Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Republicans Want You To Die

In a highlight of the 2009 political season, Democratic Representative Alan Grayson stood on the House floor and issued the royal pronouncement "REPUBLICANS WANT YOU TO DIE!"

"The Republicans want you to die quickly."

I am not a Republican. I keep regretting my deceision, but I've voted for more Democrats in my life than Republicans. I prefet to throw away my vote on Libertarians than Republicans.

But on thinking about the speech below, I admit, living healthy and dying quickly is not a bad way to be. I knew a guy who was the epitome of fitness. Alta gives free lift tickets to people to locals who are skiing past a given age. He had several seasons of free skiing. One night, he went to bed. Had a heart attack in his sleep, and that was it.

Could there be any better way to live than a fulfilled active life followed by a pain free passing?

We can't all be lucky, but I wish such a life on people.

One the health care front, I wish we structured things such that people controlled their allotment of health care savings. If we did such, I think people would be making better decisions about health.

BTW: When I look at Representative Alan Grayson, I see the vilest of all creatures. The man self-righteously stands on a pulpit to project evil intentions on his opponents while engaged in a power grab of epic proportions.

The Republicans may not have a plan for a political power grab in health care. But, guess what? History shows that people do better when they control their health care resources. In feudal Europe, Kings, Lords and the Church had control of health care, and people died young and in misery. The Kings and Lords filled echoing courts with high minded speeches about their beneficience, but the people died young and died in misery.

Free people charged with their own care save resources, and figure out how to the spend their time and health resources to live longer and healthier lives. The free market is so successful that, which Democrats aren't busy projecting evil intentions on their opponents, they are criticizing Americans for living so long that they create global warming.

Here is the speech below:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Health Care is not a Natural Right

In the post Right to an Undefined Term I pointed out that what constitutes our notion of health care changes with each generation.

It is absurd to claim something that changes with fashion is a right.

After writing the post, the idea jumped into my mind: "Rights come from God."

I would be a fool to write such an apocryphal sentence in my blog. So I changed the statement to "Rights come from nature," with nature being the unchanging essence of man.

The conclusion is the same. A true right comes from our unchanging nature and not passing fashion.

This constantly changing thing called health care is really just people providing a service to other people. It comes from people and changes with time. The health care reform bill sets up an unelected bureaucracy to dictate the health fashions of the day.

We know this because people's concept of good health care is different today than it was fifty years ago.

Health care fashions will have changed 50 years into the future.

Even though our nation's founders were prone to use the politically incorrect term "God" in their musings, I often get the feeling that they were reasoning at a much deep level than the shallow image-based musings at the heart of progressivism.

Yes, an image driven culture can control the people through branding and propagandistic efforts. The partisan media and schools gain control by projecting positive images on friends and negative images on enemies.

Al Franken, Will Ferrell and the Saturday Night Live Crew get off on their ability to control people by controlling the images they pipe into people's brains.


I suspect that the Founders held more to the classical idea of God being the God of Nature from which all thrngs arise. I doubt they saw God as the cartoon caricature that atheists project on religious thought.

I have no problem dismissing the caricature, but in dismissing the caricature one also dismisses the deeper, unchanging concepts that sit at the heart of Classical Liberalism.

It is only by having an abstract entity from which rights flow that one can have inalienable rights. In the various colonial efforts to create bills of rights, early Americans appeared to have been driven by the notion that it is possible to find rights true to the unchanging nature of man.

While it is fun to ridicule the different caricatures people may hold in their minds about God, I worry that the wholesale onslaught to remove all aspects of thoughts of God from public discourse has the dangerous effect of destroying the concept that there is a source from which our inalienable rights flow.

As our schools and intellectual leaders destroy the source of inalienable rights, they destroy the rights themselves and we are left with nothing but fashion.

Progressives smirk with cleverness as they systematically change the foundation of the United States from a foundation of inalienable rights coming from God to one of fashion trends defined by a mysterious unelected elite.

Unfortunately, these progressives appear to be doing little beyond destroying the concept of freedom which led so many to prosperity.

When progressives have completed this game of confusing fashions created by man with rights coming from the God of Nature, they will find the quaint notions of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, trial by jury, etc.. to be dismissed by the ruling elite as simply failed fashions of deeply flawed individuals of the past.

Modern progressivism seems to nothing but different reflections on Hegel's dictum that "freedom is slavery and slavery freedom. To be free one must seek slavery."

As progressives demand that we surrender our inalienable rights for passing fashions under the branded slogan of "Hope and Change," I fear that our children will simply discover that harsh lession that slavery is slavery and freedom casually cast aside is all but impossible to re-attain.

Making the Medical Savings and Loan a Reality

In speeches today, Democratic lawmakers claimed their push for a public option was to create competition in the insurance industry.

The free market is better at creating competition than the government.

Right now there is a great deal of angst about health care. There is a market for change!

So, free market, let's get cracking and create some alternatives.

I would love to find a group willing to set up a Medical Savings and Loan. What is needed is about 10,000 people eager to take the self-financing route. The capital, of course, would come from the folks starting the program.

Establishing the program is a matter of taking the money currently going into pool based insurance and diverting it into a lifecycle based savings and loan structure. Those with high claims experience would end up paying a bit more for their care. Those with lower claims experience would end up with large amounts of cash in their medical savings account.

As people would be negotiating directly with their doctors, prices will drop.

There is nothing to prevent an existing pool based health financing company to switch from the pool structure to the savings and loan structure.

If I had access to such a market, I would be setting a program ... instead of sitting here feeling lumpy. (contact me).

BTW, the primary reason for the lack of competition in the current market is that insurance companies with insider connections in state regulatory boards have been able to systematically weed out competition.

Insurance is actually a strange industry. In insurance one collects premiums in advance of claims. This makes it easy to start a gig. Of course, when the reserves are insufficient the system implodes.

The Medical Savings and Loan has people owning their savings account. They would also own the loan reserve. This direct ownership of assets and risks minimizes that harmful affects that people can suffer if they join a pool with inadequate reserves.

This is a reform that could be placed into effect without special legisation. It would greatly reduce the inequities of insurance companie. The formula can work for a non-profit coop. So, people driven into a frenzy at the thought of insurance company profits could beam about the idea.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Right to an Undefined Term

"Healthcare" is an undefined term. HR3200 and other health care reform bills left the actual contents of what healthcare includes to an unelected bureaucracy.

The healthcare debate is frustrating. People run around claiming that healthcare is a right without a solid knowledge of what their magical term means.

The healthcare we have today was unimaginable a hundred years ago. What could evolve a century in the future, if we retained the free market, is unimaginable today.

Our silly little non-debate has people demanding a right to an undefined term.

Had people been taught logic in school, they would stare at Congress incredulously.

Of course, had we been taught logic in school, we would have recognized our Representatives for the charlatans that they are and the debate would not be taking place.

The odd thing is that the media has successfully portrayed those who demand well defined terms and a substantive debate that steps beyond mere sloganeering as a mob and the masses just reacting on impulse to images as the standard bearers of reason.

An unknown quantity multipled by an unknown quantity is unknown. This idea that we have a right to an undefined term is as inane as the idea that one can quantify the unknown.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Billion Dollar Thought Experiment

A few posts ago, I brought up the possibility that one could create an electric monetary system simply by having a big database with a fixed number of entries. Cash transactions would entail assigning an entry in the database to a new owner.

