‘In September 1970, the late Milton Friedman published a bold manifesto entitled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” in the New York Times Magazine, where he argued that businesses do not need to engage in various charitable or public-spirited activities, even those that generally meet with approval from shareholders. The best defense of the Friedman thesis is that any discrete corporate effort to advance collateral ends will not enjoy the unanimous consent of all corporate shareholders, so that the contribution operates like an implicit tax on dissenting shareholders. The better track is for the corporation to make the shareholders rich, so that they in turn can embark on their own charitable operations, without having to bind their fellow shareholders.’
I’d argue that more people nowadays are feeling social pressure to seek purpose, membership in a group, to do what everyone else is doing, be or be thought a ‘good’ person through their investments, and reacting accordingly. There’s an underlying collectivism in the idea of wearing your commitments on your sleeve this way.
Or, at least, this underlying collectivism puts upward pressure upon companies and corporations to appear ‘socially responsible’ whatever their aims, and in fact pretty much every advertising campaign nowadays seems to be making some nod to climate change, helping the poor, making a difference etc.
‘So the short version is this: The administration had evidence indicating that a young advance team member, who was also the child of a lobbyist-and-donor-turned-administration-staffer, was involved in a potentially embarrassing incident with a prostitute while serving as a member of the presidential advance team—and yet explicitly denied that this was the case, and also appears to have pressured independent investigators to delay and withhold evidence until after the election was over.’
If you’re in the information gathering and sharing business, you’d probably better understand how information is now being gathered and shared in order to broadcast it to as many people as possible (if you’re looking to make money and retain authority).
Many outlets still haven’t figured that out in the new landscape:
‘My take is that the rise of objectivity journalism post-World War II was an artifact of the new monopoly/oligopoly structures news organizations had constructed for themselves. Introducing so-called objective news coverage was necessary to ward off antitrust allegations, and ultimately, reporters embraced it. So it stuck.
But the objective approach is only one way to tell stories and get at truth. Many stories don’t have “two sides.” Indeed, presenting an event or an issue with a point of view can have even more impact, and reach an audience otherwise left out of the conversation.’
Are we back in an age of yellow-journalism, pamphleteering, and voices shouting from the rooftops? A period of unique opportunity before new and different monopolies form?
‘Asked about the increased cost, a federal health official tells NextGov that “if the additional services were not added urgently, the exchanges would not function as designed and citizens would continue to have issues using the marketplace.” In other words, the original plan had been for a system that wouldn’t work.’
Remember, the winners are many of Obama’s political and ideological allies and some previously uninsured people, not necessarily everyone else.
‘Obamacare may be having a small effect on health spending growth at the margins, and it’s possible it will have a bigger effect in years to come. But the bulk of the slowdown so far is more likely a result of the recession over the last few years and significantly increased adoption of consumer-driven health plans in the years prior to the economic downturn. ‘
Bob Woodward At The Washington Post on Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates new memoir. War or continued war that is likely to bear little fruit, this blog is concerned about coming up with a strategy for Afghanistan.
Appealing to a pro-peace base, setting a timeline, and pulling-out does not necessarily meet our objective:
‘As I sat there, I thought: the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”
‘Today, too many ideologues call for U.S. force as the first option rather than a last resort. On the left, we hear about the “responsibility to protect” civilians to justify military intervention in Libya, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere. On the right, the failure to strike Syria or Iran is deemed an abdication of U.S. leadership. And so the rest of the world sees the U.S. as a militaristic country quick to launch planes, cruise missiles and drones deep into sovereign countries or ungoverned spaces’
‘What the administration is really doing, though, is attempting to shift the blame. Insurers have spent months if not years preparing for the changes and requirements enacted under Obamacare. They will have a difficult time turning on a dime and extending cancelled policies. They may not be able to in some or many cases. And state insurance regulators will have to sign off on reinstatements, creating an additional layer of insulation between plan upsets and the administration. ‘
Can’t go forwards, can’t go backwards either. So, it’s time to maximize political advantage and minimize damage:
‘In other words, the law can’t work if it does live up to its presidential promises. But it can’t maintain political support if it doesn’t. The two are incompatible.’
