Obamacare Spells Death for a Weak Economy


Hard to say what has touched off the buying spree on Wall Street, but it surely couldn’t have been the sight of Obamacare’s dreadnought bearing down on the U.S. economy.  Have you kept up with the news?  The details that have emerged concerning the Orwellian, badly misnamed Affordable Care Act suggest that it could easily crush the life from our already dying economy. There’s the matter of Medicaid, for one. Half of the states have taken the bait, opting to expand coverage with “free” money from Washington. And why not?  Enlarging the program will cost them nothing extra until 2016, at which point The Guvvamint will cut back on reimbursements by about 10%. So then, why have half the states opted out?  For starters, it will cost them a bundle just to administer the program – money they don’t have even if the care itself will be paid for, at

least initially, with OPM.  However, an even bigger reason for saying no is that existing Medicaid programs are already pushing many states toward bankruptcy. Just ask Massachusetts, the home of Romneycare, where runaway healthcare costs are threatening to consume outlays in all other categories, including education, transportation, police, fire and judicial.

Opting out would seem to be a no-brainer, but it’s not that simple. Any state that does so will effectively be shifting the financial burden of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion onto beleaguered employers. That’s because workers are guaranteed some kind of coverage, and if the states themselves are not providing it via Medicaid, businesses will have to pick up the entire tab.  Can’t they simply pay a $2000 fine instead?  Yes, they can.  But it won’t be tax deductible like corporate dollars spent on actual care, and so the decision will be fraught for firms both big and small that have struggled to survive the aftermath of The Great Recession.

The Big Lie

In fact, the economy may have relapsed into recession, notwithstanding Reuters and FactSet reports that S&P 500 earnings grew 3% in the fourth quarter.  Our colleague Michael Belkin, editor of The Belkin Report, says the data are flat-out wrong according to Standard and Poor’s itself, which says Q4 operating earnings fell 2% sequentially and 1% year over year. Under the circumstances, the stock market’s steep rise so far in 2013 feels like an historical bull trap in the making. Stocks can’t go down, the thinking goes, as long as the central banks continue to flood the financial system with interest-free money. We shall see. In the meantime, although we’re not inclined to fight the tape, we are telling subscribers to initiate tightly stopped short positions at promising “Hidden Pivot” targets in the Diamonds, E-Mini S&Ps and some other trading vehicles. At the same time, we’ve bought some cheap upside exposure via March butterfly spreads in GOOG. For a more detailed look at our strategies, click here to receive a free trial subscription.

Comments on this entry are closed.

casey-mudville February 19, 2013, 3:27 pm


Your comment is appreciated but obsolete text book free market economics. Dinosaur economics. Put away all the econ-lingo and answer this question. What jobs do you see, are there in our urban and rural areas to support decent respectable family formation? The pickings are pretty slim, when you figure in the cost of food, housing, living in a safe neighborhood, (private?) education for your 2-3 children, medical and the rest. You are oblivious to the fact that America has a severe deficit of these jobs that the free market cannot take care of. Our great free market was able to provide them 30 years ago and various Federal Reserve bubbles have helped a bit such as the last lamented real estate bubble and the internet/telecom bubble under B Clinton. Imperial Washington DC cannot take care of it either but the Democrats (who I despise) at least are devious/clever enough to make this problem translate into votes for them via various welfare, disability SSI, via Obama-Care, via free ObamaFones and so on

The lack of high paying middle class jobs that you can raise families on (read Steve Sailor blog called iSteve on this) is only going to get worse due to automation and computerization. You tell me how I am wrong but in common language, not econ-terms. If you cannot explain it this way then you are lacking, so go right ahead


Don February 18, 2013, 4:47 pm

John Jay,
You are on target young man; will pass this on to my grand kids.

Don February 18, 2013, 5:43 am

I vote for JOHN JAY to start a blog; unless you already have one and if so I will appreciate the blog address.
Thank you,

John Jay February 18, 2013, 3:37 pm

I appreciate your support.
I am happy to just post here on Rick’s site, I do not want to attract the wrath of the Government or any of the various special interest group lobbies that enjoy de facto Government support.

The best thing you can do is to spread the word to any young people that are in a fierce struggle to survive in the wreckage of our once mighty economy.
Why can’t they get ahead?
One word answer.
That word is “Inflation”
Keep it real simple for them.
Inflation in prices over decades via Fiat/Debt creation with wages kept stagnant by “Free Trade” and “Open Borders”.
That is why it is so hard for them.
And that situation is Government/Big Business Policy.
Tell them they are getting screwed.
Maybe they will wake up if they get mad enough.
I think Americans are more a herd of Cape Buffalo that have been picked apart by Lions for decades, than they are defenseless sheep.
I’ve seen Cape Buffalo on nature shows take apart a lion pride when they get mad enough to turn on the lions and charge.
I hope the young people wake up, stick together, turn around and charge the lions.
I am talking of a Political Charge on the lions, not counter productive protest marches that give the Police batting practice.
It will take a grass roots third party with candidates on every level from City Council to POTUS.
That’s a task for young people with lots of energy.
Let’s see what happens to the herd.

John Jay February 17, 2013, 11:40 pm

“Do you really think ulta-conservative business owners wants to get rid of illegals?”

No, Gary, I argued the complete opposite. You must have misread my little comment.
I said: Amnesty and Open Borders are championed by the Democrats for cheap, pliable votes, and Republicans for cheap, pliable labor.
Both the left and right love Open Borders because it offers Dems cheap votes, and Reps. cheap labor.

