THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 588 September 14 - 20, 2009
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September 14, 2009
This day has been devoured by locusts. It started when a hinge on a lazy susan kitchen cabinet door broke, and we had to try to find where to get a replacement. This happened before, but it was nearly 20 years ago. That led to a web site that wanted photographs. I take photographs. They are large.
I need to compress them. I find I no longer have a clue as to how to do that. I attempt Irfanview. It laughs at me. Eventually I sort of figure out how to compress the files, but it's not obvious. I still don't see what's going on. I can try doing this in Word, but Word 2007 has changed things so much that I can't find out what compression it is going to apply, nor where to change the settings. I am sure it is in there somewhere. Eventually I found it, and it is thoroughly non-intuitive.
[Thanks to all those who sent information on compressing graphics. I am making up a summary of all that for the next column. There's a lot including A windows program that works but first you have to download the Help files if you use Vista. More on this later, meanwhile, thanks to all.
This caused me to realize that I need some automatic way to compress a whole bunch of pictures, but I don't have any way to do that in any kind of batch mode. Word does a bunch of them at once, but I know how to do that with a lot of them. I need to find out, but I have other work to do.
The rest of the day has been like that. Whatever I do, I have to do about nine other things first, and each of them has some corollary effort requirement. Which is why it is nearly 5 PM and I am just getting to this page.
The health care nonsense continues, and it's getting shrill. It is assumed on one side that everyone is entitled to have someone else pay their health care bills. Some will concede that illegal aliens might not have this entitlement, but the concession is grudging, and the remedy is to have little to no enforcement tools. Then there is the detail about "previous conditions." If you can get insurance no matter what the previous condition, then of course your best strategy is not to buy the policy until you get sick, then buy it quickly. Insurance companies know this. The result isn't actually insurance, of course.
In Montrose two thieves were trying to steal copper wire. They went after live wires. They are now in hospital and will need really expensive health care.
We still have no idea of what the actual health care bill will look like. Certainly there is nothing like the plan that the President outlined in his speech. Not yet, anyway. There are at least four bills in the House, none of which is the President's. There is at least one more in the Senate. It's not the President's either. The debate continues, but it's not precisely clear what we're debating on -- other than the general proposition that we need radical revisions in the American health care system.
There was considerable mail yesterday, much of it quite interesting.
September 15, 2009
Another late start, but the result was that I got a lot of junk cleared up. I meant to pack up more, but I ran out of steam.
We watched the introductory Jay Leno show. At least some of it. It was clear after Finnerty's interminable Car Wash song and dance routine that the show was not going to be much good. They hadn't filmed anything better than that for cut scenes? It wasn't bad, it was awful.
Thanks to all who sent instructions on how to use Irfanview to compress existing files. I think I understand that now. For those who don't know Irfanview, look at their web site. It is a very useful freeware program for graphics and image handling.
Apparently the media are finally becoming aware of the ACORN advice. Perhaps, perhaps, Congress will stop funding that outfit. And perhaps not. http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/2009/09/14/10014/ Just because the Senate passed a resolution stripping the ACORN community organizers of Federal funding doesn't mean that the money won't go to ACORN. It has to pass the House, and do so with the same language.
The measure passed the Senate 93 - 7, which demonstrates that the Senate is aware of the storm generated when a team of amateur journalists got ACORN to advise them. ACORN gets Federal funding to pay for giving advice on how to set up a brothel whose workers would be under age girls from Salvador. Three different Acorn offices offered advice on how to work the system . What fun. Clearly we need more Federally funded community organizer groups. That ought to end the recession.
And then there's this:
The tariff wars begin, with high tariffs on Chinese tires, answered by China with even higher tariffs on some American products.
My tariff position remains the same. We ought to impose a 10% across the board tariff on everything imported. The revenue would be appreciable, and the tariff would compensate for some of the federally mandated regulations that add at least 10% to the cost of manufacturing good in the US. Of course that won't happen.
We're not out of the recession yet.
I got this mail today:
Bob Thompson couldn't resist saying:
I fear I am no great fan of Brown, but he is certainly popular, and it was well known that his first day sales would be enormous. I am astonished that Amazon, having evidently got more first day orders than they could possible handle, held some back to assuage the ire of those whose orders couldn't be fulfilled. Prudence would dictate having a strategy in case they got more orders than they could handle; that should include giving the customer the opportunity to cancel the order, and probably other choices. Astonishing that they didn't do that.
