Waiting Out The Shutdown Crisis …

      213 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.


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213 thoughts on “Waiting Out The Shutdown Crisis …

  1. Dan

    You just broke my sarcasm detector.

    I might be wrong, I don’t follow this stuff very much (being Canadian and all) but isn’t this plan a compromise of the original healthcare that was introduced that was supposed to be more like other countries? (aka – more tax = healthcare provided by government). That said, healthcare is expensive and the care we receive in Canada involves a lot of long waits… but it’s nice to not go into crazy debt if something happens to you. It’s also nice to be able to get stuff checked out should you suspect a problem rather than not wanting to deal with the costs.

    Is it true that the representatives who voted for this shutdown will still get paid? That is complete horse shit, how can they do that with a straight face.

    They not only get paid, they get to keep their subsidized health-insurance policies while people like me had ours (inexpensive, but not subsidized) canceled.

    The way to avoid going into crazy debt because of medical bills is to do what I’ve always done: buy an inexpensive policy that doesn’t cover routine medical costs but kicks in big-time for major illnesses or surgeries. (My knee surgery last year, for example, only cost me $2,000 out of pocket.) I’m now not allowed to make that smart financial decision.

    1. Dan

      That’s not so bad. In Canada the knee surgery would’ve been covered (unless it was elective) but you probably would’ve had to wait a year to get it. It would be cool if some kind of middle ground could be found. I’m also not sure how true the documentary Sicko was but I’m hoping your inexpensive insurance can’t drop you with some bullshit excuse (pre-existing condition) the moment you need some major cash from them.

      Another thing we have in Canada are walk-in clinics. They are really nice, you can see a doctor within half an hour. The problem with this from what I’ve noticed is you are rushed in and out and normally given a prescription. Most of the clinics are inside or next to pharmacies and almost everyone I see come out head straight to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled.

      I’ve heard about people waiting a year for knee surgery in Canada. I can’t imagine what life would have been like for the past year if I hadn’t gotten it operated on right after the injury. My legs would surely be atrophied. I’d much rather shell out the $2,000 and get back to walking as soon as possible.

  2. Howard Lee Harkness

    I posted my own snarky comment about that on my Texas Concealed Handgun License site (site needs substantial updating since the last session of the Texas Legislature changed nearly everything about the CHL program). I think you probably already knew I was a CHL instructor, even though I wasn’t permitted to be armed on the LC cruise.

    What you probably *didn’t* know is that my wife and I also run a prepper blog (we accept guest posts in case you might be willing to write for us), and that I wrote a Kindle book on Firearms for Preppers. (Easy to find on Amazon, just search on “Harkness” and “firearms”)

    I was going to try selling tinfoil, but I didn’t want the hassle of getting the NSA permit…

    You may have to consider going into the tinfoil black market.

  3. Kathy in Texas

    I’ll admit to getting ticked off at you when you go AWOL for more than a day or two and yes, I know you have a family, a job (so you can afford that new health care policy), animals and property to manage, etc. But my morning routine includes checking your blog and when there’s nothing new, well my day is not complete. That said – this one is worth the wait. I hope the comments go on and on and on…….

    I apologize for the delay in posting while escaping the pandemonium.

  4. TMA

    Also, the point of your blog post seems to be “The government shutdown isn’t as bad as the hysterical media and lefties say! So there!” That’s kind of changing the argument from whether there should be a government shutdown to whether a government shutdown is a big deal. Which, obviously, is a completely different argument.

    I’m happy to make both arguments.

    1. TMA

      Well have at it–I don’t believe you made the former argument in your blog post.

      Okay, here goes: Liberals could end the shutdown immediately by agreeing to revisit and fix the portions of ObamaCare that are socking citizens with 400% increases in premiums. They won’t agree to that. So they’ve decided they’d rather have a shutdown than risk rewriting a crappy law they passed without bothering to read. (As Ms. Pelosi reminded us, “We have to pass the law to know what’s in it.”) So yes, they obviously believe the shutdown is both necessary and not such a big deal.

  5. Ham-Bone

    I have been waiting (mostly) patiently for your take on all this. Well worth the wait. I mean with no national parks or museums I really had nothing else to do anyway but…

  6. Serena

    I look out at the devastated civilization we inhabit and see roadwork continuing, social workers cheerfully greeting clients and kids climbing aboard school buses — eerily normal, isn’t it?

    It’s almost as if state and local governments are able to function without the feds.

  7. Paul

    Thanks, Tom! I live in the greater Washington DC area. Judging from the traffic, there is no shutdown.

    Perhaps we need more than 17% of the government to shut down before you’ll notice a difference.

  8. S. Andrei Ostric

    Love it, Tom. Who will make the decisions that affect our lives if the government doesn’t? Maybe we will finally get a chance to…

    But if people are allowed to make their own decisions, they might not make the decisions preferred by statists. That can’t be allowed to happen.

  9. Brian

    The “no gun permits” scare tactic from CNN is not true. The ATF is not slowing down or stopping their processing of firearms transfer forms.

    Thank goodness we can still obtain government permission to exercise a constitutional right.

    1. Howard Lee Harkness

      Constitutional right?

      Interestingly, the 1st amendment does not grant anyone freedom of religion or speech, and the 2nd amendment doesn’t grant anyone the right to keep and bear arms.

      Read them *very* carefully — they expressly forbid the Federal government from infringing on fundamental human rights that you are already a priori *deemed* to have.

      Next you’ll try to tell me the 10th amendment doesn’t limit the power of the federal government.

      Here’s something one of my liberal pals once said to me in all seriousness — I’m sure you’ll love it:

      “You only have the rights the government gives you.”

      And Jefferson wept.

      1. Dave

        Contrary to popular opinion, the Bill of Rights is a list of limitations on the Federal Government, not a list of citizen’s rights. It had to be accepted by the new Federal Government before the founding states would enter into a Union. In actual practice, though, the F. G. enacts laws (and breaks laws) at its own convenience, and only when challenged on such abuse of power does it back down, …sometimes. History will teach us nothing. We are doomed to repeat it.

