Never A Truer Word Spoken

In his Devil’s Dictionary, the late and very-much-lamented Ambrose Pierce once wrote the following:

“When politicians speak, no matter the topic, they’re talking about money.”

…and boy, was he ever right.  Here’s an example.

For the past couple of years, governments have been talking about the “obesity epidemic” (as though getting fat can spread from one person to another over the air, instead of being the result of a conscious decision by individuals).  And of course, along with such alarums and panic from the Usual Suspects — those who Know What’s Best For You — have come clamors that Something Must Be Done.  And when people use the dreaded passive voice, of course, that means one, and only one thing:  government intervention.

So, of course, in steps Nanny Government to the rescue.  Of course, instead of pointing out that people get fat because they eat too much, or that their children get fat because their parents give them too much of the wrong foods, Big Nanny sets about punishing people for ingesting said wrong foods — and the easiest thing to target, because of its ubiquity, is sugar.

We all know that too much sugar is A Bad Thing, and if you eat too much of it, you get not only overweight but various health problems.  Let me repeat:  we all know that.

But how to punish excessive sugar consumption?  Do we (i.e. Nanny Government) ration the stuff?  No, too difficult and costly to implement, manage and police (although I would bet against it in the future — such difficulties have seldom stopped government in the past, e.g.  ObamaCare coff coff )  But sugar is not only bought and sold per se , it’s also a ubiquitous ingredient, and most egregiously so in the case of carbonated soft drinks (to normal mortals, that would be Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew etc.) wherein can be found the equivalent of a dozen or so teaspoons of sugar per can.  Not that this is always A Bad Thing:

So, goes Nanny’s thinking, if we punish people for drinking Cokes and reduce consumption thereof by making it more expensive to do so, the very best way to implement such policy is… to tax it.

Which brings us back to Ambrose Bierce.  And lo, there we have proof of the man’s sagacity:

The UK’s sugar tax has raised almost £154 million in its first six months, Government figures have revealed.
From April, companies selling drinks with added sugar have been taxed between 18p and 24p per litre for certain drinks containing high levels of added sugar.
The new levy was introduced in an effort to fight childhood obesity, as more than a third of 11-year-olds in the UK are now overweight and soft drinks are one of their main sources of sugar.

With that degree of success, replication must surely follow:

Raising so much money from the tax was ‘encouraging’, one expert said, but they urged the Government to extend the levy to calories in sweets [candy] as well.

And there you have it:  Nanny Government at its absolute finest.  It’s even more nasty in that with the above policy, the BritGov didn’t increase the sales tax on carbonated soft drinks — too difficult to implement, police and collect, see above — so instead they levied the tax at its source:

 There are 457 companies registered to pay the tax, and more than 90 per cent of the money came from charges on drinks with higher levels of sugar.

Much easier.  And needless to say, most of said companies simply raised the price of their product and passed it on to consumers — that would be us — to whom rising prices are a fact of modern life, and therefore the added cost went pretty much unnoticed.

Which actually makes it a perfect government tax policy:  it’s barely noticed by the public, it’s easier to collect / enforce (457 companies vs. many thousands of retail outlets), and best of all, if it fails to have the desired effect (making people drink less of the stuff), Nanny Government can simply increase the tax rate until it does — or until the supplier companies either quit or go out of business, which won’t happen because Coca-Cola / PepsiCo / Dr. Pepper / Cadbury-Schweppes etc. are collectively richer than Great Britain.  So there is theoretically no limit as to how much tax revenue the BritGov could collect from this policy.

And all because you, you fat bastards, insist on buying your kids Big Gulps and pouring  Dr. Pepper over their sugary breakfast cereals (a rant for another time, coming very soon to these pages).

And at the bottom of all this, of course is the reason why Gummint — in this case the Brit manifestation thereof — should care about fat children at all.   It’s not because they’re concerned for the chillins’ health (although that’s the figleaf), but because when obesity causes health issues, then said issues have to be covered by the foul (but government-funded) National Health Service.

Which brings us back — AGAIN — to Ambrose Bierce’s dictum.  It’s all about the fucking money.

At the beginning of this post, I said that Bierce’s death was much lamented but as I think about it, I’m glad that my favorite cynic of all time isn’t around to see all this.  He’d probably commit suicide.


And as a footnote, allow me to recommend unreservedly The Devil’s Dictionary, which under the reign of World-Emperor Kim would be a required textbook in all high-school curricula.

About That Single-Payer Health Service

Not that I need to belabor the point, but any “free” government health service is going to cost you.  In almost every such case, it’s when Gummint decides that you’ve had enough.  Here’s one from Britain’s NHS:

A hero RAF rear gunner who evaded capture by the Nazis in 1942 after being shot down over Belgium has been told to sell his house to pay medical bills as he has ‘survived too long’.

(I have to warn you that if you read that whole story, you ought to remove all throwable objects and guns out of reach — and even more so for the next one.)

