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Ron Paul: We Are Reaching A Point Of No Return

When the system will break no matter what the Fed tries
Monday, November 6, 2017, 4:08 PM

Ron Paul Book: The Revolution At Ten YearsDr. Ron Paul has long been a leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, sound money, civil liberty, and non-interventionist foreign policies.

Dr. Paul served as the US Representative for Texas’s 27th Congressional District from 1976 to 1985. He then represented the 14th district from 1977 to 2013. He ran for the office of US President, three times, most recently in the 2012 Republican primaries. Dr. Paul also had a long career as an OBGYN over which he delivered more than 4,000 babies.

The recent author of the book, The Revolution At Ten Years, Dr. Paul looks ahead at the future of the movement he helped launch -- tackling central planning, the military empire, cultural Marxism, the surveillance state, the deep state, and the real threats from these institutions to our civil liberties.

As a multi-term member of Congress, Dr. Paul knows the players and policies responsible for the growing unfairness and inequality now rampant in society. He does not expect the offenders will reform willingly. Instead, he predicts the system will collapse under its own unsustainability -- offering a rare and valuable chance then for more sound and fair solutions to prevail:

Wealth doesn’t come from the creation of money, especially a fiat system. With too much fiat money and all this credit, eventually the economy becomes exhausted and engulfed with debt and mal-investments. The treatment for this is a correction; you have to allow the debt to be liquidated. You have to get rid of the mal-investment and you have and to allow real economic growth to start all over again. But that wasn’t permitted in ’08 and ’09, which is why there’s been stagnation. It's hard to believe that today we have negative interest rates -- real rates are negative and people still aren’t grabbing them up! A shortage of money isn't the problem here; rather, it’s a shortage of understanding market conditions.

We’re over-taxed and over-regulated. This is resulting in a destructive system that has divided the country into two groups: those who haven’t recovered from the Great Financial Crisis versus those who are getting very rich because they're on the receiving end of the new money created by the Federal Reserve. The people who get to create the credit get to distribute the credit, which always results in a situation where money becomes unfairly distributed, as its allocation is no longer dependent on productivity.

We haven’t changed anything. We still have a system where we encourage people to borrow money, that debt doesn’t matter, and we’re not going to cut taxes, and we’re not even going to admit that we spend too much money. Nobody can cut anything -- that’s why Washington is at a stalemate. A lot of people don’t like Obamacare, but there’s enough people who do like it. Once it has been implemented, it’s very hard to get rid of a program. I also don't think that the proposed tax reforms will actually lower taxes. They never do.  Our politicians won’t admit where the real problem lies: overspending, monetizing the debt, taking over the whole world through the monetary system, financing wars, financing welfare and the military industrial complex. It’s going to continue until this whole thing comes apart.

The eventual event will be driven by the marketplace. When it comes undone, they will no longer be able to prop things up just by printing more money. If we have a sharp downturn and they decide, "Well, QE didn’t work because it wasn’t enough." and they double QE, there’ll be a point of no return and all confidence will be lost. We’ll dump the dollar. Interest rates will go up instead of down. That will make all the difference in the world because it will be unsustainable and create real challenges for the dollar remaining the reserve currency. When the dollar no longer serves as the world's key currency, that’s when the ballgame will be over.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Dr. Ron Paul (29m:56s).

Transcript: 

Chris: Welcome, everyone, to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson. And look, as my listeners already know, I’m an equal opportunity basher when it comes to the current political parties is Washington DC. And that’s because I go by what people and parties do, not what they say. Now, on that front, on the doing front, there’s so little difference between the parties that they are essentially indistinguishable from each other. Both parties support endless war. Both support monetary policies that destroy the middle classes today and I think all the classes tomorrow. Both are taking corporate bribes that have given us such monstrosities as a raging opioid epidemic and toxic agricultural products that are ruining ecological landscapes and human health alike. And, of course, politically, the world is fracturing in ways not seen in a very long time. Restive populations are voting for parties and independence like never before. Political disagreements are hardening like quick-set epoxy left in the sun and failing to be resolved in any useful fashion.

Well, today’s guest is someone I greatly admire, and who demonstrated that one can have both a conscious and a political career. And I’m very much looking forward to today’s conversation. It is my great honor to welcome Dr. Ron Paul as our guest. You know him as the US Representative for Texas’s 22nd Congressional District from 1976 to 1985 with a two-year gap in there. And he then represented the 14th district from 1977 to 2013. He ran for the office of US President, three times, most recently in the 2012 Republican primaries. Dr. Paul also had a long career as an OBGYN over which he delivered over 4,000 babies. He is a leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, sound money, civil liberty, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Dr. Paul, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Paul: Well, thank you very much. It’s nice to be with you.

Chris: Well, Dr. Paul, I want to talk about the economy, monetary policy, geopolitics, generational issues with you and wow, you’ve got a new book out which touches on all those things, so let’s start there. The title of your new book is The Revolution at Ten Years. This revolution you write of, is it a movement? What is it?

Dr. Paul: Well, it’s something that was more or less started, I consider spontaneously in the campaign, ten years ago when I first ran in ’07 and for the ’08 campaign in the Republican primary. And there was a lot of excitement about a liberty message, which is what I was delivering, and the University campuses were very open to this message. But there was a lot of spontaneity to it, and in the end of ’07 on December 16th, which was a celebration, an anniversary for the Boston Tea Party, the supporters around the country were spontaneously holding rallies and saying, well, let’s send Ron more money. And it was astounding. It broke all kinds of records. I think we raised six-million dollars in one day and it was really self-starting. But that was a celebration on a message I was delivering then which you sort of outlined at the beginning.

And ten years have passed, and I thought this might be a good time to revisit that whole movement that was occurring. And things have changed. People say is there anything left to the revolution? What has happened to it? Nobody talks about it. And that’s what the book is about – to try to describe that, as far as I'm concerned, that revolution that was going there was a continuation of what was existing before that, which was started by the old right libertarians and the Austrian economists, and that it’s alive and well. But it has changed names and controls because of Republicans tried to, and made an effort to, take over, as well as the populists tried to take over. But the message that we were visiting with back there ten years ago is very much alive. And Washington doesn’t speak for us because people look to the media and to the government, and you don’t see or hear much about it.

But my goal in writing the book was to try to give people a little encouragement. I think it’s very much alive, and it’s in the area of ideas that changes the world and not a military power that goes around telling other people how to live. So this is, to me, it was a summation and a refreshing and an encouragement to all those people who are interested in the subject to take a look at where we are today.

Chris: Very well said. I attended one of your campaign rallies a long time ago, and the observation I had back then was - really struck me once I finally noticed what was happening - was that compared to all the other political rallies going on, the people that were showing up for you were markedly younger. The demographic was just a whole different bell curve, and I would say it sort of centered maybe around the age of thirty or something and it tailed off. But probably a twenty-year gap compared to other rallies I went to and I’m wondering is there a generational aspect to this revolution you're talking about? Is that a fair observation I made? And does that still hold?

Dr. Paul: Yeah. I think in the campaign it was definitely dominated by young people, a lot of people even younger than you state because I was amazed that young teenagers would come. And then they’d come to my office afterwards and I was just amazed at their age. And they started reading and studying Rothbard and Mises and understanding the Federal Reserve. Some of them came in – they were 14 and 15 - that had been in the campaign, just to visit. And I said, you have a better understanding of the Federal Reserve than most Congressmen do. But the Congressmen, they don’t pay much attention to it. So it is the young people that really was the main core of the campaign. But I kid when I go to even meetings now. I go to the campuses still. But there’ll be a lot of adults. But it’ll be mostly – fifty, sixty, seventy percent – will be college age kids and young people. I always kid that in this audience everybody is under 30.

And liberty is a young idea; historically - it’s very young. When you look at the history of the world and the universe, it’s just a few seconds of the whole history of the universe. But the history of freedom is only several hundred years old. It comes and goes, it had ups and downs, but there’s always a core left over to preserve the elements, and there’s that remnant that I appeal to and try to encourage. And the magnificent thing is the spreading of ideas. It’s easier now than ever, and it’s the ideas that change things and as we know, armies can’t stop ideas, and ideas do spread even though we get challenged now by government interference and regulation on speech and social media. We still have access. You still have a program, and that is good. And you reach people, so and the message is powerful.

I never took credit for being a sensational speaker, but I think we have a sensational message. I think the message of liberty is very American. They accused me of being unpatriotic and un American because I wouldn’t support the wars, but I tell you what. I think this fits into the tradition of what made America great and some of the beliefs we all had at the beginning of the country.

Chris: Well, I completely agree. And if we just focus this down economically for a second. One way I’ve thought about this in talking with a lot of young people and then boomers – I'm a boomer – is that the older generations, they have everything to lose unless the status quo is maintained. And they’ve paid into a system. They bought into it. The whole idea of get a house, a car, two-point five children, put money into a formerly a pension, now a 401K. But increasingly we can see that model isn’t going to work. the promises can’t be kept. But still, they want the payout. So they're really clinging to this idea that we can maintain the status quo.

And then you talk to young people and they look into twenty trillion in debt, ten times that in unfunded liabilities, depending on how you count. Maybe two hundred trillion total. Totally unpayable, a crumbling infrastructure, no corporate loyalty, no political loyalty because our jobs have just been sent all over the world and all of those sorts of things. So the young people might say they have nothing to gain by preserving the status quo. That feels like a generational storm, like there’s two parties here. Is that a fair way to look at it? And if so, how do we begin bridging that gap?

