Generalizing is more likely than not generalizing to result in propositions that are, generally speaking, inaccurate and counterproductive.

The range of behavior that results in people qualifying to be included in a group whose wealth is extraordinarily great includes a great many things that are admirable and a great many things that are abominable. If we agree that Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey and James Cameron are one percenters for reasons that we consider to be positive, and further agree that Vladimir Putin, Ali Bongo Ondimba, Bashar al-Assad are one percenters for reasons that we consider atrocious, perhaps we can agree to stop generalizing about people who have enormous amounts of wealth at their disposal.

A dictator who seizes wealth isn’t unjust because suddenly his assets qualify him as a one percenter. An industry that lobbies successfully for subsidies doesn’t become unjust after the check from the government clears. The underlying problem has to do with the species of power that makes it possible for a person or group of people to make use of other people and their stuff without their consent, often by force or clear and imminent threat of force.

What percentage of the human population presumes to exercise that kind of power? What percentage of the human population earns their living by helping those who use that kind of power, the power to expropriate, to defraud, to extort, to imprison? The phenomenon of human beings treating other human beings as if they are merely means to their ends is the real problem we need to address.

Wealth inequality is not intrinsically unjust. Let’s stop pretending that’s the issue. Give no credence to moral premises that reserve harsh judgments for people because of what they have irrespective of their actual behavior.

If a person uses coercion or fraud to gain anything at anyone else’s involuntary expense, then that person has behaved unjustly. If a person engages in peaceful and purposeful behavior and through voluntary and honest trades with other people earns a profit, then that person has behaved justly.

There are surely wealth inequalities that should not exist, but the reason they shouldn’t exist is because of immoral behavior that produces those particular instances. Details matter. Individuals matter.


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Breathe,, Breathe!

by adam on September 23, 2013 · 0 comments

I haven’t updated this blog since my wife and I got pregnant and delivered our fabulous Zachary into the world and spent the last two years and eight months raising him among other things. And perhaps I’ll discuss  in the near future the whys and wherefores of having not posted here for so long.

But for now, feast your eyes on this Shutterfly-generated online version of the twenty page book I just ordered from them featuring my son at various points in his first one thousand days on planet Earth. The book would have been free (except for shipping) if I had resisted some features (like the “lay-flat” option, which I consider indispensable for a book that’s going to be used and frequently). Still, it was deeply discounted and I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful. Just like my wife’s 100 free prints from Shutterfly were wonderful.

So, to be clear, I have designed the interior of a book using my photographs and some online tools. It will be manufactured and sent to me in approximately one week. Last night, Zachary wanted to dance to Happy Feet songs. I downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes in about one minute and then wirelessly played the songs from my laptop via a home network that includes our stereo setup. Zachary and his Mom were dancing… and I was shooting high definition video of their performance… on my phone.

Simply amazing times we live in!

Shutterfly baby photo books rock! ‘Nuff said.


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Free Market Fantasia

by adam on December 6, 2010 · 0 comments


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One popular response in forums that discuss LOST is that the finale was “emotionally satisfying, but not intellectually satisfying,” which is a way of saying that people love LOST’s characters and are touched by seeing them “move on” but also people were fascinated by the seemingly purposeful inclusion of intricate mysteries and riddles which, in the end, to their profound disappointment, appear to have been little more than meaningless, arbitrary “props” intended to do not much more than “get a response.” Some would say they feel betrayed precisely because they took the writers more seriously than the writers took themselves about the content that was included. Cases can be (are being) made along these lines. For now, though, I’m focusing on one aspect of the finale, namely, the state of being of the characters who reunite at the very end. Are they dead or alive?

The real genius of the show is that it does, in fact, provide us with a basis for investigating this issue without spoon-feeding an answer to us.

The most widely accepted mystical interpretation of the LOST finale is, in fact, only an interpretation and I think one saturated with the confirmation bias of audience members whose preconceptions about an afterlife enable them to take the path of least resistance to “understanding” the finale.

But enjoying LOST has never been about taking the path of least resistance. As John Locke says oh-so-many seasons ago: “it’s never been easy.”

And so, with the caveat that I am still working this theory out and still have some significant issues with the storytelling, which I’ll talk about some other time, here’s how I arrive at the conclusion that our Losties are not dead and reunited in la-la land at the end of the show.

