Line of the Day

I ran across a panel discussion on Amazon Prime about Milton Friedman.  One of the topics they addressed was the idea of equal outcomes.  Walter Williams was on the panel and was brilliant on this point.  Fast forward to a few days later when I ran across this quote from Thomas Sowell who summed it up beautifully:

If there is not equality of outcomes among people born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, why should equality of outcomes be expected—or assumed—when conditions are not nearly so comparable?

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Line of the Day

Pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of the left, Sarah Sanders responds to a question about the Roseanne Barr’s tweet about Valerie Jarrett.

Where was the Bob Iger’s apology to the White House staff for Jemele Hill calling the president and anyone associated with him a white supremacist? To Christians around the world for Joy Behar calling Christianity a mental illness? Where was the apology for Kathy Griffin going on a profane rant against the president on “The View” after a photo showed her holding the President Trump’s decapitated head? And where was the apology from Bob Iger for ESPN hiring Keith Olbermann after his numerous expletive-laced tweets attacking the president as a Nazi and even expanding Olbermann’s role after that attack against the president’s family?

Healthcare is NOT a Right

Being a 25+ year veteran of the insurance industry, I have a lot thoughts on most things related to healthcare, health insurance (yes, they are two separate and distinct things), and the Affordable Care Act.  There is a lot of blame to go around, and I’m not going to defend any of the players in this debacle, but one thing that will not/does not work is government run health care, especially if it’s “free” at the time of service.

To that point, here is an article that Don Boudreaux wrote in 2006 that he re-posted recently.  He explains why the ‘theory’ of “declaring health-care to be a human right will backfire for those who want high-quality health-care to be more abundant and affordable.”

The Way to Better, Cheaper Healthcare: Don’t Make it a Human Right

Everyone complains about the rising cost of healthcare. And now is the season when politicians and pundits propose solutions. Unfortunately, too many of these proposals spring from the wrongheaded notion that healthcare is, as a recent New York Times letter-writer asserted, “a human right and a universal entitlement.”

Sounds noble. But not everything that is highly desirable is a right. Most rights simply oblige us to respect one another’s freedoms; they do not oblige us to pay for others to exercise these freedoms. Respecting rights such as freedom of speech and of worship does not impose huge demands upon taxpayers.


…providing healthcare takes scarce resources, offering it free at the point of delivery would raise its cost and reduce its availability.

To see why, imagine if government tried to supply food as a universally available “right.”


Healthcare, although highly desirable, differs fundamentally from these rights. Because providing healthcare takes scarce resources, offering it free at the point of delivery would raise its cost and reduce its availability.

To see why, imagine if government tried to supply food as a universally available “right.”

To satisfy this right, government would raise taxes to meet all anticipated food needs. Store shelves across the land would then be stocked. Citizens would have the right to enter these storehouses to get “free” food.

Does anyone believe that such a system would effectively supply food? It’s clear that with free access to food, too many people would take too much food, leaving many others with no food at all. Government would soon realize that food storehouses are emptying faster than expected. In response, it might hike taxes even higher to produce more food – raising the price that society pays for nutrition.

Stocking stores with more food, though, won’t solve the problem. With food free at the point of delivery, consumers would take all that they can carry. People would quickly learn that if they don’t grab as much food as possible today, the store might run out of the foods that their families need tomorrow. This creates a vicious cycle of moral hazard that unwittingly pits neighbor against neighbor.

Eventually, to avoid spending impossibly large chunks of society’s resources producing food, government would start restricting access to it. Bureaucrats would enforce rations, such as “two gallons of milk per family per week.” There might be exceptions for those with special needs, but most of us would be allowed to take only those foods that officials decide we need.

Food would be a universal entitlement in name only. In practice, it would be strictly limited by government rules.

Of course, by keeping what food it does supply “free,” government might ensure that at least basic foodstuffs are available to everyone as a right. And maybe this is the sort of outcome that universal-healthcare advocates have in mind: Only essential care is a right to be enjoyed by everyone free of charge.

