April 30, 2008

Greg Cochran defends Obama's spending plans

On Jerry Pournelle's blog, Greg Cochran speaks up for Obama's tax and spend plans.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

34 comments:

spoon said...

Cochran has a point.

People on the right tend to fling around the word "socialist" with the same reckless disregard that people on the left display when the use the word "fascist". Obama is not likely to collectivize ownership in land, nationalize the means of production, and abolish banks. (But he IS likely to look the other way when thugs elsewhere in the world do so).

Obama is a social democrat, a redistributionist, a "community organizer". He wants to rob Peter to pay Paul and get credit for the "compassion". He wishes to play the role of Lord Bountiful. Like a Mafia don, he shows little interest in abolishing private ownership. He just wants to increase his piece of the action.

Feel free to call him a pick-pocket, a shoplifter, a tax-bandit, excise enthusiast, a spendthrift, a kleptocrat, a tariff baron, a charlatan, a fraud -- but not a socialist.

c23 said...

This guy's going to vote for *McCain* as the anti-amnesty candidate? No wonder politicians treat immigration patriots like the $2 whores they are, if all McAmnesty has to do is promise to secure the borders before he gives amnesty to illegals (he'll probably weasel his way out of that promise by using a suitably loose definition of "secure" anyway).

I would never vote for McCain, not even even if the Democrats run a Stalin/Pol Pot ticket. At least if McCain loses we have a chance to nominate a patriot in 2012.

gcochran said...

I never said I supported those plans. I said that they in no way meant the end of capitalism or a free economy, which is what Jerry said. Jerry admitted that the numbers supported my argument, then decided that he was right anyhow, for mysterious reasons, as usual. I don't know why I bother.

Of course, in practice, the Republicans under Bush rapidly expanded spending. The federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush’s first term.

Lucius Vorenus said...

I can't tell whether this is a sarcastic post on Steve Sailer's part - Steve of all people should know by now that Obama is a crypto-Stalinist who no more believes in the free market than I believe that the moon is made of cheese.

So I'm going to assume that this entire thread is meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek on Steve's part.

Having said that, few months ago, I posted a few replies on a thread at a site called "Space Politics":

Obama: cut Constellation to pay for education
November 20, 2007
spacepolitics.com

My participation began about 1/2 or 2/3rds of the way through the thread; I'll repost my first comment from there, but the reason I'm mentioning this is that I was rather surprised by how few people at that site called me a Nazi - my guess is that most of them understood my observations to be more or less tautologically obvious.

Anyway, this was my first post on that thread:

In general, I don’t think that government should exist in the first place, and, if it absolutely has to exist, then it shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing any one group of people over any other group of people - frankly it shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing anyone or anything at all.

Nevertheless, the idea that we should subsidize the [utterly fraudulent] "education" of low-IQ children [who, quite frankly, are uneducable to begin with] at the expense of the subsidization of the careers of high-IQ aerospace, chemical & electrical engineers, is a recipe for national disaster.

The IQ Wars are upon us, folks: There are more of "them" than there are of "us", and things are only going to get worse, until it all ends in disaster.

PS: Setting aside all questions about the coming war which low-IQ "Americans" [tens of millions of whom aren’t actually American citizens in the first place] are about to launch against high-IQ Americans, the defunding of all of our research into next-generation launch vehicles [ergo the dismantling of a large portion of our engineering base] is going to have profound national security implications, and is only going to further jeopardize our position vis-a-vis the "Communist" [really fascist] Chinese and their desire to defeat us in the Space Wars of the 21st Century.

Not that the Democrats give a rat’s ass about our national security, our engineering base, or angering their Communist Chinese masters [Mochtar Riady, John Riady, The Lippo Group, John Huang, Maria Hsia, Charlie Trie, the Buddhist Nuns, Loral, Bernard L Schwartz, Norman Hsu, etc etc etc].

William1066 said...

