Posts tagged ‘REAL’

It's Like Wag the Dog

In the movie Wag the Dog, and American president and a movie producer faked a war in Albania to divert political attention form a domestic scandal.  They created fake but riveting film of desperate Albanians caught up in the war.  I always wondered how confused the people of Albania, sitting in their peaceful homes, were by these images if they saw them on CNN.

I live in Arizona, not Albania, but I am just as confused.  I have lived in Phoenix for 10 years.  I run a public contact business all over the state, including at least one location in sight of the Mexican border. And I am confused as can be when I read stuff like this:

Nevertheless, here it goes from a supporter of legal immigration: how are we to make sense of the current Arizona debate? One should show concern about some elements of the law, but only in the context of the desperation of the citizens of Arizona. And one should show some skepticism concerning mounting liberal anguish, so often expressed by those whose daily lives are completely unaffected by the revolutionary demographic, cultural, and legal transformations occurring in the American Southwest.

WTF?  I read this all the time.  I am told there is a war going on around me and people are being devastated, but I never see it.  And nobody I know ever sees it directly.  It is always a "someone else"  (maybe, as I suggested in an earlier post, it is all happening to that lady who put her cat in the microwave to dry.")

I won't spend all day with VDH's post, but there are a couple of other things he writes that seem nuts, given his reputation for being pretty smart

Why Wave the Flag of the Country I Don't Wish to Return To?

Have you ever been to a Saint Patrick's Day parade in Boston or Chicago? To Columbus Day parade in New York?  So its OK for Europeans to show some affinity for the mother country even as they reside in the US, but not Mexicans?

Look, I get irritated to no end by people who come here for freedom and prosperity and then immediately start advocating for and voting for steps that undermine both.   But that's not an immigrant issue, its a Constitutional one, where we have allowed courts to rewrite protections against government encroachment.

Substitute New York in 1860 for Arizona in 2010 and Irish for Mexican, and you would see the exact same dynamics at work, except that Arizona in 2010 is a lot more peaceful than New York in 1860.

California's meltdown is instructive. If about half the nation's illegal aliens reside in the state, and its problems are in at least in some part attributable to soaring costs in educating hundreds of thousands of non-English-speaking students, a growing number of aliens in prison and the criminal justice system, real problems of collecting off-the-books income and payroll taxes, expanding entitlements, and unsustainable social services, do we wish to avoid its model?

Really?  One word:  Texas.  Texas has the same immigration issues and a MUCH longer border than California.  California's problems are its profligate and anti-business government, something that Conservatives tend to point out a lot in about a million comparisons with Texas, except of course when they want to blame it all on immigration instead.

First, there is the simplicity of the argument. One either wishes or does not wish existing law to be enforced. If the answer is no, and citizens can pick and chose which laws they would like to obey, in theory why should we have to pay taxes or respect the speed limit? Note that liberal Democrats do not suggest that we overturn immigration law and de jure open the border "” only that we continue to do that de facto.

This is hilarious in the context of Arizona.  While the AZ legislature has been passing this law, it has been passing a series of other laws to give the big FU to federal law.  These bills include not enforcing federal insurance mandates in AZ, not enforcing EPA CO2 regulations in AZ, ignoring federal law on commercialization of rest areas, ignoring the REAL ID act etc.  For God sakes this is the state whose Republican governor in the 1990's sent the national guard to take over the Grand Canyon from the feds.  To piously assert this is all about enforcing federal law and that it is wrong to ignore some laws but enforce others is absurd.  This country has a long history of popular nullification of bad laws -- the 55-mile an hour speed limit was nullified by rampant non-compliance long before it was repealed.

I understand there are complexities in immigration, the most important of which is the conflict between a generous safety net and open immigration.  But note that while many Conservatives will say this, none of them are proposing any changes to safety net eligibility vis a vis immigrants.  When all they ask for is for the borders to be locked down, then all these arguments just seem like window dressing to the true desire to say "my family got in, now its time to lock the door."