“Do you really think GDP productivity will not suffer?”

My response: If all the illegal aliens were deported you would see 3o years of repressed housing price deflation and 30 years of wage inflation happen real fast.
Everything Ben and the Fed have been fighting for those same 30 years because big business wants those things, as do local governments for Property Tax Inflation.
Eisenhower nipped this problem in the bud back in the 1950s when 1,000 BP Agents got tough and 1,000,000 illegals went back home to Mexico.
In spite of complaints from big ranchers in the SW, who had as their spokesman none other than LBJ!
Eisenhower did it anyway.
Now we have 30,000 BP Agents and they can’t even round up the 300,000 illegals with deportation orders outstanding.
Funny how unproductive today’s BP Agents are.
1950s: 1,000 deportees per agent
2013: can’t seem to find those 300k with 30k agents!

Continuing on the matter…….
You would see tax money spent on social services for illegals freed up for tax cuts for you and I.
You would see hospital emergency rooms re-appear
as well as MD specialists who have fled those ERs because they expect to be paid for their services.
On and on.
Nothing but upside for Joe Average, so it will never happen of course.

As far as GDP goes, it is a better measure of inflation than US economic productivity.
Government GDP figures have been meaningless in real terms since LBJ lit the fuse on systemic inflation back in 1964.
The best measure would be a list of how many cars, airplanes, locomotives, TVs, tires, pairs of jeans, socks, machine tools etc. we produced in 2013 as compared to the same figures from 1964.
For a lot of those categories the 2013 totals will be zero.
But it is all academic, because Joe Average has had little or no representation in DC since JFK was fingered by the Valkyries in Dallas and went off to Valhalla!
Nothing is going to change for the better here, the Oligarchs are mopping up now.

gary leibowitz February 18, 2013, 5:13 pm

I wasn’t arguing with you about big business, just reinforcing it. While costs on services would be reduced without illegals, the upside on productivity and spending offset that. Not a one-sided answer. The amount of money put back into the economy is higher than you think. The notion that we sold out to the wishes of corporations is a good point. We are a service nation now, with high-tech as the last bastion.

The idea that illegals are the cause of our problems is a dangerous assumption. Getting rid of every one will not free up our tax burden or health costs.

You use illegals as a scapegoat for the world shift from citizen representation to corporate control.

gary leibowitz February 19, 2013, 1:57 am

Perhaps your facts are a bit off concerning illegal deportation. If my data is incorrect than I would like to find your source. Near all time highs in deportation during a 40 year low for migrants entering this country. I really don’t know how they tabulate these figures but here is an article from Sept.2012.

“Immigration enforcement authorities detained and deported record numbers of illegal immigrants in 2011 and are on track for similar figures this year, even as the numbers of migrants crossing the border illegally dropped to a 40-year low, according to data published Friday by the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration agents deported 391,953 foreign-born people during the 2011 fiscal year, the department’s Office of Immigration Statistics reported. They included more than 188,000 people who had been convicted of crimes in the United States — an “all-time high” for such deportations, the report found.”

mava February 16, 2013, 7:36 am


I believe your sentiment to be economically incorrect. Your thinking precludes progress, because it allows to somehow label efficiency as an impediment to wealth.

What is the job of economy? Is it to provide jobs? No. The job of the economy is to provide goods and services that we are willing to trade our own goods and services for. This means that we must first have goods and/or services, and second, have a need to trade for other goods and services. Economy has no job to provide for someone who does not possess both of the above.

When the need is satisfied, the exchange value of a good or service that works to satisfy that need goes down. This is as natural as hunger/fullness. In a free economy, there supposed to be constant decline of prices, which leads to the situation where “Computerization, automation” satisfies more and more for less and less. The effect of rising efficiency of production is that we have more and more free time. An even simpler example would be to imagine that you are a hunter-gatherer and you have now an computerised-automated bow, which kills 10 game animals with the same effort it took to kill only one before. The result is not “jobless” hunters, but hunters spending more time with families, and less time hunting, while being fed as good as before.

Why it is not so? Because people who produce negative output are not timely killed. That is the root, but it may-be to condensed to be understood. We have no conception of negative good, or negative work, because our life experience is based on real numbers and things. Thus, when some people wanted to grow rich quick without appropriate effort of work and savings, they started to borrow capital for enterprises. This, in itself is not bad. The problem is when they did not return the capital borrowed with appropriate interest, – they were not punished appropriately.

As the fashion to borrow grew, new methods were invented to further disguise the losses (negative work). These included fiat monetary systems. The first purpose of ANY fiat system is to disguise the loss of capital by the lender. Further advancements in this sort of scheming brought about the notion of necessity to have constant inflation. (FED desires constant 2%plus inflation, i.e. it argues in favor of constant 2%plus loss of capital on the part of lenders. The reality is of course much higher than this 2%).

So, not only a constant deflation (as would be the natural case with constant money supply and growing production) is not allowed, on top of that, the constant inflation is created.

The effect of this is of course the unnatural situation where more and more goods are produced with more and more efficiency, while at the same time, the people need to surrender more and more of their time to obtain the output (i.e. the imbalance is shifted towards forceful loss of efficiency of labor from the point of laborer). Therefore, the notion of more jobs needed is created and maintained.

And what is wrong with free trade? (Not talking about the WTO and such, but about a concept itself).

Secondly, you mention “decent wealth distribution”, and I do not know what that is. “Decent” is a subjective measure. What is decent to you may not be decent to me. Do you mean “artificial wealth distribution” as in communism or socialism or Obamanism?

