Patterico's Pontifications

10/26/2009

The Profit Margin Poll (Updated)

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 7:34 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The answer is probably obvious from the way I’ve written the poll but the details are here.

— DRJ

UPDATE: President Obama spoke about health care today at a Democratic fundraiser:

“The president said he is confident — in part because Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is so confident — that health reform will be passed this year.

The message to Democrats in the crowd was to mobilize in the final push on health care.

“It’s not going to get easier here on out, it’s going to get harder,” the president said. “Now is the time when all the special interests say, ‘Oh, this is really going to happen and we might lose some of our profits,’ and they start paying big lobbyists, and they start twisting arms. And that is why all of you are so important.”

Obama thinks Americans don’t know the correct answer to this poll. He’s probably right.

73 Responses to “The Profit Margin Poll (Updated)”

  1. Close, but what gives the little president man that special special feeling is seeing the words profits and seize in the same sentence.

    The Treasury Department and a senior House Democrat have decided against making financial firms pay upfront the costs of dismantling them if regulators decide they have grown “too big to fail,” according to a House aide familiar with the plan.

    Instead, those companies would be allowed to borrow money from the government. The government would then recoup the costs by either seizing the firm’s profits or seeking restitution from the entire industry, the aide said.*

    Read that again. You didn’t get it.

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  2. […] Now that you are clued in, go take a poll over at Patterico’s. […]

    Gazzer’s Gabfest » The skinny on DC fatcats… (b98ad6)

  3. Didn’t the dirty little congresspeople vote themselves bigger percentage raises than the health insurer profit margins last year? Where is their sacrifice?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  4. That is a chilling excerpt, happyfeet.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  5. I’ve updated the post with an Obama quote about health care special interest profits.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  6. I would be interested in hearing what timb has to say about this, since he was breathlessly swooning over the obscene profits made by health insurers. What is an appropriate percentage that the leftists would be willing to allow a company to earn?

    JD (838009)

  7. What is 6% of a billion trillion gazillion dollars, anyway?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  8. Happyfeet – They really do hate what America used to be, don’t they?

    JD (838009)

  9. I mean, I can only punch so many zeros into my calculator…

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  10. Feets – Maxine Waters would be happy with that kind of regulation. Socializing companies’ asses is what she threatened to do to the oil companies. I thought normally in a force majeure situation, which this seems to be although I’m not a lawyer, the government pays the costs.

    Adding uncertainty to the economy through whimsical government seizure power is something we desperately need right now. Heckuva job Barcky and Barney. Should have listened earlier when the rethuglicans were trying to rein in Fannie and Freddie, though.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  11. Leviticus – Where would you draw the line? How would you determine how much is too much? 6% of a billion is bad, but 6% of 500,000,000 is alright? Where is that line?

    JD (838009)

  12. Talking in terms of ‘percentage of profit’ is way too simple.

    How much do you have to invest to get that percentage?

    How liquid is it?

    How many people do you employ?

    What do you generate along the way?

    What else could you be doing with that quantity of money? Could you get a better percentage return? Would it be more liquid? Would it employ more people and result in useful lingering products?

    These are only some of the appropriate questions that go along with ‘what is the percentage rate of return?’

    luagha (f9941a)

  13. Leviticus – What are we paying the Chinese on the U.S. Government debt they hold? Is that too much given that it is supposedly a “AAA” instrument and not as risky as the health insurance industry and the government can raise revenues to pay off its obligations?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  14. JD,

    I’m just saying that insurance companies probably make an obscene amount of money, even if they only have a 6% profit margin. And I don’t know where to draw the line between acceptable/unacceptable levels of profit. So I don’t typically try.

    daleyrocks,

    I don’t know that, either, but it’s probably an obscene amount, too. And I’m certainly not happy about far in debt we are to China – I like balanced budgets as much as the next guy.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  15. Leviticus,

    Your 6% sounds a lot better than the 2% profit the article says most insurers posted last year. And even if the total revenues are large, aren’t there more obligations that go along with those revenues? For instance, if you have 1M insurance customers, you need a lot more customer service reps and claim processors than if you have 100,000 customers.

    And by calling their profits “obscene,” you are deciding what’s acceptable and unacceptable — unless you think being obscene is acceptable.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  16. There is always something that is funny about the concept of “obscene amounts of money.” We seem very concerned about other people making that money. We have no trouble with our making money, ourselves, and looking for tax breaks when we do. And being “rich” is usually defined as “more than I make.”

