TCS Daily

Mandates for Change

By Arnold Kling - February 11, 2008 12:00 AM

"The way most goods and services become excellent -- I mean really excellent -- is through competition...How do you think we got from subsistence agriculture to super-cheap food? By mandates?"
--Tyler Cowen

In November, the United States may take its strongest lurch to the left since 1933. The Republicans easily could lose 10 seats in the Senate. The relative turnout numbers in the Democratic and Republican primaries are consistent with a landslide victory for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama.

Assume that this scenario plays out, and that the Democrats sweep into office behind either the nation's most aggressive nanny or its most liberal Senator (or both). What sort of consequences can we expect?

From a tax perspective, the Democrats will be constrained. All of their beloved "middle-class tax breaks" will be inoperative unless the Alternative Minimum Tax is curtailed. The tax increases that they plan for high-income taxpayers will serve mostly to make up for lost revenue from reforming the AMT. There will be essentially nothing left over for new spending.

This means that from a spending perspective, the Democrats also will be tightly constrained. They will start with a fiscal deficit. After claiming for the last eight years that Social Security does not need to be fixed, they are going to find that in order to meet its obligations Social Security is going to absorb funds from other programs (or require tax increases).

How can the Democrats implement policy changes without large spending increases? The answer is regulation. The business sector is going to be increasingly told what to sell and how to sell it. Particularly in health care and energy, firms are going to be accountable to bureaucrats, not to customers. Products and services will be designed in Washington, not by competition.

Regulations and mandates are an alternative to budgetary spending. For example, if politicians do not want to spend money on recruiting a volunteer army, they can institute a draft. Similarly if politicians do not have the resources on budget to pay for universal health insurance, they can pass a law making the purchase of health insurance mandatory. If such a law is effective, then the uninsured will be "drafted" into the army of the insured.

The Massachusetts Model

Consider the Massachusetts health insurance plan. Under the plan, individuals are required by law to purchase health insurance. The type of health insurance that they must by is defined by government regulations. As reported by the Massachusetts Medical Society,

"On March 8, the Commonwealth Connector Board approved seven insurance products for the Commonwealth Choice program, designed to cover uninsured residents who do not qualify for the Connector's subsidized plans or Commonwealth Care. Below are links to spreadsheets containing the details about premiums, co-pays, and deductibles."

If you live in Massachusetts and meet the eligibility parameters, you must purchase one of these seven policies. It is illegal for a health insurance company to compete for your business by offering a different policy, such as a policy with a higher deductible or a policy that excludes coverage for some medical procedures.

Private insurance companies still are allowed to conduct business and earn profits in Massachusetts. They are just not allowed to innovate or compete in terms of product offerings.

Regulatory Cost Control

Health care is going to be a tar-baby for government. The more that government grabs, the more it is going to find itself stuck with problems.

With health insurance either provided or designed by government, the amount that you spend on health care services becomes a public policy issue. Reducing spending will become the next big priority for regulators.

Once health insurance becomes a regulated utility, the next step will be to go after pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. We can expect major government initiatives to control drug pricing and research and to require hospitals to limit treatments.

Energy Regulation

Businesses that affect the consumption of energy will also be managed by regulators. We can expect utility de-regulation to be halted and reversed. Alternative fuel mandates and emission controls will be gleefully enacted.

New homes, automobiles, and appliances will have to meet design standards set by government. Specific technologies, such as compact fluorescent bulbs, will be required.

These regulations will tend to raise prices to consumers. Politicians will want to avoid blame for this, so they will look for ways to force companies to subsidize low- and middle-income consumers. Thus, during the next Administration's second term we can expect to see price control mechanisms enacted for many energy-related products and services.

Labor Regulation

Another objective of the Left is to reduce income inequality. Again, a regulatory approach can be expected. Executive compensation is likely to be subject to new laws, perhaps even to a regulatory board.

At the other end of the spectrum, we can expect to see a raft of new requirements placed on businesses requiring them to offer employees subsidized day care, longer vacations, higher minimum wages, and so forth. This will lead to significant increases in unemployment, with poverty and inequality rising rather than falling. This will in turn lead to further regulation and stronger attempts by government to control compensation in the private sector.


Many Americans will welcome the regulatory state. Many others will accomodate it. Only a minority of us will oppose it. Somewhere down the road, as people see the indignity of the many intrusions and the adversity of the consequences, I hope that there will be a backlash. Otherwise, if the era of mandates emerges as I fear it will, then the engine of capitalism in America may run out of the fuel of competition.



