McDonnell’s Post-Electoral Pouting

By Peter Galuszka

It’s only three days after Virginia and the rest of the nation reelected President Barack Obama but already Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is acting like a petulant child.

Faced with the certainty of Obamacare, McDonnell appears to be tossing the responsibility of creating exchanges to help self-employed or people denied medical insurance for “pre-existing” conditions back to the federal government.

And since Obama’s reelection forces needed attention on the “fiscal cliff,” Gov. Bob is telling all state agencies to come up with 4 percent cuts because of the coming financial train wreck. This is only three months after the governor triumphantly announced that good revenue collection and unspent money meant Virginia has a surplus of about $450 million in its general fund, according to this Washington Times article.

The last few months have not been especially kind for ambitious, telegenic Bob McDonnell. His budget balancing (albeit with some smoke and mirrors such as pushing some expenses into the following year) had won him favorable nods from conservative scribes who opined he might just have national potential.

McDonnell then flirted like crazy with Mitt Romney to win a vice presidential ticket slot. Alas, it went to Paul Ryan who was cast as a more attractive thinker and policy maker than McDonnell, regarded as a mere manager.

Even worse, Bob couldn’t deliver Virginia for Romney come Tuesday. In other races, he barely held on to previous gains.

Now, McDonnell is pouting since his political clout is all but over. He can’t run again in 2013. He has blown any political capital he built up in the 2012 races. And what should happen if Kenneth Cuccinelli, dreaded as the bogeyman by mainstream Republicans like McDonnell, gets to be GOP gubernatorial candidate rather than friendly, likeable and loyal Bill Bolling?

Maybe this explains McDonnell’s little tantrums. On the call for state cuts, well maybe part of that is normal, but it is disingenuous for McDonnell to suddenly discover just after Obama’s victory that there is sequestration and tax changes a’coming!

No S–t, Dick Tracy, it’s only been common knowledge since the summer of 2011 when John Boehner and especially fellow Virginian Eric Cantor refused to compromise with the Obama Administration on debt ceiling issues.We’re paying for their intransigence. Obama deserves a good bit of the blame.

This has been known  for more than a year. Even so, McDonnell is launching into emergency mode conveniently days after the electoral shellacking. It seems especially odd since we all thought the state budget was in such wonderful shape (of course that was before the election).

As for ObamaCare, it is more of the politics of denial. Everyone knew about the exchanges — they can be set up by the feds, the state or a hybrid  — since the law passed. The McDonnells of the world dallied on making plans, saying they wanted to see what the U.S. Supreme Court said. Well, in June, the court upheld the vast majority of the bill. Then the McDonnells said let’s wait until the election because if the GOP wins, it might be repealed. Well, Obama won and the Republicans do not have the votes for a repeal.

So, Bob says he doesn’t know enough about it, as have Republican governors of a few other states.

Dilly, dally. Pout, pout.

35 Responses to McDonnell’s Post-Electoral Pouting

  1. He’s not the only GOP GOV with his head where the light don’t shine.

    So I have a question.

    Can the Federal Govt force Va (and other states) to come up with a plan to offer insurance to Virginians?

    Now before you answer, consider:

    Can the Feds make Virginia clean up it’s air and water or they will?

    Can the Fed make Virginia maintain the Interstate Highway system according to Federal Standards?

    Can the Feds make Virginia accept people into MedicAid?

    These health care exchanges – are very similar to the way the Feds offer health insurance to it’s own Federal Employees and that includes members of Congress – Mr. Cantor and company.

    Va could have done what Massachusetts and Mitt Romney done.

    Take the bull by the horns and do what needed to be done to cover it’s citizens and preempt the Feds from doing it.

    So what did Mr. McDonnell do ?

    well he’s spent a lot of time preening and posturing if you ask me.

    He could not or would not find a way to help Va citizens get health insurance so he blathered on and on in opposition to it – living in the “wait until a GOP President is elected” world and now has limited options other than stepping back and letting the Feds do it.

    He could make Va women get vaginal probes, sure enough but health care ? forget it.

