Making the Rounds

This email is making the rounds. Original source unknown (to me anyway):

this morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to ny house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right


Update: Kevin Drum reminds us that for really infuriating customer service you have to be a budget-minded consumer dealing with a large faceless profit-minded corporation.

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18 Responses to Making the Rounds

  1. King of Cats says:

    1. The author cites many regulatory functions which have nothing to do with “socialism”. Just because the FCC makes sure that NBC and ABC don’t broadcast on the same local channel does not mean the government should run health care. Just because the federal government sets minimum MPG guidelines for cars doesn’t mean the federal government should run health care.

    2. The author names local services:
    a. municipal water, electricity
    b. police, fire
    c. schools
    All small scale, local services with a history of being “socialized” going back to the Romans and probably earlier. And for the most part, most people that can afford it choose the private options of each because of their superior quality: bottled water, gated communities, private guards, home monitoring systems (insurance companies even offer a discount for it), and private schools (like the one that employs you). But none of these things are run by the FEDERAL government.

    3. The FEDERAL service he cites:
    The US postal service:*&iid=5672691

    Not to mention, its a wonderful place to work that inspired the term: “going postal”:

    4. Oh, I forgot, the FEDERAL government already runs some people’s health care at VA hospitals:
    But hey, they’re just veterans, right? You and I will get better care when the government runs things, right?

    Your “Bingo” is a dog with fleas.

    Plus the author LIES about who invented the Internet. Al Gore invented the Internet, and everybody knows it.

  2. Ken B says:

    Socialism has been around in the US for about 100 years, give or take a few, but now hat a BLACK man has been elected to the white house socialism is BAD. Go figure. I’m so sick of the distortions of truth that I want to puke! King of Cats, stop, listening to Rush and think for yourself!

  3. King of Cats says:

    Ken B-
    I do think for myself, friend. That is why I have structured my retirement plan based on the assumption that social security (the current US socialized retirement plan) will not be there for me. If you were wise, you would do the same thing.

    I do think for myself, friend. That is I do not rely on USPS for any important correspondence or packages. If you were wise, you would do the same thing.

    I do think for myself, friend. That is why I, as a South Floridian, prepare for hurricane season under the assumption that FEMA will provide me no help whatsoever. If you were wise, you would do the same thing.

    I do think for myself, friend. That is why I also made investments so that my children can attend private schools if they choose.

    Friend, I am not opposed to some Federal *regulation*. It is convenient to have a national rule-maker that operates transparently under a watchful eye. The FCC, SEC, USDA and a whole host of other regulatory bodies are (a) necessary (evil). They are oil that keeps the wheels turning.

    But socialism in the US, by and large, has been an utter and complete failure at the federal level. The one exception might be the US Military, although an increasing portion of our socialized defense is outsourced to private enterprises. Even space exploration is moving towards private enterprise as NASA has become a shadow of its former self. Maybe our national parks are decent? Hard to say, arguably if we contracted out the parks services they’d be better run and attract more visitors. And why do we see more and more outsourcing to the private sector? Because the federal government is generally incompetent, at its best it is mediocre.

    The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ — Ronald Reagan

    Friend, if you think that conservatives didn’t start opposing socialism until Obama came on the scene, I can’t even guess what planet you were living on.

  4. milo says:

    You don’t sound friendly to me.

  5. INCITEmarsh says:

    Unless he was also peeling it from the same sort of e-mails, pretty sure the source is here:

  6. AC says:

    I have been the first to crawl all over King of Cats on this site when he is saying things that I do not think are reasonable. On this issue, I happen to disagree with him here, but he makes good points and presents them well, in my opinion. They really are likely to be thoughts he believes in sincerely, not just someone else’s TP. So I do not think the reactions to his comments are warranted.

    While there is no doubt in my mind that some people get all antsy about Obama’s birthplace as a hidden racists agenda (though I do not think KOC was doing that), there is also no doubt in my mind that people oppose some of the offered health care reforms without its being about Obama’s race. It is not as if Hillary was more successful. Plus there are going to be many libs like me who will not like what reform is eventually passed, especially if already the deal has been made that pharma can charge a fortune for drugs in the US that are bargains in Europe. And I for one, being from New Orleans, share his fear of trusting the feds too much. It’s just that the “free” market has let me down so much lately too.

  7. Rhodo Zeb says:

    I have to agree with AC here. KoC’s argument is straightforward and honest.

    Still, it is incorrect, and KoC will lose this battle.

    The only question is, will we all win at the same time?

    KoC, you should change your name to “King of Town” that would be better.

