MR. CLEMENT: Well, Justice Kennedy, I don’t think that’s right, certainly in any way that distinguishes this from any other context. When I’m sitting in my house deciding I’m not going to buy a car, I am causing the labor market in Detroit to go south. I am causing maybe somebody to lose their job, and for everybody to have to pay for it under welfare. So, the cost shifting that the government tries to uniquely associate with this market — it’s everywhere.
And even more to the point, the rationale that they think ultimately supports this legislation, that, look, it’s an economic decision; once you make the economic decision, we aggregate the decision; there’s your substantial effect on commerce. That argument works here. It works in every single industry.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, Justice Breyer, are other markets that affect every one - transportation, food, burial services — though like to talk about that either. There also are situations where there are many economic effects from somebody’s failure to purchase a product.
And if I could — if I could talk about the difference between the health insurance market and the health care market, I mean, ultimately I don’t want you to leave here with the impression that anything turns on that. Because if the government decided tomorrow that they’ve come up with a great — somebody — some private company has come up with a great new wonder drug that would be great for everybody to take, it would have huge health benefits for everybody; and by the way, also, if everybody had to buy it, it would facilitate economies of scale, and the production would be great, and the price would be cheaper — and force everybody in the health care market, the actual health care market, to buy the wonder drug, I’d be up here making the same argument.
MR. CLEMENT: Justice Kagan, again, with all due respect, I don’t think that’s a limiting principle. My unwillingness to buy an electric car is forcing up the price of an electric car. If only more people demanded an electric car, there would be economies of scale, and the price would go down.
MR. CLEMENT: Justice Kagan, first of all, I do think there — this is not the only place where there’s uncompensated care. If some — if I don’t buy a car and somebody goes on welfare, I’m going to end up paying for that as well.
But let me also say that there’s a real disconnect then between that focus on what makes this different and the statute that Congresses passed. If all we were concerned about is the cost sharing that took place because of uncompensated care in emergency rooms, presumably we’d have before us a statute that only addressed emergency care and catastrophic insurance coverage. But it covers everything, soup to nuts, and all sorts of other things.
And that gets at the idea that there’s two kinds of cost shifting that are going on here. One is the concern about emergency care and that somehow somebody who gets sick is going to shift costs back to other policy areas — holders. But there’s a much bigger cost shifting going on here, and that’s the cost shifting that goes on when you force healthy people into an insurance market precisely because they’re healthy, precisely because they’re not likely to go to the emergency room, precisely because they’re not likely to use the insurance they’re forced to buy in the health care insurance. That creates a huge windfall. It lowers the price of premiums.
And, again, this isn’t just some lawyer up here telling you that’s what it does and trying to second-guess the congressional economic decisions. This is Congress’s findings, Findings (I) on page 43a of the appendix to the Government’s brief.
And then the first point which was — I take it to be the Solicitor General’s point, is, with all due respect, simply a description of the insurance market. It’s not a limiting principle, because the justification for why this is a valid regulation of commerce is in no way limited to this market. It simply says these are economic decisions; they have effect on other people; my failure to purchase in this market has a direct effect on others who are already in the market. That’s true of virtually every other market under the sun.
The second thing is I would urge you to read the license tax case which the Solicitor General says is his best case for why you ignore the fact that a tax is denominated into something other. Because that’s a case where the argument was that because the Federal Government had passed a license, not a tax, that somehow that allowed people to take actions that would have been unlawful under State law, that this was some special Federal license to do something that was forbidden by State law. This Court looked beyond the label in order to preserve federalism there. What the Solicitor General and the government ask you to do here is exactly the opposite, which is to look past labels in order to up-end our basic federalist system.
Justice Breyer tried to pull a fast one, and gets crushed:
JUSTICE BREYER: I’m focusing just on the Commerce Clause; not on the Due Process Clause, the Commerce Clause. And I look back into history, and I think if we look back into history, we see sometimes Congress can create commerce out of nothing. That’s the national bank, which was created out of nothing to create other commerce out of nothing….
So what is argued here is there is a large group of — what about a person that we discover that there are — a disease is sweeping the United States, and 40 million people are susceptible, of whom 10 million will die; can’t the Federal Government say all 40 million get inoculation?
Me: Perhaps yes, but they couldn’t both force them to get inoculated, and force them to pay for it. But Paul Clement goes in for the kill
MR. CLEMENT: Well, Justice Breyer, let me start at the beginning of your question with McCulloch. McCulloch was not a commerce power case.
