So where is all the growth?

Technology in our time is moving at a pace so fast it seems that only children have the time to stay current. This dizzying pace of progress is bringing wonder after wonder, so why is economic growth so sluggish?

Economic growth, as measured in terms of GDP, has been on a long slow decline in the West since the 1960’s. The authors of The Second Machine Age point out that digital age economic progress looks like stagnation when measured by traditional means.

We measure economic growth in terms of production and consumption. There is nothing in our economic calculus that measures improvements in well-being, happiness, health or satisfaction. Whatever increases productivity or units of consumption is good. Anything that decreases consumption or production is bad.

While economic “growth” in the Western world has looked relatively flat, our quality of life has improved by nearly every measure. Most of the benefit of the computer age escapes our traditional economic measures entirely. In fact, on paper much of it looks like economic contraction

Take the music industry as an example. Once again, from The Second Machine Age:

Music is hiding itself from our traditional economic statistics. Sales of music on physical media declined from 800 million units in 2004 to less than 400 million units in 2008…Before the rise of the MP3, even the most fanatical music fan, with a basement stacked high was LP’s, tapes, and CD’s, wouldn’t have had a fraction of the twenty millions songs available on a child’s smartphone via services like Spotify or Rhapsody…If you’re like most people, you are listening to more and better music than ever before.

What has been the impact of this spectacular improvement in lifestyle? By traditional metrics, the introduction of digital music has been economic catastrophe.

The value of music has not changed, only the price. From 2004 to 2008, the combined revenue from sale of music dropped from $12.3 billion to $7.4 billion – that’s a decline of 40%. Even when we include all digital sales, throwing in ringtones on mobile phones for good measure, the total revenues to record companies are still down 30%. Similar economics apply when you read the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, or MIT Sloan Management Review online at a reduced price or for free instead of buying a physical copy at the newsstand…Analog dollars are becoming digitial pennies.

Overall, what has been the value of making dictionaries, news, music, encyclopedias, health information, and other formerly expensive products free or virtually free? Our lives have been meaningfully enriched and our productivity in a sense improved. Yet the impact to economic growth in traditional consumption-oriented terms has been almost entirely negative. Again from the book:

A simple switch to using a free texting service like Apple’s iChat instead of SMS, free classifieds like Craigslist instead of newspaper ads, or free calls like Skype instead of a traditional telephone service can make billions of dollars disappear from companies’ revenues and the GDP statistics.

It is extremely difficult to reduce the lifestyle improvement delivered by the iPhone or improved medical imaging technology or the self-driving car to a metric. What this means is that the most radically concentrated improvement in human life and happiness which has ever occurred in our history is happening with remarkably little notice. By failing to note this transformation, we are missing many of the opportunities presented by this era to improve our lives even further.

Another example of what economic progress looks like in our time, and why we do not recognize it, comes from an earlier GOPLifer piece on social capital:

In 1985, a top of the line Ford Mustang GT carried a sticker price of $14,000 which, adjusted for inflation, equals roughly $30,000 today.  That car featured an AM/FM radio with an optional cassette deck.  The finest Mustang you could buy in 1985 had no air bags, no anti-lock brakes, no remote electronic door locks, no CD player, USB port, or heated seats.

It had no cup holders.

Visit a Ford showroom today and you can drive away with their finest Mustang GT tricked out with advanced safety features, every imaginable gadget, excellent engineering and reliability, a spectacular warranty, and even cup holders for about $30,000.

We are living longer, healthier lives with better access to quality food, information, transportation, art, literature, entertainment and almost anything else we desire. Those advantages are compounding at a fantastic rate, changing what it means to be rich, poor and everything in between. Virtually none of this shows up in our traditional calculations of economic growth or progress, and much of it is actually depressing our growth metrics.

Distortions we experience in our measurement of economic growth provide a clue to wider difficulties. As we struggle to adapt to the second machine age, the very definitions we use to describe what’s “good” and “bad” in policy terms are becoming cloudy.

By failing to recognize our changing circumstances we are tangling ourselves in pointless debates over policy issues that in many cases no longer matter. Along the way we fail to recognize the critical waypoints that will determine whether the benefits of this new age will outweigh its burdens. Understanding the second machine age isn’t about appreciating the cool new gadgets around us. Our ability to recognize our changing landscape will determine who will prosper in this time and how much.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Economics, The Second Machine Age
179 comments on “So where is all the growth?
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  6. fiftyohm says:

    Yeah – I was confused too.

  7. DanMan says:

    I can tell you your argument went off the rails somewhere around your 2:10pm post yesterday and then hysteria came to the fore over risk pools. I don’t know where you came up with $350k lifetime healthcare but I tried to fit it in with numbers I could use from memory that jibe with yours and I get closer to $530k if we assume an average life span of 70 years.

    I don’t buy into the notion that health insurance is a right that has to be paid for with borrowed money so I don’t think you and I will ever be able to have a cogent discussion on the issue, no matter where you pull your numbers from.

    I will say I doubt insurance companies are pulling 20% profit off their revenues from health insurance. If that is the case, we need to deregulate that industry and let competition run its course for awhile.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Thanks for putting this at the top. Was getting tired of scrolling all the way down.

      The discussion went all over the place. First there was the claim that nobody could know what, or even about what, a visit to a doctor would be, or how much a procedure would run. But some of us have been there and know better.

      Then there was the claim that doctors, clinics and hospitals got paid less for having to do a lot more work to get paid, where the reality is that they will pass savings on to the customer for not having all the administrative work in dealing with insurance companies to get paid.

      Then there was the claim that insurance companies somehow magically pull money out of thin air to pay for actual health care, that everybody gets more out than they pay in. But that is not even possible. Private companies need more revenue than expenses to stay in business. I didn’t bother to disect the numbers, they don;t matter.

      Insurance companies make a small profit, around 2% to 4%. The 20% covers all operating costs, from employee paychecks to office space to advertising and a little of that for profit.

      • DanMan says:

        Then if their overhead + profits are 20% they must be the leanest operation around and should be left alone for that reason, in my field we generally have 1/3 for facilities, 1/3 operating expense outside of facilities and 1/3 payroll that includes taxes, etc.

        I know in construction if you’re pulling 4% you’re doing it wrong. A profit of 4% on most commodities would need high volume to make it work. Like oil & gas. Isn’t fuel taxed at about 10% at the state and federal level in Texas?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        The insurance companies haven’t gone broke yet refunding $2 Billion dollars back the last 2 years numbers were available. I guess their money does magically come from their butts after all.

      • DanMan says:

        whoa! that’s some concise reporting there Cap. Dovetails nicely with the previous discussion about risk pools too. Obama made sure the insurance companies are made whole right up until he leaves office.

        poor bubba, another flat and still no spare eh pal??

      • bubbabobcat says:

        So Cappy and Danny what is that bright red rectangular bar across the top of your source there? Why I believe it says “opinion”. Like not hard facts. Like just unsubstantiated hate pronouncements because you know, the NY Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch and NY’ers pretty much “read” that rag for the local sports and local gossip/scandals.

        Great “legitimate” information source fellas. But not surprising you are bottom feeding yet again.

        Dovetails nicely with your preconceived biases and hate you mean Danny.

        Wingnut circle jerk fail again. Try to emerge from your insular hate bubble a little sometime.

      • DanMan says:

        It is obvious you don’t share her opinions bubba. Can you refute her facts? Don’t hesitate to use all of your colorful descriptives if it helps.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Danny they are all opinions. Hyperbolic pronouncements. No facts needed or present. Which is why you were literally orgasmic in you obsequiousness over it.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Here are some real FACTS Danny Deluisonal:

        “The insurance expansion under the Affordable Care Act will cost $1.383 trillion over the next decade, more than $100 billion less than previous forecasts, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

        The nonpartisan budget office’s report, an update to projections from February, shows the law costing less than in previous estimates in part because of the broad and persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs.”

        No red bar stating “[hysterical wingnut OPINION]

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/15/us/politics/budget-office-lowers-estimate-for-cost-of-expanding-health-coverage.html?hpw&rref=politics

      • CaptSternn says:

        Here are some facts, Bubba. The bailouts are written into the law. Obama tries to change the law with speeches. Obama said the PPACA would cost less than $1 trillion per year.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Less than $1 trillion per ten years. Derp!

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cappy trying to argue with facts and NON partisan CBO numbers. Wotta surprise. Not.

        Cappy you can Chicken Little all you want but Obamacare is not and will not be the end of the USA as much as you and your fellow wingnuts Machiavellianly wish it to be.

        It’s working out quite well the more we go down the road and it inexorably becomes part of the American fabric of life. To the benefit of this country and citizens. It will be tweaked and fine tuned as we move forward throughout the years just as we do with Medicare and Medicaid, but the ACA is America and the good it represents.

        Deal with it.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Dan, First off, I said nothing about insurance company profits. Cap mentioned a rule of thumb of payouts/revenue=80%. I didn’t dispute that, either. Here’s your sign: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/07/administrative_costs_in_health.html

      Next, on lifetime healthcare costs, I swaged them from this site, and not my “memory”: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361028/

      And: When in the hell did I ever say, intone, or otherwise opine that I think “health insurance is a right”, or should be paid for with “borrowed money”? I do not. I’ve heard of creative writing, but creative reading is a new concept for me.

      The discussion was about (mostly) the wisdom and practicality of self-insurance for healthcare. That’s where the topic of risk pools came up.

      So what again, exactly, did I say that you didn’t agree with? Dammit man – read properly or don’t post. It’s embarrassing for the home team..

