Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lemuel Calhoon Nails It Again

Posted by Tom Sawyer

Swinging his rhetorical hammer like a cyber John Henry, our friend Lemuel Calhoon over at Hillbilly White Trash has blasted through the mountainside of healthcare debate misinformation and carved out a tunnel of truth wide enough to drive a train through. The following is an appetizer, but you really ought to go over there and read the whole piece by clicking here.

Lemuel Calhoon:

"This reflects the American free market health care system's commitment to providing the best health care possible rather than the best care possible within budgetary constraints.

This commitment to healing injury curing disease and providing an ever higher quality of life to senior citizens is simply not possible under any system of socialized health care. Without profits to fund research and development what little R&D that occurs is government funded which means that the sought after outcomes (whatever anyone says to the contrary) will be political rather than scientific.

Remember a few years ago when Phillips first began marketing plasma TV's? They had this commercial where some geeky looking teenagers carried a plasma up to their apartment and sat on the couch watching Flipper.

At the time that TV cost more than $20,000.00. I just bought a Samsung 46" LED TV which weighs less, generates far less heat, uses far less power, will last far longer and produces a vastly superior picture for less than a tenth of what those first Phillips plasmas cost.

This is what happens to the prices of goods and services in a free market economy - they become much better and cost much less as time goes by. That this process is not happening to health care costs faster in the United States is due to the distortions in the market caused by government bureaucrats and unscrupulous trial lawyers (like celebrity baby-daddy John Edwards). Remove the dead hand of government and the greedy hand of the tort bar and the health care market in the US would normalize and we would see more rapid advances in technology and reductions in price."
Don't forget to go read all of it.


13 comments:

One Salient Oversight said...

You can't compare health care to Plasma TVs. The market is not always going to apportion resources the best way. Don't people read Dilbert?

Health care in the US is worse than virtually all industrialised western nations because it does not have a universal, state funded health care system.

You can't compare Plasma TVs to heart bypass surgeries, but you can compare infant mortality rates between nations - and the US seems to lose a lot more kids in the 12 months after birth than most other western nations.

Remember: 15% of US GDP is directed towards health care, while it is around 10% in other western nations. Yet these nations have superior health care outcomes.

In short, the money you lose in taxes is less than the money you lose in paying private health insurance.

We who live in these other nations demand that our governments supply these universal needs, and our governments are afraid of us and will never stop providing them. That is truly liberating.

Tom Sawyer said...

OSO: Health care in the US is worse than virtually all industrialised western nations because it does not have a universal, state funded health care system.

I categorically reject that statement's validity.

OSO: You can't compare Plasma TVs to heart bypass surgeries, but you can compare infant mortality rates between nations - and the US seems to lose a lot more kids in the 12 months after birth than most other western nations.

The infant mortality rate canard has been refuted so many times that it has become boring. (yawn)

OSO: Remember: 15% of US GDP is directed towards health care, while it is around 10% in other western nations. Yet these nations have superior health care outcomes.

Again, I reject your conclusion. The only thing you can draw on to validate it are hand-picked stats deliberately skewed and slanted in a way to favor your argument. See your argument based on infant mortality rates above for exhibit A.

OSO: We who live in these other nations demand that our governments supply these universal needs, and our governments are afraid of us and will never stop providing them. That is truly liberating.

Wrong. It is truly immoral and irresponsible. You are demanding that other people cover what is ultimately your responsibility. It amounts to income redistribution which is nothing more than government-sanctioned robbery. It is morally reprehensible. What is truly liberating is to be free from government intrusion into liberty.

One Salient Oversight said...

You know why the Soviet Union couldn't keep its own system of government going? It was because ideologues ignored facts.

Similar situation here pal - you're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

How many facts can you keep ignoring or trying to disprove in order to keep your belief/ideology pure?

Tom Sawyer said...

The Soviet Union collapsed because socialism doesn't work. Duh. I have no doubt that disappoints you.

