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Sitting in our Wilmington house. The Diplowife finally has run out of projects for me to execute and has gone off on a shopping expedition l...

Monday, December 17, 2018

Back from the Imperial Capital

Drove in last night to my beloved North Carolina after a few days in the nation's mighty imperial capital helping the Diplodaughter move into her tiny apartment. It was raining and depressing; everything very wet and gray. It all had the feel of those 1960s, 70s, and 80s movies about spies in Berlin, sans Sir Michael Caine, of course. So glad to be out of there.

Anyhow, I come back and my front door has stickers from UPS for some delivery that didn't get made because it requires an adult signature. I have no idea what it could be. All my ammo orders already have arrived so it can't be anything too good.

I also get back and find--wham!--that a Federal judge in Texas has done what Paul Ryan and the whole Congress could not do: put a major stake into the heart of Obamacare. Now, I am no lawyer--and don't pretend to be--and don't completely understand his ruling declaring the monster unconstitutional, and I am sure this is not the end of the thing, but it's a damn fine start. Let's see if the GOP has the guts to stand by the death of Obamacare, and not try to resuscitate it in some whacky form. Just make buying insurance into a national or even international market, let people buy--or not--what they want from whomever they want. The market will take care of prices and services.

I also see that the ol' USA has become a net exporter of fossil fuels. Who'd a thunk that possible? I mean, besides anybody with just a few functioning brain cells and no "green agenda" to sell . . .  In addition, some huge natural gas finds have been made both in the US and in Australia. Gasoline in parts of Virginia, by the way, was below $2/gallon--I even filled up once at $1.88/gallon. That's pretty cheap. Kinda gives the lie to the narrative about how we couldn't drill our way out of an energy crisis or that WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF OIL!!! Must switch to solar!! GAIA!!!

The border wall still remains unbuilt. It must be built for both practical and symbolic reasons. A proper wall in the right places will work to stem nonsense such as caravans and coyote smuggling ops. It will also reassert, in this time of globalist rubbish such has produced the Migration Compact (see prior post), that we are a sovereign country that can and does uphold its right and obligation to defend our borders. I have in prior postings provided some ideas on how to help fund it: e.g., tax on remittances, border crossing fee, increased fees for non-US citizen services at consulates, higher fees for immigration services in the US, maybe a small fee on foreign passengers arriving by plane or boat or train (could be assessed on their tickets), etc. There are lots of ways. Let's build the thing!

OK. The Diplowife wants to go to McDonalds to get her traditional Diet Coke. I must obey.

43 comments:

  1. Don't they use FEATHERS in diet Coke?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I spent a couple of days in Washington once. Sticky spot, ain't it?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah.. I suspect progress on the wall is going to be a major factor in the 2020 elections. Being that nothing was done on it in 2017-2018, it's going to be hard to convince the people that "it's all the democrats' fault".
    Of course, so many times there is big progress being made under a deliberate coverage blackout by the media corp under threat, so maybe we'll eventually find out it's been under construction?

    I dunno.. it's going to be ugly.

    - reader #1482

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    Replies
    1. Watch the Army Corps of Engineers...Trump will use the military to build it if Congress doesn't fund it.

      Delete
    2. The Army would be a great move on Trump's part. He will have to first get a head of Homeland Security willing to okay it instead of doing her best to stymie real adherence to existing law. Ever since Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Pttuuuiiii) installed her poison pill moving authorization for the Fence over to Homeland Security, they have had the authorization and can use their regular funding for it. I shudder to think what Hutchinson is doing with NATO, since she is now our Ambassador to that group.

      And of course he will have to have them do it under cover of night or else the Uniparty operatives will rush for an injunction against it.

      Delete
    3. There are using the Marines to rebuild an airport on a tourist destination. Why not a wall on the boarder? May not be be able to view, but Google it.
      https://www.dailybreeze.com/2018/12/11/camp-pendleton-marines-to-haul-500-tons-of-equipment-tools-to-catalina-ahead-of-runway-reconstruction/

      Delete
  4. Just make buying insurance into a national or even international market, let people buy--or not--what they want from whomever they want. The market will take care of prices and services.

