11 February 2008

Interview With Brian Jones, Former RNC Director Of Communications - Part 1

Last week we conducted an interview with Brian Jones, Managing Director at Mercury Public Affairs. Thanks to Mr. Jones for taking time out of his busy work day to speak with us.

We'd originally planned on distilling the interview into a single post but with the large amount of good material, we decided to post the transcript in its entirety (divided in 3 because we know at least half of our readers are ADD/ADHD). This is part 1.

Thanks also to Liz Mair, Online Communications Director at the RNC for making all the arrangements.


OL&L: First off, would you mind giving a quick bio?

Brian Jones: Sure. I’m currently a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs where I deal with a number of corporate clients, some political clients. I was previously communications director for the John McCain for President Campaign earlier last year till some challenges arose. I was communications director at the Republican National Committee during the 2006 cycle. I was a senior communication advisor to the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign. Before that I worked for Mercury Public Affairs as their Vice President of Polling and Advertising. I ran the research operation at the NRCC during the 2002 cycle and worked on host of local, state, and national political campaigns and some public relations work along the way.

OL&L: Where did you receive your academic training?

Brian Jones: I was an undergrad at the University of Massachusetts which isn’t necessarily known for producing for Republicans. I did graduate work and got a Master’s degree at the University of Washington.

OL&L: The first thing we wanted to ask you about is something we’ve discussed amongst my politically minded friends. We’ve been trying to understand the appeal of the Democratic candidates. We contrast this, of course, with those of us who are Republican voters. We get into the nitty gritty of their politics, policies, their background and experience. But when we ask our liberal friends to describe to us why they’re voting for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, they have a real tough time. Could you provide some insight into the appeal of either of them or maybe into how voters are able to distinguish the one from the other?

Brian Jones: Good question. They’ve been attacking each other non-stop for the last month plus. But they’re not that different. Their proposals would result in higher taxes, larger government and weakened national security. One of the things that’s interesting about Hillary is that she is saying there will be no new bureaucracy with her health care plan. That’s a little like saying, I’ve got news for you: the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus really do exist. It’s just not true.

I think the appeal is a couple of things: one is, Democrats are obviously motivated by seven years of a Republican in the White House. They’ve got this baseline of motivation right now that the party out of power often ends up feeling. I do think people underestimate the Republican turnout effort—what you’re going to end up seeing in 2008. Democrats were motivated in 2004. Ultimately Republicans turned out in better numbers than did the Democrats.

There does seem to be this kind of split among Democrats. There are two different camps right now. Obviously Obama is the more transformational/change type candidate. People are flocking to him because of the aura around him. He is still someone who has voted Democrat 95% of the time. He’s got the most liberal ranking in the National Journal which is quite a feat, because the Senate also has Bernie Sanders who is a self-described Socialist from Vermont. I think what you’re seeing now is people project onto Obama this desire for change. He is a strong order, he comes across as very likeable. So I think it’s kind of an image thing with Obama as much as anything else, because the substance and the background isn’t really there.

Then you have the status quo branch of the Democratic Party going with Hillary Clinton. They’re going more with the known quantity, maybe someone who’s not as interesting or inspiring, but someone who you think you know what you’re going to get with her. Being potentially the first woman President has some appeal too.

What I think is interesting is that Clinton has done a good job of courting more blue collar voters. I’m not sure how that will all flesh out or exactly what it means, but it does seem that she may offer a bit more substance than Barack. But with both of them, it does seem that they are more image candidates than substantive candidates.

If you have tips, questions, comments, suggestions, or requests for subscription only articles, email us at lybberty@gmail.com.


Anonymous said...

Great article, looking forward to the next sections. And yes it is a good thing you broke it up.... I was getting a little nervous by the end. I'd like to hear what Brian Jones thinks of John McCain. Hopefully that will be included in one of the next sections.

MJ said...

OK OK...so it took me a while to realize this is not the Brian Jones of Rolling Stones legend, nor is he in any way related to The Brian Jonestown Massacre (see Dig, if you have not already, one of the best docs I've seen), but he is a Bushy? And this is supposed to help get your readership up how? Have you seen a poll lately?

