Medicare For All

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University recently estimated the cost for the Democratic-Socialist’s Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez styled “Medicare for All” would be an additional $32 trillion over the next 10 years. Lets punch some numbers to put that into context:

  • CY 2016 U.S. GDP was $18,624.48 billion or $18.624.48 trillion.[1]
  • FY 2016, the total federal revenue was $3.267 trillion, with a $500+ billion deficit.[2]
  • $32 trillion over ten years is $3.2 trillion a year. Then, factor out the current Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and marketplace subsidy expenditures, because “Medicare for All” would encompass these programs, which equals $1 trillion a year, of which $594 billion is for just Medicare expenses.[3]
  • This represents a net increase of $2.2 trillion in federal spending; or a total of, at least, 67.3% of the FY 2016. The increase in expenditures represents an 11.81% jump in spending as a percentage of the GDP, taking the new total, $5.467 trillion, as a percentage of GDP would then stand at 29.35%, up from 17.54%

In 2016 there were a total of 56,981,183 Medicare enrollees. According to The Government, in 2016 the U.S. population was approximately 324,650,630. That means 17.55% of the U.S. population was enrolled in Medicare, at a cost of $594 billion. Based on cost and enrollment, the average per-person amount was $10,424. Applying that total to the 2016 population estimate, that works to be $3.384 trillion; about $184 billion higher than projected by the Mercatus Center.

Ocasio-Cortez has an economics and international relations degree from Boston College. She may want to get her money back because she appears to lack any notion of basic economic principals and important international relations. UnemploymentHow to Pay for Medicare For AllViews on Israel

As shown below with the graphic, there would be a bevy of new taxes, tax increases, and elimination of large and popular tax credits/deductions. A startling point to consider is that even if the government were to seize 100% of the net worth of everyone on the 2017 Forbes 400 list, the funds obtained would have only paid for roughly 72% of federal expenditures in 2016, including the deficit for the year. [4]

The chart also does not account for any economic losses that would occur with such a massive government takeover.

Tax increase proposals by @Brian_Riedl

Last page of text from the Mercatus report. Paints a clear picture of how unaffordable this plan is. If anyone attempts to say that the plan saves money simply show them this and ask them to reconcile the two.

The VA handles my healthcare. It is a service that I am grateful for and I am extremely appreciative of the providers that choose to serve those that served the country. By working with veterans, they are passing on a career that could be far more lucrative, and far less political, than being a government employee. It is, however, far from perfect. For example, I made an appointment on July 31st to see a new provider because my previous one transferred to another location for personal reasons. Side note, he was a fantastic doctor. He was easier to talk to than any other doctor that I have ever had an appointment with. Thank you for your service Dr. A.. Anyways, the first appointment that works with my school schedule is in the middle of November, which is also baby #2’s due date. That is 106 days away from July 31st. This is the longest I have had before a regularly scheduled appointment. But, generally, for non-emergency medical issues there is almost always at least a 2 week wait. Many times it has been over a month before being able to schedule and appointment. Long waits for appointments and the widely reported VA scandals are the reality of government run healthcare on a large scale.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, providing care at 1,243 health care facilities, including 172 VA Medical Centers and 1,062 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics) to over 9 million Veterans enrolled in the VA health care program. [5]

The idea of government run healthcare is a nice idea and it may work at a national level in other countries. But to say that if significantly smaller countries with a nationalized healthcare system can make it work (and not have it be overly expensive), the United States, which is the third largest country by population, should be able to as well is not an honest argument.

As of July 1, 2016:

At #3, the United States – 322,179,605
At #21, The United Kingdom – 65,788,574 ≈ 20% the population of U.S.
At #38, Canada – 36,289,822 ≈ 11% the population of the U.S.

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Accusing People of Being Racist

Accusing someone of being a racist is one of the most gross claims that someone can make against another person. It is a popular tactic that is often used when someone is losing an argument, disagrees with you politically, or is attempting to gain some kind of moral superiority. Its a bad faith tactic that, more often than not, has no basis in reality.

Hindsight is 20/20 and the overwhelming majority of people in the United States concur that racism is bad, being a racist is bad, and would like to see racism no longer exist.

When I lived in Houston I would listen to Michael Berry, a local conservative talk radio show host. He seemed to be lightning rod for controversy because he spoke his mind a lot (like everyday, twice a day), he had a platform, and a large market. Berry is from deep southeast Texas, studied at U of H, UT Austin, and University of Nottingham. He and his wife of 25 years have adopted their two sons. He graduated with honors and has earned two law degrees, and uses his position to do good around Houston. I have personal experience with this; I believe this was back in 2012 or 2013. News of a local, 91 year old recent widower, WWII (Marine) veteran’s home being broken into, burglarized, and vandalized by some local teens was reported. Berry used his radio show to rally the city of Houston; he talked about what happened, spoke of Mr. Wood’s situation, and implored anyone that could help, to help. Long story short, more than 60 local business and 300 volunteers worked to not just restore and improve his home, but to also make it more accessible for the elderly veteran. I got to take part in this, and it was an amazing thing to see so many come together so fast. Story

I bring this up to show the type of person Mr. Berry is.

