“We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick or [if] you’re going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance. The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners who’ve been paying an artificially low price because of this discrimination now will have to pay more in return. And that, by my estimate, is about four million people. In return, we’ll have a fixed system where over 30 million people will now for the first time be able to access fairly price and guaranteed health insurance.”
—– Dr. Jonathan Gruber of MIT, an economics professor who is among the designers of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare. He was interviewed by NBC’s Chuck Todd regarding the troubled law’s problems.
Could it be that the act of getting involved with this administration turns even non-politicians into deceivers and liars? For an economist to talk so deceitfully and manipulatively is distressing. He, of all people, certainly knows how insurance works, and has to work. The insurance company accepts, in essence, wagers from its insured, in the form of premiums, that they will “win” by incurring health care costs that require more funds more than the accumulated “wagers.” The insurance company gambles that it will “win” by the insured remaining relatively healthy, so that the premiums (and whatever investment income they generate) exceed what the company has to pay in medical costs for that individual. The only way a company can keep providing insurance is to win more bets than it loses.
Saying that an insurance company is “discriminating” (in the unjust and biased sense) when it refuses to accept a wager that is virtually certain to win is like saying that a poker player is engaging in discriminatory conduct by refusing to play with a new player who brings a royal flush to the table with him. It is not discrimination to refuse to lose money, and Gruber knows it. But like an expert liar, as I must presume he is, he plants a false definition of discrimination at the beginning of his discussion and then treats it as an agreed-upon description of what is occurring. Not selling something to a customer who can’t afford a fair price is not discrimination, and refusing to gamble with someone who is assured of winning is also not discrimination. But discrimination is something that everyone regards as wrong, unfair, and unlawful, so that is how the lawful operation of insurance companies is framed by this clever, learned, dishonest man.
I no longer trust Dr. Gruber, nor should you.
His statement is of additional interest, however, because it starkly defines the unique Progressive definition of “fairness,” by his repeated use of lottery imagery to describe the fact that some people, through no fault of their own, have fewer advantages than others, while those others, often through no virtue of their own, have more resources and opportunities. Progressives regard this as inherently wrong and unfair, and so unfair that it must be remedied by obtrusive government interference. The rest of America regards this as “life.” Continue reading
The General is not pleased.
Shame on George Washington University (in Washington, D.C.), not only for lying to its students and community, but also for dishonoring the name of the scrupulously ethical American icon which they presumed to expropriate as their own. Such things carry with it some crucial obligations.
For years, the GW admissions and financial aid offices have claimed in printed materials and on the University website that admissions were independent of need. The admissions process does not consider financial need during the first round of screening applications. Before applicants are notified, however the University examines its financial aid budget and decides which students it can actually afford to admit. Wealthier students are accepted, taking the spots of students who would need more financial aid from the University.
Last week, a GW administrator confessed to a student newspaper—one ironically called “The Hatchet” after the apocryphal axe little George used to cop down that cherry tree in Parson Weems’ fable—– that financial resources indeed were considered in the admissions process, and have always been considered despite University statements to the contrary. As recently as last weekend, admissions representatives told prospective students that their applications would be judged without consideration of their financial aid profiles. Until it was removed Saturday evening, the newspaper reports, the undergraduate admissions website read, “Requests for financial aid do not affect admissions decisions.”
That site now confirms a “need-aware” policy that has always been in place. George Washington University just had another policy of lying about it. Continue reading
Whay ever happened to this guy? Boy, we sure could use someone like him about now…
As we all know by now, President Obama is refusing the negotiate over raising the debt limit, which, since the House of Representatives refuses to agree to raise the limit without some kind of concessions in spending by Democrats, is raising the specter of a catastrophic default.
Conservatives have been citing as an example of the President’s hypocrisy the fact that he voted against raising the debt limit in 2006, when Bush was President and the debt owed was just about half what it is today, posing far less of a threat to the nation’s fiscal future. At that time, Senator Obama said this:
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. . . . Continue reading
Celebrities have the opportunity to use their disproportionate and sometimes unexplainable fame to pass along good values, priorities and ethical habits to those who admire and follow them. The problem is that the U.S. culture’s current values are in a muddled state, with virtues sometimes being treated as embarrassments, and the enthusiastic embrace of non-ethical goals that once were regarded as the seven deadly sins are now often looked upon as the norm, and even appropriate. Here are some recent events in the strange world of celebrity values:
The Good: This headline on numerous web sources piqued my interest: “Dylan Sprouse Defends Restaurant Host Job.” Dylan Sprouse is a former Disney child star, a long time lead, with his brother, on the long-running “The Suite Life of Zach & Cody,” one of those loud, hyper-frenetic tween comedies that Disney and Nickelodeon acquire from some production company in Hell. Dylan was seen working in a restaurant, and this immediately spawned multiple rumors that he was broke, had blown through his millions, and was, in brief, a pathetic loser….because he has the same kind of job most American twenty-somethings fresh out of college would be thrilled to have.
