Democrats & Liberals Archives

Mitt Romney: Bold Lies From a Coward

The Mainstream Media, despite it’s tendency to seek artificial balance to keep sensitive Republican pundits and politicians happy, sometimes just has to come down on the side of a difficult to deny truth. Romney, unfortunately, makes this too easy.

He could honestly say he made a mistake, but admitting to mistakes is always politically difficult. He could let it drop, and not bring it up again, but apparently he waited too long before he decided that. He did in fact reject the notion of public help for a GM restructure, and that was the center of his Editorial, which got wide play.

Does he think we've forgotten it? Probably not, but what he hopes is that we will forget. If he pushes the subject forcefully enough, often enough, he'll get traction. Or perhaps that was what he hoped before everybody laughed in his face, Obama included.

Jon Stewart's segment on this quite nicely mines the tendency among most Republicans to deny Obama credit on general principle, that principle being partisanship that defies common sense. The easiest way to defuse an opponent's achievement is to concede it quickly, and then move on to what their political weakness really is.

That way, you're not having to argue against obvious evidence, or worse having to come in after the fact and do something stupid like trying to take credit.

The hopes of the Republicans were that Romney could adapt to both sides, and it is true, he does adapt. He adapts basically by lying his ass off towards whichever group is most affected by whatever the current political cowpie he's stepped in. He tells the Tea Partiers he's severely conservative, just as he's told others before that he's not a hardliner. Witness his non-position position on Rush Limbaugh's comment about Sandra Fluke. Poor word choice, hmmm? It couldn't be the nasty sentiments that Rush communicated, which Romney would have to be careful about condemning, given how much misogyny Rush has encouraged among his listeners.

Romney can't tell people the truth: Yes, the Republican Party has gotten that bad. They are pushing boundaries that would have been unthinkable in Eisenhower's time, and that would have been difficult to justify in Reagan's time. The insular nature of the party keeps outside opinion from cluing these people into just how far off course they are.

Romney? Romney's trying to fit in. He's trying to fit in both with an ever more hardline conservative bloc he needs to show up on election day, and an American public which isn't half as patient with the hijinks of his part as they once were.

Conservative politicians are trying hard, probably a bit too hard, to use fear of Obama's continued presence in office to justify electing Romney. How hard is too hard? Suggesting an armed revolution if you don't win the election is probably going a tad over the line.

But really, aside from those few charming fellows, such fear is not that inspirational. That's why we're not in Kerry's second term at this point. Ask Democrats if dislike for the other side is enough to inspire turnout and victory. We'll tell you there's got to be something else at work.

Ultimately Romney is more like a Kerry, muddling around a bunch of inartful and downright contradictory positions, rather than emerging with sincere, consistent views.

Republicans will have dance with who they brought, or sit on the side, but I'm pretty sure they won't have a Romantic experience this November. They got too consistent of a BS artist for that to work out.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at May 9, 2012 4:17 PM
Comments
Comment #343893

LOL! Nicely done, Stephen!
Romney is so weird! His shameless lying is truly something to behold, and his cheesy phoniness is truly hilarious!
In many ways I’m starting to think of him as the male political counterpart to Half-Term Palin.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 9, 2012 5:32 PM
Comment #343902

Is there any better example than Obamacare of Romney’s duplicity? Romney vows to repeal it. Why? Its the same program that he initiated and implemented in Mass. Its the same program that he considers a success in Mass. So, why would he oppose it and vow to repeal it? Gutless political pandering is the only logical answer.

Posted by: Rich at May 9, 2012 7:27 PM
Comment #343910

Obamacare may be the same that Romney implimented in Mass. but there is a difference between implimenting something State wide vice Nation wide. Mass’s needs may not be the same as N.Y.’s, Calif., etc, etc. What may be a sucess in Mass. may be a disaster Nation wide as we are finding out as time goes by.

Posted by: KAP at May 9, 2012 9:13 PM
Comment #343923

KAP-
So, “Socialism” is agreeable for a Republican to engage in, so long as they don’t take it national?

Romney’s big problem is that at the beginning of the last decade, Republicans had learned the lessons of the Clinton years, and allowed themselves to move towards the center (Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism, right?) They were willing to be more agreeable.

But then Bush started sucking air, and 9/11 raised the paranoia factor, so things got more partisan. Because of that, Republicans that played moderate at the beginning of the decade end up trying play like big, tough hardliners. Few people believe them, but they’re your last viable choices for beating Democrats, which is placed as a higher priority than maintaining party orthodoxy absolutely.

Or at least it had been. I have to wonder, in an atmosphere where an old giant and bipartisan politician like Lugar can lose to an extremist in a primary, even though Lugar’s name recognition and prestige were greater with voters in general, whether the right flank of the Republican Party is willing to make the compromises necessary to appeal outside the party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 9, 2012 10:16 PM
Comment #344016

KAP,

Romney’s argument against Obamacare makes no sense. According to him, the approach has been a success in Mass. So, why would it not be appropriate for the nation? Sure, maybe there is something about scaling it up on a national basis or some unique geographical issues that would impact a national implementation. However, in the absence of any identification of those issues, it would seem that Romney’s opposition is nothing more than illogical political pandering to the far right.

The cornerstone of the conservative attack on Obamacare is the mandatory requirement for participation using the tax code for enforcement. Such an approach was touted in the recent past by conservative think tanks, i.e., Heritage Foundation, as a “soft mandate” consistent with conservative principals that each individual should take responsibility for his/her health care insurance and society should not allow a system of “free riders.” Now, once passed by Obama, it is an unconstitutional infringement on liberty and individual rights. Whew! They were for it before they voted against it.

I don’t think that Obamacare is the best and most efficient approach to health care insurance. However, conservative opposition to it seems gratuitous and simply based upon the fact that Obama proposed and passed it. The fact that it is a conservative model seems entirely lost on today’s conservatives.


Posted by: Rich at May 10, 2012 8:41 AM
Comment #344018

Rich

The states are the laboratories of democracy. Some things are best left among the states.

The other thing to recall is that the difference between a life giving medicine and a deadly poison is often in the dosage. Because something works reasonably well in one state does not mean it will work in others or in the country as a whole. Many things are not scalable.

It might be that a national health care system in a country as large and diverse as ours is just not a practical possibility at the cost we are able to pay. You cannot always get everything you want even when everybody wants it.

Posted by: C&J at May 10, 2012 9:14 AM
Comment #344019

Stephen, Where did I say anything about socialism? What I said was “What works well in one state may not work in another” as C&J pointed out in his comment. Even in Mass. they had to tweek and re tweek the HC law and if I’m not mistaken are still tweeking it. It cost them more than expected as is we are finding out that when Obamacare is implemented is going to cost more. We have 50 states and 50 different needs for them, what works in one may not work in the other 49.

Posted by: KAP at May 10, 2012 10:26 AM
Comment #344033

KAP-
Oh, so Obamacare isn’t socialism? Or is it not socialism so long as we’re not talking about it in relation to Romneycare?

As for the states as the laboratories of Democracy? It’s an excuse, a pretext for following the Republican Party’s flip-flop on the insurance mandate, when its ridiculously obvious that Romney had a distinctly different position as governor. Republicans have to square the circle on this bit of inconsistency, now that he’s their candidate, so they tell themselves that politics are different on the state level.

But if the mandate is socialism and tyranny on the national level, how does it get better on the state level? Sorry to poke that open wound, but you’ve been quite willing on the state level to condemn policies you condemn nation wide, rhetoric about State’s Rights aside. Your problem here is that, through the magic of Conservative Contrarianism, you’ve removed all other options. So, you have to come up with an excuse for him, regardless of how unconvincing it is to outsiders, because you want to win.

C&J-
Adding to what I’ve said to KAP, I just have to say this, regarding your argument: Might be, could be, do we ever know if we never try? There is always a doubt to be raised about policy, but not all doubts should be credited.

Especially doubts that are raised not because something failed, but because Republicans have become so contrarian, that even a conservative-born measure that was adopted as part of an attempt to compromise with Republicans and Conservative Democrats on universal healthcare becomes toxic.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 10, 2012 11:12 AM
Comment #344035

Stephen

You believe in the one true way. I believe in lots of adaptions changing as appropriate. That is why you are a centralizer - one people, one country, one policy fits the whole place. Whereas I tolerate differences because I know there is no other way to really create a decent, if not perfect outcome.


I didn’t make up the laboratories of democracy thing. That was Louis Brandeis, a great progressive when progressives still had some sense.

“Might be, could be, do we ever know if we never try?” This may be a good motto for an individual, but it is frightening when connected to the coercive power of the state.

There are limits to what any large organization CAN do. A wise government doesn’t push farther than it can. The whole idea of pushing the envelop should not apply to government. Government is always and everywhere an institution run by politicians and administered by bureaucrats. The system works very well when it is limited and in the bounds of restraint. It becomes truly horrible (recall Nazis & Soviets) when it breaks free of these things.

Posted by: C&J at May 10, 2012 12:07 PM
Comment #344039

Stephen, Why do you always read something into what isn’t written? You can take your socialism comments and stick them where the sun don’t shine. What one state did and is working for that state no matter if the Govenor at the time was Republican or Democrat does not mean it will work for the rest of the country. When you get that through your thick head maybe you can continue this discussion with some intelligence. What one state does, and I repeat, does NOT necessarily work for the country as a whole.

Posted by: KAP at May 10, 2012 1:24 PM
Comment #344040

KAP

It is an old trick by our leftist friends to reach for the extreme and attribute it to us. It is their method of trying to delegitimize speech that they cannot counter with argument.

That is why you have to take away their labels and talk about what their proposals actually do. For example, Stephen and most liberals are centralizers. They want to put power into the hands of the Federal authorities and establish uniform rules no matter the situation. They hide this centralization by claiming to be for diversity, which is pretty much the opposite. But they couch their “diversity” in racial terms. So that if you oppose health care, they can immediately call you racist. It is not logical or consistent, which is why I can so easily pop them with it. You can tell when they are going down because they start to use more cliches and/or tell us that it is BS. Then they go into the exaggeration mode again.

Look for the pattern and you will find it as amusing as I do. But don’t let it bother you.

Posted by: C&J at May 10, 2012 1:45 PM
Comment #344042

Thanks C&J. I do find our liberal friends comments funny and amusing.

Posted by: KAP at May 10, 2012 1:59 PM
Comment #344049

C&J,

I don’t have any problem with the concept of the states being laboratories. But what’s the purpose of a laboratory? To experiment with alternative solutions to problems. To develop a better mousetrap. In this case, health care insurance and universal coverage.

Romney and the citizens of Mass. think that they found a better mousetrap with their approach to universal health care insurance coverage. Obama agrees and adopted the solution found in the state “laboratory” for national implementation. There are differences with more cost control measures in the Obama model than in the Mass. model. But in essence they are the same approach.

I don’t get the problem with adopting a successful effort in the laboratories of the states to the national level. If some other states have found a better solution, I could understand the criticism of adopting RomneyCare at a national level. Otherwise, it seems to me to be an extremely odd argument. We want the states to be laboratories but we won’t adopt successful “experiments” at the state level to the national level. Really! Why?

Some argue that there are significant differences between states that would preclude adopting the Mass. model on a national level. OK, what are those factors? What are the regional or state differences in health care delivery and health insurance that are so different as to preclude adopting the Mass. model?


Posted by: Rich at May 10, 2012 7:24 PM
Comment #344050

C&J-
I believe in trying to find solutions that work. That seemed to be the last thing on Republicans’ minds when they opposed what they had proposed before in Congress, and implemented in Massachussetts several years later. Instead, the rhetoric I heard was paranoid BS about the government taking over (even though the whole point of the mandate is compulsory market participation), and something about Death panels, when the actual provisions were about end of life and critical care decisions.

So, I concluded that Republicans were opposing things in order to try and replicate the lucrative fiasco that ruined things for the Democrats in 1993. Unfortunately for the GOP, things didn’t work out that way, so it’s judicial activism instead. Successful you may be, but your only consistency will be with the unconstrained ambition to win every fight.

As for your final mention of the Nazis and Soviets? That’s scraping the bottom of the barrel. Look, you constantly tell me what my beliefs are, but have you actually read what I stated my beliefs are, and taken them at face value? It doesn’t seem like it.

