Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Creeping socialism

Not just here in Australia, or in other social democracies such as Britain, France, Canada or New Zealand. But a textbook example from America emerges, displaying how our regulators and bureaucrats are always pushing to expand, grow and enlarge the sphere of government.

And there are few issues that motivate socialists more than health care. Socialised health, education, welfare, roads, media and now environmental laws and regulations have gradually found their way into countries that are known as capitalist, or liberal democracies. Gradually being the key word.

It is quite clear that America has not been a liberal democracy since the middle of the 20th century. And although idiotic leftists often abuse the American health system as an example of how capitalism fails, it should be used as an example of how not only socialism fails, but how the media, bureaucrats and special interest groups steadfastly refuse to acknowledge these failures, and press forward to socialise medicine even further.

Reason Magazine has an excellent article called Socialized Medicine, one step at a time.

Authorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) runs out at the end of September. This gave the Democrats and some Republicans in Congress an opportunity to vote in July to expand this government health insurance program. SCHIP is supposed to provide health insurance for children whose families make too much money to qualify for medical welfare, i.e., Medicaid, but who can't afford to pay for private health insurance. Initially, this meant families whose annual incomes were twice the poverty level. This amounts to a $40,000 income for a family of four in 2007.

Since SCHIP began operating in 1997, the percentage of uninsured children belonging to families with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level fell from 22.5 percent in 1996 to 16.9 percent in 2005, a reduction of 5.6 percentage points. SCHIP now covers about 6 million children. By comparison, about 10 percent of children living in families with incomes between 200 and 300 percent of the poverty level are uninsured, and less than 5 percent of those whose families make more than 300 percent of the poverty level are uninsured.

Just before its August recess both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed legislation that would substantially expand SCHIP. The Senate bill would allow states to broaden SCHIP coverage to families making up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level and the House bill sets no income eligibility limits on the program. And some states are eager to use SCHIP to subsidize middle class health insurance for kids. For example, New Jersey wants to expand SCHIP coverage to 350 percent of the poverty level and New York wants to go up to 400 percent. So in the Garden State a family of four earning over $70,000 would be eligible for government health insurance for their kids and a family earning over $80,000 per year would qualify in the Empire State. Considering that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the median income for a four-person family is below $80,000 in all but five states. This implies that at 400 percent of the poverty level, more than half of all American families could qualify for expanded SCHIP.

If President George W. Bush fails to keep his promise to veto this legislation, SCHIP would be well on the way to becoming another middle class entitlement. That is just what advocates of government-funded health care want. Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ) made this goal explicit when he called the House SCHIP bill "the next step toward universal health care for all Americans." Expanding SCHIP is what Kathleen Stoll, director of health care policy at the left-leaning lobby group, Families USA, happily identified as sneaky sequentialism. The ambit of private health insurance and health care will shrink as government funding expands.

In fact, this kind of crowding out is already taking place. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report in May that found, "For every 100 children who gain coverage as a result of SCHIP, there is a corresponding reduction in private coverage of between 25 and 50 children." In January, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber and Cornell University economist Kosali Simon published a study that estimated "for every 100 children who are enrolled in public insurance, 60 children lose private insurance." And why not? From the point of view of parents, the government is giving their kids free health insurance, so they can pocket the money they were otherwise spending on private insurance.

The CBO also noted that a broadening of SCHIP to higher income levels "would probably involve greater crowd-out of private coverage than has occurred to date because such children have greater access to private insurance." Recall that 90 percent of kids living in families with incomes between 200 and 300 percent of the poverty level are insured and 95 percent of those in families with incomes over 400 percent are. Crowding out of private insurance helps force the country to take "next step" toward universal government-controlled health care. After all, almost 50 percent of medical expenditures are already paid for by government programs. Advocates of universal health insurance hope that as fewer and fewer Americans rely on private health insurance, government-funded health insurance will grow in political acceptance.

How to stop the slide to government-funded insurance? Grace-Marie Turner, director of the free market health care think tank the Galen Institute notes that two-thirds of all uninsured kids already qualify for SCHIP under current rules. So if the real goal is to make sure that poor kids are insured, states should enroll the ones who qualify now for the program, instead of expanding it to middle class families.

