Friday, September 9, 2011

S/L: Mandate Birth Control Insurance Coverage for Women

Cost should not matter when deciding birth control

My commentary:

Posted by zemack July 25, 2011 at 11:39AM

“But it’s up to every woman to decide for herself whether or not to use birth control.” Who would disagree with that? But it’s also up to that woman to pay for it herself, not force others to pay through a compulsory insurance mandate. But, there are hundreds of benefit mandates forced upon our “private” health insurance across the nation. So, if a woman is forced to pay for some guy’s prostate cancer treatment of Viagra in the same way, why shouldn’t she demand he pay for her birth control? It seems only fair, right?

What’s unfair is for government to impose any mandates at all. Insurers and their customers have a moral right to contract freely with each other, to mutual benefit, without government interference. Government’s job is to enforce those health insurance contracts and prosecute fraud and breech of contract, not redistribute wealth through regulation and law. That is not only immoral, but is one of the prime reasons for out-of-control health costs. When each of us is forced to pay for everyone else’s healthcare, but not our own, then the incentive is to not give a hoot what our’s costs, but to simply pressure government to dump our costs on others. Socialism turns everyone into predators, not “brothers and sisters”.

Our health insurance system is a socialized system through and through. “Private” insurance is only nominally so, and is really an extension of government. It is far from anything resembling a free market, being more in the nature of economic fascism – i.e., socialism through the back door. Of course, we have real socialism in the system too, through Medicare, Medicaid, S-CHIP, and so on.

The S/L justifies this new mandate on the grounds of “public health” because “About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, which places a heavy strain on society.” But who switched the burden of unplanned pregnancies onto “society” – onto others through their taxes – in the first place? It was the statists themselves through government programs. To “fix” that problem, they propose to widen government control of medicine through our quasi-governmental insurance industry in the form of this new mandate.

No one is morally responsible for another’s health care needs, except as dictated by personal choices and actions – such as bringing a child into the world. Beyond that, the moral standards of individual rights, free markets, and a free society means every adult individual is responsible for his own healthcare needs only, until and unless he/she volunteers to give financial help to a neighbor or friend or even a stranger. No one’s unfilled needs places an automatic moral claim on the money or services of another, beyond private voluntary charity. Until we accept these moral truths, we will continue to build toward totalitarian socialism one brick at a time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On income taxes and job creation, history debunks the Star-Ledger

On income taxes and job creation, history debunks GOP views, NJ Star-Ledger Sunday, July 17, 2011.

I've left the following comments:

July 17, 2011 at 1:12PM

Several corespondents have already pointed out the blatant context-dropping, selective use of facts, and outright falsehoods employed by the editors. Here are a few more:

 The 1950s economy limped along through three recessions. So anemic was it that JKF ran his 1960 presidential campaign on a promise to “get America moving again”. The 1960s featured accelerated growth after Kennedy cut tax rates from 91% to 70%.
 The Reagan tax cuts brought rates down from 70% to 28%. Tinkering by the Bush –Clinton--Bush administrations bounced those rates around between the upper 20s and upper 30s, but all three presidents left the bulk of the Reagan cuts essentially in place. Those cuts were a prime reason for the 1982-2000 economic boom that saw interest rates, inflation, and unemployment all trend steadily downward from double digits simultaneously – a feat that Keynesianists thought to be impossible. Clinton benefited enormously from that boom, especially after the 1994 Republicans aborted his statist schemes and pushed him to the “Right” on economic policy (ex. welfare reform, spending restrain, and capital gains tax cuts). Of course, as Melland points out, in retrospect the beginning of the housing bubble – of which Clinton and Bush share equal blame – “helped” Clinton also.
 The 2001-03 “tax cuts for the rich” vastly benefited the middle class, lowering the average family’s tax burden by tens of thousands of dollars over the past decade, even as those cuts were justly spread across all income brackets.
 But the Bush rate cuts – the most important aspect economically - were small. The benificial effects of those meager rate cuts were overwhelmed by other factors. The real reason for the sub-par economy of the 2000s was the terrorist attacks and subsequent onset of war, along with Bush’s large increase in government regulation, government spending and deficits, trade barriers, the draining away of investment resources to feed the government-induced housing bubble, and the subsequent bust.

The editors ridicule private job creators, as any statist who worships government must. But jobs come from somewhere – that somewhere is the energy and ability of business creators and growers. Government can not create real, productive jobs. It can only shift resources by force from some people to others, and then claim credit for the jobs “created” by the politically favored recipients of that largess but paid for by the killing of other jobs drained from those who finance government spending.

