EppsNet Archive: Government

$15 Trillion for “Free” Healthcare

$300K = free healthcare for 60 people?! $50K per person?! Multiply by 300 million Americans . . . check me on the math but isn’t that $15 trillion? For “free” healthcare?!?!?! Here’s what it looks like if you write it out: $15,000,000,000,000. Is this guy insane?!?!?! Read more →

Animal House Tax Policy

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland sued the federal government over the Republican-led tax overhaul Tuesday, alleging the new law championed by President Donald Trump unfairly singles out high-tax blue states. — wsaz.com I thought this was noteworthy in that I can’t remember ever in my life hearing a Democrat say anything about people in high tax brackets other than they are not paying their “fair share.” If a Democrat has ever before said that people in high tax brackets are being singled out unfairly, I can’t remember it. The new federal tax law passed last year caps the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000, meaning that residents of high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland — and California, where I currently live — will see big increases in their federal tax bill. It reminds me of a scene from… Read more →

Separation of Families Considered Harmful?

Here’s a photo showing two girls in a “cage” watching a World Cup match, amongst dozens of other kids who are for some reason wrapped in foil. I’ve seen this photo and others widely circulated online recently as evidence of the Trumpenfuhrer’s crimes against humanity. But guess what? The photos were taken in 2014, when some other guy was president. Many people have a single standard for evaluating political activity: Is it being carried out by Team Red or Team Blue. Nothing is good or bad on its own merits. I don’t remember anyone on Team Blue being outraged about kids in “cages” in 2014, but in 2018 it’s a humanitarian crisis has to be denounced mercilessly, even if the evidence has to be faked. I haven’t heard anyone propose a viable alternative to separating parents and children at the border. I’m not sure Team Blue wants to find a… Read more →

Those Weren’t Burglars, They Were “Confidential Informants”

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims — New York Times It’s too bad for Richard Nixon that he wasn’t able to come up with a similarly quick-witted explanation for Watergate. It reminded me of a joke: A man sees one of his neighbors scattering crumbs all around his house. “Why are you doing that?” he asked. “I’m keeping the tigers away.” “But there aren’t any tigers around here.” “That’s right. You see how well it works?” Read more →

The Last Four U.S. Presidents on Jerusalem

Jerusalem is still the capital of Israel and must remain an undivided city. — Bill Clinton As soon as I take office, I will begin the process of moving the United States ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital. — George W. Bush Jerusalem will remain the capital, and I have said that before and I will say it again. — Barack Obama I have decided that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. — Donald Trump Today we officially open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations, it’s been a long time coming. — Donald Trump Read more →

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

PolitiFact has a article headlined “Donald Trump’s NRA speech, fact-checked”. Here’s a sample: “African-American unemployment has reached another all-time, in history, record low … And the same thing with Hispanic American unemployment, which is also at the lowest level in history — unemployment, lowest level in history. And women’s unemployment — women, many women — is at the lowest level in almost 20 years. Think of that.” The “fact check” starts out like this: As far as the numbers go, Trump is correct. It then goes on for another five paragraphs to say that Barack Obama deserves “at least as much” credit as Trump for low unemployment. That’s a fact check?! Trump didn’t even say anything about who deserves the credit, although the listener is invited to make a favorable inference. Had he added “. . . and I deserve all the credit,” it would be fair in that case… Read more →

Thomas Jefferson on Hillary Clinton

My fellow Americans — Hillary Clinton is still rattling off all the “reasons” she lost the 2016 presidential election: misogyny, the FBI, sexism, the NRA, Russia . . . To my knowledge, she has never correctly identified the actual culprits: the patriotic men and women of this country. Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: High School Gun Experts

I’m burned out on the high school gun “experts” for a couple of reasons: They’re rude. It’s too obvious that someone or a collection of someones is scripting their talking points. I heard one of the kids raising an obscure point about record-keeping requirements at the ATF. Most gun control advocates are not even familiar with the basic mechanisms and terminology of guns, let alone with ATF policy minutiae. That’s something a gun control lobbyist would know about, but it’s not something a high school kid knows about, unless it’s scripted out for him. I don’t object to the anti-gun message, although I disagree with most of it . . . I object to being treated like the kind of rube who can’t tell when a high school student is plagiarizing someone else’s ideas. Also: these kids have a platform, not based on their own merits, but because 17 other… Read more →

“I Need to Pay Higher Taxes,” Says Bill Gates

If Bill Gates really believed that, he could decide how much he “should” pay, subtract it from what he’s required to pay, and send Uncle Sam a check for the difference. Which he doesn’t do. Gates was talking about taxes in the context of the recent tax bill not being progressive enough for his liking. “People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class or those who are poor,” he said. Bill Gates is as smart as anyone I can think of, so I think his remarks are disingenuous rather than uninformed. People who are “wealthier” (“people with higher incomes” would be more accurate) benefit more from income tax cuts because they pay dramatically more in taxes to begin with (see chart). For example, the top 1 percent of earners pay almost as much into the federal income tax pool (38 percent) as the bottom… Read more →

Is Healthcare a Right or an Entitlement?