All honesty aside, it sounds like this guy is a pretty cool dude. I mean, he went to the UW, right?

Since I'm really confused here, maybe I should start by asking a few questions...yeah that's a great idea MJ!

First, who are these Democrats that are unable to tell you why they are voting for Hillary or Barack? It seems to me that Republicans HATE their candidates (or at least the ones they are not backing) and that Democrats have never had a tougher time choosing between two they love.

So the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause don't exist? Thats a real bummer. Mr. Jones is good at uncovering things...like the names of CIA agents, for example. Does he know the difference between bureaucracy and infrastructure? Well, I guess if he says Hillary will increase federal bureaucracy it must be true.

Is this the only guy in the world talking about an underestimated Republican turnout? THIS IS YOUR STORY SIR!

Last, when Mr. Jones was head of Communications for the Bush-Cheney (thats the guy who shot someone recently, right?) campaign, how was it he had such a difficult time explaining to the press where all the WMDs went? Im particularly interested in the weapons he spent such a great deal of time telling us about right after 9/11....

Anyway, I'll cut this short. Great scoop on the Dems...Hillary is status quo; Barack represents change and is more liberal than a Vermont Socialist. OK, I think I got it! Keep up the great work!

Ben Treasure said...

People flock to Obama because he is "likeable?"

And why did the flock to Bush? For substance?! No. They flocked to Bush because they got caught up in the growth of national conservatism and thought it deserved a chance in the Oval Office. They being the majority, clearly.

And with Obama the movement is the same. People have had it with Bush's misguided brand of conservatism (not really a conservatism at all, in the classical sense), and there are a number of people in this country, perhaps a majority, who want a progressive platform to return America to a more comfortable middle and to a more respected position among our first-world allies.

The right, as it were, is wrong to write off Obama support as rooted in cultism, as your brother has, or as being based on nothing more than shallow likability and good speech writing.

His popular support is rhetorical and ideological. Your side failed, and people want a different course.

dmz said...

Unfortunately, Ben (and I'm not sure anyone in your party gets this) you won't be running against GWB this year.

NEWS FLASH: the Republican candidate is going to be McCain.

I know, I know, it's a sad day. Your crew is going to have to retire all their beloved (and tired) anti-Bush rhetoric.

What will you do?

Matt said...

I never wrote off Barack, just thought the religious undertones and messiah rhetoric were fascinating.

Surely you weren't offended or threatened by having your candidate-of-choice's legitimacy questioned? Or have you fallen into the cultist belief that His candidacy is beyond questioning and criticism, His presidency a foregone conclusion?

Justin said...

Ben, don't you love how the former Bush supporters now want to run and take cover like dogs with their tails tucked between their legs? And like a cornered abused dog, they snap at you when you remind them of their failures. (Not that dogs care if they've failed.) News flash DMZ- Obama is running on a message of change, and guess whose policies his supporters are clamoring for change from? No, not McCain's. Don't be so silly as to think this election has nothing to do with the disastrous Bush legacy.

Morgan said...

My statistically unsound sampling of Obama supporters has led me to believe that people vote for him because he represents "change". However, nobody has been able to tell me what this "change" consists of. When pressed for more substance I usually get an answer along the lines of "he sounds really inspiring when he speaks."

From what I can gather, Obama appears to be the most inexperienced candidate - ie no real experience introducing major legislation etc. However, he sure is inspiring when he talks. Maybe this is a good thing? Maybe he really is the voice of change and can "fix the horrible state of our country."

It makes me nervous when people are basing their votes on a candidate's speaking abilities. Maybe everybody should just add the trendsetter application on Facebook and choose the President that way.

Morgan said...

ps from my jaded viewpoint, "change" is not really that feasible nor realistic. Look at Mayor Carcetti and his message of change for crying out loud.

Justin said...


How are you man? We haven't exchanged comments on this blog for years. I hope you are well.

