Pope Francis Slams “Trickle Down”

Pope Francis Holds His Weekly General AudienceBy Peter Galuszka

In a sharp rebuke to traditional conservative economic thought, the leader of the world’s Roman Catholics says he wants the church to rethink its strategies towards addressing income inequality and poverty and shun “the idolatry of money” and “trickle down” philosophies that give the rich far too much influence.

Pope Francis outlined his thinking in a 50,000 word treatise titled “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”). The new Pope appears to be a dramatic change in Vatican leadership which has been dominated by theological conservatives since the mid-1960s.

He wrote in his piece: “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by the free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.

“This opinion, which has never been confirmed by facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

There’s no question the view, written by a man who spend much of his life working with the urban poor of Brazil, is a slap in the face of such contemporary conservative influences, notably Ronald Reagan, who posited in the 1980s that if governments cut taxes and regulation and left  the rich alone, the benefits would trickle down to the middle and lower classes.

Since then, the idea has become a mantra for conservatives around the world from Margaret Thatcher to Paul Ryan. It was cited as being part of the “End of History” when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It is also hummed like a Hindu chant on this blog.

In Virginia, the benefits of “trickle down” are assumed to be God’s word among Republicans and Democrats alike. The theory is that business can only flourish in a low tax, low regulation and anti-labor union state. Somehow everyone benefits although as Pope Francis points out these ideas “have never been confirmed by facts.”

Globally, the fast spread of current capitalist thinking by high-speed information technology has created ever wider disparities between rich and poor.

The United States is still struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. According to the New York Times, one result of the so-called “recovery” has been similar to the trend in the rest of the world –a small slice of the richer get richer to the detriment of others. The Times writes:

“The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country’s total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago, according to an updated study by the prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty.

“The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels on record since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax.

“The figures underscore that even after the recession the country remains in a new Gilded Age, with income as concentrated as it was in the years that preceded the Depression of the 1930s, if not more so.”

It seems to be the case in Richmond, which is often painted on this blog as a wonderland of bike lanes, “New Urbanism styles,” “the creative class,” and lots of Millennials flocking in to enjoy its exquisite cultural amenities.

In truth, according to Style Weekly, about 50,000 of the city’s population of 208,000 live in poverty.  Although the minimum wage is $7.25, workers need to make $10.35 an hour to make ends meet, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study. One pilot workforce training project that served 550 Richmonders over the last three years found that their wages averaged $8.50 an hour. Jamison Manion, who administrates the program, likened the situation to “nothing, absolutely nothing. It’s like draining the ocean through a straw — when it’s raining.”

Pope Francis appears to pose a big change in contemporary Catholic thinking after decades of the status quo. He’s likely to further shake things up by making the ossified Church’s bureaucracy more decentralized, de-emphasizing the overplay on abortion and gay issues and giving women a stronger voice.

A big question is whether the Church is finally ahead of the curve instead of being constantly behind it. In the process, he’s making “Trickle Down”  sound “oh-so-1980s.”

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49 responses to “Pope Francis Slams “Trickle Down”

  1. Peter, Peter, Peter. There was this fellow about two thousand years ago in Palestine. Lived like a pauper and preached that people should give all they had to the poor and follow him. If a man asked for your coat, give him your shirt as well. That kind of liberal foolishness. Forgiveness of sins. Broke bread with tax collectors and one got into his inner circle as I recall. You may have heard of him.

    Just what do you expect his chief agent to be preaching two thousand years later? You of all people should see the line of succession back to your namesake.

    Now, as to the poor in Richmond and in America, well, I agree its our obligation to help them out. But they are not poor in a vacuum and most have had all the opportunities you could imagine to finish high school, try community college, keep their knees together and avoid getting pregnant at 15. Sure $7.25 is a lousy starting wage but anybody still making it 3 years later is probably at least partially to blame. It is really easy to blame The Man for your troubles. But with any skills at all, any work ethic at all, $20 an hour with benefits is still out there.

    I’m supportive of expanding Medicaid. I fully understand that we need to maintain the SNAP program. But in lots and lots of ways we have undercut the importance of work and education and the traditional family in large segments of our population and we are reaping what we sow.

  2. I’m not a Scripture quoter. But Matthew 26:11 says “The poor you will always have with you.”

    We need to work for conditions that enable poor people to move up the economic ladder and help those who cannot through no fault of their own. But let’s also keep in mind that poverty keeps the professional caring class employed. The largest group of people with advanced degrees work for government. They are not generally inclined to work themselves out of jobs.

    We need to understand the difference between the legal incidence of a tax and the economic incidence. The latter is the most important. It’s generally understood the economic incidence of a sales tax falls on landowners. If Richmond imposes a 10% sales tax and surrounding jurisdictions charge 6%, consumers will purchase more goods in Henrico and Chesterfield Counties, making Richmond commercial real estate less valuable.

    Similarly, imposing a high corporate income tax in Maryland, while Virginia charges a lower one, creates economic incentives for companies to move to, or be established in, Virginia. People who used to have jobs in Maryland may lose them or find lower-paying jobs.

    Imposing a higher income tax on those making higher incomes may result in the business owners withholding raises from lower skilled employees or avoiding hiring. It is often easy to pass along the costs of government (taxes and compliance cost) to less skilled or less educated people. Neither the WaPo nor the Pope can repeal the laws of physics or economics. Big, expensive, inefficient government hurts those whose skills are out of date or totally lacking.

  3. I started to understand what “conservative” and “evangelical” means in Virginia and the US when they got involved in politics – not to defend their right to their beliefs – but to impose them on others.

    When I saw a PEW poll that said that evangelicals support the use of torture more than others do – it got me to wondering on things like how do we help
    those who cannot get access to medical care – rather than just how vicious and hateful – and racist we can be to a black POTUS who has attempted to deal with this issue. Not a word about – “you should have done this the way we advocated originally or – we have a better way to do this” – nope.

    It’s hate and vitriol coming from those who claim to be religious and now … yes… now.. they are attacking the POPE for his “socialist” beliefs….

    you cannot make this stuff up… the right and the evangelicals have combined into a political ethos that basically tells the poor -get off your fat lard-butts and work. I can just see that fellow 2000 years ago giving that kind of “advice” to the poor.

    I’m not all soft on the poor. I actually think anyone that is able-bodied should work to get benefits – volunteer work – etc…

    but the attitude from the religious right these days is less than wonderful.

  4. Peter –
    I’m not sure what (if any) religion you are, but I’ll bet it’s not Catholic. I am one, yup, an every Sunday Church Attending one; been that way for the last 50+ years. Guess what?? The views of the Church have not changed. We practice and preach love the sinner, hate the sin (when it comes to homosexuals). The pope has not said that abortion is good or even okay. And we’ve always preached that those who have should share with those who don’t have. He may be using different words, He may be emphasizing the message in a different way – but what he is preaching and teaching is what we’ve been preaching and teaching all along.

    He is trying to do what his namesake, St Francis once said. Preach the gospel and when absolutely necessary, use words. Here is a link to an article in Catholic Online
    http://www.catholic.org/hf/faith/story.php?id=51986
    Here is a quote from the article
    “Disparity in wealth means less opportunity and less freedom for people at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. Such people become more likely to adopt socialist and communist ideals, which can be very nationalistic and opposed to freedom of religion or Christianity. ” And from a different part of the article, “Pope Francis isn’t decrying the ownership of private property, but rather the hoarding of it. Hoarding wealth can be harmful to the soul. ” Once again, the things that the Church has taught all along are merely being said, shown, and spoken about in a different way.

    And Larry – I’m not so sure that Catholics have been lumped in with the religious right. Like any group, there are those who could be/are lumped in that camp, we also include people who don’t understand that abortion is wrong (they evidently have problems reading the Bible). But really? To equate Catholics and the the religious right. Really?

    • The older I get the more I admire the Catholic Church. It can be no accident or streak of luck that this Church after more than two millennium, still stands strong above the storms, offering hope and consolation to millions daily.

  5. re: ” Such people become more likely to adopt socialist and communist ideals, which can be very nationalistic and opposed to freedom of religion or Christianity.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s not what the Lord was about – and yes I do lump the Catholics (and I was brought up Catholic) because of their involvement in politics to do more than just defend their own beliefs but instead to drive the laws of the country to be consistent with Catholic beliefs – yes.

    Not all religion is doing this – there are still religions that keep religion out of politics but more and more folks on the right – are, in fact, associated openly with religion which in my mind does not say good things at all especially when they say they support torture…

    http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/29/the-religious-dimensions-of-the-torture-debate/

    I’m a live and let live guy. I’m fine with whatever people want to believe and I do not disbelieve there is a God but my relationship with him does not involve him with politics – no ifs ands or buts and I am not tolerant at all at those who do – we have more wars and more hate over religion that any planet should have.

    we demonize Muslims – a billion people on this planet and we demonize the POTUS by inferring he is a Muslim – and don’t tell me that those hateful assertions about the POTUS are coming from agnostics…

    I’ll stop there.. to save you even worse thoughts about religion and politics these days. I just LOVE CNS “news” for instance.

  6. I’m not a church kind of guy. I’ve found my poorish kid negative views and frequent 4 letter words echo loudly in such a silence is golden facility. It’s not that I despise religion, it’s just that I despise how mankind has decided it should play out.

    I get especially spun up when I see people who have nothing giving everything to a building. But when the time comes that those people have only faith to eat, the building is bare. Take for instance, the Philippines.

    When this typhoon mess first started I watched in country TV as the glorious elite filled the news with their volunteerism, sorting palleted boxes of food donations into single meal packets and throwing them into a gigantic pile in a Manila parking lot. It seems that emergency food distribution in the Philippines is a breakfast, lunch, or dinner but not all process where the unfortunate stand in line to get one little plastic bag of food to eat while they stand in line for the next meal. Most of that food is still in Manila, spoiling because there was supposedly no transportation available to the disaster area. Oddly, the flood of news people didn’t have any problem moving around the devastation.

