Americans should not emulate Canadian health care system
If Americans want to suffer and die like Canadians while they wait for treatment then sure, they should go for universal public health care. I don’t know why though. Now American hospitals offer public apologies for 15 minute wait times while Canadian ERs routinely require people to wait 4-6 hours or longer. The wait time for medically necessary procedures is even worse and getting even worse.
The problem with the US isn’t too little government but too much – mostly in the form of ridiculously huge damage awards and the effect they have on costs and insurance premiums.
1) Respect the right of patients to contract out of potential negligence claims (sign a waiver of liability) in return for lower prices.
2) Allow anyone, including nurse practitioners to offer whatever services, treatments, etc. they want.
3) Support private watch dogs like Consumer Reports for health care or the various doctor rating websites to track the competency of health care providers.
All of this is simply respecting the rights of consenting adults to voluntarily do business with each other without some politician, judge, or bureaucrat interfering. This would guarantee that the market would provide exactly what we really need at a price that represented its true value.
Canadians kill in the nicest way possible
Guilty: Harper’s Conservatives, Trudeau’s Liberals and all those who support and sustain them with votes and money.
Crime: Aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia in the murder of those who fail to obey the Saudi monarch and who said monarch’s agents can get their murderous hands on. This includes anyone in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Is Saudi Arabia deploying Canadian-made weapons in Yemen?
Saudi Arabia beheads 37 citizens and pins one of the headless bodies to a pole
Fact: During the Arab Spring the Saudi puppet dictator of Yemen was tossed out by the people. The Saudi army, using, inter alia, Canadian arms, has been killing Yemenis ever since.
Fact: The Saudis have been lopping the hands and heads off anyone who they get to confess, under torture, of having extreme ideas – ideas opposed to the inhuman application of Islamic law by the Saudi regime.
Penalty: All rational (i.e. moral) persons ought to deny all support to the Saudi state and to any state that aids and abets it’s murderous activities, including Canada.
Protectionism? Get a Grip!
Protectionism is when the government protects or creates jobs in our country by imposing taxes on imports from other countries. What could be wrong with that?
To answer that I am going to use US statistics for 3 reasons: 1) they are more readily available; 2) the argument against protectionism in Canada is the same as in the US even though the figures differ slightly; 3) right now its Americans who are most in danger of being taken in by the protectionist nonsense from con men like Trump and Sanders. So here goes. What’s wrong with protectionism.
First: taxation is theft. The government has no moral right to interfere with an agreement between a person in this country and a person in another country and tell them they can’t do business with each other unless the government gets a cut. That’s something a criminal gang does. The government is a criminal gang. Taxation is wrong.
Second: protectionism hurts all the people involved. Why aren’t the people in the other countries important to us? They seem to be important enough to send them charity. Even the government sends them foreign aid. So we care about them too? We want them to have what they need to survive? But we just don’t want them to get to earn it by making things and selling it to us. We only want them to get what they need by receiving it as charity. Wow, we are really good people aren’t we? We’d rather impose taxes on someone, put them out of work, and make them dependent on handouts then reward them for their efforts by being honest and paying them for their stuff. We can blame it on supposedly unfair policies of their government but it’s not their government that we’re hurting, its the productive workers and businesses in these other countries that suffer from tariffs. And we say we love people all over the world. How hypocritical!
The only people protectionism “protects” is businesses and workers in industries who can’t compete fairly with those producing the same things in other parts of the world. These mouchers need the government to step in and save them from those who are willing and able to provide either better quality stuff or cheaper stuff. The mouchers could become more efficient. They could decide to take less profit. They could decide to take less wages or other benefits. They could decide to retool or retrain so they could produce something else better than foreign competitors. But no, they want to keep all their money and benefits and comfortable jobs and force others to pay for their greed. Why actually compete with others fairly when they can just vote in a government that will knock their competitors out of business by imposing tariffs on them.
But hasn’t it been proven that all this free trade has cost us jobs?
Not at all. Technological progress has enabled the manufacturing sector to produce more stuff using fewer workers. Look at this chart. In 1985 it 18 million workers in manufacturing in the US to produce almost half as much stuff as just 12 million workers produce today.
Also, the manufacturing sector is a much smaller portion of the economy than it once was. The graph below shows how manufacturing jobs have declined from about 40% of the non-farming workforce just after WW2 to less than 10% today. This decline started well before the first of the free trade agreements were signed. The value added to the economy by the manufacturing sector is now only 12% of the US gross domestic product.
