[ExI] Tap tap..Hello? Is this thing on? (Or Zombie Apocalypse!)

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Oct 8 15:48:47 UTC 2013



From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Omar Rahman
>…Annual appropriations are divided into 12 separate pieces of legislation:


Cool thanks Omar.  Let us look at these please.

1.     Agriculture…

OK agriculture.  Why do we need government to be involved in that?  Why?  In the old days we set up subsidies for farmers to not grow stuff.  It was a means of price support, which we no longer need, given international markets.  We had the notion of subsidizing excess food production in case a world war suddenly takes huge numbers of people away from normal food production.  That paradigm is ever more outdated as fewer and fewer people are needed for both agriculture and military: both tasks are mostly done by machines now.  Does anyone think we face a world war 2 style conflict in which millions of guys face each other at short range with rifles?  Nah.  Get rid of the Department of Agriculture.

2.     Commerce,

Why do we need a department of commerce?  Let states regulate commerce.  I don’t see anything in the constitution which justifies having that department.


Justice is a good thing.  Keep it unchanged.

, and Science,

Science is a good thing.  Freeze or reduce pay slightly.  They will not leave.  There are fewer attractive options for scientists now than there once was.

3.     Defense…

This can be greatly reduced.  With a military the size of the ours, it is too tempting for a US president to use it, even when the consequences would likely be catastrophic.  Examples, Iraq, Afghanistan, and narrowly averted recent use in Syria.  Keeping an enormous military force has been nothing but trouble for the US for a couple decades: everyone expects us to use it to help them.  They fooled us into going into Iraq, then very nearly fooled us into going into Syria, all because we have this absurdly oversized military.  Reduce it.

4.     Energy

Why do we need government involved in that?  Let energy companies run energy policy, and let them compete.  Hell they could raise their own mercenary armies to defend far-flung oil fields and supply lines, hiring the locals to do the defending.  If the result is the cost of oil rose to what it really costs to get the stuff out of the ground and delivered safely, well so be it.  We pay for it anyway.  Then we wouldn’t need government subsidies on domestic alternatives: they would become cost effective even sooner with cost savings all around.

and Water,

Water is a good thing.  Leave as is.

5.     Financial Services,

I do see that we need to make interest payments, in full, on time.  Much of that goes to foreign bond holders.  If we default on that and they stop loaning, evolution help us.  Leave as is.  Note that if the borrowing limit is hit, the government still has income: people still pay taxes.  This revenue can cover interest payments with change left over to actually run the government.

Regarding foreign investors, I do wonder what this must look like to them.  We have admitted we cannot operate on the taxes we collect, we cannot live the life to which we are fondly accustomed on the money we make.  So now we depend on foreign investors to loan us money to pay them the interest we owe them?  And we are debating whether we will allow ourselves to borrow more?  And still they lend?  Why?  What am I missing here?

6.     Homeland Security

Reduce it.  We went all those years without it, we can slim down on it now.

7.     Interior and Environment,

Reduce it some.  The big battles are long behind us now.  Notice how clean the air has become just in our lifetimes.  I do congratulate those who fought and won those struggles.  It worked.  The air is clean now.  Reducing the EPA will not suddenly cause car companies to stop using catalytic converters, and besides, both those tasks could be done on a state level.

8.     Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education,

All four of those could and probably should be done on a state level.

9.     Legislative,

So we have seen.

10. Military and Veterans,

Veterans no change.  Military: size reduction.  We won the wars, now we should offer every enlisted an option to bail with an honorable discharge, no questions asked.  Ossifers get a 10% reduction in pay, other benefits unchanged.  Most will not leave.

11. State and Foreign Operations,

No comment.

12. Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.

Transportation: the big costs are behind us now that the interstate highway system is complete.  Don’t build more of them.  Housing and Urban Development: do that on a state level.  I see no reason why the fed should be involved in housing at all.


>…These are funded by by appropriations that could be blocked by a slim majority of refuseniks…


But recall that ObamaCare was passed without senate debate because one party had a temporary supermajority, which is 60 out of 100 seats.  With that, they could force a vote on a bill which was never debated on the senate floor, since it only required a senate simple majority to pass.