Dr. Paul: Well, we have to be realistic because we’re not going to make a decision saying we should change the status quo. The status quo is going to be changed because of the bankruptcy and the unaffordability of what they have. But while you were talking about that it reminded me of a story. Pretty early on in my career, because my message is all the same – that we spend too much money on the problem and I’m not even going to vote for large debt for our District which I thought would make sure that I never go back into office, but to my surprise and others, people kept electing me. And I ran into a guy that says, he says, you know Ron, he says, I don’t like what you do. He was in city government. He says, because you won’t vote for anything, and that really annoys me. But he says, I want to tell you something. He says, I agree with everything you say, and the reason I argue the case – he said, what we have to do as individuals and constituents is to get as much as we can before this whole thing comes down. And I think I know what he as alluding to.

People say yeah, this is a great system, status quo is going to give me Social Security. Yeah, if it lasts and how long will it last and right now we’re up against a wall. There’s not enough people paying into it. There’s a lot of inflation coming, and the standard of living will go down., And his argument was get what you get while it’s coming. But, of course, my argument is I know what we have to do – is invest in the protection of liberty, making the argument that if all of us lost every single thing in a material way and we had to start from scratch, but we had our liberties and some money and property rights and contracts, no more wars, protection of civil liberties - I think the country and all the individuals would be back on their feet very, very quickly. Of course, that’s not acceptable now because nobody can cut anything.

That’s why Washington is at a stalemate. A lot of people don’t like Obamacare, but there’s enough people who do like it, and they think they’re going to get free medical care, and if they don’t think it’s working well then, we have one payer system and that sort of thing. So it’s very hard to get rid of a program. And I’m also suggesting that the tax reforms will not lower taxes. They never do because they believe in this revenue neutral - if we cut your taxes we have to raise the taxes on somebody else. And they won’t say where the real problem is – and that is spending and monetizing the debt and taking over the whole world through the monetary system, financing the wars and financing welfare and the military industrial complex and yes, I can preach the gospel and say why we shouldn’t do it. It’s going to continue until this whole thing comes apart. That’s when our efforts, including what you do in trying to spread the message, how successful we are in preparing people to argue the case for return to liberty. And not only just the return to the old days when liberty was respected, but to advance the whole understanding of liberty.

Liberty is better understood now than it was at the time our country was founded. Monetary policy is better understood and markets are better understood and globalism in a very favorable sense. Free trade and free travel and this sort of thing, that’s better understood, too. So I think that we’re going to have a wonderful opportunity because we’re not going to have to crash the system. The system will crash itself just like communism crashed itself. We never – I keep marveling over this – I was in the military in the 60s and the Cold War was on. I was drafted during the Cuban crisis. We never had to fight the Soviets. The Soviets defeated themselves, and that’s what we’re on the verge of doing. This system that we have today is not as ruthless as communism or fascism, but it’s very, very destructive, and so we have a tremendous chance to move the cause of liberty forward rather than just drifting and accepting more totalitarianism.

Chris: Well, I agree and very well said. So I want to turn to one aspect of that. You mentioned a couple of times that when this comes to an end – I’d love to get your views on what you think that end looks like, but for me, my beginning and ending point for economic discussions really starts with monetary policy because we make money out of nothing. And we started on this crazy experiment late 70s, early 80s, which ran like this: we’re going to borrow money at twice the rate on a percentage basis as our economy was growing. So, we’re borrowing at eight percent, economy is growing at four percent, and that’s just a math problem. Nothing personal.

So this was enabled by a very interventionist, increasingly interventionist Federal Reserve. Love to get you thoughts as somebody who sat on the committees. You asked the best questions, by the way. So monetary policy – arguably the nearly ten-year monetary intervention – most recent one – by the world central banks has created just two things: a massive financial bubble and the largest wealth gap on record. What are your thoughts here?

Dr. Paul: And debt – went into debt. It proves one point, and the most important point is wealth doesn’t come from the creation of money, especially a fiat system. And fiat money and all this credit - finally the economy gets exhausted and it’s engulfed with debt. And now investments. And so when you have a downturn like we had, and we really haven’t recovered from it, that the treatment for this is a correction. You have to allow the debt to be liquidated. You have to get rid of the mal-investment and you have and to start all over again for economic growth. But that wasn’t permissible in ’08 and ’09, and that’s why there’s been stagnation, and that’s why, as we move into the next recession, we’re – what are they going to do this next time? Lower interest rates to minus five percent or something? We have negative interest rates. Real rates are negative, and people still aren’t grabbing them up. It isn’t a shortage of money, it’s a shortage of understanding and market conditions.

We’re overtaxed and overregulated and this is giving us this destructive system, which really has divided the country because there are two groups: those who haven’t recovered and many in the middle class versus those who get richer and very rich because they're on the receiving end of this new money created by the Federal Reserve. The people who get to create the credit get to distribute the credit, and it’s always going to be a situation where it’s unfairly distributed, and it won’t be dependent of productivity. So although conditions, according to the government statistic things are doing somewhat better, we haven’t changed anything. We still have a system where we have encouraged people to borrow money, and debt doesn’t matter, and we’re not going to cut taxes, and we’re not even going to admit that we spend too much money. And we don’t even really emphasize the fact that in Washington they should be talking about how are we going to protect personal liberty and let people take care of themselves? That isn’t even discussed. It’s always how are we going to redistribute wealth? Are we going to take care of everybody? Everybody from the business community to the people who want more food stamps. And it’s failing, and we’re going to see, within the next several years – nobody knows when it’s going to come, but it’s going to come - and then we’ll have to have something to put in its place.

Chris: Well, let’s talk about when it comes, what that looks like because 2008 we had roughly maybe fifty-two trillion in debt in the United States. A hundred fifty-seven trillion worldwide, I believe the numbers are closer to sixty-three trillion in debt in the United States now, and we’ve got, I don’t know, a little over two-hundred-twelve trillion worldwide. So what we’ve done – you mentioned it before – the Federal Reserve policies I guess did three things: the wealth gap, the financial bubbles, plus a huge increase in debt. My concern, and I wonder if you share this, is that when the next – not if, when – the next downturn comes that there’s just that much more debt to be destroyed, which is just that much more disruptive, which is going to be that much more painful to go through. Would you agree?

Dr. Paul: Yeah. Absolutely. That is where the real problem is. Now, the Fed actually understands this to a degree. They won’t admit because then they’d have to blame themselves for monetizing the debt and the Congress for spending too much money. Their goal right now is to have price inflation. Why is the CPI going up? When you think about it, the CPI going up is very destructive to that middle class that’s getting poorer. They want to purposely destroy the value of money, which is exactly the opposite. They believe that if you have a prosperous economy price – if you see the prices going up you’ll have a prosperous economy. It doesn’t make any sense. If you have a prosperous society, and we still have that in some goals, prices go down. In electronics they still go down in spite of all this stuff that’s going on.

But their whole goal in monetary policy is they're hoping that they can report the CPI going a little higher. But the truth is prices are going up a lot faster than they will admit, and it’s only a gimmick to distract us from the Federal Reserve. They think that it’s some people that aren’t at a point of getting the prices to go higher that would only happen. But that is hardly the solution. So all they do is they push on a string. They keep pushing. They push all that money out, and the people aren’t doing with the money that they think that they should. They keep buying more debt and monetizing debt, and what we need is a productive society and that won’t come until you have the liquidation of the mal-investment of excessive debt and too much regulation. And confidence restored. Companies now have a hard time finding money. You can borrow it pretty cheaply, but there’s no confidence that if I start a new business and I’m going to manufacture steel once again and be competitive – nobody’s doing that like we did in the Industrial Revolution.

Chris: Now, the Federal Reserve, I blame a lot and use the word blame carefully. I don’t like to cast blame around. But they had some blame coming, and I’m a big critic of Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, now Yellen, and I’m almost becoming infuriated – if I could use that word carefully – because of the learning curve; seems to be so flat for that organization. It seems completely obviously to me that if you take all the savings of the country and you give it zero percent return and then people don’t get the interest return on that you end up with – it seems capably obviously that you would end up with a system that we currently have where you have low spending, low borrowing, low investment, all these things they say that want, but essentially what the Fed did was they didn’t give money to Main Street. They actually took it away. Where did it go? Well, because of how the yield curve is built, they gave that money, took it away from savers and gave it to the big banks.

Would it be unfair of an observer like myself to say the Feds not – they talk a good game about helping the middle class and helping economy, but if you follow their actions not their words, what they’ve really done is taken a bunch of purchasing power from one group and handed it another group. And that other group, by the way, has created lots of inflation in gulfstream jets, trophy properties, high-end art, good jewels, and all of that.

Dr. Paul: That’s exactly what happened because the person that had a house and couldn’t pay the mortgage, which was a problem coming from the system that we had, the mal-investment, low interest rate and the over building. They weren’t bailed out. They generally lost their job and lost their houses so often. But there was some bailing out and exactly the people you're talking about – the very wealthy people and the people who were making all these mortgages – oh, they're too big to fail. So they got the bailouts. And they weren’t just domestic. This was an international event, and because the dollar is the reserve currency it was used to bail out other central banks and other governments and international corporations. And in the sense of pasting it together for a while longer, they did that, but now whether it’s the bond bubble or the dollar bubble, it’s bigger than ever.

The eventual event will be driven by the marketplace, and that means it will come undone, and they won’t be able to stop it just printing more money. It’s actually the opposite. Instead of, like they did, they print money and they prop up. There will be a time when, if we have a sharp downturn and they decide, well, QE didn’t work because it wasn’t enough and they double QE, there’ll be a point of no return and the confidence will be lost. We’ll dump the dollar. Interest rates will go up instead of down, and that will make all the difference in the world because it will be unsustainable, and then there will be the real challenge to the dollar being at reserve currency is when the dollar no longer serves as the international money, as the key currency. That’s when the ballgame is over.