  2. As I understand the law, each state can elect or to decline to establish a health care exchange. So Congress and Obama considered this to be an option. It’s my understanding that, if a state declines to establish an exchange, the feds will and will pay the costs. Some states have elected to establish their own (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia).
    Some states are not doing as such (Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin). Mississippi, Nevada and Utah have GOP governors. Missouri has a Democratic governor. I believe some of these states had voter referenda that bar participation. In a highly divided nation, why would you expect everyone to go in the same direction?

    And “No,” Larry, Congress cannot make the states expand Medicaid, according to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case that affirmed much of Obamacare as constitutional. While there is federal money to fund 90% of the costs intially, the federal funds go away. I’ve read several analyses that suggest states that do expand Medicaid will likey need to raise taxes or cut other spending to fund the expansion. That doesn’t seem prudent to me.
    Looks as if I am not alone in that view.

  3. Peter, you’re such a cynic. If McDonnell hadn’t taken these precautions, you’d criticize him for non-action. It is a case, quite literally, of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  4. Bacon!
    After that shameless suck-up to McDonnell on the C-ville bypass, you have the nerve to call me a cynic?
    SHAME ON YOU!

  5. The SCOTUS did rule that the Fed cannot make states expand MedicAid but if they voluntarily accept MedicAid – they have to provide minimum coverage that the Feds set.

    so my point was that the Fed can set standards for the states on a wide variety of things.

    The Feds cannot make states expand MedicAid but the Fed can do the same thing with MedicAid as it did with Obamacare and the health care exchanges…. if the states don’t do it – the Feds can.

    I’m not advocating this – just pointing out that the Fed currently does have the power to force states to either set up exchanges or they will do it.

    The SCOTUS ruling did significant damage to ObamaCare because it had planned on providing insurance to those who could not afford it – in an effort to ramp down people going to emergency rooms and/or waiting until they were so sick that they then qualified for MedicAid …

    the theory was that the savings from people NOT going to ERs for health care would accrue to those who currently paid for those ER visits via their own insurance premiums – which in turn – keep going up.

    but I digress…

    Virginia could have done what Massachusetts did – and not have to worry about ObamaCare at all – but just like with it’s own air and waters, “title” education of at-risk kids, flood insurance, FEMA instead of doing it itself, etc , it chooses to let the Feds do it.

    You cannot have it both ways. You cannot refuse to deal with the issues yourself and then turn around and blame the Feds for increasing spending.

    McDonnell could be a leader for Va on these issues instead of “pouting” about Fed “interference”.

    can’t have it both ways. Can’t not show some leadership and then blame the Feds when they do.

  6. But keep in mind Larry that the House needs to appropriate money. I know of many occasions where the House or Senate has refused to appropriate money for programs it didn’t like. It’s happened with Ds and Rs and to Ds and Rs alike. It can happen again.

    The voters opted for the status quo. They voted for the checks and balances in the system to work. They voted for some level of conflict in government. As I recall, a number of Democrats running for the Virginia state senate in 2011 campaigned for a Democratic controlled senate to check McDonnell and the House. If it’s OK for state government, why not the feds?

    There is a serious disagreement on health care in this country. Both sides will tug their way. Some things will reach consensus, but others won’t. I doubt whether Congress would vote to require an expansion of Medicaid.

  7. No.. I agree, Congress will not likely vote to expand MedicAid .

    I’m not sure the voters voted for status-quo gridlock.

    I agree the country is split on health care. But I think the country is also refusing to deal with realities. We have a system now where if you have a “good” job you get “benefits” and if you don’t you’re screwed in terms of health care.

    If the exchanges – walk and talk like the Govt FEHB does and I know you are familiar with it – people are not going to go back.

    that’s going to make it harder and harder to undo any of it.

    People don’t want free health care. They want jobs that allow them to buy it and insurance companies that will sell it to them are reasonable rates – like the FEHB does to govt employees.

    Why should Federal govt employees get their health care via the FEHB while others who work just as hard, maybe harder than govt employees, can’t get even what the Federal employees get?

    that’s not right IMHO.

    this is not “govt healthcare”. All the providers are private. there are no govt doctors, nurses or hospitals yet if you believe the folks who are in opposition – this is socialism.

    how can we reach solutions when FEHB is characterized as “socialism”?

