Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: March 29, 2013


Economic Statistics for 29 Mar 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

Personal income rose 1.1% in February, while personal spending rose 0.7%. The PCE Price Index, an inflation measure, rose 0.4% at the headline level, and 0.1% at the core. On a year-over-year basis, personal income is up 2.6%, while spending is up 3.3%. The PCE Price Index is up 1.3%.

The Reuter’s/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index erased last month’s decline, rising to a strong 78.6 in March.

~
Dale Franks
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On casting stones at same-sex couples

Over at RedState, Erick Erickson promoted a post in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage by “mjdaniels,” a Christian conservative and long-time lurker there.  It’s a long post that makes a number of good points, but he ultimately makes a number of rhetorical errors that give his fellow Christian conservatives an easy way out, and they did fix on those errors.  So it is that the people I see praising his argumentation with the fewest reservations are mostly not currently practicing Christians or self-identified conservatives.

Among those errors, the biggest was probably when he said, “Is Homosexuality a Sin? I. Do. Not. Care.”  Christians are supposed to care whether others sin. The proper question is the duty others have to sinners. And behold all the RedState regular commenters saying that they’re called to rebuke sin and lead sinners away from sin, out of love.  Many deny that enshrining these rebukes in legal exclusivity is tantamount to “hunting down sinful people,” and they claim that it isn’t them but same-sex marriage activists who are trying to “wield the power of the government to enforce my convictions on others.”

I’d sorely like to see how his fellow Christian conservatives would respond if they couldn’t focus on those errors.  In particular, I wished “mjdaniels” had better focused on something he only said in passing at the end of his post: that opponents of same-sex marriage were essentially calling for “casting the first stone at” this set of sinners.

It seems to me that when persuading Christian conservatives, one should be absolutely clear that the status quo is coercion – discriminatory taxes and inheritance rules, and denying the right to contract, all of which conservatives agree is state coercion when it’s applied to them – and that when Jesus was challenged to support such coercion (stoning a woman caught in the act of adultery, according to Mosaic Law), he in turn challenged the teachers of law and Pharisees that the first stone should be cast by one who is without sin.  When no one would stone her, he said he would not condemn her that way either, and he simply told her to leave her life of sin.

If even Jesus doesn’t think it’s humans’ place to punish violations of one of the Ten Commandments dealing with marriage, then it’s an uphill climb for a Christian conservative to argue that it’s their duty to uphold the use of such force based on moral strictures that are much less clear.

I find it baffling that conservatives think the government is capable of making a compact sacred by calling it a marriage, but there I see it in the RedState comments.  Do they teach their children that the state’s refraining from coercion is an indication of societal approval of a behavior?  No; what is not prohibited is merely left to be governed by the other aspects of civil society (the family, the market, churches, social pressure, etc.) and, if Christians are correct, God’s ultimate judgment.


Were American’s misled about the cost of ObamaCare?

Does a duck quack? Of course they were. Were politicians pushing an agenda involved? That’s a rhetorical question:

And yes, we told you so.

As Thomas Sowell pointed out, and I’m paraphrasing, how anyone thought that adding a layer of bureaucracy and regulation to the current system was going to drive costs down was beyond him.

And it was beyond most people who have even a modicum of common sense.

Medical claims costs — the biggest driver of health insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for Americans’ individual policies under President Obama’s overhaul, according to a study by the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts.

The report could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act. The estimates were recently released by the Society of Actuaries to its members.

While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.

The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.

Well done, Democrats — well done.

~McQ