Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kowalko strikes HB 392--apparently the public dialogue wasn't going quite the way he anticipated

From Delaware Politics:
Legislation that would create a single-payer healthcare system in Delaware was stricken this week after opponents misinterpreted the intent behind the filing of the legislation.When House Bill 392 was filed earlier this month, lead sponsor Rep. John Kowalko said that he had no intention of moving forward with the legislation, but simply wanted to start a public dialogue on the issue. Opponents believed that the bill was being rushed through the General Assembly, even after House Majority Leader Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf – who helps set the agenda – stated publicly that the bill would not be worked this year. To quell these concerns, Rep. Kowalko struck HB 392, which means that the legislation no longer exists and cannot be revisited. The legislative session ends on June 30, at which point no new legislation can be introduced.
Part of the "public dialogue" that Representatives Kowalko and Earl Jaques, along with Insurance Commissioner candidate Mitch Crane were so interested in having did not go quite as planned.

Jaques was embarrassed when he could not produce the calculations to prove that the bill's funding mechanism would actually raise the necessary funds, and there is still an outstanding FOIA request to the Secretary of Finance to see if Kowalko and Jaques ever actually had a feasibility study done.  There was also the point that Jaques immediately started backtracking by assuring his senior constituents that he would let them keep their own insurance.

Kowalko wasn't happy about the fact that he was called on the fact that this was really a very old bill recycled for grandstanding purposes, as well as his use of an identical tactic to help elect Karen Weldin Stewart in 2008, and became so intemperate with critics that he started referring to them as "inbreds."

Meanwhile, Mitch Crane, the only person to support the bill who is actually running for office with real opponents, first supported HB 392, then within a day said he wasn't even sure that Delaware was large enough to support a standalone system, or that we should even attempt such a plan before seeing what Vermont does in 2014 or 2017.

With the striking of the bill, Mitch has now conveniently scrubbed his candidate website of all references to single-payer health insurance in Delaware.

It's almost as if the whole mess never happened, isn't it?  Or, alternatively, it's almost as if this was an abortive attempt to give Mitch Crane something to run on . . . .

A final point worth remembering:  it was Libertarians this time around, not the GOPers who had barely even read the bill, who set this chain of events into motion.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Campaign quick hits for Friday

1.  Chuck Muth of Citizen Outreach reprises what we know here as the "Dondero strategy" of supporting Gary Johnson only in deep blue states and calling on Libertarians to do "vote-swapping" everywhere else.  This is a strategy born of desperation on the part of Romney supporters, who are now beginning to realize that (A) the LP has actually nominated a credible candidate who is running a real campaign; (B) that the "wasted vote" or "spoiler effect" argument is rapidly losing credibility with disenfranchised independents; and (C) Gary Johnson has the potential to tilt the election in wildly unpredictable ways.  So Chuck pats Libertarians on the head and tells them to be good negroes who have now been emancipated but should not actually expect things to be any different.

2.  More realistically, Art Carden at Forbes explains that the only way to waste your vote is not to vote for the candidate you believe in, regardless of what you are told about his or her chances.  Statistically speaking, even in Florida in 2000, one vote or a dozen votes or six dozen votes are not decisive.  Voting for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein won't make Barack Obama or Mitt Romney win or lose the election; it will contribute to a wider, more participatory democracy.

3.  Lane Filler at Newsday shares much of Carden's view:  Libertarians have to quit accepting the idea that they owe anything to either of the two big parties.  Take a lesson from Ron Paul and use the existing party structure for yourself  in guerilla fashion, but don't vote for them.

4.  Jill Stein, presumptive Green Party nominee, thinks the Affordable Care Act is actually class warfare and wants to dump it.  Yes, Dr. Stein believes in Medicare for All as the way to go, but it is certainly nice to see a principled progressive willing to call a dressed up pig a rump roast.

5.  Massachusetts polling numbers from PPP:  Obama 53%, Romney 38%, Undecided 4%, Stein 3%, Johnson 1%.  Hardly surprising a Libertarian is not doing well in Massachusetts.  Time for George Phillies to get to work.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lakoff's NEWspeak: Framing as the alternative to history

George Lakoff:  making up
history one counterfactual
at a time
George Lakoff should be celebrated as the Father of Progressive NEWspeak.  His conscious, cynical, and largely successful attempts to use "framing" to make facts and history irrelevant in political discourse have been credited by many as faciliating Barack Obama's original victory in 2008.

In rare moments of candor, Lakoff's naked preference for political victory at any cost shows through. Take, for example, his earnest seeming defense of trial lawyers against the very idea of tort reform:
Another multifaceted conservative strategic initiative is "tort reform," which has been made to sound like it is just about capping large damage awards and lawyers' fees. It is really a destruction of the civil justice system's capacity to deter corporations from acts that harm the public, since it is the lawyers' fees that permit the system to function.
Ah, very principled, isn't it?  At least until you add the dreadfully (and accidentally) honest last sentence to the paragraph:
Moreover, if successful, it will also dry up one of the major sources of campaign finance for progressive candidates, which comes from trial lawyers.
Lately, Lakoff has been building on his rather remarkable idea of THE PUBLIC in an attempt to invert the role of the State (which is really what THE PUBLIC is) and the individual (either as citizen or entrepreneur), with this wonderful mantra:

Perhaps the most important omission from the Obama speech was any overt mention of The Public -- everything that our citizenry as a whole provides to all, e.g., roads, bridges, infrastructure, education, protection, a health system, and systems for communication, energy development and supply, and so on. The Private -- private life and private enterprise -- depends on The Public. There is no economic freedom without all of this. So-called "free enterprise" is not free. A free market economy depends on a strong Public. This is a deep truth, easy to recognize. It undercuts Romney's central pitch, that is it private enterprise alone that has made our country great, and that as much as possible of The Public should be eliminated.
Romney calls free enterprise "one of the greatest forces of good this world has ever known." In reality, American free enterprise has always required The Public.

Savor those embedded memes:

"The Private--private life and private enterprise--depends on the The Public."
"In reality, American free enterprise has always required The Public."
They'd be remarkable and even more powerful ideas if they were true.

They'd also be less seductive if Lakoff didn't just brush blithely past the long history of the mis-use of coercive power by THE PUBLIC aka THE STATE, and completely misunderstand from which era in American history the concept derives.

Let's unpack that just a little, going all the way back to the beginning:

It's amazing what you can discover about yourself . . .