Cochran notes that most of Obama's money is coming from the hedge fund guys. Isn't this the same group of folks who are using a cap gains loophole to get to pay only 15% taxes on their income? Maybe Obama has promised them hands-off on any changes to that sweet deal?

Somehow, though, GC finds it reassuring that it is the Hedgers who are giving BHO so much cash He is reassured cause they're capitalists doncha know. However, I find it is disturbing; the hedge fund industry is a key part of what has made our current financial system so unstable. Hedge funds needs either major regulation or fire-walling from the rest of us.

James said...

An only 10% increase? I thought Obama wanted socialized medicine? How do the Euro countries spend so much more money?

assetmgmt said...

william1066,

>>Isn't this the same group of folks who are using a cap gains loophole to get to pay only 15% taxes on their income?

Hedge fund managers pay the same tax rates on their wage income as everyone else. There is no loophole.

One piece of their compensation, called carried interest, is taxed at the capital gains rate, b/c that's what it is: a gain from their fund's performance, which the limited partners agree to share with them. If the fund doesn't perform, they don't receive any carried interest.

beowulf said...

James,

There isn't a country in Europe (or anywhere else in the industrialized world) that spend as big a percentage of GDP on health care as we do (indeed, the US government itself spends more per capita than does the UK) The difference is the Europeans covers everyone while our system leaves tens of millions of citizens uninsured.

Europe's high GDP spending is sort of misleading, the money isn't being sucked out of the economy to be spent, oh, fighting a war in Iraq. The money comes in and then goes right back out in an effort to reduce economic inequality with all sorts of cash and indirect subsidies (besides health care, there' the free day care, paid sick and maternity leave, college tuition etc).

Perhaps that makes Europe less productive than us (though perhaps not, France has greater productivity per hour than we do-- our higher annual productivity is only because we work more hours every year), but there really is something to Disraeli's words, "the castle is not safe if the cottage is unhappy".

Anonymous said...

Greg Cochran,

Consider this: Entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) currently consumes 45% of the federal budget. Spending on all of these programs is growing faster than our long-term trend GDP growth (in the case of Medicare, about 3x as fast). Of the three flawed major party candidates left in the race, which would be the most likely to work out a bipartisan deal to slow this freight train down?

- Fred

TGGP said...

I think the real point is how little the two parties differ. The "discretionary" or "worthy cause" money is a drop in the bucket. A serious libertarian might claim that we are and have been a socialist country at least since the New Deal.

tommy said...

Pournelle has to realize that we have no best candidate on the immigration issue as far as policy is concerned and McCain's election might even make it easier to push an amnesty and guest indentured servant program through Congress. As much as I've come to hate the shallow rhetoric and phony posturing of Obama, he might actually be marginally better on this issue. I don't know.

"Securing the border" will mean whatever Arizona's Big Banana wants it to mean, just as "amnesty" doesn't mean whatever McCain doesn't want it to mean.

James said...

Beowulf,

I assume when you say in your first paragraph that we spend more than they do you aren't talking about government spending.

I thought Obama wants socialized medicine in the sense that no one would need their own health insurance.

Greg Cochran cites numbers which say his plans would only increase government spending by 2% of GDP. That's all it would cost?

William1066 said...

Assetmgmt said

One piece of their compensation, called carried interest, is taxed at the capital gains rate, b/c that's what it is: a gain from their fund's performance, which the limited partners agree to share with them. If the fund doesn't perform, they don't receive any carried interest.

The hedge fund managers don't have any of their assets at risk - so the cap gains treatment is inappropriate. It's a payment for services by the investors - and normally payment-for-services is fully taxable.

Anonymous said...

Beowulf,

The U.S. health care system covers everyone too, even the uninsured. The indigent don't get turned away from emergency rooms in America. If you are poor, you can get free government health insurance called Medicaid. If you are 65 or older, you qualify for the government health insurance program called Medicare.

