Tag Archives: Shortages

Round-up of news stories from around the world

I read Neil Simpson’s latest round-up. He linked to an article on the new DISCLOSE bill passed by the Democrats, which outlaws free speech for some people. Not unions, of course. Basically, if you’re a Democrat, you still have free speech. Other people – not so much.

Well, I liked his round-up a lot, so here’s mine. I hope it’s as good.

Germany

From Business Week. (H/T Health Care BS via ECM)

Government-run doctors are striking for 5% raises during a worldwide recession.

Excerpt:

Some 15,000 doctors across Germany are staging a walkout to press for higher pay and better working conditions, a union said on Monday.

Doctors at about 200 public clinics in most German states were on strike and 4,000 gathered for a protest in Munich, the Marburger Bund union said in a statement.

The walkout is scheduled to last all week, but the union stressed it could continue indefinitely if the towns and cities running the clinics don’t make a better offer.

[…]The 700 clinics run by towns and cities represent about one-third of all German hospitals and employ 55,000 doctors.

Gee, I wonder what would happen if private and church-run companies went on strike? Oh wait. That would never happen since they would be out of business in a moment. Maybe we shouldn’t have government-run health care… it’s bad for consumers.

Canada

From the Calgary Herald.

New political party in Alberta has dynamite policies!

Excerpt:

Wildrose Alliance party members approved some controversial resolutions Saturday at their party convention, including allowing workers to opt out of unions and examining a provincial police force, but they left other hot button issues on the table.

Resolutions giving Albertans the unequivocal right to own firearms and support the development of nuclear power were both defeated.

And more policies:

  • Whistleblower protection and better funding for the auditor general
  • Supporting school choice legislation that would let students attend school wherever they want and could open the door to more funding of private schools
  • More privately delivered health care

Wow, too bad they had to throw out the guaranteed right to own firearms, but at least their hearts are in the right place. I wonder what Alberta is like? Do any of you live in Alberta? Can you leave me a comment?

Australia

From Investors Business Daily.

Australian Labor Party throws out crazy socialist leader.

Excerpt:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s surprise ouster by his own party Tuesday came with a teary farewell hailing his role in Australia’s economy. Maybe it wasn’t such a bright idea to imagine it was his golden goose.

Seven months ago, nobody would have thought the well-liked socialist prime minister with less than three years in office would meet such an ignominious end, blubbering after he was thrown out by members of his own Labor Party Tuesday.

[…]It was a bad fall for the man dubbed Australia’s Barack Obama.

Like the latter, the youthful Rudd initiated costly health care, home weatherization, entitlement, and global warming pork barrel projects. In the process, he blew out the Australian budget.

When the time came to pay the bill, he effectively committed political suicide by calling for a 40% tax on Aussie mining companies.

[…]When news of Rudd’s tax hikes suggested a bid to expropriate companies’ profits, the stock market took a beating.

Ooops. That’s why it’s a bad idea to let socialists run your government. I mean – it’s a bad idea if you like having a job and being able to find a new job if you don’t like the one you have or you get laid off.

United States

From the radically leftist Los Angeles Times. (H/T Newsbusters)

Welfare recipients using state-issued debit cards to withdraw money at casino ATMs.

Excerpt:

The casinos are listed on a Department of Social Services website that allows welfare recipients to search for addresses of ATMs where they can withdraw cash provided under the Temporary Aid for Needy Families program. The monthly grant ranges up to $694; most of the ATMs impose a withdrawal limit of about $300 per day.

[…]The cash portion of California’s welfare benefits comes from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Each year, California gets $3.7 billion from the federal government for the program, while state and local governments kick in an additional $2.9 billion.

Maybe it isn’t a good idea for the state to transfer money away from people who create jobs to people who think that gambling is the equivalent of a job. And since federal money is being used to provide this welfare, I’m paying for it. Oh well. I didn’t really need the money anyway. I’m sure that the people who voted for Obama got their warm fuzzy feeling for “helping the poor” – using my money.