  8. Larry, I don’t buy your argument. The FEHB is no different than the health insurance plans that private sector or other public sector employees have. It’s a fringe benefit that some people have and some people don’t.

    In theory, you could establish an insurance pool (exchange) and let those without insurance purchase policies. But, as I understand it, many people cannot afford to pay the premiums, but are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. So we are into redistribution (taking money from some for the benefit of others), something that many people don’t like – especially if they are already paying for some of their insurance premiums. Many see that as socialism or welfare. So we don’t have consensus. We have gridlock. This seems very natural to me.

    As I’ve written several times, this is a totally different situation from SS or Medicare. There, no one had the benefits of a retirement income or better health care coverage. So it was easier for FDR or LBJ to say, “let’s make a new social contract. Everyone pays more taxes and everyone gets a benefit they didn’t have before.” Had there been 401(k)s with broad coverage in Roosevelt’s day, I’m not sure he would have been successful in passing the SS laws. Americans are charitable, but hate welfare.

  9. TMT – do you see the FEHB as “redistributing” benefits when some get far more in benefits than others but everyone pays the same ?

    Why should Federal Govt employees get subsidized health insurance and not others?

    re: Medicare. Federal employees who turn 65 – what happens to FEHB?

    question: why did you pay payroll taxes for Medicare Part A but not Part B?

    bonus question: if you think Medicare is socialism – would you still buy it anyhow instead of going to the open market for insurance?

    My view is that there is a ton of hypocrisy on health care where the
    “haves” are more than happy to take community rating, subsidized insurance and at the same time more than happy to watch others not so lucky – go without.

    Make no mistake – those who get health insurance including Federal Employees – is subsidized in the tax code.

    what would happen if health insurance was no longer tax free for anyone OR .. EVERYONE got to write it off in their taxes?

    Why in the tax code, do you have to exceed 7.5% of your AGI before you can deduct out-of-pocket insurance costs if you can’t get it through your employer?

    we have a society of haves and have nots – and it’s not moral but the people who have it – are, IMHO, selfish and hypocritical to not acknowledge that the system is grossly unfair and punishes people for no other reason other than they can’t get employer insurance.

    we should have a more fair system and the “haves” should WANT a more fair system rather than selfishly holding on to what they have and denying it to others.

    not banging on you personally here.. as you know.. just venting.

  10. here’s an interesting map of what the states are doing with ObamaCare.

    Va is listed as a “likely partner”. Odd.. that’s not how McDonnell is sounding…..

  11. Larry, there are lots of differences in this world. I worked earlier for a company that offered a pension. Most companies had them years ago, so many older people are collecting them. Today, few companies offer pensions. Does every one with a pension have some obligation to those without?

    What about public schools? Should parents with children in public schools (includes me until June) be required to include the value of their kids’ education in gross income? Should we pay higher real estate taxes?

    7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income. I suspect much of the support for limiting deductions comes from the Democrats. I could support allowing the deduction of all premiums by those without insurance. But we need to keep the spending machine going.

    For the first years of my marriage, I provided health care insurance to my family. When my company downsized in 1997, we switched. My wife has provided coverage as a federal employee, and I contribute half her cost to our joint account.

    Obama and the Democrats saw an opportunity to give something to their constituents and have others pay for it. That’s health care reform.

  12. TMT – if the exchanges are implemented – it will provide every person access to community rated insurance without pre-existing need restrictions – the very same deal that your wife (and I ) got.

    All of those people who now have insurance (and many will pay premiums that will now be as “affordable” to them as is “affordable” to you and your wife and me and those folks will have the ability to regularly visit a doctor, catch disease in early stages and in general not have to rely on (and burden) ERs and MedicAid.

    the fact that you and I can get insurance without being turned down and get it at the same cost to others regardless of our conditions is more than an employer “perk”.

    Why is it okay for one set of people to be able to get insurance, tax free without being subject to pre-existing conditions and able to pay a community rate while others cannot?

