Feast to Famine

When Meredith Whitney speaks, Wall Street listens. Whitney is the financial analyst who first warned that the real estate crash spelled disaster for the U.S. banking system. In a new, 600-page report, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” she sounds the alarm for a second-wave financial crisis afflicting state and local government.

Whitney sees scary parallels between the fiscal condition of states/municipalities and the banks, including excess leverage, off balance-sheet financing, and a lack of transparency. As falling real estate values continue to undermine property tax revenues, and as federal stimulus funds dribble to a halt, she says, heavily indebted municipal governments will find themselves in deep trouble.

Two of the 15 states studied — Texas and Virginia — get positive ratings under Whitney’s rating system. That is reason for Virginians to take some grim satisfaction but no excuse to get complacent. We have issues galore to deal with, including rising Medicaid costs, schools that don’t teach, $620 million owed to the state retirement system, and a transportation-funding mechanism in worse repair than Interstate 95′s creaky bridges. Unlike previous economic recoveries, in which gushing revenues replenished state treasuries, Virginia will enjoy little respite from fiscal stress in the decade ahead.

The years of plenty have passed. The years of hardship are upon us. We can no longer afford government-as-usual. We cannot tinker on the budgetary margins with incremental process reforms and tweaks to line items. We must thoroughly rethink how we deliver government services. If we fail to do so, circumstances will force the harsh decisions upon us.

Even as Virginia’s lawmakers grapple with short-term challenges, they should not overlook a formidable long-term threat to the state’s fiscal well-being: a federal government hurtling toward its own ignoble demise. As I argue in my book Boomergeddon, by the mid-2020s, the federal government itself will be so deeply indebted that it is highly likely to go into default. Uncle Sam then will face a budget gap equal to some 40 percent of the budget, which it will try to close through some combination of cutting spending, raising taxes, repudiating the debt, or cranking up the printing presses. The result will be economic chaos, if not another Great Depression-style meltdown.

To some, the idea that the federal government faces default within 15 years smacks of “deficit hysteria.” But look at the facts. Even the Obama administration’s own 10-year budget forecast projects that annual deficits will never shrink below $700 billion, and that the national debt will increase by $8 trillion — to $21 trillion — by 2020. The International Monetary Fund declares that the ratio of U.S. debt to the size of its economy will reach 110 percent by 2015, about the same as Greece’s when its debt woes sparked Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

Moreover, President Obama’s forecast is based upon a number of optimistic assumptions, not the least of which is that Congress will stop spending money like a Valley Girl with daddy’s credit card. Making a different set of likely tax and spending assumptions, the non-partisan Concord Coalition sees total debt exceeding $28 trillion by 2020.

Obama’s economic growth forecasts are shaky, too. His 10-year projection assumes economic growth averaging 3.4 percent annually, with no recession — an economic performance comparable to the Internet-fueled boom of the Clinton years. But there is no sign of a boom in the making. Indeed, the U.S. will be fortunate to avoid a double-dip recession. Plugging different growth assumptions into the Obama model — 1 percentage point slower economic growth through the decade, plus a mild recession toward the end — yields a national debt of $29 trillion by 2020.

Likewise, the Obama budget model is highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. The president’s number crunchers assumed that interest rates on 10-year Treasuries will never climb higher than 5.3 percent during the 2010s. But if 10-year bonds returned to the rate of the early 1990s, around 10 percent, the national debt could exceed $36 trillion! If the federal government somehow survives the gantlet of the 2010s, it then faces the wave of 78 million retiring boomers as well as the drawdown of Social Security’s (anticipated) $4.3 trillion trust fund, forcing the Treasury to borrow trillions more.

Per capita federal spending in Virginia is seventh highest in the nation. When Uncle Sam defaults, Virginia will feel the anguish more than most. The commonwealth must begin now preparing for that day. Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring is a good place to start. But it will take a lot more than privatizing ABC stores to diversify the economy and bullet-proof the commonwealth’s finances.

(This column was first published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.)


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34 responses to “Feast to Famine”

  1. Obama did not put us here and the repeated personal slams against him makes this yet another ho-hum partisan rant in my humble opinion.

    Obama has not raised taxes – they are as low as they have been since the Clinton years Obama has not increased the size of government either.

    The main hit against Obama is the TARP (which he did not initiate) and the Stimulus – which he did with about 20 other G20 countries who all pretty much agreed that it was necessary even though it did push us closer to the edge.

    This is not an Obama-created problem.