He is often called a racist. Did I mention that his wife is from India, and that their two sons are from Ethiopia? Taking this information about his family into consideration; what would his burden of proof have to be in order to show that he is not a racist? I imagine that this claim of being a racist precedes him, and quite unfairly so in my opinion.

Another person whose racism, among other things, precedes them is Ben Shapiro. As noted here, Shapiro’s racism is so well documented that you can watch the vitriol pour from his mouth as he bemoans the movie Black Panther. You really get a sense of how racist he is when the article quotes Shapiro as saying, “…[A]nd liberated by the Civil Rights Movement, with federal legislation, and have not been gradually restored to, what always should have been, full civil rights in the United States.” Emphasis is mine.

The article actually does not say that. It was omitted so the author may make the point that Shapiro is racist. It is also likely that the author may have expected no one to want to watch such a racist diatribe and felt that they could make such a claim against Shapiro.

Another thing about the video is the very obvious editing jump that takes place. It doesn’t take long to find the podcast episode or YouTube video and find the part that is edited out, it’s about 35 minutes into the show. The author, Isha Aran (@ishaaran), and the editor of the video clip, Alazar Moges (@zarzarbinkss) would have been unable to make such a claim against Shapiro if that edit had not been made. Below is the very first thing he says in the portion that’s edited out.

Now, you may sense that I’m mocking a little bit. The reason I’m mocking a little bit is because I hate this kind of identity politics. I think it’s incredibly stupid.

As evidence for his defense, let me present exhibits A and B.

This is the stupid identity politics that he was talking about. The people in the pictures are ridiculous, the article’s author and the clip’s editor are dishonest, and this kind of foolish behavior is what got Donald Trump elected President.

To accuse someone of racism with nothing more than edited and out of context soundbites, or in spite of the fact that someone’s entire immediate family is not white, is a bush league tactic used when someone is too poorly informed/educated to make a reasoned argument. When the accusation is made many feel that defending themselves against the claim immediately becomes the most important thing they can do. Based on the situation this may be true, but more importantly you should expect this accusation anytime you engage with leftists. Come into the discussion with a strong, preplanned defense and a biting retort for their need to make such an accusation about you. A strong play will give you the upper hand, and allow you to steer the conversation back to the facts. Staying calm and focused is key; such a disgusting accusation is likely to leave you incensed. Expect it, prepare for it, and use reason and facts to show how incorrect they and their arguments are.

Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism

I was going to write about about why Nazism is such a bad word while Communism, which has killed significantly more people, is by and large less derogatory than Nazism.

Most of the answer is that leftists who believe communism has never been faithfully implemented are deranged. The majority are able to see that Nazism was, and is, terrible. Communism is not charged with this kind of universal condemnation because so many still have dreams of a Communist utopia coming to fruition.

Can we just talk about how vain, and scary, that sentiment is; communism has never worked because it has never been fully implemented. Implying that the person saying this believes they, or someone they agree with, could do better. Can you also imagine the insanity that would ensue from someone making the same comment on Nazism?

Anyways, PragerU does a very good job of explaining the different treatment of the two failed ideologies.

Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism

Free Speech

I believe that, outside of very narrowly constructed restrictions, the First Amendment protects the citizen’s right to say or express nearly any opinion; good, bad, or outright reprehensible. In a legal sense, there is no such things as hate speech. There is speech you like, speech you don’t like, and speech you find intolerable, but all of that, as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Brandenburg vs. Ohio, is still free and protected speech.

Believing this can lead to some very weird and conflicting feelings and situations. For example:

I came across this article, (here). The article is out of Houston, TX and recounts an event that happened at a local live music club, White Oak Music Hall. As the story goes, the lead singer of “Gen Why,” James McDowell II, noticed that there were, what he judged to be, three white supremacists in the club. This was of great offense to him, and wholly intolerable. McDowell is quoted in the article as saying:

Pissed off that no one had handled this shit trio, I talked to some friends and we handled the situation. Yeah. I threw a beer in one of their faces, and a fight almost ensued but the staff at White Oak broke it up before it started and they escorted the white pride kids out. We almost got 86d too because ‘they didn’t do anything. They didn’t start shit’ well motherfucker showing up to a punk show in white pride gear is automatically starting shit. Fuck that. I will never in my life allow this type of scum to walk the same halls as us.”

I was on McDowell’s side for a couple of reasons:

  1. White Supremacists are, in fact, garbage people with garbage beliefs
  2. They should be shunned, excoriated, marginalized, and every other avenue of public shaming possible

McDowell, however, loses any and all righteousness in this situation the second he assaults these folks. As stated above, if they are actual white supremacists**, they should be made to feel uncomfortable when they take their beliefs out in public. But the fact that their beliefs, and public expressions of it, are disgusting does not make unprovoked violence appropriate, ever. McDowell is the party in the wrong. In his quote he admits that he assaulted them because of their clothes; not because of their actions against him or anyone else.