This program would be similar to the cash in your wallet. You will notice all those crisp hundred dollar bills bear unique serial numbers. (Well, there is only one lonely five dollar bill in my wallet ... that's a different story).

As the entries in the database are fixed, this system would not be subject to the counterfeiting problems of paper money.

I decided that in the Open Source Real Time eXchange that I would have a cash account that was just that, a database of real live cash. If you bought $100 in the cash account, it would point to a specific hundred dollar bill.

Speaking of hundred dollar bills: When I check books into the library, I tell the clerk that I use $100 bills as bookmarks. They know I am lying, but, like clock work, they thumb through the books I check in to see if I left a bookmark.

The cash account brings up an interesting thought experiment:

If I took a billion dollars out of my checking account, put that money in a super safe place under a rock at the bottom of the ocean, then sold shares of that money on the NASDAQ; we could learn a thing or two about the market.

One would think that my billion dollars would be worth a billion dollars. The shares in the IPO would sell for less than a billion dollars because of the transaction cost.

After the IPO, something really strange would happen. People who think they've found an investment that will grow at a rate faster than cash would start shorting my billion dollars. They would short my billion dollar cash account with gusto. The shorting would continue until the shares of the cash account were selling at about have a dollar a piece.

The thought experiment on trading a cash account is important. The value of a cash account should stay closely in line with the cash value of the cash. If traded on the OSTRX, this would happen. A pure cash equity on the NYSE or NASDAQ would be shorted.

This shorting of a cash account has essentially the same effect on the economy as counterfeit currency, it floods the market with bogus paper that pushes down the value of the real paper on the market.

In weighing market regulations, I think the regulators should examine questions like the viability of a billion dollar cash account. If the account isn't viable, then there is something wrong with the regulations.

Funding Disabilities

There are two different ways to handle the funding of care of people with serious disabilities and medical costs. The first is to attempt to get the payments for care of the disabled mixed up with the healthcare payments of others.

This is what we've been trying to do for the last 50 years.

It doesn't really work because, internally, the payment provider will always be aware of costs. The idea that we can mix the records up and somehow arrive at a more equitable distribution of care is a delusion.

The information doesn't get mixed up.

A better approach is to create a mechanism (like the Medical Savings and Loan) which provides a mechanism for all those who can self-finance their care, to self-finance their care.

This mechanism creates a filter that allows us to identify and recognize those needing additional care. We can then fund this additional care through openly acknowledged charity and public assistence programs.

The first mechanism seems more equitable, but is based on fantasy. The approach that openly recognizes assistence as assistence is more likely to acheive the results we desire as a society.

Fortunately, disability is the exception and not the rule. If it were the rule, then the human species would be going extinct. Such is the rule of nature.

A wise society builds its rules around the rules of nature. Building a healthcare system that is oppositional to the rules of nature is antithetical to natural living things.

If you are a natural living thing, you should be appalled at the healthcare power grab being debated in Congress.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Markets: Heal Thyself

There is a common theme to a large number of posts on this blog.

The market crash of 2008 exposed a large number of faults in our economy. For example, the crash proved that short selling did not help regulate the market as the short sellers claimed. Short selling accelerated the market crash.

We also learned that employer based insurance magnifies the hardships on workers. When people lose their jobs they discover that all of that money stuffed into their health plan vanishes.

We learned that the various re-insurance schemes in the housing, banking and bond markets turn local risks into systemic economic risks.

The 2008 economic collapse exposed systemic risks. The free market is the best way to solve known problems.

The free market would solve these problems if people talked about the source of the problems. For example, the Medical Savings and Loan would give employees equity in their health care. They could lean on this equity if they lose their job. The Open Source Real Time eXchange shows that short selling is the creation of an artificial gap created in a financial transaction. Close the artificial gap created by regulators and the problem goes away.

Our housing bubbles exist because people buying houses with fixed interest loans. Simply changing mortgages from interest loans to shared equity liens and the problem of people losing homes in an economic downturn would subside.

The free market can solve the problems.

Notice that the talk in the media and in political circles does not examine the roots of any of our economic problems.

The political scene is about using economic crisis for power grabs.

As we look at our economic history, we find that the institutions that blew up during the 2008 economic collapse were largely the creation of political intrigue. Emloyer based insurance gets massive tax subsidies which make more stable alternatives untenable.

The re-isurance schemes that keep crashing our economy (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FSLIC, credit default swaps, etc..) were all created in past power grabs spurred by past economic crisis.

To break this cycle of economic collapses that result from poorly conceived political power grabs, we need to get people talking about free market alternatives to the instable economic institutions created by political reforms of the past.

There are free market solution!

To save the free market, people need to move beyond this shrill political debate and talk up the free market solutions, because the political solutions on the table are all fundamentally flawed and will do nothing but hasten America's pace on the road to serfdom.

Transparency As Part of the Product

Jim Harper made an astute observation on Cato-At-Liberty about transparency. The post begins by noting that transparency transfers power from the center. The progressives dominating congress in both parties want to see more power in the center. So while transparency is fun rhetoric, the parties manage to block when in power:

Transparency won’t be a gift from government. It is something we have to take. That’s why I think the action lies in private efforts like OpenCongress, GovTrack, and (my own) (Links are to sites’ H.R. 3400 pages.)

The free market is able to build transparency into a product at a foundational level. That transparency can give a product a market advantage. For example, I contend that companies (which have been systematically burned by manipulations in the closed box systems of the NYSE and NASDAQ) would favor trading their equities on a trading system designed with open source code where the clearing of the certificates is transparent (OSRTX).

Conversely, people in the market must realize that much of the centralization of our economy has come about because we've fallen into a pattern where too many important business decisions are being manipulated behind closed doors.

As the Obama administration demonstrates, transparency will never be anything more than a buzz word used by the opposition party. Individuals have a lot more clout when dealing with businesses than they have with government. A market demand for greater transparency will result in greater transparency.

Blocking the Flow of Health Care Information

Health care is the process of applying time, knowledge and resources to the health of an individual. We are living substantially longer because we have substantially better information about our health.

Considering the importance that information plays in health, there is a strong argument that the health care revolution that took place in the United States happened because of the free flow of information allowed by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

According to the video below, during the great rush to ram a federally controlled health care system down our gullet, the Democratic Congress censured a health insurance company for the transgression of communicating with its clients about possible effects of the legislation.

The censoring made a partisan brouhaha as Republicans want the world to know all of the serious flaws of HR3200.

When I look at the censorship, I see something much more troubling.

Health care is about communicating information. In the design of the Medical Savings and Loan, I created an specialty called the Health Care Advocate. The people in this profession would devote their entire lives to learning about the health care system and helping people use their health resources to its maximum advantage.

The speed with which Congress intervened and censored communications between a health care provider and its clients bodes poorly for our health future.

The massive bureaucracy created by the bill will not only inject itself in the flow of money between patient and provider. It will inject itself and control the health care information that people need in making their critical medical decisions.

