Bill O’Reilly On Health Insurance

Many people seem to be quoting this statement from Bill O’Reilly:

… I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a [sic] option, that if they don’t like their health insurance, if it’s too expensive, they can’t afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.

I’ll argue that O’Reilly hasn’t said anything of substance here.  Not because I think we should abandon the people he speaks of, those who (genuinely) can’t afford it; I don’t.  But he’s wrong in his assumption. How will the government offer the same benefits for less money?

Two ways to pay for this seem apparent: subsidies and hiding costs. The latter is reprehensible but the expected outcome.  Just look at how we currently treat the solvency of Social Security and it’ll be clear that politicians will never admit the truth about costs when they can hide them.  (The last resort option is to blame it on the other party and claim that this proves we need more government to oversee the bad people, a group to which the current politician will never claim membership.)

But if I assume this won’t happen, then that leaves subsidies.  If we’re going to subsidize, why not subsidize the private insurance for those who (genuinely) can’t afford it rather than restructure the entire system?

For what it’s worth, insurance is expensive at least in part because government regulates (i.e. limits) the amount of competition in the insurance market.  If you could buy insurance across state lines, you wouldn’t be captive to the specifics of your state.  And so on.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Reducing spending should be step two.

I’m not optimistic:

Key House leaders are pushing to sharply limit the scope of the alternative minimum tax, providing relief to many families who already pay the unpopular levy as well as millions more who would be hit for the first time next year.

“This system originally designed to catch millionaires who were avoiding taxes with excessive deductions has gone seriously awry. It is my intention to offer a permanent solution to AMT,” Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on select revenue measures, said yesterday during the first of two hearings on the issue.

No good solution will arise from an underlying assumption that adds excessive to deductions. If a deduction is excessive, Congress is to blame for creating that deduction. It is to blame for complicating the tax code with social engineering garbage. It sold the tax code to willing bidders and now we’re supposed to believe it wants to fix that at the same time it places blame on “the rich”. For example:

“We may be talking about redirecting those tax cuts,” [Rep. Charles] Rangel said this weekend on “Fox News Sunday.” “Within the system, there can be more equity without increasing the tax burden.”

Let’s just write the non-solution’s script now. Include the rich, the poor, income inequality, fairness, working taxpayers, middle class, economic uncertainty, job insecurity, and family values. Agitate. Pour during October. Repeat in 2008.

The worst part is the reality that this diversionary scheme works.

When I became a dentist, I thought I was happy, but this…

As I’ve already said, Spring Training started today. That may or may not set you off, but I’m fired up today. I can’t get enough news, I can’t hear enough glorious predictions, and I can’t wait until I go to Clearwater next month.

In my perusing, I encountered an article from The Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Something’s building in Florida” that discusses the 2004 season. I read every word, needing as much information about the Phillies as I can get.

Initially, I was frustrated by it. The key to good writing is brevity, so I despise writers using “well” when it’s unnecessary. Consider this:

[The Phillies] faded last season, but have added a good deal of pitching and have a reasonable expectation that third baseman David Bell will be better because he is not injured and leftfielder Pat Burrell will be better because… well, because it would be hard for him to be worse.

The writer of the article, Bob Ford, built a great argument, incorporating several of the key issues facing the Phillies this season. But that ending kills all momentum. I dare you to tell me that “…and leftfielder Pat Burrell will be better because it would be hard for him to be worse.” isn’t an improvement to that sentence. If you try to tell me it isn’t, I won’t listen because you’d be wrong.

Even with my statement, many writers today would write “I won’t listen because… well, because you’d be wrong.” I’m not many writers.

At that point, I was concerned, but I’ll take bad writing if it gives me baseball information. I continued reading and came to this:

The Phils will have to get along at shortstop with Jimmy Rollins, who is a wonderful fielder but has operated under the mistaken notion that he is also a power hitter.

You’d have to know something about baseball and the Phillies, but I can only say “Amen”. Jimmy, you weigh a buck-nothing. You have speed. Stop being obtuse and understand your role. It’s valuable to the team. Duh.

Next came this comment about replacing Jack Russell Stadium with Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater (the Phillies also open Citizens Bank Park in Philly this season):

The new stadium has a huge modern locker room and a video scoreboard, and there is no outfield wall advertisement for “Lou’s Tattoos,” which is an indication of something or other.

No “Lou’s Tattoos”? Damn, damn, damn. I want tacky local advertisements. How will I enjoy Spring Training if I don’t have the possibility that someone might hit a ball through the eyes of the Hooters owl? Seriously, how? The pain I feel right now is indescribable, so I’ll show you what I’ll be missing.


For his conclusion, Bob Ford wrote the following:

“Welcome back to baseball. Pitchers, catchers and optimism report today.”

I wish I’d written that line.