. . . like the fact I, and other left-libertarians, are 100% responsible for the Supreme Court decision today on the individual mandate.

A failing grade for President Obama on public education

Not me:  Kristin Rawls on Alternet.

Important reading, because this also lays out Delaware's place in the national scheme of failed education reforms from the Obama administration.

If anyone can support the President's education record after reading this, they flunk reading comprehension.

Libertarian Responses to SCOTUS ruling on health care

From Governor Gary Johnson:

“It has been clear for a while that we need a new President and a new Congress. Now it appears we need a new Supreme Court.
“Whether the Court chooses to call the individual mandate a tax or anything else, allowing it to stand is a truly disturbing decision. The idea that government can require an individual to buy something simply because that individual exists and breathes in America is an incredible blow to the bedrock principles of freedom and liberty. It must be repealed, and Congress needs to get about doing so today.
“There is one thing we know about health care. Government cannot create a system that will reduce costs while increasing access. Only competition and the price transparency that competition will bring can accomplish the imperatives of affordability and availability. Whether it is the President’s plan or the Republican prescription drug benefit, the idea that anyone in Washington can somehow manage one of the most essential and substantial parts of both our quality of life and the economy is, and always has been, fundamentally wrong.
“We can never know how many Americans are out of work today because of the uncertainty the monstrous health care law has caused. The Court has done nothing to remove that burden.
“Nothing about today’s decision changes the basic reality that it is impossible to eliminate deficit spending and remove the smothering consequences of federal debt without dramatically reducing the costs of Medicare and Medicaid. And neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have given the slightest hint of willingness to do so.”

From the Libertarian Party:

Supreme Court Obamacare Decision Highlights Why a President Romney Would be More Dangerous than President Obama
A President Mitt Romney would not undo ObamaCare. He’d make it permanent.
The Supreme Court Ruling on ObamaCare does not matter. It will make little difference to America in the short run, and no difference in the long run.
Why? Because almost all elected Republicans and Democrats are Big Government politicians – in all things – including health care. After this Supreme Court decision, they will get back to work expanding government involvement in all things – especially health care.
One thing could make things worse. Electing Republican Mitt Romney President.

This is officially nuts . . . .

. . . you DO NOT create hypothetical execution scenarios for your political opponents, no matter what your cause.

To do so pretty much removes all credibility (or sanity) to which you could reasonably pretend.

That said, this particular article--no matter how whackey--is NOT sedition and the author should NOT be in danger of arrest because of the very narrow margin between a hypothetical and a threat.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A question that appears in even Democratic Underground . . .

Why are the parents of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry any less deserving of a complete accounting of the death of their son, and the government's potential involvement in a cover-up than were the parents of Pat Tillman?

Yes, the contempt citation is at least partly politically motivated.  What isn't, these days?

But that doesn't change the underlying question:  don't Brian Terry's parents deserve to know completely about the government's potential role in their son's death?

And in yet another blatant attempt to blame Libertarians for something they don't believe . . . .

First, The Street sets up the premise--a corporation that has done illegal things:
Reuters probe found that under the brilliant leadership of its CEO, Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake plotted with its top competitor, Canada's Encana Corp., to avoid bidding against each other, thereby suppressing the prices of land they wished to lease.
Then, The Street blames "Libertarian orthodoxy" for this horrible situation:

The recent travails of Chesapeake Energy and an unrelated but, in its own way, equally hideous company, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters(GMCR_), are the best examples I can find of how the market is simply not equipped to deal with corporate malfeasance, libertarian orthodoxy notwithstanding.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Chesapeake don't seem to have much in common. But each has exhibited a collective character flaw that no billion-dollar market cap penalties can even begin to correct. They are the kind of companies for which regulation -- and perhaps law enforcement -- is the only answer.

Here is a wonderful example of the "never let facts get in the way of a good meme or narrative" strategy.

(Challenge to Gary Weiss, author of this travesty:  explain how Libertarian orthodoxy that specifically makes the extinguishing of force and fraud a governmental responsibility is somehow responsible for this mess.)

Conspiring to drive prices down by rigged bidding is not only illegal, it is fraud.  One of the main premises under Libertarianism is that the government does have a major role to play against people or businesses or corporations that engage in the use of fraud or force (I prefer "coercion" myself) against others.

But the flavor of the year is to attack Libertarians as responsible for every societal ill that can be generated, even though it is important to point out that it was a private company (Reuters) investigating the case based on free market incentives (Pulitzers, perhaps, for the journalists and more advertising revenue and enhanced reputation for the news outlet) that broke this case open.

Possibly that's because our own Justice Department was too busy supplying illegal weapons for the Mexican drug trade to notice what was happening.

Not voting to re-elect President Obama means that you are a racist

It's true!  People who know much more about these things than the average American have told me.

All my reasons for not supporting Mr. Obama--from his disdain for civil liberties and the rule of law, to his insistence on gaining the power of indefinite detention of American citizens or to execute individual American citizens (and whoever might be standing next to them at the moment) without due process or independent review . . . all of those concerns mask the fact that I am a racist.

Unlike the self-aggrandizing pseudo-intellectuals who make these amazing statements, I can acknowledge that racism does play a part in political decisions for some folks, even in terms of their casting their vote for President.

Unlike the intellectually dishonest and hopelessly vapid folks who consider themselves qualified to tell you exactly how to run your life (no gambling in bars you low-lifes), I can also observe that they have continually played the race card for the past four years to cover up the failures of an administration with such bloody hands that even Jimmy Carter has disowned it.

But wait--Jimmy Carter is a white Southerner--and so he is a racist.

Damn, the critics were right after all.

Quick hits: the political realm we inhabit is filled with strange ideas

1.  David Brock, in NYT, attributes most of our problems not to our leaders, but to the "fact" that we don't follow them well enough, and that we are uppity enough to think we should be allowed to criticize them.

2.  Sasha Issenberg, at The Atlantic, thinks that we can solve our problem of low voter turn-out by eliminating secret ballots (I do know that worked for decades in Eastern Europe) and by shaming people who don't vote by threatening to publish their names.  Astoundingly, she stops short of demanding the Australian ballot, even though she thinks voting is not a personal choice but a mandatory social obligation.

3.  Gene Healy at the Examiner points out that the Obama administration (despite all boasting to the contrary) is effectively the least transparent presidential administrations in American history.  Among his examples, he points out one major instance in which the government has refused to tell the public how it intends to interpret Section 215 of the Patriot Act.  Is ignorance of the law an excuse when the government won't tell you what's illegal?

