Sunday, October 25, 2009

Control Costs - Then Expand Coverage

Tyler Cowan's article in The New York Times describes the possible harm that insurance mandates might cause. At the end of the article, however, there is a caution that I totally agree with:

We’re often told that America should copy the health care institutions of Western Europe. Yet we’re failing to copy the single most important lesson from those systems — namely, to put cost control first. Instead, we’re putting our foot on the gas pedal and ratcheting up the fiscal pressures on the system, in the hope that someday, somehow, it will all work out.

As it stands, we’re on the verge of enacting a policy that is due to explode, penalizing many of the very people that it was ostensibly designed to help.

In fact the debate in Congress will be completely dishonest. Medicare has 74 trillion dollars of unfunded mandates, and here we are, about to add another layer of medical entitlement on top of it. Tyler Cowan's prediction about exploding entitlements is more real than Congress would have us believe.

Discussion on this article can also be read at The Volokh Conspriacy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If You Disagree with Me Then You're A Racist

Given the very low standard of political debate these days, the above title is really not very far off. Barak Obama is a pretty liberal guy, but his admirers are not very liberal when it comes to political debate. The new liberal tactic to shutdown debate is to accuse anyone who disagrees with the President's policies if to label that person a racist.

But you know what, that same tactic works for me. I am a white guy, but if you disagree with my views, then, Hell, you're a racist.

Sauce for the goose.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2nd Amendment - An Individual Right

Even in this post-Heller United States, I constantly come across the view that the 2nd Amendment is a collective right, not and individual right. While answering that post I came across one of the best summaries of legal decisions and scholarship establishing that the 2nd Amendment is indeed an individual right, courtesy of The View From North Central Idaho. I encourage everyone to read Joe Huffman's blog.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Health Care Mirage

Most people do not know what health care costs, because most people do not pay of it: their employers pay, they pay out or their paychecks, but at the doctors office or pharmacy counter, they never see a bill.

This helps lead people to believe that health care is free, but it is not. One cannot repeal the laws of economics. Health care is a service delivered for a fee, which somebody pays. That sombody is usually an insurance company which collects premiums in exchange for covering the cost of the services. Individuals usually do not even pay all of the premiums, large fractions of which are often covered by the employer as a benefit to the employee.

So individuals do not often see the true costs of health care, and the belief spreads that health care is, or should be, free.

That is impossible, of course, because there are costs associated with delivering any service. But the belief that health care is free is behind the popularity of the idea of health reform: in this case the government will pay, but it will still be free, especially the so-called "public option".

That idea is totally wrong, and I think many American will be shocked to learn who will end up paying for it: the middle class will pay. They will pay either through increased premiums of their employer provided plans, through increased taxes, or they will pay the premiums directly.

Huh, what?

That's right. The "public option" is government defined health care, and government mandated health care, but it is not government paid health care, or at least not yet, and not for people with means. Only the very poorest will pay not premium to be covered under the public option. And it does not attempt to reduce health care costs. The primary goal of all proposals currently in Congress is to cover the uninsured, and the services used by the currently uninsured must be paid for by somebody, and that will be the majority of Americans that already have health care, or have the means to pay for it.

I think that Americans will be disappointed by the fact that post-reform they will be paying more out of pocket for health care and taxes. But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, that once the first round of reform is in place, a second one addressing growing costs can be passed, and this article in the New York Times describes how this might be done:

But there’s another path, equally radical, that’s more in keeping with the traditional American approach to government, taxation and free enterprise. This approach would give up on the costly goal of insuring everyone for everything, forever. Instead, it would seek to insure Americans only against costs that exceed a certain percentage of their income, while expecting them to pay for everyday medical expenditures out of their own pockets.

Such a system would provide universal catastrophic health insurance, in other words, while creating a free market for non-catastrophic care. In the process, it would marry a central conservative insight — that we’ll never control spending so long as Americans are insulated from the true price of their medical care — to the admirable liberal premise that nobody should go bankrupt paying for life-saving treatment.

