Democrats & Liberals Archives

Straighten This Out For Me

The supposedly budget busting Healthcare Reform Plan lowers deficits. And the budget that Republicans suggested in order head off fiscal oblivion at the hands of the Democrats? It raises taxes more for the average American, slashes them for the rich, yet once more, and actually has worse deficits than Obama’s budget over the next ten years!

So, straighten this out for me: Why are the Republicans the ones who Americans are supposed to trust on fiscal matters? It seems like their ideas are no better now than they have been over the last generation.

Republicans talk a good game on budgets, but that's all they do.

Let some serious folks deal with budget matters. Let's not panic and hire the people who left us this mess in the first place.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 11:57 AM
Comment #297053

Straight as a yard stick, Stephen, it’s not you who needs to be straightened out…it’s THEM…but, when KAP tells you the CBO is made up of Democrats, just go along, or you’ll be explaining it for a week. And don’t be surprised if Christine says it’s because Democrats are a super majority that there are problems with understanding CBO reports she don’t like.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 11, 2010 1:53 PM
Comment #297055


This post is a bit dishonest. You are comparing the results of a CBO scoring of one plan against another scoring of another plan. The same flaws in the CBO scoring methodology cited on the Republican side could be present on the Obama plan as well. Can you point to a similar review of the CBO scoring on that plan as an alternative?

I’m willing to be open-minded here, but we aren’t comparing apples to apples.

Posted by: Rob at March 11, 2010 2:29 PM
Comment #297057

There is one not-so-minor difference between the Senate bill and the President’s new proposal: the Senate bill actually exists. Now, Democrats may be telling their conservative counterparts that they will have reconciliation legislative text in front of the Budget Committee by tomorrow, but don’t hold your breath. The “fixes” that the White House is promising wavering House Democrats they will make all sound easy at first glance: 1) scaling back the tax on high-end health insurance policies; 2) closing the Medicare D loophole; 3) boosting insurance subsidies; 4) increasing Medicaid payments; and 5) fixing the Cornhusker Kickback. But when you take a second look, you see that all of these “fixes” will cost more money. Just look at the Cornhusker Kickback which the President chose to address, not by taking away Nebraska’s special Medicaid payments, but by extending those extra Medicaid payments to every state! Every single item in the President’s proposal either increases spending or reduces new revenues. And he didn’t put forward any way to pay for them. If passing health reform were as easy as giving away free candy, Obamacare would be law already. Finding a way to pay for all these fixes is going to be just as difficult as every earlier effort to pay for this bill. So don’t expect any solutions anytime soon.

Every day seems to bring news of yet another yes vote switching to undecided or no vote. Just yesterday, former-yes votes Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-NY), Dan Maffei (D-NY), Bill Owens (D-NY) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) all confirmed they were either now undecided or would vote no. And Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL), who voted no the first time, said he would suspend his campaign for Governor just so he could come back to Washington to vote against Obamacare again. The President can travel the country talking about an up-or-down vote for “our proposal” all he wants, but the reality is he simply doesn’t have the votes in the House for the only piece of health care legislation that actually exists.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 11, 2010 3:52 PM
Comment #297059

Before you tell me that I’m dishonest, tell me what faulty assumptions the CBO’s accounting for the healthcare bill shares with their scoring of Ryan’s budget?

You’re assuming that all CBO budgets share the same faults. Unless you prove that argument true, it’s just an ad hominem species of fallacy. The Experts who cast doubt on the CBO scoring note particular wrong assumptions, and do not merely go, “all CBO budgeting is suspect”.

So, tell me: what faulty assumptions do the folks reviewing the healthcare budgeting use?

The real message here is that while Republicans claim in principle to be fiscally prudent, Democrats are managing that in fact.

Royal Flush-
I expect something pretty soon. I know the President promised a deficit neutral bill, so I’m pretty sure that if the scoring makes it anything else than deficit neutral, the President will act to make it so.

Artur Davis is being foolish if he votes against healthcare, especially after having said he preferred the Senate approach. He’s not going to get any votes by voting against healthcare.

The truth is, Bill Owens voted the last time for the healthcare bill, so he’s got nothing to gain by voting against it now. He can still be hit on his vote before.

Predicting the death of the HCR bill has become a pastime for the Republicans who want to intimidate Democrats. I will believe it when I see it. I mean, go back and look at what you and others were claiming after Scott Brown was elected.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 4:33 PM
Comment #297061

Mr. Daugherty, I don’t recall making any claims after Brown was elected. What I do know is that the Senate no longer has 60 guaranteed votes and that has changed the political climate on HCR considerably with all manner of legislative contortions being considered now.

The public is not blind or deaf and do not view the strategies being considered as appropriate for a piece of legislation that affects every American for years to come. This legislation, if it follows the course of other entitlement programs, could become another huge albratros around the necks of our children for generations.

Surely Mr. Daugherty, you can understand why American’s are resisting HCR as now legislated. It is a poorly crafted and little understood bill, being cobbled together to appease disparate coalitions rather than fix the underlying problems of health care.

Once again the dems have squandered a chance to enact legislation that would actually do the job intended…that being, to fix health care, in favor of pandering to their ever increasing coalition of disenting voices. Can you not see how this issue is tearing your party apart? The dem party is becomeing fractured in ways that will not be easy to mend.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 11, 2010 5:09 PM
Comment #297062

The Democrats started health care out to the right of a majority of their constituents. Since, they have moved farther to the right. I would say that the Republicans have done awfully well at intimdating the Democrats. If not intimidation, what? Corpocracy?