September 16, 2009
Thomas Frank's weekly "Tilting Yard" column in the Wall Street Journal is said to present the most persuasive arguments the liberal opposition can make to the Wall Street Journal's generally conservative/libertarian editorial views. Alas, the arguments are often shallow, and there is no historical perspective at all. I show you as an example, today's essay "The Left Should Reclaim 'Freedom'".
As an example, Frank quotes with approval George Wolfskill in 1962 in "The Revolt of the Conservatives" regarding conservative opinions about Franklin D. Roosevelt. "Some thought he was a fascist, others believed him a socialist or Communist, while others, to be absolutely sure, said he was both." This amusing quote demonstrates that neither Wolfskill nor Frank has the foggiest notion of what Fascism, Socialism, or Communism were or are. This ignorance is more than unfortunate, because all three of these essentially Marxist notions remain important in social debate, and have a great deal of influence over our social policies.
The Marxist view of history postulated that great social systems contained within themselves the seeds of their own destruction, and that history was the record of how a social order -- "thesis" -- was confronted by opposition movements that inevitably came forth from within it -- "antithesis" -- to produce a new social order that destroyed the old and took its place. This thesis, antithesis, synthesis was the engine of history, and its working out was considered "progress." After the turn of the century in 1900 Marxist analysis spawned a number of intellectual movements and several great social/political movements. These included (with examples):
Socialism: Generally accepted Marx's historical analysis, but rejected violent revolution.
Communism: Marxist party that believed in the necessity of Revolution
Fascism: Accepted Marx's history but believed the State could impose class cooperation.
In Roosevelt's first two terms there were a number of intellectually respectable members of every one of those movements. As the stories of Stalin's purges and general nastiness leaked out more and more intellectuals fell away from Stalinism. Many defected to Trotskyism. Many others became Progressives. Of course many became Socialists, but fewer than one might expect. Instead, many communists and socialists became Progressives and joined the New Deal.
Note that Communism, Fascism, and Nazi's were in alliance during part of the 1930's, and this endured until the German invasion of the USSR. When Paris fell to German troops in 1940, American Communists invited their members, friends, fellow travelers, and other associates to toast the victory of the people over the bourgeois. (See Fred Pohl's highly readable and informative autobiography The Way The Future Was for details including how Fred felt about being invited to drink that toast by his communist friend. Fred Pohl, of course, has been liberal for most of his life, but has never been a communist.
Much of the story of Progressivism and its relationships with Communism and Fascism is well told with meticulous documentation in The Forgotten Man by Amity Schlaes, (available on Kindle or in print edition). Ms. Schlaes does not hide her views in this book, but this is not a polemic. It's a very good history of a time we need to know a lot more about. Roosevelt's pragmatic Progressivism caused a great deal of floundering. Many things were tried, and Roosevelt didn't care where the ideas came from. Some worked. Some didn't. It would be well to remember those we tried that didn't work.
Lack of understanding of these matters is not the only problem with Thomas Frank's essay. He has accepted without debate the Progressive notion of freedom. The traditional American view of freedom is that one will be left alone to do what one wants to do even if everyone else disapproves. (If that disapproval is because what you want to do restricts someone else's freedom then there is something to discuss: e.g. your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose.) If you want to slaughter and cook a goat in your front yard, I have to show that this does me some real harm before I can forbid you to do it. John Adams summed this up when he said that we in America believe that each man is the best judge of his own interest. The fact that you can show that some habits -- smoking cigarettes, riding a motorcycle without a helmet, eating too much and becoming obese, swearing oaths to Odin and Thor, putting out bowls of milk for the night elves, denouncing my neighbor as a witch (but not building a bonfire to throw the neighbor in), not buying health insurance, not wearing socks, getting drunk in my own house and staying there, taking the Name of God in vain, myriads of consenting sexual practices, buying gold, buying stocks, giving my money to Bernie Madoff to invest, using Ubuntu rather than Windows, Firefox rather than Internet Explorer -- well, you get the idea -- may be bad for the user, and you know this, doesn't give you an automatic right to prevent me from doing them. (And of course many including me might dispute the harm from the choice made.)