Just once someone might ask a Democrat how does this make me more free?
The Democrats make me ill. They have no concept of economics or freedom. They are a bunch of corrupt power hungry losers.

I guess power is more important that freedom or economic growth. As long as were all equally miserable then all is well.

I for one and planning my egress. I am starting to consider living abroad and letting the country collapse under it's own selfish weight.

The problem is, what country hasn't the disease of socialism infected?

Complacency Not An Option
To the degree that I'm sympathetic with your view about the modern Left (and its political incarnation represented within the Democratic party), I'm hesitant to advocate jumping ship, as it were. That type of rhetoric has typically been employed most readily by the outspoken, reactionary leftist types typically not possessed of much political acumen (think Alec Baldwin and other Hollywood elites) over the past eight years; I'd hate to see "our side" resorting to the same tactic for which we (rightfully) excoriated those unthinking buffoons. Besides, as you alluded to in your post, I'd challenge anyone on the Right to point out a country whose socio-political filament is more condusive than the USA to our ideological preferences. It may be struggling to sustain those preferences at the margins, but I certainly think it's worth fighting for.

Bravo! And long overdue!
Yes, socialists have long ago given up overt nationalization in favor of control by regulation. In their view the name of the deed is a minor inconvenience as long as real ownership, i.e. control, is in the hands of the government. This, of course, was Mussolini’s Pragmatist road to socialism. Let the owners sit in their offices but dictate their every action!

However, you’re a bit late. This has been happening under the Republican leadership over the last 8 years. Some have estimated that health care is already 50% socialized. We’ve had stealth HillaryCare via regulation. And who can forget Sarbanes-Oxley? There is also growing environmental regulation, land restrictions, and choking zoning regulations.

This is overdue but I’m still glad you’re raising the right issue. This issue has not been part of the primary debate in either party. I believe a Republican loss in November might be good for the writers at TCS, NRO, and other venues. Perhaps being out of power will help bring some clarity to the destruction that government is doing. It would have been better if we could have face this while in power but somehow that didn’t happen. Perhaps someone can explain it.

This would be a good piece if it was reality based, it isn't.
The funny thing that always strikes me about this site is how many of the authors ignore reality. Have a look at orther countries. Australia (not with standing size) has all those things that you think is going to destroy the US and yet our economy is in great shape. But I know how the trolls on this will respond, not with reason not even with facts proving me wrong, they'll just make stuff up.

Whos the idiot?
So what if they have it?

A) How does it make me more Free?
B) Is that what the USA is about?
C) Why not have the Government provide everything?
D) Our economy is in great shaper? Really?
E) At what percentage of GDP is to much?

I don't have to sell my position, my position is what this nation was founded on.

Screw the numbers, exactly how does this make me more Free?

Every year I vote my beliefs;
Yet more and more people sign up to dependency and the nanny state. I think we are soon to have more dependents than producers.

I think the term Atlas Shrugged? I am not knee jerking like Baldwin. It has nothing to do with a particular candidate, it has to do with Freedom.

Once, you could set sail in search of Freedom, no longer. I think the concept of Freedom, as espoused by the founders, is as alien to people today as Rome was to a cave man.

The other MASS mandate: auto insurance
Competition does not exist for auto insurance in MA.

However, the democrats are considering allowing some competition.

Maybe they are looking at all those people leaving the state for NH and elsewhere where there is a bit more liberty.

How great is Austrailia's economy and liberty?
Where is your justification?

Down Under
The economy may work "fine", but as world economies go, Australia can be described in one word: IRRELEVANT.

Innovation and dynamism
Global GDP relies heavily on American innovation and economic dynamism. This is beyond dispute among economists. Many of the new technologies and processes that grow the global wealth pie originate in America because America does not over-regulate. This allows the rest of the world to free-ride on America's capitalistic dynamism while decrying America as a ruthlessly materialistic society.

If the Dems hobble American dynamism and still the world's engine of innovation, the good old free-riding days will be over for the likes of Australia, Europe and Canada. So, wwgeek1, expect the ultimate backlash to eventually trouble your own shores, as it should.

Change is like ageing it eventually leads to death
I am a conservitive. I belive in the writtings of Adam Smith. Unfourtunatly I belive that the USA has come too far down the road of socialism. FDR took us past the point of no return. Republican's are no longer conserviatives. The stimulation bill proves that. I will vote for a Democratic this election. Maybe they will finnish this great experiment quickly instead of a slow death.

