Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rejecting the Premise

I was listening to President Obama today talking about stimulating the economy (Bullshit!) and creating (or saving) jobs (Bullshit!) by by unleashing a wave of "reform" in health care. And between obscenities, there was a statement, which I don't have time at the present to look up, but will paraphrase below:

While we may disagree on some things, we agree on many others.

No. We don't agree at all. And that's why I tend to be rather vehement when I disagree (and hope he fails).

The problem is not only how he proposes to solve the problems we face, but the nature of those problems and the premise on which they rest. And this is not the midset of Obama alone, but the mindset of Washington in general.

So let's take the health care issue. The assumption he comes to the table with is that health care is a right, and the GOP's only contention with this is that they want something similar, but through the free market.

However, while there is a right to pursue health care, there should not be, cannot be, and is not a right to have that health care in a free society.

On stimulating the economy, it's a similar vein. Whether it's Obama spending and raising taxes or the Republicans spending and lowering taxes, they both miss the fundamental issue. And it's the same issue that got us into it. On regulations, it's not a matter of more regulation or less regulation.

On all these, it's that the government has set itself to manage and adjust the market rather than, at most, be a regulator of last resort, with the singular purpose of protecting individual freedom. Instead, every problem is met with a program to "solve" it, increasing the power and role of the government, and moving from a government of laws to a government of people (who can be bought and sold by whatever interest needs a contract.

So in the end, defeating Obama's agenda cannot be done by merely offering alternatives on the same premise, but correcting the premise on which our government governs.

Note to the GOP: That means more than taking the same solution, duct taping on a tax cut, and using twine to tie on the damned "free market" label.

Also, a moderately unrelated note:

In this speech, Obama said we (the desperate) were not forgotten. Too bad. I want him to forget about me. Unless I can become an enemy of the White House and they talk about me in press conferences. Then look out Rush, here comes the world's biggest ego.

42 comments:

TAO said...

Patrick...Spring is right around the corner; just hold on a little while longer! Foul mood we are in today.

Don't worry as long as you have a social security number you will never be forgotten....

Uncle Sam LOVES you!

jameswolfer said...

We need a third party.

Patrick M said...

Tao: Don't know what you're talking about. I'm in a fine mood and it was 60 when I went out on a break.

Plus, my daughter didn't give me ass soup to clean up today (as opposed to yesterday) so I'm good.

JW: Actually we need two. Then we need to let the old parties destroy themselves. It's time to start over at best.

Although even better would be that we didn't have to resort to the monolithic idiocy that party inspires.

jameswolfer said...

In Mexico, there are three parties. They had two, but one of them split.

I think both parties need to split.

I'm a fed-up ex-republican, but I don't want to necessarily join the democratic party, and all the independent parties out there don't have any sway.

Ugh.

Gordon said...

Third parties rise and fall on specific, timely issues. Otherwise, they just don't last in the USA.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

I wholeheartedly agree taht the time for a 3rd party resurgence is now.

But on the issue of healthcare, the quickest and most sure fire way to immediately bring costs down would of course be to establish tort reform. My Grandfather (a retired general practitioner) can tell you all about the rising costs of malpractice insurance (and mind you he hasn't had his practice for some 30+ years!!).

As a litigation support specialist, I can tell you first hand that the imbedded costs of litigation in virtually every good and service (including of course health care) are a direct result of the rising costs in healthcare as well as the rising costs of goods.

Arthurstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthurstone said...

If Grampa has been retired thirty years why on earth would we ask him about the rising costs of medical malpractice insurance?

So I'll ask you.

What percentage of our total healthcare expenditure as a nation are 'embedded costs of litigation?

Thanks. With that number in mind I can calculate the reduction in my personal premium when we 'establish tort reform'.

Sadly the persons killed and crippled by lousy doctors and deadly medications, procedures and devices will just have to lump it.

Oh well.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"What percentage of our total healthcare expenditure as a nation are 'embedded costs of litigation?"

While I do not have percentages, here are some numbers which, in and of themselves, are astounding.

According to the lawyers who wrote Jackpot Justice, the total cost to the U.S. economy due to lawsuits (frivolous and/or otherwise) is $855 Billion Per Year. That constitutes a total tort tax of $9,827 per family of four.

