FT214: “The far left has been and always will be an aristocratic-thinking, privilege-seeking people.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 21st, 2014

Fundamental Truth

Lawyers make a lot of Money without Contributing anything Tangible to Society

An attorney was sitting in his office late one night when Satan appeared before him.  Satan said, “I have a proposition for you.  You can win every case you try for the rest of your life.  Your clients will adore you, your colleagues will stand in awe of you and you will make embarrassing sums of money.  All I want in exchange is your soul, your wife’s soul, your children’s souls, the souls of your parents, grandparents, parents-in-law, the souls of all your friends and law partners.”  The lawyer thought about this for a moment then asked, “So, what’s the catch?”

That’s funny, isn’t it?  Lawyers.  Ambulance chasers.  The butt of so many jokes.  Why?  Well, some will say they deserve it.  Because they do chase ambulances.  And will pass out their business cards if they’re on a sinking ship.  Because sinking ships are good for lawsuits.  And lawyers love to sue.  For they can make a lot of money without contributing anything tangible to society.  All they do is get between two parties when large sums of money change hands.  And put a portion of that money into their pockets.  That’s how they earn their living.  Taking money away from others.  They’re parasites.  Just to get rich.  And the big tort lawyers (those who sue people and businesses) get really rich.  Allowing them to live very privileged lives.

Take a class action lawsuit.  Where they bring a lot of wronged people together to sue a large corporation.  The old David and Goliath thing.  A little person can never take on a big corporation.  But a whole class of them can.  When represented by a tort lawyer.  Who liken themselves as heroes of the little guy.  Taking the big corporation on to make them pay for all the horrible things they’ve done to their clients.  But who do they really help?  Let’s say they win a judgment from a big corporation of $250,000,000.  That’s a lot of money.  From that sum they take their cut.  Let’s say 50%.  Leaving $125 million for the people the corporation wronged.  That’s a lot of money.  So the people won, too, right?  Not really.  For there are a lot of people represented in these class actions.  Let’s say 5 million in our example.  So if you divide the $125 million by 5 million that comes to $25 per person.  So, again, who did the lawyers really help?  The lawyers.  Which is why there are so many lawyer jokes.

In the Private Sector if you want to spend Half of your Life Retired you have to Pay for It

Lawyers vote Democrat.  Because they like being privileged people.  They don’t want the laws changing that allow them to get so rich when money exchanges hands.  Which is why they donate heavily to the Democrat Party.  And don’t donate to the Republicans.  Who complain about the high costs of frivolous lawsuits to businesses in an overly litigious society.  It’s so bad that a footnote in the financial statements of a corporation about a lawsuit is not that big of a deal.  Why?  Because so many corporations are sued that investors are more surprised to see one that isn’t being sued.  This is why Republicans want tort reform.  And pass ‘loser-pays’ into law.  Like many other countries have.  Where the loser in court pays for the attorney fees for the side that wins.  Which would greatly cut down on frivolous lawsuits.  And cut the costs businesses incur from these frivolous lawsuits that they pass on to their customers.  So the lawyers donate to Democrats.  To prevent any tort reform that would change the easy way lawyers have of getting rich.

It’s the world’s oldest profession.  Screwing people for money.  But lawyers aren’t the only ones seeking privilege.  There are a lot of others, too.  Interestingly, they, too, support the Democrat Party.  Such as the United Autoworkers.  They donate heavily to the Democrat Party to keep labor laws favorable to unions.  To make it more difficult for their nonunion competition.  And to use the power of government to force people to pay may for a union-made car.  Allowing their union members to live better lives than those outside of the UAW.  And when even that doesn’t allow General Motors to pay its bills when selling a record number of cars the UAW goes to government for a bailout of their woefully underfunded pension fund.  So their union members can continue to have a more generous retirement at an earlier age than those outside of the UAW.