You have to show that my doing the above harms you. And therein lies the rub. You may think that my swearing oaths to Thor and Odin and leaving gifts for the elves will bring down the wrath of the True God on the country, and thus I must be prevented lest I kill the lot of us. Perhaps I can win that case, but if you even have the right to force a trial you have very much interfered with my freedom. The case of smoking is more complex: the argument about second hand smoke can be debated, but hardly applies to smoking outdoors. The argument that smoking damages health and we will all have to pay when you go to the Emergency Room has more merit, but leads us to wonder why we have to pay for your trip. And of course the motorcycle helmet argument has been made a settled issue now. You have to wear a helmet lest you injure yourself and we have to pay. (One solution to that one is a law that makes it legal to harvest organs of helmetless motorcycle accident victims, and boy does that one open a can of worms.)
But the traditional idea of freedom is in fact negative.
Roosevelt with his "four freedoms" speech turned that on its head. Two of his freedoms are pretty traditional and negative, but Roosevelt postulated a "Freedom from Want" that basically mandated that someone has the obligation to assuage other people's wants; while freedom from fear can mean anything you like, and certainly would justify US invasion of any country whose government terrorizes US citizens, and possibly terrorizes anyone at all.
Thomas takes this political speech seriously. He takes adoption of various statements of rights and privileges seriously, as do most liberals. This is exactly the opposite of what went on in the Convention of 1787, where a group of well educated political leaders tried to come up with a Constitution that would actually deliver what it promised. They did pretty well, and we lived with those "negative rights" for two hundred years.
All of the great ideologies promise great things. Communism and Fascism were thoroughly tried. Of course they got caught up in World War II. Stalin chose to make common cause with Hitler, but then was betrayed, so Communism ended up on the correct side of that war; while Mussolini originally opposed Hitler's designs on Austria and tried to join the Allies, but was rebuffed and ended up in alliance with Hitler. Hitler was a National Socialist and publicly espoused the Socialist view of the world, but he added his own anti-Semitic and other irrational views to the Socialist/Fascist model. Fascism ended up on the wrong side of the war, and became intellectually disrespectful. Communism remains respectable despite its results.
Communism, Socialism and Fascism all promise "positive freedoms," as opposed to the boring old notion of the right to be left alone to be our own potty little selves and leaving gifts to charity.
Over time we have accepted some of the pragmatism of Roosevelt. We have Social Security and Medicare, and these are firmly established as part of the American System. We also have the Drug Enforcement Agency, Transportation Safety Agency, and the myriad of federal regulations including minimum wages, OSHA, Americans with Disabilities, FDA, some contradictory and all expensive. Perhaps all this is just as well, and perhaps it's a healthy trend; but surely there is room in the discussion for counter arguments? That leaving many of these matters to the states so they can experiment while allowing the freedom to go elsewhere (as was intended in the Constitution) may yet be a good idea? That we are headed in the wrong direction?
What the Left says it will give us as a freedom also gives others the obligations to pay for them; and with the new "freedom" comes the requirement to submit to the inevitable regulations that those who pay insist is part of the price of the freedom. Motorcycle helmets instantly come to mind. Prohibition of smoking is another. Restrictions on obesity is yet another logical condition of the gift of health care. Perhaps a good thing. I certainly wore a helmet when I had a motorcycle, this before California adopted a helmet law.
These are matters worth discussion, but they generally aren't discussed. Instead people shout out labels without the foggiest notion of what they mean. Huey Long said long ago that Fascism would come to the United States as an anti-fascist movement. He may have been prescient.
Meanwhile the rumor is that there is now a Health Care Bill before the Senate. We don't yet know what is in it. It's unlikely to be the "plan" Obama proposed; but perhaps so.
The New York Times is making light of the scamware that got distributed in a Times ad, and their story doesn't mention the fact that the ad for anti-virus software not only isn't anti-virus software but may well be a program that zombifies your machine. This may not be the end of this story.
If you see an uninvited scan of your system or anything that purports to be anti-virus software to fix some compromise of your system, think carefully. Don't panic. CLOSE THE BROWSER ITSELF. Do not attempt to close the ad window; if you click anywhere in that ad window including in the little red x up at the upper right in the ad you are inviting the ad to send stuff to your computer. Depending on your OS and the level of your login user, you may well be bringing in spyware, malware, keystroke loggers, and zombification of your computer. Close the thing by closing the BROWSER entirely, and do so without clicking in the browser itself. Use Task Manager or close it from the tray. If you don't know how to do that, it's BIG RED SWITCH time: turn off your computer.
Ain't we got fun?