    These reports were then followed by the US and world response, as Marines and sailors were interviewed. Pictures of ‘connected’ evacuees climbing aboard C-130 transports filled the time between the reports of the lesser ‘connected’ looting stores and houses for food.

    Last night I watched as AMERICAN donated food was being sold to the people because the government didn’t want the people becoming dependent on the government. But wait! What about the church in this majority Catholic country?

    Well a few days after the storm, there was one news video played on all the TV channels of a worn out parish priest giving mass in a destroyed city church. Watching it reminded me of the scene in The Titanic just before the ship went down. Other than that I only remember one other report intermixed with the endless videos of hundreds of dead bodies lying beside the road like so much trash waiting for pick up. It turned out that the church was involved after all. They had congregated all the priests and medically trained nuns to the safety of a cathedral 400 miles away in Manila and were quite busy praying for those poor people who gave everything and now had nothing.

    Now Francis seems like a decent guy. But changing the church seems to me to be a hazardous fool’s errand. The last person that tried that became The Martyr.

  7. Like Darrell – I see the contradictions….

    but I do give the Catholic church credit for maintaining a worldwide mission since the time of Christ – and that comes with different shades of good, bad and ugly at times because fundamentally it’s run by people and people are flawed – in Religion as they are in other aspects of life – including government.

    but you don’t need to be a church – to PREPARE to be able to render help – humanitarian aid that we know without question will be inevitably needed not just once – but continuously …just in different places.

    If the US lost 5000 people during Katrina or Sandy – it would be for sure one of the most horrific disasters we’d ever experienced but it’s not that unique for other countries at all.

    I agree with Darrell on Francis. He’s got the humanitarian heart that one would expect from a Pope – he speaks to ALL people but ESPECIALLY the less fortunate.

    Let be also put a plug in for a group that puts their money where their mouth is ”
    Hare Krishna Food for Life

    yes – we distribute at the local food pantry – food provided by them

    go read about them – they not only talk-the-talk, they walk-the-walk:

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

    and you will not see this group lobbying Congress or State legislators on issues like abortion and birth control – they just help others.

  8. I love Peter’s denunciation of “trickle down” economics. Ironically, that term is a most apt description of Obamanomics. During the presidencyof Ronald Reagan, whom Peter denounces, an overwhelming majority of Americans prospered. Under Obama, only the rich are prospering.

    Peter gets all wrought up about the income gap in the United States getting worse and worse. What does he think caused it? Obama supports Bernanke’s easy money policy (and will continue it through the appointment of Janet Yellen to the Federal Reserve Board). Easy money leads to low interest rates and high stock and bond prices. Who owns the most stocks and bonds? Duh! Rich people. Thus, the incomes of the rich are surging. The explicitly stated case for this policy is that the “wealth effect” will lead to greater spending, which will stimulate the economy. THAT is trickle-down economics!!!

    Meanwhile, people of modest means with modest savings are stuck getting a half-percentage point yield on their bank CDs — less than inflation. They are losing what little wealth they have. As a direct result of Obama’s economic and regulatory program, job creation sucks — and after five years, it’s really not possible to blame it all on George W. anymore. Making matters worse, corporations are replacing full-time jobs with part-time jobs, making the “job creation” numbers even worse than they look. Now the poor have to live on 30 hours of minimum wages, not 40.

    Under Obama, the rich literally are getting richer and the poor are literally getting poorer. Hmmm…. now that I think of it, that’s even worse than “trickle down” economics — nothing seems to be trickling down!

    All Obama can offer the poor and near-poor is more foods stamps and Medicaid, palliatives that, conveniently enough, keep them as wards of the state and dependents of the Democratic Party.

    • Well said.

      When clear eyed history is written several things will startlingly clear. The Obama Administration sucked the wealth, energy and hope out of the middle class and addicted it to handouts from the Federal Government. More poor than ever before became wards of the State. And the rich got richer.

  9. As for Pope Francis, I have not read his writing, so I cannot speak to his theology. But broadly speaking, there are two ways to go about redistributing wealth. One way is to harness the power of the state to redistribute wealth from one group to another. The other way is for individuals to voluntarily give their wealth to the poor.

    While I may know nothing about contemporary Catholic theology, I know a lot about the historical Jesus, a subject I studied as a serious amateur for many years. Jesus called for people to give away their riches to the poor and follow him (a plausible thing to do if you accepted his premise that God was about to re-establish his kingdom of righteousness on the earth, overturning the old order in the process.)

    Here’s what Jesus did NOT do. He did not advocate a takeover of the state apparatus from the Romans in Jerusalem or their client ruler Herod Antipas in Galilee. He did not call for the overthrow of Caiaphas the high priest and a redistribution of the Temple’s riches. He did not call for the state to expropriate wealth from the wealthy and redistribute it to the poor.

    To Jesus, charity was an act of private virtue performed voluntarily. Jesus was the antithesis of the modern-day liberal.

  10. re: Obama/Bernanke/Yellin and “trickle down”

    sounds pretty partisan Jim… especially since we just got done with
    the Bush/Cheney/Greenspan idiots who stood by and watched the
    economy go down the tubes and then handed that streaming pile of
    dog doo to Obama who was supposed to fix it with failed right wing supply-side
    type policies.

    re: Jesus. He also did not call for religion to get involved with govt to
    institute religious beliefs on not only charity but people’s personal
    morals.

    He would likely be aghast at the Pat Robertsons and the Christian News Service both of which espouse less than Godly principles – as opposed to the current Pope.

    The country was created to have Freedom of Religion and freedom from religion not have religion dictating government policies.

    so the same folks who openly advocate restricting the morning after pill – condemn the woman who had a child that she financially cannot support.

    the hypocrisy of some “religious” folk in the US is thick ..

    condemn the poor and support policies to harm them further.

    • Larry, I understand and respect your views, but it is beyond debate that Obama’s domestic performance has been an absolute failure. He inherited a bad situation, but in five years, has simply failed to do anything to improve the economy except for the very wealthy. He is clearly the worst president in modern history. His policies have been an abject failure.

      Another thing that has not been discussed is the doctrine of subsidiarity, which is an essential part of Catholic teaching. For those who may not be aware, subsidiarity means matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority. (Sounds a lot like DJR). Government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently.

      In today’s complex world, I would not argue there is no role for national or state government in many issues. For example Title 1 seems reasonable. But empire building is not consistent with Catholic teaching.

      • what exactly was Obama, by himself, without Congress supposed to do about the economy TMT?

        If Congress refuses to fund the traditional infrastructure type projects that they supported in the past for recession-ending job creation, what exactly was Obama supposed to do?

        this is beyond unfair for you to judge this way TMT – it’s partisan.

        He got us out of two wars that killed and maimed thousands of our young that the NeoCons if they had their way would have kept us there and got us involved in 2 more wars – and you characterize that as a “failure”?

        He got Bin Laden. He stopped torture and is trying to close Gitmo which he inherited from Bush/Cheney and yet you call him – not them – the worst. why?

        re: ” Government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently.”

        I totally agree. but what does it mean when people do not have insurance and go to ERs and we pay for it and the number is growing as more people lose their insurance? what is the role of govt then?

        “In today’s complex world, I would not argue there is no role for national or state government in many issues. For example Title 1 seems reasonable. But empire building is not consistent with Catholic teaching.”

        I agree again but how do you keep an objective view and not get subjective and partisan?

        Ronald Reagan is the guy who signed the EMTALA law that allows the “poor” to go get their care at ERs – at 2-3 times what it ought to cost – and he put that cost on us.

        and NOW – that our system is truly broke and was broken since Clinton – tell me about the “failed” policies of other POTUS who knew our health care system was broke – and who also knew the economy was in a nosedive – and did nothing about either while he was continuing to send our young people to die in two wars – they sacrificed their lives for nothing and you blame Obama?

        all due respect TMT – but seriously? How can one POTUS – IGNORE health care, IGNORE the economy and send young people to their deaths and get a better rating than Obama?

        • Larry, give me a break. First, I’ve rarely, if ever, criticized Obama’s foreign policy. It’s been reasonable. Domestically, he’s been an absolute failure by any standard.

          Re Stimulus. The bill was passed by a Democratic Congress. If he didn’t get what he wanted, he need to blame himself and his own Party. And it’s been five years since Obama has been driving the bus. Unemployment is high. Wage growth is stagnant. Young people are getting out of school and getting crappy, low-paying jobs. Energy and food costs are up substantially. This is the weakest recovery from a downturn since the Great Depression.

          Health care. So far, another failure. The ACA demands subsidies from young and healthy people of 38% to support the premiums, according to CNN. Yet, nationally only 21.6% of the enrollees are young and healthy. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnn-healthy-young-obamacare-enrollments-well-short-of-number-needed-for-program-to-work/ Unless a lot more young and healthy people sign up, premiums will jump considerably. That’s not success.

          Moreover, the President lied on a continuous and consistent basis about the ACA. He said, without qualification, if you like your existing plan you can keep it. He did not say for a year or if it meets federal guidelines. Obama committed fraud for political gain. I guess that should be swept under the carpet.

          EMTALA. Your points on EMTALA are valid. I think EMTALA should be phased out. This would fairly create reasons for people to buy health insurance that covers more and likely bring in more young and healthy people. That’s fair.

          How can you make any claim that Obama’s domestic policies have been anything but failures?

          • “Larry, give me a break. First, I’ve rarely, if ever, criticized Obama’s foreign policy. It’s been reasonable. Domestically, he’s been an absolute failure by any standard.”

            and what exactly, precisely are you measuring him on domestically? make a list..

            “Re Stimulus. The bill was passed by a Democratic Congress. If he didn’t get what he wanted, he need to blame himself and his own Party.”

            it’s not what he wanted – it’s what the country needed – and what had been provided on a bi-partisan basis in past recessions.

