Friday, November 15, 2013

If schadenfreude had calories, I'd weigh 300 pounds.

As Obamacare continues its spectacular public impersonation of the LZ Hindenburg, dropping flaming wreckage across the politico-economic landscape, I am still just utterly gobsmacked at the dazed bafflement on the face of the true believers in government.

"How could this be going so spectacularly wrong?" goes the hand-wringing lament.

How could it not? Seriously! You think a bunch of people can sit down and... Lux Fiat! the rules for how 15% of the economy works in one fell swoop, in what amounts to a giant bong-fueled bull session, and have nothing go wrong? You might as well try to change the spark plugs on your car while the engine's running.

Then again, these are people who think that the efficiency of internal combustion engines or the amount of water it takes to carry off a turd are governed by legislative magic and not the laws of physics.

The naive credulity these people have towards the power of government, their blind faith that they can tamper with the machinery without it hurting anybody, differs in kind nor quality not one lick from the most snake-handlin' Pentecostal's faith that Jesus will keep the serpent from biting.

(As an aside, I'll note that stuff like this happens in microcosm all the time, when government decides to meddle with one industry or another, but rarely does it meddle on such high profile with an economic sector that affects everybody all at once, and on such short notice, to boot.

This isn't trying to gradually phase out gas guzzlers over ten years; this is making all cars that don't get >30MPG illegal to drive in January. But don't worry! If your cars don't meet the standard, the government will have a new car ready for you on the 1st. Promise! They've almost got the car factory finished!)


Jim said...

Watching the 0zerotard implosions, if Schadenfreude had calories, I'd be Mr. Creosote.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Anonymous said...

Obamacare, too big to fail!


og said...

It is all truly, truly horrific.

And yet, it is so much fun to watch.

I'm passing around the suggestion that if O was serious he'd get the designers of porn websites to fix the Ocare site; after all the porn sites never go down. (I said the SITES) it is of course merely sardonic to suggest it, but I will laugh myself half to death if someone takes it seriously, and I bet someone will.

Buzz said...


Are you allowed to award yourself the "win the internets" trophy?

Tam said...


Only if the porn sites are run by old college buddies of Michelle.

billf said...

Hilarious!You should write a book.

perlhaqr said...

Tam: Only if the porn sites are run by old college buddies of Michelle.

That doesn't seem particularly implausible, really.

Scott J said...

Forgive me for being all tinfoil hatty but I don't believe the hand wringing from within .gov for one minute.

I believe this implosion is by design. The agenda has always been about expansion of power.

They wanted single payer. That was unpopular so they "compromised" and set up the dog and pony show currently unfolding so single payer can look like the saving solution.

Next up will be big insurance and big pharma who went along with this to protect their monopolies getting thrown under the bus as villains messing up the benevolent government's perfect solution.

Bram said...

Their complete failure is a delicious sight to behold. If the GOP wasn't The Stupid Party (or at least the other one), they would just lean back and enjoy the show instead of trying to fix it.

I can hope this lesson on government incompetence is remembered for at least a generation.

Keith said...

I have to wonder if this wasn't Judge Roberts plan all along. It would be one thing if a bunch of nasty, racist Republican judges threw Obama care out on it's ass, but letting the whole thing collapse under it's own weight will give America a very graphic demonstration of where the road to socialism leads.

Tam said...

Scott J,

We disagree on that one. :)


The problem is that the GOP may not be handlin' snakes, but they're in the congregation. Most all of them think government can fix things, too, as long as it's them doing the fixing. If they didn't think government was the solution, they wouldn't have run for office.

Bram said...

Tam - with only a couple of exceptions, I agree with you on the GOP.

Scott J. - While I certainly don't think malice and incompetence are mutually exclusive in our political leaders, I don't think they wanted this big a disaster this fast.

This level of incompetence isn't going to convert doubters to the opinion that these same people should run a single payer system.

Tam said...


"I have to wonder if this wasn't Judge Roberts plan all along."

Like the musings that the Left designed it to fail in order to pave the way for Single Payer, I think this gives the players way too much credit for omniscient foresight. ;)

Erich505 said...