    Worse.

    There is no advocated recipe (other than Ron Paul or Paul Ryan) for fixing it other than "cut".

    Even when major agencies like Education, Energy and Agriculture are lopped off 100% there is still 3/4 of the annual deficit still unmet.

    And none of the yahoos who inhabited Congress for 8 full years – did anything about any of this.

    Why do I bring them up?

    Because the answer being given by the Conservatives to arrest and reverse the current trend-line is to essentially put the same Yahoos back in control of Congress that were before who inherited a surplus and who did not send a single budget cut to Bush – not one.

    I do not object to the continued implication that this is an Obama problem because I think it is unfair to Obama – that's politics but the deeper issue is we are still about blame here and not specifics about what needs to be done.

    We hear "cut, cut, cut" but when you ask the Conservatives what they would cut to bring govt spending back into line with revenues – they go whacko and start talking about Medicare and SS which are a separate issue entirely and have zero to do with the other part of govt – the general govt funded by income taxes rather than FICA which are in deficit.

    It's not an honest dialog in my view.

    It's inherently dishonest and more about blame that answers because it seriously does not address the real issue.

    Ron Paul has it right.

    He says that you cannot have the size and scope and operations of a military that we do – and still take care of our domestic needs; No other country in the world has this much of it's budget devoted to non-domestic spending.

    Every time we manage to extract ourselves from the latest military mess – the war mongers manage to put us into another one and the same people start blathering about our "unsustainable" domestic spending.

    And folks – make no mistake – these are the SAME conservatives who want to cut Medicare and SS and cut taxes further and cut the non-military govt in half if they could.

    I could respect these folks if they were true Conservatives like Ron Paul and seriously interested in real answers – in specifics.

    Paul Ryan is the only Republican out of all of these yahoos that has bothered to put together a semblance of a plan and even though CBO says it won't be enough – it's a real start – in my view.

    Yet how many Republicans who say we need to cut have signed on to Ryans version of cuts OR bothered to compare their approach to Ryans

    …. as opposed to blaming Obama?

    that's the problem.

  2. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, Excuse me… how does my column "blame Obama" for anything? How is this column a "personal slam." That's all in your head!

    I cite the numbers in Obama's budget forecast, and then say that using different assumptions, we get very different results for future deficits. How is that "blaming" Obama?

  3. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    But Jim, Can you please detail for us how Obama is raising taxes. Perhaps for some but not for all. Plus, the federal income tax rate is the lowewst it has been since the 1950s. That is a fact.
    As you know well, my problem with your Boomergeddon default predictions is that they are so far out in the future that anything can happen between now and then. That fact limits the seriousness of making such long range predictions, especially when you are not an economist (neither am I, I know, but I would never go that far out and say flatly what you are and I don't think I know of many legitimate economists who would, either)).

    Peter Galuszka

  4. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Peter, what does "raising taxes" have to do with this post? Nothing.

    You do have a point that it is risky to make economic projections going out 15 to 20 years. But, then, it is risky for climatologists to forecast the climate 50 to 100 years out, but I don't recall you've ever expressed reservations about that.

    In response to the uncertainty associated with long-term predictions, environmentalists raise the "precautionary principal" — the consequences of global warming could be so catastrophic that we must act now, even in the face of imperfect knowledge. I would make much the same argument — the consequences of Boomergeddon would be so catastrophic that we must act now, even in the fact of imperfect knowledge.

  5. Here's what caught my eye and my ire – 5 separate instances of tying Obama to the impending disaster:

    " Even the Obama administration’s own 10-year budget forecast projects that annual deficits will never shrink below $700 billion, and that the national debt will increase by $8 trillion — to $21 trillion — by 2020. "

    " Moreover, President Obama’s forecast is based upon a number of optimistic assumptions,…"

    " Obama’s economic growth forecasts are shaky, too."

    " Plugging different growth assumptions into the Obama model …"

    "Likewise, the Obama budget model is highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. The president’s number crunchers assumed that interest rates on 10-year Treasuries will never climb higher than 5.3 percent during the 2010s. But if 10-year bonds returned to the rate of the early 1990s, around 10 percent, the national debt could exceed $36 trillion! "

    so Obama "owns" this problem according to the way this is written – lock, stock, and barrel… and WORSE … he's monkeying around with the numbers to make it look better than it really is.

