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June 26, 2012

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Access to Healthcare: basic entitlement or equivalent to a nice TV... yeah, that's basically it.

Of course the ACA is a rube-goldberg imitation of an actual socialized medical system. The rhetoric cuts through that.

Which, maybe, the Dems should have realized?

Alternative universe wanking:

If the Dems pushed true single-payer, would the ultimate result have been the ACA, with the GOP proud at how it fought The Left and secured a market-based reform (and The Left angry at the loss of single-payer, which is mostly true now anyways)?

The ACA is the Republican solution, basicly the plan the Heritage Foundation came up with as an alternative to Hillary Care. Of course when the Republicans adopted it back then they didn't actually want it adopted, they just wanted to say they had some/any alternative.

I should also note that the Republican have repeatedly tried to kill medicare and Social Security. They are also the party that feels deprivation of food and shelter to the elderly are an acceptable consequence of not being a winner in the winner take all enconomy.

plan the Heritage Foundation came up with as an alternative to Hillary Care

That plan found traction...when?

That plan found traction...when?

Well, here are 20 conservative Republican senators cosponsoring a health care bill that included a similar mandate in 1993. These include some heavy hitters: Dole (soon to be the republican presidential nominee), Ted Stevens, Dick Lugar, Chuck Grassley, Orin Hatch, Pete Domenici, and Kit Bond. None of these Senators ever paid any kind of political price for sponsoring what Republicans now claim is obviously unconstitutional.

I suppose one explanation is that Republicans always thought the mandate was unconstitutional but happily sponsored unconstitutional legislation because...um...why?

Point taken. But it looks like it died an early death, Turbulence. It's probable that no one even noticed. Thomas doesn't even note that it made it to committee.

Nitpick: 2 of the 20 are Democrats. Not that that diminishes the point any.

i think this explanation gives the average wingnut far too much credit. after all, we're talking about people who would scream themselves inside out, if someone seriously proposed ending Medicare or Social Security. they're all fine with the government minimizing their own material deprivation.

this "socialism" cry is, like everything else the dimwits do, simply about attacking their imaginary Obama.

And even the 1993 bill differed in a few major ways from PPACA. The biggest difference, IMHO in terms of policy, was that it only mandated the purchase of catastrophic care insurance, while PPACA mandates the purchase of comprehensive care insurance.

From a constitutional point of view, the 1993 bill explicitly used a tax to make the mandate work, while PPACA supporters went out of their way NOT to call it a tax when they were promoting it. IANAL, but it sounds to me as though that could well be the difference in terms of how the Supreme Court will rule.

As our earlier discussion about torture has shown, it is essentially "unfair" to make a moral argument about a policy issue, or to hold advocates morally accountable for their beliefs.

From a constitutional point of view, the 1993 bill explicitly used a tax to make the mandate work, while PPACA supporters went out of their way NOT to call it a tax when they were promoting it.

The ACA penalty for failing to comply with the mandate is that the IRS levies an extra tax on you. That seems the same to me from a constitutional perspective.

Except that they call it a "penalty", not a tax. Often enough they levy penalties, and call them taxes, and get away with it, because of the judiciary's extreme reluctance to admit Congress is lying about something. In this case they called the penalty a "penalty", and should be taken at the word. As they were; Even the lower courts that upheld the mandate rejected the argument that it was a tax rather than a penalty.

That aside, I think I would dispute the use of the term, "privilege". Part of the problem here is that liberals and conservatives understand the word "right" to mean something rather different. To the liberal, to say something is a "right" seems to mean that you have to be provided it, if you can't obtain it on your own.

But to a conservative, to say something is a "right" is only to say that nobody can affirmatively prevent you from obtaining it. The right to free speech, for example, is satisfied if you are not censored, it does not require you be provided with a megaphone. The right to food does not require that you be fed, only that nobody prevent you from obtaining food.

To the conservative mind, rights are negative rights, an entitlement to be free from interference, not to demand assistance. Because, after all, a right to demand assistance is a denial of somebody else's liberty!

And, on the question of socialism, yup, that's what it is. Not the government ownership of the means of production type of socialism, to be sure. But that is not, historically, the only form of socialism.

This is national socialism. You know, the sort where ownership of the means of production is nominally retained in private hands, but the owners are so tightly controlled by government that they're really just government employees, they're not calling their own shots.

So the insurance companies remain "private", but are stripped of control of what sort of product they may offer, who they may offer it to, how much they can charge for it... They become the government's sock puppets, just a way of pretending that we still have a private system of health insurance, while the government calls all the shots.

Yes, that is socialism. It's just a form of socialism with a sufficiently bad odor that people who want to admit to being socialists won't acknowledge it as a variant of their own position.

To the liberal, to say something is a "right" seems to mean that you have to be provided it, if you can't obtain it on your own.

And in one fell swoop Brett demonstrates that he has never heard of Gideon v. Wainwright.

(The point being, since he will miss it, that some rights do, in fact, require exactly that, or they are meaningless.)

So the insurance companies remain "private", but are stripped of control of what sort of product they may offer, who they may offer it to, how much they can charge for it... They become the government's sock puppets, just a way of pretending that we still have a private system of health insurance, while the government calls all the shots.

I'm okay with that. They are private entities tasked with delivering a crucial public need (as we do with housing). There may be some other form of health insurance that can be offered that does not fall under this regulatory structure that they could offer, if they choose, as well.

"as we do with housing"???

