Archive for obamacare

Bylund on Resistance Radio

I’ll be on Resistance Radio 98.9FM WGUF at around 12:15 EST discussing Obamacare and Sweden’s health care. My take on the former is that it is much like the latter used to be, but that as America is going for public health care Sweden is going for markets.

Obamacare Delay: Good Politics, Bad Economics

Ace of heartsD.W. MacKenzie writes in today’s Mises Daily:

The Obama administration has in the same week admitted that the burdens that the ACA places on small businesses are onerous. The costs of the ACA will therefore cause smaller employers to demand fewer workers.

Economically speaking, there is not a real difference between workers supplying fewer hours of labor and employers demanding fewer hours of labor. In terms of the production of real wealth fewer hours of labor used in industry translates into reduced overall production. Politically, however, there is a very real difference between workers wishing to supply more hours, and employers demanding more hours.

Richard Posner’s Conversion to Keynesianism

Gary North writes:

In September of 2009, Judge Richard Posner, one of the creators of the sub-discipline known as law and economics, announced his conversion, at age 70, to Keynesianism. He had been a Chicago School economics advocate for over 40 years.  His confession appears here.

He had long been an advocate of property rights. Recently, he voted with the majority to deny the University of Notre Dame an exemption from ObamaCare’s requirement that employers provide health insurance that provides free condoms.  A report is here.

He wrote: “If the government is entitled to require that female contraceptives be provided to women free of charge, we have trouble understanding how signing the form that declares Notre Dame’s authorized refusal to pay for contraceptives for its students or staff, and mailing the authorization document to those (insurance) companies, which under federal law are obligated to pick up the tab, could be thought to ‘trigger’ the provision of female contraceptives.”

The key words are these: “If the government is entitled. . . .” That is precisely the legal issue. He said that it is so entitled. It is clear that Posner’s conversion to Keynesianism is complete.

Bylund on Liberty Talk Radio

I’ll be on Liberty Talk Radio, KFAQ-AM in Tulsa, OK, tonight (2/22) discussing the similarities between the Affordable Care Act and Sweden’s public health care system. I’ll be on from around 7:35 PM CT (8:35 PM ET), and for those interested the radio show also airs nationally on LibertyTalkRadio.com.

Dumb Consumers Make Infallible Voters

In a recent Mises Daily article, Julian Adorney noted that a central tenet of the gospel of social democracy is that the majority of the people are too stupid to buy or consume the “correct” products and services without government diktat, but that when it comes to voting, the opinions of the majority are infallible and never to be questioned.

Here, we see a woman who claims a mandate to rule based on the opinions of the same people she declares too stupid to see to their own healthcare:

Obamacare: Repeal is not Impossible

NewDealNRAby Dominick Armentano

[LewRockwell.com, February 12, 2014]

Obamacare was sold to the American people as a humanitarian attempt to provide health insurance to the poor and to individuals with a pre-existing medical condition who had been denied coverage. If you were not poor, did not have a pre-existing condition, and already had health insurance and were satisfied with its coverage and rates, you were repeatedly assured that you could keep your plan and doctors. Right.

We now know that the selling of Obamacare was a giant con job. After all, if its proponents had really been sincere, they would have argued that the alleged poor simply be provided vouchers (similar to food stamps) to help purchase insurance; further, a simple one-sentence piece of legislation could have required that insurance companies not automatically exclude potential customers based on some pre-existing medical condition. Done deal. Instead, what we all got smacked with was a 906 page regulatory and tax monstrosity that amounts to a federal makeover and takeover of the entire health care industry.

Can we repeal Obamacare? Defenders of the law, and even some moderate critics from both political parties, assert that repeal is impossible at this point. After all, Obamacare was passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, and parts of the law were declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. Moreover, billions of federal tax dollars have already been spent on the bungled website and countless bureaucrats (including those in the IRS) to administer the new regulations and taxes. Thus, defenders assert, there is simply no precedent for repealing a federal law that’s this important and complex.

Nonsense to that. There is in fact major precedent for repealing important and complex federal law that destroys personal freedom and raises costs and prices to consumers: The Supreme Court’s de facto “repeal” of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA) in 1935.