What Happened, Happened… But What Happened?
At the end of Season 5, our characters are in dire straits. The Dharma Initiative is on the verge of disturbing the Island’s energy source in such a way as to require them to construct a countermeasure which will ultimately lead to Flight 815 crashing. It seems that the Island’s protector, Jacob, in mostly indirect ways that preserve our central characters’ free will, has put them in a position to do something about this problem. Daniel Faraday explains to Jack that they perhaps by detonating a hydrogen bomb, he can save himself and his friends from the agony they endure in the timeline in which their plane crashes. At the very end of the Season 5 finale, Juliet detonates a massive bomb, and for the first time, the screen fades to white, with the LOST logo in black. In hindsight, we have reason to believe that this is a visual cue that signifies a major new development in the story.

And then Season 6 opens with two timelines. That’s pretty major!

In the original timeline, the members of the team who set off the bomb flash forward to the year 2007. The island is still there. It seems to them that their plan has failed. Unbeknownst to most of them, their actions have in fact created a new timeline, one in which their alternate selves will never crash. We know this because Juliet, who dies in her lover Sawyer’s arms early in the Season 6 premiere, appears to be hallucinating when she tells him they should get coffee sometime (“We could go dutch.”), when in fact she is doing something we’ve seen before, namely, consciousness time-shifting. In the episode, the Constant, we see Desmond struggle through moments in which his singular consciousness shifts between two alternate timelines, which leads exactly to moments like this, in which he finishes expressing a thought in one timeline that originated in another timeline. Later in the season premiere, Miles informs Sawyer that Juliet’s last thought was, “it worked.” Sawyer is confused by this (“What worked!?”), but we know what she meant.

Now, as an aside here, this sets up a terrible conundrum for the show. If the events Faraday and Jack and Juliet and everybody who helped them detonate Jughead at the end of Season 5 have already resulted in Success, then the unmistakeable conclusion is that nothing that our characters go through on the island throughout season 6 actually matters. Even worse, there is the inescapable notion of predetermination that comes from this bit of dialogue; the characters will seem to make choices but, in fact, the ending is already written. Yikes! What about free will?!? Is it only an illusion? How boring! The complaint that I’ve heard leveled against the writers repeatedly in recent months is that LOST appears to be “going through the motions.” Fair enough. And, for my part, I had a hard time detecting what was actually at stake in Season 6. But let’s leave all of this aside for the moment.

In the second timeline, flight 815 successfully lands in LA with all of our characters aboard and we see that the island is on the bottom of the ocean. In other words, it would appear that the plan has, in fact, worked. The island is not there to suck them back in. We’re supposed to believe that this is a good thing. Meanwhile, the characters appear to be a little bit confused or unsettled every time they see themselves in mirrors. They appear to be grasping for something just beyond their reach. We know now that they all feel that there is something significant that they have forgotten about their own lives. What they’re missing, in fact, are the memories associated with what happened after they crashed on the island.

By the time we get to the finale of Season 6, in the second timeline we’ve been watching the cosmic course corrections mentioned first by Eloise Widmore (several seasons earlier), Daniel Faraday’s mother. Characters who were together on flight 815 continually bump into one another. Eventually, in key moments, they remember the amazing events of their first timeline selves. I surmise that they are reacting to one another because in some magical sense, they love one another enough in the first timeline to have become “constants” to one another in the second timeline. How is this happening?

Is the second timeline a kind of purgatory, an afterlife waiting station? Are they remembering their lives from beyond the grave? Or, are they suddenly gaining awareness of the most significant experiences they shared together in an alternate timeline?

Back on the island in 2007 of LOST’s original timeline, Desmond uncorks the island, Jack and Kate kill the “evil” presence that resides in John Locke’s body, who I’ll call Smocke (Smoke monster plus Locke) borrowing the nickname from David Augustyn (a fierce critic of this show) and then Jack recorks the island, saving it from being destroyed. In the midst of his struggles with Smocke, Jack sustains a cut to his neck. The cut actually appears as a wound to Jack in the second timeline, which is ostensibly set in 2004, throughout the entire season. (I’ll have to rewatch the show to see if any other characters experience similar cross-timeline effects.) Apparently, what is happening in the first timeline is extremely important to outcomes in the second timeline. By what mechanism? The wounds appear when the Island’s light has been extinguished. The implication here is that Smocke’s destructive actions in one timeline span other timelines if the island ceases to be “functional.” Suddenly it’s not such a great thing that the island is underwater. If the island ceases to exist, flight 815 may not crash, but all life everywhere (in any and all timelines) will be subject to the whims of Smocke.

