Privatization

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Re: Privatization

Post by Deacon » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:32 pm

Assuming his facts are correct, point to CS22.
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Re: Privatization

Post by Martin Blank » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:34 am

collegestudent22 wrote:Emergency and life-saving care is REQUIRED, by law, to be written off as a loss by hospitals if they treat the uninsured, and it is also REQUIRED, by law, that they provide that care to ANYONE who goes to the ER.
They have to provide care to anyone that goes to the ER. That much is true. However, hospitals can, will, and do go after the patient for payment. A friend was nearly bankrupted after emergency care for her husband that was refused payment by her insurance racked up nearly $30,000 and the hospital demanded payment. It took the better part of two months to get it sorted out.
collegestudent22 wrote:The cost of running the USPS? Almost 80% of it is labor, because of the union. And they want more. I have trouble believing that the problem is those people living in Nowhere, AK, that receive tons of letters. UPS or FedEx would most certainly pick up the slack, because they DON'T have the union beating them into oblivion.
The problem is that the volume of mail is dropping rapidly. If the people of Nowhere, AK, were receiving tons of mail, it wouldn't be a problem. But they're not. They're getting a few letters and bills here and there, and it has to be delivered, and that's not cheap.

Your solution of just making people use the Internet doesn't take into account that a lot of those people aren't computer savvy, and many of them are poor and don't have computers. Some of those homes don't even have phones. Would you prefer to spend a few thousand dollars for each of them to equip each home and provide training?

I'm all for cutting back costs. I'm fine with five-day delivery, eliminating Saturday service, and examining other methods, including forcing the union to accept smaller sizes and lower pay and benefits. But eventually, the USPS is going to become a cost center, and I'm fine with that. A postal service is one of the things that a government should provide, with the users chipping in a reasonable portion of it. If it can make a profit, so be it. If not... Well, the military doesn't make a profit either, does it?
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Re: Privatization

Post by collegestudent22 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:38 am

Martin Blank wrote:
collegestudent22 wrote:Emergency and life-saving care is REQUIRED, by law, to be written off as a loss by hospitals if they treat the uninsured, and it is also REQUIRED, by law, that they provide that care to ANYONE who goes to the ER.
They have to provide care to anyone that goes to the ER. That much is true. However, hospitals can, will, and do go after the patient for payment. A friend was nearly bankrupted after emergency care for her husband that was refused payment by her insurance racked up nearly $30,000 and the hospital demanded payment. It took the better part of two months to get it sorted out.
This is typically only true if the hospital is having problems making money, and therefore need to recuperate those losses. More often, ER's will typically write off care if there is a lack of insurance. Many hospitals also provide free clinics for basic care now, as well.
collegestudent22 wrote:The cost of running the USPS? Almost 80% of it is labor, because of the union. And they want more. I have trouble believing that the problem is those people living in Nowhere, AK, that receive tons of letters. UPS or FedEx would most certainly pick up the slack, because they DON'T have the union beating them into oblivion.
The problem is that the volume of mail is dropping rapidly. If the people of Nowhere, AK, were receiving tons of mail, it wouldn't be a problem. But they're not. They're getting a few letters and bills here and there, and it has to be delivered, and that's not cheap.
Again, 80% of the cost is labor. And it isn't basic salary - it is pension funds and other benefits for mail delivery.
Your solution of just making people use the Internet doesn't take into account that a lot of those people aren't computer savvy, and many of them are poor and don't have computers. Some of those homes don't even have phones.
So, they live in the middle of nowhere without a phone or computer, and can only contact people through the mail? What bills are they paying then, if they are so poor and subsist, somehow, in the middle of the wilderness without modern convenience?
including forcing the union to accept smaller sizes and lower pay and benefits
That, alone, would likely allow the USPS to make money for many years.
But eventually, the USPS is going to become a cost center, and I'm fine with that.
But why let that happen if private corporations can pick that up, and actually make money? The problem is not that the USPS exists as a government corporation, but that it enforces a government monopoly preventing anyone from attempting other solutions that may not lose money.
If it can make a profit, so be it. If not... Well, the military doesn't make a profit either, does it?
The problem is that the idea that government should deliver mail is antiquated. It is from a time where the delivery of mail was a costly, lengthy process and there was really no other way to do it. In contrast, the government has, in the 19th century, forced mail delivery companies, such as the American Letter Mail Company out of business for providing mail delivery at a cheaper price than the government. My point being that opening it up will result in either the government having to cover it anyway (just as it does now), or removing the burden from the government, allowing companies to make more money (growing the economy) and shrinking the debt somewhat.
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Re: Privatization