Turner also argues that programs in states that now allow higher income families to qualify for SCHIP must be rolled back. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took a step in the right direction. HHS issued new SCHIP regulations that require states to enroll 95 percent of children whose families' incomes are below 250 percent of the poverty level before expanding the program to higher income groups.

Finally, SCHIP subsidies should be transformed into vouchers that low income parents can use to purchase private insurance for their kids. That way SCHIP becomes a bridge to a growing market for competitive private health insurance, instead of another dismal step toward universal government health insurance and all that implies about restricted choice, stifled innovation, and poor quality.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Job description

There is a job available in 2008. Wanted: One president of the USA.
Here is the key requirement:

Section 1 - The President

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

With that in mind, choose wisely which presidential candidate you support. Do any of them even know what the frickin US constitution is, let alone how to preserve it ?

Yep. Only Ron Paul.

The role of the president is not as "leader of the free world". Or to save the "public health system". Or to improve schools so "no child is left behind". Its not to spread democracy to the darkest corners of the earth. Nor is it to build prosperity and infrastructure, or to finance grand adventures like NASA's exploration.

Nope.. its just to preserve liberty, as described by the founding fathers. Let people be free, and stay out of their lives as much as possible, and only intervene to protect their liberty and property.

Once you guarantee freedom, society actually makes more progress in achieving all of the other ideals - good health, education, technology and infrastructure - than by using the blind fist of government to pursue it.

Youtube of the day

This Saturday Night Live skit is terrific, and makes a mockery of American (and Australian) households that are addicted to debt. Its called "Don't buy stuff you can't afford".

And it stars Steve Martin, who sure knows how to act when it comes to putting on a dumbfounded and confused expression :)
(hat tip: Daily Reckoning)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ever the PM shows his socialist stripes.

The state of government in Australia is abysmal. After 11 years in government led by John Howard, the so-called Liberal Party has failed to do much to cut taxes, which weigh down the economy and restrict the actions and choices of millions of individuals.

A liberal democracy is a government that should take no more than 10% of the economy. Our current leviathan eats well over a third of our GDP.

This is something I consider to be extremely serious and worthy of discussion. But what does the PM say ?

According to a Galaxy poll taken exclusively for News Limited, 51 per cent of voters believe high taxes were responsible for the $17.3 billion surplus announced last week, while 32 per cent attributed it to good economic management.

Mr Howard told reporters in Sydney that it was human nature for people to believe they were being overtaxed.

Yes.. and ?

We feel we are overtaxed, would you like to comment on that matter, and discuss what the correct level of taxation should be ?

Or perhaps you'd just like to continue this merry-go-round of expanding the size of government, the amount of money it can spend on programs and bureaucracies, the number of public sector "jobs" it can create, all whilst sucking taxes from the individual private citizens who work and earn it in the first place in the course of performing real jobs.

Unfortunately, Kevin Rudd wouldn't challenge the PM on this. After all, the ALP don't feel that we are too highly taxed, because they would maintain the status quo, and if anything, increase taxes.

You think you have freedom of speech, ? Think again

Freedom of speech is not something that has strings attached. It does not need to be balanced with other considerations of modesty, political correctness or inoffensiveness.

Freedom of speech is nothing if it does not include the freedom to offend. And in Australia, we do not have such freedom.

The internet is one such form of speech that is highly treasured by millions of individuals, and the Chinese can only dream of having an unregulated internet as their government filters content relating to political debate and protesters demanding democracy and liberty.

Well, Reason magazine is taking a critical look at Australia's ridiculous nanny-state mentality to filter and regulate internet content.

First a 16-year-old cracks the $84 million ($70m. US) government-built Internet porn filter in 30 minutes. Then they talk about it in bizarre ways. And conclude what Australia really needs is ISP-based content filtering.

Tom Wood is the cheeky fellow who did the deed for the Herald Sun. The tabloid describes Wood as a "former cyber bullying victim" as if we know what that means. Wood also complains that the filter is waste because it was designed outside of Australia. Obviously.

Sure enough, when the tabby contacts "the Government" an Australian-made filter is added to the list of Government-approved filters on the Government site. Tom then busts that sucker in 40 minutes.