There is no entirely rational explanation of LOST. The show involves an Island which is some kind of magical entity. But there is an internal logic to this show, just as there is to Lord of the Rings. The ring has to be thrust into the fires of Mt. Doom. Those are the rules in that universe. In the LOST universe, some rules apply. The Island’s light has to be protected in order for humanity to have an opportunity to prove itself.

Sadly, this is simply not a very dramatic premise, which is to say it’s as dramatic as any deus ex machina device. But, it’s a premise nonetheless.

Why do the characters who detonate Jughead flash forward to 2007? If they’ve destroyed the island in the 1970s, how can they exist on it in 2007? The answer is given in Faraday’s explanation to Jack and Kate in Season 5′s episode 14 (and in even more detail in the deleted scene specific to this episode in which Faraday talks about diverting a stream). It’s not an exact and full answer, but it’s also not some idle speculation. Taken together with the consciousness-timeshifting, it is, in fact, a theoretical foundation that makes sense of Season 6. Faraday states that the past can’t be altered within a given timeline, but he also indicates that human action (free will, reasoning) still can make a difference. And so what happens when they blow up the bomb? In the original timeline, they are flashed forward to the post-crash timeframe of the island. They can’t escape their own timeline and their presence in the seventies was a function of “island” magic, so this simply has to be accepted as a brute fact— the island put them in the seventies and it can take them out of the seventies.

The other result is far more impressive, a brand new timeline is formed. It’s not one the Losties who created it are in or can detect except Juliet, before she dies, and Jack, before he dies. Here’s my take on that: At the very end, after the Island transports him out of the cave, when he’s dying in the same place where he woke up after the flight 815 crash in the first timeline, Jack looks up into the sky and sees the second timeline flight 815 flying overhead (the one that lands successfully in LA). He is not seeing Lapidus escape. That plane would be long gone. No, what he’s seeing is one side of his reward for saving the island. Poetic, right? In the second timeline, he experiences the other side of that reward, which is that he and some of his fellow crash survivors gain all of their memories of the experiences they shared on the island. Consciousness-shifting! Jack’s triumph over Smocke may not be the only thing that makes this possible. The fact that the most compassionate character on the show, Hurley, gains the ability to put his own Island powered rules in place probably plays a role in this mushy outcome, too. If Jack hadn’t killed Smocke and recorked the island and generally engaged in some self-sacrificial behavior (hey, I didn’t write this show!), then the reunion of the characters wouldn’t have been possible. Locke’s incredibly rapid post-spinal surgery healing is a function of the island being saved and the timelines converging through the heroic efforts of the Losties, mainly Jack.

Yes, the final scenes of LOST are set in a church featuring every religious symbol ever conceived (slight exaggeration) and what sounds like a hokus-pokus, soft-sell of death as “moving on” for righteous folks, complete with “Christian” opening a door at night and flooding a church with a white light for crying out loud. But do the final moments of LOST represent a tremendous dramatic opportunity squandered in favor of after-school-special sophomoric platitudes (“we all die sometime, kiddo.”) and an overdose of syrupy, slow-motion celebrity hugging, quite possibly B-roll footage shot after the ink dried on the actors’ lucrative contracts for Season 6? Too easy. And maybe the writers can be taken to task for leaving this ending open to such a simplistic conclusion, though many have and will continue to praise them for it.

I’m supposed to believe that Locke (who died in Season 5) and Jack, Juliet, Sayid, Sun, and Jin (who died in Season 6, and Boone (who died in Season 1) and Shannon…. and then Kate and Sawyer who presumably died long after leaving the island… their spirits are in an after-life that involves Jack performing surgery on Locke and Claire giving up her baby for adoption and Sun and Jin being pregnant but her being shot …

C’mon. Give me a break. If this interpretation were true, none of what happened to these characters in the Season 6 flash sideways mattered. I refuse to accept that.

