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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Exceptionally Exceptional

In Deploracism, Clovis made the comment below. It raises enough questions that I figured it deserves a post all its own.

Well, [Americans don't actually enjoy equality before the law], I don't think the word "exceptional" [wrt American Exceptionalism] means what you think it means.

Also, ideals which you are supposed to never live up to aren't "ideals", they are only ink over dead trees. After all, living by one ideals is what is supposed to be exceptional.

As an Air Officer, you took an oath to abide by the Constitution. Why the heck did you pledge your life to something you don't believe in??

"Exceptionalism" is exactly the right word. The US is exceptional in the sense that being American is all about a set of ideals, not ethnicity, religion, place of birth, etc. Compared to Japan, Europe, or anywhere else I've been, that is very much the exception.

Moreover, the US is exceptional in another dimension, perhaps less apparent at first glance: the imposition of constraints on government. The Constitution says nothing about what government must do, but goes into some detail what it may not do: impose religious tests for office; limit the ability to write, speak, read and hear; restrict meaningful self defense, usw. In other words, Americans have rights through negation -- natural law, expressed in the Declaration, implemented in the Constitution, strictly limits what a legitimate government may do.

Of course, there are numerous, often wide, gaps between "ought" and "is".

The Declaration and many parts of the Constitution express "ought". Everyone ought to be equal before the law, be completely free to speak, own a gun, not be subject to religious tests for office, etc.

So, in essence, the Declaration and Constitution amount to a governmental moral code, without which it would be far more difficult, if not impossible, ascertain illegitimate governance. Moreover, the gap between is and ought provides a basis for a moral arc to history.

Over time, the circle of moral regard has widened. People take a very different view of what constitutes moral behavior to those qualified to be within their group, as opposed to those outside it. So long as black Americans were considered an inferior version of humanity, they were outside circle of moral regard: it was perfectly fine to treat them in ways that would never be remotely acceptable for white Americans. But as reality intruded, it became progressively more difficult to maintain the notion that blacks aren't just as human as the rest of us, and just as increasingly difficult to continue excluding them from the circle of moral regard. This, in turn, created a gap, not new in reality, but newly perceived, between ought and is. And, therefore, the organic, and exceptional, imperative to close that gap.

Imperfectly, yes. Slowly, yes. Undoubtedly the knock-on effects will burden us for generations to come. But the imperative meant that black Americans, over the last 40 or so years, have gained complete legal parity with white Americans, while avoiding, to an astonishing extent, the violence oppressed groups have had to engage in elsewhere in order to lift their oppression (e.g., South Africa).

This is exactly why these ideals aren't ink smeared on dead trees.

So long, of course, as people understand and appreciate the timeless enlightenment principles embodied in the Constitution.

Unfortunately, that is far from the case. Hillary!, Trump, and the New York Times have all advocated "No Fly, No Buy". That is, if someone's name appears on the No Fly list, they may not purchase a gun. Only those who either don't believe in natural rights, or believe in unfettered government power, can possibly push such a thing. Our very existence entails the right to meaningful self defense, just as it entails the right to think, believe, speak, and hear freely. Advocating abridging such a right outside the due process of law is manifest proof that whoever does such a thing either doesn't understand, or is happy to willfully disregard, the very basis for our society.

Hillary!, Trump, the New York Times, and Harry all believe the political class is entitled to control political speech and, therefore, political thought. Unfortunately for them, since the US Constitution is based upon the concept of government that is legitimate only to the extent that it defends natural law, it is easy to see all of them for the tyrants they hope to be.

Hillary! is a pathological, ironically inept, given all her practice, liar. She clearly is a pandering sexist, and, as if that wasn't enough, a rapist enabler. Her house should have been raided, and she should be in jail. Trumpster is the distillation of ADD and Asperger's, leaving out all the good parts: whenever he gets bored, he sets himself on fire. At any given moment, it is almost impossible to tell whether his prodigious gift for arrogance is more, or ever so slightly less, appalling than his irremediable ignorance. He wouldn't know the Constitution if it smacked him upside the head, and is no more inclined to protect and defend it than a cat is a mouse.

Yet, despite all that, I'm confident the Republic will soldier on. Why? Because of that other source of American exceptionalism: the balance of powers. The differing sources of political power, tenure, and authority just about guarantee that no matter which of these complete knuckleheads wins the election, the other two branches will frustrate their manifest stupidities.

So there you have it: is and ought; the very real difficulty of having a moral code without some objective basis; and, the unique ability of Constitution to frustrate the fever dreams of arrogant, ignorant, idiotic, perverted, stupid, boneheaded, should have been strangled at birth politicians.

Which is to say, damn near all of them.

Those are reasons enough to pledge my life to defend something I believe in very much. No matter the gap between aspiration and reality.

71 comments:

erp said...

Here, here!

Except for the word, exceptionalism.

It's another semantic trick elites use. They accuse others of doing what they themselves are doing. Can't remember what that is called.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

I thank you for your thoughtful reply.

Though I can't help but feel like I am reading the justification for someone to believe in God due to some afterlife paradise.

The analogy being that you accept your "ought" in this life, believing the "is" may come later with Jesus.

In the meantime, the Holy Spirit - or the "balance of powers" - will protect your path.

Except when it comes to the wheat you can grow (Wickard v. Filburn), the ACA mandate, or to whom you can deny baking cakes, I guess. We can agree they are not much of a burden anyway.

Hey Skipper said...

The analogy being that you accept your "ought" in this life, believing the "is" may come later with Jesus.

I don't think that analogy fits. After all, in many ways, the gap between "is" and "ought" really isn't particularly large. In almost all cases, people can say and print whatever they want without any interference whatsoever. Generally speaking, people accused of a specific crime tend to be treated the same regardless of wealth and power. Rich murderers don't seem to get much more slack than the poor.

Of course there are exceptions, although perhaps not the ones you think of. So far as I know, Wickard is now seen as a glaring example of is falling well short of ought, just as Kelo is. But that only make my point: without an ought to judge is, there would be no way to assess the difference.

Similarly with the ACA. Here, though, (and the same is true with Hillary! and her damn emails), the executive and legislative branches put the judicial in an impossible situation. At the time, I thought Roberts blew it. However, it seems increasingly clear that he was playing a very long game, indeed. IF the ACA is as much of a stinkfest as its critics say, then there is precisely zero reason to kill that which is already dying.

Hmmm....

Anyway, back to what I was saying. "Ought", a concept which is absent from most polities, combined with negative limits on government power (compare and contrast with, say, Brazil), then it is very hard to hold a measuring stick up to political shenanigans and strike off those that fall short.

That, after all, is how, in the fullness of time, regrettable laws and decisions get cancelled.

And, it should be said, the existence of objective political morals doesn't mean they won't clash. Cake bakers can be considered common carriers (like restaurants and hotels) and therefore may not discriminate among customers. However, cake bakers can also have religious convictions, about which the government should have essentially nothing to say.

Obviously, both these things can't be true at the same time. Forty years ago, I would have thrown in with the common carrier argument. Now the zeitgeist is such that people making a religious rights stand are imposing a cost upon themselves.

That the DoI and Constitution sometimes create conflicts doesn't mean they aren't worthy of loyalty. Reality is like that, sometimes.

erp said...

IF the ACA is as much of a stinkfest as its critics say, then there is precisely zero reason to kill that which is already dying.

Hmmm...


Hmmm... Indeed!