Teacher unions seek privilege, too.  You hear a lot about how the teachers don’t earn that much.  But then again, they don’t work that much.  Getting 3 months off in the summer.  So you can’t compare their wages to people who don’t get the 3 summer months off.  But for teachers it’s not so much about the paycheck.  It’s the benefits.  Very generous health insurance coverage.  And pensions.  Which have gone the way of the dodo in the private sector.  Because people are just living too long into retirement.  When they first set up these pensions people were dying in their sixties.  The actuaries never saw people living into their eighties as common.  So in the private sector if you want to spend half of your life retired you have to pay for it.  And you work as long as necessary to fund the retirement you want.  The union pensions just can’t work these days as they once did.  Which is why teacher unions like the United Autoworkers and lawyers support the Democrat Party.  They want to keep their privileged lives.

The Wealth Transfers of the Welfare State give Democrats Money and Privilege

Of course privilege is nothing new to the Democrat Party.  They have long stood for privilege.  Even now.  As the Democrats provide themselves all kinds of exceptions from the Affordable Care Act.  For more expensive and lower quality health insurance is good for the masses.  But not for the privileged elite.  Or their special friends who support them so generously with campaign donations.  Congress has had a history of exempting themselves from the laws they pass for us.  It took the Republican winning of the House in the 1994 midterm elections to change that.  The first Republican-controlled House since 1952 required Congress to be held to the same laws as the rest of us.  A bitter pill for Democrats to swallow.  For their feelings of privilege go way back.

The Democrat Party can trace its pedigree back to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party.  The party of the slave-owning planter elite.  Who from day one fought for their privilege starting with the Three-Fifths Compromise.  To give them a greater say in the new national government than their voting population allowed.  The planter elite’s South turned into an Old World aristocracy.  With great manors for the landed aristocracy.  And vast lands worked by slaves.  Very similar to feudalism in the Old World.  And something they fought hard to keep.  Their privilege.  The Southern Democrats used the power of the national government (such as the Fugitive Slave Act) to interfere with state laws in the North.  To protect their feudalism by keeping slavery legal as long as they could while the north was industrializing and modernizing.  With paid laborers.  When they lost control of the House due to the growing population in the North they turned to war.  Saying that the national government was interfering with state laws in the South.  And getting poor southern farmers who owned no slaves to fight and die so the southern aristocracy could live on.

When the Southern Democrats lost the American Civil War they scrambled to maintain their privilege.  They unleashed a terror on the freed slaves and Republicans with the KKK.  The Democrats then wrote Jim Crowe Laws.  Separate but equal.  Government-enforced racial segregation.  During debate of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Democrat and former Exalted Cyclops of the KKK Robert Byrd filibustered for 14 hours.  To keep the South segregated.  With power and privilege in a new aristocracy.  Centered not on land but political power and cronyism.  Even becoming the party for blacks as ironic as that is.  Trading government programs for votes.  And destroying the black family in the process.  Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) replaced black fathers with government.  And moved single mothers and their children into housing projects that became infested with drugs and crime.  But this large (and failed) welfare state transferred a lot of wealth to the Democrats.  Giving them money and privilege.   That they can use to maintain their power.  By taking care of those who take care of them.  Lawyers, the UAW, teacher unions and other privilege seekers.  For nothing has changed on the left.  They have been and always will be an aristocratic-thinking, privilege-seeking people who want to live better than the rest of us.  While we pay for their privileged lives.

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FT163: “To cut medical costs Obamacare will pay hospitals, doctors and medical malpractice lawyers less.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Health Care Costs are High because of the Lack of Competition and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Obamacare is a pathway to national health care.  They designed it to get as many employers to drop health insurance for their employees as possible.  By making the penalty for not providing it less than the cost of providing it.  As more employers drop their health insurance plans private health insurers will have to raise rates on the fewer remaining on their plans.  Causing more employers to drop their health insurance plans and pay the less costly fine instead.  Once Obamacare destroys the private health insurance industry the government will step in as the insurer of last resort.  And transform Obamacare into a true national health care system.  Like the National Health Service in Britain.  The ultimate goal for those on the left.