JUSTICE BREYER: It was both?
MR. CLEMENT: No, the bank was not justified and the corporation was not justified as an exercise of commerce power. So that is not a case that says that it’s okay to conjure up the bank as an exercise of the commerce power.
And what, of course, the Court didn’t say, and I think the Court would have had a very different reaction to, is, you know, we are not just going to have the bank, because that wouldn’t be necessary and proper, we are going to force the citizenry to put all of their money in the bank, because, if we do that, then we know the Bank of the United States will be secure. I think the framers would have identified the difference between those two scenarios, and I don’t think that the great Chief Justice would have said that forcing people to put their deposits in the Bank of the United States was necessary and proper.
Now, if you look through all the cases you mentioned, I do not think you will find a case like this. And I think it’s telling that you won’t. I mean, the regulation of the wheat market in Wickard against Filburn, all this effort to address the supply side and what producers could do, what Congress was trying to do was support the price of wheat. It would have been much more efficient to just make everybody in America buy 10 loaves of bread. That would have had a much more direct effect on the price of wheat in the prevailing market. But we didn’t do that. We didn’t say when we had problems in the automobile industry that we are not just going to give you incentives, not just cash for clunkers, we are going to actually have everybody over 100,000 dollars has to buy a new car -
MR. CLEMENT: Well, with respect, Mr. Chief Justice, I suppose the first thing you have to say is what market are we talking about? Because the government — this statute undeniably operates in the health insurance market. And the government can’t say that everybody is in that market. The whole problem is that everybody is not in that market, and they want to make everybody get into that market.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, Justice Kagan, I’m not sure that’s right. I think what health insurance does and what all insurance does is it allows you to diversify risk. And so it’s not just a matter of I’m paying now instead of paying later. That’s credit. Insurance is different than credit. Insurance guarantees you an upfront, locked-in payment, and you won’t have to pay any more than that even if you incur much great expenses.
Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito focuse on the disconnect between the excuse for the IM, and the reality:
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: The key in Lochner is that we were talking about regulation of the States, right, and the States are not limited to enumerated powers. The Federal Government is. And it seems to me it’s an entirely different question when you ask yourself whether or not there are going to be limits on the Federal power, as opposed to limits on the States, which was the issue in Lochner.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, but it’s critical how you define the market. If I understand the law, the policies that you’re requiring people to purchase involve — must contain provision for maternity and newborn care, pediatric services, and substance use treatment. It seems to me that you cannot say that everybody is going to need substance use treatment or pediatric services, and yet that is part of what you require them to purchase.
GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, it’s part of what the statute requires the insurers to offer. And I think the reason is because it’s trying to define minimum essential coverage because the problem
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: But your theory is that there is a market in which everyone participates because everybody might need a certain range of health care services, and yet you’re requiring people who are never going to need pediatric or maternity services to participate in that market.
JUSTICE ALITO: Are you denying this? If you took the group of people who are subject to the mandate and you calculated the amount of health care services this whole group would consume and figured out the cost of an insurance policy to cover the services that group would consume, the cost of that policy would be much, much less than the kind of policy that these people are now going to be required to purchase under the Affordable Care Act?
GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, while they are young and healthy, that would be true. But they are not going to be young and healthy forever. They are going to be on the other side of that actuarial equation at some point. And of course, you don’t know which among that group is the person who’s going to be hit by the bus or get the definitive diagnosis. And that
JUSTICE ALITO: The point is — no, you take into account that some people in that group are going to be hit by a bus, some people in that group are going to unexpectedly contract or be diagnosed with a disease that — that is very expensive to treat. But if you take their costs and you calculate that, that’s a lot less than the amount that they are going to be required to pay. So that you can’t just justify this on the basis of their trying to shift their costs off to other people, can you?
I will admit, it is kind of fun seeing the young people who overwhelmingly voted for the Democrats getting screwed over by the Democrats in return. Yes, later on they may need more care. OTOH, later on they will hopefully be making a lot more than they’re making right now.
Why do you define the market that broadly? Health care. It may well be that everybody needs health care sooner or later, but not everybody needs a heart transplant, not everybody needs a liver transplant.
Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.
Mr. Verrilli, you could say that about buying a car. If people don’t buy cars, the price that those who do buy cars pay will have to be higher. So, you could say in order to bring the price down, you’re hurting these other people by not buying a car.
