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AvatarComments by greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon*

On “don’t just do something, sit there

it really creates dissonance when a racist sleaze like Buchanan says something so obviously sensible. Aside from the fact that he is correct, we actually cannot do anything to effect the situation there. Making grand pronouncements would be for our own consumption. It might make the good people standing up in the streets feel better, but it wouldn’t change the situation. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t root for the fall of Achmenasneezegaurd.

On “Some Real “F”ers

Barry, right on. Most people who throw out the term marxist don't seem to get that Marxism is s primarily a system of economics. Sort of like throwing out socialism for every goverment program people don't like.

If coporate interests weren't served well in Germany and Italy, it wasn't because the system wasn't set up for them to profit. The untited fruit company certaily did well with fascism in Guatemala. The profits and pride of place of business interests in fascism seems to be the biggest difference between fascism and communism. unless of course you fuse all poorly defined, misunderstood terms into one bit of performance art like only the critics of the Big O can do.


Well the over use and expanding the meaning of words is a bugaboo of mine. Maybe we should go with Fascism and Extreme Fascism to separate the real bad guys from the others. I think totalitarianism might be a better word for pervasive systems of political and social control, where the gov is in every part of a persons life. Iran hasn't been a totalitarian state, well since the shah was asked to leave, and it would be massive change for them to move back to that. Iran has had a lot of personal freedoms. I remember one story of protests, a couple of years ago, where quite a few people stood up at a speech of Achmwhoistsname and called him all sorts of nasty names. They weren't whisked away or anything.

On “Making Sense

they are loons in every party/tradition/group. But the loons in the conservitive camp are big, big wheels. The loons in the liberal camp are lower profile, less important and less powerful. Example: Bill Ayers, who the hell is he exactly in lib politics? He is a non-entitiy in lib politics and has become mainstream in Chicago.

On “One Pediatrician’s Perspective on Universal Healthcare

I agree that some people will complain no matter what. I would hope that if Stephen Stills gets a certain treatment then David Crosby gets all the drug trt he needs although i think Neil Young had more talent then both of them. And he is Canadian.

FWIW it's worth there are Americans who go to Mexico to get trt because they can't afford the costs here. It is easy to point out potential problems but that doesn’t mean we shouldn't try to improve.

I doubt you disagree with part of this statement but, nobody would ever dare criticize our ability to make the newest shiniest way to blow the crap out of people. But start to talk about getting health care for everybody and all of sudden there is nothing but "ooh we can't do that."


Doctors make plenty of money in general, especially specialists. One of the advantages of universality is that it sets a basic, good enough level for everybody. Nobody dies because of lack of care. That is a good thing. So if somebody wants extra special treatments like fake platinum boobies or an super duper erection they can pay for that themselves. I’m not familiar with the case involving the NHS, but I don’t think having two tiers is bad as long as the bottom tier covers everybody and is good enough. If that is the case then where would a black market develop?

This is one of those cases where listing fundamental laws of economics isn't all that useful since apply differently regarding medical care then consumer goods. There is far more to it then just supply and demand. The incentives for more supply/care is not just money, but also the desire to do good. There is not necessarily a fixed amount of health care and by providing some more health care to people who don’t have it, we can decrease the need for more expensive care down the road.


Yes , what Charles said. My comment was directed at Mathew's post. Thank you, C, for understanding what i meant instead of what i said.

It does appear that many other countries have found a way to get all three: affordability, quality and universality. In any case we have one out of three and only for some people. We have a very expensive system that is not universal, which provides high quality care to some and mediocre care to others


Or how about rationing through neglect or rationing by work status/ income. The use of term rationing is definitely aimed at those who are trying to derail any change in our health care system: OOOOH ooga booga the scary government will ration health care. So Dan is correctly pointing out that our current system gives far differing levels of care to people based on various criteria.

