Government lying to itself Again..

20140201-223217.jpgGovernment Says You Can’t Overcome Addiction, Contrary to What Government Research Shows, Why does the National Institute on Drug Abuse contradict its own research? from Reason, Stanton Peele | February 1, 2014

The truth is, the vast majority of people quit addictions on their own. Every population study (that is, research with people not in treatment) tells us this. There is no ambiguity, no doubt, no scientific questioning of this truth. Only the neuroscientific, “chronic brain disease” crowd—represented by the new official medical subspecialty, the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM)—strives to convince us of the opposite, even as a never-ending flood of data tells us otherwise.

By reinforcing the myth that addiction is uncontrollable and permanent, neuroscientific models make it harder to overcome the problem, just as the 12-step disease model has all along. Telling yourself that you are powerless over addiction is self-defeating; it limits your capacity to change and grow. Isn’t it better to start from the belief that you—or your spouse, or your child—can fully and finally break out of addictive habits by redirecting your life? It may not be quick and easy to accomplish, but it happens all the time.

12 step programs do help people (my opinion) but I can well see that they may in fact be bad for some. I also agree that addiction is something you can grow out of or shake yourself, most of us have done it, even if it’s just chewing your fingernails, everything is on a spectrum and we all live on different arcs so different levels of self healing are bound to exist. This author makes the right points but I think let’s individualism blind him to the fact that some will need help.
The other point is that in all likelihood the American Puritanical War on Drugs, has all but certainly been a horrific waste of resources and souls…

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Institutional Decay American Style

The Decay of American Political Institutions
FRANCIS FUKUYAMA Published on December 8, 2013
We have a problem, but we can’t see it clearly because our focus too often discounts any political

institutions in the United States are decaying. This is not the same thing as the broader phenomenon of societal or civilization decline, which has become a highly politicized topic in the discourse about America. Political decay in this instance simply means that a specific political process—sometimes an individual government agency—has become dysfunctional. This is the result of intellectual rigidity and the growing power of entrenched political actors that prevent reform and rebalancing. This doesn’t mean that America is set on a permanent course of decline, or that its power relative to other countries will necessarily diminish. Institutional reform is, however, an extremely difficult thing to bring about, and there is no guarantee that it can be accomplished without a major disruption of the political order. So while decay is not the same as decline, neither are the two discussions unrelated.

Theories of aging and senescence look at build up of damage in DNA, build up of poisons in cells, build up of damage in limited repair tissues, etc. I see government as a living entity with the same sorts of problems. This is why to a large extent progress has occurred with the birth of new governments (and often the death of the prior one.) The US was set up to purposely operate in a sort of continuous creative destruction and did well till the forces of ‘progress’ figured out how to jam a spoke in this wheel of change. For about fifty years things kept going, even got better because competent first generation operators were in place and constant change is not always very pretty. Now we are well into senescence and things are going to hell because this is not an era where sclerotic systems are treated gently.

The truth is always so much more interesting than the crap I learned in school

The Truth About the “Robber Barons”
Mises Daily: Saturday, September 23, 2006 by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
It’s long but interesting, after reading it think about what has been going on around us for decades, longer really, since what is discussed in this fascinating piece has only gotten worse since the long dead protagonists passed from the stage:

The American economy has always included a mix of market and political entrepreneurs — self-made men and women as well as political connivers and manipulators. And sometimes, people who have achieved success as market entrepreneurs in one period of their lives later become political entrepreneurs. But the distinction between the two is critical to make, for market entrepreneurship is a hallmark of genuine capitalism, whereas political entrepreneurship is not — it is neomercantilism.

In some cases, of course, the entrepreneurs commonly labeled “robber barons” did indeed profit by exploiting American customers, but these were not market entrepreneurs. For example, Leland Stanford, a former governor and US senator from California, used his political connections to have the state pass laws prohibiting competition for his Central Pacific railroad,[1] and he and his business partners profited from this monopoly scheme. Unfortunately, the resentment that this naturally generated among the public was unfairly directed at other entrepreneurs who succeeded in the railroad industry without political interference that tilted the playing field in their direction. Thanks to historians who fail to (or refuse to) make this crucial distinction, many Americans have an inaccurate view of American capitalism.

