San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Economic Ignorance And Health Insurance Companies

Yesterday I posted an article to this blog in which I attacked the presupposition that it is morally right to steal from my neighbor if I am doing so to prolong my life.  In that post I concluded that it is never right to do wrong, even if my life is at stake.  The belief that the poor have a moral claim upon the wealth of the rich simply because they are poor is an unproven and ignorant presupposition.  There are many unproven and ignorant presuppositions floating about in the health care debate.  Today I would like to tackle another of them.  There seems to be a general presupposition in regards to health care services in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika that they can and should be offered to the public without the providers of the health care services, and those necessarily associated with them (insurance companies, for example), making a profit.  The idea that a company can continue to exist without making a profit is the sort of idea that can exist only in the mind of an economic simpleton.  Sadly, most of the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, and almost all of the members of the lower 51% from the perspective of annual income, are economic simpletons. Allow me to try and cure them of their foolishness.
How many people that you know have ever asked the question, "Where do government goods and services come from?"  Or, to be more precise, have you ever heard anyone ask, "Who pays for the government goods and services I am standing in line to receive?"  I know of no one besides my extremely small circles of friends who ever asks those questions.  The moment a government agent shows up in town carrying a large bag of cash the local citizens are quick to line up and wait for their "fair share" of that enormous bag of money.  In my experience nobody ever asks where the money comes from.  Everyone simply assumes that the money that is being dispensed by the government agent is free of moral taint.  Nobody ever pushes his thought envelope to the point where he realizes that all money dispensed by the government is either first taken from the upper 49% of the income population (theft) or created by the Federal Reserve/Treasury complex (counterfeit).  As such, all money spent or given away by the government, except that which is used for biblically justifiable state activities like defense and judicial services, is blood money and those who receive it are fences, aka people who receive stolen goods. 
In a letter to the editor of the Denver Post last week, Penny Tron-Weber wrote, "Sadly, the costs of the health insurance plans available under the health exchange here in Colorado appear to be higher than our plans were last year, while they seem similar in coverage.  Though I do not know the real reason for this, I do not blame it on the ACA, but wonder if it might be the insurance companies protecting themselves against the unknowns and not wanting to risk their profits."  I believe Penny expresses some ideas here that are very common among the citizens of the SDA.  She believes that insurance premiums are going up because evil, profit-seeking insurance companies are seeking to feather their nests at the expense of their customers.  I suspect most citizens of the SDA buy that argument. That is why I am going to spend some time dissecting her argument.
The basic idea here is that the provision of medical care is an example of "market failure".  Since Penny believes that, in the free market, medical care would be an expensive service that is only sold to those who could pay for it, it is alleged that the government needs to take over the provision of medical services so that all, especially the poor (whoever they are), can obtain access to some minimum level of medical services.  Nobody, it is argued, should ever get sick and die because he did not have the money to pay for medical care.  This, of course, means that somebody is going to have to pay for the services that are being used by the folks who are not paying for their own care.  In the minds of most citizens of the SDA, the government is paying for those services.  How the government actually does pay for those services is never considered.  The fact that the government is either stealing or counterfeiting money in order to provide those services is either willingly or stupidly ignored. 
As Penny, and so many like her, looks at the situation, she comes to the conclusion that it is profit-seeking insurance companies that are to blame for the present state of affairs.  She cannot conceive of the possibility that government could possibly be at fault.  Look at what she writes.  First she honestly admits that "I do not know the real reason for this" and then she proceeds to exonerate the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, of all responsibility for higher premiums.  If she does not know the real reason for the present state of affairs, how can she possibly know that Obamacare is not to blame?  That is a logical impossibility and it does nothing more than expose her presupposition that government is always good and profit-seeking businesses are always bad.  Penny correctly diagnoses the particulars of the situation.  Under the rules of Obamacare the cost of health insurance is rising dramatically, with little or nothing being added to the coverage in exchange for those higher premiums.  Penny incorrectly identifies the reason for this state of affairs when she emotionally and irrationally attacks profit-seeking insurance companies.