A more pointless undertaking -- scheme, excuse me -- I cannot imagine. Australia has been on this kick for quite some time, so it is not by accident. There seems to be a conviction that the Internet should operate more or less exactly like a tightly regulated broadcast medium. Not broadband, but TV Plus.

Good luck with that.

You think you own your own home ? Think again

Property rights are seldom discussed or debated in mainstream circles. Little thought goes towards defining them or efforts towards discussing their importance. But the last century is full of powerful examples, all of them well documented and described by historian, political scientists and economists.

Property rights are .. THE .. single .. most .. important .. right. Your right to own any item, and not have it stolen is covered by property rights. As is your right to your own life and your own body. If every individual has their property rights defined, then theft, rape, murder, violence, fraud, torture and slavery are all considered crimes of the highest order.

Unfortunately, history isn't taught from this perspective. It usually glosses over failed political systems and regimes with a focus on the strongman, dictator or thug, and not the ideology that drives them. But rest assured, Hitler, Mao and Stalin were quite articulate and wrote detailed books describing their socialist political views. The same with Kim Jong Il, Castro and Chavez.

The key to their ideology --- once you remove the spin and rhetoric about a worker's revolution, about casting off the shackles of their capitalist oppressors, and about rising up against the bourgeois and starting a revolution --- is that not every individual has secure and well defined property rights. Some people who are connected to The Party and the political leadership certainly get their perks, but the proletariat were not allowed to own land, property and money because these were capitalist elements.

Instead of individuals owning property, which leads them to improve their life, all property was owned by The State.

People did not own their labor and could not decide where they would work. They were not entitled to exchange their labor for wages. They did not own their own home or land or cars. In East Germany, the state would allocate all manner of items, from food stamps to crappy old Soviet cars, courses in universities, places in schools, jobs and even decrepit apartments to people. And as such, there was massive neglect, mis-allocation, misery and shortages, famines and economic failures.

Soviet Russia, Communist China and other failed dictatorships had virtually no property rights for the masses. Today, North Korea has no property rights and is the poorest and most deadly place to be born in Asia. Venezuela is losing out property rights as every industry and massive farms are "nationalised" i.e stolen by government.

So you think in Australia, you have property rights ? You think even the freehold title and certificate of occupancy you have on your home guarantees it is yours ? Why do home owners have to pay council rates and stamp duties on property transfers ? What about your car ? If it is your property, why must you pay registration and stamp duty on insurance and stamp duty on purchases ? In fact, every item you purchase in Australia is subject to 10% GST. Every time you exchange money for goods/services, tax is payable or you face prison time.

Under pure property rights, if something is your property, you are free to do with it as you please, and no 3rd party can interfere and coerce you. But even the most liberal and democratic governments, the Australian, Canadian, English, American, French, German, New Zealand, Japanese government all force people to pay tax.

There are a series of videos on the US constitution and property rights by a well known American libertarian. Try searching"Michael Badnarik" videos on youtube and watch as he tells his students that despite what they think, they do not have secure property rights.

Australia is evolving towards communism.

Kevin Rudd just made an election promise to force all houses to adopt "environmentally friendly" electric hot water systems that cost twice as much, by 2010.

HOUSEHOLDS will have to pay up to $6.5 billion extra from 2012 to replace their electric hot water systems under a Labor plan to impose an effective ban on the appliances as part of its strategy to cut greenhouse emissions.

Under the ban, up to half of all Australian households will have to switch to expensive solar hot water systems when their old electric tanks fail.

The ALP is telling us what we can do with our property and violating our property rights further.

Not a whimper, not an outcry, not a protest in sight. The media don't treat this with the seriousness it deserves. Instead it repeatedly focusses on Rudd's poll performance after in light of his visit to a NY strip club 4 years ago.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Attention global warmenisers

Err.. you know that whole thing, about 1998 being the hottest year on record.. you know, Al Gore went on about it in his blockbuster film better stop using that argument.

The latest wrinkle in the global-warming controversy finds the National Aeronautics and Space Administration quietly correcting its historical data to compensate for an earlier error, a correction that should deflate some of the recent panic-mongering about an apparently warming Earth. The correction reduced the average temperatures for 2000-2006 in the continental United States by about 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit (with many stations showing lower readings and many showing readings much above average).