4. covers the fact that Mitt Romney is quietly moving to eliminate as many Ron Paul delegates from the Tampa convention as possible via loyalty oaths and affadavits.  Eric Golub at the Washington Post (whose photo, strangely, shows him yawning) is OK with the elimination of those Ron Paul supporters because he doesn't think they are Republicans.  Apparently, Eric never got the liberal talking points instruction that libertarians are always to be considered disguised Republicans.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Had Al Gore won the Election of 2000, we'd all have gotten a pony

At least that's what is currently being argued on a remarkable Tuesday Open Thread at Delawareliberal.

Using a wonderful counterfactual chart by Bruce Bartlett that argues that we would have a $5.6 Trillion surplus now if Al Gore had won the Election of 2000, DelDem goes on to argue that
I believe under a President Gore, 9/11 never happens.
Which then socialistic ben takes to its logical (?) extreme, first arguing Trutherism
it was ALLOWED to happen under Bush.
And then (according to many commenters there) apparently veering into racism. . . .
With President Gore, there would have been no President Obama
It goes without saying that with President Gore there also would be no global warming and no insensitive rap lyrics (Tipper would not have allowed that), and that we would now be awaiting (or just on the other side of) the rapture.

For those who are not particularly religious, replace "rapture" in previous sentence with "Age of Aquarius."

Because I think it's not good for you, nobody should be able to do it . . . ever

The current nanny-state-panties-in-a-twist unloading on how awful it is for the Delaware General Assembly to consider legislaton making online gambling legal is both amusing . . . and expected.

Here's El Somnabulo:
They will also leave Dover with yet another revenue source: more dollars via degenerate gamblers thanks to the so-called online gaming bill. This is a particularly odious example of the Delaware Way. Provisions have been put into the bill to ensure that the racinos and the mom-and-pop stores that sell the lottery tickets don’t get screwed, but no such provision for the compulsive gamblers who will help fill the state’s coffers. No fiscal note is even required for this bill, which makes little sense to me. Neither a projection of costs to implement the system, nor a revenues projection? Really? Hey, they don’t want you to know how much they expect to squeeze out of (in-state only) degenerate gamblers. Because they’re ‘humane’ public officials, no doubt they’ll toss an extra $50K or so at compulsive gambling programs a couple of years down the road. Truly a pathetic way to raise revenue at the expense of compulsive gamblers.
And likewise whining commenter Anon:
The gaming bill is the worst case scenario for families in Delaware. Not only does this bill bring gambling right into neighborhoods by turning local bars and restaurants into gambling spots, it goes a step beyond that by bring gambling right into people’s houses through the internet.
Anyone willing to wager that the fine people of Greenville will get more greenspace this session while the rest of us will get beaten outside of a local sports bar for $5? 
The first observation is that there is NO consideration of the fact that many (indeed most) afficionados of sports betting and online gambling do so responsibly, and there are multiple very responsible betting sites available (from Europe, where all social experiments are supposed to be things we want to emulate).

Nor is there a consideration that people who compulsively gamble will find ways to do so anyway, legally or illegally, or will engage in other self-destructive behavior.

My greatest amusement is that Anon actually appears to think that there is currently no gambling going on in bars in Delaware (or anywhere else).

But I guess the most important take-away from this whole thing is the firmly cemented belief that people are not responisble for their own actions, and must be forced to do the things that are good for them--from not gambling to buy smaller sodas to not looking at porm or wearing helmets while they ride horses.

There is a culture, if this is your preference in societal rules, that follows this philosophy very closely, and they've already got the rules written down, so you'd only have to plagiarize them.

More corporate welfare under the guise of "green energy" and "job creation"

Hint to people who vote Dem and GOPer: none of these
people are actually on your side.
Really, just send me a check for $13.3 million and I promise to create more than one job with it.

My cleaning ladies, personal masseuse, driver, cook, and dog washer will all be making a good living, and I will pay their benefits, too.

Plus, I'll put up solar lights on my sidewalk so you can call it an investment in "green energy."

If necessary, I'll incorporate.

Exactly how do people keep defending this stuff:

Department of Energy officials gave a New Hampshire-based biofuel company access to $80 million for a Michigan project that has already fallen short of job creation expectations, despite receiving another $40 million in state and DOE subsidies.
“In September 2008, Mascoma [Corp.] pledged 70 jobs at the plant by the end of 2012. On Feb. 29 of this year, Mascoma reported to the MEDC that only three jobs had been created by the grant,” the Capitol Confidential (Mich.) reports today.”The company has been given the full $20 million from the state.”
Mascoma, a renewable energy company that specializes in cellulosic ethanol, received another $20 million for research and development from the Energy Department in 2008.
The company warned the federal government, in its SEC filing, that it has “no experience in the markets in which we intend to operate” — which perhaps explains why it only created three jobs from 2008 to 2011, despite promising to create 70 jobs, according to Capitol Confidential. That means that the Michigan government and DOE, in combining to give the company $40 million in 2008, spent $13.3 million on each job.

You know you're in trouble when . . . .

Not even Jimmy Carter
can stomach the Obama
foreign policy.
Lots of GOPers like the narrative that President Barack Obama will be the second coming of Jimmie Carter, a one-term president pretty much rejected and reviled by his own party the moment he is out of office.

That's low.  (Carter's abyssmal presidency is such an easy target.)

This is lower, however:  Carter himself has now bailed on Obama:

A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the "widespread abuse of human rights" by authorizingdrone strikes to kill suspected terrorists.
Jimmy Carter, America's 39 th president, denounced the Obama administration for "clearly violating" 10 of the 30 articles of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the "United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights."
"Instead of making the world safer, America's violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends," Carter wrote.

Killing pregnant women in Honduras: President Obama's drug war as bad as his drones

Look! President Obama's
foreign policy has a new
What is continually amazing to me is the profound silence of anyone except Libertarians over not just the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen, or the support of Islamist groups in Somalia, but also of the bloody undeclared "drug wars" we are fighting south of the US border.

In Honduras DEA special forces teams with attack helicopters are literally marauding through the countryside, killing civilians including children and pregnant women.

Meanwhile, inside the US it's still the economy, stupid, and civil liberties are not an issue in this year's election.

