Democrats & Liberals Archives

My Reponse to Tim Pawlenty, Long and Short

The short answer: Medicare itself.

The Long Answer?

A much better plan than yours, to start with. The first and most obvious complaint about the measure you support is that it's not indexed to inflation, so these vouchers will cover less and less of the cost of healthcare under even the most optimistic estimates of Healthcare inflation. That isn't even the worst part. The worst part is that none of these insurers will have the economic muscle to hold down costs, so not only will less be covered, but what is covered will get more expensive to cover.

And what does it most resemble? Medicare Advantage, only with Government completely cut out of the equation. Except the government actually insures seniors at lower cost.

When the Republicans demagogued Democrats over cutting Medicare, they demagogued cuts to this particularly wasteful program's subsidies, subsidies that weren't even earmarked for patient's benefits. The Republicans were essentially protecting a system that bribed insurers to participate in the Advantage program.

Ah, but the Tea Party was telling Democrats to get the Government's hands off their Medicare, wasn't it? The delicious irony was having far right Republicans standing up for subsidies to profitable industry, the ultimate form of government intervention into the market. Aren't these guys supposed to stand on their own?

Republican leaders commonly use this technique to deceive their voters into backing off of their favorite industries, or to promote and defend the feeding of vast sums of taxpayer dollars to industries that don't need the help. They call it privatization when they pump money into corporate coffers, but the taxpayers are still footing the bill, and being guaranteed this income stream, these companies don't compete to reduce the bill. Instead, they endeavor to increase it.

Ryan wants to take an already failed system, impose a cap that has no earthly reason to be there, other than to shift costs to seniors who couldn't afford those costs to begin with, and then make that, essentially, the whole system. I know the mechanisms not 100% the same, but the result is pretty much the same: pay the health insurers who have so far failed to keep healthcare costs down to manage a system for paying for senior's healthcare costs. This is worse than simply letting the fox guard the henhouse, this is like paying to have a den of foxes housed on your farm.

Some object to the charge that this is ending Medicare as we know it, but isn't that what we're doing here? Isn't making Medicare into a fixed-benefit piece of corporate welfare, and shifting costs to seniors kind of changing it from the system we recognize?

All of its problems taken into account, Today's Medicare system serves seniors better, and costs them less than Ryan's plan ever will. That's why the short answer to Pawlenty's question is Medicare. Democrats already cut costs for taxpayers on Medicare, and according to the CBO, have extended the program's lifetime by nine years. They made the right kinds of cuts, the kind that came from the hide of those enjoying an unearned buck at government expense. The kind Republicans love to claim that they were intent on making to government, but which they did not: to waste, to fraud, to corruption.

Finally, let's take a look at this tweet that set me off:

Barack Obama sorry to interrupt the European pub crawl, but what was your Medicare plan?

Mr. Pawlenty, what will you be doing when you take a trip overseas, as President? You'd probably be doing the same sort of goodwill visits that many Presidents do and have done over the last several decades. This is the central hypocrisy of Pawlenty's rhetoric: the principle isn't what's at stake here, it's putting a dark cloud over a President who is actually doing the right things, to cover for a party that's not. By including the Ryan Medicare plan in this discussion, Pawlenty compounds his pettiness with the Republican Party's current epidemic of tone-deafness on policy.

If you want policy that's not simply an excuse to hand the already rich and already successful more money to just shove away unspent into their bank account, go with a Republican.

If you want the problems that concern you and the anxieties that keep you awake at night to find some resolution, talk to the Democrats, vote for them. That will be the party that rewards its members for getting things done, rather than being an omnipresent barrier to desperately needed change.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at May 28, 2011 9:41 PM
Comments
Comment #323649

The Republicans have painted themselves into a corner on Medicare. It is certainly the key issue for any long term federal deficit reduction plan of significance. But by opting to embrace a Medicare cost inflation shifting plan to reduce the deficit, they have essentially chosen the fiscal health of the federal government over the fiscal and physical health of seniors and the disabled. That is not a courageous choice. It is a surrender to the forces of skyrocketing health inflation at the expense of seniors. It is the modern version of “Let them eat cake.”

This flim flam has not and will not go unnoticed by the general public. It is compounded by the Republicans opposition to any cuts in Medicare during the recent health care reform debates. It makes them appear schizophrenic or simply hypocrites of the highest order.

It is time that politicians, particularly Republicans, learn to walk and chew gum at the same time. We have two highly interrelated problems: an unsustainable long term deficit and skyrocketing health care inflation. You can’t solve the deficit problem without solving the health inflation problem unless you simply decide to cut health care dramatically.

Affordable and accessible health care is an essential requirement, particularly as you age. It is threatened by extraordinary inflation (cost of insurance and out of pocket costs more than doubled over the last nine years). Indeed, it threatens our entire economy. The party of “No” needs to recognize that “no” is not an answer for the health care needs of Americans.

Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2011 7:41 AM
Comment #323656

SD wrote; “If you want the problems that concern you and the anxieties that keep you awake at night to find some resolution, talk to the Democrats…”

Really? Talk to the Democrats? The dem leadership is on record as saying they don’t have a plan, and if they did, they are unwilling to share it with anyone outside their elite circle. Why is that?