No, I don’t think so. They are not all dead. Think about how macabre it would be if Sun and Jin had an exuberant response to Juliet telling them that their child is healthy after becoming aware that they were, in fact, in some kind of afterlife. I don’t believe it. But Adam, Jack’s talking to his dead father? No, Jack’s talking to the Island, which has animated his father for just this moment, the moment in which his original timeline consciousness inhabits his second timeline consciousness. Jack remembers dying, but he hasn’t died. Not in this timeline.

The opening scene of the LOST finale involves the delivery of a casket containing the body of Jack’s father. When the coffin is empty and Jack turns to face Christian, is he looking at his father’s ghost? No way. We’ve seen this before. The island is able to occupy the bodies of the dead. It has animated Jack’s father in order to help Jack let go. The hug they share is what was part of what was missing for Jack (closure with his dad) and part of what he needed in order to “move on.” With his LIFE. Not into some kind of afterlife.

And the dialogue between Christian and Jack supports this notion. Christian is very clear about everything being “real.” And he corrects Kate’s use of the word “leaving,” substituting instead the language, “moving on.” The second timeline versions of the characters, in many key respects, are still struggling in many ways. The Island/Hurley gives them memories which ought to serve them well as they “move on” with their lives reunited with the friends they made in the original timeline. It is Christian who returns to the Island/Light. Our Losties will live out the rest of their lives together. In the real world. Of this particular timeline.

The writers give us conventions within the show’s paradigm that enable us to reasonably conclude that the second timeline is of this Earth (as close as you can get to this in a show with a Smoke Monster). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Juliet wasn’t hallucinating about “the afterlife” or “purgatory.” She was glimpsing a moment in the second timeline, the one, as Christian/Island states, “they made so they could find each other.” They made it with Jughead— “made” in the sense of rendering something possible, not in the sense of designing a solution to a problem.

Okay, they meet in a church. But they’re there to be supportive of Jack, to whom they are indebted for making this entire second timeline possible, during his father’s funeral. The Losties saved the island; the island reciprocates by facilitating a consciousness-shift that restores their connections with one another.

Does a non-afterlife conclusion make up for the strangeness of Sayid’s response to Shannon? Maybe, a little. Maybe the only way to trigger Sayid’s awareness of his original timeline experiences was through Shannon. Nadia was never on the island in the original timeline, and in the second timeline, his relationship with Nadia was clearly something that he needed to “move on” from.

What about Locke waking up from surgery and saying to Jacke, “you don’t have a son”? This could just be Locke, I’ll get back to you on that one. Why is it so important that “only Claire” raise her son? Ummm…. Smocke is desperate to get off the island. What would have happened if he had escaped? How would his escape have affected the lives of other people? Why did he decide to fight Jack instead of make his getaway? That’s a strange choice for somebody whose raison d’etre is escape. Again, what was really at stake here? If he’d escaped, waouldn’t Smocke have just been another bad person in a world full of bad people? Because he is super-ultimate Evil? Even though the act which makes it possible for him to leave the Island (turning off the light) also appears to make him mortal? And Widmore? What the hell was his motivation?

Why does Eloise not want Desmond to take Daniel to the church to be with the others? Perhaps because she fears that the course-correcting would be accelerated and she wants him to have as much life as possible. Remember, in the second timeline, Ben and his father remember being on the island and leaving it (which they did right before Juliet set off the bomb). Eloise would then remember killing her own son. So, for obvious reasons, she’s protective of him. Why doesn’t Daniel “remember” when he interacts with Charlotte? Good question. Next!

People cite Ben not entering the church as an indication that he’s staying behind in purgatory while the rest of the Losties move on to something like heaven. I don’t read it that way. Ben has remembered what he did in the original timeline and I can think of several compelling reasons he would have to believe that he did not belong with these people.

Does a non-afterlife explanation of the finale make up for the fact that watching LOST often hurt throughout Season 6? Probably not. The redundancy of the actions and behaviors of the central characters was wearing me thin. And the revelations in the final season of LOST do not compensate for being led to believe that the mysterious riddles the LOST writers employed over the course of the show were meaningful and would be demonstrably linked to bonafide storytelling purposes. How do I feel about an ending that religious audience members are celebrating as an affirmation of faith-based interpretations of the show and its significance? Am I just striving to confirm my own biases? Hmm.