Regarding your comments about Obama:

I generally believe that the best vote is one that is based on principle and substance. Unfortunately, many of us have grown jaded about the principled rhetoric that has kept party loyalists in lock-step for years, and in my opinion Bush has shattered the concept for many Americans that the Republicans stand for responsibility, accountability, and prudence. I define myself loosely as a libertarian but have been so disgusted with the Republican party that I am looking elsewhere. I don't agree with all of Obama's politics, but I think he is what America needs right now. Americans want a president that we can cheer for and stand behind. We want to feel that we have a president that can speak to all interests within the country and reach some sort of compromise or consensus. We want a president that restores our sense of purpose as a nation, and one that speaks about the virtues that bring us together. We want to elect a president that sends a message to the world that says we are not a country of warmongering white male Christians, but a country of diversity, acceptance, opportunity, leadership, and yes, even forgiveness. We want a president that will distance us from the torture, wire-tapping, and bombing and instead focus us on educating our people for the jobs of the future, discussing and solving the problems in health care, and providing assistance to those who could benefit (and return) the most from the sacrifices of those of us who are the producers in society. Our country has been divided by the segmenting politicians and we have lost our sense of common purpose. If we really truly believe that the secret to America's power is in the people, then I think Obama can speak to people in a way that restores hope in the government and confidence that their sacrifices will not be squandered. We don't want our taxes to be spent on wars of provocation that alienate us from the rest of the world. We want to know that our taxes are spent helping our countrymen and improving our infrastructure. We want to know that our taxes will be invested in the well-being of the country, and not for geo-political strategic power grabs. After 8 years of Bush, the principled and "substantive" rhetoric he employed to gain the office has proven to be empty and without virtue. In that light, Obama's lack of experience is like a breathe of fresh air. He is a man that came from nothing and understands what it takes to get ahead and improve one's situation. He has proven his ability through the incredible accomplishments of his young life, and the fact that he is not in the pockets of the energy and defense industries is a huge plus for me. If we complain so much about lobbyists and specials interests and favor-making politicians, why do we recoil at the idea of sending someone free of these shackles to office? What Washington experience do we really want, and why is it even necessary to be a good president?

Critics of Obama hate the fact that his language moves people, because they are afraid of what that might become. They wish they had a candidate like Obama right now. A powerful leader doesn't just lay down the rhetorical safe bets that keep guys like Jake biting over and over again (that old substance we hear so much about), rather he speaks to them in a way that actually leads to energy and movement, and then he directs that energy and movement toward a purpose. Obama can inspire the American people and I believe his vision is good. I may not agree with all of the policies he may implement, but I would way rather deal with a government that wastes money on inefficient healthcare programs than one that wastes money on inefficient wars, global policing and nation building.

I support Obama because he is the only candidate left that I believe can actually change the tone in Washington. If Hillary is elected, automatically half of the country will hate her. If McCain is elected, he will become the scapegoat for all far-right pundits and will continue to pursue a war that Americans no longer want. Let Obama be your candidate that at least gives you hope that things can be different.

Morgan said...

well said justin. nice to see you are as eloquent as ever.

when it comes to voting for president, the only thing that matters to me is the respective candidate's economic policy and tax policy which in my mind pretty much go hand in hand.

justin - as a self proclaimed free trader after your much publicized post-rand conversion, how do you think obama will impact our nation's economy? does he have the ability to fix it? does it need to be fixed? also, are $300 tax refunds going to stimulate the economy?

ben and spikers, feel free to provide your comments as well.

Justin said...

Thanks Morgan. I will never deny that I was deeply influenced by reading Ayn Rand, by I have tried not to become unbalanced as I have evolved in my thinking. Rand taught me more about personal virtue and integrity than she did about economic policy, although her understanding of human behavior has helped me to more fully appreciate the incentives that exist in the market.

Most importantly, Ayn Rand taught me the power of individualism, reason, and judgment. I am a free trader because I believe in myself, and I recognize the virtue of self-sustenance and fruitful work. If you ever come across a "free-trader" that doesn't trade, beware. If you ever come across a "free-trader" that doesn't produce, beware. If you ever come across a "free-trader" that drives her parents' car, lives in her parents' home, spends her parents' money, and consumes more than she produces, beware. There are too many free-traders that adopt the position in order to justify their consumption of goods they never produced or traded for. Call them the children of true free-traders.

