Jason Soon defends John Lott

Jason Soon is very angry that I dared to criticize John Lott in this post. I wrote about Freedomnomics (where Lott claims that women’s suffrage caused a massive increase in the size of the government):

Lott doesn’t like women’s suffrage

Soon writes:


His basic thesis is that the size of government expanded after women’s suffrage. It’s an interesting thesis. It may be right or wrong. But it does not follow from it that Lott is advocating that women be deprived of the vote since there are far more systemic and less illiberal views of checking the growth of government than arbitrarily limiting voting rights based on dissatisfaction with its outcomes.

Soon seems to accept that Lott would prefer a much smaller government and hence that Lott would think that women’s suffrage has had a bad result. As for other ways of “checking the growth of government”, this is not an argument that Lott makes, and Soon does not tell us what they are. Presumably these involve libertarians uniting and using their mighty political power or something.

To repeat – the proposition that women’s suffrage led to bigger government is a positive statement, not a normative statement. It is either true or false and the belief that it’s true is separate from the belief that women should therefore be deprived of the vote. Lambert decides to elide the two to smear Lott.

Hmmm, what did Lott’s sock puppet, Mary Rosh, write at FreeRepublic?

You have got to download this paper. Lott has done an amazing piece here. Fits in perfectly with Rush Limbaugh’s program today. Click on source URL above to get the paper.

How Dramatically Did Women’s Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?

John R. Lott, Jr.

Abstract:

This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. …

Lott does it again.

It’s pretty obvious that Rush Limbaugh was arguing that women’s suffrage was a bad idea.

Soon continues:

Yet, Lambert has been overwhelmingly positive about Freakonomics despite the fact that its most famous thesis is that legalised abortion led to lower crime rates. But if Lambert were to apply the same treatment to Levitt that he applied to Lott (i.e. mixing positive and normative conclusions) given the obvious racial bias in the US crime statistics and the rate of black illegitimate births compared to white illegitimate births, Lambert should be characterising Levitt’s argument as the argument that ‘we should pre-emptively kill black babies before they get born and become criminals’ . Yet I don’t see him huffing and puffing about Levitt’s alleged racism as he has been doing about Lott’s alleged sexism (of course just to clarify I believe that these ways of characterising BOTH Levitt’s and Lott’s arguments are silly and a distortion of their original intent).

Anyone who has read Freakonomics would know that Levitt argues that his thesis has no normative implications because other considerations trump the abortion/crime link. Lott makes no such argument.

Notice the hypocrisy and inconsistency. I used to think Lambert was a class act but since my recent run-in I’ve concluded that he is in fact a dishonest egotistical prick.

Charming. It seems that Soon doesn’t think it possible for anyone to honestly disagree with him. (My previous post on Soon’s conduct is here.)

Comments

  1. #1 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “Forgive my naivety but I was always lead to believe that market based outcomes were always superior to the soviet model of command and control. The most obvious place you would see competition is through insurance providers. Arguing there would not be any competition is like suggesting the sun won’t rise tomorrow. Even Ian recognized that but suggested we don’t need it because ours works just fine while the US needs a change to a competitive model. How slick!”

    No, I suggested that competition in the Australian health insurance industry DOES work to reduce costs – largely because there’s an 800-pound gorilla called the Australian government breathing down their necks.

    In the US on the other hand, competition between insurers obviously isn’t working to reduce costs. Which is why I suggested that US government, as the world’s largest purchaser of health care services, force the insurers to compete.

    Tell me, JC, are you familiar with the quote from Adam Smith about what happens when people in the same line of trade get together?

  2. #2 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “Forgive me for saying this but spending $us trillions of dollars over this century through a socialist plan such as Kyoto to achieve a tiny fall in temps isn’t going to cut it.”

    Hos is “establish property rights over the right to pollute the atmosphere and let people trade in those rights to produce the lowest cost emission reductions” a socialist plan?

    You gotta stop reading those Republican talking points JC, even if they ARE reposted on the LDP’s website.

  3. #3 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “there has been a free market in healtcare from a histoical perspective longer than the current soviet style command and control system people like SG slavishly adhere to.”

    And it was a catastrophic failure. Which is why when governments got involved life expectancy increased and economic growth increased.

    But those are just more of those nasty old facts. Just call me a “socialist dinosaur” again.

  4. #4 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “I do not believe that putting the US government in charge of another ~$600B/year will cause that money to be spent more efficiently.”

    I’ll assume you missed the bit where I said that that money would come from removing people from currentpublic programs such as Medicare and giving them private insurance instead.

  5. #5 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    In case anyone is taken in by JC’s whining about how everyone’s being mean to him, go back to comment 13 where he first enters the thread describing me as “woeful” and commenting that he “shouldn’t expect anything else”

    Then at 18 “This is a silly straw man argument.”

    That’s the problem with the internet, you can’t hide from your past.

  6. #6 SG
    July 25, 2007

    oconnellc (post 195), healthcare costs always increase in every system (at least every system that cares), and they will increase faster as populations age. The task is to find a way to contain that cost growth as much as possible, so that people get the best quality care at the lowest price. Healthcare costs increase more slowly in Australia than in the US, and from a lower base, so we are in a better position to manage these lifestyle-induced health costs.

    And yes, you are right in concluding that this obesity issue is lifestyle-based, and yes indeed we have experienced very similar changes in this disease to the US.

    This paper (it’s a pdf) from Health Affairs gives some background information on changes in health costs, their causes and the parameters of the debate, if you are really interested:

    http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/reprint/16/6/163

    Note in “exhibit 6″, Australia’s change in infant mortality from 1990 to 1995, vs. the US. There is something seriously wrong with US health care when Australia’s infant mortality rate can drop by almost 3 times as much (in relative terms), from a lower base… while in that time American spending increased faster.

  7. #7 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    OconnellC,

    Obesity rates are going up throughout the developed world. Australia is just behind the US in our total obesity levels.

    This and other factors, such as the ageing of the population and new drugs, are pushing up our health care costs.

    But not only are our costs lower than the US they’re rising slower than those in the US despite those factors.

  8. #8 jc
    July 25, 2007

    “You also apparently believe in a binary choice between totally unconstrained market forces and soviet-style communism.”

    Says the Ian, the guy who told another commenter that we in Australia have free vaccination for young girls. This is a startling comment to make for someone who tells people he is an economist. Ian, can you spin this like the other comments?

    This is also the guy who thinks it wouldn’t be a good thing to allow market forces to work here but would be fine and dandy in the US. Talk about low expectations. Talk about inconsistent reasoning.

    —————————————-
    “what I find hilarious is that you can;t get it through your head that the current US system is vastly different to the Australian system and I’m proposing a voucher-based system there because it fits better with their current model meaning transitional costs would be lower.”

    Ian, this is truly remarkable. You actually agree with the US libertarian position for US healthcare. Good for you. But when it comes to OZ you think it wouldn’t be a good idea because transitional costs would be too high. He didn’t explain this howler because he couldn’t, as it is so silly I think he even shied away from it hoping I wouldn’t notice. We have numerous healthcare firms that offer complimentary insurance that would be chomping at the bit to off comprehensive insurance. Dogs bollicks transitional cost would be too high. In fact I would argue they would he higher in the US.

    “I love how you can read a lengthy detailed analysis of the policy’s faults and respond simply be repatign the party mantra.”

    Ian you’re a socialist. Everything you say is based on some sort of tribal loyalty. All I am doing is trying to find the best outcome which is a market based system fully reacting to the price signal. You’re the dinosaur around here along with trooper SG

    ——————————————

    “The simple fact which I have pointed out repeatedly is that the total cost of the Australian health system is less than 2/3s that of the US system. Whether the money comes from the medicare levy, general tax receipts of private spending that fact remains.”

    “The simple fact ……”, as well as being confused or totally dishonest. Take your pick. At one stage you were comparing per cap costs and then another time you were telling people that a persons cost in Australia is the Income Medicare levy and the private insurance supplement ignoring the huge wads of cash the government forks out from general revenue to run the creaky ship.

    ——————————————–
    .
    “But you better start sorting it out soon or its going to bankrupt your government and large sectors of the private economy.”

    Soon as in what 2025 or do you have more ” accurate suggestions that aren’t clouded by you bias?
    —————————————-
    So a “negative income tax” = “healthcare voucher”

    No, but the voucher system is something the party wouldn’t disagree with as an interim measure.
    “Some times Winston 2+2=4. Sometimes it equals “3″ or “5″. It depends on what the Party chooses.’”
    Yea, that’s right Ian. And just because the government offers free vaccinations it is truly insane for you to suggest it’s free. If you don’t have a grip of this most basic concept what do you have a grip on?

    I had late night but I get back to the other stuff later.

    Seeya Ian

    Oh SG I’m still waiting for that answer you promised..

    Note to self: don’t hold your breath.

  9. #9 slightly_peeved
    July 25, 2007

    Oh SG I’m still waiting for that answer you promised..

    My god, it’s full of stupid…

    either that, or it comes from some strange parallel universe where the ability to quote someone else’s argument and say “This person has provided the argument”, or cite other authorities, somehow weakens the argument.

    Kudos to your perseverance, Ian and SG.

  10. #10 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “You actually agree with the US libertarian position for US healthcare. Good for you. ”

    “Ian you’re a socialist”

    How many people think JC is actually not a libertarian and is out to make libertarians look foolish?

    At this point it seems to be the most likely explanation.

  11. #11 jc
    July 25, 2007

    Slightly peeed says:

    “My God its full of stupid.”

    That just not right pee, your stupid abuse is.
    If you’re going to act indginant make sure it’s backed up with evidence or an argument. Swill doesn’t cut it.

    Ian:

    Nice word tricks, Ian. You always score a high distinction in spin.