As for your next comment?

What, are you reading Jonah Goldberg now?

Here’s my problem with what little I heard of his logic: sometimes a conclusion deserves to die a quick death, because the facts are against it. People should be inhibited from such an argument when it comes up, not for the sake of political correctness, but for the sake of not indulging logic and fact of poor credibility.

Why? Because practical decisions are made based on such arguments, and when the arguments are faulty, so is the policy. Now you accuse me of only seeing one true way to do things. But the reality is, I am willing to accept laws and regulations that work. I can accept a laissez faire approach if I don’t have to hear about some disaster every other year coming of that permissiveness in the law. I can accept policies being implemented that I disagree with, if the outcomes seem to be better than I expected.

Yes, before the fact, I have strong preferences as to what should be done. But I’ve been around long enough to see all kinds of approaches work. So I don’t necessarily sweat it if not everything is done in a liberal way. If you understood my history, you could perhaps perceive my openness.

Ah, but I’m not open to everything. If a policy fails miserably, I don’t care to have anything to do with it, no matter who is behind it. I don’t want banks so consolidated or so tied up with risky enterprises like hedge funds. I don’t want derivatives traded in such a roaring twenties stock market style, nor non-bank lenders allowed such lax regulation. Why? Well, in no small part because such policies failed, and policies like it have failed in the past, giving me little reason to hope for a sudden redemption later on.

Does it matter whether some Democrats supported it, Bill Clinton and some future Obama staffers included? No. Doesn’t change my mind. I’m not opposing it because it was once a Republican policy, I’m opposing it because it failed, and failed badly.

And yes, I will work to delegitimize such arguments. Such arguments, if not supported by additional, compelling evidence, do not deserve salvation from being discredited. We need to give up on certain bad ideas so we can turn to the good ones, whatever the supporter’s side might be.

As for my claim to be for diversity? I am for diversity. It’s not some sham to cover up for hidden racism, this is genuinely what I think, and what what I like. And from what I’ve seen those who don’t like it, if not opposed by the law, will manifest their bigotry. They’ll couch it in incidental terms. They’ll say we can’t let gays get married on account of keeping the sanctity of marriage intact, divorce rates in red states notwithstanding. They’ll argue against affirmative action by claiming that racism is all over, even as members of the GOP get caught trading photos of Barack Obama with a bone through his nose, or make jokes about the time he had a dog for dinner, or all kinds of other lovely ethnic humor at his expense.

They’ll argue that the fairest system of all will be one where no penalty is incurred for being racist, because then the law will favor no one in particular. Except with a white majority out there, it will favor those who already have the most numbers, the most financial control, the best financial positions. The system by itself is not inherently fair, and the people who would run it are not blank slates who will automatically shed any prejudices. Things are much, much better now, but they are better in many ways because laws forced the recognition of rights that to that point only existed in name only.

Amuse yourself however you wish to, I don’t find the contempt for constraint that Republicans show funny anymore. There are demons of America’s past that I never thought I would see ressurrected. I thought my country would never have another war like Vietnam, yet somehow we managed two. I never thought I’d see another crisis like the Great Depression in my lifetime, with banks and financial institutions collapsing, but there they went! I never thought I would see the kind of racism I’ve seen, the kind of hatred and bigotry return that I read about in history books, but somehow that’s returned, too.

In their quest to turn back the clock, too many conservatives have forgotten, or never been alive to experience the failures and disasters that prompted so much of what they called big government to be instituted in the first place. They have unlearned the lessons of history, and as many predicted as they did these things, the failures have returned with the failed policies.

Republicans should have left these lessons learned, but they did not, and the failure to learn from the past has doomed them to repeat history on many levels. It’s not an accident that on a Republican’s watch we replicated a huge deficit with a runaway defense budget, that we failed to conclusively win another couple of counter-insurgency based wars, and the conditions of one of the worst economic disasters of all time.

The time has come to stop trying to vindicate what has not worked, to maintain controversies where the facts would lay them to rest. It’s time to move on from bad policies, not continue to attempt to jumpstart them.

KAP-
Republicans have not left alone the mandate and just gone after the cost controls. They have characterized it as an intrusive market intervention, as socialism. If you want to claim you haven’t claimed that, fine, but just sticking to what you’ve said about it is rather narrow, don’t you think, because we’re speaking about the overall issue of this distinction you’ve made up.

You’ve heard of a distinction without a difference, right? That’s what I believe we’re talking about here, and the only reason for it is a massively inconvenient fact about what Romney supported and promoted as Republican governor of Massachusetts. There isn’t enough difference between the two mandates to justify that, and Romney can’t really say it was a massive failure, because that would make it HIS massive failure, and those things are rather incompatible with successful Presidential campaigns.

So, we get this artifical distinction about states versus the rest of the country, and this insistence that the policy which worked in Massachusetts won’t work nationally.

And really saying that what works for a state doesn’t necessarily work for the country as a whole is not a logically airtight statement. It’s rather windy, actually, since the converse argument is, that what does work for a state doesn’t necessarily fail to work for the rest of the country. One statement leaves open the possibility for the other.

Now you can imagine that you’ve narrowed down the likelihood, but without additional evidence to support the notion that it doesn’t or won’t work, it doesn’t necessarily imply that the mandate can’t work for the nation as a whole.

Like C&J, you’ve fallen into the trap of trying to argue a categorically universal conclusion from a particular premise, a conclusion that must be true from a premise that only may be true.

You can talk thick skulls, but I pay attention, and I don’t fall for stupid rhetorical pet tricks. If you think you can just berate me into accepting your premise, despite the flaws, I’m not going to spare your argument any grief.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 10, 2012 8:45 PM
Comment #344051

Stephen, Get this through your thick skull I said MAY NOT WORK for the rest of the country. You have to let the states decide what is best for their people not some flunky a—holes in DC who’s only concern is getting re-elected. You say you pay attention, but you don’t comprhend what is written in plain english.

Posted by: KAP at May 10, 2012 9:27 PM
Comment #344054

Rich

The Mass experience indicated that you probably could not go national. The Obama folks did not take the lesson.

Mass already had most of the people insured. It is a fairly rich and homogenous state. Even with all these things, expenses were higher than anticipated.

Stephen

Compulsory and market participation don’t go together. Coercion is the problem with government control.

re Nazi/communists - I know you do not advocate that. But I am telling you the end result of very intrusive government.

Re Goldberg - interestingly enough, I am indeed visiting Washington and I met him yesterday. He is a very engaging guy. But I have understood his argument long ago. I have found that my liberal friends often try that with me.

re - “If a policy fails miserably, I don’t care to have anything to do with it” - this is a problem with government. When a policy fails in government, they tend to throw more, not less, money at it. The incentive system is reverse.

I think we need to go FORWARD to less government. In the recent past we needed government to do more. Today, we have more ability for self-organization. I am not trying to vindicate what has not worked, but rather to project forward to those that will work in future.

Re “argue a categorically universal conclusion” this is exactly what I do NOT argue. I do not believe in any universal conclusions. This is what you system depends on.


Posted by: C&J at May 10, 2012 10:46 PM
Comment #344069

KAP-
Thick skull? Oh, I guess I’m persuaded now. Thanks for forcing me to see the light.

That crucial point aside, you used a laboratory of Democracy argument, and now you’re lapsing into a States Rights Argument, right?

Except the Jurisprudence on this says that ultimately, health insurance is a federal issue. It’s a federal law that keeps it a state concern. As for the differences, what are these huge differences between states that prove so crucial, and how does the law conflict with the different needs?

I know it sounds like I’m asking for an essay here, and perhaps I am, because “thick skull” doesn’t tell me even a tenth of what I would need to know to make my decision on.

You’re leading me around in abstract arguments about whose proper constitutional role it is to regulate a function of interstate commerce, while the federal courts long ago handed down a decision, to which Congress responded by making the decision to delegate to the states.

I need some pretty substantial evidence to move beyond the way your argument contradicts precedent.

C&J-
You don’t make any universal conclusions? Congratulations, you just made one by saying that.

I’m happy you got to meet that celebrity, but really, is it the function as he says for the system to keep arguments going indefinitely?

The system does not guarantee permanent winners, but it does let the different sides form a consensus, strengthen and defend an agenda, changing what policies are default. I don’t think things are meant to be always up in the air. For you it might be convenient to sit on this government for years and do nothing, but for the rest of the country, that’s going to become a growing reason to kick you out.

As for what the end result of intrusive government is? The Nazis and commies are one set of outcomes. But as often as not a population can rebel against the intrusion. You could see your own party’s rise in such terms, if you weren’t so busy trying to scare people about petty little things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 11, 2012 12:43 AM
Comment #344099

“The Mass experience indicated that you probably could not go national. The Obama folks did not take the lesson.”

C&J,

Typical partisan “ipse dixit” assertion without any basis in fact. It might be helpful to actually review the results and status of the Mass. reforms before declaring them inapplicable for national implementation. http://factcheck.org/2011/03/romneycare-facts-and-falsehoods/

I am not arguing that RomneyCare or ObamaCare is the best national model. However, naked assertions that they are failures at the state or national level is unsupported by the data. The majority of reforms under ObamaCare have not even been implemented yet.

In my opinion, the efforts of partisan conservatives to poison the waters of national health care reform is shortsighted and will come to haunt them in the long run. In their zeal to take down Obama, they even reject their own reforms.

Posted by: Rich at May 11, 2012 8:13 AM
Comment #344103

Stephen, I’ll answer your questions in one word, COST.

Posted by: KAP at May 11, 2012 10:08 AM
Comment #344111

KAP-
The bill’s already saved taxpayers money, so why is cost a problem?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 11, 2012 11:35 AM
Comment #344119

How? Stephen, by shifting the cost from the tax payer to the insurer will in turn raise the cost to the insuree which is the tax payer so where is the savings?

Posted by: KAP at May 11, 2012 2:46 PM
Comment #344122

KAP-
We already pay for the people who require critical care because they were unable to maintain their healthcare consistently. We are also paying hideous premiums for ordinary healthcare for God knows what reasons. I mean, healthcare inflation has been extraordinary, outpacing inflation by leaps and bounds, year after year. Can you give me a satisfactory reason why this nation’s healthcare outcomes remain the same, but the costs spiral upwards?

You’re treating this situation as if it’s natural, as if it’s caused by supply and demand alone. What, though, explains the ever increasing costs?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 11, 2012 4:43 PM
Comment #344124

Your right Stephen we already pay. We will continue to pay because adding more people who don’t have the ability to pay, who do you think will end up paying more? Do you sirously think that adding more people to the roles and letting kids stay on their parents policies is going to make things cost less especially when the government has to subsidise them? If you do I suggest you get out from under that liberal rock your under and get into the real world.

Posted by: KAP at May 11, 2012 5:18 PM
Comment #344125

P.S. Stephen, also technology and new drugs someone has to pay for all that research and the costd to use those new advances in medicine or do you want to go back to the leach and bleeding era.

Posted by: KAP at May 11, 2012 5:22 PM
Comment #344126

KAP,

Your argument would have merit if we, as a society, were willing to allow people to die or suffer serious medical complications if they didn’t have insurance or resources to pay for medical care. But we don’t and probably won’t. The taxpayer picks up the tab for the medically uninsured.

Under such circumstances, it only makes sense to force everybody into the insurance pool eliminating the “free rider” problem and spreading the insurance risk across a much larger pool. Hence, the “soft mandate” as termed by the Heritage Institute obligating each of us to participate.

Personally, I think that the Canadian system of a de-centralized (Provincial) single payer system supported by a centralized federal tax and supplemented by Provincial taxes and annual fees as determined by the citizens of the Province makes the most sense. If implemented in the US, it would seem to meet many of the desires of both liberals and conservatives. Each state would have flexibility in the nature and funding level of the health care insurance system but would be supported by a federal funding floor.

Posted by: Rich at May 11, 2012 6:20 PM
Comment #344128

KAP,
Compare what it costs for treatment through a health insurer with treatment through MediCare, and treatment as an uninsured person. I did. The costs is much lower for the person who does not include the health insurance corporation in the equation. The lower cost is comparable to MediCare.

