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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 6, 2012 12:52 PM. The previous post in this blog was Have you got DNS Changer?. The next post in this blog is End of an era. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Richard Posner and me

We've had exactly the same idea this past week:

Because if you put [yourself] in [Chief Justice John Roberts's] position ... what's he supposed to think? That he finds his allies to be a bunch of crackpots? Does that help the conservative movement? I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts? All the sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, "What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?" Right? Maybe you have to re-examine your position.

The story is here.

Comments (26)

"That he finds his allies to be a bunch of crackpots?"

That may be an over-reach to call anyone opposed to forcing people to pay for something they don't want a crackpot.

I'll admit most of the ringleaders on the right aren't the most "polished" in presenting their case, but I think there is room for dissent without name calling.

He also said "lunatics." Posner has always been a stickler about using the correct word.

I believe Roberts did the best he could in a bad situation. Not being a lawyer, it seemed to me that they either had to toss it all due to lack of severability, or do what he did: essentially replace the term "requirement" with "tax".

As for "lunatics", one need look no further than our golfer-in-chief, who tweeted BFD after the ruling was revealed.

What's the difference between auto and health insurance? Less government interference in the former. I can choose to buy catastrophic (liability only) or comprehensive - with varying degrees of exposure: zero deductible= higher premium; $1000 deductible = lower premium. I can choose whether or not I want 24-hour roadside assistance.

Health insurance? I can't buy catastrophic; I have to buy comprehensive, which includes things like maternity, "well baby", and a host of other stuff I'll never use. I can't choose a plan that suits my anticipated needs, because government says I can't.

Get them out of business; they have no business there.

Whatever happened to "limited government"?

I believe Roberts did the best he could in a bad situation.

He could have followed the court's precedents interpreting the Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses of the Constittution, under which the ACA was clearly within the powers of the Congress to enact. Is that what you mean by a "bad situation"?

Are you advocating to continue paying for care for millions
without insurance including those who CHOOSE not to pay for
their insurance coverage,
or is it better for all to pay a few bucks into the pot to cover everyone with adequate medical care.

Remember there are two basics required for a society to thrive,

1. Adequate Health Care,

2. Education

Why, pray tell, are some folks so crazed to cut the legs out from under our golden civilization?

Whatever happened to "limited government"?

I believe it was called the Great Depression.

In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy-from the eighteenth century royalists who held special privileges from the crown. It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without the consent of the governed; that they denied the right of free assembly and free speech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man's property and the average man's life in pawn to the mercenaries of dynastic power; that they regimented the people.

And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own Government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

Since that struggle, however, man's inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution-all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital-all undreamed of by the fathers-the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor-these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age-other people's money-these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.

Throughout the Nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.

An old English judge once said: "Necessitous men are not free men." Liberty requires opportunity to make a living-a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor-other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

-FDR 1934 Democratic Convention

Some things never change....

Whoops, meant 1936 convention

"From where I sit" offered:
Remember there are two basics required for a society to thrive,

1. Adequate Health Care,

2. Education

I'm not sure what adequate defines, but perhaps this same adjective applies to item #2 as well.

What is missing is "at what cost?". Despite the official name for Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act does not define affordable, nor adequate.

As we have seen with education, our government (local and federal) has figured out how to charge more and more for less and less.

What makes anyone think we all will be better off under the ACA, providing more services to more people at the same or lower cost? Are there really that many people who have the money but refuse to pay for health insurance? Is there really hope for efficiency as we build another government bureaucracy to make sure ACA gets implemented?

Mike- as someone who has had the good fortune to experience first-hand the limitations of our health care system recently (diagnosed with an extremely rare and potentially life threatening vasculitis of the brain), I see the potentiality for many efficiency improving measures from a more centralized approach. Over the course of a month or so I was seen by OHSU, Legacy, Providence, and Mayo clinc Drs/health systems. None of the test results were linked and several expensive tests were repeated due to the lack of information sharing. Fortunately, through my own initiative, I was able to obtain hard copies of all results and hand deliver them to Drs who wanted to repeat tests that had already been completed. My understanding is that ACA will help to allivate some of this by overlap.

Raleigh,

I share your hope.

I also hope my pessimism is wrong.

My family has benefited from an HMO, and also its willingness to coordinate with other specialists outside the network should the expertise be missing within.

My wife is a cancer survivor, so I do know the benefits of a coordinated approach across all providers. My son, too has benefited from the best specialists here in Portland.

I just hope that everyone can have access to the best healthcare at reasonable costs. My HMO does show what is possible. I just hope it is not dismantled in the quest to implement ACA.

I believe it was called the Great Depression

So, we aren't in another already? Government health care's going to make it all better?

You keep track of Portland idiocy, and that's just a microcosm. You know how bad it is at the local level. Do you really think the feds are going to be an improvement?

Raleigh, handling your own records is what every person should be doing and not expecting others do it for us. I'm glad you did it but why people will for their car/cat/dog but wont for themselves is beyond me. I don't think for a second ACA will do a better job of transferring records then what is currently in place. Gov't is notorious for different departments and divisions within departments of not talking to each other and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

As for Roberts, I don't call him a lunatic just happen to not like his decision for a couple reasons but mainly this. Congress passed ACA with the commerce clause, it should stand or fail based on that law. He and other Justices decided it was a tax and therefore legal under the taxing authority, not the commerce clause. That is changing congresses intent and I don't like judges doing that. They should be giving laws an Aye or Nay, doing anything else is judicial activism.

Remember there are two basics required for a society to thrive,

1. Adequate Health Care,

2. Education

Why, pray tell, are some folks so crazed to cut the legs out from under our golden civilization?