      • way2gosassy says:

        Having fun with your team, Fifty =)

      • DanMan says:

        Ok 50, I’ll go through your comments again. When it became a bubba spleen venting deal I skimmed the surface and paid more attention to what Cap was saying, which of course made sense to me.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Dan- That’s fair enough.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh go stuff it, Way2. 😉

      • way2gosassy says:

        Picture me stuffing it and laughing me widdle azz off at the same time! =)

      • DanMan says:

        if way2insipid endorses you does that make you a member of the rucas posse? I hope not!

        Okay, at 7:49am I can generally agree on your point except I too have been without insurance on a few occasions and I had no problems paying for health care. I also had it explained to me when I had a hernia operation that was supposed to be a quick deal turned into 4 days in a hospital and when I scrutinized the bill I was told insured people are charged more to pay for those without. Take from that what you will but it endorses Capt’s take. I did do comparison shopping on prescriptions that were covered on my BCBS state issued plan once and found on several occasions the prescription was cheaper than the co-pay.

        9:00am. What team again?

        10:42am. Convolution on steroids here. Don’t like ACA, don’t like oversimplification, don’t like complexity but are hooked on some kind of goat metaphor.

        Bubba noise didn’t bother reading.

        1:08pm and 1:11pm. Now you were getting somewhere but in the end it sounds more like we need to do more of what we are doing. I’m no fan of John McCain but he likely had it right on health care insurance in 2008 and the long list of derisions Obama heaped on him and his proposals have come to pass under Obamacare, and it’s not even implemented for the most part. You tell us a market based approach is obsolete. Well okay, if that is going to be a fact then what does the coming argument for risk pools have to do with anything?

        1:20pm. I prolly pay about $400/year to HCHD and as far as I know have never used one of their facilities. No idea what the thousands of dollars for $200 procedures was about.

        2:10pm. Eh…yeah, what evs. Suffice it to say there’s a lot of people that will be saying buh-bye to their MSA’s soon.

        2:29pm “by your own postings, insurance companies rake about 20% off the top of the premiums they take in.” Off the top to me means profit. By Cap’s and your later article it includes operating expenses and profits of 2-4% , which btw Obama has just increased by inserting his own text into his shiny new law.

        3:09pm. I admit I have no idea what kind of notion you tried to forward with the insurance actuary drowning in shallow lakes.

        3:09pm. More stuffing MSAs into self insurance as though they are the same. Medical savings accounts allow you to purchase insurance at vastly reduced premiums for vastly higher deductibles in case of emergencies. The more you put into them the lower your premiums can be for higher coverage. It incentivizes health for most people. All the other stuff like tire rotations and oil changes are paid out of pocket and the savings there comes from shopping for the service, which you have declared obsolete.

        4:37pm. We’re all wusses for not agreeing with whatever your take was. M’kay.

        Man if you’re on my team maybe we should resort to handle signals.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Bubba noise didn’t bother reading.”

        LOL I am learning that, but sometimes it is worth the time. Bubba basically argued against any and all forms of insurance, private and/or government. They can deny payment (private insurance) or deny/prohibit actual care (government insurance). I wonder if he understands his own argument?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh, I give up. The goat metaphor was related to paying cash for services rendered at the hospital. Never said a market-based approach was obsolete. I said the current state of the healthcare market is not well approximated by it. And Silvia was the name of a goat in a play by our own Edward Albee. The comment about HCHD was what happens when people don’t have insurance and don’t pay for their healthcare. I do through taxes. On the profit issue, you simply didn’t read carefully. The insurance actuary was an illustration of how averages don’t necessarily apply to individuals. All of this was attempting to convince Cap that it is not possible for any but a small percentage of the population to avoid the purchase of health insurance by building some kind of war chest. Anyway-

        I figured that financial conservatives like me had a deeper understanding of the healthcare cost issues and insurance than the left. It has become abundantly clear this is not necessarily the case. If any metaphor was in error, or inapt, it was the one about the team.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Hey Fifty, why is it that your team member can’t seem to have a discussion without calling people names and being a jerk? I don’t recall engaging that person at all. This behavior is exactly why we can’t even have a lighthearted exchange about anything.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fifty, you often seem to be leaning towards the right, but then you leap to the left when confronted by the right. Major expenses are almost never paid all at once, up front, They are made in payments, installments.

        There was never an argument against health insurance (except by Bubba), just the argument that most people pay more into it than they get out of it. That should be a free choice, as you have said. But you have not explained how a private, for-profit company, can pay more out than is taken in and stay in business.

        HCHD is a local issue, and I have always said that the social safety net and welfare should be local, not federal. Not that it should not exist at all at any level. Public education should be at state and more local control, not that it should not exist at all.

        We have gone round and round, and you have changed the subject and gone on wild goose chases and brought up things that went off discussion. It seems you can’t defend any one point of your claims, so you run off somewhere else to avoid defending those claims. What is up with that?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Aw hell, Way2. I wish I’d never started the whole metaphor. I’d wager there are those here who think I was insulting you with the 3:42 post, so unimaginative are many here. I’m just disappointed right now. I’ll get over it and be back with more obscure references from the arts, convoluted sentence structure, and arcane words just because they sorta rhyme. I’m not writing for a high school audience, anyway.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap- You call yourself ‘the right’. You’re not. Guys like Buckley, Eisenhower, and Goldwater would cringe.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Well at least two of have a sense of humor!

      • CaptSternn says:

        I am not on the right, Fifty? Does that mean I am on the left? Really?

      • fiftyohm says:

        No Cap. It means you are a caricature.

      • DanMan says:

        Go Coogs!

      • bubbabobcat says:

        CaptSternn says:
        April 15, 2014 at 6:10 pm
        “Fifty, you often seem to be leaning towards the right, but then you leap to the left when confronted by the right.”

        Noooooo Cappy, fitty jumps to rational explanations when he is embarrassingly confronted by the idiocy on the right. Which of course to you means any kind of facts are “leftist”.

        And you can’t even explain your own delusional crap so DON’T try to speak for me and willfully misrepresent me.

        I feel for fitty. He can’t even talk beyond the second grade level before he loses Cappy and Danny completely.

        You guys obviously don’t understand basic math. Which explains a lot. Drowning in a lake that averages 3 feet means some spots are 3 inches and some spots are 150 feet deep, “geniuses”.

        I feel for ya fitty. I really do. But like Sassy, I’m laughing my ass off too. 😉

        When fitty has to bang his head on the wall explaining basic conservative principles to Cappy and Danny, it just confirms Cappy and Danny are just Sylvias bleating nonsensically just to hear themselves bleat.

        Listen Danny and Cappy, if you want wingnut emotional security and to contentedly mentally thumbsuck, go back to mommy Sparkless’ nonsensical and tightly controlled inbred wingnut feedback loop.

        Rather than blindly and waaaaay incorrectly casting aspersion about fitty being “leftist” Cappy, maybe you should do less Googling of inbred wingnut sites for your “edification” and open your mind (and understand more) like real conservatives as fitty and TThor.

        The point is they make reasoned arguments that I may not ever agree with at all but at least respect where they are coming from.

        Learn something for a change dudes.

      • DanMan says:

        well 50 you got bubba…I feel for ya bro

      • bubbabobcat says:

        DanMan says:
        April 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm
        “well [sic] 50 you got bubba…I feel for ya bro”

        Despite the fact that fitty has already stated that he is totally embarrassed to have you and Cappy on the same political side as him?

        Man, thumbsucking in your alternate reality is reeeeeeeeally satisfying for you ain’t it Danny?

  8. way2gosassy says:

    Off topic but in answer to an earlier post,
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/conspiracy/nevada.asp

    • flypusher says:

      “…Bundy began declining to pay the government fees required to allow his cattle to graze on public lands…..”

      Looks like we got ourselves a moocher here!

      • way2gosassy says:

        Would a responsible rancher really try to graze over a thousand head of cattle on a paltry 160 acres of land? The average acreage per cow or 1,000 pounds per animal for the Nevada area is between 25 to 90 acres depending on average rainfall and soil conditions. To his credit, there is the very real possibility that his family held this 160 acres for a hundred years by homestead but that does not give him the right to use at will property that is not deeded to him.

      • way2gosassy says:

        One other thing, even in the most fertile areas the average land usage is 1 per acre.

    • rightonrush says:

      Big brave militia men were gonna put the women in front if the Feds started firing. Typical behavior from these wanna be cowboys.

      • way2gosassy says:

        No surprise there, most of those folks consider women to be second class citizens and they must be controlled at all costs!

  9. Intrigued says:

    I am trying really hard to silence my inner Kabuzz but the truth is I can’t help but think we have forgotten about the old technology that allowed us to record up to 90 minutes of music from the radio for the price of one song. Or that $700 TV that lasted way beyond its technology capacity. Technology is disposable now days and is far from cheap. Gone are the days that we could buy a $1000 ugly satellite dish and access every channel available without a monthly bill. How are these monthly payments attributed to growth?

    • Tuttabella says:

      One question that has not come up — is it that important to have hundreds of channels, and thousands of songs? I don’t have cable, rarely watch TV, and I thought it was funny how recently, there were major protests over people not being able to get a certain sport or game with a certain cable service, when you could actually get it on free, broadcast TV. As I said, it helps to think outside the box sometimes.

    • goplifer says:

      Those days aren’t gone. You can still have all of that technology and it’s practically free on eBay. You don’t see it anymore because it sucked in comparison to what’s available now and no one wants it.

      Your radio is just waiting over there to be reunited with a cassette deck. Imagine all the bad-ass mix tapes, complete with little chunks from the commercials you failed to stop recording through, which are just waiting to be recorded and delivered to that special someone…

      • Intrigued says:

        “Imagine all the bad-ass mix tapes, complete with little chunks from the commercials you failed to stop recording through” Those chunks of commercials and radio station jingles is what made those mix tapes rock! Lol I know the technology sucked in comparison to what’s available now but it was also a lot cheaper. Technology has grown rapidly over the passed decade and I’m surprised it’s not reflected in economic growth.

