Which of the Obama scandals is the worst?

Libya is a minor cover up. It embarrasses Obama and probably wipes out the Hilary record, but it is not a long run problem. The IRS is very scary, but it is a management problem. The real bad story is the Obama assault on freedom of the press. I was surprised that even Dana Milbank from WP wrote a scathing article attacking Obama. This very liberal journalist covers much. Read the link.

This journalist thing is really starting to stink. No president likes to be criticized, but I think Obama is particularly weak in this regard. He has had it mostly his own way, with much of the press fawning over him. One of the useful roles the press plays is to keep the president humble. Obama joked that they were not doing it, but there with much truth in his jest.

Obama was given enough rope and it looks like he might have hung himself.

I have no doubt Obama will survive this serious mistake and Republicans would be wise not to overplay this. Obama did wrong. There is no doubt. But it is not enough to drive him from office. Besides, none of us should wish to have our president so disgraced.

On the other hand, the Obama magic is gone. As the curtain falls, we see an ordinary man and a somewhat below average president. He had a great story that brought him to fantastic success. This has all the marks of a classic tragedy. A great man is infected by pride, overreaches and suffers nemesis.

Obama could get away with a lot. Journalists love him and would forgive him most things. But when he messes with their sacred cows, that is the end. The honeymoon is finally over.

There is a bright side for Obama. With his wings clipped, he might try to be more cooperative and might be able to produce a centrist result, as Bill Clinton did. We will also be better off if the latest liberal experiment goes the way of earlier ones and we can get back to reality.

Posted by Christine & John at May 22, 2013 7:50 PM
Comments
Comment #366355

With his domestic agenda now thrown completely out the window, I’m waiting for Obama to pivot to foreign policy achievements to build his legacy for his Presidential memoirs and library. Gun control was completely defeated and I have little doubt that Obama’s attempt to make undocumented Democrats into citizens has no hope of being passed in the House. What’s more, Obama will get to enjoy more Republican opposition after 2014. The Democrats hopes of taking back the House, at this point, is laughable.

Posted by: Joseph at May 22, 2013 8:36 PM
Comment #366356

Democrats face a rock and a hard place:

For each one of these scandals, either Obama knew what was going on and he is criminal or Obama did not know what was going on, which means he had no control over his administration and is incompetent. For the former, he should be impeached if there is evidence that he knew what was going on. For the latter, Democrats cannot sell the benevolent Big Government anymore because now we know that even the President of the United States cannot control the government. The government is out of control.

Posted by: Joseph at May 22, 2013 8:42 PM
Comment #366369

C&J,
Neither supporters of Bush nor supporters of Obama like it, but in many respects, the Obama administration represents a clean-up crew for the excesses of the previous one, and in some case, the continuation of controversial policies. The Authorization to Use Military Force for the War on Terror, and the Patriot Act, gave legal justifications for many actions I think need to be reconsidered, repealed or drastically scaled back. It would be good if this issue caused us to revisit the conflict over national security v the public’s right to know. At any rate, we’d all be better off for having that discussion.

Is the media issue a scandal? Not really. However, an antagonistic relationship between the media (not counting FOX, which has always been profoundly antagonistic) would be a major problem for Obama. The media can be a very powerful enemy. Thing is, this is too obvious not to address. Hard to see where this gains long-term traction.

I think we all know the Benghazi Conspiracy Theory has been fatally wounded by a gunman on a grassy knoll; a Death Panel has made its decision, a death sentence passed, and the body will be swapped with a muslim terrorist clutching a faked birth certificate, to be interred with the bodies of other faux scandals, such as Fast and Furious.

The problem with the constant high levels of unwarranted anger, unrelenting indignation, and a constant parade of fake scandals by conservatives is that it ultimately destroys their efforts to undermine Obama when a real opportunity arises. It is like the conservative little boy who cries “Zombie!” and demands Bushmasters for all to fight the Zombie Apocalypse. Somehow, the Apocalypse never comes, and now, when a real wolf comes strolling by, no one will listen to the conservative little boy. It wasn’t that long ago that conservatives denounced the Obama White House for leaking. Remember?

The IRS scandal represents something more substantial, but it will also have trouble getting traction. No one like the IRS. Thing is, no one likes the Teabaggers either. No one feels any sympathy for either one. In addition, the IRS scandal actually came out in the summer of last year. An investigation by the IG into the IRS for exactly this problem was publicly announced. Issa knew. Everyone knew. But no one cared. So it may result in some heads rolling, but that’s about it.

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 1:05 AM
Comment #366371

We’ll see how your theory that “no one cares” about these scandals in the 2014 mid terms. Republicans will likely gain seats in the Senate and House. I wouldn’t be surprised if Republicans gain control of the Senate. Regardless, Obama’s domestic agenda is kaput.

Posted by: Joseph at May 23, 2013 1:28 AM
Comment #366372

Democrats could try going after more gun control again to distract us from all these scandals. That’s a winning strategy that will help your chances in the mid terms!

Posted by: Joseph at May 23, 2013 1:33 AM
Comment #366373

Of course all of these scandals are clearly Bush’s fault.

Posted by: Joseph at May 23, 2013 1:36 AM
Comment #366413

phx8

I know that liberals like that clean up crew idea. It worked for you for the first couple of years. I always found it interesting that Bush got blamed for stuff that happened in the first few months of his presidency, but Obama got away with four years of blaming others. I doesn’t make any sense anymore.

In any case, the IRS scandal, spying on reporters, and mismanagement in Libya are all things things that happened during Obama times. There is no possible way these can be connected to George Bush.

Posted by: CJ at May 23, 2013 6:06 AM
Comment #366414

C&J says the president’s wings are clipped, Joseph says the president’s domestic agenda is now thrown completely out the window. Somehow I feel the right might be jumping the gun just a bit. We’re just over 5 months into a term that is 48 months long. Remember how many times the right said Obama was DOA and a one-term failure of a president? How’s that working out now?

Joseph thinks this will help Republicans in Congress in 2014. Will it? Based on what? The country’s profound and growing admiration of the Republican party? Don’t tell me you actually believe that, Joseph. I’m not sure I believe the Democrats could take back control of Congress anyway but so far I’m not seeing any real evidence that the scandal mongering from the right has done anything but cause the public to lose further respect for the Republican party.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at May 23, 2013 9:21 AM
Comment #366415

The common thread in all of this, the common thread that is the definition of the Obama Presidency, is that he does not lead.

Of the three, I’d say the reporters stuff is his biggest problem. As Carl Bernstein said the other morning, there was no reason for the press to investigate this administration because it was doing anything wrong. How he knew this ahead of time is revealing. The only investigative reporting that was going on was to investigate and disprove claims made from alternate news sources. In short the press was not doing their job because it was the Obama administration. But times they are a changing, and if you piss off the AP you piss off lots of press “ants” everywhere. The fallout might come from one of the three scandals on the table, or it might come from something else known or unknown. But with the lack of leadership from the administration, civil servants who are pissed enough at the lack of leadership to talk, and a press corp that might actually investigate something, I think halo is going to hit the floor and the real Obama revealed.

Posted by: George in SC at May 23, 2013 9:28 AM
Comment #366429

5 months into his second term and the s**t is hitting the fan, Ducker. What more is going to happen? What else is going to come to light? I’m sure as we go along more crap is going to surface. We see even Democrats distancing themselves from the annointed one and wanting answers. How long was all this going on? If Obama is the leader you say he is, Why didn’t he know what was going on in his administration. Obama is NOT a leader.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 23, 2013 10:26 AM
Comment #366454

I find it interesting that even when the Democrats are jumping the Obama ship, and the press is angry; the lefties on WB are continuing to defend Obama and cover for him. This is interesting; it comes from the Boston Harold and involves only the Democrats from MA, but it shows a pattern:

“Frantic Democrats want tough action in the ongoing IRS scandal, fearing the damage that a slow bleed could do to their own electoral futures as President Obama struggles to get out ahead of the issue.

U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Malden), running for U.S. Senate, quickly denounced the Internal Revenue Service’s 
actions earlier this week and upped the ante yesterday as the scandal spread, saying, “Whoever did this should be found and fired.”

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Worcester), one of Massachusetts’ more liberal House members, told the Herald his party in Congress is afraid of the ramifications of the scandals, now collectively known as Obamagate — a threefer encompassing the IRS harassment of conservative groups, the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records, and the handling of the Benghazi attacks.

“They do worry about what their constituents think about them and how they respond to these issues,” McGovern said yesterday, adding with regard to the IRS scandal that “anybody connected to this ought to be fired.”

Acting IRS chief Steve Miller resigned Wednesday, but a number of those who oversaw and executed allegedly politically biased policy in the tax-exemption unit remain at the IRS. Democrats demanding action include U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who called for an “audit” of the IRS, which U.S. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) supports, her spokeswoman said.