Post by Deacon » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:53 pm

collegestudent22 wrote:This is typically only true if the hospital is having problems making money, and therefore need to recuperate those losses. More often, ER's will typically write off care if there is a lack of insurance. Many hospitals also provide free clinics for basic care now, as well.
Where do you get your information?
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Re: Privatization

Post by Seir » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:29 pm

collegestudent22 wrote:

This is typically only true if the hospital is having problems making money, and therefore need to recuperate those losses. More often, ER's will typically write off care if there is a lack of insurance. Many hospitals also provide free clinics for basic care now, as well.
The fuck they will write off someone's bill if there's a lack of insurance. They will go after you for the bill whether they're doing well or not. And how many is "many" most of the hospitals here's in NJ don't provide free clinics. For your information, many hospitals here in NJ are bleeding money and in the past decade we've had 18 hospitals close down here in New Jersey. If the patient doesn't have insurance then the hospital will have to try to ask the state for some sort of reimbursement (most of the time it's only a partial return).
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Re: Privatization

Post by raptor9k » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:01 pm

Around here they always want their money but they're forced to allow you to make payments.

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Re: Privatization

Post by Martin Blank » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:46 am

collegestudent22 wrote:This is typically only true if the hospital is having problems making money, and therefore need to recuperate those losses. More often, ER's will typically write off care if there is a lack of insurance. Many hospitals also provide free clinics for basic care now, as well.
As others have mentioned, you have no clue what you're talking about. Free clinics moved out of hospitals years (decades?) ago, and there is increasing pressure from hospitals for patients to go to urgent care clinics in their neighborhoods for non-life-threatening conditions. Part of that is a desire to shift the burden of providing care for the indigent to someone -- anyone -- else.
Your solution of just making people use the Internet doesn't take into account that a lot of those people aren't computer savvy, and many of them are poor and don't have computers. Some of those homes don't even have phones.
So, they live in the middle of nowhere without a phone or computer, and can only contact people through the mail? What bills are they paying then, if they are so poor and subsist, somehow, in the middle of the wilderness without modern convenience?
I never said they were in the middle of the wilderness. They're not living in Unabomber shacks. They live out in small towns or villages in rural areas of Alaska. To make or receive a phone call, they have to go to a neighbor or to a local establishment. Their bills mainly have to do with heat and electricity, medical care, and maybe very basic cable TV to get a handful of channels. A lot of Innuit and other native villages who live largely on subsistence hunting fall into this category.
including forcing the union to accept smaller sizes and lower pay and benefits
That, alone, would likely allow the USPS to make money for many years.
Total revenue in FY09 was $68.1 billion. Total revenue the prior year was $75.0 billion, a decrease of 9.1%. Total costs were $71.8 billion for FY09 versus $77.7 billion in FY08, a decrease of 7.6%. Now, if 80% of their costs are employee-based, you've got about $57.4 billion going to employees or their benefits, or an average of about $92,100 per employee. UPS has 340,000 domestic employees -- mostly union, I might add -- and another 68,000 international employees that cost them $25.6 billion in their FY09. That's $62,800 per employee, or about 31.8% less. It looks like a huge difference.

But UPS's weekend operations are much smaller than those of the USPS, and UPS hires many more part-time workers than does the Post Office. Maybe those are both parts of the solutions, but that ignores the costs of the drivers. They reportedly make an average of $75,000 or so a year just in salary, and possibly as much as $30,000 a year in benefits, depending on source; mail carriers average around $55,000 in salary.

UPS had at the end of FY09 101,900 vehicles, less than half of the 218,684 vehicles owned by the USPS. UPS drivers make a base salary about 50% higher than USPS mail carriers. How much of that 31.8% difference would disappear immediately upon UPS taking over such activities? My guess is that the fraction would be significant.