Those talking about imposing tariffs to save or create “our” jobs point to the balance of trade deficit in manufactured good compared to other countries. In other words, we buy more manufactured good from businesses in other countries than from business here. True, but so what? Look at the favourable balance of trade in the more important services sector.
Do you hear these protectionists talking about how unfair it is for the US to hold such a favourable balance of trade over other countries in the service industry? A sector which is growing bigger and will continue to grow while the manufacturing sector shrinks and will continue to shrink? Do you hear them promising to impose extra taxes on US based services so they service sector in other countries will be able to compete and take jobs away from the US service sector? (I bet you haven’t and you never will.)
By imposing taxes on manufactured imports, those imports will cost more. So the protectionists (Trump and Sanders) want to make 90% of the workers and businesses pay extra for stuff like shoes, clothes, and similar stuff, so that the 10% of workers and businesses who can’t compete fairly with those overseas can stop trying to become more efficient.
And who do you suppose it hurts the most if you increase the cost of shoes and clothes and other stuff? The rich? What does it matter to a rich person if their $100 shoes now cost $115? But it matters a lot to the poor or middle class if the stuff they need now costs an extra 15% – just so 10% of them can keep their jobs a little longer in industries that are quickly being phased out by technological progress.
This graph shows how much more the poor and middle class benefit from being able to buy cheaper foreign products compared to the rich.
By Trump’s own estimates protectionism will add about an extra $1,500 per year to the cost of daily necessities. Protectionism is a tax on the poor and middle class so that politicians can make headlines by bragging about the “saving our jobs” in the 10% of the economy made up of the manufacturing sector. It’s a con. Don’t fall for it.
For the icing on the cake get this: most of the manufacturing sector itself would even be hurt by protectionism. That’s because most of the stuff the US imports goes into the manufacturing of other stuff. For example, Ford imports parts that get used to make cars. If the imported parts cost more, so will the finished car. Not only will made in the USA stuff cost more for Americans, but the higher price will make it harder to sell American made goods to foreigners. So half the stuff protectionism would make more expensive to everyone, would end up helping absolutely no one, not even the 10% of people working in the manufacturing sector.
And we’re not done yet. If anyone for a second actually believes that other countries will let the US get away with imposing tariffs on their imports without retaliating by imposing their own tariffs on US exports, you are really beyond hope. China and other countries will retaliate and even more stuff will cost even more money. This new trade war will spread into other sectors and end up costing jobs. The net effect of all this is that more inefficient businesses and workers will stay in business and more efficient businesses and workers will be unable to compete. Being good at what you do will be less important than whether your particular sector is favoured by the government. It will be the government, politicians and bureaucrats, who will determine which businesses survive instead of the decision being made by consumers.
If people heard Trump and Sanders promising to impose a new tax on everyone that would hurt the poor more than the rich and would only help a tiny portion of the economy, no one would ever think of voting for them. Well, that’s exactly what they are promising.
“Save our jobs”? Seriously, get a grip.
International Trade Agreements
Every decision the state makes is wrong. At least in the sense that it is wrong to presume to have the authority to make decisions that rightfully belong to others and then enforce those decisions. The state, all states, have lost that authority (some never had it to begin with) by exercising power beyond that which was delegated by the consent of those over whom that power is exercised. This is at least almost always to be expected.
“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” — DC 121:39
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — Lord Acton
In at least one case, the founding and fundamental principles of a state were set out clearly and in writing and, had it not been for the truisms quoted above, if adhered to, would have justified the decisions of that state. I refer to the individuals rights to life liberty and property, the protection of which was the only authority granted the original United States in its founding document. But that authority has long since passed away due to its abuse by those charged with its faithful discharge.
That leaves all modern states as no better than rival criminal gangs engaged in a turf war with each other and all of us as complicit lackeys or innocent victims in that war.
But that doesn’t mean that no state decisions can have favourable consequences. When a court makes a ruling that diminishes the power of the state over the individual, or when political exigencies induce political leaders to enter international trade agreements with the effect of reducing or constraining their state’s power over individuals, then one can take some satisfaction in the anticipated increase in personal freedom, despite the illegitimacy of the agencies involved.
So called “free trade agreements” are among those state decisions with some favourable consequences. The reduction and elimination of tariffs and similar barriers to trade between individuals and non-statist corporations is good. It expands personal liberty. It creates wealth and therefore jobs – though not every job in every sector of every state’s economy. But that is not the goal of anyone but a bigot*. It also reduces costs for both businesses and consumers and opens larger markets and opportunities for new and expanding businesses.