    It’s class warfare, pure and simple. Because who will make the rules about salaries? Government? Honestly? Pelosi and Reid or the President making decisions on who is making too much money (and how did that raise in Congress go, by the way?).

    Mind you, if the President said that he was going to take a 25% pay cut, right now, in solidarity with The People, and urge Congress—heck, why not require it, asthey want to do with other businesses?—to do the same, he would be assured of genuine and deserved popularity.

    But he knows better. They want “the other guy or gal” to take the hit. And the press will follow him around, a thrill running up their collective legs as he plays golf and laughs at them.

    So I am not impressed with the “obscene amounts of money” argument. Not when Will Farrell makes 20 million dollars a picture.

    He should take half and give the rest to charity.

    I mean, since the amount of money he makes is “obscene” when compared to his skill set and what he brings to the nation.

    See how it is just class warfare and jealousy?

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

  17. Obscene? Give me a break.

    JD (d787ac)

  18. It’s just code for “more than I think a person should make,” JD. And people who say that, strangely, do not make that kind of money.

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

  19. I’ll file in on the echo chamber:

    When, exactly in the United States of America — the greatest nation on Earth — did it become a sin to make a profit?

    I’ll channel my inner Gordon Gekko now:

    Profit rules the earth. Profit, from North Korea to Somalia to Switzerland to Trinidad-Tobago, makes things work and work well for everyone involved, for good or ill.

    And when you demonize profit, you demonize humanity and you’re only goal is to make humans nothing more than animals digging in the muck.

    Ag80 (815bcd)

  20. Explaining economics and capitalism to liberals, even if they are reasonable, can be a thankless task.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  21. But it isn’t demonizing profit, Ag80. It’s funny: the people saying this kind of thing are attacking what they perceive as greed…but they want a piece of what other people earn.

    There is a word for that, and it isn’t “charity.”

    It’s just class warfare driven by jealousy. There are always people who make more money than others. It’s true in every nation throughout history and it will not change.

    This is about demonizing particular groups for political advantage, nothing more.

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

  22. These people should choose to not invest in any company that has the temerity to make a profit, obscene or otherwise. Cannot have obscene profit margins in your 401K or investments.

    JD (d787ac)

  23. Eric:

    I agree with you because you hit on something I explicitly didn’t say: Profit is not always about money.

    Sometimes, if not always, an individual profits from doing the right thing.

    Ag80 (815bcd)

  24. Over on TorrentFreak via Fark.com I found this touching story about a woman who is trying to start a business.

    “My initial idea was simple: provide well-cooked food in intimate surroundings at a reasonable price, with an element of punk rebellion and a do it yourself attitude which sprung from my background in a political samba band and cooking at anti-G8 camps. I wanted to stick it to the Man.”

    But by making money, she becomes “the Man”
    Anyway, I doubt she reports the income, pays taxes, insurance etc. So I bet her profit margin is extreme…. even for a daft hippie chick.

    (This story has to be parody… political samba band? Geez and I thought the Obama drum circle here where I live was dumb)

    SteveG (ece883)

  25. the people saying this kind of thing are attacking what they perceive as greed…but they want a piece of what other people earn.

    And the people saying this have been shown to be far less generous with their money toward those in need. Those who understand profit and the practicality of earning and producing are the more generous toward those in need.

    Funny how that works.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  26. SteveG:

    Your example is great.

    To put it simply, every entrepreneur, either left or right, needs capital to make their plans work.

    The lefty can invest that capital to feed the need. The righty can invest that money to make a profit.

    The only difference is where the capital comes from. In both cases, it comes from you and me — either voluntarily or involuntarily.

    I prefer the voluntary viewpoint.

    But, you can’t escape the simple fact that investment depends on capital. The only question is how that capital is extracted.

    We’re all capitalists, the only question is the definition.

    Ag80 (815bcd)

  27. SteveG – 99% of Democrats make the rest look stupid.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  28. I’d love to know what the lobbyists against this have spent on their efforts vs. what the US taxpayer has spent on Obama’s lobbying efforts on this bill.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  29. I’m just saying that insurance companies probably make an obscene amount of money,

    No more obscene than this:

    Huffingtonpost.com:

    Up until recent years when their income increased sharply from book revenues and a Senate salary, Obama’s family donated a relatively minor amount of its earnings to charity. From 2000 through 2004, the senator and his wife never gave more than $3,500 a year in charitable donations — about 1 percent of their annual earnings.