Health care is the application of time and knowledge to the care of health. The liberties that we are surrendering for this health care fiasco have been the foundations for many of the medical miracles that defined the American experience.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Electronic Money

I decided to renew the domain (Open Source Real Time eXchange). My original plan was to give the idea to Deep Capture. I felt that the idea could be of value in their push for reform of the NASDAQ.

Naked Short selling (aka Failures to Deliver) exists because regulators created an artificial gap between a stock transaction and the closing of the transaction. For example, if you bought a share of stock in GM, there is a three day gap between the transaction and the clearing of the stock during which hedge funds and brokers could resell the share you purchased.

Doing stock transactions in real time would close the gap and end the problems of FTDs. The second part of the reform was open source programming. Currently, stock transactions take place in a black box designed by folks like the progressive hero Bernard Madoff. Things happen in this black box that are not in the best interest of the stock holders. Developing a stock exchange with open source technology would shed light in dark places and the roaches on Wall Street would scatter.

I was planning on letting the domain expire. $10 is big bucks these days. I decided to renew it because I had a short epiphany this morning. It dawned on me that one could use the structure I had designed for the OSRTX itself for money.

Paper money suffers the same fault as stock. It is possible for the government to go wild with the printing press and print too much of it. It is also possible for people to counterfeit it.

It would be possible to create a monetary system where the money was simply entries in a database. Every dollar would have a position in the database. People would then have cards. These cards ccould have numbers. I would use a 32bit or possibly 64bit number. A money transaction would check the current number associated with a dollar, then assign the dollar to the new card. The database for the card would keep track of its money; so there would be checks and balances.

This system isn't all that incredible when one realizes that this is what currently happens. If you look, you will see that all your paper money has serial numbers.

The proponents of the gold standard like gold because there is a fixed quanity of gold. Were we using an electronic monetary system with a fixed database, one would end up with the same fixed quanity of money.

I have not pursued this idea beyond the realization that it would be possible to create such a system.

On the Effects of Pooled Resources

Our system of pooled health care is based on the assumption that pooling resources would somehow lower costs.

The idea works in some sectors of the economy where the items in consideration are a commodity, but it does not work with health care as health is an attribute of the individual and proper health care requires intensive knowledge of our individual situation.

Our health care costs rise because this pooling metaphor does not fit.

The real end result of pooling is the concentration of wealth and power.

If the pooling of resources creates an artificial concentration of power. The breaking apart of the pools (as is done in the Medical Savings and Loan) should have the opposite effect of breaking apart the concentration of power.

Health and Leisure

Recreation and Leisure are important parts of a healthy lifestyle.

I've noticed that when my health care resources are owned by a third party, I have a much harder time engaging in leisure. Our absurd system of pooled health resource creates unnecessary layers of tensions between people and their health care resources.

For example, I've worked in companies where I needed to go through the HR department to use my health benefits. My relation with the HR department would determine my access to care, and not my actual health.

In the cases where I lost employment, I found that the lack of health insurance dramatically affected my approach to leisure. Even when I had used the Cobra option, I found myself worried sick about my health care resources. This would affect the leisure of unemployment.

Having a third party own one's health care resources creates unnecessary tensions which result in unhealthy approach to one's health.

When I worked for a state run insurance agency, I found that some workers were not using their health care benefits because they felt political pressures from the system. Other workers, such as HR clerks and those in political power, were overusing the system. As they were in a position of power, they felt comfortable working the system.

In other words, the political players at the center of the system appeared to be guarding the pool of health funds for themselves.

Neither the inside players, nor the workers had a healthy relation with their health care resources.

I believe that people would develop a much healthier relation to their health resources if they actually owned the resources. If employees had even half of the money thrown into their insurance benefits stuffed in a health savings account; the worker would start approaching these resources with the mindset of how they would use the resources throughout their life.

As people enjoy health more than sickness, I contend that, if people had control of their health care resources, they would follow Tom Daschel's advice and seek to spend their health resources on maintaining wellness.

If people felt comfortable with their resources, then they would develop a lifestyle with a balance of work and leisure that better suited the human condition.

I realize that this post is weird. I believe that the absurd decision to surrender our health care to a third party created a climate where people are under greater pressure and spend more time toiling away at meaningless tasks at work and less time engaged in leisure. Having our health owned by a third party makes us beholden to that third party in unnatural ways.

If people were made the direct owners of the bulk of their health care resources, I think people would develop a healthier relation to their resources.

I can't help but notice that independently wealthy people often have a healthier relation with their health care than those depending on a third party.

Now, I do know the right balance between work and leisure. Our current system that developes artificial dependencies seems to have people stuck on treadmills with a very unhealthy relation with their health. Giving people greater control of the health care resources they earn might help people develop a healthier balance to their lives.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Quandary

I originally developed the model of the Medical Savings and Loan as an internal reform for insurance companies. My belief is that reform would best be done by an internal change within health insurance companies rather than the creation of an artificial exchange.

If people had equity in their health accounts, owned their claims experience and owned their medical records; we would solve every single one of the major complaints about the status quo.

Restructuring insurance companies along the lines of the medical savings and loan would create a paradigm where we could separate out those people able to self finance care from the small number of people who legitimately need outside assistance. This would help streamline charitable efforts in health care.

Simply reforming the mathematical model of health care (making it focus on the lifecycle of the individual instead of the make up of the group) suddenly solves the problems of health care.

The reform I wish to see could happen if one removes the tax advantages given to pooled insurance and if a few pioneering companies made the decision to switch from insurance to the medical savings and loan.

If I am correct, switching plans would decrease health costs and increase employee satisfaction; thus, giving the companies making the switch a sweet competitive advantage. A sweet competitive advantage would cause competitors to rush to follow the trend or lose employees and market share to the cutting edge competition.

The reform could take place internally within a health plan. However, the reform would have one major effect. The Medical Savings and Loan shifts year to year fluctuations in health care spending onto the policy holders. The current paradigm calls this natural fluctuation "risk." Insurance companies make outrageous profits by selling this risk.

Switching from the pooled insurance model to a medical savings and loan would eliminate the lucrative trade in risk. Insurance companies would see a sizeable drop in their profits. All of the profits made by "assuming the risks" of the group would be internalized in the structure of the Medical Savings and Loan.

Switching from pooled insurance to the Medical Savings and Loan model would transfer billions of dollars from rich insiders that benefit from the pooled insurance model.

Much of the outrageous profit from the status quo goes directly into campaign donations … primarily to members of the Democratic Party.

I am left in a wilderness here.

The reform could be done internally at insurance companies. The improved model would end up giving substantially better care, but would decrease profits.

There is zero chance that the Democratic Congress, which is owned lock-stock-and-barrel by big insurance, would approve a law encouraging a system where individuals owned their health care resources. Big insurance would dislike anything that decreased their substantial power base.

The program could be forced by a collective of small businesses looking for a way to give their employees health care resources, or by a few big businesses tired of the abuse of big insurance.

Since the easiest way to create the medical savings and loan would be to reform an existing insurance company, I've been left in a quandary about whether I should present it as model in opposition to existing health care companies or to present it as a way to improve the companies from the inside out?

I do not hold the view that insurance people are evil. I believe that they are driven by a desire to do what is right. However, I also understand the impediment that profit motive can work to our detriment and realize that the power brokers who have their lives invested in the pool model will not take lightly to the idea that health belongs to people and that people should own their health care resources.