ACA is dying exactly as planned and from its ashes will rise federal mandated single payer healthcare which was the plan all along. Don't like it, go to a boutique clinic probably mostly off shore -- Cuba comes to mind and get the kind of healthcare we got when we paid for our own insurance.

It goes without saying that private healthcare insurance will be made illegal, just as healthcare insurance for those eligible for Medicare was made illegal, so you'll have to pay for single payer and also pay out-of-pocket for private health care.

Healthcare for the downtrodden will be worse than ever, but middle class will join them and we can all, but the super rich lefty elites, look forward to a bureaucracy that will make the VA seem caring and competent.

Harry Eagar said...

What to do? What to do? (Holds head in pain) What if we passed a law providing a superior method?

I'd say if you have the votes to repeal Obamacare 50+ times, and you are making moral arguments, then it behooves you to propose a superior system. Otherwise you're just on a silly power trip -- all the sillier since you don't have the power to nail it down.

Or you could drop the moral preening, since the alternative with just repealing Obamacare means some poor people will die who didn't need to.

But, just as with tots being shot, you don't actually have any moral ideas.



erp said...

How about if government just sticks to its knitting? We can't survive any more meddling.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
I don't think that analogy fits. After all, in many ways, the gap between "is" and "ought" really isn't particularly large.
---
No analogy is completely fair. I am only being honest by telling you that it made me feel like reading an evangelical claim.

That your religion happens to be shown an efficient one in this life is one more good reason for you to knee, for sure.

---
Anyway, back to what I was saying. "Ought", a concept which is absent from most polities, combined with negative limits on government power (compare and contrast with, say, Brazil), then it is very hard to hold a measuring stick up to political shenanigans and strike off those that fall short.
---
You tell me your Good Book is the Truth and it sets the right from wrong. Even if we keep sinning, we know, just know, what is right.

But then your reference to Brazil is a very convenient one for my argument. For we are great sinners, you see. We made a copy of your Good Book a long time ago, and yet we sin with such fervor and unrepentance.

In other words, we do have a great deal of the same down here. We installed the separation and balance of powers in Law too. And it is a big fat joke.

I have no doubt that, were Brazil to take your exact Constitution, and the whole other books of law of your country, we wouldn't be any bit different the next day. Or the next year.

So there must be something about all this matter that is not written in the Good Book, isn't it?

IMO, there is, and that's faith. We lack the faith to take seriously much of what is written, and though we have a very expensive burlesque theather of a democratic republic, we are pretty much kidding ourselves.


That's probably the reason that led me to make the question you try to answer me here. When I look up to the USA and see the "ought" not being the "is", I ask myself: where and when things start going south? Why are their sinners not eroding their faith? How many more Hillaries and Trumps you need for that?

And do not get me wrong, please. When I see someone like you, prepared to die for your Country and Constitution, it fills me with respect. And I must confess, a little bit of envy too.

erp said...

Clovis, nicely stated. Don't know if Skipper will agree, but IMO things started going south when the unions took over the public schools in the 60's and it's coming on three generations that have been fed leftwing propaganda instead of the 3 R's, history, geography and all those other Jeopardy categories. Benjamin Franklin said, we have given you a Republic, if you can keep it and you can only keep it with an informed citizenry. Alas, that we no longer have.

Question for you about Brazil. Were you surprised that Brazil voted with the majority on the UN motion that Jews have no "connection" to Jerusalem holy sites.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

As far as I understood the imbroglio, the resolution does no such thing:

---
The resolution said Muslims’ freedom of worship was being curtailed by “escalating aggressions and illegal measures”. It deplored the “continuous storming of al-Aqsa mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif by the Israeli rightwing extremists and uniformed forces … [and] forceful entering by so-called ‘Israeli Antiquities’ officials”.
---

It was not a resolution stating the sites are not connected to Israel. It was completely another matter - but, because it did not name the wall by its Israeli name, Israelis reframed it as denying them their heritage.

So, to the extent the resolution is about condemning violence, the Brazilian vote was entirely predictable.


I can see why Israelis may be offended, but quite frankly, I can't get myself to care to all this splitting hair over names. Actually, I can't get myself to care for anything involving Israel/Palestine anymore, it's like watching the same bad movie one thousand times. I only read this one because you asked - this ends my quota for the year.

erp said...

Clovis, you might feel differently if you were a Jew.

Sorry for this, but I couldn't find a link that wasn't a snark.

History Lesson by Larry Miller, usually incorrectly attributed to Dennis Miller. Sorry, I couldn't find it on line without snark about both Millers.

FTA

A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs ...

The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, and there were no "Palestinians" then, and the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians" then.

...

Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David.

...

Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

...

Just reverse the numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not.

...

Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting. No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.
---
As you are with me, Erp. Really, I can't take debating Israel anymore. Nothing you quote above is news to me.

---
Clovis, you might feel differently if you were a Jew.
---
I doubt so. I don't think I would care which name you want to write in a piece of paper (no matter if it goes with some UNESCO stamp) for my wall. It would still be my wall. And since I am Jew and Israeli, I know I have 200 nuclear bombs to back my claim on that wall. You have only a bunch of crying babies at some outdated building in NY. What do I care?

erp said...

Clovis, that might have been the attitude back when we had Israel's back, but now I'm not so sure. The difference about the nukes, neither we nor Israel have used them in 75 years. Now that the Islamic coalition (I can't remember all their names) seem to have or are about to get nukes, we can see how well Pax Islamica turns out. Perhaps Brazil and the rest of the unaffiliated world will like it better than Pax Americana.

Pace Harry, we did use them once and then because Japan didn't think we had another, we had to show them we did. Saved a hell of a lot of our guys' lives. Remember they started the war by killing a lot of us in a sneak attack -- that's what it was all about. Frankie had to get us to declare war on the axis and it didn't look like were going to pull Europe's chestnuts out of the fire again without being attacked ourselves.

Clovis e Adri said...

The worst thing about the end of the Cold War is that you of more hawkish tendencies are running out of relevant enemies, Erp. Then you need to imagine them out there whenever possible. Ironically, you are thd one not enjoying much of that Pax you talk about...

erp said...

Please explain. The Soviets and Chicoms weren't my enemies or even U.S. enemies, but enemies to world peace and they weren't in my imagination. It wasn't us that enjoyed the "Pax" since we were the ones on guard.

Clovis e Adri said...

You talk about then, Erp, I talk about now.

There are no strong enemies anymore, nor commies below your bed. Israel is no longer a fragile rose in the middle of the desert, but a mighty nation. The main challenger to the Pax Mundi in the last 15 years has probably been their main enforcer: America itself.

erp said...

On this we must agree to disagree. I'll leave it to Skipper to explain why.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I'd say if you have the votes to repeal Obamacare 50+ times, and you are making moral arguments, then it behooves you to propose a superior system.

I'm not sure how what we had before is worse than is Obamacare's epic meltdown.

Telling, though, is how you elide that which is inconvenient. The Constitution does not allow Congress to mandate individual economic activity, which is precisely what Obamacare does. However, having done that, what is now off limits to Congress? Anything? The Constitution's constraints on government, shot through though they are by the gross abuse of the Commerce Clause, are now in ruins thanks to Obamacare.

And what have progs gotten in return? A shambolic POS that is collapsing under its own stupidity and hubris. Unless, of course, what progs really wanted isn't merely single payer, but the ongoing elimination of all constraints on government power. In other words, that which had made America exceptional. But progressives and communists/fascists — but I multiply repeat myself — are three terms all referring to the same thing: totalitarians. And totalitarians are going to totalitarianate.

