The Cost of Stupid

It’s popular on the fringe to mock democracy, pointing to the endless supply of examples where “citizens” sign up for idiotic causes. The simple fact that 50% of people are below average in intelligence should be enough to shake anyone’s faith in democracy. As I’m fond of putting it, find the dumbest guy you know and give him a veto over your life. That’s democracy.

That said, the alternatives are not much better. If your system of government permits the deranged, insane and berserk to get control of the levers of power, eventually they will and you will be ruled by lunatics. Charles VI was king of France in the 14th century. He also thought he was made of glass. Christian VII of Denmark was a chronic masturbater who would randomly slap people in the face (with his hand) for no reason.

The great check on this for most of human history was scarcity. Human societies were a bad harvest away from serious unrest unless the people in charge were on top of things. That motivated the ruling class to police themselves. That was best done by killing off the deranged, the insane and the unpredictable. If the king’s son was a dangerous nut, then he would die in a hunting accident before he became a problem.

I’m exaggerating for effect, but the point is valid. When misconduct or misjudgements by the rulers had catastrophic consequences, the people in charge had no choice but to be prudent. This limited innovation and stifled technological progress, but it kept lunatics from gaining too much influence. Plus, burning heretics at the stake was fun.

In the current age, the people in charge can be reckless. We live in a post-scarcity time when even big mistakes by the rulers do not threaten our survival. At least it seems that way. We’re certainly testing the theory by allowing anyone with a crackpot idea to get a shot to try it out on the public. This story about health insurance in Colorado is a great example.

With Colorado’s shaky Obamacare exchange in peril, some health care advocates are calling for voters to scrap it and replace it with something far more ambitious.

Proponents of a statewide single-payer health care system have submitted 156,107 signatures, far more than the 98,492 required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, to the Colorado secretary of state’s office for verification.If the measure qualifies, Colorado would immediately become ground zero for a national debate on the concept of steep tax increases in return for guaranteed health care coverage for all residents, all against the backdrop of a pivotal presidential race.

The program, called ColoradoCare, comes with a steep price tag: $25 billion, which would be raised with a 10 percent payroll tax increase. At the same time, the plan would provide all residents with Medicare-style health care coverage and allow the state to dump Obamacare.

Whether Colorado voters would agree to take on that kind of tax hike is another question — two years ago, they rejected a comparatively paltry $1 billion tax increase for education — but there is no doubt that the “no-more-Obamacare” argument resonates with certain segments of the population.

“For some people, I say, ‘It gets us out of Obamacare,’ and some people cheer,” T.R. Reid, a spokesman for ColoradoCareYES, said during the signature-gathering campaign. “It’s a purple state, and we have this purple plan that can appeal to both sides.”

The premise of this proposal is that the people who screwed up the old system with the central planning thing called ObamaCare now want to “fix” it by replacing it with an even nuttier government plan. They are not hiding from this or even sugarcoating it. It’s right there. The solution to government run health insurance is government run health insurance.

Of course, most of the people behind this are not insane, but many of them are. They are convinced that if you arrange the laws just the right the way, two plus two will equal five. The trouble is the cynical backers who seek to profit by having the crazy convince enough of the stupid to go along with another robbery. This can only happen when the people in charge are no longer policing their ranks.

Even in a post-scarcity age, the iron laws of supply and demand apply. There is a finite amount of health care. That means it must be rationed and the only way that ever gets done properly is through price. Even Chinese Marxists get this basic reality. For essentials like basic health care, food, shelter, etc., charity steps in so those with extra can help those in need.

You never hear anyone say this in public. Instead, pols from both parties come up with plan to summon the good spirits of plenty to vanquish the evil spirits of want. They don’t put it that way, but it is what they are saying. The fault is not that some people believe this. The trouble is the people who know better encourage this sort of reckless nonsense. At some point, the tab for indulging the reckless and stupid is going to be paid.