Posted by: jlw at March 11, 2010 5:16 PM
Comment #297064

Royal Flush-
No contortions would be necessary if Republicans were not being record-breaking obstructionists, abusing a Senate privilege that all previous minorities never dared to abuse.

And why? Because when that day came, and the filibuster got so abused, the majority could just chunk it with a majority vote.

That day may very well be coming.

Stop speaking for the American people. I posted a poll in the comments of my last entry on this matter, where a majority of people said that the Democrat’s reforms either went just far enough, or not far enough.

Also, your obstructionist Republican Congressmen are less popular right now than the Democrats, and they in turn are less popular than the person whose name you keep on trying to turn into a curse word.

If your claim was true, we would see the public rise to support Republicans. They haven’t.

This issue is refining the party, showing them that there’s no point in expecting the Republicans to compromise. If we want to win, we have to win over the Republican’s party-line obstructionism, because you’ve left us no other choice.

The irony, ultimately, will be that your party will have made your opposition more powerful, even if you cut down on their numbers in the next election. If you don’t take both houses, which is very unlikely, you’re screwed, and all you will have to sell the American people is more gridlock, which by and large, they’re not buying. They want leadership, not laissez faire. If your people don’t realize that by now… well, you’re screwed even worse.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 5:40 PM
Comment #297066

Sorry Mr. Daugherty, but your post sounds like defeatism to me. I don’t wish to get into a “I’ll show you my poll if you’ll show me yours” type of debate.

When you care to reply to the pertinent points I made I’ll be happy to respond.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 11, 2010 6:09 PM
Comment #297069

Off subject but quite interesting…go to:

UN to review errors made by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

It’s about time that the UN investigate itself. This should be interesting and we’ll see if the panel really does reveal the truth or if it just explains why liars lie.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 11, 2010 6:56 PM
Comment #297070


This is a non starter because you are using two different measuring devices to make soem point.

So you want your readers to put a left wing blogger like brian beutler right next to the Congressional Budget Office as equals.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 11, 2010 7:02 PM
Comment #297080


You said, “Rob-
Before you tell me that I’m dishonest, tell me what faulty assumptions the CBO’s accounting for the healthcare bill shares with their scoring of Ryan’s budget?

You’re assuming that all CBO budgets share the same faults. Unless you prove that argument true, it’s just an ad hominem species of fallacy. The Experts who cast doubt on the CBO scoring note particular wrong assumptions, and do not merely go, “all CBO budgeting is suspect”.

So, tell me: what faulty assumptions do the folks reviewing the healthcare budgeting use?

The real message here is that while Republicans claim in principle to be fiscally prudent, Democrats are managing that in fact.”

I didn’t call you dishonest. I called the article dishonest. I did not mean this personally. I apologize for any offense that I caused.

My point was that there are two different judgements by two different sources being compared and contrasted. If you laid the CBO estimates side-by-side, the Republican plan’s scoring is better on deficit reductions. All CBO estimates are similarly flawed, they rely on the revenue predictions given by Congress for the estimates. They do not create their own unless specifically requested to. I found nothing in the link posted from the CBO that stated one way or another on the plan.

I’m not passing judgement on either analysis as being better or worse because I don’t have all the data in hand that were used in the evaluation. I don’t plan to do the work either.

By the way there was no ad hominem attack, it was a questioning of the sources which I believe falls squarely outside the bounds of that judgement.

Posted by: Rob at March 11, 2010 9:36 PM
Comment #297086

Royal Flush-
You don’t want to have a real debate on what the public wants. Short of that, I can’t really think of a good way to judge general mood, besides simply making it up to suit our particular partisan loyalties.

And I hate arguments that are just slap-fights between ideologies that assume they have the peopleon their side.

As for the UN thing?
The Problem is not one of overestimation of the problem. In fact the IPCC is underestimating the impact, in response to political pressure to be conservative in their report.

You know, the kind that actually exists, that comes from high-carbon emitting countries and oil producers?

In science, it’s not merely enough to cast doubt. You must prove the doubt is warranted. insinuation and innuendo are not enough, you got to have an alternative explanation that does a better job. At the end of the day, you have to earn a paradigm shift, you don’t get it as a prize for participation.

Craig Holmes-
When I analyze the claims of a source, I go past the author to their source. Who is Beutler’s source?

The Tax Policy Center—a non-partisan think tank—did a thorough analysis on the impact of the tax changes Ryan proposes—a massive tax cut for the wealthy, paired with substantial tax increases on 90 percent of the country—and found that the so-called “Roadmap” would actually leave the federal government desperately starved for funds.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “the Ryan plan would result in very large revenue losses relative to current policies.”

Those are your sources for the figures. But why discount him because he’s liberal? If his facts are right, his argument well constructed, he’ll be right. Regardless, he’s not figuring these numbers for himself.

Still, The CBO would have to be way off in order to have the Democrat’s plan be anywhere half as bad as what the Republicans did with Medicare, and that means my point still stands. Democrats are not behaving like you accuse them of behaving. They’re not spending frivolously, their investments are having positive effects, and elsewhere they are figuring out ways to spend and tax more responsibly.