Sorry, I missed the part where builders are now told what kinds of houses they are allowed to build and how much they can charge.

Well, Tyro, you're ok with socialism, so that's not surprising.

And, "tasked with"? What, they're in the business because the government assigned them a job?

I missed the part where builders are now told what kinds of houses they are allowed to build and how much they can charge.

Everything has to conform to building regulations and be up to a minimum standard of human habitation. In many cases, the government will subsidize the cost of rent for individuals in need of housing.

But a better example is public utilities, which are also private entities with restrictions on how much they can charge and serve the purpose of private businesses tasks with providing universal access to a necessary service.

I don't consider insurance companies "special." In fact, I consider them a necessary evil, at best, so I am comfortable with having them be strictly regulated so that they can be used to provide as wide a benefit of possible. If insurance companies wish to offer some other kind of ancillary insurance-related product to people that they can make money on, they can do that, too.

Insurance companies co-exist perfectly well with nationalized health care systems. There is always a market for different forms of insurance, so I don't see what the problem here is because a certain form of insurance is being highly regulated. As I said, I didn't see Brett Bellmore throwing a tantrum about regulated public utilities or phone systems or building regulations.

As I said, I didn't see Brett Bellmore throwing a tantrum about regulated public utilities or phone systems or building regulations.

Looks like you missed 'The ballad of Brett and the low flow flush toliet'

Yes, I did get rather pissy about having the nice toilet I'd picked out replaced after I ordered it with a "low flush" toilet that needed to be flushed 2 and 3 times to get clean, on the basis that water shortages in Nevada demanded that people in Michigan not use normal toilets. I kind of missed the part where my bathroom was a regulated public utility, though.

To the conservative mind, rights are negative rights, an entitlement to be free from interference, not to demand assistance.

Really? Please provide an analysis of the conservative movement's historical support for segregation in the context of this remarkable claim.

Talking about public utilities, off topic but the thread seems to be drifting that direction. Brett would probably go nuts in Duval County FL. Not only does the state of Florida mandate low flow toilets and shower heads, the city of Jacksonville/ county of Duval (unified government) have declared ground water a public resource. So if you live in rural Duval county and put in a well (for which you must get a state permit and have drilled by a state licensed driller) the local water utility comes out and installs a water meter so they can charge you for the water you pump out of your well.

"Really? Please provide an analysis of the conservative movement's historical support for segregation in the context of this remarkable claim."

Ok. Simply put, the conservative movement, so far as I know, never supported "segregation" in the sense of something imposed upon property owners. A principled fraction of that movement argued that the federal government could not, based on the 14th amendment, compel integration of private enterprises.

This is perfectly consistent with my statement: The restaurant owner may do as he pleases with his restaurant, nobody having a right to do business with an enterprise against the will of the owner, but nobody else may prevent their doing business, either.

"To the conservative mind, rights are negative rights, an entitlement to be free from interference, not to demand assistance."

Nope. Not even close. There are so many examples--this is really shootig fish in the barrel.

Conservatives do not suppor the right of woemn to be free of interference when it comes to unwanted or unsafe pregnacy.

And what about those red states where Republican politicians who call themsleves conservative are elected by voters who call themsleves conservatives but demand federal money to subsidize the state economy? And bitch endlessly about the evils of big government when the money comes with strings attached!

It would be a lot closer to the truth to say that the conservative mind believes in their right to get the help they want from goverment with no strings attached while simultaneaously getting their taxes cut becaues no one else has a right to get any help.


And what about those red states where Republican politicians who call themsleves conservative are elected by voters who call themsleves conservatives but demand federal money to subsidize the state economy?

We call those people "opportunist politicians." It's a basic of the system - give somebody the power to spend other people's money to help his friends, and most will throw principle to the winds. It takes somebody who believes very strongly in something to resist.

Of course, that has nothing to do with rights.

You've shown one good counter-example (abortion) which is primarily an issue for religious conservatives. I suspect Brett was focusing on social/fiscal conservatives. I'm sure there are other good counter-examples, but I cannot think of one at the moment.

It would be a lot closer to the truth to say that the conservative mind believes in their right to get the help they want from goverment with no strings attached while simultaneaously getting their taxes cut becaues no one else has a right to get any help.

Nope. Sorry, that is not close to the truth about conservatives. That's just usual greed.

Of course, I'm sure the "No True Scotsman" principle applies.

Ok. Simply put, the conservative movement, so far as I know, never supported "segregation".... Full Stop. Yes. It. Did. Unambiguously.

The record is quite clear on this.

"You've shown one good counter-example (abortion) which is primarily an issue for religious conservatives."

Even there he hasn't got a good counter-example. If I come at you with a knife intending to kill you, and somebody intervenes to save you, is that an improper interference in my liberty? There are both religious AND secular opponents of abortion, the primary difference between them being that the religious opponents object to all abortion, believing in these "soul" things, while secular opponents generally oppose only late term abortions, after the development of the nervous system. But both understand them to be defending an innocent third party from attack.

And, bobyp, provide your examples of conservatives supporting segregation in a sense which would contradict my assertion. Mind you, not Democrats...

No comment on Gideon, huh? Not surprising.

And, bobyp, provide your examples of conservatives supporting segregation in a sense which would contradict my assertion. Mind you, not Democrats...

Are you seriously lobbing this softball over the plate?

Sa-wiiiing batta batta:

The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.

[...]

National Review believes that the South's premises are correct. It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority. Sometimes it becomes impossible to assert the will of a minority, in which case it must give way, and the society will regress; sometimes the numerical minority cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence.