6 thoughts on “The Cost of Stupid

  1. UKer is right. We have the same system in Canada, and it also leads to what Mark Steyn has called “the nationalization of your body”. That is, EVERYTHING you do can be claimed to be the state’s business, because they’re footing the bill for your health care. What you eat (salt? fat? bacon? sausages?), how you spend your leisure time (sedentary activities like reading? watching TV? Risky activities like mountain climbing? wilderness hiking?), are all suitable for nosy bureaucrats to come and boss you about. And they will. And if the glow of self-approbation isn’t sufficient because they’re concerned about your health and well-being, it will be bumped higher when they can pose as sober custodians of the people’s money.

  2. No political system is stable in the long run, and it always collapses into something else. According to Polybius the cycle was democracy to aristocracy to monarchy, with intermediate degenerate forms of ocholocracy, oligarchy and tyranny. We are, apparently, in the ocholocracy stage.

  3. Here on our side of the pond we have the — allegedly magnificent — National Health Service which consumes a lot of money each year, but in a nation which offers free health tourism (cue many cries of anger from lefties when UKIP dared to say it was a NATIONAL health service, not an INTERNATIONAL health service) spending public money is inevitable. With more and more people arriving here — often from shit-hole countries with piss-poor health provision — the spending has to go up. Yes, they bring their diseases and war wounds with them.

    As the immigrants don’t pay any taxes at first (if ever) the burden of this cost falls on those already here. More, the government has to provide interpreters to NHS hospitals to help soothe the fevered brow of angry muslim families who insist that there is no way a qualified male doctor will look at the damage their ham-fisted home clitoridectomy has done, loudly insisting only a female doctor can admire their nasty handiwork.

    But putting aside our new friends and their quaint cultural ways, the result of all this concentration on ‘free’ healthcare is that the government turns more and more to propaganda to cut hospital admissions. Thus we here are bombarded by endless illness -and-injury prevention messages. It might seem that the government cares about what you do (won’t be long before we all must wear crash helmets and body armour when walking to the local store, lest we should trip and fall) but the fact is they want to ban anything that might increase the spend on hospital care.

    This is one of the things any socialist-loving insistence on single-payer health care in the States will bring you. The government will eagerly want you to be very careful and sensible and timid because there won’t be enough cash to pay for all the foreign-created health issues the system will have to provide for.

  4. I have been a Colorado resident for almost 20 years–a high income professional who contributes approximately $20,000 to $30,000 per year in income taxes to the State of Colorado, depending upon the year. We have a flat tax rate less than 5% so you can do the math. I will move if this passes.

    This ballot initiative implements the pure socialization of the state’s health care system. Insurance providers will be eliminated and a replaced with a political subdivision of the State which assumes financial responsibility for health care payments. The system will be financed initially with a 10% payroll tax, 2/3 of which is paid by the employer and 1/3 of which is paid by the employee, and a 10% tax on non-payroll income. Self-employed people pay the entire 10%. The system will be administered by a 21 member elected board which has the authority to raise tax rates at their discretion.

    This is a ballot proposal to amend the Colorado Constitution, which means it goes directly to the voters. I expect it to pass with a wide margin as it represents a compelling value for the vast majority of income earners in Colorado. The median income in Colorado is approximately $50,000, so a median income employee will pay approximately $1667 per year for himself/herself and all his dependents. There are no deductibles and coverage includes dental and vision. There is no rating for health issues, age, pre-existing conditions, etc. This system is going to bleed money.

    The inevitable losses incurred are to be recouped by contributions from self-employed schmucks like myself, who will be forced to pay between $40,000 and $60,000 per year into the system. Goodbye, Colorado. I’m going to Phoenix next month to start hunting for neighborhoods, schools, etc. I suspect I won’t be the only high-income earner leaving if/when this beast passes.

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    there is no voting our way out of this

    in any respect

    it is what got us here to begin with

    There is another aspect of stupid which bears telling. It is the illegitimacy of stupid.
    As in, (aside from their appetite for other peoples fruit of their labor to feed their greed for free shit), if collectivists are stupid enough to try and disarm us, because that is the next logical step to keep the gravy train rolling, just the fact it is such a incredibly stupid thing to try that alone is enough to make a man shoot the stupid sonofabitches.

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