On “Making Sense

urr no. Where do lib's want to lump all conservatives in with militant radicals? The problem is, many of the biggest tv, radio and internet conservatives are in the loony brigade. Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, Erick Erickson at Redstate, Ann "treason" coulter, Malkin. Those are big names in the repub world. And what about elected officials like michelle bachman, etc. The conservative media presence has gone off the deep end. Does that mean all conservatives are that way: no of course not. In fact it is a common refrain on lefty web sites, at least that i visit, that we wish the sane Righties would take back their party so that it is functional without feeling the need to accuse everybody who disagrees of treason, solialism, "goat f-ing", supporting child molesters, etc.

On “One Pediatrician’s Perspective on Universal Healthcare

Yes great post. Straight reality for those who are open to hear.

On “the civilizational tango

The "Europeanization of the American economy " is a scare tactic. Obama is not coming close to creating that kind of welfare state. In many/most places in Europe Obama wouldn't even been considered on the left side of the spectrum.

On ““The Persecution of Sarah Palin”

FWIW the rumors about who was the momma of trig started with Palin's repub enemies in AK.

It would be wonderful if the press and many people would stop the petty, shallow coverage of, well, just about everything. Whenever i think that will stop i remind myself that i also thought if the Dem's put up a decorated combat vet in 2004, the press and repub's wouldn't dig deep into the poo bucket to smear him. A lot of us may hate the terrible way our press works, but enough people buy it, so it continues. That is the way capitalism works.

On “thoughts on socialized medicine

In regards to paying/entitlement to the newest tech. That is somewhat of red herring, since it is basic, preventative care that can often do the most to extend life. If we can prevent HBP or diabetes then we have less need for the highest tech.

Also the government pays for a lot of basic medical and bio research because profit making companies want to pay for what will put money in their pockets. The gov can still fund oodles of basic research and even when we improve our healthcare there will still be plenty of money to be made.

One of data points about other countries that have some sort of universal coverage, whether socialized or not, is that many have equal or better life expectancies. So it seems like we can cover everybody without a piling up dead bodies.

Mr. Kling, feh. It is easy to pile up tens of thousands of dollars in one stay in the hospital. My son was in the hospital years ago and we had bills in the hundreds of thousands. One basic facet of a sensible health care system is that people shouldn’t go broke or bankrupt if they actually need care.

On “Sometimes We’re Wrong

I agree. I am a liberal but I have no delusion that my beliefs have the answer to every problem. In fact I am sure they don't. We need multiple competing ideas/ideologies. And this is why I think the repub party, and many conservatives, are intellectually dead. They start with their solutions(values) , insist they are completely correct and that every problem bend to their fixes.

On “Understanding Markets

But education is fundmentally different then pizza which is why applying the same kind of market analysis doesn't work. Pizza, while a clear good, is not a public good. If teh pizza parlor goes out of business taht is bad for that owner but doesn't affect teh community in a substantive manner. Schools as a public good can't be allowed to go out of business since there is no excess capacity at other schools to pick the students and would leave a community unserved. The "law of economics" around public goods are just different then around consumer goods.


You covered a lot of ground in this post. In terms of the economics section, I always puzzled by the idea of "laws" of econ. At best there are various concepts based on theories. Laws are for physics and math. Economics is to based in political ideas to have true laws. I can't count how many times i have heard people say the Big O's stimulus doesn't make any theoretical sense and isn't based on econ 101. Well you can disagree with the stimulus but Keynesian economics is in the text book and an accepted, if not always agreed with theory.

People do have a way of having input how schools teach their children. Drum role please.... schools boards....ta da. Okay school boards are drab and unfun but, to the loss of us all, Texan creationists have found a way to use them.

But keeping with the econ ideas relating to schools. If I am the principle of a large poorly functioning school and a bunch of kids leave my school to go to other schools through vouchers, the message is far from clear. Did the kids leave my school because of poor teaching or because the text books were 15 years old and i don't have the money to buy more. Did they leave because of gang violence , which as an externality is out of my control or because of a lack of upper level elective classes? Did they leave because schools in poor districts have a chaotic, transient student population or because the teachers are burnt out? Messages are not always clear nor is information always complete.