        And the most-ignored amendment in the Bill of Rights (the 10th) clearly states that the federal government has no powers outside of those enumerated in the Constitution. Ahh, for the days when judges actually consulted the Constitution when deciding what’s constitutional.

  10. Hilary Kyro

    Tom, this cracks me up! LMAO! Comments are even funnier. Imagine being generously compensated by taxpayers for 20 years and more and yet not provide a nest egg for your family to provide for even one missed paycheck. You are expected to pony-up 10k of money you earned working past midnight, shut up about it and give us a recipe to top your Older Brother’s Pizza! Gee, Tom, that’s only like a half million extra-billing over the rest of your life, plus the lost investment opportunity, probably not much more than a million or three. How selfish and inconsiderate can you get?

    Yes, I stupidly believed that when I chose to work my ass off working full time and taking on side projects, the point was to make life better for my family. I didn’t realize my duty is to work long hours so I can support ObamaCare.

    The irony here is that according to my calculations, I’d be ahead financially if I stopped all side work, cut my contracting hours, and got myself just below the threshold for a subsidy. I’d also enjoy more free time as a result. Thanks to ObamaCare, the economically rational thing for me to do is produce less, pay less in taxes, and accept the newest form of welfare. Apparently they’re counting on the fact that I’d rather shoot myself in the head than accept a subsidy funded by other people who work long hours to earn a living.

  11. Reeda

    My husband is part of the 83% (hint: you reeeeeeally wouldn’t want to fly if he and his co-workers were not at work). He’s still working, so all should be fine, right? Well, he’s working, but the folks who process his paycheck have been furloughed. He got paid right after the shutdown started (since the checks had already been processed), but I’m waiting for the shitstorm that starts when paychecks are postponed until who knows when.

    That said…I agree with you, Tom. I came to libertarianism perhaps from the opposite side of the fence than you did (that’s just a guess on my part), but here I am…a former Dem who now believes that both major parties thrive on a basic condescending mistrust in the ability for average joes/janes to make decisions about their lives.

    I actually think calling them “political parties” or “the government” adds to the problem. They are just groups of people…people who have no special or mystical insight into how I should run my life.

    We didn’t come from the opposite side of the fence. I considered myself a liberal Democrat in my younger days. I became a libertarian after getting my ass kicked (and I knew it) in a political/economic debate with The Older Brother. After picking myself up off the floor, I asked him to recommend some books I should read.

  12. Laurie

    You guys can always come to Canada and plea diplomatic immunity! lol We have a functioning “MyPlate” here, although we call it “Canada’s Food Guide”. I would help you all with the confusing transition. Government is alive and well here. As a bonus I can hook you up with my grain-pushing doctor who is confused by my awesome cholesterol numbers despite the fact I fry everything in bacon fat and don’t eat any grains. She’s a lovely lady but got a pretty confused look on her face during our appointment while praising my cholesterol numbers. Come to think of it you may confuse her further and I don’t know if she could handle it. I hope you are all are healthy before you get here! 😉

    If and when we feel it’s safe to leave the bunker, we’ll consider emigrating.

  13. Lori

    Welcome to my world. Back in the early nineties, I paid $50 a month for major medical. By the late nineties when I was laid off and the great state of Colorado decided that medical insurance had to cover office visits, drugs, etc., whether customers wanted it to or not, COBRA was $300 a month. I couldn’t find anything I could afford and still buy groceries and keep the utilities turned on.

    You can see how premiums shot up here: http://www.du.edu/economicfuture/documents/HistoryOfHealthInsurance_CCEF.pdf
    and surprise, surprise, the number of uninsured went up.

    Then in 2008, a blue ribbon commission in Colorado made a proposal similar to Obamacare, but the $1.3 billion a year cost sunk it.

    And I’m sure none of what the Colorado legislators decided all policies must cover was in any way influenced by lobbyists for, say, drug companies.

  14. Linda

    Ah Tom,
    I so agree with you about nutrition and I respect your differing political views. However, I come to your site to discuss and learn about nutrition and find your conservative sarcasm and angst to be an intrusion on a topic we both care about — the health of Americans. I know government plays a role in the nutrition crisis, as do giant chemical companies, food manufacturers and factory farms; so discussions of all as they relate to nutrition is fair game. However excursions into the evils of government, Obamacare scare stories and the scourge of intellectuals is distracting and annoying. So it’s your blog and have at it, but I will be visiting paleo sites that stay on topic. All the best to you.

    My sarcasm is libertarian, not conservative. Thanks to ObamaCare, the inexpensive insurance policy that served me well since moving to Tennessee has been canceled and I’ve been ordered to buy insurance that costs $10,000 more per year and gives me nothing extra I want or need.

    That isn’t a “scare story.” That’s the reality.

    ADDENDUM: The good news is that liberals who voted for Obama are discovering to their great horror that the “scare stories” are true:

    ====================================
    http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_24248486/obamacares-winners-and-losers-bay-area

    Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

    Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

    Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

    … “I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,” Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

    “I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

    ====================================

    Really? You mean when you force people to spend an extra $10,000 per year to buy coverage they didn’t want or need, it will affect their ability to invest in and/or support other businesses? If only one of the economics books I’ve read would have made that clear. Next thing you know, we’ll find out forcing employers to take on huge additional insurance costs reduces employment.

  15. Leo

    Keep a stiff upper lip Bro I know you can hold on.

    Imagine if congress were to shut down ? We and they just might find out we don’t need them.

    “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain (Smart Man, true then true now)

    Mark Twain — probably the first great American standup comedian.

  16. Patrick T. Peterson

    Rationality and Sarcasm, two of the best tools of survival. Love ya.

    Back at ya, PP.

  17. Andy

    Outstanding! Political satire still lives.

    If the shutdown doesn’t end soon, I expect satire to disappear due to a lack of government funding.