I know that it is impolitic, politically incorrect, and leads to general condemnation to imply this, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Gary Johnson: Why your vote will not be wasted

Monday, June 25, 2012

Delaware Libertarian Candidates stand for marriage equality. Where are the Dems and GOPers?

The Delaware Family Policy Council has decided to try to twist arms at Leg Hall on 30 June to get legislators to sign their so-called Delaware Marriage Pledge.

Here's some of their propaganda [in which you can see the fine ghost-writing skills of a Dover City Councilman]:

Each year hundreds of people descend on Legislative Hall to ask their two representatives to support families. This year, we are asking them to sign the DELAWARE MARRIAGE PLEDGE.  
The whole team of Delaware Strong Families and DFPC will be there to welcome you and give you instructions. We make it as easy as possible for you to get involved and make a difference!
Use this bulletin insert and have this event announced at your church each Sunday until June 30! Appoint a coordinator from your church, arrange for transportation, then see our team when you arrive. It's easy!

They are organized, and they are quite qilling to "give you instructions."

Here's the plaintive email I received this morning on a Delaware LGBT mailing list:

We just found out about this (see below)...
Are we (PFLAG, CAMP, Stonewall, Equality Delaware, etc) doing anything united to counter this rally?
Just wondering.
 While the LGBT community is "just wondering," the politicians they count on to support the idea of marriage equality equivocate.

As I noted yesterday, Equality Delaware proudly lists individuals like Tom Carper and John Carney on their masthead, even though neither the Senator nor the Congressman have ever issued a positive statement on marriage equality--even after President Obama got his act somewhat together (he's OK with marriage equality if it happens, but because he doesn't think marriage is a civil right, he's not going to get off his ass and go do anything about it).

In fact, only one political entity in this year's election actually stands proudly and unequivocally with the LGBT community on the marriage equality issue.  From Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, down the to slate of local Libertarian candidates in Delaware, we stand for the idea of marriage as a civil right, and we challenge our opponents either to chicken out and knuckle under to the right-wing "family values" noise machine, or to join us in this statement:

Libertarians would prefer to get the government out of the marriage business all together, but today’s reality is that marriage confers social, economic, and legal advantages on the couples whose unions are recognized by the State.
We thus agree with Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson that marriage is a civil right, and that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is an unconstitutional attempt to deny the civil rights of some Americans in favor of the religious and social beliefs of others.
As citizens of Delaware we applaud the incremental move toward marriage equality in the legalization of civil unions, but this is only a necessary first step.
As Libertarian candidates for State and local office, we take the uncompromising position that Delaware should make the enactment of marriage equality a priority, and we pledge to work toward that end if elected.
We challenge each of our respective opponents, and all candidates in this year’s election, to make an unequivocal statement regarding their position on marriage equality, so that Delawareans in November will enter the voting booth knowing exactly where they stand.
Yours in Liberty,
Margaret Melson, candidate for State Representative, 14th District
John Machurek, candidate for State Representative, 16th District
Will McVay, candidate for State Representative, 32nd District
Wendy Jones, candidate for State Senate, 6th District
James Christina, candidate for State Senate, 7th District
Scott Gesty, candidate for US House of Representatives
Andrew Groff, Green/Libertarian candidate for US Senate
This statement has already been nationally published at Outright Libertarians and in other LGBT venues, and copies have been sent to organizations like Delaware Pride, Equality Delaware, the Delaware Liberty Fund, and Delaware Right to Marry.

This year, if the Delaware LGBT community really wants to see who stands with it, and if that community really wishes to make a statement, then it is time to support the Libertarian candidates who support marriage equality as a civil right.

It is time to get over the "spoiler" idea, or the Governor Markell "I'm for it but have no timetable" bullshit.

It's time to say, "You don't get my vote, you have to earn my vote."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is how politics works in Delaware . . . .

You may recall that a bout a month ago there was a story that indicated that among Delaware's congressional delegation only Senator Chris Coons supports marriage equality.

Senator Tom Carper and Congressman John Carney had no position beyond civil unions, and no commitment to legislating for marriage equality.

Then we have the website for Equality Delaware, which is
Working to insure and promote dignity, safety, and equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Delawareans.
So I guess my question is how Senator Carper and Congressman Carney end up on the Board of Advisors of Equality Delaware if they are not on record supporting marriage equality?

An interesting issue in an election season, no?

For the couple who doesn't really need anything . . .

. . . give it to the Obamas instead . . . .

Campaign quick hits for Sunday

1.  Another idiotic article by a non-libertarian that tells everyone what libertarians think.  This is apparently the consequence of libertarian ideology beginning to break into the mainstream.  To paraphrase the old Gandhi aphorism, "First they ignore you, then they make fun of you, and then they pretend to know what you're talking about."

2.  Is Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson a Ralph Nader-type "spoiler" or an indication that what Ron Paul started has gone beyond a phenomenon to become a movement?

3.  Another piece about what happens to the Ron Paul movement after Tampa by's Justin Raimondo.  As usual for these articles, no mention is made of Gary Johnson, because even the people who oppose the two-party system are often too mired in it to see any alternatives.

4.  More ballot access highjinks:  New Hampshire Secretary of State says he will deny Libertarian Party  its own place on the ballot alongside GOPers and Dems despite collecting adequate signatures and an earlier court ruling.  It is easy for Dems and GOPers to make fun of the Libertarians when they have rigged ballot access almost everywhere in the country to require the LP to spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars each election year to re-qualify for ballot access.

5.  Former Democratic Party Press Secretary endorses Gary Johnson.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I suppose, in a 24/7/365 news world, this type of headline is inevitable . . . .

Sandusky child sex abuse case offers important lessons

You know what?  It's not true.

Academics and psychologists and attorneys will pontificate, but there is only ONE lesson to be learned here, the same lesson that the Catholic Church has NOT YET learned:

Serial child sexual abuse can ONLY occur when the people who know or suspect turn away--for ANY reason.

That's the lesson:  don't EVER turn away from that child, because YOU could be the ONLY chance that child will EVER have.

New Gary Johnson video: worth it just for the "dog" line

Friday, June 22, 2012

OK maybe you'll be offended, but I DO think this is funny

Elizabeth Warren’s Birthday Gift From GOP: An Account

Tom Gordon REALLY needs some better Facebook ad placement

About damn time: Senate votes to end one minor form of Demopublican welfare

The US Senate has finally voted overwhelmingly to end the $18 million/party subsidies that the Federal government gives to Dems and GOPers each year to hold their national conventions:

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who sponsored the proposal with Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, says taxpayers should not have to contribute, as they are doing for the two conventions this year, when the nominee has been decided.
Coburn says the public this year is spending more than $36 million for the conventions.
The measure, if it becomes law, would not take effect until future political conventions. The idea would need the House's OK.
The Senate vote was 95-4 for the proposal, which was presented as an amendment to a farm bill.