With respect to your comment regarding "persons killed and crippled by lousy doctors", I'm not arguing (as an individual in the legal profession and/or otherwise) against an individual having the right to redress in the even they are wronged.

HOWEVER, what I do find to be problematic and contributory to the rising cost of healthcare (in addition to the costs of goods and or services in other industries) is (to cite a very specific example) when the FDA requires a drug company to post a clearly defined label upon a drug that states This drug is not to be administered intravenously and yet despite the manufacturer heading the warning, the drug is subsequently administered in such a fashion regardless and the drug manufacturer can then be sued.

Does that make sense to you? Is it your belief that allowing such grievances to go forward is conducive to an environment that would make a drug company even want to market such a drug?

For all practical considerations I think it most certainly does not.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Ass Soup??

Dare I say I am just reminded as to why I do not yet have kids. Don't get me wrong I'm sure they're darlings but the ass soup I can quite do without.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Or similarly, a tobacco company alerting smokers that smoking has deletarious health effects by placing a similar disclaimer on a pack of cigarettes only to get sued by someone literally claiming:

"Shit. You mean to tell me these things are BAD for you??!! And here I thought the wheezing and the disgusting phlem discharges were from too much dairy in my diet."

Patrick M said...

In Need of Soap: She went through 2 pairs of clothes (due to diaper breeches) and I had to take off 2 diapers in the bathtub (although I saved the clothes on the second one) that day.

And then there's when they get potty trained and shit themselves twice and piss the bed twice (that was last night to today).

Nevertheless, it's still worth it. At least until the teenage years when the ass you wiped becomes an asswipe. I've got another decade.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

And to think, you go through all that asswiping only to have them end up wiping your ass and cleaning up your drool.

Ain't it just beautiful??

Toad734 said...

So if you loose your job tonight, and your son gets hit by a car and you have no savings, your son should die?

Is that what you are saying? It's his fault you have no money? He has to pay the price Mr Pro life??

And if you wanted to fix the economy, at least the auto industry tomorrow, all you would have to do is provide health care for everyone. Just like Japan, Germany, UK and the countries we compete against in the auto industry.

I agree that we don't neccessarily need more regulation, or less, we just need the right regulation which was removed by Phil Gramm in 2000 and thus, our current crisis.

But if the free market can't regulate itself, which it has proved time and time again it can't, someone has to do it. I would be happy to do that and keep the government out but I don't think that is going to happen.

TRUTH 101 said...

Patrick: you are the essence of deluded right wing fool. You are blinded by the talking points of Rush, Cheney and the rest of the masters of deceit. A sound national health care plan makes American business more competitive by taking the burden of health insurance costs from them. A 4% income tax and responsible copays to fund it, that way even the poor and lower middle class workers you loathe, are helping to pay for their health care.

Your view is what the fatcat insurance company executives programmed into your deluded brain. Open yourself up to the possibilities of government that works to make all our lives better Patrick.

Patrick M said...

Soaptastic: Toad called you pro-life. :)

Also, been there, done that with my grandmother, her lower half, and her colostomy bag. Not images I would have chose to burn into my retina.

Toad: Your inaccurate assumptions just make me laugh.

101: Deluded my ass.

My idea is to eliminate almost all 3rd party paid insurance (except catastrophic). Along with malpractice (which Soapster has covered), the other thing is that we have lost touch with is the cost of health care. This is because most of the people who have insurance do not pay the costs, see the invoices, or do anything other than hand over a card.

It was a nice idea to have insurance start covering everything rather than having to dig up the cash. And it was even easier when it became part of the compensation package. But the doctor-patient relationship became one of the doctor looking at costs (malpractice, insurance payments, copays, Medicare, Medicaid) vs just treating the patient and cashing the check. And it adds layers of bureaucracy.

So adding more layers (which government does so damned well) will never be on my radar as a good idea.

The role of the government is not to make our lives better, but to secure our rights and freedoms so we may make our own lives better.

When you manage to realize this, then you'll understand I'm not programmed or blinded by anyone. Rather, my approach to every problem is based on this concept.

Also, I loathe the "poor and lower middle class workers?" Sure. I'm all self-loathing and shit.

