That’s the First Law of Thermodynamics—There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!
Of late, I’m seeing more references to the Obama Administration as “lawless,” and it certainly has a record of disobeying its own signature law as it tries to implement Obamacare. But no matter how hard they try to bend or break the fundamental Laws of Nature, there ain’t no such thing as free healthcare either.
Someone has to pay: hence, the various redistributive schemes to try to finance the program. Jonathan Cohn has a piece over at TNR titled Yes, Obamacare is Redistribution—But Republicans Are Wrong About Who Pays. He tries to show how the money to fund the scheme (more than $2 trillion over the next decade) will be raised. Most of the sources make little real-world economic sense. For example, Medicare providers will summarily be short-changed $415 billion on their compensation for the goods and service they provide. The logic behind this is that it gives providers with an incentive to become more efficient by being paid less rather than deciding to get a better paying job or start a more profitable business. Yeah, that’ll work.
The truly stupid ideas in the Obamacare financing scheme are the fees to be imposed on the healthcare industry such as the medical device tax. This adds a violation of Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that every system operates with some increase in entropy. The $165 billion dollars of increased cost to the system will never be recovered when the real world results of the program are viewed as a whole. Even an economy as large as ours won’t be able to hide the loss.
If your think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till it’s “free.”
As of 9 pm ET on 30 November, the day that the Obamacare website was supposed to be “fixed,” the healthcare dot gov site says that it does not support the current version of Mac OSX.
Of course, OS 10.9 has only been in public release for five weeks, but incremental developer releases have been available for testing since June.
It’s interesting that the site claims to support Windows XP which was withdrawn from sale in 2009 and for which Microsoft will end support early next year, but says nothing about support for iOS (iPhone/Pad) or Android systems. I wonder what percentage of users under 30 years old will try to access the site with a mobile device?
The version of Obamacare that was rolled out on 1 October was clearly not ready for prime time. It wasn’t even ready for beta release. It was simply a failure.
Good engineers design for failure. That’s not to say that we (I’m an engineer) design products to fail, but we know that they will. That’s why the load panel in your house has circuit breakers. In the real world, failure is always an option, and it becomes exponentially more likely when a project is managed by someone who doesn’t understand the endeavor’s practical constraints. Clay Shirky offers an analysis of the probable managerially-driven problems with Obamacare here.
Recently, much has been made about the Administration’s ignoring the law when dealing with Obamacare and any possible workarounds for its present problems, and it’s true that those responsible for the current mess have acted lawlessly. However, the law that will do the project in was not passed by Congress. It stems from a higher authority. Those who ignore it are fools.
If anything can go wrong, it will.
Let it burn.
UPDATE—This insightful observation is also on point:
Politifact has rated Barack Obama’s recent attempt to weasel out of his “if you like your plan …” and “if you like your doctor …” promises. They must have noticed that his lips were moving. The Politifact rating is shown on the left.
Meanwhile, it’s being reported that the average age of people who are signing up for Obamacare is significantly older than the actuaries expected when insurance rates were initially calculated. If that continues, either rates will have to be drastically increased again in 2015 or the program will go bust financially.
Six of the eleven Colorado counties that had secession referenda on their ballots yesterday voted in favor of leaving the state.Michael Tomasky wrote about the Colorado secession movement yesterday over at The Daily Beast. He sees the referenda as a result of the “culture-ization” of politics,
the trumping of shared culture over shared political traditions and agreements that go back generations. We’ve seen it around the world. Czeckoslovakia splitting in two. Yugoslavia splitting in five.
He also points to the desire of some who live in Western Maryland to have done with the blue state follies emanating from Annapolis.
He almost gets it right.
Back in the ’70s, I spent a great deal of time in Colorado, mostly around Colorado Springs. On common theme I heard in conversation among the Colorado natives was a complaint about “Californicartion.” By that they meant the shift in the state’s culture caused by refugees from urban areas moving into the state. Many were coming to get away from the problems of big cities, but they were not assimilating into Colorado’s culture. They were expecting the natives to change and be like them.
It’s not surprising to me that the secession movement is mostly out on the Front Range, the area east of the Rockies. That’s agricultural land that hasn’t attracted out-of-state folks to same extent as Denver and the ski country.
