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13 March 2013


Paul Emery


Does being born to a crackhead father and prostitute mother qualify as "misfortune" ?

George Rebane

PaulE 400pm - Definitely.

Paul Emery

So what kind of assistance should be made available to those children who are unfortunate in their beginnings. Health care, education, recreation, nutrition .......

Who should pay for that assistance?

AT this point I am not setting a threshold for "unfortunate". We can discuss that later

George Rebane

PaulE 535pm - at this point you make the gigantic leap that these children should be summarily classified as needy by the some government agency, and the be made wards of the state on some welfare program or other. Again we are leaping into the middle of a perceived social problem, and getting ready to go down some well trod path of talking past each other.

Instead of throwing all these problems off on others for a 'solution' and then donning the mantle of the eternal critic, why not take the initiative here and follow the path I outlined in 'Come, let us reason together'. You propose something and tell us how you'd measure progress.

I'd like to break away from circling the same old barn.

Ryan Mount

As a wage earner who's paying a good chunk of taxes, all I want to know is how much this is going to cost. If we have plans to care for "crackheads" (come on, that's a bit of a straw man), please, PLEASE, just tell me how much it's gonna cost so I can plan and budget. Another $200/year? Another $2000?

Please. Just. Tell. Me. Numbers. Else it's just lazy-ass, hippie, Big Lebowski reasoning. Love thy neighbor with my other neighbor's money, man.

Specifics. It's not unreasonable to wonder how much more this is going to cost me. (That's the thing. Progressives have no F'ing clue how much any of this might cost. It's just someone else's money to spend on someone else. It's an evil and lazy abstraction).

If someone (anyone) will just tell me, I will (probably) pay it. What's the plan? What are the spending and budget numbers? Or should I just get back to watching Dr. Oz and allow some faceless numbskull to manage my income?

Michael Anderson

I agree that as long as a person is able-bodied, that person should have to [or had to] do something constructive (admittedly a subjective judgement) in order to benefit from a taxpayer-financed safety net.

Other than that, this post is yet another high-calorie low-nutrition exercise in pounding the amorphous "progressive" and/or "liberal" mud, where in your narrowly-defined viewpoint of The Unholy Other, it's "OK to become a ward of the state."

Human beings are wired to work, regardless of political label. I disagree with you that the past "two generations of Americans" are now inculcated with Talebian fragility due to a societal emphasis on "self-esteem while minimizing performance and self-reliance." Sounds like a poorly-researched coffee table book.

You need to get out more, George. The young people I meet are bursting with robustness.

George Rebane

MichaelA 928pm - Have no clue as to what young people you consort with, it must be a very selective group. The aggregate performance stats for this state tell a different tale as has been documented here and elsewhere. And daily we hear reports from across the land of another child being suspended, arrested, or excommunicated from his public school for wearing the wrong t-shirt or making a pistol out of his twinkie, or even having a twinkie in his lunch. Their progressive inquisitors are the first generation, the fragile charges they are and have produced are the second.

Don't confuse youthful enthusiasm with achievement. Thanks for taking the time to visit.

Bill Tozer

What is the price and what is the bottom line? Fair questions. What is the point of diminishing returns? Should failed policies be tossed out? Do the solutions wreck move havoc, damage, and insecurity than the problems?

What has been bothering me lately is the vilification of the successful to the point of cutting off our noses to spite our face. Obama is hell bent on punishing the successful in the private sector no matter what the consequences. And I am neither successful nor wealthy. Someone replayed a tape of a Democrat Primary Debate in 08. I was stunned, shook my head, and then it all made sense. The contestants were presented with the historical data and facts that if you raise the capital gains rates, then less revenue comes into the Treasury. The evidence clearly supports this.

Each candidate was asked about this. Most all said they would not raise the capital gains rate. Senator Obama said inevitability he would raise the capital gains rates because it was "unfair". No nonsense, no disclaimers. The rates should be raised because they are "unfair", despite receiving less revenues into the Treasury. Says it all.

Our Treasury took in more receipts last year than any other year in history. Yet Obama and some posters here put the blame solely at the feet of those horrid individualistic capitalistic pigs for you not having enough of the pie. "We don't have a spending problem"...we just took in the highest pile of money on record but you are poor and starving to death, each and every one of you because "They" are not paying their fair share.

Tell me, is the bottom 50% of the tax payers not paying their fair share or is it only the top 20%? That is just taxpayers. What about those sucking out billions from the Treasury by filing solely to receive the un"Earned Income Credit". Are they paying their fair share or just making that sucking sound Ross Perot talked about?

The cause and source of all my problems in life today is some rich dudes in the private sector. Its never the millionaires that hold Cabinet positions in government. Never those folks, ever. Its only those in the private sector that are trashing our country. All my problems can be solved by the enlightened ideas coming from our government. All. Total. 100% Now where were we? Ah, yes. You were just about to buy my swampland in Florida. Just sign here....trust me, I am from the government and I am here to help.