    Like I said – so far out of all the Republican and Conservative yahoos blathering on about the big bad Obama deficit – only Ryan and Paul are focused on how to fix it…everyone else is having too much fun blaming Obama…

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    This round goes to Mr. Gross.

    Observer

  7. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jim,
    So I guess we don't get to learn your views on how Obama has raised taxes.
    As for your economic theories, bringing up global warming is a red herring designed to deflect my query which is how can you be so certain the U.S. will default when you say it will.
    To answer the question you put to me, I'd trust the science on global warming more than economic predictions because the data is based more on pure science. There has always been a debate about whether economics is a social "science" or a social "art." Of all the social "sciences" I guess you could say that it is the one closest to a true science. But it is nowhere as close to true science as, say, biology, chemistry or physics. Global warming falls more in that area.

    Peter Galuszka

  8. Groveton Avatar

    There is absolutely no personal insult against Obama in Jim Bacon's column.

    Of course he references the Obama Administration's estimates. That's who comes up with the budget. Whose estimates would you have him reference – John Adams?

    The Obama Administration's estimates are wildly optimistic. That's the only way he can excuse his "drunken sailor" spending habits. He conjures up a future economic nirvana to make his present excesses seem more tolerable.

    Unfortunately for Obama – time keeps marching on. His unmet promises keep coming due. His credibility continues to wane.

    Yet he continues with the same approach.

    When does the day come when we recognize that his plans are not working?

    The best thing that could happen for Obama would be a massive Republican victory in November. That way, his increasingly lame attempts to blame Bush forever can be replaced by blaming Congress.

  9. what has Obama spent ?

    Has he raised taxes?

    Has he grown the size of govt?

    a massive Republican victory will put the same yahoos back in charge that stood by for 8 years saying "tax cuts increase revenues" as the economy cratered?

    these are the folks that will put us back on track?

    what evidence do you have that backs you up on this?

  10. with regard to Climate science – I'd like to know if anyone thinks scientists of any/all disciplines "collude" about how they interpret data and present results and tweak their data to compete for more govt grant money?

    Virtually all scientists do this.

    The guys that predict hurricanes do this.

    Each one of those models that produces different results has different scientists theories and data embedded in it.

    Does the fact that none of the models predicts a hurricane track dead on 100% of the time mean they are all engaging in a grand conspiracy to defraud society and government?

    that's essentially what you climate skeptics are saying.

    ya'll are the modern day flat earth society using the modern day equivalent of drawing and quartering the heretics who dare claim that the earth is really not flat.

  11. Groveton Avatar

    "with regard to Climate science – I'd like to know if anyone thinks scientists of any/all disciplines "collude" about how they interpret data and present results and tweak their data to compete for more govt grant money?".

    http://bit.ly/am2KL1

    No doubt this distinguished professor of physics is a Ken Cuccinelli plant. I just wonder how Cuccinelli managed to get this guy planted before Cuccinelli was even born.

  12. I don't doubt for a minute that scientists themselves disagree.

    Heck.. the "scientists" who believe in Flat Earth not only disbelieved the "round earth" theory – they had them put to death for daring to agree among themselves that "round earth" was true.

    we have the same problem modern day.

    and I think it's downright hilarious that these scientists are "lying" so they can get rich on more govt grants….

    and of course the oil and energy companies – just like the cigarette companies before them have no money in the game.

    to this day – there is no evidence to prove conclusively beyond the shadow of a doubt that smoking cigarettes results in lung cancer 100% of the time but that did not keep the cigarette companies from carrying on a decade-long jihad against the "colluding" scientists that challenged them.

  13. I don't argue that global warming and ensuing catastrophe is a certainty much less that those who say it is possible are correct.

    I never have.

    I argue that to say that it will never happen because some the scientists studying it "lied" is dumb.

    It's a lot like saying that because you caught your Doctor lying that Medicine is bogus.

    I'm not sure how we got to this point but people are off the deep end ….

    In order for the accusation to be true – it requires a worldwide conspiracy of hundreds of climate scientists all of them lying their butts off so they can "get rich" getting govt grants…

    and this is why they are lying?

    this would be funny …except people believe it…

    so.. any group of scientists studying any subject .. would collude on a world-wide scale so they could get rich from grants?

    why only Climate Science?

  14. Groveton Avatar

    "so.. any group of scientists studying any subject .. would collude on a world-wide scale so they could get rich from grants?

    why only Climate Science?".

    Because Medievil poetry research doesn't generate billions of dollars of profit for some if its adherents?

    Follow the money.