I will try to answer your questions without relying too much on my Magic 8-Ball:

How will Obama impact our economy? That is tough to say and chances are the economy will impact Obama more than he will impact it. After having read some of Obama's writings, I refuse to believe that he doesn't understand the reality of globalization and the role of free markets. That is why he emphasizes preparing Americans for the jobs of the future, because he realizes that is the only thing we can do to bring jobs back to America. The let-her-rip free marketer says,"Only the strong survive." Obama says, "Let's allocate more resources to teach and train people to better compete in a free-market world." Obama has also said he can't wait to have a discussion with Republicans about fiscal responsibility and stewardship. I try and ignore the democratic primary protectionist rhetoric just like I try to ignore the Republican social values rhetoric. Candidates get pigeon-holed into saying the "right" things, but my reading of Obama's writings leads me to believe he won't be the tax-and-spend liberal his opponents will try and brand him as. Yes, taxes may go up and spending will take place, but that's better than running a deficit in order to finance wreckless spending on wars.

Does the economy need to be fixed and can he fix it? Yes it needs to be fixed. Long term inflation is almost inevitable and interest rates will climb over the next decade- if the FED actually steps up and deals with inflation. The government makes the problem worse by borrowing the money and dumping it into the Iraq sinkhole- which hurts any American who holds dollars unless he also is holding Halliburton stock as a hedge. The single best thing Obama could do for our country is to get us out of Iraq and stop dumping money into a foreign infrastructure that will return no fruit for Americans. Republicans believe in government handouts more than Democrats- except the target of their handouts are defense contractors and foreigners. The big question for Obama is- Will the economic benefits of investing in health and education outweigh the drag of higher taxes for the most wealthy? I don't know. Obama isn't God, and these are really tough issues. One thing is certain, if we stay on the path of the status quo, we will end up with a debauched currency, massive deficits, and declining competitiveness in the global marketplice. By the way, half of those answers came from the 8-ball.

What do you think?

Justin said...

By the way Morgan, I would encourage you to consider other elements than just economics when considering a president. After 8 years of Bush, the value of articulation and communication has skyrocketed on my list of priorities. I watched an interview on Fox News this weekend with Bush and eventually had to turn it off. I don't care what the corporate tax rate is when he's talking.

vv said...


"People have had it with Bush's misguided brand of conservatism (not really a conservatism at all, in the classical sense)"--so what's your problem?

Matt said...

Justin, I totally agree with you that free trade policies should be accompanied with worker retraining programs and other moderate, time-restricted assistance for those whose jobs go overseas. But take a look at this from Obama's website:

"Fight for Fair Trade: Obama will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. He will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those important benchmarks. Obama will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports."

It sounds like high time for Obama to put aside his dog-eared copy of “Globalism and its Discontents” and pick up something a little more mainstream. One of the few things on which economists generally agree is the power of free trade to lift nations out of poverty, and in fact recognize it as perhaps THE greatest tool for doing so. Indeed, it is not just the richer of the nations that benefits, the poorer is usually the stronger beneficiary. A few points about Obama's position:

1. "Fair Trade” is always, ALWAYS, a euphemism for protectionism.

2. The idea that we should impose our labor and environmental standards on countries we trade with is bothersome. Think about the underlying logic here. Trade is voluntary, implying that other countries wouldn't engage in it if it made them worse off (in macro terms like standard of living or micro terms like hourly wage or length of workweek). If citizens of the trading country (say Guatemala) dislike their new job options resulting from free trade, they will not take the job. But it is usually the case that those options are better than the options in the absence of trade, even if the standards are below ours. Forcing other countries to adhere to our standards is condescending. NOTE that this is not an argument FOR sweatshops, 100 hour workweeks, etc.

3. Politicians on both sides of the aisle (why can't we have multiple aisles? Must there be one aisle?) hide behind the "we're forcing children in India to work in sweatshops" rhetoric to promote American protectionism, to much popular appeal. Note once again that I'm not advocating Indian child sweatshops, just pointing out some counterintuitive logic.