(Notice they didn't do it until the money had already been dispensed this year, and we'll have to wait for the House and the President to follow suit.)

Now if somebody would just recognize that other parties should have the right to unhampered ballot access . . . .

Paul Festival in Tampa invites Gary Johnson as keynote speaker!!

Time to remove a major part of the doubt about where many of Dr. Ron Paul's supporters are going once the GOP convention is over.

From PaulFest:

CHICAGO, IL- Paul Festival announced today they had confirmed former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson to their list of speakers.Johnson joins an already packed collection of liberty advocates for the festival featuring vendors, speakers and live music.
The event will focus on working with independent minded voters from across the political spectrum. The event takes place August 24-26 in Tampa, Florida.
"I am grateful and excited to receive an invitation from Paul Festival and look forward to joining such a great gathering for liberty," said Governor Johnson. "I proudly stand by my record as a Governor who
garyjohnsonunited voters from all parties and beliefs."

Gary Johnson has been a consistent advocate for working with all political parties and defending civil liberties. Judge Jim Gray, who served as as trial court judge in Orange County, California  is joining Johnson as a confirmed speaker. Gray has long advocated for reform of the nation's drug laws and the, "War on Drugs."
"Governor Johnson's attendance furthers Paul Festival's goal to band together against the political establishment," said chief organizer Bryan Simeon. "Gary Johnson spent a career unifying both the left and right and fighting to allow all voices to be heard."

A sophomore's C- paper somehow makes the big time

Victor Tolomeo is a sophomore at Georgetown University, and I really hope that he is not majoring in Political Science or any other discipline that requires actual analytical thought.

His is the latest in the recent flood of college student essayss obviously hyped up by the GOP or the Romney campaign to attack Libertarianism.

Not only is Mr. Tolomeo both unsure of the definition of Libertarianism and its distinction from Anarcho-Capitalism (sort of the same distinction lost on GOP critics about the difference between "managed capitalism" and "socialism"), he inverts chronology (for him Ron Paul creates Grover Norquist), and his examples (a game of chess and a family vacation) are both superficial and, well, . . . sophomoric.

The "money quote" comes in the denouement when Mr. Tolomeo announces his true colors after "defining" the difference between "New Liberalism" (which, after the fashion of college students, he makes up on the spot, and then proceeds to use as if it were a valid, accepted term) and Libertarianism:
This is a false dichotomy, of course, and the answer is a healthy dose of Conservatism, which was traditionally the philosophy that government should play a limited role in society, but, more importantly, should know what those limits are. 
The only mild surprise in this essay is that he doesn't manage to work in a quote from Edmund Burke on the difference between liberty and license.

As a professor, I'd give Mr. Tolomeo a C-.  His paper is stylistically well-written, flows well, and the paragraphs actually have topic sentences.  Unfortunately, he sets up three "straw man" examples rather than doing any real intellectual heavy lifting, misidentifies what Libertarianism actually is, commits at least three factual errors, and (as noted above) attempts to use his own invented terminology at par with standard Social and Political Science usage.

If this is the best that the Romney camp has in the way of college student advocates, it's no wonder that Libertarians are feeding them their lunch in the classroom.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MLR rebates raise questions about funding assumptions for HB 392

Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced the first round of consumer rebates under the MLR (Medical Loss Ratio or 80/20) rule.   This is the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires private medical insurers to spend no more than 14-20% of premiums collected (depending on market size) in non-medical care related areas (administration, salaries, or marketing).

Nationwide there will be $1.1 Billion in rebates, of which $1.85 million will be shared by 5,639 Delaware families who will receive average rebates of $351/family.  (It is interesting to note that the highest rebates will be paid in Vermont, where the average family will receive $807, and that there will be no rebates whatever issued in Rhode Island or New Mexico.  Not sure exactly what that means.)

While any opportunity to receive money back is generally a good thing in the eyes of the person cashing the checks, The HILL points out that HHS was careful to let people know that no rebate checks at all would actually go out if the Supreme Court struck down the Affordable Care Act, although it is surely coincidence that the rebates were announced on the very first day upon which the justices ould have revealed a verdict.

In Delaware, however, there is an additional meaning to the issuing of these rebates.  HB 392, the Single-payer health insurance bill being pushed by Representatives John Kowalko and Earl Jaques, because HB 392 focuses a great deal of attention on remediating the . . . 
30 percent loss to administrative/overhead costs (costly paperwork, profits, advertising, lobbying, etc.) 

. . . in private insurance.

If the Federal acceptable maximum for administrative/overhead costs has already been slashed from 30% to 14-20% (again, depending on market size), then one would think that parts of the financial planning regarding how much waste remained to be cut from private insurance in the enactment of a Single-payer plan would have to be . . . rethought.

But that probably won't happen.

There, now somebody will be happy.

Only with an IvyDate, Tom . . .

It's amazing what the concatenation of ads will bring up on your Facebook page:

If Earl Jaques won't tell us about the funding of HB 392, we'll ask for ourselves

If you have been following the torturous story of determining whether the funding mechanism behind HB 392 (Single-payer health insurance in Delaware) will actually pay for itself via a 2.5% Health Security Income Tax, a graduated Health Security payroll tax, and appropriating all Federal medical funding, you will recall this statement by Representative Earl Jaques at Delaware Liberal:
DoTheMath: Your comment that somebody ought to do a rough estimate on the math and then see what they think. Rep Kowalko and I did. We had both the Sec of Finance office and the Controller General’s office check the numbers. They took into account the size of employers across the state to determine who has to pay 4% and who would pay 9%. Then they used last year’s tax numbers to determine the 2.5% factor. Then we added in the money which will be included in the pot from various federal programs,i.e. medicare, etc. Guess What? The numbers in the bill work!!
Of course, we are now in the fifth day of waiting for Representative Jaques to substantiate that assertion, and I got tired of holding my breath.

You can't FOIA the Controller General's office, since it is part of the General Assembly, but there is no such opacity provided to the Secretary of Finance.  So I have filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see the results of the SecFin inquiry that we are assured was conducted:

I'll let you know what happens.  The 15-day countdown starts now.