Citizens of this country always have been able to receive health care. They will now also receive health insurance. This was the primary goal of the ACA. Unfortunately, the president and many talking head on his side of the aisle are also making the claim that doing so will reduce costs. That is preposterous, and a number of supporters of the ACA have said as much.

I'm also a fan of Posner and find his writings entertaining. He and Gary Becker maintain an excellent weekly blog. Both have expressed exasperation at the direction of conservative ideology in recent years.

I suppose they could have blindly followed court precedents and ruled the ACA valid under the commerce clause.
But that would mean they followed a bad precedent, the idea that activity solely for your own use is somehow commerce.

Far too many view SC decisions at eternal and unfailing.
I guess they forget Dred Scott..
If we had followed that unfailingly we would never have seen the ACA.

Max: What's the difference between auto and health insurance?
Mike: First, the federal government does NOT force anybody to buy auto insurance. Second, if you own your car, ONLY the state requires you to buy LIABILITY insurance and that is to protect somebody else you might harm. Third, if the bank or finance company holds title, THEY require you to have COLLISION insurance and that is to protect THEM, not you.

From where I sit: Are you advocating to continue paying for care for millions
without insurance including those who CHOOSE not to pay for their insurance coverage,or is it better for all to pay a few bucks into the pot to cover everyone with adequate medical care?
Mike: A few bucks? You obviously have no idea the bureaucracy that is being created for this monstrosity. But worst of all, are you willing to sacrifice personal freedoms because other people will not accept the personal responsibilities required for these freedoms?

Once you leave behind reason and intelligence, and you start along a 'Conservative' traintrack of belief built on fear ties, then there is NO point where you cross into more lunatick-iness. Posner calling (Roberts's) 'allies' crackpots who cannot reason and cannot be reasoned with, so is Roberts. So is Posner.
There are NO gradations of 'Conservative' from moderate -to- marginalized -to- over-the-edge; that rightwing supremer-than-thou ideological brainlock is ALL illogical, ALL unreasonable, ALL over-the-edge. Roberts too. Posner too.

In an ultimate confrontation of private survival vs. public survival, always always always public survival trumps every private individual. Sorry, private interest - you die. Should have cast your fortunes with public interest to begin with.
Never has there been a time when human affairs threatened the actual total survival of humankind, 'public survival.' Until now.
Now there is human-caused climate chaos verging toward despoilation of our planet's atmosphere until no biology, no life can survive. See: Mars.
And in that apocalyptic forecast, given informed foresight, 'Conservatives' insist to believe they ALONE can have and keep their immoral unethical private interest in personal advantage; insist to believe they can take it with them.

There is no reasoning with such superstitious numbskulls. It is not humanly possible to 'own' the Earth's air, not possible to 'own' as a private possession the Earth's water, not possible to privately own the Earth's land. 'Conservatism' believes all these impossible conditions are possible; such dogma belief is not intelligent.

I know one example of a man who went down the Republican traintrack fully believing, to honors and awards and acclaim and high station (Asst Treasury Secretary) in Reagan's Reich, (Posner's contemporary). Then he came to his senses and turned back. Not because there were lunatics and crackpots farther along, but because the entire traintrack is all in the wrong direction anywhere along it.

He is Paul Craig Roberts.

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

Emphasis on worldwide. The people of the world -- humankind -- has dominion (NOT 'ownership') of the world's air, water, and land.

Paul Craig Roberts' website (blog?) is here. But his writings and increasingly dire warnings during the last ten years are all over the internet, worthwhile to search to and read.

Clear thinking such as P.C.Roberts' makes Posner's half-reasoned (like 'half-pregnant') talk sound like the sell-out shill that it is. Chief Justice Roberts (1/27/1955) is worse even, less than half.

I've never read an entire Tensk comment.

Try it with vermouth.

Or a pistol to your head to dull the pain.

It really doesn't matter whether it's a tax or a butterfly - the whole system is heading straight for the iceberg.

Too many fingers in the pie and pigs at the trough.

As Jack has showed for years, the debt mountain is swallowing us all alive. And we haven't even gotten to personal debt doo-doo.

It really doesn't matter whether it's a tax or a butterfly - the whole system is heading straight for the iceberg.

Do you think it would be better without the individual mandate? How does that pencil out?

Layering trillions of dollars of cost on a government and public sector that is already dramatically overleveraged and cannot afford to fund itself as is, really. That's the set up for the next meltdown and this one will end up much closer to the Great Depression than what happened in 2008. The definition of insanity is to do more of the same expecting different results. On tactical and strategic levels that is what the healthcare law is all about.

The reasons why the US did so well coming out of the Great Depression were not government spending, government spending and government spending. Rather, the US went to war and won, escaping unscathed, having the good fortune to finance the war debt internally so when the debt was repaid it funneled back into the US economy. Now the Chinese, the Europeans and the Sultans, Kings and Princes throughout the world are financing Obama's healthcare, government jobs and stimulus utopia. Sooner or later they will pull the plug. That's when, big time, you all learn what HHS centralized healthcare rationing is all about. You asked for it, you are going to get it.

By the way, stop working to take care of yourselves and family -- it's pretty much all falling into the hands of the government now.

"I've never read an entire Tensk comment."

I've read em all, still baffled!

"Try it with vermouth."

Thanks, I'll try anything once. Or like Thomas Edison, 10,000 times. Vermouth, vodka, whiskey, peach schnapps, black and tan, ...

"Or a pistol to your head to dull the pain."

With or without vermouth?


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