  18. Cary L

    The students in my high school Personal Finance course and I have been discussing the government shutdown in great detail, but I’ve never been able to phrase my thoughts as succinctly and brilliantly as you have.
    Well done Tom, you would receive an A- from me if this were an assignment … and it would have earned a full A if you had spelled “United States” correctly instead of “Unites States” 😉

    Heh-heh-heh … I’m an excellent speller but a lousy typist. Thanks for the heads-up.

  19. TMA

    Tom, I’m a big fan of Fathead and your work in general. While I don’t particularly agree with your politics, you’re obviously a smart guy and have your reasons for opposing Obamacare. But did you really make a comparison between those opposing Obamacare and the movement to abolish slavery? Come on, you’re better than that.

    Dr. Feinman instructed me to grow up and accept ObamaCare because it’s the law of the land — the point apparently being that “it’s the law of the land” should automatically make any law acceptable to grown-ups. My point is that “the law of the land” has often been wrong and has often been resisted by people who believe in liberty. So yes, I chose an extreme example to illustrate that point.

    If you prefer less extreme rhetoric, I’m sure we can find hundreds of examples of liberals vehemently opposing “the law of the land” when the law infringed on their freedoms … say, laws banning sales of contraception, or laws requiring a photo I.D. to vote, or The Patriot Act, etc., etc., etc. “It’s the law of the land” as a justification for government violating personal liberties is either valid or it isn’t.

    It isn’t.

    1. TMA

      I still think that is a false equivalence you’re making–liberals were upset about any number of Bush policies but I don’t remember any government shutdowns happening.

      Of course not! Why the hell would liberals ever shut down the government that’s the source of all their power and influence? That would be like the pope threatening to close all the Catholic churches.

    2. TMA

      Invoking slavery is just one step away from fulfilling Godwin’s law.

      “It’s the law of the land” is either valid as a justification for a law or it isn’t. If it doesn’t settle the argument in one case, it doesn’t settle the argument in any case.

      1. Chuck

        I love how everybody is so concerned about being politically correct. Just mentioning slavery, Hitler, or Nazis sends people screaming in panic, looking for a place to bury their heads in the sand while sucking their thumb to protect and sooth them from the horror.

        “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. — George Santayana

        Well, getting upset over those words saves them the trouble of pondering the ethics of demanding that other people labor to support them.

      2. TMA

        That’s a little reductionist. Slavery is a human rights violation. Obamacare, however loathsome and and financially catastrophic you find it, is not.

        Says you. When the government tells me I cannot engage in a voluntary transaction with a willing counterpart (i.e., buying a policy that suits my needs from a willing provider) under threat of violence, I consider that a human rights violation. When the government orders me to spend a large chunk of my income to buy a policy I don’t want and don’t need for the sole purpose of subsidizing others — again, under threat of violence — I consider that a human rights violation.

        Obviously you disagree. But the next time someone says, “Hey, it’s a free country!” I suggest you laugh really, really loudly.

    3. Chuck

      Don’t forget the Boston Tea Party. I hope the British aren’t offended at the mere mention of it.

      I suspect our friends across the pond are over it by now.

  20. BobT

    Did you bring the chickens? Eggs may be hard to come by soon. BTW, have you seen this report about crime? I’m wondering if Tennessee leaped to the top before or after you moved there.

    From Lab Notes: Watch Your Back in Tennessee

    110 States with Highest Violent Crime Rates

    When it comes to remaining healthy, not living in a hotbed of violent crime is definitely a plus, and although the media tend to portray New York and California as America’s violent crime capitals, the newest FBI statistics tell a somewhat different story. In fact, the states with the nation’s highest rates of violent crime (defined as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) are: Tennessee (644 violent crimes per 100,000 population), Nevada (608), Alaska (603), New Mexico (559), South Carolina (558), Delaware (547), Louisiana (497), Florida (487), Maryland (477) and Oklahoma (470). In general, higher crime rates are associated with low levels of income and education. The good health news: violent crime nationwide has been steadily decreasing since the early 1990s.

    That’s what we get for having Memphis within our borders.

    1. Cyborcat

      “That’s what we get for having Memphis within our borders.”

      As someone who’s had to endure Memphis for the last 8 years, I LOL’d.

  21. Dan

    You just broke my sarcasm detector.

    I might be wrong, I don’t follow this stuff very much (being Canadian and all) but isn’t this plan a compromise of the original healthcare that was introduced that was supposed to be more like other countries? (aka – more tax = healthcare provided by government). That said, healthcare is expensive and the care we receive in Canada involves a lot of long waits… but it’s nice to not go into crazy debt if something happens to you. It’s also nice to be able to get stuff checked out should you suspect a problem rather than not wanting to deal with the costs.

    Is it true that the representatives who voted for this shutdown will still get paid? That is complete horse shit, how can they do that with a straight face.

    They not only get paid, they get to keep their subsidized health-insurance policies while people like me had ours (inexpensive, but not subsidized) canceled.

    The way to avoid going into crazy debt because of medical bills is to do what I’ve always done: buy an inexpensive policy that doesn’t cover routine medical costs but kicks in big-time for major illnesses or surgeries. (My knee surgery last year, for example, only cost me $2,000 out of pocket.) I’m now not allowed to make that smart financial decision.

    1. Dan

      That’s not so bad. In Canada the knee surgery would’ve been covered (unless it was elective) but you probably would’ve had to wait a year to get it. It would be cool if some kind of middle ground could be found. I’m also not sure how true the documentary Sicko was but I’m hoping your inexpensive insurance can’t drop you with some bullshit excuse (pre-existing condition) the moment you need some major cash from them.

      Another thing we have in Canada are walk-in clinics. They are really nice, you can see a doctor within half an hour. The problem with this from what I’ve noticed is you are rushed in and out and normally given a prescription. Most of the clinics are inside or next to pharmacies and almost everyone I see come out head straight to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled.