Simple! The dems believe trying to fix Medicare will cost them votes so they just don’t give a damn about fixing it. Instead, they assume the reps will continue to try and the dems can take potshots at them along the way, hoping to sway voters.

That may be good political strategy but it is horrible governance. But then, horrible governance is what they do best. These folks are cowards, full of contempt for those who try to fix the broken Medicare system.

What the dems and libs seem to have forgotten is that while they attempt to win an election with negativity, the reps and cons will be asking the nation if they are better off now, or before O’Bama and the dems took over, and then proceed to outline the strategy to get this country out of debt and working again.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 29, 2011 12:48 PM
Comment #323657

Royal Flush,

You call what the Republicans have proposed as “fixing Medicare?” Please! Try again. Nobody is buying it.

What the Republicans have proposed is cutting Medicare to make their deficit reduction plan work. It fixes the deficit but at the expense of seniors and the disabled. That is not conjecture, it is a simple fact. To add insult to injury, Ryan actually keeps the cuts to Medicare Advantage under the Obama plan despite public statements that he and the Republicans would repeal those provisions.

By the way, Medicare/Medicaid is less broken than the private health insurance industry. They are more efficient and more successful at keeping health care reimbursements under control. Those are also indisputable facts. What do you think is going to happen to the private employer group plans over the next twenty years? If there is a problem with Medicare, there is a problem with all health insurance due to the extraordinary health cost inflation.

Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2011 3:00 PM
Comment #323658

The republicans beat the Democrats over the head with health care reform. They told lies half truths and used scare tactics to win the mid terms. Now they cry foul when we tell the truth. Much like those wmd you have to lie to get your way well my friends I know some pretty hardcore republicans and they see what’s happening around the country and it’s not just medicare that has them rethinking there allegiance other things like union busting overturning the will of the people like they did in Mo. so please stay they coarse don’t back down ignore the polls and the people you do a great service to my party.

Posted by: Jeff at May 29, 2011 3:44 PM
Comment #323659

Rich is obviously just another dem or lib who likes to shoot down the plans of others without advancing any plan of their own. The dem/libs won’t lead or follow on this issue so they should just get out of the way of those who will.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage for any sitting politician to advance plans for the modification of Medicare or Medicaid in our poisonous political atmosphere. Some reps/cons have displayed just such courage, whether the plan is eventually acceptable or not to the majority of Americans.

Rich appears content to support a policy of “do nothing” from his dem/lib leadership. It’s a cowardly approach and one worthy of being defeated in the next election.

His leadership couldn’t even be bothered to pass a budget when they had control of both houses and the o’bama. Frankly, they are a pathetic bunch.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 29, 2011 3:51 PM
Comment #323660

Royal Flush-
There’s a word for what it took to push the Ryan plan on the American public, and it isn’t courage. It’s temerity.

The Ryan Plan is the inefficient Medicare Advantage Program, writ large. It works off of the discredited notion that if you feed industries a you-know-what load of corporate welfare, they’ll run the system more efficiently, instead of gouging the taxpayer and keeping the difference.

We already went in, and took back some of your corporate welfare dollars, despite the fact that your side was making it seem that by doing that, we’d be cutting benefits for seniors. We lost a lot of political capital because your side was willing and able to push that lie. But we passed the bill anyways, and took the political consequences for it.

Your side? It’s simply in denial. It doesn’t want to admit that 2010 wasn’t a license to simply legislate and push their policy anyway they wanted it. What’s more, your plan wasn’t disliked after months worth of pre-emptive bashing, it was pretty much rejected on contact by about eighty percent of the American public.

And why not? it’s not a plan that cuts out waste, abuse, or fraud. In fact, it practically hands the whole program over to people who run things less efficiently, and who have failed in the past few years to rein in costs, and even worse, freezes the current contribution so that the program doesn’t even keep up with inflation.

What, do you think people are stupid? Do you think they don’t recognize that their interests will be negatively impacted? The people who are the main core of working taxpaying adults are the folks who are going to get screwed by your legislation, and they know it. What’s more, the older generation, the folks normally more positive about you, aren’t seeing the reprieve they get as anything more than the most cynical of bribes. Go ahead and let your children and grandchildren work for a crappier deal with Medicare, we’re not going to touch your benefits.

There’s a bit of “screw you, I’ve got mine” in the older generations, but not that much.

His leadership couldn’t even be bothered to pass a budget when they had control of both houses and the o’bama. Frankly, they are a pathetic bunch.

We had an Omnibus bill lined up. Republicans voted against cloture on it, killing the bill. And why? So they could hold this nation’s finances hostage in the next year.

Maybe it shouldn’t be my party’s leadership you worry about, but yours, because they’re pretty much making the budget battles the political equivalent of Die Hard, and guess what? They’re playing Hans Gruber, not John McClaine. You might get some cool lines, but people are going to cheer your fall all the same.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2011 4:51 PM
Comment #323661

It is pathetic to call the ryan report courage. It’s always easy to take money from the poor and the old. I would not put forth a budget so the right can lie a filibuster it. Much better to let the republicans/teabaggers make fools of themselves.

Posted by: Jeff at May 29, 2011 4:57 PM
Comment #323662

Mr. Daugherty’s rambling comments are meaningless as they offer no alternative. Every one of his points are pure conjecture and not based upon anything except his usual left-wing scare tactics and politicking.

