kamikaze_flamesBy Peter Galuszka

On an otherwise lovely early autumn afternoon, we’re stuck waiting from depressing news from Washington about radical House Republicans holding the U.S. government and the debt ceiling hostage.

In a pointless exercise, after midnight today, U.S. parks might close and some federal workers might not get paid. It could get even worse a few weeks from now if this cabal of right wing nutbars crashes the shaky recovery by forcing the U.S. into default.

This isn’t just another Baconaut lecture on the evils of the Nation’s Capital. Those can get tiresome but this stuff is dangerous.

We just can’t get past the staunch conservative echo chamber of the Heritage Foundation, Fox News, and Ted” “Green Eggs and Ham” Cruz. We went through this in 2011. Remember? The Likes of Eric “Eddie Haskell” Cantor failed to get a rush from the Tea Party victories of 2010.

It’s now almost 2014. Obamacare became the law of the land nearly four years ago. It has already been held up (at least almost all of it) by the U.S. Supreme Court. Not that it matters, but Obamacare is pretty much the same as RomneyCare pushed by the failed Republican candidate for president when he was governor of Massachusetts. It’s going to happen.

Could there be some good by the stubborn kamikaze tactics of the House GOP? Some Dems believe that the idiocy of the likes of Jim DeMint and other hardliners may be the stake that finally does them in.

Sound tantalizing. But I am tired. I am worried about my retirement account. I just want to get my health insurance right (no mean feat since I am self-employed and over 60). I want to move on to new things.

Can’t they find a more worthy mission?

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


43 responses to “The GOP’s Idiotic Kamikaze Pilots”

  1. DJRippert Avatar

    The Republican calculation is that the implementation of Obamacare will be a disaster – at least for the first few years. They hope Americans will remember that the Republicans went to the mat to stop it. By 2014 Obama will be a lame duck, people will have gotten tired of hope and change and the problems with Obamacare will be apparent. If this all comes true (and it might or might not) the GOP hopes to run the tables in 2014.

    In the short term – this is a disaster for Cuccinelli. He should be praying for something to stop a shutdown. No sane person thinks that shutting down the government is a good way to govern. The only question is whether the ends justify the means. In Virginia, a lot more people will be hurt by the shutdown than satisfied by the faux heroics of the Tea Party. They will want revenge and they won’t have to wait until 2014 to get it. They will file into voting booths on Nov 5 and toss Cuccinelli to the wolves.

    1. billsblots Avatar

      The overarching issue that you have not addressed is the failure of this administration to pass a budget in over four years (Harry Reid, where’s your required budget submission?).

      This is by design of the White House and the DNC. No budget requires a regular dose of continuing resolutions, each one an opportunity to headline the party line that Republicans want to starve little children of color and just won’t cooperate with the automatic increases in government spending built in to this hideous bass line method.

      Each approaching CR deadline gives the administration the opportunity to ram additional programs and spending through, and if anyone dare oppose it they will labeled as neanderthal extremists who want to drive the country into depression for political purposes, which is eagerly and mindlessly reported as fact by the media, as usual serving as the public affairs branch of the DNC.

      This is government by designed crisis done for the purpose of intimidation and to bypass organized, meaningful debate of issues and spending priorities, the good of the country and its taxpayers be damned.

      1. The “administration” does not pass a budget – Congress does – and that means that Congress has to compromise and AGREE.

        the point you do not address is HOW does the govt spend money is no budget is passed because the POTUS cannot spend a dime without Congress approval.

        So how do we spend money without a budget ? Who approves that and how?

        Tell me WHAT ADDITIONAL spending was “rammed” through over the objections of the GOP (who also has to vote on the CRs)?

        The GOP has had how many years to propose cuts in the CRs and how many have they made?

        It takes TWO to tango on the budget, the debt and the CRs.

        the 17.5T in debt – not one penny was put there by the POTUS – not a penny.

        every bit of it was APPROVED by a MAJORITY of Congress – BOTH GOP and DEMS.

        How come this issue never came up until Obama was POTUS?

        Virtually ALL of the spending in the current budget has carried forward from prior to 2008.

        the spending was set in motion way back when we ramped up National Defense spending and that spending now consumes 2/3 of our tax revenues.

  2. Breckinridge Avatar

    This is just a warm up for the debt ceiling showdown, which is far more hairy than sending “non-essential” government workers home for a few days. I agree, the GOP is trying to reinforce the message that they tried to stop Obamacare so don’t blame them when all the warnings come true. And I agree, should this shutdown last a while and should it be followed by a failure to resolve the debt ceiling issue, the big loser in Virginia could very well be Cuccinelli.

    But the Constitution gives the House of Representatives the driver’s seat on appropriations of the public purse, and the GOP caucus is dominated by members who pledged to fall on their swords over Obamacare, so this day had to come eventually. Both Boehner and Obama can look back a year and say “I won that election.” Mexican standoffs require two swollen sombreros.

    1. Obama cannot spent a penny without Congress approval. That’s where the debt came from. NOt a penny of the debt came from the POTUS – not a penny.

      we spend about a trillion dollars on National Defense out of about 1.5 T in income tax revenues.

      and last I heard the GOP was not interested in cutting a penny of it even though it constitutes about 65% of our available revenues.