Oh, and I hope your low-flow toilet backs up at an especially indelicate moment.

What about miscegenation laws?
---
Btw, someone seems not to know the fine distinction between national socialism and stamokap. ;-)
---
Since it is mandatory in this context: bridges, sleeping under; bread, streets, begging for in the.

This is national socialism.

Noun 1. national socialism - a form of socialism featuring racism and expansionism and obedience to a strong leader

that's the only definition i could find which does not mention Hitler. so, um, no: you can't just make up words.

Even I knew that Bill Buckley advocated segregation before he un-advocated it.

Of course, that bit that he wrote predated Democrats voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by 7 years or so. But I don't think that anyone here has made the absurd claim that Democrats never supported segregation.

I think what Brett is groping for is a way to distinguish socialism on an informal or local scale from a national socialist government.

But we don't say "national socialism" any more than we do "national communism" or "national democracy" or "national dictatorship". Not normally.

Where the hell is russell???

You don't have to rely on the concept positive rights to support universal health care. People can decide that it's simply best for society that the government provide or somehow ensure that someone provide something. I don't think anyone claimed that we had the right to a national highway system before the government went out and built one.

Some things are simply good to have, and the government is in the best positition to provide them or ensure that they are somehow provided, so it does. The ACA was an ugly compromise, but it did attempt to address some very specific and identifiable market failures.

(Also, too, insurance companies don't have the right to fnck people over, so preventing them from doing so doesn't violate the principle of negative rights.)

Ah yes, the ACA is fascism. Way to go, Brett. And oh, hee hee, an assertion that Conservatives didn't support segregation. It's just like how the folks who ran the USSR, PRC, PRNK... weren't real communists, amirite? Conservatives loved segregation. Deny if it makes you feel better, but you won't fool anyone who has the slightest grasp of US history.

On the other hand, the negative/positive rights thing has quite a bit of truth to it. It's blind to some things (the law allows rich and poor unlike to starve, sleep under bridges, etc), but that is the split in a nutshell. I personally think both positive and negative rights have value, and try to evaluate on a case by case basis.

hrh - I think Russell has thrown in the towel, honestly. And I don't blame him. It gets tiring after a while.

We call those people "opportunist politicians." It's a basic of the system - give somebody the power to spend other people's money to help his friends, and most will throw principle to the winds. It takes somebody who believes very strongly in something to resist.

Honestly, it's just conservatives supporting their own tribe. Government is one big fight over how to divide the pie of public goods. To no one's surprise, conservatives both want it to benefit themselves and want to make sure it doesn't benefit the other guy, at the same time. But pointing out the moral consequences of these beliefs, especially when it comes to public and personal health, is considered "beyond the pale."

Russell hasn't posted much of anything to Facebook or OW in the last month or so. Could be he's really busy, or taking a sabbatical from the Internet, or some other thing.

I miss his comments. russell is good people.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/06/27/let-them-die/


That's A Balloon Juice article about something Kevin Drum wrote in response to some things Tyler Cowen wrote.

Cowen comes right out (if you floow all of the links)and states the conservative philosophy: that it is good for poor people to die for lack of insurance. That's their right.

Just, I suppose, that it is the right of a person who works full time with no insurance benefits to go bankrupt over medical bills.

And it isd the right of parents with ill children to let them die or go bankrupt over the bills.

Rich people need to repsect the rights of the not-rich!

Of course we aren't supposed to notice tha tthe party of the rich ahs spent the last hundred years trying to game he system so that most Americans, no matter how hard they try, will not achieve more than a minimal standard of living. The recent attacks on labor unions and federal employees are examples of the policy of the Republica party of deliberately undemining the economic wellbeing of other citizens.

And isn't that what right to work laws are for? To protect the workers' right to do the same job for less pay and fewer benefits?

Yup, those freedom-loving conservatives and their respect for the right to be left on your own, screw you, Jack!

"This is national socialism.

Noun 1. national socialism - a form of socialism featuring racism and expansionism and obedience to a strong leader

that's the only definition i could find which does not mention Hitler. so, um, no: you can't just make up words. "

Guess you got me: Obama doesn't seem to be very expansionist...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_fascism>"An inherent aspect of fascist economies was economic dirigisme,[4] meaning an economy where the government exerts strong directive influence, and effectively controls production and allocation of resources. In general, apart from the nationalizations of some industries, fascist economies were based on private property and private initiative, but these were contingent upon service to the state."

Seems like a fair description of the Democratic approach to the private sector. Tyro's understanding of insurance companies: "They are private entities tasked with delivering a crucial public need (as we do with housing)."

As for your Buckley quote, ew. Guess you got me there.

Brett:

I'm going to just ignore your appalling invocation of Godwin's Law, and ask you about this:

But to a conservative, to say something is a "right" is only to say that nobody can affirmatively prevent you from obtaining it. The right to free speech, for example, is satisfied if you are not censored, it does not require you be provided with a megaphone. The right to food does not require that you be fed, only that nobody prevent you from obtaining food.

To the conservative mind, rights are negative rights, an entitlement to be free from interference, not to demand assistance. Because, after all, a right to demand assistance is a denial of somebody else's liberty!

Back in my post, I'm not talking about *rights*, but about a social connection:
the idea that people need to take care of each other, that we're all in this life together and we should help each other through it.
The "rights" you're talking about are either one-way "to be helped" (your take on liberalism) or no-way "to be left alone" (your take on conservatism). I'm talking about *reciprocal relationships*, two[-to-n]-way connections, where "rights" and "responsibilities" are twined together inseparably.