    The money went to several organizations. More than $27,000 total was given to Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ, whose former pastor Jeremiah Wright has dominated recent news coverage….Obama also classified a $13,107 contribution to the Congressional Black Caucus as a charity gift.

    Taken as a whole, these disbursements made up a small portion of Obama’s annual income. According to TaxProf Blog, the Illinois senator gave “well short of the biblical 10% tithe for all seven years.”



    Spectator.org:

    The greatest liberal icon of the 20th Century is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is regarded by many on the left as the personification of charity and compassion, but FDR actually has a slim record when it comes to giving to charity.

    Roosevelt had an average income of $93,000 ($1.3 million in today’s dollars) but gave away about 3 percent of his income to charity. In 1935, during the height of the Great Depression, when people really could have used it, he donated just 2 percent.

    Mark (411533)

  30. And if other people did not make profits, who else would bank roll their cockamamie scemes? As Mrs Thatcher famously remarked, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money,”

    Gazzer (3bd236)

  31. I should have said:

    We’re all capitalists, the only other question is the definition.

    Ag80 (815bcd)

  32. Ag80 – For whatever reason, the left does not seem to grasp that capital supplied by the government is not actually free or low cost. There are costs incurred for the government to obtain that capital, whether crowding out private borrowers in the capital markets or taxing the shit out of people or otherwise.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  33. I just watched a public fellating of Chuck Schumer by Olbergasm and Arianna Huffington.

    JD (2ed087)

  34. Since I have no other place to place this comment.

    I have to give a shout out to the current President.

    In his few short months as President, he has already matched the past President’s time on the golf course during his entire adminisration.

    Since I love golf more that life itself, I only have this to say:

    Mr. President, please play more golf. Play it every day in every way. You cannot spend too much time on the golf course.

    I know that NOW has forced you to play with a lady, but don’t let that deter you. Some of them are good. Heck, Hillary may be good. So play with her on occasion, since you’ve cut her out of every thing else.

    Get your boys, Axelrod and Rahm, on the course. Make them play 36. Every day. I’m just asking, as a fellow golf player.

    Do not let anything distract you from your golf. Play all the time. It worked for Eisenhower.

    Please, please play more golf It can only benefit you and the rest of us.

    Ag80 (815bcd)

  35. Amen

    JD (7a2548)

  36. “And by calling their profits “obscene,” you are deciding what’s acceptable and unacceptable — unless you think being obscene is acceptable.”

    – DRJ

    I said I couldn’t draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable profit margins (that is, give a hard and fast rule for all circumstances) – I didn’t say I couldn’t judge individual cases based on the information in front of me. There’s a difference.

    And I got the six percent thing from the article – “Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two.” I’m a dirty liberal who hates free enterprise and the rich and (according to Ag80) humanity itself: of course I’m going to go with the higher percentage.

    And about that Ag80 comment: seriously? Profit is the only thing that separates us from animals digging in the muck? Not free will, higher thought, moral codes? Not love? Profit? This country is fucked. You guys can call me naive or disingenuous or whatever if you want, but there are higher callings than profit, and moral imperatives that ought to supercede it – taking care of the proverbial “widows and orphans” of our society, for instance, which is what this whole debate is about for a lot of people, whether or not some of you are willing to chalk it all up to “class warfare.”

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

    James 1:27

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  37. My last full-time job, a 9-year job that ended Nov 2008, the owner demanded ten percent profit. No questions asked, ten percent or heads would roll, regardless of any situation. And management was 100 percent nose to tail Teh Won supporters, as were most of the employees. Oh, and the owner is part of one of the demographics that vote 90 percent Democrat.

    So, 6 percent is too much? And the current 2 percent is too much? When a privately-held company owned by a likely Democrat voter is required to show 10 percent?

    Insurance companies are publicly held and not privately held. That means the profit is shared among bunches of people. You know, them folks who had 401(k) programs or IRA programs or were merely investing their hard-earned dollars. A 2 percent ROI is not a good place to put your money, ever.

    And anyone who takes industry NUMBERS as a whole is an idiot. How much is a gazillion-dollar profit divided by a bajillion companies anyway? And how much profit, in total dollar amounts, does the agriculture industry make? We really need to sock it to that farmer down the road. He makes too much money.

    Back to insurance, if Aetna makes a 6 percent profit, what is the ROI of the investor in Aetna? Piddly? Scant? Half a bit?