Which facts am I ignoring? The fact that income redistribution, which you espouse, is immoral? The fact that the US Constitution gives no authority whatsoever to Congress or the Executive branch to take over and run industry? Or maybe I'm ignoring the fact that you, yourself, are an ideologue who refuses to look at facts?

Well, which one of those am I ignoring?

Lemuel Calhoon said...

Tom,

Since this is going on on your blog can I send you a response to our friend from Down Under for you to post?

Tom Sawyer said...

I have been nice to you because James says I should like you, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. I was in a hurry this afternoon, so I did not take much time to go through your ridiculous comment. However, because I have more time tonight, and because I detect a tone in your last comment that is really condescending and annoying, I am going to go straight up with you and I honestly don't care if you get offended. Here goes:

Your first paragraph: You can't compare health care to Plasma TVs.

Why not? This is typical of you. You make an assertion and expect someone to believe you just because you say so, I guess. You give nothing to back it up, you just state it and I guess that makes it gospel. While that may work with your mindless, socialist friends, it will take more than that to look like anything more than just a blowhard here.

You continued: The market is not always going to apportion resources the best way.

Says who and based upon what? Again, you make assertions and just go on as if an assertion actually proves something. The fact is, you are wrong. The market always apportions resources better than does a central planner because a market caters to individuals with needs while central planners are looking out for themselves and have higher priorities than just an individual with needs.

You query: Don't people read Dilbert?

Now that I know who your economics professor is, I have a better angle on where you are coming from.

Your next paragraph: Health care in the US is worse than virtually all industrialised western nations because it does not have a universal, state funded health care system.

That statement is so ludicrous it does not even deserve an answer, but because there may be other people out there as gullible as you I am going to go ahead and give it anyway. Fact: thousands of people from these industrialised western nations leave these industrialised western nations each year to travel to the US to get health care they cannot receive in their own countries. The reverse does not happen. We have a thriving health care industry on the US/Canadian border catering to Canadians who thank God for the opportunity to cross the border and pay for care they cannot get in their own country. I guess this is because our health care is so much worse than theirs, right?Fact: lines or waiting times for medicines, surgeries, to see a doctor, you name it, are unheard of in this country. Unheard of, as in it doesn't happen.

More next comment.

Tom Sawyer said...

Lem, you send it, I'll post it.

Tom Sawyer said...

OSO again: You can't compare Plasma TVs to heart bypass surgeries, but you can compare infant mortality rates between nations - and the US seems to lose a lot more kids in the 12 months after birth than most other western nations.

This is not a fact, it is a canard. It has been refuted. Before linking you to one of several refutations, however, I feel it necessary to point out, once again, what should be obvious, that a society's overall health is not equal to a society's overall health care industry. A society's health care industry is only one factor.

I feel like that's so obvious that I shouldn't even have to point it out. But, because you go off half-cocked and point to some statistic on overall health in this country and then claim that this is proof whereby you can condemn the health care industry, and because you persist in this nonsense, I felt it my duty.

Again, overall health, be it good or be it poor, does not tell you everything about a given health care industry. In fact, it only tells you a little, and maybe not much at all.

Please, try to resist using this logical fallacy in the future.

More, next comment.

Tom Sawyer said...

OSO writes: Remember: 15% of US GDP is directed towards health care, while it is around 10% in other western nations. Yet these nations have superior health care outcomes.

First, your final statement is based upon a logical fallacy built upon faulty statistics, as I have already shown. Other nations do not have superior health care industries.

Second, we spend more here on health care for at least two reasons which are good and one that is bad. We spend more because, (1) we have more to spend, (2) we get more as a result, and (3) because government regulation and other interference into the marketplace drives up the cost.

How much do you spend for petrol, OSO? I get gas for around $2.50 a gallon. That's way too high but I'm guessing cheaper than you. How much do you pay for utilities? My total utility bills last month came to about a tenth of my gross income, and my income isn't much right now. How much do you pay for housing? I live in a 2000 sq/ft home (that's heated and cooled) for a mortgage payment that is about 20% of my monthly gross income. Can you say that?

