Is Obama’s Demand For A BP Fund Just A Way To Limit Liability?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Miscellaneous | Posted on 14-06-2010

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There is no doubt BP has bungled the handling of this oil spill. What is even more bungled is the government’s back and forth trying to act like they are or even can do something about this that will actually help. Most recently, Obama is now calling for a fund to be setup to pay claims.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Obama administration, facing growing public anger over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, plans to ask BP PLC to establish an independently administered fund for reimbursing victims—in effect, taking some of the compensation decisions out of the company’s hands.

White House officials on Sunday said they wanted BP to put “substantial” funds into an escrow account to cover claims by Gulf Coast businesses and residents affected by the spill.

President Barack Obama plans to bring up the idea at a White House meeting Wednesday with top BP executives, including Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

The call was echoed by congressional leaders and state officials. In a June 10 letter to BP released on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and other Democrats asked BP to establish a $20 billion account, administered by an independent trustee, that would be used to pay the damages and clean-up costs associated with the spill. Florida Governor Charlie Crist and other officials in the Gulf Coast region joined the chorus.

It remained unclear how any such funds would be supervised, in particular who would oversee the compensation decisions. Administration officials on Sunday didn’t comment on the size of the escrow account they will seek, or on where money might come from. Nor did officials detail the legal status of the proposal.

Such a fund would provide a measure of security, proponents argue, for people concerned BP might file for bankruptcy protection or otherwise stop paying claims at some point in the future. It also has the potential to give the government or its designees control of distributing a significant pool of relief money.

OK, so the fund does not sound like a bad idea other than the “It remained unclear how any such funds would be supervised…”. That sure sounds like a nice slush fund for someone.

While not opposed to the idea of the fund, BP objects to the implication that if it isn’t required to set money aside, it might try to avoid paying it in full, according to a person familiar with the company’s position. BP insists it has the financial muscle to settle the final bill for the clean-up, as well as pay its dividend.

From BP’s side, maybe they do have the means to pay the bill. If there is no fund setup all at once, BP will be able to handle claims as they come, which will help cash flow. If the government tells them to setup a fund, and it’s required to be funded all at once, that could really harm BP’s chances of recovering from this. Cash is king, and if cash flow runs out, BP may be too tarred and feathered to raise capital.

Legal experts struggled to come up with a precedent for such a move. Examples of government-run funds exist, but they differ from the proposal facing BP.

Are we trying to act like our government cares about the law now?

In the early 1980s the government passed Superfund legislation that would create a fund to pay for the cleanup of hazardous-waste dump sites.

Through the law, the Environmental Protection Agency can compel the polluter to clean up the site or pay for it through the Superfund and sue for reimbursement.

Around the same time, the first of about 40 trust funds were set up with court approval by Johns Manville Corp. and later other companies with asbestos liability to alleviate some of the problems of lengthy asbestos-related litigation. But their creation stemmed from bankruptcy proceedings for Johns Manville. The trusts now oversee about $20 billion in assets, a sum that has nearly tripled since 2005, consultants say.

What they don’t say is this huge fund created an industry of lawyers looking to make millions off these claims. Instead of settling suites for those effected by asbestos, it was really a pay off to the trial lawyers.

Typically, corporations fund such victims accounts to settle class action lawsuits, although there have been a few examples of legislatively mandated funds such as the 9/11 victims fund, according to Howard Erichson, a law professor at Fordham University. “If the idea is to get BP to do this voluntarily, the question is what’s in it for them? Is there some liability protection in it for them?” Mr. Erichson said.

See, here’s the pay off to BP. While the government is trying to make it seem like it’s coming down hard, they will really setup an escape route for BP. They will put in liability protection for BP.

What I would like to know is why are we pushing to have a fund setup now? Did we not know there are risks involved in what they were doing, and shouldn’t we have planned accordingly? Of course, they didn’t because instead of focusing on liability they focused on buying off the government regulators. In a free market with private property protection, companies would buy insurance for liability protection. Insurance is the fund that would pay claims. Why is there not drilling rig insurance that pays out when something like this happens? My guess is there is no need for an insurance company to provide insurance like this, because government is used as the insurance.