Like I said with Toad: Your inaccurate assumptions just make me laugh.

Arthurstone said...

Well if we're all in a lather to get 'gov't off our backs' we better not be in too much of a hurry to enact 'tort reform'. The fact that industries have long produced products which, in the most extreme cases, kill their customers when used as directed I don't hold out a lot of hope that the mechanism of the 'free market' is quite enough to ensure our health and safety.

TRUTH 101 said...

You are the typical right wing fool Patrick. You profess to hate government and want it off you back. But you will soon be wailing that the police are never around when you need them. Or your kid got sick from bad peanut butter so you cry where was the government. Your 401K is rotting away and you cry where were the regulators that were supposed to keep this from happening. Why were banks allowed to bundle bad loans and sell them to investors as AAA?

Selfishness and personal greed are the mantras of those you blondly follow Patrick. Halliburton and Blackwater grew fat on no bid government contracts. How much of that government largesse did you get? Not a dime but you still parrot what Cheney tells you to.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Well if we're all in a lather to get 'gov't off our backs' we better not be in too much of a hurry to enact 'tort reform'. The fact that industries have long produced products which, in the most extreme cases, kill their customers when used as directed I don't hold out a lot of hope that the mechanism of the 'free market' is quite enough to ensure our health and safety."

And you're a fool if you think that the government is any better at saving us from unfortunate peril at the hands of such products.

You'd do well to ask yourself how it is that your beloved government entities the FDA and the USDA could have totally missed the boat with respect to the salmonella peanut outbreak.

Arthurstone said...

We can all thank the government we have clean air to breathe and water to drink. It isn't industry's fault.

Bye the bye.

Here's another triumph of privatization:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/business/06food.html?_r=1&ref=business

Shaw Kenawe said...

You'd do well to ask yourself how it is that your beloved government entities the FDA and the USDA could have totally missed the boat with respect to the salmonella peanut outbreak.

Answer: George Bush's FDA.

FDA has evidence to support classifying the recall of product distributed from the PCA Plainview, Texas facility from January 1, 2007 forward as a Class 1 recall. This determination was based upon inspectional findings, epidemiological data, internal test results from PCA that are positive for salmonella, test results from consumer samples that match the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium, and FDA positive samples of finished product (post-processed peanut meal collected at the PCA Texas facility) that match the outbreak strain. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) also collected a sample of peanut meal from the same lot collected by FDA at the PCA Texas facility, and has detected the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium.

Source:

http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/Salmonellatyph.html

dmarks said...

Arthur: "We can all thank the government we have clean air to breathe and water to drink."

Sounds almost like part of a prayer. Just substitute God with Government.

Arthurstone said...

Prayer?

Hadn't thought of that as I don't believe in god or worship government. But credit where credit's due. People working together creating laws to ensure our environmental concerns is a successful (some of the time) demonstration of government serving the people accomplishing together what one cannot do alone.

TRUTH 101 said...

I used to live in North Chicago. Most days we'd go to the beach the red flag was up signifying no swimming. We could actually watch a big pipe discharging God knows what shit into Lake Michigan. Thanks to government regulation, that stopped and the Great Lakes are environmental success stories. Do you really believe private industry would have stopped pouring their shit into our lakes and rivers had they not been forcrd to stop Soapbax Guy? If so, you are even more deluded than Patrick.

Arthurstone said...

Same with Lake Washington in Seattle. And oddly enough creosote, lead and countless other pollutants no longer are dumped into Puget Sound.

Go figure.

Likewise it's fun watching Repubs mock funding for the study of odors in the pork processing industry included in the omnibus spending bill. They never, ever learn people kind of prefer their environment clean and that industry make an attempt at being neighborly. And since the almost never do laws and regulations are required.

Toad734 said...

So you do feel your child should be taken care of and he does have a right to life even if you don't have insurance?

Socialist!

dmarks said...

Toad: There's a difference between free government health care for the needy, and free government health care for the rich. One of the things I think is a waste in the "Stimpak" is expanding SCHIP to provide government health care for well-to-do adults.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

However, while there is a right to pursue health care, there should not be, cannot be, and is not a right to have that health care in a free society.