Great rant. :)

Old Radar Tech said...

And now I've got Yakkety Sax running through my head...

The Scribbler said...

You know, when the news of the Obamacare decision came out, I was rather peeved at Roberts. Since then, though, having actually read National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius, it was actually a rather subtle and neat piece of judicial precedent. Hugely problematic in its own right in the wake of Kahriger in '53, (We need to set some restrictions on taxation power since US v Butler lost steam in the Roosevelt court) but it does please me to see more limits turn up on the Interstate Commerce clause. The bit where we now have official ruling saying Obama presided over the largest tax increase in US history should have been enough to get that snake out of office. The fact that it wasn't is yet another tick against the GOP in my book.

John Balog said...

Have you seen this piece? Great summation of what you're talking about.

Scott J said...

"Scott J,

We disagree on that one. :)"

I'm aware. Hence why I asked forgiveness to open my comment :)

And I'd still love to have a beer with 'ya if I ever get up Indy way.

Tam said...

Scott J,

Coming up for the NRA convention in April? We could have a megablogmeet! :D

Chris said...

At least the snake-handlers accept that the consequences of failure are their own fault.

Tam said...


You're absolutely right.

Wish I'd though of that and worked in there somehow. :o

Joe Huffman said...

I have close contact with a person who is very high up in a health insurance company. The insurance companies did not willingly go along with this. They have been bullied for years by regulators and dare not speak out.

Regulators in some states are fine. They are fair, do the right thing even if the legislature didn't quite get things right, and actively promote the good of the people they are supposed to protect.

In other states it is unreal. But even when dealing with "sociopathic regulators" they appease them. If they speak out or do anything other than attempt to appease them the audits, rulings, delays, harassment, and favoritism for their competitors will destroy them.

My inclination would be more along the lines of telling them the best thing they could do for the health care of the people of their state would be offer their organs as free transplants. I would then follow it up with YouTube videos of my hobbies. But I'm getting old enough to be a bit crotchety and don't really worry about my future all that much anymore. I just want government put back in its place as a servant of the people rather than having an attitude of slave owning masters.

Michael said...

Being the 70 year old "curmudgeon" that I am, I knew I would get screwed. Just didn't know when. Found out yesterday where some of the threads of that "screwing reside". Effective 1/1/14 the copay for one generic med that I take will go from $5.51/mo. to $45 per month. My entire RX plan for the last several years ran about $40 per month. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Oh, but if you like your car, you can keep your car.

rickn8or said...

"... the government will have a new car ready for you on the 1st. Promise! They've almost got the car factory finished!)"

If you're talking about the car factory Terry McCauliffe was running is Southaven, MS, I've got some very bad news for you...

Mattexian said...

Maybe they can rally all the "Hopen'Change" crusaders behind a new battle cry of Barack Vult!, since he's their new god-head.

Scott J said...

"Coming up for the NRA convention in April? We could have a megablogmeet"

Probably not. I've never been to a NRA convention and in April I'll likely be scrambling to help get ready for my club's annual IDPA major which falls 2nd Saturday in May.

And since we've broached that topic I've been wondering if you might be interested in coming down to shoot it.

I fear they're going to ask me to run a timer this year since I completed the SO course last weekend. Last year I only had to run the score sheet.

Jeffrey Quick said...

Og, here's the problem: porn site builders have no experience in building a site that asks you a ton of invasive questions before it delivers the sort of porn that's "right" for you, and which insists on making you pay for gay porn so that everyone has the same coverage.

Anonymous said...

@ScottJ, I'm not with you on the tinfoil there. I see no reason to believe that Obama wants or is planning for a single payor system. Obamacare, like all major legislation these days, was primarily designed to serve the financial interests of the major power players in the industry. In this case, the health insurance companies. It is not much different than Bush's transfer of taxpayer money to pharmaceutical companies (Medicare Part D), only larger in scale.

In 20 years in health care, I've worked in both private and public systems. They both have their pros and cons. Unfortunately, the way our system is set up, we mostly get the worst of both worlds. Obamacare is not a radical change in the health care system (which is unfortunate, becuase radical is what we need).