The fact is- the FACT- is that private health insurance is extremely inefficient. It depends on being profitable, which works in many industries, but does NOT work in health care. The conclusion is obvious, and the rest of the industrialized world has already adoped it: MediCare for all. As a direct result, the rest of the industrialized world has BETTER health care than the US, by virtually any metric you care to mention.

Of course, Reagan warned us that our freedom would be threatened by MediCare. In reality, it has not been threatened whatsoever, and MediCare is one of the most popular programs in the country.

Posted by: phx8 at May 11, 2012 6:53 PM
Comment #344130

Rich & phx8, Back when HC reform was being debated, I commented on why not expanding Medicare and Medicaid to include the uninsured for a fee much like what most pay for our company provided H.C. IMO it would make more sence to expand existing programs then adding another and probably less costly.

Posted by: KAP at May 11, 2012 7:04 PM
Comment #344132

Rich

I did not say Romneycare failed in Mass. It cost more than anticipated and had additional glitches. These should have been a caution.

Stephen

“You don’t make any universal conclusions? Congratulations, you just made one by saying that.” You have progressed beyond the sophomore level of argument. If you meant to use this statement as a joke, you have to put that little smile fact next to it.

We are in a state of permanent change and adaption. We need a system that can adapt.

That is why I am not a centralizer or a strict rule maker. We cannot figure out all the permutations in advance so we cannot make strict rules across a broad range of situations.

phx8

“Reagan warned us that our freedom would be threatened by MediCare. In reality, it has not been threatened whatsoever,” But it is bankrupting us if not fixed.


Posted by: C&J at May 11, 2012 7:09 PM
Comment #344135

“These should have been a caution.”

C&J,

Caution about what? I realize that you have declared ObamaCare a failure even though only a small portion of it has been implemented. Strangely, the parts that have been implemented have received widespread public support. But why bother with facts or the actual reforms. Better to not let it see the light of day.

Posted by: Rich at May 11, 2012 7:57 PM
Comment #344148

Rich

I do not believe that in a country as large and diverse as ours that we can have a national health care programs that makes all reasonably happy.

I mentioned before that I like the bare-bones systems like they had in Scandinavia. But I don’t think Americans would tolerate this. I do not think this is a good thing about Americans. On the contrary, I think we are too much a country full of wimps and weenies. We will demand more of our health care system than we can afford to provide to all.

Think of the intestinal bypass for fat people. We can spend thousands on that operation or just tell the fat boys to lay off the donuts. What is our “medical” choice? The expensive surgery, of course.

Posted by: C&J at May 11, 2012 8:50 PM
Comment #344178

“I do not believe that in a country as large and diverse as ours that we can have a national health care programs that makes all reasonably happy.”

C&J,

Please! Medicare covers virtually everybody 65 or older. It is a single payer national program that makes all those covered reasonably happy. It is not only well received by beneficiaries but is also the most efficient health insurance provider in the nation. Try taking it away.

This whole argument of the right against nationalized “socialized” health insurance or medicine is put to a lie by our experience with Medicare.

For crying out loud, can we not simply admit that Medicare from an insurance perspective has been a success.

Do we not realize that the long term funding problems of Medicare have little to do with Medicare, per se, but rather with skyrocketing health care costs outstripping general inflation. Do we not realize that those factors impact all health insurance providers alike. Medicare is in the same boat as all other health insurance providers. The whole system is in jeopardy.

Posted by: Rich at May 11, 2012 9:24 PM
Comment #344231

Rich

Medicare is great. We just will not be able to maintain it at a cost we are willing or able to pay.

We had a great thing going when the Baby Boomers were supporting those smaller generations that came before. Now that the biggest generation in American history is entering medicare age AND will probably live 30-40 years in retirement, it may no longer be possible to keep it growing.

I don’t really dislike socialism, per se. I just know that it tends toward tyranny when applied to large or diverse societies.

It worked great in Norway and Sweden until those place became more diverse.

Posted by: C&J at May 12, 2012 12:03 AM
Comment #344262

Rich writes; “This whole argument of the right against nationalized “socialized” health insurance or medicine is put to a lie by our experience with Medicare.”

Our experience with Medicare is much the same as that with Social Security. What began as modest limited programs grew by leaps and bounds overwhelming them both. They became embroiled in politics and used as a way to garner votes.

As long as both had more payers than beneficiaries and benefits were limited they did fine. That is not the case today.

It is impossible to argue, using Medicare as an example, that national health care would work better. It would be subject to more beneficiaries than payers, benefits would continue to increase at a high rate, and the cost would eventually cause it to collapse.

Those countries were it still works are cutting back significantly on benefits and increasing premiums.

There is no free ride and some must pull the cart. When the cart is full with no one left to pull…it STOPS!

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 12, 2012 7:50 PM
Comment #344266

RF Sounds like you need a mandate so everybody helps pull the cart corect me but is that not in the health care law.

Posted by: Jeff at May 12, 2012 10:32 PM
Comment #344267

jeff
Generally speaking, more people are jumping on the wagon for a free ride than are pulling it.

We also have a serious moral dilemma re people with expensive to treat conditions.

If I am 80 years old with an expensive to treat condition, I hope I have the courage and morality to take a long walk in the woods and not come back. Similar situation applies to babies with severe birth defects etc.

We tend to spend almost no money on most people most of the time, but then spend fortunes on a few. We also spend more money in the last years of life than we spend earlier. Perhaps we should let people go more quietly into that good night.

Posted by: C&J at May 12, 2012 10:40 PM
Comment #344268

Royal Flush,

One of the component costs of our health care system is health insurance. Medicare is the most efficient and least costly insurer in the US. That is not in any real dispute.

It has also been the most effective in controlling health care costs. That advantage derives from its massive market share. One of the great disappointments with Medicare Part D is the limitation on Medicare’s ability to negotiate and bargain with Big Pharma on drug costs.

Why anyone would be alarmed by expansion of a more efficient insurance approach with better capability of controlling costs is a mystery to me.

Medicare’s long term cost problems have to do with the cost of health care far outstripping general inflation. The conservative Ryan budget addresses this problem by freezing benefits 10 years in the future to the level of normal inflation. Great! Just admit defeat at the hands of the medical industry and the hell with seniors. It does absolutely nothing to address the basic problem facing the entire industry-health care cost delivery.

It would be far better if politicians would address this issue from a business perspective. What is the most efficient method of providing health insurance? How do we relieve businesses from the burden of funding health care insurance? How do we establish greater cost containment in health care delivery? More doctors? More hospitals? Greater emphasis on outcome vs. quantity in reimbursement schemes? Integrated health care delivery systems? Replacing the medical malpractice legal system with a workers’ compensation system like system?

There is little doubt that the current disorganized and increasingly costly health care system needs reform.

There also seems to be little doubt that conservatives are unwilling to engage in any constructive reforms of the health care system. Why, they even reject the reform efforts of their own nominee for president as though it didn’t happen.


Posted by: Rich at May 12, 2012 10:41 PM
Comment #344269

C&J,

Are you advocating “death panels?” Just kidding. The last year of life issue is a significant one that the right used to skewer Obama and the Democrats for suggesting that the elderly be given the opportunity to consult with their physician or other professional on reviewing options for living wills or health care directives in the event of incapacity and terminal conditions.

Its a difficult moral dilemma. If a fairly young person has a terminal condition, e.g., cancer with a 1% two year survival rate, should that person be afforded expensive treatment to prolong life for a short time? Who should make that decision?

Posted by: Rich at May 12, 2012 11:01 PM
Comment #344270

Rich

Actually, I am advocating a type of death panel. We cannot be on the hook to preserve life as long as some individuals might like. People should have the good manners to shuffle off this mortal coil when the Lord calls; not everyone does. That is their business, as long as we are not footing the bill.

I don’t mean to make this seem glib. It is a hard moral decision. In the recent past, it was easier. We could not save some people. Now we can.

We say we cannot put a value on human life, but we will have to do just that.

As I mentioned in other posts, my father went to the doctor in 1945 when he was discharged from the Army Air Corps and never went back until he died in 1996. He fell down and when my sister asked if he was okay, he said, “I can’t complain” and promptly died. Maybe if he had gone to the doctor they could have saved him, but why? He lived a long life, accomplished decent things and died well and quickly. This is all we mortal can get on this earth. If we are “saved” it just means we die later, maybe in a less pleasant way. We have to grapple with this, as a society.


We accept death in some ways. We allow abortions on demand; why not abortions of babies with severe defects? We talk about quality of life, why not let people leave when they still have quality lives? Modern medicine can be a curse to the old, infirm and handicapped.

Re who should make the decision - probably NOT the person afflicted. His/her judgement will be clouded. IMO the best is to make criteria and then follow them. It would probably be a “death panel” type decision that would multiply years of expected quality life times the odds.

I know that people will be “morally appalled” but the alternative is to leave people in horrible states and call it mercy.

My father told me that he wanted to go much the way he did. I considered his death a success. My mother had leukemia. Modern medicine kept her alive too long. She lost some of her dignity and gained a couple weeks in return. It was a poor bargain that she (and we) made because we lacked the moral courage just to say no. We should probably help people in this case. Then they can blame capricious fate or evil bureaucrats for a decision they really cannot make well by themselves.

Posted by: C&J at May 12, 2012 11:21 PM
Comment #344289

C&J I don’t disagree with your opinion but It sounds a lot like death panels.

Posted by: Jeff at May 13, 2012 10:40 AM
Comment #344290

C&J-
Fact of the matter is, we had free sessions with a counselor to discuss the same matters you refer to, a provision put in place by a fairly conservative Republican. But your party didn’t want a deal, and when some moron up in Alaska decided it was all just an evil scheme to kill Grandma, your people succeeded in making a perfectly good provision bite the dust.

So don’t complain. You had the occasion to give people who didn’t want to linger and suffer the legal right to ask for help making sure their wishes were respected, but your party chose demagoguery over good policy

It was the wrong choice, and it’s one that’s been made again and again. Worse yet, your party has been left on the bad side of one decision after another because of its contrarian approach to politics, unable to agree with Democrats for fear of giving them policy triumphs to sell themselves on. Republicans have decided not merely to bet on Democrats failing, but to fix the race so they can’t win.

Unfortunately, to achieve that dishonest aim, they have had to take terrible positions and oppose the ideas they once thought were perfectly fine and perfectly sane.

That’s the tragedy: reason no longer guides the party, just blind ambition to get back on top and stay there.

Romney’s the perfect candidate to respresent that. His ambitions keep him hopping on different sides of the issue, and when confronted with the evidence that he’s not been consistent, he just simply buffaloes through that.

Your candidates represented the sins of the party, the hypocrites with moral problems, the fool who would be at best a figurehead, the zealots of one kind or another committed to forcing the rest of the country to reform in their own image, and Romney, who says whatever he has to say to BS through whatever the latest problem is. Not one real leader among them, because a real leader might bring change to the party, might actually take note of its troubles and adapt things to them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 13, 2012 11:33 AM
Comment #344295

Rich writes; “Why anyone would be alarmed by expansion of a more efficient insurance approach with better capability of controlling costs is a mystery to me.”

The claim that Medicare is in the red due to rising medical care costs is simply false. Medicare can control what it pays for care and is still deep in the red. National Health care can control costs if ever enacted…but will it? Who will be denied care? What procedures will be declined? Does anyone believe that the public, once on National Health Care, if established, will tolerate medical decisions being made in Washington rather than by their own physician?

National Health Care, just as ObamaCare, will become ever more costly with ever more restrictions of delivery.

I am on Medicare and know that my premiums do not reflect the cost of care. And, the care I require is very limited compared to some others. The younger folks are subsidizing me.

To expand this to National Health Care for everyone will be a great deal for millions who pay little or nothing in premiums while others will pay greatly increased premiums to take up the slack.

Some smart person on WB should be able to calculate what the premium would be for seniors on Medicare without any subsidy helping to pay it.

OFF SUBJECT…It will be interesting to watch how France does with their new Socialist President. I read in Time Magazine this morning that one of the big planks in Hollende’s (sp) platform was to return the retirement age to 60 from age 62. He also wants a top tax rate of 75% on income. Already, many who earn good incomes are talking about leaving France according to the Time article.