You are so lucky I am off pursuing spiritual enlightment or I would so kick your ass over this.

We have beat this to a pulp. The conclusion we came up with is that to fulfill the 'pursuit of life, liberty and happiness' thing, you have a right of ACCESS to healthcare. This entails making it AVAILABLE to all citizens.

If the cost of healthcare is so prohibitive that a substantial part of the population is unable to ACCESS it, which they are.....

(let's not go into the 'they can go to the ER and not be turned away' thing because they can only go to public hospital ERs, not private, and part of the overriding problem is caused by people having to use ERs for less than emergent conditions because they can't obtain care elsewhere)

....then that means their protected right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is being denied.

We have so been through this. Must I beat you again over it?

However, it will have to wait until I descend from the heights of spiritual ecstasy.

Hare Krishna.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"The conclusion we came up with is that to fulfill the 'pursuit of life, liberty and happiness' thing, you have a right of ACCESS to healthcare. This entails making it AVAILABLE to all citizens."

That's a conclusion YOU came up with Saty. I don't believe for a single minute that you fully conceptualize what a right truly is.

Rights define an action. Rights do not coerce, compulse, intimidate or require anything from another individual in their attainment.

You have the right to PURSUE or SEEK healthcare. You do not have a right to receive it. Because to assert otherwise is to have no moral compunction with essentially enslaving an individual for the sole purpose of administering it.

I would caution you on arguing such a premise in a free society.

Patrick M said...

101: You're more full of shit than Toad. And that's saying something.

Saty: As I've been off my game, I look forward to my next health care post with fervor. And with that, I'll let the Soapster's chewing suffice.

Toad734 said...

Dmarks:

Don't look now but you are starting to sound like a Socialist.

101: You must be referring to Outboard Marine and all their PCBs they released into Lake Michigan creating an enormous cancer cluster in North Chicago / Waukegan area that mainly affected women.

Stupid, pesky, government regulations wouldn't let them poison the water; what are we turning into communists now? What has the world come to when the government doesn't let industry run wild and police themselves? The free market and no government regulation is the only true way to keep our waters safe. I mean, all that has to happen is everyone will get cancer and then they will all be dead and there will not be anyone left to buy their engines and then they will be forced to stop putting PCBs in the lake. That is the free market way Patrick and the republicans would like to see.

Patrick:

I must be so full of shit that my question stumped you enough to ignore it?

Patrick M said...

Toad: No, I just got behind and skimmed, missing your question. And I didn't think it was addressed to me. Although, since you're usually full of shit, you were convenient when ripping 101. :)

Give me a minute....

So you do feel your child should be taken care of and he does have a right to life even if you don't have insurance?

A couple of things come to mind on this:

1. The right to life does not mean there's no responsibility of the parents. It's their specific responsibility to do so.

2. The safety net. I'm not wholly opposed to government covering children when their parents fail, primarily because they don't have the ability to press for their rights as an adult does. But it's often taken to the ridiculous in what is wasted.

You mistake me for the all-or-nothing type. There is a role for government. But that role should be much more limited than it is now.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

You have the right to PURSUE or SEEK healthcare. You do not have a right to receive it.

No one said RECEIVE. It just needs to be AVAILABLE and OF ACCESS, which right now it is not for all our citizens. The prohibitive costs of healthcare essentially prevent a substantial portion of the population from ACCESS to healthcare.

Read more carefully next time.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

You have the right to PURSUE or SEEK healthcare. You do not have a right to receive it.

No one said RECEIVE. It just needs to be AVAILABLE and OF ACCESS, which right now it is not for all our citizens. The prohibitive costs of healthcare essentially prevent a substantial portion of the population from ACCESS to healthcare.

Read more carefully next time.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

By "ACCESS" Saty, you're arguing not on the premise of accessability or availability but instead on the premise of AFFORDABILITY.

It is a matter of fact that the services are available and accessible to everyone in America in as much as a Mercedes or an 80' Hatteras is.

By your premise, we could argue (quite ridiculously) that a Mercedes and an 80' Hatteras aren't "available" or "accessible" to us all because the costs of purchasing are prohibiting some of us from doing so.