      What percent of our available revenues – should we be spending on National Defense?

      this Congress has spent the last 5 years basically LYING about the debt and who created it – and NOW they are STILL LYING about it because they believe the American citizen is dumb as a stump on the issue – and – they may be right – because the propaganda over and over – says that Obama is responsible for the debt.

      How in the world can ANYONE support the GOP when this is their message?

    2. Breckinridge Avatar

      Oh dear me I stand corrected. It requires three armed parties all hostile to each other to have a Mexican standoff. We have in this situation the House, Senate and the President so of course we meet one test. But the Senate and the President are just aiming at the House, so to speak. So disregard that metaphor (except for the reference to swelled heads, which remains.) FYI I LOVED the fact that Kaine was in the chair as the House CR was tabled last night, rather than sent to conference — Kaine who shut down the rest stops in VA as a pressure tactic. Hmmmm — that kinda didn’t work.

      1. Kaine shut down the rest stops sure enough and sure enough it did not work … except taxes DID get raised …. by the guy he said taxes did not need to be raised…. now how bad is that?

  3. We had 40 repeal votes and in not a single one did we have:

    1. – a replace legislation

    2. – a compromise proposal

    nope.. we waited until the eve of a totally separate issue – to claim that we can’t do anything now but try to compromise or shut the govt down.

    40 repeal votes – and not one vote for compromise…

    it’s pretty clear this is a serious philosophical issue – no question about it.

    but the TACTICs really SUCK….

    the GOP are largely CRETINS. They basically think “governance” is for panty waists ..

    Their base is gonna love them. The question is how will the independents view this?

    Obviously, the GOP thinks they can win elections like this… clearly.. otherwise… gotta give them the Fools of the Decade award.

    What’s funny – and scary – is if this is how the GOP “governs” when they do not have a majority – what would they do if they DID have a majority….

    One thing I’m betting on. In a 21st century global economy, employer-provided health care is a dinosaur – similar to defined-benefit pensions.

    It’s on it’s way out… American companies just simply have an economic albatross around their necks when competing against other companies that don’t have those costs.

    McCain and Romney both – had plans to get rid of employer-provided health care…but did not “sell it” because they knew it would not play well.

    but make no mistake – the die is cast.

  4. Breckinridge Avatar

    Cretins? Panty-waists? Now there is a high level debate. Get on the meds again, amigo…

    Agreed, this Congress and its many predecessors share responsibility for the existing federal debt. But I will happily give this President the lion’s share of the responsibility for the five year stag-cession, which looks eerily like the long period where FDR’s anti-business, pro-union, ideologically driven agenda kept the economy crushed. If we could get growth up to 3.5 percent again (and just hold spending in check) that would start to close the gap.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Interesting linkage between FDR and Obama. My theory has been that the US economy has reached some sort of tipping point that nobody really understands. Hence, the stag-cession. However, it would certainly be more likely that we are repeating some failed plan from the past. That’s the more typical scenario. Could you expound on the 5 year period you have in mind. FDR was apparently elected king for life by the people voting at that time. Which 5 years?

      1. Breckinridge Avatar

        To respond to you above and Larry below, Obama didn’t cause this recession and FDR didn’t cause that depression. But how you dig out matters. I’m no economic historian but my recollection is that the US economy hit a second wall under FDR about 1937-38 and didn’t really start coming back until the pre-war build up starting in 1939-40.
        Higher taxes, Taft-Hartley, lots of progressive policies under the New Dealers had unintended (and in some cases very much intended) negative impacts on the economy. Many New Dealers very much wanted a top-down, managed economy. Yet at the same time, as Keynesians ave pointed out, FDR really didn’t engage in major deficit spending to stimulate the economy. This time Obama very much has.

        The deficits came with the war, and by 1945 the US economy was the wonder of the world. I’m about a third of the way through “Freedom’s Forge”, a relatively new history of the industrial build up behind the Allied victory (and the first victory that was required, as the initially despised dollar-a-year men had to suppress the New Dealers and the unions to make it happen.)

        1. reed fawell III Avatar
          reed fawell III

          “FDR about 1937-38 and didn’t really start coming back until the pre-war build up starting in 1939-40. Higher taxes, Taft-Hartley, lots of progressive policies under the New Dealers had unintended (and in some cases very much intended) negative impacts on the economy.”

          I believe history supports your views. In general FDR policies were failures in terms of the nations economic recovery. WWII bailed out FDR’s pre war economic failures.

          On the other hand, FDR bailed out the nation as a great war president, while the Republicans by and large were grossly irresponsible on events leading up to and during the War. Their hate and jealously of FDF during that period rendered many Republicans senseless. It took Ike (after Truman) to set them back on the tracks.

          1. FDR put a lot of people to work on infrastructure – TVA, CCC, rural electrification…

            Many elders today will tell you that the only reason they had a job was the “new deal”.

            If you visit the Tennessee Valley rivers these days there is large network of dams that survive to this day.

