A Most Depressing Day

I had planned on discussing the Tom Siegfried Science NewsOdds Are, It’s Wrong” article on how bad classical statistics is that many readers sent in.

But—and I’m sorry to my many non-USA readers—I was too distracted. That discussion will come tomorrow. My thoughts below probably won’t be coherent; I’m too disgusted.

Yesterday, the Democrats completed their power grab. On December 19 last year, I wrote:

We’re about to allow our Congress to secure a power grab which they believe will swing the country in the favor of Democrats in the long run. After all, who wants to vote for somebody who is not promising them Free Health Care? (Me, for one.)

Actually, however, they are going to hand over control of a significant percentage of our economy to a faceless, unaccountable, one-size-under-penalty-of-law-fits-all bureaucracy. Naturally, the Democrats feel that they will be able to direct this bureaucracy in ways most favorable to themselves.

But as they piece together this monstrosity, building the legislation out of used parts cadged from other failed bills, they should recall the lesson that Dr. Frankenstein learned the hard way. Once created, these things take on a life of their own.

Polls variously put opposition for this monstrosity at anywhere from 75% to 85%. Yet Pelosi, Reid, and Obama said they were doing this for “the people.” It was “for their own good.”

It’s been said many times: but there is no such thing as “the people.”

There are only individuals—real human beings. More harm, sorrow, pain, and misery has been caused in the name of “the people” than in the name of any other cause. Religion can’t enough light enough candles to illuminate the horrifically long body count of individuals killed in the name of “the people.”

Those who say what they do is for “the people” never give a damn about individuals.

And make no mistake: this was, more than anything else, a bill to consolidate power for Democrats, a purposeful shift towards one party rule.

Democrats knew what they were doing: after every new social “right” was created, the share Democrats received in Congress increased. And the more Republicans were forced to become like Democrats. It’s probably true, as it being widely predicted, that Democrats will take a hit in the 2010 elections, but it (unfortunately) won’t be as big as most think.

For one, November is a long way off. The most harmful provisions of the bill—the new confiscations—won’t really begin in earnest until after this time. This, of course, is by design. Democrats figured, probably rightly, that the storm of indignation would pass after a few months, when in those months not much happened.

Democrat politicians will be able to say, and say truthfully, “See? There was no reason to worry. Nothing is that different. Besides, now a lot more people have insurance.” They won’t say, because it won’t be true, that more people have more health.

This was not a health care bill, but a bill about power: it was about who gets to control health care. It is an immense difference, and one I have tried to highlight over and over. Because people will have less money and less control over their own lives, and because care must be rationed—this is a certainty given the astronomical deficits to come—the Law of Unintended Consequences is set to strike.

There will be less health, not more. “Coverage” is not what matters. Health is.

What else can we look forward to?

Unfunded mandates are being foisted onto the States, so that those States will feel a money pinch. To cover these holes, in the end, they will have to cede more power to the central government. Many States are lining up to sue, but they have little chance of success.

Deficits loom. The “rich” will be forced to pay, just to the Feds, at least 60% of their in-coming money (I say “in-coming” to mean all funds captured within a year, and not just a paycheck). This, the “progressives” say, is “fair.”

(Don’t forget the Democrats cheated with the health care bill by taking over student loans: private loans will be forbidden. The government usurped more power. This was said to create a deficit savings, which they ascribed to health care so that the bill met the technical rules of reconciliation.)

A majority of Americans—more than 50%—will be asked to pay nothing. This is also supposed to be “fair.” What it is, is a design to ensure votes.

Worst of all: most of us were against this bill, but once some of us begin receiving its benefits, once some start planning their life around the provisions, the more regular it will all seem. The remoter government will feel. The gap between us and them will grow.

Where will it end? How much control is enough? Is there any progressive or Democrat willing to state, with certainty, where the line is?

Once more, sorry all. A return to something more interesting tomorrow.


  1. Yooper Paul

    And America dies with a whimper……….

  2. Briggs

    Yopper Paul,

    Stupak in your district?

  3. BraudRP

    “Where will it end? How much control is enough? Is there any progressive or Democrat willing to state, with certainty, where the line is?”

    It won’t end easily or happily.

    No amount of control will ever be enough. Unable to diagnose correctly why their schemes don’t work as desired, ever more control will be sought.

    What line?

  4. Leonard Weinstein

    I think the saying (I think by Margaret Thatcher) is the most appropriate: The problem with socialism is that eventually it runs out of other peoples money.

  5. Speed

    I can’t be out of money, I still have checks.

  6. Yooper Paul

    He was when I lived there. My parents are still in Marquette, therfore in his district. The area is fairly democratic because of the unions (iron mines in Negaunee/Ishpeming) so he probably won’t have too much of a problem with reelection. I now live in David Obey’s district! Duffy 2010!!

  7. Kevin

    It’s true that people have short, and unclear, memory, but November is really not far off, and this looks worse in some ways than did 1994 at the same point. Well, call me optimistic. On the flip side of this optimism is your observation, Briggs, that Republicans have become much like Democrats in order to compete with them.

    I’ve gotten through about one-fourth of “The Liberal Mind”, which several people mentioned on this site. It has made me think of an observation from the study of species. The adults of successor species resemble the juveniles of the species they replaced. “Juvenilization” it is called in evolution theory. We Americans are now on a strangely similar trajectory; where each successive generation is more juvenile than the previous one. I wonder where this process will stop?