I loved this show more than most. I’m sad to see it go. And I’m secretly planning to give it a second viewing, start to finish, in a year or so.


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by adam on April 23, 2010 · 0 comments

I haven’t posted for a while. In late March I was putting the finishing touches on a complex video project, and then I was preparing taxes, and finally, on the eve of April 1st, my wife and I left town for a nine day vacation in Arizona.

That’s me on a jutting cliff at the Grand Canyon shot by my beloved from as close to the edge as she was willing to get. And here is a glimpse of what I was looking at when I wasn’t looking into the abyss.

Here are a few pictures from Antelope Canyon, which you can read about here. Fortunately our tour was scheduled midday, when the light accentuates the slot canyon’s breathtaking, naturally occurring colors and textures. I can’t wait to go back to this place.

If you know where to look, you’ll find bears in here!

One mile South of Antelope Canyon is a dirt road off of Rt.89 that leads to Horseshoe Bend. Fortunately I was ultimately approached by a man who had exactly the right ultra wide angle lens to capture this phenomenon. I traded my willingness to stand on the edge of a cliff and take this picture with his camera for his willingness to share the picture later.

On the way to and from these spectacles, we were amazed at the scenery.

Here are some shots from a late afternoon hike on the Boynton trail in Sedona. The rocks were glowing in the desert sun.

Sedona’s Brins Mesa trail.

We spent some time visiting with a dear friend and his delightful family who recently moved to Arizona from New York. They were gracious hosts, fed us amazing, homemade Chinese food, repelled insect attacks promptly and efficiently, extensively reviewed the advantages of living in AZ while surviving a visit from their first rattlesnake, and we can’t wait to visit them again.

They also introduced us to an arboretum the likes of which we’d never seen.

I wasn’t sure how my right knee would respond on this trip. But the weather was so perfect every single day, and the landscapes so alien and exciting, we ended up going on hiking excursions every single day.
I had to take a little longer to figure out how to climb in ways that my leg could handle and the physical exertion of coming down steep trails was painful. I’m definitely not fully recovered yet, but fortunately I was healthy enough to thoroughly enjoy being outside each day. I didn’t take a moment of it for granted.


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Change We Cannot Trust

by adam on March 23, 2010 · 0 comments

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Eve of Destruction

by adam on March 21, 2010 · 6 comments

Obama and and his team have been working overtime, hyperventilating about the virtues of their “healthcare plan,” the historic opportunity, how it’s all about “character, not costs.” Never mind that the country is insolvent and what that will mean at crunch time for patients. Never mind that the CBO report doesn’t take into account the hundreds of billions of dollars that were removed from the bill and made into their own separate bills to make the bigger bill appear fiscally sound. I hear Obama giving speeches and pep rallies that are awfully deceptive and impassioned, never a positive mix for libertylovers, in the midst of plenty of backroom arm-twisting and deal-making to ram this craptacular legislation through.

If it doesn’t work out, that is, when its failures require politicians, once again, to take action, might the government “course correct” constructively? No. It won’t.

Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid. Prohibition. Public Education. How has the government responded to the “unintended consequences” of its interventionism except with more debt, more unsustainable and damaging intervention? Greece has reached the limits of its big government approach. California is bankrupt and will increasingly rely on the other 49 states to keep it afloat, and it will soon be joined by New York. The whole government-with-intricate-and-indecipherable-plans-to-help-everybody scam is plainly self-destructing around the globe. And in the midst of myriad culminations of ineptitude, here in the U.S.A., the State is delivering another massive entitlement program. It’s suicidally stupid. It’s inhumane. It’s corrupt.

It’s happening.

My Leftist friends, who happen to be among the most brilliant people I know otherwise, consistently make the classic and lethal mistake of assuming that society can be optimally planned by experts who, they assume, projecting their intelligence and good-heartedness, would be conscientious and diligent and wise in their allocations of resources and societal tweaking.

They underestimate or overlook the fact that a humane and prosperous society is an emergent order. It is produced by unrestrained human action, people serving their own interests by satisfying others via peaceful trades. Human action cannot be planned by anyone other than individuals without individuals being treated as if they’re not human, as if their free will doesn’t matter, as if they have no legitimate claims of ownership of their bodies, minds, and labor that can repel the demands of a community-interested State.

