Wednesday, September 23, 2009

National Health Insurance and the Health Police

William Saletan gets it.
If you're trying to sink health care reform, this is a good way to do it: Show everyone how subsidized health insurance will entitle other people to regulate your eating habits.
You have to wear a motorcycle helmet because the State will take care of your hospital costs if you don't. You mustn't smoke because smoking related illnesses are paid for by the State. You mustn't eat bacon because heart diseases are paid for by the State.
My real interest is in the authors' third basis for regulation: market failure that
results from time-inconsistent preferences (i.e., decisions that provide short-term gratification but long-term harm). This problem is exacerbated in the case of children and adolescents, who place a higher value on present satisfaction while more heavily discounting future consequences.
Wow. This isn't socialism. It's sheer paternalism. It applies even if you cover every cent of your medical expenses. You buy and drink soda because you want the "short-term gratification." Later, you regret this purchase because of its "long-term harm." This, according to the authors, is a market failure that justifies taxation to alter your behavior, totally apart from its impact on public health costs.
When the State takes care of you, you are the property of the State.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Inflation is good for us

Of course, that depends on how one defines "us."
I'm advocating 6 percent inflation for at least a couple of years," Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University professor and former International Monetary Fund chief economist, has told Bloomberg News. "It would ameliorate the debt bomb and help us work through the deleveraging process.

"There's trillions of dollars of debt, in mortgage debt, consumer debt, government debt ..." Mr. Rogoff said. "It's a question of how do you achieve the deleveraging. Do you go through a long period of slow growth, high savings and many legal problems, or do you accept higher inflation?"
As Patrice Hill says in the Washington Times:
Worries about whether political leaders will summon the resolve to tackle deficits are fed by talk that the debt has grown so large that the country will have to maintain moderate rates of inflation in order to pay it down. Paying off debt is easier with inflated dollars; that is the way the government "paid off" much of the debt incurred during World War II, the last time the country ran up such massive deficits.
"(P)olitical leaders...summon the resolve to tackle deficits"? Surely we can count on the President to protect us.

Still, it seems like a good time to have a large, fixed rate mortgage.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

More on the NEA Ministry of Propaganda...

...partial transcripts and links to more.

UPDATE: More on the audio from Patrick Courrielche, who broke the story.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thunderbirds at Hickam Air Force Base

Yesterday Valerie and I trekked off by bus and hoof...much hoof...toward Hickam Air Force Base to see the Thunderbirds perform. Google maps were a trifle misleading, so after much hiking along the side of the highway in a generally counterclockwise direction...a fully counterclockwise direction and then fact, if it had been the horn of a mountain sheep it would have been a trophy curl... we settled on a footbridge which made a pretty good viewing platform. Fortunately we had brought water or we never would have made it to the bridge, but instead would have been one day found, dried, dessicated, nay mummified, by the side of the Interstate, possibly of interest to local archaeologists.

While we waited for the Thunderbirds to show, we sat under a nice plumeria tree and polished off most of the rest of the water. Back in shape, we clambered up the bridge in time for the fun.

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Zoom! Or something to that effect.:

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More Zoom! but in a different direction:

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Today we got up at 4:30 to help the Troop 147 Boy Scouts pass out water to the Nike 5K joggers at Kapiolani park, sauntered thru the craft fair there, then home for a nap and more Thunderbirds from the lanai:

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Then off they flew into the wild blue yonder behind the shower tree:

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