Healthcare — free, top-quality, available, pick any two

In response to a commenter here I wrote the following:

Healthcare — free, top-quality, available, pick any two. I have lived under multiple healthcare systems. If the price for “free” and “available” is involuntary euthanasia of the elderly, I’ll pass. If “free” and “available” means “7th-rate”, so will I. If “free” means “whoever has the best connections gets the best quality care”, it’s just “inequality” in a different way. (Except, of course, that the “deserving” New Class of bureaucrats, academia, and “helping” professions think they will get first dibs in a system run by them.)

Israel comes the closest to a workable socialized medicine system (thanks to an unusually healthy age pyramid) and even their system is increasingly becoming two-tier: gold-plated for those able to afford private care and bare-bones for everybody else.

Old Maggie had it dead to rights: “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” It was 0bama’s misfortune (but also his innumeracy — a common characteristic of “wordsmith intellectuals”, in my experience) to try and implement more socialist schemes just as the state ship was reaching the shoals of bankruptcy. [I couldn’t resist the Monty Python reference :-)]

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American Thinker: From Cordoba to Marbella, and everything in between

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via American Thinker: Clarice’s Pieces: From Cordoba to Marbella gives an excellent summary of the insanity of the past week, from Marie-Antoinette 0bama’s Marbella trip to tge Ground Zero mosque, and everything in between. Zjust about the one thing missing is the fire-sale of Newsweek to the husband of Rep. Jane Harman.

Light blogging continues here as, in realspace,we wrap up a relocation to a new assignment.

Social Security cashflow negative

Michael Barone has the story (h/t: Killian Bundy on C2). Is this the “hope” or “change” King Nothing was promising?

One of the commenters suggests a contributing factor I overlooked: baby boomers despairing of ever finding another job in ths economic climate, and applying for Social Security as soon as they are eligible, rather than when they would normally retire.

“realwest” on C2 notes that much of the so-called “job creation” has been in the Federal government apparatus, which doesn’t exactly help Social Security…

New York State’s fiscal lunacy

A few items from Insty make you wonder if New York state politicians routinely have LSD mixed in with their bottled water:

CHANGE: Cash-poor NY state may issue IOUs like California.

Basically, New York state will now pay in virtual money. But you ain’t seen nothing yet:

A PENSION SHELL GAME: “Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to allow the state and municipalities to borrow nearly $6 billion to help them make their required annual payments to the state pension fund. And, in classic budgetary sleight-of-hand, they will borrow the money to make the payments to the pension fund — from the same pension fund.”

Is your head hurting yet? But Roger Kimball has a novel suggestion:

ROGER KIMBALL: The age of the IOU, or chickens/roost, and “anarchy literally.” “And here’s a policy suggestion that I offer free and for nothing. If New York offers its citizens IOUs instead cash, citizens should do the same come April. After wading through the pages of gibberish that our legislators have thoughtfully provided under the rubric of your tax returns, they should enter the amount owed, sign on the dotted line, and enclose an IOU instead of a check. If an irresponsible and fiscally incontinent state can hold on to your money (and you should never forget that it is your money), then you are justified in practicing a little self-defense and treating the state with a little of the contempt with which it treats you. If five or ten or a hundred people did it, it wouldn’t make much difference. What if five or ten thousand people did?”

Indeed.

The failure of the Federal con game

Wizbangblog:

The world’s largest entity in terms of gross revenue had a bad month in April. The IRScollected only $245 billion dollars in April 2010 compared with collections of $266 billion in April 2009. This was only part of the reason the U S government ran up an $82 billion dollar deficit in April of this year because the government spent $327 billion dollars in that month versus $287 billion in April of last year. For 43 of the past 56 years there has been a budget surplus in April owing to the fact that tax collections occur then.

Of course, none of this is news to voters in Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Utah and, as of last night, West Virginia. In all of these states the “surprise” losers were either irreparably tainted by an Obama/Pelosi/Reid connection or ossified incumbents that finally felt the wrath of an electorate that has had enough of giving at the office, giving at home, giving at the store ad infinitum, ad nauseum and giving everywhere else the government has extended its insatiable desire for taxes. Add to that anger a state immigration law in Arizona that a majority of Americans broadly support but is wildly unpopular in the establishment media, academia and other elitist strongholds and you get one of those rare moments in U S history when events converge to create a wave.

We are witnessing a worldwide repudiation of big government and Keynesian economics. In the Unites States the evidence of this is found in the results of the several state elections I mentioned above, most if not all of which were plebiscites on national policy issues. However, this skepticism is becoming an international issue. In Europe the response is much starker, verging on panic. Last weekend, before the big Euro Bailout, European bank stocks and sovereign credits (government issued loans and bonds) were almost falling off the cliff. Monday morning brought news of the bailout and things looked rosy….for about a day. Today brought news of abject panic buying of gold in Europe.[…]

The reason why there is such a loud repudiation of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda is that many fly over country citizens know that what is known as the European contagion can happen here also. As I have mentioned before, in the midst of these financial crises of the past three years there is an enormous confidence game going on. When that confidence is lost (as appears to be happening in Europe) the result is not something that can be contained by a press conference or a new stimulus plan.

Read the whole thing. See also Bank of England: US faces similar problems as Greece.

What’s the matter with California?

Four vignettes answering that question about the state I once called home:

(1) In a long and interesting article on the insurgent D primary candidacy of blogger Mickey Kaus (son of former CA Supreme Court justice Otto Kaus) against the cartoonishly vapid Barbara Boxer, this short summary:

It’s also a sign of the Times that California, long the butt of jokes about falling into the ocean, has seriously fallen into an ocean of unmanageable debt.  Everything and everyone in the state has already been taxed; everyone who has taxable income and the means has either moved or is in the process of moving.

California is a basket case of high debt, high taxes, suffocating regulations–and that’s before the tyranny of public employee unions and their apocalyptic pensions are factored into the equation.  As the state has steadily turned from Red to Blue, it’s just as steadily turned from Golden to Tin, from Free to Nanny.

An interesting sign of the times, BTW: the LA Times, rather than offering the usual kneejerk endorsement of Boxer (whom they euphemistically refer to as “lacking intellectual firepower”, which must be the understatement of the year), endorsed neither primary candidate. Kaus — a principled, rational liberal of the old school who seeks to take the D party back to its roots — won the endorsement of fellow D gadfly Victor Davis Hanson.

(2) Speaking of whom, don’t miss his “A tour through recession America” (which is really a tour through recession California). This is another “read the whole thing”.

(3) Here are the first three parts of a series on the decline of Silicon Valley:

http://pajamasmedia.com/edgelings/whats-happened-to-silicon-valley-part-1/

http://pajamasmedia.com/edgelings/whats-happened-to-silicon-valley-part-2/

http://pajamasmedia.com/edgelings/whats-happened-to-silicon-valley-part-3/

http://pajamasmedia.com/edgelings/whats-happened-to-silicon-valley-part-4/

(4) Via the comments there, I found the following very interesting site:

http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/

Excuse me folks, $600K for an aging 900 sq.ft. house in the LA suburbs… One can buy a house of the same size in, say, the Dallas suburbs for one-tenth of the price (and a fairly new, well-appointed, 3,200 sq.ft. mansion in a good neighborhood for half the money).