Waiting Out The Shutdown Crisis …

      119 Comments on Waiting Out The Shutdown Crisis …

I apologize for the lengthy delay between posts.  I was (as I’m sure some of you suspected) busy all last week packing up our survival gear.  We sneaked out of town a couple of days ago, leaving at 2:30 AM and staying off the main roads to avoid bands of marauding anarachists.  We’re now living in a hidden cabin at a remote location. (Don’t ask where.  I’m not telling.)  We’ll stay here until the government shutdown is over and we feel it’s safe to rejoin society.

I’ve been monitoring newscasts on my short-wave radio and reading the news online, so I’m not optimistic that we’ll be able to return home anytime soon.  According to the last report I saw, the shutdown is so severe, only 83 percent of the federal government is still up and running.  I’m not going to expose my young daughters to that kind of chaos.  They could be psychologically scarred for life.

None of this was necessary, of course.  The current crisis is the result of obstructionism by conservative legislators who refuse to accept the will of the majority on ObamaCare.  The obstructionists claim they’re responding to thousands of constituents who are upset over some of ObamaCare’s minor inconveniences, such as having their existing insurance policies canceled by the federal government and being ordered to buy policies costing three to four times as much.

I don’t doubt that a handful of constituents objected to some of the law’s specific language, but as Rep. Nancy Pelosi correctly pointed out, they’re nothing more than anti-government extremists.  Good citizens understand that they exist to fulfill the needs of the government.  Good citizens understand that the Constitution guarantees the right of the majority to take whatever it deems necessary from the minority.  Good citizens understand that our long tradition of prohibiting people from making their own economic decisions is the reason the United States became a great country in the first place.  Unfortunately, some people aren’t good citizens, which is why we’re now expected to somehow survive as a society with only 83 percent of the federal government in operation.

Not knowing exactly what the impact of a government shutdown would be, I turned to CNN for an unbiased explanation.  I quickly learned that gun permits won’t be processed, thus depriving citizens of the opportunity to obtain federal permission to exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution.  New passports might not be issued, which (as CNN pointed out) could force people planning their first-ever trip to Paris to cancel.  Businesses won’t be able to obtain government loans, thus depriving the government of the ability to invest in promising companies like Solyndra.  Garbage may not be collected in Washington, D.C. – a city known for producing extraordinary amounts of garbage.  But according to CNN, perhaps the biggest impact will be a hit on our collective psyche as Americans.

A hit our collective psyche?  That’s the worst CNN could imagine?  Apparently CNN didn’t anticipate the anarchy that would follow a shutdown of 17% of the federal government.

I knew it was time to pack the van and head for the hills when I turned on the news and was shocked by the lawless antics of a gang of World War Two veterans.  To make sure the public fully grasped that the shutdown had left the government bereft of funds and unable to perform crucial tasks, the government paid government workers to place government barriers in front of the open-air government monument to WWII veterans.  As the government explained, government workers had to erect the government barriers to protect the public.  I applauded the government’s decision and wished our local government were as prudent.  There’s an open-air Civil War monument in downtown Franklin, but we never visit it because there are no government supervisors on duty.

Like most Americans, I expected the World War Two veterans to see the government barriers erected by the government workers to warn the public that there’s no functioning government in place and respond by mumbling to themselves, “I could deal with the Nazi mortars and tanks and grenades and machine guns during D-Day and Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge, but a wooden barrier? Every man has a limit.”  But then the veterans pushed the barriers aside, walked over to the open-air monument and began looking at it — without government supervision.  Anarchy had come to the United States of America.

By now, you may be asking yourself, “What does all this have to do with health and nutrition?”

Plenty.  According to chatter coming in over my shortwave radio, there’s much more at stake here than just passports and garbage collection in Washington D.C.  If the shutdown continues, it will only be a matter of time before the USDA is no longer on active duty.  Once the USDA is incapable of handing out subsidies, the price of corn syrup will skyrocket — depriving all but the wealthiest Americans of a primary source of calories.  Then, like dominoes falling, the same thing will happen with wheat and soybeans.  Farmers might even respond to the lack of subsidies by refusing to continue producing vast surpluses.  Vegans on the West Coast are reportedly hoarding soy-based meat substitutes in anticipation of a shortage.

Even if grains remain cheap and readily available for awhile, there’s a real threat that Americans will forget how many of them they’re supposed to eat.  Stores and schools have enjoyed a steady supply of USDA MyPlate replicas for a couple of years now, but the plates don’t last forever.  Without proper funding, the USDA won’t be able to produce replacements.  Eventually, parents and kids will find themselves sitting down for a meal and staring at old-fashioned (read: no guidelines) plates, having no idea what to put on them.  Officials in at least one city in the Northeast are preparing to distribute leftover posters of The Food Pyramid as a temporary emergency measure.

The science revolving around health and nutrition could also face an irreversible decline. As the shutdown drags on, fewer and fewer researchers will have access to the government grants that made it possible for them to conclude that Monsanto’s grain products are health food.  Many will likely find real jobs during the shutdown, never to return.  The generation of researchers still in training can hardly be expected to take their place after seeing how easily a career in government-sponsored nutrition research can be wiped out.

The effects on research are, in fact, already being felt.  The next edition of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines was due to be released in 2015 – just two years away.   To meet that deadline, the Dietary Guidelines Committee ought to be hard at work already.  But with only 83 percent of the federal government in operation and no end to the shutdown in sight, it’s possible the nation will be deprived of another set of guidelines telling them to eat less fat and more grains.

As the World War Two veterans demonstrated, without a fully-funded federal government, there’s also the possibility of outright disobedience, regardless of what guidelines are available.  Realizing that the USDA school-lunch inspectors won’t be visiting anytime soon, rebellious school officials in some Southern states have reportedly begun allowing children to drink whole milk – the type that’s full of arterycloggingsaturatedfat –– instead of USDA-approved skim milk flavored with chocolate and high-fructose corn syrup.  There are even reports of kids eating entire meals at lunch that don’t include any grain products.

