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Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid’

Why Your Nation-State Is On Its Way To The Scrap Heap of History

Posted by M. C. on September 3, 2020

The State will do any number of things to maintain itself, its cronies, and accompanying parasites—who all, in turn, support it. But while that happens, free thinkers will use evolving technologies to find each other and reorient their loyalties. More and more people will conclude the State no longer serves a useful purpose.

The concept of phyles originated with the sci-fi writer Neil Stephenson, in his seminal book Diamond Age. I’ve always been a big fan of quality science fiction. There’s no question sci-fi has been, and still is, a vastly better predictor of social and technological trends than anything else—including full-time “think tanks.”

https://internationalman.com/articles/why-your-nation-state-is-on-its-way-to-the-scrap-heap-of-history/

by Doug Casey

People believe the State is necessary and—generally—good. They never even question whether the institution is permanent.

My view is that the institution of the State itself is a bad thing. It’s not a question of getting the right people into the government; the institution itself is hopelessly flawed and necessarily corrupts the people that compose it, as well as the people it rules. This statement invariably shocks people, who believe that government is both a necessary and permanent part of the cosmic firmament.

The problem is that government is based on coercion, and it is, at a minimum, suboptimal to base a social structure on institutionalized coercion. In fact, it’s not only possible but increasingly necessary to minimize organized coercion. For society to function in the 21st century and beyond, the State has to be minimized—a reversal of the current trend. Even while technology controlled by the State makes it ever more dangerous, those same technologies make the State increasingly obsolete.

Communication technologies are an example. One of the huge changes brought on by the printing press and advanced exponentially by the Internet is that people can now easily pursue different interests and points of view. As a result, we have less and less in common with each other. Living in the same political jurisdiction is no longer enough to make us “countrymen” with strangers.

That’s a big change from earlier times, when members of the same region had almost everything in common, including genetics, language, traditions, religion, and worldview. That’s no longer the case with today’s nation-states. If you’re honest, you may find you now have very little in common with most of your countrymen besides superficialities and trivialities.

Ponder that point for a minute.

What do you have in common with your fellow countrymen? A mode of living, perhaps a common language, possibly some shared experiences and myths, and a common ruler… but very little of any real meaning or importance. In fact, your fellow citizens are more likely to be an active danger to you than those of a presumed “enemy” country like Iran. If you earn a good living, and certainly if you own a business and have assets, your fellow Americans are the ones who actually present the clear and present danger.

The average American (about 50% of them now) pays no income tax. Even if he’s not actually a direct or indirect employee of the government, he’s a net recipient of its largesse—which is to say your wealth—through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other welfare programs. Not to mention the multitrillion-dollar giveaways of recent months.

Over the years, I’ve found that I have much more in common with people of my own socio/economic station  in France, Argentina, or Hong Kong than with a US Government employee in Washington or a resident of the LA barrios, a project in Chicago, or a trailer park somewhere. They may or may not be decent people, but we don’t have too much in common. It’s very un-PC to say so, but I suspect that many of you agree with that observation.

What’s actually important in relationships is shared values, principles, interests, and philosophy. Geographical proximity and a common nationality are meaningless—no more than an accident of birth. I have much more loyalty to a friend in the Congo—although we’re different colors and have different cultures, native languages, and life experiences—than I do to the Americans who support Bernie, Kamala, and AOC. I see the world the same way my Congolese friend does; he’s an asset to my life. I’m necessarily at odds with many of “my fellow Americans”; they’re an active and growing liability. Some might read this and find a disturbing lack of loyalty to the State. It sounds seditious. As far as I can tell, there are only three federal crimes specified in the U.S. Constitution: piracy, counterfeiting, and treason. That’s a far cry from today’s world, where almost every real and imagined crime has been federalized, underscoring that the whole document is a meaningless dead letter, little more than a historical artifact.

I’m not overly concerned about piracy. But the counterfeiting and treason—not to mention over 5000 other, more recently minted, federal crimes, are problematic.

Counterfeiting is simple fraud. But the Federal Reserve now legally debases the currency on a gigantic scale. The average American, however, thinks it’s part of the cosmic firmament, assuming he even knows what it is.

Treason is usually defined as an attempt to overthrow a government or withdraw loyalty from a sovereign. This is a rather odd proviso, considering the framers of the Constitution had done just that only a few years before. That said, I suspect the government is at risk of a de facto, if not de jure, overthrow in the not too distant future. Its replacement is likely to be even less friendly to freedom.

The Constitution was imperfect, even in its original form. Its most important part, by far, is the Bill of Rights. But that’s been interpreted out of existence for all practical purposes. America was a unique and excellent idea, but it’s almost vanished. It’s been replaced by the United States—which isn’t much different from any of the other nation-states that cover the face of the globe like a skin disease. Even the United States is on the slippery slope.

The way I see it, Thomas Paine had it right when he said: “My country is wherever liberty lives.”

But where does liberty live today? Actually, it no longer has a home. It’s become a true refugee since America withered away.