      I’ve heard about people waiting a year for knee surgery in Canada. I can’t imagine what life would have been like for the past year if I hadn’t gotten it operated on right after the injury. My legs would surely be atrophied. I’d much rather shell out the $2,000 and get back to walking as soon as possible.

  22. Kathy in Texas

    I’ll admit to getting ticked off at you when you go AWOL for more than a day or two and yes, I know you have a family, a job (so you can afford that new health care policy), animals and property to manage, etc. But my morning routine includes checking your blog and when there’s nothing new, well my day is not complete. That said – this one is worth the wait. I hope the comments go on and on and on…….

    I apologize for the delay in posting while escaping the pandemonium.

  23. TMA

    Also, the point of your blog post seems to be “The government shutdown isn’t as bad as the hysterical media and lefties say! So there!” That’s kind of changing the argument from whether there should be a government shutdown to whether a government shutdown is a big deal. Which, obviously, is a completely different argument.

    I’m happy to make both arguments.

    1. TMA

      Well have at it–I don’t believe you made the former argument in your blog post.

      Okay, here goes: Liberals could end the shutdown immediately by agreeing to revisit and fix the portions of ObamaCare that are socking citizens with 400% increases in premiums. They won’t agree to that. So they’ve decided they’d rather have a shutdown than risk rewriting a crappy law they passed without bothering to read. (As Ms. Pelosi reminded us, “We have to pass the law to know what’s in it.”) So yes, they obviously believe the shutdown is both necessary and not such a big deal.

  24. Ham-Bone

    I have been waiting (mostly) patiently for your take on all this. Well worth the wait. I mean with no national parks or museums I really had nothing else to do anyway but…

  25. Serena

    I look out at the devastated civilization we inhabit and see roadwork continuing, social workers cheerfully greeting clients and kids climbing aboard school buses — eerily normal, isn’t it?

    It’s almost as if state and local governments are able to function without the feds.

  26. Paul

    Thanks, Tom! I live in the greater Washington DC area. Judging from the traffic, there is no shutdown.

    Perhaps we need more than 17% of the government to shut down before you’ll notice a difference.

  27. Lynda

    My husband is self-employed so we have been buying our own insurance for about 4 years. We pay about $600 a month for a policy with a $10,000 deductible for a family of 5. It has served us well – 3 years ago he had a major heart attack. Last year he had bypass surgery.

    Now it looks like insurance will cost us about $1800 a month. I have 2 kids in college. No way can I afford that. I have no idea what we are supposed to do. Given my husband’s medical history, going without and paying the penalty seems a bit risky.

    But think of the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get when you stop and consider how the extra $14,400 the government is ordering you to pay will help to support other people. If you read Jefferson carefully, you’ll see that he considered the rights to life, subsidies, and the pursuit of happiness to be inalienable. Those are the rights that made this a great country.

    1. Lynda

      Exactly. Not too thrilled to be working a full-time job to pay someone else’s health insurance. Don’t mind doing it to pay college tuition – but that is my decision. Paying someone else’s health insurance isn’t my decision.

      But without government coercion, you may not make the right decision.

    2. Lori

      How is the penalty supposed to be collected? How is the government going to know which of its 300,000,000 citizens are uninsured?

      Is there an offshore source of insurance?

      Are you kidding? They’re not even going to verify income to see if people who apply for a subsidy actually qualify. Not that anyone would respond unethically to such a perverse economic incentive or anything.

  28. Hilary Kyro

    Tom, this cracks me up! LMAO! Comments are even funnier. Imagine being generously compensated by taxpayers for 20 years and more and yet not provide a nest egg for your family to provide for even one missed paycheck. You are expected to pony-up 10k of money you earned working past midnight, shut up about it and give us a recipe to top your Older Brother’s Pizza! Gee, Tom, that’s only like a half million extra-billing over the rest of your life, plus the lost investment opportunity, probably not much more than a million or three. How selfish and inconsiderate can you get?

    Yes, I stupidly believed that when I chose to work my ass off working full time and taking on side projects, the point was to make life better for my family. I didn’t realize my duty is to work long hours so I can support ObamaCare.

    The irony here is that according to my calculations, I’d be ahead financially if I stopped all side work, cut my contracting hours, and got myself just below the threshold for a subsidy. I’d also enjoy more free time as a result. Thanks to ObamaCare, the economically rational thing for me to do is produce less, pay less in taxes, and accept the newest form of welfare. Apparently they’re counting on the fact that I’d rather shoot myself in the head than accept a subsidy funded by other people who work long hours to earn a living.

    1. Pierson

      See, Tom? When will you understand that these things you call ‘morality’, ‘honesty’, and ‘basic Human decency’ are costing you big cash payments?

      I guess I have to change my definitions. When the government orders me to pay an extra $10,000 per year to buy a policy I don’t want or need — under threat of violence if I don’t comply — I’ll now refer to that as “basic human decency.”

      1. Pierson

        See, now you’re getting it! Remember, as long as the ‘experts’ assure us lowly peasants that everyone else needs our resources more than we do (regardless if your life circumstances), then nothing you ‘own’ is yours, and to believe anything else is hopelessly naive. For what It’s worth, however, there are lots of government-funded desks for you to bang your head onto. You’d better get a lot, though, since they’re pretty poorly made.

        If I need more than one desk, I’ll apply for a subsidy. I believe other people are obligated to provide me with desks.

  29. Michael Hunt III

    ObamaCare was already challenged in the Supreme Court. It was deemed constitutional. The conservative butthurt from that decision can still be felt today. Time to get on with it and movie on.

    Ironic that you are saying how useless the Federal Government is to you, yet you live in a state that spends more federal money than it gives back (spending is roughly ~$8300 per capita while revenue is $7755). I’m sure you’ll have some sort of idiotic excuse, reasoning, or denial to justify this fact, but face it – your state where you have you nice little farmstead setup is sucking hard from the government teet. It’s cute.