Profit is not evil.  I realize that is a concept socialists are unable to comprehend.  In the mind of a socialist it is always the case that profits are only realized by exploiting "the people", whoever they are.  Government, since it never makes a profit, never exploits anyone.  Businesses, since they exist to make profits, exist to exploit everyone.  That is why government is always good and business is always bad.  That is why Penny believes that the government mandates associated with Obamacare are good but the increase in insurance premiums being charged by the profit-seeking insurance companies are bad.  What Penny, and all socialists, never seem to realize is that nothing is free.  Everything comes with a cost.  Even the omnipotent and beneficent federal government cannot provide goods and services for free.  How it is that normally rational individuals can understand this truth when dealing with their family budgets and then immediately forget this truth when thinking about politics and government wealth redistribution programs never ceases to flabbergast me.
So Penny has taken a look around and concluded that "insurance companies are protecting themselves against the unknowns and not wanting to risk their profits."  She writes that as if it is a bad thing.  I wonder.....does Penny own any insurance policies herself?  Does she have renters or homeowners insurance?  Does she have life insurance?  Does she have liability insurance?  Does she have automobile insurance?  Does she realize that all of those insurance policies are her way of "protecting herself against the unknown in order to not put her nest egg at risk?"  Unless Penny has made the conscious decision to live her life completely free of all insurance coverage, she is a flaming hypocrite when she accuses the insurance companies of doing the same thing she is doing when she seeks to protect her "profits" from the "unknown" by purchasing insurance policies. 
Penny is unwilling to risk her profits in the real world.  That is why she buys insurance.  That is why she protects her nest egg.  That is why she saves and invests.  That is why she tries to increase her net worth. That is why she tries to pay the least she can for her health insurance coverage.  When she does these things for herself she considers them to be good things to do.  However, when an insurance company does exactly the same thing it suddenly becomes evil?  Penny is grossly disconnected from reality.  In light of the fact that the Obamacare rules are changing practically every day, it makes sense for insurance companies to take a defensive stance and protect their profits.  To do otherwise would be foolish.  Why should this make Penny mad if not for the reason she is envious of their profits and wants the government to force profit-seeking insurance companies to subsidize her health insurance premiums with financial losses? In other words, Penny wants a free lunch.   She wants the insurance companies to pick up her tab.  When she does not get what she wants she writes a letter to the Denver Post and accuses the insurance companies of immoral behavior.
Unlike government, businesses must make a profit in order to continue providing the goods and services the consumers demand.  If a business does not make a profit, it goes out of business.  If a business goes out of business it no longer pays dividends to its shareholders.  If a business goes out of business it lays off all of its employees.  If a business goes out of business the goods and services it was providing to the public disappear.  Bad things happen when a business goes out of business.  Still, despite all of these economic truths, Penny wants the health insurance companies to sell her a policy at a loss to them.  Furthermore, she thinks that these evil profit-seeking health insurance companies can sell millions of policies to millions of people for millions of dollars in losses and continue to operate indefinitely.  Once again, who has lost touch with reality here?
When Penny is forced to deal with a profit-seeking company she is forced to deal with the real world.  She does not like that.  Like so many socialists who do not like the real world, Penny prefers to escape to the unreal world of socialism and statism.  Career politicians and bureaucrats are ecstatic to help her create this imaginary world.  In this world the government provides goods and services to select groups of citizens at no cost.  Penny likes this world, even though it only exists in her mind.  Penny, and others like her, like this world so much they create an alternative reality in which profits do not matter, profit-seeking businesses are evil, government is always morally pure and everyone is entitled to an endless supply of government provided goods and services, except those in the upper 49%, of course.  Penny is just another very sad example of what passes for economic understanding in the SDA.  Until that changes, we have no hope for improvement.

Note:  I am heading to the canyons of south central Utah for a couple of days.  There will be no Black Friday where I am going.  There will be no turkey where I am going.  There will be almost no people where I am going.  It should be fabulous.  I will be back next Monday with another interesting and informative blog post.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

God Says: Let Poor Sick People Die

As the debate over Obamacare goes on and on, one argument remains generally ignored.  In fact, I can't recall anyone ever making this argument.  Put another way, there is one thing that Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Libertarians all agree upon.  Based upon what they have said I think it is fair to say that all people believe that, in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, nobody should ever be refused medical care because he cannot pay for it.  That is a really dumb idea.