Those are just a few of the grim scenarios we’re facing, and that’s why Chareva, the girls and I will remain hunkered down in our undisclosed location until the federal government is fully operational again.  We miss our home, but the risks of living in a partially-regulated society are too great.

I hope you are all surviving this crisis.


119 thoughts on “Waiting Out The Shutdown Crisis …

  1. Firebird7478

    I met a Cuban-born doctor who teaches in Philadelphia. He said this is not a good plan and, “I know. I come from a Communistic country. This is communism and it does not work.”

    This won’t work either. Then the Democrats will offer that up as proof that the plan wasn’t big enough.

    There’s a silver lining in this cloud, however: Medicare ended up costing something like 1200% more than originally forecast, Bush’s prescription drug benefit ended up costing 300% more than forecast within a few years, and so it goes with government projections of the cost of government programs. So give it time, and ObamaCare will hasten the day when the government goes belly-up financially and will be forced by a lack of funds to shrink to something resembling its supposed Constitutional limits.

    The transition won’t be pretty, though.

  2. Darren

    [Pardon the brackets. It’s easier for me to reply to long comments within the comment itself — TN.]

    Hi Tom, I love your blog, and I can honestly say your movie made a real difference in my life.

    As a Canadian I find all of this belly aching in your country a little hard to understand. We have socialized Medicare in this country and our taxes are higher because of it. That is a choice we as a society have made, for good or for bad.

    They way I see it, your taxes just went up about $10,000 according to you. Assuming that is true, in return you are forced to receive government services that you don’t want or you feel are of less value than what it is now costing you. My initial reaction to that is……so what?

    [Surely you’re not suggesting that when I’m forced to consider dropping my contributions to my girls’ college funds or my own retirement fund, the proper reaction is “so what?” I don’t want a Canadian system, but at least yours is funded largely by sales taxes that everyone pays, since everyone buys stuff. Compare that with what’s happening here. Government employees (such as state-university professors who tell me to grow up and accept the law of the land) will continue receiving taxpayer-subsidized insurance. ObamaCare will cost them little or nothing. Many, if not most, Americans moving into ObamaCare will receive government subsidies now to buy their policies. Several large corporations and municipalities were granted exemptions from ObamaCare by his majesty Obama, so ObamaCare won’t cost them either. Ahh, but those of us who prefer working for ourselves instead of for a government or large corporation and therefore buy insurance in the individual market — well, it’s fine and dandy to stick it to us and order us to pay 400% more for insurance so we can function as a support system for everyone else who’s getting a subsidy.

    If the Democrats would cancel all subsidies and exemptions and order everyone to pay a national sales tax to fund ObamaCare, I would still be against it … but at least they’d be telling all the freeloaders to stop being freeloaders and kick in.]

    There are all kinds of government programs that you already pay for which you receive either only indirect benefits, or possibly even a negative benefit. Things like the NASA, National Defense, Homeland security, foreign embassies, foreign wars of dubious merit, interstate highways you don’t drive on, etc, etc all come immediately to mind.

    [Surely you’re not suggesting that several other examples of the government gouging the taxpayers justifies one more?]

    And given that the affordable care act l in your country has survived several elections, a supreme court challenge, about 40 votes in congress, filibustering , etc, it looks like that this is now a collective choice your country has made as well.

    [When this monstrosity was passed, his majesty Obama promised — over and over and over — “If you like your current insurance policy, you can keep it. Period.” His majesty also insisted — over and over and over — that rates in the individual market would not go up. Now I’m being told I can’t keep it, and furthermore I’m being ordered to buy a policy that costs nearly four times as much. His broken promises nullify any votes that were cast based on those promises as far as I’m concerned. If a business made promises like that to lure customers and then broke those promises, the federal government would prosecute the business.

    When a majority of people decides to steal from the minority, it’s still theft. This country was founded on the belief in the rights to life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government prohibits me from buying a policy from a willing provider (after promising that would never happen — period!) and orders me to buy a policy I don’t want under threat of force, they have violated my right to liberty. The Founders were quite concerned about what they called “a tyranny of the majority” and wrote a Constitution to prevent that from occurring. (Or as Winston Churchill put it, democracy was not supposed to be two foxes and a chicken voting on what to serve to dinner.) That’s why the power of the federal government was strictly limited by the Constitution.

    I don’t care how many times the parasites vote to force me to subsidize them. I don’t care how many judges ignore the Constitution and declare that it’s okay for the parasites to force me to buy a policy I don’t want or need for the sole purpose of subsidizing them. I’m not going to just say, “Oh well, what the heck, we VOTED on it after all, so I’ll just cancel my retirement contributions and let the parasites live off of me. Time to move on, ya know.” Nope. I’m going to ask my representatives in Congress to tell the Democrats there will be no budget deal until they revisit the law they passed without actually reading and get rid of the portions that sock some of us with huge increases in premiums while the parasites get a free ride.

    After all, another “collective decision” by the voters produced a Republican majority in the House. I expect them to protect their constituents from government abuse.]

    This rhetoric about slavery and segregation is just a bunch of hot air. (I am amazed nobody has said Nazi yet…..:) ) . Seriously, you could say the same overblown garbage about any taxpayer funded initiative you don’t agree with.

    [It’s a common and respected rhetorical tool. If your debate opponent declares some principle, you apply that principle elsewhere — often using the most dramatic examples — to see if it holds up. If “it’s the law of the land” is offered as justification for the validity of a law (never mind that it’s a tautological argument), then “it’s the law of the land” should hold up as a justification for the validity of any law. Since it doesn’t, that means “it’s the law of the land” is a worthless argument and your opponent needs to come up with some other justification.]