That’s the title of a lengthy article on LinkedIn in which the author makes the following argument: I had to spend more than $30,000 on cancer treatment. Therefore, healthcare is a right, not an entitlement. Because having a “right” to something implies that you have the right to force another person to work and pay for that thing. You can add a level of abstraction, i.e., “the government should pay for my healthcare” sounds more appealing than “another person should pay for my healthcare” but where do you think government gets the money to pay for things? The article also offers this: Prisoners get free healthcare and shouldn’t we get the same rights as prisoners? Of course, prisoners give up a lot of rights in exchange for free healthcare but if you think it’s a good tradeoff, commit a crime and go to prison. If we, as a country, did… Read more →

Al Franken and Ted Kennedy

I’m old enough to remember when a U.S. senator could actually kill a woman and not only NOT resign but be considered a legislative luminary, the lion of the Democratic party. (If you’re not old enough to remember that, google “Ted Kennedy.”) I’m hearing that Sen. Al Franken will be resigning his seat within the next day. The last straw was an allegation from a woman who said that Franken, before he was a senator, appeared to be about to kiss her and she moved away: He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked. I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the… Read more →

Thomas Jefferson: Bush 41 Calls Trump a “Blowhard”

Stinging rebuke from a one-term president who won the White House on the coattails of Ronald Reagan! Read my lips: Hurry up and die. I dislike Republicans and Democrats equally. It’s a choice between which gang of thieves you want to be robbed by. Elect a Democratic president and get four years of trench warfare against Republicans. Elect a Republican president and get four years of trench warfare against Democrats. One of the things I like about President Trump: Democrats don’t like him, Republicans don’t like him, nobody likes him except the people who voted for him, and that’s enough. Read more →

A Hotbed of Asininity

I’ve never heard of this woman but she has a verified account and claims to be a Harvard woman: The fact that presidents are raising money from the public for something the government should pay for is disgusting. https://t.co/2GMAZ4E6JX — Kimberly N. Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) October 22, 2017 OK . . . but where do you think government gets the money to pay for things? Sometimes I think America should change its marketing from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to A Hotbed of Asininity. Read more →

Spot the Fake News: Obamacare Subsidies

I read four news stories on the same topic — the end of Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies. The Wall Street Journal plays it straight down the middle: President Donald Trump’s executive order on health care issued Thursday marks the first major salvo in what the White House promises will be an extensive, targeted campaign to unravel the Affordable Care Act administratively. As does Bloomberg: President Donald Trump said he is moving “step by step” on his own to remake the U.S. health care system because Congress won’t act on his demand to repeal Obamacare. The Trump administration took its most drastic measure yet to roll back the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, announcing it would cut off a subsidy to insurers hours after issuing an executive order designed to draw people away from the health law’s markets. See if you can spot the fake news in the Politico version:… Read more →

I Love Freedom More Than Most People and Now I Know Why

This is from a new survey of American adults by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Also: 37 percent couldn’t name a single right protected by the First Amendment. While 48 percent of those surveyed were able to name freedom of speech, far fewer could identify other rights accorded, including freedom of religion (15 percent), freedom of the press (14 percent), right of peaceful assembly (10 percent), and right to petition the government (3 percent). I’m a freedom-loving guy. I find that my love of freedom exceeds that of most of my countrymen and now I know why . . . because cherishing the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are, and most people don’t know what they are. P.S. I learned to remember the First Amendment rights with the GRASP acronym: freedom to petition the Government, freedom of Religion, freedom of Assembly, freedom… Read more →

Big Losers

I saw this headline on an AP story today — Poor and disabled big losers in Trump budget. The story includes a photo of the budget (see below), so I think it’s safe to say that the AP writer didn’t read the entire thing before announcing who the “big losers” are. He’s just flogging his own agenda. (See also Harvard Study Says Media Are Very Biased Against Donald Trump) “Trump’s plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 makes deep cuts in safety net programs . . .” the story says. What’s the difference between a “cut” and a “deep cut”? The latter sounds mean and scary. Why not just say something factual like “10 percent cut” or “50 percent cut” and let readers put their own characterization on it? “Safety net programs” is also a loaded expression. “Trump’s budget would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over… Read more →

Why Should Men (or Women) Have to Pay for Prenatal Coverage?

Illinois rep asks why men should have to pay for prenatal coverage — LA Times Evidently the LAT thinks this a hopelessly stupid question, but why? ObamaCare requires that all health plans cover pregnancy and childbirth, even though pregnancy and childbirth insurance is expensive and many people (including women) don’t need or want it. Why is a man or woman not afforded the option to buy a less expensive health plan without pregnancy and childbirth coverage? Why is that not an option? Even though the LAT frames the issue as a stupid question asked by a stupid white male, why should women in their 50s or 60s or 70s be paying for pregnancy and childbirth insurance? Or women of any age if they don’t want it? Why is this law restricting our options and forcing people to pay for expensive things that they don’t need or want? Read more →

At the Post Office

It’s Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 PM . . . I’m trying to overnight some documents to Reno, NV. “They won’t get there tomorrow,” I’m informed. “It’s too late. They’ll get there on Friday before noon. So if you don’t want to spend 23 dollars for Express Mail, you can send them Priority Mail for 6 dollars.” “Will 6 dollars guarantee that they arrive on Friday?” “No, no guarantee.” “OK then I have to go with the 23 dollar option. And by the way, why can’t you get documents to Reno by tomorrow? I could personally deliver them to Reno by tomorrow and it’s not even my job.” Read more →

Carmack on Government

My core thesis is that the federal government delivers very poor value for the resources it consumes, and that society as a whole would be better off with a government that was less ambitious. This is not to say that it doesn’t provide many valuable and even critical services, but that the cost of having the government provide them is much higher than you would tolerate from a company or individual you chose to do business with. For almost every task, it is a poor tool. Given the inefficiency, why is the federal government called upon to do so many things? A large part is naked self interest, which is never going to go away — lots of people play the game to their best advantage, and even take pride in their ability to get more than they give. However, a lot is done in the name of misplaced idealism.… Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

Is anyone else sick of paying for an ever-expanding army of bureaucrats to meddle in their lives? Or is it just me? Read more →

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