Sunday, December 29, 2013

Robert Reich & The Cookie Jar

By, Chris Rossini

Several days ago, Robert Reich took out his red, white & blue Obamacare pom-poms and began his cheer:
Whatever happened to American can-do optimism? Even before the Affordable Care Act covers its first beneficiary, the nattering nabobs of negativism are out in full force.
Bet you didn't know that 'America's can-do attitude' applies to government redistribution heists, did you? Well now you know. The original liberty-minded American has fallen quite far indeed.
If the past is any guide, some fixes will probably be necessary – but so what?
"So what" rolls off the tongue very smoothly when the planners deal with other people's money and livelihoods. So what? Who cares?
What needs fixing can be fixed. And over time we can learn how to do it better.
Oh sure...the cakewalks in Iraq & Afghanistan have cost a cool Trillion ($$$). Has the government "learned how" to remake Arabs into Americans? After a Trillion ($$$)? Will they "learn how" with another Trillion?

Of course not...but "so what"?
If enrollments are lower than anticipated, the proper response is to keep at it until larger numbers are enrolled.
What if Microsoft "kept at it" with the Zune until "larger numbers" bought it? What if Blockbuster Video kept open 9,000 locations until "larger numbers" came through the doors?

So what?

Government doesn't have to worry about that stuff. It can just turn on its magic faucet, and more taxpayer casheesh will flow like water. Just keep at it!

Reich then goes into the government trophy case:
CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, got off to a slow start in 1998...

Richard Nixon’s Supplemental Security Income program of 1974 – designed to standardize welfare benefits to the poor — was widely scorned at the time...

When George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D drug benefit was launched, large numbers of low-income seniors had to be switched from Medicaid. Many needed their prescriptions filled before the switch had been completed, causing loud complaints...
Even Social Security — the most popular of all government programs — had problems when it was launched in 1935.
So you see...government scams are just like The Little Engine That Could. You just have to "keep at it," and ignore the "nattering nabobs."

After strolling passed the trophy case, Reich makes his way into the Master Cockpit. He explains all of the buttons that can be pushed by the Master:
If young people don’t sign up for the Affordable Care Act in sufficient numbers and costs rise too fast, other ways can be found to encourage their enrollment and control costs. If there aren’t enough doctors initially, medical staffs can be utilized more efficiently. If employers begin to drop their own insurance, incentives can be altered so they don’t.
He's got it all figured out baby!

I think a really good fable is in order here.

There's a story about a monkey that sticks his hand into a jar of cookies. The monkey grabs as big a handful of cookies as he can. But when he tries to pull the hand out, he can't get it passed the neck of the cookie jar.

The stubborn monkey would not let go of any of the cookies, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get his hand out of the jar. So in trying to take more than what was possible to remove, the monkey was left crying with nothing!

Now let's see how that story applies to the planners.

Let's imagine a jar filled with POWER. And let's make the jar gold-plated (just for fun). Someday, a politician is going to stick his hand into the golden jar of POWER and he's going to have quite the fistfull. It'll consist of Social Security, Medicare, CHIP, SNAP, ObamaCare, a Military Empire, and lots of other creations of POWER.

As the politician tries to take his hand out of the jar, he's going to get stuck at the neck. Economic law will not permit him to take his hand out! He could push whatever buttons he wants, and dictate whatever thoughts come to his mind, but the hand is not coming out. And like the monkey, there's no way the politician will let go of any of the POWER. He's going to "keep at it".

Also like the monkey, the politician (and all the people that believed him) will be left crying with nothing!

That's how the story of government always ends.

Chris Rossini on TwitterFacebook & Google+


  1. never mind the quality, feel the nudge.

  2. Reich reminds me of Rex Tugwell, the idealistic agricultural administrator during FDR's New Deal who spearheaded the Resettlement Administration, a program that sought to resettle the rural unemployed into collective farms located close to urban areas. Tugwell praised and promoted this plan with optimism and idealism, shunting aside all objections. In the end, it was a miserable failure, now long-forgotten, dumped down the Memory Hole. Now Reich is promoting the next wonderful project - universal and "affordable" health care of the best quality. What could possibly go wrong!

  3. Just shut up Reich.
    No one is going to take away your free medicare drugs.

    effing mooch.

  4. Dammit. Whenever I see the name Robert Reich on line or in print, my life is diminished for the rest of the day. Thanks a lot, EPJ!

    On top of that, his statement that Social Security is the "most popular" government program really irks me. Popular!? Funny, I don't remember being given the choice of being enrolled in SS or not. How can it be "popular" in any reasonable sense of the word? Unless, of course, your definition of "popular" is synonymous with "widespread," as in "pine trees are popular in Georgia." Robert Reich is a piece of work.

  5. AND, at least the monkey doesn't go around terrorizing and killing millions...

  6. The fact any young worker today that actually supports social security demonstrates how pathetic our education system. I love showing young people with simple math that a person working 45 years, starting at $20k and ending their career at a modest $61k, will have paid in so much that they will not reach a break even point until roughly age 88. And that is only using US 30y rates and inflation at 2%. The program is nothing but a generational theft mechanism and a means to encourage people to spend everything they earn, I guess to keep corporate and government coffers full.

    People like Reich are no more compassionate than a parent that gives their kids candy because the kids demand it. Reich and so many of his peers couldn't take a tough stand on anything that goes against populist demand. He has no spine or IMO real care for his fellow man. Its all about him and being popular with the children er general population. The beauty of the ACA is that what they thought was an easy populist thing to support has turned into a nightmare for them since the populace above those qualifying for medicaid gets the shaft via either a back end loaded (super high deductible) insurance policy that most can't afford to use or a front loaded insurance policy most can't afford. So what's the plan, well get the non-thinking public to support it like they do social security. Sadly, it will probably work.