Michael Anderson

"Don't confuse youthful enthusiasm with achievement."

Trust me, I don't. Let's take this gentleman for example: http://sierracommons.org/mar-13-tech-talk-rich-javascript-visualizations-d3-and-maps/#comments

Just moved here. Ready to get to work, and help Nevada County high-tech business thrive.

Michael Anderson

And BTW, when I read "aggregate performance stats for this state [that] tell a different tale," I head in the other direction.

I'm quite aware of the tragic bottom centile that are dragging the mean into the sewer, but I think Ben Emery has outlined quite well why that might be the case.

I'm a "rising tide floats all boats" sort of fellow, and I feel the only way that lower centile is going to survive is if there are plenty of public and private resources to help them out of the muck.

Michael Anderson

Bill offered that "Obama is hell bent on punishing the successful in the private sector no matter what the consequences."

Why would he do that? Why "punish"? I totally disagree with you. IMHO, he is trying to redefine CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY, that is all.

We get into these pissing matches because George doesn't like having the gov't organize social welfare as opposed to churches, the Masons, B.P.O.E., Rotary, or whoever else. What the hell difference does it make? The safety net needs to be sown, so let's sew it!

I grew up with silver spoons on the Left Coast (mostly Republicans, BTW) and I have spent more time than I wished with Westchester County types who think their shit doesn't stink. We're all just apes, we all have testosterone poisoning (males anyway), and the 21st century is going to all be about re-inventing the human experience, mostly because there are too damn many of us chasing after too few (easily retrievable) resources.

We can fix this problem either through some sort of apocalyptic par force, or we can evolve and think it through rationally and humanely.

Paul Emery


This is what I wrote 13 March 2013 at 05:35 PM"

So what kind of assistance should be made available to those children who are unfortunate in their beginnings. Health care, education, recreation, nutrition .......
Who should pay for that assistance?
AT this point I am not setting a threshold for "unfortunate". We can discuss that later"

Can you show me where I referred to help from a government agency in this statement?

I was only asking for suggestions about what you believe could be a way, if any, to help unfortunate children born into those situations.

I repeat my question and await your comment.

Steve Frisch

Same old crap...and I mean old. The young people I deal with every day are entrepreneurial, thirst for education, active, strive for health, and ready to meet the world. I am with Michael here....yes we need to think about the lower quartile....but to think young people today are a bunch of laggards sucking at the government teat is just nonsense. It reminds me of the old SNL skit, "I used to walk 5 miles to school in the snow", all over again.

One thing has always been true, the new leaves the old in the dust, unless one is young in heart.


One could argue that 'we' have too many safety-nets. I've watched people gamble their personal savings becuase they know they still have SS. I've seen people turn down promotions and job offers to remain under some centrally planned income threeshold in order to remain on the dole. I've seen the unemployed wait 2+ years to look for work because of unemployment insurance (and extension after extension).

Yes, there are some great top students... I worry about the average and below average students with the above described culture (entitled/coddled).

At the core of progressivism is the tenent that 'people are too stupid to choose for themselves, 'we' need godverment central planning'

Amen to Ryan's comments.

Ben Emery

For Ryan and Mickey,
It isn't your income/ wealth that we are talking about. I agree with average TP member about their taxes but add one more issue onto the list. Consumption taxes, use fees, income tax, FICA, and so on. The extremely wealthy virtually don't pay into FICA due to most of their income comes in the form of capital gains/ dividends and a lower income tax rate. Tax Enough Already and we are regulated to the core at the street level with regulations that are put in place by big business.


Account Deleted

"We can fix this problem either through some sort of apocalyptic par force, or we can evolve and think it through rationally and humanely."

We have followed that line of reasoning since the 60's. There has been a massive transfer of wealth and it's resulted in more, not less, poverty. It does not work.
Years ago, my wife took pity on a lady that lived down the road from us. Her car had broken down and she had no way to get to town. My wife took her to the grocery store and got an eyeful as to what folks on food stamps buy vs what we taxpayers buy. We bought hamburger and cheaper cuts of chicken, food stamps bought steak and boneless chicken thighs. We bought dried beans and rice, food stamps bought ready mix boxed foods and junk food. No greens, fresh fruit or vegetables, save some potatoes to go with the steak. It wasn't her money she was spending, so she was encouraged to spend it unwisely. The vast majority of poor people (in this country) are in that condition because they make poor decisions and are unable to defer gratification. I believe the poor in this country can do better by being made accountable for their actions and be educated to make intelligent decisions. It works every time it's tried, no matter what station in life you come from.

Best line of the day - "but to think young people today are a bunch of laggards sucking at the government teat is just nonsense."

Fine - then let's cut them off from that public teat and see what happens. Isn't that what George is proposing?