The key point to this view of health care is that we begin to treat it just like any other service. We shop around for the best quality versus price for all kind of services, and service providers have an incentive to innovate and run their businesses more efficiently in order to remain profitable and competitive. Once the cost of health care is advertised in an office just like an oil change for your care, Americans can then manage their health care costs themselves, and true reform will have been accomplished.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amendment to Repeal AB 962.

As reported by the California Rifle and Pistol Association:

AB 962 becomes effective on February 1, 2011. But not if Assemblyman Curt Hagman has his way. He has amended his bill, AB 373, to repeal AB 962 before the effective date.

AB 373 is a bill designed to clarify handgun possession during certain legal activities. This bill went nowhere during the first year of the legislative session, and so it will need all of our support if it to pass in the next year of the session.

Please read the information at the CRPA link above, and then act to help repeal AB 962. It may be a narrow chance at this point, but it is a chance.

Also, please thank Assemblyman Hagman for his support:

Bottom Line:

I think that this has no chance of succeeding. Why would the legislature support the repeal of a law that it just passed, and that the Governor just signed?

We must come up with impacts of AB 962 that were unintended, but that are harmful for lawful gun owners. Arguments that were put forward previously for opposing AB 962 will not work a second time around. We mustcome up with something new. See the CRPA page for details.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Global Warming = Bullshit

This is why I think global warming is a unadulterated bullshit. Most of you twenty-somethings do not remember this, but in the '70's the big climate scare was that we were entering a FUCKING ICE AGE, not that the globe was warming.

Look here to read a Newsweek article predicting dire fucking consequences if something is not dine like melting the arctic ice by spreading black soot over the sea ice is not immediately, even though in this day melting arctic ice is now seen as a major environmental disaster.

Oh, no! The polar bear are going to die!

Climate scientists are dumber than a fucking bag of hammers.

Fuck all of them!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Darren, You Got It In One!

Darren at Right on The Left Coast says that you cannot be pro-jobs and anti-business at the same time and make any sense at all.

But the stupid Liberals do that all the time. David Cote, you sir are a fool!

AB 962 - CalGuns will Challenge It in Court

One of the best web sites I know of to learn about legal issues involving gun rights is David Hardy's Of Arms And The Law. In a post about Governor Schwarzenegger's signing statement for AB 962, Bill Wiese of the CalGuns Foundation posted a statement confirming CalGuns resolve to challenge AB 962 in Federal Court. That post also outlined the legal strategy they intend to pursue.

This lawsuit will be very interesting to follow.

While AB 962 was wending its way through the California legislature, I often wondered if it could not be attacked via the Commerce clause of the United States Constitution. But in a reply to a post that brought up just that idea, Bill Wiese replies:

We'd prefer a winning strategy. Commerce clause attacks may well result in negative outcomes or way more handwaving and time up the appeals chain. Why not go direct with a clean parallel case?
I am not a lwyer, but I would have thought that a Commerce Clause strategy would be a winning strategy. Who ever heard of the FAAAA '94? I hope that this case does not lose at lower level courts so that The Volokh Conspiracy can weigh in with cogent legal analyses on the case.

Health Care Bill Debate

Megan McArdle has another insightful article about the coming debate over the health care bill recently passed out of committee in the Senate. She comments on Michael Cannon's article at Cato explaining wht Cannon thinks that the health care bill may die because of internal conflicts among Democratic interest groups.

McArdle does not think Cannon is correct, and that health care reform will pass, will fail, and cause a huge hole in the deficit. Democrats will be stuck trying to explain why a national heath bill ballooned in cost just like the one in Massachusetts, causing the Restoration of the Republicans to power in Congress.

So what if McArdle is right, and Republicans return to power after the Democrats are crucified on the health care cross? Will the health care "reform" enacted by the Congress be rolled back? Or will the Republicans morph into something akin to European "Conservatives" who are winning campaigns based not on ending the social services offered by the government, but on promising to manage them better and deliver them cost effectively.

I think that this is a real possibility. After all, when has a social program ever been eliminated in the United States?