Let’s just think about how this should work. If I’m BP, and I’m proposing to drill one mile below the ocean. One of the first things I should be thinking about is how will I pay claims if this goes bad? I better get insurance. Then the project should be submitted to an insurance company. The insurance company would have the expertise to evaluate the riskiness of the project. Then based on that, they would say, “BP, we are willing to issue a policy on this project for X number of dollars. Here are the things that we would require to issue this policy. 1.) You must use this latest technology. 2.) You must have this expertise on site at all times. 3.) We will inspect the rig weekly…..”. You get the picture.

Now, the insurance company is basically saying we are taking the risk off BP, and to do this BP will pay them so much money and meet certain criteria. The insurance company now must limit it’s chances of having to pay out claims. That is how they make money, and YES, this is a good thing. Insurance provide a valuable service to society, so quit letting the government smear insurance companies.

Anyway, so the insurance company will take actions to limit their chances of being liable. How will they do that? They will first take actions, such as inspections, to make sure that the rig is up to the highest standards. Also, they will develop clean up plans ahead of time, so they can quickly take action and limit their losses before the problem gets out of control. If they don’t, they run the risk of losing money on this policy.

So as you can see, this is how a true market works, when there is real private property protections in place. Instead, we have a government regulated market, where there were laws on the books capping the oil companies’ liability at $75 million. Why buy insurance or why provide insurance, when the government already said what your cap is? Oh sure, Obama is grandstanding and trying to make it seem like he’s coming down hard on BP. The truth is they will setup a way for BP to limit it’s liability. They will protect big oil. Even if BP doesn’t make it through this, the billionaires at the top have already put into place a way to limit their losses. Entities, government created of course, will be moved around, gobbled up, etc, but make no mistake about it. The government is and will protect their rich masters, instead of doing the one simple thing a just government is supposed to do, protect property rights.

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You May Not Have Freedom, But At Least You’ll Have Health Care…Sort Of

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 22-03-2010

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Last night, our supposed representatives passed the health care bill that says you no longer have the freedom to decide what services and products you want to buy. You have to buy what they say you have to buy. Don’t forget this is just the beginning. Government never stops growing. This bill will continue to grow and grow, and more liberty will be lost. Say goodbye to ownership of your own life, body and health decisions.

The biggest transformation of the U.S. health system in decades won approval on Capitol Hill late Sunday, the culmination of efforts by generations of Democrats to achieve near-universal health coverage.

Let’s be clear here. This isn’t the biggest transformation of the U.S. health system. This is the biggest transformation in our liberty. The health system was not made better last night. If anything, it will get progressively worse. What did happen last night is your decisions and options in health care were stripped from you hands and placed into the cold, unaccountable hands of a bureaucrat.

President Barack Obama, who staked his presidency on the health-care overhaul, helped push it toward passage with a last-minute promise to issue an executive order making clear that no money dispensed under the $940 billion bill would pay for abortions. That persuaded Rep. Bart Stupak, a holdout Michigan Democrat, to vote yes and bring at least seven colleagues with him.

Yeah, some hold out Stupak was. He was just looking for the tiniest crack to crawl through. If you were so concerned would you trust someone promising to make an executive order? Now that the bill has passed, what recourse does Stupak have? Zero.

President Obama spoke just before midnight at the White House. “At a time when the pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics,” he said in hailing the vote. “We proved that this government … still works for the people.”

Please. The government hasn’t worked for the people in my lifetime. This is nothing more than Democrats turning everyone into slaves who will keep pulling the lever for their party begging them to fix an ever worsening system. The people will forget about this bill, and when the system is getting  worse, they will fall for the Democrats cries of exploitation by insurance companies and medical companies.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) condemned the legislation, and said Democrats are moving against the will of the public. “Shame on this body. Shame on each and every one of you who substitutes your will and your desire above your fellow countrymen,” he said. “By our actions today we disgrace their value.”

Republicans hope to use the health overhaul to drive Democrats into the minority, citing polls that show a plurality of Americans oppose it, while Democrats believe the immediate benefits brought by the bill will work to their credit.

Hopefully, people are starting to see how this game is played. Democrats got the bill through. There will be backlash, and Republicans will win elections. The bill won’t be repealed, and eventually after Republicans steal some of our liberties for wars, Democrats will regain power again. Nothing will change. We’ll just keep marching on toward complete tyranny.