            ” And it’s been five years since Obama has been driving the bus. Unemployment is high. Wage growth is stagnant. Young people are getting out of school and getting crappy, low-paying jobs. Energy and food costs are up substantially. This is the weakest recovery from a downturn since the Great Depression.”

            yes.. when the opposite party refuses to do what was done in past recessions to get the economy going again – you are going to blame
            who for not getting his way?

            “Health care. So far, another failure. The ACA demands subsidies from young and healthy people of 38% to support the premiums, according to CNN. Yet, nationally only 21.6% of the enrollees are young and healthy. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnn-healthy-young-obamacare-enrollments-well-short-of-number-needed-for-program-to-work/ Unless a lot more young and healthy people sign up, premiums will jump considerably. That’s not success.”

            how many young people would buy auto insurance if not mandated?

            how do you justify letting people not buy insurance then showing up
            at the ER when they get injured?

            you can’t have it both ways on this. The Conservative Heritage Foundation made this same point – 20 years ago in 1993. what has changed since then?

            “Moreover, the President lied on a continuous and consistent basis about the ACA. He said, without qualification, if you like your existing plan you can keep it. He did not say for a year or if it meets federal guidelines. Obama committed fraud for political gain. I guess that should be swept under the carpet.”

            no more than Bush did and 5000 young people did not die because of that lie. Why do you hammer Obama for lying and not a word about Bush lying and people dying as a result?

            Obama tried to do something to help people – not kill them over some neo-con wet dream about nation building.

            If you want to condemn – fine – please use the same standard for both POTUS.

            “EMTALA. Your points on EMTALA are valid. I think EMTALA should be phased out. This would fairly create reasons for people to buy health insurance that covers more and likely bring in more young and healthy people. That’s fair.”

            that’s not realistic. We already in the past turned away pregnant women and old people and decided it was wrong so you need to accommodate that reality in what you do now. Until I see a majority of people – the same ones who now oppose ObamaCare – ALSO say they want to repeal EMTALA – I see hypocrisy. Where are the non Obama-Care, EMTALA solutions from the critics?

            “How can you make any claim that Obama’s domestic policies have been anything but failures?”

            if I saw a list of them beyond the one, I might be better convinced.

            the one he is criticized on was/is a high stakes gamble to try to do something with a system that was broken and could not be fixed without impacts.

            we have a health care system that has failed and it has so many “I’ve got mine, screw you” people in it that any change that causes any impacts is condemned.

            this time next year – someone is going to look like an idiot on this if ObamaCare is still around. You’re going to have millions of people signed up who have no other way to get health insurance and the critics only response is going to be to promise to take it away.

            how is that going to work?

            not well.

            No GOP had the guts to truly offer a real alternative to ObamaCare – not in 2006 when they passed Medicare Part D and not since then despite 40+ repeal votes and not a single piece of alternative legislation that the GOP as a party would support as a competitive alternative to ObamaCare.

            Being a critic and talking about “failure” when you offer nothing as an alternative is hypocrisy ….

            what is the alternative that is better than ObamaCare? where is it?

      • Thank you for that, TMT.

        When I think of the essence of the Catholic Church, I think of Graham Greene and his masterwork, The Power and the Glory.

        That little whiskey priest is my spiritual hero.

      • Thus Pope Francis recently cautioned “against dictatorial utopianism, or what the pope called ‘adolescent progressivism’ … Pope Francis also grasps the nature of the great cultural crisis of post-modernity …(where)…nothing is simply given, and human beings are reduced by self-delusion, legal definition or judicial dictums to mere bundles of desires.”

        “The pope is passionately concerned about the poor … (and the many forms poverty can take in the 21th century whether in grinding poverty or) … “the poverty found in the soul-withering spiritual desert of those who measure their humanity by what they have rather than by who they are, and who judge others by the same materialistic measuring stick. Then there is the ethical impoverishment of moral relativism, which dumbs down human aspiration, impedes common work for the common good in society, and inevitably leads to social fragmentation and personal unhappiness.”

        “As he wrote in ‘Evanglii Gaudium’, Pope Francis is not a man of ‘political ideology’. He knows that ‘business is a vocation and a noble vocation’ if ordered to the common good and the empowerment of the poor. When he criticizes the social, economic or political status quo, he does so as a pastor who is ‘interested only in helping all those who are in the thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality … (and so are unable) to attain a way of living and thinking that is more humane, noble, and fruitful’.”

        “Pope Francis is a revolutionary. (But not so in) … economic or political prescription, but a revolution in the self understanding of the Catholic Chruch: a re-energizing return to the pentecostal fervor and evangelical passion from which the church was born two millennia ago, and a summons to mission that accelerates the great historical transition from institutional maintenance Catholicism to the Church of the New Evangelization.”

        Taken from “Pope Francis the Revolutionary” by George Weigel published WSJ 11/29/13. See also “Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st – Century Church” also by Mr. Weigel and published by Basic Books.

  11. Jim,
    NOT well said.
    Don’t know where to begin you have so many fallacies. A few reactions:
    (1) “Trickle down” and little regulation allow for fantastic speculation favoring the rich and the exportation of millions of jobs. Most of these were low end ones where someone in Bangladesh might get a little more in pay but otherwise still lives in poverty while working in a cut and sew shop. Meanwhile, American and other workers in advanced countries have been kicked out the door,never to earn the same level of wages again. If I recall, 6,000 textile were fired in one afternoon in Kannapolis NC.

    (2) Are you making an argument for high interest rates? Now that’s genius. Under the New World Order, average wages would likely remain stagnant while buying power would be hammered.

    (3) What Obama regulations are forcing wealth into the hands of the rich? Can you please tell us. Dodd-Frank? Are you joking. That (out of COngress by the way) did very little to stop wild financial risk taking.

    (4) You somehow forget that it was George W. Bush’s policies that got us into this mess in the first place (with help from Bill Clinton) Clinton ended separating investment and commercial banks and Bush let banks loan more and more money under incredibly easy terms. Hedge funds were not (and still are not) regulated. The result: the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s.

    We’re still crawling our way back and it didn’t happen on Obama’s watch.

    Also, while I have your attention. Did Jesus Christ support smart growth policies?

    • Peter, it is the economic incidence of taxes and regulation that is important. If I am taxed more, but can pass the higher tax on to you by canceling the raise I planned to give you, who bears the cost of the higher tax? Now I realize that’s too complex for Fred Hiatt and Lee Hockstader, but you are a pretty smart guy from what I’ve seen.

      I’m not arguing against all taxes or regulations. I’m not arguing against progressive taxation. What I am saying more and more of the costs of government are being passed along to the lower and middle classes, most especially since most markets are more competitive. Would higher taxes ore more regulations have saved the jobs in North Carolina? And Obama is oblivious to it. Or just as likely, he doesn’t care.

      Obama got the Stimulus bill he wanted — the Ds were in charge of both houses. But Stimulus did not work except to save some government jobs.

      You regularly argue its racist to enforce immigration laws. Does a large supply of workers who will undercut existing wage levels help or hurt the working poor? Who wants amnesty for all? Obama? But it’s really Mitch McConnell’s fault wages are stagnant.

      We live in a very different world today. We need to be concerned about the middle and lower economic classes. We need to worry about kids getting out of school who cannot find good jobs. We need to make sure the American dream is available to all. Perhaps, the old rules are no longer applicable. And if Reagan’s election was more than 30 years ago, FDR’s was more than 80. Can we look at finding something that works today?

  12. It’s not what is wrong with what is here now. The problem is if you don’t like what is here now and you have no real alternatives – the argument is hollow.

    it’s not about Conservative or Catholic “ideals” or orthodoxy. It’s what you actually have in the way of a valid alternative that the opposing party supports as a party – not a bunch of individual “ideas” that none of them can agree on a core set of. That’s the problem with immigration and health care.

    The GOP is not a party offering a valid alternative. They are a party of opponents and critics who cannot agree among themselves as to what a party-supported alternative should be.

    BTW – Obama did not get the stimulus he wanted. They proposed a stimulus based on what they thought the depth of the recession was going to be but the estimate turned out to be more optimistic than the reality – which once evident – required additional stimulus but the GOP got on their austerity kick in combination with supply-side tax cuts that even their own people did not believe but what they COULD agree on was to not do any more stimulus.

    that decision effectively ended the recovery even though there are a ton of roads and bridges and other infrastructure that we could work on that would serve us downstream – investments that you could justify as loans from the future to build now.

    The GOP is a mess. they cannot agree among themselves on several important issues but the can and do mount an effective opposition to anything else.

    re: ” Can we look at finding something that works today?”

    we can and should – with the proviso – that some things we try may not work but if the standard you set is that everything you try must work and if not you are a “failure” then where does that leave us? Does anyone here really believe that what the GOP has tried in the past has always worked?

    why is this the standard NOW?

    we act like if something does not work – it means we have failed.

    Consider for a moment all the corporations in the world that have tried things that failed but went on to success anyhow or for that matter, people.

    you learn from mistakes and get better.

    • Larry, Obama was in charge in 2009. If he didn’t get the right stimulus plan, it’s his fault. McCain lost the election. Obama’s stimulus plan was generally regarded as less than successful. And the voters generally agreed and believe it was a waste of money. So members of congress from both Parties were not willing to go down that path again. Why isn’t that Obama’s fault?

      I don’t think Obama gets a do over on health care reform. He didn’t try something or allow the states to try something. He came up with a national plan. With a few exceptions, everybody must participate. Everybody must meet certain standards. Young and healthy people must be willing to subsidize older and less healthy people. I would be willing to cut him some slack (you notice I generally have not lashed out about the website fiascos) had he not lied to the American people on a constant basis. Any president can make a misstatement. Every president has lied. And future presidents will lie as well. But Obama purposely lied to us by saying “if you like what you have, you can keep it.” He did not say “only for a year” or “only if it meets more stringent standards that many policies will not meet.” He didn’t say “we need young and healthy people to subscribe and help subsidize older and sicker people.” He didn’t say most premiums would increase even with subsidies. He no where came near telling the truth about the ACA. He lied, lied, lied, and lied some more. A lot of good Democrats, including Mark Warner, told the very same lie.
      This is not “New Coke.” This is a failing plan that was enacted based on lies from the President of the United States. Obama wanted to be on Mount Rushmore and he threw the American people under the bus to get there.