Monday, October 12, 2009

California Governor Race - Get Used to a Democrat

I was sitting in a bar doing the unthinkable: talking about politics. The guy sitting a few seats down opined that Tom Campbell would be the next Governor. I disagreed, stating my belief that the Democratic Party pretty much owns the state, and that any candidate that could win the Republican nomination would be completely unacceptable to the electorate as a whole.

My views are supported by a new Field Poll released last week.

As it now stands, Jerry Brown has a pretty comfortable lead over Gavin Newsom, but either of these could defeat any one of the Republicans now running for the nomination. A real indicator of how far the Republican Party has slid in the state can be seen that all three Republican candidates are so little known that at least 59% of registered voters have no opinion. Both Democratic candidates would beat any of the three Republican candidates in the general election.

From where we are today, it looks like California will have united Democratic government in Sacramento after the election.

Governor Brown, anyone?

AB 962 - Governor Signs the Bill.

Anthroblogogy is reporting that Governor Schwarzenegger has signed AB 962, meaning that ammunition restrictions will go into effect in 2011.

They also speculate that there may be a legal challenge to this bill under Federal preemption laws, but that remains to be seen. In any case California shooters are screwed.

Thanks Sacramento!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Future Of Health Care - Coming to You Soon!

The experiences of Massachusetts residents and their state's reformed health care system is a cautionary one for the rest of America. Read here about how "reform" might work for all of us in the future: fines for non-compliant plans, after the Guv'ment changes the rules.

It's apparent that state health-care policies can change at the whim of politicians in Boston, and we might not be able to adjust to the new rules. The way we figure it, if we sign up for a state-subsidized plan we will be at the mercy of the state.

This is exactly why so many people are suspicious of the Democratic proposals for health care "reform" currently making the rounds in Congress. And you better believe that it will be the middle class that takes it in the pocketbook to pay for the "reform". Politicians, like Willie Sutton, can be depended on to "go where the money is".

Oh yes, this is change we can believe in!

Cabelas Announcement Concerning AB 962

For all of the attention Cabelas announcement that they will end mail and internet order ammunition sales in California if AB 962 becomes law, it has been hard to find the actual text. Here it is at this link.

There have also been rumors that Cheaper Than Dirt will also suspend sales of ammunition to California purchasers, but I have been unable to find an official press release to that effect.

I can say without any doubt that one effect of AB 962 will be to drive up the price of ammunition. I buy ammunition from Cabelas in bulk in order to save money. Once AB 962 becomes law, that source will be closed to me, and I will have to use brick and mortar gun shops. Besides that fact that in the Bay Area there are not a lot of places that sell ammunition (Wal Mart stores don't in San Jose), the overhead of operating a store drives up the cost.

So, all one can do is stock up prior to the effective date, February 11, 2010, and then arrange to go out of state to get large supplies of ammunition. And does anyone think that criminals will not also get their ammunition smuggled in as well, or steal it from legal owners.

Right, I thought so.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Health Care Reform - Experience of States Not Encouraging

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." There is a whiff of insanity surrounding the debate over health care reform. Many of the things proposed in various legislation have been tried before, notably in Washington, Tennessee, and Massachusetts.

But I have not seen it laid out more logically than in this article on the The Atlantic website. After reading this article one could ask their Congressman some really hard questions. One telling point:

Proponents of reform often say it has to be done at a national level because states can't borrow money in downturns, but this doesn't explain why the spending side is headed through the roof.
Keep in mind that the United States can only borrow money in a downturn to the extent that the Chinese continue to buy our Treasury bonds. How long will that keep up if the spending for a black hole of an entitlement keeps sucking in more and more of the budget.

And why is nobody in Washington D.C. discussing the still unfunded mandate for Medicare, which is still expected to be insolvent sometime around 2017!

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize for Doing Nothing

Well, this is a hell of a surprise: President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. This now removes all doubt in my mind that the Nobel Prize is a meaningless gesture.