They are not interested in freedom. They are interested in perfection.

A liberals goal is to perfect society, and they don't care who has to get hurt in the process.

If you think Austrailia's economy is in such great shape, why don't you move there?
Reality doesn't come close to matching your little fantasy. In terms of standard of living, Austrailians fall way behind the US, as does the rest of the socialist world, and they are falling further behind.

Please consider reading the following:
Hey wwgeek1,

Hope you're doing well.

Regarding government regulation and the welfare/warfare state, the fact is that both sides of the aisle favor different kinds of government intervention...whatever coincides with their ideology. And it goes without saying that each side opposes the other's choice of intervention.

You might want to consider reading Henry Hazlitt's book "Economics in One Lesson" and Bastiat's "That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen." Both offer sound logic re the problems created by government intervention.

Bastiat's work is available in PDF format:

I was unable to locate Hazlitt's book in PDF or audio format. But it is inexpensive and not a long text.

Freedom Redux
>"I am not knee jerking like Baldwin. It has nothing to do with a particular candidate, it has to do with Freedom."

Perhaps not any particular candidate by name, but you clearly identified the Democratic party specifically as exemplifying an agenda of creeping Socialism and the erosion of freedom which you fear. However much I may agree with your assessment of that party and share your concerns, your reaction is nevertheless fundamentally not unlike that of Baldwin et al with their "I don't like the direction in which the fascistic Bush administration is leading this country, so I'm gonna leave"; that is, "I don't like the direction in which this (soon to be in power) socialistic Democratic will inevitably lead this country, so I'm gonna leave." Perhaps not "kneejerk" or as unthinking as I contend the emotionally-heightened Lefties to be, but for all practical purposes it is the same approach. You are of course still free to make that decision. I prefer to stick it out and defend via the Constitution and its democratic insitutions those very noble sentiments of freedom you herald as essential.

Also, I'm inclined to know your definition of Freedom, since you express such dire opinion that as a concept it will cease to persist. And I reiterate a notion from my above post: If you can identify a country on this planet which best embodies in its socio-political structure the tenets of that definition, I'd be interested to know of it. If it's one other than the US, then you have a destination target for after November.

>"Yet more and more people sign up to dependency and the nanny state. I think we are soon to have more dependents than producers."

Unfortunately, I believe you're correct in this assessment of our society-at-large. However, I also believe it's a tendency that can be reversed as the pendulum swings too broadly in that direction; on the whole I agree with Natan Sharansky (and by extension, GW Bush) that the natural root inclination of Man is toward freedom. But it certainly requires a vigilant effort of reinforcing the notions it entails; that is, maintaining steadfast reiteration of the coinciding responsibilities which are the opposite side of freedom's coin. To the degree that freedom can be maintained to the satisfaction of everyone is of course impossible, as the dynamicism of individuals is what results in people aligning themselves with ideological bodies politic and the correlative concept of freedom that ideology embraces. And in the end that's what the American political process is all about. I'm not ready to abandon it just yet

Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson"...
... can be found here:

It's a great read.

Oh, I understand the Geek now.
You see, the title of his post is, literally, the title of HIS post. His title describes his OWN idiotic ramblings, not Kling's essay.

Where are the socialist defenders of regulation?

No substantive changes in store for us next term
I may have missed something-- but I don't recall any of the candidates making any proposals to change the ag subsidies program. In fact, doesn't this white whale always continue growing regardless of the party in power?

Okay, how about ethanol subsidies?

Okay, how about the AMT? Doesn't everyone always say the thing is fundamentally unfair? And don't they all agree any change should be revenue neutral? Then when it comes right down to it, doesn't the discussion just die unacted on?

There's a tendency here to paint these kinds of issues as being artisan, with one of the parties being egregiously in error. But I see the flaming abuses as being more bipartisan in spirit, and arising from the structure of Congress itself.

In fact I could almost accuse the current president of leadership, for daring to suggest that the amount of pork being consumed in earmarks be cut by half. Who knew the guy was such a radical?

About time
I heartily commend your decision to emigrate. I would have suggested Oz as being the place for you. But after the last election, even Down Underland seems a little... pinkish tinged?

If you want a place where corporate interests trump every other consideration, you can't go wrong with the UK. But if what you're after is an old fashioned fascist autocracy, I'm thinking maybe Taiwan. Or Saipan, where they even get to put "made in USA" on the label.