  15. Groveton Avatar

    "and of course the oil and energy companies – just like the cigarette companies before them have no money in the game.".

    Everybody has money in this game – including you and me.

    Which is why public institutions like UVA should respect the freedom of information laws – especially when it comes to climate science.

    But they didn't.

    They lied.

    And Cooch stepped in.

    Good for him.

  16. "Because Medievil poetry research doesn't generate billions of dollars of profit for some if its adherents?"

    bogus climate science generates billions of dollars for lying climate scientists?

    I'm trying to follow the money guy….and it's hard to believe that people would engage in worldwide conspiracies to try to get rich on govt grants.

    now if the energy and oil companies were trying to buy science.. I'd believe it.

    you must be learning by now that "Mr. user-fees for schools and roads" is not your stereotypical "liberal" (I hope).

    I guess the next thing you're going to tell me is that all of these lying climate scientists are all socialists?

    and UVA is infested with them?

    ;=)

  17. re: Consistency in discussing deficits.

    There are existing and PROJECTED deficits.

    Govt spending is divided into two primary area – those areas funded by the income tax an those areas funded by FICA.

    There are different entities estimating current and future deficits.

    Last time I hear – Obama_Care was projected to SAVE MONEY and NOT ADD to the deficit.

    unless of course – one is picking and choosing different entities to report on existing and projected deficits.

    then that would be not so kosher in my view unless at least acknowledged ……

    but here's a question that perhaps Bacon knows the answer to and I'm not sure that I do.

    How much money is actually budgeted to pay for ObamaCare?

    and if, in theory, Obama_Care actually reduces the deficit as claimed in the projections I have seen – where do the revenues come from?

    I realize that the average person really does not care about the above questions and most have made up their mind – not on the facts – but on perceptions mostly based on sound-bites.

    by the way: " The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the net effect (including the reconciliation act) will be a reduction in the federal deficit by $143 billion over the first decade."

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

    so when it is stated that "Obama's own projections"… are we talking about something different than CBO?

    If we think CBO is a partisan entity – do we not trust them no matter what political philosophy we have ?

    Did we "trust" the CBO's deficit projections in the Bush Administration?

    Is there a more trusted, more authoritative entity that provides current and projected budget and deficit data?

  18. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, modest budget savings from Obamacare are built into the 10-year forecast. It's not a significant factor.

    Beyond the 10-year time horizon of the official forecast, Obama's people assert that the big savings will kick in. I spend the better part of a chapter in "Boomergeddon" explaining why that hope is misguided.

  19. Jim – it's just not clear when the current budget deficit and projected debt are discussed who the source of the data is and in a single paper – switching back and forth and using different sources for different sentences seems not designed to offer true insight but rather propaganda and/or a colored view not proclaimed as opinion but offered as if it is factual.

    that's a problem that I see more and more and I realize that I'm spitting upwind on this but it really does rankle me – not just with this President but on the issue in general.

    It leads to narratives that do not inform but actually do the opposite – promote ignorance.

    that's bad anytime you have differences of opinion about how the govt should work.

    long story short – people are entitled to their opinions but not their own facts and I'm seeing more and more dialogs where opinions are portrayed as facts when they are, in fact, not.

    The ONLY THING that Obama has done to increase the debt – is the stimulus – which is not a "misguided" understanding of econ 101.

    It is, in fact, a legitimate policy option – accepted as such by the G20 and unless one wants to believe that in addition to the worldwide conspiracy of Climate Scientists, there is a worldwide conspiracy of economists… in which case.. I wonder what the real purpose of any dialog is about on the part of those who suspect conspiracies.

    I digress here.

    If we are to discuss deficits and debt and govt spending and entitlements – we ought to be clear about it – and we ought to use consistent sources – apples to apples …or disclose when we are switching horses… in midstream.

    otherwise – in my view – it's mostly propaganda and not insight.

  20. Bonus question – what is the 10 year window ?

    do we project beyond it and if we do – under what circumstances?

    how about sunset provisions?

    how do they affect projections?

    how about reconciliation – done with both the Bush Tax Cuts and ObamaCare – how does that affect debt projections?

  21. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    While Obamacare will theoretically pay for itself (I am skeptical, but I defer that debate for another time), you have to realize that health care entitlements are funded by draining money from Medicare, first by reducing funding for the Medicare Advantage program, and second by phasing in reduced payments to hospitals.