    As long as we as a species (Humanity) are to have some kind of society, there will always need to be collective action of one kind or another. Generally, in complex societies when the government is involved, this collective work (whatever it is) is financed via non-voluntary taxation “i.e. the barrel of a gun”. The same kind of argument against health care you are making here can be applied to just about everything any government does anywhere in the world. From defense spending, education, police, to putting a man on the moon, to the NSA reading all you email, all of these initiatives receive huge government money.

    [And very few of them should. The legitimate function of government is to protect citizens against anyone who would deprive them of life, liberty or property by force or fraud. Yes, that requires a military, police, courts to enforce the law, prisons, etc., that must be funded by taxes. That’s why the Founders referred to government as a “necessary evil.” Our government has moved way beyond its legitimate functions, and that’s why we’re on our way to a massive debt crisis. The United States grew and thrived and became an economic powerhouse — and even fought World War One — with a government that was a fraction of the size of the government today. That government routinely ran surpluses, by the way, instead of racking up debts it couldn’t possibly pay back.]

    I have a really tough time envisioning a large scale modern society where the only collective actions that can be done by the government are ones that can be fully funded on a strictly voluntarily basis by its citizens. Are there any modern countries that run this way that you are aware of? If so please let us all know.

    [See above. There are legitimate collective actions, all of which involve protecting citizens from those who would abuse them by force or fraud. Now I’m supposed to pay taxes so the government can be big and powerful enough to violate my right to liberty and steal from me to subsidize others.]

    And hey, if enough people really don’t like “Obama care” then I am sure they can vote it out in the next midterm elections, which is how a democracy is supposed to work.

    [The way the United States was supposed to work was that the federal government would have only limited powers — it’s spelled out right there in the 10th Amendment. To repeat Churchill, democracy is not supposed to be two foxes and a chicken voting on what to have for dinner. Democracy wasn’t supposed to be a vehicle that enabled parasites and predators to confiscate other people’s property by simply voting to do so. I have more respect for armed robbers. At least they don’t tell themselves they’re being nice, compassionate people when they confiscate property from other people. And they accept at least a small risk of being shot in the process.]

    1. Firebird7478

      This Canadian does not realize that this “Affordable” Health Care Act was written by the insurance companies, not by the politicians. It is a cash grab and nothing more than that.

      Ironically, the Cuban born doctor I met was teaching a class on musculo-skeletal ultrasounds. One of his students was an ultrasound technician from Ottawa. Because of Obamacare, the couldn’t visit the Liberty Bell.

      Obviously, it would be dangerous to allow people to look at the Bell without government supervisors on duty.

    2. Bret

      Darren, what happens when government starts taxing or even prohibiting fatty foods?

      Since you read this blog, surely you know the truth about fats and carbs, and you’re also aware that a majority of modern society–including the government–is badly confused.

      So what happens when politicians start listening to all the John Banzhafs and Meme Roths out there who say we need to tax or prohibit (what they incorrectly think is) unhealthy food? Are you going to explain to all of us that “there will always be need for a collective action…financed via non-voluntary taxation”?

      Government is not always right, my Canadian friend. It is made of people…human beings with human flaws. In the business world, we accept this reality and understand that doing business involves risk. Silly big-government apologists, however, do not understand this reality and want (so badly!) to believe that government involvement banishes all risk from life. They could not be more wrong.

      If a private company is run by incompetent and unintelligent people, its smarter, more competent competitors will drive it out of business. But government does not go out of business. When government is wrong, we all pay the price under force. And the results of midterm elections are highly subject to interpretation. With a government so complex, so overly involved in the economy, and so unaccountable (largely due to being bloated with bureaucracy), a midterm election result sends different messages to different politicians.

      Yet another reason to keep government small, transparent, and under control.

      I have nothing to add to that except “Bravo!”

      1. Darren

        Firstly, I don’t think such a scenario is likely to happen. It borders on ridiculous actually. If it did however, I would fight it as much as I could through the political process. Start a blog, donate money, etc. Sound familiar? Ask Tom he will tell you all about it. If I still lost and did not get my way I suppose I would source the food I felt my family needed some other way. Grow a few cows on some land my family has etc. Or pay the extra taxes to get the food i felt was needed. I guess if it got really bad I would probably leave the country.

        I never once said in any of my posts that government is always right. I said in a democracy we make collective decisions (good and bad) and the morality or “rightness” of those decisions is irrelevant. Hell, Democracy put Hitler in power (there I said it ! ;))

        Democracy is actually a crappy way to run stuff, but consider the alternatives. No thanks

        The difference is that only government gets to enforce its decisions (good or bad, and often bad) under threat of violence. Therefore, the decisions government is allowed to make on our behalf should be very limited.

        I wouldn’t say Democracy put Hitler in power. The Nazis won 18% of the vote in 1930, giving them enough seats in Parliament to make it difficult to govern without including them in a coalition. President Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor to appease the Nazis and bring them into the fold. Then Hitler and the Nazis seized control. As dictators have done throughout history, they used a disaster (a fire that destroyed the parliament buidling — likely set by the Nazis) to declare a state of emergency and suspend elections and other civil rights.

        1. TonyNZ

          History for the win!

          By the way, anyone who is interested in the type of economics that Tom espouses should watch some of the Tom Woods lectures on the great depression, free market etc. on Youtube. It is enlightening to get a historian’s take on the situation.

          His lectures are excellent. So is his book “Meltdown,” which not only explains the housing boom and bust but is also a good primer on economics.

        2. Bret

          You said food taxation/restriction is unlikely to happen, but it already happened in New York with the soda size ridiculousness. Luckily a nearby judge happened to value freedom over Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to save citizens from themselves and stepped in, but that will not always be the case. Granted, this example is about sugar, not fat, but you know the anti-fat bias is just as strong out there in the mainstream. I see it as just a matter of time.