Ask Dietmar where he hangs out. As I recall it's the Asian fringe.

Once you're gone we plan to nationalize all industry, and ask the CEOs if they want to continue on as dollar-a-year men. That should save some money right there. :)

What kind of freedom do you seek?
Thats a very general statement that you- want more freedom. What is it that you can't do now that you wish you could do?

I think you are right that it seems more and more people sign up to dependency and the nanny state. I think people don't want to be accountable, they don't want to be held responsible for their own situation. They work a 40 hour week, they may even work hard, but they aren't getting ahead like the Dream says they can. Maybe they spend too much money, they have credit card debt, they just aren't responsible with their money. Or unexpected expenses come up that keep them from getting ahead. Whatever the reasons, I see the same thing, people want help rather than getting a second job or taking actions to get where they want to be. Some people are unable to take actions to get ahead. How would more freedom assist people in this regard? Both people who are foolish with money, and people who are stuck by non-voluntary situations.

To be honest dbt, I agree with Stinkhammer. I'd go further than Stinkhammer, you are knee-jerking more than Baldwin. Baldwinesques responded to current conditions, the fascist Bush Administration as it was happening. You're speculating how it will be when Democrats win in November. This election really is about change, bigger change than just getting over the damage Bush has caused, so if Dems live up to their words, things will not go as Kling speculates in this article. I would agree chances are slim that government will change in a good way- smaller government, less spending, less debt, lower taxes, accountability, transparency, cooperation, less corruption, less influence of money.
But Ron Paul is basically out of the picture, so I'll go with the least evil of who remains.

What is the Freedom espoused by the Founders?

Long term goal
I should have stated, I am not planning on bailing out any time soon. More simply, I have been researching options as several others I know have. It is a trend driven ideal, I do not see us becoming more free and it really bothers me.

I read today for example that Obama's Texas office flies the Cuban flag. Now, is that what we really are headed to?

I was thinking more in line with a place to retire. I have to many roots now to leave. My father used to live in Mexico and he liked it because he said it reminded him of the US 50 years ago.

The loss of Freedoms is to vast to pin down. In Seattle you cannot use 60% of your land because the government says so. There are vast arrays of regulation. The congress is talking about wage parity acts to make employers pay workers the same wage regardless of market or skill. National Health Care, it is endless and I ask the question:

How does this make me more free?

How about fiscal responsibility?

Read Madison, Jefferson, and so on. They espoused a great ideal but in a nutshell, they never advocated a ruling class and a dependent class.

The right to succeed requires the right to fail does it not?

For economic concepts RE: gov't vs. private enterprise, see anything by F.A. Hayek (particularly "The Road to Serfdom") and Ludwig von Mises (particularly "Human Action"-- a dense read, but worth it in the end). On the subject of economics in general, there's always Thomas Sowell's excellent "Basic Economics" and his latest, "Economic Facts and Fallacies."

There are plenty more, but those provide a solid foundational bedrock.

Define Revenue Neutrality
What exactly does it mean? I have a far better idea. How about real and substantive budget restraint?

Do we need all this government? Why do the Democrats need to control us?

Hey, I am in agreement on Bush. He is beyond a disappointment and I do not follow the MSM talking points.

They are all pathetic. In fact, I dare say, if we started a movement and voted 100% turnover it would be a really good message to send. Alas, will never happen. IN fact, re-election rates are 90%+.

It will collapse under it's own weight.

Very Well
>"I do not see us becoming more free and it really bothers me."

We're sympatico, there.

>"I read today for example that Obama's Texas office flies the Cuban flag. Now, is that what we really are headed to?"

Anecdote: Several days ago a caller to the Mike Rosen (Denver) radio show began extolling (sans particulars, natch) the exquisite virtues of an Obama presidency. Rosen drew the caller out and got him to admit that he was a committed ideological Socialist, and that Obama was the candidate who best represented his ideals.

Thus it's become clear to me that Obama represents that socialistic, far-left wing's best chance at the Presidency. For that reason (given that I wholly expect a Democratic takeover of the Executive for 2009) I'd actually prefer it to be Hillary; granted, she's wholly objectionable to me legistlation- and ideology-wise, but she at least strikes me as much more a (somewhat) rational opportunist than the committed ideologue that is Obama.

Keep in mind, though, that as much as Obama may be drawing that Socialist-collectivist element for support, much of his support is also non-ideological and merely the resulting superficiality of his "rock star" image; those weepy teenagers I doubt are committed, hard-core Socialists at heart -- they' just think he's "cool." However, the fact that Obama has emerged as the preferred (remaining) choice in Socialism-leaning circles gives me the willies with regard to what his proposals might entail.