      • goplifer says:

        It’s even cheaper now. Check out these deals on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/Cassette-Tape-Decks-/48645/i.html

        Your comment has brought back a lot of memories. Now I remember why we bothered to call in “requests.” It was because we were waiting to tape a song and wanted to be able to predict when it would come on.

        I don’t think my kids know that they still play music on the radio.

        Suddenly I feel the urge to dig out that box of old tapes…

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Being an avid music lover, how applauded each change from the vinyl LP. The tapes were great. As was my reel to reel party mixes. Then came CD’s that eliminated the white noise and boosted the quality of the sound. I know purist’s like the white noise and the occasional click of the scratch on the LP, but I am very appreciative of the new technology.

        Also, you don’t have to buy an entire album to get the song you like. MP3 came to the rescue.

        I use AppleTV for programming and air TV for anything on broadcast I want to watch. Now the television is a wonder. The old sets used to take up a lot of real estate, but now they are part of the décor.

        There are definitely many pluses in the tech column. I do have my concerns with so much of our information being out there especially anything tied to government.

      • DanMan says:

        I’ve got a few cassettes with Crash getting the day wrong, time wrong, song he just played wrong and basically sounding like the mandies were kicking in while interlaced with some pretty good music.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The vinyl LPs are still cool. Digital music just doesn’t have the same depth as analog. It’s funny because there are stores that sell the old LPs and ask an arm and leg for them, but you can get them cheap from places like Goodwill.

        Speaking of radio, Houston recently lost a classic rock station, the Arrow at 93.7. It was nice to switch between the Arrow and the Eagle, but now it is just the Eagle. We did find a nice oldies station in the Dallas area. Don’t remember what it was.

        Speaking of oldies, anybody remember the 8 track tapes? How cool were those things? My first car stereo was an 8 track in a ’64 Ford Falcon 4 door. I thought I was on top of the world.

      • DanMan says:

        Craig slide-mount Power Play in my 1951 Chevy Custom Deluxe coupe. Had a 6-volt to 12 volt converter and EV speakers I could pull out of the trunk. That 8 track was so fancy it had the head adjust knob to minimize track bleeding.

      • Tuttabella says:

        By the way, I don’t just collect vintage electronics, I actually use them. I also enjoy adapting old technology to new, with the help of cables from Radio Shack. I have a Califone school phonograph from the ’60s connected to some modern Bose speakers. About 10 years ago I used to hook up a VCR and WebTV to an antique Sylvania console TV from the early ’50s and watch movies and surf the web on the old TV, setting the TV to Channel 3 and controlling the TV features (volume, channels) with the remote control that came with the VCR.

        Some of us have the best of both worlds, born at just the right time, with the experience and knowledge to operate both analog and digital media. It’s great to be versatile.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Dan, why have a head adjustment for your 8 track player when a matchbook would do?

        I did think the 8 Track was cool, but if you were into the song and it continued to the next rack it was a buzz kill, literally.

        When my wife and I first moved to Houston we were robbed by kids. We knew they were kids because all they took was the eight track player and most tapes. (I can’t believe they took their time to look through them). They didn’t touch my Les Paul guitar, my Stratocaster, or my guild acoustic. Didn’t touch the silver or china or crystal. Kids actually did me a favor. I was looking for an excuse to tell the Mrs. I wanted to upgrade the stereo.

      • DanMan says:

        Nice Kabuzz. I had tapes I made with skips or the track change hic-cup that I listened to so many times I would miss hearing those things from other sources.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Dan, when I was 8 years old I called 104 KRBE asking for Crash and was told, “Uh, this is Roger W. Garrett.”

      • Tuttabella says:

        Dan, that phone call I made took place in the early ’70s.

      • DanMan says:

        was Crash really Roger Garrett?

      • Tuttabella says:

        Dan, of course not. I was just an 8 year-old moron calling the wrong station.

      • DanMan says:

        eh don’t be so harsh there Tut, I don’t think 8 yo can be morons yet, jumping on a bus, any bus mind you, at 13 and expecting it to take you where you want to go is certainly approaching it though

    • Tuttabella says:

      Intrigued, from what I’ve read, your inner Kabuzz would want to break out and start playing some guitar riffs.

  10. kabuzz61 says:

    A great day for the citizens. The BLM and other feds backed off the confrontation of the rancher. They most certainly should have done this. Maybe they’re getting smart? Too much to ask.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Not real sure what to make of that story, Kabuzz. I understand that his family has been ranching on those lands for over 100 years, allowing his cattle to free-graze. Then at some point the federal government decided it owned the land, and at another point decided he should have to pay to allow his cattle to free-graze. He did pay, then he stopped paying at some point. He fought it in courts but lost.

      I am sympathetic with his side and cause. I don’t buy the claim from the feds that they are suddenly trying to save some turtle when if he had continued to pay they would not be there at all. I haven’t really followed the story or know all the facts, and at this point I don’t think I can support his side. Can’t say I mind the federal government getting bad press over it, though. Just hope it doesn’t turn into another Ruby Ridge or Waco.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Well, he basically got fed up with the government constantly changing the conditions on how and when he can graze his cattle, etc. When I said it is a great day for the citizens is because every time the government tries to show strength against it’s citizens, it is always too much. Ala Ruby Ridge, Waco and others. I also believed in this case the government didn’t need to confiscate his cattle. That is the man’s livelihood.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I agree about the cattle. If they are going to confiscate them he should be compensated under the imminent domain clause of the 5th amendment. Or maybe not if he is in violation of the laws. I read they tased his son, that things had turned violent.

        I really don’t know on this one, Kabuzz. It would probably hurt my head less if I just went and beat it against a brick wall rather than think about this case. Civil disobedience has its place, and this might be one of those places. That’s why I am sympathetic with his cause and not sympathetic with people that refuse to pay income taxes. I would like to see the 16th repealed and income taxes abolished, but it is part of the U.S. Constitution and must be respected as such.

        Yes, I know that now Lifer, Turtles and others are going to bring up the fact that I once got behind on my income taxes because I made that fact public information. But I never denied owing the taxes and never tried to get out of paying the taxes, the fines or the interest. I took full responsibility for my errors, just as I took responsibility for a speeding ticket I got a while back. I didn’t see the sign, that was my fault. I didn;t argue with the officer and I didn’t dispute the fine.

      • Tuttabella says:

        It’s EMINENT domain, Your Eminence.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Eminent, not imminent. D’oh! I should have Tutt proofread my comments before i hit submit. Thank you, my dear lady.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Personally Captain, I think we have a very aggressive federal government which is my main concern in this case. The unPatriot Act has I believe given the authorities this subtle empowerment to bully their way through things. The situation with the rancher, no matter whose side you are on did not need such a huge federal presence. Ruby Ridge became Waco which became the Federal Building in Oklahoma. I don’t know who gave the order to back down and leave, but that person is a fed that actually deserves a promotion.

    • DanMan says:

      I predict Harry Reid will be involved. There will surface the facts about Reid having those turtles relocated from previously encumbered areas near Las Vegas. That allows the land to be released from federal scrutiny via the EPA over sensitive habitat. One of Reid’s kids will be in line to benefit financially from getting a developer that is currently sitting in jail for violating campaign or tax laws. All this to be allowed to develop the nearly 1,000 acres.

      Y’all know how local zoning boards play for pay? This is Harry Reid taking it up a couple of notches.

      Ho-hum

    • John Galt says:

      Let’s see. Guy grazes his cattle on land he does not own and has never owned. He decides that he doesn’t like the rules the owner established, so he’s going to ignore them and refuse to pay rent, while continuing to graze his cattle. In response to two court orders he stirs up a rabble to chase off authorities, who wisely decide that discretion is the better part of valor.

      Would you hesitate to support the land owner if it were anyone but the federal government?

      • CaptSternn says:

        I believe the owner is disputed since the state was the owner first. Bundy paid the state and continued to try to pay the state instead of the federal government.

      • John Galt says:

        Bundy claims his family has ranched the land since the 1880s. Nevada became a state in 1864, and the federal government owned or controlled most of the empty land since then (or before), as has been the case for all territories admitted to the union.

        Bundy is a cheap asshole who simply wants you to pay for his private profit and has ginned this up as a libertarian/freedom issue. If he wants land to graze his cattle, he should buy it. If he wants my land (as a taxpayer), he should follow the rules. If it were up to me, I’d let the chaos die down for a few weeks, let the protesters leave, then move in with overwhelming force to arrest him and confiscate his herd, the same way as any fraudster. The law has been followed. Bundy is on the wrong side.

      • DanMan says:

        Mr. Thompson is proud of his Cuffy Meigs.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It is his land as much as it is yours, John.

  11. Tuttabella says:

    Mr. Lifer, you say the definitions of “rich” and “poor” have changed. So, let’s focus on poverty, which is a frequent subject here. How would you define poverty in this day and age of modern technology? Just as we are all better off than ever, can the same be said about the poor, that the poor are better off than ever before? Or is poverty just relative, i.e. as long as there is someone richer, you are poor?

    I notice many people who are considered poor somehow are able to get the latest gadget. Or, as you rightly pointed out in a previous thread, perhaps having a bunch of gadgets isn’t necessarily a gateway out of poverty. It depends on how the gadgets are used. Being wrapped up in the world of social media now is the equivalent of what being on the telephone for hours chatting about everything and nothing at all was back in the day. It leads to self-absorption and insularity. The same might apply to us here on this blog. A waste of time is still a waste of time, whether we are rich, poor, or somewhere in between.