  8. The virtue of the American system was rule by mutual agreement, tempered by protection of individual rights. The job of our representatives was to find compromise that all could live with, even if some were not enthusiastic about it.

    That spirit of mutual agreement has been lost. We have devolved to tyranny of a bare majority, the very thing Alexis de Tocqueville warned against.

    It is no secret that “progressive” means progression toward Marxist enslavement, the impoverishment of the masses and enrichment of the ruling class.

    This is a very dark day for America, not just because of the health care bill, not just because of the soaring deficit and attendant economic collapse, but more tragically, the end of the America system of governance of, by, and for the people. We the people, and we do exist as sovereign individuals, were once the masters of our own fates. Now we are chained in servitude to a powerful elite who govern us without our consent.

  9. Ken

    There may be cause for hope as it appears that the “battle” regarding this legislation will continue in a different forum (i.e. its further from being a “done deal” than it appears):

    Virginia’s Attorney General has announced that he/Virginia will challenge the constitutionality of the Health Care legislation immediately after signed into law by the President. Ditto for some 30-ish other States (Virginia is about to, or has, passed a law “enabling” its citizens exempt themselves from participation, and if sued by the Feds, will step in on their behalf–more or less what the local press is reporting).

    Basis to Challenge: Provisions to compell citizens of States to participate in a government-run program violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) and also the 10th Amendment. There is a lot of Supreme Court precedents involving the Commerce Clause. Basically, the Feds can REGULATE interstate commerce, or things linked to interstate trade–and that linkage can be somewhat tenuous to layman’s perspectives. Section 8 stipulates enumerated powers of the Fed–those not enumerated are reserved for the States. Thus, ability to regulate commerce is a sort of “loophole” thru which the Fed has (when the law is signed) assumed powers that are not specifically enumerated and clearly extend well beyond “regulation” of interstate commerce.

    Virginia is challenging based on the compulsory participation in a Federal business venture that is not enumerated (details will follow, so that remark is a bit speculative). Compulsory participation in a Govt-provided program appears to have no comparision or precedent outside of military service–which is an enumerated power of the Fed, unlike health care insurance. Which suggests to me there’s a good chance the law is unconstitutional under both the Commerce Clause & the 10th Amendment.

    But Supreme Court rulings are by nature very focused and readily lend themselves to being taken out of context, extrapolated too far, etc. And there’s a lot of them regarding the Commerce Clause — and every one of them, from what I perused, addressed Federal REGULATION that was overly intrusive. Compulsory participation in a Fed’l business venture seems (to my unspecialized perspective) unprecedented.

    Of course, the “…provide for the …and general welfare of the United States,” subpart to Section 8 [1st/Intro sentence] is being ballyhooed by the Dems as a basis for this legislation under which the Fed can do anything it can pass a law for that provides for “general welfare.” Hopefully that’s an overly optimistic interpretation.

    For those inclined to dissect the legal & statutory nuances, this promises to be a very tangled & intricate–therefore interesting–case. Cornell University has a convenient on-line reference system for those interested (no matter how straightforward the decisions may seem, there’s nothing straightforward or intuitively logical about this).

    Ssssoooo, there is cause for hope that this will play out favorably, especially given the generally pragmatic overall [barely] composition of the court. Of course, if something happens to one of the Justices…..

  10. Bernie

    There is an ABC story about a woman who was denied payment for an expensive drug that she had been taking for a brain tumor. http://abcnews.go.com/m/screen?id=10151392

    Besides the obvious bureaucratic screw ups and inconsistent decision making, the story has all the inherent dilemmas of organizing, paying and allocating medical resources. The drug is expensive – stated as $8K per month. The drug is authorized for MS not brain tumors. The patient is on Medicare. The drug appears to work and other drugs do not. The patient is 40 years old.

    IMHO the new healthcare bill does nothing to address these real issues. We have the capability of extending peoples lives and their quality of life immensely through medical treatments – but it is frequently at a price many individuals cannot possibly afford. What should or should not be done? These are very difficult moral and philosophical questions. The Democrats have chosen the easy short-term solution and avoided the painful realities.

  11. JH

    To get rid of depression, we need to first acknowledge the feeling. So let’s have a moment of sincere silence for Briggs’s Blue Monday.

    I am hoping that the problem of high and rising healthcare cost will be addressed in the future.

    When will it end? My view is never, at least not in my life time, because we will also become part of the problem once we start collecting our social security and Medicare benefits.

    Well, we all also know that “everything will be fine in the end, if it’s not fine, it’s not the end.”

  12. kdk33

    The constitution was structured so that the majority did NOT rule – except within the narrow confines of enumerated powers.

    No sane person can construe health care reform to be regulating interstate commerce. And none of the triumvirate (OPR) offered that as motivation. That clause has been abused into oblivion; similarly the 10th amendment.

    Liberals have succesfully expanded power such that they can bribe 51% of the people with money belonging to the other 49%.

    Question is: do republicans have the balls to run on repeal and are there enough libertarians to throw the liberals out – completely out.

    Frankly, I’m doubtful. I’ve begun to think that Americans would rather be coddled than given an opportunity to achieve. Mediocrity for all, at all costs.