As for proposing a superior system, already done. (It is worth noting, even if I do say so myself, how prophetic that 3-yr old post has been.)

But, just as with tots being shot, you don't actually have any moral ideas.

You keep trotting that tired old nag out, then when challenged, scarper like, well, exactly like you do every time you are challenged on it. Nevertheless, I will try again.

More children drown than die of gunshots. Yet you are completely silent on banning backyard swimming pools.

Orders of magnitude more children are the victims of state sanctioned murders of convenience every year. On this, you are silent.

Opioids kill more people than guns. Your voice, demanding their banning, is conspicuously silent.

Cars kill more kids than guns. I don't recall you once ever advocating for a nationwide 25mph speed limit.

What all of this proves, to any one with a modicum of reasoning skills, is that it isn't lives that motivating you and your trumped up moral puffery, but rather the sheer offensiveness, to a totalitarian collectivist (dammit, there I go again, rererepeating myself) such as yourself, of individuals providing for their own self defense and having the ability to resist state tyranny.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] ACA is dying exactly as planned and from its ashes will rise federal mandated single payer healthcare which was the plan all along.

I don't think the plan was nearly all that. The first two consequences of the ACA were turfing a cartload of Democratic legislators, and, through the perfectly comical ACA website, the heaping of ridicule on the ACA in particular, and government in general.

That isn't awfully fertile ground upon which to trot out single payer.

It goes without saying that private healthcare insurance will be made illegal, just as healthcare insurance for those eligible for Medicare was made illegal.

There are a couple concepts in play here: insurance and provision. Once upon a time in the single payer world, the state was the sole provider of healthcare. No bonus points for guessing how well that worked, and continues to not work in socialist hellholes like Cuba and Venezuela.

Now, SFAIK, in all single payer western countries, there is a private insurance market, and people may obtain healthcare outside the single payer system. Why they would want to do such a thing, when single payer results are so brilliant, is a singular mystery to me. But there you go.

(Off topic, but:

If I was the Head Dude What's in Charge, I would:

1. Deduct all healthcare spending from gross income.

2. Provide a health coverage subsidy in inverse relationship to income.

3. Put a tight leash on malpractice lawyers, in part by codifying best practices. (By definition, no adverse outcome, where the practitioners were adhering to best practices, is litigable.)

4. Free-riders are at the end of the line.

5. Pay for the subsidy by higher taxes on the rich, and obtain their consent by, first, a sustained effort to convince them that they should agree, and then conducting a vote where only those who will be additionally taxed are eligible to vote.)

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] No analogy is completely fair. I am only being honest by telling you that it made me feel like reading an evangelical claim.

Not an evangelical claim, but rather a minimalist set of axioms. (NB: Mathematics has axioms — unprovable assertions. They aren't evangelical, but they are essential and useful to the extent they work.)

We are all equally entitled to our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. You say those assertions are essentially indistinguishable from religious belief.

I disagree on two counts, minor and major. There are no religions based on such a spare set of assumptions, clearly stated. (Or, for that matter, communism. The political philosophy underlying the DoI is a model of brevity and clarity compared to that ordure pile called Marxism.) More importantly, though, is that those assertions are amenable to testing.

Go and ask as many people as you wish whether you are more entitled than they to life, liberty, and happiness. How many do you think will agree?

You tell me your Good Book is the Truth and it sets the right from wrong. Even if we keep sinning, we know, just know, what is right.



But then your reference to Brazil is a very convenient one for my argument. For we are great sinners, you see. We made a copy of your Good Book a long time ago, and yet we sin with such fervor and unrepentance.

In other words, we do have a great deal of the same down here. We installed the separation and balance of powers in Law too. And it is a big fat joke.

So there must be something about all this matter that is not written in the Good Book, isn't it?


Does that indict the "Good Book", or is the blame best placed elsewhere?

While the case I'm trying to make is that the US is exceptional: it is the only country predicated upon a spare set of assumptions; that has a constitution constraining government; provides rights through negation; and, it is the first that explicitly separated religion from government.

That's all true, and I don't think any of that is claiming too much. However, it is worth noting that in practice all other countries with English as the native language — Canada, New Zealand, Australia — operate pretty much the same way. It isn't the language that makes the difference, but perhaps English common law does.

When I look up to the USA and see the "ought" not being the "is", I ask myself: where and when things start going south? Why are their sinners not eroding their faith? How many more Hillaries and Trumps you need for that?

I loath both Hillary! and the Trumpsterocity. I think it astonishing either one of these fools are in a position to become president. However, I don't think the US is worse than during, say Jim Crow. Or when women faced all manner of legal impediments due solely to their plumbing.

That both those things are behind us deserves being on the scorecard, too.

erp said...

Skipper, single payer was the goal since Harry's vaunted "New Deal" and softening up the public with a stopgap plan like ACA was required to convince people that it would be the way to go and as an added benefit, bankrupt insurance companies.

Few people not in their dotage even remember what it was like before the cultural revolution of the 60's and I hope you are being sarcastic when you say single payer in western countries is so brilliant.

Funny story, when I first met my soon-to-be French daughter-in-law almost 30 years ago, her first words to me was that she was a Marxist. After that I met her grandfather who was a member of the Free French during the war and was also a lifelong communist. That said, she continued to support left wing causes and my "brilliant" theoretical physicist son who seldom knew which day of the week is was, also professed to believe in them. However, when their daughter was born, they didn't go to the free clinic (or whatever it's called). The mother-to-be went to a private doctor and hospital and when it came time to put my granddaughter in daycare, it was also a private facility even though state run "free" birthing and child care facilities were conveniently located nearby.

The theory being, what's bon for thee, ain't bon for moi.

I knew a lot of German nationals when I was working and from what I heard, the German single payer system worked well and I didn't hear many complaints about it as I did from other European nationals and, yes, Peter, there are a lot of Canadians around here in Florida, from them. So many Canadians waited until they came here to get medical attention, that the Canadian law was changed to stop them from doing so and getting reimbursed by your system.

Are you enjoying the German single payer system or is that only for German citizens?

Skipper, please define what you mean by "healthcare" in item #1 of your list above. Does that include sex changes, surgical repairs from sodomy, as I read a prisoner in Guantanamo was provided, cosmetic surgery and other procedures too sordid to discuss ... ?

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Skipper, single payer was the goal since Harry's vaunted "New Deal" and softening up the public with a stopgap plan like ACA was required to convince people that it would be the way to go and as an added benefit, bankrupt insurance companies.

That's as may be. IMHO, completely gooning up Obamacare is not a very good way to convince people they way more of the same.

I hope you are being sarcastic when you say single payer in western countries is so brilliant.

It is impossible to read that line with sufficient sarcasm, which progs need to do, then wonder why it is, if single payer is so wonderful, people will pay on top of the going rate to get out of it.

That said, she continued to support left wing causes and my "brilliant" theoretical physicist son who seldom knew which day of the week is was, also professed to believe in them. However, when their daughter was born ...

I can't help but notice the Obama daughters go to Sidwell Friends.

... from what I heard, the German single payer system worked well ...

Germany's healthcare system isn't single payer, it is a combination of public and private.

I haven't needed anything so far, except for my semi-annual flight physical and a couple prescriptions. They are all paid out of employer provided health insurance.

Skipper, please define what you mean by "healthcare" in item #1 of your list above. Does that include sex changes, surgical repairs from sodomy, as I read a prisoner in Guantanamo was provided, cosmetic surgery and other procedures too sordid to discuss ... ?

