4.9.09

Giving Obamacare proponents the finger.

The healthcare debate is sure getting heated these days
as a 65-year-old man who was against socialised healthcare,
had his pinky finger bitten off in an argument at a healthcare rally.
To be fair, he did punch the other guy first, but was biting
off a finger in return really called for?

Internet responses to this incident have shown many proponents
of socialised healthcare laughing at the irony that the bitten man
went to the hospital afterwards and Medicare was used to cover him.
Some have even suggested that if he were really so against socialised
medicine that he should have refused treatment.

Well, after 65 years of the government taking money from him
to pay for social security and medicare, it's rather understandable
that he would be willing to accept something back for it all.
If he hadn't had so much taken from him by the government for such
things he might have been able to afford private coverage of his own.

This is a clear example of why the public option means no option.
Though competition may be allowed, it is nowhere near fair competition.
We are forced to pay for the public option, making it more difficult
to afford a private alternative. In addition, it is impossible to compete
with a firm that has a continuous supply of income from taxes regardless
of what it does and can offer "free" service.

Even those who are opposed to the government provision of healthcare
may not be wealthy enough to afford private healthcare on top of
the healthcare taxes they’re required to pay in the first place.

27.8.09

Hawaii's healthcare townhall meeting

Charles Djou hosted a townhall meeting here to discuss Obama's
healthcare plans. There were half a dozen people in the back of the
room with signs declaring "Healthcare now!" the rest of the 200+
people at the event however were opposed to socialised healthcare.

There were three panelists: an MD in favour or tort reform, a policy
analyst (from Grassroot Institute of Hawaii) promoting reform, but not
by public option or employer mandate (where employers are forced to
provide health insurance to their workers), and a representative from
the AARP who was in favour of Obama's plan.

Linda Rasmussen, the speaker for tort reform had some good arguments,
but she seemed willing to be fine with any side of the debate as long
as it included tort reform. Though I can see that tort reform may be
valuable, as I have researched a bit on the impact it has had in Texas
by bringing more doctors to the state, I do not believe that it would
redeem a socialised system.

The represntative of the AARP, Bruce Bottorff, faced a very tough
crowd, and was often booed for his statements. Yes it may have been
rude, which is why I abstained from doing so, they were generally
called for. If someone lies about things in a statement it is
understandable that this would be upsetting. Bottorff gave "myths"
about Obama's plan and would then simply say that they were false,
with no real rationale or proof that this was the case. For example,
there was the myth that Obama's plan would lead to rationing. He
attacked this saying that this was not going to happen because there
was nothing about it in the bill. This is not a solid argument at all,
because even if there is no mention of rationing in the bill, it is
still a possible consequence of a socialised healthcare system. It
cannot be prevented in a clause of the bill just as competition cannot
be created in a clause of a bill. As much as legislators would wish it
to be so, things never happen exactly as they are foreseen, which is
why the strict codes of government legislation do not work. In the
private sector there are feasibility studies to make predictions as to
how things will work, but actions are still left up to adjustment in
case things do not work exactly as planned.

19.8.09

The state is unqualified to educate Hawaii's kids

Hawaii has the lowest number of highly qualified teachers
(as defined by No Child Left Behind) in the country. Only
68% fit that description compared to the national average
of 95%*. In 2008, $1,573,852.23 was spent to send 644
public school educators to a conference on the mainland.*
The Kealakehe high-school took full advantage of the event,
sending 27 teachers out of their total of 79 (2006 figure)*,
and costing taxpayers $28,465.00. What this means is that the
state is hiring unqualified teachers, and is then paying
a great deal to have them trained

Even while 32% of the state’s public school teachers are under-
qualified they receive salaries and benefits per pupil of $6,517,
which is much higher than the national average of $5,867.* With
an expenditure of $11,060 per student, the 14th highest in the nation*,
this is higher than the tuition of many of the state’s private schools.
The tuition of Hawaii Baptist Academy for example is less, at only
$10,725*; that expenditure enabled the school’s students
to achieve an average SAT score of 1671*, which is 22% higher
than the state’s SAT average of 1370.* So spending less money
than in the state system, students in private schools
are performing at a much higher level.

18.8.09

The cost of health

Through research on the impact of tort reform in Texas
I came across some interesting articles on the situation
of healthcare. Some of them diverged from the issue and
attributed unrelated failures in the medical system to reform.
One New Yorker article investigated the state of the extremely
high costs of medical treatment in McAllen, Texas.
It was calculated that the Medicare costs in this city
were almost twice that of the national average.

The journalist discovered that the doctors were racking
up costs by regularly calling for the most expensive procedures
that were largely unnecessary. They did this because they
either 1) were entirely unconcerned with cost or 2) earned
money from the use of expensive treatments. The author
of the article thought that this showed many areas in which
Medicare costs could be cut down as a part of universal healthcare.
What I got from it however was rather different.