          A pure democracy is indeed a crappy way to run things, as any educated ancient Greek would tell you. The majority becomes tyrannical and eventually bleeds the nation bone dry. I hoped America’s constitution would safeguard us from a similar fate, but that does not seem to be the case. Perhaps it is inevitable that robust economic success segues into an excessive, out-of-control government and subsequent economic decline.

          Majorities in both the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman empires decided politicians should give them lots of free stuff at the expense of others. The politicians complied. That’s the beginning of the end for once-great nations.

        3. Nitpickey McNazi O'Nitpick

          Darren there are good alternatives to your “democracy”… see: Newfoundland in the 17 years between its gov’t bankruptcy/dissolution and its joining Canada.
          Ever heard of the concepts of anarcho-libertarianism & the minimalist libertarian state? Or… even, what the word [i]republic[/i] means?

  3. neal matheson

    Have fun guys! Some commentors here have said that they are required by their insurers to eat a myplate style diet. Would a national programme stop or strenghten this? It is interesting that the government hasn’t actually stopped (from what I gather) but has rather petulantly blockaded access to parks (no forests in North America before 1776), statues etc. Presumably they haven’t stopped bombing Pakistani weddings, schools and other “bugsplats”. They dare not actually “stop” being the government, that would result in people seeing that they aren’t actually needed at all. I love the panic about milk inspectors not going to work, didn’t the USDA recently allow an incredibly high tolerance for muck and bleach in American chicken?
    For what it is worth Japanese health insurance is not mandatory, when I lived there I had private insurance which was a mistake as the National insurance was much better and cheaper at about 100 dollars a month though it wasn’t comprehensive.

    The government has worked very hard to prove to us that they’re out of money and can’t get anything done.

  4. Michael Hunt III

    Your response to Darren makes it sound like you just got done (re)reading Atlas Shrugged. All that looters and moochers talk, you sound like an enlightened college student, congrats! Let us know when you grow up and then you can come sit at the adults table again.

    Give me a minute while I go laugh my ass off ….

    … okay, I’m back.

    So we have millions of leftists who go running to the government like a whiny-ass child running to his mommy and begging for help whenever life becomes difficult, and those are the grown-ups, eh?

    “Mommy, Mommy! I need a subsidy! Make Billy pay for it! He cut all those lawns during summer vacation, and he has plenty of money! Please, Mommy! I can’t take care of myself! You can take Billy’s money, Mommy! You’re bigger than he is! Oh, stop complaining, Billy! I need your money! Grow up!”

    Sorry, I have to go laugh my ass off again ….

    … okay, I’m back.

    Yeah, it’s not as if all those leftists who justify ObamaCare by talking about sacrificing for the good of society sound like kids who just read Marx in college, is it? (Actually, I was a liberal Democrat in college. Then I became an adult.)

    I have my own definitions of a grown-up who deserves to sit at the adults’ table. A grown-up is someone who accepts responsibility for taking care of himself and his family. A grown-up is someone who doesn’t expect others to make his life better for him. A grown-up is someone who doesn’t decide that the solution to his problems is to demand that Mommy take money from Billy and give it to him.

    Let me know when you grow up and don’t expect Mommy to take care of you anymore. Let me know when you develop enough brain capacity to realize that calling me a child while simultaneously demanding that I support the whiny-ass children in society makes you look like an utter moron. Then we’ll let you sit at the adults’ table.

    And now I have to go laugh my ass off again …

  5. Bruce

    Here are two comments from a website I read regularly. The first explains the “factions” in this country quite well.

    We’ve got two factions in this country: The Drama Club, and the Business Club. The Business Club wants to help out deserving needy people, but they want to run the numbers first to see if it doesn’t bankrupt everybody, waste a lot of tax dough to no effect, or just siphon money to connected elites. The Drama Club just feels that everybody needs health care, or whatever need everybody is talking about this week, and that if you wish hard enough it will magically happen and everything will be just so super-awesome!! Needless to say, the Drama Club has been running things for the last 5 or 6 years………


    A lot of people think of the government as an endless supply of money, and “Conservatives” are a$$holes that want to keep people from getting it.

    Good analogy. That’s why Hollywood is dominated by liberals — they’re members of the Drama Club.

    To make the analogy more complete, however, we need to also mention that the members of the Drama Club, despite knowing zilch about the subjects studied by the Business Club, are not only convinced they know everything the Business Club knows, they are inexplicably smug about what they think they know. If a member of the Business Club points out a flaw in some grand, expensive plan drawn up by the Drama Club, the Drama Club members will say things like, “Oh, yeah, like, congratulations for reading ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ Let us know when you’re ready to grow up and sit at the adults’ table.” The other members of the Drama Club will then snicker and congratulate themselves on being so hip and cool and enlightened.

    Then when the school goes broke, they’ll blame the Business Club.

  6. johnny

    I was a government auditor for 40 years. I audited at the local, state and federal level.

    I saw waste and lack of accountability right and left.

    I can tell you unequivocally that you could fire 50% of government employees and services would not be affected.

    That would be a good start.

  7. Firebird7478

    From a college student:


    “Raped my future” is as good a term as any. Not just because of tripling and quadrupling of premiums the twenty-somethings like her are facing, but also because of the disincentives for employers to hire people full-time. So youngsters will graduate from college with a mountain of student-loan debt, but be less likely to find a job that pays enough to service the debt while allowing for any kind of comfortable lifestyle.

    Way to take care of the working poor, statists! Another big-government solution that sounded just peachy to the statists on paper, working out as well in practice as the others.

    (But it’s the law of the land, so everybody just shut up already and take it.)

    1. Lori

      Don’t forget that student loans don’t go away if you declare bankruptcy. If the young woman with asthma and other health problems can’t afford $316 a month premiums, a few trips to the emergency room could run up several thousand dollars in hospital bills. Not that $10,000 is any big expense.