  13. “Larry, Obama was in charge in 2009. If he didn’t get the right stimulus plan, it’s his fault. McCain lost the election. Obama’s stimulus plan was generally regarded as less than successful. And the voters generally agreed and believe it was a waste of money. So members of congress from both Parties were not willing to go down that path again. Why isn’t that Obama’s fault?”

    A stimulus requires two things: it requires economists – both with the administration and external to the administration to estimate how deep and long a recession is expected to last – it’s an estimate

    and it then requires Congress to approve the expenditure for that purpose.

    if the front-end guess underestimates the depth/length of a recession, more stimulus may be required to cover the error in the initial estimate. In that case, the Congress would have to agree to appropriate a second stimulus to cover the gap. If they do not do that, then the recovery will be weak.

    “I don’t think Obama gets a do over on health care reform. He didn’t try something or allow the states to try something. He came up with a national plan.”

    He allowed each state to run their own exchanges. that’s the truth and the ones that elected to run their own exchanges are having some level of success.

    ” With a few exceptions, everybody must participate.”

    individual mandate – the very thing the Heritage Foundation and New Gingrich and other GOP supported in 1998 and essentially the way that SS works and the way that universal coverage works in every other OECD country on the planet.

    “Everybody must meet certain standards. Young and healthy people must be willing to subsidize older and less healthy people.”

    nope. it means that younger people need to pay into health care – for the day they will need it – just like paying FICA taxes or auto insurance.

    ” I would be willing to cut him some slack (you notice I generally have not lashed out about the website fiascos) had he not lied to the American people on a constant basis.”

    a bunch of “lies” or one?

    “Any president can make a misstatement. Every president has lied. And future presidents will lie as well. But Obama purposely lied to us by saying “if you like what you have, you can keep it.” He did not say “only for a year” or “only if it meets more stringent standards that many policies will not meet.” He didn’t say “we need young and healthy people to subscribe and help subsidize older and sicker people.” He didn’t say most premiums would increase even with subsidies. He no where came near telling the truth about the ACA. He lied, lied, lied, and lied some more. A lot of good Democrats, including Mark Warner, told the very same lie.”

    No. What he was responding to was the death-squad claims that the government was going to use govt doctors to give you health care .

    He responded totally wrongly but not making it clear that he was saying the
    govt was not going to replace your doctor with a govt doctor – which was in the same narrative as “death panels”.

    “This is not “New Coke.” This is a failing plan that was enacted based on lies from the President of the United States. Obama wanted to be on Mount Rushmore and he threw the American people under the bus to get there.”

    He told ONE LIE – correct? and he did that in response to the death panel/govt doctor lies that were being told.

    what other lies did he tell?

    and tell me – how many people besides the POTUS – ALSO KNEW that policies were going to be cancelled? Do you think no one else read the law not even the folks who were opposed from the get go?

    how come not a one of them – from FAUX News to Limbaugh challenged him the first time he said it and showed that he was lying right then and there?

    Obama screwed up – no question about it.. but he did not kill 5000 young people and his motivation was to try to fix a broken system.

    so tell me what the other side has said is a better approach?

    not “ideas’ from “individuals” but actual legislation that was combined with the REPEAL votes?

    Let’s say ObamaCare fails. Do you seriously think the GOP has a real alternative plan that they’ve had all along and kept it secret?

    • Obama’s stimulus was generally regarded as a failure and no one want to give him more money. Both Rs and Ds. If there had been some real progress, I bet he could have gotten more money. But you don’t throw good money after bad. Obama’s bad.

      States could set up their own exchanges, but they all needed to meet federal standards. This is not any sort of experimentation. It’s Obama’s way or no way. The responsibility is Obama’s.

      Obama lied over and over and over again. He said if you like your health insurance you can keep it. That’s one lie, but a repeated one and a crucial one. Estimates from his administration, the Manhattan Institute and the AEI suggest 80 million people with employer-provided health insurance are likely to lose their insurance because the plans do not meet ACA standards. Throw in the individually insured and I suggest no president in history has told a lie this big. He purposely lied to the American people to get his plan approved. Do you think putting 80 million people’s health insurance at risk is acceptable? Is that worth protecting?

      What if Obama were to go to the nation and say the ACA is a mess; it’s going to hurt people; I mislead people into thinking they could keep what they had when my plan would not allow that? I think we need to postpone the plan for two years. I’m going to ask Congress to delay it and form a special committee to recommend changes. Then I think there would be an obligation on the part of all to work with the President.

      Ambrose Burnside was motivated by good reasons to take Marye’s Heights. But he tried the same failed tactic — direct charges against entrenched Confederate lines. The result was 12,653 Union casualties, including 1,284 dead in one single day. Few historians regard Burnside as a good commander based on these results despite his good intentions. If even 40 million lose their employer-provided health insurance because of the ACA’s rules, should we regard Obama as a good president because he wanted to fix a broken system?

      Obama was in way over his head. His signature legislation is on the road to total failure. That’s on him.

      Universal health care works only with subsidies. Subsidies must come from higher taxes and/or young healthy people paying more for coverage than their actuarial experience warrants. A large number of people have no coverage. Many cannot afford coverage. But a lot of people are happy. Obama should have left those with coverage alone. He should have proposed a phase out of EMTALA. He should have estimated what percentage of people would move to a new pool to avoid the risk of no EMTALA. He could have proposed a new pool that would cover some level of catastrophic coverage. Over several years, there would be a reasonably large pool that would permit expanding coverage. Over time, one could look at establishing a pool to cover preexisting conditions. I’m no actuary. But I think progress could be made over ten years or so without screwing people who like what they have or pushing businesses to drop coverage.

      But none of this can happen until Obama says, It won’t work. I screwed up. Let’s start over. But that is going to happen.

      • “Obama’s stimulus was generally regarded as a failure and no one want to give him more money. Both Rs and Ds. If there had been some real progress, I bet he could have gotten more money. But you don’t throw good money after bad. Obama’s bad.”

        There WAS real progress. We had 3 cancelled road projects restarted down this way and all across Va – projects that had been taken out of the 6yr plan for lack of funding were re-started.

        The narrative from the right was that it did not work – because it did not result in a stronger recovery but as I said – you match the size of the stimulus to the depth and severity of the recession and it often takes a second stimulus to fill the gap – something the GOP had done in years past before they got onto their supply-side/austerity kick.

        Don’t Tell Anyone, but the Stimulus Worked

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/opinion/sunday/dont-tell-anyone-but-the-stimulus-worked.html?_r=2&

        the point here is that there are two views about the stimulus and one of them is a partisan conservative view that is more propaganda than fact.

        “States could set up their own exchanges, but they all needed to meet federal standards. This is not any sort of experimentation. It’s Obama’s way or no way. The responsibility is Obama’s.

        what? these other states ARE setting up their own exchanges and some of them are MODIFIED from the standard. Again – we’re engaging in partisan canards here.. there IS flexibility in these plans – I’d give you a link but can’t so just google Hybrid ObamaCare state plans.

        some of this depends on whether you are going to believe what the GOP is saying without independently verifying it and I urge you to at least check the facts before you take as gospel what the right is saying.

        “Obama lied over and over and over again. He said if you like your health insurance you can keep it. That’s one lie, but a repeated one and a crucial one. ”
        okay so at least you admit this is about ONE LIE not many different ones but I tell you again – he was trying to respond to the narrative from the right that ObamaCare meant that people were going to have to go to govt doctors.

        He totally screwed up in his answer but I remind you again – the law was not a secret that only he knew about. where were the folks who knew he was lying?

        Estimates from his administration, the Manhattan Institute and the AEI suggest 80 million people with employer-provided health insurance are likely to lose their insurance because the plans do not meet ACA standards. Throw in the individually insured and I suggest no president in history has told a lie this big. He purposely lied to the American people to get his plan approved. Do you think putting 80 million people’s health insurance at risk is acceptable? Is that worth protecting?”

        The part that he “lied” about that was clear in the law that everyone could have seen but did not bother to actually read was that ObamaCare was going to REQUIRE certain things in ALL PLANS – which AEI, and FOX and others never mentioned even as they spread outright lies about other things.

        Again – it’s not like Obama was the only one who knew this and lied. what happened to everyone else who also should have known this?

        Having said that – I will admit that even though the law did say this and it was no “secret” – that the consequences of that part of the law – did mean that most all plans would have to be altered to conform to the new standard – and this is problematical in terms of whether some companies would just “upgrade” their plans as opposed to cancelling their plans with no replacement plans.

        I admit – this is a big problem.. but it’s not a “lie” if this was in the law and anyone who read the law could see it and there were no shortage of critics who should have caught it early on…

        AND = make it part of the REPEAL and REPLACE – a true competitive alternative that could have gained Democratic support.

        right now – there is no alternative, there is no process to modify/fix it/improve it because the opponents have made it impossible to do anything
        other than attempt to kill it.

        “What if Obama were to go to the nation and say the ACA is a mess; it’s going to hurt people; I mislead people into thinking they could keep what they had when my plan would not allow that? I think we need to postpone the plan for two years. I’m going to ask Congress to delay it and form a special committee to recommend changes. Then I think there would be an obligation on the part of all to work with the President.”

        He WOULD DO THAT if he thought his opponents were committed to making changes to make it better rather than a delay tactic until the next election where they hope to take the Senate and repeat their REPEAL efforts.

        you can’t find compromise when the other side really does not want compromise but instead view such things as slow-down tactics until they
        can come up with more ways to try to kill it.