4. Those “unfair” government subsidies (like Brazil’s subsidization of its domestic sugar industry) simply provide Americans with cheaper sugar. The Brazilian government covers part of the cost of US consumption! Is it overly Ricardian to think the cheapest producer should in fact produce?

Now, those points were really not for your benefit, but for the benefit of the general readership (salute). But this next bit is for you, buddy!

"If you ever come across a "free-trader" that drives her parents' car, lives in her parents' home, spends her parents' money, and consumes more than she produces, beware. There are too many free-traders that adopt the position in order to justify their consumption of goods they never produced or traded for."

You are too smart for this argument, but as is the case with most of your rhetorical devices, you use it effectively (something I admire in many instances, actually--I'm still developing that ability). The logic that one must be a free-trader to be for free-trade is a non sequitur. It is easy to see (and as mentioned before is consensus) that free-trade does good. I need not be directly involved in the trade to benefit from it. Maybe I have misunderstood your point here.

Justin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt said...


Spikers said...

"The big question for Obama is- Will the economic benefits of investing in health and education outweigh the drag of higher taxes for the most wealthy?"

I have reservations concerning Obama's health care plan. I fear that it will greatly increase costs without greatly increasing benefits to society. Following is my reasoning.

Insurance markets are inherently inefficient. First is adverse selection(individual knows risk, but conceals from insurer). This causes 2 problems (pooling equilibrium is unstable because low risk drop out or because of competitive behavior making the separating equilibrium inefficient or causing it to fail completely. Thus markets either fail or are inefficient.
Second is the cost of Moral Hazard (people know they are insured take on greater risks. Probably low in the medical market).

Information failure thus provide theoretical justifications and explanations for the welfare state social insurance

America shows signs that our market is affected by each of these inefficiencies. We Spend the largest % of GDP on health care of all countries. Despite reliance on private sector, we still see large govt. expenditures in those areas where theory predicts private insurance gaps. Kenneth Arrow theorized that these expenditures are attempts by society to correct an inefficient market. We have govt. expenditures on the Elderly and poor, maternity, children, vets with chronic problems. Inefficiencies lead to Unequal access – we have 47million un-insured.

Both theory and Practice overwhelmingly support view that pure private market for medical care is highly inefficient and inequitable

The economic benefits of universal health care are largely dependent on a "universal mandate" in which all people must be covered (much like we all must have car insurance.) The first benefit is cost containment. Canada spends roughly %25 less and UK 50% less (as a percentage of GDP) than the US does. The UK spends 300% less per capita than we do.

The second is gains in efficiency though better risk pooling. Basically the larger the pool, the better risk is spread, and lower the per capita premium becomes.

A third benefit is savings in administrative costs. If we could cut our administrative costs to European levels we would save $50 Billion a year (as measured in 1984 dollars, so much more when adjusted for inflation)

Thus in short, there are economic efficiencies to be gained through a universal health care system. Unfortunately, Barack's plan does not call for a universal mandate, so many of the theoretical benefits will be lost, while costs are sure to increase.

Justin said...

Very very interesting Spikers. Do you have a link that you could point me to that discusses the market failure of private healthcare in more detail? I will be very interested to hear Jake's response regarding the economics of healthcare. (JAKE, NEW WRITING ASSIGNMENT.)

Also Spikers, could you elaborate on the first benefit you list for mandated universal coverage. The second and third benefits are intuitive, but I'd like to hear more about cost containment outside of administrative costs. Are you suggesting that there would be price caps on health services?

One other thing- Can you provide any evidence that a universal mandate is the only/best way to achieve the benefits you listed. For example, if insurance was more accessibile, but not necessarily mandated, is it possible that the pool participation benefits would approximate those of a mandated system, especially since Massachusetts has shown that many people refuse to follow the mandate or can't afford it?

Justin said...

Here is an article from Business Week that asks if Obama is good for business. What do you all think?


Spikers said...

