Health care: What the Supreme Court’s ruling means for US consumers Reply

By Mark Trumbull

The US Supreme Court‘s decision on health-care reform Thursday opens the door to a major expansion of health insurance, affecting households across America.

Chief Justice Roberts, Economic Fascist Reply

By Gary North

On July 2, 1776, Congress voted for the Declaration of Independence. Most of the members signed it on July 4, although more signed over the next month.

The problem was this: a declaration of independence from King George III (and from Parliament, which was really the source of bureaucratic meddling and taxation of a staggering 1% of GDP), was that it led within six years to massive debt, hyperinflation, and increased taxation. After 1788, it led to more of the same. It has finally led to Nanci Pelosi’s ideological agent on the bench, John Roberts.

In upholding Obamacare, which is in fact Pelosicare, Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion. He indulged in some lawyer-like deception, as lawyers are paid to do. The law specifically says that the mandatory payment for not buying insurance is a penalty, not a tax. He determined that this penalty would be unconstitutional if it were a penalty (commerce clause), so, lo and behold, it’s a tax!

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Romney losing ground to Obama without support from Paul Nation Reply

This analysis is consistent with my own. The combination of widening class divisions and demographic and cultural change means the Repugs are screwed.

By Kevin Kerwick

National Republicans may have some serious thinking to do. Their presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney looks to be in serious trouble on multiple fronts today.

Governor Romney has lost ground to President Obama and is now trailing in all of the national polls with the exception of the Rasmussen Reports poll which has been the poll most favorable to Governor Romney. Governor Romney is now tied with President Obama in the latest Rasmussen poll, which is asteep decline in that poll for Governor Romney relative to President Obama since early June.

In battleground states, Governor Romney is seeing similar declines. According to the poll numbers at Real Clear Politics, Governor Romney is behind in Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Obama groups are running hard-hitting television advertisements against Governor Romney in several battleground states that appear to be having an impact. The ads are portraying Governor Romney as a vulture capitalist whose business practices created a net job loss instead of a jobs gain, which is a narrative that is challenging the cornerstone of the Romney campaign strategy. If the Romney job creating narrative is tarnished, he may not be able to find another narrative on which to run.

The Truth about the Healthcare Bill By Someone Who Actually Read It Reply

By Michael Connelly

Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business, and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be healthcare professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.

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SCOTUS: Render Unto Caesar … er, Kaiser Permanente Reply

By Thomas Knapp

Well, here it is, folks: The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the “individual mandate” provision in the Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.” As of 2014, all Americans will pay a portion of their taxes to an insurance company of their choice instead of to Uncle Sam (or Uncle will come calling).

Canned consternation from the usual critics on the right, of course — you know, the people who brought you HMOs, Medicare Part D, and RomneyCare, all in the name of “free enterprise.” Forcing you to buy “insurance,” whether for yourself or someone else, is only bad when Democrats or New York’s “Five Families” do it.

In reality, the right should be celebrating CannibalCare … er, ObamaCare. Not only did Republicans lay three decades of its groundwork, not only was the template for the law laid down by none other than GOP presidential Mitt Romney, not only was the deciding SCOTUS vote cast by a George W. Bush appointee, Chief Justice John Roberts, but it’s the ultimate triumph of “privatization.”

Huh? What? Yes, “privatization.”

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The Manufactured Debate Over Obamacare Reply

By Kevin Carson

Contrary to outraged cries from Republicans that it’s some sort of radical departure from our “free enterprise” system, Obamacare is in fact a direct continuation of the bipartisan neoliberal consensus of the past thirty years. The guiding principle of this consensus is the use of state power to protect corporate profits — which consist mostly of rents on artificial scarcity — from the radical deflationary effects of technologies of abundance. In the spirit of the original American state capitalist, Alexander Hamilton, this consensus seeks to maintain the value of the enormous concentrations of land and capital owned by the rentier classes, and guarantee the returns on them.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and subsequent draconian digital copyright legislation sought to guarantee the artificial scarcity rents of the proprietary content industries in the face of technologolies of abundance like file-sharing. Both the Paulsen and Geithner versions of TARP use taxpayer money to prop up bubble-inflated real estate prices. And now we have Obamacare, which operates on essentially the same premises as Bush’s Medicare Part D:

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Roberts Affirms the Total State Model Reply

From The Ruling Class

Yesterday, the Roberts court affirmed the Obama defense of the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” To me, it is not a particularly surprising result. Two years ago, I noted thatthe Obama Admin’s principal argument relied on the classification of the mandate as a tax and that the legislation–all 2000 pages plus–was carefully crafted to categorize any penalty as an excise tax. As I wrote at the time, Obama–his “socialist” caricature notwithstanding–wasn’t arguing the case by making appeals to the Communist Manifesto. He was merely relying on past American constitutional precedent. He had “the firm’s” legal team carefully draft the new rules of the health care political economy to pass compliance strictly with the firm’s monopoly power to tax.