We all know why the reps/cons did so well in the last election. People want the spendthrift spending stopped and reversed and they want jobs. The dems/libs can only propose more spending and the jobs picture isn’t improving.

Does SD really believe the dems can win in 2012 with negative ads. What else do they have to run on? Nothing…nothing but more of the same old tax and spend policies that got many of them ejected in 2010.

The dem/libs will lose the senate while the rep/cons increase their numbers in the house. The presidency is up for grabs and should a decent candidate be found (and I believe one will be), o’bama is history.

The dem grip on their traditional base is showing signs of wear and tear. Promises were made and few have been kept. Mom and Pop are worse off now than before he slithered into office. The Reid/Pelosi/o’bama triumvirate is merely a shadow of what it was just a few months ago. o’bama will ask for another term and Americans will respond…”Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 29, 2011 5:54 PM
Comment #323663

Royal Flush,

The only thing that the Ryan Medicare/Medicaid proposal will accomplish is the hastening of a universal single payer health care system.

If we can’t afford health care in the near future under the current system for a major segment of our society, what do you think that the response of the American public will be? Do you honestly think that they will say “I guess your right, some of us will have to forgo health care in the future.” Not on your life.

The value of the Ryan proposal is to move the issue to a more serious discussion level. Perhaps, we will swallow our pride and actually consider alternatives that work in other industrial nations. Perhaps, we will begin to question why we spend more than twice as much per capita as similarly situated nations for no better or worse outcomes.

Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2011 6:42 PM
Comment #323664

The republicans have offered NOTHING to improve the employment out look Nothing. Tax cuts don’t work. Busting unions don’t work. Insulting government workers won’t bring back jobs. And it’s fool me once shame on you fool me twice … you can’t fool me again from the biggest fool to ever live in the white house.

Posted by: Jeff at May 29, 2011 6:42 PM
Comment #323665

Royal Flush-

Mr. Daugherty’s rambling comments are meaningless as they offer no alternative.

The alternatie is to mend the program, to squeeze out the fraud, the waste, the abuse, and go out there and reduce healthcare costs through further reforms

Ah, but that’s “no alternative” to you.

Every one of his points are pure conjecture and not based upon anything except his usual left-wing scare tactics and politicking.

It’s not conjecture. There was a subsidy that the Affordable Care Act cut to insurance companies. That cut was demagogued by Republicans as a cut to Medicare Benefits. Meanwhile, Republicans actually endeavor to cap the amount of money going to actual benefits, and push the Administration of Medicare to private insurance companies which statistics demonstrate have rasied their prices continuously.

You call this left-wing scare tactics. Well the tactic I’m employing is called telling people the ugly truth about Republicans and Federal programs. The person I’m really ending up scaring are the folks who made the mistake of pursuing a policy just to look “courageous” to their constituents.

Now you can keep on blustering and bluffing at me, but that doesn’t change certain facts. generic Dem vs. Republicans have changed, and in many places where the vote for a new Republican was narrower than a few percentage points, that’s bad news. The tides gone out for Republicans, and people are left more horrified by the results of the Republican agenda than any thing the Democrats are accused of doing.

It was all fine so long as your people were out of control, but now you’re part of the Government, you’re part of any problem that crops up, and if it seems, as is justifiably assumed, that your priorities and those of the average voters are parting ways, things are going to work against you.

You need to read and believe stuff from beyond your party. You’re too neck-deep in the propaganda to see your party’s vulnerabilities.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2011 6:53 PM
Comment #323666

Medicare is similar to Flood Insurance in at least a few ways. Ultimately, no insurance company can provide reasonably priced flood insurance so only the government is available to that purpose. You can speak of folks not living in flood prone areas as a solution to that, and to a degree you would be right…not realistic, but right. The same cannot be said about Medicare. No insurance company(s) would be willing to insure older, more disease prone citizens, and only the government can make it affordable. That is why those stupid chits (vouchers) would not work under any circumstance…and that every person as they age create a set of ‘pre-existing’ health conditions, so even if an older person could buy insurance, insurance companies would opt out of paying for their health care.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 29, 2011 8:23 PM
Comment #323667

”..so even if an older person could buy insurance, insurance companies would opt out of paying for their health care.”

Marysdude,

That was the reason for Medicare in the first place. Private insurance companies wouldn’t cover the elderly, except at prohibitive costs.

Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2011 8:59 PM
Comment #323668

>That was the reason for Medicare in the first place. Private insurance companies wouldn’t cover the elderly, except at prohibitive costs.
Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2011 08:59 PM

Rich,

TeaPublicans refuse to learn ANYTHING from history.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 30, 2011 9:03 AM
Comment #323672


Royal, how much of the cuts and the pain will be shared by the Defence Department and defence contractors with the Ryan Plan?

The Republicans always underestimate the American Peoples fondness for fairness. A Republican plan could have gotten more support if it wasn’t so right wing, philosophically.

This is my attempt to be fair, because I think both the Republican plans and the health care plan passed by the Democrats SUCK!

Posted by: jlw at May 30, 2011 12:15 PM
Comment #323675

You need to read and believe stuff from beyond your party. You’re too neck-deep in the propaganda to see your party’s vulnerabilities.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2011

Really? Here’s something from former President Clinton that you may wish to chew on. It sounds much like what I wrote and you disparaged.