    A completely private healthcare insurance market is non-functional. That's why we have had government subsidies of healthcare insurance as provided for employees for over 4 decades, long before Obamacare.

    Capitalism is great for so many things, but like any other tool, it's not the right choice for every job.

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    Replies
    1. That's just not true. We have never in modern times had a free market in health insurance because each state (and the feds) wants to fiddle with it. Get rid of all that and the market will work just fine.

      Delete
    2. A fully unrestricted healthcare market hasn't been tried, particularly not since healthcare actually became worth something.
      In 1918, if we were told that 50% of our monthly budget should be dedicated to health care, a righteous response would have been to laugh heartily.
      But in 2018, there are actual, expensive, treatments and diagnostics which can provide value equal to a large fraction of most people's incomes.
      This is a *vast* change from medicine of even 20-30 years ago.
      Our health care traditions and systems evolved due to the value of the pre-Obamacare US healthcare market, which was quite lucrative.
      Not sure how it's fared under Obamacare.. I'm not all that opposed to Obamacare myself, it mainly stinks of political favoritism and giveaways to big donors and easy-voter-prey-for-lies.

      - reader #1482

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    3. Actually, I think what's hidden in this comment is the vastly abbreviated question, because what's really being asked it:
      "Will a free market health care system provide *identical* care to all citizens regardless of means?" and the answer is a pretty resounding 'no' (with the exception of inverting the definition of 'free market', and our host has expounded often on how liberals are wont to do that).

      *that* is the question that most occupies the mind of the lefty.. the 'health care justice' question. We can certainly laugh a bit at how selfless such people are until it becomes *their* health at risk, at which point it's suddenly "but I need more!"

      We've doubled and tripled down on our grotesque health care distortion. People don't generally even buy health care... they buy health insurance.. no wait.. they don't even buy health insurance their (for the lion's share) are provided health insurance by their employers.
      Then they don't even buy actual health care, and don't even buy actual health 'insurance'. They purchase (through their employer) a health coop membership and a health insurance plan.
      And *then* Obamacare comes along and says: "You *must* do all of the above, or be a lawbreaker!"
      I mean, I think it's unwise, but it's hard to get so uppity about something that just costs people a lot of money and their health...

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    4. That's just not true. We have never in modern times had a free market in health insurance because each state (and the feds) wants to fiddle with it. Get rid of all that and the market will work just fine.

      Can you name a country where that's true? Out of over 200, who has only private health care systems, and how well do they function?

      Delete
    5. Actually, I think what's hidden in this comment is the vastly abbreviated question, because what's really being asked it:
      "Will a free market health care system provide *identical* care to all citizens regardless of means?" and the answer is a pretty resounding 'no' (with the exception of inverting the definition of 'free market', and our host has expounded often on how liberals are wont to do that).

      *that* is the question that most occupies the mind of the lefty.. the 'health care justice' question.


      I don't know anyone who thinks that governmental universal coverage could ever provide what you can get as a wealthy person. Mostly, I hear discussion of basic services.

      Delete
    6. After a series of health issues, I have come to the conclusion the whole system is rigged. The costs of care do not reflect the actual costs incurred. The co-payments are not realistic to the services rendered. The gatekeepers to care do way too many tests which are cost inflated. The hospitals are all run as nonprofits, but who is kidding? The administration, billing and redundancies built in to the "care"are obscene. I'm getting bills six months or more for "care"received which turn out to be somebody stopping by the hospital room to see how I was doing. The "doctor" didn't do anything, yet charged a few hundred dollars to say "high". I even got charged a few hundred dollars for the person who came a cut my toenails.