European countries also free ride on health care R&D financed by American health care consumers. America dominates the pharmaceutical industry and has the best treatment for cancer and other diseases in the world. If we switch to a Canadian- or British-style single-payer health care system, who will we free-ride off of?

- Fred

Tino said...

1. The calculations are silly, and “socialism” is straw man.

Obviously Obama will not, and would not be able to, make the US socialistic. But he could permanently move up the share of government. Experience, from both the US and other countries, shows that once you do that getting
spending down is almost impossible. Almost every government program ever started

A. created it’s own interest groups, and

B. costs much more than originally planned, since people change their behavior in order to take advantage of it.

Take Obamas health care plan. How can anyone accept that Obama will give “quality, Affordable and Portable Coverage for All” 300 million+ Americans for “$50-65 billion a year”, as he claims in his plan?

Federal spending on Medicaid and Medicare alone over 600 billion dollars, or 5% of GDP. Obama promises to introduce Universal health insurance for 0.3-0.4% of GDP.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I forgot, Obama will save billions through magical “modernization”, and such Free Lunches such as the entire US parallel importing drugs from Canada (what, just because the US is more than half the modern drug industry you think this would in any way influence the behavior of drug companies?)

The figures are of course higher if S-Chip, other federal and state programs are included. In GDP terms direct federal spending is 5%, and total public spending is between 7-8% of GDP already on the limited programs that exists. These costs are projected to explode, partially due to aging, but mainly due to the inevitable growth of government programs paid by “someone else”.

Latest Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees report “while Medicare's annual costs were 3.2 percent of GDP in 2007, or nearly three quarters of Social Security's, they are projected to surpass Social Security expenditures in 2028 and reach 10.8 percent of GDP in 2082”

When Medicaid and Medicare were originally introduced they cost a fraction of their GDP share. In 1965 When L.B.J introduced the program based on calculations of hospital insurance costs that turned out to be almost 1000% higher a generation later, in real terms, than projected in 1965.

I honestly don’t know how someone as smart as Cochrane can be so far off. Either he doesn’t know these issues and is using heuristics (Iraq-War=bad so Democrats=good so Obamanomics =sensible), or he is relying on leftwing blogs feeding him bad data.

2. “Allard being a conservative Republican from Colorado”

Allard only included some of Obama’s spending proposals in his publicity stunt (111 of 188 programs). He didn’t make the required adjustments for historically inevitable cost explosion. The fact that he is a conservative republican hardly proves the figures are an upper bound.

3. “Obama is getting more donations than anyone ever has: he has the hedge fund guys sending him the preponderance of their political donations, and that isn't because they think he's going to end capitalism.”

Individuals do not base their political decisions on direct personal gain, they use ideology. Voting/donating based on direct personal gain would be idiotic anyway, since your vote will never change anything. Again I would think Cochran is sophisticated enough to understand that.

The logic here would be that all voting/donation behavior always proves you gain. Since Arizonans and other Americans voted for Bush/Mccain/2006 Democratic congress they logically benefit from amnesty for illegal immigrants?

Anyway Hedge fund managers are hardly F.A Hayeks or Friedmans, they are yuppies fresh from leftwing universities. There is a long tradition of elite liberals supporting dumb leftist ideas that turned out to be harmful for the economy or the nation in general.

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/Obama08_HealthcareFAQ.pdf
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8877/12-13-LTBO.pdf
http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html

Tino said...

beowulf

Have you know why European health care costs less? Because of magic? Because they are more “efficient”? Because of the Iraq war!?!

No. It costs less because we ration it, and to a lesser degree because medical professionals earn far less (Swedish doctors average salaries are equal to American nurses). Many health problems are simple not treated.

Emergency care and life threatening stuff gets priority, and that’s what matters in life expectancy. Everything else is a lottery, with waiting times of two years or more for a lot of non life threatening operations, and small possibility of getting the type of “luxury” care people are used to in the US. Some countries ration less, and spend more (such as France).

