Friday, June 27, 2014

The Myth of the 1400 Year Sunni/Shia War

An interesting article from Murtaza Hussain.  This is an excuse offered the the present chaos there.

Another excuse is that Iraqis are just not mature enough to where they are ready for democracy, so our invasion, though well intentioned, was just never feasible given how backwards they are.  Personally I think Iraqis rather don't want a US style democracy, which a recent study showed is not a democracy at all, but an oligarchy.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Economics - Cui Bono

Ha Joon Chang captures what I regard as the fundamental error of the economics of the conservative mind:
Economics is a political argument. It is not - and can never be - a science; there are no objective truths in economics that can be established independently of political, and frequently moral, judgments. Therefore, when faced with an economic argument, you must ask the age-old question 'Cui bono?' (Who benefits?), first made famous by the Roman statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Trickle down economics, free trade, allowing the market to solve environmental problems, deregulating finance, tax cuts for the rich.  They'd have us believe these are based on economics as a scientific discipline.  They don't ask who most obviously and immediately benefits from these policies.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Priorities of the Pro-Life Tea Party

My conservative friends tell me they are pro-life, and I believe them.  But when they tell me that abortion is their number 1 issue, that all other issues are subordinate to it, this I don't believe.

Because if you really have a problem with abortion you don't just work to make abortion illegal.  You try to reduce the number of abortions that occur.  One thing that would help is to just make choice of life a choice that is easier financially.

If you're part of a family living in the state of North Carolina, where Medicaid expansion has not been adopted, and you make $25K per year, and you get pregnant, you are going to be sorely tempted to get an abortion.  This child is going to be a significant financial burden.  But if you live in Michigan it's not a problem.  You qualify for Medicaid.  Everything will be covered.

Republicans are unhappy because Obama Care means more taxes, especially for those that make over $250K.  In other words, especially for those that are kind of rich.  What's more important?  Rolling back those taxes on the rich or saving the lives of the unborn?  For the tea party Republicans in North Carolina and in other states we have a clear answer.

More broadly the same test can be applied to single payer health care.  We know who doesn't like it.  Corporations that want employees to feel insecure in their ability to leave a job.  Pharmaceutical companies that don't want to have to negotiate with a single buyer, which would lead to lower costs for consumers and lower profits.  Insurance companies who employ thousands of people who's job it is to figure out how to get claims denied, and hospitals who employ thousands of people in an arms race to compete with the administrators at insurance companies.  Single payer would single handedly eliminate the US deficit and improve our health care system, but certain powerful corporations don't want it.

Here's what else it would do.  Reduce the pressure on a family to get an abortion.  If you make $60K in the US you enjoy a decent life, but as corporations have pushed health care costs on to employees more and more so they could enjoy their now record profits this has led to a condition where pregnancy is a huge financial pain.  It's not unusual to have $3K annual deductibles even when you adopt the low deductible plan your company offers.  This is the one with the higher monthly premiums.  Pregnancy means you'll quickly hit that deductible.  That's a lot of money for a family making $60K.  Maybe they want to save for retirement or the education of other children they already have.  Abortion is incentivized on the kind of health care system we have in the US.  That incentive is removed with single payer health care.

On the issue of single payer Republicans and tea party types align themselves with the pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, and other corporations that want high profits.  They side against the majority of the public.  And against the unborn.