From what I have seen so far, Obamacare is a classic Rube Goldberg / Kludge move. We had a fundamentally flawed system, and instead of really fixing it, we slapped a bunch of goofball contraptions on it that will mostly exacerbate the existing problems.

Carmel IN

Ian Argent said...

I'm thinking that the Republicans who went to the mat to stop this thing via the shutdown are going to dislocate their shoulders patting themselves on the back - it's rapidly turning out to be just as much a disaster as they said it would be, thus "justifying" their antics.

Will said...

My left leaning relatives are all about "single payer would fix everything" and how that is what they wanted from the start. Clueless _____.
So, we go from having a whip and chair when we enter the lions cage, to just a broken chair leg with O-care, and they want to go all the way to wearing a meat necklace to ward off the .gov lion.

Jack R said...


You hit the big time.

Blackwing1 said...

I'm terribly sorry, but you really need to keep up with the Socialist memes. The current one goes like this:

"The Obamacare quirks are entirely the fault of the Republicans. After all if it hadn't been for their gimlet eye on the web developers for the HealthCare-dot-gov web site, the developers would have felt more free to discuss their problems and issues in the open, and would have been able to resolve them. Because they were forced by the Rethuglican Noise Machine (and their right-wing-controlled media) they were forced to do all of this work under cover, and that's why the web site failed, since they were too scared of Rep-wing demagogues to openly share information about the problems."

Stunningly enough I've actually heard this offered as an explanation. I'm not sure how they can keep so many simultaneously contradictory ideas in one head without it exploding.

bobn said...

Scott J said:

Next up will be big insurance and big pharma who went along with this to protect their monopolies getting thrown under the bus as villains messing up the benevolent government's perfect solution.

That is already happening to Big Insurance. And the pace of condemnation will grow, because the low-info voters will believe that Obama has put this back in the Insurer's hands. Nevermind that it is actually illegal to offer the old policies after 1/1/14.

Also I'm with Scott J on single-payer being the conscious goal. Obama was on record saying he wanted single-payer (while he was campaigning for his 1st tgerm, IIRC). Ditto Pelosi, et. al.

I can agree that they are failing faster than intended however.

The Jack said...

This is spot on with a fellow I was talking with last week. In addition to thinking quoting George Washington was a sign of treason this guy blamed the failure of the Obamacare website on the lack of "buy in" and support from Republicans.

Apparently websites work with Tinkerbell-logic. If not enough people believe in fairies then the code will suck.

Talk about a faith biased initiative.

Ed said...

Obamacare, like all legislation, is made by elected legislators. Despite there being a few good ones, unfortunately, there are too many like Carolyn McCarthy [D-NY]:

If my district elected someone like that, I would move so that I would not experience the embarrassment of guilt by association.

Marc Pisco said...

If the snake handlers were as unjustified in their optimism as the statists, there wouldn't be any snake handlers left.

og said...

Tam: I would be inclined to believe you are correct, and that this whole debacle is purely incompetence, and had no reason or logic behind it, but that isn't what concerns me. Have you seen what liberals can do with incompetence? Incompetence is their milieu; the left can build shining towers out of incompetence while the sane and competent are barely keeping a roof over their heads. However this breaks, it will break bad for us.

Hafnhaf said...

The fix for Obamacare. A shining example of the old adage: You can't polish a turd.

Mark Alger said...

I'm not certain that there isn't a desire in there for single payor. After all, they keep saying that's what they really want and that everything is a good start.

(Q: What do you have when you have a million lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A: A good start.)

But I can't help wondering at the odd moment if what Obama is REALLY after (Yeah. Right.) is to bring a final end to progressivism. Just bring everything to a head and POP it like an overripe pimple.

I mean, seriously. So much of what happens looks like that's what actually going on and it was the plan from the start.

Of it could just be incompetence.


Anonymous said...

As I've said elsewhere, the way Obamacare is cratering, I wouldn't be surprised if, by spring, there was senate democrat support for impeachment. "The hell with the president, I neef to get reelected! "
Drang, from mobile

Jonathan Silber said...