    Yup, that’s what happens when we put justices on the Supreme Court who think the Constitution means whatever they prefer it to mean without bothering to check the text. Of course as we all know, the Supreme Court is never wrong, so those of us being gouged for an extra $10,000 per year or so should just shut up, bend over, and let the liberals give it to us in the arse. It’s for the good of the country, after all.

    This may shock you, but I have no control over how much Tennessee sucks from the federal teet. Personally, I’d be happy to see Tennessee give up that extra $545 per year per person from all the hard teet-sucking and tell the federal government to take a hike. They can keep all the federal benefits and we’ll keep our federal taxes. Those of who actually pay taxes would come out WAY ahead.

    According to figures I found online, about a million Tennessee residents are on some form of federal welfare (not something the state is allowed to cancel — these are federal programs) to the tune of about $4 billion. That would, all by itself, account for more than 80% of the disparity between the revenue Tennessee contributes and the hard teet-sucking. So yes, I can confidently say (without being ironic!) that the federal government is worthless to me. I don’t live on welfare.

    By the way, how much more per year will you be paying in insurance premiums under ObamaCare? Surely you’d be happy to pony up an extra $10,000 or so to help the cause.

    1. Tanny O'Haley

      Yep, the Supreme court is always right, just look at the Dredd Scot decision. There are a lot of Supreme court decisions that have been overturned by a different Supreme court.

      That’s why battles over Supreme Court nominations are always so fierce. The left knows it can only impose its agenda on the rest of us if the courts are packed with judges who suffer from hallucinations while reading the Constitution … missing text that’s right in front of them and imagining other text that isn’t there.

    2. SB

      For the record, if you read part of the SCOTUS opinion on PPACA, you’ll notice that the first issue they address is whether or not the Supreme Court could hear and decide on the constitutionality of the individual mandate/penalty. If the penalty was considered a tax, then they could not hear it b/c levying tax is one of Congress’ enumerated powers, and they’d have to respect the separation of powers and all that. They determined that the penalty was not a tax, and continued on with the decision.

      Fast forward to the holding, where they determined that the penalty was constitutional because it was a tax, and since Congress has the power to levy a tax, the individual mandate/penalty was not unconstitutional.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      Nope, that kind of weirdness requires government.

  30. Reeda

    My husband is part of the 83% (hint: you reeeeeeally wouldn’t want to fly if he and his co-workers were not at work). He’s still working, so all should be fine, right? Well, he’s working, but the folks who process his paycheck have been furloughed. He got paid right after the shutdown started (since the checks had already been processed), but I’m waiting for the shitstorm that starts when paychecks are postponed until who knows when.

    That said…I agree with you, Tom. I came to libertarianism perhaps from the opposite side of the fence than you did (that’s just a guess on my part), but here I am…a former Dem who now believes that both major parties thrive on a basic condescending mistrust in the ability for average joes/janes to make decisions about their lives.

    I actually think calling them “political parties” or “the government” adds to the problem. They are just groups of people…people who have no special or mystical insight into how I should run my life.

    We didn’t come from the opposite side of the fence. I considered myself a liberal Democrat in my younger days. I became a libertarian after getting my ass kicked (and I knew it) in a political/economic debate with The Older Brother. After picking myself up off the floor, I asked him to recommend some books I should read.

  31. Lori

    Welcome to my world. Back in the early nineties, I paid $50 a month for major medical. By the late nineties when I was laid off and the great state of Colorado decided that medical insurance had to cover office visits, drugs, etc., whether customers wanted it to or not, COBRA was $300 a month. I couldn’t find anything I could afford and still buy groceries and keep the utilities turned on.

    You can see how premiums shot up here: http://www.du.edu/economicfuture/documents/HistoryOfHealthInsurance_CCEF.pdf
    and surprise, surprise, the number of uninsured went up.

    Then in 2008, a blue ribbon commission in Colorado made a proposal similar to Obamacare, but the $1.3 billion a year cost sunk it.

    And I’m sure none of what the Colorado legislators decided all policies must cover was in any way influenced by lobbyists for, say, drug companies.

  32. The Older Brother

    Nobody panic.

    Remember, it’s only Day 8 in the Countdown to the Cave-In, and there’s no way everything won’t be back to abnormal before the 17th.

    What’s the difference between the Republicans and Obama, anyway? The GOP wants people to get the same one-year pass Obama decreed for Big Business, but so what? The feds won’t even have the thing running for a year cause of, you, know, “glitches.” Plus, no one is going to sign up anyway if they’re not already on the dole, so there’s your “one year delay.”

    [On a side note, this could lease to massive non-compliance getting built into the average taxpayers’ mentality. This could be one of those “unintended consequences” that actually works in our favor.]

    As far as the other unwavering principle the GOP is holding fast on (damn, just got a “cognitive dissonance” headache) — the Medical Devices tax — that’s allegedly about $2+ billion a year. So, if our Nobel Drone Stud-in-Chief throws them a bone on that, they’re going to authorize spending another trillion dollars we don’t have, will never raise , and will never pay.

    Because if they don’t, then the “Full Faith and Credit” of the U.S. Dollar would go down the toilet. But that’s not really a problem, because the rest of the world already knows we’re going to be the world’s biggest deadbeats within a generation. It’s not faith, baby, it’s like financial musical chairs with a round of Russian Roulette after each dance. So our dance card is getting a little sparse. That’s why the Fed had bought over 2/3’s of the U.S. debt issued this year.

    Remember kids, the situation is hopeless, but not serious.

    Cheers!

  33. Patrick T. Peterson

    Rationality and Sarcasm, two of the best tools of survival. Love ya.

    Back at ya, PP.

  34. Ash Simmonds

    From an Aussie who doesn’t watch the news – why did you only get rid of 17% of your government? I’d recommend a 90% reduction for improvements, and a 99.9% reduction for optimum.

    We only got rid of 17% of our government because two generations of Americans have been conditioned to believe that all kinds of horrors will rain down on our heads if we reduced the size of government to, say, double the size of the government that somehow managed to keep their great-grandparents alive.