The scandals could even impact Bay State politics, where a top Democrat said his party needs to step lightly. State Treasurer Steve Grossman, expected to run for governor in 2014, told the Herald yesterday, “I think voters will want to see that politicians were out there representing them, not representing and protecting party, not protecting any individuals who may have done wrong. … We have an obligation to speak out.”

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_politics/2013/05/democrats_take_a_hard_line_on_obama_scandals

If this is happening in a solid blue state; what is happening in the red states who have Democrat Senators and Congressmen?

The talking points of the administration and supporters is that government is too big for Obama to oversee; Cass Sunstein (a devout Obama supporter) alluded to this theory:

“Because the executive branch is exceptionally large, no president, however vigilant, can possibly control everything that happens there. Many thousands of federal officials, working in dozens of different agencies, are in a position to make important decisions, some of which may turn out to be wrong, inappropriate or worse.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-22/why-second-term-scandals-are-almost-inevitable.html

Obama has been proclaimed by the left, for the past 5 years, to be the most intelligent black man who ever lived. Now he is being presented as a man “out of touch”, “aloof”, or “too busy dealing with the problems of the World, to have time for these small things”:

Posted by: CasperWY at May 23, 2013 12:00 PM
Comment #366455

C&J,
The oberservation about the clean-up role this administration has played after the last one is not meant to be partisan. It is a long term observation. I’m confident most people will eventually come to see it the same way. Liberals like to imagine the first term as transformational, conservatives as radical and disastrous, but really, it has not been either. With the exception of Obamacare, some civil rights legislation, and bringing democracy to the Middle East without invading, Obama’s first term was mostly fixing a badly broken economy- a very successful enterprise, btw. It was fixing a broken foreign policy, including withdrawal from Iraq. I could go on in this vein, but you get the idea.

Joseph,
I’ve pointed this out before. Because of the math in the Senate, the GOP actually does have a chance to take power. The Democrats have to defend a lot more seats, and those seats are in very red states. The GOP has to protect fewer seats, and those are in red states.

Because of gerrymandering and the limited number of swing districts, it would also be difficult for the Democrats to take control of the House. It would take the equivalent of Obama winning 55% in a presidential election.

But before you start congratulating yourself, you might want to warn your less informed conservative friends. A tsunami is coming in 2016. It will be an absolute nightmare for the GOP. The Senate math overwhelmingly favor Democrats; in fact, the GOP could take control in 2014, and face a 60 Democrat Senate in 2016. It’s that bad. Hillary Clinton will probably be the client, and early polls show her beating potential contenders. In Texas. In Kentucky.

I am really, really looking forward to the next two elections. The best part is that 2014 will send conservatives precisely the wrong message- to keep doing what they are doing.

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 12:04 PM
Comment #366456

Obama is preparing to give another televised speech. It is an attempt to say something “radical”, the closing of GITMO or the use of drones. Anything that will change the topic of the subject.

I have a suggestion: why don’t Obama have a news conference and answer questions. Just come clean with the truth, instead of continuing to blame someone/anyone else.

Posted by: CasperWY at May 23, 2013 12:05 PM
Comment #366457

Republicans are expecting a huge wave of outrage, after making up crap for several years in the process of trying to keep people properly outraged for their own political benefit. I think that’s unrealistic. You really strip-minded the vast majority of people who might be predisposed to think less of him, and absent his personal knowledge or involvement, he’s not going to take any hit you haven’t thrown at him already.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 23, 2013 12:07 PM
Comment #366458

Republicans also cannot have it both ways. They can’t decry leaks then punish the Administration for using the laws they made sure were in place in order to do what Congress asks.

As for Milbank saying he’s only guilty of good journalism, this Reuters Reporter begs to differ.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 23, 2013 1:13 PM
Comment #366464

KAP: “If Obama is the leader you say he is, Why didn’t he know what was going on in his administration. Obama is NOT a leader.”

I think he’s a pretty good leader. Certainly not the best we’ve ever seen though. He makes mistakes. The people he appoints or oversees make mistakes. The president ultimately answers for those mistakes and we’ve seen Obama do that on all three “scandals.” What you haven’t seen him do is answer for all the imaginary things he’s done wrong that your side has fabricated out of thin air to turn certain actions into Watergate x 1000.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at May 23, 2013 4:13 PM
Comment #366465
I think he’s a pretty good leader.

Based on … ?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 23, 2013 4:40 PM
Comment #366467

Sure thing Ducker, His answers to all the scandals ” I KNOW NOTHINGGGG” parroting Sarg, Schultz.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 23, 2013 4:49 PM
Comment #366468

Is Obama a good leader? Absolutely.
1) Obama and the Democrats saved the economy. Obama led the way to a superb peformance. Japan took two decades to escape a similar economic situation, including a triple dip recession. We fought off asset deflation and a liquidity trap, and did it in a matter of years, becoming one of the first major economies to escape the trap, and leading the rest of the world to recovery. This resulted in a long string of months of consecutive job growth and GDP growth, a recovered housing market, and one of the biggest bull markets for stocks in American history, all occurring against a backdrop of low interest rates and low inflation.
1a)Saved the auto industry.
2) Two excellent Supreme Court justices.
3) Obamacare. It finally reined in the exponential cost increases experienced during the Bush administation. In Oregon, one of the largest insurers cut its rates 15% in order to be competitive within the state exchange.
4) Superb responses to disasters and emergencies, especially Hurricane Sandy.
5) A demeanor that has consistently encouraged unity, confidence, and a willingness to compromise.
6) Restored international reputation, relationships with allies, and fostering a spirit of closeness and cooperation.
7) Draw down in Iraq
8) Accomplished foreign policy goals in the Middle East without putting US troops in danger, including the fostering of democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, with Khaddafi killed in the process.
9) Gave the order to have Bin Laden hunted down and killed.

It has been a superior performance. The funny thing is, many of the accomplishments simply meant reversing the damage caused by conservative policies during the Bush administration.


Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 5:10 PM
Comment #366469

Obama and the Democrats saved the economy.

So much BS here… Not worth debating.

Saved the auto industry.

No, saved one company that would have been bought up by another company had we not gotten involved, and wouldn’t have been in trouble to begin with without direct Democrat uninvolvement. One company is not an ‘industry’. I daresay that without GM, people would have been able to still get cars…

Two excellent Supreme Court justices

You’re saying that with a straight face?

Obamacare.

Again, seriously? I could go into dozens of reasons that Obamacare is a failure, including the INCREASED insurance costs, the fact that it will be running deficits starting day one and never recover, will push many healthcare people out of the industry and get government and politics involved in people’s relationship with their doctors. Most Americans do not want it and even Democrats are starting to call for it to be repealed or heavily amended…

Superb responses to disasters and emergencies, especially Hurricane Sandy

Again… *sigh*

A demeanor that has consistently encouraged unity, confidence, and a willingness to compromise

I have to ask… what are you smoking, phx8? It’s what a person does, not what they say, that matters. Obama has been divisive, attacking and mean spirited to anyone who disagrees with him, to the point of having them investigated. The recent scandals bear that out. It’s what we call a ‘fluff and f***’ as detailed on the great episode of VEEP this past Sunday. Say something nice and look warm and buddy buddy like, just as you are ripping someone apart and sticking a knife in their back. If you read any of his speeches, you will see what I am talking about, ‘we should be working together’ followed later with ‘if those idiots who disagree with me would just do everything I say, things would move forward’…

Restored international reputation, relationships with allies, and fostering a spirit of closeness and cooperation.

Again, more BS. Everything started great because of promises made by the President in 2008, but by 2010 the rest of the world was seeing just what the real deal was.

http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/06/13/global-opinion-of-obama-slips-international-policies-faulted/

Draw down in Iraq

He was held in check by the agreement put in place by Bush and Iraq, even though he tried very hard to get the agreement pulled so he could keep more troops there for a longer period of time. That you actually think that this was an Obama plus is very telling…

Accomplished foreign policy goals in the Middle East without putting US troops in danger, including the fostering of democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, with Khaddafi killed in the process.

Unconstitutionally… But hey, that doesn’t bother Dems…

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 23, 2013 5:41 PM
Comment #366471

Tell me, Rhinehold, how has your relentless negativity been rewarded? How has it paid off? If you refuse to synthesize information, you will never see the forest, and always focus on one the problems, real or imagined, of one tree.

If you own a house, what happened to its value by the end of the Bush administration? What happened to its value during the Obama administration?

If you own stocks or a mutual fund or a 401k, what happened to their value by the end of the Bush administration? Where do they stand now?

Did you have relatives in Iraq? Many American soldiers died there during the Bush adminstration. Tens of thousands were wounded. That has stopped.

Bin Laden is dead. Khaddafi is dead.

We maintain close and good relationships with our allies. The overthrow of Libya was a model of international coopertion with our allies.