If you want this system it would be easy to replicate it in the US. Rationing is what HMO:s do, and what Public health does for the poor.

But you *can’t get American care at European prices*.

It’s just an issues of resources. Things cost money. You want more health, you have to put more resources into it. You think costs are too high, you have to take out resources.

Furthermore, everyone in the US gets health care, either through the taxpayers, or through emergency rooms. To claim otherwise is nonsense. Even illegal immigrants get care. For example the best estimates is that the uninsured get 80% of the care that the insured in car accidents.

I worry a lot when people want to change national policy based on arguments that are clearly logically flawed, in a way that serves their ideology. Your French productivity per hour figure is another example that you have been served dumb ideas. French adults on average work far less than Americans, mainly because many more don’t work at all (the difference is smallest at the top and largest at the bottom).

If you take out the one third least effective American hours worked you can obviously raise your productivity, especially if you take out uneducated, immigrants, the old, the young etc. from the labor force. Does that sound like a good idea to you? Would that raise or lower American standard of living?

If a country is equally productive per hour but works 50% more hours, who has higher intrinsic productivity? Which would you rather be?

Lastly: Stop comparing the temporary Iraq war with permanent cost increases. I understand some people are hysterically angry over Iraq, but you should be able to think logically about policy issues anyway. Iraq will not cost 1% of GDP 20 years from now, but any similarly sized Obama increase (say) in education subsidies will be is almost certain to be permanent.

Tino said...

Mr. Cochran:

So what’s your point exactly, except that socialism should not be used for a guy who wants social democracy? Since Bush was a bad president and didn’t cut government, lets support someone running explicitly on the platform of expanding government? What are the costs to society of of-budget programs such as these

http://www.vdare.com/Sailer/080413_obama.htm

You don’t support Obama’s proposals idea, but you do aid them by writing a post that systematically underestimates the costs.

Bush didn’t cut government (except the war and the 2001 recession federal spending remained essentially unchanged under bush as a share of GDP, but increased in real terms) mainly because he is politically inept and could not get democrats to agree to reform social security.

Another reason I guess is that the right has focused it’s energy on foreign policy, letting the left run amuck with economic populism.
There is a lot of inertia when introducing and expanding a welfare state. The Swedish welfare state was not created over nigh; it expanded fairly constant from 30% to 55% of GDP with 1% point of GDP per year from roughly 1960-1985. That sounds about what Obama wants to add to the US growth of government, in addition to the already growing entitlement programs.

Even ignoring aging and the automatic expansion of already existing government programs such as health care Sailor has pointed out the US is already facing a long turn problem. The population share of groups that are paying for the welfare programs is going down, and the population share of those that live of the welfare programs and vote for their expansion is going up.

The economic system the Democrats want the US to copy didn’t even work in countries where the demand elasticity for public welfare programs and taxes was initially low. How well will they work here in 2050?

People got burned when they supported Bush because they compared him to how bad the democrats where. But the mistake was the first part, not the second. The opposite is not better, Obama’s economic suggestions *are* harmful and irrational, no matter how much one dislikes the current president. Universal Health care is a recipe for disaster (for political reasons the best way is just to formalize the hospital coverage for the poor, and add European style rationing, since the taxpayer are already paying for the health care of the poor.)

The answer to the coming entitlement catastrophe isn’t to sulk, mutter something about things that already happened (Iraq, Bush, Republican Congress overspending), and not an excuse for playing down the stupidity of Obamas policies.
You guys would be more productive if you offered intellectual alternatives to both McCain/Bush and Obama, instead of falling into the same “pest over colera” trap again.

Anonymous said...

Anyway Hedge fund managers are hardly F.A Hayeks or Friedmans, they are yuppies fresh from leftwing universities. There is a long tradition of elite liberals supporting dumb leftist ideas that turned out to be harmful for the economy or the nation in general.

this is an awesome comment. yes, they get the cap gains, but would probably be comfortable with the idea of giving up 5% per year to "feel good about america."

i don't think the hedge fund donations represent any serious and concerted effort to achieve anything other than a display of social status.