Thus Dylan, who along with his brother decided to get out of the child star rat-race that has recently put Lindsay Lohan in rehab, Amanda Bynes in a mental health treatment facility and Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball, and start a more conventional life with a college education (at NYU). Sprouse decided to address the weird criticism being sent his way on social media and in the gossip blogs by writing, Continue reading
Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Etiquette and manners, Finance, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, Professions, Sports, The Internet, U.S. Society, Workplace
I hate you, Jeff, and I hate your friends.
Some ideas that brilliant young people have in the technology field should have remained unthought, and if thought, promptly rejected on the grounds that however clever and profitable, they will make the world a crummier place. This is one of those ideas:
From CNN Money we learn that Lenddo, a new financial lending companies (apparently none of the brilliant young people work in the marketing department—Lenddo???) has figured out that one’s Facebook friends, and how friendly you are with them, are a revealing indicator of your credit worthiness. If one of those FB friends is late paying back a loan to Lenddo, their data indicates that it means you are more of a credit risk than if that friend was right on time. Not only that, if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with on the social network, it means you are even more likely to be a deadbeat.
“It turns out humans are really good at knowing who is trustworthy and reliable in their community,” happily crows Jeff Stewart, a co-founder and CEO of Lenddo. “What’s new is that we’re now able to measure through massive computing power.” Fascinating, Jeff!
You suck. Continue reading
I was sent this horrifying story under the heading of “Ethics Train Wreck,” and a better description of it there could not be. It is the tale of the twin teenaged heirs to the massive Doris Duke fortune,Patrick and Georgia Inman, their miserable upbringing and the continuing instability of their lives, soon to be dominated by lawsuits and litigation. The twins have been alternately spoiled, neglected, and abused, and are desperately seeking some direction in their lives before their mega-trust funds kick in—if they can survive that long. Moreover, their existence is almost sure to get worse before it gets better, if it ever does.
Consider, for example, this ominous passage, late in the piece, referring to the plans of their inept mother, Daisha:
The kids need to figure out what comes next for them – how they can start creating a life for themselves, and connect with others. Daisha has devised what she thinks is a terrific idea for an appropriate new set of playmates: She’s working on getting the twins together with Michael Jackson’s kids, with whom she thinks they’d have tons in common. “Wouldn’t that be historic? The Jacksons and the Dukes, two of the most famous names, together?” Daisha asks. Continue reading
The Senator thinks it’s running backwards!
On the Shreveport Time website, Andre Dean Benton reports…
“I attended the Bossier City VFW Post 5951 discussion of Veterans’ issues with Senator Mary Landrieu last week at 1315 North Gate Road, where she responded to a wide range of issues facing our American veterans from her talking points as well as from questions fielded from the audience. An older veteran stood up toward the middle of the meeting and expressed to her his deep sadness and concern with the massive and constantly growing American debt ($16.9 trillion today and $5.6 trillion in 2000) and the crippling cost to taxpayers to pay for the staggering interest on that debt….
I was stunned to then hear my Louisiana senator defend the massive U.S. debt saying: “That is not true, sir! We do not have an increasing national debt! For the past six to seven years we have been continuously driving that debt down and reducing it and it is NOT increasing.” She then went on to explain the federal costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as “non-negotiable mandates by law that cannot be changed” and explained that only a small portion of the federal budget was in discretionary spending, where she was working with others in the Senate to further reduce our nation’s debt….