When’s the last time you heard someone demand we call ‘french fries’ a new name, ‘freedom fries,’ because we hate France so much? The Bush years were a disaster for inernational relations, thanks largely in part to Iraq, followed by the economic collapse brought about by problems within the American financial sector. You know, the rest of the world really didn’t appreciate that. And no, it wasn’t just an accounting problem, either.

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 6:13 PM
Comment #366472

I am really, really looking forward to the next two elections. The best part is that 2014 will send conservatives precisely the wrong message- to keep doing what they are doing.
Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 12:04 PM

Counting your chickens early phx8, or just whistling in the dark?

Let’s see, a big win by Reps/Cons in 2014 should be a red flag to us? Should the R/C’s keep the house by large numbers and take the Senate you think it doesn’t bode ill for obamacare and many of his presidential edicts? Two years under R/C rule with a lame, lame, lame president could have a huge favorable R/C impact on the 2016 election.

As for hillary…please, don’t embarrass yourself with early nonsensical predictions. She’ll run, but I have serious doubts about her getting the nomination. By 2016 she will have been tarred with the same brush that will have ended the public’s perception of obama’s greatness.

The nine-point summation of obama’s greatness and effective policies is surely debatable. I might give him points on numbers four and nine, but the rest…fodder for Reps/Cons to use against electing another democrat to the office of president.

With three and one-half years left in obama’s tenure, I anticipate more will be revealed about his administration that will prove very embarrassing to democrats. Obama’s Teflon has been terribly scratched and can’t withstand much more without a reputation of failure sticking to him and his party.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 23, 2013 6:53 PM
Comment #366474

phx8, You must be on some potent crack with comments like you’ve just made. With scandal after scandal Obama great? LOLOLOLOLOL.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 23, 2013 7:20 PM
Comment #366475

Royal Flush,
Counting my chickens? Mmm, no. Just predicting. Obama will be a lame duck regardless of how 2014 goes. The Senate will filibuster regardless of who has the majority. Even filibuster reform will only affect nominations, not legislation. Obama retains the ability to veto, so that pretty much guarantees a stalemate through 2016.

KAP,
How did that Benghazi Conspiracy Theory work out for ya’?

Polls show the public doesn’t care about the so-called scandals, at least not Independents and Democrats. Republicans are up in arms. But Republicans are always up in arms. McConnell denounced a “culture of corruption” at the White House. When asked, he couldn’t name a single example.

The good news for you is that Holder might be done at Justice because of the issues surrounding the media. The White House cannot afford bad relations with the media, regardless of the merits of the various cases. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Holder resign. Do you think that will help the conservative cause in any way whatsoever?

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 7:34 PM
Comment #366476

phx8, you forget that obamacare goes into full effect in 2014 and if many predictions are correct, the majority of voters are going to hate it. By 2016, dems up for election may just decide to side with the popular opinion and vote with R/C’s to repeal all or most of it.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 23, 2013 7:44 PM
Comment #366477

phx8 Benghazi still have no real answers. Denocrats are distancing themselves from Obama, even they want answers to what the H*ll Obama is doing. If he dosen’t know what is going on in his administration he is a piss poor leader. You, Stephen and Ducker can defend all you want but come 2014 we will see we will see. Holder should resign? The whole administration should resign. Like I said you must be on some potent crack.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 23, 2013 7:49 PM
Comment #366478

“The good news for you is that Holder might be done at Justice because of the issues surrounding the media.”

Frankly phx8, his resignation will be good for every decent American who expects justice. Holder will be followed by other obama Top Guns.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 23, 2013 7:57 PM
Comment #366479

In fact, Hillary was the first Top Gun to abandon obama’s sinking ship…although a wee bit too late. Others are sure to follow.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 23, 2013 8:00 PM
Comment #366480

“… Benghazi still have no real answers.”

No real questions, either.

RF,
I’ve heard predictions of doom for Obamacare from the right for quite a while. There have been @ 37 unsuccessful attempts to repeal it in the House. There are a lot of questions, and presumably there will be changes made to improve it as the program progresses. Some red states are fighting it. Oregon is pushing forward, and the (very) early results look good. I guess we’ll all find out.

By the way, I’m uninsured. For most of my life, medical coverage for myself and my family was a big concern. Now I’m 56 and retired, and the cost of coverage makes no sense, even assuming I could get coverage for myself and my wife that would be any use- we both have pre-existing conditions that previously would have made us candidates for being turned down.

I have metal in my ankle. It would cost $2500 to have the plate and screws removed, and statistically, an insurer knows I am a 50/50 risk to go through with that operation. Therefore, without Obamacare, insurers may refuse to cover me. They told me that. They were quite up-front. Seems to me the previous health care structure couldn’t have been much worse…

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 8:04 PM
Comment #366481

I appreciate your medical situation phx8 and I understand why obamacare is so attractive to you. Be assured, no one wants to see you punished for something you can’t control.

However, there are limits to what one can expect others to pay to help those in need. As a nation we have been very generous to those in need and those who foot the bills are concerned about themselves as well as others.

Should obamacare evolve into something like Medicaid, it will hurt the entire nation and many future generations. There are those who have given much to this country, even their lives, in service to others and to keep our liberty and freedom intact. We must remember that singling out groups for special treatment goes against what our founders intended.

Our national pocketbook does have a bottom beyond which we dare not go without endangering everyone.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 23, 2013 8:18 PM
Comment #366482

According to a simple google search phx8, Benghazi is still a problem according to a Washington Post article it states 56% of republicans and 60% of independents think the W.H. is covering up the scandal and that was just yesterday. I haven’t seen what today brings. So your boy Obama stillk has that hanging over his head. As far as Obamacare, you want us tax payers to foot your bill for your foot. Aren’t you the one who says your doing great in the stock market? If that be the case pay for your own surgery, you can afford it!!!!

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 23, 2013 9:13 PM
Comment #366483

I can afford the surgery. I actually fall into the 50% that will never have it because I don’t particularly need it and, quite naturally, I’d rather not have an operation. I did 2.65 miles on a Stairmaster today, cycling, and weights, so I’m actually a good bet for an insurer. But a private health insurer doesn’t know that. Obamacare may force me to purchase insurance, but it will depend on the cost through a health exchange versus doing without and paying whatever nominal tax is assessed. My wife is in a similar situation. She’ll need a hip replacement. It counts a pre-existing condition. At least with a health exchange and Obamacare in place, I can purchase health insurance without being concerned about paying premiums, then being refused coverage for an operation due to a pre-existing condition.

But that’s just my personal situation. It has to work for everyone and be cost effective. We’ll find out.

KAP,
Well, by all means, continue insisting someone is covering up the facts surrounding Benghazi. No one knows what facts; in fact, the facts have been presented in exhaustive detail, to the satisfaction of the Senate Republicans. Go ahead and insist something is being covered up. Some people will believe you. They don’t know what it is they believe is being covered up… somethin’… but don’t let that stop you. See how that works out.

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2013 9:39 PM
Comment #366486

Royal Flush,

I am curious. Why do you hate Obamacare so categorically? In the last presidential election, Romney said that he would only seek repeal of some aspects of Obamacare. For him, some good, some bad. But, you want a total repeal. Why?

This is not an idle question. I have asked a lot of people opposed to Obamcare for the reasons for their opposition. Quite frankly, they usually aren’t able to articulate any specific reasons. Just some vague idea about government involvement in health insurance.

What is discouraging about this issue is the ignorance not only of Obamacare specifically but the degree to which the federal government already subsidizes health insurance for the majority of non-Medicare eligible Americans through employer group insurance. “By far the largest tax expenditure is the employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) subsidy. The primacy of employer-sponsored insurance in our current health system, coupled with its favorable tax treatment, is projected to cost the government approximately $760.4 billion in forgone tax revenue from 2013–2017.” http://gppreview.com/2013/04/29/employer-sponsored-health-insurance-is-a-subsidy-necessary-post-health-care-reform/

Many of those opposed to Obamacare think that they are paying for their health insurance independent of the government. That is not true. It is massively subsidized by the government already. It is perhaps more true of those receiving Medicare for which recipients have been paying a direct FICA tax for years.

Obamacare doesn’t really apply to most current employer group insurance. It leaves the ESI subsidies and tax expenditures intact. It mainly addresses the private health insurance market, provides tax incentives and disincentives for individuals and small businesses to participate in the private health insurance market as well as efficiency and effectiveness measures.

Republican alternatives that would effect the majority of non-Medicare eligible Amereicans, e.g., Bush 2008 budget proposal, involve removing the employer sponsored health insurance subsidy (tax expenditure) and replacing it with an individual tax credit for purchase of health insurance. In other words doing away with employer group insurance in favor of individual/family insurance. Is that what you want?

I am not entirely in favor of Obamacare. It is a complex hybrid model. Better to simplify the system and provide for a national insurance pool under a single payer universal model of some variant. But, it is an advance over what we have. Improve it. Sure. Throw it out. Not without a better alternative.


