Healthcare can never be a right

Disclaimer: This article argues for an important semantic difference. It makes no claims about the merits or faults of healthcare policy.

Healthcare as a right has been a rallying cry for liberal America for some time. It makes sense. Anyone with a conscience finds it difficult to be a part of a society that allows people to be priced out of cures for curable diseases or mired in debt after an emergency room visit. Pricing people out of care is becoming an increasingly unacceptable to society, so the solution liberal America is advocating for is to treat healthcare like a right.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. When our country was created, the definition of a right was a novel idea. Previously, to paraphrase Senator Ben Sasse, your rights came from the king. That which was not mandatory was forbidden and exceptions were granted on a case by case basis. If you wanted to open a store, you needed special permission. Traveling from one place to another was even subject to scrutiny. The king was the only one who was free. Therefore, anything you did was possibly cause for punishment at his sole, arbitrary discretion. Continue reading


Winners and Losers from Iowa

Iowa is all about defying expectations to gain momentum. By this measure, Rubio had the best night of any nominee with Cruz and Sanders tied for second. Trump had a bad night and Hillary finds herself somewhere in the middle. She didn’t have a great night, but she avoided the embarrassing 3rd place finish that she suffered in 2008. 

The RealClearPolitics polling average had Rubio coming in at just over 16%. Rubio outperformed these expectations by 7%, coming in at 23%. This is significant not just because it builds momentum for Rubio. Because his uptick came right before the caucus, it’s safe to say (and polling confirms this) that Rubio scored the vast majority of voters who were undecided. This solidifies the argument that Rubio is the most electable candidate in the GOP field. Continue reading


The Gun Control Debate We’re Not Having

The gun control debate is perhaps one of the best examples of the total disconnect between right and left. The two sides of this debate aren’t speaking the same language at all. Lefties don’t understand the cultural and historical significance of gun ownership to some Americans and righties usually don’t understand the terror of urban gun violence and arbitrary, preventable mass shootings. This debate also suffers from its emotional nature to all stakeholders. This piece will hopefully help contextualize the debate so that supporters and opponents of gun control can have meaningful discourse.

If you’re like most people, you haven’t read the Second Amendment. I’ve never seen a more vigorous or ubiquitous debate about something that the participants haven’t actually seen. Without further ado, here’s the text of the Second Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Continue reading


The Year We Dug The Trenches

2015 was a great year for confirmation bias. As a society we’ve gotten much better at limiting our exposure to dissenting views. We belong to Facebook groups with other like-minded people. Media outlets on both the left and right have gotten better at showcasing the viewpoints that their audience wants to hear. This has had a negative impact on political discourse by increasing party loyalty and further divorcing politics from policy. 

We view those with whom we disagree with increasing otherness. Democrats see and alien race in Republicans. Right wingers are monsters who want to take rights away from anyone who isn’t a white man. Republicans see Democrats as dangerously naive socialists, weak on foreign policy and hell-bent on taking more and more from honest, hardworking Americans. Continue reading


PA contemplating risk assessment in sentencing

According to FiveThirtyEight, PA is on the verge of using risk assessment in sentencing. Sentencing based on how likely one is to commit future crimes might be a phenomenal way to preliminary reduce a lot of the harm that the drug war has done to our justice system without taking the politically unpopular step of actually making drugs legal. It could also be a very clumsy system that decreases the effectiveness of the justice system. We’ll have to wait and see, but state experimentation with government is never a bad thing.