The legislation will extend health coverage to 32 million Americans now without insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It will mandate that almost every American carry health insurance—a provision that opponents are set to challenge in the courts. To help people get covered, the legislation expands Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor, and gives subsidies to families making as much as $88,000 a year.

If the courts up hold this, then what? I guess the government can mandate anything it wants. It can tell us how to live and what to buy in every aspect of our lives. Oh, but they are just looking out for us stupid normal people. We are all too dumb to live without the wonderful government telling us how to live properly.

The focus Sunday was largely on resolving the abortion dispute. Several Democrats, led by Rep. Stupak, had been withholding support, saying the legislation didn’t go far enough to keep federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. They praised Mr. Obama’s executive order, while Roman Catholic bishops and other antiabortion groups said it wasn’t good enough.

While I wish the bishops were opposed on the merits of the bill, at least they stuck to their guns on abortion. What they realize and what the paper doesn’t mention is executive orders mean nothing. Obama can make an executive order, and that order can be overturned by any President including Obama at any time they choose. It will be used as a political tool, just like government funding of embryonic stem cell research and government funding of overseas abortions was. Bush made executive orders and Obama overturned them. Both appeased their base.

A large swath of the business community opposed the changes, arguing the legislation was too broad and had too many taxes. “This will make us one of the highest-taxed regions in the world, and that’s going to have an impact on the appetite for people to invest in medical innovation,” said Bill Hawkins, chief executive of Medtronic Inc., which makes medical devices. He said his company could cut at least 1,000 jobs to absorb a new 2.9% excise tax on medical-device makers.

Bye bye recovery. This is definitely going to cost jobs and economic growth. The money that would have been invested else where will now be forced into health care, where it will be lost. Health care will not be improved by the increase money flowing into it. It will just be wasted by paperwork and bureaucracy.

Insurers will see the heaviest regulations, with new rules that dictate how much they can reap in profit and whom they must cover.

So much for a free market, not that it was before.

The bulk of the legislation wouldn’t take effect until 2014. Once the tax credits and Medicaid expansion are in place, most Americans will be required to carry health insurance or pay a fee, topping out at either $695 a year or 2.5% of income.

Well, I guess I should just drop my insurance and buy it when I need it. I pay almost $500/month right now. I could just pay the government $695/year and save over $5,000/year. Don’t worry though. That $695 will quickly skyrocket once they realize it has the opposite effect of what they want. Oh, and in case you thought you still had freedom, ask yourself what happens if you don’t pay that fine. Time to go to jail for you.

Employers would have to provide affordable insurance or pay a penalty of up to $3,000 per worker. Those figures assume the Senate ultimately adopts the package of changes the House approved.

Tax increases needed to finance the program would hit a range of industries, from insurers to tanning services. Over the next decade, $108 billion in new fees will fall on insurers, drug makers and medical-device companies. Families earning more than $250,000 a year will pay a higher Medicare payroll tax, and see that tax expanded to investment income such as dividends. High-value insurance plans would be hit with a 40% tax starting in 2018.

via House Passes Historic Health Bill – WSJ.com.

So we are going to improve health care by pulling $108 billion outt of the companies who create health products. That makes sense.

Also, families making over $250k/year is where this starts. That is never where it ends. That will quickly become families making over poverty income. Ask those who thought the income tax was only going to be on the rich.

Lastly, this is just hilarious. For those of you who have too much insurance, by government standards, you are going to pay a 40% tax on your insurance. That’s brilliant. In order to make sure everyone has insurance, we’ll tax people who have a lot of insurance. How long do you think that option will be around? Man I love the government. They just take away options slowly until you are left with only one. That option is government enslavement. You either submit, or you’ll be fined. Oh that fine of $695 will quickly become much larger. They can’t leave an option that you can actually take. They will raise that $695 so high, paying it won’t be an option. What is left is submit or go to jail.

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Sebelius Calls A Meeting Corleone Style

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 05-03-2010

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Don Corelone called his people in for a meeting yesterday.

WASHINGTON—The government’s top health official summoned health-insurance chief executives to the White House Thursday and told them they need to disclose more data justifying sharp premium increases.

The dressing-down, part of which was televised, was part of a campaign by the White House to build support for its health overhaul as President Barack Obama presses Congress to deliver final legislation to his desk in the next few weeks.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called five insurance company executives, including the heads of UnitedHealth Group Inc. and WellPoint Inc., to the Roosevelt Room to request explanation on the recent rate increases.

