Archive for July, 2011
England’s National Health Service is going to begin rationingÂ surgeries such as hip and knee replacements (fat people must lose weight before they may receive one) and tonsillectomies (children must have had tonsillitis 7 times in the past year to have their tonsils removed).Â Somewhat shocking.
However, rationing is entirely necessary.
Any scarce resource must be rationed.Â Health care is such a resource.Â The correct question is, do we want government to ration our health care?Â Or do we want to use the most efficient, intuitive, automatic, low cost rationing system ever devised by man?
I am speaking of course of the free market –Â and no, the current health care system in the United States is not an example of a free market failure.Â The government is already intimately involved in price fixing within the health care system via Medicare and Medicaid.Â It is not the free market that is broken.
The concept that every scarce resource must go through a process of rationing is an extremely important one.Â If there were an infinite number of Porsche 911’s, their price would be zero and I would own one.Â Or two, or ten, or as many as I could find parking spots for.
However the materials and engineering required to build a Porsche are most definitely scarce resources.Â Therefore it must go through some process of rationing, and guess what?Â It does!Â We just don’t notice that our Porsches (or steak dinners, iPhones, etc) are being rationed, because the free market system of rationing through price is so efficient!
I can’t afford to buy a Porsche, therefore I don’t get one.Â What if the government decides that I deserve a Porsche, as much as say, a child deserves life-saving surgery?Â Does it really matter?Â Can they realistically provide a Porsche for me?Â And if they do, isn’t it at the expense of someone else?
Why should the government be making that decision?Â They make a lot of terrible decisions.Â Some in the government will say everyone deserves Porsches, some will say we can only afford Toyotas, and some will be dressing in tiger suits, sexually assaulting underage girls.Â Seriously, why trustÂ government with anything at all?
In this video from William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line,” beat novelist and poet Jack Kerouac declares himself a lifelong Republican and chews out a hippy:
From the website of “The American Museum of Beat Art”:
Despite the ‘beatnik’ stereotype, Kerouac was a political conservative, especially when under the influence of his Catholic mother. As the beatniks of the 1950’s began to yield their spotlight to the hippies of the 1960’s, Jack took pleasure in standing against everything the hippies stood for. He supported the Vietnam War and became friendly with William F. Buckley.
Former NFL player David Lee Turner was walking out of a convenience store in Bakersfield, CA with his 19 year old son, carrying two 24 ounce cans of beer in a bag.Â
Sheriff deputies, responding to reports of juveniles soliciting alchohol purchases (god help us all if anyone under 21 gets their hands on a beer), detained Turner and searched him.
Turner complied, but then became agitated, picked up his bag and walked away, at which point one of the deputies hit him in the back of the leg with a baton.
Turner took a swing at the deputy with the bag full of beer and was subsequently shot twice by the deputy’s partner.Â Turner died two hours later at a hospital.
The security camera video captured the altercation, butÂ went blank during theÂ six secondsÂ in whichÂ the actual shooting occurred.Â The Sheriff’s Department stated this was because the camera was on a motion sensor and just happened to turn itself off for exactly the six seconds of the actual shooting.
Lucky break, guys.Â Are you kidding me?
The Sheriff’s Department, the only agency thus far to review the actions of the Sheriff deputies, unsurprisingly found that the shooting fully complied with department policy.Â I’m sure deep down they’re sorry for murdering a man in front of his son, though.
Full article here.
Government is ultimately a collection of services paid for by our tax dollars (andÂ unfortunately funded by its own unaccountable borrowing).Â So, other than war and unfunded social welfare programs, what has the government provided for us lately?
Recently, our tax dollars have bought us protection from the Diamond FoodÂ company telling us that walnuts are good for us.
Create a car company, it’s going to build cars.Â Create a regulatory agency, it’s going to regulate.Â In the interest of finding shit to do, or perhaps just out of spite, the heroes at the FDA have decided to declare Diamond California walnuts a drug.Â From an FDA “warning letter” to Diamond Food, Inc. —
You should take prompt action to correct these violations. Failure to do so may result in regulatory action without further notice. Such action may include, but is not limited to, seizure or injunction.
In other words…the government is coming for your nuts.
Update: The FDA would also like to regulate medical iPad apps.Â And any other apps that may impact public health.Â You never know where an iPad application may strike…maybe terroristsÂ are usingÂ Apple products to infiltrate our infrastructure, and iAnything should just be regulated out of existence.
