Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why Nigel Has Such Bad Teeth.

Before we radically expand the federal government's role in health care we should pay close attention to the strengths and weaknesses of our socialized systems. England's much vaunted National Health Care system highlights the economic reality that "there is no free lunch."

Government bureaucracies cannot simultaneously control costs and maintain quality. They can either control costs through rationing and austerity measures or maintain the quantity and quality of goods and services through unsustainable increases in expenditures. In the case of the NHS is appears as if they are suffering from the worst of both worlds - shortages coupled with rising expenditures. Here are but a few examples of problems with the NHS:

Kidney cancer patients denied life-saving drugs by NHS rationing body NICE:

Girl, 3, has heart operation cancelled three times because of bed shortage:

Cancer survivor confronts the health secretary on 62-day wait

Learning disabled 'failed by NHS'

Disabled children wait up to two years for wheelchairs

1,000 villagers wait for a dentist after just one NHS practice opens

Pensioner, 76 forced to pull out own teeth after 12 NHS dentists refuse to treat her:;jsessionid=4A6244871D11291DB8B7108437D19CDE

Political meddling" threatens general practice, warns GP leader

Government procrastination blamed for HIV-contaminated blood tragedy

Women in labour turned away by maternity units

Only five out of 51 hospital trusts passhygiene test, say inspectors

NHS is 'failing patients' despite record funding

Smokers and the obese banned from UK hospitals

5,000 elderly 'killed each year' by lack of care beds

10 Questions From Dennis Prager

10 Questions for Supporters of 'ObamaCare'

by Dennis Prager

1. President Barack Obama repeatedly tells us that one reason national health care is needed is that we can no longer afford to pay for Medicare and Medicaid. But if Medicare and Medicaid are fiscally insolvent and gradually bankrupting our society, why is a government takeover of medical care for the rest of society a good idea? What large-scale government program has not eventually spiraled out of control, let alone stayed within its projected budget? Why should anyone believe that nationalizing health care would create the first major government program to "pay for itself," let alone get smaller rather than larger over time? Why not simply see how the Democrats can reform Medicare and Medicaid before nationalizing much of the rest of health care?

2. President Obama reiterated this past week that "no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition." This is an oft-repeated goal of the president's and the Democrats' health care plan. But if any individual can buy health insurance at any time, why would anyone buy health insurance while healthy? Why would I not simply wait until I got sick or injured to buy the insurance? If auto insurance were purchasable once one got into an accident, why would anyone purchase auto insurance before an accident? Will the Democrats next demand that life insurance companies sell life insurance to the terminally ill? The whole point of insurance is that the healthy buy it and thereby provide the funds to pay for the sick. Demanding that insurance companies provide insurance to everyone at any time spells the end of the concept of insurance. And if the answer is that the government will now make it illegal not to buy insurance, how will that be enforced? How will the government check on 300 million people?

3. Why do supporters of nationalized medicine so often substitute the word "care" for the word "insurance?" it is patently untrue that millions of Americans do not receive health care. Millions of Americans do not have health insurance but virtually every American (and non-American on American soil) receives health care.

4. No one denies that in order to come close to staying within its budget health care will be rationed. But what is the moral justification of having the state decide what medical care to ration?

5. According to Dr. David Gratzer, health care specialist at the Manhattan Institute, "While 20 years ago pharmaceuticals were largely developed in Europe, European price controls made drug development an American enterprise. Fifteen of the 20 top-selling drugs worldwide this year were birthed in the United States." Given how many lives -- in America and throughout the world – American pharmaceutical companies save, and given how expensive it is to develop any new drug, will the price controls on drugs envisaged in the Democrats' bill improve or impair Americans' health?

6. Do you really believe that private insurance could survive a "public option"? Or is this really a cover for the ideal of single-payer medical care? How could a private insurance company survive a "public option" given that private companies have to show a profit and government agencies do not have to – and given that a private enterprise must raise its own money to be solvent and a government option has access to others' money -- i.e., taxes?

7. Why will hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies do nearly as superb a job as they now do if their reimbursement from the government will be severely cut? Haven't the laws of human behavior and common sense been repealed here in arguing that while doctors, hospitals and drug companies will make significantly less money they will continue to provide the same level of uniquely excellent care?

8. Given how many needless procedures are ordered to avoid medical lawsuits and how much money doctors spend on medical malpractice insurance, shouldn't any meaningful "reform" of health care provide some remedy for frivolous malpractice lawsuits?

9. Given how weak the U.S. economy is, given how weak the U.S. dollar is, and given how much in debt the U.S. is in, why would anyone seek to have the U.S. spend another trillion dollars? Even if all the other questions here had legitimate answers, wouldn't the state of the U.S. economy alone argue against national health care at this time?

10. Contrary to the assertion of President Obama -- "we spend much more on health care than any other nation but aren't any healthier for it" -- we are healthier. We wait far less time for procedures and surgeries. Our life expectancy with virtually any major disease is longer. And if you do not count deaths from violent crime and automobile accidents, we also have the longest life expectancy. Do you think a government takeover of American medicine will enable this medical excellence to continue?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Message to the Public

To those who follow the Chicago Freedom Forum, you are probably wondering why my volume of posts have significantly dropped and why my few posts are clips from comedians.

Don't worry, I haven't abandoned my conservative principles.

And don't rejoice, the fiscal insanity and dishonesty of the Obama Administration continue to provide me with endless material for new posts.