    • geoff1968 says:

      Poverty is spiritual.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.
        Rainer Maria Rilke

      • CaptSternn says:

        Tutt, that quote reminds me of another one I heard or read a while back. It goes something like, “If you are not rich, ask yourself what is making you poor.” Maybe that isn’t exactly the quote, and I have no source, but it puts the reasoning on the individual and their own behavior. Don’t blame others.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cap, the Rilke quote I posted could also be about the power of positive thinking, about seeing the beauty in your life, seeing it with the eyes of a poet, using positive language to describe it, how your reality is determined by how you describe it.

      • geoff1968 says:

        Material riches are not wealth. A fat man is malnourished. The truth is generally obscure, even if it is self evident it is obviously only so for a few.

    • goplifer says:

      Yes, the definitions of rich and poor have changed. With the greatest respect for those who are struggling, almost no one faces life-threatening hunger anymore. Homelessness is very rare in comparison to the past. Real penury is not what it used to be. Yet poverty, in the terms in which we face it, in many ways is expanding and that expansion is very dangerous.

      Wealth and poverty should be measured in terms of opportunity. My kids are functionally wealthy even though we have very modest capital. They are growing up in the center of the economic mainstream. So long as they don’t get hooked on drugs or make some other disastrous decision, they will be able to do whatever they want in their career lives and earn a sound reliable living. In addition, they have an excellent chance to be become truly wealthy. All they really need is to graduate and work and they will be set for life.

      And if they do make some disastrous decision, they will have ample, repeated opportunities to get back on track because of their family’s resources – their network advantages. This is not just money, but education, connections, and a general understanding of how to operate in the system. It will be difficult for them to fail. It can happen, but it will take determination. They are on the ladder.

      Many of their cousins back in Texas are not on the ladder. At a young age they face a life with precious little margin for error. If they fail to recognize the importance of the limited opportunities presented to them at an age when very few people are that astute, they will miss their shot.

      The second chances at a middle-income existence that once were available through blue-collar work or a government job are mostly gone. If by some mistake, or the simple failure to recognize the stakes, they fail to make themselves scholarship material, they are looking at marriage at 20, two kids by 24, divorce by 26, and a long grueling slog to make ends meet with few marketable skills. They are not “poor” by any traditional definition, yet modern poverty lies in wait for them like a venus flytrap. And they are white, which gives them a degree of network access unavailable to most blacks and hispanics.

      Poverty is not about how much money or capital I have. Poverty is about the resources I have available through my network. Almost every successful adult had been “paper-poor” in their lives, sometimes for years. I was statistically poor from age 18 until I was almost 30. Along the way I spent years in London, completed a college degree and a law degree and saw much of America. I was never really poor. I had little money, but I had reasonably decent network, mostly just the default network that comes from being white.

      Poverty in our time means that the train leaves early. It is true that colleges will trip over each other to attract talented minority kids from poor families who show promise, but poverty also means that those kids in far too many cases will not be prepared to meet the unstated, unofficial demands of those opportunities. Most will be filtered out of the system by the demands of poverty before they even get within range of a college. Very few of the most talented kids in Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or East Texas have the resources they need to capitalize on that opportunity.

      A stronger safety net might mitigate some of those network effects by cushioning the consequences of early failures. Instead of dropping directly into desperate misery, a promising, talented kid might have some time to learn a little bit about the world before entering a career or going to college.

      Would they spend some of that time smoking weed and watching Scooby Doo? Perhaps. That’s certainly what many of my peers did before, during, and after college before going on to promising careers and in some cases fantastic success. The difference is that they had money and network resources from a family that bought them time to mature. Many of my other friends had no similar space in which to operate. And among the African Americans I grew up with, if they failed to take flight immediately they faced immediate risks of prison or death. They had no slack whatsoever.

      There is no reason why the black kids I went to high school with should not have the same room to grow up that the white kids at my college experienced. The weakness of our safety net means that the talent in my high school was mostly wasted.

      That’s why poverty travels in groups and individuals so seldom veer from the relative wealth of their network. The American Dream is about breaking that network effect. A safety net is about weakening those network effects. Poverty is complicated. It isn’t what is used to be. We need worry less about whether people are behaving in a manner we like and worry much much more about how much talent our system wastes or destroys.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        A vacillating definition that changes frequently is not a definition. It is more of an opinion.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Excellent job of expressing your ideas, Lifer. I don’t think of it in terms of networks, safety nets, slack, leeway, and such. I see it more as a physical force, a sense of inevitability, a force going in the usual direction toward a life of overwhelming struggle, a force that must be stopped in its tracks.

      • Intrigued says:

        “Wealth and poverty should be measured in terms of opportunity.”

        Great response Chris! I have never agreed with social theorists that simplify poverty in terms of money. To escape the poverty trap one must see a realistic way out in the form of opportunity. I am waiting for your next blog that pulls all this ideology together and explains why a minimum income provides a plausible solution. Until then I will be patient with my comments;-)

      • Tuttabella says:

        Mr. Lifer, speaking of networks and exponential growth, never underestimate the power of the Hispanic family network! 🙂

        We are fruitful, and we tend to take care of each other. As an only child, I’ve been rather standoffish from my own extended family, going it alone as much as possible, but in the back of my mind, I know they’re there to help me if I call upon them.

  12. Tuttabella says:

    I’m neither an economist nor a financial expert. I would say it’s a buyer’s market nowadays. We are getting more value for less money. Is there a way to measure that value? Not value in terms of what you mention — things like personal well-being and satisfaction — which are subjective and hard to define. Is there something that measures something more tangible, such as the ability to obtain 100 songs now for the price of 2 songs then (even though the 100 songs are in digital format and can disappear at any moment, and the 2 songs were on a 2-sided 45 rpm record that you could keep forever)?

    • Tuttabella says:

      Technology is relatively inexpensive now because it’s manufactured cheaply overseas, and music is inexpensive because we’ve decided that “tangible’ is not really necessary, that temporary, ephemeral, and digital are good enough. We as a society have a “disposable” mindset now. What we save in paper, we waste in discarded gadgets.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Even a tangible CD today costs less than a vinyl LP in the mid ’80s, but that’s just because CDs have fallen out of favor in comparison to digital music, and they need to stay more or less competitive.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Interesting points. I remember when I went back to college in the 1990s seeking a degree in computer graphics and English teacher asked what the best medium for data storage was. My answer was in books. She thought that was odd since I was getting into the world of computers. But we have books from hundreds to thousands of years ago, or even stone engravings. They don;t require a special machine to display them, and though paper can rot and stones be destroyed, the digital system is much easier to lose and have data destroyed.

        A friend of mine once said there are two types of (digital) data. Data you have lost and data you have not lost yet. Hard drives crash, CDs go bad, flash drives are misplaced, what about all that data we had on old floppy drives? Computers these days don’t come with the drives to read them. They can be bought, but then the disks are ruined and unreadable.

        Photos are another example. We have family photos from decades ago, maybe close to 100 years old now. Everybody has digital photos these days, not often printed. If the device is lost or crashes, they are gone. Disposable is a good word for data and technology these days.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Um Cappy, you are entitled to your opinion but you are surprisingly (actually not really, more like predictably) quite Luddite-ly for someone working in computers and “high tech”. Books are the “best” and most “durable” means of storage? Great, some books still exist from “thousands” of years ago. And how many countless more have been lost, burned (intentionally or otherwise), or just turned to dust? And lost forever to the current world? And if it weren’t for the Rosetta stone, and some ingenious humans, other countless “stones” would be mere useless home decorations.

        And as for electronic data being “easily” lost, destroyed, or obsoleted, have you found an instance yet of a non damaged 5-1/4″ or 3-1/2″ or even an 8″ floppy disk being totally impossible to extract data from with modern technology? As a matter of fact, there are quite a few companies (and governments) quite adept at extracting useful data from “destroyed” or “erased” storage media.

        And nowadays with data storage so inexpensive and reams of data easily compressed and stored, only someone extremely lazy (and I count myself in there) or clueless who have lost valuable data and doesn’t have 2 or 3 copies of electronic documents stored locally or on the cloud. For verrrry cheap I might add.

        And did you really ever buy 2 or 3 copies of the same books, much less entire collections of hardbacks or soft just in case you might lose one? At those ridiculous relative cost currently or in the past? And where would you store all those space consuming hard volumes? In triplicate or more?

        And this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the benefits of digital photography technology I have previously waxed poetic over. Instantaneous, inexpensive, easily shared and distributed, easily corrected, creatively freeing to take as many pictures as needed for very little cost to get the right one without additional expense or delay in determining if it is the right one, etc. etc, etc. Anyone remember bracketing photos to ensure (hopefully) one of them is the correct desired exposure? When eventually developed and printed?

        Amazingly powerful and easily and inexpensively available is a more appropriate good “word” for data and (storage) technology these days. In my opinion.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        So Bubba, if you have the time and money to pay these people to retrieve your data, it is cool. But for the millions who don’t can’t.

        The captain made a great point and I do use paper to track my usernames and passwords and we print out a monthly excel budget in case of a crash. Which happened to me once twice.

        The first crash I paid someone to retrieve the data from my hard drive. Costly but worth it. The second time my hard drive mechanically crashed and would be way too expensive to fix so I went with my back up data which was four month older.

        So in the scheme of things and the fact that power can be lost for a time, etc., paper back up is worth it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, yes, I have recovered data from erased or formatted disks. My own data that I had lost for five years. I was unable to recover all of it, and there are floppy disks that are not recoverable. There are projects I did from years ago that I printed. those printed copies are the only forms of those projects that still exist. There was once a project to copy books to a disk, the old disk that was the size of an LP. A few years later the people manage to find a player, but the disk had deteriorated and was unreadable (I think Tutt is the one that told me about that).