  8. Vic Puma says:

    Perhaps one might view this whole thing as a legal issue:

    If Government “runs” some sort of healthcare, what level of Right will that healthcare become? Will it be deemed a “fundamental” right under the rubric of personal privacy, procreative rights, etc. And if so, will that create a whole new source of Constitutional challenges, that don’t really exist now, as denied patients challange whatever form of rationing affects their “fundamental right to X?” (I think we can all agree that there is not enough time and money in the WORLD to provide 100% of desired care to 100% of Americans – so some level of rationing will, by necessity, exist) Will courts suddenly be applying strict scrutiny to whether the Government has a narrowly focused compelling need to deny you a hangnail operation?

    Or more reasonably, what about when Government is asked to weigh spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in care for a patient (like perhaps an anencephalic baby), vs. spending that money on other patients who ultimately could be improved by it? Are we comfortable giving Government the potential role in determining whether one life is worth the money, while another is not? If we believe that there will need to be rationing, then Government WILL have that role. And if family rights are Fundamental rights, will a decision based on the necessity of Government rationality in spending, inevitably result in litigation to spend hundreds of thousands on hopeless cases? And how much will THAT cost?

    And if private insurance does NOT go away (many of us are dubious of private insurance being viable long-term along-side a public system), who will be on private rather than public services? One obvious possibility is that the poor will be more likely to be publically insured, while the rich will be privately insured. If that is true, then will the poor be more subject to the effects of rationing than the rich, who can effectively buy the care they need? Will a poor patient, who cannot be improved by medicine, but can only be maintained by it, have a shorter life span than an equivalent rich person BECAUSE Government muct make decisions about rationing care that a rich private insured can work around?

    And if private insurance DOES go away, will the Government have outlaw private medical care (as they were forced to do in Canada) in order to prevent making the rich-poor divide even worse? (The rich, under a public insurance plan, will simply buy their care outside of the plan as needed, while the poor won’t be able to.) And if there is no private medical care in the U.S. – how many Canadians will die because we’ve cut off their access to care not available in Canada? Do we care?

    Does Government “run” healthcare create a system for the lower half of our society that will statutorily deny certain medical care, by Government necessity and fiat? I think we need to be honest about the abilities of Government and perhaps place less emphasis on trying to make ourselves feel good about paternalistically providing scraps for the poor, laregly so that we can feel good about ourselves.

    Finally, we used to have public medical care in this country. I can remember what it’s like, even if nobody else admits they can (or was rich enough to avoid it). Why don’t we have some rational discussions about how health care has been managed by Government for the poor in the past? And while we’re on the subject, prior to WWII, the U.S. was the world leader in Eugenics and a lot of very smart, rational, GOVERNMENT thinkers decried the amount of money spent on maintaining various social necessities for the people of certain less desireable races or mental accuities, and put various programs into place to reign in the social and revenue costs of these “undesirables.” We are justifyably shocked by this now. But imagine you are the official in charge of costs for Government health care and the case of the anencephalic baby hits your desk… Or the guy doing time for multiple murders… Or the Person who will spend their entire life in a wheel chair, need 24/7 care, and will never achieve the mental accuity of a smart parrot… What about allocations of money for life-flights? Natasia Richardson perhaps died because a helecopter was deemed too expensive under Canadian cost structires, so it took her hours to reach a hospital reachable by helecopter in minutes. How will our new public healthcare feel about the costs of helecopters? Will a person in catagory A get a helecopter, while person in catagory B will not? Does it matter?

    I think there is a LOT to be considered in this so-called debate that is not being so considered – either by the public or by our members of Congress. Until such members start showing some actual interest in looking at the issue and considering its effects, both long and short-term, this whole thing will just be candy-for-votes for the masses.

  9. King of Cats says:

    You ask excellent questions. Read what Ezekiel Emmanuel, Rahm’s brother and advisor to Obama wrote here:

    “This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just alloca- tion of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future genera- tions, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia. A less obvious example Is is guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason.”

    If you google Ezekiel Emmanuel you’ll find more of his views on the subject. Oh but Vic, remember, you’re not allowed to judge Obama or infer Obama’s ideas by the company he keeps, Ok? Remember Reverent Wright never existed, neither did Bill Ayers, ok? Ezekiel Emmanuel and his published writings are just figments of imagination in the minds of right wingnuts, ok?

  10. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Ah, KoC, you expose yourself.

    Those two links are to highly-edited writings, and are not honest characterizations. You have been misinformed.

    KoC, please do keep in mind that the people protesting health care reform in many cases have no health care at all! How is that for dumb?