There is support for Obamacare and the national health care it will evolve into.  Especially those who hate doctors, hospitals and the pharmaceutical companies getting rich on the suffering of others.  Who will sue them at the drop of a hat.  And there is a large and prosperous medical malpractice legal community getting rich by helping these people sue.  Helping the little guy get justice from these rich people and rich companies.  Who put profits before people.  Which is why so many people want national health care.  To get the profit incentive out of health care.  And limit the outrageous salaries of those in the health care industries.

What these people don’t understand is that it’s just not their high salaries that run up the costs of health care.  Two large reasons for the high cost of health care are the lack of competition and the cost of medical malpractice lawsuits.  Obamacare will address one of these issues.  But probably not the one those who hate the profit incentive in health care would expect.  Or want.

When the Government pays for Health Care they also pay Medical Malpractice Damage Awards

They are still writing the law for Obamacare.  So anything we say will be conjecture.  But we can see where Obamacare is going by looking at where it will end.  National health care.  And there are numerous examples of that in the world.  Such as the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain.  Here is how they address medical malpractice (see Medical Malpractice Liability: United Kingdom (England and Wales) posted on the U.S. Library of Congress website).

Given that damages awarded could reach millions of pounds, which would negatively affect the budget of these Trusts in providing healthcare to the population, a number of programs (known as “schemes” in England) were established to address claims for medical negligence…

Part of the mandate of the NHS Litigation Authority is to avoid litigation, where possible.  Its Framework Document notes that it aims to “maximise the resources available for patient care, by defending unjustified actions robustly [and] settling justified actions efficiently.”[28]  Furthermore, the Litigation Authority notes that it “encourage[s] NHS bodies to offer patients explanations and apologies.[29]  We seek to avoid formal litigation as far as possible and our historical data show that only about 4% of our cases go to court, including settlements made on behalf of minors, which must be approved by a court.”[30]

The mandate of the NHS Litigation Authority further requires it “to minimise the risk that patient care in a particular community is jeopardised by a large settlement against a local NHS body.”[31]  It thus aims to “to spread the costs of settlements more evenly over time”[32] through the use of periodical payments made to the claimant throughout their life, as it considers that this is the fairest method of settling the costs of personal injury claims when costs are significant.[33]

When the government pays for health care they also pay medical malpractice damage awards.  And anything they pay in a medical malpractice award is money they cannot spend on providing medical services to sick people.  So the mandate of the NHS is to fight medical malpractice claims robustly.  By throwing out frivolous lawsuits.  And settling out of court legitimate lawsuits.  Such that only some 4% make it to court.  And a jury trial.  The ultimate objective of malpractice lawyers.  Who want the sympathies of a jury to award massive judgments against rich doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers will be the Big Financial Losers when Obamacare evolves into National Health Care

Medical malpractice lawyers get rich from winning big lawsuits.  That have a big cash award.  Which is how they want their money.  In a big lump-sum.  Because that’s how medical malpractice lawyers get rich.  Quickly.  And that’s not going to happen with settlements paid out over time over the life of the claimant.  Like in the NHS.  They don’t want a stipend.  Stipends don’t buy mansions, luxury cars, private jets, yachts and exotic vacations.  And if their clients are so inconsiderate to die too soon they will selfishly deny these lawyers a portion of that income stream.  However meager it is.  If they even get a piece of that income stream.

Republicans are for a business-friendly environment.  To generate economic activity.  And that business-friendly environment includes low taxes and low regulatory costs.  As well as tort reform.  To limit the high cost of frivolous lawsuits.  Something the trial lawyers vehemently oppose.  So they throw their support behind Democrats.  Who are generally for a less business-friendly environment.  And have no problem with suing ‘greedy’ corporations.  For the richer the trial lawyers get the more campaign donations they get.  So there is a special relationship between the Democrat Party and trial lawyers.  They take care of each other.  Until, that is, Obamacare becomes like the NHS.