Tomasky is correct in seeing the cultural divides that are opening up between mostly urban and mostly rural areas in some states. If the kulturkampf is decided strictly at the ballot box, then I suspect the secessionist areas will be forced into remaining inside the existing state borders, at least as long as the blue states can remain financially solvent.
The Luddites destroyed machinery because of they were threatened by progress.
So how advanced does the technology of a weapon have to be to enable a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute?
I have a muzzle-loading rifle, and, if I really hustle, I can get off two rounds per minute. However, there are muzzle-loading firearms that are capable of firing 10 rounds per minute. Consider the Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver.
It was probably the most common revolver used during the Civil War. It takes a long time to load the six-round cylinder, but the cylinder is easily removed and replaced. It was not uncommon for soldiers to carry spare loaded cylinders. It’s possible to fire three cylinders (18 rounds) in under a minute.
However, there are even older weapons capable of firing 10 rounds per minute. Consider the weapon shown at the left. Henry V was able to use massed fire from such weapons to devastate an attack by a force that greatly outnumbered his happy few, his band of brothers, at Agincourt.
There are other, even simpler, weapons that can deliver a high rate of fire. David only took five stones when he fought Goliath. He was a good shot and only needed one to kill the giant, but an expert with a sling can get off 10 shots in a minute.
The Democrats that is. I’m over 65 and on Medicare, but Mrs. Hoge is still in her 50s. She would like to be free to choose what her health insurance covers. She isn’t interested in buying either maternity or abortion coverage. She isn’t interested in having lactation or fertility coverage. She doesn’t want Viagra. But she isn’t free to take those choices. The Democrats insist that she buy coverage for all these things as part of Obamacare. And it is the Democrats doing the insisting. Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote.
Fortunately, Mrs. Hoge is covered by a group health plan that will survive past the first of the year, but millions of other people are finding out that they won’t be able to keep the health plan they liked. They’re also beginning to find out that the Administration has known for years that the regulations it intended to impose would have that effect. The mainstream media is even beginning to talk about that fact.
As more folks wise up, it may be for some Democrats in Congress that “If you like your job, you can keep it” may be just another empty promise.
Politico reports that the San Francisco Chronicle has announced that it will no longer refer to the Washington NFL team by its proper name, “Redskins.”
Words are powerful, and so is how we choose to use them. Our long-standing policy is to not use racial slurs — and make no mistake, “redskin” is a slur — except in cases where it would be confusing to the reader to write around it. For example, we will use the team name when referring to the controversy surrounding its use.
Words are powerful, and so is how we choose to use them. Henceforth, the aforementioned San Francisco publication will be referred to by Hogewash! as a politically-correct propaganda sheet rather than a newspaper.
Unlike the Tea Party, most left wingers don’t really believe their own ideology. They put partisanship first, or they put the color of a candidate’s skin or the shape of their genitals over the candidate’s policy. Identity is more important to them than how many brown children that politician is killing.
So progressives have no power, because they have no principles: they cannot be expected to actually vote for the most progressive candidate, to successfully primary candidates, to care about policy first and identity second, to not take scraps from the table and sell out other progressive’s interests.
Because a “transgendered woman” (i.e., a man masquerading as a woman) in Colorado has been denied a free (i.e., taxpayer paid) mammogram, a couple of advocacy groups are petitioning to have such mammograms covered under Obamacare.
Currently, taxpayer funded mammograms are only available to persons lacking a Y chromosome. They are not available to biological males. This is viewed as “irrational discrimination” by the advocacy groups.
I’m reminded of a phrase coined by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “Defining deviancy down.”
Gentle Reader, you’ve probably heard about those traffic cones that the National Park Service put up to block access to roadside areas where tourists can pull over for a view of Mt. Rushmore. The highway is South Dakota 244. It’s a state road. It’s not a federal road.
The cones have been taken down because of a snow storm. If they reappear, why shouldn’t whoever puts them back be charged with littering?
The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.
After the unfortunate events in Washington yesterday involving the irresponsible use of an automobile, there are already cries for increased car control and mandatory background checks for potential purchasers of motor vehicles. After all, no provision of the Bill of Rights explicitly shields the use of such dangerous equipment.
However, even the advocates of strict control must admit that automobiles are sometimes used for legitimate purposes. Some of the more extreme proposals for car control would certainly infringe on those uses, but a couple of proposals make some sense.