    That policy you were supporting was similar but not identical to the policy held by libertarians. It made your earlier criticisms of libertarians look silly under the circumstances, which is why I pointed it out to you. (Recall? libertarians are like Stalinists?). I mentioned it sarcastically as another example of how silly your arguments are now becoming. Now your trying to turn that against me. How cute is that? You get an A for spin.

    Truth is you’re all over the place, flailing about looking for any old branch to hang on to. Tell us, Ian, which site did you heist that idea from? You know the one; where you suggested the US should have a market determined model of sorts.

    We also have the spectcale of you supporting the current government command and control system, another astonishing attempt at stretching reasoning to its limits by an economist. So you really do think Americans are superior? Or is it an inbuilt acceptance of low expectations for Australians?

    But I leave the best for last. You actually think the national vaccination of young gals through government funding was free.

    Dont’t be scared Ian, the big bad market won’t bight you. Leave that socialist Jurasic park behind and join the better team. I know you can do it.

  12. #12 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “You actually think the national vaccination of young gals through government funding was free.”

    No I didn’t and no-one but you was foolish enough to interpret my comment that way.

    You know this intellectual version of engaging in an arse-kicking contest with a one-legged man has been amusing but it’s simply becoming pathetic.

    Don’t you think you should stop humiliating yourself?

  13. #13 Jc
    July 25, 2007

    Ian

    Do you know how much does that vaccination costs per gal in oz?

    Be a little expansive here and let’s use that word ” cost” loosely to mean “free”.

    If you don’t understrand the way i have put the question I’m always there to help. You know that…

    Now don’t go round digging the budget numbers and give us a total. I would like the charge per unit please, fully administered.

  14. #14 oconnellc
    July 25, 2007

    I guess I made a mistake. Between medicare and medicaid, the US (states and fed) spend about $600B/year. However, they spend that much on old people and poor people. The proposal is now to spend that much on EVERYONE. I think the poor people and old people are going to need a little help. Also, the medicaid program is actually administered by the states, so we are going to end up pushing a little money to the feds. But here in Illinois, I consider any money put into the hands of the state government as good as stolen, so maybe that isn’t horrible.

    But, I’m not sure how this will result in something other than another inefficient bureacracy. I’m not terribly concerned about the efficiency of the Oz beaurocrats, since that has little relevance on the incompetance we face here. We are going to take $600B in government spending and turn it into $600B in government spending. Why is that more efficient? Also, since the government chunk is only about 40% of the total we will have to spend, I’m wondering where all the other efficiencies will come from. I for example, will not take my $2k and spend it on insurance. Insurance for a single person costs WAY more that that per year, so I will have no choice but to let my employer take that cash and put that towards my employer insurance. Lets say I do decide to take my $2k. First, that isn’t enough to buy insurance. So, I have to hope my employer decides to give me a raise (he has all that extra cash laying around now). Well, if he gives me $200/month raise, I only end up seeing around $140 of it because of taxes. And, on top of the $200/month, as long as I make less than $95k/year, my employer is now responsible for a bigger tax bill on my pay. So, most people will still stay with the employer purchased insurance (I probably will anyway).

    I guess I still don’t see how this is going to help things. In the meantime, the US population is about to get really old, really fast and costs are probably going to increase faster in the next 25 years than they have in the past 25.

  15. #15 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “I would like the charge per unit please, fully administered.”

    I would like you learn some manners and the basic rules of civilised debate.

    We don’t always get what we want.

  16. #16 Ian Gould
    July 25, 2007

    “I guess I made a mistake. Between medicare and medicaid, the US (states and fed) spend about $600B/year. However, they spend that much on old people and poor people. The proposal is now to spend that much on EVERYONE. I think the poor people and old people are going to need a little help.”

    The US government currently spends considerably more than that.

    The idea is to by at least basic cover for the currently uninsured population and use the government’s buying power to force the cost down.

    “We are going to take $600B in government spending and turn it into $600B in government spending. Why is that more efficient?”

    Currently the US government pays that money primarily to private insurers and hospitals. They make huge profits off of it – in large part because of laws such as the ones that prevent Medicare negotiating lower prices for drugs.

  17. #17 oconnellc
    July 26, 2007


    The US government currently spends considerably more than that.

    Could you show me where? I’ve been looking here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/

    trying to find parts of the budget that will go away when we replace medicare and medicaid with the new health branch. If you could point me at some specific stuff, that would be great.

    I think it is telling that if you look here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2008/hhs.html
    you can see that we plan to start auditing how we spend these tens of billions of discretionary spending sometime next year. Seems hard to believe that a government agency wouldn’t think of stopping fraud and waste right from the start, doesn’t it?


    Currently the US government pays that money primarily to private insurers and hospitals.

    I thought the plan was to give everyone $1500-$2000 year so they could use it to buy private insurance or surrender it to their employer, so that the employer could buy it on their behalf?


    1.Convert a stack of existing funding into a credit for every American worth about $1500-2000.
    2.People with existing private insurance could use that money to go towards paying for their coverage. People in corporate schemes could either opt out and get private cover or surrender the credit to their employer.
    3.Private insurers would tender for the right to provide basic health cover to people currently uninsured. There’d be competitive bidding, minimum service standards and the total premium couldn’t exceed the credit.

    I’ve been prodded into understanding that the existing funding was medicare and medicaid. About $600B.

    Right now there are about 50 million uninsured. That is about 1/6 of the population. Aren’t we still talking about [250million * $2000 = $500B] of government money still getting spent on private insurance? And the other $100B will be spent by those currently uninsured on those insurance companies that are willing to accept $2000 in premiums to cover an average expenditure of $5000/person.

  18. #18 oconnellc
    July 26, 2007

    I found some budget information here:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2008/summarytables.html

    Non-security discretionary funding is ~$450B

    I’m trying to figure out where that “considerably more” that the US Government is spending on health comes from. That $450B has to cover NASA, Transportation, HUD, Agriculture, Congressional Salaries, etc. etc. Tell me how much that “considerably more” is so we can talk apples to apples.

  19. #19 Jc
    July 26, 2007

    Ian smuggly says:

    “I would like you learn some manners and the basic rules of civilised debate.

    We don’t always get what we want.”

    You mean I should lie there and think of england while the abuse directed my way rages on. Pity you don’t show the same scorn towards your socialist brothers in arms Ian. That way people would think you’re being honest.

    I took a quick stab at the numbers and figured out the cost will be around $300 dollars per head. Sure looks like your FREE vaccines are cheap, Ian. $300 bucks is now less than $us 140.

    The way i figured it out:

    230,000 are going to be given the shot. The total cost is going to be $537,000.000 over 5 years.

    230,000 gals represents the 0 to 14 age group in NSW.

    They will then do the 15 to 26 year old age group.

    I estimate there will be 100,000 kids entering the age group over he next 5 years based on even distribtution. Also estimate 230,000 gals in the 15 to 26 age group. There should be a little les But I’ll let that go.

    230,000+230.000+ 100,000 = 560,000 gals get the needle over the next 5 years.

    NSW is carries 32% of the nations population.

    so $537 million *32% = $172 million/560,000 = $306.

    let me know if you don’t agree thanks.

  20. #20 SG
    July 26, 2007

    Jc, the cost in the US is $360 US, or about $500 Australian. Ian was wrong before, maybe he had $140 for the first shot (it`s a 3-shot course). In case you now think your calculations are wrong, when the PBAC originally refused to license Gardasil it had an asking price in Oz of $335 US. They thought it was too expensive, and refused to list it. Since then the government must have used its market power to negotiate a lower price, since the $306 you quote includes the administration cost.

    (I think your figures are wrong though, because you have calculated the number of girls in the 0 to 14 age group and they are only giving it to 12 year and up girls. Also, the program is estimated at $486 million over 5 years – look it up on the federal dept of health website if you aren`t sure. So taking that into account I`d say the cost per person of administering the vaccine in schools and to women aged up to 26, including the cost of the vaccine itself, is probably more towards $500 each).

    So there you go, cost control in action at every stage of the health process. THe government negotiates a lower price for the drug than you and I can individually, then uses its tax revenue to protect all kiddies from HPV, which is a very expensive disease. This could eradicate dangerous forms of HPV in Australia in the long-term, eliminating the need for regular pap smears, which is good for everybody.

  21. #21 jc
    July 26, 2007

    SG

    Well and good. We can continue to screw them to the bone, but as long as the US consumer ( Healtcare system) is prepared to be the price taker. In a perverse why it may actually work our way because we’re a small consumer of pharma in terms of world rankings (just speculation here).

    However there is a problem if we all screwed pharma to the bone. They just won’t make the medicines we need as happened in the US over the issue of vaccine production. They stopped making some and it went to the UK.

    Pharma is a business and every business must return profits to its shareholders and for re-investment into new meds R&D. If you try to mess with that virtuous circle you end up with the way European Pharma has gone since the governments there began to meddle in the market. They stopped being the lead producers and R&D specialists with that title going to the US. Germany, Switzerland Holland were once world leaders…. and now?

    I’m not telling you to love big pharma, but don’t hate them so much that you want to destroy them. They have given us what we want in spades. You want these guys to make fat protis becasue it will attract other participants.

  22. #22 Eli Rabett
    July 26, 2007

    Some time ago Eli asked the question “Someone want to post outcomes where the US scores better than other industrialized countries on health related issues?”

    There has been a deafening silence.

    Oh yeah, it is a hell of a lot less expensive to vaccinate than treat and that goes for ovarian cancer too.

  23. #23 Eli Rabett
    July 26, 2007

    A major point about pharma, the big drug development expense is phase 3 trials, everything before that is peanuts. It is essentially at the point that a startup or small company must sell the drug out to a large one at the point where the drug is ready for phase 3 testing (large trial, lots of people, lots of hospitals/physicians, lots of data generated). The big research and development expense is marketing.

  24. #24 Jc
    July 26, 2007

    And it’s a hell of a lot cheaper to excerise and not get fat, Eli. It’s even cheaper and you live longer on a near starvation diet. It’s cheaper not to get out of bed in the morning too. What exactly is your point. That pharma gives away the vaccines?

