In 2010, the Affordable Care Act included a 2.3% tax on medical devices, designed to offset the cost of subsidizing health care for low-income families. Last week, the Senate voted 79-20 to repeal that tax in response to heavy lobbying by the medical device industry. Weirdly, 34 Democrats voted for repeal—many of the same senators who voted for the original tax. What a difference 30 months, several dozens lobbyists and one false cost estimate make. According to Bloomberg, the “reasonable assumptions” that the trade group AdvaMed used to estimate the cost of the tax “conflict with economic research, overstate companies’ incentives to move jobs offshore, and ignore the positive effect of new demand created by the law.”
Campaign season is over, and truth can assert itself relentlessly once again. Not on TV or in conversation, of course—those are neighborhoods from which truth is long since gentrified out. But in the cold world of numbers and events and things that exist whether we believe in them or not, the discipline of the machine is once more imposed. Say what you will about what’s going to happen in the future—that stuff or some different stuff will happen. Today is Friday, and actuality is a cold splash. Whether it’s refreshing or chilling depends on how heated-up you got yourself in the last few months. Won’t you wash yourself clean with me?
I don’t know about you, but I would like to be liked. I may not be very good at it, but in my interpersonal relations I try to pander to others as much as possible. Shame and sycophancy are my watchwords. The panicked need to feel that other people like me—even when I do not like them—exerts a serious check on my behavior. Imagine how free I would be if everyone hated me. If there were no hope that anyone who knew me could possibly like me, I could act however I pleased, the way death row inmates are always filling balloons with their own feces. If I were a public jerk instead of a secret asshole, I could live a life of rare liberty, saying and doing whatever I pleased with no regard for decency or the feelings of others. Today is Friday, and our link roundup contains a bunch of people like that.
A fun thing to do Saturday was warn your friends about the Rapture predicted by evangelical minster/probable crazy person Harold Camping, then watch as they
ascended into heaven got drunk and talked about their dads like usual. Camping performed a series of numerological calculations based on scripture to predict the end of the world to the day, apparently on the assumption that A) neither he nor a 2000 year-old account written 250 years after the fact could possibly be wrong about the day of the week on which Jesus was crucified, or B) there was no way he’d live that long. It’s also possible he realized C) he could always lie about it afterward, in a sort of Rapture-predicting encore. God never closes a door without opening a window,* and Harold Camping now assures us that the Rapture he predicted did happen, but it was invisible. The world will actually end on October 21, exactly six months after the date he originally predict—dammit!