That dethroned 1998 as the hottest year on record, a distinction in the NASA data set that now belongs to 1934 (by an insignificant margin over 1998). Several other recent hot years were moved down in the rankings, and the 1930s now account for four of the top 10.

The number changes don’t greatly affect worldwide averages - but they reveal a disturbing arrogance among scientists in the community of global-warming true believers.

The data-handling error - the assumption that one set of numbers was identical to another when it was not - was discovered by Canadian researcher Steve McIntyre, who notified NASA on Aug. 4. NASA almost immediately corrected its Web site, but without any notice of the changes. You can bet that if the correction had shifted the data the other way, there would have been press releases, news conferences and lugubrious music on the TV news. As it was, it was left to the conservative blogosphere to spread the word; the mainstream media ignored the episode.
(hat tip: Greenie Watch)

Pearls of wisdom, from The Age readers

Its a busy day down at the Spencer St Soviet, with the Your Say section open for comments about the estimated $17bil budget surplus. Here are some of the gems:

Economics 101 - the whole idea of a budget is to break even.

That Peter Costello can get it WRONG to the tune of 17.3 billion dollars is ridiculous.


  • Posted by: lish on August 22, 2007 11:09 AM

Damn you Costello.. quick spend on some chewing gum, or other useless junk, like the ABC and get rid of that surplus !

geez, you'd think a surplus like that could be spread around evenly too... with a universal healthcare system, quality secondary/tertiary education for all who want it... but lets just wait and see the porkbarrelling start over the coming months as honest john and co attempt to squeeze 50.01 % of the votes in 50.01 % of the electorate to contrive another re-election.

i can sense the dog whistles blowing already.

  • Posted by: Jay on August 22, 2007 11:37 AM
Wow.. quality health and quality education = government ownership ? Someone needs to read their history books. Hey remember when communist China had state management of food and agriculture during their Great Leap Forward ? How did that work out for them ?

And what, Rudd isn't going to try his own efforts at pork barreling in the next election?

If you have a large deficit the government of the day is spending too much and if you have a large surplus the goverment is not spending enough.

You can't eat money so a huge surplus sitting there doing nothing is not good economic management!

  • Posted by: Tony N on August 22, 2007 12:22 PM
He's right.. swap those dollars for some french fries now ! I have $5mil in the bank and it doesn't do me any good, I can't see what good money is.

Budget surplus? Do the numbers. You'll probably find that all the students of Australia have provided the budget surplus via HECS. Now if we were truely the clever country, education would be free!

  • Posted by: murray on August 22, 2007 12:50 PM
Yeah I know the numbers. The government SPENDS $3 for every $1 of HECS debt. Try again murray.
Budget surplus because 30% GST not 10% GST,just check any product from material to finshed product (3 steps,each step pay 10% GST) and at the end to the consumer's hands the tax cumulation comes up to 30% or 40%. Should you know Australia population are 21 millions, all working pay tax can not reach much billions like this unless dream.
  • Posted by: Mai tran on August 22, 2007 1:35 PM
Yes agree I, should I know !?

Sitemeter is fixed

I've been noticing 0 visitors and 0 page views for the last 2 months, ever since Blogger changed their system. It looks like Sitemeter needed to be re-installed.. so there it is in the right sidebar. Lets get this blog going and build a readership !

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Choices are there to be made

In life, there are choices to be made. This is why we have the field of economic study. If all materials, resources, time and energy were infinite, then we wouldn't really have to face choices. We could do what we want. There would be no downside.

But the amount of wealth, our available time, our leisure and work, the amount of land, the assets we own and the amount of time we live on this earth, are definitely limited.

So, either we make choices for ourselves, or we let other people do it for us.
When it comes to public hospitals, we gladly surrender thousands of dollars in taxes for "a system". At every election, politicians boast eagerly how they will boost funding for "the system". That is, they will take more of your money, and your savings, and spend it on where they want.

The justification for this system is based on envy and emotion - that all people should have equal health care. A "safety net" of sorts, or a guarantee. It is well intentioned, but that doesn't make it any less harmful or wasteful.

But not all people have equal health needs. And the only person who best knows what their health needs are, is those people themselves !