The polls may or may not favor tax hikes on the wealthy. But sound economic policy is not determined by public opinion polls, or the moral perversity of any hypocrite who beats the drum for higher taxes, but only on the other guy.

I can't pass up the chance to make a few remarks regarding this:

David_Hinderer_298 July 18, 2011 at 10:42AM

Tax increases would be an incentive for the rich to create jobs once to see their wealth dwindle. Raising taxes would provide some motivation. They are under no preassure to create jobs since they getting richer for not doing but collect interest from their investment.

I've seen this view before. Put simply, Hinderer is essentially saying that theft is good, because it will provide an "incentive" to go out and work hard to replace what has been stolen. I trust that if a burglar robbed Hinderer's home, he would not file charges. Instead, he would be thankful, since it would encourage him to work to replace the stolen goods!

Only a slave mentality would conceive of so hideous a rationalization for tax increases.

Rand/Jesus Flap and Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck Backtracks After Seeing AVN "Rand vs Jesus" Ad, by Eric Sapp

My initial response posted 07:11 PM on 6/15/2011:

" 'I think the vast majority of us will agree that Rand's vision of America where selfishnes­s is the greatest virtue and compassion and love of neighbor are some of the worst evils... this is not the America we want' - Eric Sapp.

"Anyone who would deny to his neighbor the moral right and sanction to work for the achievemen­t of his own selfish well-being and happiness can not claim the mantel of “compassio­n and love of neighbor”. Rand saw the predatory nature of altruism, and why it is the vital ethical tool of collectivi­sm. If selfishnes­s (properly understood­) is not a virtue, then preying upon others is. If it is right to place the interests of your neighbors before your own, then it is right to demand that your neighbors do the same for you. Altruism, as Rand discovered­, is an inverted morality that enshrines the unearned as a moral absolute. Socialists are desperate to defend their ethical standards against the rational Objectivis­t alternativ­e that is the philosohic­al foundation of capitalism­. That is why false alternativ­es such as the one embodied in the passage above are used to distract attention away from the true nature of Rand’s benevolent­, rights-res­pecting morality.”

Eric Sapp responds, posted 10:04 PM on 6/15/2011:

you are of course welcome to your opinion, and please keep shouting it loud and clear b/c you are making my point. But for me and most Americans, the whole love your neighbor as your self and there is no greater love than this, that a man would lay down his life for another and blessed are the meek and importance of a servant heart will be the values we at least aspire to hold up above love of self.

My rebuttal posted 11:08 AM on 6/18/2011:

"Thanks for responding­, Mr. Sapp. Yes, I’ll keep “shouting it loud and clear”, b/c as Ayn Rand said – and I think you would agree with her – the battle for America’s future is fundamenta­lly a moral one.

"My side is a tiny minority, as of now. And I agree that most Americans cleave consciousl­y to the 'servant heart' ethic. But the Rand/Jesus flap your side unleashed can only help my side by raising Rand’s profile. And I would argue that the Objectivis­t minority has a potent weapon working: Most Americans – Christians included – live their actual private lives more in tune to the Objectivis­t ethics; that is to say, as rights-res­pecting, rationally selfish individual­ists.

"In his time, Jesus’ ethics may have made some sense. But his ancient code does not jive with a nation born on the principle of the supremacy of EVERY individual­’s right to the pursuit of his own happiness. The 'meek' – the everyday man – did inherit the earth. It is called capitalism­.

"I believe that when Americans come to understand Ayn Rand’s moral message as the true validation of the Declaratio­n of Independen­ce, her code will become the dominant one. That will take time, of course, well beyond one election cycle. But time is on the side of better ideas, and when that day comes, that will be the end of the predatory welfare state, and the final realizatio­n of the Founding Fathers’ vision.

Let the moral battles begin."

MontanaSouth posted 02:59 PM on 6/16/2011 :

benevolent­? it is benevolent to view charity as an evil? Neither altruism or Rand's morality are realistic views in a world populated by human beings. It is not altrusitic to assist those whose circumstan­ces have put them at a disadvanta­ge. It is beneficial to society to help establish a strong working society with protection­s from the Greed is Good view of capitalism­

My response posted 03:43 PM on 6/17/2011:

"I will not let pass your framing the issue on a false premise – that altruism equates to benevolenc­e and charity and the rejection of the first means ipso facto a rejection of the second. They are not the same. Charity is rightfully a personal, private matter, properly offered only within the context of one’s overall hierarchy of values. Objectivis­m makes no blanket moral judgement concerning charity one way or the other, other than that it should be consistent with your overall long-term self-inter­est (properly understood­). This is, in my decades-lo­ng observatio­n, the way most people view charity.

