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Belmont Club

The Padlocks of Paris

April 2nd, 2014 - 2:09 pm

The phenomenon is called the ‘padlocks of Paris’. But the correct phrase is the Tragedy of the Commons. The Guardian describes the new Gallic custom of inscribing your love on a padlock, attaching it to a public monument and throwing away the key.

The idea is that by attaching the locks to a public place and throwing away the key, the love it represents will become unbreakable. However, with an estimated 700,000 padlocks now attached to locations across the French capital, the weight could be putting the structural integrity of the city’s architecture at risk.

Originally affecting the Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché, the padlocks can now be found on almost all of the bridges across the Seine, as well as many of the smaller footbridges that span the canals in the 10th arrondissement. On the most popular bridges the guard rails now consist of a solid wall of metal. In a testament to the popularity of the act, even Google Maps now denotes the Pont de l’Archevêché as “Lovelock bridge”.

“It’s so out of control,” says Lisa Anselmo, who co-founded the campaign with fellow expat and writer Lisa Taylor Huff. “People are climbing up lampposts to clip locks on, hanging over the bridge to put them on the other side of the rail, risking their lives to attach one. It’s a kind of mania. It’s not about romance any more – it’s just about saying ‘I did it.’”

The Last Time I Saw Paris It Reminded Me of Yale

The Last Time I Saw Paris It Reminded Me of Yale

Like so many trends it was at first it was cute. But as it caught on it became progressively onerous and has reached the point where it has become a public safety hazard. The phenomenon of everyone piling onto a resource till it is ruined was described in a paper by Garrett Hardin called the Tragedy of the Commons, “according to which individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one’s self-interest, behave contrary to the whole group’s long-term best interests by depleting some common resource.”

Many on the Left who have heard of this theory interpret it to mean that every depletable resource should be declared “the common heritage of mankind”. It sounds nice but like the padlocks of Paris, it has precisely the opposite effect of its ostensible goals. The government of the Philippines, for example, decided to declare its wonderful hardword forests the property of the state after Independence. That meant it belonged to everybody and to nobody. The forests are gone.

It is a hard but sad truth that the only resources which have any chance of being preserved are those whose costs and benefits are privately borne. If you owned a bridge, you would never overload it with padlocks. But since the bridge is “public” how can you stop someone else who has exactly the same rights as you have from clamping another lock onto the bridge?

The King always owned things. The State owned by the Big Families always owned things. It’s private property — the idea that a little guy can own things, like his labor — that is the great social innovation.  And when a person owns something, even a little thing, he usually takes care of it better than a facility owned by the “government”.

But as noted, the idea on the Left is that if you make something  common, you improve it.  Take Obamacare. Nine out of ten Florida Obamacare enrollees got subsidies for their health insurance. “According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Floridians are receiving an average subsidy of $2,950 due to low income.”

Americans have already qualified for about $10 billion in tax credits to help them purchase private health insurance this year through the Affordable Care Act, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)

That’s an average of $2,890 for each of the 3.5 million people who qualified for a subsidy as of March 1 — about 83 percent of those who enrolled in an exchange plan.

That’s according to the California report. It says “California had an even higher percentage of people qualifying for a tax credit. Eighty-eight percent of those who have enrolled in Covered California qualified for a subsidy, according to the study. That means a total of 765,000 people in the state will receive tax credits. The study estimates those credits are worth $2.3 billion.”

Now isn’t this great.  Subsidies! Just wow! Free government money. The public option is always better, right?

But wait a minute, who’s going to pay for all this “affordable health care”? Like the padlocks on the bridge it’s cute when just a few get subsidies. But when 83% of the world is getting money from somwhere, where is it coming from?  Who pays the subsidy when everybody gets a subsidy? This is where the fine print comes it.

It’s going to come from you. It’s called the Obamacare Subsidy Chargeback. When subsidies run out, or you make more money than last year, then you pay back big time. Businessweek warns about “How Windfall Earnings Can Spoil Your Obamacare Subsidy”.