Account Deleted

Ben E - "regulations that are put in place by big business."

Name one, Ben

George Rebane

MichaelA 1116pm – “We get into these pissing matches because George doesn't like having the gov't organize social welfare as opposed to churches, the Masons, B.P.O.E., Rotary, or whoever else. What the hell difference does it make? The safety net needs to be sown (sic), so let's sew it!”

Perfect Michael, and even with echoes of Hillary. The difference is huge and is illustrated by two main factors – 1) Government is the least efficient dispenser of welfare (in dollars and services), and, in the process, the most destructive to its recipients. 2) Dispensing social welfare is not the business of government for a good reason, for it must take by force the monies it wants to redistribute, and in the process grow the leviathan that reduces liberties and human progress along almost every dimension across the land. I and mine would like to give more to help the poor, but we want to give it in the amounts and through organizations that WE decide are doing the most good. In this and so many ways we truly look at different worlds and seek vastly different futures.

PaulE 1214pm – My apologies, I did assume that you meant government to be involved in both the nomination and succoring of the misfortunate. As you could glean from my above reply to MichaelA, I want private institutions, and in a distributed manner locally implemented, to resume their large scale care of the misfortunate, each fashioning programs that would help the most and most efficiently. They would be funded by private donations under the 501c3 provisions. These could also become a new type of the non-profit public service corporations that I have been promoting.

Joe Koyote

Conservative writings seem to confuse “lack of responsibility” with “lack of opportunity”. Yes, people are capable of pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, if they have the where-with-all and opportunity to do so. However, some people are locked into intergenerational and cyclical behavior patterns not of their choosing. We don’t get to pick our birth circumstances. If a crack-whore mother is considered a “misfortune” of birth, shouldn’t being born into poverty also be considered a misfortune? Are the same doors open to inner city children as are open to the children on Martha’s Vineyard? How many children of money with questionable qualifications get into Yale because they are a legacy versus how many children from poverty get into Yale at all, even with a scholarship?

My nephew is a trust fund kid. He is 32 years old and has never worked at a paying job in his life. Why? He doesn’t have to. He will never have to work at a paying job as long as the inheritance gravy train keeps on the rails. He has the economic freedom to do whatever he wants. He says he hasn’t figured out what he wants to do, yet. How many children of poverty have the advantage to pick and choose like that? They need to eat and if slinging burgers is the only way to put food on the table then they have to take that “opportunity” rather than buying a new Acura SUV and cruising around chasing women waiting for the perfect job to be handed to them or their daddy to retire and hand over the family fortune.

There needs to be some recognition that despite all people being created equal, all opportunities are not.

Account Deleted

Perfect, Joe. The problem is that you are flat wrong. Proven. No one is 'locked' into inter-generational poverty. There are lots of folks that rise out of extreme poverty every day, but Oprah won't let them on her show and the poverty pimps deny their existence. There are lots of folks that know they don't have to do any work to get by. At a lot of different income levels. Your nephew at the top and many others at much lower levels. So, why do you support the govt giving money to people that don't/won't work? It's bad enough that there are some trust fund babies that lead slacker lives, but at least I'm not required to give up my money to support them. There have been several studies of 'poor' people that show they end up with the equivalent of over $40K tax free income a year. Yet they remain in extreme poverty. They have all the opportunity and where-with-all, but lack any desire or need to improve their lives. Not being able to go to Yale as an excuse not to do well in life is totally bogus. I would advise most folks to stay away from that place. Try reading Star Parker's life story.

George Rebane

JoeK 931am - Are you not confusing 'lack of opportunity' with 'lack of equal status' or 'lack of equal resources'?

But in the final analysis, I don't want some government dimwit (who can invoke the gun) telling me who the misfortunates are, and how much I must contribute to what the dimwit thinks will benefit them.

Paul Emery


While I appreciate your sentiment your response confirms to me that you are locked into some kind of antique form of conservatism that has not on this planet used for the last 100 years, before child labor laws and health and welfare standards. IT is entirely theoretical as is your view of health care solutions.

Some European countries do a terrific job of providing for the disadvantaged with health, educational and housing support that focus on prevention of future problems by getting involved early on. I know it's not your cup of tea but it does work and there is nothing to compare it to on your end,

This is just an exercise anyway since your ideas will never be considered seriously even by the Republicans

George Rebane

PaulE 1114am - fortunately for the Rebanes, and I suppose uncounted thousands of other families in America, the private institutions' approach to welfare was alive and working very well at mid-century last. As covered here many times, there is no evidence that any of the government run programs have produced even comparable results to privately funded efforts. And moreover, none of the government efforts in the EU have shown themselves to be sustainable. To the extent that they have worked, it has only been until they have run out of other people's money.