“No one on her staff corrected her or offered a polite “update” for the audience, and the elderly gentleman speaking the question was a little rattled by her vigorous contradiction of his stated facts that he just mumbled something across the table from me about “Congress constantly raising the debt ceiling …” and then was respectfully silent. As he was asking and our senator was responding, I was Googling the US Treasury’s official home page on my iPhone and staring at the government published facts on the history and facts about the U.S. debt: Continue reading
“…The prostitute thing is embarrassing and painful to think about, but not a disqualification for public office. David Vitter is still in the Senate, and in internal LA Republican politics is apparently squashing the very pious Bobby Jindal like a bug…I know that opinions differ about just how effective Spitzer’s confrontations were. But at least he tried — which is more than you can say about almost anyone else in our political life. Basically, the malefactors of great leverage were bailed out and went right back to being bad guys again, and everyone in public life pretended that nothing had happened. That, I think, is why there’s a surprising reservoir of support for Spitzer; people remember him as someone who showed at least some of the righteous outrage that has been so wrongly absent from our national discourse. It’s a useful reminder, and it’s why I regard his entry into the race, win or lose, as a good thing.”
-— Inexplicably revered progressive economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, discussing the re-entry of Eliot Spitzer into New York state politics on his blog. Spitzer, despite having to resign from office as governor because he was caught partaking in the services of a prostitution ring—the same kind of enterprise he aggressively prosecuted as state attorney general, is now running for comptroller.
Explain, please: How can anyone rely on the judgment of someone whose ethical reasoning is this miserable?
I do not understand how anyone can read or take seriously Krugman’s opinions on budget management and national affairs—he thinks that the national debt is no big deal at the moment, a position that is essential to Obama-enabling—when the favorite economist of progressives and Democrats can write something as indicting as the quote above. The post is appallingly irrational, irresponsible and unethical: it suggests that the author’s judgment is miserable, that his ethics are negligible, that his biases rule his intellect….and that, apparently with justification, he is confident that the Park Avenue liberals who quote him at dinner parties won’t lose an ounce of respect for or abandon an inch of reliance regarding a champion who believes such rot. Continue reading
“We’re NOT going to be selfish and exclusive, even though we can and you expect us to!”
It never seems to work out this way, and thus it is interesting to speculate why the office lottery pool at Keller Williams Partner Realty in Plantation, Florida treated a dilemma so differently, and so much more ethically, than the key participants here, or here.
Jennifer Maldonado had only been working as an administrative assistant at the company for two weeks, and because she hadn’t received her first pay check, she decided not to join the office Powerball pool when she was approached. The organizer even offered to loan her the money: nope, insisted Maldonado. Not this time; maybe next. Naturally, the pool not only won that week, but won big: a million dollars to be divided among the 12 person staff…except Maldonado, of course.When Maldonado showed up for work and saw everyone screaming, crying and celebrating, she thought they were playing a practical joke in her to teach her a lesson. “I knew I was the only one who hadn’t put in the money, so I thought they were pranking me and going out of their way to make me feel something,” she recalled, that “something” presumably being “rotten.”
Jennifer obviously didn’t know her co-workers yet. Not only weren’t they trying to make her feel badly, they had held a meeting and decided to give her a cut of the winnings even though she hadn’t opted in to the enterprise—not a full share, but a significant amount. Jennifer didn’t expect anything, wasn’t going to sue them or hold a grudge, and yet they made her part of the group’s good fortune anyway. This is the Golden Rule exemplified. It is also exemplary ethics: generosity, kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness. The staff”s gesture said, and eloquently, “Welcome to the family! You can trust us. We care about you. We look out for each other, and we handle each other’s mistakes.”
Perfect. Continue reading
“So far, so good!”
The confluence of head-exploding statements and news keeps coming, with the worst being the recent unconscionable announcements out of the mouths of the President and some of his political adversaries that “there is no debt crisis.”
This is exactly like the old joke about the man falling from a 40 story window, being asked by someone on the tenth floor, shouting through a window as he passes, “How are you doing?” “So far, so good!” he answers. Yet these ridiculous, idiotic or intentionally dishonest statements by President Obama, Speaker Boehner, and others are being cited by the news media as reassuring! No, there’s no debt crisis, if you regard that falling optimist as not being in a smashing-to-pulp-on-the-sidewalk-crisis. The debt increased by a trillion dollars last year, and looks as if it will increase by close to a trillion more by October, 2013. The government has no leadership on the issue, and the various sides appear incapable of forging a solution, with the current Administration actually going out of its way to try to make less than 2% in budget cuts under the absurd sequester hurt as much as possible, to convince a math-deficient public that cutting the size of government is not only impossible but undesirable. This scenario doesn’t demonstrate that there’s a debt crisis? Continue reading