Attempts to impose plans, even the most well-intended, cannot work in the real world. Because of the State’s institutional incentives. Because of moral hazards and unintended consequences. Because of behavioral phenomena described by public choice theory. Because of the knowledge problem that no expert can surmount. Because of the broken window fallacy. Because of the tragedy of the commons. Indeed, because of the very nature of human beings.

My Leftist friends shake their brilliant heads at the idea that government should extract itself rather than further involve itself, and they characterize those who oppose government action as people who advocate “doing nothing” to address real problems.

As if all of the actions and interactions based on mutual consent undertaken by free people voluntarily every single day amount to nothing significant, even though their sum total is responsible for the amazingly diverse spectrum of opportunities and wealth individuals enjoy.

The current health care plan is yet another breathtaking encroachment of government into the sector of our economy that directly serves health and longevity. I hope against hope that it doesn’t pass. If it does, I hope the Supreme Court strikes down the constitutionality of the federal mandate that people buy health insurance, which is a thinly veiled tax that will hit poor people the hardest. I think it’s going to pass. And its failures, like those of the interventionist policies that have preceded it, will lay a foundation for more Statist meddling. And as more and more people will suffer needlessly as a result, I wonder when this organized crime syndicate deceptively referred to as government will be tolerated no longer. Very soon this new entitlement program will be perceived as indispensable, despite the fact that it is unsustainable. This isn’t going to end well. Legalizing human sacrifice never does.

America’s debt has reached levels guaranteed to cause problems, before the passage of this healthcare bill. The full effects of inflation await us. At what point will people’s faith in the cult of the omnipotent State turn to revulsion and finally rejection? When will the sweet-sounding claims of politicians be widely recognized as fraudulent, ahistorical, counterfactual? When will toleration for coercion and its cruel impact become intolerable to most people?


From an op-ed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former CBO Director, in the New York Times:

[How can it be that] a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs — health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits — would actually improve the nation’s bottom line.

Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?

The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.

In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.

Removing the unrealistic annual Medicare savings ($463 billion) and the stolen annual revenues from Social Security and long-term care insurance ($123 billion), and adding in the annual spending that so far is not accounted for ($114 billion) quickly generates additional deficits of $562 billion in the first 10 years. And the nation would be on the hook for two more entitlement programs rapidly expanding as far as the eye can see.

The bottom line is that Congress would spend a lot more; steal funds from education, Social Security and long-term care to cover the gap; and promise that future Congresses will make up for it by taxing more and spending less.

From CATO’s Michael Cannon:

Myth: The legislation would contain health care costs.

The Obama plan would increase health care costs for the simple reason that it would put millions more patients, plus doctors and insurers, in a position where they are spending the taxpayers’ money. That never produces frugality.

Its command-and-control approaches to cost containment have failed over and over in Medicare and Medicaid because they don’t change the incentives that encourage cost growth.

The only provision that would change incentives is the president’s proposed tax on the sick and others with high-cost health plans. But he appears ready to abandon that, anyway.

Stanford health economist Alain Enthoven writes, “The American people are being deceived.” The Senate bill would “do little or nothing to curb [health care] expenditures.”

Myth: This legislation would stop abusive insurance practices.

The Obama plan would encourage abusive insurance practices. Research by Obama adviser David Cutler shows that the plan’s price controls would force insurers who provide quality care for the sick into bankruptcy. Insurers would therefore use countless and covert means to deny care and avoid, mistreat and dump the sick.

Along the way, the legislation would shower private insurance companies with half a trillion dollars in government subsidies.

Myth: This isn’t a government takeover of health care.

This legislation would force all Americans to purchase health insurance coverage. Government would control what kind of insurance you purchase, where you purchase it, how much you pay and what kind of medical care you receive. Our health care sector would be “private” in name only.

Once government controls those decisions, there will be nothing left to socialize. Make no mistake — this is a vote on socialized medicine.


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Nick Gillespie from

[T]his doesn’t even represent a fundamental reform, one that would radically open up the health care industry to the sorts of personalized service and market competition that have actually driven costs down and services up in every other aspect of the economy that is not subject to huge amounts of cheap government money and subsidies (read: house prices and education, which along with health care tell you everything you need to know about what happens when the government gets overly involved in a given sector).