  35. Craig

    Tom, as a self-employed Tennessean I’ve been buying Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance through Tennessee Rural Health for nearly a decade. Since TRH is a membership organization it isn’t subject to the Affordable Care Act. I can keep the same insurance I’ve been happy with for all these years, the only kicker being that I’ll have to pay the penalty for being uninsured since my current insurance doesn’t meet the law’s requirements. But it looks like that penalty will be much cheaper than canceling my plan in favor of government-approved insurance. You may want to check with THR as well. I have no ties to them other than being a satisfied customer.

    I appreciate the tip.

  36. Lynda

    My husband is self-employed so we have been buying our own insurance for about 4 years. We pay about $600 a month for a policy with a $10,000 deductible for a family of 5. It has served us well – 3 years ago he had a major heart attack. Last year he had bypass surgery.

    Now it looks like insurance will cost us about $1800 a month. I have 2 kids in college. No way can I afford that. I have no idea what we are supposed to do. Given my husband’s medical history, going without and paying the penalty seems a bit risky.

    But think of the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get when you stop and consider how the extra $14,400 the government is ordering you to pay will help to support other people. If you read Jefferson carefully, you’ll see that he considered the rights to life, subsidies, and the pursuit of happiness to be inalienable. Those are the rights that made this a great country.

    1. Lynda

      Exactly. Not too thrilled to be working a full-time job to pay someone else’s health insurance. Don’t mind doing it to pay college tuition – but that is my decision. Paying someone else’s health insurance isn’t my decision.

      But without government coercion, you may not make the right decision.

    2. Lori

      How is the penalty supposed to be collected? How is the government going to know which of its 300,000,000 citizens are uninsured?

      Is there an offshore source of insurance?

      Are you kidding? They’re not even going to verify income to see if people who apply for a subsidy actually qualify. Not that anyone would respond unethically to such a perverse economic incentive or anything.

  37. K2

    Hi Tom,

    Hope all is well in the bunker. 🙂 How wise you were – it is utter chaos, pandemonium out here. Surely we are on the brink of Armageddon at 7 days into the government shutdown.

    Since the shutdown and much of the commentary here about it involves Obama Care, here are a couple of thoughts I have had on it, or more like observations of early warning signs. I don’t like them at all.

    First, I read – and I did not look up the story again for this comment – about a group of doctors somewhere in the northeast, I think, who are “prescribing” fruits and vegetables because many of their obese and diabetic patients don’t eat them. Okay, so there is more gravitas when a doctor “prescribes” something rather than recommends it. But the problem to me? What if under Obama Care, that “prescription” becomes real, not as in doctors really tell you to eat more veggies, but if it is a valid prescription, will that mean insurance will pay for it? Just thinking out loud….

    Second, vegan/plant-based-diet doctor John McDougall gave a rather disturbing speech earlier this year. The link is just below. At about 57:30, he talks about lecturing to Obama’s high school back when Obama was a student, then shows a clip of Obama, post 2008 election, explaining to an audience how grains used for animals could be used to feed people, blah, blah, blah. Then at 1:06:30 Dr. McDougall start talking about his recommendations: “Have doctors prescribe diet therapy in Obama Care,” and stating that it could be legislated in Obama Care for doctors to be fined for prescribing medications instead of diet. My concern in all this is that the left is very pro-vegan/plant-based and honestly, I could see this happening. I chose diet over meds any day, but NOT vegan!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8vGv5xQ098

    Third, with 20K pages – so far – of legislation to implement Obama Care, itself 2700 pages long, who knows what is in it? Or what could be added? Or would anyone even check? One thought I have is what if we are mandated to take statins or lose insurance coverage? It is not that far-fetched, really.

    Anyway, just throwing out some concerns I have about early warning signs that the noose is being tightened around our seemingly-free necks. I myself am ready to head for the hill. Hunt, fish, gather. Doesn’t sound too bad compared to the alternative we are barreling toward.

    Thanks for staying true to yourself, your beliefs, and for sharing your thoughts, Tom.

    K2

    I don’t think your fears are unwarranted. As Ms. Pelosi explained, “We have to pass the bill to know what’s in it.” Nobody in Congress who voted for this monstrosity read it all. Now, of course, their position is that they couldn’t possibly consider revisiting any details of a law they passed without actually reading.

    There was already some talk awhile back from some administration official about “harmonizing” medical care. That’s government-speak for ordering everyone to prescribe what the government considers the correct treatment. The “correct” treatment will, of course, be decided by political factors. If Senator Crapforbrains is on the committee that “harmonizes” medical care and just happens to have a large contributor who manufactures whatzzit beepers, the whatzzit beeper will become the “correct” treatment for some condition.

  38. Jake

    I’m reminded of the quote (forget who said it) to the effect of:

    “Just be thankful we don’t get all the government we pay for”

    But as time passes we get ever more government and pay ever more for that dubious privilege.

    I guess I should just be thankful my insurance premiums ONLY rose by 25% this year and that I still have a job.

    Those in the public sector complaining about missed paychecks, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but welcome to the real world. My job at a small business has let go of about 10% of its employees this year alone (went through much larger layoffs a few years ago). We’ve had two periods totaling almost a year where our paychecks were reduced by 10%, our salaries have been basically frozen for 3-4 years as inflation continues everywhere but in the gov. reports, meanwhile we’re working longer hours trying to take on more work with less resources to keep the lights on and the paychecks flowing. And I, I am one of the LUCKY ones, I’ve had this job for 7 years now and seen dozens of talented people come and go as business rises and falls. Just be glad you almost certainly WILL get your checks, your benefits, etc. if only a few weeks late. I have a lot of friends and family who aren’t getting squat. And if all it takes to put you in severe financial pain is just one or two missed checks, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE sit down and work on your finances. If you can’t eek out AT LEAST a few months without that income you’d better look at this financial “bump in the road” as a warning and seize the opportunity to put yourself on sounder footing. There is NOTHING about our current economic situation, or how our government is acting, that suggests things will continue merrily along much as they have for another decade or two.