That is one of the rampaging problems. Up until the, oh, I dunno, mid-seventies, healthcare was limited to treating physical and mental illness that impeded normal life functions. Then some damn federal court or another decided that was too restrictive, and healthcare meant treating anything that makes us feel bad. Therefore, fertility treatments, sex change operations and similar things.

Not cosmetic surgery, unless it is reconstructive, SFAIK. (Similarly for corrective eye surgery and orthodontia.)

Also, our ability for heroic treatment of preemies is way beyond what was possible 40 years ago, hugely expensive, and impossible to deny.

erp said...

Thanks for the clarification. As for the last item. No expense is too great IMO to save a human life and especially that of our littlest humans. I was in a facility for unwed mothers, many of them in jail, earlier this week. I know there is some euphemism being used now, but I can't remember what it is -- a friend is part of a medical group that provides services for the babies, quite a few of whom are preemies.

Some of these guys were so tiny, it took my breath away, but there they were struggling to breathe and join We, the People. The staff there are wonderful and they assured me many people like me who go there for the first time get dust particles in their eyes which make them tear and cause them make generous donations with greatest of pleasure. :-)

erp said...

... Forgot. I guess repairing the effects of sodomy is considered reconstructive cosmetic surgery.

;-}

Hey Skipper said...

Unless, of course, the sodomy was the consequence of rape that occurred when someone was imprisoned and under government protection, particularly if that someone hasn't been convicted of a crime. (Although, I'm pretty certain it shouldn't make any difference.)

erp said...

The procedure was done on a Islamc terrorist prisoner at Guantanamo.

Hey Skipper said...

Here's a column progressives and Harry should read, but won't.

Impossible to know who is worse, a stupendously ignorant, undisciplined, loathsome, narcissist; or, a stupendously arrogant, America-hating, loathsome, pathological liar.

At the moment, and this could change at any moment, my vote is going to Trump. Not because I hate him any less than Hillary! -- after all, and I'm sure Clovis will back me up on this -- once you get past hatred with the fire of a million supernovae, the degrees get hard to measure.

The tie breaker is the MSM. It has been so biased, so lacking in professional pride or ethics that it is impossible to heap enough disdain upon that shameful pack of lickspittles.

However, while the MSM can be counted upon to carefully arrange Pres Clinton's cushions, and simperingly feed her grapes upon command, they will yap at a Pres Trump with all the frenzy of a thoroughly caffeinated chihuahua.

We've already had 8 years of journalist sycophancy, continuing that pathetic record is more than my stomach can stand.

erp said...

... add to the media's boosterism and coverups that both our current president and our probable next president take their orders from Soros et al. whose goal is the total destruction of western civilization.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] The procedure was done on a Islamic terrorist prisoner at Guantanamo.

Doesn't matter, neither legally nor morally.

erp said...

Even if the "injury" was incurred prior to his incarceration?

Hey Skipper said...

I have no idea about any of the details. I presumed it happened while in our custody and, hence, our responsibility.

erp said...

That would be true if he were in a regular prison, but he's in a facility where all the inmates are on the same team, so it's unlikely he was raped. I believe prisoners should receive medical attention when required, but this is far beyond the pale.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

And why are you so sure the (supposed) 'terrorist' was not raped by your guys?

It is not like it never happened before.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
If I was the Head Dude What's in Charge, I would:
[...]
5. Pay for the subsidy by higher taxes on the rich, and obtain their consent by, first, a sustained effort to convince them that they should agree, and then conducting a vote where only those who will be additionally taxed are eligible to vote.)
---

There we have a Head Dude in charge with democratic tendencies. Which begs the question: after they vote 'no', what else?

erp said...

Clovis, Abu Ghraib was staged by CBS and Dan Rather and his producer, Mary ?? who actually went jail-- her last name and the details escape me at the moment and I don't want Google to regurgitate the "official" version to relive that travesty -- that's why I don't believe it was one of our guys, that and they would have been on their free cell phones calling their lawyers in a New York minute.

Clovis e Adri said...

Of course, Erp, and they had some help from Area 51 UFOs too.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
I loath both Hillary! and the Trumpsterocity. I think it astonishing either one of these fools are in a position to become president. However, I don't think the US is worse than during, say Jim Crow. Or when women faced all manner of legal impediments due solely to their plumbing.

That both those things are behind us deserves being on the scorecard, too.
----
Do they?

Because, as it happened, the end of slavery, women and minority rights have been evolving in a whole lot of places where the US Constituion holds not.

Which configures another religious act you engage in: you pray and someone else got cured.

erp said...

If anyone could corrupt ET's, it would be Soros et al. leaders of the free and the unfree world, but in this case, they didn't need help off-planet. There were enough people in full BDS lunacy mode to accomplish the simple job of staging photo-ops and presenting it to the media who ran with it.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] There we have a Head Dude in charge with democratic tendencies. Which begs the question: after they vote 'no', what else?

"After" or "If"? I happen to think that if all practical measures had been taken on the cost side, then it would be well within the realm of reason to expect that a reasoned argument appealing to noblesse oblige would work, particularly if the vote isn't tainted by people voting goodies for themselves.

And if the vote goes the wrong way, then the Dept of Education gets axed.

[erp:] Clovis, Abu Ghraib was staged by CBS and Dan Rather and his producer, Mary ??

Mary Mapes. The story that she and Rather staged was about faked documents about Pres. Bush's National Guard service.

Sadly, Abu Ghraib was all to real. It was a serious breakdown in leadership. Unfortunately, as is all too often the case, even in the military, those truly responsible weren't those punished.

[HS:] That both those things are behind us deserves being on the scorecard, too.
----
Do they?

Because, as it happened, the end of slavery, women and minority rights have been evolving in a whole lot of places where the US Constitution holds not.


A whole lot of places? How about nowhere in Russia, Asia, the middle-East or any other place where Islam held sway. And scarcely in Central and South America. Africa? As if.

What part of the globe does that leave? Western Europe and the Anglosphere, the only places that were a product of the Enlightenment. Which brings up the points of my argument you keep ignoring: to be an American is about ideals, not ethnicity, religion, place of birth, etc. Of all the countries that have ever been, maybe four can persuasively make that claim: the Anglosphere. So already that is a pretty select group, and the US was the first to get there. Second, it is certainly the first, and SFAIK, the only that has a contract with the citizens that puts express limits on what government may do.

Yes, other parts of the world have been evolving in terms of women's and minority rights, by emulating the West, and the US in particular.

Which configures another religious act you engage in: you pray and someone else got cured.

Nonsense.



erp said...

Skipper, I beg to differ. The business about the forged letter was a different attempt to discredit Bush. You won't find anything about Abu Gharib on line. They gave cell phones to some soldiers who worked as guards at night and they collaborated with CBS on the documentary.

Harry Eagar said...

This is for erp:

http://addictinginfo.org/2016/10/25/busted-wisconsin-clerk-gets-caught-trying-to-rig-the-election-for-trump/

Harry Eagar said...

'Do they?'

Sure, but not all Americans can -- or do -- take satisfaction in the changes. Only liberals get credit.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[Clovis:] There we have a Head Dude in charge with democratic tendencies. Which begs the question: after they vote 'no', what else?
[...]
And if the vote goes the wrong way, then the Dept of Education gets axed.
---
I see.

But unless you can name what else you will gut, in order to cover the remaining 1,05 trillion dollars of your health care budget, I may start thinking your Dept of Education may be still a necessity...

---
Unfortunately, as is all too often the case, even in the military, those truly responsible weren't those punished.
---
Oh, let me help you here with that misprint. You meant "particularly in the military" but typed "even".