Pooled Insurance is Fundamentally Flawed

I couldn't get to sleep; So I thought I would rant on my blog.

Pooled health insurance is inherently flawed. Pooled insurance attempts to fund health care by accumulating health care resources in a pool from which people draw care as needed. This system is fundamentally flawed as health is an attribute of the individual. The controlling logic of the pool is based upon the experience of the group.

This system creates an artificial conflict.

The concepts of choice and competition are antithetical to pooled insurance. If individuals are given a choice then they will seek pools whose premiums are lower than their expected expenses (as they seek to game the system). Insurance providers, if given a choice, will choose to reject those individuals whose expected claims experience is greater than their average claims experience.

Choice and competition don’t work with pooled insurance and the needs of the individual and group are fundamentally at odds.

Pooled insurance is fundamentally unfair as those with central knowledge of the pool are able to work the system and gain better care than those on the outside of the pool.

Pooled insurance is inherently flawed as people live dynamic lives that cause them to move in and out of multiple pools throughout their lives.

Sadly, the thinking around the 2009 health care reform effort did not start with a fundamental rethinking of insurance. Instead, the reform effort is set on trying to fix a fundamentally flawed system.

The heart of reform effort is efforts to use the coercive power of government to force behaviors the reforms hope will overcome weaknesses in the pools insurance paradigm. For example, the program forces all individuals to buy insurance and forces insurance companies to accept policy holders that they would not otherwise accept.

Central to the program is the creation of an artificial exchange to aid in these coercive efforts.

Anyone who reads and seriously thinks about HR3200 should see the absurdity the proposal. The bill creates a massively complex bureaucracy to encapsulate, regulate and attempt to control a fundamentally flawed paradigm.

I contend that real reform would start by looking at the nature of health and health care.

Health is an attribute of the individual. The resources for health care should be directly owned by the individual, and we should dump this silly notion of pooled insurance on the dust heap of history.

Employers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on employer based insurance. When you add the premium and out of pocket expenses of employees, you will find it common to spend $10,000 per employee per year on health care. That is $400,000.00 over a 40 year period.

If we put this money in a structured savings system (such as the Medical Savings and Loan); we would find that the vast majority of Americans would have enough resources for their care with money to spare.

As people spend their money better than a bureaucracy, self-funded care would fix the broken pricing mechanism.

As people like staying healthy, self-funded care would achieve the goal of refocusing health care dollars on wellness from sickness.

If people owned their own health care resources, then all of the problems like pre-existing conditions and portability would vanish and we would simply be left with the question of how to get extra resources to that tiny number of people whose health care experience falls outside the norm.

The problems with health records vanish as well. Pooled insurance makes the pool the de facto owner of health records. People get separated from their records when they change pools.

If the individual owned their health care resources, they would own their health records and the complex problem of creating a national health record database vanishes along with all the problems of portability and pre-existing conditions.

Health care reform should start with thoughts about the nature of health and not about ideas of how to patch a system based on the absurd idea that health is an attribute of a pool of people.

All of the plans coming from Congress are set on using the force of government to overcome fundamental flaws. The result of the effort will be an bureaucratic nightmare that does not acheive its ends because health care funding should be built around health and not political fantasy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Working the System

The NASDAQ was designed by Bernard Madoff and other insider investors who were very good at working the system.

The Federal Reserve was designed by a group of influential bankers who, again, were very good at working the system.

The Credit Default Swap system was created by people adept at working the system.

Central to both the Cap and Trade and Health Care Reform Bill are exchanges designed by people who are extremely adept at working the system.

I am surprised that anyone who watched the market implosion of 2008 think that these markets designed and controlled by people adept at working the system is a good thing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Left and Right of Wealth

Our two parties have an unhealthy attitude toward wealth.

The left gains adherents by fanning wealth envy. The idiots who fall for this message fail to realize that the people who fan wealth envy do not really have a plan for a more equitable society.

In most cases the party that fans wealth envy is seeking centralized political power. This centralized political power creates centralized economic forces which have the effect of consolidating wealth.

The reactionary right is equally stupid about wealth. As mentioned in the last post, the reactionary right gets so caught up in defending the right to wealth that they fail to distinguish between riches accumulated through production and riches accumulated through plunder.

Defending wealth, while failing to stand against the centralization of power, feeds the negative economic forces created by the idiots on the left.

The economic collapse showed the rotting core of our highly centralized financial system. We found our highly regulated banks were weighted to acts of plunder.

We find the great fortunes of the day in the hands of Madoff, Soros, the Sandlers and numerous hedge funds which simply hold formulas for gaming the system. Those who produce wealth are marginalized by a system dominated by derivatives and short sales.

Our parties have created a self-destructive system where the left encourages the development of highly centralized regulatory systems that allow insiders to plunder the economy. The right then defends the plundering. This creates a truly destructive disparity in wealth.

Ignoring the fact that the Left is the primary cause of the centralized economy weighted toward plunder, people react to those fanning the flames of wealth envy with even greater demands for centralization.

Stupidly, the reactionary right consistently falls into the trap of defending the plunderers. Notice the number of Libertarians and Conservatives who defend short selling when short selling is diametrically opposed to property rights.

The healthier relation to wealth is to think about quality. Conservatives should laud wealth created through production and abhor that created through plunder.

The big question is: How can one tell the difference?

I contend that one can tell the direction of an economy by the concentration of wealth.

People are clever creatures. They are very good at replicating success.

This puts an upper limit to the amount of wealth that one can accumulate in a free market. If person A has a formula for success, people will imitate it until the returns are marginal.

A truly free market has built in limits to success.

One does not get the really massive fortunes until one has a strongly centralized economy based on plunder.

So, one can judge the health of a market by the accumulation of wealth.

The wild fortunes being made on Wall Street were signs of sickness.

I am out here in Utah and see the local community. The local communities are highly diversified and were growing at a steady rate. For that matter, I was using the Community Color web site as a way to tell people to get their money out of wall street and big banks and into the local community.

Anyway, to get the US back on the road to prosperity, we have to find a way out of the trap of centralization created by our two parties.

Part of that is for Conservatives to start differentiating between wealth made through production and wealth made by plunder.

Conservatives must understand the game of the progressives. Progressives fan wealth envy, then use that wealth envy to attack the production of wealth in favor of plunder. The only cure for this strategy is to get people to encourage people to differentiate between production and plunder.

Does short selling produce wealth? No, it does not. It is a violation of property rights and should be discarded as plunder. Do hedge funds produce wealth. No, they do not. Hedge funds exist solely for protection of the wealth of the ruling class. They should be scrapped. Does employer based health care produce wealth? No it does not. Employer based health care centralizes wealth. It should be replaced with a self-funding mechanism where employees own their health care resources.

Until we figure a way out of this trap, the unhealthy relation between left and right will continue to impoverish our nation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quality of Wealth

The Left uses wealth envy to raise people in revolution.

This draws the right into defending wealth. After all, it is through the creation of wealth that a society advances. No great ill arises when those who produce wealth share in the product of the doings.