Mitt Romney: if Gary Johnson might get your vote, I'll sue to keep him off the ballot

Which is exactly what the Romney campaign is doing in Michigan:

The Romney effort to keep Libertarian Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, off the ballot is more complicated. Johnson began the year running for the Republican presidential nomination and appeared on the Michigan GOP primary ballot. He later dropped out of that race and won the Libertarian Party nod at its national convention in Las Vegas. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, a Republican, says state law puts a time limit on when candidates can switch parties and then run for office. The Johnson campaign was informed of the decision in a letter written by state Attorney General William Schuette, Romney’s state campaign chair. The secretary of state also said candidate Johnson’s ballot application arrived in her office three minutes past the deadline.
However, in 1980 when Republican presidential candidate John Anderson ran in the general election as an independent using a newly created Michigan party—the Anderson Coalition Party—as a vehicle, that state’s officials did not interfere with his ballot listing. In addition, it is uncertain whether states can impose additional qualifications on candidates for the presidency that do not appear in the U.S. Constitution.
Elections deputy Scott Gillis in the Nevada secretary of state’s office said the Libertarian Party already has ballot status in the state and all it has to do to list Gary Johnson as its presidential nominee is file the paperwork.
Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller is a Democrat. He does not have a position, honorary or otherwise, with the Obama campaign. He said he would decline such an invitation: “I am very cautious about political activity because I count the votes.”
He’s speaking figuratively—county officials do the actual counting—but he writes the election rules the counties must follow.
Damn that pesky Constitution.

Note what I have said previously:  in the face of adverse judges (all appointed by Democrats and Republicans), hostile public "servants" (all appointed by Democrats and Republicans), and ridiculous ballot access rules (all written by, you guessed it), we will be as imaginative as we have to be.

Yep, the former President of the University of New Mexico is definitely a libertarian

Dr. F. Chris Garcia:  behind that Mona
Lisa smile, who'd have suspected there
lurked the entrepreneur who opened
new frontiers of cybersex freedom?
Dr. F. Chris Garcia, the former Prez, and Dr. David C. Flory (retired Fairleigh Dickinson U. physics professor) decided to supplement their retirement incomes by creating "Southwest Companions," that served as a message board for prostitutes and their clients:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A website that authorities say two aging professors used to run a multistate prostitution ring is legal, a state judge has ruled, highlighting the difficulties that prosecutors face in using decades-old laws to combat a modern phenomenon.
The ruling comes as prosecutors were scheduled to present to a grand jury their case against former University of New Mexico President F. Chris Garcia, who is accused of helping a physics professor from New Jersey oversee a prostitution website called "Southwest Companions."
State District Judge Stan Whitaker ruled that the website, an online message board and Garcia's computer account did not constitute a "house of prostitution," the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Whitaker also said the website wasn't "a place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed."

The prosecution whined that old-time anti-prostitution laws just had not kept pace with the internet:

Investigators said the prostitution ring had a membership of 14,000, including 200 prostitutes. Members paid anywhere from $200 for a sex act to $1,000 for a full hour. Prostitutes were paid with cash, not through the website, according to police.
But the ruling also showed the difficulty that prosecutors have in trying prosecute owners of websites that promote or facilitate prostitution because of laws created long before the Internet age, experts say.
"Most state laws only address street walkers and brothels and are so narrowly written that it's hard to prosecute these new cases," said Scott Cunningham, a Baylor University economics professor who has written about technology and prostitution.
For example, Cunningham said, Craigslist withstood lawsuits and challenges by law enforcement agencies and district attorneys' offices to shut down its erotic services section and only closed them later for publicity reason.
Here is the "money quote"--noting that the activities of the two retired academics had turned out to be legal, Professor Cunningham did not say the government should stop pursuing sexual free enterprise, but that
To change laws, Cunningham said, some states will have to pass laws that outline step-by-step regulations on websites.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Drebing said prosecutors' options are limited because New Mexico has laws on the books for computer fraud and use of computers and the Internet for child pornography, but none geared toward prostitution. 
In other words, when the authorities decided to pursue conduct that was legal, they weren't wrong:  the State just had not criminalized enough behavior.

It is a bedrock Libertarian proposition that your body and your sexuality belongs to you.  If there is no force or fraud involved in the transaction, you have the right to peddle yourself for dinner and a movie (which is OK with the State) or just skip the amenities and ask for cash (which apparently offends the State because it will lose the restaurant taxes).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I think Gary Wills is worried about Gary Johnson . . . really

Gary Wills:  if you vote any way
except Democratic, you are either
a racist or you support racism.
Gary Wills is one of those frustrating, entertaining, truly original intellectuals who often surprises, and often unnerves.  His Inventing America should rank with DeToqueville's Democracy in America as one of the two dozen books every literate citizen should read.

Even when I don't agree with him, I find him absolutely necessary reading.

Today Gary Wills is writing a diatribe about the fact that only losers would vote for third parties, because
What they normally do is damage the party closest to their professed ideals. Third parties are run by people who make the best the enemy of their own good and bring down that good. 
This is preceeded by an injunction that one should always vote for the party rather than the candidate:
But the man being voted for, no matter what he says, dances with the party that brought him, dependent on its support, resources, and clientele. That is why one should always vote on the party, instead of the candidate. The party has some continuity of commitment, no matter how compromised. What you are really voting for is the party’s constituency. That will determine priorities when it comes to appointments, legislative pressure, and things like nominating Supreme Court justices.
 So far, so good, Mr. Wills.  Don't agree with you, but it is a well-constructed argument.

Turns out, however, that it descends, mere sentences later, into Paul Krugman territory that involves the premise that if you do not vote Democratic you are either a racist or a racist tool:

To vote for a Democrat means, now, to vote for the party’s influential members—for unions (including public unions of teachers, firemen, and policemen), for black and Latino minorities, for independent women. These will none of them get their way, exactly; but they will get more of a hearing and attention—“pandering,” if you want to call it that—than they would get in a Republican administration.
To vote for a Republican means, now, to vote for a plutocracy that depends for its support on anti-government forces like the tea party, Southern racists, religious fanatics, and war investors in the military-industrial complex. It does no good to say that “Romney is a good man, not a racist.” That may be true, but he needs a racist South as part of his essential support. And the price they will demand of him comes down to things like Supreme Court appointments. (The Republicans have been more realistic than the Democrats in seeing that presidential elections are really for control of the courts.)

