Universal Health Care - the 5th Banderilla

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machinehead's picture
machinehead
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Universal Health Care - the 5th Banderilla

Banderillas are the barbed sticks used in a bullfight to weaken and eventually kill the bull. By my analysis, the old bull known as Uncle Sam has four deadly banderillas planted in his neck already, which are slowly killing him. Universal health care would be the fifth. Here's the list:

Banderilla #1 - Medicare/Medicaid. Econ 101 teaches that demand is effectively unlimited for any free good. As theory predicts, Medicare/Medicaid spending has consistently grown in real terms, and will continue to do so. After decades of metastasizing, these programs are by far the largest component of Usgov's negative net worth.

Status: inserted in 1965.

Banderilla #2 - Fiat currency. By inducing 'money illusion' -- the commonly held belief that federal financing is unlimited since 'we can always just print it' -- money illusion removes the brakes on government budgeting. Setting priorities goes by the wayside, because ALL priorities are funded.

Status: inserted in 1971.

Banderilla #3 - Permanent war. Unwinnable conflicts in distant places with costly logistics ensure a large steady bleed of currency overseas, which will eventually undermine the dollar. The almost psychotic brilliance of the Afghan quagmire was to involve NATO, an obsolete, incompetent multinational bureaucracy which needs to prove its relevance. Consequently, it can and does plan to slog on forever, as its out-of-touch generals parley in a cacophony of tongues.

Status: inserted in 2001.

Banderilla #4 - Runaway debt. As the debt ceiling wafts skyward toward the mid-teen trillions, both debt and debt service will grow exponentially. New debt is being incurred to pay the interest on the old debt. This process was given a huge one-time boost during the multi-trillion dollar LooterFests of 2008 and 2009.

Status: inserted in 2008.

Banderilla #5 - Universal health care. Not that this isn't a worthy goal. What's remarkable is the complete absence of awareness that the existing Medicare/Medicaid health programs are deeply insolvent. As the Baby Boomers retire, these programs will segue from minor budget burdens into gaping black holes. Adding universal health care -- roughly the same order of magnitude -- will simply accelerate this slow-motion slide over the cliff into deficit free fall.

Status: pending in 2009.

Ultimately, it's immaterial whether the fifth banderilla is plunged into Uncle Sam's hollow, clammy, hyperventilating chest. Already, the four banderillas that are slowly bleeding him dry will kill him in twenty years, I estimate. Adding a fifth banderilla may finish him off in fifteen years -- perhaps as few as twelve. Olé!

Davos's picture
Davos
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Re: Universal Health Care - the 5th Banderilla

5 years. More optomistic than what I would have thought, but I suppose it take a while for something so large to fall.

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Mike Pilat
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Re: Universal Health Care - the 5th Banderilla

I think 5 years is more realistic as well. Unless we see a sharp discontinuity in a good direction, the natural course of events won't take that much longer to reach the terminal phase. Energy and resource scarcity are going to combine with dramatic structural changes in the job mix to make life a challenge even without considering the insolvency issue. The level of political confidence might have reached a top in early summer. From all the polling information I hear and all the news I hear about the townhalls, many and more Americans are at least questioning what's going on here. Some Americans are beginning to take incremental steps to stand up for their rights as individuals. One need look no farther than the resurging interest in openly carrying firearms as an act of protest.

Although this questioning (and hopefully even more intelligent evaluation) is necessary to preserve the long term future, the confluence of fiscal, energy, military, political, and social challenges historically have not been pleasant in the short term. A World Bank economist friend of mine described the global financial systems as requiring a level of euphoria in order to operate smoothly. If the generalized euphoria begins to get replaced with disconnect and disillusion, changes can occur very dramatically. Further, the government can print as much money as they want, can even "appropriate" a great deal more oil from our colonies, and can put military on our streets all as acts of force. But in the final analysis, the ultimate outcome of this country over the longer term will be determined by the prevailing mood or mass psychology. This is why there is such interest in manipulating statistics, beating by a penny, and incessantly telling us that the problems are nonexistant or not as bad as we think they are. Eventually, though, no one will be able to convince someone who is unemployed that they really are employed. This is the greatest threat to the mood of the nation. Unemployed individuals are likely to distrust the manipulated statistics and are likely to spend their new-found free time protesting and complaining. If the euphoria doesn't pick up quickly once again, individuals will begin to understand that their standard of living is declining while GS gorges itself on taxpayer funded bonuses. A widespread understanding to this effect will ensure that things will proceed very quickly from there on out. In my opinion, a "double dip" of the stock market could very well be the brick that breaks the camel's back. I guess Ben will have to keep his helicopter flying.

