Saturday, January 17, 2015
The Greatest Story Never Told- The Sunday Collage
In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Critical thinking is the study of clear, reasoned thinking. All things are considered.
We no longer employ critical thinking nor do most folks understand what that is. They simply react favorably to a situation that benefits them or unfavorably- if they find themselves on the losing team. That is as deep as most folks get. I believe this is because critical thinking takes effort and investigation. It takes research, reading, comprehension skills, and time. It takes reasoning and good judgment. All speech is purposeful and critical thinkers understand that concept.
In a fat, lazy, country- people don't want to exert any additional physical energy. They want a pill to make them skinny. It's no different with their intellectual energy. Rather than do any independent thinking- intellectually lazy people- want someone who they perceive as credible to do their thinking for them. People then pick out those arguments that they think make sense- and they offer that up to bolster their ego and belief systems. That way they are free from all of the intellectual work and time that critical thinking demands. That's why millions of people drink like fish and watch television. That's America. Our government loves fat, lazy people who pay taxes, pull levers, and don't ask questions. Government must love our culture.
If that sounds arrogant- I'm sorry. There is simply no other way of describing a fat, lazy nation that looks for instantaneous and miracle cures for everything- without having to put forth any effort whatsoever.
What I'd like to do today, among a few other things, is to contrast the Affordable Care Act v compulsory auto liability insurance. People often cite government's intrusion into the auto liability arena as precedent and justification for the ACA. I am so sick of hearing that lame ass argument- that I thought I would give you some cannon fodder the next time you hear some statist offer up that faulty piece of non thinking. More on that in a minute.
A few days ago, a friend of mine posted an anti-ACA type of post on Facebook. I commented that I have grown weary of people who use compulsory auto liability laws as precedent and justification while defending Obamacare. Here then is a reply to my post. Critical thinking cannot occur until you seek to understand all sides of an issue. When you don't, this is the kind of thinking that we see. I believe, more or less, that this is the thinking of millions of people receiving subsidized ACA insurance. This is the shallow end of the pool.
The quote from the FB thread: (I have added numbers to the sentences)
(1)You can choose to have health insurance, just like you can choose to not carry car insurance. (2)They are the same, but there are consequences now to not having either one. (3)With car insurance you can go to jail, or pay a fine, or have your driver's license revoked. (4)With this health insurance, it's as simple as an added fee to taxes. (5) In truth, there always was a penalty to not having health insurance, it's just that the uninsured themselves haven't had to pay it. (6)With everybody always bellyaching about "having to pay for other people" it baffles me that now we still have so many people bellyaching over paying for themselves. (7) There's never going to be a situation that makes everybody happy. (8) That much is clear. (9) I understood all the protesting when this first came out, because it was something new and people don't like change....but now, more than a year later, the shock should have worn off and folks should realize it's no different than any other rise in expenses. (10) When something happens and free healthcare is not available, you're gonna be glad you've got that health insurance just like you are when you have a mishap with your full coverage car insurance, regardless of how many months you had to pay for it "without using it".
Let's go through her comment, line by line, and try to paraphrase and determine what she is trying to say.
(1) Even though it's the law- you don't actually have to comply with it. (Not the best advice)
(2) Car insurance and health insurance are the same and you will suffer the consequences if you don't buy in. (Those two items and their objectives are entirely different)
(3) These are the penalties for non compliance. (Under the ACA, the penalty is better than the product)
(4) An added fee to taxes? (Good gawd, we are now calling taxes, "fees"- it was actually neither)
(5) The uninsured haven't had to pay a penalty. (Bet me- we call it bankruptcy)
(6) My absolute favorite line. It baffles me that people don't want to pay for other folks' insurance- or pay 200% increases for themselves. I am laughing as I write this, really.
(7) Therefore, this is the best of all of the bad solutions. (No actually, there were far better solutions)
(8) Any fool knows this. (I am so smart I shouldn't have to point out the obvious)
(9) People were upset because this was something new- that's really the only issue- now get over it!