So now what? Here’s where the ongoing communications revolution comes in. It’s facilitated the possibility of Phyles.

Phyles

The concept of phyles originated with the sci-fi writer Neil Stephenson, in his seminal book Diamond Age. I’ve always been a big fan of quality science fiction. There’s no question sci-fi has been, and still is, a vastly better predictor of social and technological trends than anything else—including full-time “think tanks.”

The book, set mostly in China in the near future, posits that while states still exist, they’ve been overwhelmed in importance by the formation of phyles. Phyles are groups of people bound by whatever is important to them. Maybe it will be their race, religion, or culture. Maybe their occupation or hobby. Maybe their worldview or what they want to accomplish in life. Maybe it’s a fairly short-term objective. There are thousands—millions—of possibilities.

The key is that a phyle might provide much more than a fraternal or beneficial organization (like Rotary or Lions) does. I take the concept quite seriously. It’s one reason I believe organized charity is on its way out. “Big charity” is mostly a scam to benefit its managers and allow its enablers to feel righteous, while generally degrading its supposed beneficiaries. Phyles would know their members personally, obviating most fraud and self-aggrandizement.

In the same vein, phyles might provide insurance services very effectively, since a like-minded group—held together by peer pressure and social approbation—eliminates a lot of moral risk. It might very well offer protection services; a criminal might readily harm a citizen “protected” by a State. But they’ll think twice before attacking members of the Mafia—which is, in fact, a criminal variety of phyle.

People are social. They’ll inevitably organize themselves into groups for all the reasons you can imagine.

In the past, technology only allowed people to organize themselves by geography—they had to be in the same area. That’s changed over the last century, with the emergence of the train, the car, and especially the airplane. The same goes for communication. The telephone and television were huge leaps, but the Internet is the catalytic breakthrough. It’s now possible for people to reach out all over the world to find others that are their actual countrymen, not just some moron who shares a piece of government ID.

As things develop, people will discover—or create—places where their loyalties lie.

The nation-state has mostly been a counterproductive and expensive nuisance; it’s rapidly becoming completely insufferable and, as governments bankrupt themselves, dangerous. The people living off the State (those who act as parasites upon their “fellow citizens”) are going to resist having their rice bowls and doggy dishes broken. They’ll undoubtedly use the coercive powers of the State to try to maintain the status quo.

The military and the police will be out in force, wearing riot gear, in the next few years. They’re necessary to maintain order in today’s world. But remember, their loyalties are first to their coworkers, then to their employer, and only then to those whom they’re supposed to “serve and protect.” You can’t rely on them. You’re much better off finding a protophyle… as the real thing evolves.

The next decade is going to be tumultuous. The Greater Depression has been catalyzed by the mass hysteria surrounding COVID-19. The virus will go away in the next few months, the way they all do. But the damage the hysteria has caused will linger and compound. I suspect the bankruptcy of most States, as well as major sections of the population, are going to result in some major political and social upsets.

We’re just at the start of a new era. The State will use an intimidating variety of technologies to keep its subjects under control. Even while the Reds and the Blues—who’ve come to hate each other—each try to gain control of it.

The State will do any number of things to maintain itself, its cronies, and accompanying parasites—who all, in turn, support it. But while that happens, free thinkers will use evolving technologies to find each other and reorient their loyalties. More and more people will conclude the State no longer serves a useful purpose.

Editor’s Note: A government-led crisis is already underway in the US and throughout the rest of the world.

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It reveals what you need to know as the crisis deepens, and what you should do so you don’t get caught in the crosshairs.

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Republicans Love Socialism Too – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on June 27, 2019

https://www.fff.org/2019/06/25/republicans-love-socialism-too/

by

Today’s New York Times is carrying a video op-ed entitled “I’m Republican. I Never Thought I’d Fight for Medicaid.” The op-ed calls for an expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina and other states to cover people who are uninsured and do not qualify for Medicaid because they make too much money.

First things first. While Republicans have traditionally despised welfare programs for the poor, such as food stamps, they are among the fiercest proponents of socialist programs for the middle class and wealthy.

Examples of the Republican embrace of socialism abound: Social Security, Medicare, public (i.e., government) schooling, school vouchers, education grants, state support for colleges and universities, foreign aid to dictators, farm subsidies, corporate grants, and many others.

Every one of those programs is based on using the coercive apparatus of the state to tax one group of people in order to give it to another group of people. In his great little book The Law, the French free-market legislator Frederic Bastiat called that type of system “legal plunder.”

Thus, while it might be shocking for a Republican to find himself supporting a welfare program for poor people, he is being disingenuous if he suggests that he opposes socialism in general. While he might disagree with Democrat Bernie Sanders in degree, he shares a deep commitment to socialism in principle with that self-labeled socialist.

Americans once had the finest healthcare system in the world — a free-market healthcare system. It was so reasonably priced that hardly anyone had medical insurance, with the possible exception of catastrophic insurance. It was a system in which people in all income categories were being treated. Doctors, who at that time loved their profession, would voluntarily provide free healthcare services to poor people simple out of sense of moral obligation.