What is your reaction to this idea? To socialist me, this seems daylight-obvious; I can't tell if you're rejecting it because you think it's nonsense corresponding to nothing in the real world, or because you see that it *is* something and you hate it.

So for instance, you say The right to food does not require that you be fed, only that nobody prevent you from obtaining food. I'm talking about neither the right to be fed nor the right to obtain your own food. I'm talking about the responsibility to feed each other.

Of course we aren't supposed to notice tha tthe party of the rich ahs spent the last hundred years trying to game he system so that most Americans, no matter how hard they try, will not achieve more than a minimal standard of living.

It's a hobby of rich people, I suppose, to relieve the drudgery of having to haul all of that cash home in wheelbarrows. Or, possibly: a sport, like fox-hunting, but without the cruelty to animals.

I think what Brett is groping for is a way to distinguish socialism on an informal or local scale from a national socialist government.

oh, of course. Brett would never liken his opponents to Nazis, or communists, or socialists or any other anathematic political movement. not a chance.

In theory 'national socialism' is a system that applies socialist principles but limits them to the full citizen of one country, i.e. it drops the internationalist character that was originally a genuine part of socialism. Stalin in opposition to Trotzky promoted 'socialism in one country', i.e. a national socialism, not the internationalist world revolution. Nazism, although later using the term 'national', was planned as 'nationalist' socialism, i.e. a fusion of the powers of nationalism and socialism. Hitler decapitated the socialist Strasser wing of his party in the Night of Long Knives. The term 'nationaler Sozialismus' essentially disappeared in favor of Nationalsozialismus. Btw, the Nazi party was never a workers' party despite its title. It was petit bourgeois. Hitler's understanding of socialism was never based on the idea of equality but on a strict hierarchy. The only common thing was the idea of 'we are all in it together' (Volksgemeinschaft = community of (all) the people) and 'you are nothing, the community is everything' (Du bist nichts, dein Volk ist alles). In theory communism works because the people will see that working for a common goal is to everyone's benefit and better than egoism, Nazism uses nationalism and national egoism as the main cementing principle. 'We together against those who are not us' not 'we all together for all' (or modified classic: of all the people, by all the people, for all the people). Nazism understood itself as class-less (like socialism) opposed to the modernized class system of fascism (a point of contention between Hitler and e.g. Mussolini). In reality the differences were much smaller apart from a significantly higher social mobility in Nazi Germany (higher than before and some time after the 3rd Reich).
A lot of the evil 'socialist' ideas like social security and universal health insurance were introduced by the arch-commie Otto von Bismarck in the late 19th century for essentially the same reasons that the US did under FDR: fear of a leftist revolution with mass support. And both in Germany and the US the opposition did not believe that the threat existed or that it could be easily crushed with brute force. Bismarck and FDR were denounced as class traitors. But while the World Wars put an end to the class that embodied this opposition, it is alive and well in the US. But we will see what happens when they get rid of the bread part and make the circuses less accessible. You guys skipped the inoculation and maybe you will run out of luck at last. Fortunately, the Right lacks a truly charismatic leader that will be necessary at least in the establishing phase.

Strictly speaking, *you* invoked Godwin's law, I merely demonstrated it...

Seriously, we're discussing socialism, of which only two basic flavors have been historically signficant. How are we supposed to do this without mention of the version which killed fewer people? Are we to never mention totalitarian history in the context of political discussions about what it's legitimate to force people to do? How very convenient for people who want to employ force... They can advocate starting down a path, and bar discussion of where it leads. The worst case scenario is always off the table.

Godwin's law was an amusing observation, but some people like to use it as a weapon to stifle discussion.

Yes, this is socialism. It's socialism without the transparency of the government taking open title to the means of production. If socialism isn't so awful, why object to identifying it?

i'll believe the Republican Guard is actually anti-socialism the day they march in Washington demanding the immediate end of Social Security and Medicare.

until that day, they're nothing but posers.

BB - right, right, you weren't trying to call liberals nazis. No, no, no. You were just discussing socialism (while pulling the Goldberg and trying to stick the Nazis over on the Left). Incidently, I note your brilliant little claim that Obama's a racist (which I know is all the rage on the Right, in the mode of "I'm rubber and you're glue!").

But you're such a serious discusser of important issues!

Are CAFE standards fascism, Brett? Are regulated public utitilies fascist? Do tell.

As for where socialism leads - if socialized medicine (or a private/public mixture that accomplishes universal coverage) puts us on the road to the gas chamber, please do explain how this has not occurred in:

Britain, France, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia... and a bunch of others no doubt because I'm only listing the ones that immediately spring to mind. Those countries are not totalitarian hellholes, or anything like it. And they have healthcare systems that function far better than ours does for the non-wealthy.

The "worst-case scenario" can happen, and it can happen via excess on either Right or Left, typically triggered by Hard Times.

To be fair, while I think it's unfair to put the Nazis on the Left, they don't really fit all taht well on the Right either (which helps illustrate the crudity of the Left/Right frame). They fused bits of each together. I do think it's telling that the contemporary German Right thought Hitler could be brought onboard to guard against the real enemy (the commies), though.