The Republicans, meanwhile, are held accountable less for creating good results (i.e., an actual balanced budget that’s politically viable), and more for taking inflexible positions on fiscal matters.

That’s why Republicans can’t help Americans beat their deficits. They’re too busy trying to prove right a fiscal theory about taxation that’s never really been proven true. When Republicans can raise taxes and can find common ground with Democrats on what spending cuts to carry out, then they can be responsible fiscal agents. Otherwise, their politics leads them to quixotic policy decisions that, as the Bush Administration has shown, do not fulfill their intended goals.

You see, that’s where I like to take a different path. I don’t like to base my arguments on uncertain facts, so I went back and looked at the sources in question.

The CBO got it’s numbers for the healthcare estimates from the Joint Committee for Taxation, a Bipartisan Congressional Committee from both houses tasked with providing estimates of the effects of tax policy. For the estimates it did of Ryan’s budget, they got the figures for taxes from Ryan himself.

The Budget numbers that demonstrate the paradoxical results of Ryan’s plan came from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center think-tank.

So, the difference is, Ryan’s claims on revenue were backed by his own, rather faulty figures, while the estimates I cite are the product of more disinterested or better checked and balanced sources. Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, two opponents of the bill, signed off on the revenue estimates.

I accept the apology on the comment. It’s better to comment on the quality of the logic rather than the honesty of the source. Honesty has more moral connotations. Logic is a more rational enterprise, so a reasonable disagreement becomes less perjorative.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 11, 2010 10:09 PM
Comment #297105

I accept the apology on the comment. It’s better to comment on the quality of the logic rather than the honesty of the source. Honesty has more moral connotations. Logic is a more rational enterprise, so a reasonable disagreement becomes less perjorative.

Thinking People: During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai E Stevenson ‘Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!’ Stevenson called back ‘That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!’

Posted by: Edge at March 12, 2010 1:36 AM
Comment #297108

The new CBO report is due out in days. It is likely to be positive. Also bear in mind that the cost control measures in the bill will be conservatively estimated as many have never been tried before and the CBO is a conservative(in the actuary sense) bunch. Keep that open mind.

This is the Blue side so here is a good link to factual information on the legislation along with an opportunity to help actively support the bill.

Don’t you just love the Ryan plan. We should have known all along that trouble with health care is that rich people STILL don’t have enough money.
His economic plan is even better. I have to paraphrase here but some pundit remarked what an amazing accomplishment its to come up with a plan that manages to add two trillion to the deficit in ten years and still increases taxes on 90% of the people.

Posted by: bills at March 12, 2010 7:47 AM
Comment #297111

It is nice when Dems start showing some backbone:

March 11, 2010

Reid, In Letter To McConnell, Outlines The Path Forward On Health Reform
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explaining the path forward on health insurance reform. In the letter, Senator Reid details the steps that Senate Democrats have taken to secure bipartisan support for health reform despite the lack of cooperation from Senate Republicans. Reid said he will seek an democratic, up-or-down simple majority vote to revise the health reform bill already passed by a supermajority of 60 Senators last December. Reid also reiterated the commitment of Senate Democrats to deliver meaningful health reform that will ensure access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

Excerpts of Reid’s letter to Senator McConnell:

“While Republicans were distorting the facts in the health care debate and inflicting delay after needless delay, millions of Americans have continued to suffer as they struggle to afford to stay healthy, stay out of bankruptcy and stay in their homes. Thousands of Americans lose their health care every day, and tens of thousands of the uninsured have lost their lives since this debate began.”

“Many Republicans now are demanding that we simply ignore the progress we’ve made, the extensive debate and negotiations we’ve held, the amendments we’ve added (including more than 100 from Republicans) and the votes of a supermajority in favor of a bill whose contents the American people unambiguously support. We will not. We will finish the job.”

“As you know, the vast majority of bills developed through reconciliation were passed by Republican Congresses and signed into law by Republican Presidents – including President Bush’s massive, budget-busting tax breaks for multi-millionaires. Given this history, one might conclude that Republicans believe a majority vote is sufficient to increase the deficit and benefit the super-rich, but not to reduce the deficit and benefit the middle class. Alternatively, perhaps Republicans believe a majority vote is appropriate only when Republicans are in the majority. Either way, we disagree.”

“At the end of the process, the bill can pass only if it wins a democratic, up-or-down majority vote. If Republicans want to vote against a bill that reduces health care costs, fills the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ for seniors and reduces the deficit, you will have every right to do so.”

Below is the text of the letter to Senator McConnell:

March 11, 2009

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Republican Leader
United States Senate

Posted by: bills at March 12, 2010 8:29 AM
Comment #297132


Well first of all what am I accussing Democrats of doing?

I am accusing them of trying to pass a bill that the American people do not want.

The American people want health care reform, just not this bill.

Secondly you are pretty consistent with using strawman arguments with regard to Republicans.

What I want which is far different from the stawma that the left uses is for revenues to remain within historical norms.

Since income tax brackets are not indexed for inflation, from time to time they have to be adjusted. So over time I AM for tax cuts to adjust for inflation. And of course there are differences on what formula these taxes should take, and who should pay them.

Also, I am for long term thinking on all of this. What I mean is that in times of recession, and war, I am for deficits that equal the task ahead. However, my expectation is that during the good times, the deficit will shrink as a percentage of GDP.

What I am concerned about with this president is that he is fundamentally altering the budget picture by increasing federal spending outside of all peace time historical norms. “Change” is simply a term Obama uses to mean “Larger Federal Government”.