Can we have a show of hands by WB folks on whether we should follow this Socialist policy as well?

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 13, 2012 3:12 PM
Comment #344297

Stephen

I don’t think either party is ready to pick up both ends of the stick.

For example, most liberals believe in abortion on demand, yet they are appalled when someone suggests aborting babies with Down’s syndrome or other handicaps. To me, the first is grudgingly acceptable, but the second is actually a morally positive solution. Do you think most of your liberal friends would see it my way.

The other thing is to withhold care from people who will probably die anyway or will not get better. Will your liberal friends accept this?

Both of our sides will need to be more compassionate, but in the more rational way.

Posted by: C&J at May 13, 2012 3:42 PM
Comment #344304

Royal Flush,
Re France: The French currently have a maximum tax bracket of 45%, while the US maxes out at 35%. At this rate of 45%, the French enjoy universal health care for every man, woman, and child, while the US only covers those eligible for MediCare; the French enjoy an average of 37 days of paid vacation per year, while Americans average 13; and their retirement age is currently 62, while the US averages more- 62 with reduced benefits, and 65 with full benefits, with that age scheduled to increase to 67.

So, you have to compare the proverbial apples to apples.

The proposal to increase taxes not only affects French retirement age; it includes a massive economic stimulus, including investments in infrastructure, among other things. That makes perfect sense. Other European countries attempted to cut their way to recovery from a recession through austerity programs. Faced with the deficits and increasing debt that typically come with a downturn, countries such as Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, and Greece practiced austerity. Those countries are now entering double-dip recessions. The US chose the stimulus route, and so avoided a double-dip. The French have had enough of austerity. They’re going to use fiscal policy to climb out of the economic whole created by the United States financial sector in 2007-2008.

In general, I would agree that lowering the US retirement age is an excellent idea. It opens up jobs for younger people, and given the current state of the American economy and low taxation, makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: phx8 at May 13, 2012 7:27 PM
Comment #344306

No doubt about it phx8, you are for more and more debt as France appears to be considering. Time will tell if socialism and huge debt works well…for very long.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 13, 2012 8:03 PM
Comment #344309

Royal Flush,
More and more debt can be bad if it is spent on wasteful items. More and more debt can be good if it is invested in useful items. For example, investing in R&D may incur debt, and any one investment might go south, but on the whole, investing in R&D is a good investment. It returns more than it costs. The same applies to education, or infrastructure.

The French socialists are pragmatists, and I would like to think I am the same. The French seek solutions that work. At the same time, they seek solutions that are compassionate, as opposed to some sort of austere social darwinism.

Posted by: phx8 at May 13, 2012 8:45 PM
Comment #344312

phx8

Germany and Sweden brought their budgets more in balance.

“In general, I would agree that lowering the US retirement age is an excellent idea. It opens up jobs for younger people, and given the current state of the American economy and low taxation, makes a lot of sense.”

This is a difference among us. You think of jobs as some sort of property that can be given to younger people.

I think of jobs as something a person does to be productive. You and I earn the money we get by producing goods and/or services that others and society consider valuable. If we stop working and retire, we are no longer producing these benefits and are consuming the work products of others.

If we take a job from one person to give to another, we lower do nothing to increase society’s wealth. And if we put one of these guys permanently out of a job, we are lowering the total wealth creation.

That is why raising retirement ages is wealth creating and lowering them is wealth consuming. If we have enough extra wealth, we can afford to let people retire at 62 or less, but it is a kind of societal luxury good. The Greeks cannot afford it. They are taking money from others, like the Germans, to allow segments of their population not to work.

Posted by: C&J at May 13, 2012 8:57 PM
Comment #344314

I have a question for our liberal friends who hate American corporations who relocate to China; or hate Walmart for selling Chinese products. How do you feel about Chinese government owned banks taking over US banks? It seems that Geitner and Obama don’t mind.

http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/asia-pacific/227035-lawmakers-largely-silent-on-chinese-takeover-of-us-bank-branches

Posted by: Billinflorida at May 13, 2012 9:02 PM
Comment #344324

C&J,
Lowering the retirement age requires a realistic approach. For starters, I would advocate everyone, regardless of income, contribute to Social Security. There’s no reason we can’t do a little better.

The Greeks have the reputation of being the spoiled step-children of Europe. They have spent the past few decades riding on the attraction of their magnificent past. They have a lot of problems, not only the lack of a work ethic, but also the lack of bothering to pay their taxes in the first place. I love Greek people. Greece is a wonderful place. But they have some serious issues they must face.

Posted by: phx8 at May 13, 2012 9:56 PM
Comment #344336

phx8

Everybody loves Greece and the Greek people. They are easy to like.

The problem is that their productivity does not support their lifestyle.

I don’t see any reason whatsoever to lower retirement ages and lots of reasons to raise them. Why should anyone, regardless of age, have the right to command others to pay for them?

If someone saves or invests enough money to not require the contributions of others, let him retire at any age. If the workers have negotiated a pension, that is also something that is between them and their employers. I do not respect able bodied people who have no job or vocation, but it is not my business. However, the Social Security should not pay until you are 67 and this age should increase as life expectancy and health increase.

I also have a minimum idea on retirement. The government can guarantee a minimum level that everyone gets regardless of other resources. Beyond that minimum level, it should be completely the business of the people involved. I do not believe in equalizing incomes either before or after retirement.

So let me sum up. As far as I am concerned you can retire any time you want or not work at all. But don’t ask your fellow citizens to pay for your relaxation until you are at least 67.

Posted by: C&J at May 13, 2012 10:43 PM
Comment #344341

C&J,
While we have extended longevity and life’s quantity, we have not necessarily extended viability and life’s quality. Furthermore, it varies from person to person. I think 67 would be pushing it, as far as working. I’d like to see that age lowered to, say, 60 with reduced benefits, and full benefits in the early sixties. That gives people some flexibility. The idea of increasing retirement age only makes sense if we’re seeing people more hale and hearty later in life, and so far, no luck for most. (Exercise and diet can help!)

Also, keep in mind, ‘retirement’ does not necessarily mean ‘no longer working.’ Many people have every intention of continuing to contribute to society after ‘retirement,’ whether that means volunteer work, starting their own business, pursuing the arts, or whatever. I see very little downside in reducing the retirement age, a fractional cost that can be equitably and fairly shared, and a lot of upside.

Posted by: phx8 at May 13, 2012 11:10 PM
Comment #344351

phx8

Reduced all you want; just don’t ask others to pay for it.

The variable with old age is obesity. People are getting fatter and fatter. This will cause more disability. Being fat is largely a matter of lifestyle and choice.

Re reducing the age - not now. We have the baby boom hitting. We cannot ask our kids to foot the bill for our additional years of leisure.

When FDR set the retirement age at 65, life expectancy was 63. It was also true back then that people worked at physically hard labor, the kind that almost nobody does today. I understand that it is possible that some people cannot work. This can happen at any age, although more likely with age. However, there is not requirement that healthy people get a years long vacation at taxpayer expense.

Before you say that people paid in, to the extent that is true, they can get that back. You know as well as I do that you are advocating a type of redistribution. If you advocate raising the limit, that is what you mean.

If you want to advocate figuring out actuarily how much people should get based on what they paid in, when they retire and expected years on SS, I am with you. Retire whenever you want and collect that amount.

Posted by: C&J at May 14, 2012 12:26 AM
Comment #344398

Royal Flush-

The claim that Medicare is in the red due to rising medical care costs is simply false.

Evidence, please. Other factors have been acknowledged, including demographic shifts, but rising medical costs have been cited as one of the major reasons for cost increases.

So what explanation do you have, and what evidence tells us this explanation isn’t merely a figment of your imagination?

The thing to keep in mind is that physicians and others can opt out of taking medicare patients. In fact, one of the reason that annoying Doc Fix still turns up in the legislative calendar is a botched Republican attempt at cost cutting that improperly indexes growth in healthcare compensation. If actually carried out, it would end up driving many doctors out of the program.

So, it’s not simple as just cutting costs, especially when there’s a private market waiting for many of the doctors to go to if they don’t find the Medicare market profitable.

I would like to make an observation here before I go: properly funding this all is just a matter of taxing sufficiently to cover the costs. Demographics will only change so far, and then they will level off. Republicans refuse to entertain options that would regulate healthcare costs, reduce what people pay, but then turn around and moan about how the entitlements will inevitably go bust. They’ll do all this, but not acknowledge two fact: such programs have worked sustainably for years overseas, and most importantly, most of the reasons why failure is supposed to be inevitable relates to policies they oppose on ideological grounds.

Republicans are attempting social reengineering by way of fiscal blackmail, refusing to fix important, well liked programs so they can destroy those programs on what seems like a pragmatic basis, rather than an ideological basis most Americans would reject.

Starve the Beast, right?

Of course, it’s easier said than done. The GOP is kidding itself that it can really do away with it. That’s Democracy for you. No matter what objections you have, if a majority wants it, it tends to stay. Even the Tea Partiers, for the most part, like these programs.

In the end, This is mostly about the poor way in which Republicans have resolved the conflict between the big government they’ve managed to get people to hate (bureaucratic interference in the business world), and the real big government, the real cost center, the popular programs that nobody’s cutting out anytime soon.

The Republicans have lost a political battle, and keep on losing political battles to defeat this most massive example of big government. They could better reform it, if they admitted it wasn’t going anywhere, and simply planned for the financial necessities, and allowed cost cutting healthcare reform, but they don’t like such things politically, so they’re just going to let this become a failure of leadership, rather than take a direction they don’t like.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 14, 2012 8:28 AM
Comment #344405

Stephen, ever heard of the old saying, “as California goes, so goes the country”. California is a great example of a democratic controlled state going bankrupt. Socialism isn’t workingso great in CA, is it? Perhaps the left can attack the tax payers and businesses who are fleeing to TX and other business/taxpayer friendly states. Attack them as being anti-patriotic for not wanting to live in a nanny state.

Re/Republicans losing the political battle; to which I say, what are you smoking SD? The dems are facing the greatest loss in decades come November. This is going to be great and I will LMAO the day after obama get’s the message from the voters.

Posted by: Frank at May 14, 2012 11:06 AM
Comment #344408

Stephen

Do you live on a budget? I mean, do you just go to the store and buy whatever you think you want whenever you want it? Probably not.

Don’t you think the Federal government needs some kind of discipline too.

If you decide that you need to buy hamburger rather than Kobe beef, would you call that “starving the beast” or just being smart? Maybe you choose not to go out to a fancy restaurant or you skip that extra vacation. Sometimes you have to make harder choices. I recently decided to delay getting a old crown replaced on one of my teeth in order to pay for eye surgery for my son. Do we “need” both? One can argue. But the crown has been on for many years. It will last a bit longer. Am I “starving the beast” by making a choice?

Your people (yes I like that phrase too) want to take more money from other people (often my people) in order to get more of the things you want from government. When the people paying ask for a little discipline, you call it starving the beast.

Posted by: C&J at May 14, 2012 11:24 AM
Comment #344415


C&J, when in power, your people starved the beast while creating a $10 trillion debt. Now your people are demanding a “little discipline” and even produced an agreement with Democrats that would produce some across the board cuts in spending. Of course, after committing to those cuts, your people are reneging on the agreement, producing legislation that will suffer the people to accept social spending cuts while providing more military spending on behalf of some of your peoples major benefactors.

Veterans favor Obama over Romney by 7 percentage points.

Frank, I think it would be chaotic but grand if the tea party could take control and pass their draconian cuts in programs that a large majority of Americans, including a majority of conservatives like. I will enjoy it very much when the lid is nailed on the tea parties coffin.

Royal Flush, the reason single payer or National Health Care is an issue is because of the rising cost of health care which has risen more than inflation for years.

Health care costs will continue to rise over time, no matter what way we choose to finance it. Other countries have proven that Nation Health Care is less expensive than our private sector health care and with better results, their people are healthier than ours.

With National Health Care, restrictions to care will be a political issue, just as we saw recently when the Republicans came out in favor of private sector restrictions on behalf of religious beliefs.