Here’s the rule: It doesn’t matter when your income comes in—whether it’s January or December. The advance premium tax credits (the formal name for the subsidies you mention) are based on modified adjusted gross income for the year as a whole. As I’ve explained before, if your income changes substantially during the year—either up or down—you should notify the exchange you’re participating in and ask for an adjustment of your subsidy. That way you’ll avoid a nasty surprise come tax time.

You could charge people who aren’t consuming health care yet. Kick the can down the road. Dr. Scott Gottlieb at Forbes runs the numbers showing how the old (remember Florida) are going to be subsidized by the young. “See the accompanying charts for a more detailed breakdown of our data. The numbers show why Obamacare has been such a tough sell among the young. These high prices are a direct consequence of the way the law was designed.”

When you think about it, how else could it work?  The reality is that the lovelocks aren’t going to romantically declare love forever, but only until someone hired by the municipal authorities hacksaws it off the bridge for scrap. And the subsidies will be free until someone has to pay for them. And that someone will in the end be you. People never really learn. If the sophisticated denizens of Paris don’t get it after all these years, what chance Detroit?

Yes we can.


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Top Rated Comments   
So, we've had another mass murder of military personnel on a military base. At least the third occurrence on Obama's watch, yet our military men are disarmed on their bases. The CINC owns this, and bears full responsibility for every injury and death, unless he can convince me, convince the American people that he did something meaningful to prevent this.

I have more firepower in my bedroom top drawer than 40,000 Marines and their families nearby at Camp Pendleton. There is absolutely nothing, other than political correctness, stopping the military from issuing on base "carry" permits to key individuals - LOTS of key individuals. If a "Petty Officer of the Watch" and "Roving Patrol" can carry on Navy ships 24/7, then why not when their off watch, and in their personal quarters?

This asinine policy of disarmament was implemented, as far as I can tell, under Carter or Clinton's watch. It wasn't always this way. We're still at war, and we're still leaving our warriors and their families vulnerable in their own quarters. I swear, if I were still on active duty and a base commander, I'd hope I had the balls to implement the policy myself as part of base security. Grant enough permits to just about guarantee someone in every space and building and cubby hole was trained, screened, and armed.

This isn't rocket science. It's as Wretchard tells us about Progressive economic and reality: When mathematical analysis takes over, it becomes unavoidably real. For example, the only way that they could fudge "global warming" was to fake the data, because math is apolitical.

Well, we have a glaring, repetitive failure in "homeland Security" on military bases due to idiotic, now-clearly-failed policies universally disarming our troops. Change it, damn it. Come on, base commanders, show a fraction of the gonads your troops demonstrate every day, and implement the damn policy. Identify the personnel (from all units), train them in use of force and rules of engagement, give them carry permits, coordinate these permits with local authorities for off base (personal use; no posse comitatus issues), get the training going and issue within 60 days.

GET IT DONE, BASE COMMANDERS. Let Obama fire you for defending your troops, if he has the balls, but protect your troops by letting them protect themselves.
(show less)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting how Obama and the democrats drop certain unpleasant facts down the memory hole, to wit:

1. Obama promised if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor - he lied.
2. Obama promised if you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan - he lied.
3. Obama promised the average family would save about $2,500 under Obamacare - he lied.
4. Obama promised the quality of health care would not go donw - he lied.
5. Obama continues to promise no death panels - and cancer patients are being told they cannot get treatments they used to have.

I rather suspect Obama care is more about making sure the democratic party gets the power to ration out health care - and therby helps turn the USA into a one party state. As for subidies, like other socailist ideas that will last until the democrats run out of other peoples money - which will be by about 2027 according to CBO figures.