        “Ambrose Burnside was motivated by good reasons to take Marye’s Heights. But he tried the same failed tactic — direct charges against entrenched Confederate lines. The result was 12,653 Union casualties, including 1,284 dead in one single day. Few historians regard Burnside as a good commander based on these results despite his good intentions. If even 40 million lose their employer-provided health insurance because of the ACA’s rules, should we regard Obama as a good president because he wanted to fix a broken system?”

        and all I can say is that nothing that Obama has done has killed 5000 young people and yet his opponents characterize his “sins” next to Bush’s sins as if he killed people land Bush did not. The folks on the right are fine with our young people dying in some God-for-saken place over some nation-building concept and they consider changing someone’s health care plan – worse that sending our young to their deaths?

        “Obama was in way over his head. His signature legislation is on the road to total failure. That’s on him.”

        it’s not something that cannot be fixed and not something that he would be opposed to changing if the GOP was truly interested in IMPROVING IT instead of dedicated to no-compromise, total repeal.

        “Universal health care works only with subsidies. Subsidies must come from higher taxes and/or young healthy people paying more for coverage than their actuarial experience warrants.”

        but you’re wrong TMT. you pay for these people already – including the young who should buy insurance and won’t – the same young who would not buy auto insurance unless the big bad nasty govt FORCED THEM TO.

        ” A large number of people have no coverage. Many cannot afford coverage. But a lot of people are happy. ”

        less and less are happy as they lose their employer-provided when they lose their job and cannot find another job with employer-provided.

        our system is broke and although the employer-provided say they’re happy, there are fewer and fewer of them AND their premiums keep going up to pay for those that do not have insurance. People have not gotten raises for years because virtually all productivity gains get funnelled into increased health care costs where are already twice what other countries pay.

        Our system is not only broke – it’s unsustainable … and we knew this BEFORE Obama got elected.

        “Obama should have left those with coverage alone.”

        I reluctantly agree with that.

        “He should have proposed a phase out of EMTALA. He should have estimated what percentage of people would move to a new pool to avoid the risk of no EMTALA. He could have proposed a new pool that would cover some level of catastrophic coverage. Over several years, there would be a reasonably large pool that would permit expanding coverage. Over time, one could look at establishing a pool to cover preexisting conditions. I’m no actuary. But I think progress could be made over ten years or so without screwing people who like what they have or pushing businesses to drop coverage.”

        that’s not the approach he took but it would have been a valid approach for those who don’t like Obama’s approach.

        It’s funny that you hold Obama responsible for not doing – what principled opponents should have done and if they had actually done that – would have forced Obama to try to compromise between his and their approach but the
        opponents are not principled or serious about ANY reforms.

        “But none of this can happen until Obama says, It won’t work. I screwed up. Let’s start over. But that is going to happen.”

        he cannot do that until the other side seriously says “we should do this instead”. As long as the other side makes it an all or nothing proposition what
        choice does Obama have – to just totally give up? not going to happen.. no POTUS in history would do that for any of their legislation.

        it goes back to what the GOP would actually want to do and they as a party would actually support and the GOP is so split on issues like Health Care than they are unable to present a GOP-supported alternative just as they cannot do with immigration.

        You cannot govern like this. You can focus your dissatisfaction towards Obama for what he did do that you don’t like but what is the alternative when the other side cannot agree among themselves on one?

        • Larry, can a state that sets up its exchange also allow people to keep their existing plans if they don’t meet all ACA standards? Let’s keep it very simple. Suppose a state wants to say “You can keep your existing plan if it meets all ACA standards, except for excluding acupuncture and placing a $20,000 per year limit on prescription drugs.” As I understand the ACA, neither of these limits are permissible. Could Virginia have done this?

          Are some of Obama’s opponents laying in the weeds to ambush him? Of course. Is that desirable? No. But both Parties regularly do this.

          Do we pay for the uninsured who use emergency rooms and cannot pay their bills? Yes. Does that push up fees and insurance premiums? Yes. But I still maintain the cost of subsidizing full insurance for the uninsured will significantly outweigh the savings from reducing uncompensated ER usage. The facts and projections should be made available to the public. We may well be paying more with reform than without it. If so, don’t we have a right to know?

          Fool that I am, I believed Obama and his supporters when they said you can keep what you have if you like it over and over. I never imagined the President would lie over and over about an essential part of the ACA. Did some opponents know he was lying and not correct him? Yes. Was that wrong? Yes. But so too did supporters of the ACA know Obama was lying? If the WSJ had a responsibility to catch Obama on his lie, what about the NYT or the WaPo? If Mitch McConnell had a duty, what about Harry Reid?

          Obama’s lie is so evil because it was critical to public acceptance of reform and was repeated over and over again. Had Obama come out and said, in order to cover the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions, the ACA requires huge pools including those who are young and healthy. It requires pools of people to pay higher premiums than their actuarial experience would require and to pay for more coverage than they might want to pay for. This will require many people, both those who have employer insurance and those individually insured, to give up their policies. In other words, even if you like what you have, you will be forced to surrender it, if we need subsidies from you. This is the truth, and had Obama told it, I strongly suspect the ACA would not have passed even a Democratic Congress. Obama engaged in fraud. His conduct is beyond the pale.

          I think your criticism of the GOP for failing to offer alternative has some legs. But simply stopping the ACA without an alternative would be good as the ACA was sold based on fraud and will hurt millions of people. Suppose one of Burnside’s corps commanders had persuaded Burnside to stop his frontal attacks on Marye’s Heights without offering an alternative. Wouldn’t that have been a better result than to continue wave after wave of assaults that were destined to fail?

          • “Larry, can a state that sets up its exchange also allow people to keep their existing plans if they don’t meet all ACA standards? Let’s keep it very simple. Suppose a state wants to say “You can keep your existing plan if it meets all ACA standards, except for excluding acupuncture and placing a $20,000 per year limit on prescription drugs.” As I understand the ACA, neither of these limits are permissible. Could Virginia have done this?”

            I don’t know and I suspect neither do many others but if there is a universal no-exemption standard – that is different from existing plans – then it’s a problem , I agree.

            “Are some of Obama’s opponents laying in the weeds to ambush him? Of course. Is that desirable? No. But both Parties regularly do this.”

            it’s not the ambush. it’s what do you do to fix it or what is a viable alternative? You can’t ambush and destroy and walk away and consider yourself a part of trying to improve the health care problem.

            “Do we pay for the uninsured who use emergency rooms and cannot pay their bills? Yes. Does that push up fees and insurance premiums? Yes. But I still maintain the cost of subsidizing full insurance for the uninsured will significantly outweigh the savings from reducing uncompensated ER usage.”

            then you are assuming that people do not get health care right now?

            ” The facts and projections should be made available to the public. We may well be paying more with reform than without it. If so, don’t we have a right to know?”

            we have a right to know. but do you realize that 1/3 of MedicAid right now subsidizes people who own 700,000 homes ?

            do you realize that those are Medicare get 5,000 a year in subsidies?

            you have to WANT TO KNOW – all of it – not just the part that confirms your bias against it. We have a broken health care system where we have winners and losers because of the way we unfairly benefit some of us while harming others not so lucky.

            It’s a grossly unfair system that no one with any conscience should be happy with.

            “Fool that I am, I believed Obama and his supporters when they said you can keep what you have if you like it over and over. I never imagined the President would lie over and over about an essential part of the ACA. ”

            I would never imagine that he was the only one that knew it and kept it a secret especially the opponents who were looking for all the bad things they could say about it .. even to the point where they were themselves LYING about death panels and govt doctors.

            why is it okay for the opponents to LIE and you say nothing about that?

            “Did some opponents know he was lying and not correct him? Yes. Was that wrong? Yes. But so too did supporters of the ACA know Obama was lying? If the WSJ had a responsibility to catch Obama on his lie, what about the NYT or the WaPo? If Mitch McConnell had a duty, what about Harry Reid?”

            No one on the opposing side could figure this out before now ?

            “Obama’s lie is so evil because it was critical to public acceptance of reform and was repeated over and over again. ”

            he made that statement in response to the lies from the opposition about government doctors and death panels.

            “Had Obama come out and said, in order to cover the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions, the ACA requires huge pools including those who are young and healthy.”

            No. you’re conflating here. the “lie” was about increasing standards for all policies – not about covering uninsured and pre-existing. It was the idea that much larger pools of people like you see with the current Govt FEHB would allow coverage of pre-existing and uninsured. Every govt employee including Congress has access to the FEHB.
            you know this TMT and you know that FEHB benefits from larger pools. That was the idea of the Exchanges.

            “It requires pools of people to pay higher premiums than their actuarial experience would require and to pay for more coverage than they might want to pay for.”

            are you saying that’s how the FEHB works?

            ” This will require many people, both those who have employer insurance and those individually insured, to give up their policies. In other words, even if you like what you have, you will be forced to surrender it, if we need subsidies from you. This is the truth, and had Obama told it, I strongly suspect the ACA would not have passed even a Democratic Congress. Obama engaged in fraud. His conduct is beyond the pale.”

            you’re confusing the minimum standard mandate with the bigger pools. The minimum standard mandate will require companies to
            offer more coverage than before and that will change the costs, yes.

            but bigger pools in the exchanges is what causes prices to drop – as they do with FEHB – which by the way has the required minimum standards for every company policy offerings. Aren’t you familiar with FEHB and how it works?

            “I think your criticism of the GOP for failing to offer alternative has some legs. But simply stopping the ACA without an alternative would be good as the ACA was sold based on fraud and will hurt millions of people.”

            we go back to what? the status quo? that’s better?

            ” Suppose one of Burnside’s corps commanders had persuaded Burnside to stop his frontal attacks on Marye’s Heights without offering an alternative. Wouldn’t that have been a better result than to continue wave after wave of assaults that were destined to fail?”

            if the opposition puts you in a position where no compromise is an option and your only choice is to succeed or fail – what do you think will happen?

          • The FEHB is optional, not mandatory. When my wife and I got married, I put her under my health insurance as my compensation included no premium insurance. She was not covered by the feds an paid nothing during many of her “young and healthy years.” After my job was eliminated more than 10 years later, we switched to the federal program. She did not have to make up any contributions. We saved lots of money over the years, but again, this was part of my compensation.