That last article about the poor reminds me of something I read on The Bumbling Genius about how liberal elites view the poor. The solution is never bad character. The solution is always to give them more money.

An analysis of the Democrats socialist health care policies

I would summarize the ideals of Democrats (socialists) as follows:

  1. There are unequal life outcomes in society
  2. Those who have little wealth are the victims of those who produce wealth
  3. We (democrats) must transfer wealth until everyone’s life outcomes are equal, regardless of their life choices
  4. We (democrats) must use government coercion to achieve this equality
  5. Since we (democrats) are so morally superior, we are not obligated to transfer our own wealth to anyone

Consider health care. Some risky lifestyle choices are more likely to require more health care services. The socialist’s goal is to make sure that no one is deterred from making these risky choices. Those who do not engage in these risks must be forced to pay for the health care of those who do choose to take on these risks. That way, everyone is equal in the end.

The way this is done is to make sure that people who don’t engage in risky behaviors cannot pay less for their health care than those who do engage in risky behaviors. Let me explain.

Suppose a safe person S knows that he only needs coverage for catastrophic care, since his lifestyle choices eliminate the need for elective treatments like abortions, birth control, STD medications, sex changes and drug addiction treatments. He can be covered for a very low premium.

Consider another irresponsible, risky person R who is engaged in all kinds of risky behavior. He can be covered for all of the medical services for a very high premium. His own choices expose him to risks that will require more medical services.

Democrats (socialists), solve this problem by forcing S to pay for mandatory health care with a very high premium that covers services he will never use. That way, he is really paying for his own health care, and R’s health care, too.

Take a look at this article I found on Health Care BS. In the article, they cite Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, who analyzes the health care policies that may be included in the Democrats’ health care reform bill.

This is the one I want to draw your attention to, because this is what single-payer countries like Canada have that causes them so many problems:

An Individual Mandate. Every American will be required to buy an insurance policy that meets certain government requirements.  Even individuals who are currently insured — and happy with their insurance — will have to switch to insurance that meets the government’s definition of acceptable insurance, even if that insurance is more expensive or contains benefits that they do not want or need.

And here is another one that will force employers to lay off American workers because employers have to pay more for the same productivity.

An Employer Mandate. At a time of rising unemployment, the government will raise the cost of hiring workers by requiring all employers to provide health insurance to their workers or pay a fee (tax) to subsidize government coverage.

Yes, that’s right. Socialism attacks businesses. Attacking businesses causes unemployment.

And there’s more:

A Government-Run Plan, competing with private insurance.  Because such a plan is subsidized by taxpayers, it will have an unfair advantage, allowing it to squeeze out private insurance.  In addition, because government insurance plans traditionally under-reimburse providers, such costs are shifted to private insurance plans, driving up their premiums and making them even less competitive. The actuarial firm Lewin Associates estimates that, depending on how premiums, benefits, reimbursement rates, and subsidies were structured, as many as 118.5 million would shift from private to public coverage.   That would mean a nearly 60 percent reduction in the number of Americans with private insurance.  It is unlikely that any significant private insurance market could continue to exist under such circumstances, putting us on the road to a single-payer system.

When government controls your health care, you pay them at gunpoint and when you want care you get in line behind people who paid nothing into the system. That is socialized medicine, the dream of all Democratic socialists.

And there’s also redistribution of wealth:

Massive New Subsidies. This includes not just subsidies to help low-income people buy insurance, but expansions of government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.

And remember what I said about the government needing to reducing costs when demand skyrockets for “free” care?

Government Playing Doctor.   Democrats agree that one goal of their reform plan is to push for “less use of aggressive treatments that raise costs but do not result in better outcomes.”  While no mechanism has yet been spelled out, it seems likely that the plan will use government-sponsored comparative effectiveness research to impose cost-effectiveness guidelines on medical care, initially in government programs, but eventually extending such restrictions to private insurance.

This is all caused by the good intentions of people who have no knowledge of economics, whatsoever. And it is important to note that it is this kind of naive, incompetent meddling in the free-market that leads to poverty and the loss of all of our liberties.