    It’s even easier for the government to put a gun at the head of the Pharma heads and demand we get our meds free of charge. But don’t rely on them being around for long or hope we get terrific new drugs that will make our lives better when we turn sick unless they make a profit. Good luck.

    It’s not that easy to come up with such a matrix because it’s an extremely complex issue. It’s not as easy as AGW :-)

    “The big research and development expense is marketing.”

    What Eli means by marketing is that a proportion of costs associated with the massive requirments of having to go through so many health agencies around the world that would make it next to impossible for any small firm to navigate. That is a huge expense alone which is part of the marketing budget for any new drug.

  25. #25 Ian Gould
    July 26, 2007

    “Non-security discretionary funding is ~$450B”

    Most US government spending is “nondiscretionary” i.e. it is required by various laws.

    Think about it, $450 billion is around 3% of US GDP, do you think that’s all the US government spends on items other than defence?

  26. #26 Ian Gould
    July 26, 2007

    “Ian was wrong before, maybe he had $140 for the first shot”

    Precisely – and the US cost is for the vaccine only.

    The Australian cost ($460 for people who don’t want to wait for the subsidised vaccination or who aren’t eligible because they aren’t citizens or permanent residents) includes the actual innoculation.

    “when the PBAC originally refused to license Gardasil it had an asking price in Oz of $335 US.”

    The US pharmaceutical industry lobbied heavily (and unsuccessfully) during our free trade negotiations for the abolition of the PBAC. Presumably they feel it’s forcing down the cost of drugs in this country and their profit margins.

    Funny how the US is pretty much the only developed country without an equivalent body.

  27. #27 David Kane
    July 26, 2007

    Apologies for the interruption but comments are not working for me on the other thread, and I wanted to test my ability to comment here.

  28. #28 oconnellc
    July 26, 2007

    ++
    Think about it, $450 billion is around 3% of US GDP, do you think that’s all the US government spends on items other than defence?
    ++

    Oh my goodness, no. I was trying to point out that the great majority of US spending is already spoken for. Things like Social Security, medicare and medicaid take up most of the budget. I don’t have it open here, but you can see what those other items are if you look. There is about $900B left that members of congress get to argue about. The president wins and spends about $450B of that on defense. That leaves about $450B that can get spent on ‘whatever’. A lot of stuff has to fight for that ‘whatever’.

    I stated that based on the budget, the US Gov looks like it is spending about $600B on our health and insurance. You stated that it is spending considerably more than that. I said fine, I’m not sure where in the budget that is coming from, but I included a reference to the budget so you could maybe show me some of the items in there that I missed that are related to our insurance. Of course there are things like programs to help people get over drug addiction, or wellness programs. But those won’t go away in any case (as we can see from watching Oz, lots of people still get addicted to heroin and the obesity rate is shooting up), so it isn’t fair to count those numbers.

    Since I couldn’t find anything that obviously looked like government spending on insurance or health that would go away under the new system, I pointed out that the discretionary spending, which is where I figured the rest of that insurance/health spending would come from, was only about $450B. I figured that would be the pile that the rest of that ‘considerably more’ would come from.

    I hope I’m more clear now. Sorry about the confusion.

  29. #29 SG
    July 26, 2007

    Jc, an amusing rant at #221, but it seems a little unfair. If you find that the drug costs more here than in America, it’s our bad system ripping off Australian consumers. If we point out to you that the drug costs more in the US than here, it’s our bad system ripping off American consumers. I think the term for that is “biassed”.

    The one tiny flaw in your little rant though, is that Gardasil was invented by CSL, and is licensed to Merck. So the profit-taking is being done by the Australian company according to free market principles. And CSL was actually criticised in Australia for trying to sell the drug at $335 US because it was seen as recouping its license profits twice (by setting an Australian price near the american one, when the Australian arm doesn’t have to pay a licensing fee). So who is profit-taking at the expense of who, Jc?

  30. #30 jc
    July 26, 2007

    “Funny how the US is pretty much the only developed country without an equivalent body.”

    Maybe it’s because the US doesn’t have as many brain dead socialist dolts who think screwing pharma is the long terms solution. They may actaully believe it presents us with other problems in the future like , err, falling investment in this most important sector.

    The government would have monopoly status dictating the price at which drugs could be sold. It would more or less be the same socialist models the Nazis and fascists were running where they allowed firms to exist but only on their strict terms and conditions. Terrific!

    Good one, Ian. Now your calling for defactor socialization of drugs.

    Any other bright ideas this morning?

  31. #31 jc
    July 26, 2007

    SG

    It was Ian who brought up this vaccine caper and I don’t have all the time to look into it who owned it and who is distributing it. So what? It’s a stawman anyway meant to catch me out on some point and ended up exploding in his face.

    Ian recently alluded that he somehow thought it was a good idea to keep down the wages of medical staff because, you know, it keeps down the cost of medicine as a % of GDP, so we don’t end up looking like Americans.

    Good one Ian. So doctors wages and salaries should be controlled because of your pathetic personal preferences. You sure are a supporter of persoanl freedoms and the right to enjoy the fruits of your own labor without a meat clever going through your wages.

    These controls of course only apply to other people. If they applied to Ian he would be squealing like a stuck pig.

    People like Ian would be the first to cry blue murder over free labor markets in case it meant labor rates truly reflected market conditions particularly in the Union movement, but think it’s just fine and dandy to place a ceiling on the wages of doctors.

    This is a great example of the socialist menace at work….. About as intellectaully bankrupt as anything could possibly be.

  32. #32 SG
    July 27, 2007

    Jc, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Did you just admit that you were wrong about the vaccine, or did you just explode in a cloud of piss and vinegar? I can’t tell.

  33. #33 Jc
    July 27, 2007

    I’m sorry, sg. i should be a little more gentle with you. I ought to realize when it gets past 3rd grade equivalence it can get pretty tough for disabled people like you. I’ll slow down in future a let you catch up with the rest of us. That’s the nice person i am.

  34. #34 Ian Gould
    July 27, 2007

    Can I just thank JC at this point for giving such a marvelous and extended demonstration of why I hold most libertarians in such profound contempt.

    I note that not even Nanny is jumping in to support such gems as “what’s the big deal about torture anyway?”

  35. #35 Ian Gould
    July 27, 2007

    “Things like Social Security, medicare and medicaid take up most of the budget.”

    Yes but if you subsidise private insurance soem of the people currently reliant on those programs will shift over to private insurance.

    Similarly, some currently uninsured people will get insurance meaning that they no longer wait until they’re so sick they need to go to emergency wards for treatment, which will leave the state governments money which in turn will reduce the amount the federal government gives them to subsidise those services.

    At the same time, converting the current tax deductibility of employee health insurance to an upfront grant will make it easier for small businesses and the sefl-employed to afford insurance.

  36. #36 jc
    July 27, 2007

    I note that not even Nanny is jumping in to support such gems as “what’s the big deal about torture anyway?”

    Nanny is away Ian or he saw the beating you’re getting and didn’t want to make it any worse. He has manners after all.

    Torture?
    Ian? Wrong thread. This is socialized medicine thread. The torture thread is somewhere else….possibly another site maybe?

    “Can I just thank JC at this point for giving such a marvelous and extended demonstration of why I hold most libertarians in such profound contempt.”

    Oh schucks and me thought you like me!

    Ian let me tell ya kiddo. The level of contempt you hold libertarian types pales comparison to the contempt I hold socialists. It doesn’t even come close. However I hold even more contempt for those who ought to know better. Ya know, people that went to uni and still hold those views. That’s detestable contempt for who I hope a special place is reserve for them in Dante’s hell.

  37. #37 SG
    July 27, 2007

    That’s detestable contempt for who I hope a special place is reserve for them in Dante’s hell.

    Jc, a little hint for you: when expressing contempt, try to do so in a way which can be understood by, ah, well, um, anyone. Because if instead you write a sentence of complete gibberish, it kind of ruins your grand position.

  38. #38 oconnellc
    July 27, 2007

    Ian, I never disputed that people without insurance will have insurance under the new plan. I also said that we would see some costs go down as people stopped using the emergency room when they get a cold.

    So, you said that the US Government spends considerably more than $600B. I asked if you could show me. I’m still asserting that the US is going to go from spending $600B on poor and old people to spending $600B on everyone. The poor and old are going to need some more help. And I’m surprised that anyone thinks that insurance companies are going to be fighting to provide insurance at ~$2000/year in premiums when the costs are going to be ~$5000/year. I mean, costs are going to have to drop from ~$5000/year to less than ~$2000/year for anyone to think they can make money providing insurance.

    And where will the big cost savings come from? The proposed plan only changes who pays for some of the insurance premiums. But it does keep the government with lots of responsibility tracking all those plans and programs and costs and making sure that everything runs according to law. Why does anyone think that will be efficient?

    And, does this plan take into account that as the US population gets really old, really fast, total costs are going to go higher more quickly than they have in the past. $2k/person doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

    ++
    converting the current tax deductibility of employee health insurance to an upfront grant will make it easier for small businesses and the sefl-employed to afford insurance.
    ++
    Maybe there is something I am missing, but most businesses and self-employed have people who do their taxes for them. They have to. I have many self-employed friends and I work for a company with 11 employees. Tax laws in this country make it impossible for anyone in any sort of complicated situation to do their own taxes. Those people aren’t paying “too much” in taxes and waiting to get their refund. I think it is a good idea, but in general, that won’t make much of a difference on the cash flow of those people. They manage their insurance out of monthly cash flow. It seems nice to give them a pile up front, but they really in general want the government out of the way so they can manage their business. Causing them to pay more taxes while they get an upfront grant really isn’t going to do anything to help them pay a regular recurring bill. Unless they aren’t making enough money to pay for their insurance, in which case they will soon be out of business, regardless.