    The Medicare Part A trust fund is scheduled to run out of money by the end of the decade. In theory, Obama could have taken the Medicare Advantage money and the "savings" from under-paying providers to bolster the longevity of the Medicare trust fund. But he didn't. Now those two potential sources for keeping Medicare actuarially sound are off the table. That will make it all the harder to save Medicare in the future.

    That may not constitute "deficit spending" or "increasing the debt" by your definition of the word, but it will make it far more difficult to avoid deficit spending and/or tax increases in the decade ahead.

  22. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    I did not mean to imply in the previous post that *all* of Obamacare would be paid for by short-changing Medicare. Just a very big chunk of it.

  23. I'm not sure the ONLY source of revenues is Medicare.

    Isn't Cuccinelli suing over the idea of adding FICA taxes to those who don't have insurance?

    Medicare Advantage is like Medicare Part D – a taxpayer funded subsidized benefit to for-profit companies – isn't it?

    I do not disagree that many parts of ObamaCare are problematical… it's a big complicated mess – should be no surprise given it's sausage-maker pedigree….

    and corrections (if not repealed) will be necessary just as they have been for Medicare and SS not the least of which is means-testing and retirement age.

    Obama_Care moves the ball forward when no one else moved it at all ….after 16 years of talking-the-talk and no action.

    Obama_Care was not expected to truly bend the cost curve right away – and not surprising in the interim that costs may go up in the transitional state.

    I'm a skeptic too.

    I just don't think the status quo was sustainable and something had to be done – and no one else would do it.

    "REPEAL" back to the status quo is crazy talk but 99% of the "pro-repeal" people have no alternative at all other than "ideas" much less a SCORED alternative that demonstrates a better approach than Obama_Care.

    Where is the SCORED ALTERNATIVE?

  24. re: very big chunk

    how about a rough allocation table showing the anticipated revenue sources?

    I'm pretty sure some is going to come from people paying …. that were not before..and others – paying more than they used to.

    You know – Paul Ryan says that we should make health care insurance a taxable benefit.

    what say you on that?

    finally – a small but very important distinction not often made and not realized by a large number of people.

    The definition of most insurance (except for "whole" insurance) is that you're not paying into a fund that you own and your heirs can inherit.

    you are paying for INSURANCE that will compensate you in the event of a loss.

    Social Security, Medicare and Obama_Care are ALL – INSURANCE – with coverage limitations and no re-compensation of money's paid into them.

    Why is this important?

    It's important because if you pay into it all your life and then die before collecting a penny in benefits – that's all you get (some minimal death benefits but no refund).

    And that means that actuarials rule … not only for SS, Medicare and Obama_Care but private insurance also.

    the difference is that private insurance can terminate you after 30 years of premiums as a business decision regardless of how much you paid whereas the govt does not dump you to keep their finances "balanced".

  25. the difference is that private insurance can terminate you after 30 years of premiums as a business decision

    =================================

    BS. That is the decision they are making is to let youpay for other peoples claims for thirty years, and then deny you your turn in the queue.

    The business decision they are making is to cheat you.

    It is their form of rationing.

    Insurance is just like any other form of renewable resource: considered as a long term stream of cash flows we cannot take out more than we put in. We are going to have to recognize some form of limits. Maybe we decide youcan have all the health care you want, as long as you pay for it after age 77. And we allow medical savings acoounts for that purpose.

    But it is crazy to throw otherwise productive people on the economic trash heap, just because they had some bad medical luck at 45.

  26. The world of plenty we live in has been created by cheap energy and machines that do work for us.

    Neither enregy nor the ability to create new and better machines is going away.

    Every positive economic indicator I can think of has been onthe rise for the past six months. People and businesses in the right place are making money hand over fist, right now. The low normal IQ crowd has not caught on yet and they are getting left in the dust.

    There are some negative economic indicators, too, but they will resolve themselves in time.

    Ahh, but cheap energy is gone, you say. Maybe, but environmentalists tell us it was never cheap to begin with, if we count all the costs. We have an entire new renewable energy industry to build and it will employ millions.

    I would argue that if you extract resources and use them up, or don't extract them,the result is the same: you don't have them to use any more. Now all you are talking about is the cost of cleaning up the mess vs the cost (and mess) associated with an entire new industry.

    If we have machines to do work for us and energy to run them the world of plenty will not end. Except, you still need resources to make things from. Mostly, we can do that with renewable resources: cotton, lumber, beeswax, etc.