      Naw, not at all. According to the Obama Administration and some of the people commenting here, an extra $10,000 per year out of my pocket is almost nothing.

      Never mind that if I invested that for my girls’ college funds and only managed to get an 8% return (below the historical average), that adds up to an extra $155,000 or so by the time they’re in college. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind leaving college with that much debt instead.

  8. Charlotte Monte

    Thanks to Dr. Haynes for turning me on to this glorious blog post. Thanks so much to YOU for writing it. We all were feeling pretty low over here in CA — I even woke up this morning in that early morning half dream state with the Star Spangled Banner in my head and tears on my pillow. Fight on!

    Will do.

    1. Michael Hunt III

      I really, really hope that this is satire.

      Maybe not. I stumbled into bed drunk the other night after eating some buttered asparagus, and my piss the next morning smelt like the gunpowder from the revolutionary war.

      The next morning, it dawned on me that someone, somewhere, was mooching. I then noticed red, white, and blue streaks in my underwear. Coincidence?

      God bless.

      Wow, such rapier wit. You should have done standup, not me.

      Like I said, nothing is as hilarious as a moron who thinks he’s intelligent — or clever.

  9. Lynda

    Did you see Ben Carson video clip on Yahoo? Not sure audience he was speaking to, but he was quite critical of Obamacare and compared it to slavery.

    My question is now – what can we do? I am looking for a job that provides healthcare and if I am lucky enough to find it, I won’t have to sign up. But I don’t want anyone else to have to sign up either. I have written my senators – but what else can I do?

    Not much you can do besides cast a vote to throw out the statists when the next election rolls around.

  10. Rachel

    I’m an educator in public schools in Texas. Districts here participate in health plans through a private company that is negotiated at the state level for all districts. This negotiation happens each year usually in the spring for the upcoming summer hiring season Our rates went up dramatically (as expected), and the deductible more than doubled (as expected). We got word this week that they may do a mid-year additional increase to premiums, which has never happened. The reason given? Because rates increased so much already that an unexpected number of people dropped the insurance. Brilliant. Since teachers can’t afford the ridiculous options now available to them, let”s raise the rates even higher for the ones who managed to scrape by. After all, they’re not allowed to drop the plan until the next open enrollment in the spring. Bang. Head. On. Desk.

    People are dropping out, so let’s raise the cost and scare more people away. Brilliant.

  11. Kati

    I really appreciate this post and all the comments, as they give me lots of perspectives to use the logic part of my brain on. Is there any place that someone like me, with a few hours of free time everyday, could actually read the (un) Affordable Healthcare Bill in its entirety? I’ve always been extremely suspicious of Obama, right from the start, when I first read his platform issues at the tender age of 20, and the red flags really started beating violently in the hot steam of his words during his proclaimed desire to have a “transparent” cabinet during his inauguration speech at age 22. Now, at 28 (how did I even arrive here so fast?), I’m sick of the ambiguity and not knowing what is true and what isn’t, coming out of the current White House. I know just about nothing when it comes to politics (or maybe more of playing the political “game,” as it is hard to follow logically much of the time) but I can spot a liar and pick up on cues that mean I need to stay on my toes.

    If you have the stomach for it, you can read all 2409 pages here:


    When it comes to any politician of any party, suspicion should be your default position.

  12. The Older Brother


    ” If I still lost and did not get my way I suppose I would source the food I felt my family needed some other way. Grow a few cows on some land my family has etc.”

    Ummmm. Sorry, Darren, that ship has already sailed. A judge in Wisconsin recently ruled (quoting from his ruling):

    ” “no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice…”

    Tough luck, eh? So, will you be leaving the country, or will you recognize that in a “democracy” (for those of us who don’t remember the whole “republic” thing about our founding) we’ve all got to go with majority rule and forget about the whole “raise my own cow” thing.

    Enjoy your Grape Nuts and skim milk.


    1. Darren

      Hey Brother, good to hear from you.
      No, as a Canadian, I don’t expect that a judge in Wisconsin has much say over what happens in my Country, so there will be no need for me to move any time soon. While I am not familiar with whatever case you are talking about, I can probably guess that is has something to do with people raising livestock within a town or city that prohibits the raising of livestock within the municipality. Not sure I have much sympathy for that cause either. Everyone wants a chicken farm right next door to them right? In any case it is an irrelevant point. You really believe that this one specific case is somehow going to prevent all small scale agriculture from occurring everywhere in your country? More overblown rhetoric.

      (TN) I’ll handle that one: no, the case wasn’t about people wanting to raise livestock in a city. It was about people who (perhaps believing they were living in a free country) thought they had the right to buy a cow, raise it on farmland, and drink the cow’s milk.


      And guess who that judge is working for now?


      If you don’t believe there are powerful people in this country who don’t want ordinary citizens to have the right to raise and consume their own food — thus bypassing Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, etc. — then you haven’t been paying attention. I’d suggest renting a film called “Farmageddon” to see what’s happening on this side of the border.

      1. Darren

        My apologies. That’s what happens when you speak from ignorance I guess.

        We have our own version of the FDA and the USDA in Canada. We also have marketing control boards for many agricultural products. (Dairy, eggs, and chickens are the first to come to mind). There are lots of rules in place simply so a small farmer cannot make a living doing direct consumer sales (e.g. maximum 200 laying hens, or maximum 1,000 broiler chickens or you have to by a production quota from the local marketing boards) All of this is designed to keep small Joel Salatin types locked out of the market. Thank god beef and pork are still fairly free from regulation up here.

        I have seen Farmageddon actually. And like you I was appalled at the BS that sometimes goes on. And I have no doubt that Big corporate farming is behind most if not all of this kind of bureaucratic voter/consumer suppression.