Who is Kathleen Sebelius to summon private individuals to the white house to explain why they raised their prices? It’s none of her or Obama’s business. No one is forcing people to buy their products, so if people don’t want to pay the prices, they can choose not to. Oh yeah, they will be forced to at gun point real soon.

Mr. Obama dropped by and read them a letter from a 50-year-old cancer survivor from Ohio whose premiums rose 40% this year. He told the group that such rate increases are “unjustifiable,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

How about we read some letters from upstanding people that the government has imprisoned or pillaged for taxes? How about the family farm that had to be sold after gramps died, because the family couldn’t afford the death tax? How about the poor child who’s trapped in crappy public education, and because of Obama they had their charter school option taken away? Maybe we should read a letter from a child, who’s mother’s body was blown to bits by a drone attack? Oh that’s right, those aren’t American children, so they don’t matter. Maybe we should read a letter from a small business owner, who couldn’t sleep for weeks over the thought of having to layoff someone who’s become like family to him (or her)?

Insurers said the drug makers, medical-device makers, hospitals and other health-care companies are driving up the underlying cost of medical care. They said that trying to lower premiums without addressing those costs was destined to fail.

“The rate is really reflective of our other parts of the health-care delivery system,” Ron Williams, chief executive of Aetna Inc., told the group at the beginning of the meeting. In an interview after the meeting, Mr. Williams said the secretary should have included representatives from those industries.

I can see it now. “Please Mr. Obama. It’s not our fault. Please don’t point the gun at us.” Truly I think the insurance companies are the root problem of health care costs, but it’s not their doing. We have decided that insurance is supposed to cover everything, and then we complain when prices skyrocket and premiums skyrocket. Government of course played started it all off with their wage caps, HMOs, mandatory coverage, tax credits to businesses for supplying insurance, medicare/medicaide, etc.

The day started with gracious exchanges followed by sharper words afterwards

Ms. Sebelius asked the companies to begin posting information online for consumers to explain how much of their revenue goes toward administrative costs, marketing and actual care, along with other details of the rate increases. She called for “greatly increased transparency about what indeed is going on.”

This could make a great movie you know? Kathleen Sebelius can be walking around the room, nonchalantly waving a gun around as she’s talking. Not really pointing it at anyone directly, but they get the point. Then she says, “OK, I’ll tell you what. (Need mob sounding accent) Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to start posting all your information online.”

Insurance company: “But that information is confidential. We already are forced to disclose financial information for the SEC. That would give too much info to our ….”

Sebelius cocking the gun and turning towards the complaining insurance executive: “I think I’m being fair here. Now, are you going to do like I ask or what?” She stares down the executive, who meekly gives a nod.

Several executives at the meeting said they didn’t immediately commit to posting the information but were open to the idea. Much of that data is already detailed in filings to state insurance regulators, though they are difficult to access. Publicly traded companies report executive compensation and national cost trends, but keep some other measures under wraps as trade secrets. “There might be more transparency out there than you might realize,” said UnitedHealth Chief Executive Stephen Hemsley.

The two sides couldn’t agree whether insurers are highly profitable or just scraping by. Industry executives rolled out data showing their average profit margin was 2.2% last year, lower than other health industries. Ms. Sebelius cited figures showing that top insurers earned a collective $12 billion in profits last year, a 56% increase from the prior year, but that didn’t account for one-time gains.

Oh my world. You mean these companies are actually trying to make money by providing a service to customers? The audacity (and not of hope). How much does the Obama administration think these guys are going to make once Sebelius and Obama turn the gun on the people and force us to become customers? At that point, the government controls both citizen and the company, so who knows really. A 2.2% profit margin is nothing to write home about. Also, considering that health care is 1/6th of our economy, earning a collective $12 billion is not a lot of money. Think about the collective money Obama and the rest of government throw around.

The health overhaul, if passed, would require most Americans to carry health coverage or face a fine, meaning insurers would get more business.

Ah Ha! That will show those evil corporations! Wait….. wait… did I miss something?

However, insurers would be required to accept all applicants, including those who are sick. And they would see tougher restrictions on premium increases, particularly through the new state-based insurance exchanges.