If you look at the CBO numbers there is no real time when Obama backs off to historical norms on spending. He will spend whatever he can get through congress. (I think you would too!!)

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 12, 2010 1:42 PM
Comment #297135


Are those ‘historical norms’ of which you speak including the tax cut, war engagement years of Cheney/Bush? How do you think we got into this mess in the first place?

Now that someone comes along that wishes to end the downward spiral, you fight him tooth and nail because he ‘might’…grow government?..spend money?..ask for help and input from your side?


Posted by: Marysdude at March 12, 2010 2:09 PM
Comment #297144


I am speaking of historical norms since the end of WWII. Traditionally, tax revenue has been about 18.5% of GDP with expenses about 20%.

CBO is predicting that tax revenues will return to norm in 2012 and then go above norm from then on.

Bush’s taxcuts expire this year. Troops are coming home from Iraq as we speak.

So your post is confusing since the issue you are concerned about are ending. So what exactly are you on your side “doing” since what Bush did is ending on it’s own?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 12, 2010 3:41 PM
Comment #297147

Craig Holmes-
So your argument is “Don’t listen to Obama, he’s a big government-loving spendthrift liberal?”

Republicans have no track record, and no plan to back claims that they are the trully fiscally prudent party.

All they have is a generation worth of hollow boasts. Democrats are not unresponsive to fiscal issues. But we’re also not unresponsive to emergencies, and it’s the emergency spending, meant to reduce future deficits that you’re taking issue with.

The rest of the Deficits is mainly the stuff your party passed of its own free will, without the spending cuts, revenue hikes or other sources of money to pay for it. It’s also one-third the result of the bad economy. The Recession reduced revenues consdierably.

How many hundreds of billions of dollars in deficits would your party would have allowed to occur in order to avoide a few hundred billion up front?

Your party’s politics is better organized than its policies, and the same applies on Healthcare. What’s your plan? Legally restrict the financial consequences on malpractice? Let people put disposable income into health savings accounts? What exactly is the big plan here, the one that answers the true scope of a problem that stands to cost Americans trillions of dollars more a year, every year, unless somebody acts?

What is it with your party and letting problems fester until they’re more expensive, more unmanageable, and more politically embarrassing? Is it strawman argumentation to point out the dozens of problems your people let get worse, like the state of manufacturing, the housing crisis, the deficit, Natural Disaster mitigation, the War in Iraq, etc. when you try and tell us that you know better how to run this country?

The Republicans have basically one strategy: do nothing, and then mount big campaigns glorifying that decision no matter how horrible the problems get.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 12, 2010 4:09 PM
Comment #297148


No that is not my argument. I do understand the left’s need for strawman arguments however.

My argument is that we have a 65 year record of fiscal reponsibility that has proven that it works. The American economy since 1945 has been a model for the world to follow. During that 65 year period of time both Democrats and Republicans have led Congress and the Presidency.
I think it is worthy of great respect.

It is also a model that I want my children and grandchildren to inherite. I want them to enjoy the same things that my parents and I have enjoyed.

That means that we have to live within our means which are plenty. We have plenty of money do do all the things we need to do within 20% or so of GDP. That is plenty of money to accomplish our goals.

It does take some reframing. Many of the promises our government made, we now cannot keep because of the successes of those promises. For instance medicare and Social Security have been very successful but have increased longevity without increasing the number of years we work. They need to be indexed to longevity. If we live longer we need to also work longer. Currently we hand the bill to our children and grandchildren.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 12, 2010 4:22 PM
Comment #297149

Walk the talk is something most politicians cant do.Its the same game as always as i see it.I’m getting poorer and older with each new president and really wonder about social security and the white houses social policies.

Posted by: kevin at March 12, 2010 4:32 PM
Comment #297155


You say the Republicans don’t have a plan. I can see your anger and frustration.

What I don’t like about your plan is that it changes nothing that I deeply care about which is my children’s future. We are going to be just as much on the road toward bankruptsy the day after your plan is signed into law as we are today.

Well I can here your response that it does save a token amount of money and might even slow Bankruptsy down by a small amount.

We need comprehensive health care reform not just an expansion of entitlements.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 12, 2010 6:08 PM
Comment #297161

My unanswered question asked many times in previous posts is simple and any good liberal should be able to respond.

Both SS and Medicare began much the same as the proposed HCR legislation now being considered. In both cases, these entitlement programs were to be limited and revenue neutral. Today, we find these programs much expanded, costing much more than ever expected or debated, and are both deep in red ink. Why then, should we expect a different outcome from this new entitlement health care program?

Or, more likely…libs do expect the same outcome with HCR and don’t really give a dam as its passage will be popular with their constituents and be another vehicle to ensure the transfer of wealth from those they don’t like to those who will continue to vote for them.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 12, 2010 6:57 PM
Comment #297164

R.F. I’ve been saying fix what we got and not create another government disaster. They won’t listen because that would be the smart thing to do.

Posted by: KAP at March 12, 2010 7:09 PM
Comment #297167

Kap, you’re right, smart for the country but not smart for liberals seeking to lavish even more taxpayer largess on those they hope to attract at the polls.