Obama was forced on me and many others and sold on the basis of lies. The number of people who sign up for it do not change that.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
My theory is that the provocative but but interesting lady known as MC has been replaced by a colleague of X, or is the same in drag. Every prejudice and conspiracy theory that has been tossed at the "Anglo-Saxons" since the Fashoda Incident are dragged out. Whoever first dipped a pen in poison, the Okhrana or Geobbels or Beria it does not matter because they copied from each other, the hate lives forever. It debases the love of country into a narrow contempt for others that reduces all relations to such a narrow accounting that no true alliance is possible, That is the point of those who spread these campaigns. They do not care where the truth or justice lay, in the Crimea or in Katyn or at Château-Thierry where my grandfather was wounded or in any of millions of commercial transactions where courtesy could matter, or anywhere else. The point is to sow division and ensure that later at some other time when the aggressor chooses to move the victims stand alone.

Now it is perfectly possible to say in some cases that you do not have a dog in the fight. Many of us felt that way about the Balkans 20 years ago. Few are even aware, beyond hearing that ten years ago Nick Nolte and Don Cheadle were in a movie, of the carnage still going on in Africa, and fewer are eager to resume a Caucasian presence in Africa sufficient to solve those problems. That does not equate to dismissing threats from Russia as something on the other side of Germany directed at people that nobody cares about. Even Neville Chamberlain when he said, “How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing!” knew better.

The problem is the Internet. It allows anonymity and rapid communication to a broad audience. It offers visibility without consequence. Unlike with an adolescent's graffiti there are almost no risks to vandalism and the thought once expressed will exist in some form forever. That is a power that only kings could once dream of.

So people become rude. They insult other commentators and other peoples. It becomes harder to do when you are criticizing the hypocrites of the Left who decry social sexual or racial stereotyping while ruthlessly indulging in it. We try to draw distinctions between Communists and Russians or between Detroit Democrats and Blacks or between Islamists and Muslims, but the efforts sound artificial.

The coarsening of manners that the Internet has abetted has flowed back from the virtual world into the real world. People a hundred years ago defaulted to caution and formality when dealing with strangers or children or women or persons possibly with authority. Now the vulgarity and selfishness and egoism that admits a disregard for the person behind the words, and then for peoples beyond some river, get amplified by the writers steeped in the new electronic immorality of media. That translates into people who conduct themselves in reality in public places with the casual callous brutal indifference to others that once would have been associated with the outcast dregs shunned by all and rebuked without fear all decent people.

This is why the problem that I am discussing is part of the "Tragedy of the Commons." From the bridges of Paris to wretchard's blog people will hang their locks because they can get away with it. The people, including ourselves if we do not struggle against the tide daily, have become more barbaric and have abandoned the Commons to the barbarians.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (43)
All Comments   (43)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Wretchard quoted:

"The idea is that by attaching the locks to a public place and throwing away the key, the love it represents will become unbreakable. However, with an estimated 700,000 padlocks now attached to locations across the French capital, the weight could be putting the structural integrity of the city’s architecture at risk."

I find that risk hard to believe. A three-axle 9700 Volvo bus weighs 24.75 tones or 2.475e4 kg. At typical padlock weighs about 100 grams. 0.1 * 7e5 = 7e4 kg. The total padlock mass weighs less than three Volvo 9700 buses. It would be a pathetically weak bridge that collapsed under the weight of three city buses.

I saw the padlocks on the bridge fences last time I was in Paris (the picture above shows a worst case). I think its a sweet tradition (only the French could come up with something like that). I wish I had brought along padlocks for my wife and daughter (another opportunity missed...).
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have to confess that when I saw all those locks on the Parisian bridges, I was thinking to myself that a guy could make some money from this. First you get a SCUBA outfit and collect the keys from the bottom of the Seine River. Then there would be the tedious part of matching the keys to the locks. One would then have a zillion padlocks that could be sold to tourists.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I was a young man there was nothing more romantic than Edith Piaf. Nowadays, my, how times have changed. who is this French broad?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mireille_Mathieu

--this reads like a novel --and a page turner at that --
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIxOl1EraXA

--a feller can march a long way on something like this.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know guys. MC has shown up when ever someone mentions French bread or fries or mustard for that matter. I made the mistake of mixing it up with her a little bit and she is acerbic and nasty as they come. I have taken everybody's forbearance as as chivalry myself but she has never shown an once of amistad in return. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the tossed salad of opinion of it all if it is indeed opinion.