Posted by: jlw at May 14, 2012 1:00 PM
Comment #344416

C&J-
I keep mentioning revenue increases and other methods for balancing the budget, but you keep ignoring those mentions.

Discipline is nice. Discipline is wonderful. We had discipline, but your side decided that what the economy needed was tax cuts, and that even when they raised spending by billions of dollars, there would be no offsets or tax increases to pay for it.

Discipline is nice, discipline is wonderful, but discipline is not what the Republicans can or will bring as long as they maintain their fiscal policy status quo, so don’t even start with that argument.

Besides, the federal government of a sovereign nation like ours has better options available to it, and a more reliable ability to pay back debt than an average family, and when it’s spending, it’s not necessarily chosing between Kobe beef and hamburgers, but between strong growth and weak for that economy.

Republicans criticize Obama for growth in government, when the number of people employeed in government jobs has shrunk during his administration, and deficits have gone down steadily since he took office. It’s like Republicans dumped mud all over the floor, left it for Democrats to clean up, and then called in everybody and said, “look at the mess the Democrats have made, put me back in charge so it will get cleaned up!”

But looking at things further, you’ve muddled the point of what starving the beast means.

Bluntly, what I’m accusing you of is deliberately setting up fiscal shortfalls in order to encourage voters to support shrinking government, the logic being that people would not otherwise support the end of these programs.

I’m saying your people are artificially creating many of these fiscal crises in order to counter the public’s desire for government intervention and aid in many situations.

Frank-
California’s problem is that it’s easier to get the votes for tax cuts and program increases than it is to get the two-thirds majorities necessary in order to raise taxes, and with more than one third of California’s legislature in the hands of far-right Republicans, nothing gets done.

That’s a microcosm of how things work with the federal government. It’s far easier to pass revenue reductions and programs that keep people warm and fuzzy about elected officials, than it is to hack and slash through programs, or raise taxes as needed.

Republicans have encouraged, through their attempts to starve the beast, a half-assed sort of austerity, where you try to undermine popular programs by cutting taxes and then whining about what we can’t afford. In the process, the Republicans have created much of our current debt and deficit, and passed it on to our President.

As far as facing our greatest loss next November?

First, we’ll see. The world can change a lot in the next few months, especially with Europe in turmoil. How Obama fairs will be at the mercy of any number of events and his responses to them.

But second, as of this point, I don’t see a lot of signs that Republicans are especially enthusiastic this time around. Sure, you can get them “enthusiastic about beating Obama,” but I remember Democrats getting enthusiastic about beating Bush back in 2004, and still losing. Meanwhile, Republican-style government has gone back from being an abstract in the face of apparent Democratic Party fecklessness, to being a reality.

And what have you done? Largely nothing, in a day and age where people are clamoring for something to be done. Beyond that, passing a whole bunch of legislation that had very little to do with jobs, and a lot to do with culture wars, or some weird, esoteric bit of political dogma.

That is, in most places besides the States, where what isn’t done in Washington becomes what has been done in the states. Union busting in states with strong union sensibilities, anti-abortion and anti-gay legislation in a nation rapidly trending towards laxer attitudes on both, conspiracy theory-laden legislation which makes people want to curl up in a ball, hide in a hole and die from embarrassment.

You’ve set the stage for a lot of alienation, given Democrats a lot of ammunition. Look on Wall Street. Do you think two billion dollar trading losses make people all that fond of the idea of letting banks and traders do whatever they want? Do you think the weather or the oil spill off the Louisiana coast are making people bigger fans of drilling our way out of our energy problems?

You’re not getting the kind of successes that would prop you up. Recall that Reagan earned foreign policy credibility for his party because of the collapse of the Soviet Union’s power under his watch, and that of his successor. Recall that Reagan’s administration was saved by the recovery of the markets. Recall that Reagan made a lot of promises he didn’t keep, so many of the harsher policies he promised never came about.

Republicans have succeeded, basically, in hobbling their opposition, and little else. Meanwhile, the rationales for returning them to power are still questionable, and recent events aren’t building a great deal of confidence or likability for them.

So, while I am not inordinately optimistic, I am not worried that Democrats don’t have a shot at winning this, nor that if the Republicans win, they’re going to have a blow-out. I think your party basically indulged in something of an amphetamine high here, draining your energy reserves to get back on top in 2010. Trouble is, that stimulant ultimately lets people crash, as the reserves you were working on crash. Mitt Romney, I think, is highly symbolic of your party’s credibility and enthusiasm problems. A truly recovered party would not be relying on that quivering ball of jello.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 14, 2012 1:44 PM
Comment #344417

Stephen


Go back to my analogy with your personal budget. You decide you prefer filet to hamburger. Do you go to your boss and he gives you more money to satisfy you desires?

Revenue means taking more money from people like me, maybe you too. I am unenthusiastic about spending more of my money so that someone can retire a couple years earlier than I plan to retire.

I would be willing to pay more in taxes in order to cut the deficit. But it doesn’t make sense to tax and borrow more while growing bigger government.

As I said many times, let’s go back to the spending levels (adjusted) of 1999 and tax sufficiently, not more/not less, to cover that cost.

You are right that the Federal government can pay debt better than you and I. Right. How? Because it can tax us.

In my own life, I never borrow money for current consumption. I am willing to borrow to cover investments or housing. This is good sense. Government is NOT borrowing to built roads etc. for the most part. Most of government now goes to transfer payments, i.e. current consumption.

Re starving the beast - we do have to be careful not to give politicians blank checks. They will indeed spend the money. And people will want to get it. It is an ancient political trick to bribe people with their own money. We ALL must play that game if it is going on. Otherwise we just let others use our money. The only way to win this game is not to allow it to be played.

So let’s go back to my original idea. Take the idea of 1999, which we all agree was a good year. If you are willing to go to that level of government, I would be willing to advocate taxing to meet that level.

Frank & Stephen

Re California - the dumb thing they are doing now is that high speed rail. That sounds like a good idea, but the routes are not going to go through areas with sufficient population to support it. It will never pay off.

What California SHOULD invest in is better freight rail to its port facilities. Forget that high speed chimera and do what we know will pay off. The high speed passenger rail is actually a negative. Besides being a cost, it interferes with freight rail, which shares tracks.

Posted by: C&J at May 14, 2012 2:20 PM
Comment #344419

Health care costs will continue to rise over time, no matter what way we choose to finance it. Other countries have proven that Nation Health Care is less expensive than our private sector health care and with better results, their people are healthier than ours.

With National Health Care, restrictions to care will be a political issue, just as we saw recently when the Republicans came out in favor of private sector restrictions on behalf of religious beliefs.
Posted by: jlw at May 14, 2012 1:00

Do we really want more of our health care restrictions to be political issues? Medicare coverage and how much will be paid per procedure is a political decision and a chief reason for advancing costs of health care.

Your claim of better care in countries with socialized medicine, than in the US, is reckless.

Investor’s Business Daily wrote in a recent article…

1. Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis…

England…46%
Canada….42%
US……..65%

Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months…

England…15%
Canada….43%
US……..93%

Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months…

England…15%
Canada….43%
US……..90%

Percentage referred to medical specialists who’ve seen one within one month…

England…40%
Canada….43%
US……..77%

Number of MRI scanners per million people…

England…14
Canada….18
US……..71

Percentage of seniors (65+) with low income who say they are in excellent health…

England…2%
Canada….6%
US……..12%

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 14, 2012 3:32 PM
Comment #344423

C&J asked Stephen this question:

“Stephen

Do you live on a budget? I mean, do you just go to the store and buy whatever you think you want whenever you want it? Probably not.”

The answer is Stephen still lives with mommy and daddy and they are footing the bill; in order to give Stephen time to work free for our socialist president….blogging.

Posted by: Frank at May 14, 2012 4:11 PM
Comment #344424

Royal Flush,
That Investors Daily article is a fraud. There are no such statistics for hip replacements, for example. They’re simply not tracked that way. Someone made this up.

Posted by: phx8 at May 14, 2012 4:57 PM
Comment #344425

C&J-
Analogies work to the extent that their elements fit. There’s a certain disanalogy between a private individual and a sovereign nation in control of its currency and able to repay debts dependably because of its ability to tax its citizens. You don’t acknowledge that.

Yes, there are common elements of responsibility, but there’s an added layer of government responsibility that is not present for just a mere individual: A government has to make sure the economy runs well.

You say, make fewer transfer payments. To what end? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of trying to revive the economy to end or reduce transfer payments that do not have much real, immediate cost? That’s a lot of immediate economic downside for every little immediate upside, and that in an economy sensitive to shocks.

The nations that have decided to embark on this “responsible” path, have almost all experienced reduced economic growth, and the debt problems this austerity was supposed to resolve have just gotten worse. Why? Because economic activity prevents outlays on social safety net expenditures and provides the revenues on which any austerity will be based.

Or put another way, a business would not be able to pay off its debts if it put its economic activity second to paying its debts off. it’s part of the reason why some companies go into bankruptcy reorganization, so that paying off a creditor doesn’t become the end to which all the economic resources of a company are applied.

Which is not to say that I want the country to go into bankruptcy, because bankruptcy for a government, that is, a sovereign default, is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish from the bankruptcy of a business. There’s a reason I opposed the Debt Ceiling hostage taking.

We don’t have a pressing inability to pay our debts off, and our borrowing rates are ridiculously low. What does austerity gain us at this point? Even after the Debt Ceiling controversy called into question our government’s willingness to come together to pay off our debt, the anxiety over the economy meant people rushed in to buy treasury bonds.

Let me put that more clearly: investors sought the safety of financing our debt, in response to the economic uncertainty caused by people losing confidence that we would pay back those debts.

In what world does that sort of situation tell us we need to worry about our ability to manage our debts? America’s main long term fiscal problem is not finding people to finance our debt, it’s finding the money in our economy to avoid adding to it. That’s going to be a little tricky, if we don’t work to grow the economy. If we start cutting payments or reducing them, the net effect is we have less economy to find that money within. A worse economy tends to make revenue problems worse, and revenue problems make fiscal problems worse.

I’m not talking a mindless spending spree here. I’m talking about reducing long term dependence on fossil fuels that will become more expensive over time, especially as other countries consume more of them. I’m talking rebuilding infrastructure that need replacement and enhancement. I’m talking about softening the economic blow for the 99%, so they can get back into the business of making it possible for other people to do business.

American needs more customers for it businesses, so investors and corporate leaders can justify hiring more people, so that growth can return, so that government can reduce its expenditure and raise the tax rates to pay off debts without creating a hole in the economy that sucks growth into it counterproductively. Quit trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 14, 2012 5:02 PM
Comment #344426

Stephen

A transfer payment doesn’t have an economic effect by itself. It depends on from whom and to whom. If government taxes you to give a subsidy to Solyndra, it has the effect of enriching some already rich people at the expense of the others while producing nothing, it is probably a bad idea.

In the natural running of the economy, transfer payments would increase when the economy was going down and decrease when it was going up. I don’t have a problem with doing this. But the Obama budget would not balance even if the economy was at full employment.

RE - “The nations that have decided to embark on this “responsible” path, have almost all experienced reduced economic growth,” Germany and Sweden were responsible. Greece and Spain were not. What are you saying about this? The Japanese responded to their downturn by pushing their debt way up. More than fifteen years later they are still not really recovered.

Re responsible spending - Do you really think that government bureaucrats and politicians can make great decisions about investments? We are going to have those high-speed trains, Solyndra etc.

As I said before, my big problem with the stimulus was not the basic idea or even the size. It was just done poorly by a president and administration that did not understand what it was up to.

The fact, Stephen, is that Obama actually is incompetent when it comes to the economy.


Posted by: C&J at May 14, 2012 5:16 PM
Comment #344430

phx8 tells me my quote is a fraud. A simple quick search in Wikipedia revealed…

“Using Canada as an example, an estimated 782,936 Canadians spent time on medical waiting lists in 2005, waiting an average of 9.4 weeks.[9] Canada has set waiting-time benchmarks, e. g. 26 weeks for a hip replacement and 16 weeks for cataract surgery, for non-urgent medical procedures.”

Don’t be so lazy phx0

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 14, 2012 6:27 PM
Comment #344431

Royal Flush,
It’s a fake, and it has been thoroughly debunked.