    I see that as immoral. No everyone is able to work for the govt or a big employer who can afford health insurance.

    the world today is people working multiple jobs over the years as well as multiple jobs on a daily basis.

    We got those portable pensions you are talking about. Why can’t we have portable health insurance?

    don’t you see this in terms of why it’s moral for one set of people to “have” and others “not” no matter how hard they work or how many different jobs they have to take to provide for their families?

    the reality is that these folks get health care anyhow but they don’t get it until it’s very expensive and then the rest of us pay for it anyhow.

    I think those of us who are lucky enough to have it – have a moral responsibility to work for others to have it also especially those that work hard but are not fortunate enough to work for an employer than provides it.

  13. Uncle Sam will set up and run an exchange. Will it be self-sustaining except for administrative costs? Or will we need to subsidize premiums? I can support taxpayers paying reasonable administrative costs to operate an exchange. I don’t think we should pay to subsidize premiums any more than I think we should fund car payments or rent or college educations. But as I understand it, Obamacare goes much further and does subsidize all sorts of premiums.

  14. When you get into moral terms, how do you say other people cannot bring their moral views into politics? If A can argue we need to pay higher taxes to provide universal health care coverage because it would be immoral not to do so, why cannot B argue that universal health care should not cover abortions because it would be immoral to do so? Or fill in the blank.

  15. re: ” I don’t think we should pay to subsidize premiums any more than I think we should fund car payments or rent or college educations.”

    do you think you should subsidize ERs and MedicAid?

    if you had a choice between subsidizing ERs/MedicAid and ObamaCare and Obamacare ended up costing the same or less – but you did not have the option of not subsidizing either?

    re: ” When you get into moral terms, how do you say other people cannot bring their moral views into politics? ”

    that’s a good question but I again point out to you that we as a society think it is immoral to let people die on the steps on an ER or a child die because he could not get MedicAid for his care.

    are those moral questions also? Would you find it politically accepting to deny treatment to people at the ER, say a pregnant mother, if they could not pay?

    My view is that we play a game here. We do not have the guts to deny treatment at the ERs or tell a mom her child will die because she cannot afford an operation so we do pay for both because we find the alternative “morally” unacceptable.

    We are schizophrenic . If we stood on our avowed principles, of not “helping” others with taxes – we WOULD LET THEM DIE and that would be totally consistent principles.

    but our principles are totally inconsistent, schitzophrenic, hypocritical.

    Why not face the reality of what we do and what we say we do and find a solution that is not schitzo and hypocritical?

    We do not let people die in this country but at the same time, we are also willing to pay twice as much in taxes to not let them die because we lack the fortitude to recognize that direct subsidies for care on the front end – is cheaper than indirect subsidies on the back end

    Just purely from a fiscal point of view without morals, it is cheaper to subsidize on the front than the back.

    but we can’t bring ourselves to admit that we already are subsidizing so we pretend we are not …..and won’t.

    tell me where I’m wrong on this.

  16. Here is an excellent summary of changes that will come about as a
    result of the Affordable Care Act, to include an increase in the threshold of itemized deductions for health costs.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21957305/10-health-care-reforms-track-2013-after-obama

  17. I have several concerns that I hope Governor McDonnell will address immediately. 1) Allocate additional State resources to support community placements for individuals leaving the State training centers, mandated by the agreement between the US Department of Justice and the State of Virginia; 2) Merge the ID and DD Waivers and expand all Waiver services to individuals with developmental disabilities; 3) Support the full expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in the Commonwealth.

  18. @MoiraEve -

    Can you further explain 1. and 2.?

    3. – I thought McDonnell had already rejected. right?
    and/or the General Assembly would have to approve it?

    I don’t see that happening unless there is a big change of heart.

  19. Expanding Medicaid would likely force either tax increases or cuts to other programs once the original federal funding goes away. With the economy uncertain, except for the fact that Uncle Sam will be cutting spending and raising at least some taxes, it is not prudent to take on a new liability that cannot be reduce once expanded.