At least, that's my assessment....

Thats a misunderstanding
Change doesn't lead to death. Change leads to status quo, leads to change, leads to status quo, leads to change...

Make sense? Change is inevitable. But I get your point, and your comments actually express this. I think Newt is right, conservatives, Republicans, whatever they are, need to change to stay relevant.

I think you're smart in the perception that- "I will vote for a Democratic this election. Maybe they will finnish this great experiment quickly instead of a slow death." I agree with it to the extent that Democrats are their own worst enemy. Democrats won't win the general this time because they have great ideas, its a response to Bush's poor performance and the corruption and lowly activities of Republicans the last 7 years. Its a sort of "snapping back" response to extreme unhappiness with Republicans' conduct. After the pendulum swings it will be up to Democrats to deliver what the people want, or the pendulum will swing back again. How far, or how fast, the pendulum swings depends on performance and conduct. Which is why we see the pendulum swinging very hard and very fast right now. That puts a lot of pressure on Democrats, so they better perform or they'll be out if the people remain unhappy. And if they display the corruption and nastiness R's displayed the last 7 years, the pendulum will swing back very hard.

The best thing for the country is a division of power in our federal government, but its unlikely because the people are THAT unhappy.

Some reality
For a good example of why the mandate/welfare state is unsustainable, see Werner Sinn's new book "Can Germany be Saved: Tha Malaise of the World's First Welfare State." Sound economic reasoning, with lots of data and facts.

Or look at the latest LR fiscal projections from the CBO (Dec 2007); there's nothing sustainable about the current U.S. situation, and more spending & regulation will make it worse, not better.

taxing the evil rich to pay for the goodies roy wants
Is that close?

Your assement is correct.
The Pied Piper, it really is quite pathetic. Personally, how people can view someone who has no, and I mean ZERO, executive experience as leading this nation is quite sad, ideology aside.

I especially like the part by Saul Alinsky about Satan being the ultimate radical. I have always contended that the left would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven. His admiration of Satan is telling. The Mormons believe, or so my wife tells me, Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Satan wanted to Force people to worship while Jesus wanted to offer them the choice.

Which party like this? Yet liberals are always touting what would Jesus do?

Which religion religion sounds like this?

Life really has sunk when I actually find myself preferring Hillary over someone else. I mean, come on. It is scary.

This description...
makes its sound like we've joined the EU. It will be a sad day.

Yawn, Corporate Boogeymen
I see the Texas office for Obama has a Cuban Flag and a poster of Che Guerra. He refuses to wear a Flag Pin or say the Pledge.

Hillary obtained the pardon of FALN terrorists (tonights WJS Op ED) to court votes in NY. She seeks to Nationalize Health Care, garnish wages ad nasium.

Silly me, I forgot I should rather have political interests trump every aspect of my life.

Isn't it boring living a life of envy?

To liberals revenue neutral means a better source of taxes.

Have you all calmed down yet.
First of all I'm aussie living in Oz, I work for a US company, I talk to yanks all the time.
Markthetiny I would expect nothing less from you that crap. You have no interest in actually looking at the facts. Have a look at our economic number to yours, have a look at our health care, unemployment, benifits and just about everything else. You guys rave on about that you think will destroy your economy. The reality is it will not. Will it slow your economic growth well yes, will it make your contry a better place well yes.
What is this freedom you all seem to be focussed on? One of the posters said how does this make me more free? What a strange question , maybe that it what devides us. As near as I can tell the freedom you guys crave doesn't seem to help much. In mosy respects you have the same problems as every other western country and it can be easly shown that in many cases you have got it worst then us. One poster said the standard of living in the US is heaps better, can you give me an example some data. the reality is there is very little real difference between our two countries. The funny part is when you look at the figures for mobility between classses, ie the chances of going from working class to upper class, you have a greater chance to do that is Australian then the US.
The current troubles that the US is facing also underscores that fact that the rest of the world has less and less relience on the US economy. It still is a bigg part and so it should after all your the biggest western economy. but you don't punch above your weight any more. And when Asia gets is act together you will not be the biggest anymore are you ready for that day?

Defend yourself from China.
Build your own ships. Your own jet fighters, etc.

As for freedom, I can walk into a gun shop, buy a .45 Colt or an AR-15 or a .44 Magnum or a 12 gauge shotgun and roam around much of the USA hunting or just plinking.