The problem is that notions of “essential care” are vague. Is medical care essential if doctors say it might improve by 50 percent an 80-year-old’s chances of living an additional year? What about care that improves by 10 percent a 25-year-old’s chances of living an additional 50 years? Such questions are wickedly difficult to answer.

Despite these difficulties, many Americans demand that government do more to guarantee access to healthcare. Although their concern is understandable, those who make such demands forget that government intervention itself is a major cause of today’s high and rising healthcare costs. Indeed, this intervention has created a situation akin to what would happen if government supplied our food for “free.”

Medicare, Medicaid, and tax-deductibility of employer-provided health insurance created a system in which patients at the point of delivery now pay only a small fraction of their medical bills out of pocket.

This situation leads to monstrously inefficient consumption of healthcare. Some people consume too much, while many others with more pressing needs do without.

Because the wasteful consumption caused by heavily subsidized access drives up healthcare costs, taxpayers must pay more and more to fund Medicare and Medicaid, while private insurers must continually raise premiums. The sad and perverse result is that increasing numbers of people go without health insurance.

The solution is less, not more, government involvement in healthcare. Market forces have consistently lowered the cost and improved the quality and accessibility of food – which is at least as important to human survival as is healthcare. There’s no reason markets can’t do the same for healthcare.

It’s ironic but true: Only by abandoning attempts to provide healthcare as a “right” that’s paid for largely by others will we enjoy surer access to it.

Donald J. Boudreaux is chairman of the economics department at George Mason University.

Another argument mentioned in the comments is the moral aspect.

If Jones has a right to health care, then Dr. Smith has an obligation to supply it. We could force Dr. Smith to supply Jones with health care by enslaving him, but slavery is no longer a popular form of coercion.

It’s why we have the right to life and liberty, but only the right to the ‘pursuit of happiness.’  Because if we had the right to happiness, it would mean someone had the obligation to provide that happiness.

Is the analogy perfect?  Of course not.  Is it thought provoking?  I think so.

America Before and After Welfare Handouts

Walter Williams with another short, but powerful column.

Before the massive growth of our welfare state, private charity was the sole option for an individual or family facing insurmountable financial difficulties or other challenges. How do we know that? There is no history of Americans dying on the streets because they could not find food or basic medical assistance. Respecting the biblical commandment to honor thy father and mother, children took care of their elderly or infirm parents. Family members and the local church also helped those who had fallen on hard times.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, charities started playing a major role. In 1887, religious leaders founded the Charity Organization Society, which became the first United Way organization. In 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America started helping at-risk youths reach their full potential. In 1913, the American Cancer Society, dedicated to curing and eliminating cancer, was formed. With their millions of dollars, industrial giants such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller created our nation’s first philanthropic organizations.

Generosity has always been a part of the American genome. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French civil servant, made a nine-month visit to our country in 1831 and 1832, ostensibly to study our prisons. Instead, his visit resulted in his writing “Democracy in America,” one of the most influential books about our nation. Tocqueville didn’t use the term “philanthropy,” but he wrote extensively about how Americans love to form all kinds of nongovernmental associations to help one another. These associations include professional, social, civic and other volunteer organizations seeking to serve the public good and improve the quality of human lives. The bottom line is that we Americans are the most generous people in the world, according to the new Almanac of American Philanthropy – something we should be proud of.


Before the welfare state, charity embodied both a sense of gratitude on the behalf of the recipient and magnanimity on the behalves of donors. There was a sense of civility by the recipients. They did not feel that they were owed, were entitled to or had a right to the largesse of the donor.


Before the welfare state, charity embodied both a sense of gratitude on the behalf of the recipient and magnanimity on the behalves of donors. There was a sense of civility by the recipients. They did not feel that they were owed, were entitled to or had a right to the largesse of the donor. Recipients probably felt that if they weren’t civil and didn’t express their gratitude, more assistance wouldn’t be forthcoming. In other words, they were reluctant to bite the hand that helped them. With churches and other private agencies helping, people were much likelier to help themselves and less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior. Part of the message of charitable groups was: “We’ll help you if you help yourself.”