            If you visit many parks and Blue Ridge Parkway and Shennandoah park -you’ll see roads and drainage infrastructure as well as campgrounds and lodges – all built by unemployed folks…

            rural America was electrified and farm-to-market roads built that helped many farmers survive and keep their farms

            We could have done infrastructure on this go around – but it does take Congress to approve – and it’s not like we don’t have infrastructure that needs repair and rehabilitation.

          2. reed fawell III Avatar
            reed fawell III

            “FDR put a lot of people to work on infrastructure – TVA, CCC, rural electrification… etc. etc.”

            Very much aware of those initiatives as well as many others. In general, however, I believe history shows that ” In general FDR policies were failures in terms of the nations economic recovery.” Only WWII got the nation out of depression. In addition the national recovery, many elders tell me that the war got them their first real job allowing them to support their families.

          3. re: FDR “failures”. It was a very deep depression and like this recession it took more stimulus than initially thought to bring it out.

            there are arguments on both sides – and enough “slop” in the data and analyses so that there is no ironclad proof one way or the other – which makes basing political philosophy on what we perceive – 60 years after the fact – not very relevant.

            the world today is not the world in FDRs time but those who use it as a parable – do so on philosophical grounds – which does continue to affect the partisan flavors in play today but governance is about finding middle ground, compromise and basically going forward on what we can agree on while we work further on what we don’t.

            Shutting down govt as a kind of extortion to demand what you want – is not only not governance, it’s childish and it’s enormously harmful to governance and those who are governed – people.

            It has no place in legitimate politics. We’re reverting to tribal mentalities.

  5. this POTUS did not cause this recession either. DO you remember BUsh standing in front of the cameras explaining that both the banks and the auto companies had to be bailed out?

    this is the biggest recession since the depression. What exactly could ANY POTUS do – without action by Congress?

    so NOW, we ARE talking about FDR –

    Now, we are talking about 12 POTUS more than 60 years ago in reference to this POTUS – as if none of the prior elections meant anything at all.

    and we’re calling this “ideoglogy”.

    12 POTUS Breckinridge, we’re going back 12 POTUS here – in the context of this POTUS.

    are you serious?

    what exactly do you think the CONGRESS should have done for Bush 1 and two and Clinton and the others?

    this is loony tunes. we have aPOTUS – and we are STILL arguing about 12 prior POTUS – that go back 60 years..

    good god.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Why would you think it unfair to compare hyper-liberal Obama’s economic philosophy to hyper-liberal FDR’s economic philosophy? Both entered office during difficult economic time. Both tried to kick start the economy with massive federal spending. Both pushed huge entitlement programs through congress. However, FDR was “bailed out” of the consequences of his actions by a world war.

      It seems like a very reasonable comparison to me.

      If the Obamanistas don’t want to be compared with FDR perhaps they should stop calling the current economic situation The Great Recession.

      1. Because it was 60+ years ago and 12 POTUS and innumerable Congresses have had the opportunity to change it – and have not.

        When you’re arguing against history and tying to the present – you’re into ideological differences.

        The American people decided 60 years ago – and multiple various times since then – what they support and what they do not.

        Despite the lies and propaganda that is just plain intellectually bankrupt – ObamaCare is very similar to Medicare, Tricare, and the Federal Employee Health benefit program were people choose their own doctors (no more or less infringed than by other private sector plants)

        But as Breckinridge illustrated – this is not about just ObamaCare – it’s about a generalized philosophy with respect to government – and I can respect that – as long as the people who hold that view are honest about it and will admit that they are opposed to ALL govt-provided health care from TRICARE to Medicare to MedicAid to EMTALA –

        and – let the American people judge that anti-govt philosophy on health care – an those merits – not the current scurrilous propaganda and lies about this version of it.

        The vast majority of American people want :

        1. – the families of soldiers to get health care

        2. – seniors to get health care

        3. – people who show up at ERs sick and broke – to get health care

        the only countries in the world that do not provide health care to all of its citizens – are 3rd world countries.

        there are no countries that provide universal access solely and only from the free market.

        The GOP has had 60 years to reconcile it’s position on health care and the simply fact is they can’t even agree among themselves.

        In this case, they had 40 separate opportunities prior to now to offer an alternative.

        They had numerous opportunities under George Bush to do so – and what they pass – was Medicare Part D ….

        Here’s the deal.

        If you as an individual or a party are opposed to any/all variants of govt-sanctioned health care – have the courtesy, character and backbone to honestly admit it – and stand for election – on that basis – instead of the current game they’re playing.

        This country is about representative govt. If your personal philosophy is out of step with voters – then accept that as the truth and don’t try to make up your own version.

        1. Larry, you make a strong case for “free sells well.” Of course, many people want health care coverage for those who don’t have it. I suspect that, if faced with compelling facts, a lot of people would support paying the bills for an illegal alien. People tend to be compassionate – when it doesn’t cost them anything.