Interestingly, you consider yourself a proponent of capitalism.

casey-mudville February 16, 2013, 3:52 am

“The worldwide experiment of using an exponential rise in debt to hide the lack of jobs that produce real goods is beginning to fail.”

Automation and computerization have severely reduced the number of men needed to produced steel, washing machines and injection mold plastics etc. In the case of America we had evil free trade polices that accelerated this decline in “guys jobs”. Big capital got wealthier from free trade US workers got poorer as WalMart became larger than GM (in income) than General Motors 17 years ago. You could make more money selling foreign and domestic items than making them. The real estate (ginned up easy money bubble) temporarily created millions of guys jobs. So many we had a few hundred thousands illegal aliens guys also hammering nails.

There is nothing after this so do not lie to yourselves. There will be no automobile making revolution to overtake the obsolete (cliched) buggy whip manufacturers. There will be armies of non-producers who will look to the state for sustenance and who will vote for the Obamas who will provide this. Capital and wealth will become more concentrated because a fair and decent wealth distribution depends on a morally solid and prosperous middle class that gets this way only by making useful real goods for a real world. You gotta mine it, make it or grow it. Computerization, automation , free trade kill this.

BTW I am a man of the right, not a leftist. I despise the cultural left and say capitalism is the best economic system

gary leibowitz February 16, 2013, 8:39 pm

The latest report showed an increase in people willing to quit their current job. That suggests people feel more confident they can compete for a higher wage. As for wages, they too have risen over 2 percent year over year. Not great, but certainly improving. The assumptions that we haven’t replaced jobs due to loss from automation is just not so. If it were than we would never have had the great economic boom of the 80’s, smack dab in the middle of the high-tech revolution. If all the current jobs were from Walmart type openings than we wouldn’t be talking today of a possible depression. It would already have been here for the last decade.

I am disheartened with all the vague unsubstantiated notions concerning the current state of our nation, and the conclusions it draws. Ignoring or dismissing century proven economic data points because it doesn’t fit into your assumptions is not a winning formula. Good scientists can start with a premise, based on some theory, but he/she must validate that with cold hard data. You would rather claim the numerous verifiable data points were faked by some big conspiracy rather than use the most “logical” explanation.

I must state the obvious. Just by my observation of the past year and a half most have already been proven wrong, but still use the same talking points. How can that be? I can understand and accept the view that the economy will fail based on the current model. I can even understand the view that the world governments policy of placing a cork to hold a cracked dam from breaking is ludicrous. What I can’t fathom is the insistence that it already happened, like the sun exploding and not knowing the truth for 8 more minutes.

Wouldn’t it be more helpful to discuss the situation in terms of it’s “path of destruction”, as opposed to ignoring Wall Street and the current economic activity? In fact, if you can use the current data points to show a linear progression (regression) over the years, or past historic patterns, than we would have a basis for predicting the future. Even if you assume the world governments are doing extraordinary measures and rule changes to keep the economies afloat, there must be some way to analyze its affectiveness and signs of failure.

The cause and affect. I am a connect-the-dots person. Rick in his betting method clearly uses such a formula. Why not do the same when discussing where we are in the sceme of things. If we all use our own angle of view it is possible a clearer picture can emerge. It is a better way to prepare for the future with accumulated knowledge pooled together.

John Jay February 16, 2013, 8:44 pm

Exactly, that explains the ceaseless push for Amnesty by the Feds with the matching MSM one sided, “They just want to support their families” propaganda.
Once the Government gives the illegals citizenship and the vote the ten million will turn into twenty million real fast. Then our votes will be as debased as our currency.

100,000 legal immigrants a month, who knows how many illegal immigrants.
We have no need for any immigrants at all with real wages stagnant since the 70s and labor force participation rates at long term lows.
To compare the situation today to the situation 100 years ago with the “We are a nation of immigrants” mantra is insane.
We don’t have a horse driven farm/transportation industry any longer.
So we don’t need ranch/livery stable hands to toil away at those jobs now.
Agriculture is mechanized, machines pick tomatoes now.
Coal mining is mechanized now.
Ford and Carnegie are not running sprawling factories in Detroit and Pittsburgh requiring tens of thousands of low skill workers.
Ford’s River Rouge complex is not working three shifts with 75,000 employees today.
Look at Detroit, times have changed
NYC is not digging cut and fill subway tunnels by hand today.
Most people don’t die at 50 today, they live longer.
We do not need armies of clerks filing by hand and typing letters and internal memos.
What factory jobs remained have been sent off shore via NAFTA/CAFTA/GATT illegally constituted Trade Agreements which are really Treaties and need more than a simple majority to be enacted.
Amnesty and Open Borders are championed by the Democrats for cheap, pliable votes, and Republicans for cheap, pliable labor.
One last victory for them and I expect the gloves to really come off in the Governments treatment of it’s Legacy Citizens.
Legacy Citizens, that is you and I if you are wondering.

gary leibowitz February 17, 2013, 7:56 pm

John Jay,

Do you really think ulta-conservative business owners wants to get rid of illegals? Do you really think GDP productivity will not suffer? Even the extreme fringe of the Republican party proposed an intentured style program where illegals get a 1 to 2 year work permit and then ship them back home. When it comes to business profits there is no discussion on the matter.