            I don’t believe the costs of paying for treatment for uninsured will exceed the costs for insuring them. I’ve seen no evidence either way. I don’t expect you have either. But see my discussion below.

            You are absolutely wrong on what Obama said and why. The response to rebut no choice of doctors and the existence of death panels is to talk about them, not to say you can keep your health plan. This was an out and out lie designed to fool Americans and eliminate opposition to the ACA based on falsehoods.

            It is you who is confusing pools and coverage. Obama’s goal was to extend broad coverage to people without insurance and people with preexisting conditions at affordable rates. Not an evil goal. To do this, he needs large pools for all the services he wants to cover and pools that include people who are not likely to make claims for the covered services. First, I will agree there is some value in being covered for many risks even when they are remote. People in their 20s do get strokes. Rarely, but it happens. But most people in their 20s are not likely to chose stroke coverage voluntarily. They would likely chose coverage for sports injuries instead.

            Older, sicker people would most likely chose coverage for strokes. But if they are the only ones choosing this coverage, the premiums will be unaffordable for many. Given the reality that there are limits on the amount of taxes that society is willing to pay to extend health care to others, Obama needs a big pool. He need to condition coverage for sports injuries on coverage for strokes. To get there, he needs all plans that cover sports injuries, but not strokes, to go away. Are we on the same page?

            Obama could have told the American people this. If we are going to cover everyone and especially those who are older and sicker and subject to preexisting conditions, he needs big pools, etc. and that plans that don’t cover strokes must be canceled. He could have said it’s like Social Security, everyone pays now, and everyone gets when he/she turns 65. But a huge number of young people don’t believe they will get Social Security or, if they do, it’s a fraction of what older people receive now. Moreover, many younger people are strapped financially. People aren’t getting raises, while the cost of living increases. I submit that, had Obama told the truth, there would have been strong opposition to the ACA, such that it might not have passed or, if enacted, in a much more watered down form.

            Obama chose to reject that path and to chose to lie to people. He effectively told them the could keep what they had if they were satisfied. He assured them they could keep coverage for sports injuries while not paying for coverage for strokes. This is pure and simple fraud.

            You complain about Medicare being unfair. Well, didn’t Obama’s Party say “you earned your benefits. Don’t let the GOP take them away.”? Obama never said, hey you Medicare guys and gals are getting big taxpayer subsidies. It’s time to share them with those who don’t have insurance. Had he done that, he would have lost. The Ds and some Rs have been saying Medicare is earned since 1965.

            We have a hodge-podge of health care plans in the US. Obama could have called for single payer. But that would mean a lot of people would get less than they have today. Losers, including labor unions, would strongly object. People are not willing to pay much to extend coverage to others.

            You are likely to respond with your ER argument. For that to sell, the public would need to see their premiums reduced. Let’s say 20% of today’s premiums covered the cost of unpaid ER visits passed along to insurance companies. Assume further that it would increase premiums by 10% to cover the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions. Shouldn’t we see a 10% reduction in premiums?

            Senator Janet Howell made the same argument last spring. I posed the same questions and she had no answers. She danced around it. Janet Howell is one smart lady and as honest of a politician that I’ve ever known. I think the bottom line is that extending coverage will cost more than will be saved. But the Ds don’t want to admit this because they know most people don’t want to pay more to extend coverage. If Warren Buffett and Mark Warner are willing to pay, so be it. Don’t tax me; don’t tax thee; tax the feller behind the tree.

            Where is my political analysis wrong? 🙂

  14. TMT – when I see and hear the opponents say : ” see you should have done what we have been advocating all along”…

    I’ll buy the one-sided criticism.

    until then I see one side as attempting to do something – and badly – and the only side doing nothing and hoping for failure.

    if you ask me who has more virtue .. it’s no contest.

    One thing to criticise a bad approach… another thing to do nothing yourself and openly cheer when the other guy fails.

    There was a time when opponents would say ” this thing is broke – let’s fix it”.

    where is that ? How can anyone in good conscience support the side that is hoping for failure and has no alternatives of their own?

    • Is it virtue to propose a plan that will likely cost 80 million their coverage while lying to them that they could keep their policies if they liked them? If that plan fails, is it bad?

  15. it won’t cost 80 million their coverage if they get BETTER coverage?

    if people actually were losing their policies – forever – the narrative would be true but the fact is policies go by the year and get replaced with new policies – almost always with changes even before ObamaCare and of course many of those changes were 1. increased premiums 2. higher co-pays 3. changes in caps and 4. things not covered , etc.

    does it mean if their policies change every year that they are “losing their coverage”?

    what is the bigger lie?

    • That’s not what Obama said. He said that, if you like your policy, you can keep it. He didn’t say, if you lose your policy, you will probably, but not necessarily, get a better policy. But to be perfectly honest, you will probably pay a lot more, most especially if you are young and healthy. If you had a choice, you might not opt for the better policy because of the costs. You might be better off not choosing the better coverage, but we need you to subsidize other people.

      Obama knew the bill’s contents. Obama chose his words. Obama chose to repeat his lie over and over again. Had he told the truth, it is quite possible the ACA would have failed in Congress. He lied to the American people to achieve a political goal.

      • And unfortunately for Mr. Obama, these lies will live on and will grow in the historic record to become his more pronounced and enduring legacy, a self inflicted tragedy for him, and for the nation, and all of us too. Unless he “says, It won’t work. I screwed up. Let’s start over …”

        • Nope. the GOP is going to lose this like they lost on Medicare all those years ago. They’re on the wrong side of history and are on their way to a minority party of haters… who are opposed to health care, immigration, gay and lesbians, mixed-marriages, DOMA, teachers, Hispanics, Blacks, women, etc.

          they are the party that has no positive agenda towards people and their needs.. they have become a party of polarization and hate.

          Health care is not their issue even if ObamaCare dies. They have no solutions. They cannot agree among themselves on what they’d support as a party.

      • ” That’s not what Obama said. He said that, if you like your policy, you can keep it. He didn’t say, if you lose your policy, you will probably, but not necessarily, get a better policy. But to be perfectly honest, you will probably pay a lot more, most especially if you are young and healthy. If you had a choice, you might not opt for the better policy because of the costs. You might be better off not choosing the better coverage, but we need you to subsidize other people.”

        he was responding to lies that govt doctors would replace your private doctors and that death panels would decide what care you received.

        he was attempting to say that the govt was not going to replace your doctor or your insurance or create death panels.

        he went way to far in response and basically lied – I agree with that but he had a LOT OF HELP from the lies from the opposition that spurred him to say things that were wrong.

        “Obama knew the bill’s contents. Obama chose his words. Obama chose to repeat his lie over and over again. Had he told the truth, it is quite possible the ACA would have failed in Congress. He lied to the American people to achieve a political goal.”

        I agree with you – he owns it but I also point out to you that there is no easy way to repeal it and the opposition has forced him to defend it rather than seek compromise to fix it.

        the opposition has set the terms to force a failure – if they can and that’s wrong and siding with them on that tactic is wrong. It’s not an agenda to try to reform our system.. It’s an agenda based on hate and obfuscation.

        The people who don’t have insurance – are going to get it – and what are you going to do a year from now telling them you are going to take it away?

        how are you going to do that?

        • Obama was trying to conceal the fact that he was dragging in people and forcing them to pay subsidies. Anybody can give away free stuff. But somebody has to pay for the free stuff. Obama is not honest enough to say “Hey you, I’m giving big subsidies on health care and you are going to pay more to contribute to those subsidies.” Had he said this, the ACA would not likely have passed.

          I’ve read where the ACA need at least 38% young and healthy people to join the pools for the current premiums to work, even with tax subsidies. If only 23% join, the premiums must be raised to meet the shortfall. When the higher premiums take effect, some older and sicker people will not be able to afford it and more young and healthy people will not participate. Soon a death spiral occurs. And all without the evil GOP. The ACA is already on the road to fail. It will fail simply because there is nothing in it for many people. That’s why Obama wants to fine people for not participating. Then top it off with Obama’s lie designed to mislead people into thinking they did not need to participate if they did not want to, and the ACA will die. Keep in mind that the story was you had to buy insurance, not that you had to buy insurance that would subsidize the expansion of health insurance. Obama engaged in pure fraud. If he would have told the truth, the ACA would not be law today.

  16. ” Obama was trying to conceal the fact that he was dragging in people and forcing them to pay subsidies.”

    Do you know where much of the funding for ObamaCare comes from?
    You ought to find out because it’s not what the right wing is saying.

    ” Anybody can give away free stuff. But somebody has to pay for the free stuff. Obama is not honest enough to say “Hey you, I’m giving big subsidies on health care and you are going to pay more to contribute to those subsidies.” Had he said this, the ACA would not likely have passed.”

    because the funding comes from several sources including money from reducing subsidies to Medicare Advantage …. please go verify the other funding sources.

    More than that – where do you think the funding comes from right now for people without insurance?

    why do you ignore the current subsidy? why not admit that we already subsidize which is the truth?

    Obama was proposing a different way to subsidize – that in theory would have cost left than subsidizing ER visits.

    “I’ve read where the ACA need at least 38% young and healthy people to join the pools for the current premiums to work, even with tax subsidies.”

    from an objective source?

    ” If only 23% join, the premiums must be raised to meet the shortfall. When the higher premiums take effect, some older and sicker people will not be able to afford it and more young and healthy people will not participate.”

    do you know this for a fact and where are you getting the info – from an unbiased source?

    be advised that the FEHB program – which you should be familiar with has the same issue … and the premiums are in part based on how many younger/healthier get insurance through FEHB.

    it’s the same thing with employer provided insurance. The premiums for all employees is based, in part, on how many younger, healthier join the pool.

    this is not unique to ObamaCare. It’s common in most insurance plans.

    “Soon a death spiral occurs. ”

    not any more or less with FEHB and employer-provided … the only “death spiral” is right wing propaganda… which you should strive to see other sources for the info.