Posted by: phx8 at May 14, 2012 7:01 PM
Comment #344432

See if you can find the original study. It should be easy. Except that there is no source for this. It’s a fake that was circulated around right wing blogs a couple years ago.

Posted by: phx8 at May 14, 2012 7:08 PM
Comment #344433

C&J-
Even with Solyndra, somebody was paid for their work manufacturing it, and those who manufactured the materials they bought were paid as well.

Of course, Solyndra is one bad example, which you misleadingly portray as being representative. There are dozens of other companies that are doing good business now, who are paying workers and paying their investors back.

Additionally, much of the payments being made by the government are being made to individuals who use it to buy goods and services, ranging from healthcare to groceries. Compare this to the oil subsidies (or tax breaks) that you keep on defending, which mainly go to the investors in the oil company, and disproportionately to those who own the most shares.

As for the “responsible” line, I was talking about countries that engaged in Austerity. For their “responsibility”, it seems, they are being forced to borrow more, cut more, borrow more. Their problem is escalating, and their citizens suffer, with no upside in sight. Reagan tried things this way in the early eighties, and it nearly cost him a second term.

If your austerity programs are so wonderful, why aren’t people experiencing the kind of economic miracles you’ve been predicting? Have they just not tried hard enough, the way everybody else fails conservative policies?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 14, 2012 7:48 PM
Comment #344434

I don’t believe I will take your word for anything. Many libs use Wikipedia to authenticate many things. How about you prove Wikipedia wrong…that would be novel.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 14, 2012 7:49 PM
Comment #344436

Royal Flush,

I beg you. Please actually take the time to understand the health care systems in Canada and England before passing judgment. They produce results comparable or better than ours at a fraction of the cost. They are not third world systems. Canadian doctors and hospitals meet the same standards of accreditation as US doctors and hospitals. If they spent the same amount of money per capita as the US, there would be an MRI “7/11” on each corner and a neighborhood hospital.

Much is made of waiting lists for elective surgeries. So what! Do you think that there are not delays in the US for elective surgery? I had back surgery a few years ago. It was for a broken vertebrae impinging on the sciatic nerve. Very painful and incapacitating. I had excellent group employer insurance. However, I was required by the insurance to undergo a year and a half of physical therapy and two epidurals before approving surgery. Good to go now, but there was a long wait.

The bottom line is that the citizens of Canada or the UK would never trade their system for ours. That is a fact

Posted by: Rich at May 14, 2012 7:58 PM
Comment #344437

Stephen

This is a problem of liberals. You have a failure like Solyndra. It took taxpayer money and lost it. It protected politically connected fat cats and made them richer. And yet you think it is okay because some people had jobs.

Do you think that if you hire some guys to dig holes and others to fill them in, that you have increased the wealth of society?

Re austerity - Countries like Greece or Spain didn’t really engage in austerity. They pissed away money and then couldn’t afford to keep on giving it away.

You don’t get it. Wealth needs to be created. Do you really believe that wealth is just out there to be distributed by government?

I have lived long enough to know that somebody needs to create wealth. We don’t help just by moving stuff around. It doesn’t create wealth for government to spend $100 to get $10 of benefit.

It really doesn’t help if government hires one guy to dig the hole and the other to fill it in. It doesn’t matter if Obama tells them both that they are now richer.

Posted by: C&J at May 14, 2012 8:08 PM
Comment #344438

Rich

I lived in Europe. Health care there is good. But it depends on how complex. I would trust Royal’s figures. I know that in Europe if you need something like a hip replacement, you won’t get it for a long time.

You can distribute things in only three ways and everything we do is some combination or them.

1. You can do it by price
2. You can do it by waiting in line
3. You can do it by preference/corruption/privilege.

We do most of our distribution by price, but we also have some waiting and some corruption/preference.

European countries tend to do it by making people wait in line, they have some corruption/preference and a little price.

These things produce different results. Making people wait in line will be cheaper and less unequal. But quality will suffer. Price works to improve quality and speed, but will produce more inequality.

We make the tradeoffs. If we have a national health service, over time there will be slower medical progress. People like me (maybe you) who have good insurance will have lower quality care than we otherwise would.

On the plus side, national health care will lead to rationing of treatment and we will indeed decide not to treat some conditions. As they do in Europe, we will defacto cut off older people with fatal conditions and infants with severe defects etc. I think we should do those things. A free market will not do it.

Posted by: C&J at May 14, 2012 8:18 PM
Comment #344439

“If your austerity programs are so wonderful, why aren’t people experiencing the kind of economic miracles you’ve been predicting? Have they just not tried hard enough, the way everybody else fails conservative policies?”

C&J,

Stephen makes a good point. England is now in official recession after implementing conservative austerity. Ireland, which led the way in austerity, remains in recession with double digit unemployment and political upheaval.

There is no simple answer. Private sector debt continues to be a drag on consumer capacity for spending, lending and aggregate demand. Government debt has filled the gap for the short term but faces long term consequences.

Time to stop asking for miraculous recoveries and continue the work of re-balancing the US economy. Time to recover the manufacturing base. Time to put an end to the financialization of our economy and begin to, once again, putting capital to work in productive enterprises and not at the gambling table.


Posted by: Rich at May 14, 2012 8:20 PM
Comment #344440

C&J,

Royal’s figures are a figment of someone’s imagination. Nobody can find verify them. Should be easy. But not verifiable. Why? Because they aren’t true.

I approach this issue from the perspective of what’s the best deal that we can make for the nation that will produce the biggest bang for the buck. Its a no-brainer when it comes to health care. Every other competitive nation has adopted a nationalized system that produces universal health care with similar or better outcomes at half the cost of ours. Its simply madness to continue on this obstinate road. Our overall long term deficit is primarily a product of this madness. Plug in Canada’s system and you take a huge wack out of the deficit. Plug in the UK and you virtually wipe out the long term deficit. Are we crazy or just suicidal?


Posted by: Rich at May 14, 2012 8:41 PM
Comment #344441

Royal Flush,
The Investor’s Business Daily has no such article with those health care statistics. None. It does not exist at IBD.

Here is the original e-mail that circulated on right wing blogs:

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=54884

There are a number of inaccuracies from that original article which were repeatedly debunked in 2009. Those statistics were fakes. Period. It’s not hard to prove this. Simply search “investor’s business daily health care statistics.”

Posted by: phx8 at May 14, 2012 8:42 PM
Comment #344442

C&J-
And your problem is you have a short memory. Who originally got them involved? Your Bush Administration. You can say, perhaps misleadingly, that it’s the Obama Administration that is responsible for that final step, but it was a Republican administration and Congress that approved the bill in the first place, a Republican Administration that shepherded the deal most of the way there.

Which means if political connections are what got them that deal, many of them went to Republicans first, their appointees, etc.

As far as corporate cronyism goes, would you like to expand our discussion to Medicare advantage, which many people consider a boondoggle, and to the Medicare drug benefit and why we negotiated a deal where the government was forbidden from bargaining for the best prices with pharmaceutical companies? Would you like to speak about Blackwater and KBR, Halliburton and the whole mess in Iraq, where billions went missing, where bases were shoddily constructed and soldiers were electrocuted in showers due to faulty wiring?

Time has been kind to your party, as people have forgotten much of what they heard about over the eight years of the Bush Administration. But that doesn’t mean it never happened, and it doesn’t mean everybody’s forgotten the scale and breadth of corruption under Bush.

Not even as former Bush apologists like you try to paint the Obama administration, with its much smaller scandals, as the greater offender.

It’s not merely one hole dug, and then filled in by somebody else. It’s a whole host of businesses that the employed can frequent as customers, and the unemployed can only forgo as responsible individuals. You talk of responsiblity with a metaphor that draws on dinner table economics, but have you even stopped to consider what the effect of millions of people tightening their belts at once is? Well, that’s what most people call a recession. Even if they are only digging and filling in holes, they are at least serving as a distributed set of engines for driving economic growth through the business they do with other people.

But we’re doing better than that. We spread the different projects across many different sectors, not just one, so that the benefits were not concentrated in one set of businesses. We also sought out energy and efficiency projects, with the mind of creating long term energy independence and economy.

So, its more than the frivolous example you provide, and its narrow conception of the economy. It’s about circulation of wealth, about what the wealth does in terms of encouraging economic activity, not just that somebody gets paid, and we look no further than that.

With your tax cuts, though, that would be a very apt way of describing it, with people getting their money back from the government, and simply letting it sit in accounts, according to the surveys. Little tip: when people have enough money to let money sit in a bank, the likelihood is, if you give them more money they won’t spend it!

If they don’t spend it, it doesn’t encourage the activity we need.

As far as austerity goes, those countries are being forced to do strong budget cuts, so I don’t know what you base your assumptions on. Greece’s government didn’t fall for nothing.

Without the prosperity of the 99%, the relief of the tax burden on the 1%, the avoidance of haircuts by holders of sovereign debt is just a joke of a game heading towards disaster.

We can’t afford to pretend that we can squeeze enough money out of the poor and middle class to fill up the holes the rich have dug.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 14, 2012 9:15 PM
Comment #344444

As a retiree that lives in Florida, I know many Canadians who come south for the winter and live in my area. I play golf with many of them, and I have only met a couple who like their National Health Care. Most of them carry private insurance which allows them to come to the states for procedures. Canada has a shortage of doctors and nurses, due to the fact they are on government payroll. Most of their doctors come to America to work. A good friend of ours, who lives about 100 miles north of Toronto, put her son through medical school and made him promise that he would stay in Canada. They only have a clinic where she lives; the nearest hospital is in Toronto; 100 miles away. A couple that lives right across the road from us in Florida, who live above the upper peninsula of Michigan, had to make a 6 month appointment to get an MRI for his wife. That was the soonest he could schedule it for her. These same Canadians love our healthcare system, so I don’t really know where you are getting your information.

Posted by: Billinflorida at May 14, 2012 9:55 PM
Comment #344446

Rich

I don’t know where those figures come from.

Given my experience with health care in Europe, South America and the U.S., they seem to make sense to me, even if the precise numbers may be different. Whenever I come back to the U.S., I am surprised how fast and easy (if expensive) it is to get medical care. Foreigners know this too and some “tourists” come to the U.S. for care. People come to the U.S. after quality. American may go to some other places because it is cheaper.

Stephen

I repeat - as I always must with you - that I believe that the Bush folks grew government too much. They reached too far. What Bush did, Obama doubled down. Solydra started with Bush, but it was approved, expanded and much praised by Obama folks.

So if you hate Bush (and I know you do) perhaps you will join me in advocating that the Obama folks quit the Bush type of ideas that fed into the Obama crony capitalism.

Re austerity - you bring up Greece as if the Greeks have a good choice. They have a choice of austerity of going to hell.

Let’s repeat - the Greeks do not have enough money to continue on their spending path. They have no ability to borrow, much less pay back, many w/o the active help of their more frugal friends. The Germans are unenthusiastic about paying for Greek Profligacy. They don’t have to do it and unless their conditions are met, they won’t.

Let me try another analogy. Imagine you are diagnosed with something like diabetes. But you really like to eat high carbs and sugar, so you decide against the austerity of controlling your diet. How does that work out?

This is not a political argument. This is a reality argument.

Posted by: C&J at May 14, 2012 10:25 PM
Comment #344538

C&J, you are wasting your time trying to discuss any subject with Stephen. He does not have the mental capability to understand what you are saying. Stephen is a political hack who supports Obama no matter what; in fact, if Obama said he was the antichrist, SD would support him. Stephen is guilty of the same old liberal democrat Saul Alinsky playbook tactics of repeating the same lie over and over. So it doesn’t matter how many times you or anyone else says they disagreed with the policies of Bush; Stephen does not hear you. In his book you are still a Bush supporting right winger. So, to adapt SD’s mentality, I have just come to the conclusion Stephen is mentally deficient and unable to converse intelligently with people intelligently. I put him in the same classification as Adrienne and jane doe.

Posted by: Frank at May 15, 2012 11:20 AM
Comment #344541

Frank

I believe that some people are just passionate. They substitute passion for logic. It makes them feel good. I also think that they lack actual practical knowledge. Lots of times, I am trying to explain how things really work. They want to talk about how they think things should work. I have strong ideals and preferences, but I have learned to accept what I can actually accomplish rather than overreach and get nothing or even produce bad results.