One of my favorites. Sorry, but the fact that Congress has passed a law demanding that people do something does not change what is now Constitutionally permitted.
GENERAL VERRILLI: No. It’s because you’re going — in the health care market, you’re going into the market without the ability to pay for what you get, getting the health care service anyway as a result of the social norms that allow — that — to which we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, don’t obligate yourself to that.
GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, I can’t imagine that that — that the Commerce Clause would — would forbid Congress from taking into account this deeply embedded social norm.
JUSTICE SCALIA: You could do it.
Catching Verrilli unclear on the concept
GENERAL VERRILLI: [I]n the sense that it’s novel, this provision is novel in the same way, or unprecedented in the same way, that the Sherman Act was unprecedented when the Court upheld it in the Northern Securities case; …. And
JUSTICE SCALIA: Oh, no, it’s not. They all involved commerce. There was no doubt that what was being regulated was commerce. And here you’re regulating somebody who isn’t covered.
By the way, I don’t agree with you that the relevant market here is health care. You’re not regulating health care. You’re regulating insurance. It’s the insurance market that you’re addressing and you’re saying that some people who are not in it must be in it, and that’s — that’s different from regulating in any manner commerce that already exists out there.
And then a truly crushing blow:
JUSTICE SCALIA: Wait. That’s — it’s both “Necessary and Proper.” What you just said addresses what’s necessary. Yes, has to be reasonably adapted. Necessary does not mean essential, just reasonably adapted. But in addition to being necessary, it has to be proper. And we’ve held in two cases that something that was reasonably adapted was not proper, because it violated the sovereignty of the States, which was implicit in the constitutional structure. The argument here is that this also is — may be necessary, but it’s not proper, because it violates an equally evident principle in the Constitution, which is that the Federal Government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers; that it’s supposed to be a government of limited powers. And that’s what all this questioning has been about. What — what is left? If the government can do this, what — what else can it not do?
A question Verrilli never answers, because he has no good answer.
JUSTICE SCALIA: An equally evident constitutional principle is the principle that the Federal Government is a government of enumerated powers and that the vast majority of powers remain in the States and do not belong to the Federal Government. Do you acknowledge that that’s a principle?
GENERAL VERRILLI: Of course we do, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Okay. That’s what we are talking about here.
GENERAL VERRILLI [Babels]
JUSTICE SCALIA: I don’t understand your point
GENERAL VERRILLI: This is in -
JUSTICE SCALIA: Whatever the States have chosen not to do, the Federal Government can do?
GENERAL VERRILLI: No, not at all.
JUSTICE SCALIA: I mean, the Tenth Amendment says the powers not given to the Federal Government are reserved, not just to the States, but to the States and the people. And the argument here is that the people were left to decide whether they want to buy insurance or not.
Taking Verrilli to task when he tries to use Community Rating and Guaranteed Issue as excuses for why the Individual Mandate is Constitutional:
JUSTICE SCALIA: You could solve that problem by simply not requiring the insurance company to sell it to somebody who has a condition that is going to require medical treatment, or at least not — not require them to sell it to him at a rate that he sells it to healthy people. But you don’t want to do that.
GENERAL VERRILLI: But that seems to me to say, Justice Scalia, that Congress — that’s the problem here. And that seems to me -
JUSTICE SCALIA: It’s a self-created problem.
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: General, I see or have seen three strands of arguments in your briefs, and one of them is echoed today.
The first strand that I’ve seen is that Congress can pass any necessary laws to effect those powers within its rights, i.e., because it made a decision that to effect — to effect mandatory issuance of insurance, that it could also obligate the mandatory purchase of it.
The second strand I see is self-insurance affects the market; and so, the government can regulate those who self-insure.
And the third argument — and I see all of them as different — is that what the government is doing — and I think it’s the argument you’re making today — that what the — what the government is saying is if you pay for — if you use health services, you have to pay with insurance, because only insurance will guarantee that whatever need for health care that you have will be covered, because virtually no one, perhaps with the exception of 1 percent of the population, can afford the massive cost if the unexpected happens.
I think accurately state, and it shows what’s so wrong with ObamaCare
1: What Justice Sotomayor, “General” Verrilli, and the Democrats in Congress and the White House have all missed is that the phrase is “Necessary and Proper“, not just “Necessary”. While the Individual Mandate is Necessary for the Democrats scheme to work, it is not Proper, and thus it fails.