The Democrats and their supporters, including the trial lawyers, attack the profit incentive in health care.  Together they have helped to bring Obamacare into law.  Which will begin the long process of removing the profit incentive from health care.  As well as destroying the private health insurers that the medical malpractice lawyers have grown so wealthy by suing.  It will be interesting to see if they will continue their special relationship with the Democrats as health care moves more towards a system like the NHS.  As the medical malpractice lawyers will be the big financial losers when that happens.  Because they just won’t be able to sue the federal government like they have sued the private insurance industry.

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Tom Daschle (who was almost HHS Secretary) weighs in on Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 22nd, 2011

Daschle:  Let us Build on what Unites Us

Tom Daschle would have been on point for Obamacare if he didn’t have some IRS issues.  Health care reform was to be his baby.  He was going to be secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).   But, alas, it was not to be.  So he is keen in seeing Obamacare remain in law.  Health care is his spécialité.

Though out of the Senate these days, he is still finding a forum for his voice.  The New York Times.  He gives some talking points to President Obama for his state of the union address.  For he thinks there is a lot of agreement on health care reform in general.  And that there are just some minor disagreements on some specifics (see The Final Health Care Debate by Tom Daschle posted 1/22/2011 on The New York Times).

“Let us build on what unites us — by constructing marketplaces for health insurance that offer greater choice at less cost; creating organizations that coordinate care efficiently and bring down the unacceptable rate of medical mistakes; continuing to encourage scientists to find new ways to prevent and cure disease; and empowering cities and counties to develop new solutions to the perplexing problems of health care in America now.

Constructing marketplaces for health insurance that offer greater choice at less cost?  As far as the market place, there’s an easier way to accomplish that.  Just let insurance companies compete across state lines.  They could right now and make health care more affordable.  If it wasn’t for a law preventing them from competing across state lines.

Unacceptable rate of medical mistakes?  Actually, there are fewer mistakes in a private health care system than a public one.  Because private enterprises are accountable.  Government isn’t.  The bigger problem out there increasing health care costs is the cost of litigation.  Tort reform would go a long way in reigning in costs.  A simple ‘loser pays’ would prevent most of the frivolous suits.  Or perhaps some sort of bonding requirement for law suits.  Highly suspect lawsuits would require a high bonding and discourage it from proceeding.  A very legitimate case would require a low bonding and numerous non profits would probably pick that up pro bono. 

Encourage scientists to find new ways to prevent and cure disease?  We already have that.  We call it the patent system.  It encourages private enterprise to pour bazillions of dollars into research and development to find those preventions and cures.  And in return for that huge investment, they get an exclusive patent on the pills they create.  That’s why those pills are so expensive.  Because we give patents to help people get rich by working miracles in modern science.  We call that an incentive system.  And this incentive system is working so well that Medicare and Social Security are going broke.  Because people are living longer than anyone every anticipated.  Thanks to those miracle pills.

Empowering cities and counties?  Why, that’s going in the other direction of a national solution, isn’t it?  Obamacare is centralizing, not devolving.  Like the British did.  When they nationalized their health care.  Of course, these days, the Brits are backtracking a bit.  Now they’re trying to devolve power to the cities and counties.  Because their national solution isn’t working all that well.

Is there Enough Bipartisanship for a Bipartisanship Commission?

No, we’re not as united as Mr. Daschle would have us believe.  The Republicans see little in Obamacare they want to save.  Especially with that mandate from the 2010 midterm election to overturn Obamacare.  So there is little point in having a sit-down with both sides to discuss ways of saving Obamacare.  But that’s exactly what Mr. Daschle suggests.