It’s also worth noting that a hunk a hunk a burning change is not included in this bill but is surely coming down the road. That’s the so-called “doc fix,” which routinely staves off cuts in Medicare reimbursements to physicians in the name of propping up one of the great boondoggles of the past 45 years. As Reason alum Ed Carson writes in Investors Business Daily:

The Sustainable Growth Rate imposes automatic cuts in Medicare payment rates to doctors.

For several years, fearing a revolt by doctors — and seniors — Congress has suspended those cuts. The original draft of the House health care bill included a permanent “doc fix.” But that ballooned deficits, so Democrats dropped it, even though everyone knows Congress isn’t going to slash doctors’ rates. The CBO has estimated a “doc fix” would cost $247 billion over 10 years.

As any number of really bad gamblers could tell you (but probably wouldn’t): You gotta spend money to lose money.


The Democrats and the White House are lost in a legislative “fog of war” right now. They are focused on twisting enough arms, offering jobs and negotiating specific “deals” (bribes) to get them to 216 votes. Their attention and energy is focused exclusively on a final vote in the House tonight. No one is looking even one minute beyond that horizon. They are like a general who pours all his reserves into taking a symbolic bridge, never realizing that his lines have already collapsed and his flanks have been turned. They may take the bridge and get to 216 votes. (I’ve learned to never bet against Congressional leadership and an Administration united for a single legislative victory. ) But, they have already lost the war. They have deluded themselves that if they can…just…get…this…bill…passed, the public’s anger and attention will subside, they can put health care ‘behind them’ and they can focus on other ‘popular’ measures that will shore up their election prospects in November.

What they don’t realize is that today’s vote isn’t the end, but just a new beginning in the debate over health care. Buckle up, because if they manage to cobble together enough votes to pass the Senate Health Bill today, we’re set for weeks and perhaps months of a constitutional and political crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.

In a matter of hours after House passage of the Senate Bill, the state of Virginia will file suit in federal court. The Commonwealth will be joined in the suit by a dozen other states. I expect a flood of additional lawsuits. The suits will be based on the provision that requires every American to purchase health insurance. (This is how the Dems ‘crack down’ on the insurance industry; by requiring everyone to buy its product?) Because this is an individual mandate, virtually every American has standing to file suit against this provision. Also, it is in direct conflict with state law in at least two states, Idaho and Virginia.

The economy is nowhere close to recovering and, in some places, may be getting worse. Millions of people have been unemployed for a very long time and untold millions more live in fear of it. Spending, deficits and debt have grown beyond the hypothetical world of economists and into a realm that the average person understands. Against this, the Democrats are now steaming towards the greatest expansion in government ever and, more importantly, into the part of our lives that commands our deepest fears, our health and mortality. That they have done so in an openly corrupt manner, with side deals, special exemptions, special interest favors and patronage (a judgeship, really?), betrays a contempt for the legislative and political process that is almost unfathomable. Worse, they raise the specter that the government is an interest, separate, distinct and opposed to the people.

The Democrats cannot do this. Sure, they may get the votes to pass the Senate bill tonight, but ultimately they will be defeated. A representative democracy cannot long endure a political class that is so out of touch with the populace.

Where is all of this leading? What are Obama’s intentions?


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Prohibition’s Winners and Losers

by adam March 8, 2010

Thoughts and insights courtesy of

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Speaking Truth to Power

by adam February 26, 2010

Great points, right? Just basic math here, folks. The federal government is not solvent and current health care reform bills will only exacerbate the problem. Of course, when the Republicans not too long ago held the commanding heights in Washington, what did they do about health care reform? Nothing. In fact, in cahoots with Democrats, […]

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LOST Consciousness, Season Six Premiere Thoughts

by adam February 3, 2010

The LOST writers are juggling twenty pies right now, but I trust them to resolve the questions that matter most to me without making too much of a mess. That said, I’m fine with LOST wrapping up with dashes of clarity here and puddles of muddle there. Would any fan of this show be happy […]

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Human Action Versus Human Design

by adam January 25, 2010
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Walking and Trading

by adam January 17, 2010

The last week has been exciting for me. It’s been almost two months since the second surgery on my right leg. Though my stamina is still low and there are lingering pain issues, I’m once again walking around without a cane. To be perfectly honest with you, the experience has been intoxicating. This will probably […]

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