October 30th, 2013

Romneycare, Obamacare: same or different?

[NOTE: I wrote the gist of this piece last night and was just polishing it up for publication when I noticed that Obama is giving a speech in Boston that apparently advances the “Obamacare was a Republican idea” argument I discuss here. If so (I haven’t read it or heard it yet), how diabolically clever and—if I may use a favorite word of his—audacious of him. I wonder whether that will be the prelude to a future claim that we need a real Democratic solution rather than a half-baked Republican one: single payer.]

Remember the big Romneycare battle during the 2012 primaries and election? That Obamacare was just Romneycare writ large?

As Obamacare runs into troubles, expect more of that as an argument from the left, “We were just enacting a Republican idea, so don’t blame us, blame them“—even though “they” didn’t vote for it.

I wrote a lot about Romneycare during 2011 and 2012 and how it differed from Obamacare and also from what Romney had wanted enacted in Massachusetts and from what Republicans in general had proposed (including, of course, the state-vs-federal government question). The Boston Globe, which had covered Romneycare in some depth, wrote:

Romney…hated the employer mandate and vetoed the provision that employers of 11 or more offer coverage or face a penalty of $295 per employee. This veto, and seven others aimed at less controversial aspects of the law, were easily overridden by the Democratic Legislature.

Romney considers the Massachusetts plan needlessly gold-plated; he would have pushed for a much cheaper version that allowed minimal coverage options.

He believes the Massachusetts health connector, the insurance exchange which the Obama plan would emulate, has created an excessive regulatory burden, imposing too many requirements on what commercial insurers must offer for a policy to qualify as “minimum creditable coverage’’ under the law. His proposal, to require only a bare-bones policy that covered hospitalization and catastrophic illness, was rejected by the Legislature…

Romney also wanted a way for those of means to opt out of the mandate by posting a bond — essentially a promise to pay for future uninsured health care costs. Critics called it a “fig leaf’’ and Romney concedes that few would have taken advantage — just as only a handful choose a similar option to post a $10,000 bond rather than buy compulsory auto insurance in Massachusetts.

But the principle mattered to him, and the failure of the Legislature to agree still rankles…

And as for those on the economic margin, Romney thought that no one, however poor, should get insurance for no cost at all. He advocated a small premium, even a few dollars a month, for the neediest, but the Legislature balked.

It’s interesting to note how different Obamacare (and even Romneycare) would have been if they had actually followed Romney’s recommendations. But twas not to be. And now the issue gains renewed importance.

This article by Avik Roy is the clearest and most cogent explanation of another major difference between the two:

In 1996, the heavily Democratic state legislature passed the Non-Group Health Insurance Reform Act, which transformed the individual market for health insurance, the market for people who shop for private insurance on their own.

The contours of that bill will sound familiar to observers of the Obamacare debate; it forced insurers in the individual market to cover everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and it forced insurers to charge nearly equal rates to the young and the old, despite the fact that younger people consume very little health care. Governor Weld signed it into law.

The predictable happened. Because people could stay uninsured until they were sick, and then sign up for insurance afterwards, premiums shot up for the chumps who stayed continuously insured through health and illness. Over time, fewer and fewer people could afford insurance on the individual market; eHealthInsurance.com dropped out of the state entirely.

Romneycare, for all its flaws, was a way to bring Massachusetts’ individual insurance market back from the brink. It didn’t repeal the destructive but popular provisions from 1996; instead, it required everyone to buy health insurance — the infamous individual mandate — in order to make the market function again. It also merged the individual-insurance market into the one for small employers, in order to stabilize the former.

With a legislature that was 85% Democrat, there was nothing Romney could do to go backwards and do away with the requirement for equal rates and mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions. But he did what he could to move the Massachusetts healthcare insurance system to the right of where it had been before, and he wanted to move it even further right by vetoing certain of its provisions, vetoes which the Massachusetts legislature promptly overruled.

Details matter—a lot. But how many people pay attention to them? Obama is counting on the fact that they don’t, and won’t.

[NOTE: Here’s another big difference: “The majority of the citizens of Massachusetts wanted ‘Romneycare.’ The majority of American citizens did NOT want ‘Obamacare.'”]

[ADDENDUM: If you want some comic relief—and I bet we could all use some—go to the comments at this thread and scroll down to the ones that take the form “Mitt Romney told me to…”]

[ADDENDUM II: Romney replied in advance of Obama’s speech.]