2: What government ordered health insurance will “guarantee” is that your politically approved “needs” will be met. But that if the government review board decides your “need” isn’t “needy” enough, you’re toast. Because no one, not even the US Government, can pay to cover all of everyone’s health care “needs”. ObamaCare changes who gets to decide, but it doesn’t change that a decision has to be made.
More bits from the transcripts:
JUSTICE SCALIA: Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.
GENERAL VERRILLI: No, that’s quite different. That’s quite different. The food market, while it shares that trait that everybody’s in it, it is not a market in which your participation is often unpredictable and often involuntary.
News flash, “General”, your participation in the “food market” is quite involuntary, since if you don’t do it, you die.
I’ve been reading through the Supreme Court Individual Mandate transcript. I found the following quite interesting:
JUSTICE ALITO: But isn’t that really a 2 small part of what the mandate is doing? You can correct me if these figures are wrong, but it appears to me that the CBO has estimated that the average premium for a single insurance policy in the non-group market would be roughly $5,800 in — in 2016. Respondents — the economists who have supported the Respondents estimate that a young, healthy individual targeted by the mandate on average consumes about $854 in health services each year. So the mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies for other purposes that the Act wishes to serve, but isn’t — if those figures are right, isn’t it the case that what this mandate is really doing is not requiring the people who are subject to it to pay for the services that they are going to consume? It is requiring them to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.
GENERAL VERRILLI: No, I think that — I do think that’s what the Respondents argue. It’s just not right. I think it — it really gets to a fundamental problem with their argument.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: If you’re going to have insurance, that’s how insurance works.
No, it’s not. If you’re going to have “insurance” with “community rating”, that’s how it works. But in normal insurance, those young healthy people would be paying something around $854 / year for their health insurance, because that’s the average cost of those customers to the insurance company. That’s why people who have accidents and speeding tickets pay higher auto insurance rates than people who don’t have any, and people who live right next to a fire station pay lower home owner’s insurance rates than do people who live 10 miles away from the nearest one.
The Washington Post has a very revealing article about the failed debt negotiations last year:
Obama, nervous about how to defend the emerging agreement to his own Democratic base, upped the ante in a way that made it more difficult for Boehner — already facing long odds — to sell it to his party. Eventually, the president tried to put the original framework back in play, but by then it was too late. The moment of making history had passed.
In other words, they had a deal, then Obama tried to unilaterally change it in his favor, and killed the whole process by his bad faith. What a shock.
It just occurred to me that the Individual Mandate and ObamaCare is a classic convergence of two of the worst features of the Democrat party: their hatred of democracy and their contempt for the rule of law in general, and the US Constitution and its Federal structure and limited powers for the Federal Government in particular.
The American people did not want, and do not want, ObamaCare. ObamaCare was so unpopular that the people of Massachusetts voted in a Republican, Scott Brown, to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate simply to try to block ObamaCare from becoming law. But because the Democrats don’t care about the desires of the voters, they passed it anyway.
However, because of political constraints on “moderate” Democrats, they weren’t able to pass “single payer” (i.e. they weren’t able to get the government to completely take over health care), and they had to pretend that the cost of ObamaCare was less than $1 Trillion. And thus came the Individual Mandate. With the IM, Congress could impose expensive rules on the insurance companies, and then force individual Americans to pay for those mandates, while leaving the cost off the “official cost” of ObamaCare. The problem is that the Individual Mandate is clearly unconstitutional. Congress has never had the power to force you to buy a private product as a consequence of being alive. Hell, Congress has never been able to force you to buy a Government product as a price of being alive (if they could, then rather than publishing propaganda encouraging people to buy war bonds, in WWII Congress could simply have ordered every American to buy them).
But the Democrats don’t believe that the rule of law applies to them, or that the Constitution means anything other than what left wing law professors say it does, so the idea that the IM couldn’t pass Constitutional muster never even apparently occurred to them.
To understand exactly why the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional, consider the following: Congress could raise the CAFE standard to 200 MPG. This would be Constitutional, but stupid, because the result would be every US car company going bankrupt, because no one would want to buy the cars produced. Does that mean that Congress could at the same time pass a law requiring every American to buy a new car every 5 years, in order to keep those companies from going bankrupt? Of course not. But that’s essentially what the Democrat controlled Congress did with ObamaCare.