    “And all without the evil GOP. The ACA is already on the road to fail. It will fail simply because there is nothing in it for many people.”

    no more or less than Medicare, FEHB or many large employer-provided plans.

    why do you not see this ?

    “That’s why Obama wants to fine people for not participating.”

    do you know what happens if you do not sign up for Medicare at 65 and wait?
    you get a penalty for each year you wait. do you know why?

    do you understand that young people would not get auto insurance nor pay in to SS if it was not mandated?

    “Then top it off with Obama’s lie designed to mislead people into thinking they did not need to participate if they did not want to, and the ACA will die. Keep in mind that the story was you had to buy insurance, not that you had to buy insurance that would subsidize the expansion of health insurance. Obama engaged in pure fraud. If he would have told the truth, the ACA would not be law today.”

    it’s most likely NOT going to fail.. especially after millions sign up for it that don’t have it now but as I said before – this is not something than cannot be fixed – if we wanted to do it. Medicare started off with problems and ultimately was fixed because both sides wanted to fix it. It was the same thing with the GOP-passed Medicare Part C and Part D – both of which had problems and needed a compromise from both sides of the ailise to fix.

    You are aligning with the obstructionists who do not want ANY fix but instead total repeal – and – they are going to fail… not because there’s not problems – there are – but because they are committed to doing nothing …

    and nothing fails.

    • There is a big difference between Medicare fines and ACA fines. No one has ever told senior citizens that they did not have to participate in Medicare. Obama told the entire population many times that they did not need to participate in the ACA. It’s like the Seinfeld episode where Poppy peed on Jerry’s sofa. After that, no one wanted the sofa. Obama peed on the ACA.

      • the idea behind the fines is the same though. they want you paying into the system when you are well because some day you’ll be pulling out of the system.

        re: no on ever told senior citizens….

        you gotta me kidding TMT> you have to SIGN UP for Medicare Part B. If you don’t sign up – you don’t have it. Who’s responsibility is it to know you have to sign up and if 50 million have signed up and the govt did not tell them – how did they know? Finally, why in the world would a senior citizen decide that 100.00 a month health insurance should be turned down?

        I’ve admitted than Obama – and not just Obama – an administration of a lot of others who all made a bad calculation about how to represent ObamaCare – spurred on, in part by the other side spreading lies about govt doctors and death panels.

        He did not lie just to be lying..he was afraid that people would believe the govt doctor lies and attempted to rebut it – and did so very badly.

        still.. no one has died from his lies unlike others before him.

        unlike others before him the “nation building” he was pursuing was for THIS nation which has a broken health care system that others have been too feckless and cowardly to try to do something about it.

        there is no way to reform our current system without affecting virtually everyone… because of the lopside and totally unwarranted and unfair treatment of some verses favored treatment of others.

        If you think ObamaCare would “disrupt” our health care system – consider Ronald Reagan’s contribution – EMTALA. Guaranteed universal health care for all, “free medical care” for those who decide to not buy insurance and go bare – we encourage this – and then we pay for it.

        You think you’re not paying for those without insurance.

        look at this:

        ” U.S. Health Care Costs Per Family More Than Doubled In Nine Years, Report Finds”

        http://goo.gl/sYJh3g

        do you think this had anything to do with uncompensated care ?

  17. Larry, I don’t like the ACA for starters because it raises my taxes. If the law mandated premium reductions to pass along the cost savings from eliminating insurance company payments for uncompensated ER care, I might feel differently. But that ain’t gonna happen. Expansion of coverage will just cost us all more.

    However, Obama has been elected president twice. And the Ds were elected majority party in 2008. I lost; others won. But I do strongly to Obama’s lie to the American people about whether they had to participate in the program. He told people that they did not need to participate if they did not want to do so. That is fraud. That is the kind of things Bernie Madoff did. Give me your money; I’ll invest it; and you’ll make huge profits. Fraud.

    Let’s work together to fix the ACA. OK; fair enough. There’s a bill that passed the House that would keep Obama’s promise that people could keep their existing insurance. Harry Reid will not allow the bill to go to the floor. Obama will not sign it. Both are trying to preserve the fraud. Both are tying to force Americans to subsidize the expansion of insurance after they were told the did not need to do so. How do you fix the ACA when the Ds want to preserve the fraud? If Bill Clinton were president, he’d start the process rolling by keeping Obama’s promise.

    Larry, it seems to me that you want to force Americans to pay more and accept less to expand health care insurance. How far should we be forced to go?

    • “Larry, I don’t like the ACA for starters because it raises my taxes. If the law mandated premium reductions to pass along the cost savings from eliminating insurance company payments for uncompensated ER care, I might feel differently. But that ain’t gonna happen. Expansion of coverage will just cost us all more.”

      what taxes increase on you? do you know where the funding for ObamaCare comes from? google it.

      “However, Obama has been elected president twice. And the Ds were elected majority party in 2008. I lost; others won. But I do strongly to Obama’s lie to the American people about whether they had to participate in the program. He told people that they did not need to participate if they did not want to do so. That is fraud. That is the kind of things Bernie Madoff did. Give me your money; I’ll invest it; and you’ll make huge profits. Fraud.”

      not as bad as telling 5000 young – “you’re going to die so we can stop WMDs” and I never heard equivalent condemnation.

      “Let’s work together to fix the ACA. OK; fair enough. There’s a bill that passed the House that would keep Obama’s promise that people could keep their existing insurance. Harry Reid will not allow the bill to go to the floor. Obama will not sign it. Both are trying to preserve the fraud. Both are tying to force Americans to subsidize the expansion of insurance after they were told the did not need to do so. How do you fix the ACA when the Ds want to preserve the fraud? If Bill Clinton were president, he’d start the process rolling by keeping Obama’s promise.”

      what passed the house was not a “fix” but an attempt to gut it. I’ll believe the “fixes” when I see that they truly want to compromise and fix – which they have had 40 opportunities to show good faith on – and instead showed their true colors.

      “Larry, it seems to me that you want to force Americans to pay more and accept less to expand health care insurance. How far should we be forced to go?”

      Here’s the argument. Taxpayers subsidize flood insurance that many depend on for their vacation homes.

      the way you characterize this is that: “I want to force Americans to pay more and accept less”.

      and my answer is – yes… but that won’t change the selfishness of those who now benefit from unfair subsidies that others do not get.

      how do you do that?

      why do you or your wife deserve tax-free health insurance and others who buy out of pocket do not?

      why do those on Medicare deserve $5000 in annual subsidies and those who are 62 – not?

      why do those who own half million dollar houses deserve free nursing home care provided by taxpayers ? and if you take it away – they will oppose it.

      you act like if they have it – they deserve it and it is wrong to take it away.

      do you believe that folks should get subsidized flood insurance, health care and nursing home care?

      are you surprised that they’d oppose taking away those subsidies?

      Did you know that Mitt Romney proposed taking away the tax-free employer-provided health insurance subsidy ? Do you think if he had become POTUS and proposed that – that people would have not opposed it?

  18. ” The FEHB is optional, not mandatory. When my wife and I got married, I put her under my health insurance as my compensation included no premium insurance. She was not covered by the feds an paid nothing during many of her “young and healthy years.” After my job was eliminated more than 10 years later, we switched to the federal program. She did not have to make up any contributions. We saved lots of money over the years, but again, this was part of my compensation.”

    it’s “compensation” that you got that others do not though. FEHB is voluntary but the cost of the premiums – AND the govt subsidy is based
    on how many, including young on in the pool.

    like auto insurance, you do not pay a premium ONLY when you have an accident. You pay into insurance – continuously – for the day when you might need it. People fundamentally do not understand what insurance is when they think they do not have to pay into it if they do not need it. It presumes they don’t need insurance which young people will often believe and if not forced to buy auto insurance would not buy it either.

    If states can MANDATE that you buy care insurance and the Feds can MANDATE that you put money into SS insurance, why do you say it’s wrong for Obama Care but not for those other?

    “I don’t believe the costs of paying for treatment for uninsured will exceed the costs for insuring them. I’ve seen no evidence either way. I don’t expect you have either. But see my discussion below.”

    you do know this or you should. People who need health care get treated even if they are uninsured. You may not know precisely how it is paid for but you should know that you do pay for it.

    “You are absolutely wrong on what Obama said and why. The response to rebut no choice of doctors and the existence of death panels is to talk about them, not to say you can keep your health plan. This was an out and out lie designed to fool Americans and eliminate opposition to the ACA based on falsehoods.”

    He was responding to the lies from the right that ObamaCare meant people would get govt doctors and death panels. Why do you not also condemn that lie?

    “It is you who is confusing pools and coverage. Obama’s goal was to extend broad coverage to people without insurance and people with preexisting conditions at affordable rates. Not an evil goal. To do this, he needs large pools for all the services he wants to cover and pools that include people who are not likely to make claims for the covered services.”

    JUST LIKE FEHB and most employer-provided need. but again you’re not thinking about paying into insurance that some day you’ll need – you’re thinking it’s a service you only pay for when you need but guy – if you are uninsured and get sick – do you think you can buy it then? This is why you get insurance while you are healthy and not wait until you are sick.

    the larger the pools, the better… ESPECIALLY for small businesses who have small pools who can now join very large pools.

    but you DID CONFUSE the idea of the “required” things that insurance cover – verses the concept of pools and pre-existing conditions. These are not the same.

    ” First, I will agree there is some value in being covered for many risks even when they are remote. People in their 20s do get strokes. Rarely, but it happens. But most people in their 20s are not likely to chose stroke coverage voluntarily. They would likely chose coverage for sports injuries instead.”

    you pay into insurance when you are young and you “collect” when you get older and need it.. You cannot wait for 20 years and pay one years worth of premiums to get 100X worth of medical care. It’s an installment plan guy.
    this is the same argument about why young people should pay FICA instead of letting them wait and/or do their own thing at the last minute. It’s a typical youth approach to the future and not planning for the future is fine if you are the only one who pays the price but what these young people are doing is relying on the fact that even without insurance, someone will take care of them if they get sick. They’d do the same thing for FICA and auto insurance.