All numbers except average salaries taken from the FY09 annual 10K reports filed by USPS (yes, they have to file them, and are even working on SOX compliance) and UPS.
The problem is not that the USPS exists as a government corporation, but that it enforces a government monopoly preventing anyone from attempting other solutions that may not lose money.
You're getting into a constitutional issue here. The Congress is empowered by Article I, Section 8, to "establish Post Offices and Post Roads." None of the other clauses in that article (immigration, minting, war) have been handed over to private corporations, and there may be some constitutional questions about whether that is allowed. I am not well-read enough in the issues of postal constitutional issues, however, to hazard more than a vague guess at challenges.

Besides, it's tough to say that they wouldn't lose money on it, or else raise rates to extremely high levels, further discouraging use of the service and further raising costs. When the company wants out of its contract, how do you convince another to step in? If you can't, how much does it cost to reconstitute the USPS?
collegestudent22 wrote:My point being that opening it up will result in either the government having to cover it anyway (just as it does now), or removing the burden from the government, allowing companies to make more money (growing the economy) and shrinking the debt somewhat.
It's a weak argument that could be applied to almost any aspect of government. Why not contract out the court system to private mediators? Why not privatize portions of the armed forces? Plenty of "security companies" would argue that the idea that certain aspects of warfare should be limited to government forces is antiquated. You've got plenty of former SEALs, Deltas, SAS, etc., out there working on intelligence and protective duties, and some that get involved in direct operations. Imagine what they could do if they could legally buy heavier equipment, armor, and even strike aircraft.

Private industry may be able to do it cheaper, but there are still some things that should be operated by the government. Defense is one, postal service is another. (And for the record, the judiciary is even better kept within the confines of the government than defense.)
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Re: Privatization

Post by collegestudent22 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:24 am

Martin Blank wrote:None of the other clauses in that article (immigration, minting, war) have been handed over to private corporations,
Not that they all are actually followed. When was the last time there was a uniform rule for bankruptcy? In fact, in 2008, that power was thrown ENTIRELY out the window. Why not this one? Technology has changed the ability of private companies to do this, and there is no real reason why the government must run the postal service directly. It did so early in the country's history because private companies could not do so, for good reason. Regardless, it deserves a good hard look.

For the record, I notice you did not mention FedEx at all, which would be providing competition. FedEx is not unionized at all (in fact, the "Brown Bailout" controversy was about a bill that would have changed the unionization rules), and could step in as well. Under your scenario, the "slack" would be entirely picked up by UPS, but that is not the case.
(And for the record, the judiciary is even better kept within the confines of the government than defense.)
Heh. That's a good one. The Supreme Court has rarely actually followed the Constitution, when it is between small, constitutional government and more government power. Private mediators may not work any better, but when the government is involved, the Supreme Court is by no means a "disinterested party".
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Re: Privatization

Post by Martin Blank » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:19 am

collegestudent22 wrote:For the record, I notice you did not mention FedEx at all, which would be providing competition. FedEx is not unionized at all (in fact, the "Brown Bailout" controversy was about a bill that would have changed the unionization rules), and could step in as well.
FedEx has local unions. This is a legislative restriction, and an unfair one at that. If FedEx gets the limitation, UPS should get it as well, or else FedEx employees should be able to unionize on a national level like UPS employees do.
The Supreme Court has rarely actually followed the Constitution, when it is between small, constitutional government and more government power. Private mediators may not work any better, but when the government is involved, the Supreme Court is by no means a "disinterested party".
Private mediators actually rule against the little guy around 80% of the time, and for those cases that do manage to make it past contracts and into court, are overruled on a regular basis.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court defines what is constitutional in almost every instance. They hear dozens of cases and turn down hundreds of others every year, and in most situations their logic is hard to argue. You may disagree on individual cases, but if you read all of the decisions that came out, even you would find it hard to continue to argue rarity.
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Re: Privatization

Post by collegestudent22 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:58 am

