Comment: Everyone who is free prioritizes how he spends his money.

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Everyone who is free prioritizes how he spends his money.

But if government decides for you, the result is not necessarily what you want. If you can't afford $20,000 for health insurance and don't have it provided for you by your employer, then you must give up something else in order to pay for what the government mandates. In some, if not many cases, that will be something more basic like food and shelter.

Professor Charles A. Hall says we have reached the point in history where we can as a society no longer afford luxuries, higher education and advanced health care, which I suppose is why the prices of these are advancing faster than our ability to pay. He explains that the underlying cause of this result is the amount of energy that must be expended to acquire oil has passed the point where it doesn't leave enough to fuel an economy that includes what we have come to expect it will provide for us.

There is a dirty little secret about energy production. It is called compound growth of the amount of energy that must be expended to acquire energy. Any rate of growth in this cost produces a doubling period. At a 3% growth rate (the actual experienced rate of growth in cost to acquire oil) the doubling period is 23.3 years; obviously the energy expended to acquire energy can't exceed the energy acquired. We are still producing oil, but we each year are spending more and more energy to acquire it, leaving less to fuel the economy. For part of the past, the production increased fast enough to both pay the increased cost and leaving enough to keep the economy expanding. But now, we are in the steeper part of the "hockey stick" cost growth curve and unfortunately total production has leveled out, no longer leaving enough energy from oil to fuel an expanding economy.

Let me describe this in terms of a clock. Assume 12:00 is the point we spend 100 barrels of oil to acquire 100 barrels of oil, or 100% cost; at 11:00 the cost will be 50%; at 10:00 the cost will be 25%; at 9:00 the cost will be 12.5%; at 8:00 the cost was 6.25%; at 7:00 the cost was 3.125%. Skip back to 5:30 and the cost was only 1%. This is how compound growth works. A constant rate of growth keeps yielding a greater and greater absolute increased amount as time progresses.

For oil, in 1930 the cost was 1% and it is doubling every 23.3 years on average, a 3% rate of increase in cost. In 2012 we were at 11%. It takes 23.3 years on average for the clock to advance to the next number. In 2017 we should be at 9:00 (12.5% cost); in 2040 we should be at 10:00 (25% cost); in 2064 we should be at 11:00 (50% cost); and finally in 2087 we will be at 12:00 (100% cost). Of course our industrial economy will collapse long before we reach 100%.

Each fossil fuel has its own cost curve, each with a compound rate of growth that eventually makes the fuel too expensive to acquire. Oil is the most critical to our immediate future. Any "renewable" substitute must be able to produce a greater return on the energy expended to acquire it than we now have from oil in order for it to adequately substitute for oil. No know alternative comes close when all acquisition costs are considered.

The point in relationship to Obamacare is that it is fundamentally impossible. It simply forces people to buy something they can't afford with the consequence that they must give up something even more important to their survival. As time passes, this will become even more critical because the economy has entered long term contraction for want of sufficient energy to fuel it, and life will progressively become more difficult.

In my view our government has become the biggest impediment to our very survival.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.