Sadly, the right forgets that not all riches arise from production. Most of the great fortunes in history were accumulated through plunder. This new trend of politicians becoming mega-millionaires after office is a case in point. Cap and Trade will put billions into the pockets of Al Gore, GE and other supporters of the bill.

Big Pharmacy, big medicine and big insurance will make out like bandits with HR3200 ... which diverts money from actually care into the political system.

Not all wealth is created equally. A society thrives when its economic and political system is producing real wealth, it flounders when its diverted into the short term profits of plunder.

To thrive as a society, we must find better ways to differentiate between wealth created through production and plunder.

Today we see great fortunes made by insider trading, naked short selling, ponzi schemes and other dubious methods. Those producing goods are overwraught with constraints and taxes.

I wish Libertarians and Conservatives spent more time talking about the quality of wealth.

It is hard to do, because any serious discussion gets flooded by foul smelling progressives trolls trying to re-enforce the Marxist theme of wealth envy. I think people would find answers to the problems of the day if they discussed issues of quality.

For example, is the billions that we throw into insurance quality wealth?

Workers do not have equity in their health policy. The trillions thrown into the coffers of insurance companies does not create the same quality of wealth as we would have as products that helped workers build equity to cover health expenses.

Of course there is not a clean line between low and high quality wealth. Quality is often not a matter of an absolute but a matter of balance.

Radicalization can be achieved simply by overemphasizing one aspect of the economy. For example, one can radicalize an economy by over-emphasizing the role of capital, the role of competition, or the role of risk and security. The Marxist doctrine of wealth envy is designed to over emphasize the discussion of the distribution of wealth.

I became depressed in school as I found progressive professors teaching businesses practices guaranteed to create systemic flaws in the economy. For example, professors would teach impressionable young minds that doing business is an art of war where no rules beyond the concept of dominate or be dominated apply.

A business professor who mistook me for a progressive explained that he knew perfectly well that what he was teaching business students would lead businesses to ruin, but he hated the free market and wanted to see it fail. Teaching bad business techniques was his part in the prolitarian struggle.

Conservatives are often like those two ACORN workers entrapped into helping set up a prostitution ring. Conservatives get so caught up into defending the wealthy that they fail to distinguish the plunderers from the producers.

Anyway, I've long felt that conservatives make a mistake in the blanket defense of wealth. This line of defense caused conservative leaders to miss the point that many of the nation's wealthiest of the last half century (Soros, Madoff, etc.) have been gaining their fortune through plunder and not production. Naked Short Sales, Credit Default Swaps and Hedge Funds contribute little to the wealth of the nation, but make the plunderers using the techniques billionaires.

BTW, taxing the rich does not solve the problems of plunder. Taxation generally burdens true wealth production for the benefit of the plunderers. The solutions that arise from those bartering in the trade of wealth envy often favor plunder over production.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On Choice and Competition

Choice and competition tend to exist with in the free market, but they are not the fundamental premises of the free market.

We know this because choice and competition exist in places where there is no freedom.

For example, an emperor can toss two gladiators in an arena.

On issuing the command "Kill or be killed," the emperor could be treated to an exciting competition.

If a gladiator refuses to fight, the emperor could give the gladiator a choice: "Be tossed in a ring of lions, or be tossed in a ring of vipers."

These are two radically different choices. Both options have serious ups and downs. The situation is not really in keeping with what I would consider the free market.

A good slave owner would give slaves choices and pit slaves against each other in competitions. The slave exercising the limited choices given by the master is still a slave. The competitions exist for the master's benefit and not the slave's.

We know from simple observation that choice and competition are not the foundation of a free society.

The foundation of a free society is freedom and property rights. What a free person experiences goes deeper than simply a defined choice made now and then. A free person is a self-propelled unit that is existentially involved in making his own world.

In a world with free people, we would notice people running around making choices and competing or cooperating with others. The roots of these choices and associations are derived from the freedom and not the other way around.

The Shrill Debate

The 2009 Health Care debate proved to be a shrill shouting match with lobbyists writing dubious law behind closed doors while the public screamed at the top of their lungs in Town Hall meetings in a vain attempt to save their health care resources from a corrupt government.

Pundits chalked up the divide to the historic division between left and right. I believe that the angst about health care reform stems from something deeper.

I believe that our problems from health care come from the fact that the method for funding care is in opposition to the nature of our health.

Funding for health care is base on the experience of a pool of people.

Health is not an attribute of a pool. Health is an attribute of an individual.

This is the source of the rift. Republicans fear government ownership of the pool. Liberals dislike the pools being owned by insurance companies. The real source of the conflict is deeper. The resources for health care should be attached to the individual and not the group.

Politicians and mainstream media have us focused on the ownershipe of the pool. The left wants the pool controlled by government. The right wants the pool owned by big insurance companies.

The question below the surface is "Why is health care funded by pools, when health is an attribute of the individual?"

My last post brings up an interesting compromise of creating a public option that uses the logical structure of the Medical Savings and Loan. Rather than basing the premiums for the public option on the pool's experience, each person in the option would have a savings account and access to guaranteed loans.

The post is important since is shows that the mathematical model of the savings and loan is independent of the ownership of the framework. The framework of the Medical Savings and loan could be owned by either group.

I believe we could bring more civility into the debate if people learned the difference between individually financed health care and pool financed health care. If we had the fundamental debate about the foundation of health care, we might have a more civil discussion.

Unfortunately, the powers that be are opposed to the fundamental debate and will continue to push the shrill debate about which group owns the pools that limits our access to our health care resources.

Creating the Public Option as an MS&L

One interesting compromise in the health care debate would be to make the "Public Option" a medical savings and loan instead of an insurance pool.

The difference between a Medical Savings and Loan and Pooled Insurance is the model used for calculating medical expenses. Pooled insurance calculates expenses for a group over a year's time. The Medical Savings and Loan calculates expenses over the life time of the individual.

This model says nothing about who runs the program. The government could run the program as easily as private company.

The premise behind a medical savings and loan is that people would save their resources for their medical expenses but could take out an interest free loan if expsenses pop over their savings.

The interesting thing about the MS&L is that creates the dynamic where individuals own their personal health resources.

Creating the Public Option as a medical savings and loan would be a very interesting compromise in that the framework of the system would be owned (and supplemented) by the government, but individual people would own their own resources.

The Medical Savings and Loan works by giving people a loan when their medical expenses exceeds savings. The patient pays back the loan as a percent of income.

There is a high default rate on the loans as people retire without paying back the loan in full. This system actually creates a buffer where people with high medical expenses pay substantially more for their care than people with low claims experience, but the system stops before driving the person into bankruptcy.

Creating the Public Option as a Medical Savings and Loan would be like extending the Whole Foods system to the public at large.

I think that a large number of Conservatives (and even Libertarians) would be open to the idea of a public option that was run as a Medical Savings and Loan.

On a strategic note, creating the public option as a medical savings and loan would prevent the government from using it as a stepping stone to socialized medicine. What would happen is that most the people in the MS&L would have a positive balance in their account. Socializing the system would involve the politically unpopular step of taking this money away from millions of low and middle income people.

Progressives would reject the idea as it gives ownership of one's medical care to the individual. The progressive ideology is built on the notion that individuality is an illusion. There is only the whole and pieces of the whole. The idea that an individual owns and controls their body is a sin against gaia and is the source of the problems that ever have or ever will exist.