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Incentives, Income, and Welfare

[Editor's Note: The debate over the effects of the Affordable Care Act on incentives to work continues. In this selection from Chapter 11 of Man vs. The Welfare State (1969), Henry Hazlitt discusses some impacts of welfare programs on incentives.]

by Henry Hazlitt 200px-Hazlitt-photo

I should like to return here to the question of incentives. I have already pointed out how the guaranteed income plan, if adopted in the form that its advocates propose, would lead to wholesale idleness and pauperization among nearly all those earning less than the minimum guarantee, and among many earning just a little more. But in addition to the erosion of the incentive to work, there would be just as serious an erosion of the incentive to save. The main reason most people save is to meet possible but unforeseeable contingencies, such as illness, accidents, or the loss of a job. If everyone were guaranteed a minimum cash income by the government, this main incentive for saving would disappear. The important habit of saving might disappear with it.

The more affluent minority, it is true, also save toward a retirement income in old age or for supplementary income in their working years. But with the prevalence of a guaranteed-income system, this type of saving also would be profoundly discouraged. This would be certain to mean a reduction in both the nation’s capital  accumulation and the investment in more and new and better tools, plants and equipment upon which all of us depend for increased national productivity, increased real wages, more lucrative employment, and economic progress in general. We might even enter an era of net capital consumption. In other words, the long-term effect of a guaranteed-income plan would be to increase poverty, not to reduce it.

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2014: Thoughts on Economics, Empires and Their Sophists

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by Ira Katz

As 2014 begins I, like all sensible people, ponder how long the dollar can last, for both my personal financial decisions and as a world event of the greatest importance.

Empires can be sustained only as long as they can be economically sustained. The Soviet withdraw from Afghanistan was certainly not for any normal human or moral reason, but simply because they were going broke. In hindsight we can see that the days of that evil empire were numbered with that strategic military retreat.

The dead canary in the coal mine for our current aggressive evil empire built on military strength will be the real withdrawal from one of the imperial outposts; say Korea or Japan, due to economic emergency, namely, the collapse of the dollar.

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Audio: Robert Murphy Explains Obamacare

In case you missed it, here is Bob Murphy explaining Obamacare on the Tom Woods show.

What You Were Never Told About Obamacare

170px-Caduceus.svgWhile the costs of providing health care insurance are beginning to skyrocket because of Obamacare, insurance company executives are sleeping very soundly. A respected consultant to health insurance companies, Robert Laszewski, reveals that there are two obscure provisions in Obamacare that guarantee that insurance companies will be subsidized and bailed out by Amercian taxpayers. Indeed the Congressional Budget Office estimates that $1.071 trillion will be coercively transferred from taxpayers to big insurance companies over the next decade.

This massive redistribution of wealth will take place via two programs stealthily embedded in the Affordable Health Care Act. The first is the Reinsurance Program under which large claims are capped for insurers offering individual plans under Obamacare. Insurers pay for claims up to $45,000, while the Federal government picks up 80% of the costs exceeding $45,000 up to a maximum of $250,000. This means that Obamacare is a public-private insurance scheme and that we are already half-way to the “single-payer” insurance program that Obama and his left-wing cronies so keenly pine for. Needless to say, neither President Obama nor the establishment media have publicized this provision of Obamacare.

Obama and his media supporters have also scrupulously avoided public references to the Risk Corridor Program that limits total losses for insurance companies via a complex formula. Basically, under this provision, taxpayers would be on the hook for 75%-80% of an insurance company’s losses. The enormous taxpayer-funded subsidization of costs and socialization of losses will make Obamacare more palatable to insurance companies and the public at least for a while, since insurance companies will not need to raise their premiums as much as they would have if they were forced to bear the full burden of cost increases and the risk of huge losses. This may give this destructive program time to take root and wreak havoc with what quality remains in the American health care system. Should Obamacare become permanent, Americans as taxpayers and as consumers of medical services will spend many sleepless nights worrying about how they will pay their tax bills and where they will find quality medical care.