57 Responses to “Romneycare, Obamacare: same or different?”

  1. liz Says:

    A major difference is that Masscare was a state plan, so if someone really didn’t like it, they could vote with their feet and move away from the state.

    With Obamacare – you can’t get away from it.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    liz: that’s the state vs. federal government issue I mention in the post. I also wrote about it at some length during 2012.

    But like so many other points connected with this, although it is important, many people regard it as an irrelevant and hard-to-understand detail. And I don’t think younger people even learn much about federalism in school. That’s probably by design.

  3. Matt_SE Says:

    The problem with RINO/establishment-types is that they implicate the rest of us.
    Will we ever see TeaPartyCare? No…no, we won’t.

  4. parker Says:

    “And I don’t think younger people even learn much about federalism in school. That’s probably by design.”

    The 9th & 10th are really scary… both would frighten the youngsters into realizing that which is not specifically delegated to DC belongs to the states and the people. It is a great tragedy that we have turned down the road that leads to bankruptcy and possibly tyranny.

  5. liz Says:

    Neo – I knew that you were referring to the issue of state vs federal gov’t, I just wanted to restate it again!

    And, since it was really the Mass. Dems that pushed the final product, I think it should be referred to as “MassCare”. Take “Romney” out of the issue.

    By the way, “equal rates” refer to the same rates for male/female coverage. When I played around with one insurance company quote options, it was the young vs old rates that were very different.

    A 25-yr old would pay $152/month for the same plan that I would pay $412/month. And, they would probably pay far less since they could qualify for a subsidy.

  6. neo-neocon Says:


    So prior to Romneycare, the Weld act didn’t institute community ratings or change the young-old premium ratio in Mass? I thought the article was indicating it did:

    …it forced insurers to charge nearly equal rates to the young and the old…

    Are you talking about Massachusetts at that time?

  7. Mitsu Says:

    The key point is not whether or not Romney’s original proposal is different from Obamacare, but whether the law as it was finally enacted is significantly different, because the law as it was finally enacted has been in operation there for years, so you can see what effect it has had on the insurance market. And, in general, the effect has been that Romneycare (as enacted) more or less works. It doesn’t control costs much, but it does insure a lot more people.

    Furthermore, after Romneycare passed, Romney was so proud of it he wanted to have a caduceus put into his gubernatorial portrait, symbolizing Romneycare and its effect on expanding health care in Massachusetts. So, despite the vetoes of various provisions, he was still mighty proud of it.

    Finally — many people who “oppose” Obamacare do so because it *does not go far enough*. In other words, they oppose it because it is not single payer. Only 38 percent actually oppose Obamacare because they think we should stick with the “system” we had (i.e., the patchwork of crap we had).

  8. assemblerhead Says:

    The comments at some sites are LOL.

    Females over sixty being forced to pay for the equivalent of maternity coverage on their polices. Not to forget the males over sixty either. ( Why should males have to purchase maternity coverage AT ALL? )

    Mandatory Auto Ins has taught me that rates never go down on Mandatory Ins Premiums . NEVER.

    No Accidents, No Tickets, No Claims, your rates go up. PERIOD.

    Get ready for Health Ins to do the same.

    Optional Ins is different, free market competition?
    My renters Ins. goes down a small amount every year.
    ( Note : No Claims )

    Did the Health Ins Companies ever think about the fraud / abuse that Auto Ins Companies invited?
    I bet they didn’t.
    They only thought of a captive market.
    I do really hope this “Obamacare” mess winds up driving them out of business. Maybe then they will realize that a “captive market” is a bad idea.

    Side Note :

    My prediction for the “Obamacare” website. The backend of “Healthcare.gov” will never work.

    Five different government bureaus will have to replace all Mainframe / Computer systems and all the custom software they use. That includes the IRS.

    Then you get into the countless proprietary systems that the Ins Companies use. Every company will have to either pay for major compatibility modifications to their software or completely replace with something written for compatibility with the governments custom software.
    ( Note : compatibility with the governments software will be a constantly moving target. No company will pay for that. )

    Its a “boondoggle”.

  9. assemblerhead Says:

    @ Mitsu

    You have been smoking too much dope. Lay off of it.
    Or is it something else that has you hallucinating?
    Have you considered checking into a Detox program for illegal substances?
    You should really think about it.
    Try getting connected to Reality.