Chris: Absolutely. So I want to talk to you about politics now. Recently you wrote on your national blog on the Campaign for Liberty website you said, “President Trump has been notoriously inconsistent in his foreign policy. He campaigned on it and won the presidency with promises to repair relations with Russia, pull out of no win wars like Afghanistan, and end the failed US policy of nation building overseas. Once in office he pursued policies exactly the opposite of what he campaigned on. Unfortunately, Iran is one of the few areas where the president has been very consistent, and consistently wrong.” First, why did Trump do such a turnabout from his campaign rhetoric and then your thoughts on Iran?

Dr. Paul: Well, it’s hard to say because you’d have to read his mind. Did he really believe it before? Was he just talking off the cuff? Did he not understand? Or the other thing is, is did he, once he became president did he realize or all of a sudden be confronted by the deep state? The people who really pull the strings and have a lot to say about the monetary system and the government system? The average politician, the average Congressman, has very little say about what’s going on, and you mentioned at the beginning that there’s a lot of bipartisanship and that is the real case. So when you have – I remember so clearly when I was there Boehner and Pelosi were pretty good friends, and the Congress lumbered along and they never passed their budgets just as they're doing now. Then at the end there’s an emergency and the leaders put together and spend the money and then there’s no time to even study it. That’s where the real problem is. But why Trump did it – it was so disappointing.

But the one thing is, is he – from my viewpoint – there’s no way to know – he lacks a consistent policy. How can he be so wrong on Iran and early on he was so right on Russia? Then all of the sudden he flips. But in my programming, you know Daniel McAdam’s and I, we keep having to say, well, it looks like the neocons won again. Exactly why, somebody else will have to figure it out because I won’t want to try to prove to you he was a secret neocon all along. I think he probably did believe a lot of what he was saying in the campaign, but then realism set in, and he didn’t have a core principle.

Most libertarians have a core principle. It’s protection of liberty and the absence of aggression in all areas that we have to conform to. And I don’t think he had that position. I think he’s – he comes across as a utilitarian, a pragmatism, whatever fits the moment you have to do that and not looking at the ramifications. But if that is the case, he fits in well because that’s what the whole philosophy of Keynesian Interventionism is. They think they can be pragmatic and just look at one issue without looking at the philosophy. But it’s a little more blatant with President Trump.

Chris: Well, I wanted to bring all that up because, of course, I consider the militarization of the United States to be one of the key causes for loss of liberty, loss of freedom, and in talking about that liberty and freedom, to the people listening, especially the younger people, how do you advise people to go about creating more – is it ever going to be possible to recreate the sort of freedoms we once enjoyed? What’s the path here that you talk about?

Dr. Paul: Well, it has to be educational. It can’t be political. Even though I was in politics all those years, I never set out a goal that I was going to become banking chairman and get rid of the Federal Reserve. I was much more realistic. But I spoke out in the 70s mainly to have a podium because I was so annoyed with the Federal Reserve and the breakdown of Bretton Woods and that sort of thing. So I spoke out and I guess I was surprised as anything that I actually went to Congress. But some people a lot of time ask me, weren’t you really frustrated? What happened? What did you really do? You didn’t change anything. I said, no, I was never frustrated at all - I was just very realistic about what happened. I never deceived myself. Actually, I was pleased with the attention we got because we’ve certainly called a lot of attention to the Federal Reserve.

But I think it’s totally educational. Everybody has a role to play. If you believe in this philosophy you can be creative and find out something you can do. People can write books. They can get on television. They can get on the internet. They can become teachers. They can be – maybe someday we’ll get rid of the influence of Hollywood and the scandals of Hollywood and have people do more decent movies and more driven by the principles of liberty. Ideas are the most important. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have bad consequences. And if you have an idea whose time has come and it’s a good principle, nobody can stop it. The military and the government can’t stop it, and that’s why I’m leaning in the direction of believing that the time has come, out of necessity, that we have to restore this whole love of liberty and the principles of liberty. And that’s where I do think that we’re winning the ballgame.

Chris: All right. And those ideas can be found in the book, The Revolution At Ten Years. It’s in Amazon. IT’s on bookshelves right now. Our guest is Dr. Ron Paul. So get the book, read it, learn because an idea can defeat an army, or if said the other way, an army can’t defeat an idea. Dr. Paul, how can people contribute to your fine efforts if they want to or even just follow your movement and writing more closely?

Dr. Paul: Well, we do a daily program, TheLibertyReport.com and go there. But the one organization right now is the Ron Paul Organization for Liberty, Peace and Prosperity. So that’s the place to go. But go to my Ron Paul Liberty report and that’s what we do something every day on.

Chris: All right. Well, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Great site. I visit there all the time. Dr. Paul, thank you so much for what you do in the world and for your time today.

Dr. Paul: Very good. Nice to be with you. Bye-bye.

About the guest

Ron Paul

Dr. Paul served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, beginning his first term of office in 1976. He ran for the office of U.S. President three times, most recently in the 2012 Republican primaries. Dr. Paul also had a long career as an OB/GYN, over which he delivered over 4,000 babies. Ron Paul is a leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, sound money, civil liberty, and non-interventionist foreign policies.

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37 Comments

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2215
What a pleasure

 ...to get to sit in on a conversation between two of the brightest, most integrity-driven thought leaders of our time.  Thank-you Dr. Paul, for all that you have done to educate the public, and for showing that it actually is possible for a politician to be an honorable human being.

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 761
Core Principle

Ron Paul hit it out of the park (for me) when he talked about his "core principle." To me, a core principle is what a person follows when nobody is looking. What is it that makes your actions do your talking? Words are cheap, but actions speak volumes.

When Ron Paul burst on the national political scene in the '80s, I thought he was a Texas nut job. Of course, I was highly influenced by the media constantly denigrating him. It wasn't until after 9/11 that I actually listened to his words and (and actions) for what they were. I've been a fan ever since.

We may pull through this next recession like we did the last one - doubling down on QE. Will we be able to get through the next recession (or the one after that) the same way? Eventually, the system will fail because all the promises that have been made can't be afforded. At that point, systems will break down - perhaps catastrophically.You won't be able to rely on social security or Medicare or any other of the myriad promises. What will you do?

What will help you succeed is your core principles. When others see you adhering steadfastly to these principles, it gains their trust. With trust comes the opportunity for cooperation. Cooperation can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. That is the currency of the future. Cultivate it now while the status is still quo.

Grover

newsbuoy's picture
newsbuoy
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 10 2013
Posts: 213
The Tea Party: a historic review

Equal opportunity economic arguments not withstanding.

Perhaps naming ones party in connection to a myth is not wise. Unless it reveals more about the true nature of it ("progress" [sic])

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12266

(teaser for history buffs: why did just about every southern farmer have a dog named 'Rattler'?)

pyranablade's picture
pyranablade
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 8 2010
Posts: 203
Thanks for the link newsbouy

Slavery was one of the most lucrative enterprises invented in human history

Profits up to 1700%

The ethics of their investments was not something that thought about.

We're doing the same thing when we send out $ to
Wall Street.

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pyranablade
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Thanks for the link newsbouy

Slavery was one of the most lucrative enterprises invented in human history

Profits up to 1700%

The ethics of their investments was not something they thought about.

We're doing the same thing nowadays when we send our $ to
Wall Street.

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Inertia?

The saddest part of the whole interview was the overwhelming sense that there is no one/thing that can change the direction this process usually follows. History, again, is replete with examples of the logical outcomes.  It has been said. " the meek shall inherit the earth". Unfortunately, it is the bold that will be the executors and will squirrel away what they can until they're found out. "C'est la guerre"

http://www.businessinsider.com/all-transactions-to-be-conducted-in-the-presence-of-a-tax-collector-2012-4

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And living off fossil fuels

And living off fossil fuels is in a way the enslavement of past life. We are thriving grave robbers. C'est la vie.

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The article in that link

The article in that link starts by saying that at least half of voting Americans voted against Obama. He won 51.1% of the popular vote in 2012 and 52.9% in 2008. Am I missing something?

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Did I miss something?

I heard lots of talk about Liberty from Dr. Paul and reducing regulations. Does he truly want to allow big business the right to ignore water and air quality regulations, safety and worker protections? What regulations does he want to void?  Liberty is following his rules of personal behavior.? He spoke in a lot of generalities without specific examples.

 

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Who Really Pays?
spotted turtle wrote:

I heard lots of talk about Liberty from Dr. Paul and reducing regulations. Does he truly want to allow big business the right to ignore water and air quality regulations, safety and worker protections? What regulations does he want to void?  Liberty is following his rules of personal behavior.? He spoke in a lot of generalities without specific examples.

It is hard to identify all the specifics and build cases for removing regulations in a half hour podcast. If you are truly curious, you can search the web to find more detailed proposals.

You mentioned water and air quality regulations along with safety and worker protections. If I held you to the same standard as you held Dr. Paul, I'd conclude that these are the only items you are concerned about. Instead, I'll assume that these are just examples of issues that are important to you. I also enjoy clean water and clean air. I'm not so big on safety and worker protections (more below.) To me, it boils down to a compromise. Regulations cost money - the more onerous, the more expensive. How much are you willing to pay to get satisfactory results? Who should pay the cost? Who really pays the cost?

I'm not sure what a graphical representation would look like (straight line, convex, concave, or ???) but as your tax load increases, you get to keep less of your paycheck for your efforts. When the tax load is small, any improvement in the underlying problem is easy to justify with increased taxes. Eventually, enough of these justifiable "straws" get thrown on camel's back to break it. What happens when enough people decide it is better to live off the social safety nets because it isn't worth the effort to work?