“To that end, I propose that we create a bipartisan commission to examine the best ways to carry out, oversee and, where appropriate, revise the health care reform law. Made up of members of Congress, governors and members of my administration, this commission would provide invaluable guidance and solutions going forward.

Again, he’s offering these words for President Obama.  A bipartisan commission?  I’m not sure what the point of that is when there is little bipartisan support for Obamacare.  Congress passed Obamacare when Democrats held majorities in both the House and the Senate.  Pretty much along party lines.  Now that the Republicans have resumed majority power in the House, the House voted to repeal Obamacare (H.R. 2).  But the Democrats still hold the Senate.  So the repeal may not make it through the Senate.

Bipartisan?  There’s nothing bipartisan about Obamacare.  Never has been.  And never will.  To think so is only wishful thinking.  Or a grasping of straws.

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Health Care and the Deficit: Government Bureaucracy vs. Market Forces

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 12th, 2010

Birth Control and Abortion Bankrupting our Nation

Health care is expensive.  When it comes to the federal budget, nothing costs more.  And its cost will only increase (see Health Care and the Deficit editorial published 12/11/2010 on The New York Times).

This year, Medicare, Medicaid and a related children’s health insurance program will account for more than 20 percent of all federal spending — higher than Social Security or defense. Unless there are big changes, by 2035 federal health care spending — driven by rising medical costs and an aging population — is projected to account for almost 40 percent of the budget.

Politicians are whores who steal from the American people.  Earmarks, kickbacks, patronage, fat pay and benefit packages, uber generous pensions, whatever.  The bottom line is that they’re screwing us while they live a far better life than we ever will.  And as bad as their screwing of us is, their screwing of us ain’t the worse of it.  It’s the entitlement spending that’s gonna bankrupt us.  Especially healthcare spending for old people.

Thanks to birth control and abortion, the American people shrunk their family size starting with the boomer generation.  Instead of 10 kids in a family we started to have only 2 or 3 kids.  And it is this reduction in family size that will ultimately bankrupt our nation.

Cutting Medicare Because Nothing else is Big Enough to Cut

Thanks to birth control and abortion, we have an aging population.  The kids of families with 10+ kids are aging and reaching retirement.  But the kids of families with 2-3 kids are paying their Social Security and Medicare benefits.  More people are collecting benefits than are paying taxes to fund those benefits.  BIG problem.

When FDR implemented the great Ponzi scheme, Social Security, a bunch of people were supporting each beneficiary.  As the population ages, fewer and fewer people are supporting each beneficiary.  So they have to keep raising taxes on each individual.  But there is a limit.  Eventually, an individual will have to pay more in taxes to support a retiree than they spend on their own family.  And few people will whistle a happy tune when more of their hard-earned pay goes to someone else instead of their own family. 

If we’re not having more babies, then we gotta cut costs.  There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.  So they’re talking about cutting costs.  By making us pay more for our benefits.

The White House commission, headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, proposes to wring nearly $400 billion from health care spending between 2012 and 2020, of which the biggest single element — $110 billion — would come from increased cost-sharing by Medicare beneficiaries. The second commission, an independent panel headed by Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, seeks to save $137 billion from Medicare cost-sharing.

So even though Obama denied it over and over again, they’re going to cut Medicare.  Why?  It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.  To make any significant cost savings you gotta cut something big.  And few things are bigger than Medicare.

Taxing our Health Care Benefits

They’ll cut Medicare.  And raise taxes.

The Domenici-Rivlin panel, the more aggressive on health care, would also phase out the exclusion that exempts workers from paying taxes for employer-subsidized insurance, a benefit that also encourages excessive use of medical care. The long-term gain in tax revenue could be huge — more than $3 trillion between 2012 and 2030 and almost $10 trillion by 2040.

Few people don’t realize how much their employer pays for their health insurance.  They will now.  Though they won’t be getting a big pay raise, they will pay taxes as if they had.  That’s right, they will tax the total cost of your health care benefits as taxable income.  Even if you never see a doctor.