Posted by: Rich at May 23, 2013 10:22 PM
Comment #366487
Tell me, Rhinehold, how has your relentless negativity been rewarded?

I have a clear conscious and know that I am defending the rights of people to live their lives free from authoritarians like you. Granted, it would be better if there were more like myself, but too many people just seem to get off on putting guns to other’s heads and telling them how to live.

If you refuse to synthesize information, you will never see the forest, and always focus on one the problems, real or imagined, of one tree.

The problem, phx8, is that you are the one not seeing the forest for the trees.

If you own a house, what happened to its value by the end of the Bush administration? What happened to its value during the Obama administration?

Value went up during both administrations. I bought a second home in 2008 in the middle of the credit crunch and when ‘all hell was breaking loose’. I got a fair price and a good interest rate from a non-stupid bank. I sold my first home a short time after during the crash and credit crunch. Since Obama has been in office, I think my house value has increased by 5% on it’s own, the renovations I put into it are far more valuable than anything that anyone in Washington is doing.

If you own stocks or a mutual fund or a 401k, what happened to their value by the end of the Bush administration? Where do they stand now?

Up during both. Because I’m not an idiot.

Did you have relatives in Iraq? Many American soldiers died there during the Bush adminstration. Tens of thousands were wounded. That has stopped.

2/3 of the causalties in Afghanistan have happened under Obama. Iraq was ended because of Bush, something you still refuse to admit. We would STILL BE IN IRAQ IF IT WEREN’T FOR BUSH.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/26/obama-iraq_n_1032507.html

Bin Laden is dead. Khaddafi is dead.

Bin Laden should have been captured alive, the president failed at that. Khaddafi is of no concern to the US. At least Bush had the ability to CAPTURE Saddam, not assassinate him.

We maintain close and good relationships with our allies. The overthrow of Libya was a model of international coopertion with our allies.

You mean Libya where the civil war still goes on and our ambassador was recently killed?

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2013/05/20/It-s-violence-as-usual-in-Libya.html

Or Iraq where violence is still going on?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/iraq-bombings_n_3304877.html

yeah, we done good by them… *rolls eyes*

I gave you the numbers and the links, you refuse to acknowledge them, you are impossible to debate with because you don’t even listen to what evidence others provide, you know what you know because MSNBC told you to know it and you’re done.

And no, it wasn’t just an accounting problem, either.

You still can’t even bother to understand the issue I bring up, I never said that that the CAUSE of the financial issues were mark-to-market accounting rules, I said that the EFFECT it had on the economy was a direct result of them. Which is proven. It’s like me saying that the earth is round and revolves around the sun and you come along and say ‘no it isn’t’. How do you debate with someone who can’t even back up what they argue with facts?

By the way, I’m uninsured. For most of my life, medical coverage for myself and my family was a big concern.

So, you’re part of the problem that took the federal government making a law to make you get insurance?

My wife, before I met her, was making about 15,000 a year and she was able to get medical insurance because it was a priority for her and there were several programs where she could get it at reduced prices because of her income.

There is *NO* excuse for anyone not to have insurance if they want it, there *IS* an excuse for not getting it (it is a scam) if you don’t want it. Except now, that’s not an option…

It’s also not an option for me to get an insurance program that doesn’t cover childcare when my wife and I are physically unable to have children, but hey, I didn’t need that money anyway did it?

Because you know what I need better than me and you (currently) have the guns to use against me to make it so.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 23, 2013 11:30 PM
Comment #366488

No need to worry about guns with me. I would never allow a gun in my house.

RE Iraq: Bush deserves zero credit for withdrawing from Iraq. His administration fought the deal negotiated with the Iraqi government for drawing down troops. From your linked article:

“… Bush initially intended the agreement to do precisely the opposite: to lock the next president into staying in Iraq indefinitely. But back in 2008, Iraqi government officials — fed up with a seemingly endless U.S. occupation and emboldened by candidate Obama’s vow to withdraw most combat troops within 16 months — insisted on setting a deadline for departure.

“Bush didn’t want the date certain for withdrawal at the time; that was forced by the Iraqis…”

The real difference came when the Obama adminstration stopped putting US troops in the middle of a civil war. There is still a large presence, as I’m sure you’re aware, but it no longer seeks to engage in combat.

Unrest continues in places like Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere. Thanks to the Obama administration, we have given them the opportunity for self-determination. What they choose to do with their freedom is up to them.

Do you really think Bin Laden should have been captured alive? I don’t.

R


Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2013 12:11 AM
Comment #366491

Obama has spent his entire public career trying to build trust in big government.

After 8 years of Obama, Americans will not be more trusting of big government.

Posted by: Joseph at May 24, 2013 1:56 AM
Comment #366497

Rhinehold:

Why do I think President Obama is a pretty good leader? For me leadership in a president is making a lot of tough but ultimately correct choices. He hasn’t been perfect and not all of the issues he’s lead on have turned out in the complete best interest of the country. But taken as a whole and given the issues this president has dealt with we have emerged from the last four years stronger and the personal reward was four more years to lead for President Obama.

KAP: “You, Stephen and Ducker can defend all you want but come 2014 we will see we will see.”

Where have I heard that one before? Oh, I know. In context of the 2012 election. How’d that work out for you? How many times does the right have to be proven wrong about their dire predictions for the Democrats before they finally just start to say, “Well, I don’t know. A lot could change between now and then.”

Posted by: Adam Ducker at May 24, 2013 9:19 AM
Comment #366499

American politics is cyclical. Democrats have had a couple of electoral victories and Republicans will have theirs again. Democrats have won, not because of the leadership or good ideas from Democrats, but because of disgust with government during Bush’s administration. Republicans will win in 2014 and 2016, not because of the leadership or good ideas from Republicans, but because of disgust with government during Obama’s administration.

Faith in government has decreased under Obama and will continue to decrease. Democrats will pay for that in the next elections whether they are guilty or not simply because Americans are sick and tired of the government and Democrats are currently in power.

Posted by: Joseph at May 24, 2013 9:56 AM
Comment #366500
No need to worry about guns with me. I would never allow a gun in my house.

But apparently you have no trouble ordering guns be sent to mine.

RE Iraq: Bush deserves zero credit for withdrawing from Iraq.

He deserves more than Obama does, so can we give Obama negative credit?

“President Obama wanted to stay longer — as recently as a few weeks ago asking the Iraqi government to allow 10,000, then 3,000 troops to remain past New Year’s Eve.

But the president ultimately had no choice but to stick to candidate Obama’s plan — thanks, of all things, to an agreement signed by George W. Bush.”

Bush didn’t want to set a specific timeline (he never wanted to keep them ‘indefinately’) but respected the wishes of the Iraqi government. Obama bucked that respect by trying an end around them to keep troops there, but because Bush had signed the agreement he was forced to abide by it.

There is still a large presence, as I’m sure you’re aware, but it no longer seeks to engage in combat.

Oh yeah, I’m aware. More of the same we have seen from the US for decades that has caused us all of these problems we have been having since then. Unfortunately, most americans think we are ‘out of Iraq’. Just as they will think that we are ‘out of Afghanistan’ when we will be leaving thousands of troops behind.

Unrest continues in places like Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere. Thanks to the Obama administration, we have given them the opportunity for self-determination. What they choose to do with their freedom is up to them.

LOL, no it isn’t… Obama is picking their sides trying to make sure that the ‘right side wins’. That’s anything BUT self-determination.

Do you really think Bin Laden should have been captured alive? I don’t.

100% yes. Why do you think that the US has the right to kill whoever it wants without a trial? Even Obama *SAID* yesterday that we should be trying to capture first, but again we get the fluff and f***, it’s not what he really means, just what he thinks people want to hear right now.

Of course, I still remember the left going crazy when it was rumored that Bush tried to kill Saddam at the beginning of the Iraq war, but hey, once the president changes parties, so do all of the ‘principles’ and arguments, don’t they?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 10:03 AM
Comment #366501

AD: A characteristic of a good (leader) President is that you can generally trust that what they are saying to the public has some relationship to the actual truth or how they really feel. “Trust” does not mean that they aren’t politicians or that they don’t occasionally omit. My (strictly personal) feeling for the Presidents during my voting career:

Trust
1. Ford
2. Carter
3. Reagan
4. George HW Bush
5. George W. Bush

Not Trust
1. Nixon
2. Clinton
3. Obama


President Obama reminds me more and more of Nixon, both in truthfulness and charm.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at May 24, 2013 10:06 AM
Comment #366502

Rich
“I have asked a lot of people opposed to Obamcare for the reasons for their opposition. Quite frankly, they usually aren’t able to articulate any specific reasons. Just some vague idea about government involvement in health insurance.”