Clinton spoke up forcefully last week for a compromise on Social Security and Medicare reform, warning that Democrats should resist the urge to gain short term points with seniors by using scare tactics. Instead, Clinton took a novel approach, suggesting that Democrats stop playing politics and get those two entitlements under control.

“The Democrats are going to have to be willing to give up maybe some short-term political gain by whipping up fears on some of these things if it’s a reasonable Social Security proposal or a reasonable Medicare proposal,” Clinton said at a bipartisan debt forum in Washington according to FoxNews. “We have to deal with these things. You cannot have healthcare devour the economy.”

At a forum on the national debt, Clinton even told House GOP Budget Chair Paul Ryan to give him a call if he wanted talk about fixing Medicare.

Plainly, o’bama, reid and pelosi are simply irrelevant when it comes to the big entitlement issues choosing instead to just ignore them hoping to gain a few political points. Disgusting…disgusting indeed.

I will go with Clinton and urge both parties to negotiate seriously rather than have the dems merely spin and bluster about what’s wrong with the rep/cons plans. But, it would appear that the dem leadership is just too “chicken shit” to actually propose something which could then be melded with a rep/cons plan.

As for o’bama, well…he is just AWOL on the issue. While he was off in Ireland stumping for electoral votes in some of their counties, the real work and effort was being done by rep/cons here. I enjoyed the snubbing the Queen gave this imposter president. It will be the electorates turn to snub him in November 2012.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 30, 2011 2:41 PM
Comment #323676

Surprise, Bill Clinton urges Democrats to back “reasonble” entitlement reform and to resist the temptation for payback on the health care debate. The operative term is reasonable. It takes two to tango. I am not holding my breath waiting for the dance.

Clinton also said “You cannot have healthcare devour the economy.” Very true. But that brings us back full circle to the health care debate. This isn’t just about entitlements or Medicare specifically. It is about gaining some control over the the out of control inflation in health care. In the absence of the extraordinary inflation in health care, Medicare and Medicaid would not have future funding problems. But neither would business based group employer insurance.

Posted by: Rich at May 30, 2011 3:17 PM
Comment #323679

Royal Flush-
You know, this is just a guess, but Obama can chew gum and walk at the same time.

That snub. Let’s talk about what the word snub means. Does it mean inviting Obama back for another state visit, only the second American President to be granted that privilege? No.

As for being AWOL? What is it with Republicans nowadays? He can’t leave the country or attend international confrerences (like, say, G8 or G20 meetings), without being accused of playing hooky. I don’t recall that being such a big deal with previous presidents.

There seems to be a benefit of the doubt that you’re simply incapable of giving Obama on anything, and it’s not something that came from a series of failures like Bush’s, where he invaded the wrong country, reopened the deficit, let aid take days to get to a major American city, etc. No, this is something you folks started out with, perhaps with the typical sentiment that the disrespect shown to Bush needed to be avenged on his successor.

Whatever the reason, It’s all too predictable and petty.

As for Clinton? Clinton probably would end up feeling like kicking the crap out of the Republicans now, after a few legislative sessions with them. He had the benefit of greater pragmatism on the right, if not greater moderation.

Obama, though, has a Senate minority and a House majority set against him who are more interested in rehabilitating the image of conservativism among its most far-right adherents, than they are in dealing with their own legacy of failed policies.

Ryan’s policy is poisonous on the merits. It takes the failed privatization of the Medicare Advantage plan, and expands it to encompass the whole system. The only way it actually cuts costs for the Federal Government, I imagine, is the totally unrealistic and unconscionable cap on benefits. Without that, I suspect prices would rise even faster than they already have.

You call it a scare tactic for me to say this. Well, I’m sorry, if plainly stating the reality of a policy frightens people, then you had better rethink the policy, by golly, because apparently people think it’s a threat to their own best interests. And this time, the party making the claim about the other side didn’t have to spend months raising hell and spreading misconceptions for this reaction to come from the Public. This was a visceral, immediate, unprompted reaction.

Republicans simply miscalculated. In the old days, they could regroup and rethink, and moderate their ideas, or at least find some face-saving way to back out of it.

No more. Your people are trying to prove to the true believers that they aren’t the kind of Republicans they lost faith in. The problem, really, is that with the toxic stew of policies you folks have, it’s really unavoidable to get that kind of Republican. The contradictions and superficial principles are just too entrenched.

You’re not going to get a party that jumps to the defense of every special interest, as you like it, and then caters to the common interests of the average person. You can’t get both constant tax cuts and a balanced budget, and there are not enough politically and economically safe cuts available for you to offset your current tax cuts. You can’t let Wall Street bend and break all the rules, and then hope to minimize demand for something to do about it.

In fact, your party’s creating the very conditions from which you get the kind of overwhelming waves of political change that you’re trying to avoid. If your party was smart about the politics of this, they would have slow-walked the changes, done it incrementally. Problem is, your people aren’t used to being told no, and don’t like having their aims frustrated.

So, your party is going to reenact the charge of the light brigade politically. You can memorialize the “courageous”, but you’re building most of the resentment against your party yourselves. God knows today’s Democratic Party isn’t half as good at ginning up false controversies.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 30, 2011 3:59 PM
Comment #323680

Rich wrote; “The operative term is reasonable. It takes two to tango. I am not holding my breath waiting for the dance.”