When the 5-4 vote tosses out ObamaCare, and when the Democrats lose the Senate and the White House in the 2012 elections, the Democrats will be paying the penalty that their contempt has so richly earned.
Over at Volokh, Randy Barnet posted a link to his 2010 article on why the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional, and then commented upon it. The response by ObamaCare defenders has been quite interesting. Essentially, they seem to be claiming the following:
- Congress has the power to regulate the health insurance industry, therefore
- Congress has the right to order the industry to do anything that Congress wishes to order, and therefore
- It is within Congress’ Constitutional powers to give the rest of us any order that Congress chooses, so long as that order is necessary in order to make the regulation work
Now, assuming 1 to be true, I think that 2 follows. But I strongly disagree with 3.
If Congress had tried to pass ObamaCare with Community Rating and no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, it would have been a bad law, and it would have destroyed the health insurance industry, but it would not have been unconstitutional (at least, it would have been within Congress’ recognized Commerce Clause powers).
Or, Congress could have done the above, and included funding for the insurance companies to make sure they didn’t go bankrupt because of those rules. That would also have been constitutional.
However, neither was politically possible. So the ObamaCare supporters are forced to claim that Congress is free to chose any means that it wants to back up its regulatory schemes, and that any choice Congress makes is therefore “Necessary and Proper”.
Call it the “(politically) Necessary (is therefore) Proper” theory of the Constitution.
Following in their footsteps, I now propose the “Healthy Eating Act of 2013″ (as proposed by Michelle Obama, once her husband doesn’t have to worry about getting re-elected):
- Congress hereby orders every person growing food (your private garden is, after all, part of interstate commerce via Wickard) to devote at least 50% of their growing space to Broccoli (we’ll call it the Healthy Eating Act of 2013).
- Because all the farmers will go bankrupt growing that much Broccoli, Congress therefore also orders every American to spend at least 40% of their food budget on Broccoli (they’re not being forced to eat it, they’re just being forced to buy it).
Given the claims by ObamaCare supporters, I don’t see how it could fail to pass muster.
Megan McArdle wrote the following when discussing the fake Heartland memo:
After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.
in truth, it’s hard to feel too sorry for Heartland, given how gleefully they embraced the ClimateGate leaks.
Ann Althouse wrote the following. Since Blogger is refusing to let me comment there, I’ll comment here:
Let’s not insult men just because they don’t show up in the labor statistics. The government doesn’t have them officially linked up with a tax-withheld-from-wages-paid job, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t functioning members of the community.
As someone who used to be one of those men, yes it does. A real man has a job.
Some of those men might be independently wealthy, living off their trust funds. Some of those men might be students. A vanishingly same percentage might be stay at home husbands. Some may be trying to start a business, not yet making anything, and living off their savings. Some are probably working the “black market”.
But the vast majority of those men are failures, unemployed men who would rather be employed.
Now, David Brooks is an idiot. The main reason those men can’t find jobs is because too much government is screwing up the economy, and strangling the recovery. His prescription for the problem is totally bass ackwards.
But his diagnosis is correct. To be an adult man is to have a job, to do work that is valuable enough that people are willing to pay you for what you are doing.
As they say at Say Anything, we don’t have the full details. But until the Police Dept is willing to give them, they should be considered guilty until proven innocent.
Power carries the burden of proof
A lot of lefties have been babbling about how the Republicans supposedly overreached in WI, and this will be Walker’s “ObamaCare” (a legislative act that pisses off teh public , and sparks a tremendous backlash).
While it’s a lovely fantasy for them, it misses out on reality.
1: ObamaCare harms most voters. If you like your health savings account, if you like your current insurance, if you liked your Medicare Advantage, if you don’t want the government screwing up health care even more than it already is, then you are directly, personally, negatively affected by ObamaCare, and the harm will simply get worse as time goes on.
2: Repealing Government Union collective bargaining, and cutting off union access to workers paychecks, harms very few people, and hte vast majority of hte people it harms were consistent Democrat voters anyway.
Who’s harmed by the WI Republicans move?
- The unions that got to take money from the workers and spend it on Democrat campaigns have definitely been harmed. However, these were enemies of the Republicans anyway, so it’s not like this is going to encourage them to be more anti-Republican. And the law immediately costs them money, so they will have fewer resources to care out their anti-Republican jihads.
- The Democrat politicians who were on teh Union gravy train are harmed. But it’s not like this will make them more eager to win elections.
- Union members will probably be getting worse deals now that they don’t have the union there.