But you are probably right about the Republicans, which in itself does not prove that unused correct solutions do not exist. In any event, applying tired, old, demonstrably dysfunctional approaches will not carry the day in the future - new ways of thinking need to be applied, and putting charity back in private hands funded by voluntarily through private sources is the most promising way forward.

(Do you also notice that no one has stepped forward with a stated objective and a measure of its achievement?)

Ben Emery

You like a vast majority of people are in the dark on how our government actually works. I only know because I have protesting it, know many people who work within the government, and have observed it from being in state capitals either as a public lobbyists or being part of the rabble.

CEO Eric Schmidt on who writes the legislation.

Here is a guy, Tim Carney from American Enterprise Institute from your side of the debate talking about regulations and big business. He names a few regulations that are either abused or promoted by big business to stomp out medium and small business competition.

The next time a Democracy School comes to Nevada County I strongly encourage you to attend. Much of the first 4 hours is on the regulatory system and how it actually works in practice.




Stated objective: Decrease the strangle-hold of special interests (corporation, labor unions, lobbyists, other countries, etc) in government.

Measure of Achievement: 1.) A decrease in the number of laws passed (as regulations are used to build monopolies, discourage competition, etc) 2.) A decrease in government (fed, state, local) spending (means less value for each lobby dollar).

Corporatism requires a too powerful government. Limit government and you will limit corporatism.


When buying and selling are controlled by politicians, the first things to be bought and sold are politicians

Ben Emery

I can agree completely with 12:33 statement. It was actually the main theme to our 2010 campaign. If we want less spending then we need to get the return favors for campaign contributions and lobbying junkets out of our political parties and campaigns. If we can do this we can reduce the size and scope of big government. There is no way to prove cause and effect but there definitely is a correlation with increase campaign spending, privatizing the commons, and size of the federal government and its programs/ agencies. It started in the 70's and 80's and exploded in the 90's until the 2012 election the most expensive election in US history by far. Twice as expensive as of just 8 years ago.

I understand you want to implement this on the government side first but that isn't going to happen without massive suffering. They will cut programs that hurt average to poor people first so the blow back will be so huge they are forced to stop. If we do it from the bottom up "we" then control our government.

"Q: What can you do to save tax dollars?

A: My first act once elected will be to author a bill making our federal and presidential campaigns publicly funded. With a small investment we could realize billions in budget savings. Lawmakers spend anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 of their time fundraising (aka making deals with big donors) for their next campaign. This practice leads to huge bills that are filled with earmarks and pork to pay back those big donors. It also leads to staggering amounts of subsidies to industries and companies that don’t need subsidies. It would be up to the people to persuade candidates to only use public financing by not voting for those who use private funds. The priorities of our elected officials have to be the people not special interests if we want Democracy in America."

For the record I put Unions into the special interest category despite objections from my friends on the true left.

Account Deleted

Ben - I'm so far ahead of you it isn't funny. If you would care to actually go back and read many of my posts from months ago, you will notice that I'm quite well aware of how a govt that does not operate properly by the constraints of the Constitution inevitably becomes an over bearing monster that no longer serves as the protector of human rights as it should be.
As a follow up to YOUR statement - "...regulated to the core at the street level with regulations that are put in place by big business." I asked if you could name ONE of these regulations. And you could/would not. It is a mystery to me as to what kind of thought process you lefties put your minds to that allows you to believe wholeheartedly in ideas for which you can not provide a single example.


"So what kind of assistance should be made available to those children who are unfortunate in their beginnings. Health care, education, recreation, nutrition"
-Paul E.

For the amount of money paid to the mainstream public schools for their education now, you could send them to our local St.Sensible, feed them and get them basic medical care. So, how about it?

Paul Emery

Good one Gregory if it's true. Do you have any kind of documentation or research to back that up? Also there are not enough private schools especially in the inner cities to fit the demand. Would you demand accountability from those schools? Who would provide the standards for evaluation?


"It is a mystery to me as to what kind of thought process you lefties put your minds to that allows you to believe wholeheartedly in ideas for which you can not provide a single example."

Ideaas without examples are not the sole craft of the left. For example you show me one country as an example that comes close to provides health care solely through the free market process that George and others this blog applaud with no government involvement.

George Rebane

PaulE 509pm - I have already made it clear that no current government provides the kind of healthcare I recommend through a free market. That is not a point of debate, but a very smelly red herring which you refloat from time to time.

However, ScottO's 209pm asks a direct question about the status of existing regulations of which there are thousands and the provenance of each is a matter of record. You are comparing apples and oranges.

Ben Emery

I gave you a number of examples through the links. A 30 second audio clip is about 3 paragraphs of nuanced explanation, which doesn't translate real well on blogs.

Sorry I don't save your comments from months ago or even reserve a space for them in the back of my memory. I have no idea what you are talking about. Good Job on the phantom Gotcha.