  39. #39 Ian Gould
    July 27, 2007

    “Maybe there is something I am missing, but most businesses and self-employed have people who do their taxes for them.”

    What you’re missing is that the current system requires employers to pay the insurance premiums and then get partial reimbursement later from the government.

    As a small business-owner who fairly recently had to shift from paying my staff’s superannuation (pension)contributions quarterly to paying it monthly I can assure you the cashflow implications are significant. Tax deductibility is also no help to businesses that aren’t currently making a profit.

    As to public expenditure: http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/data_tables/pop2_2005.pdf

    In 2001, the US government sector (including states and municipalities) was spending $2100 per capita on health care. Adjust that figure for inflation (and subsequent initiatives like the Medicare prescription benefit). Cost increases for the US health sector are running at 10% of more per year so compound 6 years growth onto that $2100 figure.

    Oh and when I say “$1-2,000 per person” why do you automatically seize on the upper extreme?

  40. #40 Ian Gould
    July 27, 2007

    In case anyone confuses JC’s comments with reality (which is I suppose theoretically possible:

    #74 “What is it with you,lefties and torture? You all seem obsessed with it.” -JC

    I suppose when you possess the secret to solving all the world’s problems and are marked out by the Gods for a special destiny a few facts slip past you here and there.

  41. #41 Eli Rabett
    July 27, 2007

    So let me see here, Ian the socialist is a small business owner, that makes jc the libertarian, what…..he must work in the motor vehicle bureau which I guess IS the ninth circle of Dante’s hell.

  42. #42 jc
    July 28, 2007

    Gentleman, gentleman, stop sqabbling in the war room.

    Eli, when did you latch onto the habit if referring to yourself in the third person? It’s, it’s so Seinfeldian. You know they did a take on someone always referring to himself like that. Hilarious.

    Socialism basically describes someone who prefers lots of government intervention. Yea, Gould’s a socialist alright. And no, i work for myself as I would rather have a large brain mass than work for the state.

  43. #43 Jc
    July 28, 2007

    Ian

    What the hell are you one about now. What “proof” have you found by lurking around the far leftiside of the interwebs that somehow proves demand /supply curves and the price signal doesn’t work when you have an ingrown toe nail.

    Will you please stop roasting that old chest nut about the US healthcare system….. for gawds sake. If anything it doesn’t help your cause for more government intervention because the US is truly screwed up with all sort of intervention and mandates. Drop it Danno, it’s not helpful.

    SG:

    SG is now resorting to picking up typo and gram errors. showing that when the heats on SG is certainly there to provide intellectual rigor

  44. #44 oconnellc
    July 29, 2007

    Ian, thanks for your questions. First, I guess I chose $2k/person because it seemed the most realistic. You said convert a chunk of current funding, and we spend ~$600B/year on medicare/medicaid and it kind worked out. Does that answer the question of why I picked it? It doesn’t seem unreasonable, does it. If you don’t like that number, please tell me what part of your range you didn’t really mean, and we can limit it to that part of the range.

    As far as the $/person, I like the chart. It does provide a couple answers to Eli’s question. The US has among the highest number of physicians, among the lowest rates of TB and HIV, among the lowest rates of childhood malnutrition and highest rates of “improved sanitation and water”.

    Also, I think it helps us get a bit closer to the actual $/person number. If the # was $2100/person in 2001, lets say it is $3000/person in 2007 (I’m just guessing, if you think it is more, thats fine). That is $900B/year, so it is considerably more than that $600B/year. But to compare apples to apples, once again, how much of that will really go away when the federal government starts paying insurance for everyone? For example, money spent on obesity, drug addiction etc. will still have to be spent. I’m guessing a lot of local free clinics, etc, will go away, so money will be saved. How much do you suppose that is? Monies spend on things like the CDC are probably included in that number (but, once again, I could be wrong). In addition, that number included ‘extrabudgetary’ funds. That term isn’t defined very well, but I’m guessing the possibility exists that some of it isn’t actually money that comes from the government. Like, lets say a grocery store donates some diapers to a local program that helps poor, single women care for their children. It also includes ‘grants’. I’m guessing that might include any federal money spent on cancer research etc. It might also include federal money spent to fight health problems overseas (I don’t know how much has actually been distributed, but I know Bush has promised to send billions to Africa to fight HIV, malaria, clean water etc. etc.). I’m not sure how to estimate how much of that is in that $3000/person.

    But, I’m still not sure where all the rest of the money will come from. If we increase that $2100 to $3000 in gov money, then the total money figure will probably need to increase from $4800 to, say, $7000/person. If we are in total spending about $7000/person now, and you are proposing that the federal government spend some amount less than $2000/person, where does that differential go? ~$5000/person/year is a lot of money to come up with. And, what is it about the federal government spending money that will make things more efficient?

  45. #45 dhogaza
    July 30, 2007

    oconnellc sez

    Here in the US, no government body has ever done anything efficiently.

    Overhead for Social Security is less than 1% (one percent).

    What’s the overhead for Prudential?

    Many government bodies have done good things

    Thank you for not being as idiotic as that cerebellum-challenged dolt JC.

    but never efficiently (please see Department of Defense

    DoD is a rather special case…do you know of any private defense departments working in the free market that are any more efficient?

    any US Public Schools

    This one annoys me for any number of reasons, mostly due to the lack of any data to back up the claim.

    Department of Agriculture

    Ever worked with a fire crew? Extension agent? Forest Biologist?

    I didn’t think so.

    If you’d like to get out in the world to get some firsthand experience as to how inefficient, say, the USFS or USF&W are, there are many, many volunteer opportunities out there. Many require you to be willing to do some physical work, with some physical discomfort (i.e. living outdoors in a tent in isolation for a few months at at time), and often you need skills before they’ll accept you, but there are projects for which training’s available.

    Do you have any idea how much work is done by volunteers, interns, and the like for projects run by these agencies?

    How many companies in the private sector do part of that company’s job on a volunteer basis?

    Dept. of Homeland Security etc. etc)

    Which portion?

    Are the coasties inefficient? Details, please.

    The Border patrol? Again, details.

    These guys don’t even have the civil service protections given people outside the Dept of Homeland Security and the military …

  46. #46 oconnellc
    July 30, 2007

    It is almost hard to answer a post like the one written by dhogaza. It is hard to believe it is serious. The assinine tone and the obvious insult that dhogaza took by my statement can only lead me to believe that he is indeed a government employee. In which case I apologize for your offense. But it hardly changes my feelings.

    First, public schools. I found a few references, but I will post this one: http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/07/18/do-public-and-private-schools-compare/

    I feel it actually gives public schools the best shake. The best conclusion for public schools I can find is that given twice as much money, public schools provide the same results as private schools. The web site refers to a study in wisconsin that compared voucher kids with public school kids. There was a significant difference in the performance of the voucher kids.

    Dept. of Homeland Security etc. etc)

    Which portion?

    Well, without spending 30 seconds to look for a reference, I’ll ask you to look for yourself how they are managing the task of getting citizens their passports. But here is a report about some of the other things they do: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070729/NATIONWORLD/707290411/-1/LOCAL17

    it includes quotes about the astonishing efficiency like this: More than 40 state-run operations set up after 9/11 to help uncover terrorist plots are proving to be a costly but largely ineffective weapon against terrorism, according to congressional investigators.

    or this: http://www.dlc.org/documents/HomeSecRptCrd_0703.pdf

    You can go right to the conlusions to find this: President
    Bush has devoted much rhetoric to bringing our
    entrepreneurial spirit to other elements of
    government, but on homeland security he has
    consistently sided with the ponderous,
    underfunded status quo over fostering the kinds
    of innovations that will help keep our citizens
    safe.

    Hmmm… Sounds efficient.

  47. #47 oconnellc
    July 30, 2007

    Sorry, but my post was too long, so I had to cut it in thirds (turns out that 10 minutes on google finds all the examples of government waste you can fit in a single post)

    What about social security? Here is an interesting report from the university of chicago about the impact on households that would come from privatizing social security: http://ice.uchicago.edu/slides_2006/smetters_slide31.pdf

    Or, we can examine the expense of social security… they only charge 1% to manage my money. Lets see how Vanguard does: https://flagship.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsFeesMinimums?FundId=0085&FundIntExt=INT

    if you register for online statements etc., you don’t pay any account fee and the expense ratio is .19%. Well, only 5X the expenses of Vanguard (who does this to make money, by the way). But, maybe they provide really good returns on my money! Lets see what sort of past returns they have provided: http://www.heritage.org/Research/SocialSecurity/CDA98-01.cfm

    Well, that is the Heritage Foundation. We know where their politics lie… Perhaps you could point me to a study of the real rate of return of Social Security by someone who is a bit more left leaning?

  48. #48 oconnellc
    July 30, 2007

    Of course, you included this statement, just to make yourself sound like an a**:

    Ever worked with a fire crew? Extension agent? Forest Biologist?

    I didn’t think so.

    Actually, I have spent several years with a volunteer fire department and I have close relatives in law enforcement and the military. Does my answer to your question really affect how efficient any of those agencies or some of the massive beaurocracies we have in this country are?

    Why, for example, do you quote that much of the services provided by our government are actually provided by private citizens or funded by donations? You must know that that only indicates that the true costs of those services are higher than is indicated by the budget number associated with it. I could help you mow your lawn, but you could still be a schlub who spends twice as much as necessary to get it done.

    I also thought it was interesting that you took offense to my claiming the DoA was inefficient when this thread has references to a story about them spending 3% of their budget on dead people for several years.

    Sorry, but I’m still waiting for someone to explain why giving any money to the government for it to spend makes things more efficient.

  49. #49 oconnellc
    July 30, 2007

    Here is an interesting story in the Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2006/04/23/peace_corp/?page=1

    In includes this quote: Private companies would be much, much cheaper. When we compared their costs to most UN operations, we came up with 10 to 20 percent of what the UN would normally charge.