Ash (potato guy) cracks me up too. A few years back he'd say some of his robotic defiant teenager act stuff and people just started to ignore him. He'd come back and say "hey, nobody wants to argue with me because I am so smart and you cannot counter my assertions" LOL
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
--heh --Ash, and before him, old 'Double Standards' --
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
woah, that reminds me where is the pop corn?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Same ol' Marie Claude. Pass the popcorn ;-)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think we've watched the same movies in the same cinema some times ago ;-)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
We could take up a collection to pay MC and Potato Guy to have a go at each other.

France vs Canada

Then they could share Cheese and Wine on Potato Guy's yacht.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quebec would be Quonfused
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
EXCLUSIVE: The FBI is searching for a recent Army recruit believed to be planning a "Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers," FoxNews.com has learned.

The alert, whose legitimacy was confirmed by military and law enforcement officials, stated that a man identified as Booker had told friends of his "intention to commit jihad." Booker, who is also known as Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, was recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7.

But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.

Both the FBI and the 902d Military Intelligence Group at Fort Leavenworth are involved in the hunt.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/01/military-hunts-one-time-recruit-planning-ft-hood-style-jihad/
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
3 Victims, Gunman Dead After Second Fort Hood Mass Shooting

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Active-Shooter-Reported-at-Fort-Hood-253636461.html

The shooter has been identified as a soldier. He has been identified at 34-year-old Ivan Lopez. The shooting reportedly started as the result of a dispute between soldiers.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
What the "real" Noah saw before the flood.

http://inserbia.info/today/2014/04/animals-fleeing-yellowstone-fears-of-volcanic-eruption/

I'd believe an animal's natural reactions over any modern metric. These buffalo are not even herding, it's every buffalo for himself! Something big is on it's way.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
In his thought-provoking manner, Subotai asked: "... exactly where the point is where things become degraded beyond repair? How much spoilage ruins the content[?]"

Since there is nothing new under the sun, let's turn the clock back to when CB (Citizen Band) radio was the hot new communication technology.

CB began with long-haul truckers as a useful means of sharing real-time information about road conditions. Then spread to the overpriced foreign car set, who loved the thrill of hearing real working men talk. But as popularity & participation grew, language degraded and useful content declined -- a classic case of a Gresham's Law type of bad content driving out good. Consequently, CB radio went away for the broad public -- although for all I know long-haul truckers may still use it as they did before it had its brief spike in popularity.

Analyzing that -- individuals decided for themselves, as individuals, where the point of non-utility was reached. When enough individuals reached that conclusion, the market lost critical mass and became irrelevant. True democracy in action.

On the internet, we are likely to see a period of increased ghettoization before enough of us individually unplug. It is only a matter of time before only card-carrying Democrats are allowed to comment on Daily Kos, for example. To be followed by -- only those Democrats who are accepted members of the Nancy Pelosi wing, etc. At which point, the utility of the blog world will have been lost.

But some other means of communication will replace it. Big wheel keeps on turning.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, we've had another mass murder of military personnel on a military base. At least the third occurrence on Obama's watch, yet our military men are disarmed on their bases. The CINC owns this, and bears full responsibility for every injury and death, unless he can convince me, convince the American people that he did something meaningful to prevent this.

I have more firepower in my bedroom top drawer than 40,000 Marines and their families nearby at Camp Pendleton. There is absolutely nothing, other than political correctness, stopping the military from issuing on base "carry" permits to key individuals - LOTS of key individuals. If a "Petty Officer of the Watch" and "Roving Patrol" can carry on Navy ships 24/7, then why not when their off watch, and in their personal quarters?

This asinine policy of disarmament was implemented, as far as I can tell, under Carter or Clinton's watch. It wasn't always this way. We're still at war, and we're still leaving our warriors and their families vulnerable in their own quarters. I swear, if I were still on active duty and a base commander, I'd hope I had the balls to implement the policy myself as part of base security. Grant enough permits to just about guarantee someone in every space and building and cubby hole was trained, screened, and armed.