Stephen, IMO, is yet redeemable. He has strong hatreds, but seems to have at least a theoretical commitment to logic. More experience may change his mind.

With some others, it is good exercise.I am honestly surprised by some of the ideas put forth, but I recognize that lots of people believe such things. The people I meet in my daily life (even the very strong liberals) tend to be more rational than some (not all by any means) people I meet here. I need to get the opinions of others.

Posted by: C&J at May 15, 2012 11:38 AM
Comment #344546

Frank,

“…I have just come to the conclusion Stephen is mentally deficient and unable to converse intelligently with people intelligently.”

I find this interesting in that it seems your purpose is not to discuss anything intelligently. Apparently you are more interested in denigrating people than debating them.

For someone from the right, Jack’s more moderate approach is commendable.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 15, 2012 1:03 PM
Comment #344551

Rich wrote; “I was required by the insurance to undergo a year and a half of physical therapy and two epidurals before approving surgery.”

Rich, that is not the point at all. The figures I showed were average waiting times so any wait, in any country, is calculated into the figures.

I required cataract surgery and within a week of seeing my Opthamologist I had one eye done and a week later the other one.

phx8, thanks for the laugh you gave me with the link to Snopes. Did you even bother to read the comments?

SD and other libs on WB have expressed the opinion that any spending by government is good even if it is deficit spending as it circulates money and creates jobs.

Please use Greece, Portugal, Italy and other European countries who have practiced this theory for many years to confirm your belief.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 15, 2012 4:37 PM
Comment #344552

Royal Flush,
What are you not getting? You passed on a series of lies. The fact that these are lies is well documented. Those so-called statistics were NEVER published in IBD. How many links do you require? Face it. You got caught passing on lies. Just say ‘sorry’ and move on. Don’t do it again.

Posted by: phx8 at May 15, 2012 5:34 PM
Comment #344553

“I find this interesting in that it seems your purpose is not to discuss anything intelligently. Apparently you are more interested in denigrating people than debating them.
For someone from the right, Jack’s more moderate approach is commendable.
Rocky
Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 15, 2012 1:03 PM”

Rocky Marks, “stupid is as stupid does”; liberals always love the moderate approach, as long as it leans liberal. Liberals don’t like conservative straight talk.

C&J said:

“Frank
I believe that some people are just passionate. They substitute passion for logic. It makes them feel good. I also think that they lack actual practical knowledge. “

C&J, I realize, as RM says, you have a moderate approach; but from your comments I extract this: “Stephen Daugherty is ignorant when it comes to practical knowledge, incapable of logical thinking, and is motivated by emotion”. In other words, he is a typical liberal democrat.

However, I disagree; Stephen Daugherty is not redeemable. He is an Obama defender, incapable of logical thought, only hears what comes from his own lips, and it is a waste of time discussing anything with him. A person only has so many minutes in life; after discussing a subject with SD and especially after reading one of his dissertation responses, I feel guilty that I have wasted precious minutes of my life. If I ever saw any post from SD, where he admitted fault with the democrats and Obama, perhaps I would feel differently. But alas, it has never happened. He is right and everyone else is wrong; he is intellectual and everyone else is stupid.

Posted by: Frank at May 15, 2012 6:26 PM
Comment #344554

Rocky Marks; by the way, my original comments were directed at C&J in response to Stephen Daugherty’s inability to comprehend what C&J was trying to tell him.

Posted by: Frank at May 15, 2012 6:30 PM
Comment #344557

From Investor’s Business Daily, 6/30/09

“It must be embarrassing to Canada that a G-7 economy and a country of 30 million people can’t offer the same level of health care as a town of just over 50,000 in rural Montana. Where will Canada send its preemies and other critical patients when we adopt their health care system?

As we have noted, in Canada roughly 900,000 patients of all ages are waiting for beds, according to the Fraser Institute. There are more than four times as many magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units per capita in the U.S. as in Canada. We have twice as many CT scanners per capita.”

Many libs on WB repeatedly write that infant mortality in the US is much higher than in places with national health care.

Again, from IBD dated 6/30/09

“In other countries babies that survive less than 24 hours are also excluded and are classified as “stillborn.” In the U.S. any infant that shows any sign of life for any length of time is considered a live birth.

Hamilton’s (Ontario) neonatal intensive care unit is closed to new admissions half the time. Special-needs infants are sent elsewhere and usually to the U.S.

Infant mortality rates are often cited as a reason socialized medicine and a single-payer system is supposed to be better than what we have here. But according to Dr. Linda Halderman, a policy adviser in the California State Senate, these comparisons are bogus.

As she points out, in the U.S., low birth-weight babies are still babies. In Canada, Germany and Austria, a premature baby weighing less than 500 grams is not considered a living child and is not counted in such statistics. They’re considered “unsalvageable” and therefore never alive.

Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — until you factor in weight at birth, and then its rate is no better than in the U.S.

“…why would we want to copy Europe? Its failed health care systems? Its cradle-to-grave welfare states? Its lack of innovation and job creation? Its relatively declining standard of living.” IBD 1/21/10

“The modern European welfare state has proven unsustainable. From Greece to Britain, from France to Portugal, European countries are slashing social welfare benefits, raising the retirement age and dismantling government bureaucracies. Yet, even as Europe is learning that you can’t forever rob Peter in order to pay Paul, the U.S. is racing to transform itself into a copy of the failing European model.” IBD 6/8/10

I love this from IBD 6/8/10

“If taxes could solve the problem, Greece would be bailing out the U.S. Taxes currently take a third of Greece’s GDP, roughly double the U.S. tax burden. It would be even higher, but the absurdly high tax rates have led to widespread evasion. Greece soaks the rich with a top income tax rate of 40%. It even has a 21% VAT. Yet, somehow, Greece hasn’t managed to tax its way to prosperity. That’s because the problem isn’t inadequate taxes, it’s too much spending.”

IBD 3/16/10

“The unfunded liability of America’s current entitlements is more than $100 trillion. Medicare will eventually require a massive infusion of cash under a congressional entitlement fix. Both the Congressional Budget Office and the Medicare actuary have pressed the point that Medicare savings can either be used to pay future Medicare benefits or to finance new spending outside Medicare — not both.”

IBD 6/16/09

“Britain is well along the road toward totally controlling health care. Steyn says, “Under Britain’s National Health Service, for example, smokers in Manchester have been denied treatment for heart disease, and the obese in Suffolk are refused hip and knee replacements. Patricia Hewitt, the British Health Secretary, says it’s appropriate to decline treatment on the basis of ‘lifestyle choices.’”

Steyn adds, “Smokers and the obese may look at their gay neighbor having unprotected sex with multiple partners and wonder why his ‘lifestyle choices’ get a pass while theirs don’t. But that’s the point: Tyranny is always whimsical.”

I could quote much more from IBD but I will expect phx8 to do some research. By the way, in case some readers don’t know it, many of the articles in IBD require a subscription.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 15, 2012 7:33 PM
Comment #344560

Royal Flush,

So, where is the article that you quoted?

Posted by: Rich at May 15, 2012 7:57 PM
Comment #344561

It was a compliation…look for all the threads yourself Rich.

I do find it interesting that Rich doesn’t disagree with all the quotes I did include giving good reasons for not following Canada and Europe in health care.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 15, 2012 8:05 PM
Comment #344562

Frank

Moderation often consists of telling people things in nicer way.

There are two rules I follow in writing here.

1. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in a such a way that you look forward to the journey.

2. A gentleman never insults anybody … accidentally.

There is no reason to get personal on these things. We can dislike someone’s opinions w/o disliking the person. It seems to me that Stephen suffers more from his point of view than we do.

Re redemption - Stephen is still young and inexperienced. You may have heard the old saying that if you are not a socialist when you are twenty, you have no heart, but if you are still a socialist when you are forty, you have no brain.

Royal

We lived in Norway. One of our American friends had a problem pregnancy. She went to the U.S. to give birth on the advice of Norwegian doctors. When she came back with the healthy baby, they told her that going to America probably saved the baby’s life.

Our second son was born in Norway. Chrissy’s pregnancy was normal, so there was no problem and she got good care.

In general, IMO, national health care is good for the mass of normal cases. It does less well when there is something special and it is not very good at innovation.

Posted by: C&J at May 15, 2012 9:31 PM
Comment #344563

Frank,

“Rocky Marks, “stupid is as stupid does”; liberals always love the moderate approach, as long as it leans liberal. Liberals don’t like conservative straight talk.”

Oh bullshit Frank.

Most of the people in this country are in the middle. They might lean slightly right or left but they don’t follow the extremes of either. All of America may not agree with Stephen, but the vast majority surely don’t agree with you either.

You’re a bully Frank. Your “conservative straight talk” is merely am attempt to browbeat those that you feel are weaker than you.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 15, 2012 9:56 PM
Comment #344614

Royal,

Your basic article doesn’t exist. The numbers don’t exist.

As for the quotes in the legitimate articles in the right leaning IBD, most are opinions or explanations as to why infant deaths appear higher in the US but are in actuality equivalent when controlled for common criteria.

The one statistic that IBD will not be promoting is longevity where the US is considerably down the list.

The Canadian system is not perfect. It has cost control problems also. However, it is a very flexible system with a different health organization operating at each province funding a fully private health care delivery system. Doctors practice medicine full time and hospitals spend their time taking care of patients without burdens of insurance red tape, accounting and collection offices, etc.

The Canadian system is not a monolithic centralized federal system. It is a decentralized system allowing each province to develop their own priorities, funding and focus of care. It is a set of provincial labs on health care delivery.

It is a simple and elegant approach to financing of health care with the potential mechanisms for change in the system as problems develop.

Posted by: Rich at May 15, 2012 11:14 PM
Comment #344666

Rich, if the Canadian HC system is not perfect; why would the American people want to give up a system that works perfectly for one that doesn’t?

The big picture is, what government run program has ever operated efficiently? It seems there is waste and fraud in everything the government controls. Why would we be confident that the government can run health care fairly? I have read the same stats that RF posted, so I know they are true.

Regarding Frank’s comments, I tend to agree with C&J; however, I can understand Frank’s frustration at the left’s (in this case SD) continual repetition of lies, distortion of facts, and inability to understand not all conservatives believe the same thing. Stephen lumps all conservatives into the same political beliefs and yet has stated several times that Romney does not have the support of the conservative base. So which is it?

One last question to Rocky Marks; what difference is there between you calling Frank a “Bully” and Frank calling SD intellectually deficient? Just wondering…

Posted by: Billinflorida at May 16, 2012 10:12 AM
Comment #344668

Frank-
You’re like a man who sits on his butt by the side of the track yelling at the runners for not getting it right.

I don’t really follow the playbook you describe. I’m really an earnest sort who thinks that what’s real is real, and the party closest to embracing that reality is the better party. Not much more complicated than that, but then you can’t really scare anybody or elicit much loathing for somebody who simply wants solid ground to stand on when talking about the real world.

Hence the constant stream of insults from you and others. For you, this is more like a social game, a kind of bullying in fact, where you condescendingly tell everybody else what their place is, and how much lower that happens to be.

But I learned long ago to deal with people trying to put me in my place, and I honestly believe that I am every bit their equal, so what good would there be for me to back down? You won’t get anywhere with me trying that approach.

Read what I write, if you have any interest in a true debate. Otherwise, go somewhere else. The original intent of this place was not to let folks like you play alpha dog with everybody else, it was to create a bipartisan space for discussing issues in a rational way. There are a million places where you can let every bit of hatred, contempt and condescension you feel drip from your posts, where you can feel free to debase other people. Go there if you are not interested in actual, intelligent conversation.

My dissertation responses are my expression of the principle of the site. Much of the time, I’m taking my opponent’s points apart, laying out how they got things wrong, rather than simply broad brushing everything they do and say as invalid without any explanation besides “they are conservatives” or some more insulting variation.