Not everybody is willing to give up rights to possibly save a buck or two. Not everybody believes freedom of choice means being able to choose only from what government permits.

The poor history of government control of private lives speaks for itself. The programs are ran poorly and inefficiently. They are full of fraud, waste and abuse. They dictate and control lives. They create a culture of dependency. They only grow larger and more intrusive into our personal lives.

IMO, aside from ‘Obamacare’ taking away freedom of choice, the most worrisome thing it will do is dictate and control our personal lives and how businesses operate, in order to ‘save money.’ Bloombergs nazi tactics with soda will look like childs play.


“those who foot the bills are concerned about themselves as well as others”

Those others however, are only concerned about themselves.

“No need to worry about guns with me. I would never allow a gun in my house.”

But yet you have no problem using government to use guns on others to force them to do what YOU think is best for them.
You’re such a saint Phx8.

Posted by: kctim at May 24, 2013 10:11 AM
Comment #366508
As Ed Krayewski noted yesterday, not everybody was impressed by President Obama’s national security speech, in which he vowed to make himself be extra specially careful when raining death from the sky on suspected terrorists (and collaterally damaged civilians), including American citizens, with drones. Sen. Rand Paul may have been the pithiest, when he remarked, “I still have concerns over whether flash cards and PowerPoint presentations represent due process.” At greater length, the American Civil Liberties Union also expresses some doubts that “Presidential Policy Guidance,” whatever in hell that is, is the same as due process.

Says, in part, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU:

To the extent the speech signals an end to signature strikes, recognizes the need for congressional oversight, and restricts the use of drones to threats against the American people, the developments on targeted killings are promising. Yet the president still claims broad authority to carry out targeted killings far from any battlefield, and there is still insufficient transparency. We continue to disagree fundamentally with the idea that due process requirements can be satisfied without any form of judicial oversight by regular federal courts.

President Obama tells us, “I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or with a shotgun — without due process,” but his idea of “due process” still seems to involve little more than a concerned expression. After all, in the same speech he fretted that court oversight of drone use “raises serious constitutional issues about presidential and judicial authority” in a way that just unilaterally choosing asassination targets somehow doesn’t, and that even “an independent oversight board in the executive branch … may introduce a layer of bureaucracy.”

Oh, and the ACLU isn’t too impressed by Obama’s vow to, eventually, transfer Guantanamo detainees elesewhere, either. While applauding the promise, Romero notes, “While the president expressed appropriate concern about indefinite detention, he offered no clear plan for ending this unconstitutional policy for those who have not been tried or cleared for release.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 11:03 AM
Comment #366509

“But apparently you have no trouble ordering guns be sent to mine.”

“But yet you have no problem using government to use guns on others to force them to do what YOU think is best for them.”

Contact a mental health professional.

The AUMF, passed by Congress, gives legal justification for killing enemy combatants, especially Bin Laden:

“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

Saddam Hussein was the leader of his country. We supposedly do not assassinate foreign heads of state. Troops killed his sons in a firefight, but captured Saddam Hussein. Saddam, a Sunni, died hearing Shias chant the name of a militia leader, Moqtada Al-Sadr.

After that, everything went really well.

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2013 11:37 AM
Comment #366510
Contact a mental health professional.

I’m thinking that you should take that advice yourself. You can’t seem to grasp the concept of what we are talking about… You abhor violence but have no problem ordering others to commit violence in your name. And you don’t see the difference…

The AUMF, passed by Congress, gives legal justification for killing enemy combatants, especially Bin Laden

Legally justified and Morally Right are two different things. bin laden should have been captured because it is the right thing to do and it proves to other countries that we follow our own rhetoric and ideals of holding ourselves to higher standards. Killing him just proves we are what they say we are…

After that, everything went really well.

Because we hung around and tried to make Iraq a new US State. We should have left once Saddam was out of power and let them figure it out for themselves, which is the only way it was going to work. Unfortunately, Bush and his administration wanted to keep Iraq looking just like British colonialists made it look all those years ago. It should have been left to decide that for itself.

Just as Libya should have been left for it to decide for itself. We are not the ones who should be making countries be what we want them to be through military might.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 12:03 PM
Comment #366511

BTW, I abhor violence too, which is why I subscribe to the Non-Aggression Principle. In fact, all Libertarians have to agree to that principle when joining the Libertarian Party. Something the Republican and Democrat parties can’t do because they both have authoritarian aggression based platforms.

[The NAP is] a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate. NAP and property rights are closely linked, since what aggression is depends on what a person’s rights are. Aggression, for the purposes of NAP, is defined as the initiation or threatening of violence against a person or legitimately-owned property of another. Specifically, any unsolicited actions of others that physically affect an individual’s property or person, no matter if the result of those actions is damaging, beneficial, or neutral to the owner, are considered violent or aggressive when they are against the owner’s free will and interfere with his right to self-determination and the principle of self-ownership.

In contrast to nonviolence, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violence used in self-defense or defense of others. Many supporters argue that NAP opposes such policies as victimless crime laws, taxation, and military drafts.

In other words, people should be free to live their lives as they see fit unless they are violating the rights of others to live the same.

You may abhor guns in your house, but you don’t see a problem with using those guns to force others to acquiesce to decisions about their lives that you make for them. This is abhorrent to someone who actually believes in non-aggression.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 12:14 PM
Comment #366512

Rhinehold,
If you are committed to non-aggression, look into Buddhism, or take a yoga class.

On another note relating to the original article:

CNN poll for this week showed Obama’s approval rating rose two points, to 53%. The Democratic Party saw its polling numbers increase by a net 11%, to a 52-43 favorable/unfavorable rating. Republicans saw their numbers fall to 35-59. That 59% unfavorable rating for Republicans is the highest since CNN started polling in 1992.

Now, what was that you all were saying about scandals? Please. Don’t stop. Do go on. Why, even Karl Rove says Congress will “ask more questions” about Benghazi, and that will eventually corrode those approval/favorability ratings. Keep it up!

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2013 12:30 PM
Comment #366513
If you are committed to non-aggression, look into Buddhism, or take a yoga class.

I’m a Taoist and follower of the Dalai Lama. And a Libertarian. Not sure of your point though, it doesn’t change anything I’ve stated…

Your political policies are literally telling those with guns to put them to the heads of others and make them do something that you want them to do. How are you any different than a slaver exactly?

Now, what was that you all were saying about scandals?

‘you all’? I am not sure about anyone else, but I understand that the president’s approval ratings will probably not change unless it is found out to have been involved in any of the scandals. That really doesn’t change anything though, does it?

Like I said previously, there are people who are so invested in this president that unless he was strangling a puppy on the WH lawn, they would not care what he did or was involved in. And if he did strangle a puppy on the WH lawn, a good percentage of them will try to blame the Republicans for it.

I feel sorry for those people, but that’s the nature of human beings I guess. Rabid partisanship at the expense of human rights and promoting authoritarianism is the nature of the Democrat beast.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 1:03 PM
Comment #366514

BTW, when we do a look at multiple polls, we see some different results. I see anywhere from a 53% approval to a 43% approval (with 51% disapproval) for the President. I also see changes in Republican/Democrat approval ratings. I find these largely irrelevant and inaccurate for the most part.

Certainly not anything to use to say ‘we shouldn’t keep looking at what was done wrong, who was responsible and why did it happen’. Nor does it take away from the mass unconstitutionality/ethical violations that have occurred. It just means that many people are more interested in political power (ie, being able to be the ones to direct where the guns are pointing) than they are in being responsible human beings…

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 1:09 PM
Comment #366515

“If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 1:20 PM
Comment #366517

A government willingly involved in punishing its own citizens for political reasons is unworthy of remaining in power - Royal Flush

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2013 3:05 PM
Comment #366522

Rhinehold,
The Dalai Lama recently came to Portland. A friend of my daughter’s is a huge fan, along with a friend who could not attend, and she had the opportunity to ask the Dalai Lama a question on behalf of that person: “If you could tell the next Dalai Lama just one thing, what would it be?”
He said it was a stupid question.
She was crushed.

Meanwhile, Obamacare is looking better and better. California released the rates for private health insurers participating in the state exchange. Competition is working as intended, and the rates are very good. This article provides details:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113289/obamacare-california-no-sticker-shock-here#

Same thing has happened in Oregon. The state exchanges will make affordable insurance available to all, with a sliding scale to make sure it’s affordable regardless of income. This is brilliant.

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2013 4:02 PM
Comment #366523

Phx8

Yeah, I heard we will be paying “only” around 13% more.

Posted by: CJ at May 24, 2013 4:28 PM
Comment #366524

C&J,
What do you think of the prices mentioned in the linked article?

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2013 4:30 PM
Comment #366525

phx8,

The strange thing about the California health exchange offerings coming in at “best case” scenarios is that many conservatives will be disappointed. They seem so invested in Obamacare failing that they fail to realize that a substantial element of Obamacare is the establishment of a competitive market for private health insurance. If they had allowed for a national market, as originally proposed, the full force of market place competition could have been brought to bear on private health insurance contracts.