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  38. Did you catch the wonderful projection in the POTUSyl comments DRJ posted above?

    ““Now is the time when all the special interests say, ‘Oh, this is really going to happen and we might lose some of our profits,’ and they start paying big lobbyists, and they start twisting arms.”

    Replace “lose some of our profits” with “lose some of our political power” and you can see how it sounds pretty similar.

    But I can promise you the guy doesn’t see it that way.

    Heck you could replace “special interests” with “Fox News” and it gets even closer to his home.

    Remember, he is smarter than you are. He knows what is best for…well, everybody, all over the world!

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

  39. Heh, Barack is so smart, he thinks there are 60 states in the US. He can’t speak Austrian, so he said. And his bowling is the quality for the Special Olympics (making fun of “retards” with that one). Yup, we got ourselves a smart fart, we do.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  40. Leviticus:

    And I got the six percent thing from the article – “Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two.” I’m a dirty liberal who hates free enterprise and the rich and (according to Ag80) humanity itself: of course I’m going to go with the higher percentage.

    From the link in my post:

    Ledgers tell a different reality. Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That’s anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

    Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  41. If you make 2% profit on a $1 burger and can sell billions of burgers you can make a huge amount of money. Obama looks at the big number and gets jealous and wants it for his own use; defines it as obscene and ignores what it takes to execute in order to squeeze that $.02 out of that burger.
    All it takes for you to lose money on each unit is for everyone to ask for an extra ketchup pack and two napkins

    SteveG (ece883)

  42. Like any Marxist, Obama believes in something called “excess profits” and thinks them bad; something the state should return to the masses. A capitalist understands that all profits earned in a competitive environment are just the thing that fosters new investment and growth. If someone is making money hand over fist, it’s because he needs others to compete better. When they do everyone wins, except of course the worst producers, who go broke. Oh, wait… Obama has a fix for that, too.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  43. 41, Steve your comment could also apply to Leviticus. Like most liberals, if someone has more in their pocket than the liberal, that is obscene.

    Leviticus, I suggest you reevaluate you definition of obscene and you train yourself to leave other people be before people start looking at your obscene profits and excess amounts of possessions.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  44. Leviticus writes: “I’m just saying that insurance companies probably make an obscene amount of money, even if they only have a 6% profit margin. And I don’t know where to draw the line between acceptable/unacceptable levels of profit. So I don’t typically try.

    No, you just call them “obscene”.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  45. I said I couldn’t draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable profit margins (that is, give a hard and fast rule for all circumstances) – I didn’t say I couldn’t judge individual cases based on the information in front of me. There’s a difference.

    Do you know who can and does judge acceptable and unacceptable profit margins ? The stock market. This is (so far) a capitalist country and people invest their savings in the stock market and they tend to choose the stock by the profit margin and the potential growth. How have health insurers done ? About like other stocks have done.

    Not so good. If profits were “obscene” the stock would be hot. What has happened over the last year is that the entire market crashed and Obama has made the health insurer sector even more volatile. It will get worse.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  46. “If someone is making money hand over fist, it’s because he needs others to compete better. When they do everyone wins, except of course the worst producers, who go broke.”

    – Kevin Murphy

    Isn’t that the whole point of a public option? To increase competition in the health insurance sector? And if the insurance companies aren’t able to provide competitive plans, shouldn’t they become some of those “worst producers” who go broke?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  47. Leviticus – A “public option” can not compete fairly with private companies. The “public option” will quickly become a sinkhole for tax money. Private companies can not send someone to your house with a gun to take cash out of your wallet just because they are running a little short that quarter. Private companies can not compete with someone who can.

    There is no sector of the economy where government is run more efficiently than a private company. Government overhead is always higher and less efficient. Government customer service standards are always poorer than private companies.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  48. On a side note: a huge number of health insurance providers have Herfindahl Index scores over 1,800 (qualifying them as “highly concentrated” industries).

    And Moody’s ranks health insurance as the second most concentrated industry, after general merchandise retail.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  49. Hmmm. Links didn’t work. I thought I did it right.

    Here’s the first one: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/368/compstudy_52006.pdf

    Here’s the second one: http://www.economy.com/dismal/blog/blog_main.asp

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  50. And Moody’s ranks health insurance as the second most concentrated industry, after general merchandise retail.