Or what makes you think an institution based purely on unquestioned authority would lead to any other result, than the higher ups cleaning their boots (and errors) on their inferiors?



---
A whole lot of places? How about nowhere in Russia, Asia, the middle-East or any other place where Islam held sway. And scarcely in Central and South America. Africa? As if.
---
Last time I checked, relatively very few of those places had slavery. Delete Islam, Middle East and Africa, and you will need to cherry pick in order to argue women are treated as lesser beings in any relevant nation. As I deleted Islamic populations everywhere, even opressed (ethnic/racial) minorities won't be all that easy to find.

As you look to have realized how strong your statement was, you hedged with...

---
[Skipper] Yes, other parts of the world have been evolving in terms of women's and minority rights, by emulating the West, and the US in particular.

[Clovis, previously] Which configures another religious act you engage in: you pray and someone else got cured.

[Skipper] Nonsense.
---
... only to gift me by calling nonsense the exact attitude I preemptively mocked, which is the phrase you first wrote in the quote above.

Amen.

Hey Skipper said...

[HS:] And if the vote goes the wrong way, then the Dept of Education gets axed.
---

[Clovis:] I see.

But unless you can name what else you will gut, in order to cover the remaining 1,05 trillion dollars of your health care budget, I may start thinking your Dept of Education may be still a necessity...


That was tongue-in-cheek. The Dept of Education needs axing regardless of how such a vote might go.

Regarding that $1.05T, that is a very static analysis. Tort driven defensive medicine contributes a great deal to costs -- creating treatment standards will go a long way to eliminating that through the de facto case that adhering to standards eliminates negligence as a cause of bad outcomes.

Also, you are double billing my proposal. Almost all current government spending on healthcare goes away, and is replaced by a income related decreasing subsidy for the purchase of health coverage. The only role the government would have is establishing and enforcing standards of care and coverage. In a sense, my plan is a form of guaranteed income, only restricted to the purchase of healthcare. The net cost to the budget will be less than $1.05T, perhaps much less. Unfortunately, there really isn't much room for bureaucrats and process-loving socialists in such an idea.

(Similarly: The US spends roughly $1T per year on various welfare costs and pooreaucracies. Alternatively, we could a) eliminate the minimum wage and b) provide twice monthly a pay check from the government to all workers that would make up the difference between what they earn and $36,000/year -- $15,000 above the current poverty level), and scrap essentially all welfare spending and pooreaucracies. $1T would give $36,000 to nearly 28 million people. Now think about how many people that would effect if the money was not $36k per person, but the gap between earnings and $36k. Think about how many jobs wouldn't be going overseas anymore. Think about the effect on women if men become income sources. Wonder why the hell it is some think a high minimum wage and massive handouts are good ideas.)

Oh, let me help you here with that misprint. You meant "particularly in the military" but typed "even".


No, let me help you with your misconception. There isn't enough accountability in the military, but there is far more than in the rest of government. Compare Patraeus v. Clinton. Or these guys. Or these.

Then compare with, say, the VA scandal. Or the IRS fiasco.

Last time I checked, relatively very few of those places had slavery.

Russia didn't have slavery? What the heck do you call serfdom, or the gulag? In what sense did China ever, in it entire history, ever conclude the primacy of the individual over the collective? Islam is perfectly happy with slavery -- look it up -- and treats women as chattel. Africa is a tribalist horror show.

Outside the West, the notion that individuals possess inherent rights simply did not, and mostly still doesn't, exist. Within the West, that notion is most prominent in the Anglosphere, and within the Anglosphere, has its most explicit expression in the US.

Nothing religious about that, it's all a matter of history.

erp said...

Harry, I answered you on the wrong string. Short version: it's an obvious scam.

erp said...

Clovis, education is not the purview of the federal or state government, so the federal Department of Education is not only unnecessary, it's illegal, not that anyone except some eccentric geezers care know or care about it.

Harry Eagar said...

'Outside the West, the notion that individuals possess inherent rights simply did not, and mostly still doesn't, exist.'

I can think of plenty of areas inside the West where it doesn't exist, and even if I limit myself to the Anglosphere it would take me many days to list them.

We could start with the rightwingers' poster boy Acton, for example.

erp said...

Harry -- Wow ! Acton a fascist? Who knew?

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I can think of plenty of areas inside the West where it doesn't exist, and even if I limit myself to the Anglosphere it would take me many days to list them.

We could start with the rightwingers' poster boy Acton, for example.


How about you start with actual evidence, since your bloviations are so notoriously unreliable.

Harry Eagar said...

'Who knew?'

I did not call him a fascist, I called him a poster boy of the rightwing, which he is.

I have read Acton, which is more than you have. I purchased my highly-subsidized copy of his lectures on the Confederacy -- he loved it -- from a rightwing publishing concern.

There's your actual evidence, Skipper.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] There's your actual evidence, Skipper.



That's not evidence, that is more bloviating.

Here is your assertion: I can think of plenty of areas inside the West where [the assertion individuals possess inherent rights] doesn't exist, and even if I limit myself to the Anglosphere it would take me many days to list them.


Amount of evidence, or even explanation, you have provided: zeeeeeeero.

Pretty much par for your course.

erp said...

Harry, until you provide your definition of rightwinger, I will continue to use the generally accepted definition used in the media which is a fascist, i.e., a socialist who prefers crony capitalism to a totally state controlled economy.

Congratulations on reading Acton. Please explain how and why that pertains to the price of tea in China*.

*For Clovis: Saying from the old days denoting a nutso/off-the-wall non sequitur.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


---
Also, you are double billing my proposal. [....] The net cost to the budget will be less than $1.05T, perhaps much less.
---
Of course, Skipper. You just found the final solution to healthcare, how come no one ever thought about that?

The only reason you spend $1.17 Trillion ion health care is because anything govt touches is mightly inefficient, you just take it away and costs can only be lower!

Oh my, what those facts are doing there, messing up my theory? No, just forget you saw that, it is rubish.



---
No, let me help you with your misconception. There isn't enough accountability in the military, but there is far more than in the rest of government. Compare Patraeus v. Clinton. Or these guys. Or these.
---
Really?

What I take from the above cases is: if you are a very big Chief, like Patraeus, be sure you can do whatever you want, no one will get you while in the Army. Only make sure you do not go to work as a civilian in the CIA, the privilege package there isn't that big.

If you are a bit of a lesser Chief, well, don't mess up with the wrong people just yet, for they can finally stop giving cover for you after 10+ years.

Oh, and the last link is all about making sure your inferiors keep knowing their places, there are no lack of arbitrary laws to throw at their faces whenever needed.

Thanks, Skipper, for proving my point. I couldn't do better myself, ever.


---
[Clovis] Last time I checked, relatively very few of those places had slavery.
Russia didn't have slavery? What the heck do you call serfdom, or the gulag?
---
Maybe mine was a poor phrase, but I surely counted on your good attention. Last time I checked Russia was not 90 years ago.


---
Outside the West, the notion that individuals possess inherent rights simply did not, and mostly still doesn't, exist. Within the West, that notion is most prominent in the Anglosphere, and within the Anglosphere, has its most explicit expression in the US.

Nothing religious about that, it's all a matter of history.
---

History is actually a lot richer than that. You may enjoy checking this timeline.

Or this one.

It may come as shock to you, but the USA does not have a monopoly, nor a primacy, on morality.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Of course, Skipper. You just found the final solution to healthcare, how come no one ever thought about that?