HCR as found in the legislation being considered is not about fixing anything, it’s about political power and those who seek it. Many in this country are just too dumb to understand they are being bribed with their own money. The lib/socialist seeks power thru lies and deception. The lie begins with convincing folks that they are entitled to what others have worked for and earned. The pursuit of happiness for the lib/socialist becomes a guarantee of success whether earned or not. Not content with equality of opportunity as our founders envisioned, they wish to reward all equally regardless of effort.

The deception necessary to sell their lies becomes one of convincing the gullible that only the rich will bear the burden of their largess. They convice the dupes that they will lose only a little of their freedom in exchange for promised government security. They are also expert in guilting those who disagree by calling them uncaring and selfish when in truth it is they who care not for their fellow citizens, who selfishly crave power for the sake of power.

The lib/socialist will never use their own resources to help another, but only demand that others share their wealth to further their ambitions. They are leeches, scabs, scavangers and parasites living off the life blood of the nation.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 12, 2010 7:54 PM
Comment #297177

Craig Holmes-
However much you insist your party would do best, it hasn’t. Would people honestly be well advised to turn budget matters over to the Republicans, given what they did over the last decade? Why do we seriously believe they’ve reformed?

Your party’s line is not comprehensive healthcare reform, it’s incremental reform, at a time when we’re facing fiscal breakdown by the end of the decade.

I think your party is so overconfident about its ability, or so unwilling to level with its constituents that there’s just no way it can handle the crises without screwing something else up. That’s why Ryan’s budget plan can’t beat Obama’s. Ryan, like most Republican leaders, understandst the politics of deficits and taxes better than the policy itself.

Royal Flush-
Why do I have to take this kind of BS from folks whose party can’t even be straight with them about simple policy questions?

It’s not that Republicans out there are dumb. No, it’s worse than that. They’re so badly misinformed that it doesn’t matter how smart they are much of the time. Garbage in, garbage out. And there’s a dedicated network of party-approved(tm) news sources that don’t bear the taint of liberalism. Too bad most of them are basically there to flatter Republican and Right Wing sensibilities, rather than tell people the truth about what their government is doing, for bad or good.

You’re being distracted by a three ring circus of dog and pony acts that excuse punditry as entertainment, disguise advocacy as news, and treat opinion as fact, even when the real facts disagree.

The Democrats are going nuts trying to correct all the BS fake facts these people are spieling out, and it gets us to wondering just how the hell folks on the right find their way to the restroom in the morning.

I know, y’all aren’t dumb. But you guys think your taxes are being raised when they’re being lowered. You buy ridiculous fantasies like the Death Panels, which no sane politician would actually plan, much less carry out, and you elevate as heroes and examples whack-jobs, incompetents and criminals

Fueling it all this ever present hatred and disrespect for liberals. We’re treated like these kind of subhuman beasts without a moral bone in our body. We’re expected to be constant traitors and despisers of our country, even as we send our own kids, friends, and loved ones to fight along side yours.

You know nothing about Liberals. All you know is what a bunch of self-interested politicians and pundits have told you, in their continued effort to make bloody fools out of everybody in their own self interest.

I love this country. I fight to return sanity to policies that, obvious to everybody else but the Republican supporters, has gone off the rails. I fight to break through that dense cloud of parallel-universe logic that seems to shroud the perceptions of GOP diehards about themselves and others. Do we really have to suffer through another century of your party trying to vindicate the failed policies from dozens of screw-ups? Conservative does not have to mean unable to move past a mistake.

I know Conservatives, and I know they’re good people. But even the best people cannot act productively if they are being manipulated just to keep the same failures on the gravy train. It’s time to truly clean house in your party, and not by simply reinforcing an already malignant level of party discipline. It’s time to demand competence, not mere canned party loyalty that any person with a gift for gab can fake.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 12, 2010 9:02 PM
Comment #297178

Royal Flush:

I think that the fundamental root problem with Health Care is that Innovation increases cost. This is exactly the opposite of most of the rest of society.

Most of us are familiar with Moore’s law,’s_law

This basically says that the amount of space needed to store information on computer chips falls in half about every two years. This has lead to decreases in the cost of technology. In the rest of our lives, technology decreases cost.

In Health Care it is exactly the opposite. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you “invest” in health technology and the result is increase in health of part of society. That increase in health increases longevity which means by definition the person is going to live longer. That increases medicare and SS costs. The better we get, the more expensive our nation’s health care becomes.

Because we are the most advanced society, and the most innovative, our health care bill is the highest and will continue to move higher as technology increases!!

What compounds this problem is that the cost is born by the young. Let’s say I am going to live to age 80, but because of some new technology I live to 81. I don’t pay the SS and medicare expense, those in the work force do.

The answer is to change that and tie the age of retirement to longevity. So when longevity increases the age that we qualify for SS and Medicare increases at the same pace. What this does is makes it so that the person who gains the increase in longevity pays the premium through paying taxes into SS and medicare one more year.

This also removes the burden from the young, and would bring the nations projected shortfall into balance. To “fix” the nations problem we have to change it so that medical advances do not bankrupt the country by increasing the the length of retirment to the point that our children do not have the money to educate our grandchildren.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 12, 2010 9:04 PM
Comment #297188

Craig Holmes-
Innovation’s not what’s driving costs. It’s the ability to charge what the market can bear, crossed with the ability to make customers eat the costs on inefficiencies.

You really ought to consider: would the need for healthcare go away with the Government shouldered expense of it, or would people still be looking for healthcare somewhere, in some fashion?