      Delete
    7. I think you are accidentally mistaking my point.
      The purpose of 'Social Justice: Heath Care Edition' is to make sure nobody gets 'better' health care than anybody else.
      Because it's patently unfair that people who are created equally in the eyes of the creator are given differing levels of health care based upon their works or inheritance.
      That means that 'better' health care *cannot* be allowed for anybody, regardless of their resources.
      If it's an available treatment for Bill Gates, it *must* be an available treatment for every person in the country. Otherwise it's "not fair" and must be stricken from the lists of available treatments.

      That is "The Goal" of single payer, and "The Goal" of Obamacare (my loosely but not very convincingly justified opinion) is to destroy the last vestiges of market influence in health care in order to usher in single payer. Single payer means dependence upon the state, and dependence upon the state means stability for the state as an institution. It should be no surprise to anybody that the US government acts and will continue to act towards single payer, as it is in the interest of the US government as an institution, even if it is a corrupting sickness. But that's what we get when we leave managing our government 'to the professionals'.

      again.. adventures in compulsory compassion... a phrase I steal from another commenter here by the name of bruce. (had to go look that up)

      For my commentary, I feel the people pushing this agenda see other folks inheriting riches and not having to work. They get sour on it and declare that something must be done. I understand that... I see venture capitalists who know almost nothing about their markets, have no accomplishments to their name, but because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they call *all* the shots, typically driving small companies into the ground. But they're highly respected by very technical folks because they were born with a lot of money. While that dynamic sucks, that attitude sucks more.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    8. There are few worse pickles than being a Canadian legislator with a treatable terminal illness in the family. What's the standard solution? Skip the lines by jumping the border for treatment in the US.
      What are the consequences? Being shunned by your political party. Everybody does it, but only the unlucky few get caught.
      I have relatives who were in a very similar quandary.

      but wait... that cannot be accounted for by my meta-research on cost-and-outcomes... we can't possibly normalize for people leaving the system because we simply can't track that. We're sunk! What's going to happen to my Soros-grant!?!?!? Oh... we'll just credit that to the single payer... because.. who's watching anyways?

      :)

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    9. After a series of health issues, I have come to the conclusion the whole system is rigged. The costs of care do not reflect the actual costs incurred. The co-payments are not realistic to the services rendered. The gatekeepers to care do way too many tests which are cost inflated. The hospitals are all run as nonprofits, but who is kidding? The administration, billing and redundancies built in to the "care"are obscene. I'm getting bills six months or more for "care"received which turn out to be somebody stopping by the hospital room to see how I was doing. The "doctor" didn't do anything, yet charged a few hundred dollars to say "high". I even got charged a few hundred dollars for the person who came a cut my toenails.

      All of that behavior comes from the influences of private actors on the system. Hospitals need to inflate prices so they can negotiate them down when dealing with insurance companies. Doctors protecting themselves from lawsuits. People who can pay being over-charged to cover the costs of those who have no insurance.

      Delete
    10. I think you are accidentally mistaking my point.

      No, just disagreeing. I don't expect government health care to provide every treatment that Bill Gates can afford (nor would I expect a private health insurance company to do so), and I don't know who does. Many treatments offer little value for an huge cost; governments should not be offering that type of care.

      Delete
    11. That's not the typical purpose of single-payer health care. The purpose is *typically* to make medical decisions only dependent upon medical situation, not based upon means or ability to pay.
      That's why single-payer systems typically outlaw any private medical practices, as it's antithetical to the purpose of single-payer.
      6 of 10 provinces in Canada have private insurance being illegal... and the other four have no significant private practice by various governmental policies that aren't outright outlawing.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    12. reader #1482,

      From what I can tell, most Canadians have private health insurance to cover services the government program does not cover, and use private medical practices for these services. It's true they are typically not allowed to perform the same services the government can perform (although many do so anyhow without prosecution).