The success of Obamacare depends upon market place competition. At it’s heart, Obamacare has always been a conservative approach functionally. Much of conservative criticism seems to me to be an example of cutting your nose off to spite your face.

Posted by: Rich at May 24, 2013 4:39 PM
Comment #366526

Rich,
Well said. I would have preferred universal health care, but Obama never ran on that in 2008, and he always favored Obamacare- a hybrid, as you mentioned. I never understood why health care should be attached to employment in the first place. Why should businesses even be in the picture? These state exchanges will work well by providing a competitive market, with millions of new potential clients making the need for competitiveness compelling. The federal government will subsidize the transition for a few years. Why some states would refuse to implement this boggles the mind.

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2013 4:54 PM
Comment #366527

The federal government will subsidize the transition for a few years. Why some states would refuse to implement this boggles the mind.
Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2013 4:54 PM

The answer is contained in your statement regarding temporary government “subsides”.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2013 4:58 PM
Comment #366528

Rich, here’s the problem…

Full competition in the health insurance industry is a great idea, something I fully support. Businesses being the provider of health insurance has been part of the problem all of these years.

The problem is that in addition to achieving that (which could have been achieved without Obamacare) what has happened is that minimum required levels of coverage are now legally required. Meaning that many things that are not applicable to many people are still required to be in those offerings.

For an example, I use my specific case. My wife and I cannot have children. But any health insurance I buy, from anyone, HAS TO HAVE IT IN. It’s a big cost, to cover us for something we will never use. But we aren’t allowed to choose, or shop, for better insurance because of the laws.

In addition, the decision on what will be the minimum requirements of coverage are being decided upon a non-elected, appointed, official.

The fact is, better results could come from a truly competitive health insurance AND health care environment, but that has always been blocked by progressives who want to keep the government involved. They see this as a way to have the best of both worlds, but it is unsustainable. Because the real competition isn’t really there. Sure, you can choose from a small list of ‘approved’ insurance providers, but to do so they have to go through so much red tape that a smaller number of insurance providers will exist, they will be larger ones who can absorb those costs, and they will not be nearly as effective at providing quality care and they will have less competition, which will diffuse much of the benefit that people think is going to occur.

In the end, we have a bloated huge program that is going to increase governmental spending (requiring more taxes to pay for) that will not be as effective for the individuals as a streamlined non-governmental solution would have been.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 5:00 PM
Comment #366529
I never understood why health care should be attached to employment in the first place. Why should businesses even be in the picture?

They shouldn’t, but they are because of governmental unintended consequences of salary freezes during the great depression, coupled with tax incentives for businesses to keep them there once the advantage of them was no longer there.

Ie, it’s a problem created by government that somehow government has determined it is the only one capable of fixing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 5:02 PM
Comment #366530

Royal,

Government has been subsidizing employer group health insurance for years. It is by far the largest tax expenditure of the federal government. It may be silent but its real.

Posted by: Rich at May 24, 2013 5:13 PM
Comment #366531

Ie, it’s a problem created by government that somehow government has determined it is the only one capable of fixing.
Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 5:02 PM

Absolutely correct. And, this is one of the primary reasons for excessive health care inflation over many years.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2013 5:14 PM
Comment #366532
Another factor in these states could be a commitment to Obamacare’s success—a commitment that spans the political, business, and medical leadership. In California, for example, the legislature gave Covered California the authority to be an “active purchaser”—that is, to negotiate bids aggressively, even if that meant narrowing the options consumers have in the end. By all accounts, Covered California used that authority—demanding that some plans lower bids or broaden physician networks to ensure access

You can see the reasons why the premiums ‘look’ attractive initially, but it won’t last, I’m afraid. Some insurers are ‘firesale’ing their policies initially to get a broader market share and then when the competition dies away, up go the prices to recover. In addition, the state is mandating rates be low, which works to make it look good, until the insurance companies can no longer afford it and then… well, we’ll see.

I mean, it’s simple Econ, but don’t worry, so few people actually understand how these things work, California will make it look good, even if it further bankrupts the state.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 5:16 PM
Comment #366533

Government has been subsidizing employer group health insurance for years. It is by far the largest tax expenditure of the federal government. It may be silent but its real.
Posted by: Rich at May 24, 2013 5:13

True, and obamacare is more subsidizing. Decouple insurance from employment and pass the subsidy to the individual and allow the individual to choose among competitors what coverage they wish to purchase.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2013 5:17 PM
Comment #366534

“In the end, we have a bloated huge program that is going to increase governmental spending (requiring more taxes to pay for) that will not be as effective for the individuals as a streamlined non-governmental solution would have been.”

These drastic tax increases, coupled with the inevitable drastic premium increases, will have people begging for government ran health care.

Posted by: kctim at May 24, 2013 5:42 PM
Comment #366535

BTW, looks like Lois Lerner is in some hot water…

http://aclj.org/free-speech-2/jay-sekulow-letters-of-intimidation-to-tea-party-groups-from-lois-lerner-irs-director-exempt-organizations

We now know that Lois Lerner, the Director of Exempt Organizations for the Internal Revenue Service - who refused to testify before a House committee by invoking the Fifth Amendment - has a paper trail that reveals her direct involvement in sending intrusive and harassing questionnaires to Tea Party groups in 2012.

Consider the timeline. We now know through her own testimony and from the Inspector General’s report that Lerner was briefed about this unlawful targeting scheme in June 2011. But nine months later, beginning in March 2012, she sent cover letters to many of our clients - demanding additional information and forwarding intrusive questionnaires. In fact, in March and April of 2012, Lerner sent 15 letters to 15 different clients (including those who were approved after lengthy delays and those who are still pending)

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 5:51 PM
Comment #366537

BTW, phx8, United Health, Aetna, and Cigna have opted out of the California insurance exchange…

That means millions of Californians who will have to choose health insurance from exchanges or face a penalty will not be able to pick plans from those three big insurers – signaling limited options ahead thanks to Obamacare.

Many people in California are going to be forced to change health insurance companies, not just plans.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 6:24 PM
Comment #366538

Thanks for that info Rhinehold. It should tell us something when these big three opt out. Surely they are as competitive as any. What do they know that others don’t?

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2013 6:27 PM
Comment #366541

Phx8

Re prices - people who already have health insurance and are reasonably happy with it will pay more and/or get less.

In the great scheme of things, you might credit Obama with extending coverage to more Americans. He did this by making the majority pay more and get less. I am sure he thinks this is okay. But he lied about it when selling the original idea.

Obama said we won’t pay more and we could keep our insurance if we were happy. These things are not true for most people.

Posted by: CJ at May 24, 2013 7:07 PM
Comment #366542

To reiterate what I was saying earlier about the ‘fluff and f***’

President Obama’s big speech on the future of the war on terrorism yesterday contained a contradiction that threatens to tie his counter-terror policy in rather thick knots. First he said he prefers to capture detainees instead of killing them. Then he recommitted himself to closing the Guantanamo Bay facility that houses those detainees — without offering an alternate prison. Welcome to a paradox.

Obama turned more than a few heads by declaring his “strong preference” for “the detention and prosecution of terrorists” over sending an armed robot to end their lives. It’s hard to know what to make of that. The simplest interpretation is that it’s a lie. Whatever Obama’s preferences are, he has killed exponentially more people than he has detained and prosecuted.

Obama definitely prefers to prosecute terrorism suspects who are Americans inside the United States. But overseas, outside the declared battlefield of Afghanistan, the only major terrorist he detained and tried criminally is the Somali Ahmed Warsame.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/05/detention-fubar/

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2013 7:39 PM
Comment #366548

Rhinehold,

Cigna, United Health and Aetna only account for 7% of the current individual health insurance market in California. The major providers who account for 87% of the market (Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente) have chosen to participate in the exchange.

Read more: http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2013/5/23/aetna-cigna-unitedhealth-opt-out-of-state-insurance-exchange.aspx#ixzz2UGmkXrvK

Posted by: Rich at May 24, 2013 11:01 PM
Comment #366549

“Decouple insurance from employment and pass the subsidy to the individual and allow the individual to choose among competitors what coverage they wish to purchase.”

Royal,

I only wish that during the debate on health care reform, Republicans had seriously pursued that proposal as an alternative.

Most Americans have no clue as to what conservatives are proposing as health care financing reform. Doing away with group employer health insurance, which is relied upon by 61% of American families, and replacing it with an individual tax credit would be a huge shock to the American public and would be quickly followed by calls for a national universal insurance program.

Posted by: Rich at May 24, 2013 11:21 PM
Comment #366550

Rich

Most Americans still have no idea what liberals proposed or even what REALLY is in ObamaCare.