Justin -
I am actually writing a note on this topic for my law journal. Links are hard to come by, but i can provide you with citations to some good peer review articles in a number of academic journals.

There are two basic ways to partially cure moral hazard problems and contain costs: 1) providers or consumers of medical care can be given incentives to economize provision and consumption of health care; and 2) health care spending can be regulated by the government through budget constraints.

Consumer incentives to economize include co-pays and deductibles. The basic idea is to force the consumer to face at least part of the cost of her of health care, thereby reducing demand for health care. However, because she will faces only part of the cost of her care, she may still value the care at less than its actual costs. Thus she still faces the incentive to over consume, though less than without the partial deterrent of co-pays and deductibles. Consumer incentives are used throughout Europe, Canada, and Japan
Provider incentives to economize typically take the form of prospective payments system. In a prospective payment system, payment for medical services is made ex ante. Prices are pre-set per condition, and payment is made per person treated. Prospective budgets are used in many other countries, including: the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Such systems have been effective at reducing medical spending by shifting the risk of excessive spending to the hospital and not the patient or insurance company. Medicare now uses a form of prospective payments called diagnosis related groups. Basically, hospitals must classify each Medicare patient into one of several hundred treatment types. Prospective payment is then based on the diagnosis related groups classification. However, Medicare is open-ended, which gives doctors incentives to treat higher quantities of people to increase their income.
Another prospective payment system already in wide use are Health Maintenance Organizations. HMO’s reduce moral hazard by merging the activities of doctors and insurers, effectively forcing doctors to internalize the costs of treatment. This reduces the incentive to over treat. At least one study showed that HMO’s can reduce costs by between ten and forty percent. However, while HMO’s can help correct moral hazard, they do nothing to fix adverse selection or uninsurable risks.

The second way to control costs is through direct regulation. This is accomplished through direct cost control through the issuance of global budgets. The United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden all have implemented global budgets.
Essentially, global budgets strictly limit the amount of money hospitals and doctors can charge. It is a form of price control, and limit the incomes of hospitals and doctors. While these regulation do limit income, doctors do remain free to purse whatever course of action the deem prudent for their patients. Empirical evidence shows that health care providers earn less in regulated markets than they do in the U.S. Real earning for American physcians grew by 35% during the period of 1970 – 1990. During the same period, real doctor incomes in countries with global budgets remained unchanged. American doctors now enjoy an income twice as large as doctors in markets with global budgets. The difference in doctor income alone explains 10 percent total cost difference between the U.S. and other G7 countries.

There is no perfect solution for the health care market failures. “If there are no market failures, private markets are immensely efficient. Precisely for that reason, where market failures are serious even the best designed package of intervention has limitations.” While it is impossible to completely eliminate the problems of adverse selection, moral hazard, and turn to a completely efficient health care market, significant efficiency gains can be made. Theoretically the U.S. can improve access, reduce inefficiencies, and contain costs.

To answer your last question, mandated coverage is not the only way to increase efficiency. While in theory it demonstrates efficiency gains are possible, it is less clear whether the U.S. can implement a program that will capture these gains. It appears that other countries have done so with varying degrees of success. If we can reach a point where enough information is available to remedy much of the adverse selection problem, then much of the pooling problem may be cured. There is some evidence that the impact of adverse selection may be exaggerated. So, as one economist put it: ""Both Theory and performance of systems in practice overwhelmingly support the view that a hypothetical pure private market for medical care and medical insurance would be highly inefficient and also inequitable. That view is hardly controversial; what is less clear is the specification of the least bad alternative."

Spikers said...

