The point is to wrest
decision-making power out of the hands of the bureaucrats and health and
insurance lobby, and return it back to the doctor and patient.

Just look at the marketplace in other areas. Although it’s not genuinely free,
there is still sufficient competition to create some choice. You don’t have to buy
a $150k Mercedes or Porsche to get from point A to point B. You are just as
safe in a $25k Toyota Prius. But if you really want the more expensive option,
then that’s your choice.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, October 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Communism, a Love Story:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/
0,1518,655123,00.html
So what is the answer?

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By ardee, October 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 15 at 5:57 pm #


ardee, October 15 at 3:58pm,

Instead of Blah, provide an objective example of the so called “Free Market.”
...........................

The Blah to which you refer is from Wiki, you , on the other hand , are from hunger.

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By Dalmazio, October 16, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

@Glider, peace my friend.

Regarding your previous comment (I will address the most recent one shortly) at
the risk of sounding confrontational, which is certainly not my intention, may I
suggest reading my comments with increased open-mindedness? I find open-
mindedness to be a wonderful cure for many kinds of incomprehension.

For the record, I do understand your logic and reasoning, but I simply don’t agree
with it, as I believe it fails to take into consideration the bigger picture.

P.S. No caffeine or mini-whites here. But plenty of meditation and reflection…

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Hulk2008's avatar

By Hulk2008, October 16, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

IF ..... (notice it’s a very big IF) ..... health care insurance were based on actuarial tables like life insurance, then the cost of such insurance would not continually skyrocket.  Any casual observer will notice that life insurance costs have risen slowly - approximating the rate of inflation rather than doubling or tripling every 10 years.  I suggest that the REAL health care costs themselves have no actually risen - they have been artificially inflated by the corporate insurance barons. 
    As a veteran of over 41 years in software, most of that time in health care companies (hospitals, insurers, pharma, etc.) I have first-hand seen the transition take place mostly in corporate structure and goals:  Health care has become BIG profit-taking business, and it has been INTENTIONAL. 
    It used to be much closer to non-profit; most health insurers and hospitals and such were mutual companies or religious-based or fraternal-based.  Now the biggies are all bottom-line-oriented bean-counter stock oriented. 
    When profit, not health, is the goal, cures become trade secrets, treatments become market leverage, physicians become procedural drones, health becomes just a commodity, and patients become customers.  Lives are no longer in the equation. 
    Consider the conservatives who suggest patients should be the ones choosing treatments on the basis of lowering costs - if one is conscious, what patient would choose a lesser procedure, perhaps risking a life doing so ? 
    Maybe we will see discount surgical centers sprout up ...open heart surgery along with a free paint job on your car - a free appendectomy when you buy storm windows.

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By glider, October 16, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Dalmazio,

“The government does not have a right to force me to subsidize high-risk individuals. Just as I don’t have a right to force others to subsidize any of my questionable high-risk pursuits. If I have a penchant for tornado-chasing, or crocodile-handling, or smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, or self-indulgent over-eating, or eating unhealthily, why should others be forced to subsidize my high-risk activities?”

Before I depart I want to make one point that I hope may eventually turn your opinion around as you grow wiser with time.  I believe the above quote is part of your libertarian psuedo-religious belief system that is at its foundation a worship of greed and self.  I agree that individuals should have responsibility for “high risk” behavior.  But you push it far beyond that point.  It is an illegitimate argument to cite outlier behavior and use that as the basis to argue against the aggregate.  Please stop doing this form of rhetorical dishonesty.  This is not a valid argument and in this case is simply a “rationalization” to justify the greedy behavior you promote.  My fundamental point would be that society does indeed have every right to demand a return on its investments in you as a benefiting member.  You are not an island.  Everything about you, from your ability to even speak and indeed even survive is enabled by society.  What right do you have to exploit all the benefits you have and return nothing?  It is not unreasonable for society to demand that its members contribute to the greater good to a reasonable degree.

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By Pauline Mott, October 15, 2009 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From what I understand there are 2 groups in America who have reliable, affordable healthcare. They are veterans and retired people. What they have in common is that their reliable, affordable healthcare is provided entirely by the Federal government. Compare the care that they get with that available to the people who have private health insurance and there is only one conclusion - the federal government provides a far superior level of service.
Now what part of this is beyond the comprehension of the American people? Is there something in your drinking water that dissolves common sense and logical thought.
Our Health care system in Canada is not perfect but then what is? But for under $100 per month I am assured of a speedy response if I become seriously ill and I won’t have to worry about losing my house to pay for treatment. In return for this assurance I have undertaken to use the system responsibly and not to waste the government’s time and money on minor ailments that will cure themselves.
Unless you rid yourselves of the scourge of private health insurance you will continue on your nation’s present course towards physical and spiritual decay. For the evil venality of the Health Insurance Industry is an outstanding example of all that is corrupt in America and as long as they thrive, even as the depths of their inhumanity is revealed for all to see, so will they serve as an example to others that there are no limits to the governments tolerance of corporate inhumanity and no limits to what or who can be bought with the bloody profits wrenched from the cold, dead, pre-existing conditioned hands of the privately insured.

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By glider, October 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment

Dalmazio my man,

You sure are all over the map on that last post.  I am not quite sure where to begin.  And I need to hit the sack to get up early for that road trip.  So it is too much to deal with at the moment.  I may respond when I get back.  If not we will meet again.  But you really ought to think about cutting back on your coffee and mini-whites so you can focus on getting a single coherent paragraph together.
 
Hope the studies are going well.