Conservatives did not think it was a good idea to pass the legislation in general. It is true that liberals pushed it through, against opposition from more than half of Americans.

Even w/o conservatives taken part, Democrats could have included smart “conservative” ideas, such as expanding health savings plans, reforming torts or creating more efficient markets for health care plans. Perhaps if they seriously considered such things, some conservatives would have come around.

If you recall the health care debate, Democrats worked only to get enough Democrats to vote for this thing. They had the power to push it through w/o Republicans. This they knew and this they took advantage of. Now they got this system that nobody likes.

Posted by: CJ at May 25, 2013 8:05 AM
Comment #366553
They shouldn’t, but they are because of governmental unintended consequences of salary freezes during the great depression, coupled with tax incentives for businesses to keep them there once the advantage of them was no longer there


The great depression Rhinehold? According to WIKI it was the war labor board that allowed benefits to not be counted as salary.
” The first employer-sponsored hospitalization plan was created by teachers in Dallas, Texas in 1929.[18] Because the plan only covered members’ expenses at a single hospital, it is also the forerunner of today’s health maintenance organizations (HMOs).[18][19][20]

In the 1930s, The Roosevelt Administration explored possibilities for creating a national health insurance program, while it was designing the Social Security system. But it abandoned the project because the American Medical Association (AMA) fiercely opposed it, along with all forms of health insurance at that time.[21]
The rise of employer-sponsored coverage

Employer-sponsored health insurance plans dramatically expanded as a direct result of wage controls imposed by the federal government during World War II.[18] The labor market was tight because of the increased demand for goods and decreased supply of workers during the war. Federally imposed wage and price controls prohibited manufacturers and other employers from raising wages enough to attract workers. When the War Labor Board declared that fringe benefits, such as sick leave and health insurance, did not count as wages for the purpose of wage controls, employers responded with significantly increased offers of fringe benefits, especially health care coverage, to attract workers.[18]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance_in_the_United_States

“The National War Labor Board was reestablished by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on January 12, 1942 under the chairmanship of William Hammatt Davis….”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_War_Labor_Board

Posted by: j2t2 at May 25, 2013 9:52 AM
Comment #366556

j2t2,

I’m not sure about what part of what I said you are concerned about… unless I’m mistaken, we were still in the ‘great depression’ during WWII… When do you say the great depression ended? Perhaps thats the real quibble, defining the end of the great depression and debate over a year or two of history? Was it when we entered WWII or when WWII ended? It was still FDR who implemented it…

The salient fact remains the same, government wage freezes created the environment for business to attract workers with benefits, health insurance being one, retirement plans being another. By the time the WLB was disbanded in 1946 the practice stuck.

That is why we have business provided health insurance today.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 25, 2013 10:43 AM
Comment #366558

Rich said:

“Cigna, United Health and Aetna only account for 7% of the current individual health insurance market in California. The major providers who account for 87% of the market (Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente) have chosen to participate in the exchange.”

Once again, nothing is as it appears; while it is correct that these Ins Companies in sure private individuals; the 87% coverage is considered “Cadillac Plans” provided to unions. I is these unions who are now frantically campaigning to be exempted from the Obamacare rules. If you remember, here are penalties for the “Cadillac Plans”.

The 7% (Cigna, United Health and Aetna) are bailing before they will be required to provide health Ins for illegals and low income, who are not union employees.

The sad thing is, that these insurance companies were in full support of Obamacare as long as they thought the government would force people (who did not want it) to buy insurance.


“I only wish that during the debate on health care reform, Republicans had seriously pursued that proposal as an alternative.”

Obamacare was written up under the name universal healthcare long before the Democrats rammed it down America’s throat. This monstrosity was printed up long before it hit the floor of the Congress. I was passed by the Democrats with no votes from the Republicans and no input from Republicans. Sorry Rich, once again, you are pushing the democrat talking points.

Posted by: CasperWY at May 25, 2013 10:59 AM
Comment #366570

C&J,

Come on! One of the key proposals of the Democrats was for the creation of a national market for individual insurance contracts. A strong market with competition was the idea. Pretty consistent with conservative concepts. But, did Republicans embrace the idea? No, they worked to weaken the national market concept limiting it to state exchanges. They even denigrated Romney for the idea in MA. Why? In my opinion, to weaken the impact of Obamacare by putting responsibility for implementation into the hands of Republican controlled states which would refuse to participate in the process. A purely political strategy.

This opposition to a national market model is frequently overlooked by critics of Obamacare. In fact, conservatives have even been working to avoid implementation of the markets at the state level. In addition, they direct attention away from discussion of the markets as though it were some “socialist” idea. Hell, it was their idea to begin with.

What is ironic is that Republicans were promoting the “across state lines” national market model at the same time that they were gutting the provisions in Obamacare for that very concept. The only real substantial difference between the two concepts was that the Democrats’ national market proposal came with true minimum national standards. The Republican proposals came with an interesting legal twist that would, in essence, adopt on the federal level, the minimum standard of the state in which the contract was issued. Thereby guaranteeing that the least restrictive standard would prevail in the national model. A little recognized sleight of hand.

Yea, sure, Republicans were willing to cooperate with Democrats.


Posted by: Rich at May 25, 2013 6:03 PM
Comment #366573

Yea, sure, Republicans were willing to cooperate with Democrats.

Posted by: Rich at May 25, 2013 6:03 PM

As I recall Rich, the dems needed no help from Reps in passing obamacare. Why then, didn’t they legislate and pass what they supposedly really wanted?

Rich wrote: “They even denigrated Romney for the idea in MA. Why? In my opinion, to weaken the impact of Obamacare by putting responsibility for implementation into the hands of Republican controlled states which would refuse to participate in the process. A purely political strategy.”

I believe in states rights Rich and what MA does is their business, just as it is with every other state. The big liberal lie is that individual health insurance is the sole province of the federal government. The Supreme Court ruled that it is the individual state’s business.

We have all witnessed how well the other three huge federal entitlement programs are doing…awash in red ink. Liberals wish to double down on a losing bet and give us another humungous federal entitlement program.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 25, 2013 6:42 PM
Comment #366576

No, Royal, the Supreme Court did not rule that insurance was the “individual states business.” It actually ruled the opposite. However, the subsequent McCarran-Ferguson Act limited the regulatory power of the federal government in insurance matters relegating it to the states unless it specifically decided otherwise. In other words, its all yours (states) unless we (Congress) decide otherwise in specific instances.

That is why all Republican proposals for “across state line” sale of insurance require an amendment to the McCarran-Ferguson Act invoking federal power of regulation. Otherwise, across state line sales would be a violation of states rights to regulate insurance sold to their citizens. The trick of Republican proposals is to designate the insurance standards of a state in which the policy is issued as supervening federal law and standards. Its a neat trick. Yep, there are federal standards for insurance contracts but they are the same as the standards of the issuing state. Sorry about your state’s right to regulate insurance. Sorry about having to swallow the least restrictive standards for your citizens.

Look, if you want across state line sales, then at least fess up publicly to what is required. Republicans are extraordinarily cavalier with dispensing states’ rights when it suits their needs. The difference is that Democrats want a true national standard not some silly sham federal standard of the less restrictive issuing state.


Posted by: Rich at May 25, 2013 7:38 PM
Comment #366577

Rich

“Come on! One of the key proposals of the Democrats was for the creation of a national market for individual insurance contracts. A strong market with competition was the idea. Pretty consistent with conservative concepts.”

Why didn’t Democrats just do it. They had the votes.

Posted by: CJ at May 25, 2013 9:41 PM
Comment #366579

Rhinehold, yes it is quibbling but with the propensity of those on the right as well as Libertarian think tanks to revise history and create myths I just wanted to get the facts straight. The wage freeze lasted 3 years at most. Blaming the government for the actions of the private sector as they try to circumvent laws is a bit extreme IMHO.
None the less the use of insurance as a benefit could have been short lived had the employers not benefited from it, as it wasn’t mandated nor was it widespread during the war effort.

As far as when the great depression ended it seems it was before we entered into the war. So IMHO using the great depression as the time frame, because it could lead to yet another far right myth, is incorrect.

” By 1939, the effects of the 1937 recession had disappeared. Employment in the private sector recovered to the level of the 1936 and continued to increase until the war came and manufacturing employment leaped from 11 million in 1940 to 18 million in 1943.[23]

By the end of 1941, before American entry into the war, defense spending and military mobilization had started one of the greatest booms in American history thus ending the last traces of unemployment.[32]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression_in_the_United_States

Posted by: j2t2 at May 26, 2013 8:37 AM
Comment #366580

j2t2

Yes, we all know that Hitler ended the Great Depression by creating the need to rearm and physically destroying people and property. This is a “successful” big government intervention. We probably don’t want to repeat this.

Posted by: CJ at May 26, 2013 10:41 AM
Comment #366586
Why didn’t Democrats just do it. They had the votes.