This is the grand unified field theory of politics: In any significantly divisive political controversy there will be one potential outcome which will tend to increase or maintain a real or perceived difference in power and/or privilege between two interest groups (management/labor, male/female, white/minority, straight/gay, whatever), and the other outcome will tend to reduce or mitigate that difference. The first of these outcomes is the "conservative" position; the second is the "liberal" position. There are no exceptions; this division has existed (with different words substituting for "conservative" and "liberal") since republican forms of government have existed.

The reason for this is that conservatives like hierarchy and liberals don't. For conservatives, it's an inherently good thing if some people are on top and some are on the bottom. (Importantly, most conservatives don't insist on being at the top of the hierarchy themselves, but they do insist on *not* being at the bottom, and they want the person at the top to be someone they can identify with.)

To the conservative psyche, the current health care system in America is a good thing because it makes it easy to see who's a winner and who's a loser. If you give good health care to the losers, then it's no longer so obvious that they are losers; this is distressing. If all the Sneetches have stars on their bellies, how do you know who the best Sneetches are?

That's why they call health care "socialism"; it's equalizing privileges. They fought Medicare for the same reason, and now they don't, because generations of people have grown up with the expectation of health care when they're old; they no longer see it as a privilege reserved exclusively for winners. If the SCOTUS upholds the ACA, I predict that conservatives will eventually lose interest in it, but they'll still be fighting tooth and nail to defend some other privilege against equalization.

I'm talking about *reciprocal relationships*, two[-to-n]-way connections, where "rights" and "responsibilities" are twined together inseparably.

. . .

I can't tell if you're rejecting it because you think it's nonsense corresponding to nothing in the real world.

I'll go with 'nonsense corresponding to nothing in the real world'. It's either a utopian kumbaya songfest or a recipe for disaster with mutual enforceable rights and responsibilities being in constant conflict and need of adjudication.

I'll go a step further: ACA isn't socialism and very few actually say that it is, at least not in the classical sense. Rather, it is, as Brett indicates, a regime of gov't mandate/management of a portion of the private sector. It's a form of crony capitalism. It does have commonality with how the Nazis managed their economy while being completely divorced from the Nazis' militarism, barbarism and hyper racism.

Its cost is also likely grossly underestimated. We were assured, way back in the day, that Medicare was financially do-able, fiscally responsible etc. Those same assurances for ACA are purely hypothetical and, if history is any guide, completely wrong. There has never been a gov't entitlement program that hasn't exceeded its projected costs. Why the largest proposed program ever should be any different is a mystery.

It is also, almost certainly, far more complex with a far greater regulatory burden, much more intrusive into the doctor/patient relationship and, generally, more oppressive than anyone can imagine.

I was reading the drone post and comments the other day and wondering, not for the first time, why it is that the progressive left has complete faith in the gov't's ability to manage some or all of a part of the economy but can't be trusted, in very limited circumstances, to act in the country's defense.

For conservatives, it's an inherently good thing if some people are on top and some are on the bottom.

Without knowing what you mean by "top" and "bottom", or how you've divined the thinking of the large and varied group of people that classify themselves as "conservative", I can't tell where the above quote lies on a spectrum from dead-on to dead-wrong. That I'm even interested in the correctness of it, though, is probably evidence of how much I worship heirarchies.

I was reading the drone post and comments the other day and wondering, not for the first time, why it is that the progressive left has complete faith in the gov't's ability to manage some or all of a part of the economy but can't be trusted, in very limited circumstances, to act in the country's defense.

I personally don't have complete faith in the government's ability to manage some or all of a part of the economy. I just think there are ways it can be done, sometimes, when necessary. It's an if/then proposition based on a particular approach or policy, not a generalized matter of "faith" in government, complete or otherwise. And, frankly, I think the ACA was the government acting in the country's defense under very limited circumstances.

But I'm really confused about what that last sentence was referring to, McK. Opposition to the Iraq war or something? Mostly, I see oppostition to military action, if that's what you meant, from the progressive left based on the fact that it just doesn't occur under very limited circumstances. It occurs based on all sorts of goofy and far-flung justifications, allowing military power to be grossly overused, much to our collective, long-term detriment.

Are you confusing progressives and hardcore pacifists?

McTx: There has never been a gov't entitlement program that hasn't exceeded its projected costs.

I'd be interested in the list of governments, entitlement programs, and projected costs (+ the methodology used therefore) that supports this assertion.

Maybe some of us do not have 'unlimited trust' in government but just slightly less mistrust in it than in the alternative(s).
In general I would also say that the trustworthiness or lack thereof of elected governments has a lot to do with the population voting them in. Voting guys in whose very missin is to destroy the functionality of government in order to 'prove' that government is dysfunctional, is not in my view the smartest of moves. While not actually promoting lanternizing solutions, I think it could improve the situation for a time.

But I'm really confused about what that last sentence was referring to, Mc

I was referring to the use of drone's as a limited strike mechanism against individual's and small groups of people who are, if we are to believe our gov't, actively planning or supporting those who actively plan an attack on our country or its citizens or our allies or their citizens. The tone and tenor of much of the opposition to the use of drones, or to executive decisions to assassinate selected individuals, is that the gov't can't be trusted to act properly in that fashion.

I find the confidence in gov't on the healthcare side to be in interesting contrast to that same gov't's presumed incompetency on a very limited aspect of national defense.

I'd be interested in the list of governments, entitlement programs, and projected costs (+ the methodology used therefore) that supports this assertion.

Medicare, medicaid, social security, ag subsidies, student loans, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, ad nauseum. What gov't entitlement program has come in under budget?