Cheers,
glider

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By Dalmazio, October 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

(...continued)

In fact, the latest talk over the last few years coming out of Harvard and other
business schools involves the idea of the triple-bottom line: instead of valuing
companies based exclusively on their financials, to incorporate other modes of
“capital” valuation such as social capital and environmental capital. In truth, this
is automatic in a genuinely free market. That’s fine, there is no harm in
bringing specific attention to it. But what many don’t realize is that if the
market was genuinely free, it would automatically embody these ideals. Even in
today’s non-free market climate, there are large swathes of the population that
refuse to buy products from <<insert your favorite socially or environmentally
irresponsible company here>> because of their questionable business
practices that have been made public.

You see, this is the fundamental problem with the debates we are having. We
are not going far enough to address the root of the problem. We may agree
that the markets are not really free and there isn’t real competition, but then we
just accept that, and then ask ourselves how we can best proceed from here?
Instead, we must refuse to accept that they are not free, and force our
government to make them so, as mandated by our Constitution. All other
problems would become moot after a short period of “experimentation” in the
genuinely free market place. Otherwise, everything we do will only serve to
translate the problem into other domains.

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By Dalmazio, October 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

@C Curtis Dillon,

I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

QUOTE: “Free markets only work when there is real competition. But that is not
always possible.”

Precisely! And that is a large part of my point. We don’t have free markets in
the U.S. today, and I would argue, we haven’t had them for the better part of a
century. Though they are less free today than they have ever been.

What makes a market free? Too many people get caught up semantics. I’m not
talking about “free” as in anarcho-capitalism. I’m talking about “free” in a very
pragmatic sense: freedom of competition, respect for private property, and
enforceability of contracts. This freedom exists today in some areas but not in
others. For example, if you wanted to start your own health insurance
company, it would be well-nigh impossible due to all the regulations, and
licensure requirements. These regulations have largely been the handy-work
of the health and insurance lobby, all in an attempt to protect their interests
and create such a barrier to entry that they can maintain a virtual monopoly, all
under the guise of “protecting the consumer.”

You said that there are certain requirements, for example, that an insurance
company must meet. Yes, but why get government involved by legislating this
into law? The free market (if it were genuinely free) would take care of this.
How? Suppose I start my own health insurance company with no money. After
the first couple of larger claims come in, I will certainly be bankrupt. My clients
are upset, my business has filed chapter 11, and my reputation is shot. So that,
I’ve destroyed all future earnings potential, and if I try to start another health
insurance company (or any other company for that matter), who in their right-
mind is going to trust me to manage it given my track-record of
irresponsibility and questionable integrity? This is how the free-market
operates: experimentally. Over-time the best, most responsible, well-managed
companies remain and the rest disappear. But only in a genuinely free market.

Some argue that it’s too difficult for the average consumer to know which are
the good companies and which are the bad ones. Well that’s where various
(non-government) watchdog groups/companies come in such as the BBB, UL,
and many others. They provide a service to help consumers evaluate the
integrity of a company’s business practices, thereby allowing them to make
better decisions.

QUOTE: “Our corporations are only beholden to their shareholders and this
allows (and encourages) them to ignore all the other stakeholders in their
business.  What about employees, suppliers, communities and retirees?  Don’t
they matter in what the company does?  They would be ignored were it not for
regulations and laws which force them to be responsible.”

This is a very good point, but I believe your conclusion only applies in a non-
free market. If the market is genuinely free, then these problems also
disappear. How? Again, based on public perception and reputation through
consumer watchdog groups/companies whose business is the supply of
accurate information. Companies that ignored their employees, suppliers,
communities and retirees would develop a negative reputation as such, and
this would drastically erode their business. Consumers would begin to boycott
their products, thereby forcing them to change their policies. The free-market
would take care of it automatically.

(continued…)

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By Dalmazio, October 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

(...continued)

Regarding healthcare in Canada, I was not trying to be disengenuous. I didn’t
say that the Canadian system is bad or didn’t work outright. I know this kind of
rhetoric appears often enough in mainstream television. I said that it works in
Canada (sort of). But it partly works for reasons that do not apply in the U.S. I
simply brought attention to one of the important ways in which it fails—and
that’s through longer waiting lists. Here are two articles from the New York
Times on the state of affairs in Canadian healthcare that should show you it’s
not an uncommon occurence:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/international/americas/26canada.html
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?
res=9E02E4DD113EF933A15751C0A9609C8B63

And this from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research:

http://www.cihr.ca/e/35153.html

You said that I should compare that to how many in the U.S. get no treatment
and are dropped by private health insurers for pre-existing conditions. This is
a very good point, and brings us full-circle. Let me answer in the form of a
question: What would happen if there were less obstacles to entry into the
health insurance market—a genuinely free-market through less false-
regulations and licensure requirements? Do you doubt even for a moment that
myriad new smaller health insurance companies would suddenly spring to life
virtually overnight? And do you doubt that they would try to differentiate
themselves in the marketplace by offering all kinds of insurance products and
services? The reason why many get no treatment all in the U.S. is precisely
because of a lack of genuine free-market activity where new competitors would
be able to provide better services and products at more affordable prices.
That’s the magic of the free-market. It’s too bad we don’t have one.

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By Dalmazio, October 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

@Glider,

I’m not sure about these labels of liberal vs. conservative, I think they are false
categorizations. I used to be very “liberal” and gradually came to understand
more about free-market capitalism viz. the Austrian School of Economics that
my views began changing. Simply, I have never found a clearer, more cogent
expression of economic theory than that of the Austrian School. Economic
theory is not really that complicated, but there are many people who are vested
in convincing us that it is. And our pathetic educational system (at least as far
as economic theory goes) insures that only pure nonsense is taught so that the
status quo is maintained. Anyone wishing a real understanding of economic
theory will have to go elsewhere than our formal educational institutions. The
Austrian school dispels the nonsense and leaves only understanding.

