No Egos at Mark Rubin Writes. Pardon?

July 20, 2017

No Egos at Mark Rubin Writes. Pardon?

Mr. President

Here at Mark Rubin Writes we keep our egos in check. Truth be told, that’s not a challenge. There’s just me, Mark Rubin, and I show up with not a lot of ego. Psychoanalysis might explain the situation—the last go around, years ago, provided some insights—but for a lot less time, effort, and money (the 45 minute hour ain’t cheap), I’ll just stick with the length of my subscriber list, and views per day. Short, and not so many, and both explain adequately the lack of ego!

Ego issues aside, I read with interest Trump Team Seeks to Control, Block Mueller’s Russia Investigation, from the Washington Post on July 20. (The

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The Anti-Israel Boycott Act … and More

July 19, 2017

The Anti-Israel Boycott Act … and More

I ran across U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign against Israel recently. Glenn Greenwald—who worked with Edward Snowden*—and Ryan Grim wrote the piece for The Intercept, an impressive journalism enterprise which Mr. Greenwald started with others.

The story reports on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, S. 720, and a companion bill which sits in the House of Representatives. S. 720, among other things, prevents U.S. persons who are engaged in interstate or foreign commerce from:

Requesting the imposition of any boycott by a foreign country against a country which is friendly to the United States; or

Supporting any boycott fostered or imposed by an international

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Gotta Love Those Rs on Health Care

July 15, 2017

Gotta Love Those Rs on Health Care

Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)

Republicans love them their free markets. In response to any problem, we hear about markets. Free markets require rational, knowledgeable buyers and sellers, acting freely. Advocates tell us free markets will always allow us to achieve optimum outcomes. That’s the mantra!

Rational

Rational? Easy it is to talk about too much spending in the last year of people’s lives, but if it’s your mom or dad, well … that’s different. I’ve been there, at both ends of the spectrum. When you love someone, don’t expect rational judgments.

Knowledgeable

Knowledgeable? Uh, no! We spend a fortune educating and training health care providers, and I say we because, while students pay

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The Trump Administration: Farce? Tragedy?

July 11, 2017

Mr. President

The Trump Administration: Farce? Tragedy?

Today, Ezra Klein wrote The Trump administration isn’t a farce. It’s a tragedy. Mr. Klein is the Editor-in-Chief for Vox, and one of our very best writers. He’s also only 33, born 117 months, to the day, after President Richard Nixon waved and left the White House grounds on Marine One on August 9, 1974. Read the next paragraph, please, for his age matters.

In his excellent piece Mr. Klein posits that “this must be what it was like to live through Watergate.” His statement begs the question, for as a 33-year-old he was not around. I was!

Honestly, Trump-i-stan feels much, much worse than Watergate. President Nixon was bent, evil, and surely mad.

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Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money

July 9, 2017

Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money

Cornell University Economics Professor Robert H. Frank wrote Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money recently. He offers a simple thesis: single-payer saves money.

Yes, taxes will increase. However, individual insurance premiums go away, as do most out-of-pocket expenses. Professor Frank estimates a 30% aggregate health care cost reduction. From where? Lower administrative costs. No advertising expenses. And the government can make more favorable deals with providers and pharma.

B-b-but, Medicare’s crashing. Not true, in fact. More to the point, though, Medicare self-selects older, sicker people. A pool which includes everybody captures the tens of millions of healthy people whose health care costs are minimal.

Without doubt, single-payer presents challenges. Daniel Kahneman, psychologist, Nobel

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Dear Mr. President

July 8, 2017

Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

We’ve never met. Still, I despise you more passionately than I ever thought possible. You are arrogant, dishonest, greedy, ill-informed, pompous, selfish, short-sighted, stupid, and untrustworthy. Truly, you are a despicable man.

Alas, you are also the man who, by virtue of a quirky electoral system, sits at the head of our government. (Save that load of horse-hooey about millions of people voting illegally for your opponent for the alt-facts crowd.) You’ve been our servant, now, for 169 terrible days, and you had 72 to prepare yourself for the job we gave you. (You had a lifetime, before Election Day 2016, but I don’t get a sense from you that you place much stock in being prepared.)

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More Thoughts on the Health Care Debacle

June 29, 2017

More Thoughts on the Health Care Debacle

“A really big shew,” said Ed Sullivan, back in the day. Like the Watergate hearings, the Comey testimony, and that white Ford Bronco, traipsing along on Los Angeles freeways, this health care mess transfixes me. For sure, the outcome worries me. More though, the stupidity captures and hold my attention.

Take Donald Trump: please. He covers a big chunk of the stupid straightaway. A situation years ago comes to mind, to describe just how little he contributes here. Late in a drawn out mess, I sat with several lawyers and consultants, trying to find a resolution. Hours along, a principal—young and pampered—piped up sternly to let us know we needed to focus

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Trouble Ahead: Thoughts on Health Care

June 26, 2017

Trouble Ahead: Thoughts on Health Care

Ugh!!! Here’s the Congressional Budget Office’s Cost Estimate for H.R. 1628, the Senate version of the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Dense, but I read it. Characterization? “Despicable,” but only because I must be civil.

Some random thoughts:

Process. When you design a plan secretly, you’ll get a bad plan. Always, but especially when you are dealing with health care, which involves almost 20% of the American economy. The Affordable Care Act process involved 100+ hearings. Tons of input from stakeholders. The Senate Finance Committee’s bipartisan Gang of Six worked for months, as well. That process helped, even though the three Rs voted no on the bill in the end. And—in

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Climate Change and Externalities: We’re so Effed!

June 25, 2017

Climate Change and Externalities: We’re so Effed!

What if they’re right? What if the Prius drivers—the very same people who hug trees, hate money, despise G-d, loath progress, bash the good old U.S. of A., avoid taxes, eat granola, detest freedom, and drink white wine—are right? What if we’ve created a giant oven and are baking ourselves to a crisp? Does anyone want to wait around for the finished product? To learn in 30 or 40 years that increasing temperatures and rising sea levels weren’t just another climate cycle?

I wrote these words 10 years ago. I share them now in the midst of record-breaking Southwestern heat. And because, despite all of the piety about not leaving debt for the

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Happy Father’s Day 2017

June 17, 2017

Happy Father’s Day 2017

Well, Father’s Day 2017 is upon us (or here or gone, depending on when you read this post.) This is my 24th as a father, and I shared a total of 44 with my dad.

I like Father’s Day. Lots. I have my two-part ritual, developed over the past 15 years or so and have missed it only twice. In 2009 I attended an old friend’s memorial service back East in 2009. (RIP, SH; we miss you!) And last year I skipped half of my ritual, opting for Raider of the Lost Ark at the Loft Cinema. Details here.

Part one involves watching the last day of the U.S. Open. I don’t

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