First, limit the importation of foreign vehicles to those with a legitimate transportation purpose. The imported car used yesterday was a powerful, luxury model that greatly exceeded the normal requirements for basic transportation.
Second, ban the use of high-capacity fuel tanks—greater than 10 gallon (7 gallons in New York). Requiring criminal drivers to refuel will give police an opportunity to catch them off the road and away from public traffic.
That’s a headline from a New York Times story with this opening paragraph:
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.
Of course, the Times goes on to blame the problem not on the inherent defects of the law but on the actions of those evil Republicans who control the governments of the states where those poor blacks and single mothers live.
New York has joined the group of state that ban so-called “novelty lighters.” (H/T, Shall Not Be Questioned) The nannystate must protect us! Only trained bureaucrats can be trusted with such dangerous devices.
Now that Kate Hunt has decided to cop a plea and take a very light sentence for her statutory rape of a 14 year old girl, her mother says that she will focus on getting “Kate’s Law” passed by the Florida legislature “to protect teens.” She thinks that it will protect teens to make it legal for an 18 year old college freshman to be messing with a 14 year old 8th-grader.
Look, it’s not age disparity per se that’s the problem here. Mrs. Hoge was in the 6th-grade when I was a university freshman. The problem is the lack of maturity of the younger party. Mrs. Hoge was 23 when we met and was able to make more informed decisions than when she was 14 or 15 or 16. (She married me anyway.)
We owe our children, and a 14 year old is still a child, the opportunity to safely mature into adults. Keeping them from sexual predators should surely be a part of that protection.
UPDATE—Down twinkles on the proposition that we should protect children from sexual predators? Really? Is there a pedophile or his pedo pals reading this blog?
Let’s say that you wanted to petition the legislature in your state and that when you delivered your petition you were told that it would be accepted until you were photographed and fingerprinted, took a training course, passed a background check, and paid a license fee. How would you react?
Let’s say that you wanted to buy a copy of the scriptures of your religious faith and when you went make your purchase the bookseller told you that you could not pick up your book until you were photographed and fingerprinted, took a training course, passed a background check, and paid a license fee. How would you react?
Let’s say that you wanted to register to vote and that when you went to do so you were told that you could not do so until you were photographed and fingerprinted, took a training course, passed a background check, and paid a license fee. How would you react?
Let’s say that you wanted to start a website to publish you ideas and that you went to an Internet service provider to set up an account and were told that you could not have web access until you were photographed and fingerprinted, took a training course, passed a background check, and paid a license fee. How would you react?
Beginning next Tuesday, if you wish to buy a handgun in Maryland you will be told that you cannot do so until you are photographed and fingerprinted, take a training course, pass a background check, and pay a license fee. How should a citizen react to that?
I am crossing the Rubicon. Brrr, the water’s chilly. Deep, too. I’m going for a walk along the riverbank to look for a bridge. And I will cross the Rubicon as soon as the weather warms up. The die has been cast. That is, the deck has been shuffled. Or the Wheel of Fortune has been spun. And I’ll buy a vowel.
It’s true that Progressives and Conservatives don’t think alike. As America descends deeper into polarization and paralysis, social psychologist Jonathan Haidthas done the seemingly impossible—challenged conventional wisdom about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum. Drawing on his twenty five years of research on moral psychology, he shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.
A quick show of hands, please … how many of you have ever worked for 70 cents an hour? Not very many. That’s what I made at my first job as a high school student shelving books in a university library. The minimum wage back then was $1 an hour, but as a student trainee all I got was 70 cents.
By the time I got my next paying job, the minimum wage was up to a buck-and-a-quarter, but I got $2 an hour. That was not because of any generosity on the part of my employer. It was because I had a First-Class Commercial Radiotelephone Operator’s License from the FCC and could legally operate the transmitter at the radio station that hired me.
I’ve never had a minimum wage job. Since that second job, I’ve been overqualified, but for that first job, I was underqualified. Indeed, if the library had had to pay me more that I was worth, I never would have had that first job. I’d have been priced out of the market.
There’s another way to look at the minimum wage. Declaring that there is a minimum price which must be paid for labor has the effect of outlawing labor not worth that much. That can have two effects. One is to keep more low-skill persons who want to work unemployed. The other is to force more workers into the off-the-books economy. Neither strikes me as a good idea.