I didn’t say that charity was good enough to take care of the problem. I said
that the genuine free-market was good enough to take of the problem. And
within this framework, charity can operate, as it has in the past when the
market was less unfree as pointed out by C. Curtis Dillon’s recent post.

Within a genuine free market, someone pursuing there own self-interest would
realize that there is a large untapped market of lower-income or even poor
individuals who cannot afford existing options especially when medical
disasters occur. This is where creativity that can only exist in a genuinely free
market comes in. A number of individuals recognizing the potential would
devise all kinds of creative schemes for dealing with this segment of the
population. Some might try some form of temporary employee in lieu of
payment, or community-service in lieu of payment, or micro-credit-based
approach, etc. The point is, that there are a lot of interesting things that can be
experimented with, all of which you can be sure the government will never do,
because they don’t know beforehand how effective they will be. And that’s the
beauty of the genuine free-market. We can try and fail, and try again, and fail,
always at a small scope, until we get it right.

This idea of “they didn’t do it right” is not the point. Very simply, a genuinely
free market has not existed in the U.S. for the better part of a century. Today
the markets are less free than they have ever been. This is about returning to a
genuinely free market so things can once again work as the founding fathers
intended them.

You make some good points about how health insurance, for example, is way
too complex for the average consumer to properly weigh all the information
and make an intelligent decision. That’s where various (non-government)
watchdog groups/companies come in such as the BBB, UL, and many others.
They provide a service to help consumers evaluate the integrity of a company’s
business practices, thereby allowing them to make better decisions. Where
there is a need, the genuinely free market will find a way through enterprising
individuals.

The government does not have a right to force me to subsidize high-risk
individuals. Just as I don’t have a right to force others to subsidize any of my
questionable high-risk pursuits. If I have a penchant for tornado-chasing, or
crocodile-handling, or smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, or self-
indulgent over-eating, or eating unhealthily, why should others be forced to
subsidize my high-risk activities? Do we want to live in a free society or not? If
so, we should begin to act like it and stop demanding that others pay our way.
With freedom comes responsibility. And if you don’t want responsibility, then
you cannot have freedom.

(continued…)

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By glider, October 15, 2009 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Hello Rodrigo,
Thanks!  Unfortunately road trip got delayed until early tomorrow morning.  I hope your rationalization for #1 is more than the typical republican talking point trash about the global credit crisis being cause by Democrat promoted loans to lower class black people.  That is really quite humorous but if you go that route I want you to quantify those loans versus the bailouts and scale of the disaster.  Please keep it in context and about defining the truth of the matter.  Other than that go ahead and have at it grin.

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By Heller, October 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People like Robert Scheer should be regular guests on the cable punditry shows. Gee, I wonder why they’re not?

This whole health care thing has been an immense waste of time.

[Spoiler Alert for book Catch-22]. A good analogy, I think, comes from the book Catch-22, in which Yossarian is patching up Snowden’s wound on his leg. But after he’s finished, he notices that Snowden’s guts are on the ground. Indeed Snowden’s leg needed work, but if a surgeon weren’t able to take care of his guts first, the work on the leg would be all for naught. What’s the use of stitching up a gash on a corpse’s leg?

What’s the use of working on needed health care reform when the economy is in the midst of putrification?

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By bill janes, October 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For America’s priorities, follow the money: Banks & the Financial Sector,
Military and Mercenaries, About Everything Else, Health Care:

$ 10,000,000,000 = Banks & the Financial Sector Bailouts and Guarantees
$  3,000,000,000 = American Invasion & War in Iraq
$  ?,000,000,000 = American Invasion & War in Afghanistan
$    834,000,000 = “Health Care” ‘Reform’

Evidently, somewhere below the banks & the financial sector, military and
mercenaries is a federally mandated ‘Market’ for for-profit health insurers -
i.e. mandated coverage with a weak and restricted public option.

Near the bottom of America’s priority list is health care. The amount of funding
the Dems are willing to expend on health care reform is very, very small. 

“Health” Insurance Companies are a needless layer that does not deliver health
care and does not add value – period – but absorbs much of the small amount
of health care dollars.  “Reform” that continues to feed money into private, for-
profit health insurance companies is wasting money (public money), public
policy that promotes non-value-added paper shuffling, profits and CEO
fattening at the expense of health care.

Choose the non-fat option, a strong public option available to everyone. Move
health care to priority one. Get rid of the wasteful and no-value-added portion
of the system , i.e. health insurers. And, let’s help the nation get fixed and
healthy.

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By Rodrigo Riadi, October 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Glider, have fun on your road trip, we’ll continue when
you return - many cheers, Rodrigo

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 15, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 15 at 3:58pm,

Instead of Blah, provide an objective example of the so called “Free Market.”

We both know that this is an article of faith of the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS, but it is a subjective article of faith that is nothing more than amorphous nonsense, unless objective proof of its existence can be documented.

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By ardee, October 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 14 at 8:12 pm #


ardee, October 14 at 7:16pm,

“Free Market” is a false frame.  The correct frame is “Free Enterprise”.  There is no such thing as a “free market” and never has been in the history of Capitalism.

Some theorists might argue that a free market is a natural form of social organization, and that a free market will arise in any society where it is not obstructed (ie Ludwig von Mises, Hayek). The consensus among economic historians is that the free market economy is a specific historic phenomenon, and that it emerged in late medieval and early-modern Europe. Other economic historians see elements of the free market in the economic systems of Classical Antiquity, and in some non-western societies. By the 19th century the market certainly had organized political support, in the form of laissez-faire liberalism. However, it is not clear if the support preceded the emergence of the market or followed it. Some historians see it as the result of the success of early liberal ideology, combined with the specific interests of the entrepreneur.

Oh, and one last thing..The words “free market” were of Dalmazio’s and not of mine.