BTW, the great fondness for nationalized healthcare in the rest of EU/Australia/Canada may be misplaced. If you think a one year wait for a hip transplant is a good thing, fine. You will change your mind when you actually have a broken hip and have to live with immobility and excruciating agony for a year. That's one aspect of the problem. The other is cost. Western gov'ts are under huge financial pressure. The polity has been too kind to itself. Whether it's a grand thing or a bad thing, healthcare is only one part of the gov't largesse that is part of the EU et al mindset. It is not sustainable. The evidence to that end mounts everyday.

We returned from Spain late yesterday. It's a lovely country. It is also hugely underwater. I don't read Spanish well, so I read UK newspapers. I got a distinct sense that it's the traditional liberals who are defending the status quo regardless of the change in circumstances. And, then there is France. We'll see how a 75% marginal tax, if it passes, stimulates that economy.

"This is the grand unified field theory of politics:"

I read things like this, and can't help but wonder: Don't you see the relationship between government and citizen as hierarchical? A power relationship? I mean, if I don't do what my boss at work says, he can fire me, which is to say, stop giving me money. You see that as a hierarchical relationship, and I agree.

But if I don't do what the government says, they can freaking SHOOT ME. That's not hierarchical? I'd say it's hierarchical to a much greater extent than any relationship I have in the private sector.

I see liberals all the time trying to replace market relationships, where the downside of refusing an order is not being given money, with political relationships, where the downside of refusing an order can range from having money taken away, to having your life ended.

I don't see people who reject hierarchy, I see people who love hierarchy, and aren't honest with themselves.

Okay. Tell me something: when a police officer shoots someone, or tasers someone, or beats someone up with a nightstick, and there's a court case about it, has it been your experience that liberals, or conservatives, are more likely to side with the officer, or with the victim?

When the federal government launches a war, or uses torture against captives, has it been your experience that liberals, or conservatives, are more likely to oppose these uses of violence?

If you're genuinely worried about people being shot or otherwise violently abused by the government, and you want to take action against that possibility, we can certainly have a conversation about that. Lots of possible areas of common ground. I'd like a nationwide ban on tasers, for example. You with me?

But if I don't do what the government says, they can freaking SHOOT ME

Actually, they can't. You're a big boy, you know this, right?

It is funny, though, that Bellmore is ALWAYS on the side of the guy with the gun, so long as that guy isn't named "government," or isn't black or Latino. Always.

In my experience, it depends entirely on the political salience of the particular law being enforced. If the law is one liberals approve of, and the victims a group they generally despise, the cops can run over people with bloody tanks, and subject children to hours of tear gas, and be defended.

Right. Like all those drug laws that the liberals love. Or like those Occupy protests that they hate.

The mind boggles at how you believe these things, but you apparently do. I weep for your son.

Tell that to Vicki Weaver. Shot through a telescopic sight, on shoot to kill orders.

Don't you have something stupid to post over at TRBC?

Welcome back McT. One thing I would point out about situation in Spain, and more generally about Europe, is that the political groupings do not neatly fit into the categories that Americans take for granted, so 'traditional liberals' gets a response of 'which tradition?' Spain is an especially difficult place to get a handle on because of the divisions that have been generated by the Catholic church, various movements for local autonomy and the legacy of the Spanish Civil War.

Whether it's a grand thing or a bad thing, healthcare is only one part of the gov't largesse that is part of the EU et al mindset. It is not sustainable. The evidence to that end mounts everyday.

Actually, it was sustainable for decades but became unsustainable when the financial crisis bankrupted the world's economy because sovereign governments bailed out the banking industry. It was, actually, housing, not socialized medicine that bankrupted the economy. But that's too complicated for conservatives, who look at the result of the private industry meltdown (and the governments' attempts to save their economies) and see "socializm!".

Oh, and while I'm at it, thanks, Doctor Science, for a great post.

Do all those Republican voters in Colorado Springs have the right to be left alone while their houses burn down, or should federal money be used to help them put the fire out?

Many of the firefighters are seasonal employees with no health insurance. I suppose that means they ahve the right to get burned up protecting the homes of people who vote their hatred of big government programs like the pork barrel military jobs that are so important to the Colorado Springs economy.

Theere are no conservatives because nobody ever wants to apply conservative principles to themselves.

There's just people who think the purpose of government is to help them and no one else.

So for instance, you say The right to food does not require that you be fed, only that nobody prevent you from obtaining food. I'm talking about neither the right to be fed nor the right to obtain your own food. I'm talking about the responsibility to feed each other.

An important point, DS. Too bad people seem to be ignoring it. But here's my question to you: how far does this responsibility extend? To what extent do people have a responsibility to feed themselves rather than feeling entitled to have others feed them?

Is this quantifiable?

You're not talking about "responsibility" once you involve the government. You're talking about orders and penalties. Why insist on conflating "society" and "government"?

Why insist on conflating "society" and "government"?

who the fnck do you think runs the government? do you think the government is staffed by a race of non-citizen fiends, sent here by the ghost of Karl Marx to slowly suck the liberty out of Real Americans in their sleep?

our government is part of this country, run by citizens, for the citizens, with the blessing and consent of said citizens - the same citizens who make up American society.

Too bad people seem to be ignoring it.

Too bad you seem to be ignoring the comments directy responding to that point, including one from Doc Sci.

No, I think the government is run by a small, and highly unrepresentative fraction of the population. Run by some citizens, for themselves and their friends, with the resignation of the people.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/june_2012/22_believe_government_has_consent_of_governed>Most people would deny the government has the people's consent.