This isn't rocket science. It's as Wretchard tells us about Progressive economic and reality: When mathematical analysis takes over, it becomes unavoidably real. For example, the only way that they could fudge "global warming" was to fake the data, because math is apolitical.

Well, we have a glaring, repetitive failure in "homeland Security" on military bases due to idiotic, now-clearly-failed policies universally disarming our troops. Change it, damn it. Come on, base commanders, show a fraction of the gonads your troops demonstrate every day, and implement the damn policy. Identify the personnel (from all units), train them in use of force and rules of engagement, give them carry permits, coordinate these permits with local authorities for off base (personal use; no posse comitatus issues), get the training going and issue within 60 days.

GET IT DONE, BASE COMMANDERS. Let Obama fire you for defending your troops, if he has the balls, but protect your troops by letting them protect themselves.
(show less)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting how Obama and the democrats drop certain unpleasant facts down the memory hole, to wit:

1. Obama promised if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor - he lied.
2. Obama promised if you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan - he lied.
3. Obama promised the average family would save about $2,500 under Obamacare - he lied.
4. Obama promised the quality of health care would not go donw - he lied.
5. Obama continues to promise no death panels - and cancer patients are being told they cannot get treatments they used to have.

I rather suspect Obama care is more about making sure the democratic party gets the power to ration out health care - and therby helps turn the USA into a one party state. As for subidies, like other socailist ideas that will last until the democrats run out of other peoples money - which will be by about 2027 according to CBO figures.

Obama was forced on me and many others and sold on the basis of lies. The number of people who sign up for it do not change that.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
On April fools day Obama declared mission accomplished because 7.1 million signed up for Obamacare. The media gushed and talked of a victory lap (though it was more like a lap-dance). Yesterday I commented here that analysis for the left consists of the movement agreeing on an answer and concocting a formula to produce that answer (with analytical errors added as needed). Why was 7.1 million worthy of a victory lap (with perhaps 4.5 million of that number eventually paying their premiums)?

Seven million was touted as the minimum number needed to create a marketplace for insurance. The expectation was that far more would actually sign up. It became important to cross the "7 miillion barrier" or the launch could be called a failure on the basis of the government's own studies. I would bet many a DC journalist heard Democrats predict many millions more than 7 would sign by this time. The story could be written that many Democrats expected 12-14 million enrollments by the end of March and got half the number expected -- far fewer than that, even, if only those who pay are counted. And since Americans are legally required to be insured on April 1 we became a nation of scoff laws.

I used the term "marketplace" but that is, of course, a misnomer. Obamacare is actually a government run cartel controlled by politicians, their cronies, and a massive DC bureaucracy. Cartels exist to force consumers to pay a higher price for a lower quality product. In the case of Obamacare the extra costs are hidden (and will therefore be even greater) and Quality appears set to hit the wall sooner than even I expected. Funny how so much that was so important not so long ago (the fierce moral urgency of now!) no longer matters. All Obamacare complaints are fed into the Problematic (tm) and it generates the appropriate Problematic solution: These tales are all lies told by those who want you to die!
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
7.1 Million divided by 318 Million = 2.2 Percent

https://www.census.gov/popclock/
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
More than 4.2 million Americans have now seen their health insurance policies canceled due to the new regulations.

Megyn Kelly went over the numbers with Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, noting that so far, the Obama administration has placed the blame for the cancelations on the insurance industry.

"Your 4.2 million number is an interesting one. That's what the count is up to. It's going to get much higher than that. We're going to have these cancelations going into 2014," said Laszewski, predicting that ultimately, 80 percent of people in the individual market will lose their policy due to ObamaCare regulations.

He explained that the "grandfather" provisions written into ObamaCare are "so stringent that very, very few [individual] health insurance policies are going to survive."

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/11/07/how-many-americans-have-lost-their-health-insurance-under-obamacare
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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