It’s not merely a matter of longevity, it’s a question of maintenance and productivity. Does putting off the age at which most people retire benefit the young, also, or does it just mean more old folks taking up jobs the young could benefit from?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 12, 2010 10:04 PM
Comment #297193


Yes it is. Innovation works backwards in much of health care. The more we innovate the longer people live, the more they cost in Social Security and Medicare payments.

The need for health care never goes away. People still always need healthcare.

However, if we change from a system where innnovation drives up cost (by people living longer, and thus higher SS and medicare expenses), to where innovation drives down cost (innovation allows more years of productive work and financial contribution to society) every year of delay is money going into the system instead of going out.

Also from a fiscal point of view there is now a known quantity, as Americans will know they are going to be supported for an given number of years of life expectancy.

Putting off the age people retire helps the young because instead of taking money out of the system more money is going in.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 12, 2010 11:16 PM
Comment #297217

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “You know nothing about Liberals. All you know is what a bunch of self-interested politicians and pundits have told you, in their continued effort to make bloody fools out of everybody in their own self interest.”

Not true…I read liberal blogs every day on Watchblog? Are they not representative of the general liberal view? You refer to my political beliefs as BS while presenting the lib/socialist viewpoint as scented with perfume.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 13, 2010 12:46 PM
Comment #297218

I’ve noticed that to. If you don’t agree with their agenda they call us stupid. We have programs already yet they don’t want to fix those instead they want to creat a whole nother disaster that even Stephen’s great grandchildren will be paying for. Just using your age as an example Stephen no pun intended.

Posted by: KAP at March 13, 2010 1:07 PM
Comment #297224

Craig Holmes-
Do you have any sources to back the claim that costs are innovation driven? That would be something worth investigating.

On the point of delay, here’s what I’d say: it only does you good if people remain healthy up to that point. If they don’t, then age and wear and tear will naturally attack folk’s longevity, reduce their productive years. Also, if illness or debilitation are bad enough, people are going to be drawing Disability checks or will be availing themselves of some other means of support at somebody else’s expense.

Like I said, one way or another, American society pays for those who are left unable to work due to poor healthcare. The question is how much, in what way, and at what price in human terms?

Putting off retirement age doesn’t necessarily help the young. If a company’s basically keeping its payrolls level, and the young aren’t seeing their elders go into retirement, they’re not moving up to replace them, not giving up the entry level positions that those new to the workplace could use.

This is especially important in the light of how devastating the economic collapse was to middle aged American’s retirement plans. You might want to look at this issue from a few more sides. It’s not as simple as making people wait.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 13, 2010 3:15 PM
Comment #297253

Stephen, the middle aged Americans you cited are probably going to be the ones who will not be going back to work. They will be looking for other means of support. They won’t be contributing to their SS or other retirement accounts and when they finally reach retirement age, they won’t be receiving as much from their retirement plans.

In addition, this is the second batch of middle aged American workers in a decade and a half. The first group lost their jobs to NAFTA and the Chinese Trade deals. When they lost their jobs, the number of replacement jobs available to them was greatly diminished by the influx of illegal immigrants. Many of them are now drawing Disability checks or are availing themselves of some other means of support at somebody else’s expense.

It is a very good example of corporate innovation.

Posted by: jlw at March 13, 2010 10:24 PM
Comment #297255

It’s not all about the corporations. That just applies a rather narrow and limiting interpretation to what’s really a broader problem: the success of some reinstituting the vigor of an economically and socially elitist viewpoint as the main viewpoint of government, as the paradigm of government.

Just calling it corporatist invites charges that it’s all about marxist class warfare.

What’s it’s really about, is true majority governance, rather than nominal governance by the people with real government by the economic and social elite.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 13, 2010 10:31 PM
Comment #297280


What I will give you to our question of sourses for my contention that innovation increases health care costs is two parts. If you still want sourses let me know.

1. Innovation increases longevity. When we create a better way to treat heart disease and that the rate drops, that increases longevity.

2. Longevity increases health care costs because it by definition increases the number of people on SS and medicare. This increased number are at the oldest side of the spectrum.

Our system is mathmatically impossible to fix in it’s current form.

By the way this is not complaint. Adding years to our lives is a wonderful thing of which all of us left and right should be proud.

The problem however is that in our current form mathmatically it leads to financial ruin.

One choice that is only a temporary fix is to raise taxes. If you follow the theory out long enough (ever increasing longevity) eventually (in the long long term distance) Health care costs would reach 100% of GDP.

Obviously other solutions will be sought. I can only thing conceptually of a few. One would be to stop innovation. This would stop longevity increases and control costs.

The second would be to ration care the way socialist countries do. Rationing care is another form of limiting longevity increases.

The third would be to have retirement tied to longevity so that innocation means another year of working instead of another year of retirement. This changes the formula because for each year of additonal work is a year of addition taxes coming in verses benefits going out.

I understand and agree with your point that older workers continuing to work means that the young will have a more difficult time getting jobs. However it will keep their tax rates to a sustainable level, so it is a trade off. Since right now the unemployment rate is so very high it’s hard to imagine how such ideas would be popular. Maybe when the unemployment rate drops to historical norms.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 14, 2010 1:11 PM
Comment #297282


Catch 22…you say health care reform should wait for unemployment to improve to historical norms, and unemployment will never improve to historical norms without health care reform, because the economy cannot sustain growth without it and employment is tied to economic stabiliity…whew! You’ve dug us a pretty deep hole with all that pessimism.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 14, 2010 1:49 PM
Comment #297294


We don’t have real reform right now. What we really have is expansion of an entitlement.