Wither on the Vine

You know things are bad when they propose something their enemy once proposed.

The Domenici-Rivlin panel has a far-reaching proposal to give Medicare enrollees vouchers to buy coverage from Medicare or a competing private plan offered on a Medicare exchange. The voucher would increase in value at roughly half the likely rate of medical inflation. If the cost of coverage rose faster than that, the beneficiary would have to pay an extra premium to cover the difference or seek a cheaper plan.

Sound familiar?  Newt Gingrich proposed this.  Back in the 1990s.  He said that as more people voluntarily enrolled in private insurance Medicare would wither on the vine.  Of course, the political opposition said Gingrich was just trying to kill senior citizens.  So his proposal was defeated.  And here we are.  Same problem.  Only more costly to solve now.

Competition Makes Everything Better

The big problem with health care is that there is no competition.  No market forces.

The commission believes that competition on the exchanges will cause insurance plans to find ways to lower premiums. It also believes beneficiaries will restrain their own spending. The panel projects savings from premium support and its near-term cuts and cost-shifting could be huge — more than $2 trillion through 2030 and more than $7 trillion through 2040.

Competition makes everything better.  And there’d be more competition now.  If the government didn’t forbid it.  For it is the government that forbids insurance companies from competing across state lines.

Can you Say Death Panels?

A spending cap is just another way to say rationing. 

The health care reform law already seeks to cap the growth in Medicare spending per beneficiary to roughly half the rate it has been increasing in recent decades. It empowers a new board to find savings should the target be breached, subject to Congressional veto. The Bowles-Simpson commission would expand that approach by placing a cap on total federal spending for health care — not just Medicare and Medicaid but the subsidies on new exchanges and tax exemptions. But the commission punts on what to do should the growth cap be exceeded, as many experts deem likely.

This board will have the power of life and death.  They will say who will live.  And who will die.  They can deny it but that’s what rationing is.  We have enough healthcare services for one person today.  Who will get it?  The 39 year old factory worker who has many taxpaying years left (so the government can recoup its ‘investment’)?  Or the old retired guy?  Hmm.   The old retired pain in the ass who won’t hurry up and die?  Or the young guy that we can squeeze more taxes out of for another 20 years or so?

Cut Out the Middle Man

They have big hopes for Obamacare.

The best way to lower health care spending is to reform the dysfunctional health care system whose costs seem unrelated to the quality of care delivered. The reform law makes a good start, sponsoring research to determine which treatments are effective and which are not, starting pilot projects to change the way care is delivered and paid for, and setting up new organizations to rush successful approaches into wide use in Medicare and ultimately the private sector.

The problem with health care is that we approach it from a cost standpoint rather than a quality of care standpoint.  No law or board will change that.  Real competition would.  Such as allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines.

One thing not mentioned by the New York Times is tort reform.  If we keep the jackals off of the doctors, they can spend more time administering health care instead of enriching ambulance chasers.

Perhaps the greatest cost control measure we can take is to cut out the middle man.  Have people pay for the services they receive.  Health care insurance is supposed to be insurance.  Not welfare.  It is to protect us from unexpected catastrophic medical expenses.  Like cancer.  Not to pay for a doctor appointment because we have the sniffles.

We Need more Market Forces.  Not more Government.

Increasing the size of a bureaucracy never made anything more efficient.  Price caps never made anything more plentiful.  And having someone else pay your bills never gives you the best quality.  That’s why we say beggars can’t be choosy.  Because we give beggars crap.

To fix our health care insurance woes we need to introduce market forces.  Not more government.  Medical savings accounts and tort reform would go a long way in fixing our problems.  As will competition across state lines.  And, of course, repealing Obamacare.

And we need to pay for our health care services.  For when we pay we seek the best value for our money.  Because we give a damn.  Unlike a disinterested government bureaucrat.

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