    True, but do you know why that is? Because most health insurance companies are protected by outside competition within their own home states, by state politicos protecting their campaign contributors. One thing that would dramatically re – shape that concentration is making all health insurance companies compete on a national basis, with any policies issued transportable across state lines.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  51. Dmac – I’m fine with that. I actually like a lot of the proposals the Republicans put forward: eliminating discrimination based on preexisting conditions comes to mind, as does universal coverage for catastrophic care. But one way or another, I think there’s a big problem with the situation as it stands – largely because of questions of (lack of) competition combined with the relative necessity of the service in question. So something needs to change.

    And I do think some provision needs to be made to provide insurance to those who simply cannot afford it under current circumstances.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  52. Honestly, I have no arguments with any of those points. The problem always come down to the details, and we’re not getting any of those from the people writing this bill.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  53. One thing that would dramatically re – shape that concentration is making all health insurance companies compete on a national basis, with any policies issued transportable across state lines.

    Oh please.

    If people were allowed to buy cars, tropical fruits, or electronics out of state, quality will fall to the lowest common denominator. Why would it work differently for insurance?

    I actually like a lot of the proposals the Republicans put forward: eliminating discrimination based on preexisting conditions comes to mind, as does universal coverage for catastrophic care.

    All insurance should be regulated the same way.

    Pre-existing conditions should be covered for life, auto, casualty, and fire insurance as well.

    Michael Ejercito (6a1582)

  54. To increase competition in the health insurance sector?

    The problem is that the government has a sugar daddy to pay the deficits they run up. You. And me. YOu could say that the Post Office “competes” with FedEx. Do you know how ? They outlaw FedEx delivering first class mail and they get subsidized for the rest. And they are still bad at service. Next will be Saturday delivery. I am old enough to remember delivery twice a day. And 3 cent stamps.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  55. Huh? I can easily buy electronics and food out of state. But if I follow your logic, here’s one for you: if if’s and buts were candied nuts, we’d all have a hell of a Christmas. Sound good?

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  56. In a distantly related matter, the brilliance of the administration’s attacks on AIG’s compensation schemes is that Martin Greenberg is having no difficulty recruiting talent out of AIG into his new insurance business.

    This is yet another example of the stupidity of Democratic economic fantasy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  57. “And I do think some provision needs to be made to provide insurance to those who simply cannot afford it under current circumstances.”

    Can they afford a pack of Marlboro’s and a ice cold 40OZ (or three) a day?

    Government is way too easy to scam and there are too many out there that are eager to aid and abet them (see ACORN).
    Welfare, disability, workers comp, unemployment, section 8 housing are all scammed. Income is unreported or underreported all day every day and you’d be suprised how many “honest” people are involved in fudging the numbers.
    Offer something subsidized to way below cost (or even free) and people will compete down to get it for free rather than competing up to afford it as a necessity.

    Speaking of scamming government, the fools who are looking to marijuana to boost taxes have no idea how badly the “medical marijuana” business is scammed right now…. do they really think that all the weed that goes out the front or maybe back door is not supplemented by illegal untaxable sources?
    How is it that medical marijuana clinics get robbed of more cash that is “on hand” than their register shows in receipts?

    What that had to do with anything I dunno, but it felt good to vent.
    Thanks

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  58. The idea that the pubic option will provide competition to the private sector is laughable. I expect that kind of nonsense from Myron.

    JD (3fc3d5)

  59. The insurance lobby seems to disagree with you.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  60. JD – The idea that the pubic option will provide competition to the private sector is laughable.

    Leviticus – The insurance lobby seems to disagree with you.

    It depends on how you define competition. Entering government health care as a ‘competitor’ against existing insurers (especially without the possibility of cross-state operations) is like entering an M1A1 Tank in a demolition derby.

    The other derby entrants are objecting to something other than the introduction of competition.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  61. No, they do not, Leviticus. The idea that they will be able to “compete” with someone else that can operate at unlimited loss, gets to write the rule of the game, and gets to act as the referee is insane.

    JD (c75da2)

  62. Apogee’s analogy is more apt.

    JD (c75da2)

  63. Leviticus:

    Sorry I’m late late in responding, but I absolutely stand by what I said.

    And about that Ag80 comment: seriously? Profit is the only thing that separates us from animals digging in the muck? Not free will, higher thought, moral codes? Not love? Profit? This country is fucked. You guys can call me naive or disingenuous or whatever if you want, but there are higher callings than profit, and moral imperatives that ought to supercede it – taking care of the proverbial “widows and orphans” of our society, for instance, which is what this whole debate is about for a lot of people, whether or not some of you are willing to chalk it all up to “class warfare.”

