Friday, April 29, 2016

Were You Paying Attention?

For those who were paying attention, none of this is a surprise. It was always a fantasy to think that more government intervention was going to improve a health care system that already was cumbersome and expensive because of previous government interventions.
By the way, IBD isn’t the only outlet to notice the ongoing disaster of Obamacare.
Let’s look at some other recent revelations.
Chris Jacobs writes, “For millions of Americans, the Left’s insurance utopia has rapidly deteriorated into a bleak dystopia,” while “the ‘cheaper prices’ that the president promised evaporated as quickly as the morning dew.”
John Graham explains that “CBO estimates Obamacare will leave 27 million uninsured through 2019 – an increase of almost one quarter” and that “CBO estimates 68 million will be dependent on the [Medicaid] program this year through 2019 – an increase of almost one third in the welfare caseload.”
https://fee.org/articles/obamacare-strikes-out-on-affordability-savings-coverage/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fee_daily&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWlRJM04yVmtOak0wTldGaCIsInQiOiJpQVQ0SmRyZWpXeTFqYmgydndmN3ZEOFNCK2lDOTkwaDV1dkVDcjBNdkIyOGdTblRtdTRNQjY2anB4bGJ1cythNWpTb3FBTDJ1dWllNk5zcE10S3BQTldQZFBBNWVDUVN1SFlhTCtqZ3c2bz0ifQ%3D%3D

Free? Valueless

As he panders for the youth vote, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders promises free tuition at public colleges and universities because, he says, "a college degree is the new high school diploma." Rival Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama's plan to make community college tuition-free -- that is, publicly funded. Beware, America: Imagine how expensive college tuition will be if Democrats somehow manage to make more of it "free." As for value, if Sanders has his way, you can expect the college degree to be the new high school diploma.
On the other side of the aisle, GOP presidential hopefuls rarely talk about "college affordability." The issue is not on front-runner Donald Trump's main issues pages. Ditto for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Ohio Gov. John Kasich suggests that one way to make college more affordable is by encouraging "more students to earn college credit while completing their high school courses" to give them a "jump on their college careers" and a break financially. Republicans wisely are pushing personal fiscal responsibility as the main answer to rising tuition and fees.
Who's going to pay for all this? Everyone. Richard Vedder of Ohio University's Center for College Affordability and Productivity co-wrote a pamphlet for The Heartland Institute on higher education reform in 2011, which explored how federal grants and student loans have driven up the cost of college. His report showed the cost of a four-year degree had more than doubled in inflation-adjusted dollars from 1975. College graduates aren't more literate; they have a lower level of reading comprehension than those who graduated a decade earlier. Also, many grads are underemployed. According to federal statistics, 13 percent of American parking lot attendants and 14 percent of hotel clerks have a bachelor's degree or better.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/04/28/is_college_too_pricey_wait_till_its_free_130419.html

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

McArdle on the Panama Papers

A libertarian of my acquaintance wrote to inquire whether this is going to sour people on global capitalism.
It shouldn’t. What we’ve seen from the papers so far is not so much an indictment of global capitalism as an indictment of countries that have weak institutions and a lot of corruption. And for all the outrage in the United States, so far the message for us is pretty reassuring: We aren’t one of those countries.
Consider the big names that have shown up so far on the list. With the notable exception of Iceland, these are not countries I would describe as “capitalist”: Russia, Pakistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Egypt.  They’re countries where kleptocratic government officials amass money not through commerce, but through quasi-legal extortion, or siphoning off the till. This is an activity that has gone on long before capitalism, and probably before there was money. Presenting this as an indictment of global capitalism is like presenting Romeo and Juliet as an after school special on the dangers of playing with knives.
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-04-06/the-panama-papers-actually-reflect-pretty-well-on-capitalism

Easy to Predict Stuff - Another Government Failex

An easily predictable development ... unless you just love everything government touches.