  20. One of the issues is that ObamaCare is complicated but it is thus so in no small part because the current system in place is so complicated.

    the following is excerpted from some of the changes that the Affordable Care act will make:

    2. The Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate will increase from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent on earnings over $200,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. When it comes to higher-income earners, there will also be a new 3.8 percent assessment on unearned income, such as investment returns.
    Effective date: Jan. 1, 2013

    3. Disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments will fall initially by 75 percent. These are annual allotments states pass on to hospitals that serve disproportionate numbers of low-income patients. Medicaid DSH also will be reduced.

    Subsequently, payments will increase based on the percent of uninsured persons hospitals serve and the amount of uncompensated care that is provided.
    Effective date: Oct. 1, 2013

    Now if you actually look DSH up, you’ll find that we ALREADY are paying taxes for these payments to hospitals for people that show up at their ERs:

    http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/cms/dsh.html

    so.. in theory – the increased MedicAid payments are being shifted from hospital care to physician care.

    and if the logic works as hoped – people going to physicians more often for routine care is going to be cheaper than not going to the doctor until disease has advanced and got much more expensive and then going to the ER where even routine care is more expensive.

    Now.. I bet not one person in 100 knows these specifics of the Affordable Care Act including the opponents both citizens and elected.

    To a certain extent it’s the fear of the unknown and the fear of change more than it is opposition to specific parts of the ACT.

    The “cuts” to Medicare during the recent election is a case in point.

    The Medicare Advantage programs are heavily subsidized private sector companies and the “cuts” were to these subsidies.

    These companies will have to suck up less profits OR pass on some costs – which is what should be happening anyhow because these Part C plans are essentially covering the 20% co-pay of Parts A and B that were designed originally to require some skin in the game from Medicare recipients.

    They could get their knee replacements but they owned 20% of the costs. With the govt-subsidized MediGap and Advantage plans, that 20% co-pay went away and people had much less skin in the game – sometimes no Skin in the game because the gap/advantage plans were so well subsidized that the costs of the premiums were no more than what people would pay for Part B alone.

  21. speaking of the Subsidized Part C Medicare – which Congress passed it?

    Why that would be the 105th Congress in 1997 – Public Law 105-33.
    otherwise known as the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 – overwhelmingly passed by a majority GOP Congress.

    Then Part D, another massively subsidized Medicare program – passed by another Republican Congress in 2005 with Tom Delay threatening fellow Republicans if they did not approve it.

    Make no mistake either – the Part C and Part D subsidies are 1/2 of the total Medicare costs that accrue from Part B alone. (Part A is covered by FICA taxes).

  22. If we are going to roll back Medicare – it should be for everyone right now.

    we hear a lot of talk about class and generational warfare. Dividing Medicare into two programs is generational warfare.

    we should have one program that is the same for everyone no matter your age.

    that’s the honest and forthright way of doing it.

    I know so many retirees that are very well off that take Medicare even though it is entirely voluntary and they could afford non-govt insurance but they take the govt insurance because it’s such a “bargain”. They own two houses, and three cars, boats, you name it and they pay a pittance for health care that provides them with 30K knee replacements.

    this is our problem. we need to fix this – not in 10 years but NOW.

    Most people might have to give up buying a new pickup every year so they could pay for their knee replacement instead.

    but instead – they oppose health care for others while they take their own heavily subsidized health care.

    this is what is wrong with our country.

  23. The political problem is that LBJ said if you pay your new Medicare taxes, when you turn 65 you get all these benefits. Johnson did not say if you make over X or have more than Y assets, you don’t get all those benefits. You only get Z.
    I don’t disagree with your analysis. But Democrats since the 60s have been saying this is a social contract. What’s a senior citizen to believe.

    • Of course. That’s how all wealth redistribution programs are justified. Politicians don’t say, “We’re going to tax everybody so that some people can be insured in old age.”. They say, “We’re going to let you into a government run insurance program. You’ll pay your whole working life but we’ll provide insurance once you are old.”. Then, the politicians bankrupt the program by buying votes with unaffordable free stuff. Finally, someone like LarryG comes along and says, “We’re not going to insure you after all because you own a boat.”.

      You wonder why people don’t trust government.