The Smartest Guy In The Room, and the maddest--and the sorriest.

Greg in Allston said...

Epic Tam. I knew this was going to be a QotD on Insty and elsewhere.

You know, our Federal Legislature and Executive reminds me of nothing so much these days as bunch of angry and demented four year old's, running amok and with great abandon, behind the controls of bulldozers and wrecking balls.

Anonymous said...

Just found this site via Instapundit. Love it.

Scott_K said...

@Hafnhaf: You can't polish a turd.

Myth busted

Phloda said...

"This isn't trying to gradually phase out gas guzzlers over ten years; this is making all cars that don't get >30MPG illegal to drive in January. But don't worry! If your cars don't meet the standard, the government will have a new car ready for you on the 1st. Promise! They've almost got the car factory finished!)"

And NOW, once the factory is retooled, Zed is saying, no problem, you can still choose to buy last year's gas guzzling model.

EgregiousCharles said...

I think this is actually why there's so much commonality between social conservatives and libertarians, and between non-religious people and communists. People tend to look for miracles from somewhere - "If God did not exist, we should have to invent him." Progressives look for miracles from the government, religious people look for them from God, so we religious people are less likely to be taken in by ludicrous government promises.

Pascal said...

Forty-seven comments here. Thousands elsewhere.

They range from "How could this be going so spectacularly wrong?"

to "How could you expect anything else but incompetence from the Incompetent."

I give you the two words that were on everybody lips circa 2008, and it seems you all have forgotten them.

Cloward-Piven. With 1/6 of the pillars of our economy in open collapse, how long do you give the others. Incompetence sure is effective in this regard, ain't it?

Reno Sepulveda said...

I think the FCC should relax their rules here for awhile and allow news anchors to use the word clusterfuck.

Tam said...

"I give you the two words that were on everybody lips circa 2008, and it seems you all have forgotten them."

I'm sure that if you apply yourself you could make that sentence sound slightly more pompous. Work on it.

Tam said...

Reno Sepulveda,

"I think the FCC should relax their rules here for awhile and allow news anchors to use the word clusterfuck."

sofullofwin.gif :D

Pascal said...

Why must you mistake frustration, exasperation even, for pomposity? You are far too smart to not remember Cloward-Piven. I cannot explain why you and so many others have forgotten it (or discarded it even) until now. I cannot explain its absence in this discussion. Maybe you can.

Tam said...

I'm not mistaking exasperation for pomposity; I'm calling bloviating what it is. The fact that you don't know how your tone sounds to the ears of other human beings is merely another symptom.

Back on topic, meanwhile: While the Intelligent Design Theory of Fuckups is no doubt comforting to those who insist on seeing a guiding intellect behind everything that happens, the truth is far more terrifying to anybody who takes a minute to think about it.

Firehand said...

I think the site was designed the way it was deliberately: That way they'd get all that personal information into their database even if someone decided not to buy. They're such incompetents they didn't realize A: what a mess that would create or B: how much it would piss people off.

And yeah, there's a big desire among a lot of socialists* for single payer: "The problem is not having the .gov in complete control! Then this would all be wonderful!" I know people who're bitching and whining about 'the !(#& website!', but flat will NOT concede there might be any problem with the monster itself(other than 'no complete control' of course).

*Face it, a 'progressive' is a socialist or communist who doesn't have to the integrity or guts to say outright what they are.

Rick Caird said...

"Changing spark plugs while the car is running" and "the car factory is almost finished".

Perfect analogies. I have been saying when ObamaCare gets down, health care will not longer be 17% if GDP, it will be about 22%.

All this is an example of magical thinking. For Obama, if he can think it, it will happen. That is what you get when someone with no executive or real world experience is elevated to the Presidency. We would be better off if we were governed by Duck Dynasty.

Pascal said...

Put aside Hanlon's razor and buy Heinlein's. It's sharper.

Sebastian said...

Just as an aside, because the Internet is kind of awesome like this, I came across a video showing a lab inside one of the fixture companies, where they do, in fact, study how much water it takes to move a turd. It was pretty much a standard toilet attached to a clear sewer line, where they'd throw in some object that simulated a turd, and then flush and measure how far it got down the clear tube.