So, who should pay the cost of regulations? Regulations are instituted because some entity abused their societal responsibilities. It doesn't matter if it is dumping raw sewage or burning toxic chemicals or any other problem. The citizenry are up in arms and demand that regulations get instituted. Those regulations then get applied to all similar industries, regardless of whether they abused their societal responsibilities or not. It costs companies to prove compliance with regulations. Theoretically, the industry pays for it. If they can't pass on the costs to the consumer, it eats into profits. If profits evaporate, the industry bankrupts or moves to foreign shores. There goes employment. Who really pays?

Once a government agency gets established, the number one job of those in the agency is to maintain the need for the agency. Why would an agency solve a problem that puts the agency out of business? (A great example is the US Department of Energy.) The worst part is that we're not paying the whole costs at the time those costs are incurred. That means that all the government costs more than we think. Look at government pensions for a prime example. If enough were set aside to actuarially pay these pensions, there wouldn't be an issue. Saxplayer links stories daily to show how ubiquitous the problem is. Since it is an issue in almost every level of government, those costs haven't been adequately collected. Who really pays?

As the tax load increases, people have incentive to creatively avoid paying those taxes. (If taxes are low enough, it isn't worth trying to cheat.) Government has to get more information and track more so they can collect more to pay for government services. Ever wonder why the NSA collects all this information on all of us? I abhor that my e-mails, this post, my phone calls, etc. are collected and analyzed. Doesn't the Bill of Rights protect me from unreasonable searches? Who really pays?

When is enough enough? All of us have to pay more and have government intrude into aspects of our lives to pay for all these "well meaning" bloated regulations. It will get worse because of all the backdated costs (pensions.) So, we have to pay for current regulations while we still pay for past regulations. It's kind of like "The Little Shop of Horrors" on steroids.

I said that I'm not so big on safety and worker protection. Why should I have to pay for safety devices that I don't want? Shouldn't workers be responsible for their own safety? Crab fishing in the Bering Sea is much more dangerous than shuffling papers in an office. Crab fishermen should evaluate the situation for themselves and determine if their compensation adequately addresses safety issues. Oh, that's right - more taxes mean they have to take more risks and work longer to make a profit. Who really pays?

Horse Safety for Children | Tack n' Talk​Grover

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Bu-reauc-ra-cy

The epoxy that lubricates the wheels of progress.

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spotted turtle wrote:I heard
spotted turtle wrote:

I heard lots of talk about Liberty from Dr. Paul and reducing regulations. Does he truly want to allow big business the right to ignore water and air quality regulations, safety and worker protections? What regulations does he want to void?  Liberty is following his rules of personal behavior.? He spoke in a lot of generalities without specific examples.

I agree, I admire Dr. Paul for what he does and I think it's great that he tries to awaken people to the scam that has been perpetrated against us, but the problem I find with the Libertarian movement on a whole is that it is big on theory and moral platitudes, but sorely lacking in actual specific policies rooted in demonstrated real-world ecological and industrial processes underlying the physical underpinnings supporting humanity. Invariably, the "proof" of various Libertarian / Austrian economic principles comes from Thought Experiments. A Thought Experiment is what comes first in the scientific method -- an idea / hypothesis is postulated and from this, experiments or real-world analysis MUST be performed to validate or invalidate that hypothesis (but it can never be PROVEN). Libertarians generally don't move beyond Thought Experiments, and that is the problem here.

The problem with basing policy on a Thought Experiment is that the real world can always present some other unforeseen factor which completely changes and invalidates the outcome of that Thought Experiment. "Oh we we didn't think about that in our Thought Experiment; oops". This is why real world analysis is critical to good policy formation, because the real world is the only place that's going to tell you if you have overlooked something critical which throws your Thought Experiment for a loop. This is also why I can debate endlessly in circles with Libertarians and never get anywhere because no matter how much real-world evidence I present, they don't value it.

I recall once debating with a Libertarian who was arguing that socialism doesn't work. I would tend to agree in general with this sentiment although I think it's much more complicated than how it is typically presented. I pointed out how some of the most prosperous, fair and sustainable countries in the world are in Scandinavia (certainly not utopias; I'm not going to delude myself, but they are definitely successful), and that they have a system that most would describe as being somewhat socialist. His response was that socialism only works in Scandinavia because it works there, but it wouldn't work in America, and he didn't expand beyond that. LOL, so there you go Libertarians, you have real-world evidence beyond an imaginary Thought Experiment suggesting that leaning towards Socialism is not always necessarily a bad thing but this guy just simply flatly denied it. That's Thought Experiments for you...

I dislike dualistic polarized thinking and the eternal "socialism vs. free markets" debate is the epitome of this. As if something as complicated as ecosystems and human society can be boiled down to a simple one-dimensional slider scale between free markets on one end and government regulation on the other. The real world is orders of magnitude more complex than this. But the captured media and educational system in the West likes perpetuating this flawed polarized thinking, because it serves their interests -- the interests of the elites. If the elites want fewer regulations to help further their banking scams and make more corporate profit, they can invoke Libertarian anti-regulation sentiments to justify it. If they want more regulations in other areas to make it difficult for opposing forces to gain traction or to suppress the population, then they can use socialist sentiments to justify it. And in both cases, Libertarians and Socialists will be able to point the finger and say how the opposing view's dogma resulted in some bad policy or law being implemented... because it's true!!!! But ultimately, both approaches fail because they fail to address the underlying problem -- that our democratic processes have been captured and corrupted by a group of extremely wealthy and powerful sociopathic elites. This is generally what happens to societies historically, and it has happened to us as well. The underlying root cause of our problems has little to do with socialism, capitalism, free markets or regulations. As I always say, it's easy to criticize a failed system, but much harder to put forth actual specific policies that would result in a better system and prevent reversion back to the rotten old system again.

As a perfect example, Libertarians like to use the Liberty and free markets we used to enjoy one or two hundred years ago as evidence that we should emulate this system today. Look at what America became and all the growth that these free policies promoted!!!! But the real driver of America's success back then was actually the sea of natural resources that North America presented and the growth which it facilitated, the Industrial Revolution which provided the technology to use these resources, and the relatively low human population. Now that resources have peaked and are on their decline, these policies won't have the same results and I would argue would have disastrous consequences if implemented today. Is this fact captured in any Libertarian's though experiment?

I think this may be why Libertarianism tends to attract young people as Dr. Paul pointed out in his interview -- because it appeals to wide-eyed, idealistic world views which young people tend to have before they become older and wiser to the complexities of the real world. I would also suggest that this may be one of the reasons Libertarianism can only seem to gain so much political traction, because most people understand that it is too simplistic. This is too bad because I think that it does have a lot of good things to say.

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One of the best comments that I have read on PP...

Excellent points. I, too, admire Ron Paul's willingness to question the system. I am also skeptical -- active-minded in Ayn Rand's parlance -- about the real world consequences of living in a "libertarian" world. Both (Ayn) Rand and Ron Paul have diagnosed the problem, but as you say, the real world consequences are yet to be tested.

As an aside, I found it interesting to find out where Ron Paul's office is located. Go to his website and do a search of the physical address on the site. He is certainly not a pretentious person and I admire him for it.

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Damning With Faint Praise

Mark_BC,

I've read your post a couple of times and I can't grasp your intent other than praising Dr. Paul for foolishly trying to raise awareness about the scam being perpetrated against us - foolish because it won't work. I do have to agree with you about the biggest problem with our system is that the elites have captured and corrupted our democratic system.

I do have a thought experiment for you. If the sociopathic elites have captured the system, why wouldn't they promote Libertarianism as a way to game the system more? After all, with fewer regulations, they'd have a field day ... or would they? Obviously, the elites (who have captured and corrupted our system) have significant advantage with the system we have - or we wouldn't have it (since they captured and corrupted it.) Regulations gum up the system and make getting approval for the simplest task difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Large corporations can more easily address these bureaucratic morasses than small startups. That's why they LOVE regulations - it keeps the competition down. Competition is more expensive for the big boyz.

Mark_BC wrote:

As I always say, it's easy to criticize a failed system, but much harder to put forth actual specific policies that would result in a better system and prevent reversion back to the rotten old system again.

It is easy to criticize a system (which you did) but I didn't read anything about specific policies that would result in a better system. Did I miss something? Should I assume that was just a platitude? Do you have any specific policies that you'd like to share?

Mark_BC wrote:

I think this may be why Libertarianism tends to attract young people as Dr. Paul pointed out in his interview -- because it appeals to wide-eyed, idealistic world views which young people tend to have before they become older and wiser to the complexities of the real world. I would also suggest that this may be one of the reasons Libertarianism can only seem to gain so much political traction, because most people understand that it is too simplistic.

You assume that young people are attracted to Libertarianism because they are wide-eyed and idealistic. That's a flowery way of saying "naive". Have you looked at the nightmare fiscal conditions we've left for these naive youngsters? Most of them are stuck in McJobs with little hope getting ahead. They can't afford to make house payments, car payments, student loan payments, pay taxes, and still have enough to make it all worthwhile. As a result, many of them are looking for a brighter future while living in mommy's basement. It's a logical decision to support Libertarianism to break the chains that bind them.

Other youths supported Bernie Sanders due to their economic situation. Bernie wanted to give them free stuff so they would vote for him. I characterize that demographic as naive (or desperate.) They were willing to trade short term gain for long term pain. They also weren't considering that others had to work to give them their freebies. Since they will eventually be in shoes that are forced to work to give these freebies to others, they're slitting their future throats. Do you think they'd be as enthusiastic when they're the tax donkeys?

Finally, Mark_BC wrote:

This is too bad because I think that it does have a lot of good things to say.

