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Shutdown at Independence Hall: a Political Ghost Story

October 10, 2013

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“You there!,” a muffled voice called out from behind the bushes. “Come hither, sir, will you?”

Let me set the scene for you: an October afternoon in stately old Philadelphia, chilly and prematurely darkening, with heavy gray clouds hanging over the spire of Independence Hall.

Like the rest of the National Park system, the building that birthed the United States stood closed and vacant — a casualty of the ongoing government shutdown. Where throngs of eager tourists once lined up to gawk at the ancient woodwork, desks, chairs and inkwells, only a few uniformed guards now patrolled the grounds inside the barricades.

I had approached the barricades for a closer look at the forlorn scene, snapped a few photos and retreated along the shaded walkway that leads to Walnut Street. That’s when I heard the muffled voice through the bushes.

“Please heed me, sir, I implore you.”

I left the walkway, sidestepped the bushes and spied a large old man, apparently homeless, slumped upon a bench. He wore a tattered tricorner hat and lay half-concealed under a thin wool blanket that he pulled up around his broad chest. But the face was unmistakable: in life, it belonged to George Washington.

“Be not alarmed, sir,” the homeless man assured me. “I am what you might call an apparition, as you have doubtless surmised, though I am altogether harmless. I believe you recognized my features.”

“There’s no mistaking you for anyone else,” I told him. “And I’m honored to meet you. But why have you called me? Do you need my help?”

“I do, sir; I do indeed. I should like you to inform me why the government of these United States has ceased to function. ‘Tis a matter that vexes my mind most grievously, and I fear that I am at a loss to comprehend it.”

He fixed his pale blue-gray eyes directly upon mine and waited for a response.

“Partisanship — extreme, uncompromising partisanship,” I answered. “That’s the shortest and best explanation. The members of our two political parties have come to view each other as mortal enemies. Sometimes it seems that they’d rather sink the country than let the other side gain even a minor victory. The president’s party blames the opposition party for the shutdown, and the opposition party is going out of its way to make it impossible for the government to function.”

Washington’s face reddened, his mouth tightened, and his famous temper wrestled free of its owner’s control.

Damn them, the treacherous blackguards!” he fumed. “I should have expected as much. Our Constitution never espoused the establishment of these contentious factions. Upon my soul, the document itself was founded squarely upon the principles of balance and compromise, for which we are indebted to the ingenuity of little Jemmy Madison. He, not I, was truly the indispensable man at the Constitutional Convention. ‘Twas the bickering of two brilliant, impetuous, stiff-necked members of my Cabinet which engendered this abominable rift.”

“You mean Jefferson and Hamilton?” I asked.

“Indeed, sir, you understand me. Mr. Hamilton favored the mercantile interests, supported in their endeavors by a strong and cooperative central government. Mr. Jefferson, though of elevated parentage, championed the rights of the common man and the individual states. There was no reconciling them, and I expect that their mutual acrimony has borne bitter fruit in your time.”

“It wasn’t always this bitter,” I told him. “Yes, the country went through some periods of pretty intense partisan strife, but nothing like this in my lifetime. I can remember when members of the two parties actually reached across the aisle and cooperated with each other on important legislation. Not any more. They’re afraid that compromise would make them look weak in the eyes of the extremists within their party.”

“But what care they about the opinions of the wretched extremists?” Washington answered. “Are they not an insignificant minority?”

“You’re absolutely right,” I agreed. “But the extremist minorities have the power to marginalize the moderates, even using their moneyed connections to make it difficult for them to win re-election. Our politicians today — especially the more sensible members of the opposition party — live in constant fear of being exposed as moderates.”

Moderates regarded as turncoats, sir? ‘Tis almost ludicrous. It confounds common sense. And yet, the seeds were doubtless planted in my own time. I feel responsible, sir, that I did not exercise my authority as president to extirpate the partisan rivalries.”

“You did your best, and your best was better than just about anyone else’s best. I’ve come to believe that factionalism is an unfortunate and inevitable part of human nature.”

“Indeed, sir, but It must be controlled and conformed to the common good, like the steeds on a runaway coach, or it shall destroy our sacred Union.”

At Washington’s last remark, a second voice emerged — this one from behind the bench.

“We must all be hanged together, or assuredly we… confound it, I can never remember my own witticisms these days.”

It was old Ben Franklin. Apparently he was homeless now, too.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

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329 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2013 12:57 pm

    I wonder what Washington would think of his government borrowing an amount that was equal to the entire nation’s production of good and services with three times that amount in unfunded promises?

    Just asking!

  2. October 10, 2013 1:01 pm

    For the record, I doubt anyone in the US at the time of Washigton would have considered the Constitutional Convention as a bunch of moderates singinng kumbyah.. Nor, would Alexander Hamilton have considered Aaron Burr as a friendly competitior.

    I am NOT endorsing the kind of behavior we are seeing in Washington DC and yes, the fish stinks from the head down (“I will not negotiate”). That said, it MAY just be that this moment has been coming for a long time and many are tired of simply giving in on key issues of importance to their constituents.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    If you think this is rough sledding, wait until the amnesty bill for illegals come around the tracks.

    • October 11, 2013 12:21 am

      Rich: Of course the Constitutional Convention wasn’t a kumbayah sing-along (though I chuckled at the mental image of those bewigged gentlemen swaying back and forth). I think the most important takeaway is that despite the sharp differences, they ironed out a workable Constitution that’s still ticking after 225 years. Compromise isn’t always a good thing (if someone wants to kill two members of our family, we don’t just make a deal and let them kill one member of the family). But I think the willingness to consider compromise is essential to the functioning of government.

      Debate over the illegal immigrant problem will open up a new can of worms (and more polarization). But I have a feeling that both sides will be open to some form of compromise. We can’t just deport 15 million (or whatever) illegals, and we can’t just grant them automatic citizenship, so anything in between will involve concessions on both sides.

      • October 11, 2013 12:32 pm

        Candidly, I see an attempt to simply drop all of them into the citizen category. That is likely to set of WW3. Hope I am wrong,.

  3. October 10, 2013 1:27 pm

    Memory is a funny thing. I seem to remember that back in the 90s, the House indicted President Clinton and tried to remove him from office. At the time, many Dems said that this move was purely political, trying to unseat a sitting POTUS simply because he was from a different party. Ms. Lewinsky was a pretense, is the way they put it.

    Perhaps, we are not arriving at a new juncture. Perhaps, this is the way we have always been?

  4. Ron P permalink
    October 10, 2013 2:51 pm

    One must be careful what they ask for. Unintended consequences! In the 90’s when North Carolina’s government was a Democrat majority, there was a movement to provide a congressional district that would represent the minorities winthin the state. So the 12th district was created that runs from Charlotte to Durham, over 100 miles long. In some areas it is no wider than interstate 85 so the district lines are continuious. This did provide a district that has been represented by a black congressman, but the unintended consequence are multiple districts adjacent to the 12th district that are now solidly right wing. Where the 5th district and 6th district (for examples) were swing districts until the 90’s, they are now solidly Republican. In the 5th, it is close to Tea Party since the representative goes along with anything that group wants. The 6th is more moderate, but he is elected with wide margins, unlike previous elections before the 12th was created.

    This same gerrymandering has taken place in other states that has cused a significant decrease in the number of moderates that are needed to reach consensus decisions. We should not have a President and Speaker of the House that have demands they will not compromise on. There are decisions that need to be made to change the course this country is moving, but it does not seem like the current leadership in either party is the answer.

    • October 10, 2013 6:24 pm

      Rick,

      I should have mentioned this earlier, but your writing skills are top drawer. Irrespective of whether I agree with you or not, the quality of expression is excellent.

