Volatility

December 27, 2010

The Stamp Racket Mandate (Part 1)

 

The health racket Stamp mandate was crafted by the Republicans (the Heritage Foundation via Romneycare; Obama bragged about this) and enacted by the Democrats. It will never increase actual coverage nor control costs, and was never intended to.
 
“Health insurance” doesn’t even make sense as a concept. The goal of any insurance is to maximize premium extractions and minimize payouts. That can’t possibly work in the case of health care. There’s no possible way you can have a pool based on profiteering which isn’t automatically a conflict of interest between the racket and its customers, between the racket and the public interest.
 
To recap, the bill is:
 
1. A bailout for the insurance rackets. In spite of the antitrust exemption which protects them from market competition (and which explicitly forbids the “interstate commerce” which racket supporters fraudulently claim characterizes this Congressionally commanded “market”), these parasites are increasingly unable to compete with rational and morally justified non-participation.
 
So the bill is a command economy measure which creates a forced market with only one willing participant.
 
It contains no credible restraint on Stamp rates, and isn’t meant to impose any such restraint. On the contrary, it’s meant to use the government power to extort these costs from the people so the insurance rents can continue to exist at all. It’s just like the Bank Bailout, only it’s a direct robbery instead of an indirect one.
 
2. It’s an austerity bill whose goal is to absolve private employers of responsibility for health “insurance” and drive people as atomized individuals into the individual “market”. At the same time government gets to continue to abdicate on its core function responsibility to provide Single Payer.
 
As even the NYT has been steadily documenting (e.g. here and here), this process of corporate exemptions, insurer concession takebacks, and setting up individuals to be driven into the individual market, has been gathering momentum all year. These broken promises constitute the metric of Stamp austerity.
 
So here again, the bill will not control costs and was not intended to. Like ever austerity bill, it’s meant to increase costs while shifting all costs from corporations to the individual.
 
(To the extent any promised benefits of this bill materialize at all, they’ll simply be paid for by jacked-up Stamp premiums across the board. None of this will be cost-free to the people. Nowhere will the rackets have to relinquish one cent of extractions; at worst they’ll shift some of them from the poorest to the somewhat less poor. By design the bill doesn’t require one cent’s worth of contribution from the rackets. On the contrary, it promises to increase their extractions.)
 
This is exactly the outcome Obama wanted, as all the evidence of his state legislative career (where he was already a lackey of the Stamp rackets) to the present day proves.
 
3. The bill is a Poll Tax. Like all poll taxes, its goal is social and economic control. I’ll say more about this in a subsequent post.
 
So we have clarity on how irrational, impractical, and immoral this bill is. It illegitimate props up an irrational, impractical, and immoral system. When we consider the full extent of the policy’s corruption, and the systemic corruption of the entire fraudulent market, we also achieve full moral clarity on the issue.
 
Any individual has the right to refuse to pay this corporate extortion yet still demand necessary health care. If the government has failed to provide Single Payer, that’s its own abdication. Since a profiteering health care market is an automatic market failure, provision of Single Payer is a core government function. That this government refuses to recognize its responsibility is proof of its own illegitimacy. None of this reflects poorly in any way on the individual who has been abandoned and then victimized by a criminal system. On the contrary, anyone who would cast such aspersions is simply a pro-racket criminal himself.
 
Therefore, no one who supports this corporatist bailout bill, or who supports the very existence of the purely parasitic, purely destructive insurance companies, has standing to utter a word about individuals who allegedly free ride or shift costs. The insurance rackets are free riders infinitely worse than all uninsured individuals put together could ever be, while corporate employers and derelict government are the ultimate cost-shifters. Given these facts, to say a word about individuals is automatically to demonstrate one’s bad faith and complete lack of integrity.
 
By definition, anyone who cares about free riding and cost shifting, and reform itself, demands the complete eradication of the Stamp rackets and the institution of Single Payer. Everyone who’s even modestly informed about the issue knows this is the only moral, rational, and practical solution.
 
So the second any hack starts in with any anti-citizen argument (here’s several such swine at the NYT), we should reject him automatically and immediately. His position is a fraud on its face, and he’s clearly nothing but a criminal. That “opinion” has no right to exist.
 
