Statist old men in the locker room swooning over Netanyahu

One of the privileges of my job is that I set my own hours. That means I can go to the gym in the mornings when everyone else my age is busy getting stuck in traffic jams on government owned and controlled Route 5 trying to get to a crowded office somewhere near Tel Aviv or Petach Tikva. It also means that I’m usually the only, or at least one of the very few, youngish people at the gym in the mornings. Everyone else is an old guy post retirement hanging out and complaining.

I usually don’t join in the conversation in the locker room after a workout. This is because the subject matter usually has to do with nutrition, and my approach to nutrition is pretty much diametrically opposed to what these pensioners have been taught their whole lives. I eat large amounts of fat, cholesterol, and protein, they think I’m going to die young, and they eat “whole grains”. I don’t trouble myself with trying to convince retirees that they’ve been poisoning themselves for 60-80 years which is why they’re on so many prescription drugs and everything they’ve been taught is wrong, because if someone eats the wrong stuff that’s their business. I leave them alone. That and the conversation is in Hebrew and drumming up the strength to switch languages and get my brain into Hebrew mode isn’t worth the effort.

But today they started talking about how supposedly “difficult” the job of Prime Minister of Israel is. That it is the “most difficult” job and one has to be a genius to do it well. My stomach began to turn, because I could see where this was going.

One of the younger old guys drew me in to the conversation. He said, “I have such a high opinion of Netanyahu, I admire him SO much, the man is so X, so Y, so Z” where X Y and Z are all good amazing things. He fawned. My soul vomited slightly. If someone wants to poison himself, fine. But when you start loving people who control MY life and steal from ME, then I start caring.

So I took the bait. I don’t care about Netanyahu. Netanyahu is irrelevant. It’s the fact that someone can value a person because he rules over him that pisses me off.

I asked, “האם יש משהו שנתניהו יכול לעשות באופן תאורטי כדי שאתה לא תעריץ אותו?”

“Is there anything that Netanyahu could theoretically do that would cause you to stop admiring him?”

He thought for about three seconds, and then said, “I don’t think like you. I look at the good. I don’t look at the bad.”

“So there’s nothing he could do, he could kill anybody, steal from anybody, kick anyone out of their home and you would still love him?” I asked.

“I know your approach, I don’t agree with it. I try to find the good.”

Then I started paraphrasing some Chumash to him angrily. “How wonderful it was in Egypt when we sat on the meat pots and ate bread to our fill! They threw our babies in the Nile and enslaved us but we love the Egyptians! We look at the good side!”

Then the whole thing devolved into “What’s your approach” and me saying I’m an anarchist and them ganging up and saying the standard cliches like the rich will eat the poor and we’ll all kill each other etc.

Then I realized. The old people are a lost cause. They grew up in the state and they will die with the state. It’s the young people that matter. The ones that are pissed off, the ones that know it can be so much better if the rulers would just go away and get a job. The ones who understand that loving a political leader unconditionally no matter how much he abuses you and steals from you and kicks your family out of their homes, is insanity, Egyptian slave mentality insanity.

If you’re young and you’re reading this and you’re pissed off with politics, stay gold, as Ponyboy would say.


Conversations with a Statist: Round 1, “Free Medical School”

It’s a dumbfounding experience speaking to a man who really believes that the State exists to take care of people, that it is trustworthy, that if only some law were passed so taxpayers could fund just one more thing, everything would be fixed.

The statist believes in force. He believes in laws. He fears liberty. He thinks it will lead to chaos. He does not trust the market, he has a low view of man, but paradoxically, believes a man-run State is somehow exempt from the low status of mankind he has bestowed upon the tax paying portion of the population. The tax parasites, those are the noble ones, living off the productivity of others like leaches.

In one conversation with a statist who is some sort of researcher or teacher at a medical school , I accused him of supporting taxpayer subsidies because he is part of the two most heavily subsidized industries – healthcare and higher education. He responded that most of his money comes from “private research grants” rather than tuition from indebted students that get their money from government loans. There’s always a way to weasel out and say you’re clean.

Private research grants probably from Big Pharma companies that have spent millions lobbying congress for extra regulations and hoola hoops and barriers for smaller companies from entering the industry. Let’s see one small cap company successfully break through the insanely expensive phase III FDA barrier without Big Pharma lending a “helping hand” and securing revenues for itself. Private research grants…fah. What he means is research grants given by huge conglomerates that have special corporatist privileges from government.

He’ll read this, deny it, say the money is clean because it comes from pure capitalists who are not in bed with government, which will then contradict his whole value system because, of course, he is supposed to love government and hate pure capitalists as greedy pigs.

Anyway, he suggested that the best way to eradicate student loan debt is to…get this…make medical school… “free”. What genius. Here is how I responded to that wonderfully ingenius proposal:

With what money are you going to make medical school free? Who is going to pay for it? The Feds, who are in the hole over $100,000,000,000,000 in unfunded liabilities? This is what I can’t understand about about you people and it brings me almost to tears. Don’t you get it? There is no more money. It’s all gone. How the hell are you supposed to make medical school free? The answer is you force people who don’t want to go to medical school to subsidize people who do want to go to medical school, more theft.