Veracitor said...

Assetmgmt, you are so full of it. "Carried interest" is a fancy name for a commission or contingent (that is, performance-based) fee, not a return on investment because fund managers place no capital at risk. "Carried interests" are all upside, no downside.

Brokers pay income taxes on commissions, lawyers pay income taxes on contingent fees, and investment fund managers ought to pay income tax on their performance-based management fees.

The only reason they don't is sheer bribery. This was all hashed over last year and the fund managers gave a perfect illustration of rent-seeking behaviour meeting public-choice economics. They paid Congressmen off to let them keep their remarkable tax preference.

Anonymous said...

i don't think the hedge fund donations represent any serious and concerted effort to achieve anything other than a display of social status.

let's be frank: for elite graduates, being president ain't all its cracked up to be.

today's ultra ambitious have the opportunity to be demi-god billionaires, which in practice seems much cooler than to be the president.

billionaires get more perks, with none of the scrutiny, and only forsake the ability to declare war on small countries. then again, you can always lobby the government to do that on your behalf.

So, maybe you give up nothing to focus on being a billionaire except your face in the picture book. and even that can be arranged.

for the well to do, the current candidates for president are about as significant as the type of music you listen to.

just entertainment. and young men like rap.

Anonymous said...

fund managers place no capital at risk.

that is bullshit.

yes, they earn fees for managing others people's money. but they keep the fees in the fund so they can (a) compound it, with (b) low tax rates. so the richest ones have massive amounts of their own money in the fund.

better question is whether the hedge funds deserve their fees, measured by after-fee, after-tax returns versus a low-cost ETF.

i believe the answer is generally that they do not do a whole lot to justify their fees, other than through the salesmanship that allows them to get pension funds to invest with them, which is worth something, but probably not what it costs.

assetmgmt said...

william1066, veracitor,

I wasn't trying to pretend that arguments for treating carried interest as income don't exist. My point was to correct a misperception: "folks who are using a cap gains loophole to get to pay only 15% taxes on their income."

This is the media's misunderstanding or willful distortion: that somehow PE folks and hedge fund managers are cheating the system by paying 15% on their income while everyone else pays much higher rates. This isn't the case.

It would have been more accurate to say: "folks who are using the tax code to get to pay only 15% taxes on a portion of their income that is wrongly classified as capital gains." Because it's not a "loophole," and it's not the whole of their income.

I say this as a disinterested party -- I don't earn carried interest, and I don't work at an organization that earns carried interest.

testing99 said...

Europe's health care is a disaster. If you think the DMV is efficient, wait till it runs all health care. With set-asides for various ethnic/other groups to be represented in doctors, etc.

Dalrymple's picture of Britain's NHS shows what happens -- it quickly becomes a laughable mess.

Obama would be a disaster, because he'd push for massive wealth transfers from productive people to various NGO type race hustlers. Like Wright or Sharpton or Jackson. That is the basis of his plan.

There is no middle class pander, merely cover all illegal aliens, massive wealth transfers. Disaster. Guaranteeing weekly strikes/riots like France or Italy.

McCain is a better bet on the economy, because he's likely to do the one government spending pander that is useful. Military spending. Which would result in lots of hardware spending, manufacturing increase, and lots of middle class engineers getting employed.

Europe just takes money from productive companies and workers to support consumer spending by those on the dole. It's no shock that European companies flee the Continent for manufacturing abroad. This is exactly what Obama plans to do -- supersize his career as a shakedown artist.

If you want Al Sharpton cloned out across America, shaking down every employer, just to transfer money to organizations like his, go ahead vote Obama. He's been upfront on that is what you'll get.

ben tillman said...

"Furthermore, everyone in the US gets health care, either through the taxpayers, or through emergency rooms. To claim otherwise is nonsense."