    Insurance will not cover Sarah Palin’s child, Trig. He is uninsurable! No health care reform could possibly affect Trig adversely, he is already automatically outside the system!

    The other day a man in Michigan I believe was videotaped yelling and yelling at some Congressman, and he has a child with cerebral palsy. Again, silly wingnut, you are arguing directly against your own self-interest. Your kid is uninsurable.

    Fighting directly against your own economic self-interest, KoC. These people are. I, personally, do not want to follow such people. Do you?

    In addition, how the heck can anyone argue that this one doctor’s writings are somehow the ‘real super secret’ government plan to control us all? It’s all a big government secret to these people!

    The idea that seniors or the handicapped would be denied care is just outrageous, and it is telling that some people need these re-assurances. Because, like, we know the government has done this many times before, mandated death for some citizens, right? Jeez…

    The hilarious thing is these people were fine with illegal wiretapping! They thought it would never affect them…or maybe it was just that Bush was a lovable father figure. What idiots.

    Vic, you make some very good points. There are a lot of legal issues here. Fairness issues and rights issues.

    The concerns that underlie KoC’s arguements are real, there is no doubt.

    But, again, the idea that suddenly the government is suddenly going to take away Palin’s baby is just nonsense. Utter insanity.

    You also seem to realize that there are efficiencies of scale in broad-based health care systems. It does not need to be so terribly expensive. Indeed, the system we have no is extremely expensive! And no one really wins, except for the insurance companies and health care companies.

  11. King of Cats says:

    1. I don’t know what you mean when you say that I expose myself.

    2. “Those two links are to highly-edited writings, and are not honest characterizations. You have been misinformed.”

    The first link is to an article authored by Emmanuel. What is dishonest about it? Granted, the article is written with academic flourish and difficult to read. It isn’t entirely clear that Emmanuel favors the position I quoted, or that he finds it moral, but I think he does advocate it as the future of medical ethics. If you read the article in the context of his other writings and quotes, then the case that he means what he wrote is even stronger. And he’s Rahm’s brother and an adviser. But don’t worry, I told Vic already he’s not allowed to connect the dots.

    Further, the Emmanuel articles directly address Vic’s train of thought. I’m guessing you didn’t actually read them.

  12. Rhodo Zeb says:


    First of all I should commend you for your principled posts. We all get emotional sometimes, but here your writing is consistently on point. I might not agree with you, but your comments are valid and you make them honestly. Anyway, onward ho!

    1. I didn’t mean anything by it, pls don’t take offense. That is from my days arguing with commenters who try to falsify their political leanings. My mistake, pls ignore it.

    2. The article is 2 pages long, and from 1996. It is a policy paper trying to understand some issues surrounding medical ethics in relation to the push for universal care. It is not in any way connectible to anything at all. There are hundreds of people directly involved with the legislation for this plan, and ALL of them are trying to find a good solution that will benefit the whole society.

    This one person is not our new overlord and does not have the kind of power ascribed to him. Again, if the government is filled with power-hungry demons, where the heck were all these people back when the debate was on warrantless wiretapping? Anyway…

    Notice what he says in the part you selected. Dementia patients (for which there is no cure) would not receive costly treatments because no treatment will have any significant effect. To put that in other words, incurable illnesses will not receive coverage. Now, I would suppose that does not mean that the government will do nothing at all for such patients. Indeed, Emmanuel is using theoretical examples to make his point.

    Now, pls file this last part away for just a minute, I want to return to it soon. Please bear with me.

    3. Betsy McCaughey is a right-wing hack and always has been. Ezra Klein explains in great detail here. She has been the recipient of wingnut welfare for years, currently from the right-wing Hudson Institute. Interestingly, her wikipedia page says that she is on the Board of Trustees of one ‘Cantel Medical Corp.’ That would be interesting if she had a nice, big conflict of interest, but it is only wikipedia so I will wait and see on that.

    Ok let’s go back to our major issue, that we saved before, our dementia patient. KoC, I have tried to engage with the ideas and information you have brought forward, now I need you to engage and think about the ideas I am bringing here, and the ideas I brought up in my last post.

    What happens to that dementia patient now? Whither our baseline, Obama?

    This is the critical question, I think. Do you agree? The important thing is what things will be like relative to now. This is what people worry about and why people are so agitated. They don’t like change and they don’t trust the government to do it right. And maybe the government is not explaining things right, I don’t know about that one way or another.

    My post above focuses directly on that baseline, KoC, and points out…that it is higher not lower under a new plan for the very people fighting against change.

    Sarah Palin must pay ever cent out of pocket for Trig. There are no policies for him. If she is poor then she is getting whatever government sponsored healthcare is available. Their baseline is medicare/medicade.