Over in oh-so caring Europe comes this horrifying story:

Dutch authorities are prosecuting a doctor for euthanising an elderly woman with dementia in the first case of its kind since the practice was legalised in 2002.
The doctor, who was not named, has been charged with secretly drugging the woman’s coffee with Dormicum to make her drowsy and asking her family to hold her down as she was lethally injected in a care home in The Hague in 2016.
Whilst the 74-year-old patient was receiving the lethal injection she woke up and began fighting the doctor.

(I should also point out that the Dutch doctor was a woman, which somehow just makes it worse.)

I know, I know:  “Oh, that could never happen over here in the U.S.” — until it does.  When to comes to money, every government will eventually resort to violence;  try to find someone who has ever dealt with the I.R.S. over an unpaid tax liability, and not felt threatened by the experience.  You won’t.

Rationing

Seeing as the Socialists now control the U.S. House, I suppose we’re going to start hearing the drumbeat of support for and attempts to revive the failed ObamaCare medical insurance system, as well as support for a “single-payer” healthcare system (where the “single payer” means the government, i.e. not a single payer at all, but all taxpayers — yet another way Socialists employ a euphemism to conceal the truth).

Of course, this will all be cloaked under the banner of “fairness”, i.e. free healthcare for all people being a “fair” principle (and yes, I know it isn’t free at all;  see above), all while touting the excellence of, for example, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

So while kicking said supporters in the teeth (always a Good Thing when dealing with socialists anyway), you may want to ask them how “fair” it is when medical services are so scarce that a service, treatment or drug is allocated to the afflicted by means of a postcode lottery — this being excellent example of the principle:

Tens of thousands of people with diabetes are being denied NHS access to a life-changing device which could spell an end to painful finger pricks.
A postcode lottery in provision means many people with type 1 diabetes are missing out on the benefits of the FreeStyle Libre gadget, which measures blood sugar levels with the simple swipe of a smartphone.
The device – famously used by Theresa May – has been available for GPs to prescribe for last year.
But an investigation by the British Medical Journal revealed a quarter of clinical commissioning groups in England are refusing to fund prescriptions for their residents.
This leaves people to either pay the £96 a month to receive it privately or miss out on the system.

I guess that technically this is fair, in that everyone has the same chance of winning a lottery… but I still want to kick random Socialists in the teeth anyway.

Not Your Money

Upset that multinational corporations use such things as legal tax havens and the law to minimize their tax burden, the Germans want to impose some sort of “international” tax on technology companies like Google and Amazon.

“We need a minumum tax rate valid globally which no state can get out of (applying),” Scholz, a social democrat in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government, told the “Welt am Sonntag” weekly.
Europe is trying to devise a strategy to tax profits from the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and digital platforms such as YouTube and Airbnb which currently manage to keep fiscal exposure to a bare minimum.
Digital platforms “aggravate a problem which we know well from globalisation and which we are trying to counter — the shifting of profits to fiscally beneficial regions,” said Scholz.

Of course they do.  In the minds of statists and the governments they support, the State owns all capital and corporations and individuals have no right to avoid (note: not evade) paying the taxes said governments feel they are owed.

Shareholders of said corporations, however, insist on the companies’ avoidance of paying unnecessary taxes.

Mind you, I’m anything but a fan of Big Tech myself, the poxy monopolists;  but given the option between Big Tech and Big Government… no prizes for guessing my choice here.  To paraphrase Trey Parker (of South Park fame):  I hate Big Tech; but I really hate Big Government, and the foul neo-socialist European governments most of all.

Imagine Being Patient #4,154,560

The next time some dreamy pinko starts whining about how wonderful Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is, feel free to show him or her this article (when you are done kicking their ass, of course):

The NHS waiting list in England is the longest it has been in 11 years, official figures have revealed today.
A staggering 4,154,559 people – around six per cent of the entire UK population – were waiting to start hospital treatment at the end of August.  This number is the highest it has been since August 2007, and more than 3,000 people have been waiting more than a year for routine treatment.
A&E [ER] departments are also getting busier and cancer treatment waiting times have been missed for the 32nd month in a row, NHS data showed.  Experts today warned ‘alarm bells’ are ringing and the health service is heading straight for another winter crisis as it buckles under ‘relentless pressure’.  An ageing population and shortages of doctors and nurses have been blamed for increasing strain on the NHS and it taking longer to treat patients.

But hey… as long as it’s free, right?

And speaking of free, of course it turns out that “free” also means “rationing” (emphasis mine):

Shortages of Fluad, a new super-vaccine offering better protection for over-65s, means pensioners across the country are being turned away by GPs.  Deliveries of the vaccine to surgeries and pharmacies are being staggered due to supply problems and 40 per cent of the 7.8 million doses will not be available until next month.
The Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended Fluad last December, but it took NHS England until February 5 to tell GPs and pharmacies they needed to buy it.  Clinics that failed to order by the April 12 deadline have had no stock delivered, forcing them to beg for supplies from others.

So if you’re (say) 63 years old, British and catch a potentially-deadly strain of flu, that’s just too bad.  Life’s lottery — or, to be more precise, the NHS lottery — just gave it to you between the cheeks.

Wear boots when kicking.