        My only answer to this kind of stuff is we simply have to engage in our political processes as hard as we can, and make the politicians understand that small farmers are to be protected and not subjected to this kind of bureaucratic tom foolery. I agree and I am with you on this point, I just think the way to deal with it is through the political process head on. Put your money and your time where your mouth is. Monsanto sure is, so we need to be better than they are.

        One novel Idea that I have seen up here with some small producers selling raw milk is they market it as pet food only. I thought that was really clever actually. Just imagine the conversations they have with government regulators…..Lol.

        Keep at it Tom and older Brother.

        No worries, Darren. Apology accepted.

        We have no choice at this point to fight this battle in the political arena, but it never should have been in that arena. Our government has vastly exceed its supposed Constitutional limits and passed laws it never should have been allowed to pass in the first place. As an analogy, it’s as if our government passed a law prohibiting everyone from consuming butter — for the good of the public, of course. So now we’d have to engage the politicians and try to convince them butter is harmless and the law should be repealed, we’d be pitted against lobbyists and paid scientists for the margarine makers who would insist butter is a killer, and everyone would end up arguing about the pros and cons of butter … when in fact, it never should have been within our government’s supposedly limited powers to decide whether or not I can eat butter.

        Once governments decide they have the power to regulate anything and everything, regulatory capture by powerful interests is almost a foregone conclusion. Since most of the public has no interest in the topic of raw milk (to name one example), it’s nearly impossible to get them riled up enough to put a scare into the politicians.

  13. Frank

    Hallelujah! The clouds have parted, the sun has come out, and the birds are singing! Not to worry, $17,000,000,000,000 national debt and $126,000,000,000,000 unfunded liabilities are just numbers with a lot of zeros behind them. And the zero was developed by Indian mathematicians. So if you don’t like zeros, clearly you must be a xenophobic racist hater. (Tom, I’ll understand completely if you don’t let this one post.)

    Why wouldn’t I let this one post? I agree completely with the (sarcastic) sentiment.

  14. Gilana

    Well, at least you got to come out of your bunker. I’m sure your supplies of protein pills and Velveeta were exhausted anyway.

    Now that the other 17% of the government is back in operation, I felt it was safe to leave the bunker.

  15. Darren

    My position would be “legitimate government” is whatever your society decides it is. In America “decides” means enough votes, and that it is constitutionally valid.

    [No, “enough votes” doesn’t make a law constitutional. It’s not constitutional if a majority of voters decides you can’t practice your religion or criticize the government, and it’s not constitutional if Congress passes laws granting powers to the federal government that the Constitution doesn’t specify. The Founders were quite concerned about what they called a “tyranny of the majority” and wrote the Constitution specifically to prevent that from happening. Individuals don’t need protection from unpopular ideas, because unpopular ideas don’t gain a majority of votes. Individuals need protection from POPULAR ideas that violate their rights as individuals. If everything comes down to “majority rules,” then there is no Constitution.]

    Just because you think it should stop at a military, police, courts to enforce the law, prisons, etc doesn’t mean everybody else thinks that way. In fact it turns out that most people all over the 1st world, including your own country don’t share your vision.

    [I don’t give a rat’s ass if most people don’t share my vision. Their opinions don’t change what the Constitution says. See above. The Constitution was created specifically to protect the rights of individuals against what “most people” want. It’s no surprise that “most people” are in favor of violating the rights of individuals when doing so benefits them personally.]

    The point is there are lots of ways to live, and there are plenty of countries with some form of socialized health care, high productivity and high median incomes, AND high taxes.

    [Yes, there are plenty of countries around the world that don’t respect the rights of individuals to the degree that the United States was supposed to. Most other countries also have a state religion, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. This was supposed to be a free country, with federal powers strictly limited by the Constitution. The Founders were smart enough to realize that the biggest threat to individual freedom is government itself.]

    If you feel that the Nation’s Debt and unfunded liabilities are too onerous, well then you have both a spending AND a revenue problem. This is the Bush years coming back to haunt you I think. The one two punch of large tax cuts and huge spending initiatives for homeland security, Iraq/Afghanistan invasions, and most of all the Medicare Modernization Act or MMA.

    [This is now and always has been a spending problem. Even if you accept the fiction that a 10% tax cut costs the government exactly 10% in lost revenue (which it doesn’t, because people spend the money that wasn’t taxed away and produce more economic activity as a result), the Bush tax cuts would account for about $100 billion in lost revenue per year. Check the deficit figures and see if an extra $100 billion would close the gap. It isn’t possible to tax people enough to spend what our government spends without a huge annual deficit.]

    It isn’t all smiles and sunshine where I live or anywhere else either, but you all will have some hard choices in the coming years.

    [We’re not making the hard choices. Congress doesn’t have the will to make the hard choices. So the hard choices will be made for us when we go belly-up financially and no more suckers in other countries are willing to lend us money we’ll never pay back. Then instead of ratcheting down the size of government in a planned and orderly fashion, it’ll just grind to a halt. The results won’t be pretty.]

    1. Darren

      Yes, I agree enough votes are not the only piece of the puzzle. Like I said the law passed by the majority (whatever that law is) also must be able to withstand constitutional challenges within your judicial branch, which are ultimately decided by your supreme court. That is one of the checks and balances put in place to deal with the “Tyranny of the majority” problem.