    Either that or your PAID to Astroturf for Liberal policies.
    Maybe your really Persona Software?


    You might want to look into a report button similar to what Techdirt.com has.
    A lot of Trolls / Astroturf types get their comments “hidden” that way.

  10. Don Says:

    This is good stuff, neo.

    Likewise, Romney’s so-called assault weapon ban actually reduced some MA gun control and was supported by the NRA, I believe.

    However, both those issues have been hung around his neck.

    Do I think Romney is an ideal conservative? No, but I think he was a good man, a good chief executive in an impressive number of capacities, and would have made a good POTUS.

  11. Don Says:

    Mitsu once again misses the fact that Obama is lying.

  12. Don Says:

    Matt_SE Says:

    The problem with RINO/establishment-types is that they implicate the rest of us.
    Will we ever see TeaPartyCare? No…no, we won’t.

    Implicate? Obama will simply attack in any manner he can. He will attack us for compromising, for resisting, for leading, for following.

    Now, I have had it generally with establishment Republicans like McCain. But I don’t place Romney in quite the same catagory. Romney hasn’t been in the beltway now for well over a decade, for example.

    It seems to me Romney’s actions were to move the state towards free markets. He wasn’t gonna move it so far is would become Libertopia. The options were modest gains or no gains.

    I’ll accept modest gains over nothing.

  13. Ann Says:

    From Obama’s speech in Boston today:

    And since we all benefit, there are parts of this law that also require everybody to contribute, that require everybody to take some measure of responsibility. So to help pay for the law, the wealthiest Americans, families who make more than $250,000 a year, have got to pay a little bit more. The most expensive employer health insurance plans no longer qualify for unlimited tax breaks. Some folks aren’t happy about that, but it’s the right thing to do.

    Ace comments:

    The most breathless claim in his speech, I thought, was the lie that only those making $250,000 per year or more are being “asked to pay a little more.”

    This is a lie. Anyone making over $48,000 or so will get the doubled or tripled premiums (and often doubled deductibles to boot!) and no subsidies.

    I would say I’m shocked, but that would be a lie. I think I am too emotionally deadened to Obama’s constant lies to even have a reaction. I’m just numb.

    That “numb” sounds just right.

  14. Matt_SE Says:


    “It seems to me Romney’s actions were to move the state towards free markets. He wasn’t gonna move it so far is would become Libertopia. The options were modest gains or no gains.”

    It seems to me Romney’s actions were to burnish his own credentials. As a Republican, his choice of state was poor. So maybe he tried to move the needle a little bit right, so what? His constituents were liberals and so were their representatives and senators. They got their healthcare bill, and Romney got the “credit” of it.
    Because of that “credit,” he was unable to attack Obama on the substance of Obamacare…and the rest is history.
    “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

  15. parker Says:

    Bring on the pain, especially to those who voted for this disaster. I hope it makes them sell their houses and live in a single wide trailer surrounded by riff raff meth addicts. No mercy, no quarter.

  16. Doom Says:

    The problem, then and now, with Romney is that he signed, then tried to veto. He had to know his vetoes would be overridden. I don’t know the laws of that state, so I don’t know if they needed a simple majority to override individual vetoes versus say a 2/3 majority to override a complete bill veto, so I don’t know if he had any room to simply not pass that bill. As is, it looks more like he went along knowing at least his minor vetoes would be overridden. That’s grandstanding, not so much… leadership or even defensive politics. But, it is a liberal state, where R and D are much closer to D.

    Then again, aren’t most Republicans just lame Democrats, and to a lesser degree the opposite? I see some minor differences. And lately the electorate is causing more grandstanding, if little real interference, in their combined schemes. I just don’t have any faith in politics at this point, if there is little I can do about it either.

  17. Doom Says:


    Finally — many people who “oppose” Obamacare do so because it *does not go far enough*. In other words, they oppose it because it is not single payer. Only 38 percent actually oppose Obamacare because they think we should stick with the “system” we had (i.e., the patchwork of crap we had).

    No idea where you are getting your numbers. But I will say, when the final (this go around, next year businesses won’t be exempt so there will be another round) of policy cancellations, upcoming layoffs and cut hours, and some other things start being tabulated, that 38%, just giving you that the number is right, will skyrocket.

    Now, you are right, most Americans will do nothing but complain. They are used to being dictated to at this point, and will just whine and slink off and take it.