    This isn’t terribly recent, but do you really want more: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/05/18/MN251738.DTL

  50. #50 Ian Gould
    July 30, 2007

    “Private companies would be much, much cheaper. When we compared their costs to most UN operations, we came up with 10 to 20 percent of what the UN would normally charge.”

    Mercenaries (sorry “private military contractors”) undercut the costs of the military in a coupel of ways:

    Firstly, they recruit veterans, thereby avoiding the need to train their own staff;

    Secondly, their pensions, medical insurance and provision for thew families of personnel killed in the line of duty is far less (see the current litigation between Blackwater and the families of the contractors killed in Fallujah);

    Thirdly, they leech off the services of the conventional military (I don;t see Blackrock running its own fleet of C5 cargo planes or paying for the R&D on the weapons it uses).

  51. #51 oconnellc
    July 31, 2007

    Ian, is that it? Is that your defense of the efficiency of the Department of Defense? If so, I’m guessing we can move on to other items then. Oh, and this is a good website reinforcing your point about the excellent care of military personnel and their families provided by the Department of Defense: http://mfso.org/

    Of course, we have the fine work of our intelligence gathering agencies to thank for providing the excellent intel on Iraqi WMD work. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I could pay some extra tax money next year because of all the great things being done with the money they already have.

    Also, I’m still curious as to how you have modified your range of how much the US Gov. will spend on insurance.

  52. #52 jc
    July 31, 2007

    ian can sniff out a fully paid for government boondoggle from miles away upwind. And he’s still never seen one he doesn’t like.

    By Ian’s “reasoning” we should not have private airlines either…. You know the pilots were trained on military jets and all.

  53. #53 Ian Gould
    July 31, 2007

    OconnellC: firstly I’m less interested in defending the DoD than I am in puncturing the inflated claims of the merc companies.

    In that vein, I’ll also point out that UN missiuosn are unusually expensive because every single mission has to start from scratch and establish its command structure and support from zero. That’s because ever since 1945 the five Security Council permanent members have repeatedly vetoedd the proposal, which is in the UN Charter, for a stnading UN military force.

    As far as health care goes, my initial comments were speculative and not based on a fully costed analysis of the current US healthcare system. If you want a fully costed analysis of the current US healthcare system, I can provide one. My consultancy rates are quite reasonable.

    Failing that, I will refer you to the system introduced in Massacheusetts by Governor Mitt Romney since it contains many of the elements I think are necessary such as a clearinghouse mechanism to drive down the cost of basic cover.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_2006_Health_Reform_Statute

    It’s not that I think the public sector is innately more efficient. Rather, it’s screamingly obvious to me that the current public sector health spending in the US is staggeringly inefficient even by public sector standards. Given that, it should be possible to reduce costs AND improve coverage.

    Romney appears to have done that.

  54. #54 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    Why, for example, do you quote that much of the services provided by our government are actually provided by private citizens or funded by donations? You must know that that only indicates that the true costs of those services are higher than is indicated by the budget number associated with it.

    This is hilarious. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the claim made that successfully accomplishing organizational goals using volunteers and interns is a sign of inefficiency.

    In oconnellc’s world, then, every damned NGO on the planet tht makes efficient use of volunteer labor is less efficient than profit-making companies that are fully staffed by paid professionals.

  55. #55 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    Sorry, but I’m still waiting for someone to explain why giving any money to the government for it to spend makes things more efficient.

    Name a LARGE non-governmental entity that beats Social Security’s less than one-percent overhead, then we can talk.

    Yes, some government programs are inefficient. This doesn’t prove that all are, and there’s ample evidence that many are very efficient.

    Let me rewrite that statement:

    Yes, some for-profit companies are inefficient. That doesn’t prove that all are, and there’s ample evidence that many are very efficient.

    Apparently you agree with the second statement, but not the first, despite clear evidence supporting both.

    Why? Your political philosophy.

    Which is the problem with modern right-wingers, in general. If the data doesn’t fit their political philosophy, throw out the data. AGW must be false, not because of the data, our solid understanding of atmospheric physics, etc but because the truth is inconvenient to those who believe that government has no (or a very small) legitimate role in society. Etc etc etc.

  56. #56 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    The assinine tone and the obvious insult that dhogaza took by my statement can only lead me to believe that he is indeed a government employee.

    Actually, no. The first half of my professional life was spent running a company based on compiler technology I developed in my early 20s, in the mid to late 1970s.

    The latter half of my professional life has been spent as a self-employed software consultant.

    However, I’ve spent up to three months a year as a volunteer for ODF&W, the USF&W, USFS, and BLM, doing fieldwork monitoring sensitive species in remote areas, and helping to organize and run projects doing such work. All as an unpaid volunteer. I’ve worked closely with agency personnel for a couple of decades now and have a great deal of respect for them.

    Regarding the military, I have had the opportunity to compare the logistical support skills of helitack fire crews and national guard blackhawk crews. The latter suck so bad it is an absolute wonder to me that we’re winnning the war in Iraq with such ease.

    So, no, I don’t think all government agencies are efficient. But some are, and broad “government is evil” generalizations are stupid, just as “all companies are evil” is.

    I can’t think of any government agency that’s as inefficient, when viewed broadly, than Microsoft, for instance. The company’s incompetence and inability to write software that is as secure as that written forty years ago has cost customers billions of dollars.

  57. #57 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    JC Superstar sayeth:

    And no, i work for myself as I would rather have a large brain mass than work for the state.

    Here we have it. JC is obviously smarter than the physicists who ran the Manhattan project, because having a large brain mass is incompatible with state employment.

    Oh, wait, Mr. JC-the-brilliant doesn’t seem to be aware that brain mass in humans doesn’t correlate well with intelligence…

    Is there anything else he may be misinformed on? Let me think … hmmmm …

  58. #58 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    Or, we can examine the expense of social security… they only charge 1% to manage my money. Lets see how Vanguard does

    Social Security overhead is LESS THAN 1%, for one thing. Also, Social Security does more than simply manage money. If you want to do an apples-to-apples comparison, you need to compare the amount of money Social Security spends to manage its funds to the amount Vanguard does. Since Social Security has very little flexibility in how it does so, my guess is that they spend a very small amount of their budget on that task. My guess is that most of that less than 1% overhead goes to paying for their customer service offices.

  59. #59 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    By Ian’s “reasoning” we should not have private airlines either…. You know the pilots were trained on military jets and all.

    The modern airline industry would be nothing like it is today if it weren’t for direct government subsidies that paid for the development of modern jet aircraft (KC-135, for instance), and, yes indeed, if training of pilots had not been paid for by the military.

    Today’s airline industry is self-sustaining, but the “dawn of the jet age” and the rapid maturing and growth of the industry owes a lot to government funding.

    And, of course, the various national air traffic control systems, which are government-run entities.

  60. #60 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    And publicly-funded airports, and government certification programs for aircraft which greatly accelerated the increase in reliability we take for granted today … there’s a lot more to this iceberg, I’m sure, but without thinking much it’s clear that the modern airline industry isn’t a good example of the success of free-market economics.

    Nor is the internet, without which you wouldn’t be making a fool of yourself online.

  61. #61 Ian Gould
    July 31, 2007

    “The modern airline industry would be nothing like it is today if it weren’t for direct government subsidies that paid for the development of modern jet aircraft (KC-135, for instance), and, yes indeed, if training of pilots had not been paid for by the military.”

    Ignore JC, the poor socialist dinosaur obviously thinks that if a service is provided by the government then it’s “free”.

  62. #62 JC
    July 31, 2007

    Ian

    Stop strangling yourself with your own ideas. You were the one who somehow morphed that silliness about private security frms and how they leech off the military.

    I simply stretched it out to its own pathetic conclusion. Don’t blame me, blame yourself for writing silly somments.

    Ian, government is the road to hell all paved with good intentions.

    …………………..

    Hogaza

    You seem angry that I work for myself. Too bad.

    Do I think I am smarter than the bomb makers? Course not, Dude. I don’t think i am very smart at all. In fact I don’t even think or worry about it.
    Thanks for your Bio/resume though. It seems very interesting.

    “I can’t think of any government agency that’s as inefficient, when viewed broadly, than Microsoft, for instance. The company’s incompetence and inability to write software that is as secure as that written forty years ago has cost customers billions of dollars.”

    Then off you go dude, go write a great program(s) that people will like and I’m sure you’ll be there with Buffet and the geek giving billions away to needy causes in not too long a time.

    No one’s stopping you and there are plenty of VC firms chomping at the bit to take a pound of flesh off Microsoft’s backside getting plenty of satisfaction along the way.

  63. #63 Jc
    July 31, 2007

    Ian copies the first para and then comments:

    “The modern airline industry would be nothing like it is today if it weren’t for direct government subsidies that paid for the development of modern jet aircraft (KC-135, for instance), and, yes indeed, if training of pilots had not been paid for by the military.”

    Ignore JC, the poor socialist dinosaur obviously thinks that if a service is provided by the government then it’s “free”.

    Ian, please stop spinning. I have frequently used the term “socialist dinosaur to describe you and your beliefs. Tell the truth (or I will tickle your cheeks) there isn’t one government program you haven’t fallen for.

    You make me laugh, you do. Here I am crticising almost every aspect of the government’s role in the economy while you’re there still pretending that it was West Germans who cracked the Berlin Wall trying to make it to the East German side as the reason it came down. You then have the nerve to call me a socislist dinosuar.

    You’re too funny for words.

    By the way I didn’t particularly take to your racist comments above, you embarrass yourself.

  64. #64 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    Hogaza

    Perhaps if you had a state job, you’d be eligible for some remedial reading comprehension classes, and wouldn’t continuously misspell my handle.

    You seem angry that I work for myself. Too bad.