While the right would probably be willing to accept a public option modelled on the Medical Savings and Loan, I can't imagine the left favoring the model even though it makes the government the owner of the framework.

BTW, I would like to point out that modeling the public option as a pool is pretty much doomed to failure. Pooled insurnance is based entirely on commonality of experience. The whole idea of pooled insurance is that the members of the pool share something in common.

As outlined in the President's proposal, the public option would be a pool of all the bits and pieces that don't fit in private pools. By definition, this group has very little in common. It will have college students, people with high claims experience in their later years, drug addicts who can't hold a job, etc.. The pool would have people of such wildly different life experiences that the pool would ultimately bog down in conflict.

What do you do? Pay for the drug addicts by taking textbook money away from starving broke College students?

The Medical Savings and Loan structure would be a better model for the Public Option as making people the owner of their care would allow greater customization of the system for an extremely diverse group with different experiences.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Health and Sharing

I am checking out a site called Health and Sharing which is using social networking technology to share information about health.

Real health care is about the application of knowledge and time to health concerns.

Social networking helps people of common experiences connect and find the best path to answering health concerns. You will find patients, doctors and concerned people the world over hitting sites like Twitter, Facebook and social networking sites with wonderful questions about health care.

Which begs the question: Why is our Congress trying to codify failed ideas of yesterday in a bill that will create a corrupt centralized bureaucracy?

Deep Capture Thread

I can't believe that it's been a year since my ranting about short selling.

Not wanting to give up on a good rant, I started a thread on about the OSRTX (Open Source Real Time eXchange).

Deep Capture claims that the black box regulatory system of the DTCC and SEC have been captured. This capture harms legitimate business.

An Open Source Real Time eXchange would directly answer the challenge. An open source project allows for greater transparency in the operation of the exchange. An exchange that traded stock in real time would eliminate naked short selling as it demands that all stock be identified before being sold.

So, as I wait to see if anyone at DeepCapture responds to the thread, I thought I would add some elevator music to my blog with ticked off people singing "Unsustainable."

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Chapter 4 - The Nature of Health Care

This was a waste of time. For Chapter 4 of the Medical Savings and Loan, I wanted to write up an objective comparison of the ideas behind the current push for health care reform and the ideas behind the Medical Savings and Loan.

In recent days, people have been repeating the political theme that Congress must pass HR3200 because "Universal Health Care is a Moral Imperative."

The statement sounds impressive, but I could not get a solid handle on how this slogan plays out in the real world. Health is something that belongs to individual people. The bill before Congress does nothing but puts a corrupt bureaucracy between people and their doctor. Bureaucrats do not provide care. They simply feed off the system.

Removing layers of bureaucracy might do some good. Adding new hands to be bribed does nothing but increase corruption.

Having spent several days trying to figure out how the slogan for universal care could improve care, I finally gave up and chapter four is just a really weak reminder that health is an attribute of the individual. Health care is most effective when the resources for the care are near the individual.

Monday, September 07, 2009

To the Future Owners of America

It's Labor Day. So, I decided to sit down and write a Labor Day post.

The challenge I have is that I have never, in my life, met anyone who I thought of as labor.

I cleaned out toilets and saw my fellow toilet cleaners as people. I had a job digging holes with a shovel. I saw my fellow posthole diggers as people. I had a job mowing lawns with a crew of short brown people who spoke Spanish. They were quite clearly people. The closest I ever got to a situation of working with non-humans was in an office setting.

One of my office duties was to send out a mass mailer once a month. The things with arms, legs and bad attitudes in the post office may qualify as some sort of inhuman labor. That thing that takes money for parking tickets at the city courthouse may not be human and just labor.

I have a great admiration for hard work involved in improving this world of ours. I have disdain for those who spend their days working the system. I especially dislike those who work the system at the cost of others.

I find that I really don't get into Labor Day because I don't see people as laborers. Perhaps if it were a day to celebrate the fruit on one's labor I would get into it. Imagine if Labor Day had events around the nation showing off all the products and accomplishments of labor during the year, rather than just political rallies.

What I wish most for the workers of the world is that have the opportunity to work on projects that they enjoy.

I believe the best way to really love one's work is to own one's work.

This brings to the gist of this post. It seems to me that many of the things contrived by politicians and business leaders in the name of the employee have actually worked to the employee's detriment. This list includes employer based health insurance and pensions.

These financial tools have workers placing their retirement savings and health care into the hands of their employer. The employer, of course, leverages these resources to the detriment of employees as a whole.

One of the selling points of employer based health insurance is the hope of employers that they could get by with paying out less than they would if they were giving money directly to employees for health care as each employee would want to have a buffer greater than expect health expenses in the Health Savings Account.

Were employees to own their own health care resources, they would feel less of a dependency on their employer (or on their politicians). My hope for Labor Day is that our nation finds a way to dodge the bullet of the Federal health care power grab and that the number of workers with health savings accounts triples in the up coming year.

A Brief History of Ideology

A common theme in modern discourse is the rejection of ideology and the use of the term "ideologue" as an insult for the people that the elite dislike.

I find this propaganda technique irksome. An ideology, after all, is simply a collection of ideas. The ongoing attack on ideology diminishes our ability to talk about the influences of ideas on our society.

So, I thought I would type out a quick history of the term ideology and the source of the attack.

From the fall of the Roman Republic to the establishment of the American republic, the predominant idea was that society needed a strong leader and an entrenched hierarchical political structure.

The classical liberal tradition that led to the American Revolution brought forward the notion that a society could be founded on a set of principles. This idea is clearly seen in the Constitution of the United States with separations of powers and a limited government along with a defined Bill of Rights.

The term "ideology" was coined by a French philosopher named Destutt de Tracy (July 20, 1754 – March 9, 1836) who liked the ideas behind the American Republic. His works include Eléments d'idéologie.

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826), who had served as a Minister to France, commissioned translations of Tracy's work. There was an interplay between the US and France during this period.

There are people who do not like the United States and reject the notion of a society built on principles to one with a strong leader.

The vilification of ideology began in Tracy's life time. I drew the following text from wikipedia on 9/6/2009:

Tracy rejected monarchism, favoring the American republican form of government. This republicanism, as well as his advocacy of reason in philosophy and laissez-faire for economic policy, lost him favor with Napoleon, who turned Tracy's coinage of "ideology" into a term of abuse; Karl Marx followed this vein of invective to refer to Tracy as a "fischblütige Bourgeoisdoktrinär"—a "fish-blooded bourgeois doctrinaire."

The timeline is important. This vilification of "ideology" started with the rise of emperor Napoleon and was incorporated into the works of Marx. It is a central component of the Marxist dialectic. The dialectics is not about bringing a new ideology into existence, it is about magnifying the divisions in society, so that the practitioners of the dialectics can rise to power.

The modern era has been an extraordinarily violent time. Many people claim that the violence is a result of ideologies. But when you look at the people who've been behind the violence, they are generally leaders who are using this dialectical method that operates by vilifying ideology and creating conflict.

The best demonstration of this is the works of Karl Marx. On reading the works one notices a strange gap. Marx does not tell us how communism will work. He simply sets up a conflict that leads to revolution. It is this system of conflicts set up by Hegel, Marx, Lenin, Moa, Tito, Hussein and other practitioners of the method that create the violence.