The only reason you spend $1.17 Trillion health care is because anything govt touches is mightily inefficient, you just take it away and costs can only be lower!

Oh my, what those facts are doing there, messing up my theory? No, just forget you saw that, it is rubbish.


Did you read what I wrote? I'm going with "no".

If you count current spending on health care, and then add spending by different means that displaces current spending, then you are double billing.

The point, which you seem to be missing, is that if there are no income barriers to purchasing health coverage — in other words, a sector specific guaranteed minimum income — then all existing government spending happens in a different way. Therefore, adding individuals' spending to existing government spending amounts to counting twice what only exists once.

That should be obvious enough, and doesn't require any speculation.

Changing health care coverage in this way will have knock-on effects, which are more speculative, but can't be ignored. When people can trade coverage costs, then they get price sensitive. Because I am fortunate enough to earn enough money to purchase coverage (Extremely important factor here: because my employer purchased on my behalf health care coverage does not show up as income, then I am not taxed on it. That means I pay 28-35% less for exactly the same thing than someone who is paying out of pocket. Because progressives are beholden to unions — one of which I am a member — Obamacare didn't touch this hideous moral offense.)

So why hasn't anyone thought of it?

I can only guess.

The first, and most obvious answer is that there are no end of things I haven't taken into account.

Following that, in decreasing order of probability: Progressives think people are stupid, and require the close embrace of mother government to save them. Conservatives can't stand the thought of people getting that which they haven't earned.

There's a reason I posed this in the first place. I am certain that if honestly posed, selling this kind of redistribution to the conspicuously fortunate among us — one of whom is me — would be a slam-dunk. It puts government in the position of leveling the playing field, addresses an obvious need, preserves the power of the market, and gives the well off an opportunity to feel good about themselves.

Put differently: politicians are pathetic reptilian assholes. That they haven't thought of something is no indictment of the idea.

Hey Skipper said...

What I take from the above cases is: if you are a very big Chief, like Patraeus, be sure you can do whatever you want, no one will get you while in the Army. Only make sure you do not go to work as a civilian in the CIA, the privilege package there isn't that big.

Aside from the apparently unimportant facts that he trashed his military career, and has a conviction record he has to report. For a, in the grand scheme of things, a trivial violation compared to Hillary!'s email server.

Accountability in the military isn't nearly what it should be — I know this from very personal experiences — but it is far greater than in the political realm. I personally know of an officer who spent time in jail because of an affair with an enlisted subordinate. I personally know of an officer who had been promoted to general, then, when certain facts came to light, was threatened with a court martial if he didn't resign at a lower rank.

For having a consensual relationship with a subordinate.

Maybe mine was a poor phrase, but I surely counted on your good attention. Last time I checked Russia was not 90 years ago.

Yes, it was a very poor phrase.

No, Russia was more like 115 years ago. Our Civil War came more than 50 years before that, and a century before communism's disdain for the individual gave us the gulag, mass executions, and the holodomor.

Or every instance of class warfare ever.

History is actually a lot richer than that. You may enjoy checking this timeline.

You are making one of the most common logical errors to be found: judging people long dead by contemporary moral standards. Then compounded that error by apparently not reading your cite. What about 1900-present?

How about re-reading what I wrote about the expanding circle of moral regard, and how American exceptionalism made for more fertile ground, and how revolutionary changes happened here with a conspicuous lack of violence.

It may come as shock to you, but the USA does not have a monopoly, nor a primacy, on morality.

Not nearly as much as the shock to you that I never made that claim.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
The point, which you seem to be missing, is that if there are no income barriers to purchasing health coverage — in other words, a sector specific guaranteed minimum income — then all existing government spending happens in a different way. Therefore, adding individuals' spending to existing government spending amounts to counting twice what only exists once.
----
I did not add govt spending to individual spending. I only deleted all present govt spending and used it as a first number to calculate how much the richer would need to subsidize the poor on health care under your plan.

You look to think that, by doing so, that total amount must be less than now. I presented evidence that, in the least, says it is not a straightforward case: the private system has shown higher costs and higher growth of costs. And I've chosen data up to 2011 so you could not blame ACA just yet.

I am sympathetic to the idea of a general minimum income for people. I am not sympathetic to the idea of a specific minimum income for specific areas: like healthcare or school vouchers.

And it is about price setting theory, again.

A general minimum income is money the person will use in the market out there, ANY market out there. Which is a better approximation of a ideal free market.

A specific mininum income is money you will use only in a specific - and possibly far from ideal - market. Health care happens to hardly be a market attending those simplistic 'ideal' conditions. They are less constrained by supply and demand, and can better insulate themselves against competition.

The end result is: in such specific markets, chances are high that your minimum income soon won't be minimal at all. Where you would have a median or average to set the line of cut (below which people get money), that line will move to be your floor.

So, in brief words, I see your plan as getting the worse from both capitalism and socialism at the same time.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] You look to think that, by doing so, that total amount must be less than now. I presented evidence that, in the least, says it is not a straightforward case: the private system has shown higher costs and higher growth of costs.

Did it occur to you that one of -- if not the primary -- reason for that is cost shifing?

How about looking at medical sectors where cost shifting and government interference is far less. Dentistry, for instance. Or optometrists and lasik eye surgery. Cosmetic surgeons.

And, especially, veterinarians.

About that: medical procedures on dogs and cats are just as complex as the same procedures on humans. Why, then, are they so much less expensive?

I am not sympathetic to the idea of a specific minimum income for specific areas: like healthcare or school vouchers.

I'll take the easy one first. School vouchers provide parents a choice, they do not provide anything like a minimum income. Right now, the law in most states requires that the per capita school funding, paid for entirely out of taxes, may be spent only at state run schools, infested with unions that shouldn't exist in the first place. School vouchers provide the per capita funding to the parents instead, and gives them the power to decide where that money should be spent. There are downsides and complications, no doubt. But just as certainly, there are very real downsides to many state run schools, and all teachers' unions.

As for healthcare, there are two problems: cost and affordability. Obamacare did nothing for cost, and could not possibly have done, because all it did was redistribute income and impose coverage. It didn't touch medical standards or tort reform, nor did it so much as glance in the direction of perverse incentives: people need to pay something at the point of consumption.

Using veterinary medicine as a model -- pretty much a free market, with almost no insurance involvement, prices for comparable procedures are roughly a tenth of what they are for people. Replacing an ACL on a dog? $20-50,000.

Ten to twenty times as much for essentially the same damn thing. Why?

If human healthcare had to contend with something like the same market forces as veterinarians do, and did not impose tort and associated defensive medicine costs as is the case now, then why should we not expect prices to go down? Which means the minimum income should go down, not up.

That's the cost side. If Obama had tackled that first, then the affordability problem would have been a lot simpler, because fewer people would be too poor to provide for themselves.

But he didn't, did he?

erp said...

Skipper, funny thing too about veterinarians -- it's harder to get into a vet school than med school, so they get the better/smarter people and they don't have to put up with government interference.

It's hard to convince people like Harry, but back in the day, single practitioner doctor's offices dotted the landscape even in our low to middle-middle class Queens NY neighborhood. People weren't dying in the streets and there were many old people, newborns made it okay, so health care was affordable and the non-system worked. Of course, that was before preventative medicine was born, the same preventative medicine that is now, after many decades of milking the system, under attack as "overkill."

In the very low income areas, there were free clinics and major hospitals had free clinics too, many once a week, where the even toney Park Avenue doctors volunteered their time.