Let's take the discussion out of the medical arena for a moment and see if it makes any sense.  What if we were talking about food instead of medical care?  Should poor people be permitted to take all the food they want, from any supermarket they happen to wander into, just because they do not have the money to pay for it?  I think not.  What about automobiles?  Should poor people be allowed to walk off the lot with a used car that they did not pay for simply because they did not have the money to buy one?  I don't think so.  What about a cell phone?  Should poor people, however that term is defined, be allowed to walk into the local Verizon shop and leave with a cell phone that they did not pay for simply because they did not have the money to buy one?  I don't see why they should.  I think it seems pretty obvious to most people that the mere fact a person cannot pay for something (ie. is "poor" in regards to the purchase of that good) does not grant that person a moral right to own that thing.
The problem, of course, is that socialists will say that medical care is in a different class because it deals with matters of life and death, whereas the examples I have given above deal with matters of convenience and luxury.  But why should that make a difference?  Since it is always the case that somebody must pay for medical services, why should I be forced to pay for the medical services of my neighbor simply because I have more money than he does?  How does his poverty give him a moral claim on my money?  Why does my wealth make me morally responsible for his medical bills?  Nobody ever answers these questions and yet they seem to me to be the most important questions in the entire discussion.  If taking the property of one person to pay the bills of another person is theft, and it is, how can you justify committing a crime/sin in order to pay the bills of another?
As I was pondering this question my mind wandered around a bit.  I wondered to myself....does God have an opinion about this?  Here is what I found out:
  • Exodus 23: 2-3 says, "You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute; so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor  shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute."
  • Leviticus 19: 15 says, "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly."
  • Deuteronomy 1: 17 says, "You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike.  You shall not fear man, for the judgement is God's."
  • Matthew 26: 11 says, "The poor you shall have with you always..."
Apparently God does have an opinion on this topic.  First of all, God does not allow us to justify robbery simply because it is done by a mob.  Being part of a mob does not make it right to steal my neighbor's property.  That would hold true for theft by majority vote as well.  God is quite clear.  I may not follow a mob in doing evil.  Second, it seems quite clear that poverty does not grant special privileges upon the poor.  The mere fact that a man is poor does not give him the right to take the money of his neighbor.  God makes His opinion known over and over again.  Nobody has special rights.  Judges are to show partiality to no one.  Anyone who claims special rights is in sin.  Anyone who grants special rights is in sin.  Neither the poor nor the rich have any special rights and privileges in the sight of God.  Last, the poor we shall have with us always.  There will always be situations in which some folks will want to grant special privileges or rights to those who are poor simply because they are poor.  There will always be poor people who want special rights and privileges granted to them.  This situation, although immoral, will never go away.
A lady wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post a week or so ago.  She was lamenting about how bad the state of affairs is in the SDA in regards to medical care.  She was angry about the fact that she had to pay for medical care.  She wrote, in a most disparaging fashion, "the first question doctors I've contacted have asked me is, 'Do you have health insurance?'"  This lady was angry about the fact that doctors quite properly want to get paid for their services.  She believes she has a civil right and a moral claim upon the free services of the doctor simply because she is poor and sick.  Her opinion is shared by many, if not most, of the members of the bottom 51% of the income population.  These are the folks that, thanks to the lovely system of democracy we have in this country, do not have to pay any federal taxes.  These are the folks that have voted away a good portion of the money of the upper 49% in order to pay for all federal services.  In other words, these are the hogs who are feeding freely at the trough.
God has told us that we are never to show partiality to a man simply because he is poor.  God has told us that we are not allowed to take the property of another simply because we are in the majority.  From these two things that God has told us it seems to quite necessarily follow that poor people have no right to the money of the less poor, or rich, to pay for their medical care and bills.  It also follows that if a person cannot pay for the medical services he desires, he should not get the medical services he desires.  Simply put, if a man cannot afford to pay for what he is buying, he should not be permitted to purchase it.  There are no exceptions to this rule.