What I am saying is that our health care system is going to fail fiscally because we have structured it so that innovation increases cost, and we are the most innovative country on earth.

The real way to fundamentally reform health care to to change the system so that it does one of two things. Either (1) slow down innovation, or ration care, or increase the retirement age.

Raising taxes mearly pospones the above.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 14, 2010 4:06 PM
Comment #297301

Craig Holmes-
If properly applied, though, innovation can also reduce the loss of productivity over time, which is good for Social Security and Medicare.

This is not a simple equation.

Not every new idea or good idea is one that costs more. There’s plenty of evidence that the best care is not always the most expensive care.

One thing you’re not considering is the fee-for-service structure of many systems, which means that doctors get more money for doing more for their patients, not necessarily doing better. Also, there’s a great lack of research on medical efficacy, comparing different treatments.

But let’s also deal with the fact that this is a system that is geared more towards catching things after they’ve gone wrong, rather than encouraging people to prevent their health problems.

And the thing to remember is that these things and other measures have already been shown to work. It’s not impossible to get better outcomes from cheaper medicine, or see medical innovation flourish in such an environment.

To put that claim in context, people are known to spend less on electronics than they once did. But how does that square with the fact that such electronics are more ubiquitous than ever? Costs have come down. Innovation has allowed devices to get smaller, larger, more power, clearer, etc, for lower cost.

The question is, is their a system in place which puts the pressure on the healthcare system to become more efficient? That is a great deal of what healthcare reform is about.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 14, 2010 6:50 PM
Comment #297307


It is not just about higher cost of new treatments. In fact I would think that is a minor part. The real part is that when we innovate people live longer. This means that they are consumers of medical care for those extra years. Also the older we get the more we consume (in general) of the medical community.

It is not a question of the medical community becoming for efficient. (Although that is a good thing). It is more that every time we save a life that life will consume more Health Care.

Let’s say you create a new procedure for heart disease that is free and better than anything previous. That new procedure will save a life. That life you save will add to the cost of health care simply by living longer and having other issues in their future.

By saving their life you may be costing the system more because you have added years to entitlement of SS expenses and Medicare payments.

Efficiency is important, and a way to save money. But as long as we continue to innovate costs will by definition continue to climb.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 14, 2010 11:09 PM
Comment #297310


Postponing is Good…if postponing failure of an economy until better steps can be taken there is nothing wrong with it. It is the postponment of ACTION that hurts us now. Our needs to correct (at least partially)the downward spiral of the economy is to stop the upward spiral of health care (and regulate financial houses). Ubstructionism is, can and will hurt America. Reform is necessary, and you know it. Is the current proposal(s) all that is needed…no, but not acting is far worse. At least with a watered-down bill, adjustments can be made over time, but without a bill…nada.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 14, 2010 11:27 PM
Comment #297316


Everyone knows that health care reform is needed. This bill however is not what is needed. I think dems should be credited with bringing up the issue but also blamed for delivering a crappy product to the country.

In the short run the current health care bill will hurt the recovery because it will have the effect of mearly a tax increase. (You will remember that spending comes several years from now).

I don’t think there are many out there saying not to act. Most of what I hear is to do something better than what is proposed.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 15, 2010 12:39 AM
Comment #297325

Craig Holmes-
Of course if people live longer their healthcare, they’ll use the system more.

But if they’re healthier, they’ll stay in productive workplaces longer, and pay into the system more. If they’re healthier, you won’t see them go so soon onto disability so soon, which is basically what might happen with a lot of neglected people in our healthcare system, especially those with pre-existing condition.

Healthcare is a need. Without it, people end their productive lives sooner, and lose productivity quicker. Just as starving people would be terrible for an economy, so would denying them any healthcare at all.

Denying them quality care is not that much better, in the long run. Prevent diseases. Treat diseases at their earlier, more manageable stages, cure more people before their diseases become worse.

Do that, and you’ll have a person who can do that 9 to 5, who can work that factory job longer and better, who can continue contributing for a longer span of years.

You’re only looking at the savings from moving the retirement age up. You’re treating Medicare as if its only a Social Security Retirement issue, when it is also a Disability issue as well. It’s a one-dimensional way to look at the problem.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2010 10:40 AM
Comment #297329


Your side had a chance to help put a good bill together, but muffed it. That is one of the prices paid for attempting to unseat the President of the United States without cause. It didn’t work when y’all tried to unseat Clinton, and hopefully it won’t work with Obama. Your party’s singular view that y’all hold the high ground on patriotism, morality, and economic efficiencies has run aground. Patriotism is not flag waving unless the flag waved is clean, moral people don’t cheat, lie and steal to get their way, and trickle down has become a profound joke, while it doubled the debt under Reagan, grew unmercifully under BushI and leveled off under Clinton and tripled under Cheney/Bush. Then came the crash! You have lived the lie for so long you have come to believe it…pathetic.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 15, 2010 11:29 AM
Comment #297336


Of course if people live longer their healthcare, they’ll use the system more.

But if they’re healthier, they’ll stay in productive workplaces longer, and pay into the system more. If they’re healthier, you won’t see them go so soon onto disability so soon, which is basically what might happen with a lot of neglected people in our healthcare system, especially those with pre-existing condition.