      Well done, sir!

      • October 10, 2013 11:38 pm

        I am, sir, most appreciative of your approbation. Seriously, thanks for the compliment. I do try to crank out polished work — one of the reasons I don’t post every day.

    • October 11, 2013 12:35 am

      Ron: What’s so exasperating about gerrymandering (aside from the ridiculously convoluted districts) is that the party in power can keep redesigning the map to favor their own guys as the local demographics change. Any clean government reform should include a ban on gerrymandering, as well as a new system of “blind” campaign contributions — so the recipients won’t know who their donors are (and thus can’t reciprocate by performing political favors).

      • Ron P permalink
        October 11, 2013 11:54 am

        But in this case the gerrymandering backfired. They created one solid Democrat district and 3-4 very solid Republican, now tea party leaning districts. The current GOP controlled house did little to change the lines this past redistricting as the Democrats did their work for them in the eary 90’s

  5. October 10, 2013 6:00 pm

    Great post, Rick.

    Ron makes an excellent point about gerrymandering. Once legislative districts are safe for one or the other party, partisanship in the HOR becomes a feature, not a bug, of the system. It’s why you see more GOP congressmen more afraid of their primary opponents than of their Democrat ones.

    On the Senate side, the obstructionist use of the filibuster was begun by Harry Reid when he was minority leader, and has been expanded by the GOP as a minority weapon. You can argue, correctly, that the Republicans have used it in far more expansive ways, but the point is that confrontation building, as opposed to consensus building has been going on for a while now.

    For all of the apoplexy over the shutdown, there have been many…I think there were 7 or 8 during the Reagan administration alone. And the “shutdown theater” tactics that we see today will doubtless become the new normal when budget showdowns reach the crisis point.

    • October 10, 2013 11:45 pm

      Priscilla: Wow, I don’t remember all those shutdowns under Reagan, but I’ll take your word for it. As for gerrymandering, I used to figure that it was an age-old corrupt tactic that we’ve managed to live with during most of our history. But when I got involved with a clean-government organization a few years back, I realized how gerrymandering locks a district so parties don’t have to worry about wooing independent voters. They still can’t get so crazy that voters from their own party defect to the other side (or so you’d think). But for the most part, it makes life easy for the party that controls the district.

  6. October 10, 2013 6:35 pm

    One thing that I deal with virtually everyday on campus is this interesting notion of “diversity.” We are told that we must understand all kinds of cultures, lifestyles, etc. etc. and that this will lead to an ability to “get along.” All we have to do is understand and appreciate “differences” and bingo, we will all sing form the same hymnal.

    Well, maybe, maybe not. It might well be that what we are seeing at the national level is the result of a mania to honor everyone’s differences. In practice, all this diversity training might actually result in the inability to find any common ground whatsoever?

    Perhaps, just maybe, the notion of a “melting pot” was a better way to proceed. Does it really matter that my ancestors were from Germany and Ireland and that they had certain notions and ideals? To me, not so much. Merging into a newer “American” idea and culture seems to have worked for generations past. What has changed?

    Do we have to have a “month” for every nationality that has contributed to the American experience? I think not.

    BTW-Why do the Irish get one day, and October is National Hispanic Heritage Month?”
    Doesn’t seem right. I want my own month too!

    • October 10, 2013 11:33 pm

      Rich: “Diversity” is one of those liberal catchwords. They mean well, I think, but they seem awfully selective about the kind of people they welcome into their “diverse” environments. They seem to approve of blacks and Hispanics, gays and lesbians, Native Americans and (of course) educated white liberals who shop at the local food co-op and listen to Ira Glass. But do they welcome working-class ethnic whites, fundamentalist Christians, Boy Scouts, Texans and Republicans into their communities? Not so much.

      And you’re absolutely right that the focus on one’s own “community” (as in any of those [fill in the blank] studies departments at today’s universities), is driving us further apart by accentuating our differences. It’s fine to preserve one’s heritage at home, but these various “communities” need to start identifying as Americans first, or we’re in real trouble.

      • October 11, 2013 7:53 am

        Bingo, we agree 100%. Does that make me a moderate?????

  7. October 10, 2013 6:37 pm

    It is my understanding that since Obama was elected, the US has never had a federal budget clear both Houses and be signed by Obama. If that is true (it is) why is the government shut down right now? What has changed?

    Apparently, doing their jobs is not very important to Obama AND Congress?

  8. October 10, 2013 6:59 pm

    And, bingo, just like that, Obama rejects the house proposal to to lift the debt ceiling and engage in budget talks. At least he waited until the stock market closed.

    • October 10, 2013 7:33 pm

      Oops, apparently the New York Times used the word “reject,” but talks are continuing. (The NYT wrong?? what a shocker.)

      By the way, Rick, I think I disagree that the Constitution “never espoused the establishment of these contentious factions.” I think contentious factions were pretty much to be expected, and the whole document was set up to make sure that the balance came from making sure that one faction didn’t become all powerful and crush its opposition.

      The problem as I see it is that the contentious factions no longer argue and debate in good faith, because compromise is no longer the sought after goal. There is much money and power to be had by winning at all costs, so compromise is for losers.

      • October 10, 2013 11:20 pm

        Priscilla: You could still say that the Constitution went out of its way to avoid legitimizing the factions in the form of political parties. But yes, I agree that the factions were already formed, and that it was just a matter of time before they solidified into parties. And you make an excellent point about factions that are capable of stating their differences in good faith, as opposed to today’s take-no-prisoners mentality. Yes, sad to say, our politicians seem to equate compromisers (and, by extension, moderates) with losers.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    October 10, 2013 8:09 pm

    Well done, Rick. the pen is mightier….
    Thom

    • October 10, 2013 11:23 pm

      Thank you, sir. I am most gratified. (I have to stop writing like George Washington, but it’s habit-forming.)

      • October 11, 2013 7:55 am

        Washington was, by all acounts, a very remarkable man. So, I say, carry on!

        I do think the FFs got it, which is why they designed a fairly weak Federal government. That design has been more than peverted since George’s time.

  10. October 11, 2013 8:23 am

    “To contract new debts is not the way to pay new ones!”
    -George Washington.

  11. Ron P permalink
    October 11, 2013 12:10 pm

    Does anyone find it interesting that the GOP is saying little about the ACA now. Could it be that the money guys on Wall Street that control much of the elected officials have said “enough is enough” since the debt ceiling issue is going to impact them in a sever financial way if that is not raised.

    Seems like another example of Washington politics not caring about the “pee-ons” and letting the government close areas where the working people rely on visitors for a living, but when their actions begin to impact the “big-wig” one percenter’s, movement occurs to solve the problem,

    • October 11, 2013 12:36 pm

      I do think the GOP gets that Tea Party sentiment is NOT a small fringe group. Recently, they did a poll that took TP ideas without identifiying them as such, and asked rank and file GOP members to comment.

      Seems up to 50% of them thought the ideas were pretty darn good, mainstream GOP ideals. So, this MIGHT be the time to actually put the breaks on spending of all kinds, including the ACA.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 11, 2013 1:21 pm

        If you take the Tea party ideas and ask Americans what they think about them, a majority will say they are good ideas. Then apply those priniciples to actual government programs and the favorable response drops significantly. And many reasons may exist where more Americans accept the ideas than the GOP members at first, but the main one is the fact the GOP already knows the impact on programs.

        There is the right way and a wrong way to work out issues such as these. Right now we have two parties controlled by the fringes in congress and a President that can not be trusted to carry out his stated positions in negotiations that leads to crisis management multiple times. We are heading for another if they pass the house plan, this one being just before Thanksgiving when the House and Senate want to go on vacation again.

