Jun 19, 2009

Polar bears, the Uninsured, and the Marxists Who Love Them

“Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance. CEA projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform.”
- The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), June 2, 2009

Despite the fact that, at roughly 25,000, there are more polar bears alive today in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain then at any point in recorded history, global-warming pimps continue to peddle their tale of doom regarding these creatures as proof positive of the evils of man made climate change. Why? Because it works.

Similarly, another tale of doom is being spread far and wide to emotionally bludgeon the American people into accepting that a good portion of their liberty and income must be sacrificed as penance for the excesses of their free-market wantonness: the tale of the uninsured.

“We’ve got to admit that the free market has not worked perfectly when it comes to health care, because you've got a lot of people who are really getting hurt: 46 million uninsured,” declared President Barack Obama in Green Bay, Wisconsin this past 11 June.

You’ve simply “got to admit” it. Otherwise folks might suppose your capitalistic zeal has blinded you to the sufferings of your fellow man, and you wouldn’t want that would you? Golly, no.

The canard of the “46 million uninsured in America” is the well-choreographed stage-craft of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Heavily invested in, and thus deeply disappointed by, the colossal failure of the Clinton administration’s go at establishing a taxpayer-funded, government-run health care system; RWJF realized they’d need to pursue a different strategy in order to sell their poison to the American people. So they borrowed a page from their friends in Hollywood and put a “human” face on the otherwise dismal tedium of health care financing: “The Uninsured.” Like the climate-change pushers and their cute, fuzzy, drowning polar bears, government run health care advocates now had their mascots by which to yank the heart strings of otherwise common sense Americans and guilt them into forsaking not only their liberties but the best health care system in the world.

For seven years now RWJF has funded and orchestrated Cover the Uninsured Week campaigns through health institutions across the country. The intent of the campaign has been to rivet into the head of every single American that there are 44-50 million people in the United States who simply cannot afford health insurance and that something must be done NOW. As their lack of insurance is due to the fact that private insurance and private-sector health care are utterly unaffordable, a tax-payer funded public option and government enforced price controls are the only real path to the panacea of “universal coverage.” Genuinely compassionate Americans, baffled and bored by the complexities of the issue, find the logic hard to argue and increasingly go along with the show.

There is a bit of a sticky wicket in all this, however, in that the entire 46 million uninsured statistic so universally bandied about these days is a damnable lie. A bit of analysis, if you will.
As the United States’ Congressional Budget Office (CBO) explains,

“Far from being a static group, the uninsured population is constantly changing. Some people are uninsured for long periods, but more are without coverage for shorter times, such as between jobs.”

The U.S. Census Bureau, who’s Current Population Survey (CPS) data has traditionally been used for estimating the number of uninsured in America, has acknowledged the CPS’s failure to take into account this fluidity of the uninsured population. Buried in the back (page 59) of the bureau’s 2007 report you will find this:

“Health insurance coverage is likely to be underreported on the Current Population Survey (CPS). While underreporting affects most, if not all, surveys, underreporting of health insurance coverage on the Annual Social and Economic Supplement appears to be a larger problem than in other national surveys that ask about insurance. … Compared with other national surveys, the CPS estimate of the number of people without health insurance more closely approximates the number of people who are uninsured at a specific point in time during the year than the number of people uninsured for the entire year.”

So why does this matter? Well one would think activists sincerely concerned with addressing a problem, let alone a “crisis”, would want to take great pains to accurately assess it. Or, to quote the CBO once again, “Policies aimed at increasing coverage are most likely to be effective if they consider the distinction between the short term and long term uninsured.” And yet health care reform crusaders seem not at all concerned with this distinction. Curious.

Now of course, the United States Census Bureau is not entirely inept (at least not until ACORN takes over.) They do produce surveys which make the distinction between those deemed “chronically” uninsured and those just enduring a bit of nasty weather. In particular, the bureau’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) takes measurements of the uninsured over time, i.e. those uninsured at the time of the interview, those uninsured at least part of the year prior to the interview, and those uninsured for more than a year at the time of the interview. Not surprisingly, the 2008 NHIS produced results that paint rather a different picture of the uninsured in America:

· 42.8 reported being uninsured at the time of the NHIS survey, only 30.8 million reported being uninsured for more than a year. (Whoopsie daisy, bit of a drop off there, eh?)

· Men are more likely than women to be uninsured. (Why is that do you suppose? Could it be that men, as a group, tend not to give a tinker’s damn about their health as compared to women?)

· 18 to 24-year olds are most likely of all age groups to be uninsured. (Why is that do you suppose? Could it be that 18 to 24 year olds, as a group, tend not to give a tinker’s damn about health care– and why should they- as compared to everyone older than they?)

· Those without a high school diploma are far more likely to be uninsured. (Just another in a litany of misfortunes destined to befall those who fail to complete high school in the United States.)

· The percentage of uninsured poor children has decreased since 1997 (How can this be? Don’t tell the S-CHIP pushers!)

