More Public Thing notes

Here's a post by my boys at CT about "The Great Risk Shift," a book that I'm not going to read but am willing to debate and summarize, like so: The conservative revolution means that, while we could have a goverment ease your worries about the end of your life or when you get sick, it won't -- your worries are good for you. The point that's made in the post (and more clearly in comments) is my favorite point for universal health care: it helps entrepreneurship by making it possible for you to quit your job without being scared that your kid will bankrupt you if he/she falls off his/her bicycle. Instead, with universal health care, you can start your own business, become rich, and your kid can bankrupt you by becoming a hopeless, worthless drug addict! (But that's just an argument for an estate tax right there.)

While I'm bullshitting (as I find myself to be) I might as well add that I don't believe higher marginal tax rates really act as a disincentive, unless they're crazy high. People like to succeed for the money, but there's more to success than just money. Put it this way: if you're running GE you're going to have a primo mistress no matter what the top marginal rate is, and that's going to be plenty of incentive for most of your captains of industry right there.

• So you can torture the shit out of your fellow citizens now. I see via the Daou report that some dudes think this is not a big deal, since we're obviously not turning into a totalitarian state. No, but, if we decide not to stand for anything, we're turning into something else: just another empire. Not Mao's China, but Philip II's Spain. And necessarily then we go the way of all those empires.

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