The enactment of Medicare and Medicaid succeeded in destroying that healthcare system. That’s when healthcare costs began soaring, launching an ever-increasing set of healthcare crises, followed by healthcare reform after healthcare reform. Meanwhile, doctors began hating what they do in life and began checking out with early retirement.

Of course, no reform has ever worked to resolve the healthcare crises. There is a simple reason for that: Socialism cannot be made to work, even when it’s not referred to as socialism and even when it’s run by American bureaucrats…

There is only one way to get America back on the track toward the finest healthcare system in history: the repeal (not the reform) of Medicare and Medicaid and the total separation of healthcare and the state. There is no other way. Socialism cannot be made to work, not with Medicaid expansion, not with Medicare for all, and not with a full socialist government takeover of healthcare.

Finally, and most important, there is no way to reconcile a system of mandatory charity, which is what Medicare and Medicaid are based on, with the principles of a genuinely free society. Thus, Americans have to make a choice: Do you want freedom or do you want the “security” that supposedly comes with Medicare, Medicaid, and other socialist programs? You can’t have both because freedom and mandatory charity are opposites. The choice must be made: Freedom or “security”?

I say: Let’s go with freedom. Let’s repeal, not reform, Medicare and Medicaid. Let’s cast America’s horrific experiment with healthcare socialism into the dustbin of history and restore a free-market healthcare system to our land.

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Half of Health Spending in the US Is Now Government Spending | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 10, 2018

Of course, prices continue to skyrocket in the US. But this is not because there is too much “market competition,” but because healthcare is heavily subsidized by various government interventions. As is always the case, subsidized goods and services experience growing demand as the cost — as perceived by consumers — goes down.

It would seem that the goal of the free-market reformer in the current climate must be to stop speaking of preventing “socialized medicine” but instead he or she ought to focus on carving out a role for the market in what is clearly a government dominated sector.

https://mises.org/wire/half-health-spending-us-now-government-spending

Needless to say, the idea that the US has a “free market” in health care is pure fantasy. The so-called safety net is huge, expensive, and dominates the industry. With so many Baby Boomers going on Medicare in the near future, and with continued expansion of Medicaid, it won’t be many more years before a much larger majority of healthcare spending is done by governments.

This, however, won’t mean a fundamental change in the the US healthcare system, but a continuation of an established trend.

I don’t say this to advocate for more government spending on health care, but merely to point out that the US has not embarked on any sort of new road it hasn’t already been traveling for years.

You Don’t Need a Single-Payer System to Get to Single-Payer Levels of Health Spending

As it is, the US is moving toward levels of public spending that will rival those of some nations that aren’t exactly known for any devotion to “free market” healthcare.

As it is now, government-sector spending in the US is similar to that of Chile (which, by the way, has a slightly higher life expectancy).

Given the growth of Medicare benefit spending has nearly doubled over the past decade, it’s not impossible to imagine overall public spending rising to levels we now see in some countries with so-called “socialized” medicine.

publichealth.PNG

Source. “OECD Health Statistics 2015 – Country Notes”

After all, contrary to the widely-held misconception that all healthcare (including prescription drugs) in Canada is “free,” nearly 30 percent of all healthcare spending takes place in the private sector — mostly to cover prescription drugs, dental care, and other types of care not covered by the state.

Moreover, healthcare in the US offered by ostensibly private sector firms in the US is done overwhelmingly through heavily regulated and highly bureaucratic insurance schemes.

This sort of insurance is so widespread that fewer Americans purchase health services out-of-pocket than in most other OECD countries. While Swiss, Italian, and Australian out-of-pocket expenses constitute at least one-fifth of health spending, the total is only 12 percent in the US. The US is well below the OECD average of 19.5 percent. The idea that millions of Americans are handing over huge sums of cash out-of-pocket to afford basic medical procedures is fiction.

pocket.PNG

Source. “OECD Health Statistics 2015 – Country Notes”

At this point, the debate isn’t over a choice between a market healthcare system or a government healthcare system. We’re now just really talking about how much the government sector should grow as a component of all health spending.

Now that the federal government is, by far, the largest single payer for healthcare purchases in the US, we have to openly admit that there is no longer any functioning market pricing system in healthcare. The industry is now dominated by government contracts, government spending, and government regulations on healthcare services.

Of course, prices continue to skyrocket in the US. But this is not because there is too much “market competition,” but because healthcare is heavily subsidized by various government interventions. As is always the case, subsidized goods and services experience growing demand as the cost — as perceived by consumers — goes down. This happens everywhere that healthcare is subsidized, but US policymakers, so far, have lacked the stomach for controlling costs by denying care to people, or making them wait in long queues — as is done in other government-controlled healthcare systems.

It would seem that the goal of the free-market reformer in the current climate must be to stop speaking of preventing “socialized medicine” but instead he or she ought to focus on carving out a role for the market in what is clearly a government dominated sector.

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'Due to funding cuts, the Government has supplied us with its very own doctor!'

‘Due to funding cuts, the Government has supplied us with its very own doctor!’

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