More on Massachusetts Health Insurance

I loved this email received at Maggie's Farm:

What are you guys smoking over there? Here I am in Massachusetts,
without health insurance, and with a family of four, and all that has
happened is on top of having to pay full freight for my family's doctor
bills, I get fined $1000.00 for the privelege.

I don't want
your stinking welfare greenstamp department of motor vehicle government
cheese copay paperwork foodstamp prepaid doctor tax charity ward let a
million flowers bloom supervision of my family's medical situation,
thank you very much.

Catastrophic medical insurance is
currently illegal in Massachusetts. All they had to do is allow me to
purchase what I could get if I lived 50 miles west, which is REAL LIVE
INSURANCE, that is, they would pay if something unexpected,
substantial, and expensive happened. And it would cost me a couple
hundred bucks a month. But no, I have to pay full freight for every
lamebrain thing that every knucklehead who has a job with benefits
wants tax free, like gym memberships and aromatherapy and acupuncture
and reiki massage and "mental health," ie, I'm a miserable failure as a
human being and I want to talk to another miserable failure that went
to community college for psychology about it, at great expense. Oh,
yes, let's not forget all middle age men that need free blue pills
because what a mean spirited thing it would be [if] middle age men didn't
wander the earth with extra free hardons.

And so "insurance"
becomes paying in advance for others to get what they don't need or
deserve, to the point where "Insurance" costs 1200 a month and if
something catastrophic did happen, would bankrupt me anyway, because
instead of paying $50 for an office visit for an imaginary ailment, but
having a real catastrophe paid for, the powers that be would prefer
paying $5 dollars copay for an office visit to their yogurt enema
wellness healer, but have to chip in 20% for cancer therapy, which
would bankrupt anybody that has to worry about the cost of health
insurance in the first place.

ROFL. I too am a big believer in catastrophic health insurance.  My home insurance does not cover broken light bulbs and leaky plumbing.  My car insurance does not cover air filters.  Why does my health insurance have to cover routine stuff?  I pay for my own health care and this is exactly how my family handles both dental and medical:  We pay regular visits but have catastrophic coverage for major health breakdowns. 

Jeez, I wish I had written that email and could take credit for it.  The blog does not reveal the emailer's identity, but whoever you are you're welcome to guest blog here any time.

Update: About a year ago, my family of four was quoted about $650 a month for the type of full (not catastrophic) medical insurance that the state of Mass. is requiring.  This is about $8000 a year.  This strikes me as by far the most expensive item that any US government has required its citizens to purchase, and given the average GDP of most nations, may be the most expensive item any government in history has required all of its citizens to purchase.  Up to this point, many municipalities have shied away from requiring purchase of $40 smoke detectors.  The only thing that is even within an order of magnitude of this is perhaps car insurance, but even car insurance is not required of every citizen, just the ones with cars (don't laugh, if car insurance laws followed the same logic as this health insurance bill, not having a car would not be a legal excuse for not having auto insurance.)

Update 2:  I am sure I will get the response, "but the supporters promise that the bill will halve the cost of private health insurance.  Right.  Here is a clue:  Except for the reform plan in California pushed by Gov. Arnold, every single state attempt to "reform" workers comp. has resulted in my premiums going up.  I am sure we are all holding our breath for the price drop in passenger rail service and first class mail. 

This plan removes the last people from the market who are price sensitive shoppers of individual medical services (i.e. those who pay expenses out of pocket rather than having them covered by medical insurance).  If you drive down the marginal cost to all consumers to the level of the copay from the much higher true-cost of the procedure, then you are going to get a lot more use of all medical procedures.  Higher use = higher cost.  Higher cost = higher premiums, even when spread over more people.

I am constantly stunned that this concept has to be explained to people.  Let's consider a test that costs $1000 to administer that can detect a very rare type of cancer that only occurs in 1 in 100,000 people.  Well, if they charged you anywhere near the $1000 cost, few people would choose to pay for a test to identify something so low-risk.  But if you could take the test for a $20 copay?  Sure doc, let's do it!  So the insurance pool has to fork over $1000 for a procedure that you might only value at $20.   Also see this post for more along the same lines.  And here too.