You can't just compare one segment of a society and say that the whole society must be better economically because one pays more as a percentage for one particular service. Again, this is a logical fallacy that you persist in. We spend more because we have more disposable income to spend.

I live in a rural area where incomes are lower, by average, than in much of the country. Do you know how many people I know personally who have opted for elective, cosmetic surgery for which they paid cash? How many women do you know who have had breast enhancement? I could name several women off the top of my head and several more I suspect.

Why? Because they have the money to do it. Do you suppose maybe cosmetic surgery is included in that %GDP figure you keep tossing around?

What about experimental surgery? Does your government pay for that? If I have a terminal illness I have a whole host of options for life-enhancing, life-extending treatments which you cannot get through your beloved government because your beloved government has a limited budget and must make decisions based on the needs of the collective which will likely leave you high and dry as just a lowly individual. So your % of GDP spent on health care will naturally be lower, because you don't have the money to spend. I, on the other hand, do. Why? Because I am freer and live in a freer society than do you.

More to come.

Tom Sawyer said...

OSO: In short, the money you lose in taxes is less than the money you lose in paying private health insurance.

And the price in freedom? The price of giving control of life and death decisions over to a bureaucracy?

And don't come at me with that private insurance company bureaucracy nonsense either. I know insurance companies have problems, but they are on a whole way more efficient and customer friendly than a cold government bureaucracy because they have to fight to keep me as a customer. And why do they have to fight to keep me as a customer? Because I am FREE to go anywhere I want with my health care dollars. You, on the other hand, are not.

OSO extols the liberty that government control brings: We who live in these other nations demand that our governments supply these universal needs, and our governments are afraid of us and will never stop providing them. That is truly liberating.

That is Orwellian double-speak in living color.

Government control is liberating. Wow.

You know, African slaves on this continent 200 years ago had all their universal needs provided too. What would they have thought of your use of the word "liberating"?

Tom Sawyer said...

One final thought.

What right do you, under heaven, have of demanding that anyone else supply your needs?

What right? What code of morality sanctions this?

Do you demand that you be given food? shelter? clothing?

It is as if you are a child. Why should you expect others to care for you?

Government does not, cannot produce wealth. It only robs it from its subjects. By definition, then, when you demand that government provide your needs you are demanding that other human beings give to you what they have rightfully earned by the fruit of their own labors.

How dare you?

Why don't you at least be honest and beg for it? But to demand it? And then to use the sword of government to force others to meet this demand? How are you better than a criminal?

James Spurgeon said...

One thing I think that Sal gets right is that you can't compare health care to plasma TVs.

The plasma TV market, compared to the health care industry, is relatively unregulated, thus more market driven. Isn't that what Lemuel was saying?

The health care industry is heavily regulated and also suffers from a high level of government intrusion into the market. Heck, we already almost have socialized medicine the way it is now. There's medicare, medicaid, CHIP, the VA, Bush's prescription drug program . . .

Add to that that in the plasma TV market people usually buy direct. They choose the product they want for themselves and purchase it. In the health care industry we have developed a heavy dependence on the middle man, the insurance company. A middle man cannot help but drive prices up as anyone who has ever paid cash for medical services well knows.

But if Sal is going to argue that Australia's health care system is better than ours, he must be honest enough to come to terms with the fact that we do not now have a free market system. We are not even fighting for that, sadly. We are trying to save the last vestige of freedom there is in this market. Most of it dissipated long ago.

Lemuel Calhoon said...

"The plasma TV market, compared to the health care industry, is relatively unregulated, thus more market driven. Isn't that what Lemuel was saying?"

My point was that IF we had the same free market in health care that we do in TV's prices in health care would behave like that do in the TV market. So I am saying that you can compare them. Treat them the same and they will behave the same.