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Re: Universal Health Care - the 5th Banderilla

Under our current MONETARY system it does.

But healthcare is a neccessity, so I don't mind if we go in debt for THAT.

But, why go into debt?

American Credit system (A. Hamilton) would solve most of that.

Or we can keep with our current one, and just kill ourselves through lack of healthcare?

Especailly if no one is employed, who is providing the healthcare?

Why choose either/or when you can have both?

That really is the choice we're making.  Keep our current system, deny heathcare and social services to as many as possible in the hopes things will turn around, and that spending money on this is what is killing us.  Wrong.

Spending money on this can help kill THIS SYSTEM, but it's already dead anyways.  This would just quicken it.  (which would be a GOOD thing).

Meanwhile you then can call yourself an honorable person, and actually be correct.

Funny thing this debt based monetary system.  Things keep getting worse, which cause 'the people' to request ever increasing help from the gov't.

You could deny them, save money, keep the system, and be screwed in the end.

You could give them services, spend that extra few percentage points, keep the system, and be screwed in the end.

Which way is better? At least the 2nd way you make people's lives better.

But I'd rather have option 3.

Give services, spend the extra points which will give us a real inflation less probalby 1/5 of the monetary inflation we currently get nothing for, ditch the system, and everyone who tries has a chance to prosper.

That's the prospect of the American Credit System.  The one we started with, the one we built everything from.  That, and a commitment to continuous infrastructure improvement, and a few more technical things.

We've been watching the implosion for 40 years.  But only in the past 2 have things become apparent.  Even then, not to many, even after last fall.  What will they do after this year's crash? Will they continue to bury their heads? Maybe not.  But they will still try to save the system.

At what point does the average person demand a switch of the system?  AFTER it crushes everyone, or can we agree that the trend is real and ACT AS IF it is going to crush everyone, before it crushes them.  Because if the system isn't fixed (and it can't be) then it's going to crush them.

But everyone here has the light on, so I'm sure I'm just preaching to the choir about most of this. 

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National Healthcare: Socialism vs. Corporatism

Another way to look at the national health care debate:

National Healthcare:  Socialism vs. Corporatism

 

Rushkoff looks at the proposals with a wide-angle lens . . . .  

Excerpt:

But all that aside, when Obama suggests he is open to removing the national healthcare part of the national healthcare act, he is turning it from social spending to straight corporatism. Now, instead of requiring everyone have insurance, and then subsidizing a person’s participation in a government health plan, the act will still require everyone have insurance, and then subsidize a person’s participation in a private health plan. So the net effect of the law is to use public funds to subsidize a private, highly inefficient healthcare insurance industry which has been documented to care much more about profit than anyone’s health.

This is corporatism.

And it is not even a step in the right direction, not a step towards getting America healthier or more people properly insured. It promises only to exacerbate the very features of private-sector healthcare that already puts America fiftieth in the list for life expectancy and general health

 

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If Medicare and Medicaid

If Medicare and Medicaid were prviatized, would it be more efficient or less efficient? Or is the solution to not have either and let people buy their own helath insurance? Just like auto insurance, there could be low cost insurance plans that don't cover as much as a typical health plan. I think the government and corporations have made the health care industry confusing and overly-complex.

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The only thing that will

The only thing that will decrease healthcare costs will be to have consumers be able to choose between providers based on cost  As long as somebody else(gov't, employer, insurance) is paying for the service there will be overconsumption of the service.   When healthcare becomes completely "free" you will not be able to get health care services without lengthy waits (think Canada or Britain).  Most government healthcare services are rationed either overtly by denial of services like expensive chemotherapy as "unproven" or "not cost effective", or covertly by limiting the number of health providers -- "we are sorry there is a doctor shortage but we are working diligently to educate more doctors"  There is no free lunch.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Privatizing Medicare?

It would become less efficient to government and the taxpayer, because government would still be paying for it...

...Even as it became ruthlessly efficient to provide profit for the private administrator.

Poet

Carl Veritas's picture
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machinehead, Banderilla #2 

machinehead,

Banderilla #2  Fiat Currency   opened the door for all the others.    

dshields's picture
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self repealing

Obamacare is self repealing.  Either we repeal it and replace it with something that will reduce costs through competition (like being able to buy ins across state lines, etc.), like the wireless phone world, or we just wait until it collapses due to our inability to raise taxes high enough to pay for it.  Repealing it and replacing it will get rid of it in a more organized and controlled manner.  Allowing to collapse will have the same end result but it will be associated with chaos.  I prefer a more organized approach.