What exactly do you think Dr. Paul has to say that is good? Your post didn't support this statement at all. I certainly hope this wasn't just one of your platitudes.

Grover

PS - I really don't expect that we're going to solve the political problems of our countries. I don't know enough about the Canadian system to comment on it. I know enough about the US situation to say that it would take a miracle (literally) for us to avoid default. The underfunded socialistic safety net promises will consume all the projected federal tax revenue before the end of the next decade. Unless the government can tax more, cut benefits/programs, or borrow more, the die is cast. Raise taxes enough and people will quit working. Cut benefits and those who were required to contribute (taxed throughout their lives) will vote against the incumbent. How long can the governments borrow before nobody lends to them? That's when it all falls apart.

After that, all your complexities will reduce to very simple decisions. You should ask yourself what your world will look like without an active government to enforce its complex laws. My bet is that if you do an honest assessment (realistic thought experiment,) you'll see that our current governmental system can't last forever. Isn't it naive of you to think that all our complex protections can survive a failed government? Perhaps you should consider joining the Libertarian Party and voting accordingly while there's still time.

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Scandinavian Socialism ???

Mark_BC,

I readily admit that I don't know enough about other economic systems in the world. Your post got me wondering how the Scandinavian socialism works. Here's an article from May, 2016 when Bernie was praising the Scandinavian system as a model for his proposed presidency: https://stream.org/sorry-bernie-scandinavia-isnt-socialist/. Turns out that Bernie's policies were more closely aligned with French socialism.

Perhaps you can post some information about their socialism that supports your viewpoint. Also, I hope you go a bit further and try to see if it would actually work over here. For instance, is their society as diverse as ours? How do they deal with welfare cheats and would that be applicable here? Are the age demographics comparable? You might as well consider those types of questions before posting ... because you know that I will.

Grover

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Stuff

@ Grover

 I would not describe socialized medicine as "stuff", or even as socialism.  It’s not Cheeze Puffs, it's a basic human right that is provided for by every other capitalist developed economy, and many others still developing.  You really need to look in from outside the USA to see how bizarre the privatized medical fiasco is.  Inefficient, corrupt, and unnecessarily complex bureaucracies are clearly possible outcomes of the private sector.  From the outside Bernie appears centre-left.  But the rest of the World has not moved to the left of the spectrum.  Actually, it is US political norms that have shifted to the right.  The privatized medical system in the US is just another conduit for the corporate parasites to siphon dollars to their executives and shareholders.

 

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Non Sequitur

Grover

I would not describe socialized medicine as "stuff", or even as socialism.  It’s not Cheeze Puffs, it's a basic human right that is provided for by every other capitalist developed economy, and many others still developing.  You really need to look in from outside the USA to see how bizarre the privatized medical fiasco is.  Inefficient, corrupt, and unnecessarily complex bureaucracies are clearly possible outcomes of the private sector.  From the outside Bernie appears centre-left.  But the rest of the World has not moved to the left of the spectrum.  Actually, it is US political norms that have shifted to the right.  The privatized medical system in the US is just another conduit for the corporate parasites to siphon dollars to their executives and shareholders.

wharfbanger,

I'm curious. Do you actually know what a "basic human right" is? It would be interesting to see a list of what other stuff (and by stuff, I mean stuff that isn't free) you consider to fit this category. Please provide a listing of some of the items you consider "basic human rights." Who is supposed to provide this (or any other non-free) "basic human right" in your opinion? What happens when the government fails or the suppliers no longer are in business? Does that basic right disappear or diminish considerably? Is it possible that you just confused a political position with a "basic human right"?

I really laughed when I read, "Inefficient, corrupt, and unnecessarily complex bureaucracies are clearly possible outcomes of the private sector." What you are describing is the result of monopolies. Monopolies don't have to worry about competing with others for a profit. Since there is nowhere else to turn for their product, they don't have to produce a product that out competes their competition. As a result, they can produce unnecessarily complex bureaucracies. (Bureaucrats who head these bureaucracies get rewarded handsomely for complicating the system.) The clearest examples of monopolies are governments. There is no competition. You can't compete - legally. It's a great game to get into, but the world is already carved up. The next best thing is to get in collusion with government. That way, you can ride the coat tails of the government monopoly.

The "medical fiasco" has done just that. You see, it costs lots of money for congress critters to put enough advertisements on TV to convince enough idiots to vote for them. (Remember that your vote for free stuff is worth exactly as much as my vote against free stuff at the ballot box.) A successful TV Ad. campaign is expensive. Where are those modestly paid public servants going to get enough money to mount another successful campaign? Enter the pharmaceutical industry. They have gobs of money available to contribute to a future candidate who will look favorably upon their product. In return, they ask for teeny, tiny loopholes in the law that keep them safe from lawsuits or paying their fair share of taxes.

Since the pharmaceutical company produces the research that says their product is appropriate treatment for the XYZ disease, doctors can safely prescribe that pill once they diagnose the disease and check for contraindications. It keeps doctors from getting sued. The little people are happy because they got insurance to pay for another expensive rainbow colored pill with minimal copay. The doctors are happy because they got paid and one more little person is out of their hair. The pharmaceutical companies are happy because they have a patent granted monopoly on the rainbow colored pill and can charge whatever they want. The congress critters are happy because they are getting easy money that can be applied to their next campaign. Insurance companies are happy because they can petition government to increase premiums due to "unexpected cost overruns." Since government mandates coverage, those premium increases get approved.

Everyone's happy. So, who gets screwed here? Have you noticed that insurance costs go up disproportionately in this country compared to other countries year after year? I'll bet you have. I'll also bet that you blamed the wrong entity for the cause. [Note that I provided just one hypothetical example. This was the most egregious example I could easily convey. It isn't the only one! This is an example of what Mark_BC and I agree about - corruption taking over the political system - and how it happens. So, how do we fix it? If you got this far, don't worry about providing a list of non-free human rights. I'm more interested in how to fix the problem.]

Grover

Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
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Basic Rights

Yes, we humans are just another species that has evolved on one of possibly many planets in the universe that have life.  We have no inherent basic rights, although we can agree to strive to guarantee certain basic privileges to all of us.  To the extent that our goals are achievable and our methods effective, we can perhaps more or less succeed in our efforts.  "Free" rights like life, liberty and the right to pursue any course of thought or action that doesn't unduly interfere with other's rights are the easiest to achieve.  Basic needs related to life like adequate nutrition, basic healthcare, clean water and air, a healthy social structure/community, functioning ecosystems that can provide us with food and materials, and basic shelter are somewhat more difficult to achieve, especially if we don't control population or allow wealth disparity or consumption to grow too much. Higher level services, like expensive health interventions to combat the diseases of aging, pollution and contamination and unhealthy life styles are probably not achievable in a sustainable way. 

In the end, the laws of physics, our finite planet as well as our own ability to organize a healthy society will place limits on which human needs and wants we can classify as rights and deliver to everyone or nearly everyone.

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Youtube removes extremism content: controlling discourse

I am greeted this morning with the information that youtube has made a policy change and is removing 10s of thousands of videos by and about the Islamic cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki.

YouTube has removed thousands of videos of the radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki ...

It is the first time Google’s video site has taken such concerted action against a particular individual.

The preacher was killed in 2011 by a US drone strike in Yemen, [then, a year or so later, his son was killed simply for being his son]... 

A search for Awlaki last autumn returned around 70,000 videos. The same search today returns less than 20,000, the vast majority of which are videos about Awlaki, rather than authored by him.

I believe that this is about controlling discourse.  Limiting what can and cannot be said. 

But the action is hidden behind at least 2 deceptions so that you won't notice its totalitarian function.

1.  this is about Islam.  And I don't really like Islam, so maybe its kind-of OK.

2.  this is about love and decency and stopping violence.  It is to "protect the children."  And I really want the children to be safe so maybe we do need to do this?

TPTB are good.  Civilization.  Safety.  Rightness. God.  Law and Order.

Those who threaten the oligarchy and the system that harvests and controls the masses are  _______________  (insert non-specific pejorative phrase--terrorists, extremists).  Stopping this badness is necessary.  We can't have people thinking wrong thoughts.

 

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Stuff

@ Grover

I read through your response and understand what you are saying.  Where we diverge is on the fundamental flaw of government, which you think is monopoly.   Again, try looking at this from the outside.  From the perspective of a citizen living in a distant (functioning) state, the USA appears not to have an honest "government". For one, government offices have revolving doors.  And it is not even a republic when the representatives no longer represent the constituents interests.  So the libertarian appeal is understandable, but it is an extreme "fix" and that's why libs have trouble getting traction.
 
There is not a single example I am aware of where a foreign political campaign succeeded platforming on the repeal of a single payer health care system.  One reason is that monopolies are powerful and work very well when they represent the interests of the people rather than corrupt politicians, drug and insurance compaies.
 
You ask for a fix?  Well libertarians would have us throw the baby out with the bath water, but that is extreme.  Some thoughts:  reform campaign financing, adopt single payer health care, put a sensible tax structure in place (I understand the USA used to have a decent tax system, back in the day), stop over-funding “defence”, because just like “government”, the rest of the world knows it’s not really defence.
 
The US must move ASAP to take advantage of the once in a lifetime confluence of strong dollar and low rates, to invest in decent renewable energy infrastructure, public education and health before the macro scene deteriorates.
 

 

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Reducing government

Reducing government interference even more while letting markets determine our fate.  Hmmm...sounds like a disaster in the making. No thanks. Like it or not the countries that are the most livable are the ones that tax the heck out of their citizens and redistribute the money in the form of health, education, welfare, respecting the environment and research and development.  