Since Medicare covers the costs of medical treatment
patients are often unconcerned with whatever the price.
This means that they will readily agree to take the
most expensive procedure assuming that higher prices
mean higher quality (as it sometimes is in other sectors).
In healthcare however this rule does not apply, and
costlier does not mean better. If patients were paying for
their own treatments they would have to be aware of the
costs and would go for expensive options only when
absolutely necessary. This would save a tremendous
amount of money that is wasted on unneeded procedures.

Government programs such as Medicare and that which is
proposed by Obama just go to take responsibility and
pragmatic thinking away from patients.

One article mentioned government plans to create
incentives for living healthy. That in itself is a horrible
concept, but which shows how much impact government
intervention can have on how people live. The current
system of medical care for which consumers do not
have to pay at all are incentives to 1) live unhealthy
lifestyles and 2) abuse the system and waste money.
As the article acknowledged, "Every incentive in the
system is an invitation to go the way McAllen has gone."

Once again it is shown that when people pay for what
they use, they are more responsible with how they use it.

This John Stossel bit about health insurance and responsibility
is excellent, and it has John Mackey!

7.8.09

That government is best which governs least.

I am interning at a free-market policy institute:
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. At the moment I am doing
research on renewable energy because the state has made
a great deal of legislation in that area (over 160 in the last 8 months!).
So for the legislative guide that we are working on, it is
obviously one of the issues. While doing my work on these
projects I am glad that I am doing something to prevent the
government from doing bad things and wasting our money.
The problem with politics however is that the answer is never
to do nothing, or to eliminate legislation; thus what my work
here is doing really is to advise the government how to better
spend taxpayers' money. This is a contradiction in terms for
me however, because there is NO good way for the
government to spend money for it is theft regardless.

4.8.09

Happy 97th Birthday Milton!


DOX museum, Prague - "Welcome to Capitalism" exhibition"

Members, non-members, and legislators alike
gathered together to honour the birthday of
Milton Friedman. The luncheon held at the
Japanese Cultural Centre and hosted by the
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii was a spirited meeting
with good atmosphere and conversation.
High-school students representing their campus
economics clubs were also present, and had an
opportunity to learn about a view of economics
that is not taught in most schools.

Speaker Clint Bolick, the director of the Goldwater
Institute
in Arizona, painted a warm picture of his
friend Milton Friedman: a man who wrote a response
to every letter he ever received and who insisted
on reading a book cover to cover before writing
it a review. Bolick had come to know Friedman
through their efforts to encourage voucher
systems as a means to improve public education.

In his speech, Bolick also shared stories of cases
where individuals have been protected by their
state constitutions such as that of the City of Mesa v. Bailey
concerning private property and eminent domain.
He described the fighting spirit of Arizonians to
protect their individual rights, something that
will hopefully be inspired further here in the islands.

9.7.09

ma.....CHINGA!

Yet another marvellous week has just passed
in a liberty english camp in Lithuania. This one
was titled: Casey Youth Conference on Liberty
and Entrepreneurship (CYCLE) [check it out at:
profitfromfreedom.org]

It was very exciting for me this time, because
though I had been a teacher in previous camps;
the teaching had always been done in small group sessions.
This time however, I had my first opportunity
to give a large group lecture for over 50 people!
I was nervous, but I think it went well, and I was
very happy about it. My talk was on the different
classifications of goods and services (rivalrous
and excludable), and particularly public goods.
I gave examples of public goods that people
generally assume must be provided by the government,
and how they are morally and practically provided in
better ways by the market. Roads were one example.
Then I encouraged them to always consider how
the market should be the solution; entrepreneurs
are incredibly creative and with the incentive
of profit serve consumers best. Thus, such principles
should be applied to even the toughest of issues where people
automatically think that the government must be involved.


The talent show was even more magnificent
than those last year, which I thought would be
near impossible to beat. One tradition that carried
on was that of the "laughing contest" which was absolutely hilarious:


Finally, the group picture looks just about the
same as last year (same colours and all)
but I am including it anyway:


Overall it was marvellously fun stuff.
There was a greater emphasis put on entrepreneurship,
with some real live extremely successful investors
to inspire us. My head is filled with business plans
and the intentions to 1) discover opportunities
and 2) execute! Hopefully the inspiration lasts.
Oh, and I even bought a 1/2 oz. of gold from Lobo.
It was all definitely a great experience, but one that
was very different from the extreme intellectual and
philosophical stimulation that took place during previous camps.
And, I still might have to concede that nothing could beat last year's camp...

25.5.09

Dear communists,

According to Marx, communism is achieved
after first having feudalism (thesis) then capitalism (antithesis).
Capitalism will eventually collapse and socialism will occur (synthesis).

In this case, in order to gain a natural socialist system
you should encourage capitalism to its fullest extent. This will
advance the progress towards its collapse and bring about socialism.

If capitalism were allowed to function freely, and it capitulated
as an unsustainable system; then sure, I'd be down to try socialism.
As for now however, let capitalism happen without interference, give it a chance.
Trust me, according to Marx it's all a part of the recipe for a lovely socialist society.