    So sad.

  13. sylvain

    Mr Briggs,

    I find strange that you go as far as to say that the rich will get tax as high as 60% because of the democrat decision.

    Even in Québec we are not tax at 60% and we offer much more service than free healthcare. For example, one session at University in the US cost as more than three years of University here. We also offer social security, 7$ children daycare service, etc. What the democrat did is to the far right as any other developed country is doing.

    The real outrage is that it is Bush’s tax cut that put the American deficit sky high.

  14. Nizialek

    Once a government program like this is in place, it will never go away. The court cases and repeal efforts have no chance of success. The courts will avoid taking this down on separation of powers basis. The constitutional challenges are weak in light of the 20th century expansion of the scope of the commerce clause. And, with the possible exception of Prohibition, I can’t think of any other administration’s flagship legislation of this scope that has ever been repealed. By 2012, the Republicans will be running, not against this monstrosity, but on a platform that argues they are better able to manage it more fairly and economically than are the Dems. Once that happens, we are stuck with this until the ol’ USA becomes just another failed, but once great, nation.

  15. Ken

    Here’s a link to the Congressional Research Service’ (CRS’) assessment of the Constituional issues associated with Health Care Reform & a compulsory mandate to buy health insurance:


    Ultimately, the details in the actual legislation matter & the above report was drafted in 2009. But its a good source for factual data & reasonable perspectives linked to law rather than the personal views & values of those inclined to express them.

  16. Bill S

    Actually I believe “we” need to start on the political front.
    i.e. Assume that “Obamacare” will be deemed constitutional, so

    1) Challenge the Democrat leadership to provide the exact wording necessary so that they
    would accept “Obamacare” as unconstitutional.
    2) Start the process to amend the constitution of the Unted States of America to repeal

    I use “we” because I am honestly not sure who “we” are.
    I use “Obamacare” because step 1 entails forcing the Democrat leadership to define what
    they actually want.

  17. Ken

    sylvian – I find it interesting you mention “free healthcare” as a positive service provided by Quebec given the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada (Chaoulli vs. Quebec) declared Quebec’s government-only plan was unconstitutional (i.e. denying the right to private health insurance coverage & providers) because Quebec failed to provide sufficient services (the court noted that government delays in providing health care was directly contributing to too many deaths!):


    Read the case at: http://www.cimca.ca/docs/res/Chaoulli-vs-Quebec_06-09-2005.pdf (because the ruling is made relative to the Quebec Charter, the decision does not affect the other Canadian Provinces).

    Why did Quebec’s government-run health care get so bad — lack of sufficient funds to provide better. In complying with the S. Court decision Quebec has allowed limited private insurance for a handful of procedures under such restrictive terms that no such insurance policies have been sold.

    Which suggests the body count continues to rise.

    To present Quebec as an example of exemplary government services–when the impact of those services has been cited in Canada’s highest court in terms of corpses generated (though not so bluntly)–is ironic.

  18. It seems that the new Liberal refrain is about how conservatives are eaten up with fear.

    This is typical of the breed I believe, confusing fear which they experienced during Vietnam (fear of having to go themselves) with the RAGE which is roaring through the ranks of those American Patriots who believe in working for what they get instead of sticking their hands out for a handout, and who believe in the truth of American Exceptionalism.

    Remember the old tune “Hey Stupid”?

    This is NOT the sound of fear, you who shill for the Liberal establishment, it is ANGER, RAGE, sheer FURY which is driving we the majority of the people of this United States.

  19. Bernie

    Thanks for the reference that summarizes the key constitutional issues. My quick and uneducated reading is that there will not be much joy pursuing this approach.

    Sounds like it is important to stay healthy in Quebec.

  20. sylvain


    I know of that case.

    If I had to chose between a private and public system. I would chose the public one.

    But has I said in other post before, I don’t object a mix of private and public, as long as the private system doesn’t reduce accessibility to the public system.

    Since, the Chaouli verdict it is possible to buy insurance for certain health services like orthopedics. While the vast majority of canadian population disagreed with the judgement, more than 75% disagreed with it, I didn’t.

    Our system is not perfect. It can get better with small fixes.

  21. sylvain


    “To present Quebec as an example of exemplary government services–when the impact of those services has been cited in Canada’s highest court in terms of corpses generated (though not so bluntly)–is ironic.”

    This phrase shows a misunderstanding you have. The judgment only apply to a select group of intervention, none that are life threatening, like orthopedics.

    In doesn’t affect illness like cancer or cardiac problems which are still limited to the public system.

    I’m ready anytime to compare corpse created by your private system to our public system.

    I’m also ready to compare level of living after someone has received care, how much indebted someone get in the US compared to canadian.

  22. Jade

    I’m not so sure what is so “free” about this healthcare bill. Because according to this healthcare bill that was just passed by the house, if one is found without healthcare, he/she is fined. But why would anyone be fined … if it’s free?! This bill is supposedly identical to the same healthcare imposed here in the state of MA and trust me, you have to show proof that you have been insured in the past year … otherwise you do get fined.

    I really don’t know why anyone would be excited about this bill … because there is nothing “free” about it! Sigh …

  23. Colin

    Dr. Briggs,

    How exactly will the new health care bill affect you? Please, no predictions please.