        It is also my job to destroy data, and I am quite good at that. Not only do we have programs to destroy it, we have sledge hammers. Yes, we have backups of our backups, and we have backups of those backups stored off site. And data still gets lost or destroyed.

        And this thing about me being a Luddite? Kind of funny, but not exactly inaccurate. My personal phone is a simple flip phone. My assigned work phone is an old Blackjack. I don’t deal with social media other than posting on a couple of forums, here and the Chronicle. I am not anti-tech, I have a good home computer and an assigned laptop. I just have no need for the latest, greatest shiney things.

  13. kabuzz61 says:

    Off topic but I found it very amusing when Obama was throwing Sibilius under the bus in the Rose Garden yesterday, she lost a page of her speech. A very appropriate ending for her with Obama there.

    Good news on Lois Lerner, I think she will think long and hard about whether she will testify before Congress by Monday or they will find her in contempt. How much money and freedom is she willing to give up for Obama? We shall see.

    Hillary Clinton can’t even give a speech without an incident and she didn’t start her campaign in earnest yet.

  14. Tuttabella says:

    Hello, everyone. Just testing my new (old) avatar.

    • Intrigued says:

      Love it!!!!!

    • way2gosassy says:

      Now that is the Tutt we all know and love!

    • CaptSternn says:

      Tutt, it looks like you have been logged in with WordPress all along. All your old posts now have the new (old) avatar.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I’m guessing it’s because I’m using the same email address, so my pretty pink avatar has simply been replaced by the typewriter one.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Thanks, everyone. I think it’s funny how so many people call it my “train” avatar when it’s actually a “typewriter” avatar. It’s a vintage ad from 1921 for an Olivetti typewriter, illustrating how fast it is, even overtaking the train in the ad.

      I’m a big fan of vintage technology. Ironic, since the current hot topic on this blog is modern technology.

  15. Intrigued says:

    “Overall, what has been the value of making dictionaries, news, music, encyclopedias, health information, and other formerly expensive products free or virtually free?”

    Is it free though? Our technology budget has tripled from what it was 6 years ago and that only includes our monthly bills not the cost of the devices required to utilize the technology.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Bring on them little penguins, Intrigued.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Good point, but devices have become incredibly inexpensive — TVs that in the mid ’80s cost $700 now cost just over $100. Computers like the Tandy Radio Shack (TRS) could cost several thousand dollars back then. Standard personal computers can now be bought for a few hundred dollars.

      • Intrigued says:

        Tutt that brings up a good question. Prior technology was so expensive that only those who could afford a large upfront cost had access to it. Now technology requires a relatively low upfront cost but in many instances requires endless monthly payments to utilize the devices. As more people utilize the new technology the need for the old technology diminishes and the new technology becomes the standard. What happens to the poor who cannot afford the new technology? Do we have an obligation to provide this new standard in the form of cell phone subsidies and free HD programming? Obviously these two programs are already in place but when does it stop, what about internet access?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Intrigued, Tutt made the point about the poor still having the ability to get the the latest iPhone or popular sneakers (I added that part about the sneakers). You do make a good point about the monthly fees, contracts. People can pay very little for a device up front, but they are locked into a two year contract where the company makes the money.

        People that can’t afford a computer or internet have public libraries where they can get on a compter and access the internet.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I still can’t wrap my head around the idea that personal internet access is an absolute necessity, at least not yet. Personal business can still be conducted and information obtained via phone, regular mail, and other means.

        I don’t think I’d go so far as calling internet access a luxury, though.

      • Intrigued says:

        Stern you are assuming technology will remain a luxury or a choice but I see it becoming a necessity. Eventually online banking will replace paper billing; emails and texts are becoming the prominent way of communicating essential information; paper resumes and applications have almost entirely been replaced by electronic versions.

      • Intrigued says:

        Tutt, I used to view smart phones as more of a luxury item but if you think about it they are one of the most multifunctional devices you can purchase. It not only provides access to virtually every form of communication but also provides internet capability. It may end up being the most affordable option to access the most technology.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…as an example of how far down the technology rabbit hole we have gone, it is almost impossible to get a job with a big company without a personal email address. Most have online applications, and trying to call or send regular mail will get you nowhere.

        Granted, it is possible to get free email addresses and public libraries generally have public-access computers, but it is hard to be a job seeker in this world without email (and a cell phone).

        Those “latest gadgets” serve as the only stable phone access many people have. If you are so poor that you are somewhat “mobile” in living arrangements (e.g., staying with one family member for a few weeks, and then another family member for a few more weeks), you have to have a cell phone.

        Undoubtedly, many people make stupid decisions and get an iPhone with a high-priced plan, but there are many, many plans available that are no more expensive than a land-line.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cap, you haven’t been paying attention to the T-Mobile ads for the past year, have you? No more 2 year contracts. And competitors (AT&T at least) have had to follow suit to stay competitive.

        You can thank Obama and Eric Holder in the Justice Department for killing the AT&T-T-Mobile merger a couple of years ago. For being anti-competitive.

        And someone mentioned free cellphones for the poor elsewhere. Derisively and (incorrectly) referred to as “Obamaphones” on the chron by the usual willfully low information wingnuts. It is an extension (implemented by George W. Bush) of a service started by Reagan for landline phones in the 80’s. It was (rightfully) initiated because they were lifesaving devices. You need to be able to dial 911 from your home (and now almost anywhere) in an emergency.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, you can also get prepaid phone service, with any need for a contract.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Sorry, that should be : You can also get prepaid phone service, WITHOUT any need for a contract.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, for the record, I speak more from the viewpoint of an aspiring Luddite, than from feeling we shouldn’t have to pay for other people’s gadgets. I don’t have cable, rarely watch TV, up until 4 years ago I still had dialup internet, I have a landline, and my personal cell phone is a prepaid GoPhone.

        I’m “essentially” (as in “deep in my heart”) low-tech, but recently I’ve gradually amassed quite a few gadgets, most of them from my boss (to keep me connected to my job, although of course I also use them for personal things), and I’m feeling overwhelmed and tempted to throw them all out. I don’t do well with over-stimulation and information overload.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, I agree with you. My point was that it’s still possible to function without the fanciest gadgets. A basic cell phone with prepaid service and limited internet connectivity, with the ability to use email and maybe use the web for informational purposes is really all that’s necessary to function at a minimal level.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, many leftists accuse the rightists of being the ones that put the label of the “New Messiah” on Obama, but it was actually Louis Farrakhan that put that label on Obama. Now, who was it that coined the term “Obama phone”? Here is your link …

      • CaptSternn says:

        Intrigued, yes, things are becoming more and more electronic. But oh how that can go so wrong so fast. Remember Hurricane Ike and the loss of power? It went from a digital online world to a cash only world overnight. It didn’t hit me too hard as I was on a cash basis to begin with, but now not so much so.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Intrigued, I’ve been through Hurricanes Alicia and Ike and have never lost phone service or “stove” service, since I have a landline and a gas stove.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cappy, it’s nice you found a video from 2012. When the chron wingnuts were (incorrectly) all over calling it Obama’s program several years well before that in 2009.

        http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/cellphone.asp

        There goes that thumbsucking alternate reality security bubble of yours gain Cappy.

    • Tuttabella says:

      HT, this conversation is not so much about cell phones as it is about phones in general, now that cell phones are replacing landlines. I agree it’s important to have a phone, whether it’s a landline or a basic cell phone. As you said, talking about the fanciest smartphone is taking the question to another level.

  16. way2gosassy says:

    What was the average income of the person purchasing a Mustang in 1985 compared to the person purchasing one today adjusted for inflation?

    • goplifer says:

      Average incomes may be the wrong metric. They will show a steady increase even though the overwhelming bulk of that increase (about 93%) went to the top earning households.

      A better metric is median incomes. Although they haven’t kept pace with the growth in income at the higher end of the spectrum, median incomes are in fact slightly higher since the ’70’s. The increase isn’t great, but its there. When you take into account what you’re getting for that income now compared to 1980, we all look like millionaires.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Well ok maybe I am being a little dense on this subject. I lived and worked in the 1980’s I also lived and worked in this decade. While we have always been the beneficiaries of advanced technology in every year in those three decades I don’t see how that makes us all look like millionaires in comparison when it takes more and more of our disposable income just make the ends sorta stretch toward the middle.

      • goplifer says:

        How much music could you buy and carry around with you on a device the size of a credit card in 1980? What would that have cost?

        How much would it cost you in 1980 to purchase beer from Britain, fresh spinach from California, mangoes from Mexico, San Marzano tomatoes from southern Italy?

        How much would it have cost you to get real-time video and audio communication with your colleagues in the Hong Kong office in 1980?

        What would it have cost to get your purchase offer for that house signed by a seller in New Jersey and returned to you in ten minutes?

        What would it cost you have the assurance that you would never again get lost on the way to a meeting, thanks to a guide who would permanently accompany you and be right, including traffic and weather assessments, about 98% of the time?

        What would it cost in 1980 to have someone available to answer every question you can think of instantaneously?

        What did it cost you in 1980 to get real time market prices for stocks? What did it cost to execute a trade?

        Many of those things were unavailable to the most fabulously wealthy Bond-villain in 1980 at any price. Look closely at what millionaires did with their money in 1980, then look around your living room. Absent the gold-plated lamps and orange shag carpet which are sadly missing from your world, you are living a life they would have killed for.

        Conduct that same exercise for the period between 1950 and 1980 and the differences are far more subtle and far less interesting. The pace of transformation of life is accelerating and compounding. This change has meaningful consequences, good and bad.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Lifer, you could add advances in health care to your list. Back in the 1970s, a woman having a hysterectomy went through a major ordeal. Having a gall bladder removed was a major ordeal as well. Now they are practically bandaid operations.