Love, Kenli

5.3.09

elevator music.

People have mentioned to me before that their level
of effort in classes depends greatly upon their teachers
and whether or not they were inspired by them.
I had never really thought this to be the case with me,
but I am starting to realise how incredibly it actually is.

Last term I had two wonderful engaging lecturers
and I absolutely loved attending their sessions and
doing the work for their courses. The professor for
my third course was quite dull but not entirely miserable,
and I discovered that I was doing only the bare minimum
(in my standards anyway) for his class. Luckily I had
taken the subject previously so I managed to do well
without spending much effort.

Also, one of the professors I enjoyed was actually not
even that great at teaching, but his passion and liveliness
were enough to inspire me to study on my own. So though
I may not have actually learned all that much from his
lectures themselves, I still learned a great deal more
just because his attitude made me appreciate the subject.

This term I have the more incredibly dull professor.
Her lectures are like elevator music in that it goes on in
a unexciting monotone that no matter how much focus
is paid to her nothing she says is memorable in the slightest.
Not only that, but she does not add a single thing
to her powerpoint presentations, and thus her lectures
are entirely not worth attending.

This provides quite a dilemma for me because I
am accustomed to attending all my lectures and tutorials,
but for once I truly think that either sleeping through
those two hours or spending that time just reading the
textbook would be vastly more beneficial.
Ah, what to do, what to do?

20.2.09

25 random things about me

Sorry to let you down, but I'm not actually
going to do the survey. This is thing on
facebook that is annoying so many people
because they're getting tagged so many times.
You know, I really don't mind. I actually quite enjoy
reading them sometimes, provided that the
content is funny and not just like 14. I like travelling.
I think however, I'll save my answers for the next of such
fads, because hopefully the topic will be better :)

Well here's one random fact:
25. I've dyed my hair almost every colour on the spectrum:
yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, green, and black.
yepp, I have actually.
ANYWAY, I bring this up because I'm in the process
of dyeing my hair right now. It's been over a year
since I have, because I suppose I've changed over time.
I realised it over the break when George said to me:
"Why don't you dye your hair any more?
Have you like, grown up or something?"
Hahh, well perhaps I have. Which could also be why
even though I'm dyeing it, it isn't something
oh so radical as i would have done before.
Kekoa even said to me that he remembered
when I had yellow hair, and he said "that's when I first fell in love!"
jokingly of course, but I do admit that it is strange
that I've drifted so far from my previous trademark
of a new colour every week. It's funny how things
change like that, but it's to be expected.

Here's the most vibrant picture I can find:

19.2.09

déchiré!

Je suis déchiré comme Phoebus.
Hahha, pas vraiment, mais un peu.
Je sais que j'ai beaucoup de chance,
et je suis très heureuse pour ça.
Mais avec beaucoup de choix sont
trop de décisions. Peut-être je peux
comprendre pourquoi des gens ne
veulent pas trop de résponsabilités
dans ses vies, parce qu'ils doivent penser.
Et plus, ils doivent vivre avec les
conséquences. C'est une chose dificile.
C'est comme Dostoyevski a écrit dans
sa texte << Les Frères Karamasov >> qui
est un de mes livres favorits.
Je sais que les décisions sont dificiles
mais je pense surtout que je les veux.
Avec la liberté, il y a beaucoup de
responsabilités; mais je préférais de
me décider plus que la gouvernement
décider pour moi. Je sais ce que je veux
plus qu'ils savent.

[C'est amusant que j'ai commencé avec
le sujet d'amour, et comme toujours j'ai
parlé de la sujet de la liberté. Mais les deux
sont liés. Qu'est-ce qu'on pense de la liberté
déterminer tout.]



Maintenant je suis contente avec ce que
j'ai choisi, mais il y aussi les autres choix
qui j'espère que je peux choisir aussi.
Si je peux vivre les vies multiples je serai
vraiment satisfait! Malheureusement, j'ai
seulement une vie, alors je dois décider et
aussi prendre des resultats. En fin, je suis
vachement contente avec la vie. C'est le
première fois que je suis heureuse avec quelqu'un!
Quelle surprise!

Je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais cette vidéo ne marche
pas sur mon blog, alors regarde-la ici:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3KSuVtvhmU

10.2.09

there's no business, when there's snow business

[blog title credit to Alec :)]

ANYWAY, there has been brilliant amounts of
snow these past days here in England. It hasn't
snowed this much here for some 18 years I think.
Transportation and businesses were closed across
the country, and they even ran out of salt for
de-icing the roads!

It has been absolutely fantastic for me to experience
seeing that I never had any snow in my childhood.
I grew up with movies about snow days and winter
adventures, but never had them myself.
We used to make sand angels and have sandball
fights, but that's nothing compared to snow!



PS. Watch the video I made for Ire:
[I made it because he finds the way americans
say "Laboratory" to be absolutely hilarious]

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