If you have contempt for that, again, there are other sites where nearly everybody just responds in a few words. Personally, I like a place where you are encouraged to discuss policy in detail on the merits. That appeals to my belief that policy should be based on practical realities, and discussion of policy should be logical, pragmatic, and not simply aimed at some sort of social domination game.

Billinflorida-
Look, you talk about lies, distortions, etc… but how do you determine what are lies and distortions?

Any biased individual can just turn their nose up at information they don’t like. What doesn’t confirm their point of view, whether it’s true or not, can be discarded.

For example, you neglect in describing my claims that Romney doesn’t have solid support from the GOP base the consideration that even if individuals have varying beliefs, the organization can impose conformity on them. Richard Lugar’s recent defeat provides us an example, especially in his words after his concession of the race.

I think if left to itself, the GOP would naturally spread out and indulge any number of beliefs. However, current political forces are blaming that variation of political thought for the defeat of the Republicans over the years, and so everybody is being forced by the Tea Party movement, and internal party hacks to conform in their legislative behavior.

That Romney won is a perverse symptom of this. There were a nice number of moderate Republicans they could have run, but they never showed up, and in their place you had last presidential elections second place finisher, and a whole crowd of people who sabotaged their own candidacies with their big mouths. Romney only won after everybody else had lost to their own stupidity and Romney’s greater resources, after every other candidate had been tried. If folks were not so big on defeating Obama, if they were just going through the motions, they might have just said screw it, and gone with any number of other guys.

As for your big picture? Medicare is run more efficiently, with less overhead, than many of the medical insurance outfits out there. I think the figure is something like 98% of money going in, going out for benefits.

Not every part of the system is efficient, but my attitude is not to use that as a pretext for getting rid of government where it might be needed, but rather, for pushing for greater efficiency. I know you actually believe the stereotypes, but the fact is, I’m very much for greater efficiency and lower corruption, because that makes intervention by government less of a negative, where it is needed. It also means we’re not spending money where it’s not needed.

Good government needs to be economical, government should be efficient, so it can do the most good without costing the greatest price.

As for the difference between calling me mentally deficient and Frank a bully? There’s plenty of evidence of Frank throwing nasty comments people’s way, getting personal in a rather ugly fashion. For my part, I don’t think my IQ’s ever been tested below 140, and I tended to ace most standardized tests. I don’t use spellcheck for most of the big words I employ, and I often do a great deal of work with raw data and primary information, bls numbers being among my favorites. What I do tends to take advanced knowledge of programs like Excel and Word.

I make mistakes sometimes, and sometimes some big ones. I’m stubborn about sticking to my points, especially against people who give no more explanation as to why I should change my mind other than “It’s too liberal” or “You’re stupid”. But I’m not a dumbass by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s the difference. Frank is demonstrable hostile, giving weight to Rocky’s assessment, I’m not demonstrably stupid, taking weight from Frank’s.

C&J-
I don’t know any of you in any real social way. I only know the comments, and after decades of living in Texas, I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people who turn nasty in discussing politics are actually pretty nice people apart from that.

The GOP these days has people so scared over Democrats taking things over that people get the notion that they can’t afford to be nice about things. Trouble is, whether things are urgent or not, you can alienate people if you don’t remember that people are real human beings on the other side of the computer modems and servers.

Right wing politics these days doesn’t seem real inviting to me. The resistance to accepting scientific consensus on multiple subjects is a turn-off. So is the continued insistence that tax cuts aren’t a deficit problem, despite a number of instances of its failure.

I don’t like that Republicans these days aren’t even willing to admit the slightest mistake, and that each subsequent revelation of what they’re doing now has me reaching for the antacid, because of the concern for my country it invites. Any system of logic, taken far enough, twisted heavily enough, can become a monster, and I think conservatism is at that stage. This is the latest jaw-dropper.

Your party needs to regain its perspective.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 16, 2012 1:09 PM
Comment #344669

billinflorida,
We need to differentiate between health care and health care insurance. I think most people would agree health care itself in the US is pretty good, in terms of the doctors, nurses, and hospitals. The problems arise from the way health care is paid for- private health care insurance. Waste and fraud occur in government, and they also occur in the private sector. Where is it worse? Medicare provides the most efficient and effective administration in the field, with the lowest overhead costs. No private insurer comes close.

The problem with private health insurance is that it is driven by the profit motive. That works great in many areas of the economy. It does not work so well in the case of health care insurance. The provider is motivated to charge as much as possible, including marketing costs and net profits, while providing as little service as possible. Minimizing service results in tens of millions of people uninsured, a lack of preventative care, refusal to cover pre-existing conditions, and recission- the effort to find ways to stop paying for people who develop an expensive illnesses.

It just doesn’t work very well. The US spends 17% of its GDP on health care, while no other industrialized country spends more than 12%.

Posted by: phx8 at May 16, 2012 1:24 PM
Comment #344670

Contrary to SD’s declarations about Conservatives, there is a grass roots effort by conservatives to dislodge party-line Republicans. The most recent example is Nebraska where Deb Fischer won beating two other Republicans. Ms. Fischer said of her victory…”They are tired of sending the same type of guys (liberal/moderate Republicans) back to Washington.” She asked voters on the stump…”Tired of political bull?”

Ms. Fischer will take on former Dem Senator Bob Kerrey who, in my opinion will be beaten handily.

Rich writes; “Your basic article doesn’t exist. The numbers don’t exist.”

Correct, what I posted does not exist as a single article in IBD…it is a compilation of articles. I provided quotes for some of the “numbers” you claim don’t exist. If you wish to find the others please do so yourself.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 16, 2012 3:01 PM
Comment #344671

phx8 wrote; “The problem with private health insurance is that it is driven by the profit motive. That works great in many areas of the economy. It does not work so well in the case of health care insurance.”

I suggest that if freed from government meddling, nuisance and costly law suits, and cost increasing regulations and paperwork, private health care insurance would be much more competitive and less expensive.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 16, 2012 3:12 PM
Comment #344673

Regarding Stephen Daugherty’s lengthy response; you use the personal pronoun “I” way too much.

Regarding Stephen Daugherty’s “jaw dropping link”; this is at the beginning of the article:

“Americans needing health insurance or disability services could be overlooked by their local governments if a bill now being considered by the Senate passes.”

I don’t think SD needs to worry or take antacid since the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Why would Reid even allow this to come to the floor of the Senate since he has managed to block a Federal Budget from making it to the floor for over 3 years?

Royal Flush, yes Fischer won in a 3 way split of which her and one other were running as TP candidates against a republican establishment candidate. This was a great victory for the TP and is bad news for Bob Kerrey. It’s interesting that the liberals claim conservatives have a war against women and yet they are consistently supporting women candidates.

Here is an excerpt from a point Rush Limbaugh made today pertaining to Fischer’s win and tied into the WI recall election:

“And it reminds me of what happened in Wisconsin last week during the primary there to recall Scott Walker.

You got two Democrats on the ballot vying for the, quote, unquote, opportunity to oppose Walker in the real election on June the 5th. More Republicans showed up to vote for Scott Walker, and he didn’t need any votes that day. He was on the ballot, that’s clear. But there wasn’t any need for him to win anything that day. He was going to be the candidate on the Republican ticket, the June 5th election anyway, and despite that, more Republicans showed up to vote for Walker, who didn’t need a single vote, than Democrats who showed up. Now the DNC has taken all the money out of Wisconsin. They’re ceding this, essentially. And look what we were told going into this. All of this union money, and all of the organization and the White House and the DNC, Scott Walker’s toast, we’re told. Again, conventional wisdom from the inside the Beltway types.”

The DNC has pulled their money out of WI. This is really interesting since the unions have spent millions of union dues (which could have been put to better use) and it appears the money is wasted.

We are seeing a real meltdown of liberalism. After years of the liberal democrats crying, the sky is falling; there comes a point when the American people just don’t believe it anymore. I tend to agree with many others and say the dems are going to lose big time this year.

Posted by: Billinflorida at May 16, 2012 4:18 PM
Comment #344674

Evidently the American voter don’t agree with SD, concerning Romney’s lying:

Election 2012: North Carolina President
North Carolina: Romney 51%, Obama 43%

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2012/election_2012_presidential_election/north_carolina/election_2012_north_carolina_president

A new national telephone survey finds that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters trust Romney more than Obama when it comes the economy, while 39% trust the president more. Ten percent (10%) are undecided.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2012/election_2012_presidential_election/trust_on_issues_obama_v_romney

88% Say They’re Paying More for Groceries Than A Year Ago

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/business/general_business/may_2012/88_say_they_re_paying_more_for_groceries_than_a_year_ago

Walker has a solid lead in WI.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/governor/wi/wisconsin_governor_recall_election_walker_vs_barrett-3056.html

Posted by: Billinflorida at May 16, 2012 4:36 PM
Comment #344678

Royal Flush, Billinflorida-
Grassroots? Yeah, that’s why the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity are so heavily involved in going after the old guard.

The special interests took over the GOP long ago, but what we’re watching here is the final stages of that cancer manifesting itself. Once, you had people who knew that they had jobs to do, jobs to fulfill at the same time they did David Koch’s dirty work. Unfortunately, the new guard are just so mindlessly dogmatic that they can’t even recognize the necessity of census office information gathering to even their own ambitions. These people are like anorexics whose bodies are consuming their own muscles. They’re not just crippling liberals, they’re crippling their own ability to rule.

The meltdown is yours. We Democrats were able to pass budgets, pass landmark legislation. We weren’t endangering the nation’s credit rating, and what risks we did take paid off.

Your people think they can get away with this forever, just like the Democrats did back before 1994, with their shenanigans. Well, history is just about to teach your side the same lesson, and whether it’s this year that the anvil drops, or the midterms, or the next election after that, the future is going to catch up to you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 16, 2012 6:23 PM
Comment #344699

Stephen,
Good comment. I’ve seen enough of your erudite comments to know you need no from me in defending yourself. Most of the attacks are so incoherent, I don’t see what could be said anyway.

billinflorida,
You’ve heard many people comment on the isolated nature of Rasmussen polls. They tend to be outliers, islands far away from the results gathered by other polling organizations. FOX News shows Obama up against Romney by seven points, 46% - 39%. The same poll shows Obama with a 22% lead over Romney over women.

Word: be suspicious of polls that sound too good to be true, especially when they try a little too hard to reflect what you already think. If it sounds too good to be true…

The MSM will want to make the presidential election look like a horse race. They will treat it as a close contest right up until the day before the election. That’s entertainment! That draw viewers. Others will propagandize polls and projections in order to create an impression of front-runner invincibility, because everyone wants to be associated with a winner, and no one wants to be associated with a loser.

But some basic facts remain, and they make this election a foregone conclusion: Obama maintains an overwhelming lead among key demongraphics, namely, women, gays, blacks, and latinos, enough to ensure a large majority; and until that changes, this election remains locked into a landslide for Obama.

Romney needs to lock into the economy, and avoid social issues. It may not work if the economy improves too much. Sadly, that puts conservatives in a position of rooting against an improving economic situation for all Americans. However, an election run on social issues runs into a brick wall of demographics; run a campaign waging a War on Women in the name of religious freedom, lethally electrified fences in order to stop immigration, move to make English the official language, allow police to stop anyone who ‘looks’ illegal and demand proof of citizenship, and insist on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only possible between a man and a woman, thus denying a significant part of the population their right to purse happiness in the most personal sense, and the results are baked into the cake. It doesn’t matter what a conservative thinks, because the numbers are out there, and simple fact is, the demographics ensure an Obama victory.

Posted by: phx8 at May 16, 2012 9:53 PM
Comment #344734

phb8, Royal et al

MOST insurance is the U.S. is sold by entities that are not primarily profit making, such as Blue-Cross. Most hospitals are also not primarily profit making.

The difference between the “private” and the government is the need to balance outflows with inflows.

We all know (and so does Obama) that a government run health care system will NOT actually balance its books. Obama expects that taxpayers will subsidize the system with increasing payments. He is inexperienced but not stupid and only stupid people would believe that government can provide service to more people and not require either big new inputs of money or cut services.

The Obama plan is to get the system in place, get people dependent on it and then to need to raise taxes to pay for it. It is a kind of pusher strategy.

Posted by: C&J at May 17, 2012 8:43 AM
Comment #345492

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