We don’t know anything about a dem/lib plan as they simply don’t have one. They are missing in action. So sad. Will the voters reward them for having no plan? Will the voters reward them for merely standing on the sidelines jeering those who are trying to fix things?

When asked about their plan in the election cycle will they simply say…we don’t have one as we don’t give a damn…and be sure to vote for us as we stand for nothing?

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 30, 2011 4:00 PM
Comment #323681

SD asks; “As for being AWOL? What is it with Republicans nowadays?”

For SD’s benefit I will explain. Being AWOL refers to his being absent on the big issues facing Americans. Anything else you don’t understand SD?

It is quite amusing to read SD fumble around trying to defend the nonexistent dem/lib plan to fix entitlement programs. All he can do is defame and castigate those who are trying.

When it comes time to hire our new representative in November 2012 voters will well remember the interviews with the candidates. One the one hand, the rep/con job applicant will have a work history that includes working to fix what is wrong.

The dem/lib applicant can merely tell the job interviewer…I don’t have a clue what to do should I get the job, but I know for sure that I am better than the other fellow.

The dem base is shrinking as they made promises about jobs and the economy that they have not kept. Despite spending trillions, Mom and Pop don’t feel any better about their circumstances. They know they are worse off for the dems being in charge and the magic mantra of “change” has become meaningless for them. Some will pull the voting lever for rep/cons and many others will just stay home.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 30, 2011 4:23 PM
Comment #323685

Sorry the Dem. base is growing If you turn the T.V. to something other then faux news you might just expand your intelligence R.F.

Posted by: Jeff at May 30, 2011 5:35 PM
Comment #323686

Jeff, your crystal ball has an electrical short. I seldom watch Fox News. Most of my political information comes from reading. From where did you get the info on your comment?

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 30, 2011 5:43 PM
Comment #323693

I can honestly say that I am a news junky My sources are T.V. including fox etc news papers and the net I try and read varying view points.

Posted by: Jeff at May 30, 2011 7:40 PM
Comment #323695

Royal Flush,

I thought that it was the time for Republicans to shine. It was theirs for the taking after the 2010 elections. All they had to do is produce. But guess what, their budget is DOA with the American public. Balancing the federal budget on the health of senior Americans is unacceptable. Period.

Posted by: Rich at May 30, 2011 8:06 PM
Comment #323711

Royal Flush-

For SD’s benefit I will explain. Being AWOL refers to his being absent on the big issues facing Americans. Anything else you don’t understand SD?

Oh, I understand. I recall you saying that Obama was snubbed by the Royal Family, too, but there we had a picture and an article of Obama showing up at a historic second state dinner. How many of these claims that Obama doesn’t have a plan, or is AWOL on an issue, comes from the fact that either you’re not paying attention, or Obama’s not telegraphing his every move to the media?

You say he doesn’t have a plan?

Short Answer: We have Medicare.
Long Answer: We have already modified Medicare with the Affordable Care Act so that, according to the CBO, it’s got an additional nine years of life.

As for your working to fix what’s wrong? Obama can say he provide stimulus to the economy, that he saved whole industries, promoted fuel economy, that he was always willing to negotiate to get things running again.

Your resume? Well it seems like your resume’s going to be holding the country hostage to force spending cuts nobody wants, while giving tax breaks to companies that are already profitable, all while trying to force through a Medicare benefits overhaul that not even the majority of Republicans like.

You puff out your chest and try to make it seem like a proud thing, but what it is, is desperation. You have a far right wing faction dominating your party that’s not going to allow you the flexibility to play to the middle, so the best you can hope for is to befuddle people with BS, in the hopes that you can sink the President’s chances.

I recently read an article from Rolling Stone about Roger Ailes and the creation of FOXNews, and the thing that occurs to me is that when you get that kind of media operation going, you generally end up locking yourself away into a fantasyland. When folks are challenged by a media that doesn’t cater to their party’s agenda, they learn valuable skills of persuasing, but also, they learn to respond to people’s needs, rather than just push their agenda forward. They learn to behave appropriately, because there aren’t folks who are going to simply excuse away what they do.

When folks just have media sources that tell them what they want to hear, and what they think is right, then there’s less of an incentive to deal with hard realities that don’t depend merely on somebody’s opinion.

The Right wanted to create a world around them where liberal bias wouldn’t get in the way of their constituents hearing the message they wanted to send to them. In doing that, in creating their walled garden of media, they took a party of people who had at least some skill in dealing with that media, and made it one where their main skillset was in exploiting the conservative media, and those who watch it.

Everybody else doesn’t share your confidence in the party, or its actions. Because you don’t realize it, you’re not going to balk when your party members start rushing in where angels fear to tread. I think a great many of the Bush Administration screwups come from this thinning of the diversity of the GOP’s ideological core. There’s nobody in your party who is trusted who can set your party on a new course when the old one fails.

That your party deliberately chose the Ryan Plan just shows how screwed it is. Any healthy party wouldn’t be touching it with a ten foot pole. Hell, any healthy party wouldn’t have have Ryan in charge of the budget in Congress.