ObamaCare rates will skyrocket next year, according to its former chief. Enrollment is tumbling this year. And a big insurer is quitting most exchanges. That’s what we learned in just the past few days.
Marilyn Tavenner, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, revealed that she expects ObamaCare premium hikes “to be higher than we saw previous years,” including last year, which saw double-digit rate increases across the country.
Tavenner, for those who don’t know, was head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services until early 2015, which means she helped bring ObamaCare to life. In November 2014, she was boasting how “the Affordable Care Act is working to improve competition and choice among marketplace plans.”
http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/obamacare-suffers-three-major-blows-in-one-week/

Another Jewell from Will

Authoritarianism, always latent in progressivism, is becoming explicit. Progressivism’s determination to regulate thought by regulating speech is apparent in the campaign by 20 state attorneys general, none Republican, to criminalize skepticism about the supposedly “settled” conclusions of climate science.
Four core tenets of progressivism are: First, history has a destination. Second, progressives uniquely discern it. (Barack Obama frequently declares things to be on or opposed to “the right side of history.”) Third, politics should be democratic but peripheral to governance, which is the responsibility of experts scientifically administering the regulatory state. Fourth, enlightened progressives should enforce limits on speech (witness IRS suppression of conservative advocacy groups) in order to prevent thinking unhelpful to history’s progressive unfolding.
Progressivism is already enforced on campuses by restrictions on speech that might produce what progressives consider retrograde intellectual diversity. Now, from the so-called party of science, aka Democrats, comes a campaign to criminalize debate about science.
“The debate is settled,” says Obama. “Climate change is a fact.” Indeed. The epithet “climate change deniers,” obviously coined to stigmatize skeptics as akin to Holocaust deniers, is designed to obscure something obvious: Of course the climate is changing; it never is not changing -- neither before nor after the Medieval Warm Period (end of the 9th century to the 13th) and the Little Ice Age (1640s to 1690s), neither of which was caused by fossil fuels.

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/04/21/settled-consensus-du-jour/83348376/


Friday, April 22, 2016

The AGW Comedy Tour Continues

This is like "how much wood could a wood chuck chuck? How much predictive value does a model have if it has not ever accurately predicted? I don't know why Lomborg didn't point that out, but his other analysis seems to aimed at the believers who like to ignore how poorly the models are working.
Answer: "None, but we have to use something! But since our changes won't really change anything, even with our non-predictive model, what the heck!"

"But this is just rhetoric. My own research and the only peer-reviewed published assessment of the Paris agreement used the United Nation’s favorite climate model to measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every major carbon-cutting promise in the treaty between now and 2030. I found that the total temperature reduction will be just 0.086 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

"Even if these promises were extended for 70 more years, then all the promises will reduce temperature rises by 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. This is similar to a finding by scientists at MIT. It’s feeble."



http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/21/climate-change-real-paris-treaty-costly-few-benefits-research-green-energy-column/83292440/

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Is This Worth Killing Someone?

As long ago as 1949, H. L. Mencken identified in Americans “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy,” an astute articulation of our weirdly Puritan need to criminalize people’s inclination to adjust how they feel. The desire for altered states of consciousness creates a market, and in suppressing that market we have created a class of genuine bad guys — pushers, gangbangers, smugglers, killers. Addiction is a hideous condition, but it’s rare. Most of what we hate and fear about drugs — the violence, the overdoses, the criminality — derives from prohibition, not drugs. And there will be no victory in this war either; even the Drug Enforcement Administration concedes that the drugs it fights are becoming cheaper and more easily available.
https://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/?single=1

I see little justification for the violence the government delivers in the name of stopping the use of drugs.  I fear the decriminalization, much like those must have feared the end of prohibition.  The common habit of thought is pretending the drug war's consequences - gun and other criminal trafficking, subversion of legitimate purposes of law enforcement, empowerment of criminals, thousands dead in drug gang violence and thousands more in jail for non-violent crimes - justify the minimal degree to which the drug war reduces consumption.

I hate what drugs do to humans.  The drug war takes all of that and makes it worse.