        The difference today compared to the founding fathers? I may be wrong as I am not a history expert, but I believe that is called compromise and that is the reason for the original amendments in the constitution as that was the way to give some what the wanted to see in that document.

      • October 12, 2013 7:26 am

        The problem with the tea party is not that they are extremists, at least not any more than any other ideologues…. Their problem is that they began as a grass roots movemrnent to elect representatives who would fight the ACA, and have morphed into a ideological movement, trying to pull the GOP further to the right, rather than trying to work on the legislation that they were sent to address. Granted, they face opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, but they also have shown a breathtaking level of naïveté (or stupidity,if you want to call it that) in thinking that they can achieve any of their goals without some form of compromise, at least within their own party.

        The Democrats seem united and very skilled at the blood sport of power politics, while Republicans are more focused on their circular firing squad. Tea party types revere Reagan, but they ignore the fact that he was a master politician, and knew when to play a winning hand and when to fall back. In other words, they focus on his ideology, not his politics, as if he somehow became a great president just by thinking the right thoughts.

      • October 12, 2013 9:49 am

        Priscilla,

        You might level the same charge (re: the Tea Party) at the POTUS. I have never seen such a tone-deaf pol in my life. He is oblivious to all forms of political niceties that actually make a difference. Speaking of Reagan, it is my understanding that he was unfaliling nice even in tough situations, even when he was not going to budge.

        In other words, he never made it personal. This POTUS goes out of his way to demonize the TP as “terrorists” in his public speeches and wonders why they seem touchy and unwilling to bend.

        I can’t wait for this clown to exit the office. He is far worse than I had hoped.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 12, 2013 11:14 am

        Jbastiat. Are you sure about the Tea Party starting out as a way to block the ACA? I thought this started as a combined movement to block Obama’s proposal to give money to people facing foreclosure on mortgages, to stop the wastefull spending of the stimulus program and protests concerning the taxation policies. There were protest in Chicago that portrayed individuals throwing mortgage backed derivatives into Lake Michigan (Chicago tea Party) and there were protest in Seattle around the same time concerning the stimulus. That led to many more protest known as Tea Party protest (taxed enough already).

        What has happened is the Tea Party that was just a tax and spend movement has been seized by many members that are also social conservatives who with those beliefs have turn off a large number of young voters that consider themselves fiscal conservative, social liberals.

  12. October 12, 2013 11:36 am

    I don’t think I said that the TP started with an aim to block the ACA. However, it is pretty clear that that is an objective that is pretty important to them right now (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul).

    No, as you said, they were around before the ACA/funding issue.

    Moreover, I don’t think that the TP is all that socially conservative per se, as you have suggested. At least from my readings, I would have them as a bit more libertarian than that but I admit it is hard to keep track of the platform of any party these days.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 12, 2013 1:33 pm

      Oops, my bad!!! I see where Priscilla stated they were formed to elect candidates that would fight the ACA. That also is not saying their first objective was the ACA but were the type to fight that kind of legislation. So I need to read what others post more carefully before running off at the mouth (fingers in this case).

      I only said that the Tea Party members were social conservative given that so many that want to be aligned with that movement also believe government interference in peoples (and especially womens) private life (much being reproductive rights) is appropriate and warranted. Many if not most Libertarians do not beleive this is the role of government, so in the case of those members that are against abortion, they are not Libertarian in that respect.

      • October 12, 2013 3:26 pm

        Gotcha. These party labels are tough. For example, I consider myself a Libertarian, yet strongly oppose abortion in almost all cases. That must make be a “bad” libertarian but freedom, like anything else, has its limits, at least to me.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 13, 2013 12:35 pm

        There are degrees of “Libertarian” in most all who believe in limited government.

  13. October 13, 2013 10:37 am

    Even Susan Collins can’t reach a deal with Harry Reid. Apparently, it MIGHT be the Dems this time?

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/13/negotiations-stall-on-capitol-hill-house-leaves-collins-plan-in-serious-doubt/

    • Ron P permalink
      October 13, 2013 12:37 pm

      Reid is now in control. Obama’s a lame duck and has little impact on anything that happens now. He made himself a lame duck by his lack of leadership when it was needed. Reid has seized control.

      • October 13, 2013 1:42 pm

        I agree, and these other Lib Duncecaps cannot see how stupid Reid is.

  14. October 13, 2013 10:44 am

    You know, I teach Leadership (among other things) at my University and I have to say, this author nails it on Obama.

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/sherman-frederick/devil-made-me-do-it

    • Ron P permalink
      October 13, 2013 12:40 pm

      I would hope you have found away to use Obama as the example of what a leader should not be doing. But in the academic world where liberals prevail, one may not be allowed to do this for fear of termination.

      • October 13, 2013 1:41 pm

        You are so right. Ironic, the supposed bastion of free thought and expression, the Academy, has become a PC hell on Earth.

        Long live Diversity and Social Justice.

      • October 13, 2013 11:30 pm

        Rich (and Ron): Here’s where I agree with you guys 100%. The left’s stranglehold on higher education started back in the ’60s with Marxist interpretations of history and politics. PC entered the scene around 20-25 years ago. Now liberal arts departments across the country are bullying renegade thinkers into submission and cranking out a generation of propaganda-spouting robots who seem to be on a vendetta against white Christian males.

        But yes, the real tragedy is that colleges were supposed to be havens for the free expression and evaluation of ideas. No more. Even the upside of this situation is kind of sad: tuitions are so exorbitant that only trust-fund kids (and maybe minority scholarship students) can now afford to study liberal arts in college. If I’m about to spend $200,000 on four years of tuition, I’d sure as hell better major in a practical subject so I can land a decent job and pay off the debt. So almost nobody will be emerging from college with the traditional liberal arts grad’s foundation in critical thinking.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 14, 2013 10:50 am

        Rick I do agree that a $200,000 price tag very much requires a degree that will provide an income that supports this debt. But there are still schools that do not cost anywhere near that amount that allows students to major in LA. North Carolina state schools cost from 20K-25K for in-state students and 26K-32K for out of state students. (This does not include an exception for UNC that jacks up out-of-state cost to 45K). The spread is due to the room cost as many cut those cost by renting apartments and sharing that expense. At these costs one can still major in LA and be able to pay off the dbts later.

  15. Pat Riot permalink
    October 13, 2013 1:34 pm

    Mr. Bayan, sir, I see that our recent meeting at Independence Hall has been incorporated into your latest post on TNM. I do wish to apologize for the tatters on my hat and other general shabbiness of my appearance. This realm is almost as bad as that contemptible winter at Valley Forge…

    A most cordial and gracious fellow, Mr. Pat Riot, is keyboarding as I dictate my reaction to your post. Ah, this Internet—a most promising tool for communication if not seized by the wrong hands!

    Mr. Riot was also kind enough to fetch me his own copy of my Farewell Address included in the appendix of a tattered old volume of American history, the binding of which is being held together with duct tape—I should have liked to have some rolls of this duct tape during the war…

    The unity of government which constitutes you one people…is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence…of that very liberty which you so highly prize.

    But it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters …often covertly and insidiously directed…serve to organize faction…to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of the party.

    There is more in my Farewell Address that treats this age-old antagonism between unity and faction, but, Alas! Mr. Riot informs me that I should refrain from being long-winded as a commenter.

    • October 13, 2013 11:41 pm

      Good to hear from you again, General Washington. Mr. Riot is an able and conscientious gentleman, as you’ve undoubtedly discovered, and I recommend him to you without reservation.

