Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Correcting Michael 

I like Michael Moore as much as the next left-winger, but he's overboard with his criticism of the health care legislation that will probably pass in the next few days. Er, he's wrong. He claims everyone will be required to buy health insurance from a private company, quipping, "Or how 'bout I get a law passed that makes it compulsory for every American to go see my next movie? Woo-hoo! Who wouldn't love a sweet set-up like this windfall?"

He's wrong on two counts: Under the legislation, people will have to have health insurance or pay a fee, which is a surtax politicians would rather refer to as a fee than a tax. It won't be illegal to be uninsured, you'll just have to pay more taxes. Secondly, people will have the choice to buy insurance from new non-profit "exchanges" instead of choosing a policy from an existing for-profit company as he implies.

The second stupid point he misses on is,

"And how big will the fines be if the insurance companies do deny someone coverage for having a pre-existing condition? Are you sitting down? A hundred dollars a day! That's it! So if you're the insurance company, and Judy is a customer of yours, and Judy needs an operation that will cost $100,000, what do you do? You take the fine!"

One could make the same argument against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. "The fines are only a few hundred dollars per incident of employment discrimination! Some companies will choose to just pay the fine and keep not hiring or promoting black people and women."

I have a hard time believing Moore actually believes the only repercussion from violating someone's rights guaranteed by federal statute is the proscribed fine. The fact is, if denying someone coverage isn't illegal, you can't sue them. This bill will make it illegal to deny anyone coverage.

The actual choices insurance companies will have when considering covering someone with a pre-existing condition are,

  1. Cover them
  2. Deny them, pay the fine and just hope they don't end up against a civil lawsuit from everything and everyone from a hospital who operated on the denied patient. From the patient for lost wages to unnecessary pain and suffering. From the patient's family for wrongful death. Potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sure, like Michael, I liked the House version better and would have liked single payer even better. As someone else has said, "Let's not let an imperfect bill be the enemy of a good bill."

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chuck Norris for President 

Dumbass Hollywood winger is excited about awakening "cells" of revolutionaries and,

You really have to almost laugh at some of this. For eight years, progressives were lambasted -- in the face of the most unpopular and arguably the worst American president since the Civil War -- as victims of "Bush derangement syndrome" or as "Kos Kooks." That was largely because in the face of a government that invaded another nation on bogus pretenses and violated laws on core issues like torture and domestic spying, a few people advocated impeachment, a deliberative process under the U.S. Constitution, and a tiny handful talked about things like moving to Canada.

Meanwhile, less than two months into the Obama administration, right-wingers are stocking the basement pantry, piling up the shotguns and organizing "cells," all with the help of a talk-show host who coincidentially became unhinged after he drove down the ratings at CNN Headline News, something that most people didn't think was possible. There's a lot to hash out in this country over the next few years but it's becoming more and more clear who respects the Constitution, and who does not.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

No, I don't want my $600 

In days when I served as a left wing agitator on right wing message boards, I was repeatedly asked for the $300 I got from the Bush tax cuts. Yes, there are many people that clever.

This new bi-partisan free $600 is a stupid idea. It's just that much more debt we're collectively racking up. When government spends money on credit - tax cuts or rebates, earmarks or wars - it does indeed artificially give the economy a short-term boost. But that boost is no different than the boost a small business owner gets when he pours more money into a failing business by putting expenses on a credit card.

The economy is unpredictable beyond the fact it runs in cycles. I just wanted to go on the record now so I have something to point to should any of my left wing comrades offer to take my $600 if I don't want it.

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