          But if you couple the question with, “And what are you willing to give up to fund free or low-cost health care for X, Y &Z,” the answer is “not much.” It’s OK to tax or limit the benefits for the guy behind the tree, but not for me. The Docs don’t want to accept less. The Hospitals and Pharma aren’t standing in line to give up anything. Young people don’t want to pay a subsidy for the chronically ill. Union workers don’t want to give up their gold insurance plans. Etc., etc., etc.

          This is different from Social Security and Medicare. There, FDR and LBJ started with no one getting anything from the Feds. They made promises that, if people paid a small tax, they would get money for retirement and help with health care bills for senior citizens. Everyone paid; everyone received.

          Obama, on the other hand, started with a situation where many people did have health insurance and liked the coverage. He decided to give “free insurance” to those who didn’t have it. Those getting something for little or nothing loved it. But to pay for this, he and the Democratic Crazies in Congress decided everybody, except for the receivers, needed to pay more (directly or indirectly) and give up something. This is not a roadmap for success.

          And, of course, the sycophant media is busy worshiping its hero – Obama – instead of asking Mark Warner to explain why he voted for a bill that is resulting in people losing their employer-provided coverage and even seeing their work hours and paychecks cut.

          Obamacare should be delayed for several years and changed radically.

          1. re: free sells way..

            TMT – when someone goes to the ER for treatment – do you think that is “free”?

            Do you think they turn away “illegals” or do you think they treat them and then charge you ten dollars for an aspirin?

            Have you heard of :


            do you know who pays the bill?

            if the situation was between – no subsidies right now and new subsidies you’d be right – but that’s not the case.

            Re: SS and Medicare.

            People DID pre-pay for Medicare Part A

            and NO ONE pre-paid for Medicare Part B.

            it costs 100 a month for many people – people who have 70K in annual income, own two houses and three cars.

            It costs taxpayers about $400 a month to provide that policy to a senior.

            DO you support that subsidy?

            Just FYI – I do not.

            I think all seniors should pay $400 a month for their health care except for those who are financially unable but we have a crap load of seniors who CAN pay and we do not collect.

            I think EXACTLY the SAME THING for ObamaCare.

            everyone who can pay – should pay … for basic insurance… and only those who cannot should be subsidies and even then on a means-tested basis…

            I support ObamaCare because it ‘s DUMB for us to provide “free” routine health care to people – at ER prices – and we pay…for it with taxes and cost-shifting…

            that’s DUMB!

  6. I just do not believe we can have a rational discussion about any of this – if we have to link it all back to FDR.

    I understand that’s why some of the apparently believe but how would that worldview EVER lead to any kind of modern day approach to government of compromise – any compromise at all on anything?

    we’ve had 4o votes to repeal the health care act – and not one single attempt at “replace” legislation nor any kind of compromise and now we’re told that if we cannot do it right now – we shut down the govt.

    where was the compromise from the GOP on how to repair the economy?

    where was the compromise on ObamaCare BEFORE we got to this point?

    this is not governance.

    the GOP has a snowball chance in hell of maintaining a majority – but even if it could what the heck would it mean in terms of governance?

    this is not a process of governance. It’s a process of “do what we demand or we’ll firebomb government”.

    How does this lead to more people to support the GOP?

    how will this gain the support of minorities, women, any/all who are not in the base?

    I’m just at a loss to understand how the GOP intends to take control and govern and I’m to the point where I wonder if their purpose IS to govern.

  7. re: ” The Republican calculation is that the implementation of Obamacare will be a disaster –”

    they’re entitled to that “calculation” but not the lies and propaganda that they’re spouting – like the death panels and govt doctors, etc.

    that’s scurrilous – outright fraud.

    and the GOP has ALWAYS been OPPOSED to plans LIKE ObamaCare.

    they fought tooth and nail against Medicare – and many who “calculate” that ObamaCare will be a disaster – have always “calculated” that Medicare is a disaster.

    the problem is they’re not honest enough to tell the voters that their opposition is to both programs – for similar reasons… and that, if they had their way – they’d get rid of both.

    there’s total dishonesty on that.

    Ted Cruze and Rand Paul would repeal Medicare in the same way in the same timeframe – if they could but neither is honest enough to base their opposition to ObamaCare on the very same basis as Medicare.

    that’s dishonest.

    Then on top of that to tell lies, blatant lies about what ObamaCare is or is not just makes it even more dishonest.

    Win or lose your argument on the merits.

    If you want to oppose health care sanctioned by the govt – as a politician – at least be honest about it. Be honest to the voters and then stand on their decision.

    and to be clear here, I am NOT accusing Breckinridge of being dishonest. I respect his views but I think the folks he supports are totally dishonest about their positions and intentions.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      It appears that the Republican calculus on Obamacare is off to a promising start. Health care exchanges all over the country are crashing. California, Maryland, DC, Oregon, Oklahoma – all down. Meanwhile, Healthcare.gov seems to have both design and operational issues.

      There are two sides to any new program – conceptual and operational. The conceptual side of Obamacare can be honestly debated. Personally, I think it has many flaws but something had to be done. For example, seeing employers cut hours to avoid fines isn’t exactly a conceptual breakthrough. Operationally, things are worse. Much worse. The federal government isn’t very good at large projects – especially if they involve large volumes of users and data. The government is especially inept when those projects are undertaken on an abbreviated schedule. Today’s multi-website meltdown is evidence.