So to recap: The Obama/Republican (Heritage Foundation) bill never intended anything but to:
 
1. Maintain and enhance insurance rent extractions;
 
2. Enable employers to shift their costs onto individuals;
 
3. Enable government to continue to abdicate its core responsibility;
 
4. Force atomized individuals into the individual market, which Obama’s own CBO says will become more expensive;
 
5. Where the government goon will force them to buy worthless “policies”, Stamps.
 
The bill is not designed to control costs and will not do so. It was designed to increase costs, but shift them all onto the individual.
 
Meanwhile the quality of care delivered will continue to deteriorate, since the bill is also not intended to force insurance to provide affordable care. The Massachusetts experience has already proven that.
 
What should we say is the ideological nature of this bill? It’s not classically “liberal”, since it enshrines the abdication of a core government function. But it’s not classically “conservative”, since it does enshrine a massive extension of aggressive government goon power. It’s strangely redolent of economic “libertarianism”, which wants to gut government in all the things a government is supposed to do, while aggressively expanding all its goon and thug dysfunctions. It’s really a radical enshrinement of neoliberal corporatism (which is the same thing as conservatism in practice): Government should be big and aggressive, but only as a corporate deputy. All its actual public functions should cease to exist. It’s classical tyranny, a usurpation. Such a government is clearly nothing but a parasite and a predator, exactly like its corporate masters.
 
So there’s the first reason to reject this bill and refuse to purchase this Stamp: It’s the enshrinement of corporate tyranny.
 
And even if one is a slave by nature who accepts neoliberal ideology and corporate tyranny, health insurance still makes zero sense as a concept. It doesn’t work. (Most people who go bankrupt for medical reasons have insurance.) So there’s the second reason.
 
In part 2 I’ll discuss the third reason, the fact that the Stamp mandate is unconstitutional.
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14 Comments

  1. Russ, thanks for another worthy post. I would point out the analogue in education, whereby the state function is increasingly privatized while hoovering up ever-larger amounts of taxpayer money to pay for non-stop (private) testing, (private) consultants and (private) “programs” like Neil Bush’s, extending to (private) vouchers and (private) “faith-based” providers.

    Comment by Lidia — December 28, 2010 @ 10:33 am

    • Thanks, Lidia. That’s really something, how quickly and overwhelmingly the conservatives sold out what they always claimed was a core principle, local control of education.

      Comment by Russ — December 28, 2010 @ 10:46 am

      • I think their “principles” (such as they were) held only so long as they hadn’t thought of how to turn the public system into a fount of private profit.

        Ideologies are easily faked. Follow the money.

        Comment by Lidia — December 28, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

  2. “The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths.”

    Excerpt from:

    http://www.truth-out.org/2011-a-brave-new-dystopia66307

    Comment by Will — December 28, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    • Thanks, Will. They’ll have to face those truths, all right. So how will they respond, and what can citizen activists do to help affect that response? – is the question.

      Comment by Russ — December 28, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

      • Well unfortunately, what I foresee is ugly. When the fooled finally wake up, we can expect to see less than civil behavior from the herd.

        http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/world/european-anarchists-grow-more-violent-coordinated-1150711.html

        Comment by Will — December 28, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

      • That’s not anarchist tactics, although the MSM is certainly happy to call it such.

        That tactic descends from Russian Populism, and in the 20th century has been the hallmark of similar groups, as well as religious and rightist groups.

        Anarchism, decades older than Russian terrorism, never endorsed it. Anyone who does that and calls himself an “anarchist” is simply an ignoramus and spotlight-seeker plucking that term out of thin air. (Assuming they weren’t provocateurs.)

        Meanwhile how many innocent people did NATO’s terrorist bombs blow up that day?

        I think the potential for herd violence in America is far more from astroturfed thugs than from citizens. I want a strategy and tactic of mass non-violent (but as assertive as necessary) civil disobedience and resistance.

        Comment by Russ — December 28, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

      • The bit about the “Informal Anarchist Federation” cracked me up, only because it begs comparison with a “Formal Anarchist Federation”.

        Comment by Lidia — December 28, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

    • Will, you’re right… but calling people “the herd” is offensive in this context, I think.

      Speaking of the herd, just tonight on the news I saw a report about a group of a couple hundred Sardinian shepherds who took the ferry to the Italian mainland in order to protest the low price controls on sheep’s milk, and were prevented from leaving the port area by the military state police arm (Carabinieri).

      Now, these shepherds are experienced in the art of protesting, but this is still a human rights issue, if Italian citizens are blocked from moving about the country based on whether they may or may not want to protest somewhere!