Bullshit. I am in the US, and I don't get health care. Uninsured white Americans can't use emergency rooms because they get billed more than the value of the services provided.

William1066 said...

Assetmgmt

''It would have been more accurate to say: "folks who are using the tax code to get to pay only 15% taxes on a portion of their income that is wrongly classified as capital gains...''

Fine, I can go along with that. However, the definition of 'loophole', I think anyway, is broader than you indicate and mostly depends on whose ox is being gored. And of course, this 'loophole', like most others, is part of the tax code - put there deliberately by someone.

Hey, it's election season: time to go after all that government fat, waste, and we can't forget closing all those loopholes and ending ''giveaways to greedy corporations''.

One thing I would really, really like to see is the end of the ethanol boondoggle. This is a primo example of ''government waste'' - and the not unexpected result from conducting our first Presidential primary in Iowa.

beowulf said...

James,

You assumed wrong. I was speaking of aggregate US health care spending, government and private. From all sources, the US spends 16% of GDP-- $2 trillion dollars a year-- on health care. Half of that is government spending and tax subsidies, which bring you to just over a trillion dollars.

The United Kingdom's National Service Servce spends 7.8% of the UK GDP. I forgot that a large chunk of Medicaid ($138 billion to be precise) is paid for by state governments. To revise that, our federal and state governments spend a larger share (8%) of GDP on health care than the United Kingdom spends (7.8%). The difference is, the British government covers all of their citizens. Our government spending leaves 1/6th of the population (50 million people) without coverage--- and then we spend an additional trillion dollars on top of that.

By the way, federal law requires hospitals to treat and stabilize anyone who needs emergency care. However, to say an open ER is coverage for the uninsured is absurd. There is no legal obligation to treat chronic conditions. If the ER doc finds a tumor or heart disease, you're on your own paying for treatment.

Barack Obama has not called for socializing medicine like the UK has. Socialism is when the government owns the means of production--- that would mean government owned hospitals with doctors working as government employees-- why its like the US Army or the VA running hospitals.... oh wait, they do run hospitals and employ doctors directly. Indeed until Nixon ended the draft, male doctors were usually called up for two years military service (socialism and indentured servitude, for shame!).

Now if the government is the sole insurer, that's not socialized medicine, the hospitals can be privately owned and doctors are not government employees. This what Canada does (spending 9.9% of GDP) and I'm sorry to inform you, such a system exists here today in, its called Medicare. Perhaps Canada underfunds its system, but as for Medicare, I've never heard of waiting lists or rationing.

Obama hasn't even offered that, he's proposed reforming the private insurance market to lower costs and increase access (a fool's errand, the insurance companies will just game the system). He should have proposed expanding Medicare, but he didn't.

Anonymous said...

We sometimes forget that the president really has fairly limited power when it comes to enacting domestic policies; look at how little of his domestic agenda Bush was able to achieve even when he had Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. The real danger with Obama would be that the Dems might win a 60-seat majority in the Senate this year. Then a President Obama would be able to make sweeping changes moving this country significantly further to the left.

On the other hand, if McCain were to win, even if the Dems got a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, he could keep them at bay with vetoes.

- Fred

Anonymous said...

Those who stand to gain the most (near term) from massive govt health care reform are the oldsters. Lots of Boomers saved nothing for retirement, and now plan to live solely off Social Security.

These are the people US taxpayers would be subsidizing. Which raises the rational question: IS it worth it? Will subsidizing health care help keep older whites in the economy? And is that a good thing?

My cynical side thinks: when you pay people to be sick, people find ways to be sick. It creates a major moral hazard. Plus, being sick and going to the doctor's is a form of oldster entertainment. Do we want to pay for free entertainment for blue hairs? Jokes aside, welfare always creates a moral hazard by giving an incentive NOT to work, NOT to be productive, NOT to participate in society, NOT to take responsibility for your own future.