There’s a point at which all the sweet talking in the world isn’t going to change people’s minds, and people don’t have that much patience to waste on governing officials who seem intent on catering to an elite few.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 30, 2011 11:46 PM
Comment #323714
Rich wrote: The Republicans have painted themselves into a corner on Medicare. It is certainly the key issue for any long term federal deficit reduction plan of significance. But by opting to embrace a Medicare cost inflation shifting plan to reduce the deficit, they have essentially chosen the fiscal health of the federal government over the fiscal and physical health of seniors and the disabled. That is not a courageous choice. It is a surrender to the forces of skyrocketing health inflation at the expense of seniors. It is the modern version of “Let them eat cake.”


Actually, it’s more like the modern version of “Bring out your dead.”

American politics is nothing but a contest of bottom-feeders to see who can attach their barnacle to the biggest lobbyist/corporate yacht.

The United States Congress in its entirety, Republican and Democrat, is nothing but a collective of money-grubbing, self-important, unconcerned corporate whores and lobby puppets, i.e., the worst scum of humankind.

Posted by: Gary St. Lawrence at May 31, 2011 1:00 AM
Comment #323718

Gary St. Lawrence-
They may very well be, but where does that leave us? Nothing about my personal examination of world history indicates that power has ever been anything other than compromised and corrupted.

The advantage of a democratic system is that the folks who typically get used can use folks right back.

Corruption has that ability, really, to so shock and offend people that they lose hope. Unfortunately, people learn helplessness by this, so it only makes the problem worse. We have to stand up in the face of this, and not just express ourselves, but organize to achieve political gains.

The forces that stand against us have that advantage. They have the money, they have the think-tanks and the captive media operation. They have reporters cowed about telling it is about the Republicans (even as Republicans continue to complain about an established bias against their people.)

We cannot simply hope that the system will evolve to fit our needs, simply because we think that’s the best system. We need to persuade people, and the worst first step is to say that everything’s equally bad. For one thing, it’s rarely true. For another thing, that paralyzes choice. Why do you think Republicans like Royal Flush keep on trying to claim we’re all hypocrites, that Al Gore rides in jets, that Obama does this or that?

Why? Because it flattens the dynamics, gets people demotivated. And that serves the purposes of the modern conservatives. If the will to change things is muddled, then they can keep things the way they are. Doubt is what they sell us, doubt of anything else but the status quo.

So, when you play into the notion that Democrats and Republicans are equally bad, you’re doing more than ignoring the evidence, you’re serving the status quo. If our dilemmas offer us no options, not even compromised ones, we remain in our current predicament.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2011 10:17 AM
Comment #323723

SD writes; “If the will to change things is muddled, then they (Republicans) can keep things the way they are. Doubt is what they sell us, doubt of anything else but the status quo.”

I have found that the person in the room accusing others of misdeeds is usually the person with the most bad behavior.

For example, SD talks about Reps being “muddled” about changing things. What was so muddled about their message in the last election. It unseated an almost historic number of dem/libs. Now of course, SD would have us believe that all those voters were conned into voting for the rep/cons message. Isn’t that always the way of the loser? Rather than admit losing to better ideas, the loser claims the voters didn’t understand or were bamboozled.

And, we see that same flawed political philosophy in action today by the same dem/lib cabal.

SD says rep/cons don’t want change, and instead prefer the status quo. How much farther from the truth can he wander?

Who is advocating for, and making their voices heard about changes to our huge bloated entitlement programs? It certainly isn’t the dem/libs as they don’t even have a plan. We hear no voices from that side advocating change, instead we hear nothing but derision and blustering. They realize the last major policy change…o’bamacare…is likely to be thrown on the ash heap by our courts and are simply afraid to tackle anything else.

When dem/libs no longer can spend huge amounts of taxpayer money, borrowed money and printed money to bait the voters with promises of largess they lose at the polls. They are void of practical and constitutional ideas and values. They pretend to govern in the disguise of playing Santa Clause.

Scratch a liberal and money, not blood flows. We will stamp out liberalism in the next decade by cutting off its primary ugly head…the ability to spend wantonly and tax foolishly.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 31, 2011 12:59 PM
Comment #323725

Royal Flush-

I have found that the person in the room accusing others of misdeeds is usually the person with the most bad behavior.

Ah, but if you’re implying that I’m the one doing bad things instead, by your logic, doesn’t that mean you’re doing bad things yourself, since you brought this issue up yourself?

What was so muddled about their message in the last election. It unseated an almost historic number of dem/libs. Now of course, SD would have us believe that all those voters were conned into voting for the rep/cons message. Isn’t that always the way of the loser? Rather than admit losing to better ideas, the loser claims the voters didn’t understand or were bamboozled.

Hmmm. Should I drink from the poisoned well?

Look, not everybody keeps up with things. They’ve got their own lives and interests. People can be mislead, can be pushed and pulled emotionally. To say this doesn’t happen is absurd.

I mean, that’s practically what you’ve been saying about Obama from the beginning. So again, you’re hoist on your own petard, since your people are constantly claiming that anything everything he does or claims is a fraud. So, naturally, people had to be bamboozled in order to elect him, right? By your logic, you’ve taken the way of the loser, etc.

Oooh, fun with fallacies!

SD says rep/cons don’t want change, and instead prefer the status quo. How much farther from the truth can he wander?

We introduce bills to reform healthcare. Do you provide an alternative, which would change the system for the better? No, you just say no to our plan.