Joe Koyote

George-- What does a free market look like? Is it a handful of oil companies like we currently have? Or the handful of auto companies, banks, fast food, grocery stores? How can a truly free market work at this point in time when ownership in practically every industry is down to a few giants and few others? Choosing between tweedle dee and tweedle dum is not really much of a market place choice. How can people vote with their wallets when their choices are Walmart or Kmart and no local little guys left?

Joe Koyote

George 10:02 -- just saw this --Are you not confusing 'lack of opportunity' with 'lack of equal status' or 'lack of equal resources'? Are they not all one in the same? I would be willing to bet that status and resources opens more doors than diligence and hard work in the slums. Don't those with so-called higher status and those with more resources also have more opportunities that are open to them?

Bill Tozer

The ultimate saying of self pity, blame, and victimhood: "Hey, I wasn't asked to be born."

Paul Emery


A Theory is a contemplative and rational expression of abstract or generalized thinking,

As far as the Red Herring goes it may be a bit smelly but it's an odor that comes from many fishes in this blog both left and right . It's the difference between theory and example. Theories do not have the ability to be observed only discussed. The Danish health care or social welfare systems, for example, can be observed, compared and discussed. There is a theory of health care that has a premise that fighting illness without modern medicine is a process of strengthening karma for future lives and that it's ok to die in the process since you'll come back stronger next time around. This is a real belief system for millions around the world but it's hardly observable.

Sp when you talk about some of your ideas about how things should be based on your education, personal history and value systems and I ask for examples and you have none they indeed become theories because they cannot be observed.

Brad Croul

Anti-fragility (stress, challenge) is neither a new concept, nor one that is not often applied or experienced, either deliberately or by accident, in today’s world.
We aspire to “fragility” (the good life, margaritaville, nirvana, utopia, godliness); but every time we are challenged, we are experiencing anti-fragile stimulus.
Wars, vaccines, exercise, unemployment, natural disasters, stock market or real estate crashes, divorce, etc. are all anti-fragile stimulus.

We need to decide how much of our cushy, anti-fragile, tax-code sponsored, first world, fragile life is a necessity, and continue to challenge ourselves through anti-fragile stimulus. But, as a caring society, I think we have agreed that we should challenge ourselves to see to it that anti-fragile stimuli, like unemployment, natural disasters, or vaccines, etc. do not result in death.

Brad Croul

- should read, "We need to decide how much of our cushy, tax-code sponsored, first world, fragile life is a necessity, and continue to challenge ourselves through anti-fragile stimulus."

Account Deleted

Paul - I was asking for one example of something that Ben claims actually exists. In fact, he claims multiple examples exist. That was one of the "ideas" that I was referring to. But he can't/won't name one. I can't name any countries that have tried true free market health care in modern times because as far as I know, none exist. I do know that a free market health and health insurance plan in this country would serve us far better that what we have now. It is also clear that the coming full implementation of Obama care will cause even more problems. Ben can not name any "regulations that are put in place by big business" because govt puts the regs into place, not business. That is a distinction that Ben wants to avoid talking about, because it ruins his fantasy about govt being "run by businesses". Sometimes laws are passed by govt to favor large businesses, and sometimes they are not. The root problem is that our fed govt will not abide by the Constitution. And so we have a corrupt and over bearing govt.
Ben finally clears up the issue - "I have no idea what you are talking about."
Sadly, this seems to be Ben's problem, but at least he acknowledges the problem and that's a big a step towards getting better. We're here to help, Ben.

George Rebane

JoeK 715pm – Not sure of what exactly you mean. Today there exist very few totally free markets, they are all regulated, some more than others. Walmart/Kmart example you give is a bit spurious; the consumer has plenty of choice to buy goods that cost more from smaller merchants. The biggest killer of free markets is still government, whether it colludes with big corporations or runs rampant with idiotic regulations.

And your 715pm is also a bit confusing. Of course we are all not born into the same circumstances – should we be? And people of means and/or merit are likely to have more opportunities open to them. That is the prime reason humans advance over the ages – they work and take risks, in the process hoping to garner enough ‘resources’ so that they and theirs have that extra opportunity for a better life. And they voluntarily cooperate with each other when they see that such cooperation is of benefit to them. The rules of cooperation are set by culture and/or government. What would happen to a society that by force equalizes the reward for differential merit and/or various levels of risk successfully undertaken?

PaulE 945pm – there’s another definition of theory – a plausible (or scientifically acceptable) general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena or anticipated results. Theories do indeed have the ability to be observed and discussed (and modified). All things new start as a plausible idea that then gets realized as people work on it. Because one cannot give an exact example of something proposed does not immediately imply that the idea is without merit and not worth trying. (Maybe that is the policy paradigm currently in vogue among progressives.) The real question is plausibility; how well does a new/modified approach stand on the shoulders of experience - which includes observations – and, based on that, what is its probability of success.