      Delete
    13. For the rich, I'm sure there are ways around, but most of those probably involve scurrying across the border.
      Hard to compete with the government, but less so when marketing to the extremely wealthy.
      The vast majority of people will wait their turn, as determined by the government. It is fair after all. Who cares how big the pie is if everybody gets the same sized slice? :)

      Are all socialized-medicine countries extremely docile? I wonder if being so tightly under the control of the government, represented by being dependent upon it completely for your health, results in a more helpless and apathetic populous.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    14. I'm not sure what's 'docile' about government health care. The British people certainly don't seem very docile, nor the French.

      I'm also not sure that moderate wait times for some less vital procedures are inherently harmful.

      Delete
    15. I see what you did there.. :) Yes.. moderate wait times for less vital procedures aren't harmful... :)

      One example, 'less vital' things like 'seeing an OBG while AMA (advanced maternal age) pregnant'. Canadian health care does not allow such things. Pretty much until a mother or baby looses a heartbeat signal, all pregnancies and deliveries are handled by general physicians.

      Is it reasonable to have a non-specialist deliver a baby? Sure. But most of the time, especially in higher risk profiles, a specialist is on order.
      I blame inefficiencies of government-run healthcare for that.


      Market-rate health care is a very hard concept in a lot of ways.
      It does seem quite unfair for health care quality to be means-dependent.
      But... that's not the whole story.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
  5. On whether the market can take care of the health insurance industry: I'm afraid it cannot. The reason is that there are a lot of mandates from both the Federal and State governments. Killing off Obamacare won't affect that. Worse, Medicare and Medicaid involve over a quarter of all medical expenditures, last I heard, and that was before Obamacare. That sort of power distorts the markets in unexpected ways (well, did you think there couldn't be any unintended consequences?).

    Green Bear

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  6. The lowest cost delivery of high quality healthcare is from a national programme. Simply compare proportion of GDP spent on health versus health outcomes. The USA spends twice as much and gets no better health outcomes than any other Western nation. Don't misunderstand my motives -I am an ardent capitalist but the free market fails here. On the wall -I think it is critical to the USA to get that job done. It was a Presidential pledge and it needs to be upheld for the world to see. Plus, it makes sense, leaving further resources to sink the inevitable South American "boat people" ships which will become economically viable as the cost of crossing the wall rises.

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    Replies
    1. I have extreme doubt as to the veracity of such 'research' as purporting to prove that increased spending does not result in better outcomes.
      As Americans, we treat our bodies like no other country in the world would. Heck, I have relatives whose diet consists *entirely* of Coca-Cola.
      If our spending is ten times that of Europe and results in 'similar outcomes', that is just an amazing testament to the US healthcare industry... yes... we are just *that* bad to our bodies! :)
      Normalize *that* one out.. I'm sure I can, it'll just be.... subjective... like all that crap research.

      Capitalism requires a bit of faith... central planning can be enforced with enslavement, and does not require faith whatsoever. That's why communism is so very attractive to those who seek to remove stochasticity from the lives of their future subjects.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    2. How about we pass a law that no American drug can be sold for less than it is sold in the US?
      Why are American citizens subsidizing drug prices for the rest of the world?

      Delete
    3. I'm not sure what you want to say here. I bought a bottle of Coke just yesterday at a gas station. I like Coke and needed a boost.
      If I were home I would have made coffee.
      What is your complaint?

      Delete
    4. The point was to claim that Americans take exceptionally poor care of their health. Like any other food product of little or no nutritional value, Coke won't hurt anybody in reasonable moderation...

      Delete
    5. actually the purpose of *that* point was to mention that studies claiming that the US health care system is more expensive but not more effective are rife with subjective assumptions. The health-keeping habits of americans and how difficult that would be to normalize, is just one of many things which would lead me to believe any such study would be entirely subjective with results determined by the political intent of the researcher.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
  7. 'the free market fails here' is an odd claim; y'all don't have a free market, not even approximately.

    Indeed I wonder if what you do have was assembled on whim by a joker who wanted to ensure that you were denied many of the advantages of a free market and many of the advantages of a centrally planned system.

    I once heard someone at a dinner party say she had had experience of the British, French, Canadian, and Icelandic systems and she thought the Icelanders had the best.
    Others speak highly of the system in Singapore. Even Spain gets kudos.