So, we’ve got one group of people who are harmed by the Republican law, some of whom in the past have probably voted Republican.
However, those same union members now no long have the union taking $1,000+ out of their paychecks every year, and now get to re-certify the union every year, which means if the union isn’t responsive to their needs, they can get rid of it.
So, how many votes will this actually cost the Republicans? Consider the characteristics of the voters they will lose:
- Strongly pro union (not necessarily a gov’t union worker), or a gov’t union member who feels like the changes in bargaining will hurt her or him
- Someone who routinely voted for Republicans in the past (if they were an automatic Democrat vote, there’s nothing they can change), or else didn’t vote at all
- Someone who values the union more than they value the money the union will no longer be able to take from them
How many votes is that? My gues is “not many”. And when you look at the cost to the Democrats of all those forced union dues they’re losing, I think that this will turn out to be a net positive for the Republicans.
Here’s the lazy man’s no science needed guide to why the anthropogenic global warming crowd is not worth listening toFebruary 27, 2011
Ken at PopeHat wrote the following:
As a result of my laziness, I am willfully ignorant — practically innumerate and scientifically demi-literate. Thus, when I evaluate the scientific issues of the day — from global warming to evolution — I am, on some level, succumbing to an argument from authority. Which people spouting science I barely grasp, using methodology I can’t follow past the Sunday-supplement level, do I believe?
As it happens, I find the evidence (as I understand it) of evolution to be very substantially more convincing than the criticisms levied against it. Similarly, I find the evidence of a global warming trend more convincing than the evidence and arguments to the contrary. The weight of consensus on one side or the other is one factor, though by no means a deciding factor. The whys and wherefores of that are far beyond the scope of this post.
I offered the following comment, reproduced here in case it gets lost in moderation:
Here’s the lazy man’s unscientific guide to why the anthropogenic global warming (human caused global warming) crowd is not worth listening to.
1: If the people who claimed they believe in it actually did believe in it, it would affect their actions, and their lives.
Al Gore, nevertheless, had a house in Nashville TN that used 20x the average amount of energy. Further, he had a swimming pool, and did not have a solar heater for teh swimming pool, even though solar heaters are cost effective. Would he act that way if he actually thought there was a problem?
Or, consider this. As a logical matter it is simply not possible to believe all four of the following things. Nevertheless, those trumpeting that “we must do something” tend to hold all four beliefs:
A: The world is warming up
B: This warming is caused by human activity
C: This warming is a bad thing, will lead to disaster, it’s a serious crisis, we must cut down on carbon emissions right now!
D: We should not make it easier, cheaper, and faster to build nuclear power plants, despite the fact that replacing coal, oil, and gas fired power plants with nuclear plants would lead to a significant and near immediate decrease in carbon emissions.
2: ClimateGate. Real science is reproducible. If you publish a paper claiming that you got certain results, and no one else can get those same results doing what you said you did, the immediate assumption in scientific circles is that you have committed fraud. This is why, when you publish a scientific paper, you have to give pretty much anyone who asks everything they need to re-create your work.
This is non-negotiable in pretty much every area of science (and pretty much every area of research. Remember Michael Bellesiles and Arming America”? His fraud was discovered when those who disagreed with him tried to replicate his research, and couldn’t).
Except for Climate “Science”. ClimateGate happened because the people at CRU fought tooth and nail to avoid having to release the data, tools, and methods behind their published papers. Post release, they’ve admitted that they can not replicate the data behind their papers.
None of the “scientific” groups that claim to release historical temperature records have ever given a full release of the data, tools, and methods behind their claims. None of them have ever said “here’s the data we used, here’s what we did to clean up and organize the data, here’s the programs (with source code) we used to do it.”
If they were not perpetrating fraud, they would have done that. It’s what any real scientist would do after publishing a paper based on a data set that they’d worked on. But if they did that, then people who do understand the science would be able to examine their assumptions. Would be able to point out how other, perfectly reasonable, ways of adjusting the data would lead to results that totally contradict the “scientists” preferred results.
How do I know that’s true? Because if it wasn’t true, there would be no reason not to release the data.
3: When last I checked the numbers, there was a heating trend of 1 degree C from 1900 to 1950, a cooling trend of 0.5 degrees C from 1950 to 1970, a warming trend of 0.3 degrees C from 1970 to 1998, and a flat to cooling trend since then. Going from that to “Human industrial activity is warming the planet, oh woe is us” requires a great ability to ignore any data that contradicts your preferred fantasy.