  18. Mike Says:

    Rick Santorum’s closing argument was that he was the only one who could really run against Obama due to this very issue.

    he was laughed at, scoffed at, ridiculed, demeaned, diminished, and degraded….

    By Republicans.

    The entire world owes Rick Santorum an apology. The entire world will pay for the sin of dismissing him in favor of someone who “all the best people” swore had the only chance to win.

    What a crock.

    Maybe someday we’ll learn.

  19. Don Says:

    “As a Republican, his choice of state was poor.”

    So we should just ceed control in these states?

    I don’t think Romney is an ideal conservative, but he is a conservative, and he also brings in solid practical executive experience.

    “he was unable to attack Obama on the substance of Obamacare…and the rest is history.”

    I don’t think this is really correct. There is another issue, and a point where Mitso is correct: many who don’t like Obamacare are leftists who want socialist medical care. Obamacare was one of those things no one really likes, but that is not going to translate into votes for a Republican against Obama.

  20. neo-neocon Says:


    Thanks; I do have a lot of ways of dealing with trolls if I care to.

    Mitsu is an old visitor here. He usually comes for a few days and then leaves for a long time. I find that he represents a certain strain of liberal thinking, and is instructive in that way. So unless he starts dominating the comments section too much or for too long, I let him ramble on.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    I don’t think Romney’s loss was connected with Obamacare, unless you think that some conservatives didn’t vote for him because of it. The polls indicate (and my own talks with people also indicate) that he lost because he was seen as too patrician and privileged and not “caring,” enough. In addition, the Democratic campaign meme that he was anti-women got a great deal of traction among my female friends and acquaintances. Obama’s margin with women was extremely important. I don’t think most of my friends knew a thing or cared a bit about Romneycare.

  22. neo-neocon Says:


    In order for the world to owe Santorum any sort of apology there would have to be some evidence he could have won, or even that he would have done better than Romney.

    If Santorum had been nominated, the campaign to destroy him would have made the one to destroy Romney look like a love fest.

    The minute the Republican field for 2012 was complete, I realized Obama would probably be elected to a second term. It was very disturbing, but fairly apparent.

  23. neo-neocon Says:


    The Massachusetts legislature was 85% Democrat.

    He signed and did the vetoes through a line-item veto.

    He knew everything he vetoed would be overriden no matter what he did—the whole bill or any part of it. The Democrats in the legislature had more than enough votes to override everything no matter how he vetoed it, the whole bill or sections. But he wanted to go on record as to what he was against.

  24. Jed Skillman Says:

    I have a lot of respect for Mitt Romney. That said, RomneyCare was an awful idea and is a textbook illustration as to why the Tea Party bangs on Republicans as well as Democrats.

  25. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    Whatever few similarities Romneycare has to Obamacare, most were obliterated in the subsequent more than 8,000 pages of rules, regulations, and authoritarian control added to the ACA’s already rotten control. Recently, when Hannity had a group of collegiate kids on the program, one completely mind-numbed robot recited quickly that Obamacare came from the Republicans because polls show that a majority of Republicans like the idea of the “accept pre-existing conditions” part of the ACA. Apparently in prestigious universities you are taught that two or three sentences that are comparable amidst ten-thousand pages of writing make two bodies of materials equivalent.

    (This is similar to the Leftist idea that if you don’t like a certain congressional bill, you are against doing anything at all about the problem, and even wish the opposite of the NAME of the bill to happen. “You don’t want an extension of Food Stamps? You want everybody to starve to death!” “You don’t want the Affordable Care Act? You want people to be bankrupted by medicine! You don’t want women and children to have health care!”)

    The latest nonsense today is that it’s the insurance companies that are evil. The noble Democrats want people to have BETTER plans that are more reasonably priced! Golly Gee Whilickers! As has been pointed out by others elsewhere, if the new plans were better and cheaper than the ones being canceled, you would not need a mandate or cunning anti-insurance company regulations, or even insurance companies canceling policies, because people would flock to the new, better, cheaper plans. There would be no need for a mandate.

    When the new deductibles, fewer locations, limited doctors, restricted hospitals, and diminished care really click in, there will be a great deal of added misery in this country.

    I have experienced this brave new ACA world. My doctor of over a decade quit. My new doctor (this was my second visit to her) writes down every word I say, even personal things that I used to be able to discuss privately with my doctor. She opens her laptop the moment she sits down and types all the time I’m answering questions and talking about anything, not just health.