      • but again. Part A is prepaid through your FICA taxes but Part B (and C and D) are not.

        Can ya’ll keep this straight?

        What I’m advocating is that all seniors have access to Medicare Part B as they do now but all of them have to pay more for it and that yes, it be means tested because it is, at it’s heart a charity/entitlement and people who have a million dollars in assets can afford to pay what people with no assets cannot.

        We’re NOT talking about the Medicare Part A here which everyone pays for with their FICA payroll. We’re talking about massively subsidized Parts B, C, and D which anyone above the poverty level should pay for.

        what is bankrupting the program is selling insurance to seniors for 1/4 of what it should cost – voluntary, fee-for-service insurance.

        what you are “entitled” to is the ability to purchase it without being turned down. That alone is more than you’d get from private insurance and worth a heck of a lot to seniors who likely would not be able to get market-priced insurance at any price if they had a condition like heart disease.

        this is dumb. it’s not about ‘trusting’ the govt. It’s about abject ignorance of the basic Medicare programs.

        you can’t trust govt if you are too dumb to get educated about the issues.

    • but you do not pay ahead of time for Part B. Part B is not pre-paid and is entirely voluntary.

      What LBJ “promised” was Part A paid for through payroll taxes but it only paid for Hospitalization not providers.

  24. Bob McDonnell should remember that things could be worse. He could be David Petraeus.

  25. re: Petreaus

    this is the man the right wing said had better judgement than Obama , eh?

    :-)

  26. The goal of Medicare Parts B, C and D is no federal subsidies. The primary entitlement part of the program should be 1. – any senior is “entitled” to buy it and 2. – rates set according to income and everyone within each income segment pays the same rates.

    Beyond that – the premiums in combination with deductibles and co-pays should yield a program that does not require taxpayer subsidies.

    so get that program out of the “takers” culture war.

    let it be self-sustaining or minimal subsidies.

    the flood insurance program should operate similarly.

    the student loan program ditto.

    MedicAid is going to be a harder slog… unless we want to let indigent people die rather than cover them.

    Keep in mind that MediCARE does NOT cover long-term care nor nursing home care and that we still have people with significant assets gaming the system by passing their assets on to their kids and then relying on the govt to pay for their nursing care.

    that’s wrong.

    if you have significant assets – you should pay.

    even if you do not – your house – should be payment for your nursing care if that is your sole asset. That’s the same deal the Baptist Home and other church charities give.

    You move to their facility and sign over your home. that’s fair.
    taxpayers should not be paying for that.

    The problem with the GOP is that their war on entitlements is not a culture war against the CONCEPT of entitlements RATHER than reforming the systems. Instead they have chosen to make it a war pitting classes of people and generations against each other.

    wrong approach.. divides the country.. does not get to real solutions and simply ignores realities.

    REAL fiscal conservatives will work to bring each program into some level fiscal balance.

    It’s better to charge higher fees for Medicare to “save it” than it is to destroy the program and then lie about it to boot.

    • Your argument is circular. First, you admit that Medicare is going broke. You admit that the financing mechanisms are fatally flawed. Then, miraculously, you say we can trust government.

      It was our government which set up these broken programs in the first place!

      Meanwhile, you encourage the exact wrong behavior. You want people to spend all the money they make and save nothing. Those people will get more money in the entitlement programs once they are old enough to qualify. However, it’s countries like Germany and China (with high savings rates) that thrive. Why would you set up a system that encourages spending over saving?

      If the federal government wanted to do something useful, they would force people to save money. Take 5% out of every paycheck and buy T-Bills in an account with your name on it. Then, when you turn 65 give you your money. Not an annuity, not means tested insurance premiums – your money.

      Too many people in this country take no responsibility for themselves. They borrow and spend their way into personal insolvency. Then, they want the money that others have saved in the form of retirement payments, cut rate insurance, etc. If you earned a steady income but didn’t save anything for your older years – too bad.

      • DJ – my man you are myopic. ALL laws and regulations and funding mechanism ARE ROUTINELY UPDATED to reflect changes in those environments. It’s the rule not the exception.