Liberals did not have enough votes to overcome the conservative filibuster so they had to cave to the whims of conservative Democrats.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 26, 2013 12:29 PM
Comment #366598

Warren

So liberals didn’t propose a conservative (but smart policy) because they were afraid that conservative Democrats would not go for it. So instead they passed a monstrosity that almost nobody likes.

Posted by: CJ at May 26, 2013 5:34 PM
Comment #366604

“So liberals didn’t propose a conservative (but smart policy)..”

C&J,

You know what happened. Warren didn’t really need to remind you. The “liberal” House version of the PPACA provided for a national exchange. It was proposed in the Senate by liberals but was compromised by conservatives. If it was just a question of a majority vote, it would now be part of the final law.

The Democrats’ plan was modeled after conservative proposals and the Romney plan in MA. Now, conservatives castigate the act as some liberal, socialist plot. Its not really hard to understand. Political power trumps principal.

“Yes, we all know that Hitler ended the Great Depression by creating the need to rearm and physically destroying people and property. This is a “successful” big government intervention.”

Once again, you are being disingenuous. You fully understand that the recovery of Germany from the Great Depression occurred before it actually used the arms to destroy people and property. However repugnant the eventual use of Hitler’s spending was, it remains a fact that it pulled Germany out of the Great Depression. Sweden is another example of a nation that quickly recovered from the Great Depression by huge government deficit spending. It didn’t use the fruits of that deficit spending on war. The common factor is enormous government deficit spending during a severe depression.

Posted by: Rich at May 26, 2013 7:52 PM
Comment #366605

Correction. Political power trumps principle.

Posted by: Rich at May 26, 2013 7:55 PM
Comment #366611

Rich

Re the Nazis and recovery - it is the point that I am making that the destruction was also part of the “recovery.” Merely spending the money did not do it. They destroyed productive capacity and killed many of the people who would have been unemployed or dependent. It was nasty business.

Re Sweden - it - like the U.S. - was selling material used in war. The Swedes happily sold to the Germans.

There was also the regimentation that made a difference. In the state of emergency, it was easier to control workforces.

You recall that the great liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith quipped “Hitler, having ended unemployment in Germany, had gone to end it for its enemies.”

I have been thinking about America’s WWII experience. Think of what we did. We drafted millions of young men into the military. More than half a million never came back. The others got lots of on-the-job training. They learned teamwork and made connections beyond their social circles and home towns. It was a big part of nation-building. We cannot repeat that sort of thing today.

I remember studying an Indian tribe. Anthropologists claimed that they had no juvenile crime. They were right. The tribe essentially imprisoned all youth from the time of puberty until they were around 20. Sometimes you can accomplish lots of stuff if you are willing to give up more.

Posted by: CJ at May 26, 2013 9:22 PM
Comment #366613

C&J,

There is still much debate among economists on the factors that caused the Great Depression and the factors that were related to recovery.

One of the more intriguing theories, in my opinion, on the long term post war recovery relates to the elimination of private sector debt during the war. It wasn’t just that government spent to full employment. Everybody, including women, were employed and had good income but the income couldn’t be spent on consumer goods. It was a sort of a de facto forced savings program. That resulted in a massive reduction of the enormous private sector household debt that marked the beginning of the Great Depression and impaired consumer demand in the years leading up to the war.

At the end of the war, not only was the manufacturing base vastly modernized and nationally integrated and the work force more skilled, but the household balance sheets of the private sector were repaired and capable of supporting expanding credit and pent up consumer demand.

Posted by: Rich at May 27, 2013 12:04 AM
Comment #366616

Rich

“It wasn’t just that government spent to full employment. Everybody, including women, were employed and had good income but the income couldn’t be spent on consumer goods. It was a sort of a de facto forced savings program. “

Yes. There were lots of factors having to do with extraordinary discipline and effort. You had the whole country working overtime AND everybody else’s stuff being wrecked so they had to buy from us for a generation.

We have to be careful not to draw more lessons than the lesson has to teach when it comes to economics.

The New Deal was largely a failure when it comes to economics and the artificial support of wages and uncertainty may have deepened it. Had FDR left office after his second term, history would have called him a failure. Wendell Wilke would have won the war and our relation with government would have been far different.

The greatest war until that time (WWI) created vastly unstable conditions that helped lead to depression. The Treaty of Versailles created an unsustainable debt regime. The greatest war in all history (WWII) created a different reality. We talk about little thinks like stock market crashes and miss the really big things.

Posted by: CJ at May 27, 2013 7:26 AM
Comment #366617

Rich

To continue the analogy of the war - there has probably been a time in your life when you had to work really hard, force yourself to go beyond your usual abilities. After that time, if successful, you are lots better off. You proudly talk about your achievements, but maybe don’t want to push yourself like that. Maybe you cannot.

During the war years Americans worked harder and longer; many died. People saved more and consumed less. They behaved as you would trying to push beyond your usual effort.

You mention people being paid more. Not really true. Some people got good pay, but they could not spend the money. There was nothing to buy.

SO, if we make all Americans work more (even the lazy ones), don’t let them buy all they want, physically eliminate a large part of the potentially unemployed, maybe after a few years of this we can live off the capital.

Posted by: CJ at May 27, 2013 7:49 AM
Comment #366618

C&J,

“SO, if we make all Americans work more (even the lazy ones), don’t let them buy all they want, physically eliminate a large part of the potentially unemployed, maybe after a few years of this we can live off the capital.”

What capital?

So here’s a dichotomy;
If we don’t allow people to buy what they want, then those that make what people want won’t be able to make those products and their jobs would be forfeit.

No company is going to continue to manufacture goods that people can’t buy, and no company is going to continue to employ people to make goods that people can’t buy.

Now… the people that make the goods can’t buy other goods, and so on and so forth.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 27, 2013 10:12 AM
Comment #366622

Rocky

I was referring to capital in the broad sense of human, physical and financial.

If I work out like mad and make myself super fit, I can live off that “capital” for a while and not require as much to maintain as I took to get there.

It is not sustainable if people cannot buy products. It is also not sustainable if people don’t produce enough value to justify being paid enough to buy products.

The WWII experience produced capacity to produce wealth that gave us the capacity to buy. if we just give the capacity to buy, the boom doesn’t last long.

To return to my analogy above, a person who works out to be fit can do more exercise and so can eat more while staying fit. If we just give the fat guy more to eat, it doesn’t produce the same result.

Posted by: CJ at May 27, 2013 11:10 AM
Comment #366630

C&J,

“To return to my analogy above, a person who works out to be fit can do more exercise and so can eat more while staying fit. If we just give the fat guy more to eat, it doesn’t produce the same result.”

If we take your analogy a step further we find that the compulsive exerciser does their body at least or more damage to their body as the compulsive eater.

There has to be moderation. Being fit is one thing, being compulsive is something else entirely.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 27, 2013 12:49 PM
Comment #366646

“You mention people being paid more. Not really true. Some people got good pay, but they could not spend the money. There was nothing to buy.”

I think that was my basic point, C&J. It was not simply extraordinary government spending supporting full employment. It was the forced saving aspect that may have been most important.

The war economy solved a basic economic conundrum of how to maintain and expand productive capacity when the consumer’s balance sheet was impaired. The government stepped in and became a consumer on steroids. The war economy provided for not only full employment and a huge expansion of productive capacity but the forced “opportunity” for households to save and deleverage from debt.

The Great Depression and the Great Recession share an important characteristic: an explosion of private sector household debt prior to the crashes. In both instances, private sector debt to GDP achieved modern historical highs.

Each presented a similar problem of how to maintain output when consumer demand has been substantially dampened by household balance sheets. The consumer needs to save and deleverage but in doing so reduces credit expansion and aggregate demand with the result of job destruction. A vicious trap.

Today, we cannot go on a war economy. But, we might be able to model some of the benefits of that type of economy during recessions with similar characteristics to the Great Depression. The prescription seems to me to be deficit spending of government on infrastructure, high technology and similar purchases with a long term benefit in order to maintain aggregate demand and jobs but combined with strong incentives for saving/deleveraging and disincentives for bubble type expansion. Support aggregate demand but meet the need of households to save and deleverage. That’s the trick.

Posted by: Rich at May 27, 2013 7:42 PM
Comment #366648

Rich

Great. Get people to work harder for less pay and permanently eliminate lots of workers.

It is not only the wartime economy, it is also the wartime itself.

We Americans were uniquely positioned to benefit from that particular war. We fought it on somebody else’s land, destroyed their stuff and got the rest of the world to pay us for all that.

But we also have a problem with discipline. During the war, lazy people were criticized and there was a lot of social pressure to work harder and consume less. I would dearly love to apply this sort of discipline to many of today’s layabouts.

Posted by: CJ at May 27, 2013 8:10 PM
Comment #368423

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