20 December 2013

I've never watched Duck Dynasty and never read GQ and the numbers suggest you haven't either

Apparently some guy on a reality show that 96% of Americans don't watch was interviewed in a magazine that 99.7% of Americans do not read and he said something that has sparked outrage among people who don't read the magazine or watch the show, and have never previously cared about either.

Anyway, the cable TV channel fired him or something, so now a bunch more people who've never watched the show or read the magazine are mad about THAT.

Personally, I've never seen the show, was only marginally aware that printed magazines still exist, and I'm tired of all the phony outrage both by people who ought to respect free speech, and by people who ought to respect at will employment.

To be clear: I don't care. I don't care that you care. As usual, I don't even understand how the big fake news event for the week got selected.

So shut up already.

18 December 2013

"Inequality Does Not Matter" says Williamson. Read it.

Kevin Williamson has a good one today over at National Review. Here's a sample:

Mr. Barro and many other commentators on economics often write as though there were buckets marked “Income” and “Wealth,” the contents of which are ladled out by some agency or agencies according to a set of rules and procedures. There is in fact no such thing as income distribution — “distribute” is a transitive verb, and here it has no real direct object. What there is is the occurrence of income. The argument that inequality causes income stagnation or decline for those who have been worse off in recent years assumes that if the rich were earning less then the middle class and the poor would be earning more, which in most situations is not the case. If Goldman Sachs earns less money this quarter, that does not mean that some quantity of money is therefore liberated from their foul clutches to float about until lower-wage workers can claim it. High incomes at the top do not cause low incomes at the bottom, or vice versa. To assign economic agency to the abstraction that is inequality assumes the opposite.
Inequality Does Not Matter is the title, and, of course, I think you should read the whole thing. Williamson takes on the inequality mantra that the good Democrats of Stepford seem to have instituted as their current rallying cry, along with the economic fallacies of some of their prescriptions to "fix" that problem.

13 December 2013

I know it will shock you to learn this, but Obama was fully aware #Obamacare was designed to cause people to lose coverage

Now that "if you like your plan you can keep it" has been named PolitiFact's 2013 "Lie of the Year," let's revisit its origins.

Back in February of 2010, before ObamaCare was even passed into law, the President hosted a Bipartisan Summit on Health Care Reform. Present were Congressional leaders from both parties, along with President Obama. At the meeting, Obama pretended to be interested in getting Republican input and ideas to improve the bill and gain support from Republicans.

One topic of discussion was the fact that the law would cause people to lose coverage that they had and liked. As House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R, VA) put it (emphasis added):
But also, Mr. President, when we were here about a year ago across the street, you started the health care summit by saying one of the promises you want to make is that people ought to be able to keep the health insurance that they have.  Because as we also know, most people in this country do have insurance and an overwhelming majority of people do like that coverage; it's just too expensive.
Well, the CBO sent a letter -- I think it was to Leader Reid -- about the Senate bill.  And in that letter, it suggested that between 8 million and 9 million people may very well lose the coverage that they have because of this, because of the construct of this bill.  That's our concern.  And so, as we are in -- as we are in the market -- in the section of this discussion about health insurance reform, I note, Mr. President, that you have suggested strengthening oversight of insurance premium increases.  Because we want to make sure that there aren't excessive insurance premium increases that take place.
The problem is when you start to mandate all of the essential benefits, there are going to be some insurance premium increases.  None of us really want to see them.  But if you stop them, who is going to pay for it?  Well, then we get back to the fact that businesses won't be able to pay for it and people are going to lose their coverage.
So I guess my question to you is, in the construct of this bill, if we want to find agreement, we really do need to set this aside.  And we really do need to say, okay, the fundamental structure is something we can't agree on, but there are certainly plenty of areas of agreement.  And because I don't think that you can answer the question in the positive to say that people will be able to maintain their coverage, people will be able to see the doctors they want in the kind of bill that you're proposing.
Got that? Republicans were not just running campaign commercials, they were addressing the President directly in conversation with their concerns that the bill would, in fact, cause people to lose coverage and to lose the ability to see their preferred doctors. I guess Obama just mis-judged, right? He didn't think their predictions were correct?
Well, let me -- since you asked me a question, let me respond.  The 8 to 9 million people that you refer to that might have to change their coverage -- keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we're talking about -- would be folks who the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates would find the deal in the exchange better.
Wait, what? He didn't deny it? He knew perfectly well that people would lose coverage? That was part of the plan? Yes, I get it that he is saying the exchange plans will be "a better deal." That is not the same thing as "less expensive," and it is certainly not the same thing as "if you like your plan you can keep it. In fact, it's so far from the same thing that there ought to be a word for it. Oh, right, there is one: it's the "opposite."

Lest you think I am taking things out of context here, please read the entire transcript for yourself at the well-known right-wing site, whitehouse.gov.