  24. kdk33


    “Even in Québec we are not tax at 60% and we offer much more service than free healthcare. ”

    And how exactly is it free. It healthcare provided by retiree’s doing charity work. Nuns who moonlight as surgeons. Little fairies that neither eat, drink, or need a place to sleep. Seriously, what in the world makes you think you have free healthcare.

  25. Mark

    Having health insurance (expensive, cheap or free) does not guarantee you receiving health care – take a number and wait.

    At some point this will become clear.
    It will be interesting to see if the Guvmn’t prohibit Doctors conducting work outside of the ‘insured pool’?

  26. sylvain


    Healthcare in Canada is finance through a 3.5%/h tax paid by enterprise on all employee salary (this is not a deduction from the employee salary).

    The rest of it is paid with other government revenue. Either direct tax or income tax.

    What I mean by free is that when you are a canadian citizen you will not be charge if you go to the hospital. Everyone knows that they pay for it with their taxes.

  27. DaveK


    Do you think that the fact that Canada has enormous natural resources (which the government can tax) and a small population possibly impact the ability for Canada to supply health care without taxing the hell out of the individual?

  28. Ken


    RE: ““To present Quebec as an example of exemplary government services–when the impact of those services has been cited in Canada’s highest court in terms of corpses generated (though not so bluntly)–is ironic.” This phrase shows a misunderstanding you have. The judgment only apply to a select group of intervention, none that are life threatening, like orthopedics.”

    AHEM, READ what the Canadian Supreme Court said, as reported widely in the Canadian press:

    “Given the prohibition, most Quebeckers have no choice but to accept any delays in the public health regime and the consequences this entails,” the court said. “THE EVIDENCE IN THIS CASE SHOWS that delays in the public health care system are widespread and THAT IN SOME SERIOUS CASES, PATIENTS DIE AS A RESULT OF WAITING FOR PUBLIC HEALTH CARE.” [emphasis in CAPITALS added]

    I’m only repeating what the Canadian (apparently your) Judicial system has documented–that people die waiting for health care.

    But your perspective highlights another insidious aspect of what some here in the US refer to as “Nanny State” governmental control: When government power becomes so close to being absolute, the government lies to the people (and there’s not much recorse for them to do about that). The lies are pleasant falsehoods one likes to believe — like people really aren’t dying waiting its “only” some orthopedic cases.

    The ugly fact is, that’s simply untrue by virtue of being an incomplete assertion. A partial truth that creates a distortion or false understanding is, since ancient Roman days, and in most countries, a “lie” (by omission). Its the courtroom oath: “…the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth…”

    It appears you’re a victim of a lying government with complicit media — lying by leaving out significant facts to present an incomplete truth that’s really a falsehood.

    Its that sort of thing (and more associated with this recent health care bill) we in the US want to avoid.

  29. sylvain,

    It is difficult to take any economic argument seriously from someone who states, with an apparently straight face, “The real outrage is that it is Bush’s tax cut that put the American deficit sky high.”

  30. Bush ran up the deficit to fight the War on Terrorism. We were forced to kill terrorists worldwide because they persisted in attacking us repeatedly. We had to fortify our borders because countries like Canada were entry points for mad bombers coming to murder Americans.

    Even so, Obama matched Bush’s 8 years of deficit spending in his first year. By the time Obama finishes his 4-year one-time term as America’s first and only Maoist president, he will have quadrupled the national dept and forced the U.S. into runaway inflation. We will no longer be able to carry socialist countries like Canada on our backs.

    N.B. — Canada sells cheap pharmaceuticals that were developed in the U.S. at our huge expense. Canada is big on stealing patents and producing knock-offs. They learned how to do that from their good buddies in Communist China. Canada is a leach state, a drain on our Treasury, and a terrorist safe haven.

  31. PJ

    It is difficult to take any economic argument seriously from someone who states, with an apparently straight face, “The real outrage is that it is Bush’s tax cut that put the American deficit sky high.”

    Really? Blaming a deficit on an administration that cut taxes and raised expenditures stretches the bounds of credibility for you, but the notion that marginally higher regulation of health insurance companies, and tax on health insurance plans, and individual mandates combined subsidies somehow constitutes a sinister conspiracy to enslave the American people and usher in one-party rule is a perfectly reasonable extrapolation?

    You are insightful and correct about a great deal Mr. Briggs, but next time you pay a visit to the Grand Old Party, I’d advise that you keep away from the Kool-Aid keg. It seems the electoral defeat has had your comrades tapping it with an unhealthy enthusiasm and the overindulgence in apocalyptic fantasy has the regrettable side-effects including, but not limited to paranoia, schizophrenia, and other forms of complete madness.

  32. Yooper Paul

    Hate to tell ya’ PJ, but during the Bush years the Govt’s tax income broke all the records. Yes, when you tax people less, they produce more, paying more in taxes. Really quite simple and proven. What we will see now with higher taxes and mandates is an eventual decrease in tax receipts and chronic uneployment of 7-10%. Ask Europe.

  33. Nizialek

    Ah, PJ, what a great argument. Labeling those with whom you disagree as mad, paranoid, schizophrenics. Accusing them of drinking the infamous poisoned Kool-Aid and over indulging in apocalyptic fantasy. Setting up and knocking down the straw man of a “sinister conspiracy.” Wow. You’ve convinced me. Ms. Pelosi’s health “insurance” reform is the greatest thing to happen to the USA since the Emancipation Proclamation. You’ve totally changed my mind on this issue. Thanks for your insight.

