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"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," Scalia asked during the second day of oral arguments.

Scalia's witty argument attempts to draw an analogy between forcing people to buy broccoli and forcing people (and employers, etc.) to buy into government-regulated and mandated healthcare programs.

What do you think WSO? If the government is going to force us to have health insurance of some sort, they might as well go two steps ahead and get us all to eat healthy foods like broccoli, right?

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Comments (93)

  • TheMasao's picture

    Which brings us to a larger philosophical question. Why spend so much money on a military when a country's own citizens need the money or assistance?

  • TNA's picture

    I am saying that operationally, the military is one of, if not the best, in the world. When it comes to projects or new builds, they get very porky.

    Not sure how this is really controversial. Most people complain about project overruns like the Osprey, but now too many people really say the US military sucks and cannot accomplish their objectives.

  • In reply to TNA
    DonVon's picture

    ANT:
    Most people complain about project overruns like the Osprey, but now too many people really say the US military sucks and cannot accomplish their objectives.

    I assume you mean "not" too many people...and I should hope that this is a true statement considering our defense budget is greater than the next ten highest spending nations on the list combined.

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Check out my blog!

  • In reply to DonVon
    TheMasao's picture

    Vontropnats:
    ANT:
    Most people complain about project overruns like the Osprey, but now too many people really say the US military sucks and cannot accomplish their objectives.

    I assume you mean "not" too many people...and I should hope that this is a true statement considering our defense budget is greater than the next ten highest spending nations on the list combined.

    Is anyone really "accomplishing their objectives/goals" if they waste money in the process? That's like saying a USD 2'000 paperweight is equivalent to a rock. I guess both accomplish the task, but I would have serious misgivings with the person who choses the former rather than the later.

  • In reply to TheMasao
    heister's picture

    TheMasao:
    Vontropnats:
    ANT:
    Most people complain about project overruns like the Osprey, but now too many people really say the US military sucks and cannot accomplish their objectives.

    I assume you mean "not" too many people...and I should hope that this is a true statement considering our defense budget is greater than the next ten highest spending nations on the list combined.

    Is anyone really "accomplishing their objectives/goals" if they waste money in the process? That's like saying a USD 2'000 paperweight is equivalent to a rock. I guess both accomplish the task, but I would have serious misgivings with the person who choses the former rather than the later.


    Operations and r&d are two separate and independent divisions of the military. Research is based on projected needs of future warfare. The reason it is inefficient isn't due to cost overruns on current designs. It is because projects are deemed useless after years of research because the scope of operations has changed from the projected scope 10 years ago.

    Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

    Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

  • In reply to txjustin
    elephonky's picture

    txjustin:
    elephonky:
    ANT:
    Perfectly fine. I am selling my car now and telling the insurance company to F off. I made the decision not to drive anymore. It is also not a Federal regulation.

    I can drive on my private property without insurance. I can buy, own and sell cars without insurance, I can also choose to drive without insurance and risk the fine/arrest. Insurance is not automatically taken from my taxes and I am not forced to do anything.

    So is there no similarity between forcing people to pay for car insurance and forcing them to pay for health insurance (even if one is state-mandated, albeit by all of them, and one is federally mandated)? Both are private markets. But there is a case to be made that both serve the public good despite costing everyone more money.

    The main difference is that you can choose to have or not have a car and thus have or not have insurance. When you don't have a car, the lack of insurance is not an issue because you won't be getting into any vehicle accidents that require insurance to cover. You can't, however, choose to have or not have a body that may require health services at some point. Since insurance is all but required for "accidents" (emergency room visits, etc.), why isn't it mandated (like car insurance) so long as you have a functioning body that may require health services (and thus insurance)?

    For the record, I'd rather eliminate the health insurance game and lower medical costs across the board. But that won't be happening any time soon.

    YOu need to learn the difference between state and federal powers as outlined in teh Constitution before commenting. Not being a dick, but there is a giant difference between the two scenarios you gave.

    I'm no Constitutional scholar, but I know plenty about state and federal powers in the Constitution. I'd also like to point out that in multiple instances the Supreme Court has held that Federal Law supersedes State Law (McCulloch v. Maryland 1819, Gibbons v. Ogden 1824) and furthermore that the infamous Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) is employed in the case of Obamacare to fulfill the need for use of an enumerated power. (Otherwise Congress would be in the wrong, since it wasn't using an enumerated power and thus the responsibility is left to the states).

    You imply that states have the right to mandate auto insurance, but the federal government doesn't have the right to mandate health insurance because the states have different powers than the federal government. Are you okay with state-mandated health insurance then?

  • In reply to heister
    elephonky's picture

    heister:
    Eleph that is your argument? Seriously because I am alive the government can force me to buy insurance? What kind of fucking clown are you? Why dont we just declare ourselves to be commies? The fuck is wrong with people today.

    If it's so clownish, prove me wrong by saying something other than "wow you're a fucking idiot, you think the government can force me to do anything?!". I outlined why I believe the existence of state-mandated auto insurance makes a good case for why health insurance can be state-mandated as well. The use of the Commerce Clause moves the power from the state to federal government (which is what the current debate is over).