The vilification of ideology is not new. It has been a thread through the entire modern era. It has been practiced by the worst of modern dictators, and it continues to stifle our ability to talk about how ideas effect society.

The term "ideology" simply refers to a collection of ideas. It is ridiculous that so many people run around pretending that there are no ideas at the foundation of their thinking. A person who claims such is essentially saying to the world that they are as dumb as a stump.

If we were a wise society, we would be encouraging the discussion of ideas and the way that ideas affect society instead of this shrill diatribe that has tainted the modern era from the rise of Napoleon through Marx a long line of brutal dictators who use the vilification of ideology as a means to suppress the ideas of their opponents.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Loan is A Margin Play

A loan is not the same thing as a direct capital investment. We know that loans are not an investment because loans tend to have an indirect relation with the risk and rewards of the investment.

Let's say I had a project with low risks and a high potential reward. I would have a better credit rating for this loan and would get a lower interest rate. Conversely, if I had an investement with a higher risk or lower potential reward, I would find that I have to pay a higher interest rate on the loan.

An interest bearing loan is not the same thing as a direct investment. Such loans are better understood as margin plays. The parties involved in an interest loan are not working together to bring an investment idea to fruition. In most loans, the parties are simply looking to leverage off each other. The lender is looking for a guaranteed stream of income (with profit) from the loan. The borrower is hoping to leverage the money borrowed in the market.

It is not as healthy a relation as a direct investment.

Our overuse of credit appears to be a result of the regulations of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has created a system of fractional credit. The Feds lend money to banks. These banks then make multiple loans with this money. The Feds create seemingly cheap credit.

This system of highly leveraged positions appears to work in boom times. But boom times can't last forever. Since this highly leveraged position of boom times is premised on people paying back fixed interest loans, the economy collapses in times of economic uncertainty.

The Federal Reserve floods the market with credit. On occuasion, there is a market collapse which rakes in all the bad margin plays.

In a system of direct investment, investors share the booms and busts together.

The Austrian School of economics wants to eliminate the regulations that allow fractional lending.

My belief is that the pathway to sustainable economic prosperity is to lower our dependence on loans and to increase direct personal investments in equities.

If these sentiments are true, then our political leaders have us on the wrong track.

The bullet points below come from summarize the goals of the president's initiative which are to:

  • Expand opportunities for automatic enrollment in 401(k) and other retirement savings plans,
  • Make it easier for more than 100 million families to save a portion or all of their tax refunds,
  • Enable workers to convert their unused vacation or other similar leave into additional retirement savings, and
  • Help workers and their employers better understand the available options for tax-favored retirement saving through clear, easy-to-understand language.

The focus of this initiative is improved retirement savings through tax-savings.

I don't care how much people save on their taxes. Saving on taxes is not wealth creation.

The primary target of the initiative is small business. President Obama wants small businesses to act more like big business. The bill wants people in small companies to invest more of their retirement funds in 401Ks.

Obama demands this change as if small businesses were the ones responsible for the financial collapse on Wall Street.

In recent business cycles, small businesses have proven to be a buffer between the excesses of Wall Street and government policy. Forcing small business into the mold of big business runs the risk of making the next bust even more catastrophic.

Anyone who has looked at the books of a small business realizes that there is a fluid line between the business owners and the finances of the business. Personal money flows into the business when it needs extra money, and money flows out when capital needs are relaxed.

This happens in part because the business is the savings account of the small business owner.

If the small business owner locked money into a 401K, that resource is no longer available for use in the business!!!!!!!

It is true that the business owner can borrow against the 401K. But, wait a second, this action forces the business owner to take a margined position. Such a leveraged position is dangerous.

If there is an economic downturn, the business owner will see both the 401K plan fall and the business retract. This double whammy creates twice the hardship for the business owner. To make matters even worse, the business owner must eat a 10% penalty if the business owner draws down the 401K to pay off the loan.

It is good that President Obama has addressed the problem of low savings rate. Forcing people to invest in 401Ks doesn't really solve our problem if it forces small businesses to take leveraged positions against their assets.

What we need to get out of this business cycle is to de-emphasize leveraged investments, and to concentrate on building real equity.

Forced to Save

This post is a set of ideas spawned from reading a post on twitter

The New York Times reports on a new initiative by the Obama administration to increase savings. The plan is essentially a fiat order that small businesses auto-enroll their workers in 401K plans. Apparently, many big businesses auto-enroll workers in 401Ks.

This order sunk my heart as I've gradually come to the realization that the small business world isn't just a small version of big business. It is a unique thing unto itself.

Big business is driven by big capital in big money markets. Many small businesses have a more direct connections to physical equities in the local community. For example, an antique shop, traditional farm, construction company or design firm tend to directly invest capital into their doings.

Many of the workers in small firms end up investing in the same way ... often with the aspiration of starting their own small business.

People who are authentically engaged in this traditional type of small business are invested in the free market described by Adam Smith. Big business is more involved in capitalist world described by Marx.

I've come to realize that it is because small businesses are more directly connected with the equity of the company that small business tends to be the engine of economic growth.

Big businesses, which are the product of the big capital markets, tend to be engines of power politics and intrigue.

Obama's fiat that small businesses establish 401K programs for employees pulls a great deal of capital out of the small local business world and places it directly into the big capital market dominated by big business.

Obama's decision to force large amounts of equity out of the small local businesses and into big business is especially troubling in that the capital markets appear to be caught in a boom and bust cycle. Notice how our economy is being wracked by crisis after crisis including the DotCom Bust and the economic collapse of 2008.

Sadly, I don't think the dictate will stop the drain on American savings as the biggest challenge to savings isn't access to a bank account, but access to easy credit which lure people into spending more than they can afford.

Part of the reason the current downturn is so severe is that many workers made borrowing decisions based on the amount of money that they had in their 401K. Let's say a worker had $200K in their 401K. This person, incented by the mortgage deduction, would have been prone take out a higher mortgage and buy a bigger house than needed.

The economic meltdown in the financial sector wiped out much of the value of the 401K then put the highly leveraged house underwater financially.

The perverse economic incentives encouraged the worker to take on huge financial risks that the worker simply did not understand. Without the mortgage deduction and without the tax incentives for the investment, the worker is likely to have purchased a smaller house with less of a direct financial exposure to the mortgage.

On this new savings initiative. I give Obama an "A" for effort. Anything less would risk harming his self esteem.

As for the economics of the program, I dislike it because it is forcing all small businesses into an economic system that seems to be ruled by uncontrollable systematic risk. I would rather see diversity in the economy with small businesses investing directly in building equity and big business playing the capital game.

Paid to Practice

Twitterers like to make cute observations that can fit in 140 characters or less. On 9/6/2009 AnitaMatys dropped the fun little tweet.

"They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds."

The response, of course, is that practice is an unending task. No-one has yet played the perfect rendition of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. People just keep plugging away at it.

Since, I see everything in a super political light, I see something else here.

Practice is an unending job.

The people who are engaged in the job of practice are actually doing. Their work does not reach fruition until actual performance, after which they go back to practice.