      Half the American people don’t want the key provision of Obamacare. 36% do want it. 14% aren’t sure.

      How do you claim that the Democratic Senate is representing the wishes of the American people if only 36% support their action?

      The Republicans are playing hard-ball. They are betting that anti-Obamacare sentiment will exceed anti-shutdown sentiment. Given the early ineffectiveness of the exchanges, they may have a point.

      1. Another major flaw with Obamacare is that it makes it easy for employers to dump employees, retirees, dependents from an employer plan to exchanges – despite Obama’s outrageous claim “You can keep what you have.”

        1. they’re going to dump them anyhow TMT. employer-provided health insurance is going to die.

          it’s an anachronism in a global economy where our companies are competing against other companies who do not have health insurance costs.

          ObamaCare is going to accelerate that trend no doubt and yes Obama was an idiot for making that statement.

          But ObamaCare, as TMT probably well knows, is very similar to the FEHB for Federal Employees. No govt doctors. You have a lot of choices. Some HMO and PPO plans have restricted networks of providers – others do not.

          but the two most important things that govt employees benefit from is that you and your family cannot be denied access – and you cannot be charged different rates for the same plans.

          And the FEHB is “portable” for any job in the govt (not the private sector).

          ObamaCare is going to also be “portable” and not tied to an employer. Think about that in terms of job mobility. You can go wherever you want, take the job that best suits your needs. Get two jobs and not care that both do not offer insurance.

          millions of people who cannot get insurance will now get insurance.

          What has the GOP done about this problem? Where is their “replace”? where are their compromise and reforms – prior to now?

          They have no counter-proposals, no alternatives but they got propaganda, lies and disinformation campaigns out the wazoo.

          How can ANYONE of GOOD CONSCIENCE support those kinds of actions and tactics?

          The GOP opposes health care – period. That’s the truth. Let the America people know that truth and then decide if ObamaCare is so bad after all.

      2. Neil Haner Avatar
        Neil Haner

        Re: the Senate-

        The Senate was established in such a way so as to be purposefully resistant to the whims of the general voting public.

        We don’t govern by the polls. Our constitution is written so that we aren’t governed by public opinion polls. We aren’t a strict democracy.

        The Senate has a slow, rotating election cycle. It is the balance to the House, which turns over every two years, and is the chamber that actually does reflect the more short-term turns of public opinion.

        It’s one of my favorite aspects of our governmental system. Our bicameralism balances out the radical House with the tempered Senate. So no, the Senate isn’t going to cave on public opinion here.

        I don’t like the ACA. I never wanted it implemented. The health care system needed, and still needs, lots of work, but the ACA was never the answer.

        But I also know it was legally enacted, judicially upheld, and now widely implemented. Bottom line, it’s too late now. It is no more repealable than Medicare or Social Security. Anything the GOP does at this point is ideological posturing. Best just to back down now, let the implementation be the Democrat’s quagmire, and ride that to Senate votes in 2014. Then, rather than repeal or defund, they can simply water it down however they like.

        1. totally agree on the essential design of the Senate..

          we operate by majority rule – but not mob rule…and the Senate is an important safeguard.

          re: the ACA.

          it’s not as “elegant” as it might be, in part, because our current healthcare system itself is a train wreck CF.

          The average person has NO CLUE what the specifics and limits of their own insurance is – until they run up on the limits.

          A big deal is made about the “unread” pages of ObamaCare. Ask the average person if they have read their own private policies or for that matter the legislation for the Patriot Act or for that matter Medicare Part D. The whole thing is bogus.

          The GOP had – since the time of Bill Clinton to put together a true “free market” approach to the problem and what exactly have they done beyond Medicare Part D – other than fight any/all attempts to do something?

          Let’s be honest. The GOP is fundamentally opposed to the govt being involved in health care except for the military (and their families) and the Vets but they are too dishonest to say so.

          If they really think govt-sponsored health care is so bad – and they do – they’d honestly tell voters that they are going to work to get rid of EMTALA ( ER care for the indigent), MedicAid (care for kids and disabled) , Medicare (for those over 65).

          stand on what you believe. be honest with the voters – and let the country operate as the fore fathers intended – one man-one vote.

          what we have right now is the most fundamentally dishonest group of people to ever be involved in government – basically lying to voters.

          1. I like the American system of checks and balances. The House and the Senate each play different roles. Too bad so few people understand them.

          2. Larry, you are still missing my point. Obamacare is different from any other health care insurance plan in the history of the United States. Employer-provided insurance, including insurance provided by government agencies & the military, is part of compensation. Get a job with the right employer, and you have some level of insurance coverage.

            Medicare is a nobody had coverage — everybody pay a tax & everybody gets coverage when they turn 65. All pay and all get.

            Medicaid is a welfare program paid by general tax revenues. It’s no more noticeable than any other program. And many in the middle class have been able to use it to pay for the final years of their parents in a nursing home.