    Free will provides with the means to attain profit, but for the rest of your list, nope, can’t happen without profit.

    You can’t take care of the widows and orphans without profit. It’s not about “class warfare.” It’s about reality. Other people make it “class warfare” to attain power and the ability to control profit to their ends.

    You can make up all the moral codes you want and date every girl in Michigan, but I’ll tell you one thing: There will be no morals, societal norms or family structure without a profit motive.

    And that indeed is what separates us from the animals rooting in the muck.

    I said it in a later post that you ignored, but profit isn’t always about money. Sometimes it’s about who comes out ahead. Think Darwin.

    Ag80 (815bcd)

  64. Heinz, the company inherited by liberal John Kerry’s wife, reported a little more than 7% profit. On the Obama scale, is that profit obscene, or just nasty?

    LASue (5f0073)

  65. A variation of the point:

    The torpor of the West derives in part from the annexation by government of most of the core functions of adulthood.

    –Mark Stein

    SPQR (26be8b)

  66. LASue, not to mention that Heinz’ profit is for food – even more essential than healthcare.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  67. Food should be free and so should shelter. As should health care and transportation be…. and cold beer.
    Some free cash for discretionary pursuits of happiness as per my rights as described by our founding fathers would be good

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  68. #68

    You must be a constitutional scholar on par with our executive…. but what kind of beer?
    Obviously all malt liquor should be free and who can in good conscience declare that any “light beer” of a national brand be anything but free (Insert obscene profits diatribe here)… but if it cost $1 per 12OZ bottle to produce your favorite beer and deliver it to your door how much should you pay?
    $.96? or $1.02?

    The new economics befuddles me… (as does most stuff beyond basic caveman behavior)

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  69. Oh

    I forgot to say the I think that President Obama would say $3… to cover the King Cobra and the college kids keggers

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  70. “There will be no morals, societal norms or family structure without a profit motive.”

    – Ag80

    Really? ‘Cuz, I mean, I love my family, and respect my parents, and stuff. Where’s the profit motive in that? Where’s the profit motive in helping strangers? Where’s the profit motive in charity for charity’s sake? Ugh.

    “I said it in a later post that you ignored, but profit isn’t always about money. Sometimes it’s about who comes out ahead. Think Darwin.”

    – Ag80

    I won’t “think Darwin” – in a social context, “thinking Darwin” is Social Darwinism, which is one of the scuzziest philosophies ever dumped on the civilized world.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  71. scuzzy and also tragic, horrifically and devastatingly tragic and besides if Darwin for real was all that social no way he would have spent so much time on those islands in the middle of nowheres

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  72. Leviticus:

    Either you’re willfully ignoring my point or you just want to argue. Either is fine, but I’ll try to be more clear:

    You can love whoever you want. You can help them to the best of your ability. You can help an old lady across the street and you can give the shirt off your back so that a homeless person is not cold. You can plant flowers and sing kumbaya. All are good and noble pursuits.

    I know it’s not PC, but all the love in the world is not going to make clean water in the Sudan. Not a single protest march is going to crush malaria in the Congo. And no one’s good intentions are going to kill AIDS in Uganda.

    All of those things can only be solved by hard work and the ability of those devoted to that hard work to live. And their ability to live and continue their research requires profit.

    I don’t mean to be condescending, because you’re a bright guy. I know that.

    But, let me ask you this question in the most simplest terms:

    Name one, just one, idea, product or policy that has emanated from North Korea, or Cuba, or Iran or any other state with a centralized government that has benefited the world.

    Where does innovation come from? It comes from people who have the motivation and the power and freedom of profit to propel them to make the world a better place.

    All of the scientists in the United States toiling away in private, or public (university or governmental)labs to create the medicines and techniques to make life better did so through their own genius. But they also did so through the help of profit.

    In the case of private labs, they did so by reinvestment through research and development dollars with the hope that their results would increase profit in the long run.

    In the case of public institutions, they did so because they were able to use funding provided by taxpayers who submitted a portion of their labor (profit) to make it so, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, for the eventual betterment of society.

    In my mind, the greatest human being of the 20th Century is Norman Borlaug. And everything he did — and he did a lot — is through the benefit of the fruits and labors (profit) of others to make this world a better place.

    And, he could not have done it without people trying to make a better life for themselves and their children.

    I’ll argue some more if you want.

    Ag80 (815bcd)


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