Enter the federal government. Civility and gratitude toward one’s benefactors are no longer required in the welfare state. In fact, one can be arrogant and hostile toward the “donors” (taxpayers), as well as the civil servants who dish out the benefits. The handouts recipients get are no longer called charity; they’re called entitlements – as if what is received were earned.


The handouts recipients get are no longer called charity; they’re called entitlements – as if what is received were earned.


There is virtually no material poverty in the U.S. Eighty percent of households the Census Bureau labels as poor have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have at least one computer. Forty-two percent own their homes. What we have in our nation is not material poverty but dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives, aided and abetted by the welfare state. Part of this pathological lifestyle is reflected in family structure. According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children and 3 percent of white children were born to unwed mothers. Today it’s respectively 75 percent and 30 percent.


According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children and 3 percent of white children were born to unwed mothers. Today it’s respectively 75 percent and 30 percent.


There are very little guts in the political arena to address the downside of the welfare state. To do so risks a politician’s being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive. That means today’s dependency is likely to become permanent.

 

 

What Must God Think of Us?


What must God think of us–we who live such easy, comfortable lives here in America–when we do this?

Counting your blessings isn’t just some quaint saying. It is how you forge a connection with God on a daily basis. Gratitude is the cornerstone of joyfulness. It works miracles in your life. It opens your heart to God’s kingdom and seals it off from spite, resentment & rage


I hope this link stays active because this is good.  It’s tangentially related to the #MeToo movement, but it’s more about being grateful for what we all have.  It starts off talking about a person who is angry about seemingly nothing, and the thoughts of the writer who thinks it’s because they don’t have God in their lives.  Below is the last half of the Twitter posts (in case the link ever goes away).  Emphasis by me.

9. My wife says, “I keep saying this to you–the problem is that they are without God. And they’re so busy whining and bitching about what they don’t have or what they’re not getting or what is or isn’t fair that they can’t even see that they have been given MORE than enough.”

10. We’re all guilty of this sometimes, but for the left it is their defining character. If this woman could have just stepped back and outside of herself for a single moment, what would she have seen?

11. She would have seen herself in an expensive restaurant, sitting in a comfy chair next to a comforting fire, holding a $10 cocktail having a pleasant, relaxing evening with her husband & some friendly strangers while her healthy boy runs around merrily in the woods behind her.

12. She’s educated, attractive for her age, has a good job and lives in a nice area with great schools. And here she is in the midst of all this abundance spitting bile over the male/female ratio in a company bought and paid for game of golf that she admittedly doesn’t even enjoy
13. What must God think of us–we who live such easy, comfortable lives here in America–when we do this? It’s quite literally insane to willfully spoil your own joy in what is an otherwise perfect evening over some petty grievance.
14. Counting your blessings isn’t just some quaint saying. It is how you forge a connection with God on a daily basis. Gratitude is the cornerstone of joyfulness. It works miracles in your life. It opens your heart to God’s kingdom and seals it off from spite, resentment & rage
15. And look, as a sinner, I get it. I’ve been this woman. I struggle with resentment. I struggle with letting go, particularly when I’m convinced I’ve been wronged. It all starts with slowing down your knee-jerk emotional reactions and examining yourself
16. Everyone wants to say, “I am a victim. I have been wronged.” No one wants to say, “I am blessed. God has given me more than I deserve.” What is so hard about this? Why won’t we say it? Why won’t we acknowledge what has been so graciously granted to us?
17. Are we afraid we’ll lose face? Are we afraid we’ll lose moral superiority? Or perhaps it’s because we’re afraid that this acknowledgement will then require something of us–something greater than we’re giving at the moment.
.

 

 

 

Line of the Day

It’s been said a number of different ways over the last few days, but here is a good I saw when I had time to make a post:

Joy Reid can be a lying homophobe all day long and no one cares because she is ideologically pure. Kanye, however, is a Defcon 1 threat to the Democrat Party’s hold on power, which means that like Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, and Dr. Ben Carson before him, he must be stripped of his blackness, smeared as a sellout, all as a means destroy his influence in the black community and as a warning to others who may be considering the same apostasy.

Kanye spoke of the slavery of the mind. Now he is getting a direct taste of the mob brutality that comes from those who enforce that slavery.

John Nolte