In your perennial healthcare example, we have observed that socialized healthcare is not sustainable – it is continued on the basis of expanding costs and reduced services. All EU countries are in fiscal dire straits, and their healthcare systems are prime contributors to that. Bloomberg reports that “Denmark’s recovery is faltering and risks to growth are on the downside, …, Denmark is working on a plan to aid its businesses without putting pressure on a public budget that’s already stretched to its limits” - and all this at historic low interest rates and without having to provide for its own security. Denmark’s persistence will be supported a little longer because its debt is ‘only’ at 50% of its GDP, while ours is over 100%. Many other EU countries are in much worse shape.

EU healthcare costs are difficult to compare with ours because of widespread in-country bribery and cross border travel for certain kinds of medical procedures that doesn’t show up in the comparative accounting. And in case no one has noticed, the EU is again in recession.

George Rebane

BradC 844am - of course anti-fragility has been experienced throughout evolution, but its intellectual formulation as a concept, one whose attributes are then related to many other notions in society and nature, is a credit to Taleb as many other world-renown thinkers have acknowledged.

Perhaps you should have published earlier.

Ben Emery

What haven't I given you. The links I gave gives examples of lead regulations, tobacco, environmental, and pharmaceuticals that benefit big business.

For average people being regulated that shouldn't need examples but I will give you five off the top of my head.

Can you smoke marijuana?
Can you drink alcohol and drive a car?
Can you smoke in a restaurant or public space?
Can you drive as fast as you want in your car?
Can you have a 32 oz soft drink from a restaurant in New York City?

Joe Koyote

George 9:06 -- You stated: " I have already made it clear that no current government provides the kind of healthcare I recommend through a free market. " My question was what would this free market healthcare system you recommend look like, how would it work, given the current conglomeration in most industries including healthcare? How can a free market really work in semi-monopolistic situations? What choices does the consumer have? How are issues like collusion and price fixing avoided or mitigated?

Paul Emery


" Theories do indeed have the ability to be observed and discussed"

Of course they do. I can propose the theory that the moon is green cheese, we can observe and discuss my reasoning and data and come to a reasonable conclusion.

In the case of free market medicine being the answer to health care there is nothing to observe. You can critique and evaluate the Danish system (or any of the other national health care systems that modern nations have} and you can compare them to each other but you cannot compare them to your theory anymore than you can compare them to the Karma driven suffer for a better incarnation spiritual inspiration theory.

What you can observe is that the Danish system is less than 7% of the GDP and provides health care for all. No emergency room health care as proposed by Ropmney. My guess is that national health care is not a fundamental cause of the economic woes of Denmark.

What can be observed is that the people of Denmark are healthy and well taken care of by their system. The results can be compared to our "system" as it exists today. I will gladly engage you in that if you choose.

Brad Croul


"What does not kill me, makes me stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche, 1888

No disrespect to the Taleban (disciples of Taleb) intended. Any system (biological, or social) can be challenged, and has been challenged. I think our democratic "system" has been set up to be an anti-fragile system, made robust enough through checks and balances provided by the branches of the federal government, state governments, and local governments. We are still here after 200 years.

"Viruses" like the Tea Party, Earth Firsters, etc. serve as challenges to the system and get us to examine and question our assumptions.

I think there are (at least) two kinds of regulations.

Good regulations are the "immune response" to anti-fragile tests to the system. Examples would be laws against murder, speeding through school zones when schools are in session, etc.

Bad regulations are the self-serving, "parasitic", chronic, or cancerous regulations. They are special interest Trojan Horses (viruses) disguised as regulations (cures).

In your post, I interpret you to to be describing regulations of the chronic, parasitic, or cancerous kind that result in fragility. We should test our system to identify regulations gone rogue and eliminate them, keeping in mind that, like viruses, there are always new regulations on the horizon.

George Rebane

JoeK 951am - http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2011/01/healthcare-one-more-time.html

Also please search RR with 'healthcare'.


"Can you have a 32 oz soft drink from a restaurant in New York City?" -Ben

Yes, you can. Bloomberg's decree been hit with a permanent injunction for being arbitrary and capricious. The arbitrary 7 round magazine restriction remains for now.

Paul, one account of the real spending on public K-12 is here:


Regarding health care in Denmark, here's an interesting perspective:

"Although the length of waiting lists and waiting times is not a clinically serious problem (91% of all patients are treated within 1-2 months), frequent media interest often in light of outlying individual cases, has forced politicians to adopt a series of waiting time guarantees. During the 1990s the Danish Government’s efforts to introduce a three-month maximum wait failed, and it resorted to extra funding specific targets to reduce waiting times for CHD treatments such as heart by-pass surgery and angioplasty. In June 2001, it announced similar funding for cancer. In theory, patients can go private if public hospital cannot provide care within a given period. However, DRG payment is to be the same, and as a result, so far, no private providers have signed contracts – all complaining that payments would not cover costs"

Rationing by queue is well known. Imagine having to wait more than three months for heart surgery or chemo. The longer you are made to wait, the higher the probability you won't need the care.

