Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Not Learning the Hard Way

Not Learning the Hard Way
©2012 Ross Williams

Headline: GOP: Old, White and In Trouble

Article Synopsis:
Unless the Republican Party can figure out how to reach into other demographic groups, it will lose relevance fairly rapidly. The only demographic group it is maintaining popularity among is older white Americans. Democrats, on the other hand, are favored by everyone else.

Marketing is Everything: Yes, this remains the case even when Democrat policies fail conspicuously – as they always do. Yes, this remains the case even when Democrat policies are indistinguishable from Republican policies, as they frequently are. Yes, this remains the case even when Democrat policies don’t simply mirror Republican policies, but abscond with them, usually after years of claiming that the Republican policies are corrupt, harmful or totalitarian.

You don’t see Democrats fleeing their party for the hypocrites they are because Obama became President by running on three basic political memes:
1] ending our wars;
2] closing Gitmo; and
3] reversing War On Terror statism.

The wars didn’t end, and instead became three in number, with options on a fourth. And yes, we still have combat troops in Iraq; the “end of the war” foofaraw was just another case of “mission accomplished” – this time without landing a jet on a carrier.

Gitmo hasn’t closed, and its corollary meme of “open” “civilian” trials for war combatants was dropped as soon as the incoming idealists discovered that – darn it – war really is different and civilian trials are not allowed by the rules of war.

TSA and other forms of federal preventive paranoia have only grown in number and in scope. Among the largest benefactors of the Obama economic stimulus was the only shovel-ready job they could find which didn’t involve alternative energy technology which largely doesn’t work: airline passenger pestering through new technology which also doesn’t work.

But still, these political analysts have a point: fantasy beats reality nearly every time, and especially in politics. Democrats are a cobbled-together stew of disparate causes which have only one thing in common: they believe they are being scapegoated by The Establishment; singled out for blame. Hispanics, for illegal immigration; blacks, for poverty; women, for reproductive equality. This establishment consists entirely of old white men, regardless of which age, gender, or race they may be.

It’s not comfortable having to know and understand a subject and possibly learn that, gosh, maybe some of the rhetoric is true; it’s far more pleasant to be told, “Yes, you are being scapegoated! Come to the bosom of Mommy Government and stay away from those mean old white people!”

Conclusion: Some of the rhetoric is true. But let’s scapegoat old, white people instead.

Headline: TSA to Limit ‘Granny Pat-Downs’

Article Synopsis:
Because of massive public outrage over the indecent treatment of old people at the hands of undereducated government gropers, TSA will begin a “test” of a less invasive security protocol at 4 major US airports: Chicago O’Hare, Orlando, Denver and Portland. Anyone deemed to be 75 or over will no longer have to remove shoes, or be subjected to the scanner or pat-downs. Alarms will be resolved by removing all items from pockets and re-entering the magnetometer. This will allow TSA to concentrate on “higher risk passengers”.

Throwing Liberty a Bone: So, in the last year, TSA has had to reverse their “everyone is a potential terrorist” lunacy to “well, almost everyone – at least those who won’t garner sympathy on YouTube” by dropping children under 12, and now retirees over 75.

Of course, the TSA spokesman who outlined the new policy “test” admitted that the official position held by TSA and DHS is that everyone is considered a terrorism risk. ...in a nation where you are innocent until proven guilty. ...in a nation where you are also to be free from imperious treatment unless the government has a reason – written down on a legal document – for being imperious.

The best way of getting the public to stop complaining about their loss of dignity and civil rights at the hands of their own government is to cease the most onerous forms of that abuse upon the most sympathetic of the victims. Next will be nuns, then minorities, then foreign nationals ...

Conclusion: Young [but not too young] and middle-aged [but not actually old] white people are going to remain the primary target of the statist paranoia we acquired after 19 foreign nationals turned passenger aircraft into makeshift guided missiles for Allah.

Headline: Obamacare to Cost Twice Original Estimate

Article Synopsis:
The Congressional Budget Office now estimates that the cost of Obamacare, through the year 2021 will cost over twice the original estimate of $900Billion it gave prior to passage in 2010. The ten-year estimate it gave in late ’09 included several years in which the law would not actually be in force and thus have no expenditures. Critics and supporters both claim that the new CBO numbers are still incorrect. Critics whine that the cost will rise further spending cut exercise won’t even cut as much as Obamacare will cost; supporters claim that Obamacare will inspire competition among insurers to lower costs.

Cipherin’ at a Fourth Grade Level: The original estimate included four years of zero expenditures, and it would cost $900Billion. That means it would cost $900B for six years of Obamacare.

The current ten-year cost projection still includes two years in which the law will not have any costs, and it is now estimated at $1.8Trillion ... over eight years ... of which the first six years cost $900B. This means the last two years of the current estimate will themselves cost $900B.

Is anyone watching how this plays on the graph?

I’ve gone on record as declaring that the actual cost of almost every social program enacted by government is calculated by taking the estimated cost before implementation, doubling it, and adding a zero immediately to the left of the decimal place. If the ten-year estimate is $1Trillion, double it [$2T], add a zero [$20T]. This will end up being significantly closer to reality than all the experts were.

Obamacare still hasn’t been implemented, and the estimated cost is now $1.8T over ten years. That turns into a $36Trillion price tag. TRILLION, ladies and gentlemen. Thirty-six TRILLION.

This is even taking into consideration the cost-savings through competition of the multiple insurance carriers in the pool. Because it won’t happen. If Obamacare supporters wish to honestly reflect on their reasoning behind demanding Obamacare in the first place, they will recall that insurance does not [and cannot] control costs for the insured activity. Remember? “Insurance is the problem!!”?

Guaranteed payment incentivizes doctors, instead, to raise their rates, and insurance companies may quibble for a short time, but eventually one of them will learn they’ll get more business by actually paying it than the cut-rate insurers will get by not. “Hey! Your insurance pays the full cost of rhinoplasty? I’m switching!”

Insurance is, by its nature, inflationary. It is not intended to be a universal cover. It is intended to handle catastrophic events. Not nose jobs, not well-baby care, not routine exams and lab tests, not birth control pills. Auto accidents, yes; heart attacks, yes; brain tumors, yes.

Conclusion: When the only tool the government has is a $25,000 hammer, it will – by law – redefine every problem to be a special type of nail that can only be pounded by a $25,000 hammer. The cost of the hammer then inevitably rises – double it, add a zero.


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