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Government Medical “Insurance” Reply

mises.org
Murray N. Rothbard

[Making Economic Sense (1995; 2007)]

One of Ludwig von Mises’s keenest insights was on the cumulative tendency of government intervention. The government, in its wisdom, perceives a problem (and Lord knows, there are always problems!). The government then intervenes to “solve” that problem. But lo and behold! instead of solving the initial problem, the intervention creates two or three further problems, which the government feels it must intervene to heal, and so on toward socialism.

No industry provides a more dramatic illustration of this malignant process than medical care. We stand at the seemingly inexorable brink of fully socialized medicine, or what is euphemistically called “national health insurance.” Physician and hospital prices are high and are always rising rapidly, far beyond general inflation. As a result, the medically uninsured can scarcely pay at all, so that those who are not certifiable claimants for charity or Medicaid are bereft. Hence, the call for national health insurance.

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Ron Paul Audit Fed Legislation Passed by House Oversight Committee Reply

bloomberg.com
Joshua Zumbrun

A U.S. House committee approved legislation introduced by Representative Ron Paul that would subject the Federal Reserve to an audit of its activities, including monetary policy decisions.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington approved the bill today in a voice vote. The bill now advances to consideration in the full House.

Paul, a Republican from Texas and author of the book “End the Fed” calling for the abolition of the central bank, seeks through the bill to require an audit by the Government Accountability Office of the Fed’s board of governors and 12 regional banks.

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Perish the Euro Reply

By Paul Gottfried

The latest bestseller by German economist Thilo Sarrazin, a former member of the Bundesbank executive board, is a rambling critique of the eurozone. His book Deutschland braucht den Euro nicht (Germany does not need the euro) tells you everything you might want to know about why the eurozone is collapsing.

The countries that formed the eurozone did not show the same monetary restraints or the same willingness to keep state expenditures within 60% of their annual gross national product, as was the practice in Sarrazin’s homeland. Given these circumstances, the only way that the eurozone would have worked is if all its members were integrated into a political as well as monetary union.

Since this did not happen, perhaps contrary to the present German government’s wishes, the signatories of 1992’s Maastricht Treaty gave their countrymen a deadly combination. Sovereign states were free to do with the euro what they wanted without having to submit to enforced monetary discipline. This freedom included raising state and private loans at low interest rates thanks to an originally solid currency.

“What’s inevitable is for the delinquent nations to declare bankruptcy and then return to their national currencies.”

This disastrous monetary union’s worst victims were the “south lands”: Spain, Portugal, Italy, and most egregiously Greece, which reaped disaster with the transition to a unitary currency. All of these countries depended on low production costs in their own currencies to maintain and expand exports. But once they began doing business in the same currency as their northern neighbors, they were at a disadvantage. As production costs have risen, poorer or less efficient countries have shown an increasing imbalance of trade in favor of their richer currency partners.

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Jimmy Carr is morally right 3

From The UK Libertarian.

Davy, the UK Libertarian, hoists moralistic tax-happy statists on their own petard. Logical, potent, and apt, if emotionally-oversaturated at times.

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"[WARNING: The following article contains images that some people may (and should) find disturbing. If you don’t want to see fairly graphic images then stop reading now or scroll down with a soft touch]

David Cameron has described Jimmy Carr as “Morally wrong” for allegedly paying  as low as 1% on his income taxes thanks to a scheme known as K2, advised by his accountant as perfectly legal and used by celebrities on both the left and the right.

But he’s not not behaving unethically, in fact, morally, he’s in the right.

To explain why, I will be asking you to stick with me through a seemingly unrelated tangent but, if we’re lucky, it will tie up in the end.

The following earnings are made up for the sake of simplicity but the logic holds true whether you scale up or down:

To begin let’s suppose Jimmy Carr is a model tax-payer and let’s say he earns £1,000,000 gross profit in the 2012 tax year. Without any exemptions and filing purely as an individual he would expect to pay close to 50% directly to the Inland Revenue. At that rate he is handing over approximately £500,000 to David Cameron’s government.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that £500,000 will be spent once the government has its (apparently righteous) hands on it:

At least £44,000 of this half a million will go towards “Defence”. The quandry for the informed and ethical man (but not the amoral/immoral) when pondering this contribution, however, is that “Defense” is really just a euphemism for Offense. Still etched in the memories of anybody who takes a passing interest in politics (regardless of which side of the fence they fall) is that spark of defiance in February of 2003 when almost a million people marched through London in protest against the proposal to wage war against Iraq. They chanted “No more war!” They screamed the justification was immoral. Some even cried for people they had never met, guessing before the fact just how horrific the consequences could be. They were right.

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New Rules, High Costs and Big Business Reply

By David D’Amato

Surveying the new JOBS Act, legislation with the ostensible purpose of aiding “emerging growth companies,” the Washington Post’s Rob Kaplan and Tom Voekler contend that the act’s biggest impact will be on the formation of “small and mid-sized business capital.”