  34. dcardno

    We had to fortify our borders because countries like Canada were entry points for mad bombers coming to murder Americans.
    Ri-ight. Just like you had to introduce entry controls for Floridians to prevent the entry of gradutates of the “I don’t need to land” flight school.

    Canada is a leach state, a drain on our Treasury, and a terrorist safe haven.
    Ted Kaczynski and Tim McVeigh were secret Canadians? So far, there has been ONE known attempt at terrorist infiltration from Canada into the US – Ahmed Ressam, who was caught at the border (well before you screwed up your points of entry in the wake of 9-11, I might add). Aside from your home-grown problems, most attacks have been carried out by Saudi nationals – you might be better off if you didn’t rely on The West Wing as a primary news source.

  35. PJ

    Surely someone who reads this blog should know better than to make such a simplistic correlational argument Yooper.
    First of all, the Laffer curve idea you’re peddling has no basis in empirical evidence. Notice how the change in top marginal tax rate has no discernible effect on the rate of increase in tax growth? Revenue is dependent on what kind of taxes you have, no advanced industrial country has tax incidences anywhere near the point where increasing taxes decreases revenue. The high point of revenue you’re talking about was only true for one year (2007, to be exact) and it dropped like a stone immediately after and the increase in revenue was fueled by an increase in income due to an unsustainable housing bubble. Hardly anything worth bragging about since it was destined to get us more in debt over the long run. And it doesn’t say anything to address the fact that they still raised expenditures with no actual capital investments to show for it. Instead we overpaid on a medicare prescription drug program that doesn’t actually employ the one cost control mechanism we could have had (negotiating lower prices) because bargain hunting apparently constitutes “socialism!” Then we passed a No Child Left Behind act that instituted overly bureaucratic “standards” based evaluations that just cost more money for doing nothing but encouraging teachers to cheat. And finally, we went to war TWICE without actually having any way of raising revenue for said wars. Boneheaded policy decision after boneheaded policy decision.

    And then you go on to say that increasing taxes to the level they were in the mid 1990s will somehow engender European levels of unemployment even though our economy was at full employment the entire time our tax-rates were set there? My 5 year old could tell you this makes no sense. It is exactly the kind of overzealous apocalyptic absurdity that has led the GOP to become the rump party that’s more interested in shouting from a soapbox than actually governing competently. Normally I wouldn’t mind but for the fact that this inanity drove our country into a ditch already and is actively sabotaging our attempts to dig ourselves out by raising an alarm about Bolshevik takeover any time any Democrat in power so much as takes a breath.

  36. PJ,

    The deficit during most of Bush’s terms was not “sky high.” Certainly not compared to today. Have you looked at the deficit lately? Have you looked at the projections lately?

    I agree that the Medicare drug benefit shouldn’t have happened, but paying for wars isn’t such a big deal. At least participating in them is in the Constitution. Plus, they end eventually, unlike entitlements. Anyways, to paraphrase, you go to war with the economy you have. Why do we never look for other expenditures to cut?

    It might be true that no one is going over the edge Laffer-curve wise, but would you argue that raising taxes is good for say, growing the economy and expanding jobs? So, can you tell us whether 19% of a bigger number is a bigger number? Or did you have a different point.

    The 1990s you say? So we should try for an unsustainable internet/tech bubble instead of a real estate bubble? I find your ideas fascinating, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    I often hear that the GOP has “driven the country into a ditch,” but never anything reasonable to back that up. It’s an assertion that apparently never needs to be proven, and usually says more about the person claiming it than it does about recent history.

  37. sylvain

    Mike D,

    Woooa, you are way off man. None of the 9/11 high-jacker came through Canada. Only one would be bomber tried to get to the USA through Canada was caught at the frontier. His target was the LAX airport.

    Bush and Cheney did a lot more than any other administration to reduce civil liberty in the US.

    The point of entry for mad bomber is within the US itself. Besides terrorist are doing a much worst job at killing american than american do. The number of american killed by gun in the US each year is 5 to 6 time higher than the number of dead in the 9/11 attack. The number of murder by gun in one large city is larger than the total for entire Canada.

    The black market for gun in Canada originate from the USA. This make Canada the 2nd worst in the domain of fire arm murder.

    Sorry, but you should get your information from other sources than FOXNEWS.

  38. sylvain


    You misunderstood what the judgment really is about. The argument of Chaouli was that people should have the choice to access private care, which back then was not permitted. The possibility of dying on waiting list was put forward. The reality is that such things are really extraordinary.

    Emergency cases are operated urgently, non emergency cases goes on waiting list that should no be longer than 6 months. Keep in mind that the entire population is covered. Sometimes it happens that there are more cases for certain surgery than usual, which can delay some of the surgery.

    If you want to compare with the US, how many can’t afford the surgery that some canadian may have to wait 6 months when not urgent, is it 1/6, among them how many died because they couldn’t afford the surgery.

    Hospital in the US are forced to treat emergency cases, but they are not forced to make surgery such has valve replacement, or try to cure cancer.