We start talking about reforming the energy industry. Are you on board with that, even by way of an alternative? No, in your budget, you severely cut renewable programs and subsidies. That, while you utterly refuse to end subsidies and tax breaks for the energy companies.

We start talking about reforming Wall Street, reforming the system that utterly failed us in Fall of 2008. Your people universally say no, offer no alternative to deal with the problem.

You’re against any stimulus bills, and have been from the beginning.

On and on. This leads me to wonder, are you really asking that question because you have cause to wonder, or are you just asking it for dramatic effect?

They realize the last major policy change…o’bamacare…is likely to be thrown on the ash heap by our courts and are simply afraid to tackle anything else.

Actually, the district courts are split on the matter, and it’s unlikely that higher courts are going to buy the arguments at a higher level, not with precedent firmly backing the existence of other benefit programs.

When dem/libs no longer can spend huge amounts of taxpayer money, borrowed money and printed money to bait the voters with promises of largess they lose at the polls. They are void of practical and constitutional ideas and values. They pretend to govern in the disguise of playing Santa Clause.

You know what I find real charming? your tendency to argue by proclamation. Also charming is your short memory of what your people did for the last decade. What do you think your tax cuts and your expansion of the Medicare program were?

You’re bashing us relentlessly because you want people not to remember who it was who really went wild, who took surplus and made it deficit, prosperity, and made it crisis.

Unfortunately, since you have no political willingness to reform these systems, you’re doomed to replay these mistakes again and again.

Scratch a liberal and money, not blood flows. We will stamp out liberalism in the next decade by cutting off its primary ugly head…the ability to spend wantonly and tax foolishly.

Spend wantonly, and tax foolishly?

You must have been pretty pleased with yourself when you wrote that.

But what you wrote describes the Republicans better. You didn’t pay for your new programs. Your party, with its policies, gave us spending and deficits that are now difficult to undo.

Your people are more interested in proving your conservative credentials than in actually doing your job. Your stewardship of the budget has been likened to a hostage situation, with the interests of this country and the governmnent’s effective and efficient operation held hostage to your party’s vain pursuit of a 2012 win.

But you have a problem. Your actions will either crash our economy, or show that you don’t have the guts to do what your people mistakenly think can be done to halt deficit spending. Miseducated, your people assume that the Debt Limit is about stopping the rise of debt, when in reality, it’s about authorizing the treasury to raise the debt financing necessary to pay for the things your people have already decided to spend.

In short, your party cannot keep anybody happy in its current state, and it will not.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2011 3:36 PM
Comment #323728

SD wrote; “Oooh, fun with fallacies!”

Those “fallacies live only in your mind, not in the public consciousness. Your fallacy expects a 180 degree turn by the voting public in two years. I call that magical thinking.

In November 2012 the folks will be voting, once again, on the current issues, not the rehash of history you’re so fond of shredding. Do we want bigger government, more spending, wasted opportunities in our foreign policy, less national security, more bans on capturing our own fossil fuels, bigger and even more bloated entitlement programs, public employee unions with benefits that are breaking the working class, more unnecessary regulation and red tape, more social engineering, more illegals entering our country, more ineffectual and costly tinkering with our education system, more attempts to coerce our states with plundered tax money and more anti-religious hatred.

Should the Irishman o’bama be reelected, he will be dealing with a congress he can’t control. His veto pen will be useless against the wave of popular opinion demanding him to follow or get out of the way.


Posted by: Royal Flush at May 31, 2011 4:22 PM
Comment #323735

“We will stamp out liberalism in the next decade by cutting off its primary ugly head…the ability to spend wantonly and tax foolishly.”

Royal Flush,

The US has done quite well economically under liberal Democratic administrations. In fact, by all measures they have outperformed Republican administrations. Why? In my opinion, because they target the middle and lower classes for economic assistance. The great economic engine of the US has resided in a large and growing middle class. So, say what you will about liberals, but they have been successful in achieving a better bottom line than conservatives.

Someday, just for chuckles, Royal Flush, take some time and look up economic performance by party. You might be surprised by the results. While your at it, look up deficits by president, you might also be surprised.

Posted by: Rich at May 31, 2011 5:53 PM
Comment #323737

Royal Flush-
No, your side expected that. I mean, in 2008, they just trashed your asses. But two years later, you think they just forgot all that stuff?

No. You scared them, got them angry, but you primarily used jobs and the economy as your leverage. You fearmongered them on losing Medicare.

But now you’re just about to remake it entirely, if you get your way. You haven’t done crap about jobs, and it doesn’t seem like you’re going to do anything but what you’ve done in previous years, which is give the Rich and powerful tax breaks and taxpayer dollars on the flimsy pretext that they’ll surely create jobs.

And that’s all you got. Otherwise, most of your policies seem aimed at putting people in a tougher position, and I don’t think people are failing to notice.

You lived by the sword, politically, slashing at the Democrats with emotional appeals designed to exploit people’s anxieties and fears. But now your own policies are having the ironic effect of inspiring the same fears, and the best thing for Democrats is, they don’t have to really make things up. The Republicans themselves make their policies so extreme as to be cariactures of themselves.

Popular opinion has stayed pretty much where it is: folks want Washington to tackle the jobs problem, the economic problem, even at the expense of taking on the deficit problem you prioritize.