· The percentage of uninsured poor adults has remained relatively stable since 1997 (How can this be? Don’t tell the Medicaid pushers!)

· Spells of uninsurance average 5.6 months in duration

· Only 1 in 9 of the uninsured go without coverage for more than two years.

· 9.7 million of the uninsured are not citizens of the United States (Véase la página 21.)

· 18 million of the uninsured earn more than $50,000 a year (See page 21.)

· 14 million of the uninsured are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP but have not enrolled (See page 21.)

How often have these caveats accompanied the utterance of the “46 million uninsured” factoid when e’er you’ve heard it? We’re guessing never. For doing so reduces the issue to what it is: a problem, not a “crisis” symptomatic of the dire need for massive reform of the American health care industry and its financing.

There are individuals genuinely experiencing hardship through no fault of their own owing to medical expenses and insufficient insurance. And the current pathetic state of the economy has forced many who have never before sought nor needed government assistance to become wards of the state (kudos Messrs. Cloward and Piven). For both the chronic and the acute aspects of this problem, however, there exists numerous free market proposals on the table; the most tidy and comprehensible proposed by one Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) known as the Patients’ Choice Act. You’ll likely never hear a wit about any of these unless you do the digging yourself. As they say, the fix is in.

As for those insisting that “only government” can provide relief for the nation’s uninsured, they care no more about people who lack health insurance than the global warming scammers do their polar bears. They are mere pawns, a new category of “victims” the Marxists can use to emotionally blackmail the American people into relinquishing still more of their hard won liberty and prosperity. Why? Because it works.



For additional reading on this complete and utter farce:







Jun 11, 2009

The Mother of Dissolution

“Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution” – St. Thomas Aquinas.

Words matter to the extent they accurately represent the concept for which they were originally intended. When you wish to make a piece of toast, for example, you request a “toaster” not a “philodendron.” Surely some concepts are more abstract than others. This reality, however, is no justification for obfuscation nor does it make holding the loftier terms to their original definition any less important. Indeed, quite often it is more so.

But what with ever-slackening educational standards and minds liquidated from endless hours before the tele, modern man can hardly be expected to prevail in the Herculean task of holding words to their meaning. Thus “freedom” today is synonymous with perversion, “greed” refers to any instance of any creature acting in its own self-interest, and “justice” equates to making sure everyone has the same number of points at the end of the game.

It is this last abomination of explication upon which we wish to focus.

It is our contention that the Obamanon by which America is currently disfiguring herself was made possible by this contemporary misinterpretation of justice. The laughably un-American policies and proposals, the bald-faced contempt for free-market values, the sanctimonious arrogance of apologizing to the world for American greatness, all are made acceptable to the American people to the extent they believe these atrocities to be acts of “justice.”

After all, under the modern definition of justice, the realities of poverty and suffering can only exist as a result of some injustice, and could never be the by-product of human stupidity, fecklessness, impulsiveness, or outright evil. Inequality of circumstance simply IS injustice, and Bob’s your Uncle! Ergo the gains of the rich, clearly ill-gotten, must be redistributed. The ventures of the capitalists, pure wanton profiteering, must be shackled. And American influence in the world, nothing but imperialistic bullying, must cease and desist. Only thus can justice be restored. Yes we can. And the people nod in passive agreement.

But, as has been pointed out so many times before by others nearly as brilliant as ourselves, equality of circumstances for all is not justice. In fact, the key ingredient in establishing equality of circumstances for all is injustice, usually in the form of jack-booted thugs, firing squads, tanks, and secret prisons.

Alas, modern man, in his zeal to demonstrate his compassion, his empathy, his sense of justice for those less fortunate, is in the process of securing the exact opposite of all for all. He has removed actual justice from the equation and need now only sit back and await validation of St. Thomas Aquinas’ supposition, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution” i.e. chaos, anarchy, tumult, pestilence, suffering, and death.

Which brings us to Sonia Sotomayor; wise Latina, President Obama’s nominee for Supreme Court justice, and the embodiment of all of the above. By her words and actions this woman has demonstrated her conviction that justice is not the preservation of equality of opportunity, but the establishment of equality of circumstances. It is attainted and maintained not by adherence to a mutually beneficial rule of law, but by quotas, affirmative action, and the intrinsic knowledge that she knows better. She will judge others not by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin. She has been called – and rightly so – a racist, a supremacist, an irresponsible even reckless jurist, and she will win confirmation as a justice on the highest court in the land on or about July13.

In the objective world, a toaster remains distinct from a philodendron, justice remains distinct from empathy and preference, and dissolution is dissolution. But in this era of the new “justice,” we must do everything in our power to pretend otherwise, lest we find ourselves held in contempt.

May God help America.



Jun 2, 2009

Milking the Cow Dry

“Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is - the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.” – Sir Winston Churchill

While virtually all eyes are on the spectacular plane-crash-in-progress that is California, the nauseating reality is that the same cataclysm is playing out in states throughout the land of the decreasingly free. Case in point: the State of Wisconsin.