Bill February 15, 2013, 8:38 pm

Rick -or- Anyone
There’s been some discussion about currency wars lately. I’ve been so focused on the demise of the dollar from the Fed’s inflating and the country’s perilous balance sheet that I haven’t thought about how the world would respond to America’s strategy to inflate its way out of our debt problems. If other prominent countries trash their balance sheets then what? Where is the dollar ultimately in that scenario?
Love to see an essay on this topic Rick and the subsequent discussion . . .

Dave February 15, 2013, 6:36 pm

The 3-4x yearly astrological phenom, Mercury Retrograde, begins Saturday 2/23/13 at 4:41am EST.in Pisces and lasts until 3/17/13

If you’re a Pisces, you may notice its effects more, severity depends how close your birth/natal chart Mercury placement is to this MR which hits at 19º47′
About 7-10 days before, there could be some early indicator of action.

For those new or forgot, past MRs have had gold, silver, AAPL at all time highs, major and mini flash crashes. There usually is noticeable increase in volatility and today’s large drop in gold -33 at one point suggests there could be larger swings coming during MR,

I usually notice computer problems h/w and s/w, cable TV, internet outages, strange browser behavior.
Last one I had microwave oven die, fridge go haywire,
Always good to do a full s/w backup. Communications of all types can be affected so if you find difficulties at work, with people, on phone w/companies, in stores, don’t get too upset. I’ve found during MR periods, harder to get resolution to problems which seem to clear up once Mercury goes direct.

Mercury is known as Quicksilver and implies increase in speed, you may notice this feeling of events unfurling faster.

Recommended not to sign contracts, make major life changing decisions, etc.

BKL February 15, 2013, 3:21 pm

Hearing Americans talk about providing affordable healthcare, is like hearing Israeli and Palestinian politicians talk about peace. My eyes glaze over, seeing all the detailed knowledge of the contributors to this discussion.

But there is no insurance formula that will work unless you aggressively attack cost.

All medical procedures here in Japan cost about a third what they would in the U.S. That is where you guys need to get, and fast, before medical care destroys everything that our forefathers worked 300 years to build.

mava February 15, 2013, 6:03 am

Is there a need for any sort of state administered care? I think it is absolutely clear to everyone that there is not. Anyone who wants care should simply pay for it either outright, or by credit, or from dedicated savings (private, individual insurance). Anything, anything at all that supposedly explains why is a commie-care a need, and how does it save money, simply a lie, designed to hide the fact that the difference will have to be stolen from somebody.

That said, why did Obama implement it? Did he intend to derail the US economy? Or did he simply have a few economic advisers who told him, point blank, that there is a collapse ahead? Since even I know that there is a collapse, I am going to assume the latter, as surely Obama can hire people way, way more knowledgeable than I.

All right, he knew. And so, he implemented Obamacare. What was supposed to be the point of it? If we imagine the collapse, then we can imagine the degree of chaos that will take place. Since the destruction of usable wealth of every American is going to be at an approximate rate of 40:1, meaning that if you could afford to buy 40 of anything now, then post-collapse you will only afford to buy one of that same thing, it is clear that the new threshold of affordability of healthcare post-collapse will lie about where the line of people 40 times wealthier than those barely capable of affording healthcare lies now. Taking into account the wide shape of normal distribution at the bottom of the chart, this would mean that we would be able to say that “practically” no one in US will be able to afford health care.

At that point, all the programs will have to be scrapped, and every resource will have to be directed to this end.

I propose that Obama simply lays the foundation for what will needed to be done in the future. There will be a great deal of public unrest, and great deal of consequent suppression, so the sooner the idea of “super-theft being necessary for the survival” of the current government is introduced, the better.

As for your point about stock market going up, RA, imagine this:

Say, we freeze the price of gold forcibly. No matter what, we keep posting it at about $1700. In the meantime, the market is going up. The meaning of the market going up is of course, that it is the same purchasing power that is being indexed to expected inflation. Say, this goes on for a while.

Now, at some point, the Dow is 50,000. And gold? Still 1700. What would be the meaning of this situation?

I propose that you are correct. What is being unfolded is nothing but a historical bull trap. Because, the longer you are in the market, the further away you are from being ready for the reconciliation. You stick around purely theoretical, fiat numbers, that carry only estimated meaning. However, the estimate is being done with no bearing, as the gold was frozen.

Which means, that for instance, now that the gold supposed to be valued at 16000-20000, you sit in stock is only a half of a problem, compared to when you still sit in stock while gold is already 60000-80000! And the relative rates here are only the beginning. The further the gold gets artificially delayed in its visible rise, the harder it is going to be to snap back! When the true picture is finally discovered, the ensuing rush is going to make it impossible for the majority to convert anywhere near at the rates that would otherwise prevail had there been no shock.

The reality is that gold is being frozen now. It is frozen by the paper gold market. If we could only make paper gas, then we could use this to halt the rise of gasoline in exactly the same way, – by buying the promises of gas instead of gas itself.

To the degree that gold is not a commodity inasmuch as is silver, its visible price can be held frozen by this method, and it is.

Giant bull trap? You bet!

gary leibowitz February 15, 2013, 2:36 am

I totally agree with you that the burdens placed on businesses, and individuals, regarding the Obamacare package will be high. This was a fight best fought when we actually had some money to spend.

The demise of this economy, and the stock market is still premature. The reason the market is doing so well lately should be obvious to you. The massive amount of inflow this January will account for all of the rise. Regarding business inventories the report cites this : “Several private reports in January, including the ISM manufacturing report, showed visible inventory builds in the month, suggesting that businesses, having to meet orders, may now be building up their stocks which is a solid plus for both output and employment.”

