Saturday, December 19, 2009

Of all of the promises forwarded in support health care reform, the most risible is that it will reduce fraud and abuse. Think for a moment how much legislative energy is devoted to "closing loopholes" in one set of statutes or another. Look at how many bills seek to amend current laws because of unanticipated exploitation that degrades the law's effectiveness. the simple fact is that in most cases, people who make their living exploiting laws are much, much...much smarter than the politicians who make those laws.

When a ship is commissioned, it is customary to subject it to a "shakedown cruise" to work out glitches in the ship's systems, uncover defects in design or construction and generally verify that the vessel is suitable to the purposes for which it is intended. Obviously, every eventuality cannot be foreseen, and problems only become apparent when subjected to real-world use. Now consider that our Congress seeks to impose a novel scheme, creating over a hundred new entities that are to interact somehow, onto an industry that involves sixteen percent of the American economy. Does anyone seriously think that the system will not contain a miasma of faults, opportunities for fraud, insufficient oversight and inefficiencies born of too much wishful thinking and not enough experience?

Some people will become fabulously wealthy exploiting the half-baked policies, venal pandering and sheer stupidity that Congress will apply to healthcare. Anyone who can't see this coming miles away simply isn't paying attention.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I believe that Obama doesn't want to be president as much be an ex-president. I think he is much more enthralled with the following he would attract speechifying with the gravitas of having been the president than he is with the burdens of having to make decisions. He is much more comfortable in the rhetorical world of strawmen and sonorous platitudes than in the real-world where facts often vitiate the pleasant-sounding theories and aspirations of his speeches.

I suspect that Obama will come to the same conclusion that Palin did: that responsibility is limiting, and that political genius and divine insight can be frustrated by the tether of executive responsibilities. Deep down, I doubt that Obama has much ambition to be remembered for the nuts and bolts of his managerial responsibilities, but instead yearns to be a transcendent figure, lecturing across time and continents. In short, I suspect that Obama knows knows that his influence is limited by the day-to-day responsibilities, because the hard decisions he has to make will give lie to the vaporous but seductive ideals that he would rather talk about.