Kudos to DougJ for drawing the line just right so he could ignore all the inconvenient data.
The clearest pattern to emerge is an educational divide: workers without college degrees tend to do better on state payrolls, while workers with college degrees tend to do worse. That divide has grown more pronounced in recent decades. Since 1990, the median wage of state workers without college degrees has come to surpass that of workers in the private sector. During the same period, though, college-educated state workers have seen their median pay lag further behind their peers in the private sector.
At the local level, the phenomenon is similar: the median wage for college-educated workers trails that of their private-sector counterparts by about 20 percent, while local workers without college degrees earn 10 percent more than their private-sector peers.
This is a clear example of “people unclear on the concept” (and I’m sad to say Tom appears to have missed this as well). Allow me to break some new for the NY Times:
All college degrees are not equal.
Consider the folowing fields of “study”:
Sociology, Ethnic studies, Queer studies, History, Literature, Education, History of Consciousness, Political Science, Women’s Studies
What percentage of government employees have degrees in those fields? What is the actual, real world value of the “education” received while attaining those degrees? 0? Something negative?
higher education bubble, meet overpaid government workers.
Because while the private sector certainly suffers from too much credentialitis, it’s not nearly as bad there as it is in government, where people often get raises based solely on the fact that they’ve received a degree, no matter what that degree is.
You want to compare public and private sector? Great, compare apples to apples. Compare public school teacher salaries to private school teacher salaries. Leave out the seniority, and whether they have an advanced degree, because that is irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is “how good is the teacher at teaching her / his students?” And the “Teacher’s Unions” fight tooth and nail against any attempt to figure that out, let alone reward people based on it.
“Because the public sector is much more likely to be highly educated, we would fully expect them to earn more on average because of that, just like we would expect somebody with a master’s degree to earn more than somebody with a high school education,” said Keith A. Bender, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who has studied compensation in the public and private sectors.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. I would hope and expect that the average mechanic makes far more than does the average person with a Racist or Sexists Studies degree, be it BA, MA, or PH. D. Certainly the mechanic has learned far more of value, and provides far more value, than does anyone with such a degree.
What would actually be interesting, valuable, and never actually happen, is a comparison of degrees. Federal / State / Local Government Employees / Private sector workers v. actual degrees attained (Field and whether it’s a BA / BS / MA / MS / Ph. D.). It will never happen, because the results would show that the “college educated” goverment “workers”, by and large, have a much higher percentage of joke degress than do people in the private sector.
Which would quite adequately explain why they “make less”.
Our favorite tree, former Vice President Al “Forrest” Gore is in the news, as a Portland Oregon massage therapist has accused him of soliciting sex during his massage. (Note, I’ve been getting a lot of my information on this from Tom Maguire, and posted part of this as a comment on his site.) In our latest twist, Gore’s defenders have admitted that he paid $540 (including a 20% tip) for a massage while at the Hotel Lucia.
This, IMHO, is a “game over” admission.
Monday, Megan McArdle said the following silly thing, doubling down on her previous defenses of President Obama (who she supported during the 2008 campaign): “Let me reiterate that I don’t blame Obama for failing to “do something” about the gulf spill.”
She is wrong to do that:
Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.
It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.
The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.
Then there’s the guy in Maine who built a bunch of containment boom on spec, because he know it would be needed to protect from the Oil Spill:
John Lapoint of Packgen in Auburn, Maine, says he’s got plenty of floating oil containment boom and can make lots more on short notice. There’s just one problem: no one will buy it from him.
The Obama Administration’s response to this problem has been just as incompetent as those of us who opposed him said he would be. The problem isn’t that there’s nothing that the President can do, the problem is that the President isn’t good at doing anything other than talking, and running for higher office.
President Obama let loose this brain-dead statement today:
“We can’t turn law-abiding American citizens, and law-abiding immigrants, into subjects of suspicion and abuse.”
Hey, Mr. President, dealt with the TSA recently? Had to take off your shoes, your belt, while shuffling through a line? Had to walk through a full body scanner that will let a TSA employee practically see you naked?
Then don’t talk to us about “turning American citizens into subjects of suspicion and abuse”, because it happens to us every time we try to fly commercial.
Got to love this bit of news
During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.
Barack Obama, handmaiden of the destroyers of the Gulf Coast.