    My Grandfather died in the 50s from a congenital heart problem which was commonly solve by a surgery that he couldn’t afford. If he had been able to survive till the 60s, he would have had the surgery.

    The argument that people die on waiting list is just as absurd as the argument that 4×4 are unsafe because they flip over. The reality is that fewer people die in collision when they are in 4×4, the same goes for waiting list. Fewer people die because of the waiting than the number of people who die for lack of insurance.

  39. sylvain

    Matt, (I think you are not Briggs)

    When Bush took power there were surplus, after the 2001 tax cut there was a deficit. In 2003, even higher tax cut were given, combine with the useless Iraq war, the deficit went still deeper.

    Obama took power in 2009 after the Bush’s let the economic situation grow to the worst economic crisis since 1929. And now you blame a democrat for the deficit. Common man, you know better than that.

  40. Soren

    As a foreigner it is strange for me to se a very reasonable man like mr Briggs, complain that a majority in both houses, an the sitting president are not allowed to pass legislation?

    I don’t know if you noticed but there was an election not so long ago, where the democrats won fair and square. Since the US is a representative democracy, this gives the few people in government the right to pass legislation.

    You don’t like it, then campaign against it, and campaign for people and parties that support you agenda. But it seems childish to be angry that the democrats use the power granted to them by the American people.

  41. sylvain,

    You are correct, at least, that I’m not Briggs. 🙂

    First, the surplus was the result of a Democratic president and Republican Congress. A Republican Congress that hadn’t totally forgotten how they’d won their majority. Right at the end of that run, however, the country went into a recession, which always results in deficits increasing. The 9/11 attacks deepened the recession, and of course there was increased spending as a result of the military activity that followed.

    Bush’s deficits were pretty tame, historically, and tended to come in under projections, once the tax cuts were in effect. This was because the economy started growing again, helped along by those same tax cuts.

    “After the Bush’s let the economic situation grow to the worst economic crisis since 1929” is a super simplification of what happened, not to mention at least partially incorrect. I’d agree with Bush’s culpability as far as pushing for a weak dollar and loose money. But there were many things at work, some of which went back almost 30 years. You’d have to include factors such as Barney “Roll the Dice” Frank, who stymied Bush’s efforts to rein in Fannie and Freddie. The recession was actually pretty similar to other recessions since 1929.

    In any case, the Obama reaction to it has been pretty much similar to that of Herbert Hoover: raise taxes, increase protectionism. Obama took what was going to be a one time spike in the deficit (TARP) and made it permanent. After large hikes in discretionary spending, the Democrat says he’s going to freeze a small part of it (AKA, closing the door after the horse has left). And now he wants to add to the already budget-disaster entitlements with another one.

    Please, there is a limit to how much anyone can blame Bush. That ship sailed long ago.


    It’s true the Democrats have majorities and the Presidency. However, similar large programs that will cause such a huge change have typically been widely popular and had broad support from both parties. Our two big entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare both followed this pattern. The current health insurance reform is widely unpopular, and is only partially supported by one party.

    Elections are complex things, though the results are basically binary. And recent ones have been sending messages that those in power should slow down. Two of those elections were in Democratic strongholds of New Jersey and Massachusetts! The seat formerly held by the party’s champion of a health care takeover was won by the opposition. While the rest of them still hold their seats, does that really sound like they’re still representing the country?

    In any case, it’s not at all clear that they’re using the power that was granted to them. In theory, at least, the US government is one of enumerated powers, even though it has become increasingly difficult to find or even rationalize those enumerations.

  42. kdk33


    “that should no be longer than 6 months. ”

    Good heavens! That is a long wait. That’s rationing.

    The vast majority of Americans have health insurance, hence access to the best health care in the world. Those without insurance still get healthcare, though of a lesser quality – they might have to wait 6 months.

    BTW, at BHO state-of-the-union, he asserted 35MM americans did not have insurance. Factor in the willfully uninsured (mostly young), and the temporarily uninsured (in between jobs) and that is less than 10% of the population. By his own numbers.

    And even without insurance, nobody in this country goes without health care (even illegals). Show up at the emergency room, and you will be treated.

  43. Yooper Paul

    PJ you’re just flat out wrong. Very little else needs to be said. The willful ignorance of the left always astounds me. We have reams of evidence that lower taxes leads to greater gov’t income and more productivity,yet y’all are all about redistiribution and shared misery. I’m astounded at your ignorance.

  44. Ken

    From: Fischer, Ken
    Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 10:24 AM
    To: Fischer, Ken
    Subject: Medical

    RE: Sylvan’s remark: “The argument of Chaouli [Canadian Supreme Court case] was that people should have the choice to access private care, which back then was not permitted. The possibility of dying on waiting list was put forward. The reality is that such things are really extraordinary.”

    REPLY: Quebec was forced by the Canadian Supreme Court to allow its residents to obtain private insurance because the government was deemed to have failed in its duty to provide sufficient health care services. One indicator of that were excessive deaths. Those deaths are facts on record in the Court’s decision. Perhaps, in Sylvan’s view, a few “extraordinary” –but nevertheless preventable–deaths are an acceptable price. That aside, bear in mind that along with those avoidable deaths are the numerous numbers of people that suffer enormously due to degenerative conditions like arthritic hips…and who, because of age, may never be given the prosthetic they need. Their wait time on the Canadian waiting lists is, for practical purposes, eternal.