    “Older, sicker people would most likely chose coverage for strokes. But if they are the only ones choosing this coverage, the premiums will be unaffordable for many. ”

    TMT – how in the HELL would someone be able to predict what they need to be “covered” for – or not? You’re totally confusing the very idea of risk and insurance. You’re insuring for what you DON’T KNOW and CANNOT PREDICT.

    with regard to older and sicker – Medicare covers 50 million older and sicker people for $500.00 a month. there are NO young and healthy in Medicare yet they “cover” pre-existing conditions and sick and less healthy for $500 a month of which they pay 100.00.. and taxpayers pay 400.00.

    you should recognize this – or at least acknowledge it.

    “Given the reality that there are limits on the amount of taxes that society is willing to pay to extend health care to others, Obama needs a big pool. He need to condition coverage for sports injuries on coverage for strokes. To get there, he needs all plans that cover sports injuries, but not strokes, to go away. Are we on the same page?”

    we are but tell me WHY if we CAN cover 50 million older people for $500 a month, we cannot cover a younger pool for the same amount or less?

    “Obama could have told the American people this. If we are going to cover everyone and especially those who are older and sicker and subject to preexisting conditions, he needs big pools, etc. and that plans that don’t cover strokes must be canceled. He could have said it’s like Social Security, everyone pays now, and everyone gets when he/she turns 65. But a huge number of young people don’t believe they will get Social Security or, if they do, it’s a fraction of what older people receive now. Moreover, many younger people are strapped financially. People aren’t getting raises, while the cost of living increases. I submit that, had Obama told the truth, there would have been strong opposition to the ACA, such that it might not have passed or, if enacted, in a much more watered down form.”

    You are correct on this. He and his administration just totally screwed up how to explain and sell this to the American people. They went about it in a fundamentally dishonest and arrogant way instead of being up-front and honest about it from the get go.

    The GOP is worse. They feckless and cowardly on an issue that demands change that is going to to tough no matter what.

    “Obama chose to reject that path and to chose to lie to people. He effectively told them the could keep what they had if they were satisfied. He assured them they could keep coverage for sports injuries while not paying for coverage for strokes. This is pure and simple fraud.”

    we just disagree. He was trying to rebut the lies about government doctors and death panels and he went way too far…

    but you tell me how many POTUS before him did not LIE .. who before him did not LIE and did you condemn them also when they lied?

    “You complain about Medicare being unfair. Well, didn’t Obama’s Party say “you earned your benefits. Don’t let the GOP take them away.”? Obama never said, hey you Medicare guys and gals are getting big taxpayer subsidies. It’s time to share them with those who don’t have insurance. Had he done that, he would have lost. The Ds and some Rs have been saying Medicare is earned since 1965.

    You’re confusing the AARP here.. to a certain extent but you’re also not being honest about what the GOP was proposing. If the GOP wants to KILL Medicare all together what would you expect the other side to say?

    The American people are ignorant about Medicare and whether it is “earned” or not… and neither the GOP nor the Dems have bothered to clear it up.

    But it’s the GOP, not the Dems who say that Medicare is not sustainable and needs to be killed …as opposed to making the argument about the too-rich subsidies… and the GOP has also not been honest about MedicAID in terms of it subsidizing people who own half million dollar homes.

    If you are the GOP and you say Medicare and MedicAid are not sustainable why do you not tell the truth about both of them as your justification for change?

    I’m no defender of the Dems on these things. I’m a fiscal conservative who will tell you that Medicare has way, way too rich subsidies when they charge people with 85K in retirement income only 100.00 a month for insurance and I think it is a scandal when Va will not expand MedicAid because they say it will be too costly when at the same time they are subsidizing people with half million dollar homes.

    I EXPECT the people who claim they are fiscal conservatives who say that Medicare and MedicAid are not sustainable to REVEAL these truths and in doing so force the American people to confront these realities and to undercut the Dem message that says it’s not a problem.

    I EXPECT way more from the GOP on these issues but instead they’ve made it a class war… and they refuse to do anything in the way of any compromise or incremental changes. They are not governing. They are vandalizing.

    “We have a hodge-podge of health care plans in the US. Obama could have called for single payer. But that would mean a lot of people would get less than they have today. ”

    how do 50 other countries cover everyone for 1/2 of what we pay and we don’t cover everyone?

    “Losers, including labor unions, would strongly object. People are not willing to pay much to extend coverage to others.”

    more political demonization here that does NOT lead to compromises. It’s a culture war and no prisoners taken.. the country is going to fail if we continue doing business this way.

    “You are likely to respond with your ER argument. For that to sell, the public would need to see their premiums reduced. Let’s say 20% of today’s premiums covered the cost of unpaid ER visits passed along to insurance companies. Assume further that it would increase premiums by 10% to cover the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions. Shouldn’t we see a 10% reduction in premiums?”

    there are no easy answers here because our system is a mess and it’s going to get far worse if we fail to act.

    you can condemn ObamaCare but if you force us back to the status quo, we will be on our way to 3 times as much as every other country on the planet with UHC pays for health care.

    How can we seriously defend a system where we pay 3 times what other countries pay and STILL HAVE millions of uninsured?

    who would defend such a situation?

    “Senator Janet Howell made the same argument last spring. I posed the same questions and she had no answers. She danced around it. Janet Howell is one smart lady and as honest of a politician that I’ve ever known. I think the bottom line is that extending coverage will cost more than will be saved. But the Ds don’t want to admit this because they know most people don’t want to pay more to extend coverage. If Warren Buffett and Mark Warner are willing to pay, so be it. Don’t tax me; don’t tax thee; tax the feller behind the tree.”

    she is not a US Senator but a Va Senator. I’m not sure what exactly you’d be expecting from her… but you can rest assured that if we pay twice what other countries pay and the uninsured don’t pay -that you are… you just don’t have an accounting of it that you believe but surely you must recognize who is paying and who is not.

    “Where is my political analysis wrong?”

    I appreciate being able to have the back and forth while staying on the issue with the exception of your selective condemnation of the current POTUS and no one else for similar behaviors.. It’s politics whether it’s Obama, Clinton or Bush or Reagan or McCain Romney or Cantor… they all are politicians and they all do what politicians do – like when Cantor tried to say that he had not been invited to Martin Luther King day… he lied…

    I do not condone it but I do recognize they all do it and do not selectively condemn those I dislike and pretend the ones I like don’t do it.

    Kaine, Warner AND McDonnell, Cantor, Cucinelli … LIE… but to say tha a LAW passed Congress ONLY because ONE GUY LIED.. is just silly.

    It’s like you’re saying all those other elected in Congress were ignorant clueless rubes.

    so your analysis has large dollops of FOX News in it.. which I expect from FOX but not you.

    you’re better than that… 😉

  19. In a strange way, these comments are a conversation. I have no illusions about how much agreement you’re illustrating, or how much you hope ever to persuade one another as opposed to posture for other readers; but the fact that you’re willing to say what you believe, in writing, intelligently defended, is far better than the deadly silence about the ACA debacle I’m ‘hearing’ around NoVa at social events. The only people I hear speak passionately about the ACA are at the polar extremes and they don’t speak intelligently to one another about the practical or philosophical issues, just give a standard rant, 2010 vintage. The rest of my friends simply change the subject.
    The one thing I wish I’d hear more about, as it’s truly missing-in-action, is a Republican alternative. How can anyone who wants to fix the ACA (because there are real problems that EMTALA only papers over) and advocates practicality and compromise in politics, work from the ideological hard line position(s) (there are so many of them!) of the only people speaking?

  20. they are intended to be a conversation and to exchange views and understand each other without degrading into the name-calling often seen in other blogs.

    but please – join the conversation… and share your views….

    and yes,. I’d find it much easier to condemn the ACA and the POTUS if there was an obvious competitive alternative and he had ignored it.

    A true competitive alternative would have the potential of pulling away the POTUS support in the Senate and forcing the issue if the Senate Dems not only aligned with the alternative on a vote but indicated they’d also vote for override. In that circumstance the POTUS would be forced to back down and negotiate.

    that’s not going to happen when there is no intent to produce a competitive alternative.

    there was a time not that long ago – that both sides would work to find middle ground and neither Obama nor the opposition would get everything they wanted – but they would go forward.

  21. I agree; a “competitive alternative” would help shape the larger debate, if only the Republican side could get over its infatuation with total repeal and talk realistically and civilly within its ranks about what else besides repeal to put on the table. Seriously, Rs, if you could achieve repeal, then what?

  22. here’s the problem:

    health care cost trends over last decade

  23. this is a problem that began some time ago and despite some folks complaining that ObamaCare will “raise their taxes”, on look at this chart should convince them that their “taxes” are already going up at an astronomical rate..

    Medical Care is becoming more expensive and insurance is becoming more expensive because people without insurance STILL GET MEDICAL CARE and those costs get allocated to those who ARE PAYING and that’s exactly what this chart shows.

    TMT is worried that his costs will go up with ObamaCare. Look at how much his costs have gone up WITHOUT ObamaCare.

    It’s DOUBLED in one decade and it is projected to double again in another decade.

    A big deal is made about Obama wanting to control 1/7th of the economy.

    In another decade without some kind of change – we going to be talking about 1/3 of the economy.

    People who are more productive do not get higher wages anymore. Every penny of increased production gets sucked up by health care costs.

    Anyone ….. ANYONE who looks at this trend and defends the status quo is living in a dream world. For the GOP to look at this and refuse to act, is just plain out irresponsible and for them to refuse to act AND obstruct borders on malfeasance.

    but… of course.. this is ALL Obama’s fault for “Lying” – right?

    We have folks who will gladly forget what’s happened to health care in the last decade if they can blame someone for it. No solutions are needed – just appropriate blame.

  24. I love the American media. The Pope did sharply criticize growing economic inequality and the “tyranny of unfettered markets”. However, he wrote a lot of things in his paper. For example, “Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”.

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