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By glider, October 15, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Rodrigo Riadi,

I am going on a week long road trip so you won’t be getting responses from me for some time.

Regarding my third point, that “the takeover of government and the media by corporate interests directed at increasing profits by routes other than producing a better product or service” was a negative outcome of capitalist utopia ideology, I fail to see what the proclivity of individuals to focus on the short term has to do with it.  Additionally corporations are run by intelligent, if not, benevolent people.  They understand correctly that people and their opinions are molded by their surroundings.  So controlling media and buying the presentation of your ideas and minimizing the presentation of dissenting ideas is clearly a very effective means of controlling the electorate.

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By Rodrigo Riadi, October 15, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Glider,
I’m still reading the Arrow article (fascinating btw)
but couldn’t help but respond to your 1:18pm post’s
three points, in order:
1. Financial deregulation was hardly the cause for
the financial mess.  Wait, don’t yell at me yet, I’m
happy to make the point bullet by bullet at some
point, but meanwhile I’ll just say our financial
system has had issues for a long time, but they’ve
been masked for various reasons.  We can talk about
this one separately.
2. We’re debating this now, so hold off on this one.
3. I’ll argue here that governments, media (and
everyone else for that matter) have always been and
always will be subject to intense pressure from those
with the purse strings.  This is not bad by itself,
it is what it is, and it only becomes corruptive when
people’s concern for the short-term (normally felt as
fear) overrules awareness of the long term - not on
part of government or the media, but again on the
part of the people.  In many ways, this is what’s
happening now in our society and explains at least
some of what we see - the disconnect in people’s
minds between short term action and long term
consequences - again, not on the part of government
or media, but on our own part.  We can also talk
about this one separately.
Many cheers and thanks for your comments,
Rodrigo

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By glider, October 15, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

I meant to add that the worst expressions of the deregulation of corporations has occurred where there is a disconnect between making profit and providing a reciprocating service. 

1.  The deregulated financial “service sector has created a massive dangerous 600 trillion dollar unregulated derivative market casino capable of causing various global insults including credit freezes, unhealthy currency distortions, organized short selling attacks, huge swings in the price of oil, etc.

2.  The health care crisis.

3.  The takeover of government and the media by corporate interests directed at increasing profits by routes other than producing a better product or service.

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By glider, October 15, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Ronald Reagan was the idealist president who got the ball rolling for the “government is not the solution, government is the problem” crowd.  As C.Curtis.Dillon so clearly points out it is a mistake to present an idealized outcome such as Friedman’s Capitalist Utopia, as being the natural outcome of government deregulation.  We now know that the flaw in instituting a policy of freeing corporations from the shackles of government regulation has been the creation of a Corporatocracy that may in all likelyhood be irreversible since it has corrupted our system of checks and balances, and removed the voice of the people.

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By Rodrigo Riadi, October 15, 2009 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Glider, thanks for the link, I’m reading both Krugman’s
and Arrow’s pieces and will comment as soon as I’m
done.  Many cheers, Rodrigo

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Hulk2008's avatar

By Hulk2008, October 15, 2009 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

Dear “de profundis clamavi”:

You obviously labor under the notion that the “conservatives” would ever give up their favorite war toys.  They LOVE war and butting into the personal lives of EVERYone else.  They would never surrender a nickel of the Pentagon budget to save a human life - they enjoy killing and all its acoutrement.

Your reasonable suggestions will fall on deaf ears - made deaf by the thunder of war machines and military trumpets.

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By Bob, October 15, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Free markets are an illusion, never has been, never will be…greed dont you know? WTF-GROW-UP!

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By amex, October 15, 2009 at 5:13 am Link to this comment

Speaking of single payer not working, I can’t find one Brit - and I know many, that would opt out of their current system.  They are laughing openly at the goofy American system of elitist care only.

They are are even being overwhelmed with Muslims running away from the Americans blowing their countries apart, and the single payer system that they use is still holding up.

I live in a country that has both government and privately run health care.  Only the private health care is regulated heavily and thus is rather boring as it doesn’t make insane profits - like water and electricity prior to Thatcher and Reagon.

I have private health care at one 1/7 the cost of what it would cost me inside Amerika, and I couldn’t get close to having the coverage that I enjoy here.

I have Slovenian friends that want to shoot the person that published that Amerikan health care is one higher on the list than Slovenia - again public health care!!

While these examples of opposite thinking and action are not perfect by any means, Amerika looks like a shit hole compared these systems.

I am ecstatic that I had the presence of mind to sell and get out of there before the criminals running the show stole everything.  I think that I will stay here for awhile.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 15, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Forget for a minute capitalism vs. socialism or communism.  All these philosophies fail to integrate human nature.  In an idealized world, capitalism is a wonderful system which engenders competition and efficiency.  However, when you mix in humans and their greedy nature, no system is going to work very well without some interference.  We need only look at our history to see monopolistic behavior in action.  Every businessman dreams of the possibilities inherent in owning 100% of the market.  It eliminates price pressure and all those pesky customer service issues.  Even Adam Smith recognized the risks inherent in a monopoly or when several businesses collude to create a monopoly.

Free markets only work when there is real competition.  But that is not always possible.  In health care, there was competition years ago but consolidation has created near monopolies which are now strangling the entire system.  And, despite what at least one person here has stated, it is not easy for competition to arise.  There are certain requirements that any new insurance company must meet.  They need adequate capital reserves so they can deal with early demands on their insurance pool.  Would it make any sense to have an insurance company that has no money?  Without some minimum requirements (those pesky regulations) anyone could open a storefront agency and start selling their product.