The background is depressingly familiar. Under the meticulous financial mismanagement of Democratic Governor Jim Doyle since 2003, Wisconsin has ascended through the ranks to become the fifth highest taxed state in the Union. This has resulted, of course, in a vigorous flow of business and brains out of the state to greener pastures. Consequently, with the tax base ever-diminishing and the tax rate ever-increasing, we have Wisconsin face-to-face with its present nightmare: an unprecedented $6.6 billion deficit. Granted other states boast more breathtaking deficit numbers, but when population is factored in – Wisconsin is rather more sparse at roughly six million - she is perhaps the worst off of the fifty United States.

And if she isn’t yet, she soon will be.

Enter the state legislature; majority Democrat as of the Obamanon of November 2008. Full of hope and change and New Left (we’re not Socialists wink, wink) vigor, the Democrats on the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee last week approved – literally in the dead of night - not a spending decrease in light of the leviathan deficit, but an increase of overall spending of roughly 7%. Somewhere Lord John Maynard Keynes is giggling like a school girl.

Mind you, Democratic assemblyman assuaged any fears of recklessness on their part by assuring Wisconsinites that the increase in spending is made possible by federal dollars from the economic stimulus package. Then, in order to regain the mantel of fiscal conservatism, they explained that spending of state tax dollars will actually decrease about 3.4% should this proposed budget pass. As the entire state government of Wisconsin is Democrat, there is no reason to believe it will not pass.

We witness here in a very real and intimate way American government transmuting from Keynesian folly to Marxist tragedy. For State representatives to so gleefully exclaim that they have transferred funding authority from local government to central government is to reveal the degree to which they are indeed Marxists. If this reversal of Federalism doesn’t convince you of such a charge, perhaps a quick look at the rest of the proposed budget will.

(Compliments of The MacIver Institute)

* A new income tax bracket for those despicable Wisconsinites earning over $300,000 per year.

*An increase on the capital gains tax.

*An “oil franchise fee” to stick it to those miserable oil companies (which will result in higher prices at the petrol pump).

*Eliminating welfare reforms designed to put welfare recipients to work. The latest proposal expands the benefit eligibility window from two to five years and relaxes education requirements. Welfare queens, pimps, drug dealers, ne’er-do-wells, and gangstas – Wisconsin welcomes you!

*Increasing the brand new tax on Wisconsin hospitals in order to draw down still more federal dollars to fund the ever-swelling Medicaid roles and various state plans which provide health care to pretty much anyone for “free.” In a wholly unrelated development, Wisconsin hospitals are raising their rates. (Think “oil franchise fee.”) Note: If you have insurance and believe in paying your bills, don’t get sick in Wisconsin.

*New mandates on health and auto insurance which will increase premiums and force many to drop coverage altogether.

*Early release for felons to reduce the expense of incarceration of hardened criminals. Brilliant!

*Elimination of moderately expensive GPS monitoring of sex offenders. Again brilliant.

*Relaxing restrictions on teacher’s union benefits (which just may account for 6.3 of the $6.6 billion deficit already.)

*A new cell phone tax. OMG!

*A school district transportation mandate for pregnant students who live within a few blocks from school.

*The ability to sue pretty much any business any time for anything (this only affects those businesses and individuals participating in activities which involve some modicum of risk such as sky-diving, hunting, skiing, horseback riding, camping, fishing, walking on slippery surfaces, or occasionally sitting back a bit too far in folding chairs.)

*Curtailment on the use of private contractors during hiring freeze. In other words, look for the Union Label. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t get done.

*Fees on mutual funds – A tripling of the registration filing fee and increased the annual filing fee by over $5 million dollars over 2 years. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to file mutual fund registrations!

*Increasing spending to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.

*Providing tax-payer funded insurance benefits for domestic partners of state employees.

*Doubling the garbage tax from $5.90 per ton to $13.00 per ton; which will cost municipalities $63 million, and likely result in higher property taxes.

There is much, much more. Why not read it for yourself?. And did we mention the millions of dollars of pork-barrel projects in Democratic districts figured into the budget; the icing on the cake, or the insult to the injury depending on your perspective.

“One, sweeping, secretly-negotiated omnibus motion, on which no public hearing was held,” says the MacIver Institute of this proposal. “New taxes. New fees. New fund transfers. New mandates. New policies.” We would summarize it by another quote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” That’s the American way in 2009.

When California implodes under the strain of its own Leftist asininity it provokes little more than a roll of the eyes and a chortle. But when states in the purported heartland of America demonstrate such unabashed commitment to Marxist economic policy, how is one to react? After all, the people voted for this.

One by one American politicians, business leaders, and individual citizens line up to suck at the teat of private enterprise, despite her ever increasing burden and suffocating environment. When she finally is sucked dry and collapses under the strain, they will point and say, “You see, the free market does not work. Only government can provide for the needs of the people.” And the people will nod passively in agreement and shuffle along to their holding pens to await their next feeding.