As a header for the article, DiLorenzo has this quote:

Free-market capitalism is a network of free and voluntary exchanges in which producers work, produce, and exchange their products for the products of others through prices voluntarily arrived at. State capitalism consists of one or more groups making use of the coercive apparatus of the government… for themselves by expropriating the production of others by force and violence.
— Murray N. Rothbard, The Logic of Action (1997)

So the taxonomy here is:

  1. Free market capitalism
  2. Political ( crony) capitalism
  3. State capitalism

But the whole story is much more complex than this article outlines, since all of the actors in the dance, (‘good’ guys and ‘bad’) were acting out of self interest, enlightened self interest, altruistic self interest and more darkly unconscious self interest, based on very, ( by today’s standards, very, very) poor information and worse theories of cause and effect. It is all but certain they were trying to do the best they could for the audience they cared about (sometimes but rarely, just themselves.) Even monsters think they are doing the right thing (sometimes via massive self delusion admittedly) whatever outside observers perceive.

URK! The sound made after the breath has been knocked out of you

Both me and the American economy. And they still don’t get that it’s all about the intersection of bad and vastly too much regulation
This and more at PJMEDIA: Stephen Green, The Bistromath economy
My emphasis

2.3 million — number of Americans “marginally attached” to the labor force.

-720,000 — change in civilian labor force in October.

815,000 — number of discouraged workers in October.

62.8% — labor force participation rate.

-0.4% — change since September.

13.8% — underemployment rate (U-6) in October.

More bistromathic mathematics:

+0.2% — change in U-6 since September.

14.2% — U-6 in January, 2009.

-0.4% — U-6 improvement after 52 months of economic recovery.

??? — actual unemployment rate, following revelations of data manipulation by Census Bureau during lead-up to 2012 election.

7949.09 — DJIA, January 20, 2009

16,064.77 — DJIA November 22, 2013

200% — increase of DJIA since January 20, 2009.

$22.01 — U.S. average hourly wage, January, 2009.

$24.10 — U.S. average hourly wage, October, 2013.

9% — increase in U.S. average hourly wage since January, 2009 (not adjusted for inflation).

10.61% — cumulative inflation since January, 2009.

< 0% — increase in average hourly wage since January, 2009

2.5% — second quarter U.S. GDP growth, annualized.

2.0% — third quarter U.S. GDP growth, annualized.

2.0% — fourth quarter US GDP growth, projected.

< 3.0% — 2014 U.S. GDP growth, projected.

1.67% — average U.S. GDP growth under George W. Bush, including 9/11 and 2008 financial meltdown.

Just over 1% — average U.S. GDP growth under Barack H. Obama, including stimulus and recovery.

$1,020,000,000,000 — stimulus injected into U.S. economy by Federal Reserve in 2013 (planned).

$313,695,000,000 — U.S. GDP growth in 2013 in dollars (projected).

3.25:1 — ratio of Fed stimulus dollars to each new dollar of economic growth.

62% — percentage increase in U.S. debt since January 20, 2009.

56% — increase in U.S. debt after eight years of GW Bush

38 — months remaining in Obama administration.

Charlie Martin @ PJMEDIA Obamacare vs Arithmatic

Mr. Martin lays out ‘my’ plan for health car, he got it probably long before I did, you should too. This should be the Republican, Tea Party, soft libertarian ‘answer’ to Health Care. @ http://pjmedia.com/blog/obamacare-vs-arithmetic/

In there is Gammon’s Law:

From Milton Friedman: Some years ago, I came across a study by Max Gammon, a British physician who also researches medical care, comparing input and output in the British socialized hospital system. He took the number of employees as his measure of input and the number of hospital beds as his measure of output. He found that input had increased sharply, while output had actually fallen.
He was led to enunciate what he called “the theory of bureaucratic displacement.” In his words, in “a bureaucratic system . . . increase in expenditure will be matched by fall in production. . . . Such systems will act rather like `black holes,’ in the economic universe, simultaneously sucking in resources, and shrinking in terms of `emitted production.'”

Friedman referenced health care in general but it applies to the square with Obamacare…

US Bureaucrat’s are (largely) neither stupid or venal, their bosses, our Politicians on the other hand….

Bad Mandates
Francis Fukuyama at The American Interest

Bureaucratic dysfunctions can almost always be traced back to a badly-conceived mandate from the political principal to the bureaucratic agent, which prevents the agent from exercising an appropriate degree of autonomous judgment.
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Under our system of government, private individuals are given standing in the courts to force agencies to implement laws. If local officials thought wheelchair ramps didn’t make sense, they would face a blizzard of lawsuits like the ones described by Loyola and Epstein, where a single individual named Theodore Pinnock forced every mom-and-pop store in little Julian, California to remodel their facilities to accommodate his wheelchair. So the problem here is not excessive autonomy, it’s complete lack of autonomy in complying with a senseless legislative mandate that takes no account of the need for discretionary tradeoffs against competing goods.

And why does the bureaucracy grow, because the politicians give it more, and more and more, to do….