Obamacare and unintended consequences

June 17, 2010

Late in the health care debate, Norma Desmond Nancy Pelosi famously said we’d have to pass the health care bill to learn what was in it. She was right. Since the Democrats rammed the bill through without allowing enough time for study and debate (or any time at all, really), we seen one lousy example after another of  “what’s in it.” Think you’ll get to keep your health plan, as the Lightworker promised?

Karl Rove says, think again:

In his brilliant exposition of why sweeping policy changes often have unintended consequences, the late sociologist Robert K. Merton wrote that leaders get things wrong when their “paramount concern with the foreseen immediate consequences excludes the consideration of further or other consequences” of their proposals. This leads policy makers to assert things that are false, wishing them to be true.

Which brings us to President Obama’s many claims about his health-care reform. Take his oft-expressed statement that if you like the coverage you have, you can keep it. That sounds good—but perverse incentives in his new law will cause most Americans to lose their existing insurance.

This was brought home to me when I asked the CEO of a major restaurant chain about health reform’s effect on his company, which now spends $25 million a year on employee health insurance. That will jump to at least $90 million a year once the new law is phased in. It will be cheaper, he told me, for the company to dump its coverage and pay a fine—$2,000 for each full-time worker—and make sure that no part-time employee accidentally worked 31 hours and thereby incurred the fine.

This reality is settling in at businesses across America. A Midwestern contractor told me he pays $588,000 for health insurance for 70 employees, contributing up to $8,400 a year for a family’s coverage. If he stops providing health insurance, he’ll pay $2,000 per employee in fines, and the first 40 employees are exempt from fines altogether.

It’s also dawning on employees that they will lose their coverage. Some will blame management; many more will blame those who wrote this terrible legislation.

It dawned on a lot of people before the bill was passed, albeit with no thanks to the mainstream media, but it didn’t matter: the (Social) Democratic majority in Congress gave their (Social) Democratic president what he wanted, ramming this crap sandwich of a bill through Congress against the express will of the majority of the people. The promises about cutting costs and keeping the health insurance you’re happy with were all garbage. All of them.

And now we’re finding all the roaches under the health care carpet. (And there’s never just one.)

Employees who blame their employers are foolish; they’re only doing what is economically rational under the given set of incentives. The people to blame are the President of the United States and every single Democrat in Congress, even the so-called moderates, because their votes to elect Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader facilitated this mess.

Read the whole article and file this away for next November:

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The Maine oil booms: Yes, they’re blowing smoke

June 17, 2010

Earlier in the saga of the Packgen oil-containment booms that apparently neither BP nor the Federal government wants, ostensibly because of quality issues, I had asked the following question:

Or are Washington and BP blowing smoke to cover for an initial and inexcusable lackadaisical response to the biggest environmental catastrophe in US history?

Silly me. I should have realized this was a rhetorical question; of course they’re just lying to cover up their bumbling:

Engineering Professor Gives Maine Boom Thumbs Up

“I have never directly looked at boom before,” says Ian T. Durham of the Department of Physics and Cooperative Engineering at Saint Anselm College.

That said, Durham says, analyzing boom “is a fairly standard, pretty simple mechanical engineering problem.”

Durham was recently hired by Packgen — the Maine packaging company that manufactured roughly 80,000 feet of boom that the US Coast Guard says failed an initial BP quality control test. Packgen president John Lapoint III has expressed frustration at BP/Coast Guard bureaucracy, insisting that the boom he’s making will work well in the Gulf, where boom is desperately needed.

Durham would not say how much he was paid, but he says he’s generally paid $100 an hour for consulting, and his analysis of Packgen boom took rougly 40-45 hours.

You can read Durham’s report HERE.

He says Packgen’s boom is superior to other boom. Its woven polypropelene is “practically indestructible,” he says. “Packgen uses it to make toxic waste disposal containers.”

Using woven polypropelene means the Packgen boom isn’t “going to twist like the vinyl” boom. “And it’s easier to deploy. It’s nice and stiff and it floats really nicely.”

As far as the professor is concerned, the boom meets or exceeds accepted ASTM standards. So, I ask again: aside from  connector problem that was easily rectified by Packgen, what is BP and the Coast Guard’s problem with Packgen’s product? If it’s even 50% effective, isn’t that better than nothing? Why hasn’t the whole supply been bought and shipped to the Gulf via military airlift?

It seems now that the answer is clear: the administration and BP screwed up by not acting on Packgen’s initial offers, which were conveyed through Maine’s two senators, and are now covering their rears by making up excuses that don’t stand up to the mildest challenge. Rather than admit they were slow off the mark and fixing the problem, the Lightworker administration waves its hands and tries to distract the audience like a cheap stage magician in Vegas whose tricks the crowd can see right through.

Pathetic.

(via Hot Air)