By including restrictions on non-tariff trade barriers it also reduces state interference in the economy in ways that are not primarily related to trade such as so-called environmental protection and labour standards. It also curtails corporate handouts and bias in awarding contracts thus allowing a freer market to rationally allocate capital thus maximizing wealth creation and a consequent increase in general prosperity. More dying businesses are allowed to fail without government draining capital from new and thriving businesses just to keep the old ones alive until at least after the next election.
The critique that this all translates into unemployment, pollution, and poor working conditions is just a case of willful blindness as it is the state, not individuals, that has been responsible for unemployment, poor working conditions and pollution.
So to the extent that these agreements reduce the power of the state, we ought to root for them. NAFTA, CETA, and the TPP included. Some of the nefarious aspects of these agreements such as involving the sharing of information among states about their citizens, whether by inclusion in the main agreement or in side deals secret or otherwise, are of less significance as we will always be at war with the state over privacy and personal liberty. We just need to remain aware, act smart, and disengage having as little interaction with the state as possible.
It is unfortunate, though not surprising, that the very signatory states to these agreements, routinely circumvent them. The United States is notoriously non-compliant with its obligations under NAFTA and enforcement mechanisms are woefully inadequate. But what more can be expected from criminal gangs. Surely not that they would obey their own laws. Under statist theory and practice obedience to law is a concept to be used to maintain the state’s power over individuals, not to restrict it.
* A job does not “belong” to anyone. It is a contract between the employer and the employee by which the former pays money to the latter in return for the latter’s services. Both the amount of money and the nature of the services must be mutually agreed upon for the contract to exist. Those who support laws that compel employers to contract only with employees in a specified location are bigots because they are using violence (state laws enforced by the police and judicial system) to favour some people (usually relatively well-off people in developed countries) over others (usually poor people in less developed countries). These same people usually also support sending foreign aid to these other countries to ease their guilt. Some of my best friends are bigots. I wish they’d stop.
Obama’s Spending Spree
When Obama took office the US national debt was already a staggering $10.88 trillion. After just 3 years of a fiscally reckless President and an equally reckless Congress, the US national debt has grown to $15.36 trillion. The increase in the debt of $4.47 trillion under Obama is greater than the total debt amassed throughout the entire history of the US from its beginning right up to the end of Bill Clinton’s first year in office.
Got that? In 3 years Obama overspent more than every President from George Washington to Bill Clinton combined.
The only way Obama was able to stave off national bankruptcy was to approve borrowing even more money, thus all but ensuring that bankruptcy will be inevitable and have even more severe consequences. By the way, before he was elected Obama promised to cut the annual deficit by half by the end of his first term.
To attack or not to attack
Here are a few good articles about Iran. “Good” in the sense that they present the arguments for both sides of the attack vs. do not attack issue.
The do not attack argument fails on at least 3 points:
1. Iran is not Iraq. Therefore, you can”t point to the failure in Iraq as evidence for why there should be no attack against Iran. First, there was never any credible evidence that Iraq posed a threat to the West. Iran, on the other hand, is bragging of its efforts to develop a “peaceful” nuclear capability. The trouble is, Iran refuses to limit its uranium enrichment to peaceful levels. So, Iran definitely constitutes a threat whereas Iraq did not. Second, the attack against Iran would be an air war and not an occupation. It would be designed to set back Iran”s nuclear program and could be repeated whenever the program progressed to the point where the threat reappeared. No dead US soldiers, no allied occupation, no occupation. Iran is not Iraq.
2. There is good reason to fear that Iran”s leadership would not be deterred by the concept of MAD – mutually assured destruction – which deterred the Soviet leadership from using nukes all through the cold war years. These religious fanatics might actually like the prospect of (a) bringing on Judgment Day via nuclear Armageddon, or (b) just reshuffling the deck through a nuclear exchange with the West in the hope that this time it gets dealt a better geopolitically strategic hand (especially when there”s always prospect (a) to fall back on).
3. Appeasement doesn’t prevent war, it just makes it worse when it happens. Weren’t we supposed to have learned this already from WW2? The best time to stop Hitler would have been when he reoccupied the Rhineland in violation of the peace treaty ending WW1. Yes it would have meant war but it would have been fought entirely in Germany, it would have been of short duration, and its outcome would have certain victory for the West. How many millions of lives would have been saved? How much misery prevented?
By this time next year Iran will be a smouldering ruin
It”s a simple choice. Iran is a nuclear power or Iran is a smoldering ash heap. I don”t see how you get to any other alternative. The US will bomb Iran before Bush ends his term because it is too risky for him to leave it to the next President who may be Hilary Clinton. Guiliani would do it but he has to get elected first. I’d rather take the consequences of bombing Iran then let them acquire the means of starting a new cold war.