      I’m afraid our people have lost the notion of unity that bound us together for all but four years of our history. Our government reflects this splintering process today, with the result that any faction motivated and energetic enough to seize the moment can exert an influence vastly disproportionate to its numbers. To make matters worse, well-financed special-interest groups (we call them “lobbies”) exert an influence on our politicians, through covert and overt bribery, that is even more vastly disproportionate to their numbers.

      These are perilous times, and it’s unfortunate that you’re no longer in a position to preside over our government. I wish you were, believe me.

      • October 14, 2013 8:07 am

        Rick

        I think you are spot on with your analysis of academia. However, I don’t think the death of liberal arts majors, per se, has much to do with this issue. Nor do I think it is high tuitiions that killed the LAs (that is another matter). While I took plenty of LA courses in college, to my knowledge, that has little to do with my ability to think rigrously. That ability came much later than my college years and is largely a self-teaching on my part (perhaps it shows).

        I believe the problem starts much earlier in our kid,s educations and it has more to do with not teaching them how to think critically about any of the information they receive. In effect, today’s kids are treated like a piece of meat, where the goal is to try to get even the minimum of basics down (reading, writing, and math). Sadly, even that seems to be too much for public education to provide.

        I once asked a Dean of a school of education why we are going backwards with regards to public school education. She candidly admitted that she had no clue and that every “new” technique they had created over the decades seems to have made things worse.

        Now, to be fair, she was speaking from a bar stool, but, I think she was dead on anyway.

      • October 14, 2013 8:08 am

        The general would sorely regret the Balkanization of the US. In that regard, I place squarly on the head of Mr. Obama and his Chicago political machine.

  16. Kent permalink
    October 14, 2013 9:19 am

    Rick, very glad to see you writing again. I am more energized or is it pissed off. I said as before this left/right extremism is going to get us into trouble. Centrist Ideologue must be the key. If these two idiot parties don’t get something worked out then kiss some money in your 401k or IRA goodbye.

    Now is the time as I have mentioned before years ago…to gather the “true” Centrist forces together around the country under one “umbrella” of a National Centrist or United Centrist Party and protest.

    Just the name with an organized flag and media attention gained across the country will be a start of understanding that we are tired of politics “as usual”.

    I fail to understand the reasoning of threatening a working persons job, their homes, bills, retirement, food costs, and world status over Health Care as much as those who do not understand you can’t keep borrowing your grandkids future to make things perfect now.

    Nothing is ever perfect, but it sure could be better than this right now.

    These “leaders” are “leaders”? Is this what we want? We have to make change realistic…not something just in words…and the change must be good for everyone all the time not just for political gains and only part of some time.

    • October 14, 2013 10:03 am

      Well, you had me until this line (the change must be good for everyone all the time). To my knowledge, this set of conditions never exists and there is ALWAYS someone who feels that the “change” that is coming is not good for them.

      As for extremists, that of course, is in the eye of the beholder. However, when the POTUS calls the other party “terrorists” it really is time ot rein in the rhetoric. I am all for a balanced budget. According ot Obama, that makes me a terrorist and that I am willing to take “hostages” to pursue that aim.

      With rhetoric like that, why in the world would I want to do a deal with the POTUS? After the deal, can I count on him to honor it?

      Not hardly.

      Remember, “if you like your health plan and doctor, you can keep them!” That of course was a direct and outright lie and if he had read the bill, he would have known that.

      Sorry, I hope my pessimism is misplaced but fear it is not.

      • Kent permalink
        October 14, 2013 3:59 pm

        I will rephrase that last sentence…the “Change” of intentions always seem to be in the best interests of the beholder for everyone. Yet politicians seem to turn it into political gains for self interest…thus leaving people out..

        My last part saying “only part for some time” is a play on words meaning I was frustrated emotionally which I don’t usually do in writing. My logic says that I was trying to correct that you can not please everyone all the time at the same time for “one’s” perspective of what is good.

  17. Kent permalink
    October 14, 2013 9:27 am

    I have no experience in how or where these “true forces of Centrist parties” are located exactly. I have came across them over the years…read their “Platforms”, “Manifestos”…”Statements”…What Ever!!!

    Some are balanced, fair, some take a lean left or right.

    It is fair to say no one is ever “Centered”, but the Idea that sides should not be separated and compromise is necessary is a key ingredient to solutions. Pure logical solutions with minimal emotional attachment, but with much emotional understanding.

    As of today there is much “emotional attachment” to one side or the other, but they are separated…they do not have to do anything. The two parties can walk out and go their own ways… Lock them up together like the Founding Fathers did for the Constitution…They would hate that….Let them spew the hatred for one anothers ideas, but compromise. Have them spend 14 days in a locked room with a bathroom. Could you imagine rich politicians getting dirty and smelly over their ideas??? How much would they care for the people of the U.S. instead of their body odor??

    • Ron P permalink
      October 14, 2013 10:56 am

      Locking the politicians in a room would never work unless you allowed them to keep their cell phones. Those that have the money and pull the strings would have to be in contact with the pols to tell them what to do.

      • Kent permalink
        October 14, 2013 4:02 pm

        Ron, you are probably right. The polls, Corporations, wealthy people, personal friends….Special Interests Groups.

  18. Kent permalink
    October 14, 2013 9:45 am

    I therefore argue that the time is coming for either three things to happen which is history changing.

    1. We continue on this two sided political warring forever and go into debt even more by using our kids future income…”kicking the can down the road”….staying a superpower as long as possible. The average person gets poorer as the wealth gap gets bigger over time. Opportunities get greater, but at a great cost.

    2. We fall into debt. Everyone loses around the world. Expect Third World craziness. Radical events. China becomes the eventual Superpower in population, laws, land size, money, resources…etc.. sooner rather than later.

    3. A new Political party springs up not to take power necessarily, but to keep the ones who are in power in check. If the new Party becomes a tool to be viewed as an option to the other major parties…then it will be so….the premise is always what the people need…not what everyone wants (which is what the rich politicians are always talking). We have to provide the basics and that is to keep our selves living at a minimium so that anything more is a luxury. Not that we live luxury so that anything less is poverty.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 14, 2013 10:59 am

      Kent, we seem to have 30% of the population that follows the left religiously, we have 30% that follows the right religiously, 30% that don’t care and 10% that care and will follow the best path. With these numbers or close to them, the chances of a third party is slim to none.

      • Kent permalink
        October 14, 2013 12:44 pm

        Ron, I will explain to you why your answer is illogical. First, if the U.S. Defaults the 30% that don’t care will eventually care…thus this number will drop. The 10% will grow that care….the other 30%’s will drop and rise due to unsettling blame against themselves and the other party.

        Thus , change is something you left out. You assume this percentile you gave is always staying the same. Therefore, any action is going to change this percentile that you just gave.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 14, 2013 3:59 pm

        Kent, yes I did make the assumption that the 30% that do not care will not change. And that could cause a movement to a third party like we saw when Ross Perot ran and captured 18% of the vote. That still left the hard core 30-30 that all the candidates had to capture was the majority of the other 12%. But that also seems to be in an era when the voters had a different mindset than today. I don’t hear or see any real outrage where people will take their time to try and make a change other than to resend e-mails negative to one party or the other and that only takes a click or two to accomplish. Oh, and maybe while sitting in a sports bar drinking beer with buddies a conversation will take place how bad our government has become.

      • Kent permalink
        October 14, 2013 12:45 pm

        This then leaves the door open to the “the one”. Whether it be a movement or a person to come save the day. We have seen this economic situation before in the last century when Germany was a Democracy and had much debt.