    Good points. Considering that the government has decided I need to take the equivalent of a $10,000+ pay cut to support ObamaCare, I’m not exactly feeling sympathetic towards government employees who have to go without a paycheck or two — which they’ll receive retroactively when the shutdown crisis ends, along with their taxpayer-subsidized health-care plans.

    1. Toni

      Please keep in mind that most of these “essential workers” (aka those, like my husband, who are working without pay right now), as well as most of the “nonessential workers” are by no means wealthy people. Many of them are young, have student loans, have families, and, yes, a lot of them struggle just like any other young people starting out.

      The idea of building an emergency fund is smart, of course, but do you have any idea how many BRACs and RIFs we have experienced in just the last 7 years? I’ve moved 6 times since I’ve been married (and we’ve only been married 7 years) due to this. Most often these are unpaid moves. If they are “paid moves” the “pay” is heavily taxed, so it is doubtful that you come out “ahead”. Not to mention the pay freeze that’s gone on for the last 4 years. Or the 6 week, 20% pay cut known as the “sequester” that happened only a few weeks ago.

      Yes, my husband and I, being responsible adults, have a small emergency fund. But that fund has dwindled in recent months, not grown. We can certainly get by for a few more weeks…. after that, not so sure. The grocery store and the mortgage company don’t take government IOUs, even if my husband is forced to work for one. I suppose we can borrow from retirement… we’re young, not at all wealthy, and that is really our only asset to speak of.

      And, yes, our insurance is technically “tax payer subsidized” because tax payers (including ourselves – wrap your head around that one) pay my husband’s salary, including a portion of the premiums. We also pay out the arse for the remaining premium. Just like everyone else with employer coverage.

      My husband, like many federal employees, is a veteran. His DoD job is an extension of his military service. He is still a reservist and can be activated with little notice. Hard to make sure your family is prepared for any such deployment when the gov’t is withholding your paycheck. The good news is he has a unique set of skills 😉 and has been able to do side work to supplement the IOUs we keep getting.

      Any way, sorry for the rambling, I’ve just seen a lot of “government employee” bashing going on in the last couple of weeks, and while certainly there is waste (as in any business, but certainly more so in gov’t), these people that have been furloughed, or who are working without pay, are not politicians, many of them despise the current CIC, and are the last people looking for a handout. They are however being kicked while they are down.

      I don’t blame the government employees for all the waste in government. I blame the politicians who created all those “non-essential” jobs in the first place.

  39. Michael Hunt III

    ObamaCare was already challenged in the Supreme Court. It was deemed constitutional. The conservative butthurt from that decision can still be felt today. Time to get on with it and movie on.

    Ironic that you are saying how useless the Federal Government is to you, yet you live in a state that spends more federal money than it gives back (spending is roughly ~$8300 per capita while revenue is $7755). I’m sure you’ll have some sort of idiotic excuse, reasoning, or denial to justify this fact, but face it – your state where you have you nice little farmstead setup is sucking hard from the government teet. It’s cute.

    Yup, that’s what happens when we put justices on the Supreme Court who think the Constitution means whatever they prefer it to mean without bothering to check the text. Of course as we all know, the Supreme Court is never wrong, so those of us being gouged for an extra $10,000 per year or so should just shut up, bend over, and let the liberals give it to us in the arse. It’s for the good of the country, after all.

    This may shock you, but I have no control over how much Tennessee sucks from the federal teet. Personally, I’d be happy to see Tennessee give up that extra $545 per year per person from all the hard teet-sucking and tell the federal government to take a hike. They can keep all the federal benefits and we’ll keep our federal taxes. Those of who actually pay taxes would come out WAY ahead.

    According to figures I found online, about a million Tennessee residents are on some form of federal welfare (not something the state is allowed to cancel — these are federal programs) to the tune of about $4 billion. That would, all by itself, account for more than 80% of the disparity between the revenue Tennessee contributes and the hard teet-sucking. So yes, I can confidently say (without being ironic!) that the federal government is worthless to me. I don’t live on welfare.

    By the way, how much more per year will you be paying in insurance premiums under ObamaCare? Surely you’d be happy to pony up an extra $10,000 or so to help the cause.

    1. Tanny O'Haley

      Yep, the Supreme court is always right, just look at the Dredd Scot decision. There are a lot of Supreme court decisions that have been overturned by a different Supreme court.

      That’s why battles over Supreme Court nominations are always so fierce. The left knows it can only impose its agenda on the rest of us if the courts are packed with judges who suffer from hallucinations while reading the Constitution … missing text that’s right in front of them and imagining other text that isn’t there.

    2. SB

      For the record, if you read part of the SCOTUS opinion on PPACA, you’ll notice that the first issue they address is whether or not the Supreme Court could hear and decide on the constitutionality of the individual mandate/penalty. If the penalty was considered a tax, then they could not hear it b/c levying tax is one of Congress’ enumerated powers, and they’d have to respect the separation of powers and all that. They determined that the penalty was not a tax, and continued on with the decision.

      Fast forward to the holding, where they determined that the penalty was constitutional because it was a tax, and since Congress has the power to levy a tax, the individual mandate/penalty was not unconstitutional.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      Nope, that kind of weirdness requires government.

  40. Becky

    Apparently even a peek at Mt. Rushmore is off limits. Maybe to keep people from remembering that Jefferson rated a spot there.
    http://siouxfallsbusinessjournal.argusleader.com/article/20131004/UPDATES/310040047/S-D-officials-object-feds-barring-visitors-from-highway-viewing-areas-near-Mount-Rushmore

    It would definitely not serve the Obama administration for people to be reminded of Thomas Jefferson. Some of them might go on the internet and look up what he wrote.

  41. The Older Brother

    Nobody panic.

    Remember, it’s only Day 8 in the Countdown to the Cave-In, and there’s no way everything won’t be back to abnormal before the 17th.