So since then as the compassionates have perfected healthcare into just another arm of government, it's outrageously expensive with bills of 30 and 40 thousand dollars for simple procedures like my recent gallbladder removal make it prohibitive for most people other than left wing elites to pay. Last time I calculated our yearly costs some years ago, it was over $14,000 for all the << free stuff >> we get!

The charges for three hospitalists for the four days I was under their "care" was $6,000. Time spent with me in total by the three was less than 20 minutes. On our bill, was an additional $600+ to the discharging doctor for filling out the form.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
Accountability in the military isn't nearly what it should be — I know this from very personal experiences — but it is far greater than in the political realm. [...]

[After a list of punished officers] For having a consensual relationship with a subordinate.
----

I wonder what accountability means for you. What you have shown, up to now, is that the paranoia over sex, widespread in the American society, translates to the Army too. Oh, what a surprise! And that's accountability?

Pray tell me, can you point out a civilian institution accused of fudging its numbers by more than $9 Trillion (you read right, trillion) dollars?

Let's take take the Army response to that:

"The spokesman downplayed the significance of the improper changes, which he said net out to $62.4 billion. “Though there is a high number of adjustments, we believe the financial statement information is more accurate than implied in this report,” he said."

Which means, in the best case scenario, they fudget it by only $62 billions? It dwarfs any corruption scandal we have had down here in Brazil.

I don't see much accountability even where there should be numbers being counted!


----
How about re-reading what I wrote about the expanding circle of moral regard, and how American exceptionalism made for more fertile ground, and how revolutionary changes happened here with a conspicuous lack of violence.
----

You say the civil war was conspicuously lacking of violence?


Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Did it occur to you that one of -- if not the primary -- reason for that is cost shifing?
---
Can you prove that, or should I take your word for it?


---
How about looking at medical sectors where cost shifting and government interference is far less. Dentistry, for instance. Or optometrists and lasik eye surgery. Cosmetic surgeons.

And, especially, veterinarians.

About that: medical procedures on dogs and cats are just as complex as the same procedures on humans. Why, then, are they so much less expensive?
---
Yes, let's do that. Let's make government to hand out a $2000 voucher for each citizen yearly, to allow him to spend with dentistry. And another voucher to allow citizens to pay for veterinarians for their pets.

What do you think will happen with prices of those services afterwards?



---
I'll take the easy one first. School vouchers provide parents a choice, they do not provide anything like a minimum income.
---
I don't know which voucher model you have in mind. I have the following: all public schools are closed down, and all revenue used to pay for them is translated into a voucher to each parent to spend with his kids.

You are providing parents both a choice, and also most probaly nullification of the voucher purchasing power over the years - either due to price super-inflation (in good schools) or quality super-deflation (in the bad ones).

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Can you prove [medical cost shifting], or should I take your word for it?

Here. (That is from 1983, but it appears to apply all the way up to Obamacare. Google [health care cost shifting] then set a custom date range for before 2010. I was too lazy to do that.)

In recent years, an increasing gap has arisen between the actual cost of serving a Medicare or Medicaid patient and the reimbursement a provider can expect from government for this service. The gap has arisen because government does not shoulder a portion of the costs of serving people who are ineligible for government programs yet cannot pay their bills, as well as a share of common costs involving outlays for research, teaching, and others. Furthermore, even the direct costs of meeting the hospital needs of Medicare and Medicaid patients are reimbursed by government at rates that fall well short of full economic costs. For example, Medicare will pay hospitals only for its pro rata share of depreciation based on an asset’s original costs, which is far below its re- placement cost.

The government justifies the gap between actual total costs and reimbursement by insisting that it is only doing what any prudent purchaser would do, namely, it is paying doctors and hospitals only for the costs strictly and directly attributable to serving government beneficiaries.

The prudent purchaser argument–that a payer should not pay for any costs generated by any other payers’ patients–seems reasonable. But it raises the troublesome question of who will pay those costs of doing business that cannot be directly allocated to any particular patient. If these direct costs are not shared as common costs, they will end up being paid by those enrolled with a minority of charge-paying private insurers.

The shortfall in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement of doctors and hospitals has led these health care providers to shift the unreimbursed costs of serving government to private sector payers. The shift occurs when hospitals charge some patients more for the same service than others. People who pay hospital bills themselves, or are insured by either a commercial insurance company or by an employer directly, pay more for the same service than Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Payments to hospitals by Blue Cross/ Blue Shield plans seem to fall somewhere in between government reimbursement and payments by commercial insurers. Simply put, through the cost shift, private patients subsidize public pro- gram beneficiaries.


I have direct personal experience of what is described in the last para. And Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement has gotten much worse since this was written.

Hey Skipper said...

Yes, let's do that. Let's make government to hand out a $2000 voucher for each citizen yearly, to allow him to spend with dentistry. And another voucher to allow citizens to pay for veterinarians for their pets.

What do you think will happen with prices of those services afterwards?


Good point. Government backed loans have driven college costs through the roof.

So that could well leave a mark. However, my proposal isn't for a voucher of some amount for each citizen, but rather a voucher amount that tails off with income. So most wouldn't get anything, which means the affect would be much less. Also, unlike colleges, which are almost a fixed quantity, the market can easily and quickly respond to greater demand in dentistry and vet care. After all, if there is more money to be had, it isn't as if more won't enter those professions. Supply and demand.

I don't know which voucher model you have in mind. I have the following: all public schools are closed down, and all revenue used to pay for them is translated into a voucher to each parent to spend with his kids.

You are providing parents both a choice, and also most probably nullification of the voucher purchasing power over the years - either due to price super-inflation (in good schools) or quality super-deflation (in the bad ones).



How so? You seem to be falling prey to a close relative of the lump of labor fallacy — lump of schools. Assume there is price super-inflation in good schools. And the reaction to that would be …? More schools.

Quality super-deflation is a tougher nut to crack, because it isn't an economic phenomena. After all, we already have that without vouchers. Some, perhaps most, of that is down to inner city culture. The rest comes from retarded pedagogy peddled by brain dead teachers' colleges. Those two phenomena feed on each other. After all, outside inner cities where resident fathers are nearly as rare as unicorns, there is far more likely to be parental resources to counteract the crap teaching that goes on even at good schools (math education is notoriously bad.) Also, there's the selection problem — if schools are allowed to get rid of problematic students, then they will concentrate in horrible schools. Of course, we have a selection problem now: problematic students help turn schools horrible.

BTW, I find the hypocrisy of many people against vouchers nauseating — Pres. Obama, I'm looking at you. You oppose school choice, and send your kids to Sidwell Friends. And every progressive that checks out the schools before deciding where to buy a house. You all suck.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] How about re-reading what I wrote about the expanding circle of moral regard, and how American exceptionalism made for more fertile ground, and how revolutionary changes happened here with a conspicuous lack of violence.
----

You say the civil war was conspicuously lacking of violence?


No, I didn't come close to saying that. The US has experienced revolutionary changes over the last 50 years with regard to blacks, with relatively little violence. Not none, but taken over the entire period, not much.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Your cost shifting argument looks an interesting one. I would need to think and read more about the subject, before saying anything.

---
How so? You seem to be falling prey to a close relative of the lump of labor fallacy — lump of schools. Assume there is price super-inflation in good schools. And the reaction to that would be …? More schools.
---
Yes, more (good) schools but at prices above the voucher - which was my sole point.


---
Quality super-deflation is a tougher nut to crack, because it isn't an economic phenomena. After all, we already have that without vouchers.
---
We do, the difference being that we would add an economic pressure to it, over the other possible points you mention already in action.