        My dad had triple bypass sugery done in 1989, he was on a ventilator for a week, and in ICU for two weeks, and I think in the hospital for two more. In 2002 he went through another triple bypass, he literally walked out of ICU the next morning using a wheel chair as a walker, home in less than a week. I have another relative that just had a quadruple bypass, he was walking the hallways the next day and should be home in less than a week.

        The first time my dad went through it they first tried an angioplasty. That was before they had stints. Now they use stints and can avoid bypass surgery more often than not.

        The costs for the procedures are about the same in real dollars, not adjusted for inflation, or have been greatly reduced. Kidney patients can have dialysis treatments in their homes for much lower costs these days. We have MRIs and CAT Scans, far advanced from simple X-Rays, but those do end up costing a little bit more than X-Rays. Sometimes a lot more if the person uses insurance to cover it rather than paying cash.

        But according to the left and many in the GOP establishment, we have a health care crisis. Modern health care is a modern luxurey item, just like all the other gadgets and shiny things. The answer from them is to force people to buy things. Bad idea and the destruction of individual liberty and rights.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap- Insurance companies pay negotiated rates for drugs, diagnostics, visits and consultations, and virtually all things medical. As an individual, you (commonly) don’t get those rates. Noninsurance patients pay much more. What are you talking about?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fifty, I have had periods where I had no insurance. I got a discounted rate because they didn’t have to take the time and effort to deal with the insurance companies. As Tutt pointed out, paying cash up front is far cheaper. Don’t believe everything the government and socialists try to sell you. Try it some time, learn from experience, not hearsay.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh for god’s sake, Cap. Don’t show such gall as to suggest I speak not from experience but from third-hand, third-rate information. You think you are the only one who has dealt with the healthcare marketplace sans insurance? Huh? Don’t be such a putz.

        Let me ask you a question: Do you think insurance companies pay premium rates to the industry out of what? Altruism? Because they’re stupid? Smart as you pretend to be, you should start an insurance company and out-compete them. You’d make millions by the sound of it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Insurance companies do make millions, Fifty. They are in it for the profit. They will fight with providers and refuse to pay, what they call negotiation. That runs up costs for the providers, so they chardge those patients more. Paying cash up front means paying only for the procedure, not all the paperwork and fighting with insurance companies, so the actual cost is less, both for the patient and provider. Most people will pay far more in than they will ever get out. It is like playing the lottery, a few big winners, but most are losers in that game

        No, I am not the only one that has gone around or without insurance companies. Tutt gives an example of her experience below. You can be as condescendin as you want, and deny the facts and reality all day long, but there are those of us that have dealt with such things and know better from experience.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The game of health insurance, that is. That is much like the lottery. Play it if you want, but don’t force others into it in hopes of covering your losses. That is what the PPACA is, forcing people to play the lottery.

      • fiftyohm says:

        condescension: ” the attitude or behavior of people who believe they are more intelligent or better than other people”

        Here’s a perfect example:: ” Don’t believe everything the government and socialists try to sell you. Try it some time, learn from experience, not hearsay.” OK – enough of that.

        Y’know – I don’t post as much as many people. Maybe you don’t read what I do post. That’s fine. Hear this: I abhor the ACA. I abhor the government forcing individuals into contracts with private companies. Have I been unclear about that? If not, why the preaching to the choir? I also abhor oversimplification. And I attempt (very earnestly) to avoid the pitfalls of ‘confirmation bias’. Healthcare costs are a very complex topic. We are headed towards the ditch if we don’t get them under control. An individual can do very little by paying the hospital with a goat from his wagon out front. Read this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/05/08/the-great-american-hospital-pricing-scam-exposed-we-now-know-why-healthcare-costs-are-so-artificially-high/

        The issue has become so complex that hospitals have little or no idea what the actual cost of the services they provide really is. Why? Because it has become largely irrelevant to their pricing models. What this really means to the individual is that there is no ‘special price list’ for cash, (or goat), paying customers. If the costs of doing business with insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid exceed the returns, and those costs are passed on to others, how do you figure hospitals can (or will) afford to give you a better rate? Because they like your goat? Is her name “Silvia”?

        Sometimes reading what you post is like watching a candidate whose philosophy you generally support step in a really big, steaming pile of it during a televised a debate. It makes you want to close your eyes, groan, sorta slide down on the couch, and change the channel.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Medicare and Medicaid don’t cover the cost of delivering the actual care. Hospitals, doctors and clinics have to charge other more to cover the losses, or they will deal in volume and no patients get quality care.

        I really don’t see why the rest is so hard for you to understand. If you have a customer that wants a product or service that will take you 40 hours to deliver, but you have an additional 80+ hours in administrative costs dealing with paperwork and negotiations to actually get paid, you will have to charge to cover those extra hours. Now you get a customer that wants that same service or product but they will avoid having you work those 80+ extra hours by paying you directly. You don’t charge for all those extra hours, you get paid your cost without the hassle, you pass those savings on to the customer.

        FYI, I never said you supported the PPACA. I only said it was no different than forcing people to play the lottery.

        If you show up for health care with no insurance, or withhold the insurance information and start asking what the costs are, you will find out what the costs are up front, then you can discuss how you will pay those costs. And those costs are coming down with the advances in technology, science and medicine. And I noticed you are avoiding Tutt’s real world experience like the plague. We didn’t fall off the turnip truck just this morning.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        CaptSternn says:
        April 13, 2014 at 9:12 am
        “Insurance companies do make millions, Fifty. They are in it for the profit. They will fight with providers and refuse to pay, what they call negotiation.”

        Thank yew fitty! You have drawn out another full circle acknowledgement from Cappy that the insurance providers are the REAL death panels that refuse to pay or provide coverage to the detriment of those “insured” to ensure they maximize their profits on the back (and lives) of those they purportedly provide coverage for (or don’t when it doesn’t pay).

        Cappy Freudian slips and sounds downright liberal like. Again.

        And Cappy, you really do have to keep up. Fitty is a REAL conservative. Someone I disagree with 99% of the time. Ok 99.9999%, but he always debates rationally and with decent (re: real) facts. And a sense of humor.

        And I have had some knockdown dragout debates with fitty on the ACA and can vouch he don’t like Obamacare one bit.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Um Cappy, if Medicare and Medicaid are “money losing” propositions for doctors and hospitals and they have to “gouge” private insurers to “survive”, then how come those poor, pauvre “broke” insurance companies have had to rebate about $2 Billion dollars in premiums (most of that windfall going to the employers who don’t share with their employees) in two years because their profits exceeded 20% of the revenues from insurance premiums?

        And that profit cap by the way, is another provision of the ACA.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And my last sad post is the tragic story of the easily preventable death of Charlene Dill thanks to a Republican Governor (among many, including Dick Perry) who refused to expand Medicaid coverage in his state under Obamacare that would not cost the state one penny for 4 years, purely out of political spite.

        And Charlene Dill did not qualify for Medicaid because she actually tried too hard to find work and earned “too much” (at $9,000 per year!) to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for her own lifesaving medicine.

        She died in a client’s home trying to sell vacuum cleaners door to door.

        Just terribly, terribly and tragically sad. And so preventable.

        http://orlandoweekly.com/news/the-perils-of-florida-s-refusal-to-expand-medicaid-1.1665144

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, you aren’t doing so well today. Insurance comapnies don;t have the authority to deny a person health care.

        Yes, the government is restricting profits for a certain type of business. When will it apply to all forms of business? Do you really think it will be a good thing when your pay is cut because the federal government decides you make too much profit?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cappy,

        I give two examples of how Obama’s policies and initiatives have benefited the average person and the general public and immediately you start shrieking hysterically and all you can glean from it is “government taking over your life”? Really?

        “Don’t be such a putz.”

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap- First off, I’ll challenge your analogy that health insurance is like the lottery. Actually, it’s more like Russian Roulette. The lottery can pay back far more than you put in. (That’s the hook for the unwary.) The bullet of a disastrous illness can cost you far, far more than you ever paid in premiums, and in most cases, without insurance, far, far more than most people have. A common myocardial infarction, with treatment requiring say, bypass, can cost upwards of $250K. I doubt you’ll have to look very far to see that that amount very greatly exceeds the total saving of most American families. So – without insurance, what do they do? Well, they don’t (generally) die. They get treated, and declare bankruptcy. Who gets to pay for that? (3 guesses, first 2 don’t count.) Other people playing the lottery costs me nothing. Others playing healthcare roulette costs me plenty.

        Next, you seem to hold the simplistic, (and I mean no offense here) , view that modern healthcare can be characterized by a “free market”. Well, it’s not, and hasn’t been for a very long time. With upwards of 95% of all transactions completed by third-party payers, your notion of it is completely obsolete. Listen: No one is more supportive of free and (rationally) unfettered markets than I. No one appreciates what the concept has offered to Western Civilization. But, (and this is the Big Butt we’re talkin’ about), Free markets *require* free transactions between buyers and sellers that are not coerced. They require a free *exchange* of goods, services, and compensation that flows between the buyer and the seller. Our healthcare delivery system does not fit this model. Perhaps, in a perfect world, people could shop for cardiac bypasses or cancer treatments. Perhaps they could decide if they need them in the first place. Maybe they could even negotiate the price. But no one can rationally assert the situation with healthcare ‘markets’ even *approximates* these *requirements*. today.