Martin Blank wrote:
collegestudent22 wrote:For the record, I notice you did not mention FedEx at all, which would be providing competition. FedEx is not unionized at all (in fact, the "Brown Bailout" controversy was about a bill that would have changed the unionization rules), and could step in as well.
FedEx has local unions. This is a legislative restriction, and an unfair one at that. If FedEx gets the limitation, UPS should get it as well, or else FedEx employees should be able to unionize on a national level like UPS employees do.
I am against national unions at any institution - it tends to result in unions grabbing for power (like the UAW, SEIU, or AFL-CIO) instead of looking out for the workers as they should be doing. Also, it forces certain areas into unions that don't want to be in them. (Also, I think unions should always be voluntary - and completely banned in the public sector - but that is neither here nor there.)
The Supreme Court has rarely actually followed the Constitution, when it is between small, constitutional government and more government power. Private mediators may not work any better, but when the government is involved, the Supreme Court is by no means a "disinterested party".
Private mediators actually rule against the little guy around 80% of the time, and for those cases that do manage to make it past contracts and into court, are overruled on a regular basis.
Private mediators never rule on issues involving the government, so the "little guy" isn't the same as "not the government".
Incidentally, the Supreme Court defines what is constitutional in almost every instance.
Sometimes going against the plain language of the Constitution itself in various ways. Shall I bring up "separate but equal"? Or, they may rule on something that is not even mentioned in the Constitution, like abortion (and, again, going no further than that).
They hear dozens of cases and turn down hundreds of others every year, and in most situations their logic is hard to argue. You may disagree on individual cases, but if you read all of the decisions that came out, even you would find it hard to continue to argue rarity.
In this aspect, I am really referring to the "big" cases that determine the meaning of a clause in the Constitution or rule on a large societal issue. And I am not claiming that the Court always rules incorrectly. I am claiming that they, in general, come down in favor of more federal power - like they have in almost any case involving the Commerce Clause. I hope this trend reverses with the AZ case and the Obamacare mandate one, but I don't really think it will.

Some of the big ones the Court has been completely wrong on, and ignored the Constitution in the process (usually through complicated explanations that don't hold water):

Almost anything to do with the Commerce Clause - extending it to include things that cannot be bought/sold, personal plant farms without commerce, the banning of anything for "health" reasons (because Americans cannot be allowed to risk their health!) and essentially the ability to regulate anything. If Congress is ruled for with the Obamacare thing, it will even extend to forcing purchase of certain things. However, according to the writings of the Founding Fathers - including the Federalist Papers - the so-called "Dormant" Commerce Clause (preventing the states from passing laws detrimental to interstate commerce) is what the clause is actually supposed to do - nothing else.

The Necessary and Proper Clause extended to include convenience of Congress in McCullough v. Maryland (1819) with the creation of the first federal bank as the most convenient method of executing the powers of Congress relating to money.

The complete side-stepping of the Second Amendment by throwing up that BS "militia" argument.

The complete destruction of the Takings Clause in Kelo v. City of New London, allowing the government to use eminent domain to obtain land for private development of other parties.

The Tenth Amendment has been completely ignored in the federal government's power grab. It is, currently, essentially meaningless, as the Ninth Amendment has been used to justify the federal government managing "rights" that didn't exist before (or, more generally, were under the power of the states).

The ignoring of the "full faith and credit" clause, allowing the government to deem certain rights (like gun ownership or marriage) as not needing to be recognized across state lines. The "privileges and immunities clause" has had much the same treatment by the Court.

The Court has also refused to take cases that deal with clearly unconstitutional federal laws. The biggest one right now? The Defense of Marriage Act, which is clearly unconstitutional - regardless of how you stand on the issue (as I have held this position even before my "change of heart" on the issue). There is no mention of marriage in the Constitution - and as such the Tenth Amendment relegates it to the state (or local) level.
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Re: Privatization

Post by adciv » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:48 am

Martin Blank wrote:Private mediators actually rule against the little guy around 80% of the time, and for those cases that do manage to make it past contracts and into court, are overruled on a regular basis.
From the point of logic, I'm failing to see how the first half relates to the second half. You're implying that if the Courts ruled on everything, it would come out "for the little guy" better than 80%. Yet "on a regular basis" could mean 1 out of every 100. Then there are the probably differences between what "gets past contracts", in which that doesn't could easily mean that which the courts would rule against "the little guy" on as the courts rejected the case. More information please.
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Re: Privatization