Further study

Here are some previous links that are relevant:

Obama raises taxes on oil and gas to stop global warming

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from the Cato Institute! Thanks for your link from here. New visitors, interested in economics make want to check out my posts on card check, the deficit, Stephen Harper, tax hikes for the rich, cap and trade, porkulus 1, porkulus 2, conscience rightsschool choice and the subprime crisis.

This Reuters article explains how Obama is going to attack energy producing oil and natural gas companies in order to save the planet from global warming. Here is the exact quotation from Reuters:

U.S. oil and natural gas producing companies should not receive federal subsidies in the form of tax breaks because their businesses contribute to global warming, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Wednesday.

In the same article, Senator John Cornyn explains the consequences of this policy:

Senator John Cornyn of Texas criticized the tax increases, saying they would hurt independent energy companies that provide a large share of U.S. oil and gas supplies.

“My view is that higher taxes on small and independent producers here in America will make us more dependent on imported oil and gas while we transition to cleaner energy alternatives, a goal we all share,” said Cornyn. “And it will also hurt job retention and job creation in the energy sector, which provides an awful lot of jobs in this country.”

Let me also note that consumers are going to pay the price for raising taxes, because energy producing companies are just going to raise their prices to pay for the tax increase. And if Obama either fixes prices or nationalizes the energy industries, (like he’s nationalized health care), then you can expect energy supply shortages.

When you raise taxes on the producers of a commodity, you get less of that commodity. When supply decreases and demand stays the same, you get a shortage. The price of that scarce commodity rises. If you respond to the rising prices by fixing the prices lower, you get line-ups outside of gas stations. This is what we saw in 1973 with price controls on gas.

Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute explains why price controls on oil and gas didn’t work in 1973:

Let’s begin with a review of what happened the last time Congress tried to protect consumers from “Big Oil.” When Richard Nixon enacted his strict retail price-control regime in 1971, service stations ran out of gas and motorists were forced to wait in staggeringly long lines to get what fuel remained. Burned by the fiasco, Congress adopted the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 (EPAA), which essentially removed price controls from the pump and instead applied them upstream into the wholesale domestic oil market.

Indeed the gasoline lines and physical shortages disappeared, but the cap on profits from domestic oil production discouraged investment in new domestic supply, increased reliance on imported oil, and increased the upward pressure on world crude prices. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) tightened the wholesale oil price controls established in the EPAA and exacerbated the economic dislocations associated with it.

Read the whole article. As Santayana urged, we need to learn from history and from the mistakes of other socialist countries, so that we do not repeat their mistakes.

Now on to the secular religion of global warming. Gateway Pundit completely destroys the idea that the earth is even warming:

Arctic sea ice growth finished the year in 2008 at the same level as 1979.
The oceans have been cooling since 2003.
Sea ice is growing at the fastest pace on record.
Greenland’s glaciers are stabilizing.
There are growing fears of a coming freeze worse than the ice age.
Alaskan Sea Glaciers are advancing for the first time in 250 years.
And, for the second straight year the Earth is, in fact, cooling… not warming.

I stole this graphic from his post as well:

US Climate Map October 2007-November 2008

Warning! Now is a good time to stop reading, as I am about to become mean and snarky.

<snarky>So what we have here is a faith-based initiative introduced by Obama in order to appease his favored secular special interests groups, who  substitute recycling for the rigorous demands of traditional, reality-based religion and morality. Do we really need a religious nut in the White House catering to this crowd of anti-science fanatics? Should these dogmatic eco-fascist fundamentalists be influencing the policy of the most powerful nation on earth with their anti-reality delusions? Should we really be acting on the religious doctrines of non-scientists like Al Gore and his Big-Environmentalism-backed propaganda films, which are even now shown to our children in public schools as fact, fact, fact? What happened to the separation of church and state?</snarky>

For my Christian readers, Jay Richards of the Acton Institute did a great lecture on basic economics for Christians and another great lecture on what Christians should think about global warming.