    Can Mr Mad tell us; as a retired employee of the Federal Government does he get some sort of advantageous health care deal?

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    Replies
    1. I do, indeed, have an excellent health plan. It's expensive, however, and I get nailed every month with a sizable deduction from my pension to pay for it, but it's good just about everywhere in the world. Don't know about North Korea . . .

      Delete
  8. You get that too eh?

    Seems near everytime we return from somewhere's that took over the time to go to the grocery store and back I hear, "I [demand] Diet Coke!"

    Me pleading, "Doggone woman we just went past the store and besides, didn't you get the extra box of .44s?"

    "Tradition," she, invariably says.

    And who am I to argue. (Yes I realize "one person" will insist I shoulda indicated an interrogatory at that unparentheticalized end but - he'd argue it however seeing as he's back from arguing with #1482.)

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  9. Not a fee for foreigners entering U S by train or plane ... a few thousand dollar bond that is returned to them when they leave. Might keep them from lingering forever ... This amout is not excessive when compared to what is paid to coyotes ... We might also insure that these immigrants have non-refundable return tickets ...

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    Replies
    1. that seems a really attractive proposal, along with a tax on remittances, say 15%

      Delete
    2. A small part of the problem with immigration from Mexico is that the immigrants REMAIN MEXICAN. Their family connections continue, their language and loyalty remain. One aspect of this is that, when they want to send money "home," they send cash, carried by a trusted family member. If we tax the giros sent via Orlando Valuti, this will only increase the percentage of remittances sent by unofficial channels, and get us little revenue, probably less than the cost of collecting the tax.

      Delete
    3. In my home I am not "unknown." Around here they call me Michael Adams

      Delete
  10. "Diet coke is people!"
    Soylent Green reference.

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  11. Mr Amselem,

    In light of your recent posts re France I thought to call attention to this:

    https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2018/12/how-nation-destroys-itself.html

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  12. The discussion is all very entertaining -- but we have to remember the backdrop: the current financial situation of the Federal Government is, as the Lefties love to say, "unsustainable". Not even Brit Lord Keynes believed that a government could spend more than it took in through good times as well as bad. And the trade deficit is as damaging and unsustainable as the Federal budget deficit.

    Eventually, choices are going to have to be made. Eliminate Medicare, or stop paying Dip's well-earned pension. Disband the Army, or eliminate Social Security.

    There is a rather interesting book -- Cataclysm 90 BC by Philip Matyszak -- about the end of the Roman Republic. Everyone was aware of the existential problems the Roman Republic faced. A few bold souls tried to avert the problems -- and got punished for their efforts. The Roman Political Class ducked the problems … until the problems ended the Republic.

    As the great geological principle of Uniformitarianism states -- Anything which has happened before can happen again. And in a world in which even countries with trade surpluses such as Japan & Germany run budget deficits, the inevitable consequences are not restricted to the US.

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    Replies
    1. Yup!
      Even living off the fat of the land,
      can, in time, become a 'weight loss' diet!

      One minor quibble tho, with your exposition:
      ..."or stop paying Dip's well-earned pension."
      suspect that a pension for career diplomating,
      is more "hard-earned" than "well-earned"! I know,
      every time I try diplomacy I wind up biting my tongue!
      On Watch~~~ 'appy Holy Days mates!
      P.S. Tks GL for the "Cataclysm 90 BC" by Philip Matyszak title, I'll read it as my last book of 2018 Anno Domini, good Lord willing~~~
      " Let's Roll"

      Delete
    2. Haven’t read Cataclysm 90 BC, but did read Maureen McCullough’s Masters of Rome seven volume series which begins with the rise of Gaius Marius in First Man in Rome and concludes with Octavian defeating Marc Antony in Anthony and Cleopatra.

      Delete
  13. For an example of what a true free-market insurance industry and medical market would look like - try this:
    https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=231949

    ReplyDelete