You say the trillion dollar student debt is unfair, and they you have the chutzpah to suggest free medical school? Do numbers mean nothing to you? Or do you just ignore them? Does your brain turn off when you hear the debt? Do you think it’s fake?

What do you think is going to happen when the debt cannot be paid? All the trillions of dollars of treasury bonds are going to flood American shores. The dollar will collapse completely. All your savings will be wiped away in a few months. You won’t even be able to afford to buy food and clothing, let alone “free medical school”. My God. You can’t see it. You think money is pieces of paper.

Go ahead, enjoy your free medical school. The debt is just a fairy tale after all.

Here is his Statist response:

“With what money are you going to make medical school free? Who is going to pay for it?”

That you ask the question shows that you don’t know how the US health care system works, or the numbers involved. The total cost would be under $5 billion annually. The savings from a single drug — Lipitor — going generic would have paid for it. And it would dramatically reduced costs in the long run.

“more theft”

As I pointed out, taxes aren’t theft. Period.

“Do you think it’s fake?”

About 40% of it is in fact fake, as the US includes debt held by government agencies in the national debt calculations. If you eliminated the national debt as it is typically defined, you would also eliminate 96.5% of the US currency in circulation, which would be catastrophic for the entire planet.

“What do you think is going to happen when the debt cannot be paid?”

The only reason the debt won’t get paid would be if the Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling or shut down the government. Japan’s national debt as % of GDP is more than double that of the US, and nobody is ranting the way you are about its solvency. The problems in the US are political, not fiscal or economic. And attitudes such as yours are a major part of the problem.

So let’s break down this bull.

First paragraph:

That you ask the question shows that you don’t know how the US health care system works, or the numbers involved. The total cost would be under $5 billion annually. The savings from a single drug — Lipitor — going generic would have paid for it. And it would dramatically reduced costs in the long run.

That you answer the question this way shows that you don’t know how the US government system works or the numbers involved. The total cost would be advertised by politicians as under $5 billion annually. They would say things like “the savings from a single drug going generic will pay for it! And we’ll have dramatically reduced costs in the long run!”

I can picture some senator saying that right now. It would sound beautiful. Just one more law will fix EVERYTHING! I know where I’ve heard that line before. From FDR, when he started Social Security. Huge savings. Little cost. Nothing to worry about. And LBJ when he started Medicare. Huge savings. Little cost. Nothing to worry about. And George WTF Bush when he wanted to bomb Iraq. Little cost. In and out. Huge oil savings. Nothing to worry about. Now both programs encompass HALF THE ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET OF OVER $3 TRILLION DOLLARS. And Iraq cost over $1 trillion MORE.

You know what’s going to happen when medical school becomes “free”? Here’s what would happen.

The government would be ecstatic that it now has a whole NEW chunk of the economy, medical schools all over the country, under its tight satanic grip. With all the money now in the hands of disgusting politicians trained to squeeze money out from wherever they can, Senators from states with “underprivileged medical schools” would get lobbied to increase the taxpayer funded budget for the medical school in their state. Commercials from doctors unions would be run “decrying the horrible state of medical education” and there’d be an emergency 2am vote in the Senate to double the national medical school budget and make sure our “national medical education infrastructure remains safe for future generations.” Then inside that bill doubling medical school spending, you’d have 50 porkbarrelled riders adding gyms and saunas “off budget” to the medical schools where you have the most relatives of senators.

Then you’d start the campaign to expand the medical school student population for the underprivileged, inner city poor kids who have no shot of getting out of the ghetto unless they go to medical school. We have to include all of them, so we have to expand the budget. Let’s double it again and bring in at least 30% minorities. Any medical school that doesn’t bring in at least a 30% minority student base has its budget cut and subsequently spent on the next stupid “War on Terror” horror episode. Any school that brings in a higher percentage gets increased funding.

A huge government contractor now wants a new project. He has a friend high up in some medical school close to Washington. The friend wants to give the contractor a job building a new platinum encrusted wing in memory of some politician’s great niece to a medical school. So the friend says to the government that without a new wing that will cost at least $30,000,000, the quality of medical education at his institution will decline precipitously. He knows the exact man for the job. Ride it onto some spending bill. Sounds good.

Soon all the medical schools want new wings dedicated to more politicians. The budget balloons.

And so on and so forth. $5,000,000,000? And how much was social security and medicare supposed to cost? $1.6 trillion of course. And counting. Feh.

Savings. That’s what the government wants to do. Save you money. That’s why they’re the most indebted institution to ever have existed on planet Earth. Because they want to save you money, that’s why. Perhaps it’s because they like spending money they extract from you? Just a thought.

Why even get into the aspect of inter-government debt and it being a fiction? He doesn’t understand what debt is. According to him, since the government owes the government, it’s all fake. Ha, that’s a good one.

Here’s a reductio ad absurdum. Joe of planet Earth owes Bob of planet Earth $16 trillion dollars. But since they’re both of planet Earth, Earth owes it to itself, so the debt is fiction.

Sounds good to me! Let’s keep spending! And as long as we can keep upping the debt ceiling and borrowing more money to pay off money we already borrowed, everything will be fine! Nothing’s going to crash! This isn’t some sort of positive feedback loop! Interest rates will stay at historic lows forever! Nothing to see here! Just keep spending!