    Moreover, even before I could see my new doctor this time, I had to fill out forms, with information about housing details, racial and ethnic background (not just categories), monthly income, and other things. This is a clinic I’ve gone to several times a year for almost 16 years. They have an immense file on me. I was told I will now have to fill out the same forms each time I come. Maybe they expect my ethnic details to change between visits, or something?

    I also had to “sign” two little boxes that had computer screens and electronic signature lines like those of the FedEx guys that show up and need a signature. But these two signature lines didn’t have any other words—I stupidly signed them, because I really needed to see the doctor for my prescription medicines.

    Before I could even get a flu shot, there was another form to fill out and sign—I’ve had a flu shot each year for years at the same clinic and this is the first time I needed to fill out and sign a form. And when they drew blood, I had to fill out another form and sign it. I’m told this will happen every time I go to the clinic, and every time I have a new procedure.

    I spent from 9:30 in the morning until 12:47 in the afternoon at the clinic, for a nominal 10-minute conversation with my doctor, a flu shot, and a blood sample. I shall look back with regret now at the old days, when such an appointment would have taken only a couple of hours.

    I’m told that the HIPPA guarantees of security do not apply to the ACA, because somewhere in those ten-thousand-pages of verbiage it specifically removes itself from HIPPA.

    People have no idea what awaits them.

    Or what is yet to come.

  26. foxmarks Says:

    Been away for about a year, a FB pally linked to this piece.

    What is neo defending? Romney lost, he’s not really relevant any more. What I see is Republican DNA all over PPACA. It doesn’t matter if we ID exactly who is the father.

    Among the reasons the GOP can’t do anything to stop or change PPACA is that they wanted much of what it contained. The individual mandate was maybe the only point with unified Republican opposition.

    It may not be fair to describe GOP efforts as trying to push healthcare to the right. They just squeeze different parts of the balloon.

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    Mitsu is an example of an Awakened zombie Obamacan. Meaning unlike most Leftist tools that just shut down when they come across something they weren’t programmed to respond to, Mitsu thinks he is acting under free will and that we are his inferiors, or equals at best.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    No matter how many times Americans try to finding a “leader” to preside over some policy, the Left will corrupt whatever they touch. So long as there is a Leftist, nothing will be resolved. Get rid of the Left, and even the DMV becomes a bastion of Goodness, Justice, and Efficiency.

  29. Huggy Says:

    Romney let them name it Romney care. People must be excused when thinking he is the main player. Sorta like the Washington Monument. I’m surprised they are not calling Obamacare W-cross-Bush-Shield.

  30. Joan of Argghh! Says:

    The differences don’t matter. The truth of all of it is too tedious for the decidedly average teat-leech to untangle.

    Go read the idiocy under the hash tag #GOPHungerGames just to see how artfully the lie jumps in front of the Truth.

  31. Lies of Obamacare: Obama edition | Electricity Blog News Aggregator Says:

    […] for Obamacare, if not paternity, to Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney was our 2012 standard-bearer. Neo-neocon respectfully disagrees with the substance of Obama’s argument on this […]

  32. liz Says:

    Neo – the differences in rates between different age groups is based on queries I did while looking for a plan for 2014. The site was a major insurance group and I kept changing the age and sex in order to see what the prices were. No price difference for male vs female, but increases for each age group. For a basic bronze plan, a 20 yr old would have monthly premiums of 96.47. For a 64 year old, it was 455.76.

    These prices are for a single person, in middle America state. The plan was bronze,with a good network, 6,000 deductible,
    6,000 max,100% coverage after the deductible is met.

    I still have a lot of plan research to do, but it is time consuming. I can hardly wait until the paperwork has to be filled out.

  33. Harold Says:

    Romney didn’t lose just because he couldn’t/didn’t attack Obama on ObamaCare. He was an all around poor candidate. A good man but a bad candidate. Obama won because he was an all around good candidate with unlimited support from the leftist media. He was utterly ruthless and mendacious.

    It may be that in a long post one can distinguish between the two medical systems, but that simply can’t be done in a campaign that needs to focus on low IQ and low Information voters. So Romney lost the use of the ObamaCare line of attack.

    Lets hope that in 2016 republican voters will select a superior candidate. Not likely, but let’s hope.