Here are some articles from peer reviewed journals and the magazine the economist:

Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 30, No.2 (Jun., 1992) pp. 741 - 803, Economic Theory and the Welfare State: A Survey and Interpretation

The American Economic Review, Vol. 53, No.5 (Dec. 1963) p 941-973; Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care

Journal of Economic Literatue, Vol. 40, No.3 (2002) pp.
881-906, Equality, Efficiency and Market Fundamentals, The Dynamics of International Medical Care Reform

The Milbank Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 3 (1997), pp. 297-341 From Managed Competition to Managed Cooperation: Theory and Lessons from the British Experience

Inquiry - Excellus Health Plan, Winter 2006/2007, 43, 4; ABI/INFORM Global p 333; Money and Mandates: Relative Effects of Key Policy Levers in Expanding Health Insurance Coverage to All Americans

Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 9, No. 4. pp. 456 -472, A National Medical Care Program: Review and Synthesis of Past Proposals

The Milbank Quarterly, Vol. 79, No. 2. (2001) pp. 281-315, Improving the Quality of Health Care in the United Kingdom and the United States: A Framework for Change

The Candadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 32, No.3 (may 1999) p 613-29; The efficiency case for universality

Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol.3, No.4 (Dec 1982) 419-431; Market Failure and Health Care Policy




MJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MJ said...



dmz said...

I thought we were all free-traders here? Glad to see we've got a token protectionist.

Justin said...

For the record, I responded to Matt's comments that were directed toward me and was censored by the Administrator. As a matter of fact, the last two times Matt has directed a comment at me, the Adminstrator has deleted my answers. The first deletion was because I used the f word to describe my feelings about two- party politics. The second deletion was because I constructed a very funny (my opinion) retort that "made light of sacred things." I wonder if the Administrator has ever wondered why "sacred things" hate the light? You readers can decide whether you appreciate the Administrator protecting you from bad words and blasphemy.

In one of my comments that was censored, I explained that for years I have taken an opposite position from the Administrator on this blog for the sake of debate. Now that I am no longer writing under a pseudonym, I will try and write from my own perspective, rather than simply trying to present a contrary position. In the future, if I offend the Administrator and his sensitive readers, it will be a by-product of my expression of opinions, and not the purpose of that expression.

Spikers- I really appreciate your comments. It is refreshing to read an opinion like yours and I look forward to continuing this discussion about healthcare. I haven't had a chance to fully digest your latest comments and journal references but I will look into it. I tend to favor smaller government, less regulation, more competition, limited entitlements, etc. but admit that markets do fail at times. Understanding when and why is an area that interests me.

nathan said...

I do believe that justin should not be censored as to his comments... they are his own, for sure, and should be allowed to state them in open forum. However... justin is sounding, in reguards to "sacred things", Like a pornographer. Yes, like old Larry Flynn, "people buy my product and I have the right to pedal it." Yes man, you do but, to finish my metaphore, I consider sex a personal and "sacred act" and yet, you may show it in the open, and "splay em out" in the open and make light of the act itself. However to me it is still something I find sacred and I wont buy what you are selling Larry. Personal belief is what is being made "light of" and that is all one would be attacking. You sure can belittle sacred personal beliefs, but they are not being hidden they are just personal...and I sure as hell will be offened if you "take your camera into my buduoir" and attack that which is personal and uniquely mine. I hope you understand what I mean.
Moreover, Obama is the ticket to real Lybberty.

Justin said...

Hi Nate,

I appreciate what you said, but in my opinion blasphemy is different than snooping in on your sex life. It would be wrong for me to ever broadcast your personal intimate life, but I have no problem talking about sex and its many tangents. No doubt some of these tangents would describe your personal intimate life, but it would not be uniquely yours or exclusive to you. I'm not peddling in pornography by talking about sex, am I?

Likewise with the "sacred things", the truly sacred things are the things I myself have experienced, and it is my choice whether to give words to those things. I cannot speak of your sacred things because they are not mine and could never be known to me unless you told them to me. If I'm speaking about things from my personal experience and it offends the listeners, am I acting like a pornographer? I don't see the connection.

However, continuing with the sex and sacred things comparison, I would say that either of those topics should be treated with care if one hopes to maintain some friendships. I was told (probably correctly) by a friend that my comments were tasteless. Audience is the critical factor, and because I crossed certain levels of comfort for this audience, I was censored and I understand why. The problem with me is that some things are only funny to me if there is someone out there who finds what I said completely inappropriate. If this is the Nathan I think it is, you understand that side of me as well as anybody.

Nothing but love buddy.