    But renewable resources are like social security and health insurance: they are only renewable so long as you don't take out more than you put back. Eventually we won't be able to grow enough to go around. Someday we will have to address population policy, as China has alraedy done, and that means we have to decide WHO is a renewable resource we wish to replace and WHO isn't.

    We are going to decide who is wealthy and who isn't, except those that are not wealthy will not be poor – they just won't exist.

    (Of course, withut an underclass, how would you KNOW if you are rich? I'm convinced this si the real reason Republicans hate anything that looks like a safetey net. Not becasuse they won;t still be rich, but they won't have anyway of knowing how rich they are.)

    Growing renewable resources is already a large scale industrial process, and somethimes it is notall that renewable, either. It is going to have to become larger, greener, and more specialized/technological. We cannot expect the present day family farmer to do this for us, nor can we expect farmers to be environmentalists as well as farmers unless we pay them enough for both jobs.

    We are going to have a whole new industry in renewable energy, a whole new industry in renewable resources, and a whole new slew of machines to do the work for us.

    I don't see any boomergeddon happening, and I see nothing but a bright (and challenging) future.

    But what I do see is that we, and conservatives in particular, are studiously avoiding the ethical challenges we will face in order to achieve a balance of economy, environment, and equaltiy.

    It is no accident that a balance of economy, environment, and equality is described in the roughly parallel equation Total Cost = Production Cost + External Cost + Government Cost, wher production represents the economy, externalities represent the environment, and equality represents government.

  27. You are paying insurance…..
    –——————
    You are paying other peoples claims plus the inurors costs, with the expectation that if/when the need arises others will pay your claims in turn.

    This does not happen if your insurance gets terminated for health reasons and you are precluded from rejoining the system as I was.

    If Obamacare does nothing but kill that catch 22 it will be worth every penny.

  28. SS, Medicare and now ObamaCare is a ….contract….. a social contract….

    if you pay your FICA taxes then you will get your benefits.

    Ray has pointed out the flaw with the Republican approach.

    You pay your premiums – which they use to pay other people's claims and profits..then when you start to cost them money or even if they just think you will cost them money – they cut you loose.

    Bacon and company have no alternative to this.

    It's bad, bad Obama… and capitalism for the little people.

    I've yet to hear a single proposal from the Republicans on how to assure that someone who pays for HC will not eventually be screwed.

    The Republicans say "tough" – that's the way that capitalism "works" and we don't need no stinking socialist govt sticking up for people.

  29. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, I *do* have an alternative. Read the book.

  30. Yeah, well, while I was in AZ I had a conversation about health insurance with a Guy who was a little to the right of Attila the hun. He subscribed to the survival of the fittest view of capitalism, which these types seem to confuse with Democracy. He said he was happy with his health insurance and saw no reason for government to be involved.

    I looked him straight in the eye and said "That's because you never got sick enough to lose your job."

    It stopped him cold.

    After a few seconds, he said, "You're right."

    After I explained what happened to me, he just shook his head.

    As for cutting people loose, the conservatives are right. Short of spending an infinite amount on healthcare, there is no choice.

    But, it is hypocritical for conservatives to support tough love capitalism as the best means of rationing and then invent a phony criticism of non-existent death committees.

  31. the "I got my insurance, screw you" is the National Anthem of those who oppose Obama_Care or ANY health care with similar reforms.

    Only when they lose their job and/or their insurance do they "get religion".

  32. True story.

    At one point my health insurance ssituation was so bad that my Medicare advisor/counselor told that my best option was to move to Canada.

    He was Canadian, living in the US because his wife was American.

  33. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,
    What about the 90,000 non-unon Boeing workers?

    Well, how about the 11 million Amerians who can't afford medical insurance and don't qualify for Medicaid?

    Or how about a 57 year old guy who is indepenently employed and has probably paid out $200K to managed care over the past several decades. His wife is laid off and he can no longer get insurance because he was one her plan and happens to take medicine for high blood pressure and managed care firms say that is a "pre-existing condition?"

    ObamaCare may be imperfect but it addresses these things. Eight years of George W. didn't do a damned thing.

    The problem with conservatives like you, Groveton, is that you never get out of your comfort zone to understand anything.
    Peter Galuszka

  34. Ask Groveton and his Republican buddies exactly what besides tort reform they plan on "replacing" Obama_CAre with after they repeal it? (ha ha ha..my prediction – not going to happen).

    There is no Republican Health CAre plan – never was much less anything that would be scored by CBO.

    These guys are frauds….

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