Health care is not a right, it is a privilege.  We are not coming even close to paying for what the gov is trying to do now.  Local, State, and the Fed gov are seriously over committed financially.  There are going to be big cuts at every level in the coming years.  I watched with great interest the Wisconsin protests because they were going to lose their fat benefits and pensions.  It was sad as they were fighting a loosing fight.  They will be very lucky to keep their jobs.  There are some very big lay offs coming to the public sector.  America is experiencing a major reduction in the standard of living.  It appears to be a permanent reduction.  We are simply not going to be able to pay for the gov services we have had in the past.  That includes health care and a boat load of other stuff.

machinehead hit it right on the head.  Camden NJ laid off a good sized chunk of its police force last month.  I saw in the news this morning costa mesa CA is laying off public employees big time.  It is happening pretty much everywhere -- and it has just started.  This has been going on in the private sector for years.  Now the reduction is moving to the public sector.  It was inevitable.  Big reductions in gov at all levels is going to sweep the nation.  The entire government union this is going to get steam rolled by the reality that we simply can not pay for it.  If the money does not exist then it can not be paid.  I saw in the news last night that some place was looking at getting rid of property taxes.  I see stuff every week where govs all over America are cutting.  I am surprised that people are surprised.  Just take a look at the numbers.  At the fed gov level we are going to have to cut ss, health care, the military, welfare, everything.  The same is going to happen at the state and local level.

We simply can not pay for what we have now.  Adding to it is simply nonsense.  Just look at the numbers.  There is no way out.  You can't raise taxes as people simply will not be able to pay.  They are having trouble paying what they have to pay now.  There is some serious gov cutting on the way.  So, I am not worried about obamacare.  I disagree with obamacare on a political basis but I am not worried about it.  Since it simply can not be paid for it is self repealing.

Keep watching - it is going to get really interersting.

 

land2341's picture
land2341
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In every case of a business

In every case of a business that people said would bring lower costs if there was more competition what happened next was far from a drop in costs to consumers.  Each business has to spend huge amount sin marketing and administration,  economy of scale drops rapidly,  services need to be duplicated and the consumer soon hits the wall of excessive choice.  When are people going to realize the whole "if this idea is good it applies perfectly to all things" paradigm does NOT work.  

The best plans lie in the tension between government and business and labor.  It is in this tension that sanity lives.  All three have proven that they become corrupt and bloated if given too much power.  But, over the last 30 years,  since "The Twilight of Sovereignty" days,  the ethos has been that the "market" is a better arbiter of what is good for people than any other.  this is simply false.

Trying to remove the banderillo's by removing the government is like trying to save the bull is like yanking them each out as the bullfighter stabs them in without ever stopping the bullfighter......

Address fiat currency.  Address the loss of balance.  

dshields's picture
dshields
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Posts: 599
yes
land2341 wrote:

In every case of a business that people said would bring lower costs if there was more competition what happened next was far from a drop in costs to consumers.  Each business has to spend huge amount sin marketing and administration,  economy of scale drops rapidly,  services need to be duplicated and the consumer soon hits the wall of excessive choice.  When are people going to realize the whole "if this idea is good it applies perfectly to all things" paradigm does NOT work.  

The best plans lie in the tension between government and business and labor.  It is in this tension that sanity lives.  All three have proven that they become corrupt and bloated if given too much power.  But, over the last 30 years,  since "The Twilight of Sovereignty" days,  the ethos has been that the "market" is a better arbiter of what is good for people than any other.  this is simply false.

Trying to remove the banderillo's by removing the government is like trying to save the bull is like yanking them each out as the bullfighter stabs them in without ever stopping the bullfighter......

Address fiat currency.  Address the loss of balance.  

I am not exactly sure what your point is in the first paragraphs but I completely agree with the fiat currency and balance issues.  Addressing fiat currency is very tough.  Nixon let that genie out of the bottle and I can not imagine how you put it back in now.  We were fine until Nixon did that.  Starting right then the government started over spending and it has continued.  Now over spending has become a way of life in the government.  Trying to rein that in is proving to very very difficult.  However, given some time it will be self rectifying.  There will be a collapse.  Out of control government spending will stop then.

 

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