Any organization will work to minimize its exposure to risk and to maximize profits.  But this is only part of their obligation as a member of a community.  Our corporations are only beholden to their shareholders and this allows (and encourages) them to ignore all the other stakeholders in their business.  What about employees, suppliers, communities and retirees?  Don’t they matter in what the company does?  They would be ignored were it not for regulations and laws which force them to be responsible.

Those of us who have a few decades under our belt remember a time when there was little profit in health care.  Most hospitals were run by charitable organizations.  Doctors were a community asset and were less interested in money than in being doctors.  Drugs were very simple and there were no big pharmas running around.  It was a simpler and more compassionate time.

However, we no longer have that situation.  Businesses recognized there was money to be made in health care.  Now, every corner of the industry is being squeezed by shareholders and their hired managers.  Does it really make sense that something so fundamental and important to our country’s survival should be subject to an army of analysts on Wall Street?  Someone must insure that the country (and it’s citizens) are effectively served by the industry.  That is our government ... for better or worse.  Without regulation, the health care industry will seek to maximize profits without regard to the pain and suffering that causes.  That is wrong on many levels.

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By glider, October 15, 2009 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

Dalmazio,

I was raised by someone as conservative as you so I do know the mindset very well. 

You can deny that your “plan” is nutty all you want.  You did not answer the obvious criticism.  If charity is good enough to take care of the problem then why do we have a problem in the first place?  I am a realist when it comes to judging human behaviour and don’t apologize for it.  What you see is what you get.  Your “plan” is a laughably pathetic excuse to do nothing.  More than that it shows massive ballsy arrogant insensitivity. 

It is very easy to adopt this idealist position of “it just didn’t work out because so and so did it wrong”.  You can fall back on the fantasy and never need to prove it could be done right because no one can say otherwise.  Ironically, your same bunch will do a 180 and throw up the example of the Soviets to likewise prove socialism doesn’t work, and not be happy about socialists replying it just was done right. 

I happen to be a big believer in the free market system but am dead set against it for certain critical services.  With health insurance you are buying a promise to be covered for a medical disaster in the distant future.  It is way too complex for the consumer to properly weigh to make an intelligent purchase and these companies profit by cherry picking healthy customers.  How many other businesses struggle to not sell their product to the people who need it most?  That is pretty damn unique to the insurance industry.  What value does it add to their product to hire hundreds of actuaries to weed out their high risk customers.  And just look at the administrative paperwork with which these companies have burdened our healthcare system!  A single payer system that can distribute individual risk over the population and make intelligent complicated decisions globally is the way to go.  You also attack the Canadian system with a disingenuous rhetorical trick.  They have a very good system so you pick out a small incidence of someone getting care elsewhere to condemn the whole system.  Be honest and put it in the context of how many are treated successfully as a percent of the population and what percent opts out as you describe.  Then compare that to the U.S. and how many here get no treatment at all and are dropped by private health insurers for pre-existing conditions, etc.  Tell me why you stated that out of context.  Why are you not interested in communicating the truth?  Just what is your agenda?

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By Dalmazio, October 15, 2009 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

@Ray Duray,

—QUOTE
Huh? You take me for a rube who just fell off the turnip wagon?

Let me see your ridiculous 1979 “Free To Choose” and raise you an equally
ridiculous 1998 Daniel Yergin tchotchke “Commanding Heights”.

PBS, the Pentagon Broadcasting System is consistent if nothing else. It
generationally broadcasts the most infantile pseudo-intellectual nonsense our
elite parasite class can conceive.
—ENDQUOTE

What’s this? A little piece on Emma Goldman, Bakunin and other anarcho-
syndicalists? All on PBS? Anathema!

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/goldman/peopleevents/p_goldman.html


—QUOTE
But in granting you that, I’ll ask you to indulge me and help me understand
why I should not dismiss Milton Friedman as a eunuch engaged in the
universal effort of fourth graders to steal each other’s lunch money.
—ENDQUOTE

Alright, if you can put aside about 2 and half minutes, this should give you a
very cursory idea. This piece was an entertaining interview Milton Friedman had
with Phil Donahue back in 1979.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76frHHpoNFs&NR=1

If you have just a little more patience, this is the extended clip of the entire
interview (50 minutes). Here is the first of five parts, and the remaining 4 are
accessible in the side bar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=E1lWk4TCe4U&feature=PlayList&p=ACD3432F5B9C00B0


—QUOTE
Or to put it slightly more elegantly in the words of John Kenneth Galbraith:
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral
philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for
selfishness.”
—ENDQUOTE

Tell me, is it still “unselfishness” to have your choice of being unselfish taken
away from you and instead being forced upon you by edict of law? Is that really
unselfishness?

Who’s really engaging in a superior moral justification for selfishness? The
person who wants to leave people free to choose, out of a deep respect for
individual choice and liberty, even if they disagree with other’s views, or the
person who wants to force others to conform to their own views, through laws
and legislation because they believe they are morally superior?


—QUOTE
With regards to your recent attempt to dominate this thread by sheer dint of
word count, Galbraith might reproach you by these words: “If all else fails
immortality can always be assured by adequate error.”

You are well on your way, sir.
—ENDQUOTE

“I was going to write you a short letter but I didn’t have the time, so I wrote
you a long one instead.”—George Bernard Shaw

Report this

By Dalmazio, October 15, 2009 at 12:31 am Link to this comment

@Ray Duray,

One comment at a time.

QUOTE
You wrote: “A free-market system is not unbridled
greed and survival of the fittest at all cost. That’s anarchy.”

A curse upon your for your outright distortions of history.