Tell that to Vicki Weaver.

neener, neener....tell that to Fred Hampton. Oh, I forget, you don't give a rat's ass about his murder.

I'd say it's hierarchical to a much greater extent than any relationship I have in the private sector.

Tell that to all the union activists gunned down by corporate thugs.

Actually, it was sustainable for decades but became unsustainable when the financial crisis bankrupted the world's economy because sovereign governments bailed out the banking industry.

It might still be sustainable if Eurozone nations didn't give up their monetary sovereignty to become like US states in terms of their abilities to manage their economies. What should be the main question is what actual resources are needed to provide universal health care (or whatever) and whether or not those real resources have become too scarce to do so. No one seems to think about that as much as they do bond yields, since they've tied themselves up in Gordian knots.

Here in the US, we manage to ignore our historically low bond yields (which we've continued to keep relevant by choice) while we bemoan debts and deficits. At least ours is a more purely political problem than an actual fiscal one.

Do all those Republican voters in Colorado Springs have the right to be left alone while their houses burn down... ?

That depends. Are you comfortable, morally, with living in a country where this is the norm? Do you think that this is how civilized societies and civilized peoples behave?

Too bad you seem to be ignoring the comments directy responding to that point, including one from Doc Sci.

Well, then I am obviously blind, because starting from her comment that I quoted, and working downward, I didn't see a single one that responded. Perhaps you could help me out by listing one or two of those which addressed the question of how far the "responsibility to feed each other" goes?

Okay. Tell me something: when a police officer shoots someone, or tasers someone, or beats someone up with a nightstick, and there's a court case about it, has it been your experience that liberals, or conservatives, are more likely to side with the officer, or with the victim?

That depends. Conservatives in the contemporary sense usually side with th authority figures. Modern liberals do so as well, unless the perpetrator is white and the victim a member of an ethnic minority. The only people who consistently take the side of the victim are libertarians, e.g. The (old) Cato Institute or Radley Balko.

I give at least a rat's ass about anybody's murder. Seems to me your argument is with Phil, who asserts that things like that DON'T happen.

It was, actually, housing, not socialized medicine that bankrupted the economy.

The bursting housing bubble may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, but the downfall was inevitable. All of the larger western EU countries have been living on debt for decades. Plus, their demographics are even worse than ours. It was not sustainable, nor is our level of spending sustainable, even if ACA is the best thing ever. We've borrowed too much money, spent too much on stuff we didn't really need and never asked ourselves how we would keep this going.

I think ACA is going to be an all world train wreck, if the mandate passes constitutional muster (which seems unlikely). But, whether I'm right or wrong is beside the point. We can't pay for it.

Wait, I assert that what doesn't what now? You'd best be quoting some direct words, right quick, pilgrim.

No, I think the government is run by a small, and highly unrepresentative fraction of the population. Run by some citizens, for themselves and their friends, with the resignation of the people.

Yes, that fraction is called "corporations," and if memory serves, you not only defend the system which allows this, you actively encourage it.

The only people who consistently take the side of the victim are libertarians

Oh, please. The libertarians at, e.g., Reason.com will side with corporations over the victims of their pollution and malfeasance every single time.

Yes, that fraction is called "corporations," and if memory serves, you not only defend the system which allows this, you actively encourage it.

Really? Our elected government is composed of corporations? I look forward to any amount of unpacking of this idea.

I don't dispute that the wealthy have greater access to government than do the rest of us, but "the wealthy" and "corporations" aren't really synonymous.

I can't speak for Reason.com, but my view of corporations goes something like this: free speech rights don't adhere to corporations so much as they adhere to the people exercising those rights. If you want to limit the exercise of money to influence public opinion, focus on the money, not the exercise of speech. I am perfectly fine with the notion of treating funds used to e.g. compose public service messages by an individual as income, and tax it accordingly. And I am perfectly fine with removing all tax exemptions from contributions to all political tax-exempt organizations.

I would also look favorably on regulation of what corporations may use corporate funds for. Voluntary, employee PACs are things that one can choose to join (or not), but even employees that have a thousand shares of large-corporation stock have effectively no say in how corporate funds get spent. I have zero problem with constraining that kind of thing.

How do you do any or all of that? I have no idea.

You could more justifiably say that our government is run by lawyers, or that our government is run by wealthy individuals. Because those kind of statements have some kind of direct truth to them.

Also, for fairness: that our government is run by men. And by white people.

No, Obamacare is NOT people taking care of each other. People taking care of each other, that is people taking care of each other. That is, society - not government - having human beings helping other human beings.

Obamacare, by contrast, is the institutionalization of pillage and robbery. It is what Franz Oppenheimer, in The State, termed the "political means" of theft. That is, the State is, according to Oppenheimer, merely the formal institutionalization of what petty criminals do every day. Obamacare is nothing but robbing Peter to pay Paul, no different than what a thug does in a back-alley. It is the opposite of social solidarity.

And Obamacare is socialism, in a very literal, technical sense. As Ludwig von Mises shows, socialism is any system in which the right of private property is denied. There are, however, he shows, two ways this right can be denied: either the government expropriates all private property, as was done in the USSR, or else the government formally maintains private property but dictates how that property may be used, thus rendering private property a mere fiction, a mere stewardship, with the government possessing true ownership. The latter was done in Nazi Germany, where the government dictated how property was to be used to such an extent that private property existed only in name. And no wonder: the Nazi party was, after all, the "National-Socialist" party. So Obamacare is socialist in the same sense that Nazism was: you keep your money, but the government tells you how to spend it.