    I used the example of the man in Michigan who just exploded with anger and frustration at his Congresscritter. Watch Mr. Sola in a later interview on Fox News here.

    This man is also a baseline medicare/medicade person; his son is uninsurable. Whatever he needs for his kid is provided by the state already, or comes out of pocket. That’s it.

    Now to our dementia patient. Is there zero care? No, not at all. The baseline now would probably provide some care, if the family went through a long bureaucratic process through medicare/medicade to obtain limited medical rights for the patient. Or, the family might pay for the care themselves. That is now.

    There is no additional care when there would be no positive results of such expenditures, but dementia comes with a whole host of other conditions that are covered in one form or another. If the patient is still quite hale, dementia could result in dangerous situations, and might end in some form of ‘treatment’ (as in, assisted living, just like we have now). On the other hand, dementia might come with other long term health issues, but the result is still the same. Medicade and medicare are there, to some extent, for people in these positions. That is, if their family can’t take care of the cost.

    All of these people would be better off under a new plan. Period.

    The Death Panels and such rhetoric is a bunch of ignorance and fear, and all of it is designed to protect huge profits for the insurance companies and big health care companies.

    The people who really believe these lies the most, KoC, are the most paranoid among us. The idea that the government is going to come around and pick up all the oldersters is just surrealistic, to turn a phrase.

    By the way KoC do you think that Medicare and VA treatment is not good? Do you have any experience with such government run healthcare? My experience talking to VA patients is that the care is good but the coverage sucks.

  13. Vic Puma says:

    But like I said, you need to start looking at the problem NOT from the point of view of healthcare, and how you might conceptualize it, but from the point of view of a new Government largess that WILL be subject to due process rights (as private insurance is not). That’s a critical distinction that NOBODY is commenting about in this debate.

    Personally, I’m not comfortable morally with the balancing tests: “hmmmmmm, you have zero chance of recovery and zero future worth to society so…” However it might be worked out in the mental constructs of the healthcare debaters. But in the end, I think there will BE no balancing tests, because there will be huge court battles that will establish that once Government creates a right to medical care, and provides it for part of your illness, they can’t just take it away without a compelling reason. This will lead to (whatever one might think of it) very costly care going to people who have little if any chance of recovery – if they were even well in the first place.

    We have this in place now for things like Government jobs and welfare benefits – do you think healthcare will somehow escape this principle?

    No, of course it won’t. Regardless of what one might think about the IDEA of some sort of Governmental system, it will be hugely expensive, if only for due process reasons. (and I haven’t even touched on the Equal Protection arguments that WILL be made by skilled lawyers.) This is a boondoggle for the reason lots of Government ideas become boondoggles: The people who come up with the great idea either a). lack the understanding to see beyond the first step, or b). think that the people they are explaining it to lack that understanding and so can be won over with pretty pictures, or c). think they are smarter than everyone else and that the laws of (social) physics can be altered by them.

    As for economies of scale making things cheaper… (Let’s ignore the fact that healthcare costs went up twelve-fold in the wake of medicare/medicade’s implementation (most of which is attributed to effects of those programs, not real costs)). Let’s say you have a family of six. Every Friday night you like to go out to a nice restaurant with the family for dinner. One day you figure out that each person’s meal costs $15 when you eat out. OK, a little pricey, but you enjoy the family time. Suddenly, your sister from Debuque drops her six teenagers on you for the summer. Now your family of six is twelve. Can you still sfford to eat out? The good part is that at that restaurant, they have a 15% discount for parties greater than ten. So you get the economy of scale. However, it is still costing you $153, vs the $90 you paid previously. You still have to pay that money – the cook won’t feed you for free. So you can create a deficit in your own accounts, or make someone else pay for it. The obvious person to pay is the sister who dropped off the kids, but she refuses, saying that were the kids with her, she would just feed them at the house for $20 total, not the $63 you want. So what you decide to do is ask everyone else at the restaurant to contribute a small amount to pay for the mouths that you have to feed. This seems like such a good idea that you lobby lawmakers to have that be the norm for any large family (I mean who doesn’t think kids should eat?). Law now firmly in place – who do you think you’ll find in restaurants now, and how much will it cost to eat out?

  14. King of Cats says:

    I am not sure you understand the concept of insurance. Insurance is legalized gambling, you are betting against the insurance company, or said otherwise, they insurance company is betting against you. Of course people with pre-existing conditions are un-insurable as to those conditions. You cannot give an insurance $1 and then expect that it will magically turn into $10 for you.