But to go off on somewhat of a tangent, i am not completely against some kind of vouchers as long as they don't go to paying for religious education. But as you point out, the cost of entering the "education market" is high, so there are few alternatives. So vouchers at most will help at the margins but don't offer enough choice to a massive affect on schools. However implementing vouchers on a massive scale will likely be ineffective due to scaling problems, funding problems and because voucher programs haven't been found to have a large positive affect.

On “Abortion IS subject to the democratic process!

Jay- Do they track the sex of aborted fetuses???


uhhh yeah Dave, if i get your point. Yes i think I and most liberals can tell the difference just fine. However i am not egotistical to think that everybody will think the same way i do. And because somebody disagrees with me does not mean they don't understand or believe in the constitution. People are always going to disagree about the constitution.

PS I actually do think abortion is a privacy issue protected by the constitution. I don’t think the 2nd amendment says there shouldn’t be background checks to buy a gun.


J- But what is the difference between telling you how to live and making laws you don't happen to like.

Taxation w/o rep- Just because we have representation doesn't mean we like what happens. There is no guarantee that our gov, at any level, will do what each individual wants. In fact living in a democracy will always result in people who don't like what is being done. That doesn't mean it is unfair/wrong/unconstitutional which gets back to freddie's comments up thread. The thing we have to separate among things we don't like is, what is unlawful/unconstitutional and things we just don't like.

I live in Alaska i can petition the hell out of my reps in Washington through the intertoobs, mail and phone. In this century being far away doesn't present the same restrictions on communication.


really jay, how does a national government relate to colonization? Are you really suggesting that living in a large nation is equivalent to being colonized? If you are then what is the distance (in miles or kilometers ) that separates a good, local gov from an evil oppressive colonizing government? And that would make our constitution and bill of rights a horribly evil instrument of colonization? And any enforcement of the constitution is colonization. Why are people far away some how acting as “our bettors” and locals all good and noble? It sounds like people who are far away are somehow inherently evil? Can’t people who don’t live near you be good people doing things for good reasons?


I still don't think Ross or others on his side have addressed the idea that the right to legal abortion is a privacy issue. States, towns, etc do not have the right to take away constitutional rights. If abortion foes want to come out and say they see no right to privacy in the constitution , which I think many do, then they should do so. And then take the heat from the right, middle and left that they know they would.

Viva 9th amendment baby!

On “Judging is Hard

I don't think it is controversial that courts, especially at an appeals level, involve themselves in policy. Cases that get appealed or to the Supremes do so because there is ambiguity in the laws or how to apply them. No legislature is ever going to come up 100% clear laws that cover every situation. So courts are there to interpret the law. Voters and legislatures can make laws to deal with issues, but until then somebody, the courts, have to rule on cases. And some of the issues judges deal with are narrow , persnickety issues that probably are best dealt with in the legal system.

The other associated issue is that courts, by protecting rights can stand in the way of an angry mob trying to oppress a minority. Conservative judges, like Roberts, Scalia, etc. tend to said with the powerful like business interests.

On “Misunderstanding Markets cntd.

mike- utopias are wonderful to believe in. How many of the c0untries that perform better then us in education have such a system? how many of them have strong public education systems?

On “A Lose-Lose: The Outing of Publius

Whining Whelen's excuse is even funnier given that the post Publius and others ripped him was for ignoring a basic reality( the supreme's do consider policy) that he , as a lawyer and former gov employee damn well knew.

He's projecting onto publius his own faults.

On “Misunderstanding Markets cntd.

Just to pick out one point in this debate. Exactly how many private schools are there for kids in most if not all harsh inner city environments to go to? Somewhere between zero and not a hell of lot. Ritzy private schools are usually far away from slums and gritty urban scenes, and for that matter rural poverty.

I grew up in suburban NJ and there were quite a few richy rich private schools. They were all in exclusive suburbs. It would have been extremely difficult if not impossible for kids in the various nasty inner city areas to go there.

There is just not as much choice in schools in reality as school choice proponents often suggest. And where there is there are often few slots for kids for distant areas.

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