Obamacare was Not Designed to Fail

A conservative critique of ACA, aka Obamacare, is that it was designed to fail so Democrats could instead implement a single-payer health care “system”. Here’s a column by the respected Larry Elder.

I disagree with that view. ACA was the Democrats’ attempt at using government bureaucracy to administer health insurance and resulting health care. Democrats, following progressive ideology, do not trust the market process. Progressives believe they are smarter than the rest of us and can allocate resources better and fairer than market processes. Note also some conservatives believe this as well. People in government, whether (modern) liberal, conservative, or middle-of-the-road take simply cannot give up the power and control that government provides them. They could be in an elected or appointed capacity.

The market process consists of individuals making decisions, voluntarily interacting with one another in commercial transactions, trial-and-error, competition, choice, and experimentation. You can see from this description how some failures will occur with market processes. But it also allows for many more successes, inventions, and improvements.

If health care cannot be administered by government bureaucracy while letting some limited individual decision-making as the ACA allows, it certainly cannot be distributed by freed market processes. Its too important. Government has to completely take over.

But the Democrats have been pushing, with some Republican help, for bureaucratic administration, which consists of unelected government employees issuing rules and regulations that do not have to be implemented legislatively. Adding language in legislation gives the appropriate government agency the rule-making power.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is one such agency. It reports into the unelected bankers at the Federal Reserve.

 

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Conservatives pose new threat to free markets and tech economy

Steven Greenhut:

Guess which far-out-there leftist made the following statements: “Well, size matters, and Silicon Valley’s giants are just too darn big. Time to chop them up like old Ma Bell.” He also argued that “no corporation should be too big to fail — or to nail” and called for the government to “regulate Google and all of Silicon Valley into submission.”

This was a trick question. It wasn’t a leftist Democrat who called for nailing businesses. It was conservative writer Kurt Schlichter, in an August column on the conservative Townhall website. Since then, other conservatives have touted that idea and that column. For instance, Mark Pulliam, writing on the “pro-Trumpism” American Greatness site, called for the kind of “trust busting” that went on during the Progressive Era.

Yes, this anti-market strain has existed for many years. I encountered it in the 1990’s  and its here again now. This type of conservative has a different value set than market-oriented conservatives. They want to punish firms that lean too far left, but they have do not care or have not thought through the ramifications as what Greenhut suggests in his piece.

Immigration and Social Engineering

I was recently listening to President Trump’s proposal to change U.S. immigration laws and how they would somehow help the economy.

Well, Sheldon Richman puts into words better than I could what this amounts to:

Immigration brings out the social engineers and central planners across the political establishment. We see this clearly in the debate over Donald Trump’s support for legislation that would cut legal immigration in half while tilting it toward well-educated English-speakers and against low-skilled non-English-speakers. . . .

But what is this thing they call “the economy,” which has needs? Social engineers of all parties and persuasions talk as though an economy is some kind of mechanism to be centrally fine-tuned and overhauled occasionally according to a plan. Even those who style themselves free enterprisers display the central-planning mentality when it comes to immigration.

Contrary to this establishment view, the economy is not a mechanism. It is, rather, hundreds of millions of American producers and consumers, who also happen to be embedded in a global marketplace. Why can’t they be trusted, without the direction of politicians, to decide for themselves what they need and to engage in social cooperation — that is, among other things, to trade goods and services — to obtain it?

 

Venezuela descends into predictable dictatorship

A. Barton Hinkle:

Last weekend, president Nicolas Maduro used a sham election to consolidate power, and by Tuesday armed thugs were rounding up opposition leaders. This is the all but inevitable outcome of the Venezuelan government’s economic policies, which have driven the richest nation in Latin America — a country with more oil than Saudi Arabia — into shocking destitution.

And Darío Paya, former Chilean ambassador to the Organization of American States:

“Populists and socialists destroy their societies in predictable ways. It’s not like one day a populist gets up and says, ‘I’m going to ruin this country.’ Rather, he starts out wanting to spread the wealth and finds that the easiest way to hand out cash is by simply printing lots of it. Which creates a new problem: As the currency weakens, prices rise. But the populist finds there’s an answer for that too. If bread is getting expensive, he can fix its price, and he gets to vilify the baker as a greedy capitalist.

 

“But then the baker stops producing bread because he can’t afford to make it, what with the rising price of flour. And so what does the populist do next? He fixes the prices of flour. When that doesn’t work, the politically expedient thing to do will be to take over the bakery and the farms and hand them to the folks in the party’s local committees, who prove to be rather less apt at farming and baking. …

 

“And if violence does erupt, it can be denounced as the doing of enemies of the state and used as a pretext for renewed crackdowns: ‘We’re going to tell the imperialism and the international right that the people are present, with their farm instruments in one hand and a gun in the other,’ Maduro told a Caracas crowd. And soon, Mr. Populist finds himself with a good reason to suspend the country’s constitution. Thus does a tyrannical attitude toward the shop-owner selling bread lead to a tyranny over a whole nation.”

 

 

 

Venezuela Update

CNN:

One of the opposition leaders says he likes the way the streets of the capital looked Thursday morning — empty.

Freddy Guevara, vice president of the opposition-led National Assembly, posted pictures of near-empty Caracas streets to his Twitter account, saying they showed that Venezuelans there were answering the call to stay home from their jobs.

“This is Bolivar Avenue this morning. A point of pride that we emptied it like all of Caracas. We continue!” Guevara tweeted.

Venezuela, the model for central planning of the economy — which is a better description than simply calling it socialism — is producing so much pain for its citizens that they are rebelling. And in response to the failures and protests the Maduro government is trying to re-write the country’s constitution to give itself more power.

And that’s how it goes: too much government control of the economy produces too much misery — such as lines for bread, bread for god’s sake — which leads the political leaders of such stupid policy to go to extremes to continue to hold power.

Presidential Debate #2: Clinton vs Trump

I thought Trump “won” the debate. He went on offense and rebutted criticisms. We finally heard some debate on issues such as Obamacare.

What we didn’t get from either debate was a discussion on effective management of the government as an enterprise. Seems the candidates are more interested in managing and controlling the lives of the American people and the global American Empire.

The government is still spying on us, spending way too much, not reining in an unaccountable bureaucracy, not reining in entitlement programs.

What we need is a debate on effective management of the sprawling government.

Gary Johnson is aiming to do that:

What the country needs now, he [Johnson] says, is a president who will cut spending, hold taxes down, be skeptical about foreign military interventions, and allow free markets and new businessess to flourish.

 

Measures of Freedom in the World

After all the hullabaloo from the GOP and Dem political conventions, I thought I’d remind everyone where the U.S. stands on global measures of economic freedom and human freedom.

Politics is toxic and deceptive. Rarely does the truth emerge from political conventions. So what was said at them, well, take with a grain of salt. Let’s look at the facts.

Economic freedom measures the level of voluntary exchange, property rights, regulations, and other indicators.

In 2013, the last year available, the US ranked 16 out of 197 countries and sinking. By contrast, in 2000 the US ranked 2 out of 123 countries, #3 in 2001, 5 or 6 from 2002 through 2008, then 10 in 2009, 12 in 2010, 16 in 2011, and 13 in 2012.

Here is an interactive map of the world.

Human freedom combines economic freedom with measures of social freedom such as freedom to exercise one’s religion, association, assembly, and expression. It measures a total of 76 indicators.

On this measure the US ranks 20 out of 152 in 2012, the latest year data are available.

Here.