I wouldn’t place the nail just yet into the market’s coffin.

Carol February 15, 2013, 4:00 pm

I want Gary to watch this 1 hour long video then come back here and give us his “happy talk” on how everything is just so huncky doorryy!


gary leibowitz February 15, 2013, 5:55 pm

My happy talking points are such that I am labeled a bleeding heart liberal. Which is it? I want socialist programs. I want some sort of tax fairness without government subsidizing those that need it the least. I want the rhetoric on blaming the weak and powerless to stop.

You all must know by now my views. I would ban corporate, union, and all PAC committees from being allowed to contribute or influence congress in any way. I will place strict enforceable guidlines to prevent graft and cheating.

Happy talking points? I know what is going on. Guess what, it has been going on for many decades. The majority of the voting populace blindly went about their business raising a family and finding enough money left over to spend on their own happiness. Ignorance was bliss. Today the problems have been steadily creeping into their lives.

Now to reality. The stock market and corporate earnings obviously play by different rules. If you haven’t figured that out yet maybe you should. These are facts. Look at the stock market at any and every point in history and tell me it’s trajectory is not always up (higher highs), not always discounting the human hardship factor.

You can’t ignore every months data points, which combined, give a decent view on the state of this economy. ISM, inventory, employment, spending and borrowing, all give a clue to what to expect from corporate earnings. Just because you “expect” the world to wake up and realize their future is bleak doesn’t mean it will happen. In fact it rarely happens. Most of us realize these as facts only after the event. Not a very forward looking bunch, us humans.

One other data point came out and that was consumer confidence. It is at a 3 month high. That suggests to me that when middle-america gets the call for this survey they give an honest account. You can disagree and assume otherwise, but to do so on your opinion alone is foolish.

I am fighting the winning battle as if my assumptions and theories have been wrong these 15 months. Where is the world stock market today? I don’t care about your whining that it is unfairly propped up. I live in “this” world, and I sugeest you should also.

Finally, please remember that I stated a very long time ago we should experieince accelerated earnings but the end is not far away. I still believe that. My timeline has always been May/June of this year. You still complain I am wrong? I could be wrong if the market continues to rally much past June. I doubt it crashs much before that date.

gary leibowitz February 15, 2013, 1:44 am

Read your argument on global warming a bit late. I appreciate the debuttal. It is indeed something to consider. I will try and research this to see if this report has legs. Thanks again for a well thought out informative piece.

gary leibowitz February 15, 2013, 2:16 am

I read your atricle and than I read the mountain of evidence where climate scientists are in agreement (97.5%). In fact the article I first cited even brings up YOUR 2004 senate debate on the issue. Here is a quote:

Benny Peiser, a climate contrarian, repeated Oreskes’ survey and claimed to have found 34 peer reviewed studies rejecting the consensus. However, an inspection of each of the 34 studies reveals most of them don’t reject the consensus at all. The remaining articles in Peiser’s list are editorials or letters, not peer-reviewed studies. Peiser has since retracted his criticism of Oreskes survey:

“Only [a] few abstracts explicitly reject or doubt the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) consensus which is why I have publicly withdrawn this point of my critique. [snip] I do not think anyone is questioning that we are in a period of global warming. Neither do I doubt that the overwhelming majority of climatologists is agreed that the current warming period is mostly due to human impact”

Sorry but the evidence is pretty darn conclusive. You shoud re-read the articel I presented in the last blog.


You do realize this meeting you cite was called by the minority Senate committee. Do you think it just might be a prop for politicans not very eager to spend money on the environment? Not eager to gut states with coal as the primary energy source. You should be more careful when you mix science with politics.

Tiburon February 16, 2013, 1:24 am

Hi Gary
Thanks for good words. I really think though that we have to step-away from a debate couched in Argumentum ad populum – Appeal to Consensus.
It’s a trap, and while I accept your ‘evidence’ (up to a certain point) about the numbers who have joined the GW theists on the gravy train, I think if this subject comes up again, we should try to actually bring forward the debate and interpretations around the hard DATA, and not engage in a game of ‘numbers believing’. That’s not science, after all, and scientific progress gives no recognition of such.

My earlier “challenge” to you, to visit that link I gave
and see if you couldn’t also conclude, like myself (and “some” others), that real understanding of the Climate System is still in it’s infancy, and the honest scientific thing to say is “we don’t know, yet, what is really driving climate, and ‘doing something’ might have very very unintended consequences, not necessarily positive”. BTW, just so you’re clear – I’m all for efficiency, self-sufficiency, and elegance in engineering and energy production systems. I think if folk thought in these terms, we’d naturally grow towards a ‘gentler’ interaction with our environment.
But this CAGW story has, IMHO, been a catastrophe for the average person’s respect for scientific analysis, and should we discover a “real” crisis we can actually DO something about, it’ll be that much harder to sell it to “the masses”. I know also it wasn’t ‘scientists’ so much as the interface of science/politics/money/media that created this situation. Everyone I guess has to step-up to be responsible for their actions, and that would help alot.
I also believe, just making the point to you that my viewpoint on these issues is not, I think, un-subtle – , that contrary to the opinion of some Climate Change contrarians (and I know that technically the observational DATA doesn’t robustly support this thesis/opinion: – because hurricanes/tornadoes are less strong and frequent, Arctic ice-melt is within historical boundaries, droughts/floods are not unprecedented, no significant warming in 16 yrs. etc etc, …after all), I nonetheless believe we have entered a period of ‘weather/climate extremes’ – at least in terms of the ‘where and when’ if not the ‘how big, how often’.
But I don’t believe and have seen zero evidence it has anything to do with anthropogenic CO2.
As I sometimes can’t resist a ‘parting shot’, here’s a link to an earlier post at Jo’s site – very balanced IMO, revealing ‘where the money goes’ in Climate Research.
Might serve to help you understand why it appears so many scientists support the CAGW thesis.

gary leibowitz February 18, 2013, 6:04 pm

Climatology is very comlpex. Thats exactly why we should us studies done by the experts in the field, climate scientists. These studies are used to build a consensus. They also are used by scientists to replicate the results. If so many in the specific field agree we must use that as a focal point.