This is of course a ridiculous argument and if you have even an ounce of intellectual honesty you'll admit as much. But, I presume you'll resort to the "Life" argument in your response.

Assuming that I'm correct, let me remind you Life and Liberty are not mutually exclusive. You cannot have one without having the other (which is precisely why I asserted in commentary on another blog, that people risk their life in fleeing their home countries where they have no liberty in an effort to come to America and it explains why "Life" in prison is the equivalent of a death sentence).

So, if you're going to argue on behalf of life, you're argument doesn't hold a drop of water if in so doing, you've got to enslave another individual and deny them their liberty to not only provide a service mind you but, provide it at a cost you deem to be just.

Contradictions do not exist Saty. Whenever it seems they do, one is reminded to check their premises because one of them is wrong.

Arthurstone said...

Speaking of 'denying the premise'.

How about equating contributing to the common good with 'enslavement'?

I was discussing the topic of a single payer health care system at Starbucks on our way to the forced labor camp just this morning and we agreed that was a reasonable goal for an enlightened society.

Though it's always dicey to assume the US is 'enlightened' given the screeching and heel dragging our conservative friends endlessly engage in.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Who decides what the "common good" is?

What if the common good thought it a sensible idea to kill one man to cure cancer. I suppose we'd have to do that wouldn't we?

What traditionally set America apart from the rest of the world was its adherence to the divinity of individual rights.

If the "common good" want to pool their money and distribute it as necessary amongst its members as needed to meet their healthcare needs then by all means HAVE AT IT.

But to by what right must the individual(s) who seek a different course be forced to accept your premise? As they pursue their course they are asking nothing of you.

dmarks said...

Monopolies are no good, no matter what you call them. "Single payer" is just a way to disguise the intent of those who want take over health care into a monopoly. No choice.

Soapbox: "Common good" is best left to the people to decide, not the rulers.

"What traditionally set America apart from the rest of the world was its adherence to the divinity of individual rights."

Some actually view the United States' protection of these extremely important human rights as being somehow "backwards", and that we should follow the example of countries where the state has more power and the people have less power.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Soapbox: "Common good" is best left to the people to decide, not the rulers."

You can slice it anyway you want. Rule by the majority or rule by the minority. Either one is equally deletarious. Tis why I'm an advocate of individualism; one's ability to rule oneself.

Arthurstone said...

Soapbox wondered:

"Who decides what the "common good" is?"

That would be us Soapbox. We elect representatives to act in our interest. They meet, debate, compromise and enact laws. When their results aren't to our liking we elect new representatives.

And when congress gets off its lazy, self-satisfied whiny ass and passes health care reform based on a single payer model that will be a very good thing. It will allow us to catch up with the rest of the world's industrial democracies.

And as for 'individual rule' Soapbox you've already got it. Get on with your day and make of it what you will.

dmarks chimed in:

"Monopolies are no good, no matter what you call them. "Single payer" is just a way to disguise the intent of those who want take over health care into a monopoly. No choice."

The people's work can be of such a scale and necessity that a collective (yikes!) approach is the most efficient method of accomplishing our goals. The Interstate Highway System, maintaining navigable waterways, the power grid are some examples of exercising the people's will.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Then I again I must inquire, wouldn't be for the "common good" to take one of your extra kidneys and give it to someone who truly needed one? Wouldn't it be virtuous to confiscate the wealth of the last billionaire so that we might help all the starving poor?

Rationalize your premise however you wish. But, don't convince yourself for one minute that a simple majority vote defines what is moral, just, or virtuous in this world.

Patrick M said...

To add to your comments, Soapster:

One of the reasons we have laws and Constitutionally protected rights is to protect the minority from tyranny by the majority.

It's also why the secret ballot (targeted by the E(no)FCA) is as sacred as we view it. Because if we all had to show who we voted for, someone would get brained for it.

Come to think of it, the vandalization of cars based on political bumper stickers is a simple example.

And on another related note, that's why the Constitution is so damned hard to change (legally). If it were the rule of the majority, we could change the Constitution and make the President elected for life.

And if you remember, they went to great lengths to not let that happen after FDR.

Democracy is a cancer that eats freedom for populist bullshit. Any question, just look at California (gay marriage jumps to mind).