Banging the tired old drum of tax reduction, as a way to bring the two Americas together gives me a brain ache. Releasing 'animal spirits,' by letting people follow their natural bent without government interference leads to economic fascism.  It's what's WRONG with America. 

Thousands roam the hollowed out core of America, strung out on opioids, subject to death by fentanyl.  Ask,them if their problems are due to personal income taxes being too high. Perhaps, it has more to do with a LACK of govt oversight and incentivizing greed on the part of drug manufacturers, waiting for the problem to get out of control and then reimposing regulation. 

Lack of regulation in an economy that has already collapsed, in 2008, and is now being held together with bailing wars and tape has caused all kinds of madness. 

 

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Long Reply. Please Read.

wharfbanger,

As soon as you can form (or show where someone else has successfully formed) a competing sovereign government inside the US, you'll convince me that government isn't a monopoly. It is that simple. I agree that the US doesn't have an honest government. Power (and the desire for more power) is the most corrupting influence there is. That's why the founders were so adamant about restricting the government's power. Over time, politicians and the Supreme Court have interpreted watered down the words to get to where we are today. What makes you think that more government will magically solve the corruption issue caused by too much government?

There are lobbyists in DC who will push any agenda for a price. That's one of the prime roots of the corruption. Whether politicians are paid directly or implicitly offered post governmental service employment, the underlying corruption is rampant. One of the easiest to implement strategies is subsidies. (That's why taxes are so complicated. All those deductions are really directed subsidies.) Our government has subsidies running everywhere. From the rest of the world perspective, our gasoline prices are being unfairly subsidized. We subsidize corn ethanol and mandate its inclusion in gasoline. Because corn gets subsidized, too much of it is grown. Well, food companies have figured out new ways to put cheap corn into the food we eat. We LOVE it and eat too much. Did humans evolve eating so many carbs?

We have many diseases at epidemic proportions in this country. Many of them, like diabetes, are directly influenced by diet. Instead of attacking the cause of the problem, doctors prescribe drugs to mask the symptoms. Unfortunately, that approach doesn't fix the problem - so it is a perpetual money maker for the drug companies. Many of these drugs cause side effects that are severe enough to need treatment. No problem! There's another drug for that ... and more side effects ... and more drugs.

If people had to pay the cost for their choices - in this case, paying for the drugs that mask the symptoms of perpetually eating a bad diet - they eventually couldn't afford to keep masking the symptoms and would have to address the root of the problem. By subsidizing everyone's insurance costs, we're still paying the cost, but the cost signal is absent for each individual's choices. Should we really be surprised that people are consuming more health care when we subsidize it?

How will having a single payer system curb the demand side of the equation? If anything, a single payer system will hide the true cost even more from the consumer. I don't understand why proponents of this system think this is an acceptable solution. Since it concentrates power more, it puts even more corrupting influence on corrupt members of our government (who want more and more power.) How can it not corrupt government even more?

To complicate the issue even more, we're just about at the conclusion of the "Age of Abundance." As you know, fossil fuel reserves are diminishing every day because we keep burning them and the earth isn't creating them fast enough. Meanwhile, we've already harvested the highest quality resources and are working on more and more dilute reserves. It takes more energy to refine and process these ores. That leads to more pollution that our environment needs to absorb. The pollution and chemical -cides are killing the other inhabitants of the world. We need them more than they need us!

So what happens when the earth's oil spigot starts constricting? Will we be able to afford all the complication and complexity that we now take for granted? With diminished energy available, the economy will contract. All the grandiose plans that seemed so achievable when everything was abundant will become increasingly expensive. You can bet that government won't want to contract (and lose that delicious power) without a fight. They really only have 3 choices - tax more, cut programs/benefits, borrow to make up the difference.

Would you keep working and banging your head on the wharf if your effective tax rate were 100%? What about 90%? How about just slightly higher than it is worth the effort for? (I hope you can see where I'm going with this line of thought.) It doesn't matter if the tax is on your wages, your transportation, your purchases, your healthcare, or whatever. What matters is the total amount. When the total exceeds your perceived limit, you'll throw up your hands and give up. (At least, that's what logical folks do.) Then, the tax base is slightly smaller and government has to make up the difference by raising taxes on others. Can you guess what happens when you play this out? Right. There's an upper limit to taxation.

How about if the government just cuts programs or promised benefits? Every program in the government benefits some group. Take Defense for example. The military industrial complex has figured out that by manufacturing components for every military weapon in every US congressional district, that cutting any of these programs will get the locals complaining to the 3 people in congress who they actually can vote out. That's pretty diabolical ... don't you think? They've built a safety net for themselves. So, what do we do with all these weapons if we don't use them? You're right. We need to project our power throughout the world - which means we have to get involved in skirmishes that we have no right to be involved in.

That's just one example of why cutting anything is so abhorrent to the government. So, what's left? We can continue to borrow money. Great! Borrowing money adds interest costs and delays the actually taxing until some date in the future. If they can kick the can down the road long enough, they'll be out of office and some other congress critter will be responsible for making it all work. This is actually the preferred solution because most folks get their bennies without seeing the cost on their current tax bill. Screw the future taxpayers!!! Oh, wait ... we're the future tax payers for all the can kicking boondoggles of the past. All of a sudden, that doesn't seem so fair.

So what happens when any government can no longer borrow money? Well, they can just print the money and monetize the debt. That's when confidence evaporates, hyperinflation kicks in, and the collapse sequence initiates. You can look at Venezuela as a current example of this action. I certainly wouldn't want to have to live under those conditions. There's starvation, violence, death, and despair running rampant there. At least, they still have the basic human right of health care. ;-)

Governments around the world are all faced with the same problems. They won't all collapse like Venezuela is, but they won't want to contract to a sane and sustainable level until it is too late. Wouldn't it be logical to contract to a more sustainable level while it is a choice? Unfortunately, most people believe economists who predict infinite growth and more prosperous times are just around the corner. They can't (or won't) consider that prosperity has peaked for this cycle.

I try to see it for what it is. I don't expect that we'll be able to salvage the system before it fails (catastrophically.) Shrinking the government ... and cutting its obligations ... would make the step to the new normal less traumatic. It won't happen because there is such resistance to this idea. It can't gain any traction because the big boyz want you to buy more of their stuff (so they can get even bigger.) The easiest defense is to just have the media pooh-pooh the idea as well meaning ... but horrendously simplistic. (Even seemingly intelligent people swallow this gambit and subsequently regurgitate it as if it is the truth.) It salves the consumer's worries and then they go out and buy the newest bling. Everybody wins! What could possibly go wrong?

Grover

Yoxa's picture
Yoxa
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Posts: 251
Quote:  Should we really be
Quote:

 Should we really be surprised that people are consuming more health care when we subsidize it?

That's not what actually happens, though.

Here in Canada our average life expenctancy for both males and females is more than two years longer than in the US, even though we spend a significantly smaller percentage of our GDP on health care costs.

We're clearly doing something right that the US is missing.

 

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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Posts: 846
Yoxa wrote: Quote:  Should
Yoxa wrote:
Quote:

 Should we really be surprised that people are consuming more health care when we subsidize it?

That's not what actually happens, though.

Here in Canada our average life expenctancy for both males and females is more than two years longer than in the US, even though we spend a significantly smaller percentage of our GDP on health care costs.

We're clearly doing something right that the US is missing.

 

The Canadian health care system is far cheaper than the American and everybody is covered.  That says it all.

In the case of American health care insurers, Atlas doesn't carry the weight of the less fortunate on his shoulders, he insists they carry him. And forget about shrugging, he's fist pumping and high fiving. 

Grover's picture
Grover
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Take a Victory Lap
Yoxa wrote:

Here in Canada our average life expenctancy for both males and females is more than two years longer than in the US, even though we spend a significantly smaller percentage of our GDP on health care costs.

We're clearly doing something right that the US is missing.

Yoxa,

Congratulations on not having the ugliest horse in the glue factory. You clearly are doing something better than what the US is doing. Now, if you can just control all the variables and isolate the major factors, you'll be halfway there. Then, you need to convince our congress critters that your (Canada's) way is so much better and that the congress critters should forego all the money they're collecting from sick maintenance lobbyists. (That will be a tough sell.) Oh, and you better hurry. It won't be long before it is all a moot point due to oil, resources, debt, or some other limiting conditions like food availability due to us wiping out the pollinators.

Enjoy it while you can,

Grover

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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Government regulated monopolies

I have to respond to your statement that, 'monopolies don't work,' Grover.  Also to your idea that healthcare should be considered other than a human right. 

When there is a general consensus within a society that it IS a human right, all sorts of things are set in motion.  A universal system working from this mandate will put pressure on pharmaceuticals to keep their prices affordable through various means.

Much like WalMart, (an unregulated oligopoly)deals with its suppliers. Note how cheap everything is in their store. Of course it is because they are large enough they have clout with their suppliers.  

A universal insurer, what you would call a 'monopoly' has the power to control costs and has efficiencies of scale and a streamlining of process. 

A governmental universal insurer is also more apt to work within other governmental structures, like the education system, to advocate for changes that enhance better health.  Through the school system, children are more likely to be indoctrinated in a healthy way, to make healthy choices.

Government isn't ALL bad everywhere.  YOUR government is nasty because it operates from the premise that warfare for profit is more important than welfare for people.  

 

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Grover
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Why Is Healthcare A Human Right?
agitating prop wrote:

I have to respond to your statement that, 'monopolies don't work,' Grover.  Also to your idea that healthcare should be considered other than a human right. 