If you believe that everything is bought by big business or government interests, there is no argument I can present that will satisfy you. You conclude that since governments are spending huge amounts on climate disruptions it becomes an industry of greed where fraud plays a part. You can use that argument, without facts to back these claims up, on almost every activity funded by governments.

I believe it is a lot harder to ‘cover up’ truth without it being exposed. With all the different independent world scientific cooperation supporting a general consensus, I would have to side with them.

The numerous studies on core sampling around the world can easily be googled. I am sure all these scientists knows about the natural cyclical nature of our planets past. I am just as sure they haven’t discarded that fact.

Tiburon February 18, 2013, 10:54 pm

Gary, I’m sorry but I don’t think I’ll be able to continue this discussion with you. It doesn’t appear (to me) that you are actually using words in the way I’ve been raised to understand their meaning.
IN ONE FINAL ATTEMPT to clearly convey my central point: –
I’ve been researching climate (as a layman) since before the turn of the millenium. Due my background, my instinctive and initial response to the CAGW “theory” was to ‘believe in it’.
Over time, as I learned more about the basic mechanics and physics (mainstream) of weather and climate, this changed.
In all this time, I have not seen one simple, single, empirical proof of CO2 having measurable, let alone a “significant” (in the ‘scientific/statistical’ meaning of the term) effect on climate. To my knowledge, neither has anyone else, and I suspect I would have seen it by now, as I spent a lot of time reading on all sides of the issue, literally hundreds of hours.
IN ORDER FOR a scientific theory to be considered valid, it must be “testable” – that is, “falsifiable”, and the CO2 warming theory has not passed this bar.
Correlation is NOT CAUSATION. Neither does ‘Congruence’ prove a theory, – it can only work to falsify a theory.
[I’ll borrow an analogy I read elsewhere: – Children go to school at the same time that leaves begin to fall from trees. This is ‘correlation’. How many children go to school in a particular year does not influence the number of leaves that fall that year – this is ‘testable’. That is “non-congruence”, and the theory that one has anything to do with the other is ‘falsified’ (though one can postulate a ‘third factor’ – perhaps all the kids are shaking the tree branches, or the trees are sad for the kids having to attend educational institutions that produce reading comprehension that sometimes evidences itself, on threads like this one… ;-)]
There are hundreds of papers produced over the last decades showing Correlation of CO2 and climate, and a much smaller subset dealing with Congruence.
These fewer papers, many of recent vintage, are published by scientists who SUBSCRIBE to AGW (in some degree), yet show that in point of fact, CO2 FOLLOWS temperature, (by ~5 months, with possible feedbacks, or possible “third (or 4th, 5th, 6th, etc) element” at play). This is confirmed at multiple time-scales, but is in itself not bullet-proof ‘falsification’ of the thesis, as at our level of understanding of, and ability to measure climate factors, we cannot achieve this certainty.
You are welcome to believe what you will, and that you believe you don’t have the common-sense or intelligence as an educated layman to understand the basic science. I believe the contrary regards my own abilities, and believe the science, at base, is approachable by most with genuine curiosity.
It is well-beyond disingenuousness for politicians and official scientific “groups” to claim that they are unaware of this abovementioned and multiple other data sets that contradict the CAGW “theory”, so at that point, I begin to ‘follow the money’ to attempt to discern their motivations, though always keeping in mind the dictum: –
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
In any case, Gary – until you can bring me one, single (simple or not), empirical proof that CO2 has a significant effect on the earth’s climate, I will have to conclude that you subscribe to ‘magical thinking’ on this issue, and are, by definition, a CAWG Theist.
[not to overly disparage ‘magical thinking’ either – it too has it’s place in life, IMHO, just not in my pocketbook, so-to-speak – ‘positive thinking’ perhaps excepted ;-)]
You’ll note I have not responded in any way to your (repeated) claims of “consensus”. Let me be clear on this as well: – You can bring every scientist on the planet in ‘support of a theory’ – it only takes one to disprove it (if Falsifiable). I do understand that it can be comforting to be ‘part of a crowd/the majority’, as it can be, perhaps perversely, the converse. It has zero bearing on the scientific issues at hand.

Tiburon February 19, 2013, 7:46 am

Just a typographical error: – When I speak of “CO2” in the last comment, I’m speaking of Anthropogenic INCREASES of CO2 in earth’s atmosphere, against the background of ~280 ppm. in the 1800’s. NOT CO2 ‘in general’, as it is largely understood and generally accepted that ALL greenhouse gases, in concert, contribute to stabilization of the earth’s temperature, to some degree and in an as-yet not truly understood manner.

Greenhouse gases, that is, including WATER VAPOUR, which is 95% of the total GH gases, by volume. (CO2 is ~4%, by volume -).