So either we pay for a "system" and then hope that all the people will get what they need (despite 100 years of evidence showing failure after failure). We pay for the government to buy massive blocks of lands, and for builders to build new hospitals and shiny wards that cost hundreds of millions. We pay for nurses and doctors. We pay for licensing bodies which regulate and restrict the people who can work as nurses and doctors. We pay for administration staff and security guards. We create thousands of pages of regulations, quotas and benchmarks for the system to meet. JUST SO.. in the end.. patients don't hand over their own money for services received.

Or we take responsibility and allow people to pay for services received.

We encourage people to save money. To take out ONLY the amount of private health insurance they need. We shop around. We become sensitive to which health problems are the most serious and costly to treat (i.e lung cancer) and we take action to avoid this (smoking less cigarettes for example). We exercise more, we eat well, we have medical checkups if there are cholesterol or blood problems, we adjust our diet. In short .. we manage our own health. Those who manage it well are rewarded, those who don't are punished.

People who smoke and inject drugs into their system are screwed. Yes.. they are going to be punished for their choices. The only alternative is that all taxpayers, despite their ability to be responsible for their own health, have to fund a system which takes care of these people at massive expense. The cost of "the system" is enormous. And what kind of system do we get for our money?

Well lets look at Britain's NHS for example - often held up as a shining example of what governments can achieve when they spend big on public health:

Edward Paul Brown was a premature baby whose birth and death took place within minutes of each other on February 23rd 2007 in a lavatory in Queen's Hospital, Romford.

Eighteen weeks into her pregnancy, his mother, Catherine Brown, was told that there was no amniotic fluid surrounding the baby in her womb. This meant that the baby's chances of survival were minimal and her own life was threatened. Catherine Brown took the "devastating" decision to abort.


This Is London quotes Catherine Brown's mother, Sheila Keeling, who was present as her daughter went into labour:

"I was running around frantically trying to find gas and air for her and pleaded with nurses, who seemed very matter of fact, to assist," she said.

"The staff I did find told me they did not have the training to help. Catherine was left to deliver the baby alone with just me for help before cleaning herself up and going back to bed. It was horrific."

Read it all, in its full horrifying detail:

The war on drugs summarised.

We've been fighting and losing the war on drugs for over 30 years. Back in 1988, Ron Paul had the common sense to oppose this senseless waste of billions of dollars, police resources and government power.

Check out how well he handles a smart-ass kid in the audience asking a question:

Why the nanny state is destructive and should be rolled back

Never before have we had such an array of nanny state legislation to "guide" us and tell us whats good for us. From how we drive cars, ride bikes, what we can eat, what substances are restricted down to how we advertise and market products and the content and classification of entertainment, the almighty government has the final word.

In Victoria, Steve Bracks managed to first ban smoking in restaurants, then public places and sporting events, then at workplaces and even within 10 metres of exits, and finally in gaming venues, bars and nightclubs. The dangers of smoking have been well understood for a long time. People have always been free to choose if they smoke or not. This should be the end of the issue.

But the subtle difference between smoking and lets say, alcohol, is the externality of 2nd hand smoke. You see, according to anti-smoking activists, people are mindless sheep held captive and they must sit still as 2nd hand smoke reaches their lungs. Therefore, they say that it is a violation of your rights if somebody lights a cigarette in a venue, even if they have the approval of the venue's management. I am sympathetic to this argument, but it doesn't hold much merit, especially if you agree to enter a venue which has a policy that allows smoking.

And what of cigar bars and pubs and clubs where a majority of people want to smoke ? Or perhaps everybody wants to smoke ?

Tough luck.

When the nanny state bans something, they do not moderate their approach or judge on a case by case basis. Its written into law, with venues facing massive fines and prison sentences for defying the regulations. The result - Fidel's cigar bar at Crown Casino is out of business. A fine venue where people could enjoy the finest cigars and drinks in the most opulent setting - all set to go out of business.

And the amount of revenue lost by clubs and bars and hotels is hard to measure. The problem with the nanny state is that eventually, if something isn't considered good for you, it will be banned. Letting people decide for themselves is so out of fashion these days.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why I'm not a fan of Rudy Giuliani

Rudy might have once been seen as a heroic 9-11 character, who displayed bravery, leadership and integrity. He refused to accept a $10mil donation from the Saudi theocracy after 9-11, and he has been talking tough against terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

But this toughness, this need to put terrorism as the #1 priority, has overtaken his regard for liberty and caution. When it comes to getting a big and powerful US government to fight "the war on terror", nobody is tougher than Rudy.