He's not just talking about GOPers here, but virtually anybody in the country who is an Independent, and not a Democrat:
The independents, too ignorant or inexperienced to recognize these basic facts, are the people most susceptible to lying flattery. They are called the good folk too inner-directed to follow a party line or run with the herd. They are like the idealistic imperialists “with clean hands” in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American—they should wear leper bells to warn people of their vicinity.
This is painful piece of sophistry to watch roll off the master's pen.  It is an argument not for a two-party state, but for a one-party state because all of the virtues have now come to reside in the Democrats, and all of the vices have come to reside in the GOP.

But the fervency of this argument bemuses me, because the only reason to make it is out of fear that--like Ross Perot and Ralph Nader who are used as examples later in the article--some third-party spoiler will cause that racist-representing Mitt Romney to be elected.

He would not be writing this piece in this manner if he thought the independent vote for third party candidates would only hurt Mitt Romney.  The piece would therefore be unnecessary and counter-productive.

The only logic that supports writing this article is that Gary Wills is afraid that, in a close election, someone (can we say Libertarian Gary Johnson?) will siphon off sufficient votes from the Left to make a difference in a key battleground state like North Carolina, where the Libertarians tend to be Left-Libertarians.

He's worried.  And, I think, with good reason.

Oh, and by the way, friends, Gary Wills also just officially said on behalf of the Left that Texas sucks.

Day Four of the Earl Jaques numbers watch

Still no numbers from Representative Earl Jaques, Representative John Kowalko, candidate Mitch Crane, or Dr. Floyd McDowell to demonstrate that the funding mechanism for HB 392 will provide sufficient money to run single-payer health care in a state that doesn't do organ transplants, and doesn't have a burn center.

Maybe it's the fact that President Obama has rarely found a developing nation where he won't deploy the military . . .

. . . that has Nobel Peace Prize in some danger of being rescinded:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) — Nobel Peace Prize officials were facing a formal inquiry over accusations they have drifted away from the prize's original selection criteria by choosing such winners as President Barack Obama, as the nomination deadline for the 2012 awards closed Wednesday.
The investigation comes after persistent complaints by a Norwegian peace researcher that the original purpose of the prize was to diminish the role of military power in international relations.
If the Stockholm County Administrative Board, which supervises foundations in Sweden's capital, finds that prize founder Alfred Nobel's will is not being honored, it has the authority to suspend award decisions going back three years — though that would be unlikely and unprecedented, said Mikael Wiman, a legal expert working for the county.
Obama won in 2009, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won in 2010, and last year the award was split between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day Three of the Earl Jaques numbers watch

Earl, you may recall, challenged me to disprove the numbers he never provided to validate the funding mechanism behind HB 392.

So I did the analysis--with significant help from Jesse McVay--and, guess what?

Either his funding mechanism can't raise the money, or he truly believes he can provide health care for nothing.

So, I'm still waiting for Earl Jaques and John Kowalko to publish the funding numbers they claim they had run by the Secretary of Finance and the Controller General.

More quick campaign hits

1.  Politico:  Gary Johnson at 7% in Colorado (before his visit to a marijuana dispensary and marching in the pride parade yesterday), 9% in Arizona, and 12% in New Mexico.  Romney crapping a brick.

2.  We must be making progress.  Now HuffPo is telling Libertarians that they can be influential in American elections only if they register as independents, swing back and forth between the anointed Dems and GOPers, and forsake the idea of building their own party.

3.  Ron Paul:  Mitt may have the nomination, but he does not have the "hearts and minds" of the GOP rank and file.  Rand to be spanked behind house later.

4.  Progressives and libertarians agree that excessive government regulation is causing the affordable housing crisis in America?  Be still my heart.

Where Romney and Obama agree: the Constitution won't stop them from bombing Iran

No need for a declaration of war.  No need for Congressional approval.  No worries about the stinkin' War Powers Act.

The TSA needs to go

An excellent appraisal:

The Transportation Security Administration has taken quite a beating in the news cycle so far this year. In late April, screeners were caught taking bribes to allow drugs to pass through Los Angeles International Airport. Recently, a 4-year-old was detained, yelled at, patted down and otherwise terrorized for hugging her grandmother, who hadn't completed screening yet.
In April, the TSA made us safer by terrorizing a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy. CBS DC reported that Dina Frank cannot use metal detectors because she walks with crutches and leg braces. The thorough pat-down of the 7-year-old caused the family to miss their flight.
No doubt such incidents will prompt people to call for the TSA to be streamlined, for the administration to adopt "new procedures" or for other Band-Aids that will create the illusion of decisive action.
This is insufficient. The TSA should not be streamlined. Administrators should not "review screening procedures." Screeners don't need additional training. The TSA doesn't need to be tweaked. It didn't "go too far" in these specific instances. Its very existence goes too far. The TSA never should have been created in the first place, and it should be abolished now. Immediately. Without hesitation.
The TSA's existence is an assault on American liberty and simple human dignity, as anyone who has had his or her genitals touched during an "enhanced pat-down" can tell you. Some still say we should be willing to trade off a little bit of liberty in order to get security, but this is a false trade-off. The TSA does not provide security. It provides what security expert Bruce Schneier calls "security theater." The TSA only exists in order to give people the illusion of safety. Someone in an airport somewhere in the U.S. is being subjected to an unreasonable search by a gloved TSA screener right this minute. The cruel irony is that he or she is being stripped of liberty and dignity and is being made no safer for it.

Senator Michael Katz introduces total repeal of Delaware Corporate Income Tax

An astounding, libertarian-oriented bill, SB 100 is awesome in terms of its brevity:

Section 1.  Amend Title 19 of the Delaware Code by repealing Chapter 19, Corporation Income Tax, in its entirety.
Section 2.  This Act shall become effective on the second January 1st following its enactment.

The act is co-sponsored by Senator Bunting, and Representatives Hocker, Ramone, and D. Short.

This has to be mentioned here, because it is not mentioned there.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Will Mitch Crane keep John Kowalko's support now that he has flip-flopped on HB 392?