President Obama, for all of his sincere efforts, has not crafted a hugely successful foreign policy, and that is putting it charitably. Korea still defies the world with their nuclear weapons development, as does Iran. Afghanistan fighting threatens to spill over into Pakistan, with nuclear consequences as well. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians is more remote than ever.

Oh, well. What can one expect from an organization that would award the prize to Al Gore?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wow! I'm a Racist! Who knew?

This from Big Hollywood:

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy made his name explaining how you could tell if you were a redneck. I trust you understand that fame and fortune such as he achieved aren’t my motivation. But merely as a public service, I thought I’d point out how to recognize if you’re a racist. For instance, if you think that Jesse Jackson is an extortionist; that Al Sharpton is a con man; that Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright and Van Jones are three of a kind; and that the Black Congressional Caucus, ACORN, the SEIU, the Black Panthers, Eric Holder and Barack Hussein Obama, present a clear and present danger to our Republic, you are what passes for a racist in 2009.
I guess I must be a racist, because I especially agree with the sentiments expressed about Jackson and Sharpton. I do not think, however, that President Obama is a clear and present danger: he is just a President we will have to endure of one or two terms, before we get another guy we'll have to endure for one or two terms. I swear that after George W. Bush, this country can endure anything.

Congress, however, is a clear and present danger to the nation. I hope Pelosi and pals get hammered in 2010.

CCW in Santa Clara County

I have written before that the CCW law in California is a joke, and that it would be more fair if the state did not issue CCW permits at all. As you can see here, at 170 permits in 2007, Santa Clara county is not the worst, but it is still pretty hard to get a CCW if you are a ordinary person.

One group that can help is Team Billy Jack. While often not popular at in other CCW forums, his site make interesting reading. CCW permits are obtainable, but you have to be willing to go court if necessary. But this is often not necessary, especially when this team is assisting you. If I wanted to get a CCW in California, these guys would be my first stop.

And if you read their occasional blog postings, you will find that Team Billy Jack is preparing some sort of action against the Santa Clara Sheriff's Department. This department has historically been an especially disorganized and corrupt. While nothing is certain yet, it is possible a lawsuit will result, in which case the legal drama should be well worth watching.

Nancy Pelosi - The First Female President

For the last 10 months, most people in this country have thought that we have been enjoying our first black President, Barack Obama. But that is not true. Given how little the President has accomplished, and how large a role in what has been accomplished the Speaker of the House of Representatives has played, we have really been experiencing our first female President.

Real Clear Politics has this article today that lays it all out, and it is not pretty.

And to think we were worried that this guy would actually do something, like ban guns!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

AB 962: Sign or Veto - We'll Know By Sunday

Governor Schwarzenegger has hundreds of bills on this desk for his signature or his veto, and he has signed only three, according to this article in SFGate.

It turns out that, in another standoff with the legislature, the Governor is threatening a mass veto of hundreds of bills if he does not get his way in negotiations over the state's water system.

While I would like AB 962, SB 585, and SB 41 to not become law, based on their lack of merit, I will take what I can get if they are swept up the the Governor's fit of pique.

What do I think will happen? The parties in the water negotiations will reach a compromise agreement, and the Governor will sign all three bills. While Schwarzenegger is a member of the Republican Party, that is not the same as saying he is a conservative, which may be said of the Republican Party entirely.

California hates guns, and would like to see them disappear. Get ready to fork over a thumb print for higher priced ammunition.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm Back.

After a very busy summer in which I simply had no energy to think through additional posts, I have returned to this blog.

And it seems that the world has changed. Before the tone of the blog was concentrated on gun rights, and these issues are still important, even as AB 962, SB 585, and SB 41 sit on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk for signature or veto.

But it seems that I really should contribute to the biggest debate of the day: healthcare reform. I will do so in upcomming posts as it now seems that Congress has gotten off the dime and has bills ready for debate.

I will also be keep posting on the progress of McDonald v. Chicago, now accepted for argument before the Supreme Court, as well as more local gun rights cases here in California.

I hope those few of you who have been following my blog are still around, and that new readers will find my posts enlightening and informative.