"But the obsession with charity is a sideshow straw man held up for purposes of a misreprese­ntative smear campaign. The main issue is: Do you have a moral right to your own life, or does everyone else have first moral claim on you – and vice versa? You state that you reject both altruism and Rand’s morality as impractica­l. But what are you counting on when you demand “a strong working society” (the collective­) over “Greed is Good … capitalism­­” (individua­l self-deter­mination)? You are counting on altruism, which holds that the good of others is one’s only moral justificat­ion for living.

"Thank you for vindicatin­g my position concerning the correlatio­n between collectivi­sm and altruism. I reiterate my uncompromi­sing position: It is Rand’s rational selfishnes­s, not altruism, that is the benevolent­, rights-res­pecting morality – and, I might add, the practical one, if a free society is your goal.

GlennBeckReview, Media critic, blogger, posted 11:59 AM on 6/18/2011, in response to Mark Dohle (03:22 PM on 6/16/2011), who wrote, "The irony of all this...Ayn Rand spent her life smashing typical conservati­ve thought. Perhaps people will finally realize that her ideas are not conservati­ve (abortion, marriage, immigratio­n...look it up). The left always tried to pin her as a conservati­ve, but she is as far from them as she is from the left. Fascism and Socialism are both statism. Ayn Rand favored individual­ism, the opposite of statism."

Ayn Rand was a reactionar­y, like [Glenn] Beck.

My response posted 12:16 PM on 6/18/2011:

“There appears to be a typo: The term is revolution­ary (at least in regards to Rand) - in the same nature as the Founding Fathers. It is individual rights, not statism, that is new in history. The American Revolution has been under attack from statist reactionar­ies almost from the beginning.

"It is defenders of Judeo/Chri­stian ethics who are the reactionar­ies. Ayn Rand's moral revolution is needed to compliment the Founders' political revolution - and complete the American Revolution­.

"Ayn Rand is truly America's Last Founding Father!”

Sophiacherie posted 02:11 AM on 6/17/2011:

Did you know that Ayn Rand idolized a serial killer who murdered and dismembere­d a 12 year old girl and called him a "superman" because "other people don't exist for him and he doesn't see why they should" as she write in her diary?

My Response posted 09:58 PM on 6/17/2011

"Though this has nothing to do with Objectivis­m or the current debate, I’ll comment anyway. You are guilty of major context-dr­opping. Rand did not idolize a serial killer, but abstracted an apparent individual­ist character trait of [ William Edward] Hickman’s for the purpose of creating a profile for a potential novel (which was never written). She abhorred the depravity of his behavior, of course, and said so.

"Just as admiration for the intelligen­ce of a master thief doesn’t imply idolizatio­n of the actor or his crime nor invalidate the virtue of intelligen­ce, so it was with the 23-year-ol­d Ayn Rand in regard to Hickman.

"Context is always crucial, and it’s right there in its entirety in 'Journals of Ayn Rand'. It was 1928, and the youthful influence of Nietzsche was still there (the “superman” comment); an influence which she later officially rejected. One should take care to take isolated bits from never-inte­nded-for-p­ublication private journals and twist something ridiculous out of it. That statement is not an endorsemen­t of murder, as your quoting it absurdly implies. The totality of her published writing is an unequivoca­l condemnati­on of the initiation of physical force in human relationsh­ips, which she regarded as an unmitigate­d evil. How does that jive with idolizing a killer? To believe that is to put yourself in the market for the Brooklyn Bridge.

If you’re going to critique Objectivis­m, then just do it, if you can. Don’t resort to the cowardly ad hominum fallacy."

To clarify a bit further, Hickman is discussed extensively in "Journals" on pages 22, 27, 36-39, and 40-44. On page 22, I quote from editor David Harriman:

Hickman served as a model for Danny [Renahan, a charactor in Rand's "The Little Street"] only in strictly limited respects, which AR names in her notes. Danny does commit a crime in the story, but it is nothing like Hickman's. To guard against any misinterpretation, I quote her own statement regarding the relationship between her hero and Hickman:

"[My hero is] very far from him, of course. The outside of Hickman, but not the inside. Much deeper and much more. A hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me."