>… or potentially by a simple filibuster in the senate…


Indeed.  Back when ObamaCare was crafted, any actual debate of the substance of the bill was called a filibuster.  How strange is this, when actual debate about the content of a bill being crafted in private is called a filibuster.  The contents of the bill created in private was not on the public record.  So now we have an absurdity: nearly all the commentary in the historic record of the US senate with regard to ObamaCare was read into the record by Tea Party guy Ted Cruz.  Historians will find this most amusing: the US passed the biggest change in the structure of government without public debate.  This led to such howlers as the speaker of the house commenting that we need to hurry and pass this bill so we can find out what is in it.  Cannot they see this would lead to all manner of mischief?  Once we pass it and find out what is in it, that no one likes it, for instance, or that it is unworkable.  We find out that the whole scheme really depends on young and healthy people buying overpriced health insurance.  If they don’t come, the scheme doesn’t work.  They aren’t coming.


>…The American system of government is based on a system of "checks and balances"…


Ja, and that system is defeated if one party holds all three seats of power and a supermajority in the senate, as we saw.  The government was given unlimited power.  They immediately abused it.


>… The President and the Senate have made it clear that they do not accept this "legislation by appropriation" and insist that "Obamacare" be funded. The Supreme Court has upheld it's constitutionality. That's 2.5 branches of government in favor of "Obamacare" vs. 0.5 branches against. Time to check your balance I'd say…


Sure.  Now what happens when we check our balance, it is zero, so we need yet another increase in debt limit?  We set a precedent that the government cannot stop borrowing, that it must borrow just to pay ordinary operating expenses.  Then the check on our balance must come from our creditors.  We will not like the way China runs this place.



>…Mr. Sowell may be right that "legislation by appropriation" isn't new, but he is wrong to imply that this is a sensible way to govern…


We must check our spending, or China will do it for us.  We will not like it.


>…And to Spike,


>…The Government is running the exchanges and regulating the market: these activities cost money and do not raise money…


Easy solution: let the insurance companies run the exchanges, leave the market regulation to the states.  Open it up so that anyone can buy insurance from any state.  That creates fifty competing markets, regulated by competition among states.


>… The legislation is supposed to be cost neutral to the public as an aggregate. (Hopefully cost beneficial if this experiment in mixing free markets and universal coverage works out.) Perhaps you are proposing the introduction of fees into the markets so that it would be self-supporting, yes Spike? ;)


Thanks for that clarification.  If the whole notion relies on young and healthy people picking up the bills for the old and sick, this whole scheme will fail.  Here’s how you will know: count the number of people who are young and healthy who opt to buy into the exchanges rather than pay the tax.  Notice no one will tell us how many are doing it.  I suspect it is few, and I don’t blame them: health insurance for a young healthy person is a bad deal, even after the tax penalty is taken into account.


>… So even if we do have revenue coming in which exceeds our interest payments we have no legal way to pay it without an (You know what's coming don't you?) appropriations bill…


I disagree with this.  The government can still issue checks to bond holders on executive order to the federal reserve.  This may be demonstrated in 9 days.  Good chance what might happen is the house would pass a midnight bill authorizing it on the 17th.


>…I've lived all my life in countries with universal health care, Canada and Poland, except for 2 years in the US where I wasn't covered. Thankfully I didn't get seriously ill in the US. Personally I like knowing that I'm "covered"…


You were always free to buy health insurance or pay for it out of your personal funds, even in the US.  I have heard this so often from people who came to the US from Europe especially.  I recommend if you want to be in the US and not buy health insurance, that you keep your citizenship, or maintain dual citizenship.  Then if you get sick, head on back to the homeland for treatment.  Otherwise just buy health insurance: it has always been there.  Ja it is expensive, but the way we do healthcare in the US is expensive: we charge those who have insurance more to cover the bills of those who do not.  That is what caused this whole mess to start with.


>… It builds trust in society…


Indeed sir.  ObamaCare has created more distrust in society than I have seen in my lifetime.  I predict catastrophic failure of the whole venture.


>… and makes us richer “as a nation”. Regards, Omar


Ja, what happens if we build it, but the young and healthies do not come?  Where are we then as a nation?  We mostly took apart a system which kinda worked, Medicare, defunded that and substituted one which looks like a failure right out of the starting gate.  I will change my mind as soon as I see jillions of healthy young people flocking into the exchanges and actually buying the insurance.  Right now the system is crashing under the load of millions of old and sick people struggling to opt in, and millions of healthy shoppers who see the price tag and decide to opt out.  Omar, I admire your idealism, but I think this scheme will fail spectacularly.





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