  34. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    foxmarks Says:
    What is neo defending? Romney lost, he’s not really relevant any more. What I see is Republican DNA all over PPACA. It doesn’t matter if we ID exactly who is the father.
    Among the reasons the GOP can’t do anything to stop or change PPACA is that they wanted much of what it contained. The individual mandate was maybe the only point with unified Republican opposition.

    Dear Foxmarks:

    There are ten-thousand pages to the ACA. Every one of those sentences, every page, every concept and its method of fulfillment, was written by people who are antagonistic to the values of Conservatism. What few sentences there are in it that Conservatives or Republicans might agree with have no meaning because of all the tens of thousands of sentences, of rules, regulations, limitations, and other attributes written into and added to the law.

    Every new agency set-up, every panel, every committee, every link to other groups and agencies, every policy, every label and category, every limitation on doctors and procedures, and every other aspect of the ACA in those thousands of pages, design a whole that is anathema to Conservatives and Republicans. The Devil is in the details.

  35. Mitsu Says:

    >The individual mandate was maybe the only point with unified Republican opposition

    Of course, one of the big complaints about the ACA from the right is that it sets up an adverse selection death spiral — yet, obviously, take the individual mandate (or some sort of tax penalty) out of the law, and that’s exactly what it turns into. There’s no way you can get all the good things in the ACA without SOME sort of penalty for not having insurance (unless you go to single payer).

    That’s the irony here. You either have to assert that the old system, where people were getting their insurance policies cancelled over typos in their application when they got cancer, where people with any kind of preexisting condition were unable to get health insurance, where self-employed people couldn’t get access to group health insurance rates — was just fine as is, or you have to have SOME set of regulations + some kind of mandate or tax incentive, or you have to scrap out whole system and replace it with something even more radical than the ACA.

  36. Ymarsakar Says:

    The primary issue with ObamaCare and its policy is the slavery, not so much the policy consequences.

  37. assemblerhead Says:

    @ Mitsu

    Ditch the something for nothing mentality.

    Every item you just pointed out had already been addressed in multiple ways.

    Every post you make is disconnected from the thread topic. Like a really bad / off target sales droid.

    I forgot … “Do Not Feed the Trolls”

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    The entire Left is a self perpetuating troll movement. There’s no getting away from them, unless one shuts off communication, takes no prisoners, or treats them as non human tools.

  39. Matt_SE Says:

    “That’s the irony here. You either have to assert that the old system…was just fine as is, or you have to have SOME set of regulations + some kind of mandate or tax incentive, or you have to scrap out whole system and replace it with something even more radical than the ACA.”

    Or, you can try using the free market with some minor tinkering to weed out adverse selection.

    And this notion that government-run healthcare is a Republican idea is absurd. Heritage may have published a paper on it, but the rest of us were not obligated to follow their suggestion. I don’t remember conservatives pushing that solution after Hillarycare disappeared.

  40. Ymarsakar Says:

    In government, there’s always a personnel choice as to who gets rich and gets to have power to manage a certain policy.

    So would people here want Mitsu to manage ObamaCare from the top or neo neocon?

    Details matter, because humans are not mere cogs and the bureaucracy ain’t our mommy and daddy.

  41. neo-neocon Says:


    The Heritage idea was not all that similar. Here’s an article about it.

  42. neo-neocon Says:



  43. neo-neocon Says:


    Oh, I thought from your comment that you were talking about Massachusetts, either before Romneycare or right after it.

    You’re talking about Obamacare. I see.

  44. neo-neocon Says:


    Romney “let them” name it Romneycare? How could he stop people from calling it that even if he wanted to?

    The bill itself certainly wasn’t officially called that.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left would rather have 5 and make you have 0, than let you have 6 and they get 9.

    Thus Democrat agents will shut down the government if they don’t get what they wish. Republicans are at a severe disadvantage in that they want to keep the hostages and citizens alive. The Demoncrats don’t really care one way or another. The more tragedies and casualties there are, the more they can empower themselves and blame whitey.

  46. Mitsu Says:

    >Or, you can try using the free market with some minor tinkering to weed out adverse selection.

    What minor tinkering? I’m not saying this sarcastically (since nearly everything that passes for political “debate” these days seems to settle into sarcastic insult-slinging) — I’m serious. If you’re aware of some other means aside from a tax incentive aka “mandate” to solve the problem of adverse selection (if you also want to get rid of the problem of self-employed people with preexisting conditions being denied insurance), I’m all ears.