I've got no problem with anti-terrorism, but not at the expense of liberty and freedom. After the inarticulate clumsiness of president Bush, I would hope to see the next president as a consistent and predictable statesman, able to articulate and defend a policy.

Here is a ghastly example of doublespeak by Rudy:

We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

This is just so wrong. Its as bad as any other Orwellian inversions of reality, such as war is peace, freedom through strength, and slavery is freedom. Not only is the doublespeak terrible, but he is using it to advocate a strong government which "has a great dealof discretion about what you do".

Ron Paul is a much more sober candidate. His love of liberty does come across as radical, because it leads to policy solutions which unwind and dismantle many massive government institutions and bureaucracies. But he was spot on when he said that 9-11 could have been prevented through preserving liberty and the upholding the 2nd amendment.

If airlines were allowed to arm their pilots and security stuff, then a bunch of maniacs with box cutters would be toast. I have little doubt. It would have been miraculous for the crazed Saudi hijackers to even crash a single airplane if the US government upheld the right to bear arms. Now this does not.. I repeat, does NOT, mean that every passenger gets to carry semi-automatic rifles.

It means that the private enterprise, the airlines and airport, get to set the rules and screen passengers for firearms. But they get to train and arm their pilots and security staff with firearms if they perceive a security threat.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

F.A.G alert.. Matt Damon in Melbourne.

The Film Actors Guild #1 spokesman, Mattt Daaaayymonn, is in Melbourne to shower us with his exceptional intelligence, and teach us the F.A.G way of life.

MATT Damon infiltrated Melbourne yesterday without leaving the usual trail of damage.

But he did make a new and powerful friend.

Damon, who plays a renegade spy in the Bourne film series, said he had met plenty of politicians "but few as cool as John Brumby".

"You know we democrats stick together," he said.

That is the.... lamest ... quote ... ever. We democrats ? We don't have a Democrat party in Australia.

Damon, in Melbourne to promote the third chapter in the Jason Bourne series, also stood up for his character in the Bourne v Bond battle.

Casino Royale, the most recent Bond movie, got a darker makeover inspired by the success of the Bourne films.

"James Bond is an imperialist and a misogynist and he kills people and laughs and drinks a martini and wisecracks -- and Bourne is really the opposite in almost every way," Damon said.

Whoah, way to spoil the fun. James Bond is so unsuitable. All our action movies should star Gandhi then ?

Damon, whose charity work includes filming commercials for Clean My Ride, which pressures the US Government to insist on cleaner fuel, said he struggled with the environmental impact of his work, such as flying around in private jets.

The Bourne Ultimatum opens on August 30.

Clean my ride ? No .. kiss my ass. Why the hell is this considered charity work ? When you lobby governments to regulate cars and transport, you are meddling and ruining individual freedom and happiness.

I have one last thing to say.

Maattttttttttt Daaaaaaaaaamooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn !

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

All Australians deserve free stuff ?

The childish headline of Catherine Deveny's pathetic article reads "All Australians deserve free health care".

I don't need to read any further to realise that only a childish mind that still dreams government can make sure everybody should be equal and we'd all live in utopia, or some workers paradise, could get a job at The Age.

There is no such thing as free health care, unless suddenly, thousands of nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, paramedics and administrators decide to do volunteer work, as well as billions of dollars of infrastructure, beds, medical equipment, ambulances and medicine being donated for free.

Somebody somewhere has to pay. Whether the user is paying directly for services (in the case of private health) or whether a vast monolithic bureaucracy is paying for the services using tens of billions of dollars confiscated from tax paying individuals.

As I've said before, public provision of goods and services is always less efficient than private provision. The difference becomes even more pronounced and visible as the goods or services become increasingly complex. The market for medical services as it so happens, is more than a bit complex - it is infinitely dynamic, complex and extensive.