            Obamacare is different. It’s paid from taxes and restrictions on those who have insurance and goes to those who don’t. Unlike most other heath insurance programs, Obamacare is a win/lose proposition. The many slugs who want something for free voted for Obama to get health insurance provided directly from people with insurance. But the consequences have flowed beyond those who have. Employees and retirees losing insurance. Workers seeing their hours cut. And now the exchanges will offer expensive options.

            It is perfectly rationale for Americans to like what they have and dislike Obamacare. The political calculus is very different from what has happened in the past. Most Americans still understand the economics of insurance and don’t believe there is a right to health care.

      3. some of the opposition to ObamaCare is because it’s NOT single-payer.

        re: “wishes of the people”

        if the people honestly knew what it is and how it works – as opposed to the fear mongering propaganda.. most of them would like it.

        If fact when you poll them on the specifics of ObamaCare without calling it ObamaCare, they LIKE IT.

        this is about propaganda.. lying.. misrepresenting facts – to convince people that it’s something different than it really is.

        As I said – if you are a person who opposes the concept of the govt involved in health care – and you’d be fine getting rid of EMTAL, Medicare and Medicaid -as well as ObamaCare – be man enough to admit it and not just demonize one of them.

        we have a bunch of folks who believe that it’s okay to lie if it serves a political purpose they support. that’s all this is.

        put the honest facts about ObamaCare to the American people and see what happens.

        there’s another irony here. The people who have Medicare – some of them oppose ObamaCare… these are folks who would have zero options for getting healthcare without Medicare.

        that’s about as hypocritical as one can get.

  8. mbaldwin Avatar

    As usual I’m late — no doubt too late — to enter into this discussion: animals to feed, newspapers to read. But some thoughts:
    — FDR’s budget cuts in 1938 did indeed cripple the economy, and not until WWII’s deficits did we truly emerge from the Depression and grievous unemployment;
    — Our economy boomed during the post-war through the 1960s (that 4+% unemployment I so enjoyed)
    –The post-war progressive legislation that featured regard for the lower income earners created a more just and hardly constrained economy;
    — America’s economic dominance after WWII obviously couldn’t persist as European and Asian — Japanese and especially Chinese — economies recovered and grew.
    — Our still-rampant income disparity began in the early 1970s, exacerbated by Reagan and then Bush tax cuts, inter alia, and the trends persist relentlessly. On the whole, lower income folk (and many in the middle) need help they’re not getting — white, black or Hispanic.

    So let’s get off the kick of “historic parallels”. They don’t exist. We’re in as a totally different political/economic/environmental condition. We never practiced the deficit spending that, as Krugman points out, might have worked (and helped state and local government). Because what does persist is myopic ideology, apparently, and now it seems to be driving the Republican party (I long ago revered) and taking our economy to the dogs (with apologies to the real dogs we love).

    1. In a global economy, a nation’s government is a large part of its overhead. And we have a big overhead. Economic factors have made the legal incidence of taxes and regulation must less material. What is now the most important is the economic incidence of taxes and regulation. Those with capital, necessary skills, good educations and even luck, are able to pass along many of the costs of taxes and regulation to hose without capital, obsolete or lacking skills, poor educations and even bad luck. The latter pay these costs in the form of lower wages.

      America has a continuing choice — lots of expensive and inefficient government and stagnant wages – or less and more efficient government and higher wages. This does not mean we don’t need government, taxes or reasonable regulations. But we cannot sustain what we have today.

  9. TMT – people do not pay what it costs to provide Medicare guy.

    it’s hugely subsidized.

    employer-provided health care is a huge drag on free-market companies as the companies we compete against in the global economy are free of about $5000 per employee costs.

    there is no way you’re going to make that up with “less” regulation.

    it’s a myth. There is virtually no real data showing that our regulation costs are more than our competitors much less 5K worth.

    GM and Ford are getting clobbered by auto companies that don’t pay equivalent health insurance and the trend is more and more companies are not going to provide it if they are competing against global companies that do not provide it.

    When you talk about health care being provide by the government to it’s employees – are you looking at the costs of that now – and on a 75-year horizon like we do for other “liabilities”?

    taxpayers are paying EVERY PENNY of govt employees health care – no different than if they were providing a subsidy to others… it comes out of the very same pocket.

    the benefit of ObamaCare is the very same benefit that the Fed Govt has and that is they have one gigantic insurance pool – and that’s exactly what ObamaCare will provide for non-govt employees… and that’s why and how the costs to provide insurance are lower – and “affordable” by people – who have jobs but cannot get insurance because they have “pre-existing” conditions – something that insurance companies cannot do to Federal employees but they can – until ObamaCare do it to non-govt employees.

    Surely you see the total double-standard on this.

    Why do govt employees with pre-existing conditions get guaranteed healthcare – at the same price as others and non-govt employees cannot get it or they have to pay 3, 4, 5 times more?

    where is the support to provide a level playing field to everyone on this issue?

    where is the GOP support for that?

    1. Larry, slow down. Federal employees don’t receive “free health insurance.” Every employee pays a share. My wife pays for family coverage. She passes half the monthly cost to me in the form of my higher payment to our joint account for bills. Federal employees get they coverage they get as part of their compensation. The fact that some others don’t is immaterial.