September 17, 2009
A new ploy in the health care debates: the Baucus Bill. Howard Dean hates it: is that good or bad? We don't have enough information on the details in the 800+ page bill which comes essentially from nowhere. Was it done with Obama's approval? Who likes this $800 billion proposal? Isn't this exciting? Stay tuned.
Suddenly the front pages are filled with it: the health care debate is really about racism. So apparently is everything else. How will the Baucus Bill affect the "this is about racism" debate? Again, stay tuned.
Barrack Obama on the Cap-And-Trade Bill, June 23, 2009 Press Conference.
One hesitates to accuse the President of falsehood, but does he really believe that Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant? If so we are all guilty. Does he not know that he emits CO2 with every breath?
Since we must presume that the President is not lying, just what does this mean? CO2 may or may not be involved in climate and global warming, but what are these carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and the air we breathe?
I don't really know how accurate this is.
It does seem to show that the stimulus package hasn't been working, and the Obama unemployment predictions were very low. We have not hit bottom on unemployment.
That one, I am happy to say, is not as bad as it seems. I haven't reviewed all the details, but this appears to be a strategic decision. We are not abandoning the development of the technology. Obama claims his new approach will be more effective than the previous one. He may or may not be right -- one problem is that the politicization of everything else makes it impossible not to see even strategic decisions as having some hidden (or obvious!) political basis.
I do not believe that ringing the former Soviet Union with US strategic forces on the ground is a very good idea; indeed, I have long though it was time to end the entangling alliance known as NATO. I do not see why the US should commit its national existence to the defense of Europe. There was a time when NATO was necessary. Our strategy in the Seventy Years War AKA The Cold War was containment, and for that to work the Soviet Union had to be contained. The point was to show to Russia's rulers that Communism was not going to sweep the world, and they could not use Communism as a stalking horse to let war feed war. Containment was a long term strategy of attrition designed to change the goals of the Nomenklatura who ruled Russia. It worked.
This may turn out to be a bad decision, but it's not automatically so. Time for more careful analysis: what is our strategy of technology regarding missile defenses? That is the important question. It was never clear that deploying strategic defenses in Europe was a good plan to begin with.
If you missed yesterday's scam warning, be sure to have a look.
Peter, Paul, and Mary were not of my political persuasion, but they made great music. Puff, the Magic Dragon may or may not have been code for marijuana or some other drug, but I've remembered it ever since it first came out. They had other songs that one can remember when the other pop songs of their time have been long forgotten.
3:10 PM NOTE TO ANYONE READING THIS PART: *** It's a LOG. It has a happy ending. I have solved the problems. I am leaving it here because this will become part of the column next month. To anyone contemplating helping me out here, thanks, but Phil Tharp already did that. I have solved the problem. The following is a LOG. ***
1:02 PM: I might use my iPhone to read Kindle books, except that the application vanished back when Amazon was threatened with lawsuits over free Kindle books. At the same time another application that allowed me to read A Princess of Mars disappeared: that is the book vanished. So have other reader functions.
Attempts to get the iPhone App store get an endless "loading" sign. Do I have to go to the Apple Store to get this fixed? The phone sort of works, although I seldom have as many bars as anyone else. The local networking seems to work all right. But the inability to get to the applications store is both puzzling and infuriating. Naturally there is no message or progress bar. Just "loading". I am not a happy iPhone user.
1:10 PM The iPhone won't load iTunes either. I have connected it to the iMac and then reset the machine. When it came back up, iTunes on the iMac offered an update to iTunes for the iPhone. I am installing that now. Perhaps that will fix the problem. It sure wasn't very informative -- it still isn't. I have no idea whether it is updating and installing as I told it to or not. Ah. If I open iTunes there's a box at the top that says it is downloading, and will be another 15 minutes. At least that's informative.
Apple could do this a lot better.
PM The iPhone is attached to the iMac and is being updated now. We'll see if that changes anything.
The phone is updated and is resetting itself now.
This feels a little like tweeting, so I think I'll stop doing it.
1:26 three bars; full local wifi net connection. Attempting to connect iPhone to App Store. "Loading..."
1:27 "loading" no change
1:28 "loading" no change.
I don't think I am going to be able to connect to the app store.
I have the same experience with connecting to iTunes. My car is still being fixed, so I can't go over to the Apple Store until next week. I am not a happy iPhone user. The iPhone isn't the greatest phone I ever had, but it is -- was, has been -- a marvelous pocket computer. We can hope that can be restored.
(LATER: the problem was that I wasn't properly connecting to the Internet. The iPhone really isn't very useful if it can't connect to the Internet. That requires proper DNS. See below.)