George Rebane

re Gregory's 129pm - ... and hence most people who really need special or timely care show up at the appropriate office, clinic, or hospital with a white envelope stuffed with bills.

And this will inform you how this wonderful system has now arrived on our shores.

Paul Emery


Thanks for the cato link. I appreciate their work and will check it out over the weekend. I am not a fan of public education as you know.

Account Deleted

Ben E. - I'm seeing what the problem is here.
"Sorry I don't save your comments from months ago or even reserve a space for them in the back of my memory."
If you either can't (or can't be bothered) to remember what I wrote, how will it be possible to have a conversation?
You wrote - "...and we are regulated to the core at the street level with regulations that are put in place by big business."
And I asked you to name one single regulation put in place by big business.
First you refused to and danced around with a lot of nonsense.
Then you finally came up with 5 laws that were 'put in place' by the govt, not any businesses.
Can you smoke marijuana?
Can you drink alcohol and drive a car?
Can you smoke in a restaurant or public space?
Can you drive as fast as you want in your car?
Can you have a 32 oz soft drink from a restaurant in New York City?
And you changed your line to: "The links I gave gives examples of lead regulations, tobacco, environmental, and pharmaceuticals that benefit big business."
You are talking about 2 different things.
This not a 'gotcha', it is a teachable moment. Businesses in a free market overseen by a govt that adheres to the dictates of the US Constitution have absolutely no power over you or me. In fact, we as free citizens have all of the power over the businesses. They may only obtain money from us when we decide they have produced for our benefit something of value. They can not put into place any laws or regulations that would apply to us in our daily lives, with the exception of rules regarding our conduct as patrons in a place of business. A business certainly has the right to bar people in a restaurant from smoking or require a certain level of attire. The govt at many levels passes all sorts of laws that are an anathema to big business. SS was a massive blow to life insurance and investment companies. The idea that big business 'runs' govt is only true to the extent that we, the voters let them. It seems that most polls show Americans think it was fine and dandy that the fed govt bailed out the UAW at GM and Chrysler with billions in losses to the tax payers.
I haven't seen any general outcry about the ongoing cronyism of tax dollars going into the pockets of Obama supporters who then give back generous amounts to Obama.
The fed govt currently operates for itself, not businesses of any sort or you or me.
It might pass a law that favors one business over another or not, depending on what the govt wants. Look at the current 'gun control' BS. What big business is being benefited here? It is the business of the biggest business of all. The fed govt. The govt is the one to fear and be kept in line. Private businesses have no power or control over me or you.
It is the govt that 'puts into place' laws and regulations, not business. That is not just a way of playing with words and trying to be smart, it is an important distinction that needs to be ingrained into your soul. If you can not learn that fact, then you will always end up supporting the very people you say you are against.

George Rebane

ScottO 227pm - Well said. And your highlight of "The fed govt currently operates for itself, not businesses of any sort or you or me." is extremely important to remember. The leviathan currently employs well over 2M civilians (counting them is difficult as can be seen from here http://fcw.com/articles/2012/09/13/size-federal-workforce.aspx ). Most of these people are unsuitable for private sector employment, more of them are becoming so every day as technology advances. The federal government is truly a fiefdom of those who can't or won't, and it is the most powerful such fiefdom in the world. The problem for the rest of us is that these 2M people know that they cannot find any job outside of government that will maintain their quality of life. That is why they faithfully man their ramparts by voting for any politician and/or measure that keeps that fiefdom secure and growing. And that also explains why so many of today's workers and young people are scrambling hard to become 'civil servants' - that is where they will get the most for the least. Unfortunately, no collectivist believes any of this.

Paul Emery

Gregory, George

Let's do a little comparative analysis on this see where it goes

Denmark-Universal coverage for all
USA-mllions not covered many are not insurable or underinsured

less than 7% of GDP

17% of GDP

So the Danes spend less on healthcare and insure everybody hmmm

I'm using Denmark as an example. In reality there are better systems

Ben Emery

Big business has come to own both political parties then by default our government in both state and federal. By doing so they have created crony capitalism that is perpetuated by a fascist state. It is called capturing. They control the size of the government, the agencies, the regulations, the military, the legislation, and most important the message that pits average Americans against one another.

What type of society or culture would we have if controlled by corporations, just look around. A declining middle class, exploding numbers into poverty, obesity epidemic, crumbling infrastructure, the largest income inequality gap in the developed world, 40,000 people dying a year due to lack of access to health care, a million people filing for bankruptcy due to medical bills and 3/4 of them having health insurance, higher education is putting people into the poor house, Monsanto's controlling our food supply, and the list goes on and on.