    What’s the difference between the Republicans and Obama, anyway? The GOP wants people to get the same one-year pass Obama decreed for Big Business, but so what? The feds won’t even have the thing running for a year cause of, you, know, “glitches.” Plus, no one is going to sign up anyway if they’re not already on the dole, so there’s your “one year delay.”

    [On a side note, this could lease to massive non-compliance getting built into the average taxpayers’ mentality. This could be one of those “unintended consequences” that actually works in our favor.]

    As far as the other unwavering principle the GOP is holding fast on (damn, just got a “cognitive dissonance” headache) — the Medical Devices tax — that’s allegedly about $2+ billion a year. So, if our Nobel Drone Stud-in-Chief throws them a bone on that, they’re going to authorize spending another trillion dollars we don’t have, will never raise , and will never pay.

    Because if they don’t, then the “Full Faith and Credit” of the U.S. Dollar would go down the toilet. But that’s not really a problem, because the rest of the world already knows we’re going to be the world’s biggest deadbeats within a generation. It’s not faith, baby, it’s like financial musical chairs with a round of Russian Roulette after each dance. So our dance card is getting a little sparse. That’s why the Fed had bought over 2/3’s of the U.S. debt issued this year.

    Remember kids, the situation is hopeless, but not serious.

    Cheers!

  42. Beth Haynes

    As a doctor who has been working full-time for the past 4 years to educate people on the immorality and (dis)economics of ObamaCare — this post is a breath of fresh air. Thank you!

    The economics of this bill are so screwed up, Congress couldn’t resist passing it.

  43. 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.

  44. Ash Simmonds

    From an Aussie who doesn’t watch the news – why did you only get rid of 17% of your government? I’d recommend a 90% reduction for improvements, and a 99.9% reduction for optimum.

    We only got rid of 17% of our government because two generations of Americans have been conditioned to believe that all kinds of horrors will rain down on our heads if we reduced the size of government to, say, double the size of the government that somehow managed to keep their great-grandparents alive.

  45. Craig

    Tom, as a self-employed Tennessean I’ve been buying Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance through Tennessee Rural Health for nearly a decade. Since TRH is a membership organization it isn’t subject to the Affordable Care Act. I can keep the same insurance I’ve been happy with for all these years, the only kicker being that I’ll have to pay the penalty for being uninsured since my current insurance doesn’t meet the law’s requirements. But it looks like that penalty will be much cheaper than canceling my plan in favor of government-approved insurance. You may want to check with THR as well. I have no ties to them other than being a satisfied customer.

    I appreciate the tip.

  46. 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. 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. 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?
          /necro

  47. K2

    Hi Tom,

    Hope all is well in the bunker. 🙂 How wise you were – it is utter chaos, pandemonium out here. Surely we are on the brink of Armageddon at 7 days into the government shutdown.

    Since the shutdown and much of the commentary here about it involves Obama Care, here are a couple of thoughts I have had on it, or more like observations of early warning signs. I don’t like them at all.

    First, I read – and I did not look up the story again for this comment – about a group of doctors somewhere in the northeast, I think, who are “prescribing” fruits and vegetables because many of their obese and diabetic patients don’t eat them. Okay, so there is more gravitas when a doctor “prescribes” something rather than recommends it. But the problem to me? What if under Obama Care, that “prescription” becomes real, not as in doctors really tell you to eat more veggies, but if it is a valid prescription, will that mean insurance will pay for it? Just thinking out loud….

    Second, vegan/plant-based-diet doctor John McDougall gave a rather disturbing speech earlier this year. The link is just below. At about 57:30, he talks about lecturing to Obama’s high school back when Obama was a student, then shows a clip of Obama, post 2008 election, explaining to an audience how grains used for animals could be used to feed people, blah, blah, blah. Then at 1:06:30 Dr. McDougall start talking about his recommendations: “Have doctors prescribe diet therapy in Obama Care,” and stating that it could be legislated in Obama Care for doctors to be fined for prescribing medications instead of diet. My concern in all this is that the left is very pro-vegan/plant-based and honestly, I could see this happening. I chose diet over meds any day, but NOT vegan!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8vGv5xQ098

    Third, with 20K pages – so far – of legislation to implement Obama Care, itself 2700 pages long, who knows what is in it? Or what could be added? Or would anyone even check? One thought I have is what if we are mandated to take statins or lose insurance coverage? It is not that far-fetched, really.

    Anyway, just throwing out some concerns I have about early warning signs that the noose is being tightened around our seemingly-free necks. I myself am ready to head for the hill. Hunt, fish, gather. Doesn’t sound too bad compared to the alternative we are barreling toward.

    Thanks for staying true to yourself, your beliefs, and for sharing your thoughts, Tom.

    K2

    I don’t think your fears are unwarranted. As Ms. Pelosi explained, “We have to pass the bill to know what’s in it.” Nobody in Congress who voted for this monstrosity read it all. Now, of course, their position is that they couldn’t possibly consider revisiting any details of a law they passed without actually reading.

    There was already some talk awhile back from some administration official about “harmonizing” medical care. That’s government-speak for ordering everyone to prescribe what the government considers the correct treatment. The “correct” treatment will, of course, be decided by political factors. If Senator Crapforbrains is on the committee that “harmonizes” medical care and just happens to have a large contributor who manufactures whatzzit beepers, the whatzzit beeper will become the “correct” treatment for some condition.

    1. zach

      Actually I believe that the have to pass the bill to see whats in it, doesn’t mean that they didn’t read it. (for the record they didn’t) I think the real point is that a VAST majority of the law was to be setup by new agencies and not legislators. the original bill was a couple thousand pages. Now we are at tens of thousands. Until they try to implement it, you have no clue what it will do. Bad way of doing business.

      Indeed. And if they didn’t read the 2000-page bill, there’s no way they’re reading the tens of thousands of pages of regulation. Businesses, however, will be expected to read those pages and abide by them. Ain’t it a wunnerful government?

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