      • Kent permalink
        October 14, 2013 4:07 pm

        Ron, you are correct the people talking about this problem are in the bars. Exactly how the Nazi Party started. My point exactly!!! But we aren’t talking about a destructive party. We are talking about a Constructive Party with the exact same opportunity.

        We…. unlike Germany didn’t have hate or vengence against anyone prior to this situation. We just want to fix the problem ourselves (internally).

      • Ron P permalink
        October 14, 2013 11:15 pm

        Kwnt, hopefully you are correct but I question with all the money it takes to run, let alone the government red tape it takes just to get on the ballot, I don’t see much chance it will happen any time soon. Not until the money guys begin to move in that direction anyway.

  19. Ron P permalink
    October 14, 2013 11:27 pm

    Well ol’ George might be right.
    “Upon my soul, the document itself was founded squarely upon the principles of balance and compromise, for which we are indebted to the ingenuity of little Jemmy Madison”.

    It now looks like the balance has shifted to the Senate where more moderate members of each party are working something out. The question now is the House and how Boehner will sell that to his caucus since it has little to nothing about Obamacare, does nothing about spending other than to talk about it and could, if some are right, eliminate the sequestration, which was reids objective to begin with.

    Wonder if George’s thinks this is compromise or just complete incompetence and an overwhelming defeat of the Tea Party house members positions.

  20. Mike permalink
    October 16, 2013 5:56 pm

    A couple of observations. First however thanks for the platform and I do hope it can promote a move toward moderate political success.

    One thing that seems to be pivotal in all this is the venom directed at individuals. Not ideas, but people. I think much of this can be traced back to the talking heads that spew thinly veiled hatred based on dubious information directed at individuals and not ideas. It is not a new tactic, but it has reached new levels here of late.

    The other pivotal notion is the elevation of compromise to a mortal sin. My way or the highway is the new mantra on both sides of the fence. That nothing can get done should come as no surprise to anyone.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 16, 2013 7:58 pm

      Mike, wonder what your thoughts are on compromise, being a moderate and politicians who are politicians as a career and not just representing a district in a state. Is it not to the point that people might be elected with a certain mindset, then they go to Washington and if they do not march lockstep with a specific political agenda, they face a primary election from those that will not compromise for the good of the country. They are concerned for their careers.

      It may not be compromise is a mortal sin. It may be that compromise leads to the death of their chosen career, even though serving in the congress was never meant to be a career.

      • Mike permalink
        October 17, 2013 10:59 am

        Everett Dirksen had a memorable quote that very much applies here.
        “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times”.
        Most folks seem to remember the part that precedes the comma, the rest, not so much.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      October 16, 2013 10:15 pm

      I say you are correct Mike! There’s a big difference between debating ideas and attacking individuals, groups, and “sides.” Even outside of politics it’s become commonplace in the mass media to bash/deride/attack people, whether it’s aimed at celebrities or common folk making human mistakes. It’s like despicable over-the-fence gossip broadcasted out to millions, every #@#%^^ day! That’s another area where we’ve drifted away from respect and rationality.

      The Founding Fathers risked their families and fortunes because they knew they were freeing up individuals from despotism, not just freeing colonial America from the King of England but also freeing up humans in general from tyranny in general. And now we have so many protecting their careers, not just legislators and other leaders, but also the common folk who wimp out.

      I take encouragement from people I see turning away from the “noise” so to speak. People are waking up, but the noise is strong. I see much more bottom-up healthy change than top-down change, though there are good-hearted folks at the top too.

      • Mike permalink
        October 17, 2013 11:22 am

        Civility and courage are in very short supply among our leaders. Among those on both sides that have taken up the mantle of modern day rabble-rousers for profit, those qualities along with integrity are completely absent. Profit is all those individuals care about and they do a huge amount of damage to the nation in pursuit of it.

      • October 18, 2013 12:54 pm

        Hellooo Pat Riot! So good to see you back. I so agree with you about the lack of respect and rationality in today’s political discourse (or what passes for it, anyway). One of the most influencial books I ever read was John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty.” He talks about the necessity of being open – and REALLY open, not just “lip service” open to your opponent’s point of view. I looked up the quote that has always stuck in my mind:

        “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”

        He also said something like “not all conservatives are stupid, but most stupid people are conservative,” which I would amend to include today’s knee-jerk liberals. We’ve got the “burn it down” conservative purists on one side and the “government knows best, sit down and shut up” liberal purists on the other, there is little opportunity for reasoned and persuasive debate.

        I’m hard-pressed to think of any good hearted folks at the top thiese days,lol, but I’m sure there are a few.

  21. Ron P permalink
    October 17, 2013 12:02 pm

    Mr President, it was nice to read your comments concerning the situation in Washington these past few days compared to your era of “nation building”. Please come back the middle of January and talk more when we rerun the past 16 days and how that would have been handled when you were President.

  22. October 19, 2013 10:39 am

    I have to admit, I am leaning towards the “burn it down side.” The fiscal worries for the US are so profound it scares me and the media totally ignores the reality of the situation. The Dems have added some $6T to the problem, with Obamacare being ignored as to its costs for the future.

    So, I applaud every action the GOP takes to stop the run away train. It is uncomfy for sure, but what else might be done when one side seems to think that money, promises, and debts don’t matter?

    Next up? Let’s legitimize 11 Million poachers that came into this country illegally. Amnesty 3, I am sure, will be a big success, this time.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 19, 2013 11:37 am

      Jb..”So, I applaud every action the GOP takes to stop the run away train.” I missed something becasue I did not find anything the GOP accomplished other than a few token issues in the legislation. The GOP tucked their tails between their legs and ran like hell when the fire started getting hot.

      Some may not agree with the positions taken by the “Tea Party” conservatives, but one thing no one can argue is they took a position when they were running, were elected by their constituents based on those positions and when the time came to represent those voters in Washington, they did just that. Many seem to forget that the House is a group of individuals sent to Washington to represent the wishes of the people in their district. They are not their to support the President, their party or influence peddlers, That is what the Senate seems to do.

      If only the Tea Party members were more Libertarian in their social value positions like they are in the fiscal positions, I could support those people almost 100%

      • October 19, 2013 12:00 pm

        Ron P.

        Yes, agreed. To be fair, not ALL TP members are way on the right, socially. For example, although I don’t belong to any party, I could support most of what the TP stands for. So, it is more of a “do I fit in there broadly?

        For example, I waffle on the whole gay marriage thing. The libertarian in me says, sure. It is not a moral issue for me at all. That said, the acceptance of gay marriage, adoption and the like has social implications that (to me) are not trivial and not obvious. Do we really want kids to opt for sexual re-assignment before the age of majority?

        When a standing social tradition like marriage is trampled fairly quickly while having been in place for centuries, I am not so sure there weren’t good reasons for its persistence.

        I know we are all supposed to genuflect to the new social order where all are “equal.” Maybe, maybe not, in this regard.

        I am still cogitating.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 19, 2013 5:56 pm

        Jb..To reply to your comment about marriage and the impact on kids, I believe one child growing up in a household with two gay members that love that child and provide that child with goals in life from the very beginning is a child much better off than one from a heterosexual relationship where the father or mother has never been present or from a divorced relationship where one parent or the other is completely absent and the one present does not give a hoot since they are more interested in the “me” in the house. In these cases that child has no role model to follow and in many cases has no one to insure they stay out of trouble.