Ben Emery

To finish off the 5:56 statement.

At the same time corporations have never seen higher profits and the wealthy have never had it so good in the USA.

Account Deleted

Ben - if the fed govt would adhere to the US Constitution, none of the cronyism would happen. Big business hardly 'controls' both parties and the fed govt. That is a gross exaggeration of reality. I have named instances that directly challenge your beliefs and can name many more. You have no answer for them. The many issues you raise have several roots and reasons. A lot are the fault of the individuals involved and no one else. Some love to have a single enemy in the Jews and the KKK loved to blame the 'coloreds' and the Catholics. It is symptomatic of narrow minded folk to want a single enemy to blame everything on. It bespeaks a lazy and frightened attitude that is unbecoming of a person such as yourself. I would ask you to broaden your horizons to actually investigate actual occurrences of these issues and really dig past boo hoo stories to find what choices folks had at various stages in their life and how they could have avoided the various problems. Corporations having higher profits in no way points to anything that they have done wrong. It seems that GM should have been so evil. Being upset about the differences in income is a tiresome and pointless pursuit. The POOR in this country have it so good it's pathetic to even call them poor. They would be envied most other places in the world. The American middle class by and large decided they wanted everything now and put it on the credit card. When that ran out, they hocked the house. They put it all on red and it came up black. So shut up and go live in a crummy apartment and yes, you have to sell everything dead cheap. Everyone in this country has access to health care. Complaining about the fact that society just spent millions of dollars to save your sorry ass when you only will ever contribute a tiny amount of that yourself brings to mind ungrateful b****s that need a 2x4 put across their brow. Higher education does NOT put people in the poor house. Gullible idiots put themselves into the poor house. Monsanto "controls" our food supply? Hmmm... last week it was Archer Daniels Midland. Tell me - do they trade off from week to week?
Please let us all know how you get around this terrible situation concerning your personal eating habits. I have posted here repeatedly about large companies that work to subvert our civil rights and work to corrupt govt. The only groups working to end that are the Tea Party and the conservatives. Maybe a few Libertarians, but most of them just went to CO and got stoned. The Greens are so solidly in bed with big business and bigger govt it isn't funny. The Dems are nearly all total prostitutes. The Lamestream News media is a joke. All they want is a night in the Lincoln Bedroom and to kiss Obama's ring. There are some decent R's left and the younger conservatives in the party are showing some signs of hope. But I think the electorate in general in this country hew to the "I'm owed some stuff" line of thinking with a big dollop of "I'm a victim" thrown in. So, I'm afraid we are in for a bigger and more corrupt govt in the future. And yes, some large companies will get in on the goodies. But that hardly constitutes them 'controlling' the govt.

George Rebane

PaulE 436pm - Gee, it's as if I never commented at 1156am and 146pm.

BenE 556pm - These numbers paint a terrible picture. Where ever did you get them?

Biull Tozer

Instead of fixating on how much money your neighbor has, why not focus on lifting your other neighbors out of poverty. Our wretched welfare system keeps a person in everlasting poverty and our education system dooms our future children to a life of mediocrity. Our social programs guarantee our fellow man will live in darkness and want. So many trillions in spending has been an utter failure. Now the spokespersons for all these programs not only say we do not have a spending problems, some now claim we do not have a debt problem.

Our debt will be 20 trillion when Obama leaves office. Does anyone with a liberal brain really think this will not be a nearly insurmountable burden that will keep our fellow citizens and future generations enslaved by this juggernaut?

Kinda hard to discuss a starting point when there is no spending problem, no debt problem, and they keeping doing what they have been doing since the Great Society and they keep getting what they have been getting....which is not a problem. Nothing to see here.

Ah, never mind. They never had one, they never will.


Paul 4:36

First and foremost, I've no doubt the Danish model can't work in the US because Americans aren't Danes. If you've known many you probably know what I'm speaking of. In short, conforming, competent, judgmental. Not very American, and outside of the competence issue, I'm good with that.

Second, the major problems we have with healthcare costs are that INDIVIDUALS really can't buy "insurance". Only companies can buy insurance with before tax dollars, so you have the basic inefficiency of Company A choosing Insurer B on behalf of Drone C, rather than Person C shopping for what *they* want. If an independent Person D shops for insurance, they pay a premium in that they have to pay with after tax dollars and the market is tiny and only available if you can prove to the insurer you probably won't get sick.

And when you get healthcare, no one can tell you what it will cost until long after you get it.

If I could wave my magic wand, all healthcare would be paid with before tax dollars, decoupling it from employers, and any preexisting condition that was diagnosed while insured would not be considered a disqualifying preexisting condition for the purposes of denying insurance coverage for related conditions. And insurers could sell across state lines.


Please provide a link and or evidence that Monsanto controls our food supply. I am willing to look at the evidence you provide.

Ben Emery

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