I’ve made a lifelong study of Anarchism and I’ve read from the works of
Proudon, Kropotin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman, and other Social Anarchist
theorists and you are full of shit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism
ENDQUOTE

There are many forms of anarchism. In addition to anarcho-syndicalism there is
also anarcho-capitalism, and many others. In fact, I was in admiration of
figures like Noam Chomsky for a while and his belief in anarcho-syndicalism
as the best system of social organization. However, overtime, I’ve come to
disagree due to the reliance on collective central organization. For example,
worker trade unions, a central element of anarcho-syndicalism, have become
there own worst enemies and what they sought to eradicate they have become
a party to. It’s inevitable because it is the nature of the machine of power and
government. Whomsoever possesses it, will not be able to restrain themselves.
It’s almost like Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring. And there will *always* need to be
some form of government. Something will fill it if it doesn’t already exist.

Conversely anarcho-capitalism takes the other extreme, and essentially
advocates the death of the state, and therefore any regulating or limiting
power on commerce. But the state really ought to have some role to play as
alluded to above. Without some limited power to protect the free market from
unbridled greed, exploitation, collusion, and anti-trust, you would get a form
of anarcho-capitalism. This was the kind of anarchism I was referring to.

Report this

By Ray Duray, October 14, 2009 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

Double Damn You Dalmazio!

You wrote in all insincerity: “@Ray Duray, not in the least. Because I’ve viewed sufficiently many interviews
and debates of Milton Friedman, to know enough to see that he was a man of integrity and profound understanding.”

Huh? You take me for a rube who just fell off the turnip wagon?

Let me see your ridiculous 1979 “Free To Choose” and raise you an equally ridiculous 1998 Daniel Yergin tchotchke “Commanding Heights”.

PBS, the Pentagon Broadcasting System is consistent if nothing else. It generationally broadcasts the most infantile pseudo-intellectual nonsense our elite parasite class can conceive.

I’ll grant you that.

But in granting you that, I’ll ask you to indulge me and help me understand why I should not dismiss Milton Friedman as a eunuch engaged in the universal effort of fourth graders to steal each other’s lunch money.

Or to put it slightly more elegantly in the words of John Kenneth Galbraith: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

With regards to your recent attempt to dominate this thread by sheer dint of word count, Galbraith might reproach you by these words: “If all else fails immortality can always be assured by adequate error.”

You are well on your way, sir.

Report this

By Dalmazio, October 14, 2009 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

@Ray Duray,

If you want to discuss ideas then let’s discuss. But I’m not in the least
interested in engaging someone that feels the need to resort to ad hominem
attacks that have nothing to do with advancing the public discourse or
understanding, and instead seeks to debase the conversation from one of ideas
to one of emotional rant and personal attack. It kind of takes the enjoyment out
of it if you know what I mean.

It’s a very common phenomenon for people that are unable to defend their
ideas to resort to personal attacks instead. Have I struck a nerve perhaps? In
any case, I also understand that intelligent people can have vastly varying and
even contradicting views.

If you want to be heard, speak in ideas and relegate the rest.

P.S. If you want to discuss your ideas regarding anarcho-syndicalism, or even
anarcho-capitalism, I am a willing party, but only if you can contain yourself.
And please don’t presume to know my history. You might be surprised.

Report this

By Dalmazio, October 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

(...continued)

But note, if government exercised the discipline they should have, and kept
their grubby fat paws off, not to mention returning to a sane 100% reserve
commodity-backed dollar standard, most if not all of this could have been
avoided. If the “regulations” served to prevent non-free-market abuses or
excesses and in fact keep the market fair and free, then they were
constitutional and should not be repealed. But to call them regulations is
incorrect, as they are constitutionally mandated.

This is why it’s better for government simply to not get involved, as they
invariably end up screwing things up even when they have the very best of
intentions. Note, if government didn’t get involved, we wouldn’t have
Government Sachs pulling all the strings, there would be no interest for them
to be involved in government because there wold be no central power there for
them to usurp.

You fail to understand that this ideology has *not* failed. It has never been
implemented! Something that has never been implemented cannot possibly be
said to have failed! And I submit, that it’s precisely because we have failed to
adopt and implement these ideas and ideology that we are in our current
sorry-assed quagmire.

Report this

By Dalmazio, October 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

@Ray Duray, not in the least. Because I’ve viewed sufficiently many interviews
and debates of Milton Friedman, to know enough to see that he was a man of
integrity and profound understanding. It’s common people that are funny in
that they see chimeras where there are none. They will take a statement
intended for a very particular purpose completely out of context, and say,
“there, you see, he believes XXX so he must be a fraud!” Just watch the 10-part
PBS documentary “Free to Choose” recorded in 1979, and the follow-up 5-part
documentary a year later. Also, a very enlightening couple of shorter segments
are the two very entertaining and informative interviews he had on the Phil
Donahue Show also in the late 70s. You can probably find these on YouTube.

@Glider, it’s not a nutty “plan” it’s just to say that where spaces are, they tend
to get filled. Where a need arises, someone somewhere meets it. There are
plenty of wealthy industrialists that offered a portion of their wealth to setup
foundations for all kinds of humanitarian purposes. As well as community-level
religious groups and grass-roots organizations. The list is literally endless.
Government need not apply. Your view on the industriousness, ingenuity, and
generosity of the American “person” is not very flattering. I prefer, instead to
believe that Americans *as individuals* are capable of much much more, if only
given the chance. And this will never happen as long as government is so
intimately involved.

Canada’s system works (sort of) in part because Canada has a very large
resource-based economy. And so there is a large resource-based tax base that
can’t be shipped off overseas. Not to mention that Canadian politics has
nowhere near (not even in the same galaxy) the level of corruption as is
prevalent in American politics viz. corporate lobbying and crony capitalism.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying it’s not present. But compared to the
U.S. it’s a drop in the bucket. While cost is not an issue in Canada (funded
largely by Canadian taxes which are quite high) availability is. And it’s not
uncommon for people who can’t wait for a few months for a given procedure
to go elsewhere, if they can afford it.