The terrorists are coming…they’re in our nuclear facilities, our power plants, our water processing stations — ABC does its civic duty as the mouthpiece of a fearmongering Department of Homeland Security here:
A new intelligence report from the Department of Homeland Security issued Tuesday, titled Insider Threat to Utilities, warns “violent extremists have, in fact, obtained insider positions,” and that “outsiders have attempted to solicit utility-sector employees” for damaging physical and cyber attacks.
AlÂ Qaeda has already put out the word in its online magazine, Inspire, for “brothers of ours who have specialized expertise and those who work in sensitive locations that would offer them unique opportunities to wreak havoc on the enemies of Allah.”
Also in the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire, via Reason.com:
Last summer, Al Qaeda’s online journal Inspire, a sort of Soldier of Fortune magazine for wannabe jihadis, suggested using “a tractor or farm vehicle in an attack outfitted with blades or swords as a fearsome killing machine” â€” perfect for “mowing down the enemies of Allah.”
Is Al Qaeda a mysterious, powerful organization full of nuclearÂ scientists and civic engineers, infiltrating America’s infrastructure at its weakest points?Â Or is it a disorganized group of radicals on the run, capable only of failed underwear bombs, dreaming of one day affixing swords to farm equipment in the name of Allah…
Janet Napolitano would like you to believe there is aÂ clever,Â angry Islamic radical behind every bush, constantly plotting new and innovative ways to destroy America and take away our “freedom”.Â Then again, she would also like toÂ convince you that the TSA agent’s hand in your disabled grandma’s pants is absolutely necessary for the security of our airports.
At this point, which is honestly more terrifying — the miniscule chance of terrorists hijacking your airplane, or the TSA agent who will certainly be hijacking your civil liberties (and underwear)?
Social security is a ponzi scheme.Â Medicare/medicaid is a mess of government intervention and price fixing in a complex market.Â The “War on Drugs” has turned us into a police state, created a humanitarian crisis in Mexico (maybe we should bomb them too), and not even come close to eliminating drug useÂ in America.Â And the government’s self-imposed “debt limit” is a joke.
First, keep in mind that no other entity in this country, from municipalities to states to corporations, are permitted to sell bonds in order to pay for previously issued bonds. That is known as fraud, and the reason that the U.S. Government needs to debt ceiling raised is so that it can have funds to pay back what it owes on previously-issued bonds. This hardly is the stuff of sound finance.
Second, unlike municipal bonds (which have to go for specific capital projects like sewer repair) and corporate bonds, which also are issued for explicit things, U.S. Government bonds are spent on just keeping the government running, including paying for employees who play solitaire on their computers all day and for destructive wars abroad. In other words, the U.S. bonds are issued simply to continue the charade that the government has enough money to run its operations.
Why, exactly, will taking onÂ more debt to pay off our old debts maintain faith in the credit of theÂ United States?Â And why do we put up with a government thatÂ holds itself above the laws, and even basic common sense,Â that we ourselves abide by?
Nick Schulz of Forbes cites a new study which analyzes the stimulus’ subsidization of broadband access for rural areas and reveals some staggering figures:
Eisenach and Caves looked at three areas that received stimulus funds, in the form of loans and direct grants, to expand broadband access in Southwestern Montana, Northwestern Kansas, and Northeastern Minnesota. The median household income in these areas is between $40,100 and $50,900. The median home prices are between $94,400 and $189,000.
So how much did it cost per unserved household to get them broadband access? A whopping $349,234, or many multiples of household income, and significantly more than the cost of a home itself.
Sadly, itâ€™s actually worse than that. Take the Montana project. The area is not in any meaningful sense unserved or even underserved. As many as seven broadband providers, including wireless, operate in the area. Only 1.5% of all households in the region had no wireline access. And if you include 3G wireless, there were only seven households in the Montana region that could be considered without access. So the cost of extending access in the Montana case comes to about $7 million for each additional household served.
Now, I don’t work in government and never have, so maybe my mind isn’t wired correctly– but I couldn’t help immediately wondering whether there exist cheaper options. Set aside the issue of whether the federal government should undertake to provide Internet access to people who have quite voluntarily chosen to live in remote rural areas– are thereÂ cheaper options?
20 seconds later, I had an answer: Yes.
HughesNet serves Kansas, Minnesota and Montana and offers high-speed satellite Internet service starting at $39.99 per month.
So I guess delivering Internet access to rural Kansas, Minnesota and Montana costs $39.99 per month. Or $7 million. Depending on who you ask.