Republicans, though, thinking that 2006 and 2008 were just flukes caused by a failure of conservatives to be ideological enough, actually believe that people are still with them. 2012 is not going to be kind.

If I had to bet, just based on what I know already, I think the Republicans lose the house, and Democrats perhaps, perhaps lose the Senate.

But if you’re counting on an anti-Obama wave, well then literally, you’ve had it. It’s come and gone. Republicans had the chance to take care of business. They had the chance to show they were responsive to the economic needs of the average person, and they’ve just demonstrated to people that any belief that they would was in error. Now people are probably kicking themselves for buying the Republicans claims that they reformed. Now they know who the GOP really works for.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2011 5:55 PM
Comment #323743

Rich writes; “The US has done quite well economically under liberal Democratic administrations. In fact, by all measures they have outperformed Republican administrations. Why? In my opinion, because they target the middle and lower classes for economic assistance. The great economic engine of the US has resided in a large and growing middle class. So, say what you will about liberals, but they have been successful in achieving a better bottom line than conservatives.”

Hmmm…the success of targeting the middle and lower classes for economic assistance has really worked well hasn’t it? We now have nearly 50% of adults who pay no income tax. If that success story is allowed to continue, in a decade or two only ten percent of Americans will be productive.

What Rich describes as “economic assistance” is, in reality, welfare. And boy oh boy, do we need more of that. We have federal agencies purchasing advertising to find even more people to give money to. We find new group rights every year that encourage folks to sit on their ass and collect government benefits.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 31, 2011 6:31 PM
Comment #323751

Royal Flush,

You can distort what I have said all you want but the truth of the matter is that the economy of the US has done very well under Democratic administrations for all economic classes. I attribute it not to welfare but to a commitment to maintaining an economically viable middle class and an ascending lower class. It is not rocket science. The great bulk of consumers is in those groups. Henry Ford understood the principal well. A well paid labor force was a huge market for his Model-Ts.


Posted by: Rich at May 31, 2011 9:19 PM
Comment #323774

Royal Flush-

We now have nearly 50% of adults who pay no income tax.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Republicans pass many of the laws that set taxes to that level? I mean, you’re sort of going two faced on this. On one hand, you never hesitate to decry the evils of high taxes, nor to tell people that they should be able to keep more money in their pockets.

But here you come around with another argument, which essentially says that they’re all a bunch of free loaders on account of not having net income taxes. And that, after it seems your people wrote the laws to make it that way.

The truth is, the poor and middle class pay more of their incomes in taxes than the rich. They just don’t pay so much of the income taxes. Now one big reason for that, of course, is the fact that they don’t make so much of the income anymore, compared to inflation. Rich people are different, though, especially after so much of the wealth shot upwards to them.

Yeah, you know, you’re going to pay more of a share of the nation’s income taxes when you make more of the income. That’s sort of how it works.

Meanwhile, we pay a disproportionate amount of the sales taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, and other levies concerning state and local operations, as a percentage of our incomes. So it’s not like we’re freeloading here, especially where Medicare and Social Security are concerned

But hey, you have to push elitist policies, so you’re going to go and wag your finger at all those lucky-duckies, aren’t you?

The irony of all this is that the programs and people that have racked up unneccessary costs of hundreds of billions of dollars lately haven’t been the poor, haven’t been those on TANF or other forms of Government assistance, but have been the Fortune 500 companies your people worked tirelessly to support.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 1, 2011 11:34 AM
Comment #323780

Henry Ford understood the principal well. A well paid labor force was a huge market for his Model-Ts.

Posted by: Rich at May 31, 2011 09:19 PM

Yes indeed, Henry Ford did understand the concept of work for pay. How many folks are being paid today for not working? You are confusing a great capitalist with the great socialists in your party.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 1, 2011 1:22 PM
Comment #323781

Royal Flush-
Why are the Republicans so eager for people to fully feel the nasty effects of Wall Street’s economic screw-up? Please, tell me.

There’s a reason just about all your star governors are seeing their numbers head for Bush Territory.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 1, 2011 2:43 PM
Comment #323797

“Yes indeed, Henry Ford did understand the concept of work for pay. ….You are confusing a great capitalist [Henry Ford] with the great socialists in your party.”

Royal Flush,

No, it is you who are confused. He understood the concept of work but for good pay. “He is credited with “Fordism”: mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford was a pioneer of “welfare capitalism”, designed to improve the lot of his workers..”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ford#Labor_philosophy

Ford had a fundamental understanding that increased efficiency in productivity required not only a skilled work force but an increasingly larger consumer base capable of purchasing the additional products. What good would it do to simply produce more Model-Ts more efficiently if no one could buy them? He understood that there were two sides to the supply-demand equation. His high wage and benefits policies and advocacy of that approach generally were in recognition of the demand side. Labor and capital were yoked in a modern consumer economy.

In recent years supply side dominated economic policies are a departure from the demand side policies that were predominate in the post war years. Trickle down economics would not be a policy that that Ford would have advocated. In recent years gains in productivity have not been shared with labor. That has eroded the consumer demand base that has become increasingly dependent upon debt.

What you claim is “socialism” is in reality smart capitalism.

Posted by: Rich at June 1, 2011 6:37 PM
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