    I’ve worked for myself, or my own company, my entire adult life. I’m annoyed that you’re a pompous imbecile, not because you work for yourself (though in your case I have to wonder if it’s because your attitude makes you unemployable).

    I don’t think i am very smart at all.

    Finally! You’ve said something I agree with!

    Then off you go dude, go write a great program(s) that people will like

    MS’s success is largely due to a couple of reasons not having anything to do with their technology being great.

    1. IBM was too chickenshit to spend the money to lock up DOS themselves, because they really didn’t believe in the market they were creating with the PC, and they didn’t imagine that anyone would reverse-engineer the PC BIOS. Timing was important, too – today, they’d just patent the BIOS and those reversing-engineering it would be introduced to IBM’s legal team. They’re quite good, I’ve had personal experience (though in a friendly way).

    2. MS acquired DOS from a garage company in Washington, under contract terms that forbade them from licensing third parties. They did so knowing they’d tweak it and license it to IBM. They later lost a lawsuit that took a tortuously long time to go through the legal system and had to pay the two developers a million or so each for the contract violation. MS’s ethics haven’t improved over the years.

    I wouldn’t want money earned this way, to be honest.

    No one’s stopping you and there are plenty of VC firms chomping at the bit to take a pound of flesh off Microsoft’s backside getting plenty of satisfaction along the way.

    Naw, I prefer to remain in the open source community, earning my money the old-fashioned way, by the hour.

  65. #65 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    Can’t help but notice that JC isn’t responding to points raised by Ian, myself, or anyone else but is taking a rather, mmmm, more personal approach.

  66. #66 Ian Gould
    July 31, 2007

    “I’m annoyed that you’re a pompous imbecile…”

    Quoted for truth.

  67. #67 stewart
    July 31, 2007

    JC seemed to think this is the socialized health care thread. Actually, it’s not – s/he might want to read the starter bit at the top. As for a faux-libertarian take on US health care, try this one from Brad Delong. Bush is trying to veto a lower-cost health insurance expansion for children, in favour of using (much more expensive and inefficient) emergency rooms and catastrophic services.
    “And there you have the core of Mr. Bush’s philosophy. He wants the public to believe that government is always the problem, never the solution. But it’s hard to convince people that government is always bad when they see it doing good things. So his philosophy says that the government must be prevented from solving problems, even if it can. In fact, the more good a proposed government program would do, the more fiercely it must be opposed.”
    Check how jc’s colleagues in spirit are then adding to the misinformation.
    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/07/paul-krugman-on.html#comments

  68. #68 Jc
    July 31, 2007

    Stewart

    I gave reading Brad Delong after the first I wondered over to his site and I’m not about to start now.

    I’m really not sure what your point is. Was it an anti-Bush rant? Fair enough there’s a lot to dislike about his administration though not from a left leaning perspective. However if your arguing that government funded or regulated health care is superior, save your breath.

  69. #69 jc
    July 31, 2007

    hogaza says:
    Can’t help but notice that JC isn’t responding to points raised by Ian, myself, or anyone else but is taking a rather, mmmm, more personal approach.

    What points exactly. you left me questions to answer? Can’t see them.

    Ian please don’t get upset like that when your socialist supporting ways make you look like the skinny naked kid who escaped from he bathroom.

    Pull youself together.

  70. #70 dhogaza
    July 31, 2007

    Was it an anti-Bush rant? Fair enough there’s a lot to dislike about his administration though not from a left leaning perspective.

    Splurf …

    Anyone one to speculate on JC’s age? Hard to imagine he’s much beyond 14 years old.

    hogaza says:

    JC can’t spell, that’s what I say.

    Nor think.

    I’ve never met a libertarian who’s not an idiot, ignorant of basic science, economics and history. Having said that, JC makes most of them look brilliant.

  71. #71 Ian Gould
    July 31, 2007

    “I’ve never met a libertarian who’s not an idiot, ignorant of basic science, economics and history.”

    I have.

    Hell, Larry Niven is a libertarian. Too bad he’s also a blatant racist (see The Burning City).

  72. #72 dhogaza
    August 1, 2007

    Hell, Larry Niven is a libertarian. Too bad he’s also a blatant racist (see The Burning City).

    I’ve never met him, though his right-wing leanings are no surprise, given his writing partnership with Jerry Pournelle.

    And Heinlein was no idiot, either, and while I don’t know if the handle “libertarian” was invented in time for him to adopt it, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” is a veritable libertarian wet dream.

  73. #73 oconnellc
    August 1, 2007

    Ian, if you had stated right away that you really weren’t interested in talking about your proposal, but rather interested in charging me for consulting, I think you could have saved us both some time. If you thought that Romney’s proposal was the correct one, you could have stated that and saved a week of trying to defend yours (before of course, springing that consulting thing on me).

  74. #74 oconnellc
    August 1, 2007

    dhogaza, you say so many ridiculous things, it is difficult to comment on all of them.

    Regarding Social Security, after I find a large private entity that does almost the same thing as Social Security, and does it at a fraction of the cost, you state: If you want to do an apples-to-apples comparison, you need to compare the amount of money Social Security spends to manage its funds to the amount Vanguard does. Since Social Security has very little flexibility in how it does so, my guess is that they spend a very small amount of their budget on that task. My guess is that most of that less than 1% overhead goes to paying for their customer service offices.

    That seems a bit odd. Are you saying that Vanguard doesn’t provide any customer service? Can you go to the SS website and check your personal rate of return for the year? Life of the account? Are the phone numbers for SS staffed longer hours or shorter hours than the phone numbers at Vanguard? Also, since we are doing apples to apples, maybe we should subtract the amount that Vanguard has to charge and spend on marketing, since SS has a guaranteed supply of customers and doesn’t need to spend any money on that.

    Oh, and about that customer service… Maybe you could do some research and tell us how what percent of people who apply for SS disability are refused the first time they apply? Maybe you could also tell us on average how many times people have to apply before they finally qualify? Perhaps you could tell us what percent of applicants have to hire an attorney or outside representative before they qualify?

    Oh, and maybe you forgot, but isn’t part of the efficiency of a money manager what rate of return they get for your money? Could you check that for us as well?

  75. #75 oconnellc
    August 1, 2007

    dhogaza, you wrote (to me):
    ++Why? Your political philosophy.

    Which is the problem with modern right-wingers, in general. If the data doesn’t fit their political philosophy, throw out the data. AGW must be false, not because of the data, our solid understanding of atmospheric physics, etc but because the truth is inconvenient to those who believe that government has no (or a very small) legitimate role in society. Etc etc etc.++

    Odd, I searched this thread for anything that described my political philosophy. I commented many times about the inefficiencies of beaurocracies. When you stated you couldn’t find evidence of this, I found it for you (spending a total of about 10 minutes on google). Is it possible that since I disagree with you on this you decided it might be easier to call me names? Should I turn the tables and say that the problem with all modern left wingers is they like to make up stuff about people who disagree with them?

  76. #76 oconnellc
    August 1, 2007

    dhogaza, this was too much… you wrote++This is hilarious. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the claim made that successfully accomplishing organizational goals using volunteers and interns is a sign of inefficiency.

    In oconnellc’s world, then, every damned NGO on the planet tht makes efficient use of volunteer labor is less efficient than profit-making companies that are fully staffed by paid professionals.++

    Actually, I never said anything of the kind. If I did, please point it out to me. I thought I was pretty clear when I used the example about helping you mow your lawn that the presence/absense of volunteerism actually had nothing to do with efficiency of a government agency. If the Dept. of Education got $100B in government funds to pay teachers, then convinced a bunch of teachers to volunteer $200B worth of time and then used $95B of that $100B to buy bubble gum cards, the Dept. of Education would still be inefficient. That is because they would have spent $100B to accomplish something that they only needed to spend $5B on. Yet it seems that you would still contend that they are efficient because they had volunteers. How could you get it so wrong? And, how could you in good conscience keep ascribing things to me that I never said?

    Perhaps this would be easier if you would just come out and tell me what argument/point of view you want to argue against and ask me to just represent that. It would save me the trouble of thinking I could just have a conversation with you.

  77. #77 dhogaza
    August 1, 2007

    oconnellc:

    Regarding Social Security, after I find a large private entity that does almost the same thing as Social Security, and does it at a fraction of the cost

    A mutual fund does not do “almost the same thing as Social Security”.

    Apparently you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Am I surprised? Hmmm … let me think … you’re a libertarian. No, I’m NOT surprised!

  78. #78 dhogaza
    August 1, 2007

    If the Dept. of Education got $100B in government funds to pay teachers, then convinced a bunch of teachers to volunteer $200B worth of time and then used $95B of that $100B to buy bubble gum cards, the Dept. of Education would still be inefficient.

    Well, actually … if giving $95B of bubblegum cards to volunteers is what convinced them to volunteer $200B of teaching time, it wouldn’t be inefficient at all …

  79. #79 dhogaza
    August 1, 2007

    Regarding Social Security, after I find a large private entity that does almost the same thing as Social Security, and does it at a fraction of the cost

    This one really burns, so I’ll post again on it.

    “does almost the same thing” is an *assertion* on your part, not backed by any evidence at all.

    You raise some hypotheticals … “vanguard answers the phone, therefore their service component is equivalent to social security’s”, etc etc. No data. Just handwaving assertion.

    You then move the goalposts, claiming social security is less efficient because it has a lower rate of return than Vanguard, which has nothing to do with operating efficiency.

    And which, of course, ignores the fact that by law social security manager’s aren’t allowed to invest in high-yield instruments. The legal framework in which Social Security or Vanguard operates does not speak to their relative efficiency. The mafia may well be more efficient than Vanguard, for instance, due to working under different legal frameworks. What does this mean? Crime is more efficient than honest labor, so we should scrap business and rob each other instead?