      From the Corriere della Sera:
      http://roma.corriere.it/roma/notizie/cronaca/10_dicembre_28/civitavecchia-pastori-sardi-181153578118.shtml

      «La pastorizia vive da anni una situazione insostenibile, che rischia di far scomparire dal processo produttivo un settore che occupa decine di migliaia di persone. Rifiutiamo gli accordi del de minimis sul prezzo del latte: non ci possono pagare 60 centesimi al litro quando a noi pastori viene a costare, come spese di produzione a seconda delle zone, tra gli 80 centesimi o un euro la produzione. Siamo ormai al collasso. Il 2010 si è chiuso malissimo anche con la legge approvata dal Consiglio regionale sardo che farà scomparire dalla nostra regione 7.700 aziende zootecniche. I pastori e gli agricoltori sono le vere vittime di una politica ignava e cialtrona che tutto fa all’infuori di creare sviluppo», ha spiegato il leader del Movimento dei pastori sardi, Felice Floris. «Da oltre 20 anni – spiega – ci hanno imposto di investire per adempiere a tutte le normative che l’Unione Europea imponeva, mentre lo Stato e la Regione non hanno adottato misure per tutelare le nostre produzioni in sede europea, accettando, senza mai contestare, miseri contributi in cambio della rinunzia alla produzione. Tutti gli sforzi e i sacrifici che agricoltori e allevatori hanno fatto con i loro investimenti sono stati vani e hanno causato disagi economici e in molti casi il fallimento delle aziende». Floris sottolinea che «attorno ai pastori e agli agricoltori si è sviluppata una burocrazia parassitaria che tutto consuma e niente produce, divorando montagne di soldi pubblici. Tutto in nome di pastori e agricoltori che sono stati presentati all’opinione pubblica come costosi assistiti»

      “Shepherds have for years been experiencing an unsustainable situation, which risks the disappearance of a sector that employs tens of thousands of people from the productive process. We refuse the accords on the minimum price of milk: they can’t pay us 60 cents per liter when it costs us shepherds, as the price of production depending on the zone, between 80 cents and 1 euro. We are already at the point of collapse. 2010 ended badly, as well, with the law approved by the Sardinian Regional Council which will eliminate 7,700 livestock operations in our region. The shepherds and farmers are the real victims of a slothful and villainous policy that does everything but create development,” explained the leader of the Sardinian Shepherds’ Movement, Felice Floris. “For more than 20 years,” he explains, “they have forced us to invest in order to fulfill all the regulations that the European Union imposed, while the State and the Region didn’t adopt any measures to safeguard our production in the European arena, accepting, without complaint, pathetically small contributions in exchange for our suppressing production. All the efforts and sacrifices that farmers and sheep ranchers have made with their investments have been in vain, and have caused economic distress and in many cases the bankruptcy of the concern.” Floris underlines that “around shepherds and farmers has sprung up a bureaucracy that consumes everything and produces nothing, devouring mountains of public money. All in the name of shepherds and farmers who are presented by the media as expensive welfare recipients.” (emphasis mine)

      Comment by Lidia — December 28, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

      • oops “de minimus” doesn’t mean minimum; it means more like “insignificant”.

        Comment by Lidia — December 28, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

      • LOL. Thanks Lidia, you’re right. Glad I toned it down from what I originally called the populace. It would be nice to believe that we could somehow achieve democracy peacefully, Russ.

        Comment by Will — December 28, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  3. [...] In part 1 of this post I offered two reasons why we should resist the Stamp racket mandate: That the whole [...]

    Pingback by The Stamp Racket Mandate (Part 2) « Volatility — December 29, 2010 @ 2:54 am

  4. [...] must participate in the corporatized economy.)   I wrote earlier about how the Stamp mandate entrenches corporate tyranny, how health insurance can never work in practice and makes no sense ev…, how it’s unconstitutional, and how it’s a regressive tax and a reactionary policy. [...]

    Pingback by Stamps and Poll Taxes (Stamp Mandate, Conclusion) « Volatility — January 9, 2011 @ 7:21 am

  5. [...] must participate in the corporatized economy.)   I wrote earlier about how the Stamp mandate entrenches corporate tyranny, how health insurance can never work in practice and makes no sense eve…, how it’s unconstitutional, and how it’s a regressive tax and a reactionary policy. Now [...]

    Pingback by The Obama Poll Tax (Part 2) « Volatility — June 29, 2012 @ 11:18 am


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