Post by Martin Blank » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:36 am

collegestudent22 wrote:I am against national unions at any institution - it tends to result in unions grabbing for power (like the UAW, SEIU, or AFL-CIO) instead of looking out for the workers as they should be doing.
So, based on the risk of a union gaining more power than you feel appropriate, you would prefer that the First Amendment protection of freedom of association be abridged?
Also, it forces certain areas into unions that don't want to be in them. (Also, I think unions should always be voluntary - and completely banned in the public sector - but that is neither here nor there.)
I agree that unions should be voluntary -- I have no desire to join one, but should my colleagues want to, I would not block them if it didn't affect me -- but blocking the public sector from getting them is, again, an abridgment of freedom of association.
Private mediators never rule on issues involving the government, so the "little guy" isn't the same as "not the government".
Most court matters are not constitutional matters, either. They're issues of fact and law.
Sometimes going against the plain language of the Constitution itself in various ways. Shall I bring up "separate but equal"?
I never claimed the courts to be infallible. Plessy fell later than it should have, but earlier than it might have. The legal tactics used to overturn it are fascinating, with civil rights attorneys declining to appeal many cases until they found the perfect one. When read in the context of the times, Plessy made some sense. It's important to remember when looking at history to factor in the era. It's not a legal example, but Al Jolson was famous in part for his blackface routines, which would never, ever be considered appropriate now, and was lambasted by some even in the 19th century. Yet at his funeral, many black entertainers showed up to honor him.

Back to the thread.
And I am not claiming that the Court always rules incorrectly. I am claiming that they, in general, come down in favor of more federal power - like they have in almost any case involving the Commerce Clause.
This depends very much on the court. The last decade of the Rehnquist court saw a gradual change toward states' rights that is still underway. Some of them have proven to be troubling, including allowing states to violate certain federal anti-discrimination laws and being immune to lawsuits even when they admit to violating the law. You seem to want the Court to overturn decades of precedent on a whim, and I keep telling you that it doesn't operate like that. I agreed with Justice Thomas recently when he called for overturning the Slaughter-House Cases and putting some plain meaning back into the Fourteenth Amendment. The rest of the Court disagreed. He may eventually win -- and I hope he does -- but stare decisis rules the day at the Supreme Court.
The Court has also refused to take cases that deal with clearly unconstitutional federal laws.
The Court often waits for cases it considers ideal. A few years ago, many gun-rights advocates were frustrated when the Court let stand two cases directly at odds, when the Fifth Circuit found that the right to bear arms was individual and the Ninth Circuit found it to be collective. It waited until a more focused case came along (Heller) that allowed them to deal with the right on a federal level, and then a follow-up (McDonald) to extend that to the states.
adciv wrote:From the point of logic, I'm failing to see how the first half relates to the second half. You're implying that if the Courts ruled on everything, it would come out "for the little guy" better than 80%. Yet "on a regular basis" could mean 1 out of every 100. Then there are the probably differences between what "gets past contracts", in which that doesn't could easily mean that which the courts would rule against "the little guy" on as the courts rejected the case. More information please.
cs22 and I mixed things a little bit. Private mediators rule in favor of the larger entity far more often than they do the smaller entity (or individual) when compared to court cases, or when they rule against, the repercussions are far smaller. I wish I could find the study, which was published a few years ago. It did, however, lead to a sizable growth in the number of companies adding mandatory mediation to their contracts.
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Re: Privatization

Post by collegestudent22 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:46 am