      I have a business arrangement with a law firm where I am Of Counsel. I get fixed percentages of work I do and work I generate. My colleagues who are employees get a salary and a bonus opportunity. They also get health insurance at a discount. For an hours work, I get a bigger cut, but don’t get insurance. Is this wrong? Health insurance is not a right.

      Health care is extremely costly in the United States. Obama could have gone in two directions — reduce costs and then expand coverage — or expand coverage. He chose the latter. Look at the prices for eye laser surgery. I saw a TV commercial the other day that a big chain will fix your eyes for $299 per eye. That’s market forces. A couple years ago, I had a cataract removed. Thousands of dollars were charged. Some was paid by BC/BS FEP, some written off per the agreement with FEP; and some I paid. I suspect the two procedures are not wildly different. Why the difference in price?

      Do you watch all of the malpractice and product liability ads on TV each night? How much defensive medicine is practiced because of fear of lawsuits? Obama left this area alone because Democrats get big bucks from trial lawyers.

      If an insurance plan covers pre-existing conditions, it will need to charge higher premiums. If a plan has no lifetime limits, it will need to charge higher premiums. That’s neither right nor wrong. Just an economic reality.

      1. TMT – Federal employees pay their “share” but the govt – taxpayers pay the rest – just as they do for Medicare and MedicAid.

        Federal employees do not get denied for pre-existing conditions nor face severe financial penalties for pre-existing conditions

        … not immaterial – if you have a moral conscience for others who do not get it and as a result – cannot get insurance.

        there by the grace of God, go I…

        re: ” They also get health insurance at a discount. For an hours work, I get a bigger cut, but don’t get insurance. Is this wrong? Health insurance is not a right.”

        if neither you nor your wife could get employer-provided insurance, what would you do? get a govt job?

        you are correct about health care expenses guy – but it’s EXPENSIVE – ACROSS THE BOARD – and no market-based laser eye surgery will not save your child if you cannot get insurance for him.

        it’s a fundamental wrong re-framing of the real problem – which is – regardless of cost and expense – some people cannot get insurance while others can – even though the ones that can may well be “costly” and the one that can’t – is not.

        that’s wrong.

        malpractice – happens with ALL insurance, including Medicare and MedicAid but in Va there are CAPs to liability and it has not affected premiums… it’s yet another canard… without a basis in fact. There would be NO DIFFERENCE in malpractice rates between FEHB, Medicare or ObamaCare yet you’d cite it as a reason against ObamaCare?

        re: ”
        If an insurance plan covers pre-existing conditions, it will need to charge higher premiums. If a plan has no lifetime limits, it will need to charge higher premiums. That’s neither right nor wrong. Just an economic reality.”

        not if you have a LARGE POOL which is what FEHB has AND what ObamaCAre would have…

        if you ask the American Public if they believe the ELEMENTS of ObamaCARE –

        give the uninsured the SAME DEAL on pre-existing as FEHB or any other larger employer-provided pool.

        Community-rated Rates

        Portable Insurance that you keep when you change jobs.

        if you just ask those 3 question and do not identify it as ObamaCare – the vast, vast, majority of people would support it.

        The GOP .. COULD HAVE put together a plan that works that way – nationwide, portable, everyone can get it and same fees for like plans – and it would have done 80-90% of what ObamaCare does.

        Why did the GOP – do ……NOTHING in more than a decade on this, including in the last 40 repeal votes?

        how can you in good conscience support that kind politics on such a vital issue for people?

        1. Moral decisions are OK for health care or anything that costs money, but not for those who oppose abortion or gay marriage on moral grounds. I don’t think health care reform has anything to do with morality. It’s economics.

          Obama could have supported a repeal of the law that prohibits the purchase of insurance across state lines. He could have supported tort reform. We could have a no-fault medical malpractice system like many states do for auto accidents. He could have left states with high-risk pools maintain them. He could have left medical savings accounts alone. He could have revved up antitrust enforcement against hospital chains and big Pharma.

          All of these would have made health care insurance more affordable. But Obama failed to do any of them.

          And why should people who have employer provided insurance have to give it up? Some companies would continue to offer insurance to attract & retain top quality employees. Perhaps, some workers would rather have that than portability.

          1. equal protection moral – TNT. why be opposed to others able to have what we have for no fault of their own.

            it IS economics and it’s UNFAIR economics when one segment of society is treated worse than another for no fault of their own.

            we need to have a fair system where people have equal access to health care.

            re: Obama – Obama did what he did. what kept the GOP from doing a real alternative that did better than his flawed ideas? They could have INCLUDED no-fault as well as other things – different and perhaps better but instead they do nothing and launch a dishonest propaganda campaign,

            blame Obama for what the GOP refused to do itself?

            People who have employer-provided insurance should not have to give it up – but what about people who can’t get it?

            People who cannot get insurance – don’t even get the same tax advantages as they cannot write off their out-of pocket for insurance and health care of which BOTH are tax free to those who have employer-provided.