    If the State-Run monopoly on health care is so good in Canada then why does the country have “medical brokers”–a profession that, currently, does not exist in the US and countries with public health care? See: http://www.timelymedical.ca/

    The mere existance of such a specialty service indicates a problem.

    The Timely Medical Alternatives website has statistics summarizing the wait times for things like hip replacements & so forth in Canada. See: http://www.timelymedical.ca/waitlist-public-versus-private.html for a summary of major wait time averages. See: http://www.timelymedical.ca/waitlist.html for a province-by-province tally.

    Quebec was/is not the only Canadian province with significant problems, Ontario is being sued for allowing people to wait & die (Note that dead people don’t consume costly medical services, so the state in such a totalitarian system has a perverse incentive to delay or withhold care to those elderly that don’t pay taxes but consume benefits):

    Video story at: http://www.onthefencefilms.com/video/brainsurgery.html



    Technically — with the proper definition of “technically” in this context — what the above shows conclusively is that Canada rations health care. As a result of that rationing, people die that otherwise wouldn’t die, and, many many more people suffer in severe pain and significantly degraded quality of life. All avoidably.

    Such is the “care” a “nanny state” provides to its citizens who not only give up thier initiative to take care of themselves…but also allow the state to legislate that they must forfeit their right to take care of themselves. In Canada, say the Province of Ontario, if a citizen pays out of their savings to get private medical care from any provider there, that citizen is committing a crime.

    To many, if not most, of us in the US such a choice & perspective is bizarrely incomprehensible. Even perverse.

    The net effect of the so-called redistribution in the name of “fairness” does (i.e. socialism or communism), whether for medical care or overall economic properity is to not only reduce an unequal distribution of wealth but to increase the distribution of a general level of misery.

    It sure looks good on paper & philosophically, but we humans have NEVER been able to pull it off effectively for any sustained period of time. For all its flaws, and there are many, free enterprise capitalism remains the most effective & productive system ever devised in the recorded history of the world; see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWsx1X8PV_A .

  45. sylvain


    I said before between a system entirely private or entirely public, I chose the public one because no one needs to die because he can’t afford a simple surgery. And no one has to lose everything after receiving health care either.

    That being said the perfect system doesn’t exist. Since the best thing are rarely either black or white, a mix between private and public is probably the best that can be achieve. I don’t have problem with the presence of private care. I have a problem with 15% of the population who don’t have any coverage.

    In the US the system is great if you are either lucky enough to be rich, or if you work for one of the blue chip company, like GM. Notice that GM needed to be saved by public money because they can’t compete because of their healthcare charge. Wasn’t it something like 6000$ per cars, to only cover healthcare.

    Yes, Health care systems around the world have problems. They are all trying to fix it but none is worst than the US when all the population is taken into account. Québec also has its problem. But if you look at any poll you will see that the majority, about 75%, prefer our system, even though there is some lack in it, compared to the USA.

    I wouldn’t compare the level of misery in the USA and Canada.

    I know that following the judgment in the Chaouli case many provinces decided to use the deregulatory rule permitted in the constitution. I don’t support what Ontario did. People should have the liberty to chose private healthcare.

    But in the USA, it is not the choice between public or private healthcare. Although some people chose to not buy insurance, many that wish to have insurance can’t because they have a pre-condition. I understand that an insurance company who is there to make profit doesn’t want to insure those people.

    Can you explain where is this person liberty to chose? Anyone who has the bad luck to have a congenital defect can’t get insured. Where is his freedom, is choices?

  46. sylvain


    Show up in an emergency room with the need for a cardiac surgery, they will treat the symptom, but they will not perform the necessary surgery. They will then billed you, and if you have anything of value you will lose it.

    Show up in an emergency room in Canada, you will also be treated and unless you are an illegal or an uninsured traveler you will have your heart surgery within 24h.

    If 6 months is long, how long is the wait for a hip surgery for someone that can’t afford healthcare or is uninsured?

  47. sylvain,

    I think you misunderstand the concept of insurance (along with perhaps most of America, at least when it comes to health care). It’s not that they simply choose not to “insure” those people, it’s that they cannot do so and expect to remain in business.

    This area is where there is perhaps a role for government, but not in forcing private parties to take these losses. The only thing that can possibly happen if government outlaws discrimination based on pre-existing conditions is that rates go up for everyone. Which leads to price controls, which leads to private parties leaving the market.

    The solution is not simple, but the logical conclusion is that the payment by 3rd parties leads to shortages and rationing, just as currently exist in, to pick a place, Canada. Of course, it won’t be just us that suffer, as the rest of the world will no longer be able to free ride on the current medical innovation coming from and paid for by the US. You can’t demand discounts or steal the patents on things that never existed!

  48. sylvain


    At first, the public option was covering those people, but republicans and some democrats said no. Hence, now there is no public option but the insurance industry can’t refuse anyone. I guess you can thank the party of no on everything.

  49. sylvain,

    That really wasn’t the purpose of the “public option.” The status quo is far superior to the law just passed and the modifications being debated in the Senate. In any case, it was the Democrats themselves who sank the public option back when they still had a super-majority in the Senate.