Rather, the reason why I have hardly posted is because of the common dilemma that proponents of economic freedom and limited government face - most are hard working individuals whose commitment to bettering their lives and that of their families offers them very little time for protests and political action. And as much as conservatives detest the heavy burden of taxation and regulation, the vast majority are law abiding. This means that rather than resist unjust policies, they choose to work harder to bear the burden of the state.

Rest assured when time permits, I will address the Obama Administrations egregious violation of the sound economic and constitutional principles that made the United States great.

Chris Rock - Closet Conservative?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Adam Carolla on the ACLU

The ACLU has done a lot of good things, but one problem with almost any social or government organization is that they always outlive their usefullness. Once they've addressed the original ills, they continuously generate new causes to justify their presence. The best example is Jesse Jackson - he started out attacking real violations of civil rights, but now he is just a camera hungry shake down artist. As usual Adam Carolla is on the ball.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Green Jobs My Ass!

We can debate the environmental benefits of the crap-and-trade program, but those who believe that it will lead to a net increase in jobs are seriously delusional on so many levels:

1. Massive government subsidies can create "green jobs," but by raising the cost of energy, energy-intensive industries will contract, leading to a net loss of jobs.

2. Subsidized industries equal an increased tax burden on productive citizens and enterprises, which means less capital for investment and consumption, which equals a loss of jobs in productive sectors, which will almost certainly lead to a net loss of jobs.

3. Supporters of the crap-and-trade believe that government can mandate a shift from a fossil fuel based economy to one based on renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power. The problem is that given our current level of technology, there is no way that "green energy" could meet more than a fraction of our energy needs, even with the lavish government subsidies that they receive. And I will personally pay for your tuition at clown college if you believe that the state can mandate a technological revolution. Revolutions in production occur when companies can provide technologies that can cost effectively meet the needs of the public, relative to other technologies.

4. And unlike the free market, government distributes subsidies according to political connections and not economic logic.

Cap-and-Trade Delusions

Proponents need to stop pretending cap-and-trade will cost nothing and create tons of jobs.

Ronald Bailey May 19, 2009

"The Waxman-Markey bill will create jobs by spurring investment in renewables and efficiency." So declared the liberal Center for American Progress as it announced support for the new cap-and-trade climate change bill introduced in Congress last week.

Clocking in at nearly 1000 pages, the American Clean Energy and Security Act—or Waxman-Markey after its sponsors Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)—proposes to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below their 2005 level by 2020, by 42 percent by 2030, and by 83 percent by 2050. In addition, the bill requires that electricity retailers meet 20 percent of their load by 2020 using either renewable sources of electricity or conservation. To achieve these goals, the U.S. will have to spend money on clean energy technologies which are far more expensive than conventional energy technologies.

All rhetoric aside, mandates cost money. Today, for example, President Barack Obama declared that new U.S. automobiles must get an average of 35 miles-per-gallon by the year 2016. Yet it is widely acknowledged that meeting this new standard will add $1,300 to the cost of each new car. In general, when prices go up, people buy less. So, all other things being equal, less demand for a product (like cars) means fewer jobs, not more. (Of course, there is one way to raise prices and create more jobs: reduce worker productivity. If policy makers deliberately encourage inefficiency in an industry, more jobs will likely follow. But that reduced productivity also means workers will receive lower wages.)

Producing low-carbon electricity will also cost more money. Currently, producing solar photovoltaic electricity costs about 33 cents per kilowatt hour; wind generated electricity is about 9 cents per kilowatt hour; and coal-fired production with carbon capture and sequestration is estimated to cost up to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. In contrast, producing electricity by means of conventional coal-fired plants now costs 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour and nuclear power comes to 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Once again, all other things being equal, higher costs mean that the energy industry will raise the prices of its goods and services. Which means that consumers will buy less, thus leaving the industry with less to spend on producing goods and services or to pay its workers. Will there be more people specifically employed making and installing higher-cost, government subsidized wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays, batteries for plug-in hybrid automobiles, and weatherized houses? Sure. But on net, there will fewer new jobs thanks to rising low-carbon energy costs.

In testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year, Peter Orszag, Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, admitted that a 15 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions would reduce American incomes. According to Orszag, the lowest quintile of households would pay an average of $680 more each year for goods and services (3.3 percent of their incomes) and the highest quintile would pay $2,180 more (1.7 percent of their incomes) than they would have in the absence of carbon rationing.

Another way to look at the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade proposal is that it functions like a tax increase. Under the bill, about half of all revenues raised by the cap-and-trade system between 2012 and 2025 will be recycled to businesses and consumers, with the other half spent by federal government. While recycling revenues is better than nothing, it introduces inefficiencies because the process distorts how workers and businesses would have spent the money had it not been collected and redistributed by the government.

Finally, Christina Romer, the head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, calculated last year that a 1 percent increase in taxes reduces economic output by 2 to 3 percent over the following three years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cap-and-trade scheme will collect about $80 billion per year in revenues, a figure that represents about 3 percent federal tax increase.

Man-made climate change may be a huge problem, but cap-and-trade proponents need to stop pretending that the solution will cost virtually nothing while producing more jobs than it destroys.

mass hypnosis

"Your frontal lobes are getting sleepy, so very sleepy...on the count of 10 you will awake and every time you hear the word "hope" or "change" you will ignore basic laws of economics and suspend your common sense..."