Doesn’t state-based insurance exchanges sound so free market? This is sort of like the guy who comes to have a meeting with Don Corleone, so he can ask to do business in the neighborhood. Of course the Don is a reasonable man. He’s not going to be unfair. The new guy can do business. He just has to pay the toll to the mob…..I mean the government.

The White House has also proposed a new federal body with power to review premium increases. But that may not end up in a final bill due to procedural regulations that might require it to be jettisoned. That would be a relief for insurance companies, who say the panel would duplicate the rate regulation they already get from individual states. “If you have the rules written in the states and the prices written in Washington, there might be a disconnect,” said Angela F. Braly, chief executive of WellPoint Inc.

via Health Secretary Sebelius Debates Rate Increases With Insurers – WSJ.com.

Don’t forget though. All this additional regulation, bureacracy, panels, etc is going to lower cost. Obama said so.

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What’s Stopping Small Businesses And People From Pooling Health Care?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 26-02-2010

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During the Health Care Summit yesterday, the word pooling was used a lot. Typically, it was in reference to how the government can enabled people and small businesses to setup pools to purchase health insurance. Has anyone asked what is preventing that now? The politicians act like nature itself is preventing “pooling”.

Senator Baucus: So the main point is we’re not really that far apart. We’re trying to find ways for small business to pool, small business to take advantage of competition, they shop and compare; and also some tax provisions that enable — to encourage businesses to get health insurance.

Congressman Andrews: And then the President asked the question about whether we can find agreement on pooling the purchasing power of small businesses and individuals so they can get the same deal that big companies and members of Congress get. And my friend John Kline talked about the association health plan proposal. Respectfully, John, I think that what you’re talking about with association health plans and what we’re talking about with exchanges is a semantic difference. It’s a matter of pooling the purchasing power of small businesses and individuals to get a better deal.

President Obama: I just want to point out, though, that the principle of pooling is at the center of both the Senate and the House bill.

Representative Boustany: Small business health plans is one way to really deal with this and allow for pooling.

What is preventing people and small businesses from pooling? It’s the same root problem of all our problems, GOVERNMENT. The government is the one who sets up these tyrannical rules and regulations that say what “free” people can and can’t do. They tell you how you are going to buy, what you are going to buy, how you are going to pay for it, and on and on. It is not nature, and it is not the free market.

If these geniuses want to enable people to pool, they should get the government out of health care. If pooling makes sense for people, they will do it themselves. The problem is right now they can’t because government is a pool of bad regulations and idiots with bad ideas.

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Obama, Our Fascist in Chief

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 22-02-2010

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You seriously have to laugh at the idiocy of our government officials. They simultaneously do things that drive up costs at the same time they try to cap costs. It’s like trying to squeeze the air out of one end of a balloon at the same time trying to keep it from going to the other end.

Seeking to revive his stalled health-care legislation, President Barack Obama is proposing a new idea to address health costs, giving the federal government authority to block insurers from making premium rate increases.

Sorry, one second. I’ll be right back…………

Ok, I didn’t think so. I was looking to see where in the Constitution it says the Federal government has any power to block private enterprises from raising their prices. Competition will prevent private enterprise from raising their prices above market prices. Oh, that’s right our government prevents competition between states.

The move raises the ante after two weeks of presidential bashing of rate increases including WellPoint Inc.’s decision to raise premiums for some California customers by as much as 39%. WellPoint has defended its price increase as unavoidable in light of rising health costs.

While I would hate to sound like a conspiracy nut, this huge rate hike sure comes at an opportune time for ObamaCare. I mean, if I wanted to help out Obama, I would probably do just this. This would make people just mad enough to say “Screw it. Let the government take over the industry. How can they justify a 39% increase.”

Meanwhile, once the health care theft bill is passed, the insurance companies have a huge increase of new customers who have no choice but to buy their crappy products. After all, the customers has a gun pointed at them.

Private insurance companies are now regulated by the states, which review proposed rate increases. Under the Obama proposal, the federal Department of Health and Human Services would gain the power to review and block premium increases.

via Obama in New Health Push to Block Insurers From Raising Premiums – WSJ.com.

Wow, I didn’t realize there was no federal regulation of the insurance industry. The Wall Street Journal really did break news this morning. Can we confirm this and burn all the papers in the federal registry?