Greenspan and Reagan were profoundly influenced by Friedman in theory only.
As far as I know, not one president or Fed chief has ever come even remotely
close to implementing the policies Friedman advocates. Why? Because it’s
politically unpopular. You can’t get elected in today’s sensationalist political
scene running on a platform of limited government, low taxes, greater personal
liberty, humble foreign policy, and minding one’s own business, etc. because it
requires individual responsibility. And people don’t want to be individually
responsible—they want what they perceive to be a free lunch. In fact, our
leaders, even when they ran on platforms which intimated some of these ideas,
did exactly the opposite when they came to hold office (Dems and Repubs
alike). Reagan is said to have “deregulated” and as a result the rampant
corporatist state ensued. What he really did was “mis-regulated”.

Leaders have caused all sorts of problems through their myopic and rampant
seemingly willy-nilly regulation and deregulation. Just look at the current
financial crisis. The problem was not simply deregulation, as many would like
to believe, but rather mis-regulation. In addition to ill-conceived
“deregulations” there were equally terrible regulations enacted, such as
regulatory changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (1999, 2005),
enactment of the Financial services Modernization Act (1999), and
amendments to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (1999). Together these all
helped create the toxic financial environment we have today.

(continued…)

Report this

By Ray Duray, October 14, 2009 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

Damn you Dalmazio,

You wrote: “A free-market system is not unbridled
greed and survival of the fittest at all cost. That’s anarchy.”

A curse upon your for your outright distortions of history.

I’ve made a lifelong study of Anarchism and I’ve read from the works of Proudon, Kropotin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman, and other Social Anarchist theorists and you are full of shit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism

If you want a good example of advanced social anarchism you should really study the system of anarcho-syndicalism which may well have reached its apotheosis in Catalonia in the mid-1930s as the Moroccan mercenaries in the employ of the fascist Francisco Franco were crashing down on the most decent members of Spanish society with the intent of crushing them like worms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism_in_spain

Didn’t read that history? I’m not surprised. You seem to be a real high-falutin’ sort of fellow with no comprehension of reality whatsoever.

Before you foul this thread any longer with your faecal materials, I’d strongly encourage you to LEARN SOMETHING before speaking.

You really are the worst sort of idiot. You are the true believer in a crackpot theory, and you either are a complete charlatan or a complete fool. Which is it?

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By glider, October 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

You have an entertaining spin on reality.  I instead believe such thinking has been used to create the very corporatist state in which we now find us perhaps irreversible lost.  Greenspan and Reagan were profoundly influenced by Friedman and used this free market ideology to loosen regulations over the years, which in turn has led to the recent financial collapse, the entrenchment of Government Sach’s, and the expansion of lobbyist driven “representative” government.  We are in our current sorry assed quagmire due to this failed ideology.

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By glider, October 14, 2009 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Dalmazio,

“Compassionate, good-hearted people took much of responsibility of the care of others willingly and happily upon themselves, and churches and religious groups were often involved in healthcare in some form as a work of charity. Those that could not pay for emergencies that arose were often given free healthcare”

Hahaha, that is some nutty “plan” you got there.  That would be better called a “scheme” by replublicans and corporatists whose agenda is to pay as few taxes as possible back into the system that raised them, unless it has to do with giving money to the MIC.  If that is a plan why are so many people dying now right in front of these very institutions?  What is stopping them from having fixed this already?  Maybe you should look in the mirror and ask yourself “am I being disingenuous and am I just really fearful about paying more taxes unless its for war”?

Canada got rid of our system and they are very happy with their single payer.  No reason to make up such fantasies to find a good model unless you have another agenda grin

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By Ray Duray, October 14, 2009 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Hi Dalmazio,

Would it impact your thinking if you learned that Milton Friedman confessed to being a fraud as he was nearing the end of his brief mortal coil?

Report this

By Dalmazio, October 14, 2009 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

@Glider and @Rodrigo Riadi,

You might find these two articles interesting.

A Four-Step Healthcare Solution:

  http://mises.org/story/3643

Socialized Healthcare vs. the Laws of Economics: This article discusses Nobel
laureate Milton Friedman’s analysis of the healthcare debate in a way that
presents the facts and with conclusions that will surprise many.

  http://mises.org/story/3586

Report this

By Dalmazio, October 14, 2009 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

(...continued)

As far as free-markets being tried, and people having had the good sense to
abandon them—this is not true. This is exactly what hasn’t been tried except
in very limited forms in small pockets of communities before the big
government/big business duopoly took hold everywhere. And I might add, it was
very effective in these small communities. Compassionate, good-hearted people
took much of responsibility of the care of others willingly and happily upon
themselves, and churches and religious groups were often involved in healthcare
in some form as a work of charity. Those that could not pay for emergencies that
arose were often given free healthcare, and effectively subsidized (through
personal choices in contrast to being forced) by those who could afford it or
through charity.

People don’t understand that a *genuine* free-market approach has nothing to
do with “leaving us to the wolves.” Yes, the big health and insurance
organizations are the wolves, but they have been given free reign precisely
because of the protectionism they enjoy from government in the form of laws
and regulations that prevent others from entering the market. Remove this
protectionism, and the wolves will be busy defending themselves from
competitors, instead of gorging themselves silly from the chicken coup.

Report this

By Dalmazio, October 14, 2009 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

@Glider,

It’s only ignorant to think a “free-market” system will fix healthcare if you don’t
understand what a free-market system is. A free-market system is not unbridled
greed and survival of the fittest at all cost. That’s anarchy. True free-market
capitalism is laissez-fair capitalism where the government does not get involved in
the marketplace *except* to insure that it remains free from corruptive influences.
You can call this a form of “regulation” if you wish—but it is the only regulation
that is sanctioned by the Constitution as far as government economic activity is
concerned. In such a system, government would simply ensure that anti-trust
activities would not occur, and collusion and price-fixing/rigging would not exist.
By limiting government power to only what’s mandated in the Constitution, we
would remove the attractive Leviathan that big health and insurance companies find
so irresistible in their desire to control, all for the purposes of enriching their own
coffers. Without this, everyone would be forced to compete on quality of products
and services, price, availability, merit, etc.