      [Allowing the government to wildly exceed its supposed constitutional bounds and then counting on courts or ballots to fix the problem doesn’t work. You can’t get voters riled up about an issue that doesn’t affect them, such as being able to buy a cow and drink raw milk. No legislator is going to worry about hordes of voters going to the ballot-box to kick him out of office because he refused to stop a law prohibiting other people from drinking raw milk … but that same legislator will worry if Dean Foods targets him. And as we already saw with the Wisconsin judge who later ended up at a Monsanto-paid law firm, judges can be just as corruptible as legislators. As for the Supreme Court … yeah, there’s the cure for all our problems. First off, a tiny fraction of all court cases go up the chain to the Supreme Court. The court must agree to hear a case, and it turns down most of them. Secondly, the reason nominations to the Supreme Court are always so controversial is that since the days of FDR, one party has preferred justices on the Supreme Court who don’t bother consulting the Constitution when deciding what’s constitutional. The Founders, by the way, did not designate the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter of what’s Constitutional. The Supreme Court assumed that power for itself. Jefferson believed the states should decide what’s constitutional.]

      The US Constitution has been amended 27 times in its history so far, and I expect as time goes on it will be amended some more in the future. It is a living document, and is designed to live and change as your nation changes.

      [Yes, the Constitution was supposed to “live and change” ONLY via constitutional amendments. Unfortunately, since the days of FDR, we’ve had judges decide that the “living, breathing document” theory means they can decide the Constitution means whatever the @#$% they want it to mean. Well, The Founders couldn’t have anticipated blah-blah-blah at the time they wrote the Constitution, ya see, so we’ll just decide what is or isn’t constitutional based on our personal preferences. There was no amendment granting the powers that the federal government has since assumed.]

      Example: Americans have added laws only to take them back. In 1919, the 18th Amendment was passed. It banned the making and selling of alcohol. But it was impossible to get all people to stop drinking. Many people felt the government had no right to make laws about their private habits. So in 1933, the 21st Amendment was adopted. It repealed, or canceled, the 18th Amendment.

      [You just made my argument for me. Back in the days when judges respected the limits placed on federal power by the Constitution, it took a constitutional amendment to grant the federal government the power to prohibit the sale of alcohol. See the point? The feds couldn’t just decide alcohol was bad for society and outlaw it. They didn’t have the constitutional authority to make that decision. So while Prohibition was clearly a mistake, they at least went about it without violating the Constitution. They got the amendment they needed first. Now … which amendment to the Constitution would grant the federal government the power to outlaw drinking raw milk? Which amendment to the Constitution would grant the federal government the power to ban my current insurance policy and order me to buy one preferred by Obama?]

      As to the violation of your liberty, and this Affordable Care Act being constitutionally invalid…well your own supreme court saw it otherwise. And I expect that similar challenges of things like the existence of the USDA, or NASA, or any of the litany of other things you say your federal government should not be doing would probably end the same way.

      [See above. If judges still respected the Constitution as they did back in the 1920s, there’s no way on God’s green earth this abomination could be passed without a court declaring that it violated the Constitution. And I don’t consider a 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court to be a resounding stamp of approval of a law’s constitutionality.]

      U.S. Federal budget deficit is projected to be $744 billion for for Fiscal Year 2014, (the spending period from October 1, 2013 -September 30, 2014). So the $100 Billion number you are talking about assuming it is correct would be 13.44%. Not a small slice as far as I can see.

      [Wow, so we’d go broke a little slower. Awesome. Okay, let me put it this way: If the U.S. government had merely declared in the 1990s that government is big enough and will henceforth only be allowed to grow at the rate of inflation, we’d be running big surpluses right now. We are running huge deficits because of spending too much, not failure to confiscate enough. I live in the state with the third-lowest overall tax burden in the U.S. — we don’t even have a state income tax. We’re also running a $500 million surplus. That’s because Tennessee doesn’t spend itself to the brink of financial disaster like Illinois, California, and other states run by the big-government party.]

      One way to help get your deficits under control would be to bring in a federal Value Added Tax (VAT). Canada introduced a 7 percent VAT in 1991; the rate has since been cut twice and stands at 5 percent. Everyone hates it, but it raises a piss pot full of money for us and this kind of tax has many features that conservatives would like (If you could get them to even consider it).


      [I see … so even though we could have been in surplus merely by limiting the growth in government to the rate of inflation, the real problem is that our government isn’t confiscating enough from citizens. No, I don’t think so. It isn’t possible to tax people enough to close a gap of $17 trillion in official debt and another $50 trillion or so unfunded liabilities.]

      So, where there is a will there is a way.

      [The only “will” that will save us from financial disaster is the will to tell the voters that previous generations of politicians promised more than the federal government can possibly deliver and that deep cuts in federal spending will be required to avoid going bankrupt as a nation.]

      Unfortunately I completely agree about the current state of affairs in Washington. Complete and utter gridlock with no end in sight till the next elections.

      1. Darren

        So it would seem that the rightfully elected government in your country is massively exceeding its mandate as outlined in the Constitution, in addition the judicial branch of your government is also overstepping its authority by interpreting the constitution rather than just reading what it actually says. The Constitution must speak for itself, and be followed to the letter regardless of what any silly group of voters has to say about it. There is no need to try and solve any of the problems of the day as a nation, because the constitution says you can’t.

        [Yes, the government is massively exceeding its constitutional powers, and being “rightfully elected” does not in any way excuse doing so. And yes, judges (especially from one party) have ignored the Constitution in order to allow government to exceed its constitutional powers. In case you haven’t grasped the purpose of the Constitution yet, it was created specifically to protect the rights of individuals against “what any group of silly voters has to say” if those silly voters decide they want to violate the rights of others in order to benefit themselves.

        No need to try to solve our problems? Are you intentionally trying to make me laugh? Our biggest problems are the result of the Constitution being ignored, not followed. Back in the days when government actually respected the limits of the Constitution, we ran surpluses, not deficits as far as the eye can see. If the Constitution does become an impediment to a grand solution almost everyone agrees is necessary, then it can be amended.]

        I think my prohibition example actually underscores my point about democracy that I have been making all along. A group of highly misguided concerned citizens gathered enough support to change the foundational document your democracy is based on, simply to suit their own vision of what is “right”. What they felt was “right” trampled all over one aspect of many other peoples “rights” within that same document.