‘I think it means the White House is giving up on November 30 as a date when things will change and settling in for a war of attrition that they will try to win news cycle by news cycle while hoping people get used to what’s going on and change the subject so something can take effect next year and then they can see what to do next,” Levin wrote. “Obamacare as they have known and envisioned it is just not going to happen.”
Of course, many on the Left will keep pushing for one of the goals all along, now that some changes are irreversible: Single-payer.
‘But rather than admit their problems, the administration offered confident spin. “States and the federal government will be ready in 10 months,” Gary Cohen, the federal official overseeing implementation of Obamacare’s exchanges said at the end of 2012. The exchanges “will be ready,” he promised members of Congress again a month later in response to skeptical questioning.’
It’s still offering spin. I’m still waiting for more honest discussion about our foreign policy challenges as well, but I’m not holding my breath.
Cobble a huge bill together that’s been on the wish list for years. Get it passed any way you can, going forward without the opposition party’s support and the skepticism if not suspicion of a large plurality of Americans. Make the typical political promises, and maybe keep a few of them. Once passed, after it squeaks by the Supreme Court and still seems to remain unpopular, bringing challenges and raising many doubts, rally around it and blame the opposition party. If it doesn’t work out, it’s their fault, if it somehow does, it’s their fault, too.
‘And sure enough, three years after passage, ObamaCare shows signs that it might not be quite as wonderful as promised. But ObamaCare’s supporters are so determined to avoid admitting that it might be a failure—or even just less functional than they insisted it would be—that they are refusing to take responsibility for the politically troubled bureaucratic mess they created.’
Obama will ‘activate’ and get them in the door, nationalizing health care and providing a ‘roof’. It’s for his bureaucrats and other Democrats to worry about the details. He’s out campaigning again.
Even Joe Klein is having doubts as he reads the tea leaves and prepares his party for trouble down the road, at least about the implementation of Obamacare (it couldn’t be the ideas behind the implementation, of course).
‘The problem is not, as the Republicans claim, big government. It’s bad government. If the President doesn’t government reform and efficiency a major, high profile part of his second term—nothing less than a public crusade will do—he is in danger of tossing away his proudest achievements.’
Or you can just go to Obamacare.com and get all the facts from one place, and not have to think outside the box.
Addition: At Reason is a telling graph indicating that Obama is just the next in a long line of Presidents who’ve increased spending. Slowly, our government’s been growing for generations (we’re all guilty in believing in the “greatness” model) and our political class is following the incentives we’ve created.
Glenn Reynolds talks about this here, quite reasonably. What kind of landing, or readjustment, are we going to have?
Another Addition. Via Alexandria, a well-researched article at Time on health-care costs. Why is everything so expensive?
‘A Health Affairs study by a researcher at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine published earlier this year estimated that, due to the complexities of calculating an individual’s income for the purposes of subsidy distribution, a non-trivial number of exchange enrollees are likely to get the wrong subsidy. Incomes fluxuate unexpectedly. The time frames used to judge income are too small. The databases used to verify individual income are incomplete. yet the exchanges are going to have be able to make relatively swift judgements about income levels and subsidy qualifications anyway.’
You don’t get to single-payer overnight, you first pass an enormously complicated piece of legislation without the other party’s support, then you get private insurers on board, then perhaps you gradually restrict market activity with endless regulations, enormous and politically dependent bureaucracies, allowing access to fewer and fewer private insurers:
‘It’s not just health insurers. Most of the health system’s biggest and most powerful industries are betting on the law to boost their bottom line. The drug industry cut a deal with the White House to help finance the promotion of the health law. And following the debate, investors in the hospital industry got spooked.’
Health care costs are rising. Our system is slapdash, and inefficient, tied to employment, and wasteful. I think this solution is worse than the problem.
I still don’t know how you insure a projected 30 million + more people, vastly increase government oversight, and lower costs. Clearly our current system needs to become more efficient, but I suspect a reasonable percentage of the drivers of change behind the Affordable Care Act really do believe it is the job of all of us to provide health-care in the collective, not insurance, for all:
That’s because more than half the individual market will still end up paying more: “After the application of tax subsidies,” the report projects, “59 percent of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 31 percent.”