2:30 PM OK. I am a happy iPhone user again. The story involves DNS to begin with. Also, when iPhone updated things, it created a third page of apps. There were only 4 apps on the second page. I never thought to look on the third page -- I had no notion there WAS a third page -- but that's where my missing apps are. Including Kindle and my missing Princess of Mars. And others.
I have updated my applications, dragged all those off the third page over to the second so the third page no longer exists, and I can find everything. I have change the iPhone DNS for my local wi-fi network to what it should be, and now I have a pocket computer again. It works. Whole story in the column. I do think that Apple ought to let you know when it moves your apps to some place without telling you it has done that. But I have to say the iPhone is awesome provided you know what to do with it.
I should remember: Mac OS is a form of UNIX. I said in 1981 that UNIX was wonderful but you really needed constant access to a UNIX guru for it to be useful. MACS are a bit that way: the best way to use any Apple product is to have good communications with someone who uses a Mac. It's a bit like the old day. Some Mac things just aren't obvious until you do them, then they are easy. More on that in the column, too. And yes, I understand, it's not that different with Windows. In my case it's just that I used Windows for a long time so I'm more likely to know the odd trick about where to find something.
If you switch to a Mac, know the phone number of a close friend who uses a Mac. It will save your life.
September 18, 2009
I notice that after upgrading Firefox I now have new Firefox windows in my tray: advertisements. One for Netflix. Another for a TV show. They ads seemed harmless but I didn't ask for them, and I don't think I have open in Firefox any window that would advertise those, but perhaps so. But I didn't ask for them. I suppose that Mozilla just couldn't resist the lure of the revenue. I think that's a mistake. They happened during the night. I closed them and I don't see any repetition; perhaps they were a feature of the Irfanview window that was open all night, and not a Firefox feature at all.
Microsoft takes a while to catch up. The wheels in Redmond grind slow, but they grind exceeding small. Eventually Microsoft embraces and extends, incorporates all the desirable features of the opposition. I make no doubt that there's a team of pretty sharp people at Microsoft whose job is to use Firefox a lot, see what they like about it, and incorporate it. In the case of Internet Explorer, what they really need is the equivalent of Tab Mix Plus and some finer control on tabs. I am sure, for instance, that there is an easy way to close the tab you are looking at in Internet Explorer, but I don't know what it is. On some tabs it's really easy. On others I see neither a little x in the tab or a general close tab x off to the right. I have found nothing like "Go to Google" and "Go to Bing" in the Internet Explorer list of additions. Nothing like the international time utility in Firefox. That's the main reason I like Firefox. All those little conveniences. But make no mistake, Microsoft will at some point get both internal and outside developers working on add ins and extensions, and make Internet Explorer as convenient to use at Firefox.
That is the kind of competition that's good for us all; as opposed to what developed in the last boom in which companies borrowed large sums to buy out their competition, generating enormous profits for the Wall Street manipulators.
Niven will be over shortly for our hike. We'll work on Lucifer's Anvil and go to lunch. I'll post this when he gets here.
The big news is the pretense that ACORN will be defunded. Actually, each house in Congress has voted to do so in a separate bill, and it's likely that conference committees will simply drop those restrictions. ACORN hasn't been defunded yet. Perhaps the pressure will continue -- but perhaps it won't. American voters seem to have short memories.
It's hilarious. Kiosks where you can put in your credit card and give money to "offset the damage" your flight will cause. I point this out for your amusement: I doubt that I have any readers silly enough to fall for this one. But it's sure a good deal for Al Gore and the foxes who set this up. It would be hilarious if there weren't so much money at stake. Naturally, one of the things the donations will go for is expanding the number of kiosks where you can give money to the program. What that will do for the Earth is problematical.
Whatever the other effects of the Global Warming Panic, it is certainly harming our ability to recover from the continuing -- and worsening -- depression. FDR created the TVA and actually built dams and power plants. By increasing the energy supply he set the stage for the economic recovery that WWII demand sparked and the post-war environment expanded. The carbon offset tax program restricts energy, restricts production, siphons off investment money, but boy does it enrich the Global Warming Scientific Community.
For good reading and a great cartoon, see
The horror! Of course there were never any cartoons depicting Reagan in a demeaning manner. Never happened to Bush. Ah well. The horror!
Tomorrow is International Talk Like Pirate Day. AAAARRRRR!