        As for the Libertarian in me, I see the marriage issue with the government “allowing” two people to marry as government interference. Not until the early 1900’s, and in some cases, into the 1920’s did the marriage license become common. Until that time, marriages were a religious union in most cases and if not religious, then common-law marriages. That is why so many historical records are in church records and not a government hall of records. Then movements started that created the government need for the marriage license and the union between a man and a woman became secular. It was more of a contract between and man and woman that allowed her to become a “business partner” with the husband in the eyes of government.

        It also allowed government to control who married and who did not. Remember in most places in America until the past 50 years or so, blacks and whites could not marry. There were other laws that kept others from marrying that have since been eliminated, but the government still controls who can or can not marry with the issuance of the license. I see very little difference in govrnment prohibiting gays from marrying each other than I do a black man and white women marrying.

        My moral beliefs should not be imposed on others as they may have completely different beliefs. And I will tackle the issue about a human marrying an animal as that has been thrown in my face many times when I bring up this point by many with questionable intellect. In these cases, laws can be on the books that control what a reasonable human being would accept. I doubt the LGBT and straight communities would support anything but a marriage between humans.

    • October 19, 2013 3:36 pm

      I don’t disagree that many of the TP members were elected to stop the runaway train and see it as their primary obligation. In retrospect, I even think that the recent shutdown could have worked in their favor, had the GOP been totally united in standing firm on delaying Obamacare. Taking the original stand on defunding was stupid and futile.

      But it was obvious, almost from day one, that the Republicans were not all on the same page, and Obama knew that all he had to do was nothing, and the GOP would fold. I disagree with those on the far right, who blame everything on the RINO’s, just as I disagree with the GOP moderates who took pot shots at their own party, while still going along with a foolish strategy.

      But most of all, I disagree with and despise the inflammatory rhetoric used by the President and his followers. This was a fake shutdown (only 17% of government workers, all of whom were promised back pay) in response to a fake crisis (everyone involved knew that there would be no default). The hysterical cries of “treason,” “terrorists” and “radicals” were as unfounded as they were alarming. Islamists who want to kill us are terrorists. Obama’s friend Bill Ayers was a terrorist. Maybe this Snowden guy is a traitor. Ted Cruz is neither a terrorist nor a traitor, but that has not stopped the left from demanding he be arrested for sedition and calling for his execution. And our President does nothing to cool the situation down – quite the opposite, in fact.

      It’s not healthy for a country to be so consumed with partisan hatred, and I fear that we are headed in a very dangerous direction. If and when this god-forsaken healthcare bill really starts to implode, I think we could see violence, and I doubt that Obama would do much to stop it.

      • October 19, 2013 3:44 pm

        As usual, you are dead on Ms.Rose! I have witness some incompetent Presidents (Carter) some old time Pols (Johnson) and even some crooks (Clinton, Nixon). However, I think Obama is more than the worse POTUS of our generation. I think the guy would do anything to get his way, irrespective of impact on US citizens.

        I can’t wait for him to be gone.

  23. October 19, 2013 10:54 am

    test message

  24. October 19, 2013 6:18 pm

    Ron P.
    We will probably just have to disagree. My position is that any two adults should be allowed to “marry” which to me, is a legal contract (not a moral nor religious issue at all). That said, society has deemed to confer certain rights and privileges for married couples which assumes much benefit from their union and subsequent family members (if any).

    Now, I would be more than fine about re-defining marriage fairly quickly, as long as these other rights and privileges were reviewed and/or modified. I don’t think it is a given that gay/lesbian families confer the same benefits on society, although I get that you do.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 19, 2013 11:18 pm

      Before I could debate “the same benefits” on society that is a result of a marriage, I would have to know what those benefits are to society. There are benefits that all married individuals obtain when that union takes place. But what that union provides as benefits to society would have to be defined so I could discuss that issue with some sort of intelligence. I take that position since marriage has changed so much in the past 50 years. What once was a union that lasted a lifetime for the most part, more than 60% end up in divorce today, so I am not sure what benefit those marriages provide other than broken families for kids.

      • October 20, 2013 10:37 am

        Exactly, I would suggest that since the 60s, the feds and local school systems have helped along the destruction of what was once known as the “family.” In its place, the government has decided to become Mon, Dad, and all the other players we used to look to for raising children, instilling values, providing income security, and all the rest.

        Since this has happened (and not for the better) the final destruction would be to remove all special goodies once afforded to the family. I am not saying this is better, just where we are headed.

  25. October 20, 2013 8:06 am

    Rick, George Will has written a column this week that is a great companion piece to your post – he comes from a different angle (and is not nearly as creative in his presentation!), but it is a moderate one, and I think he is spot on here- see what you think:

    “Obama and his tea party adversaries have something important in common — disdain for the practice of politics within the Framers’ institutional architecture.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-what-obama-and-the-tea-party-share/2013/10/18/c4243830-376f-11e3-ae46-e4248e75c8ea_story.html

  26. October 20, 2013 10:38 am

    One only has to look what has happened to the American Black Family since the 1960s. Many have suggested that the welfare system actually put a nail on that coffin. That and of course, legalized abortion.

  27. Anonymous permalink
    October 20, 2013 11:56 am

    For the rest of your lives government will continue to go in the opposite direction of your wishes. We will remain functioning, much to your amazement and distress. You will have to invent theory after theory of why the world did not end. You may wind up standing on streets corners holding signs that say Repent, the End is Near. But it isn’t.

    As to violence, we have already seen it from left and right. Blowing up that federal building full of kids comes first to my mind. The ACA is no excuse for violence but some will make it one. How any president could be expected to stop loonies form being loonies is a puzzle.

    • October 20, 2013 8:38 pm

      Anonymous, you don’t reference anything specific other than my concern that the continuing unwillingness of the president to unite the country during a time of economic crisis and social change is a potentially dangerous thing. So, I will address that: Of course the ACA is no excuse for violence….but the confusion and desperation that could result if January 1st rolls around and there are people who realize that they have lost their insurance and cannot afford anything on the exchanges or qualify for Medicaid will not be pretty. The world will not end, but there will need to be some serious fixes made, and that will require the president and congress to work together in a way that I am not sure they are currently capable of doing.

      And, you are correct, no president can be expected to prevent loonies from being loonies. But my point was that, by fanning the flames of partisan anger and demonizing his opposition, he not only poisons the well for future negotiation with Republicans, he whips up extremists on both sides, and that can be a dangerous thing.

      • October 20, 2013 9:24 pm

        By the way, I am not excusing demonization from the right. But the President is the leader of the country, not just the leader of his party. He holds greater power, both to unify and to divide, and his responsibility to do so is also greater.

      • Anonymous permalink
        October 21, 2013 11:46 am

        The ACA is a mixed bag, some will be much better off and some will be harmed. That is how it is with any legislation, there are winners and losers, pluses and minuses. The country is divided, period, its a long term situation, No leader could unite us. We would unite, most of us anyhow, in case of a national attack. Blaming our political leaders is fruitless, they simply reflect the societal division, which has grown over the last 20 years to a new level and is still growing. There is no action that president could take that would be unifying with respect to this issue. Of course if he simply agreed to attempts to torpedo the ACA the tea party types would give him some small credit for a minute or so,and then go back to their usual position that he is a socialist and a foreigner. Not much incentive is it? Talk of demonizing.