Regardless of how disgusting someone’s speech is, anyone that commits an unprovoked violent act against them is the party in the wrong. Full Stop. 

Unprovoked violence gets these garbage people and their garbage beliefs some undue time in the press. Finding another, non-violent, way to get them removed from the club would have served McDowell infinitely better. Instead of being praised for his resistance to racists, he could potentially face charges if someone wanted to seek them.

Be better than them (its really not hard). Do not allow the garbage people in this world to bring you down to their level. Shut them out by finding other ways to let them know that their kind is not welcome in public, but do not think that violence will win this battle, because it will not.

The Patriarchy

In my summer school history class the instructor wanted us to read Hayden and King’s, “Feminism and the Civil Rights Movement.” For those that have not read it, it is by two college aged women in 1965 who are expressing their dismay with, what they feel, is the Civil Rights Era leaving women behind. How, even in their supposed egalitarian SNCC, they were relegated to the roles that, traditionally, had been the only fit for women; clerical/secretarial duties and “cleaning the freedom house,” while not holding many (or any at all) leadership roles.

We were supposed to discuss within the small groups of those that we sit nearby. Somewhere during the chat the young lady I sit next to dropped the P word.

Yes, she bemoaned the Patriarchy. This took me by surprise, this was the first time in any face-to-face interaction I have ever had that someone actually, and quite seriously, cursed the patriarchy. This is odd because you see, I am the embodiment of the patriarchy: white, cis-gendered, heterosexual male; 3 for 3, batting average is 1.000, let’s go home.

All kidding aside, I knew she was seriously going there with our discussion, but I was unsure as to the right way to proceed.

Here’s where it gets fun. She is a very early 20-something, middle of the middle-class, definitional wasp white girl. During the regular academic year she attends a very small, women’s only liberal arts college in Allentown, PA. I imagine it is an understatement to say that she’s been indoctrinated to think that women in the U.S. are living under the scourge of systemic oppression.

This is not to say that instances of sexism do not exist. I think that would be a foolish thing to say. The difference is that there exists no such structural, systematic, or institutionalized level of sexual discrimination in the way that there does in Saudi Arabia, for example; or, generally speaking, a society that applies Sharia Law.
Sharia Law Around the World

Back to it. I mentioned Saudi Arabia to my classmate as an example of where this patriarchy may exist, and that claiming that the U.S. is somehow like Saudi Arabia is misguided at best. Her response was hard to follow, she talks quietly and out of the side of her mouth, and she will often turn her head away from the conversation while speaking. She ended her response with how the STEM field is a male dominated, and how her mom, many years ago, was the only woman in a large audience at some STEM related conference (she also has someone in her family that participated in most every topic we ever discuss). Thankfully, someone else in the group spoke up which kept me from potentially opening the can of worms that was me asking what exactly she was majoring in. Turns out, she is studying genetic engineering & biotechnology, which is way more than I am capable of. It is also good that she is at least consistent with her complaints of the STEM field, and is changing the demographics of it by participating in it.

My criticism of the STEM field argument is that, as far as I know, there are not people actively restricting women from participating in the field. There is no governmental agency or action standing in the way of women getting into the STEM field. If people are telling girls and women they cannot or should not get into the STEM field they should stop, and instead encourage them to study in the STEM field if they want to.

But I digress; my final point in our discussion was that today, women are more free, have more opportunities, and have the most equal of rights under U.S. law than at any other time in the history of world and United States.

Is there work to be done in order to tamp out sexism and sexual abuses of women? You betcha. But, does the U.S. even come close in comparison to countries like Saudi Arabia? Absolutely not. The parts of the world that live with Sharia Law as a meaningful part of their legal system are by far some of the worst offenders of women’s rights. It is an insult to the legacy of those that fought hard for women’s rights in the U.S. to claim there are parallels to the repressive regimes under which hundreds of millions of women are forced to live.

I do not understand “The Patriarchy” and would like to be informed of what I am missing.

What this blog is all about

My wife tells me that it is a waste of my time to get into political, moral, or philosophical discussion on social media; the people on there are not looking for meaningful conversation. They are, instead, looking for the “attaboys” that come along with posting something that their highly curated friends list will laud them for. You know, showing how woke (whatever that really means) they are and getting bunches of internet high fives for doing so.

So much of what I rail against on social media are the arguments that are based in emotion instead of facts. I am not saying that emotion is irrelevant in a meaningful discussion; instead I insist that it cannot be what the argument is based on, especially if there is any hope of fixing a problem and/or inducing meaningful change.

No matter how hard anyone tries to, emotions cannot change the facts of the issue at hand. However, it is important to understand that facts and emotions do interact in significant ways; emotions affect your perceptions of fact, and facts can alter your emotions. This is why it is important to step beside your emotions and take an objective look at the facts when engaging in discussion. By separating the facts from your emotions you allow the strength of your argument to stand prominently, unobscured by your own biases.