  80. #80 oconnellc
    August 1, 2007

    dhogaza, this is getting funny. Since SS can’t spend money to do research or get me a good rate of return, that can’t be something we compare. Why not? If you were comparing Prudential and Vanguard you would compare them. I mean, maybe it would help if you gave us your meaning of the word efficiency. From the point of view of someone who wants to retire, how much money they are going to charge me and how much money they are going to give me back are pretty important things.

    And you accuse me of handwaving! You still only know that the expenses for SS are less than 1%. How about finding out the real number? And how about answering my questions about the great service SS provides? If you assert they are efficient, shouldn’t the onus be on you to provide at least SOME evidence of that? I have tried. You disagree. Fine, prove me wrong. To merely assert that I have failed and that I need to try again won’t cut it. If they do things that are different than Vanguard, shouldn’t you be able to quantify that to some extent? You brought up SS as a specific example in the first place, not me. You want to go way out of your way to make sure that I am fair to SS in comparing the services of Vanguard and SS, but so far you don’t seem real concerned that we do the same for Vanguard. If SS provides better service than Vanguard, it should be easy for you to point me at some evidence that leads you to believe this.

  81. #81 oconnellc
    August 1, 2007

    dhogaza ++ Am I surprised? Hmmm … let me think … you’re a libertarian. No, I’m NOT surprised!++

    Is that what they call an ad-hom? All I do is point you at websites that back up what I say. Please feel free to do the same.

    And, once again, I have never said I am a libertarian. I have only complained about inefficiency. Is that the definition of a libertarian to you? Well, I guess that is the problem with modern day lefties, they all have to make up things about you.

  82. #82 oconnellc
    August 1, 2007

    ++A mutual fund does not do “almost the same thing as Social Security”.++

    I’ll admit that this is just a surface examination, so it could be wrong

    -Register an account with you and assign an account number.
    -Track contributions.
    -Manage money.
    -Provide distributions when the account gets closed
    -Provide regular information about the status of your account, balances, rates of return etc.
    Oh, well, one of them does this.
    -Provide educational information on retirement, savings, etc.

    I will give you that SS provides payment to disabled people. If you feel that SS does more, please feel free to list of those things and how much they spend doing that so that we can compare how much money Vanguard spends to how much SS spends. I have already requested that you give us some information on how well they provide some of those other services (like handling disability requests), I’ll wait patiently for that.

    ++What does this mean? Crime is more efficient than honest labor, so we should scrap business and rob each other instead?++

    Wow, thats good. Are you having trouble actually addressing things that I say? If you don’t want to have an intelligent conversation, I guess you could say so in two ways. One, you could come out and say it. Two, you could make up and ascribe stupid things to me and then mock me for them. I’m beginning to think you are too shy for #1.

    I guess that is the problem with modern day lefties, they all have to make up things about you.

  83. #83 Jc
    August 1, 2007

    Hogaza:

    “You then move the goalposts, claiming social security is less efficient because it has a lower rate of return than Vanguard, which has nothing to do with operating efficiency.”

    Which is really what he meant of course and you now seem want to avoid by smoke and mirrors. He has explained why Vanguard has offered superior returns to investors over multi decades. As an investor that’s all you care about. Meanwhile the service is superior too as the information flow is timely and at your finger tips.

    I would suggest that you made those assumptions too, ie that SS offered equal services to Vanguard and then see how your precious government service performs.

    Where’s Ian, that old Socialist dinosaur, to tell us that it would be racist to look at it like this.

  84. #84 dhogaza
    August 2, 2007

    So many lies in one post, it’s amazing…

    He has explained why Vanguard has offered superior returns to investors over multi decades.

    No, he hasn’t. I did. Vanguard works in a different legal framework than Social Security. The relevant framework is set by Congress in both cases.

    As an investor that’s all you care about.

    Not true at all. Many, perhaps most, financial advisors recommend moving retirement money into fixed return instruments after a certain age because a decade-long downturn in the stockmarket can be very painful if you’re at or beyond retirement age.

    Meanwhile the service is superior too as the information flow is timely and at your finger tips.

    Again, an assertion not backed up with any data whatsoever.

    I would suggest that you made those assumptions too, ie that SS offered equal services to Vanguard and then see how your precious government service performs.

    Bullshit, I’ve said all along that it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    But then again, we know you’re dishonest, don’t we?

  85. #85 dhogaza
    August 2, 2007

    please feel free to list of those things and how much they spend doing that so that we can compare how much money Vanguard spends to how much SS spends

    Sorry, you’re making the assertion, you do the analysis.

    The differences between SS and a mutual fund makes a very long list. Take your time.

  86. #86 dhogaza
    August 2, 2007

    Wow, thats good. Are you having trouble actually addressing things that I say?

    Not at all. Apples-to-oranges is apples-to-oranges, and using an absurd analogy to make that point clear is perfectly reasonable.

    SS, Vanguard and the Mafia all operate under different operating constraints. Comparisons among them are equally [in]valid unless these constraints are meticulously accounted for.

  87. #87 dhogaza
    August 2, 2007

    The nice thing about this and other threads where libertarians take part is that they make clear that it is no fluke that libertarians can’t even get a friggin’ dogcatcher elected in most of the US or Australia.

    No wonder.

  88. #88 jc
    August 2, 2007

    “libertarians can’t even get a friggin’ dogcatcher elected in most of the US or Australia.

    No wonder.”

    Not true, Hoggsie. The previous New Mexico Governor was pretty close to being a libertarian. Bill Richardson is too.

    (No Ian he/they aren’t racist)

    Mike? Sanford out of one of the Carolina’s is okish that way too . Not perfect, but pretty good. He took a pig under his arm tot he statehouse to demonstrate what he meant by porkbarreling.

    We had a closet libertarian PM in OZ by the name of Bob Hawke in the 80′s who also came prety close- only thing is he didn’t even realize it.

    No Ian, Hawke wasn’t a racist.

    Doesn’t everyone get the feeling that Ian is some kind of spam bot which is progrmmmed to post racist accusations whenever a keyword appears. I think so.

  89. #89 dhogaza
    August 2, 2007

    Not true, Hoggsie. The previous New Mexico Governor was pretty close to being a libertarian. Bill Richardson is too.

    Reason Magazine has serious doubts about Richardson’s “libertarianism”, and the Cato institute only gave him a “C” last go-around, not exactly a stirring endorsement.

    (http://reason.com/news/printer/120758.html)

    It takes more than cutting some taxes (while increasing others) to make one a libertarian.

    Regardless, Richardson’s a Democrat, not a Libertarian, and the Libertarian Party nominated a candidate to run against him.

    Perhaps you’re claiming that the Libertarians got Richardson elected by drawing votes away from the Republican Party?

  90. #90 oconnellc
    August 2, 2007

    dhogaza, you are getting worse. Whenever I make an assertion, all you do is say ‘Nope, thats wrong too’. Fine, show me how I am wrong. After a while of me getting it wrong, then you have to show me where. I have asked lots of times, with you ignoring me every time, what else does SS do? How much do they spend doing it. Lets get an apples-to-apples comparison.

    You know, I thought it was odd that earlier you said that Microsoft was inefficient because of the quality of the code that they produce was bad. In this case, an entity can be judged inefficient because of the product it produces. However, we can only judge SS by its operating efficiency, not the product it produces. So, you are saying that they are efficient because they can minimize the # of paper clips that they use?

    If you refuse to have a discussion about this, fine. Please say so. I’m getting tired of wasting my effort pointing you at references and having you just say “no, you are wrong. try again”. This is almost comic. Does this ring a bell:

    Meanwhile the service is superior too as the information flow is timely and at your finger tips.

    Again, an assertion not backed up with any data whatsoever.

    How about checking the website. I can go online at Vanguard and get a daily balance, a yearly rate of return, a total rate of return, reports about my contributions, dates of all transactions etc. I get a letter once a year from SS telling me what they think I will get when I retire. Do you really think that there is any comparison between those two? I have asked you a couple times to show me how great the service is for those people who try to apply for SS disability. That would be a great place for you to shut me up. Please stop ignoring that request.

    Then there was this:

    please feel free to list of those things and how much they spend doing that so that we can compare how much money Vanguard spends to how much SS spends

    Sorry, you’re making the assertion, you do the analysis.

    The differences between SS and a mutual fund makes a very long list. Take your time.

    No, actually you made the assertion. I said that they did many things that were similar. I listed things that they did that were similar. Then you said that they did things that were different. That means that you are the one making an assertion and not doing any analysis. It is your turn now. Please list the things that SS does that make it a not apples to apples comparison. Please show the great service results of people applying for disability.

    I’m sorry if this frustrates you, but this is how conversations work. At some point you have to list facts that back up the things you say as well. I will even help you. Here is a page on the website that lists Services provided by SS: http://www.ssa.gov/howto.htm

    Please list those that are unlike anything done by Vanguard with your estimate of how much they spend doing that so that we can get to an apples to apples comparison.

    Also, please provide that data about people applying for disability (% rejected the first time, % that eventually get accepted, % that has to hire a lawyer or representative to get the benefit).

    Also, please answer why it is acceptable to judge Microsofts efficiency based on their results, but only acceptable to judge SS efficiency based on how many paper clips they use.

    And, please explain why the legal framework matters. Most people define efficiency as some measure of the resources expended compared to the theoretical minimum resources that could be expended to get a particular result. SS is what it is. If it changes, then we can judge it in its new form. The fact that they cannot by law invest in anything that provides a decent return does not make me feel any better when I get that mailer once a year telling me how much money I am going to get. I still wish I could keep my money and invest it in something that will do me some good.

    Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. The problem with modern day lefties is that they have to make up things about you.

  91. #91 dhogaza
    August 2, 2007

    And, please explain why the legal framework matters.

    Hilarious.

    By law, SS is not allowed to invest in the stock market, therefore by law SS is not allowed to make the return that mutual funds can make by investing in the stock market.