        The Federal govt has ‘set up” the military, the FDIC, the NTSB, PBGC, the border patrol, the Coast Guard, FEMA, etc, etc, etc.

        and EVERY ONE has been updated/changed to accommodate changes. Your view is that if they have to change, they are “flawed”?????

        you mention “savings” in Germany which has what? They have mandatory savings for health care and pensions – like every other OCED country and including countries like Singapore and Hong Kong – they ALL REQUIRE mandatory payroll taxes for people’s health care and retirements AND they ALL have longer life expectancies as a direct result. Our friends to the North do it also and look at them. No elderly dying on ER steps and no elderly living in cardboard boxes under bridges.

        how is that “flawed”?

        DJ, have you heard of IRAs and 401K where people are encouraged to save their money – tax free on the front end?

        you’re confused about annuities also. they are not some govt “scheme”.

        they are, in fact, a common retirement option for many people who have saved and have a “fund”. You will find, for instance, that all of the military get an “annuity” when they retire. An annuity is basically taking a lump sum fund and converting it to a monthly payment with an insurance and survivor option. They are common in the private sector. Many who have IRA/401Ks will convert them to annuities when they retire.

        re: too many people won’t save- yes.. and what do we do about it ? and what can we do about it?

        are we really going to let people die on ER steps and live in cardboard boxes under bridges if they fail to save?

        people like you say we will – but we won’t. We do exactly what we do in health care right now. We PRETEND that if they don’t buy insurance (or can’t) that we will not help them later but we have these big massive programs called EMTALA and MEDICAID that do exactly that. We live in denial.

        no OCED country says “too bad”. Every single one of them has an insurance and pension mandate. You WILL save – that’s the law – payroll deductions are required.

        Every single one of us is going to get old – and die and for the vast majority of us, as we get older, we are going to get sick and need care. This is not a “maybe”. The only “maybes” are those that die early of an accident or horrible disease.

        the rest of us will use health care – not maybe, we will. And if some of us don’t save – guess what – you’re going to pay for their care. You say no – but the reality is you will.

        there is no will or backboard in this country to have the elderly die on hospital steps or live in boxes so what is a practical alternative?

        this is not some esoteric concept. EVERY SINGLE ADVANCED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD – deals with this the VERY SAME WAY.

        your approach is a 3rd world country approach. The only countries in the world that do it the way you advocate are 3rd world.

        as a country, we have folks who advocate reverting to 3rd world but in reality until I hear people like you advocate the outright REPEAL of MEDICAID and EMTALA I know you are not really serious but even if you did – you’d likely be in the 5% range of people who advocated that.

        Tell me how many Congressman, even Tea Party folks who have advocated repeal of EMTALA and MEDICAID? how many?

  27. errata:

    ” The problem with the GOP is that their war on entitlements is not a culture war against the CONCEPT of entitlements RATHER than reforming the systems. ”

    the GOP IS in a culture war against the CONCEPT of entitlements for SOME people rather than reforming the systems to bring them into balance – like we have for other programs and will continue to do.

    No one is talking about taking away military health care and retirements, have you noticed?

    someone can work for 20 years and never set foot in a foreign country much less a combat zone – and retire with full benefits at 20 years AND they will ALSO get Medicare! The military jettisons their retirees to the Medicare system just like other employers do.

  28. “No one is talking about taking away military health care and retirements, have you noticed?”.

    Because these benefits were part of an employment contract with the beneficiary.

    A Navy Commander with 20 years in the service makes about $100,000 per year. What would that same college educated and successful person make in the civilian world after 20 years with a company? Generally, a lot more.

    But the naval officer stayed in the Navy, in part, because of the benefits being offered.

    It would be grossly unfair to take away those benefits after the person stayed in the service (in part) based on the benefits.

  29. DJ – isn’t there a similar “contract” for other people who have worked also?

    why do you advocate taking away some people’s benefits that were part of their “contract’ and not others?

    Bonus Question: Do you consider the military’s use of MEDICARE to be part of that “contract”?

    what would you do instead?

  30. DJ – I assume you realize the the military pays into Social Security also, right?

    http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10017.html#a0=0

    would you change that also?

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