States, like the rest of our government idiots, do tell insurance companies they have to provide coverage for all kinds of medical conditions even when the customer doesn’t want or need it. This does not help consumer. They are not getting something for nothing just because state governments tell insurance companies they have to provide certain coverages. The customer still has to pay for services they never wanted and do not need.

Then in order to make sure the citizen can’t avoid the idiotic ideas of their local states, the federal government steps in and makes sure you are trapped. They make sure you cannot buy insurance from across state lines. This is no different than how they trap us into the expensive drug market we have here in the US. Because we aren’t allowed to buy drugs from across the border, drug companies can charge whatever they want.

After all this anti-free market, anti-consumer, anti-freedom idiocy is put into place, you get demagogues like Obama saying the free market has failed. He must step in. The government must have the power to take over the private sector in order to save us. Meanwhile, the only saving we need is from our fascist government.

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Private Defense vs Government Defense – Who is incentivized for wars?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Government | Posted on 05-02-2010

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Lewrockwell.com has a fascinating post today (actually a chapter from a book) about how the market could better handle defense from foreign agression than government. As I said in my post the other day, defense whether domestic with police or foreign with military, can be defended as a government role, because government’s role is supposed to be defending individual liberty and protecting us from coercion.

While I think it is hard for most people to believe that the free market can provide policing and military defence (even I questioned military), this post makes a great argument for the free market. As I was reading, lights were going off in my head as to downfalls of government defense and the benefits to the people of it being handled in the free market. Here are some highlights. I highly recommend reading the entire post. Whether you agree or disagree, it is fascinating.

Many people ask, “But how in the world could a laissez-faire society deal with aggression by foreign nations, since it would have no government to protect it?” Behind this question are two unrealized assumptions: first, that government is some sort of extra-societal entity with resources of its own – resources which can only be tapped for defense by the action of government – and, second, that government does, in fact, defend its citizens.

In reality, government must draw all its resources from the society over which it rules. When a governmentally controlled society takes defensive action against an aggression by a foreign power, where does it get the resources necessary to take that action? The men who fight are private individuals, usually conscripted into government service. The armaments are produced by private individuals working at their jobs. The money to pay for these armaments and the pittance doled out to the conscripts, as well as the money to pay the salaries of that small minority comprising the other members of the armed forces, is confiscated from private individuals by means of taxation.

Government’s only contribution is to organize the whole effort by the use of force – the force of the draft, taxation, and other, more minor coercions, such as rationing, wage and price ceilings, travel restrictions, etc. So, to maintain that government is necessary to defend a society from foreign aggression is to maintain that it is necessary to use domestic aggression against the citizens in order to protect them from foreign aggression.

In spite of the obvious immorality of forcing men to protect themselves against force, some people still maintain that a coerced defense is more efficient than a willing one and is, therefore, permissible or even necessary in an emergency situation such as war. A brief examination will show the fallacy of this variation of the moral/practical dichotomy.

The success of any endeavor, including war, depends on the amount of thought and effort put into it by those involved. Under the pressure of force, a man may be induced to put forth a great deal of effort and even a little thought, but his reluctant, fear-driven exertions can’t compare in efficiency and productivity with the ambitious and tireless efforts of a free man striving to accomplish something he really wants to get done. The man who works enthusiastically not only works more efficiently, he also uses his mind to discover new and better ways of reaching the goal, and such innovation is the key to success.

Furthermore, a system of force is always wasteful of resources, because the more unwilling is the victim of the force, the more energy must be diverted to keeping him in line and the less is left to accomplish the task. Men who are forced to do what they don’t want to (or not to do what they do want to) are amazingly good at devising devious and complicated ways to cheat on the system which enslaves them. This is why even the most totalitarian of governments find that they cannot wage war without huge propaganda efforts aimed at convincing their own people of the justice and necessity of the war.

Throughout history, people have been talked into submitting to the tyrannies of their governments because, they were told, their government was vitally necessary to protect them from the even more terrible depredations of other governments. The governments, having put over this bit of propaganda, then proceeded to cajole and coerce their citizens into protecting them!

Governments never defend their citizens; they can’t. What they do is make the citizens defend them, usually after their stupid and imperialistic policies have aggravated or threatened another government to the point of armed conflict. Governmental protection against foreign aggression is a myth (but a myth which, sad to say, most people actually believe in).