Monopolies don't have competition to keep them from getting bloated. There isn't external incentive to keep them focused on the bottom line. As such, your choices boil down to - take it or leave it. It is only when enough people choose the "leave it" option that monopolies have any incentive to reform. If you water down the meaning of "work" enough, I agree that monopolies work - just not very well. Their goal isn't to be the best (because they already are ... monopoly) but rather just to avoid being too bad to encounter deleterious consequences (which is much easier to achieve.)

I hope you'll be honest and forthcoming into explaining why healthcare is a human right. I really don't understand this line of thinking. In my world, rights come with responsibilities. If you aren't going to be responsible for your own health, why should someone else be forced to pay to try to make it less bad? That doesn't make sense to me.

agitating prop wrote:

When there is a general consensus within a society that it IS a human right, all sorts of things are set in motion.  A universal system working from this mandate will put pressure on pharmaceuticals to keep their prices affordable through various means.

Your general consensus boils down to any amount more than 50% demanding that all the population contribute (via legal enforcement) to the stated cause. In this country, we ended up with Obamacare because the general consensus shoved it down everyone's throats. Although that isn't a "universal" system, it should show the folly of thinking that government sponsorship of this program would actually result in the system you envision. What is going to keep the corrupt government "servants" in congress (who are currently benefiting from drug company largesse) from accepting drug company favors if your system passes?

agitating prop wrote:

Much like WalMart, (an unregulated oligopoly)deals with its suppliers. Note how cheap everything is in their store. Of course it is because they are large enough they have clout with their suppliers.  

Walmart has focused on low cost. Of course, everything in their store is cheap. As you say, they dictate to their suppliers. If the suppliers don't comply, Walmart won't buy from them. From the supplier's point of view, that's a good example of "take it or leave it." What would happen if Walmart were the only place the suppliers could sell their products? Then, the seller's only choice becomes "take it." Walmart would keep cutting margins until the suppliers can't afford to stay in business.

agitating prop wrote:

A universal insurer, what you would call a 'monopoly' has the power to control costs and has efficiencies of scale and a streamlining of process. 

You are correct that they have this power. What would provide the incentive for them to pursue this lofty goal? On the other hand, there's lots of money in graft and corruption. All the managers of the universal system have to do is look the other way. Surely, they would be eloquent enough to paint a smokescreen for their actions which would be acceptable to the consensus. I'm thinking something like, "we're agreeing with company XYZ that research and development costs for drugs have seen inflation rates much higher than the CPI would suggest; therefore, we're approving the seemingly exorbitant increases." Since it is universal and mandated by government, what the hell would you do in this case? Answer: Take it.

agitating prop wrote:

A governmental universal insurer is also more apt to work within other governmental structures, like the education system, to advocate for changes that enhance better health.  Through the school system, children are more likely to be indoctrinated in a healthy way, to make healthy choices.

Wow. Your optimism is scary for us in the real world. What makes you think that bureaucrats work together unless both of them gain from the transaction. Bureaucrats are very resistant to suggestions from outside unless they see a personal win. Non-winning ideas get ground down to nothingness in the bureaucratic maze. Winning ideas cost the taxpayer more.

Whenever I go to a function at the school, I notice that all the soda machines carry only coke products or only pepsi products. I never see both types of machines in the same school system at the same time. I wonder if that is just a coincidence? Hmmmm. Which product is the healthier choice? (Answer: Neither.) Remember that there's a LOT of profit in a plastic bottle of flavored sugary water. Wonder if some of those profits are surreptitiously wending themselves into the pockets of the administrators? How would we know for sure?

agitating prop wrote:

Government isn't ALL bad everywhere.  YOUR government is nasty because it operates from the premise that warfare for profit is more important than welfare for people.  

I agree with you that the government I'm stuck with (ironically, because of all the do-gooders voting for it) has morphed into a warfare state for reasons I enumerated in prior posts on this thread. What makes you think that the type of people who run for office and get themselves in the quagmire can actually reform it? The more power we give them, the worse it gets.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "welfare for people." That has lots of flavors ranging from well meaning messages to full care and responsibility for all actions - the nanny state. Frankly, the well meaning messages are worthless to me, and I'd rather be responsible for myself and let you be responsible for yourself. I don't need an overseer telling me that my actions are out of line.

Finally, who is going to pay for this? How will it work when the economy falters due to hitting some limit? Is the right for health care dependent on the economy? In other words, does the right disappear as the economy craters? How can a "right" disappear simply because the funding evaporated? I guess that's why I have such a hard time seeing this as a "right" and not just a "benefit."

Grover

Yoxa's picture
Yoxa
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Posts: 251
Health investment
Quote:

 I guess that's why I have such a hard time seeing this as a "right" and not just a "benefit."

Try thinking of universal health care as an invesment, then.

Quote:

The Canadian health care system is far cheaper than the American and everybody is covered.  That says it all.

An investment in the reslilience of your people!

One difference to ponder is that a better percentage of Canada's health care costs goes to actual care, and less to administration. The insane bureaucratic burden of insurance company paperwork isn't a feature of our system.

Quote:

I'd rather be responsible for myself and let you be responsible for yourself.

It might make sense to think that way if absolutely everything that happened to us was within our own control.

Quote:

 Finally, who is going to pay for this? How will it work when the economy falters due to hitting some limit?

The same people who pay now ... but they'd get better value for their spend.

If there was no corruption in the system, that is ... sorry I don't have an answer for that.

As for the economy faltering, that is indeed something to think about, but a case can be made that universal health insurance makes our economy more efficient so we have more margin to face ups and downs. Not to mention making individual households more resilient.

Here's a big economic faltering that already happens all too often:

Quote:

Medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the US:

https://www.cnbc.com/id/100840148 

Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
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Posts: 448
Walmart sure does squeeze their suppliers ...

So much that they manufacture a toaster that breaks in a year or two and you can't get the simple part that broke other than in lots of 10000 from China.  Or a microwave that lasts 3 years.  Or a kid's "sippy cup" where they've made the plastic so thin that it cracks in a couple of years while the quality ones that cost a bit more last much longer (all of the Walmart ones from when our kids are little were in the trash years ago while the name brand ones are still with us and only now falling from common use when my youngest is now 12).  I speak from personal experience and my general impression is that many items from Walmart are like this.

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davefairtex
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Posts: 4771
healthcare

Grover-

I'm with you that its not a right.

However, (you had to know that was coming) given the cartel-like nature of our current system, universal healthcare is the best of a bad lot of options.

I've actually seen it work in real life.  There is corruption, but its "little people" corruption which ends up with people going to the hospital when they have the flu.

Big cartel corruption ends up with generic meds like albendazole at $100 per pill.  That, writ large across the whole system, accounts for about 9% of GDP in the US.  Institutionalized corruption is vastly worse than the little people corruption.

From my observation, the "little people" corruption doesn't cost that much money.  While there is usually unlimited demand for free services, it does turn out that people don't queue up for appendectomies that they don't actually need.  Health care isn't one of those "I want more free stuff" things, except for the "fun drugs" which ... are a problem right now anyway.

And - in exchange for free care, there have to be death panels.  Some hospitals don't have surgeons.  If you need surgery, you have to go to the big hospital.  Hope you make it in time.  Then again, its free, so...you really can't complain too much.

Likewise, if you are having a baby, you get a nurse.  One nurse.  Usually, it works out.  Sometimes, it doesn't.  If you don't like that - probably a good idea to pay instead of using the free service.  Friend of mine is a nurse; delivered over 300 babies first year out of school.  How's that for OJT?

And it also turns out, when there is competition at the lower end, rather than a cartel that institutionalizes corruption, the private hospitals actually have to compete, and so prices and services are actually quite excellent.

I've seen it work.  It is possible.

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VeganDB12
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Posts: 721
can anyone give an example...

Of a country where health care is not considered, say a fundamental privilege/right, and where it has been successful and it has led to better health in the populace. This is an excellent but in some ways theoretical area and I am a very concrete person at times.

Some of us in healthcare are taught about things you don't see here much more (like rickets, dying from simple treatable infections, cholera) that are much more common in impoverished or traumatized areas like Haiti, Yemen, etc....

Of course those 2 countries provide how political the delivery of health care can be and how devastating it is when politicians like MBS turn against a populace, go to war, etc...

I am being serious though, not sarcastic. If every man for himself works is there a good example or are we really talking about letting people die for lack of basic funds for care?

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sand_puppy
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Asthma Treatments

I am with Yoxa on this one.  Canada, and even Cuba, are doing basic medical care way better than the USA.

One story:

A mother brought her child into the ED with a complaint of weight loss.  They had no insurance and the ED is the only place to get "free" medical care.  (Single parent with a minimum wage job, no benes.)

It turns out that the child had moderately severe asthma and the mother did not have enough money to pay cash for the Albuterol rescue inhaler ($80 each) nor the preventative steroid inhaler ($160/month).  Without the inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) her asthma was always flared to some degree.  She often could not eat due to shortness of breath.

(Kleenex alert)  Mom told the story of them lying in bed at night wheezing, short of breath, frightened and crying.  Her mom would hear her wheezing and would rub her back and sing her favorite songs to help her settle down and sleep.   When that would fail, she would relent and call 911 so that she could get an albuterol nebulizer treatment from the paramedics.  Mom hated that the paramedics and the ED staff  were "always mad at them for abusing the system."  (Why didn't they follow up with their regular doctor and use the medicines prescribed?)

Albuterol inhalers used to be $4 at Walmart.  But, pharmaceutical companies lobbied the FDA to get chloroflourocarbons banned from inhalers to "protect the ozone layer."  Mother Jones tells the story here:

Well, the ozone layer was the initial cause of all this, so feel free to place some of the blame on environmentalists if you like. But ... they suggested ...just making an exception for asthma inhalers and let well enough alone. At that point, the pharmaceutical companies that had been eagerly waiting for the old inhalers to be banned went on the offensive.