        50% of republican conservatives now hold the utterly negative view of government that 10% held a decade ago. Progress for the power of that point of view, yes, progress for the party, no, a disaster in fact is in the making. The twin shocks of 911 and the financial crisis pulled a lot of people lose from their previous convictions, and the balkanization of the media fed it. There is no going back really, we are divided on every question. The President cannot win with the 20% of Americans who are tea party members or sympathizers. You cannot name anything he can do to please them that would play with the people who voted for him. You cannot unify oil and water. If the ACA fails completely the republican party will get a new lease. If it does not, they will be on the fringe of power for quite a while. I do not see it failing completely. In the long run the energy that fuels the tea party and other similar conservatives is based on the dream of really turning the clock back to another, imaginary era. When that does not happen, the wind will go out of the movement leaving the GOP stranded. That will be bad, we need two functional parties to prevent excesses. People like McCain are trying to save the party by talking about reality, but such republicans will not get much thanks. Right now people who have been in office for one term are pushing the old guard, the McCains and Doles, right out of the door. Its sad and pathetic to watch.

      • October 21, 2013 12:53 pm

        I happen to believe that the ACA is fatally flawed for a number of reasons. I suppose you could call it a mixed bag, but back in 2009-2010 when moderate Republicans were expressing skepticism about how this plan could possibly work, we were told that they simply wanted to deny healthcare to the poor. Of course, back then, the Democrats could pass it without any pesky skeptics, by arm twisting and backroom dealing among their own party, so here we are. Now, as we find out that the numbers of uninsured will be the same, or even greater under the law, we are told “LAW OF THE LAND! shut up.”

        And, you are right, the country is divided on this, but I think that you are wrong that compromise is impossible.

        I also strongly disagree that the failure of the ACA would be a good thing for Republicans – or anyone else – at this point. Policies will have already been cancelled, insurance companies will not be able to go back to underwriting, and there could be millions of people, many seriously ill, who are stranded without any coverage.

        You say there is nothing that Obama can do to please the tea party that would play with the people who voted for him. Agreed. How about if he just stops worrying about what will “play” politically, and starts putting together a bi-partisan coalition of congressmen that he can work with and get this law fixed? I don’t expect that to happen, but I am not as pessimistic as you are that it could not.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 21, 2013 4:41 pm

        Priscilla, you forgot one thing when you listed the changes that people may experience on Jan 1 from the ACA.

        If they do qualify for Medicaid, finding a doctor that will treat Medicaid patients that are really “qualified” will be difficult. When I was in Fnance at a community health system, we had some doc’s that accepted medicaid, but they were the ones you may not even take your dogs to to get treated. They took Medicaid so they would have a practice or they would have closed their practice since few others would use them as their provider.. The health system created a physician primary care group to take those patients and provide quality care. The doc’s were paid by the hospital, so they did not care who paid.

        So the issue with increased Medicaid coverage under ACA may not be what it appears when people start looking for help.

  28. October 20, 2013 2:29 pm

    “How any president could be expected to stop loonies form being loonies is a puzzle.”

    I can’t think of ONE thing that this POTUS has done that has a unifying them or feature to it. If he can create division, he seems to love it.

  29. October 20, 2013 2:37 pm

    More arrogance from a guy who can hardly claim any “achievements” other than getting elected, dividing the country and passing a health care law that nobody wanted.

    Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  30. October 21, 2013 11:54 am

    “The country is divided, period, its a long term situation, No leader could unite us. We would unite, most of us anyhow, in case of a national attack. Blaming our political leaders is fruitless, they simply reflect the societal division, which has grown over the last 20 years to a new level and is still growing. There is no action that president could take that would be unifying with respect to this issue. Of course if he simply agreed to attempts to torpedo the ACA the tea party types would give him some small credit for a minute or so,and then go back to their usual position that he is a socialist and a foreigner. Not much incentive is it? Talk of demonizing.”

    This is simply wrong. Leaders who reflect what is, are by definition, not leaders, they are commentators, or worse, failed adjunct law instructors. What you so easily overlook is that the GOP was asking for a one-year delay in ACA for individuals, the same thing that this POTUS granted to employers.

    Moreover, they were asking that the ACA apply to Congress and the POTUS so that all of us were in the same boat, albeit a sinking one.
    Was either of these requests unreasonable? No, they were not. Would these actions bring us just an inch closer together? No. Would it have killed Obama to admit that maybe a delay might be a good idea?
    No. But, clearly his ego is way more important than moving one inch to the right to toss the GOP a bone. God forbid.
    Not to worry. The children are watching and they see what is important to this guy. You wonder why we have division.

    • Mike permalink
      October 21, 2013 12:22 pm

      If, just once, someone would suggest a way to improve ACA instead if trying to remove it entirely, I could take the whole thing seriously. I have a job and insurance. I also have had to use that insurance a lot this year. If you really believe that our old system was fine as is, I want some of what you are smoking.

      Unless you are willing to be part of the process which the GOP was adamantly against, you do not have much of an argument when it comes to the result. From day one the GOP mantra has been “if he’s fer it, were agin it”. It was not a good idea for the Hatfields and McCoys, and it’s not a good one now.

      The GOP ran on repealing ACA last election and lost seats across the board. I would think that would at least make some folks think of trying a new tack. As a sailor, I can tell you, you do not get far trying to sail directly into the wind.

      • October 21, 2013 1:24 pm

        Mike, I think that there are ways that the ACA can be fixed, but there has been such confusion and lack of transparency about what is actually going on, that I would say that, right now, it’s anybody’s guess how to go about fixing it. Obama is insisting that the problem is merely website “glitches,” but there are more serious problems that have to do with the structure of the law itself.

        Rick often wonders why Republicans are so upset about O-Care, given that it uses private insurance companies to issue policies. But, it has become more apparent in the last few weeks that these insurance companies are no longer functioning in a true marketplace, but merely acting as conduits for a government mandated coverage program that is not based on the normal risk assessment that insurance companies use.

        My 29 year old son has carried his own insurance policy for 6 years now…he is relatively healthy and the policy was not the most barebones one available, but close ($1000 deductible, 80/20 coverage up to $5000 out of pocket max, with 50% reimbursement on prescriptions) He paid about $90 p/month. He has gotten his cancellation notice from Blue Cross, indicating that his plan does not have the required minimum coverage. As far as he can tell, the cheapest plan he will be able to get under the ACA, will cost about $190 p/month, with a whopping $6400 deductible, 60/40 coverage and no out of pocket max, since Obama has suspended maximums for the first year. So, essentially, he will be paying thousands of dollars a year more, for considerably less coverage. He is only one of millions. We could start fixing there.

  31. October 21, 2013 12:41 pm

    The media has done a wonderful job of smothering anything the House GOP does. They have passed countless bills to address health insurance and reform for over the past three years. The dem controlled Senate is having none of it and Obama has said he would veto any bill that reached his desk.

    So, the charge that no suggestions have been made is simply not factual.

    Let me remind you that the Dems rammed this law through at midnight before anyone of us had a chance to look at the bill. The POTUS changes the law when he wants to, but then claims the law of the land is sacrosanct. Apparently, you CAN have it both ways when the press covers for you at every turn.

    No one is defending what was, but what we had was a creation of the federal governments meddling since 1965. To blame it on the current GOP house is simply wrong.

    Facts, get some!

    • Ron P permalink
      October 21, 2013 4:56 pm

      “To blame it on the current GOP house is simply wrong.”

      What seems to be the will of the people is really showing up in how congress votes these days. Senators such as Graham and McCain are elected by a majority of voters who are either moderates or conservatives. When they vote on critical issues, they are representing the moderate, right of center views of the voters that put them in office.

      The house on the other hand is much more divided because the voters that elect their representatives are much more conservative to ultra conservative. The liberal districts are much more liberal, leaving few moderates in elected positions.

      So what we saw this past few weeks is exactly what the people that voted ask for. And should we question any representative’s vote if the people of his district would have voted the same way.