Government can’t defend its citizens, and it is foolish and sacrificial for the citizens to defend a coercive monopoly which not only enslaves them but makes a practice of provoking conflicts with other coercive monopolies – i.e., with other governments.

Morally, no man may be prevented from defending himself and his values, nor may he be forced to defend them if he doesn’t want to do so.

If some of the people in an area feel that one of their neighbors is not “carrying his fair share of the defense burden,” they are free to use rational persuasion to attempt to convince him that it would be in his interest to assume his own responsibility of self-defense. They may not, however, extort his compliance by any use or threat of force…even if they are clearly in the majority. Nor would it be practical for them to do so. A man who is coerced into defending his neighbors against a foreign aggressor may decide to spend part of his efforts on defending himself against his coercive neighbors instead.

In a laissez-faire society, defense against foreign aggression would be offered for sale on the free market, just as would any other type of defense. Because of the close natural connection between insurance companies and defense agencies, it would probably be most feasible to sell defense against foreign aggression in the form of insurance policies. That is, insurance companies would sell policies agreeing to protect their insureds against foreign aggression and to indemnify them for losses resulting from such aggression (the contract to be void, of course, if the insured provoked the conflict by his own aggressive actions). The insurance companies would see to it that whatever defenses were necessary to prevent the losses were provided, and they would make sure that a very efficient job of defense was done, since any losses would cost them large sums of money.

A major portion of the cost of defense against foreign aggression in a laissez-faire society would be borne originally by business and industry, as owners of industrial plants obviously have a much greater investment to defend than do owners of little houses in suburbia. If there were any real threat of aggression by a foreign power, businessmen would all be strongly motivated to buy insurance against that aggression, for the same reason that they buy fire insurance, even though they could save money in the short run by not doing so.

An interesting result of this fact is that the cost of defense would ultimately tend to be spread among the whole population, since defense costs, along with overhead and other such costs, would have to be included in the prices paid for goods by consumers. So, the concern that “free riders” might get along without paying for their own defense by parasitically depending on the defenses paid for by their neighbors is groundless. It is based on a misconception of how the free-market system would operate.

Foreign Aggression by Morris and Linda Tannehill.

The one part that really struck out at me was paying for defense like an insurance policy. As I stated the other day, insurance companies could provide fire services to their subscribers instead of having it handled through government and taxation. Insurance companies have the incentive to minimize their outlays, so they will are motivated to get fires are put out quickly and make steps to minimize the chances of having fires. The less fires they have, the higher their profits. On the other hand, the more fires (or other services delegated to a fire dept.) the bigger the department comes, and the bigger their budgets become. This is the goal of a government organization. Anyways, they explained how insurance could address defense in a similar manner.

While insurance companies have been demonized in our media and government, they provide valuable services when government isn’t involved. I don’t hear too many people complaining about their evil life and home owner insurance companies. Instead they complain about health insurance companies who are heavily regulated and where government accounts for 50% of all expenditures.

While I haven’t worked through all the details of whether I think this could work or not, here are some of the first thoughts that came to mind when I read this:

1. Insurance companies would not want war. It would cost them too much money. Since their contract is to defend their client, they would pursue diplomacy better than a government would who gets more money and control if there is a war.

2. Insurance companies in looking to reduce the chances of expensive reconstruction costs, would invest heavily in defensive measures that would dissuade agression. Instead of going out looking for dragons to slay, they would do what the people(clients) want, which is to be defended only. Most people do not want their government going out starting wars.

3. While the defense agencies might be incentized to have wars in order to grow, insurance companies, who would be the client or owner of the defense agency has the exact opposite incentive. Because of that, the insurance company would keep the defense agency in check. If the defense agency was stirring up trouble in order to get more business, they would lose the largest clients, insurance companies. Instead their incentive would be to develop lower cost technologies and to become more efficient. That would increase their profits without the need for increased warfare.

Again, this is just off the top of my head as I’m reading this myself, so I may be missing some incentives and some possible downfalls. I’d love to hear thoughts from everyone else.