And all these GH gases, taken together, comprise themselves only some 4% of the atmosphere as a whole (varying substantially correlated with latitude – ie – near zero water vapour at the Poles). CO2, including our contribution (supposed – commonly accepted – because there are multiple pathways for CO2 to enter and leave the atmosphere, principal among them ocean/atmosphere interactions) since the 1800’s, representing ~390 ppm {PARTS within every MILLION PARTS} of the atmosphere. {{Hence, obviously a Demon Gas with Supernatural Powers.}}

To quote Carl Sagan, (not one of my philosophical heroes): –
“As long ago as 1994, cosmologist Carl Sagan expressed concern about the trend toward an American society in which, “clutching our crystals and religiously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in steep decline, unable to distinguish between what’s true and what feels good, we slide, almost without noticing, into superstition and darkness.’”

As distinct from ‘greenhouse effect’, which is where the debate gets heated – as attribution of CO2’s contribution to this known and generally-accepted effect, speaking euphemistically, ‘varies widely’.

I like Samuel Clemens better on the subject: –
“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such trifling investment of facts.” Mark Twain

A very short article on the most important Greenhouse Gas: –

D. Barber February 19, 2013, 4:38 pm

If climatologists are going to study sun spots they must defer to astrophysicists…so on and so forth. You do Not have the cooperation of all sciences well enough integrated to come to any solid conclusions. Not at all.
I do get tired of reading articles which emphasize words relating to warming fears, even when the data is just normal everyday data. Mindset.
Gen 8:22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” KJV
Worth pondering also.
Governments should slow down and quit looking forward to their next supplyline to wine and cheese.

DG February 14, 2013, 10:50 pm

Ben Carson’s speech hit it pretty well.

Chief architect of Obamacare, Elizabeth Fowler, is now well employed by Johnson & Johnson. Most transparent govt ever. right….. Transparently very corrupt. Write regulations, then get employed, I mean paid off, by the beneficiary. Billy Tauzin was a piker.

I predict two things: 1) This will create an enormous black market for healthcare. Playing by the rules will be too expensive for most patients. Hence, they will become like Greek taxpayers and obfuscate, lie, etc…
2) Because healthcare within the current system – insurance, normal medical channels- will be too expensive, folks will be forced to become more intelligent patients…Having that fourth doughnut or slab of bacon, never exercising…will become behavior that is simply too expensive. Realizing that fake joints are no longer “free”, will force people to be a lot more healthy…Eating healthy diets has never been expensive. If you can walk you can exercise. You can buy a years worth of vitamin D and C from Costco for the cost of one morning’s most basic labor. If this plays out, the current beneficiaries will get what is long overdue. – maybe you can’t afford those statins that actually do more harm….oh, and those happy pills may have to go too….if America is so depressing that 11% of the people are depressed maybe we don’t need pills, but better leadership.
I can hope.

Steve February 14, 2013, 8:38 pm

Great Job everyone !

Tiburon February 14, 2013, 6:03 pm

As addendum to your very cogent analysis (per usual), Rick – I found this commentary at ZH to be sobering: –


The gist if it is that ‘the chickens are coming home to roost’ in regards the populist-oriented destruction of the educational system in the US – so expect crashes in the system as vastly increased access to “health care” brings down the already overburdened and dysfunctional medical system.

Nothing new, I suppose. Residing as I do in Ontario, it’s been long I’ve been living with the expectancy of inadequate care from the med system here, I hardly think of it anymore. My route for myself, friends and loved ones is CAM, (complimentary and alternative medicine), trips south of the border for immediate access to procedures, private pay (growing here rapidly, but not much talked about openly), and lots and lots of private insurance that might give chance for ‘medical tourism’ for myself, should it come down to it at some point.

Most doctors here are ‘one visit, one issue, period’, waiting time for most (varies) tests is ridiculous, community care (you better ‘know someone’), and the ‘free(-ish) pharmaceuticals’ are generic only (nothing ‘cutting edge’), and forget about ‘off-label’ use, unless you have a lawyer relative.

I know it’s a bit of a cognitive disconnect for me to be decked up with ‘private medical insurance’ – given I’ve every expectation that the $Cdn will flame out in concert with the $US in the final conflagration of the Currency Wars. But, y’know – who knows how long they can run out the Ponzi? Conceivably, beyond my expected lifespan. Barring ushering myself into the Singularity of course 😉

Rick Ackerman February 14, 2013, 6:51 pm

Americans not sufficiently impoverished to qualify for Obamacare (i.e., Medicaid) will wind up paying for health care twice: once to the IRS, for services and amenities they will not use; and once to private insurers and physicians for concierge care superior to what the poor and lower middle class will receive.

Carol February 14, 2013, 6:57 pm

And those who are “sufficiently impoverished” to qualify for Obamacare (medicaid) will wind up paying thrice. Once for the insurance, once for all the services that are actually used (assuming they can find a doctor willing to accept them as a patient with medicaid) and the third time after they die! These medicaid “services” have to be repaid from the “debtors” estate (assuming that have any assets on death). Damn isn’t it great being a debt slave in this communistic, Marxist, country we have here?

martin schnell February 14, 2013, 6:00 pm

Obamacare is a mess. The US would have been much better going to some form of single payer health care. There is not a single system anywhere in the world that costs more than the US model. And the US system even gets far worse outcomes, despite its insane costs. As a result the US picks up a competitive disadvantage.