  50. Soren


    Obama has lowered taxes. Please get your facts right.

  51. sylvain


    Do you or can you afford insurance, if yes, I guess that you wouldn’t be bother by the statue quo.

    But for the millions of people statue quo didn’t do anything to help them. A public optio which would have offer insurance to people with pre-condition and offer alternative to private insurance was the best bet.

  52. Soren,

    Do you mean like how he raised the “regressive” cigarette tax? Or the tax hikes for Obamacare? The whole game with the CBO scam was to raise taxes from the start, but only start paying out later.


    I’m certainly bothered by the status quo. But I haven’t fallen into the typical politician’s trap of, “We must do something! My plan is something. We must enact my plan!”

    The existing status quo obviously doesn’t improve their situation from the…status quo. But if Obamacare is enacted it will certainly hurt the insured. And it’s likely to keep the economy from recovering for longer, or at least recovering at a slower rate. So many who cannot currently afford insurance, but could if they could find a job, will not find that job. Or will lose a job they already have.

    On the surface, your idea sounds a lot better than what was just done. I’d have to know more details before I could really say any more. But there’s a lot that can be done about health costs short of a government take over. A really short list: allow purchase of insurance across state lines, tort reform (though this is mostly up to the states), extend the tax break to individuals purchasing insurance.

    In Massachusetts we have a preview of Obamacare-light, and it ain’t pretty. Remember, that’s the state that elected a Senator who explicitly promised to be the vote to kill Obamacare.

  53. Colin

    “No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed.” Check this link out.

    http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo by David Frum.

    “I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. “

  54. Sylvain,

    It must be exciting for you to participate in a conversation in a free country, where you won’t get arrested for speaking your mind, unlike Canookistan, where you must live in fear of the Thought Police.

    Tell you what, if you want to change some national policies, try doing it in your own slave state. See how long you stay out of jail.

    But that’s not your style. You shoot barbs from across the border at a free country, or one that used to be free, no thanks to collectivists like you, who seek to enslave the masses and trample human rights.

    You’re correct, Colin. It was the bleating of the Sheeple that messed up the “dialog” and caused our Leaders to lead us over a cliff. Darn those bleating Sheeple. Why don’t they put a sock in it and act more like Canooks, servile and silent, knowing their place as door mats.

    Howl about the howling. Don’t talk about the substance. We need a more civil society, one that bends to the will of our fearless leaders instead of attempting to exercise what little shreds of freedom we have left. Get out the bull whips. Start on the childen.

  55. Soren

    Some thin scin there Mike

    A good thing you are staying in your moms basement, so the sun don’t hurt you.

    For your information most Western Countries (the US excluded) have nationalized health care, and they have freedom of speech, with no enslavement of the masses or trampling of human rights. And speaking of trampling human rights neither the present, nor the former president can hold any claim of respect for human rights, does no access to a fair trial, torture, rendition etc. ring a bell?

    Its frankly startling to see that a large minority of the US, the republicans, being so irrational, as have been shown in the debate about health care.

  56. I came across an interesting article titled Health Care and the Profit Motive, which addresses some of the issues discussed here.


    I suspect (though can’t prove) that most western countries don’t have freedom of speech the way the US does. Consider the examples of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant (Canada), Geert Wilders (Netherlands, UK). Of course, these aren’t exhaustive, and maybe the laws there are not representative. Though lawmakers have passed ridiculous “hate crime” laws, there is still nothing illegal about so-called “hate speech.” Opinions are still OK, and truth is always a defense against slander/libel claims.

    Take a look at the article I just linked to, and you’ll get a picture of why the Republican position isn’t irrational. Also, hint, it’s a lot more than “Republican.” Something like 40% of Democrats are against Obamacare, to say nothing of the Independents.

    Scarcity is still scarcity, no matter what sort of law is passed by the Canutes in Washington. And the type of nationalization done by this law, or as demonstrated by, e.g., Canada or the UK lead to outcomes that really aren’t acceptable to most people in the US right now. I suppose if you give us enough time, we’ll acquiesce and won’t object to being as dependent upon the state as the rest of you.

    It’s easy to take wartime activities out of context (illegal combatants, etc), but if you don’t believe that the US does more for human rights than anyone else, you’re just kidding yourself. Well, we used to, anyways. The current administration seems to prefer to pander and appease the world’s human rights offenders these days.

  57. sylvain

    Mike D.

    Canada has very little to learn about liberty and free speech from the USA.

    The USA are probably one of the worst example in both category.

  58. sylvain,

    Liberty is rather vague, but free speech seems pretty specific. I’d be interested in your argument about the USA being a terrible example as far as liberty is concerned (I certainly don’t think we’re perfect, and the recent health insurance debacle is a great example, of course), but I can’t imagine you can credibly make a case that the US is among the worst as far as free speech goes.

  59. sylvain


    I’ll admit that the tone of Mike D lead state a position stronger. There is little difference between free speech in Canada and the USA.

    Maybe the largest difference reside in heinous speech or incitation to violence, which is illegal in Canada, but the burden of proof makes it hard to prosecute. Defamation speech can be taken to court and is easier to prove, but the amount awarded are much lower than in US court.

  60. sylvain

    Sorry, the aggressive tone of Mike D lead me to state

    Instead of:

    the tone of Mike D lead state

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