    I might point out that Obama the candidate originally proposed a plan without a penalty for not having insurance. But, this has not worked in the states where it has been tried (again: New York). What is *your* idea? If you have one, then let’s hear it, and let’s discuss it.

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    Online simulation programs and games, such as game funding schemes like Kickstarter or online communities, have found that individual groups will always generate out of free individuals once a demand exists and profit is there to be made.

    To Mitsu, it is literally indistinguishable from magick because there is no central planning, there is no “tax incentives”, there is nothing one moment and then there is a fully functioning system that provides service the next.

    That is human free will, something that tools and zombies cannot understand because they have yet to acquire it.

  48. Ymarsakar Says:

    Essentially, any one ‘person’ coming up with an idea to fix something is conducting centralized planning, if only to a limited degree.

    The true mark of systems creation is to simulate it, either create it full scale and make it work, or creating a smaller scale system that operates the same but at a lower level of productivity.

    Unlike polls designed to influence public opinion, this would become a real scientific project, utilizing more than 10,000 humans operating as both consumers and producers. The system that results is the optimal system. Not somebody else’s “idea” of what an optimum system should look like.

    Reality is the finest quantum and dna computer in existence for testing models and simulations. Human brains are not.

  49. Mitsu Says:

    Ymarsakar: that’s one of the most reasoned things you’ve ever posted in response to me, thank you. But you seem to think I’m unaware of the virtues of self-organizing systems — I’m not. Obviously self-organization and natural evolution are better ways of dealing with systems than central planning.

    But where we differ is that you think ANY architectural tinkering with the rules that govern the evolution of the system is inherently the same level of “central planning”, and I disagree with that and I believe empirical evidence is against that hypothesis.

    While I agree that the best outcome comes from leveraging self-organization, I don’t agree that human beings cannot tinker with the high-level rules to bias the system in ways that work better than just letting the system “run” with some set of completely minimal rules.

    A good example might be the urban growth boundary in the state of Oregon. A moderate Republican governor, Tom McCall, put this in place, ostensibly to protect farmland and nature, but the effect was interesting — by preventing urban zoning from expanding indefinitely, it forced developers to look for underutilized real estate in the city center. The net result was that instead of sprawling endless suburbs, Portland had a renaissance of development which revitalized its decaying urban center, and revitalizing the neighborhoods in the central city. Now, Portland is considered one of the most livable cities its size in the United States, and the urban growth boundary is wildly popular.

    It wasn’t central planning in a micromanagement sense: city planners didn’t dictate which businesses went where. It was a large-scale rule change which had lots of positive side effects, some of which were unexpected, but ultimately how things evolved was largely a matter of individuals making choice, but choices within a slightly altered rule system.

    I am opposed to micromanaging regulations, but rather in favor of large-scale architectural changes that leverage market forces.

  50. Ymarsakar Says:

    But you seem to think I’m unaware of the virtues of self-organizing systems — I’m not. Obviously self-organization and natural evolution are better ways of dealing with systems than central planning.

    Whether you are or aren’t, I can’t determine. However, I question whether anyone with a grasp of systems architecture would support Obama. Either they don’t agree with the system architecture of chaos theory, or their will is being controlled by Obama propaganda. Either way, it’s not a reliable foundation to start with.

    While many of the things I’ve communicated to you or about you seem like jokes to you, they are serious from our perspective. I’m not here to change the Obama doctrine, the world, its people, or various “opinions”.

    Leftists must prove to me that they have human free will and know how to use it. That’s a personal standard, not something connected to knowledge about policy or power over bureaucrats.

    That’s because people arguing here must demonstrate that they are exercising their free will, and not merely being the messenger automatons of the Regime. Because if the Regime is merely passing down its policies here, we would be better suited to arguing with them directly, not with the messengers. No matter what a person’s personal beliefs are, my standard stays the same.

    Horowitz and others have demonstrated that they have at least attempted to re-condition and de-program themselves. What they say or do thus have the implication that it is of their own free will. That matters because system review cannot be conducted if the system is being manipulated by external or internal unknowns.

    But where we differ is that you think ANY architectural tinkering with the rules that govern the evolution of the system is inherently the same level of “central planning”, and I disagree with that and I believe empirical evidence is against that hypothesis.