This is John Kowalko standing beside Mitch Crane to endorse him for Insurance Commissioner in his Democratic primary race against incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart:

"I supported Karen Weldin Stewart four years ago for Insurance Commissioner. However, she has not lived up to her promise to protect Delaware consumers. I've worked with and have gotten to know Mitch well enough to say for certain that he will deliver on his promise to put the consumer first."
I just want to weigh in here if no one minds. In my scores of visits to the Wilmington Carvel State building where our new castle county State offices are located, I’ve often encountered Karen at the front desk where she was stationed as a paid and/or unpaid worker for the Dem. Senate and McDowell. I related some of this story just recently at the UAW Region 8 Women’s Conference that I recently spoke at. I have seldom seen as dedicated a constituent server as Karen. 

Quick hits for the campaign season

1.  Under President Obama arms sales to foreign governments hit new highs.  If he can't make war in your country, he'll sell you the tools to do it yourself.

2.  Noah Rothmann of MEDIAite has an essay on what Libertarians have done wrong politically, which is about as persuasive as an essay by Rick Santorum on what progressives have done wrong.

3.  Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson will visit a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary next week to dramatize his support for the legalization bill, Amendment 64, and to lobby for the support of Sensible Colorado.

4.  If Representatives John Kowalko and Earl Jaques have their way with HB 392, I seriously hope that you never need a heart, lung, liver, or kidney transplant; never need to access an organ bank; and don't need the services of a top-flight burn center.  We don't offer those services in Delaware, so the only way their proposed Delaware Single-Payer plan will cover them is if the hospitals in Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Washington DC are willing to take whatever Delaware is willing to pay them.  If they demand more, even if you are dying and have the money to pay for it, HB 392 prevents the Health Security bureaucrats from covering it.

5.  Democratic Insurance Commissioner candidate Mitch Crane proudly lists on his campaign site the "fact" that he supports HB 392.  Turns out that there is a lot of John Kerry in our man Mitch, since within hours of being confronted with evidence that HB 392 is [technical term] a stinking turd of a bill, Mitch backed off real quickly:
I do not know if a state the size of Delaware can enact a successful single payer program. 
Which is it, Mitch?  For Single-Payer or skeptical about the concept?  Your fans (and Karen Weldin Stewart) really want to know.  Will KWS be savvy enough to pounce on this flip-flop, or will Mitch get away with talking out of both sides of his mouth--on the same day?

6.   Meanwhile, Earl Jaques (who has the tin ear to brag both about his support for the Fisker deal and his support for Race to the Top on his campaign website) has now gone TWO DAYS without providing the HB 392 numbers that supposedly support its fiscal viability, and has completed ONE DAY without challenging my analysis .  C'mon, Earl, show us the numbers.  You're unopposed.  As long as you and the Missus get out there and vote, you win.

7.  Oh, and if you didn't know, jason at Delawareliberal is a coward.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Counting the cost (Revised): HB 392 will NOT pay for itself (and it's worse than I thought)

Revision alert: thanks to work by Jess McVay who caught one major mistake and provided feedback on two other issues (see comments).


1.  Jess you are correct about income tax revenues; I slipped a decimal point.  Revised calculations below this.

2.  I used the lower per capita health care cost intentionally because it was the only one that I found that removed administrative costs, and because it came with other stats calculated to the same benchmark.  I'm going to keep that in place, even though I agree with you that it is highly optimistic.

3.  I read your calculations vis a vis median income and total workers, but again I will keep mine in place for this study because mine produces a fairly optimistic result for funding, and I do not want to be accused of negativity.

So:  to wit:  Delaware income tax returns in 2011 generated $962,000,000, not $9.62 Billion.  Those damn decimals are pesky things.  So let's see, that means the Health Security Income Tax will generate $437,000,000 not $4.37 Billion.

So, taking all the funding, we still find a minimum funding need of $7.81 Billion to pay for Delaware Single-Payer (which does not include qualified out-of-state residents).

We raise the following through Dr. McDowell's funding mechanisms (all sources below in main article):

Health Security Income Tax:  $.437 Billion
Payroll Tax:  $.9 Billion
Medicaid:  $1.29 Billion
Medicare:  $1.5 Billion
Total:  $4.13 Billion

Oh, wait.  We calculated the necessary minimum at $7.81 Billion.  Since I goofed on the other stats, how about this one.  Nope, sorry, it is a low and optimistic stat (see below for source link) from Kaiser that says it already excludes insurance company administration costs.  So it is a simple calculation, really,

877,600 people * $8,480 annual health care cost = $7.44 Billion plus the 5% in increased service usage that Dr. McDowell projected in the bill to bring it to $7.81 Billion.

Hmmm.  With only $413 Billion available, Dr. McDowell must be planning on some hellacious savings.  Let's see $413 Billion/877,6000 people = $4,706 per capita per annum expenditure.

In other words, Jess is right.  Either our friendly legislators have played with the numbers on the taxes they can raise (always an option), or they really believe that Single-Payer health care can take care of everyone for 56% of what we're currently paying now.  So they are claiming that Single-Payer amounts to a 44% reduction in costs.

Allow me to point out the amazing fallacy herein:  The State of Delaware receives $1.5 Billion for 149,192 Medicare patients.  That's an annual per capita rate of $10,054 per person on Medicare.  (It makes sense that these folks are higher in cost than everybody else because they are geriatric, and we know that much of the most expensive spending comes at the end of life.)

So Reps. Kowalko and Jaques will cut that by half while giving Medicare patients free access to treatments that Medicare has not traditionally paid for (acupuncture, chiropracty).

In other words, our dear friends sponsoring HB 392 intend to take the full Medicare funding and spend less on each Medicare patient (shuffling Medicare funds to other patients), while offering them more services?

Here's the thing:  the entire Delaware budget comes in below $4 Billion currently.  In order to fund this program, even beyond the monies raised via the Health Security Income Tax and the Payroll Tax, they will have to raise an extra $3.68 Billion.  Wonder where that's coming from?

OK, back to original post.  I have crossed out the sections where Jess found my errors.

The proponents of HB 392--Representative John Kowalko and Earl Jaques; Delaware Insurance Commissioner candidate Mitch Crane; and Dr. Floyd McDowell have all assured us that the numbers in their funding mechanisms work.  Of course, they have not yet shown us a single number to substantiate that case.  In fact, Representative Jaques challenged me in that regard:
Steve, you claim to be such an expert – the numbers are in the bill – so you work it out. Can you disprove our numbers or not? Waiting to hear from you!!! 
Actually, the numbers are not in the bill.  The funding mechanism is in the bill, but the medical costs per citizen, and the assumptions that they made regarding those costs are not in the bill.