            We are saying tough luck to those who can’t get or keep employer-provided.

            Obama tried to help – and gets hammered.. by the GOP which instead of coming up with it’s own plan – hammers him.

            this is simply not fair nor reasonable and people of good conscience SHOULD CARE about others who are getting screwed because of an inherently unfair system.

    2. Pooling spreads risk. Obama’s regulatory scheme depends on young people, few of whom will likely make heavy use of health insurance, joining in and subsidizing heavier users, most especially those with preexisting conditions. Is that fair? I think good arguments can be made on both sides of the question. It also depends on higher taxes on investment and medical devices, etc. Is that fair? Ditto.

      1. look at Medicare guy. Older people – virtually all of them – at the time in their life when virtually all of them need more health care – and Medicare would BALANCE if the premiums went from 100.00 a month to 400.00 a month . that’s what a LARGE pool with 30 million people in it does.

        it has no younger people in it to “balance”.

        Why has the GOP done NOTHING on ANY of this?

        They could have easily PREEMPTED ObamaCare in 2006 when they voted for Medicare Part D by putting together a MINIMAL plan – nationwide coverage for 30-40 million people (about the size of Medicare) , community rating and pre-existing conditions – both of which are allowed by many, many employer-provided plans with much smaller pools as well as FEHB.

        why has the GOP done nothing?

  10. There’s another aspect to ObamaCare that may not be well appreciated and that is a prospective employee to a company and that employee already has ObamaCare and does not need / nor want the employer-provided health care but he would like the money instead or some part of it.

    so what is the employer going to do? the employee is going to save them a bundle on health care especially if he has a family or a pre-existing condition and that candidate is going to be more appealing than a guy without ObamaCare who needs the health care.

    All things being equal between the two candidates – which one does the employer pick?

    Take a small business perhaps like DJ has… the burden of struggling to provide health care or the competitive disadvantage of losing a prospective candidate to a company with a “better” employer-provided plan will transition to a much more level playing field for quality employees.

    unintended consequences of a different kind that opponents are blathering about

  11. or take a guy who has his own insurance – and who is good at what they do – and and does not need to stay with a particular company for it’s employer-provided health care.

    Without that “collar” – how does that company keep him – if he can pick up and go to another company anytime he pleases without worrying about his health insurance?

    I think people are vastly underestimating the GOOD effects of ObamaCare and I strongly suspect that some businesses see it as an empowerment of the individual worker – not a good thing from their perspective.

    they’re going to have to work harder to keep good people and not rely on the built-in “collar” of employer-provided heath insurance.

    I think – as more and more people realize that health insurance from the exchanges improves their employment circumstance, they are going to purposely seek out “portable” insurance that is independent from their employer form the exchanges.

    I predict that even Govt employees are going to find the exchanges gives them more and better prospects for other jobs and the one big benefit of the govt – is no longer as potent as it used to be in seeking and keeping a govt job.

    Of course after all of this happens – the feckless GOP folk are going to claim that they supported it all along… just like right now – there is not a peep out of them over Medicare other than they will “protect it” and never let it be taken away – even as they work to get rid of Medicare for the under 65.

  12. billsblots Avatar

    LMAO, government “stimulus” didn’t get the nation and world out of depression in 1933, it extended it. sending millions overseas in uniform with women working the factories got the world out of depression, also the fact that millions were killed, and being buried they no longer counted against the unemployment rate, similar to the technique the U.S. Government has used since the early 1990’s, i.e., if someone has been unemployed to long, just stop counting him because it makes the unemployment rate look bad (although accurate), and that hurts the reelection chances of the sitting president.

  13. there are honest philosophical differences on stimulus but basically stimulus is borrowing from the future to pump money into the economy today – usually by investing in infrastructure.

    When we have a war – it is “stimulus”. When we increase spending for IRAQ and Afghanistan, by selling more T-notes, it is stimulus..

    in a depression/recession – calibrating how much stimulus is needed to bring the economy from the bottom back up to normal is a guessing game as no one is really good at predicting just how deep the economy will fall.

    If it falls twice as fare as the stimulus then the stimulus is not going to be sufficient to bring it back to even.

    basically stimulus is borrowing from the future to jump-start the economy today but if it is insufficient it won’t “work” and that’s basically what happened as recent CBO reports now show.

    the unemployment rate, the labor participation rate, food stamps, etc are all basically tied to the economy. Charts show this. you can complain about the metrics and prefer some over the other but when the economy is tanked, people lose their jobs and have a hard time finding replacement jobs – not just here – around the world when recessions happen.

    we need to step back from the ideology and deal with simple realities but easier said than done.

    you want a depression? get rid of the half of DOD and Homeland Security that is really no longer needed … our national security spending is 2/3 of our tax revenues and more than the next 10 countries in the world – and it owns 2/3 our of debt and if you look at a 75-year horizon for military pensions and retirement entitlements – you’d realize that just because someone has a job – with DOD – does not mean we are not going to pay entitlements when their retirement vesting is 20 years.

    It costs us a great deal of money… for those “entitlements” also..

Leave a Reply