IPAC lobbied [the FDA, and] for other countries to enact similar bans, arguing that CFC-based inhalers should be eliminated for environmental reasons and replaced with the new, HFC-based inhalers.

The lobbying paid off. In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an outright ban on many CFC-based inhalers starting in 2009. This June, the agency’s ban on Aerobid, an inhaler used for acute asthma, took effect. Combivent, another popular treatment, will be phased out ....

In other words, pharmaceutical companies didn’t just take advantage of this situation, they actively worked to create this situation. Given the minuscule impact of CFC-based inhalers on the ozone layer, it’s likely that an exception could have been agreed to if pharmaceutical companies hadn’t lobbied so hard to get rid of them. The result is lower-quality inhalers and fantastically higher profits for Big Pharma.

The newly formulated and FDA approved albuterol HFA was now a "new drug" and under patent protection.  This "new albuterol" cost $70 - $80.

The regulatory apparatus was completely aligned with Big-Pharm against the citizenry.

---------------

Mexican migrant farm workers can not afford ICS and would requested a monthly IM injections of Betamethasone, a long acting systemic steroid, to control asthma like they got back home.  The systemic steroids are dirt cheap (<$2/month) but have horrendous side-effects when used long term.  The outrageous price of the inhaled form forced many to rely on the toxic systemic forms.

---------------

When people cannot obtain basic medical care while their richer neighbors can, the pitchforks will be coming out.

 

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Date, please

At what date in history did healthcare become a human right/fundamental privelege? This is important to answering the question because we need to know when to start measuring health outcomes. 

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AKGrannyWGrit
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Posts: 391
Data, Please

At what date in human history did healthcare become a human right/fundamental privilege?

Oh that's an easy one!  It never has but should be!  The BETTER question should be is "why is it okay for rapecious companies to bankrupt people, create stifling rules around and limit access to affordable healthcare just so the masses can be controlled and specific entities can get filthy rich?

Here is another question "should people have access to clean water and food and affordable shelter or is it okay to use those as weapons as well"?  Or how about this question do we have a right to choose to NOT be vaccinated, chipped, tracked or experimented on?  How about - do we have a right to be told the truth and be informed when something effects us?  Perhaps we are just property and have no right to any if the above?

Lots of questions.

AKGrannyWGrit

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Quercus bicolor
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Posts: 448
health care

In a country where we (still) have enough resources to provide basic care to everyone using the modern medical system, and enough humanity to offer emergency care to those whose chronic conditions get out of control because they can't afford care, it's simply a good investment to offer basic care to everyon.

It's also a good investment, to prevent the kind of profiteering and rackets that healthcare is today and to create a system that as much as possible gives people incentive to care for themselves as best they can.  We owe it to everyone to eliminate subsidies for corn and other crops that are grown in unsustainable and toxic ways and then find their way into all sorts of unhealthy foods.  We owe it to everyone to remove subsidies that encourage a sedentary, isolated lifestyles that damage health so much (I'm thinking all of the hidden subsidies to suburban sprawl among others.  We owe it to everyone not to subsidize pollution and to allow corporations to externalize their environmental damage.  I could go on ...

I'm not saying it's easy or even possible to do any of these in this decaying and corrupt society we call the United States, just that it's a good investment. 

When we can no longer afford to offer the sophisticated kind of care available today, there will still be all sorts of low cost health care options that will improve quality of life, if not in every every that modern medicine can, then in many of them.

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Grover
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Posts: 761
Right Investment

Thanks to all for responding. The emotional level of this thread tells me that people are firmly anchored in their opinions, but can't completely explain why. Count me in that group as well. Yoxa moved the goal posts slightly by saying that health care should be considered an investment rather than a right. This position makes more sense to me.

If healthcare is considered an investment, return on investment (ROI) must be top of the consideration list. There are other considerations like humanitarianism and public relations, but if it isn't profitable, it isn't a sound investment. There should be cold-hearted metrics to determine whether to invest in a person's health. (DaveF could probably write a program to do all the heavy lifting.) If the answer (based on ROI) comes up "no" then, public funds can't be used. If the person, the family, or community isn't willing to fund the investment, then the treatment won't be provided.

Imagine an 85 year old with diabetes, beginning Alzheimer's, and heart disease demanding open heart surgery to repair defects. Should this procedure be authorized? This isn't a hypothetical case. It actually occurred with a friend's aunt. She had Medicare and enough supplemental insurance to cover the whole cost without additional co-pays. (From the hospital's and doctor's perspective, she was completely covered. They have to pay the salaries and hospital debt somehow.) She had the surgery and lived a little more than a year. I should say that she existed a little more than a year. She never fully recovered from the surgery. Meanwhile, the Alzheimer's got significantly worse, she remained bedridden, and she required care 24 hrs per day. Toward the end, she had to be strapped to the bed so she wouldn't try to get up, fall, and hurt herself worse. The aunt had squandered almost all her money over the years, so my friend provided this care out of the sincere goodness of her heart. I respect that!

If this were an isolated case, it would be only a mistake; however, I hear of these stories frequently and that makes it a tragedy. Because the late 70s and 80 somethings (Silent Generation born during the Depression) are such a small generation and many of them are already gone, we can fund their procedures regardless of the real sensibility. Now, the much larger Baby Boom generation is advancing in age and "needing" the same level of care.

It really doesn't matter if we use Universal Care, Insurance, or direct cash payments out of a person's savings. The total cost HAS to be paid from some funding source(s). We can see what happens when we rely on insurance to cover the expenses. Insurance costs increase by many multiples of CPI. I really don't know what the primary causes are - patient demands (like my friend's aunt,) drug company greed, side effects of previously prescribed medications, or other considerations. Universal Care won't solve the cost problem without making major changes to the endemic system of corruption in the US government. Actually, since Americans are soaked so much to pay for R&D, other countries (Canada) get the benefits of generic versions of the newer drugs without the price tag - You're Welcome!

We also have to look at the range of possible future conditions to see if the investment will likely have a return associated with it. Economists only see the economy expanding forever into the future. As an example, if we run out of oil, there will be a huge incentive to develop alternatives to replace oil. In their world, no problem can't be overcome. If that is the only possibility, then we assign 100% likelihood and move on. But, what happens if the economists are wrong and the future doesn't pan out as they predict?

To complicate matters, governments sell the cost of their existence as a percentage of a country's GDP. This makes sense on some level as a gage of the appropriate level of government. In order to hide the true cost, governments lie to us both covertly and overtly. Take public employee pensions as an example. If the pensions were completely covered at the time the work was performed, there wouldn't be a pension crisis. Unfortunately, we elect people who are very adept at kicking the can down the road. If they funded the pensions adequately, they couldn't fund all their pork barrel projects without raising taxes. The pension crisis will get worse due to the low interest rate environment we're in. Even under the economist's view of the future - green grass and high tides forever, there is a significant risk of systemic collapse.

Unless we can successfully develop an alternative to fossil fuels in time, public pensions alone will defunct the government. Only a cornucopian economist (or a clueless do-gooder) would argue that we need to add more gargantuan obligations to the already overflowing government plate. What could possibly go wrong?

If we follow the message of the 3 "E"s, we know that the future isn't going to be a straight line continuation of the recent past. Wouldn't it be better to prepare for a future of less than to close our eyes and run at full speed into a wall (or over a cliff)? I know that Libertarianism sounds too simplistic to work. By the same token, our current government is too complex and corrupt (and expensive) to work for long once the economy tanks due to energy or environmental issues. If the economy collapses and can't return to former glory, even a spartan Libertarian based government will be too complex (and expensive) to afford. It is a good first step.

Here's what I wrote in Post #2. It is a good summary of my position:

We may pull through this next recession like we did the last one - doubling down on QE. Will we be able to get through the next recession (or the one after that) the same way? Eventually, the system will fail because all the promises that have been made can't be afforded. At that point, systems will break down - perhaps catastrophically.You won't be able to rely on social security or Medicare or any other of the myriad promises. What will you do?

What will help you succeed is your core principles. When others see you adhering steadfastly to these principles, it gains their trust. With trust comes the opportunity for cooperation. Cooperation can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. That is the currency of the future. Cultivate it now while the status is still quo.

Good luck to all of us! I'll be away from my computer for the next week or so. Don't expect timely responses.

Grover

thc0655's picture
thc0655
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Posts: 1468
How doctors die

http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2011/11/30/how-doctors-die/ideas/nexus/

Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. He had a surgeon explore the area, and the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. This surgeon was one of the best in the country. He had even invented a new procedure for this exact cancer that could triple a patient’s five-year-survival odds–from 5 percent to 15 percent–albeit with a poor quality of life. Charlie was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice, and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with family and feeling as good as possible. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatment. Medicare didn’t spend much on him.

It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently.

Of course, doctors don’t want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone. They’ve talked about this with their families. They want to be sure, when the time comes, that no heroic measures will happen–that they will never experience, during their last moments on earth, someone breaking their ribs in an attempt to resuscitate them with CPR (that’s what happens if CPR is done right).

Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call “futile care” being performed on people. That’s when doctors bring the cutting edge of technology to bear on a grievously ill person near the end of life. The patient will get cut open, perforated with tubes, hooked up to machines, and assaulted with drugs. All of this occurs in the Intensive Care Unit at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a day. What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist. I cannot count the number of times fellow physicians have told me, in words that vary only slightly, “Promise me if you find me like this that you’ll kill me.” They mean it. Some medical personnel wear medallions stamped “NO CODE” to tell physicians not to perform CPR on them. I have even seen it as a tattoo...

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