Another side to the whole stock market issue is that it disproportionately involves oldster investors. How does that factor affect the behavior of the market, and how does that impact the economy? Demographics are key, and I don't see this being discussed anywhere.

The beef with Obama is that not only is he in favor of a welfare state, he is coming at it from the perspective of the MOST dysfunctional welfare subsidized culture, urban blacks. And that doesn't bother him one bit.

He's an idea to kick start the urban economy. Shock therapy for deadbeat dads. Or mandatory military enrollment with wage garnishing.

Anonymous said...

"Bullshit. I am in the US, and I don't get health care. Uninsured white Americans can't use emergency rooms because they get billed more than the value of the services provided."

Here's a novel idea for you: if you don't have health insurance and don't want to get rooked by an emergency room you can get your health care at a private clinic. You just have to pay for it, like you pay for your food, housing, and other necessities. You put $80 (or less) on your credit card to get diagnosed by a physician at the clinic, and he'll probably give you some free samples if you need a prescription if he knows you don't have insurance. If not, you can get generics at Wal-Mart for $4.

You can save money by doing the above for routine medical care and buying a low-cost, high-deductible insurance policy to cover you for catastrophic care.

- Fred

Anonymous said...

Uninsured white Americans can't use emergency rooms because they get billed more than the value of the services provided.

I've always wondered about that. I'm insured, but I've thought that the next time I go to an emergency room (hopefully not anytime soon) maybe I'll give a bogus name and address, and make sure I don't bring any ID with me. Will they be able to find out who I am? Will they deny treatment? And if they deny it for me but grant it to an illegal can't I sue for racial discrimination, or discrimination based on naional origin?

Anonymous said...

Europe's health care is a disaster. If you think the DMV is efficient, wait till it runs all health care. With set-asides for various ethnic/other groups to be represented in doctors, etc.

Yeah, that's one more thing Americans don't understand about a national health care system. To whatever extent it works in European countries you always have to rememeber that those bureaucracies don't have 20-30% black employment.

Any socialized medical system will have its HQ in good old Washington DC, and that means 30-40% minority staff, including blacks, Hispanics, and probably immigrant employees all cutting favors for names that look like their own. There are lots of Indians and Orientals back in DC, and you can be assured that when a patient with a name like Vijay Patel or Chow Kim or Jose Rodriguez or Darnell Jones needs superfast approval for a procedure, he'll get it, while yours will be stuck in the inbox for a few extra months.

Anonymous said...

"Those who stand to gain the most (near term) from massive govt health care reform are the oldsters."

This is almost 100% backwards. The oldsters are already covered by Medicare Parts A, B, and D, in addition to their own private insurance (or if they don't have that, Medicaid). About 50% of health care costs in America are already covered by the government and most of that government spending goes to the oldsters. If the equivalent of Medicare were expanded to the whole population (essentially the goal of universal health care), this would probably result in worse care for oldsters (rationing, etc.) to free up resources to cover everyone else.

- Fred

Lucius Vorenus said...

Anonymous: The beef with Obama is that not only is he in favor of a welfare state, he is coming at it from the perspective of the MOST dysfunctional welfare subsidized culture, urban blacks. And that doesn't bother him one bit. He's an idea to kick start the urban economy. Shock therapy for deadbeat dads. Or mandatory military enrollment with wage garnishing.

It wouldn't be possible even in theory - the military can't even use low IQ recruits as cannon fodder anymore.

The weapons systems are so sophisticated nowadays that the mere presence of low-IQ soldiers, sailors, and airmen [not to mention marines] in a unit simply increases the probability that everyone else in the unit will be burned alive in stupidity-induced FUBAR flames.

Frankly, the awful, terrible, horrible truth of the matter is that, below a certain IQ threshold, dumb people just can't contribute anything in the way of productive activity to any endeavor in a modern society.

Hans Gruber said...

Tino, I have always enjoyed your comments on various blogs. Do you have a blog of your own? If you do not, you should definitely consider it.