---
Some, perhaps most, of that is down to inner city culture.
---
Is it? US performance does not look restricted to poor kids and schools only.

---
BTW, I find the hypocrisy of many people against vouchers nauseating — Pres. Obama, I'm looking at you. You oppose school choice, and send your kids to Sidwell Friends. And every progressive that checks out the schools before deciding where to buy a house. You all suck.
---
Did you ever use public schools in your life, either to you or your children? How was the experience?

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] How so? You seem to be falling prey to a close relative of the lump of labor fallacy — lump of schools. Assume there is price super-inflation in good schools. And the reaction to that would be …? More schools.
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[Clovis:]Yes, more (good) schools but at prices above the voucher - which was my sole point.


You are assuming a fact not in evidence: good schools require more money per student than vouchers would provide. Actually, that assumption is directly contrary to evidence.

For example, if memory serves, the per student funding of Washington DC school system is one of the highest in the country, and the schools in the worst areas get far more than those in good neighborhoods..

And the schools getting the most money are absolutely sucktastic.

Which means several things. Above a certain, and not awfully high amount, there is no correlation between funding and education quality. There is much more to how much students learn than schools. Teachers unions are a disaster. And government monopolies tend towards rubbish.

Is [poor performance down to inner city culture]? US performance does not look restricted to poor kids and schools only.

I take those numbers with a grain of salt — not that they are necessarily wrong, but they might very well be looking at different populations. For instance, in Germany kids take aptitude tests at about 12 yrs old. The top 30% or so track into university prep educations, and the rest into trade related stuff.

If the math tests are given to just the 30%, then the results will be skewed because the German test population is different in a fundamental way from the US test population. I don't know if this is true, but I can't tell from the article if it isn't. (Similarly, infant mortality stats are skewed against the US, because the US definition is far more inclusive than most of the rest of the world.)

Regardless of that, the teachers' unions impose teaching colleges on us. Consequently, US pedagogy is a mixture of delusion and marxist derived claptrap. Math education is among the worst. My kids did well in math in part because their parents are proficient in the subject and motivated to get the basics right.

Did you ever use public schools in your life, either to you or your children? How was the experience?

My kids have always gone to public schools. With a few exceptions — a few instances of ideologically biased teachers and curricula, and the aforementioned pedagogical nonsense in math — their educations have been quite good.

Perhaps that might have something to do with the fact that we have been able to afford to buy houses in well to do neighborhoods, and well to do neighborhoods are striking for two things: near absence of social pathologies, and the very high proportion of two parent families.

Can't help but think there might be a relationship between the two.

erp said...

Skipper, not so sure that upscale neighborhoods have the better schools anymore. When schools got nationalized, local school boards had little autonomy and had to kowtow to the teachers' unions -- not so sure private schools are little better. My Yale-connected granddaughter went to arguably the best private schools in the country from pre-school through 12th grade and was subjected to the same leftwing propaganda as the public schools.

Here's a true story that happened a couple of days ago. A good friend has a five (5) year old great-granddaughter in kindergarden in an very upscale neighborhood in south Florida. She came home and told her mother that they voted for president at school that day. She voted for the pretty lady because the other person was mean-looking and the teacher said he was a very bad man.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

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You are assuming a fact not in evidence: good schools require more money per student than vouchers would provide. Actually, that assumption is directly contrary to evidence.
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I don't know about your evidence, but it sures fit mine. Down here you wouldn't pay a good private school with the money a voucher system would give you. Actually, nor a bad private school either.

The average expenditure per student of public schools would pay 1 to 3 months of a typical reasonable private school in any big Brazilian city, depending on the city and state. By reasonable I mean one not fancy at all, average middle class type. And not included any further costs with food, clothes or basic individual supplies/books.

If you take the worst private schools, that voucher would still make you short of half a year in payments.

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There is much more to how much students learn than schools. Teachers unions are a disaster. And government monopolies tend towards rubbish.
[...]
My kids have always gone to public schools. With a few exceptions — a few instances of ideologically biased teachers and curricula, and the aforementioned pedagogical nonsense in math — their educations have been quite good.
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And apparently, you worry not a bit that you can produce such contradictory statements in the same letter.

How come that govt monopoly did not make a rubbish of an education for your children?

Hey Skipper said...

I don't know about your evidence, but it sures fit mine. Down here you wouldn't pay a good private school with the money a voucher system would give you.

That's as may be. In the US, SFAIK, vouchers provide the same per capita funding as the public schools receive. Now, that might not pay for a good private school, but that money will create a supply that does not now exist because of the government monopoly.

If the goal is to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, with some history thrown in, how much should it cost to provide a building and teachers to do just that? Let's say there are 20 kids in a room, each bringing $4500 to the table per school year (low amount in the US, IIRC). That means the school somehow has to cover the teacher's salary and overhead within $90,000 per year.

Doesn't sound like an insurmountable challenge to me.

And apparently, you worry not a bit that you can produce such contradictory statements in the same letter.

How come that govt monopoly did not make a rubbish of an education for your children?


Please re-read what I have said above. I am quite certain I explicitly stated that education is heavily dependent upon culture. In well to do neighborhoods, there are many highly educated parents that can compensate for the horrible math instruction.

My children, particularly my daughter, hated math flashcards. But someone had to drill the basics into their heads, and Lord knows the schools had stopped. I could go on, but the essential point is that the teachers' colleges are primarily indoctrination centers. They graduate drooling innumerates. They indoctrinate -- when my daughter was a junior in High School, she had to read a book containing 50 essays that were supposed to be excellent examples of the genre. Somehow that book managed to pack in 50 tedious examples of prog bollocks, and not even one from Christopher Hitchens.

Again, I could go on. The point here is that the school selected books for attitude adjustment, not for literary quality. To make matters worse, they were selected by women for women. Guess what -- if you want to destroy a boy's desire to read, that is the perfect way to do it.

People who live in nice neighborhoods are the kind of people who can compensate for that. We, in effect, provided school choice, in that we could teach them the math and provide the books that the school system would not.


Over roughly 10 years up to 2014, the Anchorage school system's funding increased by 30% per student.

Impact on achievement scores or graduation rates?

Nil. Nada. Zilch. Squanto-moto.

Square root of heck all.






Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

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Let's say there are 20 kids in a room, each bringing $4500 to the table per school year (low amount in the US, IIRC). That means the school somehow has to cover the teacher's salary and overhead within $90,000 per year.

Doesn't sound like an insurmountable challenge to me.
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The point is: suppose you delete the public schools and give that money to people as vouchers. Can you find schools that charge $4500 per year for your kid?

Suppose you can't, and that you are poor enough to not have money to top it up. Then what?

Hey Skipper said...

The point is: suppose you delete the public schools and give that money to people as vouchers. Can you find schools that charge $4500 per year for your kid?


Vouchers are supposed to equal the per capita funding schools receive.

Those 20 kids bring $4500 each to whatever room they sit in, and for whatever school they go to, that is their income. That is exactly how public schools are funded.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Down here, the usual amount you would get is $700 per year per student.

You wouldn't find schools for your kids at that price. Nowhere. Which says a lot about our public schools.

There are no end of people leaning right-wing who look at US voucher system and say we should do it here too. And they even say we already spend too much with public education!

Of course, they mostly have never walked into a typical public school. They sure know it all from the magazines they read. We have been having a wave of pseudo-Conservative (even pseudo-Libertarians) down here, and they are as dumb as our previous wave of pseudo-Socialists.