(10) You're going to be happy because when something bad happens- you'll be covered. (Never mind that the service is so over priced that you are paying ten times what it should actually cost)
The insurance lobby was very effective when lobbying state legislatures many years ago- and lawmakers dutifully set about the task of writing laws mandating compulsory auto liability insurance. Obviously those laws, with mandatory coverage minimums, were done by the states. While there were other solutions available- it was certainly in the best interests of the insurance industry to cast the widest net. Like it or not, liability insurance is here to stay. Personally, I don't think government has any right to force us to buy products in the marketplace, but that argument is not where I want to go today. Liability insurance primarily protects property. It is avoidable- meaning that you can find other forms of transportation and avoid the costs associated with compulsory insurance.
There are still millions of uninsured motorists running around- which proves the world did not invert when people didn't comply with the law. Instead, most of us carry insurance that protects our property and we carry uninsured and under insured motorist coverage which protects us against giant medical bills.
The objectives of compulsory liability insurance are entirely different than the objectives of health insurance- the most important of which was that health insurance companies were on the verge of total collapse in 2009 and desperately needed a bail out of their own.
In late 2008 all the way through 2009, the American economy lost 10 million jobs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_losses_caused_by_the_Great_Recession
The greatest story never told- is the one where 10 million people lost their jobs and insurance and they didn't come back for insurance. Millions of people, healthy people, simply opted out of purchasing health insurance. Unhealthy people had to stay in. This created one of the biggest balance sheet distortions ever experienced by health insurance companies. Like banks, they needed a bailout. There was simply no way that the American people would stomach another taxpayer bailout- thus politicians devised the sneakiest bailout of all time and they called it the "Affordable Care Act." The affordable care act was always a lie. It was conceived to force back in- all of those healthy people and place them onto the asset side of the ledger again. Government always uses clever names when seizing our assets. In doling out fines- the government calls that something cutesy and palatable like "shared responsibility." Obamacare was the greatest stealth bailout ever conceived and the democrats even managed to look like champions of the poor and pick up a few million votes in the process.
Of course it was nothing more than a con job- but the government knows that they can blow smoke up the public's ass because the public lacks critical thinking skills. In fact, most folks buy into the "shared responsibility" meme offered up by the democrats. Not only that- but the government has been quite successful in hijacking the narrative and pitting the subsidized side (D) against the unsubsidized (R) side. It is nothing more than a distraction from the truth. Government climbed into bed with bankers and insurers long ago- they win- and we the people lose. The best part is that most people have bought into their bullshit. They don't care what argument you fall for just so long as you keep turning your money over to them.
People buy into those ridiculous narratives they've been selling and that's why we have threads like the one I posted above. I am sure every one of you has seen something similar.
I am in awe that of all of the fantastic writing about the illegal activities of bankers by people like Matt Taibbi and Yves over at "naked capitalism" that the one story that has never been investigated or reported on is the one where the health insurance lobby came crawling on their knees and received the ACA as a bailout complete with a government backstop in the event they suffered mounting losses once the plan was implemented.
Why do you think nobody in Congress read the bill? Because they knew what it really was- a stealth bailout. It didn't concern them nor were they going to be subjected to it. They didn't care.
Let's just hope the life insurers don't come calling for a bailout and lobby Congress for a law making us purchase life insurance and naming the IRS as the beneficiaries.
Here's a great piece from 2009 in the L.A. Times before the final ACA draft. Nobody calls the ACA what it really was- but even back in 2009 everyone knew where the money trail led. backhttp://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-healthcare-insurers24-2009aug24-story.html
I have never lost sight of who the real villains are. I don't blame people who need healthcare and can't get it. I understand survival. I understand people who are desperately trying to remove pain while improving and extending their lives. They don't particularly care where the money comes from just so long as they have access to healthcare. I get all of that.
I'm not falling for the part where one political side wants to use me to play kickball with the other side. We all want reasonable access to affordable healthcare and unfortunately- we all can't get it because a co-opted Congress works for the people who write them checks instead of consumers. They don't represent "We the people" anymore. They haven't represented us for years- even though they lie and say they do. They probably believe their own bullshit.
One day, if critical thinking ever returns to this culture, we might have a conversation about making health insurance illegal. Perhaps we could even return to a system where an actual buyer and a seller agree on a pre determined price. A market place where bloated middlemen are severed from the process. A competitive and fair marketplace. All of that is fantasy of course- until honesty and leadership make a giant come back in our political process. Honesty and leadership can't make a comeback until people realize why they were important in the first place. Until then- the leaderless group exercise continues.
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.