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Nick Gillespie debate highlights lost freedoms with government health care

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care, Video | Posted on 31-01-2010

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Nick Gillespie was on Stossel and got into a heated exchange with a lady who thinks she knows how to live your life better than you do. Underlying her entire argument is that you do not have the right to choose what to eat or what is best for you. You gave up that right when our government decided they had a role in our health care system. While food is the main focus, if we have socialized health care for all, this will spread into every aspect of our lives.

YouTube – Nick Gillespie pwns Blond Health Nazi.

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Healthcare Lobbyists Descend On Massachusetts

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 11-01-2010

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So, the Dems always act like they are fighting against the big insurance and drug companies for the people. Yeah right. Looks who’s coming to the democrats rescue to save health care reform.

We’ve been following the special election in Massachusetts, where the GOP hopes to pull a surprise upset in the race to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat.

If they do pull it off, healthcare reform is instantly in trouble, as the Democrats drop below 60.

But money is coming to the rescue of Democrat Martha Coakley — healthcare industry lobbyist money, specifically.

Tim Carney identifies several of her top fundraisers. Take a look at who they represent:

  • Thomas Boggs, Patton Boggs: Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Chuck Brain, Capitol Hill Strategies: Amgen, BIO, Merck, PhRMA
  • Susan Brophy, Glover Park Group: Blue Cross, Pfizer
  • Steven Champlin, Duberstein Group: AHIP, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis
  • Licy Do Canto, Raben Group: Amgen
  • Gerald Cassidy, Cassidy & Associates: U. Mass Memorial Health Care
  • David Castagnetti, Mehlman, Vogel, Castagnetti: Abbot Labs, AHIP, Astra-Zenaca, General Electric, Humana, Merck, PhRMA.
  • Steven Elmendorf, Elmendorf Strategies: Medicines Company, PhRMA, United Health
  • Shannon Finley, Capitol Counsel: Amgen, Astra-Zeneca, Blue Cross, GE, PhRMA, Sanofi-Aventis.
  • Heather Podesta, Heather Podesta & Partners: Cigna, Eli Lilly, HealthSouth
  • Tony Podesta, Podesta Group: Amgen, GE, Merck, Novartis.
  • Robert Raben, Raben Group: Amgen, GE.

Of course, this is how politics works. Lobbyists for various corporations and causes get involved wherever they can for candidates of both parties. But when you see all these big pharma (and insurance!) representatives coming with cash for a crucial vote, you know which side they’re on.

via Panicked Healthcare Lobbyists Descend On Massachusetts To Save The 60th Democratic Vote For Reform.

I’m sure no one that reads this blog is surprised. If the health care bill wasn’t in the best interest of the drug and health care companies, they would not be coming to the rescue for the democrats. Why do they want this bill? Well, government is forcing people at gun point to buy their products. How much easier can business be for them? They don’t have to convince you to buy their product anymore. You can’t decide that you only need a minimal plan, because their buddies in congress are going to make sure you have a “qualified plan”. Oh, but we’ll figure out what that is after the bill is past. Let’s not worry about the details right now.

What a joke our government has become. The mafia must be looking on with envy. The big drug companies have all signed up for protection, and they are all doing their part to protect the turf of the ruling class.

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Don’t think you can pick a health care plan that fits your budget

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 30-12-2009

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I can’t believe I found this on Newsweek. Remember when you were free to make your own choices? Once the government starts toward an objective, they will do everything and anything to make it happen. The results do not matter. Here is a lady who pays a $1500/year fine, so she can keep the insurance she has. What happens? Here provider is driven out of the state. By the looks of her, she must be too stupid to realize what’s best for her. Luckily, the govmint is here to help!

Health-Insurance Holdouts – Newsweek.com.

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Senate Passes Health-Care Bill

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 24-12-2009

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Merry Christmas America. How do you like being raped and pillaged for Christmas? Our government, once this is signed into law, has cut the final string to it’s founding principle of protecting individual rights. No longer are we individuals. We are now part of the “public”. Anything thing that can be construed as harmful to the “public health” will used against the individual. We are all only one NIH study away from losing any right the government chooses to take away. Guns are first.

The Senate approved sweeping health-overhaul legislation on Thursday, a landmark moment for White House-led efforts to expand insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.

via Senate Passes Sweeping Health-Care Bill – WSJ.com.

Just as a reminder this bill does nothing to fix the problems as I explained in my post on root causes.

Might be good to re-read my posts on real free market solutions.

Part 1

Part 2

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