Too bad your ancestors were criminals and not free men as were most in the USA.

It is not a misunderstanding, it is a point of view
I was being a little abstract. I will try to illustrate my point better bellow. I agree with your comment, the Republican Party needs to adapt, but I question the judgment in adapting. Unfortunately they are adapting to the American People, who are greedy and self-centered. Maybe they should be teaching the public Adam Smith instead of adapting. We Americans expect everything on a platter like spoiled children. We need a party that won't spare the rod and spoil the child. Right now both parties are spoiling us.

As far as the topic of change causing death is concerned all organizations go through a life cycle. They start out with a group of individuals coming together with a common cause. The organization then grows and makes things better for the group. Eventually, they stop worrying about the people in the group and instead focus on the preservation of the system. They promise things that people want to keep the group together. (I think you summed it up as change and the status quo?) The change just ages the organization faster and gives people less incentive to stay in the group. The change takes the group further from the intent of its inception. Eventually there is a breaking point and the individuals no longer have a reason to stay in the organization, it falls apart, and dies. The ghost may remain much like the Holy Roman Empire's ruins or what was once the British Empire.

The founding fathers knew this, that is why the militia was so important. That way the people could revolt from a self-serving government. The right to be armed was taken away along time ago bit by bit as the government's arms became more sophisticated.

They are coming after you
" Most evil done in the world is done in the name of promoting this or that supposed good. Americans turning away from rule of law and constitutional government are following in the footsteps of other people around the world who discovered their liberties gone and recovering them was next to impossible. But, what the heck. You might be among those Americans who don't smoke and are not obese, so why sweat it?"

Rest of the world has less reliance on US economy
"The current troubles that the US is facing also underscores that fact that the rest of the world has less and less relience on the US economy."

Sorry, but what 'troubles'? If you refer to competitiveness issues, then it is good that the rest of the world is sending signals that the US needs to shape up. We did it before from the 1970s on. We are way better at such adaptation than many of our competitors are, actually.

So, what do you mean but that statement, Geek? Just curious so I can respond.

Criminal ancestors
...uh, the whole reason why Australia was founded as a giant penal colony was because the Brits lost the American Colonies for 'transport'. WE used to be the destination of choice for Brit criminals prior to that (mostly debtors sold into indentured servitude).

We Yanks don't have much room to talk on this issue. :)

New England was not settled by criminals
Nor was most of the mid-west with the German and Scandinavian immigrants.

Why did Americans rebel and Aussies did not?
They liked the security of the crown?

I said 'American Colonies'
..and yes, while colonies like Virginia were settled in large part from indentured servants, quite a few went to New England and Upper Canada too. Not all were convicts, of course.

The Brit government found it very convenient to empty its debtor prisons (which operated at a huge cost) by transporting the prisoners to America and later, Australia.

The Pilgrims were not convicts.
They, like many, came for religious freedom.

One of the southern colonies was, at least partly.
I'm thinking it was Georgia, but I'm not sure. It wasn't entirely criminals either, but a penal colony was established there.

And they're coming in the name of freedom and constitutional government
As your link indicates, most evil done in the world is done in the name of promoting this or that supposed good.

Freedom and constitutional government ARE good, makes it an even more effective trick.

How does restricting liberty promote freedom and constitutional government?

Boobie Jones' post is now officially nominated
for the Stupidest Statement of the Year Award.

Even at this early date, it is difficult to imagine how anyone could say anything more vaccuous and idiotic than Boobie Jones' post, in which he unequivocally equates actual Good with delusional ideas OF the Good.

It is the Panel of Judges' unanimous opinion that only Boobie himself could equal or surpass the sheer, drooling stupidity of this post of his.

But, they remind us, the year is very young, and Boobie is very stupid. Given his mastery of Newspeak, he just might pull it off.

It doesn't

case in point
Thank you Great One for exemplifying my point.

Doesn't Government already spend enough on various programs for the poor...
Arnold wrote:

"How can the Democrats implement policy changes without large spending increases? "

Doesn't Government already spend enough on various programs for the poor, that if they eliminated the programs for the poor they could just give the poor enough money to make them middle income?

Also IMO since Govt in the USA already spends more on medical care per capita than France does, is it not possible that they could allow all Americans to get medicare/medicaid with increaseing spending on medical care? They just have to eliminate half of medical spending. According Robin Hanson this is possibel without having much affect on health.

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