Tam said...

Rick Caird,

While Obama dearly loved the way the legislation was called "Obamacare" he had as much to do with the legislation as I do my car. I mean, my name's on the title and I picked it out, right? Therefore it's the Tammobile!

The fact is that these kind of snafus are simply endemic to any piece of legislation so broad in scope and so staggering in their simple word count that nobody can completely grasp the scope of the whole thing.

It was written by hundreds of committees and staffers and lobbyists, most of whom had no idea what the others were doing, and Nancy was more right then she could have known when she said we had to pass it to find out what's in it. Basically, they rewired a sixth of the economy, threw a switch, and yelled "Turn up the juice and see what shakes loose!"

The end result of this mess should be massive reform of the legislative branch. These magic omnibus bills have just become comical in their scope and complexity.

billf said...

Tam at 3:26,
You've hit on something,speaking of "any piece of legislation so broad in scope",etc.Think about it,if .gov wanted to pass legislation that involved so much of the economy and changed things in every single American's life,it would really add up to millions of pages of regulations and take years and years to implement.In reality,they tried to do it too simply to cover as many possible questions and loopholes as there will be.

Joseph said...

The really weird par of Heinlein's razor ("You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.") is that, in context, it was clearly written when Heinlein was a leftist.

He recovered.

Anonymous said...

Nothing against Heinlein but it is actually Napoleon's razor.

Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte

Pascal said...

My quip at 2:13PM suggests that the reader look for a distinction between Heinlein's Razor and others as have been stated here.

But first, look how Goethe made a similar observation: "...misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent."

Please note those key words "less frequent" are not "never."

Fast forward to how Wikipaedia and others distinguish Heinlein's razor from the others by attributing to him with adding an important caveat "...but do not rule out malice."

That addition removes the absolutism from the commonly repeated razor, and aligns it with Goethe's observation. That, IMO, makes Heinlein's sharper. YMMV.

Tam said...


I literally wiped a tear of laughter from my eye just now. That may be the single most pretentious thing I have read on the internet.

Do go on!

global village idiot said...

Tam, I'm actually pretty close to Keith's theory; namely, that Chief Justice Roberts gave Comrade Napoleon's Windmill (euphemistically called the "Affordable Care Act") an opportunity to fail on its own merits.

Did it really take THAT MUCH omniscience to see that the thing was bound to fail, and fail spectacularly? Every NCO above the pay grade E-6 knows this trick for dealing with a motivated-but-shortsighted Specialist or Corporal. Likewise EVERY parent knows this trick.

It's nothing special.


lelnet said...

I disagree. After all...sometimes the snake actually doesn't bite. But I have yet to see a single case in which a government program worked out for the best, without at least horrific side effects, if not total failure.

TheBigHenry said...

Wouldn't it be fitting for
Henry Chao, chief project manager, to
reclaim that trailing "s"
for his last name?

Just sayin'

global village idiot said...

From a Discordian perspective his name is just fine the way it is:

TheBigHenry said...

gvi@2:23 PM, November 18, 2013

Fer shur. But from a Lefty's perspective, the "s" helps connect the dots ...

TheBigHenry said...

Moreover, from a homonymic perspective, Chao could have his name and eat it too.

Mr Evilwrench said...

It is instructive that this misadministration does its blatant evil with laughable incompetence, but it's done so much so wrong that I can't put the incompetence at the center of it.

Single payer has been the goal of the left at least since the flammable Ted Kennedy tried to get it through 40-some years ago, and his compatriots have been burdening our healthcare system incrementally since then. obamadontcare may be seen as an attempt to finish the job.

The website and structure of obamadontcare are certainly products of incompetence, but the real incompetence is in the dramatic crash and burn. I am convinced it was intended to fail in order to bring about single payer; it just wasn't intended to make such a show of its meltdown so quickly that it endangers the political futures of its very supporters.

In other words, we're unfortunate indeed to be "led" by this group of schmucks, but our saving grace may just be the magnitude of their schmuckery.