        Finally, I was not ignoring Tutt. Much of what I posted in response to you, applies to her comments. And after all, we’re not talking about $200 ultrasound procedures. I don’t pay thousands of dollars every year to the Harris County Hospital District for $200 procedures. Sure, it’s possible to negotiate pricing for certain optional, non-time-critical services. We’ve

        And I’ll close by saying that Bubba and I actually agree about 1% of the time. He’s soooo prone to exaggeration, don’t you know… 😉

      • fiftyohm says:

        And a correction from a sloppy cut-and paste:
        Finally, I was not ignoring Tutt. Much of what I posted in response to you, applies to her comments. And after all, we’re not talking about $200 ultrasound procedures. I don’t pay thousands of dollars every year to the Harris County Hospital District for $200 procedures. Sure, it’s possible to negotiate pricing for certain optional, non-time-critical services. We’ve all done it. *Butt*, that ain’t what we’re talkin’ about.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Fifty, you can’t assume anything. I once arrived for an ultrasound and was getting ready to produce the copay of $700 when I was told the approval from the insurance company had not yet been received. Since I had taken time off from work, I said I was willing to pay the normal price for someone off the street if it was reasonable enough. Turns out it was $110. We thought it might be a typo, that maybe the correct price was $1100, but the lady conferred with her supervisor, and sure enough, it was $110, so I went ahead and paid that. So, we should never assume the insurance companies, with their “negotiated” rates, can offer better prices. It’s always a good idea to ask, and to think outside the box.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Oh, and she did mention that later I would receive an additional bill for lab fees, for a couple hundred dollars, which turned out to be $275, so the total cash price for the ultrasound actually ended up being $385, versus the $780 copay.

      • CaptSternn says:

        But Tutt, so many of the leftists here claim that if the insurance company doesn’t approve, the treatment is denied. It would be illegal or something to simply ignore the insurance company and pay the provider directly.

        It seems the spirit of independence that made this state and nation great does not exist in tjpse people. They are dependent, must be told what to do. It is as if they are not capable of responsibility or doing what is morally right, they must be forced into it by law at the point of a gun. And since they are incapable, they cannot grasp the idea that others are capable of such things, so they seek to bring such people down to their level and control them, destroy that idea of freedom and personal responsibility.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I know my story is just one example, a personal anecdote, and maybe a fluke, but i just wanted to point out that it’s always good to ask questions, to take nothing for granted.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Also, i think health care can be simplified, at least on a personal level, if we each put our mind to it.

        I dont like obamacare but have made my peace with it. I will pay at least the minimum premium as required by law but will work around the system as i see fit. If it gets too intrusive, if invasive preventive procedures are eventually mandated, in the name of saving money, i will simply refuse.

      • Intrigued says:

        Tutt , I think people are hesitant to reply because they don’t know the details of your insurance policy. I spent many years battling health care providers for fraudulent claims against my employees. It is hard to believe that an insurance provider would require a $750 co-pay for a simple ultrasound. This sounds more like a deductible situation. Possibly the provider mistakenly told you it would be $750 for the ultrasound opposed to you would be required to pay 100% up to the $750 deductible?

      • DanMan says:

        When I worked for the state many years ago often found it cheaper to buy prescription drugs directly than pay the co-pay for them. Next time I am prescribed something I’ll see if it still works that way.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Cap- First off, I’ll challenge your analogy that health insurance is like the lottery. Actually, it’s more like Russian Roulette. The lottery can pay back far more than you put in. (That’s the hook for the unwary.) The bullet of a disastrous illness can cost you far, far more than you ever paid in premiums, and in most cases, without insurance, far, far more than most people have. A common myocardial infarction, with treatment requiring say, bypass, can cost upwards of $250K. I doubt you’ll have to look very far to see that that amount very greatly exceeds the total saving of most American families. So – without insurance, what do they do? Well, they don’t (generally) die. They get treated, and declare bankruptcy. Who gets to pay for that? (3 guesses, first 2 don’t count.) Other people playing the lottery costs me nothing. Others playing healthcare roulette costs me plenty.

      Next, you seem to hold the simplistic, (and I mean no offense here) , view that modern healthcare can be characterized by a “free market”. Well, it’s not, and hasn’t been for a very long time. With upwards of 95% of all transactions completed by third-party payers, your notion of it is completely obsolete. Listen: No one is more supportive of free and (rationally) unfettered markets than I. No one appreciates what the concept has offered to Western Civilization. But, (and this is the Big Butt we’re talkin’ about), Free markets *require* free transactions between buyers and sellers that are not coerced. They require a free *exchange* of goods, services, and compensation that flows between the buyer and the seller. Our healthcare delivery system does not fit this model. Perhaps, in a perfect world, people could shop for cardiac bypasses or cancer treatments. Perhaps they could decide if they need them in the first place. Maybe they could even negotiate the price. But no one can rationally assert the situation with healthcare ‘markets’ even *approximates* these *requirements*. today.

      Finally, I was not ignoring Tutt. Much of what I posted in response to you, applies to her comments. And after all, we’re not talking about $200 ultrasound procedures. I don’t pay thousands of dollars every year to the Harris County Hospital District for $200 procedures. Sure, it’s possible to negotiate pricing for certain optional, non-time-critical services. We’ve all done it. *Butt*, that ain’t what we’re talkin’ about.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Arg! Wrong place again…

      • DanMan says:

        posting is like Russian roulette on GOPlaughers blog

      • fiftyohm says:

        And it looks like I lost!

      • CaptSternn says:

        Actually, you can shop for a bypass surgery. My dad talked to more than one doctor and decided whom he would go with. The last cost about $100,000.

        Here is the thing about health insurance, most people do pay more in over tehir lifetimes than they will ever get out of it. Figure a person entering the workforce at 21 years old retiring at 65. Health insurance will average $400 per month. That is well over $200,000 total. And if they can afford to pay for that insurance, they could also make payments for the health care.

        And why would an expensive treatment bankrupt them? They buy homes taht run $150k and up. They have car payments, and all sorts of cool stuff in their homes. That doesn’t bankrupt them. Rent or mortgage payments can run$1,000 a month and up.

        It’s a gamble either way, and insurance companes understand that, which is why they can make profits and stay in business. Some people will “win” and get more out than they pay in, most will not.

        I am not arguing against insurance if a person wants it, but that should be a free choice as you have already pointed out. What I am saying is that it is possible to understand and get the costs up front. There really isn’t some great mystery that nobody could ever comprehend. It is like buying a house or a car. Just do the homework, research and look at different options. It’s all there if a person asks.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap- Have you ever hear the tale of the insurance actuary that drowned walking across a lake with an average depth of three feet?

        What are you talkin’ about, anyway? Are you saying that people should set up their own healthcare savings accounts, and pay the cost of care out of them? O’ ye gods and little fishes! Do you have any idea how incredibly, fantastically naive that sounds? For crissake Cap, let’s look at some numbers: Average lifetime healthcare costs are currently about $350,000 per person. The US population is currently ~330 million. The product of these is $115 trillion dollars. Discounting this by half for a rough estimate of the population’s median age, we get $57 Trillion dollars. OK then – this is roughly 4 times the total GDP of the United States! Are you telling us with a straight face that a. this staggering sum is going to somehow magically appear in the private accounts of our citizens, that b. They are to be allowed unfettered access to that amount, and will treat it appropriately, and c. if they don’t we just let them die so the rest of us won’t have to pay for their healthcare costs?

        This is exactly where oversimplification gets you – a mythical and impossible Wonderland as strange and Utopian as the most wild-eyed, liberal whack job has ever dreamed up.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fifty, where do you think that money comes from in the first place? It comes from the people paying for the policies, and what is paid in premiums is still less than what is spent on actual health care. It goes to paying the employees, it goes to paying for office space, it goes to pay for advertising and some of it is just profit and about 80% of the premiums goes to paying for actual health care.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Godammit, Cap – by your own postings, insurance companies rake about 20% off the top of the premiums they take in. 20% ain’t gonna dig you out of the rhetorical rabbit hole you’ve dug for yourself today. Remember the magic number – $57,000,000,000,000.00. Remember *four times the annual US GDP*. Next…

        And a hat tip to Chris – the notion of GDP being a poor measure of productivity in the modern economy is very, very interesting. Been thinking about that for a couple of days now!

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fifty, step back and look at this again. Where does the money come from taht the insurance companies use to pay the costs of delivering health care and their other expenses plus profit? It doesn’t grow on trees. It doesn’t just magically appear. It comes from the very people you are saying could never cover the costs. Those people are already covering the costs and more on top of that. If they weren’t and the insurance company was paying more out than taking in, that insurance company goes out of business. Why are you having such a hard time understanding that?

      • CaptSternn says:

        As for your number of $57 trillion, do you think that much is paid out each year in health insurance costs? If that were the case, the annual GDP would be that much and higher, as in about five times that amount.

      • fiftyohm says:

        What I understand perfectly well, (and you, my friend, appear not to), is the concept of risk pools. Did you consider my earlier anecdote about the actuary? Did you understand why I wrote it? To self-insure, you need private savings *at least* equal to your lifetime expenses. (Actually, it’s much more, but let’s not quibble). A risk pool allows those expenses of a large population to be averaged over time. They don’t come due all at once as they do for an individual. And if expenses for one individual exceed what he paid in, that is averaged over the risk pool. Again, for an individual who is self-insuring, he goes bankrupt.

        I wish somebody else would pick up this discussion. I’m getting tired, and more than a little frustrated. I’m about to, “close [my] eyes, groan, sorta slide down on the couch, and change the channel.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, Fifty, I do understand risk pools and wht they exist. But take a moment here, why would the bill have to be paid all at once? Is that how people pay for new homes and new cars? Do they immediately go bankrupt?

        I have been to dentists and doctors that work with patients on payment plans. When the person doesn’t have insurance, they are presented with many different options and they learn the cost up front.

        You made the claim that the average person will use $350,000 of health care in their lifetime. That means the average person has to pay the insurance comapany or other entity $350,000 during their lifetime, plus another 20% so the business can operate. If they don’t, then the business collapses and is no more.