Do all those Republican voters in Colorado Springs have the right to be left alone while their houses burn down... ?

"That depends. Are you comfortable, morally, with living in a country where this is the norm? Do you think that this is how civilized societies and civilized peoples behave?"

Of course not. I was just pointing out an ezample pof how conservatrives never want their philosophy to be aplied to them. AS you imply,theirs is nnot a civilized philosophy because a civilized society would not function that way.

And Obamacare is socialism, in a very literal, technical sense. As Ludwig von Mises shows, socialism is any system in which the right of private property is denied.

who gave Mises the power to create new definitions for words ?

And I am perfectly fine with removing all tax exemptions from contributions to all political tax-exempt organizations.

Slarti, fwiw, I think all PAC and other political donations are 'after tax', i.e. not deductible. Now, the politician who received the donation, or the PAC that receives the donation, does not pay tax on that as income. Is that what you are getting at? Charging donations to a PAC or a candidate as income to that candidate and taxing it accordingly? It's kind of an interesting thought, but I don't think it would advance the ball in any meaningful way. A 35% levy on conservative PACs would also apply to liberal PACs. Whoever raises the most funds has the most after tax income and thus preserves its money raising advantage.

"I was reading the drone post and comments the other day and wondering, not for the first time, why it is that the progressive left has complete faith in the gov't's ability to manage some or all of a part of the economy but can't be trusted, in very limited circumstances, to act in the country's defense."

That's kind of funny, if meant seriously and it seems you do mean it that way. Drones kill people, some of them innocent, which is about as intrusive a mistake as a government can commit, and it's all done in secret, which is a red flag. Sometimes secrecy is necessary, but it's a lesser of two evils situation. Then there's the fact that the drone program is an assassination program carried out in a countries where we often have poor intelligence, which not only leads to innocent deaths,but can cause further hatred of America. Governmental interference in the health care system occurs domestically with intense scrutiny by the very people who are effected by it and allegations of "death panels" aside, is different in that way from an assassination program run in the shadows.

I've always wondered why some (emphasis on some) conservatives are so allergic to governmental interference that helps poor people domestically, but are so quick to accept that a given war/assassination/torture program is really necessary.

Not gonna re-enter the drone issue here. Just pointing out an obvious distinction. Now back to the sidelines, where I've been silently cheering for the home team on this health care argument.

Charging donations to a PAC or a candidate as income to that candidate and taxing it accordingly?

No, I'm talking about corporate political contributions being treated as speech. Whoever exercises that right to speech would have to be using their own money, which they would have to take as income. Which would then be subject to tax.

Probably not well-thought-out; I'd prefer to have other things in place such as 50% surtax on government employees acting as lobbyists, and other things that in general make it less lucrative to influence-peddle.

Even though I am an employee of LockMart, I don't particularly like the idea of corporate money being used to influence government decisions about our products, any more than I like the idea of our competitors doing likewise. Take all that money out of play, and see what happens.

I was just pointing out an ezample pof how conservatrives never want their philosophy to be aplied to them. AS you imply,theirs is nnot a civilized philosophy because a civilized society would not function that way.

Laura is confusing conservatives with fringe libertarians. Conservatives don't in general oppose the notion of organized police, fire and rescue operations.

I think ACA is going to be an all world train wreck, if the mandate passes constitutional muster (which seems unlikely). But, whether I'm right or wrong is beside the point. We can't pay for it.

I luuurve conservatives. They're like, "we are the wealthiest, most awesome country in the WOOOORLD!" And then they're like, "we're tooo pooooor to run our country in live with western, civilized norms."

But, hey, when you're just-barely-above-average, you realize you're not that special, so the only thing you can cling to in life is the assurance that you have health insurance and other people don't. And if other people do, you're not so special anymore, and where's the fun in that?

the mandate survived SCOTUS.

tee hee.

Which is more than you can say of enumerated powers doctrine. RIP, until we can amend it back into the Constitution. Maybe repass the 10th amendment, adding "Simon says..."?

Lenny Bruce is not afraid

From the decision: Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.

Perhaps you could help me out by listing one or two of those which addressed the question of how far the "responsibility to feed each other" goes?

My bad. I misinterpereted what you quoted. I thought you were quoting Brett and chiding Doc Sci for failing to respond to his point. I'm not sure how I managed that, but there it is. I hate being wrong on the internet!

So Obama lied about raising taxes. At least he didn't say, "Read my lips..."

It's a dessert topping! It's a floor wax!

if the mandate passes constitutional muster (which seems unlikely).

Let me be the first to say I called it wrong.

I was referring to the use of drone's...

I must have be stupider than usual yesterday. For some reason, I read the word "drone" as a characterization of the comments you were reading, not as the subject of the comments. WTF? Maybe I'm not drinking enough.

In any case, I think the point stands. It's not the use of drones - at all, under any circumstances - that I think people have a problem with. I think it's their ham-fisted overuse and the fact that the CIA is using them, being more likely to be ham-fisted than the military.

I thoughtKelo was a shoo-in for going the other way, so I have given up predictions for all the Lents left in my life.

The CCDG parties official response to the SCOTUS ruling: We believe that the court got it exactly right. The Democrats, via the ACA,raised taxes on middle class Americans by trillions of dollars. The court has clarified the deception perpetrated. This level of lying is unprecedented in American political history.

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Whatnot


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