Observing an important difference between “the largest companies” and “Main Street” businesses, the Post writers contend that historically, “for a host of reasons related to expenses and regulatory burdens,” only Big Business could access Wall Street. The importance and extent of their argument is seldom fully appreciated in political and economic discourse.

The impact of the “regulatory burdens” they allude to on the shape and character of the American economy is tremendous and probably isn’t what most people think it is. Correspondingly, the free market isn’t actually the glistering Holy Grail of Big Business daydreams.

Rather, freed markets — made up of voluntary trades and associations — represent the ideal mechanism for ensuring both that workers are rewarded in just proportion to their labor, and that big business’s costs aren’t shifted onto the people at large. Market anarchists are thus pro-market without necessarily being pro-business, distinguishing between the coercive privilege-saturated capitalism of today and a genuine state of economic freedom.

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Roberto Unger, Obama’s Former Harvard Law School Professor, Says The President ‘Must Be Defeated’ Reply

From the Huffington Post

One of President Barack Obama’s former professors appears to have turned against him, according to a recent YouTube video.

“President Obama must be defeated in the coming election,” Roberto Unger, a longtime professor at Harvard Law School who taught Obama, said in a video posted on May 22. “He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States.”

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It Has Come to This: Greek Towns Reverting to Barter Economies 1

From The Blaze

has forced many Greeks to rely on barter-style economies.

“I want to use euro but it’s very expensive and I believe trade is better,” said Volos resident Artemis Zafiriou of in a recent NBC Newsreport.

The town of Volos is not special. It’s one of the many Greek communities that have been hit hard by the financial crisis and high unemployment, forcing a growing number of individuals to trade goods and service in return for essentials. For instance, Zafiriou and her “partner” “sell ”chicken eggs, homemade marmalade, and soap at an open-air market in town,” according to NBC’s Yuka Tachibana.

“Looking like a mix between a flea market and a farmers’ market, it is packed with colorful stalls displaying fresh produce, home-baked bread, second-hand clothes and jewelry,” Tachibana writes.

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Wisconsin: It was always theirs anyway Reply

By Kevin Carson

Following the major news networks’ projections of Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall vote Tuesday, the dominant reaction among anti-Walker activists was apocalyptic. “If out-of-state corporate interests can outspend us ten-to-one, and that’s enough to beat all this grassroots organizing and public outrage, then democracy is dead.”

Well, no. Technically, it’s just more dirt on top of the grave.

Frankly, I’m surprised at the popular reaction to the vote. What did they expect? The state has always been an “executive committee of the ruling class.” Citizens United may have stripped the mask off the system and exposed it in its full vulgarity, but the political system has been rigged in the interests of the big money players since there was a political system. To quote Charles Johnson:

“If you put all your hope for social change in legal reform … then … you will find yourself outmaneuvered at every turn by those who have the deepest pockets and the best media access and the tightest connections. There is no hope for turning this system against them; because, after all, the system was made for them and the system was made by them. Reformist political campaigns inevitably turn out to suck a lot of time and money into the politics — with just about none of the reform coming out on the other end.”

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How the Sustainability Movement Defies Conservative/Liberal Labels Reply

By Stuart Bramhall

My decision to focus my activism in the sustainability movement has nothing to do with the horror stories climate change and Peak Oil aficionados tell about the horrible future my children and grandchildren face. I have never found terrifying or guilt-tripping people an effective way to engage them politically. It always seems far more likely to generate demoralization and apathy. I choose to focus my time and energy on sustainability-related issues based on the conviction that people who wish to survive coming economic and ecological crisis will need be extremely well organized. After thirty years of organizing, I find that sustainability engages people at the neighborhood and community level in a way no other issue can.

My friends and neighbors get it. They are all affected by the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels, mainly because high energy and transportation costs make everything more expensive. They are all acutely aware that something in society has to change drastically. This realization makes them open, to varying degrees, to trying new, less energy intensive ways of doing business and meeting their families’ basic needs.

The only stumbling block I face in organizing around sustainability is efforts by the corporate media to demonize us as liberals or “greenies.” I can see why they do this. Corporate media coverage of climate change and sustainability-related topics is heavily dominated by the fossil fuel industry, which has a vested interest in discouraging people from reducing their use of oil, natural gas and coal.

How Terms like “Conservative” and “Liberal” Lost Their Meaning

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Thomas Sowell: Obama is a Fascist, Not a Socialist Reply

By Thomas Sowell

It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.”

He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

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Geopolitics and “Conspiracy Theories” Reply

Kerry Bolton is interviewed by Richard Spencer.

The United Nations General Assembly

Author Kerry Bolton joins Richard to discuss geopolitics and the intersection of global finance, war, and foreign policy. In particular, they examine the “conspiracy theories” regarding major events like the Second World War and the Cold War–which ones help us get to the truth and which one are distractions.

Bolton’s latest book is Revolution From Above, published by Arktos Media.