    Vic is correct, in the case of the uninsurable, the only option is a public subsidy to assist with the cost of care. In the case of the insurable, a subsidy may also be necessary within the scope of an existing welfare framework. State and local governments can do a lot to keep the costs down.

    A digression:

    1. Why isn’t anybody proposing a federally subsidized malpractice insurance program, so doctors’ costs can be driven down. Such a program would also allow the government a hook into how doctors practice, such as requiring electronic records in order to be eligible for discounted malpractice insurance. Doctors would stop practicing wasteful defensive medicine. Payouts would come from general revenue, again tied to a subsidy/tax structure we have all already agreed to. The losers? Private malpractice insurers. Well, we could give doctors vouchers for malpractice insurance, but maybe the private malpractice insurers need to go.

    2. Why isn’t anybody proposing tort reform? Granted, its a state issue. But consider that there are considerable immunity issues if you try to sue providers of other public essentials, such as your police department, fire department, public works, etc. In most states you are S.O.L. or your damages are capped. In those instances, states made the decision to extend immunity to public services, meaning the people harmed by those services are basically paying the price for the rest of us. We’ve been doing it that way for almost two centuries. Why not with medical care? I’ll tell you why, because the plaintiff’s bar has the Democratic party and Obama in their pocket. Again, consider John Edwards was/is a big player in that party, and you have your answer as to why tort reform isn’t on the table.

    So in the end, all we have in Obamacare is a program slapped together during recession fears to plow through Congress while so many people out of work will think with their wallets and not with their minds. We have a bill too big to read, in need of months if not years of public debate and refinement.

    Finally folks like Vic are starting to digest it all and asking questions before its too late. And while it hasn’t happened here, there are other blogs where his and my comments would be dismissed as racist, mere animus against a black man in the White House. And then people wonder why people showing up at the town halls are so pissed off.

    Returning to Emmanuel:

    I don’t care whether you think Emmanuel wrote those things, or whether he has sway over Obama. You have to admit that the kind of thinking demonstrated by the articles is floating around. There is a growing movement towards euthanasia, and soft forms of eugenics. Judeo-Christian values of honoring they mother and father and caring the most for the weakest members of society are being dumped. A lot of us aren’t like that. I’ll suffer with some mild ailments if it means a “non-productive” child with autism will get some extra care. I’ll do without a big screen tv or a subsidized cash for clunker if it means we devote medical research towards dementia and alzheimers. Apparently, Emmanuel (at a minimum) acknowledges that other people think society should work otherwise.

    But I won’t sacrifice my quality care for people who make stupid choices in life, any more than I will sacrifice my tax dollars to pay for a neighbor’s foreclosure.

  15. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Yeah well you two should go out to eat together or something. There is chemistry there, I am telling you!

    I have to go study up on the ‘insurance’ industry that I apparently do not understand.

  16. Vic Puma says:

    One should, of course, never forget that many of the touted problems of private insurance were in fact CREATED by Government entities that “fixed” the old way of doing insurance to make it more “fair.” It used to be that people would have to undergo a medical exam and then would be placed in a plan according to their health and desire for specific coverages (among other factors). This of course meant that a healthy 20 year old with very little need for any but catasrophic coverage would pay considerably less than someone who wanted to go to the doctor every time his tummy gurggled (and far less than any of us pay today). Just imagine how good your insurance would be if you only had to buy exactly what you needed – with maybe a small Government subsidy to help the less fortunate.

    But this was deemed unfair to people who wanted everything covered for the same price as those who wanted very little, so Congress and various State Law changed things to what we have now. Now we’re enganged in a national game of forgettfulness (just like with the subprime mess) where we are pretending that a few evil corporate fat-cats are trying to screw us so Government better step in to intercede on our behalf.

    I wish people could remember things more important than who is winning on American Idol. But that’s what you get when you have 25 year olds doing all of the heavy-lifting in Washington.

  17. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Well, I wish people would get a freaking clue and stop noodling around, to put it mildly.

    KoC, you don’t have a clue what you are talking about. Not a clue. Fixing malpractice insurance? Subsidizing insurance companies??

    Vic, I remember those rich corporate fat cats. They run the insurance companies. And the right wing is trying to protect them.

  18. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Here, I found it.

    Sarah Palin recently said: ‘As I noted in my statement last week, nationalized health care inevitably leads to rationing.’

    This is incorrect, absolutely incorrect. Scarcity leads to rationing. Everything is scarce, including health care.

    Who does the rationing now? Insurance companies.

    And for those without insurance? The government.

    Its too late KoC! The government already rations health care!! We are doomed!!

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