    The fuck is wrong with people today? Well, for starters, they don't know how to make a coherent argument (see your post). Secondly, there's little respect for anyone's opinion but one's own (see your post, and also the current U.S. Congress). Lastly, America is full of dumb, lazy snobs that we call children (see any American public school).

    Maybe communism would be a nice change...

  • In reply to DonVon
    TNA's picture

    Vontropnats:
    ANT:
    Most people complain about project overruns like the Osprey, but now too many people really say the US military sucks and cannot accomplish their objectives.

    I assume you mean "not" too many people...and I should hope that this is a true statement considering our defense budget is greater than the next ten highest spending nations on the list combined.

    Yeah, this is an appropriate comparison.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_...

    As a percent of GDP, the US is close to Russia and probably on par with China (Chinese military spending is hard to quantify, but surly is more than the reported 2%).

    Military spending is approx. 20-25% of the Federal budget. ~4.5% of GDP. Not a huge amount at all. Clearly can be pared down, but this idea that we should sacrifice military for social programs is comical. A strong military is essential.

  • In reply to TNA
    DonVon's picture

    ANT:
    A strong military is essential.

    When we're a sole, unipolar world hegemon and no country can possibility threaten our sovereignty due to MAD? Yep, we really needed to spend $70B on the F-22 project.

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Check out my blog!

  • TheKing's picture

    The issue with military spending is that so much of it goes towards cold war style systems. I was extraordinarily pleased (and surprised) when the F-22 was killed off. It's a relic of a world long gone. We've got plenty of updated F-18s and the F-35 is on the way, not to mention our incredible UAV technology that is going to make the majority of manned aircraft obsolete.

    And, btw, the cost of a Predator drone pales in comparison to that of a manned aircraft and it can be controlled by a few dudes out of a base in Arizona.

    So, whether its 5% of GDP or whatever, the focus should be on what our military is procuring and why, with the cost being a secondary concern. As the military continues to modernize for 21st century warfare, we ought to see spending come down.

  • In reply to heister
    TheMasao's picture

    heister:
    TheMasao:
    Vontropnats:
    ANT:
    Most people complain about project overruns like the Osprey, but now too many people really say the US military sucks and cannot accomplish their objectives.

    I assume you mean "not" too many people...and I should hope that this is a true statement considering our defense budget is greater than the next ten highest spending nations on the list combined.

    Is anyone really "accomplishing their objectives/goals" if they waste money in the process? That's like saying a USD 2'000 paperweight is equivalent to a rock. I guess both accomplish the task, but I would have serious misgivings with the person who choses the former rather than the later.


    Operations and r&d are two separate and independent divisions of the military. Research is based on projected needs of future warfare. The reason it is inefficient isn't due to cost overruns on current designs. It is because projects are deemed useless after years of research because the scope of operations has changed from the projected scope 10 years ago.

    Have you served in the military or dealt with budgeting?

    Judging by your comment I'll venture to say that's a no. Budgeting in ALL departments in the military are based on the previous year's expenditure, i.e. no zero-based budgeting. The result is a free for all towards the end of the Fiscal Year when any and all budgeting centers are encouraged to spend everything they have (need fifteen extra computer monitors for two people?), lest they receive less money than the year before.

    Only in government is the reward for saving money, a reduced ability to request funds the next year.

    Anyway, to come full circle. Surely this money could be spent on something useful, say health care or education or something that would benefit the public.

  • TNA's picture

    Ok, cool, whatever. No sense arguing the point because you see budgeting for a F22 as the same as executing a military battle.

    If military spending is decreased the tax money should go back to the people who pay taxes. I am sick of hearing "if we cut military spending we could use that money on something else". No, you can give it back to the people it was taken from. There is no need for a nanny state.

    Taxes are not property of the government. They are given by the people for a specific job.

    FYI - You don't stay the worlds sole superpower forever. You need to constantly spend and develop.

  • In reply to TNA
    TheMasao's picture

    ANT:
    Ok, cool, whatever. No sense arguing the point because you see budgeting for a F22 as the same as executing a military battle.

    uhh.. WTF?

    ANT:
    If military spending is decreased the tax money should go back to the people who pay taxes. I am sick of hearing "if we cut military spending we could use that money on something else". No, you can give it back to the people it was taken from. There is no need for a nanny state.

    Taxes are not property of the government. They are given by the people for a specific job.

    FYI - You don't stay the worlds sole superpower forever. You need to constantly spend and develop.

    Ahh yes, the Nanny state. So now we are at the crux of the issue. You just don't want your tax money going to insure someone you find as less than yourself.

  • TNA's picture

    You are equating project budgeting to the military being able to effectively fight a war. I am saying that US training and ground operations are separate from the R&D aspect.

    The US has some of the best trained, most competent soldiers in the world. Very different from cost over runs in developing a plane or weapons system.