    You’re saying that this doesn’t matter? The SS could be the most efficiently-run organization in the world and their rate of return would still lag the S&P index.

    As far as the rest of your drivel goes – have an ideologically pure and happy day, undisturbed by reality.

  92. #92 JC
    August 2, 2007

    Hogssie

    I don’t give cracker about their poltical affilation as long as they’re showing libertarian tendencies. Of course no libertarian will be elected in my life time. But that isn’t the point. Richardson is about as best as you can get from the Dems so you gotta take what you can get.

    He’s the good tale of why the US SHOULD NOT GO with the Canadian health model.

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

    There is a private clinic per week being estbalished in Canada these days.

    Oh, and it mentions that research in cancer in Canada equals the amount spent by ONE research center in Texas. Way to go canadians.

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

    It’s a pretty fair minded piece as it reminds people that the US system is quite expensive. But hey, you can at least get the proper drug for cancer treatment in the US.

  93. #93 oconnellc
    August 2, 2007

    dhogaza, what is ideological about my discussion of SS? First, if SS can’t invest in anything other than t-bills, fine. I tried to at least answer your questions. Efficiency is based on actual expenditures to achieve a outcome vs a theoretical minimum to achieve a outcome.

    So, if the rate of return lags the S&P, fine. You assert that they need to spend ~1% of their budget doing something. I just wondered if you could explain that. What is ideological about that? You have taken every opportunity to accuse me of things I never said and dismiss questions because they are ‘ideological’. Well, if all SS can do is take money, buy t-bills and then return it when you retire or need disability, why do they need so much money. I pointed at Vanguard and I said that Vanguard does roughly the same thing, only better (even ignoring rate of return, if you like) for less money. You said, well, SS does more. Ok, fine. What else do they do and how much does it cost?

    If you are going to repeatedly ignore my questions and attempt to have a discussion, why do you even bother to reply? What does ideology have to do with the fact that I can get information daily from Vanguard on the internet, and SS will only send me information once a year via mail. If I request it, then it will take 2-4 weeks to get to me and that becomes my yearly mailing and I don’t get another for another year. You know, people from all political parties put their money in Vanguard accounts, I’m not sure how showing they are better at the same job than SS is has anything to do with ideology.

    Oh, and by the way, that is the problem with all modern day lefties. They have to make up stuff about you.

  94. #94 oconnellc
    August 2, 2007

    ++The SS could be the most efficiently-run organization in the world and their rate of return would still lag the S&P index.
    ++

    Fine. Since they don’t have to spend any money doing analysis of the market, that is cost that they don’t have. If their returns are lower than someone that invests in the market, then shouldn’t their costs be lower as well? And if they were compared against another group that didn’t do market analysis, but instead just bought the same old thing, then shouldn’t their costs at least be the same? Isn’t that your definition of operational efficiency?

    The Vanguard index purchases only the S&P500 index. They don’t spend money doing analysis. They charge .19%. They also have to spend money on marketing, which SS does not. So, to compare apples-to-apples, we should really assume a number less than .19%, right? This is operational efficiency, right? Also, since they are a for profit company, we actually should not count the money they charge that becomes profits, since that has nothing to do with operational efficiency either, right? We are only comparing operational efficiency, right? So now the number is even further below .19%!

    I’ve also given an example of how equivalent services are astronomically worse for SS.

    I’ve asked you to give us some information on some of the other services. Very simple. What percent of people who apply for disability are refused by SS the first time they apply? What percent of those people eventually end up getting approved? What percent of those people have to hire an attorney to eventually get their disability?

    Now, could someone please explain the ideology I have demonstrated in this post?

    Now, this is just something to think about. Please do not attempt to answer this question until you have addressed the above. If you had $100/month to invest in a retirement plan for the rest of your working life, would you invest it in A) a plan that was really, really operationally efficient? Or would you invest it in B) the one that would give you the best returns, best information, best service and most flexibility? Now, which kind should we as a society set up A) or B)?

  95. #95 dhogaza
    August 3, 2007

    would you invest it in B) the one that would give you the best returns, best information, best service and most flexibility? Now, which kind should we as a society set up A) or B)?

    B.

    Now, let’s talk dates.

    Let’s say you’re 55 years old, it’s 1928, and you’re planning to retire in 1933.

    What’s the rate of return you’d expect from the S&P 500 (assuming its existence) in that timeframe?

    Would you consider that a good investment, or a poor one?

    Was the stock market return in that time frame the best possible investment, fulfilling your first criteria for “B”?

    How about that period of time known as the “dotbomb”, followed by the post 9/11 sag? Made me quite happy not to be retiring ’cause my 401K, which I had little control over at the time (I’ve left it and bailed into an IRA since), was in a fund which tracked the stock market very closely.

    An S&P 500 fund certainly didn’t fit your criteria “B” for that timeframe.

    Regardless, the original claim was that government agencies are operationally inefficient.

    You’ve moved the goalposts on that one more times than I care to count.

    Again, have a reality-free happy life basking in your simplistic black-and-white fantasy world where “right” and “wrong” can always be determined by one’s political ideology, facts be damned.

  96. #96 dhogaza
    August 3, 2007

    Let’s see, I said something like “libertarians can’t even elect a dogcatcher”.

    JC says “no, no you’re wrong!”. After being called on it, he says:

    Of course no libertarian will be elected in my life time.

    Interesting.

    But that isn’t the point.

    True, my point was more immediate, for all I know they may manage to elect a dogcatcher somewhere. So, yes, you’re right, I’m wrong, because I’m far too optimistic about the future of your party, apparently.

  97. #97 Jc
    August 3, 2007

    hogssie says:

    “Let’s say you’re 55 years old, it’s 1928, and you’re planning to retire in 1933.”

    Why look at the long term, hogssie. That period is far too long. I would suggest we look at a two day investment horizen period.

  98. #98 Ian Gould
    August 3, 2007

    You know I had left this thread in the hope that it owuld be a natural death.

    This was obviously my error since I missed the classic humor of JC embracing Bill Richardson and Bob Hawke as libertarian fellow-travellers.

    Hawke is, of course, one of the principal architects of the Australian medical insurance system he so detests.

    I don;t know much about Richardson’s policy positions but I’m fairly certain he supports both universal health care and government regulation of carbon dioxide emissions.

  99. #99 stewart
    August 3, 2007

    It’s been an interesting, data-free discussion.
    So: What does the data say about health care plans and costs? Has Jc’s model been implemented anywhere? What were the consequences? How does this compare against other mixed models? (And they all are mixed, with the possible expection of Cuba and North Korea, but there is no data on the latter, anyway). Please let us know about overall costs, out of pocket and catastrophic costs, degree of coverage, and outcomes (QALY is probably best, but childhood mortality and life expectancy are also reasonable).
    Otherwise, this bantering of hypotheticals and bringing in all sorts of ‘protolibertarians’ (and you forgot to mention Blair, if you want to bring in Hawke) is a bit too reminiscent of the marxist-leninist lunchroom crowd. I know you’re a true believer. I need is some data to make me believe, but words won’t do it.

  100. #100 oconnellc
    August 3, 2007

    dhogaza, first, I’m not sure where I made the claim that they had to be “operationally” inefficient. You were the one that made that distinction. I’ll admit to using a bit of hyperbole when I made my original statement. But fine, you got all lathered up and asked for specifics about some of the departments that I mentioned. I gave them to you. Then you, not me, started to argue about operational efficiency. Personally, I would think that there are more appropriate types, but I’m willing to work with you.

    So, lets address your post. First, you pick a couple interesting time periods. Yes, there are certainly times when the stock market has had poor performance. Couple things… first, I will concede that in the 30′s the average person didn’t invest much and may well have made the mistake of having most of their investments in stocks just a few years before retirement. However, by the 90′s, anyone who was doing that was doing so against all common sense and against any type of advice from anyone trustworthy. Actually, if you go to the Vanguard website, you can see that they have a free little online asset planner. You answer a bunch of questions about age, risk tolerance etc. and they give you an asset allocation to shoot for. You know, the older you are, the less you should have in stocks, etc. You should play with it. Although I’m only in my 30′s and years away from retiring, I have already started to put a % of my retirement in bonds and cash equivalents.

    So, your argument seemed to be that if you do something stupid with your money, it can hurt you. No disagreement here. I’m not sure what that has to do with your assertion about B). I mean, if you spend 8 seconds on the Vanguard website, you can see that you can also invest in bonds, money markets, REIT’s, whatever. What does that have to do with operational efficiency? Remember, the term operational efficiency actually started with you. I checked and the first time we see it is post 279 when you bring it up, state that I’m not limiting myself to operational efficiency and claim I’m moving the goalposts.

    I would have assumed that anyone reading my post would understand that I was intentionally not limiting myself to operational efficiency. After all, the DoA might have been very good about how efficient they were in cutting those checks to those dead people. But they still sent checks to dead people, and in the long run, it is that bigger picture that we are probably concerned about.

    The second point you seemed to make is that for older people, investing in the market can be bad. Would you care to continue with your reasoning? Why not pick a large number of 20 year periods and see what would happen to young people who invest in equities during those periods? I’m not sure what that has to do with operational efficiency, but it seems like you see some correlation, so please continue.

    So, I have tried to compare SS to an organization that I claimed was similar to SS. I gave similarities, talked about costs, services, outcomes… I have then asked you very specific questions several times to try to get some information from you. You have ignored almost all of them. You have referred to my ideology and my ignorance multiple times. Isn’t it a bit incongruent that in this very same thread you wrote about someone else:++Can’t help but notice that JC isn’t responding to points raised by Ian, myself, or anyone else but is taking a rather, mmmm, more personal approach.++

    Please, we have now noticed that you are doing the same. If you want to talk about the operational efficiency of SS, lets do so. Present some fact or assertion about their operations. I have asked lots of questions that might give you some direction on where to start. But at this point, save yourself the effort of referring to my ideology.