Labor flexibility, entrepreneurship and corporate profitability would all be greatly enhanced by having one consistent system for all. Who would be worse off? Insurance cos, drug cos, and overpaid doctors.

fallingman February 14, 2013, 6:31 pm

That’s why the law should have been titled the Disease Care Cost Shifting and Insurance Company & Drug Lord Relief Act.

The insurance companies acted horrified when this was being debated, just as the bankers did during the debate over establishment of the Fed.

Oh, don’t throw me in that briar patch.

Opuppet positioned his crusade as a battle against the rapacious insurance companies. Yeah, right.

Bait and switch and we end up with fascism, pure and simple.

Not that a single payer system is any answer. Statism is never the answer. Getting the government completely out of the game is the answer. Fat chance that ever happens.

John Jay February 14, 2013, 7:10 pm

Not to mention the outright fraud in Medicare that is draining the system.
The last one the Feds busted was worth $400 million!
Or with direct deposit for SS/SSDI they are always catching someone who has been collecting off a long deceased relative.
I know it’s peanuts compared to big Pharma etc., but still.
Everyone everywhere is stealing all they can from every government program.
A $500k annual campaign contribution seems
to purchase immunity though.
So the people running that $400 million Medicare fraud should have cast some bread upon the water.
They would be bribing the Politicians with Government money after all!

Rick Ackerman February 15, 2013, 5:34 am

Yeah, nothing beats the old single-payer healthcare system. Just ask all the Canadians whose doctors are in Minneapolis. The single-payer concept exemplifies the harebrained 47%-er notion that “The Government” can somehow buy us stuff that we as individuals can no longer afford.

Go ahead, Martin: Argue that a Government takeover would bring down the cost of healthcare.

Rick Ackerman February 15, 2013, 5:50 am

Yeah, nothing beats the old single-payer healthcare system. Just ask all the Canadians whose doctors are in Minneapolis. The single-payer concept exemplifies the harebrained 47%-er notion that “The Government” can somehow afford things that we as individuals cannot. Now try to argue, Martin, that a Government takeover will bring down the cost of healthcare.

John Jay February 14, 2013, 4:05 pm

Just another nail in the coffin.
The worldwide experiment of using an exponential rise in debt to hide the lack of jobs that produce real goods is beginning to fail.
Everywhere government at all levels is becoming increasingly tax crazed and driving away productive citizens.
Now, the legions in the huge artificial middle class of government jobs can no longer be financed.
USPS, and the USMC are both cutting back.
I expect that trend to continue as those at the upper levels of government will be ruthless to preserve their hold on power and money.

Florida is attracting more wealthy tax refugees from NYC and Connecticut.
No State income tax is the draw.
Out in rural NY State some guy was complaining about his $6,000 property tax on a house worth $76,000!
That’s 8% a year protection money to live in your own home!
NV is a refuge for Californians from a 10% sales tax and 10% income tax.
The Euro refugees are driven away from France et cetera by taxes and, now, cash transaction limits.
A trickle of Americans are renouncing USA citizenship, something that was unheard of when I was a boy.
Argentina, a mess.
And wealthy Chinese are taking their loot and heading for Canada, America, and Australia!
Everyone is running away!
Obamacare is just one more tax to drive away productive enterprises as well as Doctors.

The governments of the world will ride their COG fixation right off the edge of the Grand Canyon and straight into the ground.
The parallels with the currency debasement, over stretched military, bloated bureaucracy, power mad Emperors, and bread and circus obsessed mobs of Imperial Rome at the end are striking!
I think history will report that the Federal Reserve/Worldwide CB scheme enabled the Hundred Years War that began in 1913/1914 and is still ongoing.
Which has left Western Civilization financially, socially, and morally bankrupt.
All the pieces fit!

fallingman February 14, 2013, 6:32 pm

Yes. Thanks JJ.

JF February 14, 2013, 4:00 pm

Hey Rick,

This one is full of details. Certainly easier to read than the ACA itself. Dreadnought indeed.


Rick Ackerman February 15, 2013, 8:48 pm

The details provided at this link boggle the mind. And it is not mere tax code trivia that most Americans will be able to ignore. In fact, everyone will have to be up to speed, and it will require the help of an accountant just to determine what one’s healthcare “fair share” is. The Wall Street Journal had good reason to call Obamacare “The Worst Bill Ever”.

Buster February 14, 2013, 1:41 pm

“badly misnamed Affordable Care Act”

…….this is from a language called ‘double speak’, which, if I recall correctly, is used by a race of beings intent on total control & dominance. The key to understanding this language is that it uses words that are the opposite of the intent in order to confuse & deceive, as they are likely from the ‘father of the lie’.
So….. ‘affordable’ can be translated as ‘un-affordable’, or ‘extortionate’ even.
‘Patriot’ (act) could translate as ‘treasonous’, etc, etc. I’d really, really begin to worry when you hear mention of a ‘life act fur alles”, though a ‘Peace & security act’ will probably have the same implications.
Learning their language can be quite enlightening to understanding of this species, who are all around us & in all walks of life, but particularly in positions of power & control; political, financial, religious & in big business, as that is where their ambitious & predatory instinct leads them. They are often to be found sitting in the wide berthed, comfortable seats, (but only on the left side!) & though they may appear to be honorable & even Godly, they are actually devoid of the true sense of compassion & justice that they lay claim to.
They are likely just some of the chaff, awaiting the fire.

fallingman February 14, 2013, 6:33 pm

Well said B man.

This Orwellian crap makes me sick.

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