        But most people will pay more in premiums than they will ever use, a few get more out than they pay in. That’s why I compare it to the lottery. Take the risk of going it alone, you will most likely come out ahead, a few won’t. Or take the risk of paying the premiums. Most will come up short and pay more than they would have by paying directly, a few won’t.

        You are more logical than all this. Yes, I also feel like I am talking to a brick wall here.

      • fiftyohm says:

        OK – last go at this:

        Cap – You do get the difference between Term Life and Whole Life insurance, right? Which one is health insurance like?

        Next, I didn’t just throw the $350K number out there. I actually looked it up.

        Then: Houses and cars are not the same. They represent *collateral* so they can be financed. They can be *repossessed* if the loans on them go into default. See how many 250K loans a hospital will give you without collateral. See what the interest rate is.

        After that: No – the lottery analogy is not accurate. My healthcare roulette analogy was.

        Finally, and as I said, 20% ain’t gonna fill your 57 trillion dollar rabbit hole.

        “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
        ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

        And to all of you out there in radio land listening to this carnage, who side with our friend Cap here, but have decided to lurk discretely and avoid the fray, you’re all a bunch wusses. Seriously – I mean it.

        And with that, we wrap up our show for today. Tune in tomorrow for more merriment. It’s 50’s Monday martini time! Good tomorrow, and have a pleasant night.

      • CaptSternn says:

        A few things you are missing here, Fifty. In order to spend $57 trillion, $57 trillion must be collected, plus an additonal 20% for operating costs and profit. I really don’t understand this part about, “… 20% ain’t gonna fill your 57 trillion dollar rabbit hole.” That makes no sense.

        When services are rendered and not paid, a hospital or other entity can put a lien on the home and/or other property. Medicaid already does that. Wages can be garnished as well.

        I didn’t even question your $350k claim, just pointed out that it has to be collected in order to be paid out, otherwise it can’t be paid out. Just like the $57 trillion must be collected in order to be paid out. Who pays that? The very people you claimed could not pay that.

        I notice nobody has come running to help you with your claims either, just FYI.

        Have a good evening.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Fitty, this wuss figured it was way overdue for you to bang your head against the wall.

        Mine was way past being futilely tenderized a long time ago. And you know what a thick skull I had starting out….

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cap you really are one to talk. I noticed that no one ever defends your circular “logic” and irrational arguments. NO ONE is agreeing with YOU Cappy. Even when you go full circle and conveniently/hypocritically use liberal arguments and agree that the insurance companies are the real death panels denying coverage and payments (ergo treatments) in chasing the almighty dollar prior to Obamacare becoming law.

        And ironically with all of Cappy’s crappy claptrap talk of “Libertarian self sufficiency”, I am pretty certain Cappy will hypocritically be on Social Security, Medicare, VA benefits, Medicaid, basically every government program he will qualify for (but rails against for everyone else) the second he becomes eligible.

        Just like he whines about the Feds coming after him for back taxes despite his lofty talk (and all empty hypocritical rhetoric) about “self sufficiency” and “personal responsibility”.

        S’ok Cappy, I don’t mind paying for the 47% moochers/takers like you. And you’re lucky Romney was too clueless and elitist/tone deaf to get elected. You can’t help your ignorance and hypocrisy. And luckily Liberals do not deny people basic care based on their intelligence, or lack thereof. We understand it’s a debilitating handicap and a hindrance to your well being.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And it is quite apparent that Cappy doesn’t have the most rudimentary understanding of insurance basics, much less distributed risk pools since he insists on calling it a “lottery”.

        I know I’m going to regret this…

        Cappy, you do understand that a lottery is a game of strictly random chance right? And as fitty noted, it has no impact on those who do not play it. And also as fitty noted, the healthcare industry and the symbiotic health insurance business are convolutedly intertwined. And impact you whether you carry insurance or not. Or if you even visit a doctor or hospital or not. Remember your vaunted “free” ER service for the poor? The private for profit conglomerate hospital systems ain’t eating that cost. You and I are. And we are paying for it at government funded hospitals with our taxes. Or at least I am. And on time too. Just like you and I are paying for the shoplifting and employee shrinkage losses at Wal Mart or any private retail business with higher prices to cover it and ensure their profits. And don’t even get me started on the calculus of the cost efficiencies of preventative care versus late stage after the fact ER triage treatment care. Or the quality and extent of such emergency treatment.

        And you do understand that insurance is an obviously lucrative business model? I presume you carry auto insurance Cappy? Now why is that? Beyond the fact that the government mandates it? Yet you don’t bitch endlessly about that. I presume it is because you don’t want to go bankrupt or to the poorhouse buying a new car every time you whack your beloved gas guzzler or when you whack some other poor unsuspecting soul and have to pay for his/her new care AND medical care? And a replacement gas burner for yourself on top of that?

        And considering your financial “acumen” regarding business ventures and tax obligations Cappy, I presume you don’t have that ready cash burning a hole in your back pocket at any given moment? And for some reason insurance makes sense to you here huh? Even if you never whack someone and have to pay out? Now why is that Cappy? I guess peace of mind has some minimum monetary value to you after all doesn’t it? Especially when it’s NOT associated with Obama eh?

        And you do understand that not everyone is whacking into each other every single day (although it seems like that in Houston) right? So those “poor” insurance companies aren’t losing and bleeding money left and right, are they? No, they are doing quite quite well for themselves, thank you. Welcome to the distributed risk pool enlightenment Cappy. Yer welcome. Tutorial free of charge too.

        And guess what happens to those paying car insurance year after year but never whack or get whacked Cappy? They still pay! And get some paltry discounts too so they don’t jump ship to another insurer for their gravy train revenue/profits. But they still make the insurance companies oodles of profits. And cover the costs/liabilities of the idiot drivers who cost a lot more than their insurance premiums pay for. Guess what Cappy? They are ironically the young people equivalent in health insurance. Paying for the unhealthy old people like buzzy that get more than they pay in and what you will also be doing soon enough. If not already. I mean you already weren’t willing to pay your fair share of taxes when due. Yes, yes, I know, you didn’t have it, blah, blah, blah. What was that you were preaching about personal responsibility? It’s people like you Cappy that make me ensure I am well covered for my car insurance.

        I’m sure Cappy will come back with some non sequtur circular logic personal anecdote to justify his delusional “logic” just to get that last word in.

        Fitty, being bludgeoned by obstinate willful ignorance and stupidity ain’t pretty is it?

        I think I have another stage 4 concussion….

      • way2gosassy says:

        Fifty, Most of us have at one time or another have tried to break through that circular logic and math challenged delusions of Capt.Sternn. I admire your persistance. You should know one thing and that is the definition of insanity…………….

      • DanMan says:

        Well done Cap.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, try to answer one simple question: Where do the health insurance companies get the money to pay for health care? According to Fifty and maybe even you and all others that agree with him, they magically pull it out of their asses.

        FYI, there is no requirement for a person to own a car, nor to drive it on public roads, nor do people need a permit/photo ID or license from the government to exist and live.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And as predicted, Cappy flies off tangentially to some weird ass shit thread only he understands or finds relevant. To petulantly get the last word in.

        And prove he still doesn’t understand what it means to distribute risk.

        Because the world revolves around him you know.

      • DanMan says:

        The discussion is a good one but somebody needs to do a little homework on the numbers. Prior to Obamacare upsetting the apple cart it was pretty well established the amount of money being spent on health care in the US was about 1/6 of our economy. With GDP at 15 trillion/year that would be 2.5 trillion. Obama went into this charade with the stated notion to bend the cost curve down and made much ado about keeping the total cost increase below $1 trillion over 10 years. Ultimately the Obama initiative is to buy the control of 17% of the economy from the private sector by using 4% of tax payer dollars (stated, not real) to do so.It has been well established the entire rucas posse buys into the lies being necessary to advance the scheme.

        The risk pool has been expanded to include all comers now. The risk pool has been turned upside down as well. The risk pool actuary is no longer determined by the functions of determining costs based on empirical data, it is determined by a constantly varying set of rules being juggled by nameless bureaucrats that do not intend to give up the power they wield in managing the slice of the pie they now control. It is not nor was it ever about health care. It is about controlling enough of the economy to control all of it. Go back and read up on FDR’s administration and how they conceived of perfecting Woodrow Wilson’s central control economy efforts. WW wanted to control everything. The veterans of his administration figured out if you could control about 20% or so you basically could do what you wanted with the rest with out the head ache of administering.

        Our well established empirical data also reveals taxing at about 17-18% of GDP typically yields the highest returns over the long term as it allows enough incentive for growth. A balanced budget would limit itself to that range of spending. Obama has yet to spend less than 23% of GDP and is causing our debt to soar. That appears to be by design. There is no point in haggling over such details as risk pools when there is no sustainable way to pay the bill. That is why Cap wins the argument. There is no need to get into the weeds of risk pool details when there is no way to pay for the basics.

        btw, the numbers showing the annual cost for health care cited above are pretty good if taken in a macro context. $2.5 trillion/year / 330 million people = $7,575/year/person. That is a straight up average. If you’re not paying for health care yet are receiving treatment you should be thanking your fellow citizen instead of blaming him for your condition.

      • fiftyohm says:

        “That is why Cap wins the argument.”

        So Dan – Could you kindly give us all a synopsis of exactly what you think the argument was?

      • fiftyohm says:

        ****crickets****

      • CaptSternn says:

        The conversation got moved up top, Fifty.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Thanks, Cap!

      • DanMan says:

        yeah, I wasn’t avoiding you 50, I notice if you reply to the last reply on the page it may go up top or it may go below, I don’t make the rules

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