    And no, my tax money is mine, given to the government for national defense, foreign affairs, post office, etc. Specific duties afforded to a Federal government, that the states cannot do on their own. I do not impose my beliefs on others and do not want them to impose theirs on mine.

    If I had my way I would cut almost all social spending and divert it towards animal abuse or nature preserves. I would like to see US military forces deployed in Africa to protect endangered animals. How would you like MY beliefs imposed on you, using your taxes to execute on them? It is not the job of the Federal government to do this and they should not do it.

    Provide a safety net and then let nature sort out the rest.

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  • TheKing's picture

    Ha, the one thing ANT and I definitely agree upon is a love for animals.

    Animals > people

  • In reply to TNA
    DonVon's picture

    ANT:
    FYI - You don't stay the worlds sole superpower forever. You need to constantly spend and develop.

    In an era of liberal democracies dominating the international sphere, I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Sure, there are rogue states that pose some entirely minute threat to the United States, but the only rising power that has any legitimacy is China, and to be frank, that place is full of technocratic pragmatists and the likelihood of any sort of altercation between the two powers is as farfetched as a hot war was with the USSR back in the day.

    Also, just in absolute terms, we are so far ahead in terms of military technology that we can afford to sit back for a little while. As much as neocons shun this fact, the world is full of rational actors who already know better than to subvert the USA in any tangible way when it comes to military reach.

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Check out my blog!

  • In reply to TNA
    TheMasao's picture

    ANT:
    You are equating project budgeting to the military being able to effectively fight a war. I am saying that US training and ground operations are separate from the R&D aspect.

    The US has some of the best trained, most competent soldiers in the world. Very different from cost over runs in developing a plane or weapons system.

    Actually I was referring to operations, I did not work in the R&D field. And if you don't think cost effectiveness is key to winning, you clearly haven't read up on how WWII was won and would have no idea who the Whiz Kids were.

    ANT:
    And no, my tax money is mine, given to the government for national defense, foreign affairs, post office, etc. Specific duties afforded to a Federal government, that the states cannot do on their own. I do not impose my beliefs on others and do not want them to impose theirs on mine.

    That's convenient. So then, if you, individually, disagree with a policy you shouldn't have to pay for it.

    ANT:
    If I had my way I would cut almost all social spending and divert it towards animal abuse or nature preserves. I would like to see US military forces deployed in Africa to protect endangered animals. How would you like MY beliefs imposed on you, using your taxes to execute on them? It is not the job of the Federal government to do this and they should not do it.

    Provide a safety net and then let nature sort out the rest.

    What is a safety net then?

  • In reply to DonVon
    TheMasao's picture

    Vontropnats:
    ANT:
    FYI - You don't stay the worlds sole superpower forever. You need to constantly spend and develop.

    In an era of liberal democracies dominating the international sphere, I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Sure, there are rogue states that pose some entirely minute threat to the United States, but the only rising power that has any legitimacy is China, and to be frank, that place is full of technocratic pragmatists and the likelihood of any sort of altercation between the two powers is as farfetched as a hot war was with the USSR back in the day.

    Also, just in absolute terms, we are so far ahead in terms of military technology that we can afford to sit back for a little while. As much as neocons shun this fact, the world is full of rational actors who already know better than to subvert the USA in any tangible way when it comes to military reach.

    Here here, China has its own domestic issues that far supersede any imagined threat with the US.

  • In reply to TNA
    TheKing's picture

    ANT:
    Oooohhhh. You love animals also ??

    Big time. Unlike people, an animal will never disappoint you.

  • TNA's picture

    So you are saying the US Military is operationally inefficient?

    No, not because I disagree with something, but it is not the job of the Federal Government to do this. It is a limited and restricted government. Someone wanting social programs is just as wrong as me wanting Rhino's protected by Delta Force. My point is MY individual value system has no business in the government, just as someone who wants to reduce the military and roll out social programs galore.

    And please, we have a great net. Welfare, Food stamps, Heating assistance, Housing assistance, Free K-12, low income grants for college, on and on and on and on. We just are not as lush as Europe (thank God).

    And when these "wonderful" programs bankrupt a country, will we be able to roll them back? No, of course not. The government will come, hat in hand, and demand more from the producers, or else the users will revolt.

    Once given, impossible to take back.

  • In reply to TheKing
    TNA's picture

    TheKing:
    ANT:
    Oooohhhh. You love animals also ??

    Big time. Unlike people, an animal will never disappoint you.

    You talking Dog/Cat or you into other animals? I am an EPIC large cat fan. And African animals also. And Elephants.

  • TheKing's picture

    Dogs / Cats mostly, but I have a soft spot for animals in general.

  • TNA's picture

    Ooohhh, I want to get a Corgi myself. Not home enough though. Eventually though.

  • In reply to elephonky
    txjustin's picture

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  • rls's picture

    Bene qui latuit, bene vixit- Ovid

  • heister's picture

    Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

    Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

  • Bondarb's picture
  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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  • swagon's picture
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