    My concerns can be spelled out via this post concerning the Left’s organization and foundation premises.


    The executive summary would read something like this:

    The Leftist alliance is the first and perhaps only problem. They cannot be reformed so must be demolished, destroyed, and replaced. So long as they have the power to manipulate or order American policy, no solutions will ever be produced no matter what people attempt to do.

    Most of the Republican or Democrat policy solutions are invalid from a systems architecture point of view because it’s impossible to model or isolate the control variables given the alteration was made to a reality based system at the top, not at the bottom. It’s impossible to determine what went well or wrong when dealing with even a city of 1 million people. They must activate the system in a closed box, sanitized of unknown variables.

    For example, creating a psychology service based charity project between Neo Neocon and various volunteers and funding at this blog would be an example of generating a reality based simulation of certain charity policies from the ground up. Because it starts with 10 people, microscopic in scale compared to the macroscopic 1 million people found in most districts or cities.

    The variables can be isolated with 10 people or 100 people. Talking about politicians you have never met, inflicting and enforcing policies on people you don’t even know the names of, does not produce scientific or philosophical truth.

  51. Mitsu Says:

    I think about systems theory all the time. That’s precisely why I adopt my particular political position — against central planning, but not against experiments in rule-changing.

    I think your proposal that policies be tested in small-scale social laboratories has some merit. But I disagree that all such experiments should require consensus of every single person involved. Should we require consensus for, say, every traffic law on the books and only “test” traffic laws, one at a time, on small communities where everyone in the village agrees to the experiment? And if one person objects, you can’t even try that? This just seems excessive.

    The escape valve for ill-conceived experiments is you can vote the folks out at the next election. There should be clear parameters — that’s what the constitution and bill of rights is for — and limits on what laws can be tried out. But many experiments (like the Urban Growth Boundary) would never have been able to be carried out without trying them on a larger scale first. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work — scrap it and try something else.

  52. Ymarsakar Says:

    Systems show their worth in being created and tested, not merely thought about. Apart from your family, blogs, your lib friends and relatives in the community, what system have you participated in from the ground up?

    There’s no point having thoughts about it if you can’t create it into reality. Computer models are insufficient though.

  53. Mitsu Says:

    What systems have YOU participated in from the ground up?

    Like most people I’ve been involved in helping to shape a lot of organizations, from my businesses to community organizations, to a martial arts group I was a part of, and so on. I’d say the thing I am the proudest of in terms of systems thinking was the way I and many friends of mine in the early days of the tech industry spent a lot of time thinking about how to build work environments that were different from the stodgy corporate models that has come before — flat management, network communication structures, give equity to employees, flex work hours and vacation policy, and on and on. I didn’t single-handedly create the tech culture, but I participated pretty heavily in thinking about these issues, talking about it with friends, and implementing it in my own companies. And it has worked very well indeed, producing one of the most productive and innovative sectors of the American economy. Many of the ideas I and my friends pushed ended up becoming fairly standard in the tech industry across the board.

  54. Mitsu Says:

    I should add — I’m not sure how or why this happened — why these ideas became so widespread. Maybe it was parallel evolution — all these people thinking similar things and implementing variations on a theme. I don’t know. All I know is the ideas I was pushing and my friends were pushing were also adopted by many other companies in California and the West Coast, and eventually it has spread back to the East Coast. I have no idea to what extent my own personal contribution in terms of things I talked about or thought about myself contributed — probably rather small. But much of what is today’s tech culture is more or less in alignment with the things I thought about and talked about with my friends way back in the 90’s when we were starting our companies.

  55. blert Says:


    OT, More revelations inre Benghazigate.

    The Pink House cover story is melting like a witch in water.

  56. Isabel Says:

    Where did thee OP get the source ffor this?

  57. Ymarsakar Says:

    But much of what is today’s tech culture is more or less in alignment with the things I thought about and talked about with my friends way back in the 90′s when we were starting our companies.

    The new Technocrats behind our Salvation, it seems.

    No matter how many people you get killed, Mitsu, it never reflects on your hands because you can always say you had the best of intentions, that these plans on Health Failure at the VA and in American hospitals, were the result of “incomplete planning”.

    There just weren’t enough “tinkerers” with you self imposed righteousness, Mitsu. Or perhaps the issue was there were tinkerers to begin with, those who did not understand what level they were playing at. Human beings are not software codes, and evil isn’t some bug you can debug.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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