If what I have written above is true, it follows that poor sick people might die.  In fact, they might die in droves.  They might die as they wait outside the hospital for care they cannot afford and will not receive.  They might die because they cannot afford to pay for an ambulance.  They might die because they cannot afford to pay for medication.  Legions of them might die in taxpayer supported government housing projects.  Death of the poor might be a daily event.  Everyone will witness it.  Children will see it.  Dead people will be in the streets and in front of government schools.  Life as we know it today might change dramatically but get this simple truth straight;  poor people will die if they cannot pay for what they need to stay alive.  That is the nature of life and it is God's revealed will.
Although what I have written above is horrific to most people, primarily because they live in perpetual fear of dying, there are many things in life worse than death.  Living immorally is worse than death.  Being perpetually involved with a mob that goes around stealing the income and property of the rich to use for your own personal purposes is worse than death.  Being filled with envy, covetousness and hatred for those who have more money than you is worse than death.  Robbing a man at gunpoint to get the funds to pay for emergency medical services that you want is worse than death.  Joining a democracy that steals money by majority vote to give you "free" medical services is worse than death.  There are many things worse than death.  Because there are  many things worse than death it is never morally right to do something morally wrong just to extend the life of a human being.  Never.  Don't do it, even by majority vote.
I can just heard the gnashing of teeth being done by the three or four people who might read this blog.  You are angry.  How could I be so callous?  How could I care so little about human suffering?  Let me tell you something.  I care about human suffering.  I just have a longer time horizon than most folks.  I care about human suffering in hell.  I don't want to see people go to hell.  I don't want to see people live lives of sin and end up in hell.  I don't want to see hell-bound people, who happen to be poor, live long and healthy lives now, at the expense of their neighbor, only to end up in hell later because they lived long and healthy lives as thieves and robbers.  If you care about people as much as you think you do, you will agree with me on this one. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Colorado's Absurd And Immoral "Anti-Puffing" Law

I awakened Saturday morning with a chocolate hangover of the worst kind.  Pounding head, sluggish body, unresponsive  brain, all the result of consuming an entire cake by myself the previous evening.  As I stumbled around the house in the morning I considered my options.  I could join Diabetics Anonymous.  I could give up cake (never going to happen).  Or I could go to the gym and work it out.  The gym won.
I changed gyms during the summer.  My old gym was filled with guys a lot like me.  It was usually almost empty and the only folks who were there were retired guys who spent most of their time talking to each other about sports.  I could go there in the afternoon, before my evening shift, and get in a good workout.  My new gym is cleaner, shinier, and more modern.  It is also filled with Yuppies.  They are everywhere.  I dreaded the thought of being surrounded by hundreds of  panting Yuppies on a Saturday morning but it had to be done if I was going to get out of my stupor.
I found an empty treadmill and started to slowly crank up the intensity.  About 15 minutes into the workout I heard an announcement over the loudspeaker but I didn't pay attention to what was said.  I was in the zone.  Sweat was starting to flow, my headache was gone, and my body was responding as well as an ancient body could.  Then, suddenly, I was confronted by a uniformed and armed man who ordered me to "evacuate the building."   I looked around and noticed that I was the only one still using the row of treadmill machines.  Knowing that it is not a good idea to argue with a costumed man with a shaved head carrying a gun, taser and billy-club, I stepped off the machine and headed for the exit.
It was cold outside, about twenty degrees.  I was wet from sweat.  I stopped in the space between the outer and inner doors to the gym and sat down to wait.  As it turned out, a ventilation fan in the pool area had burned out, causing a small amount of smoke to come from it.  Rather than doing the common sense thing and opening a door and shutting the fan off, the staff at the gym panicked and called the government.  In a matter of minutes we had what one knowledgeable Yuppie informed me was a "three alarm response" to our situation.  Three ladder trucks surrounded the gym At least two EMT vans were present.  Another four sheriff's deputies vehicles surrounded the building.  There were costumed government agents all over the roof.  Heavily equipped government agents prowled the floor of the gym, looking like the government agents out of the movie ET.  I wondered how long I would be permitted to sit in the relative warmth of the airspace between the two entries.  It did not take long to find out.  About a dozen of us had gathered in the space.  The rest of the gym patrons who had not left were jumping up and down outside in the cold, trying to keep warm.  I only was seated for a couple of minutes before another heavily armed government agent (also with a shaved head) ordered me to "fully evacuate the building."  I complied with his order.  I was disgusted and was preparing to leave when I noticed something interesting.  Let me tell you about it.