BUT, WARNING ME HEARTIES!!!
September 19, 2009
Avast me hearties! Arrrrr!
This is International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Navigate to these places, and you may find aught to your interest. Arrr!
Beware of scams. The social engineering people are getting ingenious. The latest one that hit me was as a result of the Microsoft "Your system has recovered from a serious error" message you get when you had a system crash. That led to an offer to find out what happened: but that has been hijacked to a registry editing tool. It looks as if your are downloading something sponsored by Microsoft. You are not. I am still trying to find out whether the tool (REGTOOL) is dangerous or merely annoying but anything that gets into your system by fooling you about its origin is to be suspected. This is on a non-vital system so I can wait to see what the best way to go is now.
We appear to be in the endgame on the health care debates, and it has all become frantic.
Mainstream journalists are now asking "does a hidden camera sting operation really count as journalism" (just heard that as a radio headline). Astonishing, but it was predictable once ACORN was burned. The devil takes care of his own. The answer, of course, is that it depends on who is the target of the sting. If it's ACORN...
The executioners could not find a vein, so Romell Broom, convicted in 1985 of rape and murder, got a stay of execution while everyone tries to decide whether he gets Kings X. I am not sure of the theory of why. Meanwhile in California they can't execute anyone because it's not certain what horror is caused by the chemicals used in the injections.
The theory of lethal injection was that was supposed to be humane and painless (which was the theory of the guillotine for that matter). California substituted the gas chamber for the gallows, then lethal injection for the gas chamber. Perhaps it's time to go back the gallows? Or firing squads?
From 1985 to 2009 is a fairly long time to spend on Death Row. Our legislators and judges have constructed a legal system that produces this result.
It is alleged that Annie Le, the Yale lady, was crushed to death. If in fact they convict someone should he be introduced to a boa constrictor? Perhaps laid in the path of a steam roller? Perhaps by early 2036 we'll know what to do.
September 20, 2009
I have got LisaBetta, my Compaq 1100 TabletPC, working again, and I've been using her at the breakfast table to make some notes on today's news. As I've said before, OneNote and a TabletPC are really effective research tools -- even a TabletPC as old as LisaBetta.
There is a very interesting article on health care in today's LA Times.
It's not terribly argumentative, and Lisa Girion, whom I don't know, has not
been overly quick to jump to conclusions; but there's a lot of data and good
bit to think about, and Ms. Girion has my applause for producing this.
First data point:
Second data point:
Third data point:
Note that for a good LA hospital in a poverty area:
I'm still digesting all this. It costs more than twice as much to die in an LA County hospital that takes charity patients than it costs to die in the Mayo clinic.
Now clearly if private citizens are paying the hospital bills for a stay at the Mayo Clinic (where my friend Frank Herbert went the instant that he learned he had pancreatic cancer), a family might well have a different decision about keeping Grandma alive on tubes and respirators than if someone else is paying for it; but this is all paid for by Medicare. Why would it cost more than twice as much in LA County than in the Mayo Clinic?
And if 2/3 of all health care costs are paid for 10% of the patients, it's pretty clear where the savings have to come from.
We are told time and again that the US spends more on health care than anyone else, and we get less for it. Perhaps the above is an explanation.
Read the article. It's not long, and there's a good bit of data without a lot of polemics. Then think about the situation. We are about to reform health care by greatly expanding the number of people who have the right to have their hospital and doctor bills paid by someone else. We know that the demand for a free good is infinite, and greatly expanding the number of people who have a right to the free good is very likely to increase the number of people who will demand that good. This will greatly increase the costs of health care. Since the promise is that the reform of the health care system will not increase the costs of the system itself, and two thirds of the costs right now are paid for the sickest 10%, the conclusion is obvious.
Some of the people we will add to the health care system don't need it, and won't cost much. Their contributions to the system will offset those who do need it but can't afford it now. I haven't seen any analysis of the comparative costs and contributions. I do know that the LA Times comparisons of costs: LA has twice the national average, and our hospitals in poverty areas nearly three time the national average -- would seem to imply that adding more people to the system will be costly.
Of course if we can eliminate the sickest 5% from coverage, that would probably balance the financial costs. Remember: in the US where we spend more than anyone else and are said to get less for it, two thirds of all that money goes to only 10% of the patients. The sickest 10%.
Note also that I am not in favor of hasty "reform" of the system.
There's a proposal for something less than the Obama plan over in Mail, with discussion.
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