        [Okay, at this point you’ve got to be ignoring the point on purpose. But I’ll repeat it anyway: the Constitution placed strict limits on what the federal government can and cannot do. In order for the government to enact laws that would be considered unconstitutional according to the text of the Constitution, it must first amend the constitution. Yes, that is a democratic process, but Constitutional amendments are difficult to pass by design. That was to prevent the Constitution from being changed willy-nilly according to passions of the day. The amendment process isn’t perfect and cannot prevent the occasional stupid amendment from being passed. But passing an amendment (stupid or not) was supposed to be REQUIRED before the government could assume powers not granted to it by the Constitution.

        Got the concept? Okay, let’s continue: When the prohibitionists wanted to ban alcohol, they understood that they must do so without violating or simply ignoring the Constitution. They didn’t claim that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” and could therefore be interpreted by some big-government-loving judge to allow the feds to ban alcohol. They didn’t claim that if Congress passes a law, it’s automatically constitutional because this is a democracy and Congress is simply doing what a majority of people want. Nope … they campaigned hard and convinced enough legislators in both Congress and the state legislatures to amend the Constitution. Then, and only then, did they pass a law that would have otherwise violated the limits placed on federal power by the Constitution. Was it a mistake? Yup. Did the people who pushed Prohibition impose their will on everyone else? Yup. But the prohibitionists did not violate or ignore the Constitution. That’s how the process is supposed to work. That’s how the Constitution is supposed to function as a “living, breathing document” — not by having presidents, legislators and judges simply ignore it when they prefer to see government expand beyond the limits of the Constitution.]

        The reality is that amending the constitution is simply just another form democracy. This is what democracy looks like sometimes.

        [No, the reality is that this was supposed to be a free country with a government strictly limited by the Constitution. As I’ve explained over and over, the Founders never intended for democracy to be a vehicle enabling the majority to violate the individual liberties of the minority. That’s why the Constitution was created. That’s why they couldn’t get it ratified until the Bill of Rights was added to it. That’s why the 10th Amendment says specifically that the federal government does not have any powers except those specified by the Constitution.]

        So, let me ask you this, if the required 38 states in the Union voted to amend the constitution to nationalize the healthcare system, would that make it okay with you then? After all it would now be within the sacred constitution. Or is there something else going on here?

        [Would be okay with me in terms of liking it? Hell, no. Would it be okay with me in terms of it being Constitutional? Yes. It would be like Prohibition — a mistake, but a mistake not imposed on us by violating the Constitution.]

        Also, without the judicial branch of government to apply the law, whom then will interpret the law and how the constitution does or does not apply? Somebody has to “read the constitution” and make that call. If not the Judiciary, whom shall it be? And how will you guarantee that this mechanism you suggest will also not be susceptible to the same corrupting forces that you speak of?

        [Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the judiciary at this point. The problem is that judges (particularly those from one party) don’t consider themselves bound by the text of the Constitution when deciding what’s constitutional. I’d be delighted if they did, in fact, read the Constitution.]

        As to the impossibility of paying for entitlement programs or overcoming your deficit. I am just going to disagree with you. You could do if your society had the values and the will to do it. Whether it is a good idea or not is another matter entirely.

        [If you believe that, it only tells me that you haven’t looked at the data and done the math. I have. Values and willpower do not negate the laws of mathematics or economics. It is impossible for us to tax people enough to pay for our entitlement programs. If we taxed everyone at 75% (which would of course cause economic activity to grind to a halt — you can’t spend what’s taxed away), we would STILL not be able to pay off the $17 trillion in debt, much less pay for the $50 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities coming down the pike.

        What we are doing now is piling up debt so we can artificially raise our own standard of living by spending borrowed money. Since our children and grandchildren will have to pay that debt, that means their standard of living will be lower — money that’s taxed away to pay your grandpa’s debt is money you can’t spend on yourself. So we are lowering their standard of living in the future in order to raise ours today. It’s immoral. It’s nothing more than inter-generational theft. Anyone with a conscience should be outraged by the very idea.

        So speaking of constitutional amendments, I want one that says the federal government cannot spend more money than it collects except to fight a war for the nation’s survival. Any other form of deficit spending is immoral.]

  16. Craig R

    What is sad is most people don’t know what the Constitution is all about, nor the history of the country. When I was in High School, they told us the big debate was how to best make representation among the states distributed properly (which was a big debate) but nobody really argued after that. No mention of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers at all. No mention of all the states that initially rejected the Constitution because it gave far too much power to the central gov’t. Some at the Constitutional Convention didn’t feel a Bill of Rights was needed because it was completely understood that states were sovereign and the Constitution could never trump state rights; most states already had a Bill of Rights protecting individual freedoms, which was obviously all we needed, as the Federal gov’t was not authorized to have any power over such things. Look at how far we’ve come from that.

    The government shut-down would not have been a big deal in the eyes of the Founders because the Federal government was made in a way that was supposed to result in nothing getting done. The Federal gov’t wasn’t supposed to do much of anything because the individual states were where all the action was at. If you didn’t like what one state did or the laws passed, you voted with your feet. These things aren’t taught in school on purpose so that when we see the Federal gov’t seize power, we think it’s perfectly normal. I know that’s what I was taught until I attended a college with a more conservative POV. It’s sad that our country has become no different from most other countries, partly out of our own greed, and partly from ignorance of our own Constitution, history, and separation of powers.

    I wasn’t taught much of that in school either. I learned about the Constitution and the battles over how much power the federal government should have by reading books long after I was done with formal education.

    If the Founders saw the recent government shut-down, they’d be wondering why we didn’t shut down most of it. They’d also be wondering how the hell the federal government managed to assume so much power without constitutional amendments granting it all those powers.


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