Actually the opposite has happened in America. The healthier we have gotten, the earlier we have moved out of the labor market. And I applaud wh at has happened. It’s great to see my parents for instance have a great retirement.

The point is that the trend is not sustainable. The long term trend of both people living longer and leaving the work force earlier and earlier must end. Now of late the trend has reversed course, but still the percentage of those over 55 in the labor force is way below our historical averages.

By your own admition and with good cause, you have said in your response that this bill will increase future health care costs. And I hope it does in own way, because it means longer lives for those who will get coverage.

But how do we bend the curve? Unless you know of another way to do it, I can only see, ration care, stop innovation (and thus stop people from living longer) or increase the age of retirement or some combination of the three.

This next comment is not a knock on this bill, but I believe it will hurt the SS trust fund LONG Term if it is successful.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 15, 2010 5:01 PM
Comment #297338


So you are saying this is a bad bill, but it’s the Republican party’s fault somehow?

And the real reason the Republican party is voting no is because we want to unseat president Obama.

Ok, let me go one step further:

Patriotism is not flag waving unless the flag waved is clean, moral people don’t cheat, lie and steal to get their way, and trickle down has become a profound joke, while it doubled the debt under Reagan, grew unmercifully under BushI and leveled off under Clinton and tripled under Cheney/Bush.

All of the debt listed here:

is the fault of the Republican party as well.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 15, 2010 7:28 PM
Comment #297341

Democrats admit that these plans are really not what is needed but, they say that what is more important is that some form of health care reform must be passed now. They say that this must be done because of the economy. This is, IMO, somewhat disingenuous. Unemployed workers cannot afford health care, mandatory or otherwise.

IMO, what is most important for Democrats is that this is the closest they have ever come to passing health care reform and they cannot let this opportunity escape them. Because of the political reality of the issue, they are willing to pass a very poor bill in the name of seizing the moment.

The Democrats are trying to muster enough votes for passage by promising that the bill can be improved at a later date.

IMO, this is a very risky venture. The Democrats are betting that enough voters will like this bill that the Republicans won’t gain enough support by running on a repeal plank.

Considering the fact that these proposals are already unpopular with a large percentage of voters, the fact that mandatory payments kick in first while benefits are delayed and that the people are struggling in a very poor economy, this seems very risky to me.

If Republicans are able to regain enough control in Congress to repeal the final bill, it could set up a confrontation between the President and Congress that could seriously harm his presidency.

One party is trying to use fear to pass health care reform, while the other is trying to use fear to prevent passage of health care reform.

The American people are not impressed with either approach. They know there is a need and they want health care reform but, this is not the way they want it done, They want facts in a way that they can understand so that THEY can at least help make the choice rather than have the choice dictated to them.

The people have allowed the government to make the choices on their behalf. The government has failed them time after time and they are tired of it.

Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2010 12:12 AM
Comment #297342

No, Craig, the point is that these issues are the ones the Republican party tries to assume the high ground on. What I’m saying is, ‘don’t talk the talk, unless you walk the walk’.

The most ill used phrases spouted by Republican voices have to do with things like ‘family values’, ‘morality’, etc., except when they are speaking of the ‘sanctity of the flag’, Democrat’s lack of patriotism’, ‘softness on terrorism’, ‘namby-pamby ways at war’, etc., except when the brag is out about how conservative, unregulated economic policies are the ONLY economic policies that work, and that anyone who disagrees is a Socialist, etc.

You seem to have concerns about our progeny…until Republicans are in office, and then that concern goes away. But, when Republicans are in office our progeny is as, or more, threatened. That high horse you ride, as a party, has created this lockstep mentality currently in vogue, and that has virtually stopped or contaminated progress in governance.

The Democrats bent over backwards to get compromise on the HC reform package, and even used Republican input that should never have been included. That did not seem to be enough for your party. Now we have a watered down bill that might not be the preferred thing, but unless we get it through, health care reform will never occur, and thus our economy will likely never recover sufficiently to keep us from third world status.

People who are truly moral…people who are really economically astute…people who are serious about national security, would not want America in a weakened state. And, folks who worry about future generations would want those generations to have at least a slim chance of living a decent life.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 16, 2010 7:07 AM
Comment #297343

>The people have allowed the government to make the choices on their behalf. The government has failed them time after time and they are tired of it.
Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2010 12:12 AM


You spit the word ‘government’ out as if is the vilest of acids, are you seriously advocating anarchy as the best way for America to move forward? Other than that, what third party would be able to govern without government or governance? What nation in the world, or in history, has set the precedent for NO governance? How long did it survive?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 16, 2010 7:12 AM
Comment #297347


People who are truly moral…people who are really economically astute…people who are serious about national security, would not want America in a weakened state. And, folks who worry about future generations would want those generations to have at least a slim chance of living a decent life.

I agree with this and think it is very well said.

There are also preferences. I for one,want far less government in my life that the Democrats offer. I don’t want America to look more like Europe. I love the innovation, and the opportunity that America provides.

I don’t think you are immoral or unpatriotic because we disagree on these things. I just don’t want to live in a country that does all the things the Democratic party stands for. It’s not my kinda place. Too much government!!!!!

So we simply have to fight it out politically because we are a divided country.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 16, 2010 12:05 PM
Post a comment