6-30-12 Hodgepodge

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Obama's Victory Speech, Translated

John Stossel basically fisks Obama's remarks after the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare. The following translation stood out to me:

[Obama:] And because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs - a discount that's already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about 600 dollars each.

[Stossel:] Even rich seniors get a handout. According to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ObamaCare will cost taxpayers $2.6 trillion in the next 10 years.
$ 2.6 trillion divided by about 310 million divided by ten means a bit under $ 840.00 per man, woman, and child every year for the next ten years. Of course, children and many adults do not pay taxes. Later, Stossel notes that "The bill raises premiums by up to 50% -- that's $1,500 for individuals, and $3,300 for families..." Presumably, then, the $840 per annum is on top of the premium increases.

Still, that's a pittance next to the freedom that we have just lost.

Weekend Reading

"Is there some national, collective problem in the fact that some people don't have 'access' to quality medical care? What if we rephrase the question to be: do some people have the right to force other people to pay for their medical care?" -- Harry Binswanger, in "To Discredit The Anti-Capitalists, Pro-Capitalists Need To Learn How To Use Words" at Forbes

"If Americans value their lives, they must repudiate ObamaCare soundly at the ballot box." -- Paul Hsieh, in "What Should Americans Do After the Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling?" at PJ Media

"As to how much further liberty we may lose in our lifetimes, it'll depend only on how arbitrary and vicious reigning rulers choose to be, or not." -- Richard Salsman, in "A Finalized Path to Full, Socialized Medicine in America -- Thanks to Conservatives" at Forbes

"In this third and last of my entries on the 'fiscal austerity' debate I discuss how, historically, prosperity has resulted not from the alleged 'stimulus' of government deficit spending but from less government spending and big tax cuts." -- Richard Salsman, in "Fiscal Austerity and Economic Prosperity" at Forbes

"The market doesn't know, care or consider anything we say or do." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "The Market Doesn't Follow Orders" at SmartMoney

"[I]f you don't own your errors, you'll never grow." -- Michael Hurd, in "Take Back the Power" at DrHurd.com

Looting by Any Other Name

All the commentary on the ObamaCare ruling was worthwhile, but I was particularly happy to see the particular question raised by Harry Binswanger being asked in front of such a large audience.

(Worse than) Useless Jargon

A Forbes piece I ran into some time ago comes close to naming what I despise most about jargon, particularly when used outside a context calling for it:
"Jargon masks real meaning," says Jennifer Chatman, management professor at the University of California-Berkeley's Haas School of Business. "People use it as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction that they want to give others."
It's also used by the same people to appear, not the least to themselves, to know what they're talking about.



: Fixed links to Binswanger and Hurd articles.


Steve D said...

I liked the article on jargon and it made me think about why jargon is so annoying. It also made me wonder why since it is so annoying, so many people still use it.
I especially liked that point about thinking outside the box. I've always wondered how someone who does that would ever deal with any problem in which the solution was inside the box. (I could see using this term properly in specific cases though, like when a problem looks like it specifically calls for an unconventional solution)
And ‘learnings’? If you are going to torture me with jargon could you at least make it grammatically correct?
To broaden the author’s point about ‘jargon’, note that a lot of jargon is basically metaphorical speech or normal speech used in a metaphorical way. But a metaphor is a double-edged sword; its very purpose is to focus your thoughts. In a novel it can be fun and informative to read but if its misused or overused time and again, not only is it annoying but like the article said it can stifle thinking.
If I wanted to be impudent about this, I might say that jargon discourages you from ‘thinking outside the box.’
The other problem is that non-metaphorical jargon terms like ‘robust’ are often so all-purpose they lose meaning. Actually, the word ‘robust’ is one of the better ones; it does have a specific beneficial meaning and I have used it in the past to describe some of assays I develop. The problem is that it is still usually too general a term. There a many reasons why an assay could be described as robust – it can work over under many different conditions, be very accurate all the time; be easily transferred from one person to another etc. So, telling a person your assay is robust is a way to deliberately avoid having to explain why it is robust.
Thankfully where I work, although jargon is used, we don’t rely on it. Otherwise everything would soon come to a grinding halt.

Gus Van Horn said...

I think the spread of jargon occurs at first due to its freshness, and then snowballs among second-handers (who won't realize how annoying they are) when they start mirroring their superiors or socially-dominant peers.

Perhaps I shouldn't be as annoyed with jargon, given that it might be useful as a flag.


Jim May said...

Your link to Harry is busted.


Gus Van Horn said...

Fixed. Thanks, Jim.