Martin Blank wrote:
collegestudent22 wrote:I am against national unions at any institution - it tends to result in unions grabbing for power (like the UAW, SEIU, or AFL-CIO) instead of looking out for the workers as they should be doing.
So, based on the risk of a union gaining more power than you feel appropriate, you would prefer that the First Amendment protection of freedom of association be abridged?
No. I am against the idea of closed shop unions of any form precisely because it violates the freedom of association. National unions are, for the most part, closed shop, and because the vote is nationwide, certain entire areas can vote against unionization and still be forced into the union.
blocking the public sector from getting them is, again, an abridgment of freedom of association.
When you work for the government, the rules are different. Hence, the military cannot unionize. Teaching requires you join a teaching union for the most part.
Private mediators never rule on issues involving the government, so the "little guy" isn't the same as "not the government".
Most court matters are not constitutional matters, either. They're issues of fact and law.
Private mediators do not rule on criminal (or most civil) proceedings, either. When you limit them to one aspect - contractual mediation - there are going to be differences.
He may eventually win -- and I hope he does -- but stare decisis rules the day at the Supreme Court.
Stare decisis at the Supreme Court is a cop-out, IMO. That implies that the current court has a majority that agrees with past decisions - which is fine - but if they don't, they have an obligation to correct the record. Now, I realize that politics plays a role in this, as well as the worldview held by some of the Justices that federalism is antiquated and the Constitution is a "living document" by more than the standard amendment process.
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Re: Privatization

Post by adciv » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:20 pm

Martin Blank wrote:cs22 and I mixed things a little bit. Private mediators rule in favor of the larger entity far more often than they do the smaller entity (or individual) when compared to court cases, or when they rule against, the repercussions are far smaller. I wish I could find the study, which was published a few years ago. It did, however, lead to a sizable growth in the number of companies adding mandatory mediation to their contracts.
If you do, please post. I'm interested in dissecting the analysis. The only similar thing I've heard is a statement made by Al Franken that mixed up the comparison of the results of arbitration with the percent of those who won arbitration.
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Re: Privatization

Post by Martin Blank » Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:39 am

collegestudent22 wrote:I am against the idea of closed shop unions of any form precisely because it violates the freedom of association. National unions are, for the most part, closed shop, and because the vote is nationwide, certain entire areas can vote against unionization and still be forced into the union.
Your problem is not with national unions, per se, but rather an aspect that is common to many of them. Closed-shop employment agreements are not enforceable in right-to-work states (including a few populous states like North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Florida). I don't like closed-shop agreements, either, as I see them as an abridgment on the First Amendment. Still, if a union were to be open-shop and national, you wouldn't have a problem with it?
When you work for the government, the rules are different. Hence, the military cannot unionize.
Why is it different because you choose to work for the government? Government employees lose their freedom of association even though they're still civilians? Please explain. And would that affect government contractors? If a substantial portion of a government job is fulfilled by a private company, would you ban them from unionizing?

The military cannot unionize because the military is fundamentally a different part of society, not being civilian. The courts have held that their rights are different in scope because the need to maintain unit cohesion and combat efficiency is more important. The military is subject to its own criminal code, of course, but still maintains most other freedoms.
Private mediators do not rule on criminal (or most civil) proceedings, either. When you limit them to one aspect - contractual mediation - there are going to be differences.
No, they don't, but that wasn't my original point anyway. They rule primarily on contractual items because that's what they're limited to by law. My point was that I would not want to see this expanded to other points because the little guy loses more often than he does in court.
Stare decisis at the Supreme Court is a cop-out, IMO. That implies that the current court has a majority that agrees with past decisions - which is fine - but if they don't, they have an obligation to correct the record.
You don't seem to understand the position of the Supreme Court. Its role is, in many ways, to act as a brake on society. The fastest-moving body is the presidency. The president can, to some degree, change policy on a whim by writing up a note and signing it. Next fastest-moving is the House. With seats that can change every two years, it was intended in part to catch the mood of the nation. The Senate was intended to be more considerate in what it passes, and moves more slowly than the House.

Finally, there is the Supreme Court, which has always looked to the past for guidance. Even now, it looks back to English common and statute law and jurisprudence of the 1600s and 1700s to understand the path of logic of the Founders to help them decide on cases. They understand -- as you do not -- how a poorly-considered or upending opinion can throw society into some chaos. Brown v. Board caused all manner of problems throughout the nation (with a focus in the South, of course) because people weren't ready to accept it.

Consider what would happen were they not to feel bound by it. Every generation, as the Court's makeup changes, legal precedent would fly out the window on a regular basis. The Court could make you happy by the end of the term, and then in 20 years make you furious by overturning everything because they were not bound by precedent.

I'm well aware that most of what I just wrote is not in the Constitution. None of it violates the Constitution; the bodies are to some extent free to be as wild or conservative as they like. It's merely the way that US governmental culture has evolved.
If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.

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