The wage laws are all built around an absurd notion that everything is in performance. Progressives imagine a state with a glorious leader who sets everyone to task and those tasks reach their fruition from the second that the dictates issue from the political hierarchy.

Many jobs, especially in the creative environment, have the form of people engaged in practicing, practicing and practicing. They then perform and go back to practicing.

The practicing is a low wage activity. It is the performance where the artist receives the reward.

Minimum wage laws prevent the formation of business models that provides some minimal funding while a person practices with the hopes of receiving a more substantial reward during performance.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Socially Concious Celebrities

I agree with the celebrity preacher Reverend Wright that celebrities are lousy at helping the poor, despite the fact that they beam a great deal of effort into creating just that image.

One of the great problems of the modern age is that people keep turning toward populist leaders who cultivate the image of the socially-conscious do-gooder. This process of focusing interest on the great one creates centralizing forces which end up impoverishing those on the peripheral.

I disagree with Reverend Wright's emphasis on social-consciousness as being the answer to the world's problem. Social-conscious, environmental-conscious, racial-conscience, etc., are much more about the image a person wishes to project than about the outcome of actions.

As such, I find the traditional approach to problems of focusing on individual morality to be a much better path to peace and prosperity.

PS: Notice how Reverend Wright opens his answer with an extremely hateful statement that Conservatives don't want to help the poor.

The Needy Greedy Little Serfs

If you went back in time to the days of American slavery in the South or to the dark centuries of feudalism in Europe; you would discover something very odd.

In these societies the rich lords saw themselves as the benevolent care takers of the people, and they saw the slaves and serfs as needy greedy people.

The rhetoric and self-delusions of the slave holder is almost identical to the thought process of the modern liberals and progressives as they try to thrust HR3200. There is little beyond a patronizing belief that people need a ruling class to make their health care decisions for them.

The similarities between the rhetoric of slave holders and modern progressives is not that surprising. A great deal of the logic at the center of modern liberalism was devised in efforts to defend slavery, then to construct the Jim Crow laws.

Meanwhile, on the home front, progressives seek to put a thug between parents and their children with Down syndrom. Why? Because those parents of children with down syndrom are just needy greedy little things.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Quick Flash of Projection

The short video below includes off color language from a top level advisor in the White House.

The question is why, in our hyper partisan day, did the Republicans seem a bit better at passing laws than the Democrats.

I contend that Republicans had actually substantially more bipartisan and open to ideas from across the aisle than the press let on.

Progressives tend to hold to a Marxian dialectical style which pushes conflict into the forefront. This ideology is rife with contradictions and paradoxes. However, I've noticed that people who hold to this thought process hold to a self image of bipartisanship. The basic reasoning is: Since my ideology is rife with paradox and contradictions; I must be bipartisan.

People holding to the dialectics see those holding the classical Aristotelian/analytic view as being necessarily partisan.

I believe the opposite is true. I believe that people holding to the Aristotelian view are better at being bipartisan. After all, one can't be bipartisan until one has a basic grasp of their core principles. The left is struggling as they simply have strategies for projectings images onto people. As HR3200, the Cap and Trade Bill along with the Stimulus shows that they are bankrupt on ideas.

Anyway, the video below contains adult language. I believe it stands out as an example of projection.

Passing on PASS

This is really sad. Some people are talking about a Parent Approved Skip Skool day in response to the Presidential address to children PASS.

I wish conservatives understood how reaction is systematically used by the elite to limit freedoms. Skipping school to miss a president's speech, even if it is propaganda, totally undermines the legitimacy of the Conservative movement. The political game of action/reaction often does more harm to society than the policies in question.

A better response is for people who want their children to learn in school (as opposed to simply being indoctrinated) would be for the opposition to write up their own list of questions for students to ask after the speech.

My last post was cynical, but I truly hope that Obama gives a politically neutral speech. Students forced to watch the speech should seek to identify any partisan themes or purely partisan elements in the speech.

If the speech touches on currently political legislation (such as health care, cap and trade, etc.) students should question whether the use of schools is an apropriate venue for such causes. If the speech contains any partisan attacks (such as repeating the theme that Obama inherited only problems); students should question that as well.

Students should be encouraged to identify anything presented as fact in the debate and asked to explore if that fact is in fact a fact or just an attempt to frame debates.

Rather than skipping school, parents should encourage their students to question the message of the speech on a deeper level. Parents should plan on watching the speech and discussing it at the dinner table.

It is difficult to know what questions to ask about the speech before it is given. One should question the study materials.

The biggest of all question I have from the study materials issued from the White House is ift it is apropriate for a president to use the highly partisan education system to encourage students to attack the political beliefs of their parents?

I really hope Obama's address to the students is not part of his reframing the health care issue. I sincerely hope the president avoids positive themes, but when our schools reject the concept of universal truths for the relativistic idea that everything is propaganda, I have a hard time imagining the president negotiating his way through this address without generating controversy.

Although President Obama was able to get through most of his career simply voting present. I sincerely hope that conservatives do not make the blunder of encouraging their students to skip school and that they use the speech as an educational opportunity.

The Great Leap Forward

Comrads, we have wonderful news. The glorious leader invites the students of America to join in a Cultural Revolution that will usher in a great leap forward.

The reactionary elements in society are troubled with the glorious leaders actions as they worry that the president might use his forced audience for political indoctrination.

The learning materials issued to public schools in a lead up to the glorious leaders speech asks students to answer the following questions:

  • What is President Obama inspiring you to do? What is he challenging you to do?
  • What do you believe are the challenges of your generation?
  • How can you be a part of addressing these challenges?

If the speech repeats partisan themes or asks children to help in partisan efforts (supporting the hugely unpopular HR3200) or to help in the struggle against the reactionary tea-baggers, then speech could be filed as political indoctrination at its worst.

There is a great deal of outrage about the speach. So, we can hope the president will tone down the speech ... or perhaps concentrate on general education themes like Laura Bush's support of reading, and guides to Internet safety.

With criticism of pre-speech materials in the air, it will be telling to see which direction Obama takes this massive media effort in the classroom.

While we wait, I offer a cheerful video by Tim Hawkins that will put a twinkle in your eye as you earn money to give to the tax guy.

Inheriting a Medical Savings Account

The goal of the Medical Savings and Loan is to encourage people to save more than they expect to spend on health care.

If the system works correctly, then a large number of people would die with a positive balance on their account.

Leaving the world with a positive balance is a good thing.

As discussed in previous posts, the Medical Savings and Loan is not dependent on special laws. (It simply requires that group insurance is not given special advantage in the tax code).

The one law that I would love to see put in place is a law that allows people to transfer the positive balance in their medical savings and loan to loved ones or to a favorite charity.

When setting up a medical savings and loan, I would include from the beginning a charity that allowed people to donate their excess health resources to the the people in need regardless of any tax advantage.

If one establishes the precedence that that excess funds in the Medical Savings Accounts feed back into the system for health care needs, then the system becomes closed with 100% of the money deposited into accounts spent on health care.

For that matter, a greater percent of the money deposited in the medical savings and loan woudl be spent directly on health and it would be spent wiser than it would have been spent going through the insurance mechanism which shaves off sizeable chunks of money in risk analysis and commissions.