Obviously, it spans large geographical areas. Ambulances must be able to reach patients within a certain response time. For urban areas, this is tricky enough, but for rural areas, mountains and ski resorts, you need planes or helicopters to respond to emergencies. You need to obviously have large hospitals, hundreds of staff, computers, administrators, security guards, consultants, specialists, surgeons, technicians, cleaners, medical equipment etc etc. So what is the best way to coordinate, allocate and organise these resources efficiently?

Catherine Deveny just says - let government wave its wand, destroy the private health sector and make it "free" for everyone (except for everyone who pays taxes !)

HOW can anyone not agree with free universal high-quality health care? How can anyone think that our current public/private marriage of political convenience is beneficial to all Australians both now and in the future? How can anyone think that our nation is getting value for money? It's not.
I agree.. destroy the public health sector. As for value for money, it is a bit arrogant to claim that nobody thinks they get value for money, especially for those people who would have died under the public system waiting for critical surgery, and instead opted to pay whatever it takes to save their life.
Private health insurance is a rip-off. Public health needs the $3 billion government subsidy that is propping up the private health insurance industry. And a truck-load more. People don't need a 30 per cent rebate on their private health insurance premiums. They need not to feel terrified into having to pay the premiums in the first place.
You hear that ? Public health is now a living breathing entity that needs to suck your money, vampire style. Its not what individuals need, and are willing to pay for. Its now "a system". It needs everything it can get. Note that its also about what people "need to feel" about paying health premiums... if you just steal it through taxes, on every transaction and on every pay-check earnt, they won't notice it, and it won't hurt their feelings.
My solution? Make it mandatory that politicians and their families are forced to use only the public health system.
Heh, yeah right. Tell her she's dreaming. Since when are our political elites ever going to put their money where their mouth is? They talk about our wonderful public hospitals but they realise the system is a mess.
Government subsidy of private health is theft from the public health system. It's a disgrace. Where is the choice if you are on benefits or a low income and you can't afford private health insurance? "Chicken or beef, sir?" That's a choice.
This really boils my blood ! The government subsidy is actually a form of returning stolen funds (taxes). The 30% rebate matches the 30% income tax bracket. Its like making private health coverage tax deductible. But public health - everybody is *COMPELLED* to pay their taxes, and if you don't, you end up in jail. Only a few people benefit from public health - those who are satisfied with a lower standard of health care or those who can't afford better.
Having private health insurance is not a choice. The poor, the old and the vulnerable wait in pain. The rest get served first. Why is pain and loss of quality of life not as important if the person is old, poor or on benefits? It's discrimination. It's an economically adjusted pain scale. "They're doing it tough so a bit more pain won't hurt 'em."
Gee if its not a choice, then how did I choose exactly which private health package to take out ? Here we see the socialist mindset use the victims and downtrodden in society to advance their agenda and to justify an increase in the size and power of government. Pity the poor and the elderly - give us your taxes, stop spending your own money on your needs ! How is it that these vulnerable people wait in pain ? After all, we have a health system in this country that eats tens of billions of dollars.

Sometimes the cognitive dissonance is astounding. Do these journos ever stop to question some of their assumptions, and to pause from parroting this stupid narrative ?

And listen to how she demonises the millions of Australians who were organised enough to hand over their own money and choose a particular private health cover:
People will tell you that they have private health insurance because they were sucked in by the fear of waiting lists, getting into "the breeding zone", the 2000 run-for-cover campaign or simply "because my accountant told me to". None of them will tell you that they think it's value for money. Most of them are opposed to it. Necessary evil. They will tell you that they don't notice the payments and any rebate feels like a bonus.
Catherine Deveny is not just out of touch - she needs to be committed to an asylum. She kind of admits this with her final sentence though :)

There is a proverb: "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." With free high-quality universal health care there will be shade for our children. With the increase of private health there will be no shade because there will be no trees.

I love a good rant. I feel better now.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

LDP renamed to Liberty and Democracy Party

The Australian Electoral Commission doesn't wan't us dumb sheep confusing the Liberal Party with the Liberal Democratic Party, so they've forced the LDP to rename itself to the Liberty and Democracy Party.

Under S129(1)(da) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 the AEC is not permitted to register a party if its name: one that a reasonable person would think suggests that a connection or relationship exists between the party and a registered party if that connection or relationship does not in fact exist

No big deal, what matters is their policy platform, which is a truly classical liberal platform (unlike the so-called Liberal party )