A single payer system *might* work to some degree in smaller communities, or even
in countries that are largely free from the level of corrupt government corporate
influences that exists in the U.S—but only if it’s universally accepted. But the U.S.
system is simply far too corrupt for a single payer system to work to *any* degree.
With a single payer system, every provider is effectively encouraged to charge the
maximum for services even if these prices were ridiculously exorbitant, because,
after all, the government (taxpayer) is footing the bill. Not to mention providing
unnecessary costly treatments. This makes zero sense.

Just because there isn’t a successful model of unregulated free-market
health/insurance care, doesn’t mean it’s not possible or that it can’t exist. In fact, I
would argue that it is precisely the big health and insurance companies that are
*terrified* of unregulated free-market health/insurance care, because they know it
means there demise through vastly increased competition. And it is precisely this
reason that they have done everything in their power over the years to ensure the
market is never free and instead highly regulated in their interests.

With the widespread prevalence of of beliefs of self-entitlement rampant in society
today, many insist that they are getting something for nothing through government
healthcare. Nothing is obtained from government for nothing. Many don’t
understand that it costs dearly in taxes and especially in inflationary tax. Not to
mention the dangerous precedent of becoming beholden to an increasingly powerful
and corrupted central authority. Why are people so eager to give away autonomy in
order that they be cared for by such a state/corporatocracy, usually by individuals
who care not one jot for their welfare but only for the dollars in their pockets? It
really amazes me to see the level of naïveté in thinking the “government will fix it.”
As if they can fix anything. Has history taught us nothing? If government has any
magical quality it’s that of the inverse midas touch: everything they touch turns to
manure.

(continued…)

Report this

By glider, October 14, 2009 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Rodrigo Riadi

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/

read the paper linked within the brief article.

Report this

By Ray Duray, October 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

Hi berniem,

You wrote: “Although, admitedly, a Pollyanna-ish solution, Obama should end our involvement in eternal war and push to have offending corporate charters revoked for failure to promote the public good before private profit.”

This is hardly pollyannish. This is the story of the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was so shocking to the capitalists of that era that they created 26 separate fronts to fight against the Red Army within three years of the end of The War To End All Wars.

The problem with Americans today is an utter lack of imagination and/or a grasp of history.

For those interested in something less shocking to the system than all-out revolution, I recommend T.R. Reid’s “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care”

http://bit.ly/2oeJOL

Insular American provincials will be astonished at how insular, American and provincial they truly are.

Report this

By berniem, October 14, 2009 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

Although, admitedly, a Pollyanna-ish solution, Obama should end our involvement in eternal war and push to have offending corporate charters revoked for failure to promote the public good before private profit. With the savings from reduced pentagon budgets and “too big to fail” handouts we may then be able to provide health care to ALL of our citizens. A healthy society is a wealthy society.

Report this

By msgmi, October 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Geitner continues to respresent Wall Street while Main Street is in his rear view mirror. His buddy former Treasury Sec, Paulson, did the indiscriminate TARP loans to the BIG banks and Geitner has no ‘stomach’ to safeguard the Street’s money.

Report this

By Dave Schwab, October 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

The Baucus health care bill is a huge disappointment. No public health insurance plan. No universal coverage. No real price controls. Billions of taxpayer dollars for insurance companies.

It’s time for health care reform advocates to move on and push for the best and simplest reform plan there is: Medicare for all.

Tell your members of Congress that unless they support Medicare for all, you won’t support them:

http://bit.ly/medicareforallpledge

Report this

By Rodrigo Riadi, October 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Glider,

Thanks for the note.  I’d love to hear your thoughts
on why it is that the healthcare market does not
respond to free market forces…

My own experience in other countries with single
payer systems is not very good but it’s possible that
there is/are countries out there where it works
satisfactorily.  In my mind it’s a risky proposition
however, sp. if we accept that government is corrupt
as you say.

Also, there’s a good argument to show that our
current system does not stimulate free enterprise and
competition among providers, and so it’s hard to
really use it as proof of the failure of the market
in this particular instance.

But please elaborate on your point about market
failure in the case of healthcare.

Thanks and cheers,

Rodrigo

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 14 at 7:16pm,

“Free Market” is a false frame.  The correct frame is “Free Enterprise”.  There is no such thing as a “free market” and never has been in the history of Capitalism.

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, October 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Watch out for the QARYS——Quality Adjusted Remaining Years and say good-bye to grandma and grandpa!

Report this

By ardee, October 14, 2009 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Dalmazio, October 14 at 4:55 pm #

(...continued)

The solution is not *more* government, the solution is *less*. However, a key
ingredient in order to make this work is not just to squash any kind of public
healthcare plan—but to immediately repeal all legislation that makes it
impossible for smaller, leaner, competent, hungry players from entering the
market. The current debate is not really “socialized-medicine” vs. “free-market medicine” but rather “socialized medicince” vs. “plutocratic medicine” and
neither is an acceptable option. We need to get back to *genuine* free-market
principles not this nonsense that is touted as “free-market” but is wholly other.

I will assume that you are serious rather than practicing a stand up comedy routine.Sorry for the sarcasm but it simply flabbergasts me that some can still believe that unregulated capitalism can ever possibly result in benefit to the consumer.

With all the examples before us it must take a certain kind of mind to continue to believe.

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