The night before, while chomping on my delicious cake, I had seen a local news report about how the citizens of Colorado needed to remember to comply with the Colorado "puffing" law.  Here is a direct quotation of the law:
"DENVER (CBS4)- Colorado State Troopers are teaming up with law enforcement along the Front Range to warn drivers against warming up their cars this winter.  It’s called “puffing,” when drivers start their car and then leave it running either in the drive way, in a parking lot or at a gas pump. And it’s illegal in Colorado.“So whether it’s in a drive way on a road or at a gas station, it’s always critical to remember it’s not only your responsibility but it’s the right thing to do to secure a car before getting away from it,” said Colorado State Patrol Col. James Wolfinbarger.
Police say it’s easy for thieves to spot vulnerable cars because they have the telltale puff of exhaust coming from the car. It can also lead to more crime.  “When a car is stolen it leads to a lot of other types of crime. Often times cars are stolen and it gets to a point where they are used for other illegal activity like drug trafficking but also selling and reselling for drug money. So we get into a lot of this where it seems like auto theft on the front but these vehicles that are stolen are used to perpetrate other crimes in other parts of the city or other parts of the state,” said Wolfinbarger."
Did you get all that?  It is illegal to warm up your car in winter in Colorado.  Can you think of anything more stupid?  And why is it illegal?  Our rulers inform us that it has to be illegal to warm up our cars in the winter because thieves might see a car being warmed up, steal it, and then proceed to use it in a drug transaction.  Do our leaders really expect us to believe that writing tickets for having a car warming up is going to prevent my neighbor from distributing heroin to the local government school children?  How dumb do they think we are?
I remember when the "puffing" law was first passed.  Nobody said anything about it being designed to prevent drug transactions.  The law was passed to appease the greenies and obtain future votes for career politicians from radical environmentalists.  The only argument presented in favor of the law was that it would prevent air pollution.  So our moral superiors passed a law making it illegal to warm up a car.  If your car is running you must be in it and it must be moving or waiting for a legitimate reason like a traffic light or stop sign.  Can you think of an example of a law that is more intrusive, unnecessary, immoral or illegal than this one?  When the weather turns cold the local police departments dispatch agents specifically to cite citizens for violation of this rule.  It is a better revenue raiser than the local speed traps.  The local Gestapo brings in a ton of funds by fining people for warming up their cars.  Clearly it is nothing more than a revenue raiser for the local police departments.  With those funds they can buy newer and fancier gadgets with which to harass the citizenry.  What a scam.
Anyway, back to my leaving the club.  As I mentioned, it was a cold morning.  As I wended my way through the maze of government vehicles to where my car was parked, I noticed something.  With the exception of the three ladder trucks from the fire department, all of the government vehicles were sitting their with their lights flashing, their engines running and no government driver in sight.  How about that, I thought to myself, I could write a ticket for puffing on every one of these government vehicles.  As I pondered that I realized something.  I have never seen a government agent driving a government car in the winter who obeys the puffing law.  Never.  Every cop out there wants a warm car. They will sit in one place for hours with their engines running.  Every time they leave their cars to go into the doughnut shop they leave their cars running.  They all violate the law all the time.  Why are they exempt?  Why does the law they enforce not apply to them?
Of course we all know the answer to that question.  Anyone who works for the government is morally superior to anyone who does not. Nobody who works for the government is required to comply with the myriad of silly and immoral laws that we, the sheeple, are expected to live in perfect compliance with.  As I walked shivering to my car I just kept telling myself that they are my superiors and it is my duty to bow down before them.   The gym reopened as I was walking to my car.  I was able to return to the gym and finish my workout.  I looked outside while I was pedaling away on the stationary bike and noticed that most of the government vehicles had departed.  The two that remained, I assumed to allow the agents within them to write their reports about how they had saved hundreds of citizens from the potentially deadly consequences of a ventilation fan burnout, were sitting their with their engines running.