      I my thinking, that is what they are suppose to do, represent the voters point of view, not the parties, not the leaderships and not the Presidents.

  32. Anonymous permalink
    October 21, 2013 1:32 pm

    It is true that Obama is just as poor about reaching out to his opposition in congress as George Bush II was about coordinating a response with the governments of other nations to 911. These are large faults of these two presidents and I wish it were not so, but it is. He has a winning hand, he is playing it. If the ACA works, history will judge him a leader. He does not care how burn it down types judge his leadership and no one else outside of the burn it down movement cares either. When your position is burn it down, the President’s actions are not going to meet with your approval. He is OK with not having it.

    I too would like to believe that the ACA can be modified and improved but it is understandable that the President did not bend to the tactics the Tea party coalition used in the House.

    When all has failed one can always blame the media. The media is hardly a monolith and if its the mainstream media you are sore at, they know their audience, that is, they know where the political center of gravity of the US is. Your side lost because they have been so clumsy for so long, now you have a million excuses and complaints. The tea party controlled House ran on the same idea as you say you favor, burn it down. That meant a tactical choice to send federal employees home and default on the debt if necessary to stop the ACA. Now they want to know why the President will not negotiate with them. Their intentions are clear, their goal is to put an end to the ACA. A one year delay as a fall back position was just a tactic to use on the path to that goal. There really is no middle ground here at the basic level, one side will win, there will or will not be working ACA in several years time. If the tea party and allies actually just wanted mere changes to the ACA they should have run on that. But they did not. Nobody is fooled that a one year delay was their objective. In the strange inner world of some people its really a travesty that the President would not be their idea of a leader for a quick minute by helping them as they work tirelessly against him and the ACA. Read the polls, that tactic is not working and it sounds ridiculous.

    More people support the ACA after this all occurred, so the Burn it down camp got burned by being naive and out of control. Just continue as you please. Again, for the rest of your life, the government is going to go in the opposite direction from that you prefer. That is peeing in the wind, It can’t be much fun.

    • October 21, 2013 1:52 pm

      Are you more concerned with political victories for a partisan president, or with fixing a broken system? By your own estimation, the tea party represents maybe 20% of his opposition – why obsess over their destruction, rather than reach out to the other side to fix what is broken?

      • Anonymous permalink
        October 21, 2013 2:18 pm

        Priscilla, I am being as objective as I can be and careful reading of my posts would tell you what I want.

        Politics have played out terribly since 911 or really since the day Grover Norquist decided to torpedo the reelection of the decent Bush 1, who was practically the only really good president of my lifetime, according to me. Dole or McCain might well have been good presidents as well, but being decent and somewhat moderate people, they did not fire up their bases and get elected. So we are left with the others with all their faults who do get elected. And they, along with congress, just reflect the millions of voters who elect them. They reflect the two great cultural blocks in the US with all their warring sub cultures. We have met the enemy and they are us. I know of no realistic plan to change the situation.

        I have no great belief in the democratic party or love for it and no belief that their legislation does not contain real serious faults but the Republican party is a terrible train wreck and that really is the deepest level of the political side of the problem here to my eyes. If there are to be productive negotiations on anything the republican party will have to turn their clock back and produce negotiators who know what they are doing.To achieve moderate goals they will have to send moderate negotiators. However, the Heritage foundation et al have sent most of those home and terrorized those that remain.

        Your son will pay more by the way because of the fact that the pool will now include the previously uninsurable. That to me is an OK tradeoff, I will also pay more. Health care politics has never been actually a great passion of mine, I am actually ambivalent about the entire matter. I would not have passed such legislation at that historical time. It is a mess that I do not fancy that I have the ability to see the way out of. I hope that the things you foresee do not come to pass.

      • October 21, 2013 3:11 pm

        Anon, I have read your comments carefully, and I do appreciate and agree with some of what you say.. And, yes, there was always the implicit understanding that premiums would go up if everyone who had to purchase insurance was also paying for those who would be subsidized. But it does not seem reasonable or fair for single, childless young men to pay for maternity benefits, well child visits, abortions, and other coverage that they do not need. And, even if it were fair, would it be possible to convince them to do it? And, if they don’t buy it, the whole house of cards collapses……

        I know that if my healthcare deductible rose from $1000 to $6400 before I could be reimbursed for anything, and then that reimbursement dropped from 80% to 60%, I would be very unhappy. For many people and families, it will simply be unaffordable. I don’t believe that it is morally or constitutionally acceptable for me or you or my son or anyone else to be forced, under penalty of law to pay for such a high level of unnecessary coverage – that is one of the “fatal flaws” I spoke about before, and one that can only be fixed if both sides are willing to reach some sort of compromise.

  33. October 21, 2013 2:22 pm

    “More people support the ACA after this all occurred, so the Burn it down camp got burned by being naive and out of control. Just continue as you please. Again, for the rest of your life, the government is going to go in the opposite direction from that you prefer. That is peeing in the wind, It can’t be much fun.”

    A-There is no data to support your contention that more people now support the ACA than before.

    B-Of course, since very few people have actually been able to enroll in the ACA exchange, it is hard for people to judge what they are being forced to buy and how much it will cost.

    Is that an accident? Probably not. Why advertise the insurance rates and the sticker shock. The press will provide cover and try to minimize the displeasure.

    The really point at which the shit will hit the fan is when the bill becomes due. Then, the entire mess will fall apart, as it rightlfully deserves to do.

    PS-I am pretty sure you don’t know much about the ACA. The pain is just starting.

  34. Anonymous permalink
    October 21, 2013 5:13 pm

    Priscilla, your comments about fixing the ACA are much more moderate than the stance of GOP politicians in general. Had they gone at it like that… Going to a 6400 deductible is the worst part of what your son faces. If he had health insurance for 90/month and a 1000 deductible that was very cheap, he had a great deal there. My daughter is the manager of a business run by a large national company and what she was offered by the company was worse than even what your son is being offered now. I advised her to opt out and pay her own bills. Since she is also mostly healthy its a better choice bar catastrophe and since she does not yet own a house, rather low risk.

    It would be in the interests of the President and his party to make this work, the check and balance here is not the opposing party since that has gone off the rails but the expectations of US citizens. If its a stinker it will cost them all in a huge way. The politicians are incapable of running it, but the people who actually will administer the program will be professionals with actual skills. They must be talking back and forth with the political side and have some real expectation that the numbers will work out to be able to provide a system that will not kill off its creators. The computer glitches seen so far do not qualify as much of a scare.

    Anyhow, like many other things that seem scary, its going to happen anyhow and we will see. I would not bet on an ACA catastrophe but I am often wrong.

  35. October 21, 2013 5:47 pm

    Anon-The act is called “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The US already has by far the highest cost health care in the world (per capita). This act will drive that cost higher (even the DOPUS now admits that). Their is simply nothing in the act that will lower costs, only increase them (don’t blame me, I didn’t write the law).

    So by that one measure, health care will be less affordable (in the aggregate). At 10,900 pages in regulations, it is a law that cannot and will not be implemented as written. As far as it being a “catastrophe” the media will insure that it is never labeled as such. They will find a way to blame Bush, the GOP, or, God knows what else. It will NEVER be Barack’s fault.

    I do love your sense of humor though. Calling the people who run the program as “professionals with actual skills” is indeed one of the funniest lines I have ever heard. As someone who has had to work with the dolts at DHS for many years, I simply marvel at the things that the uninitiated can say.

    Thanks man, I needed the laugh!

  36. Anonymous permalink
    October 22, 2013 12:20 pm

    You are correct, Bastiat, I knew very little about the ACA. I spent my morning looking up facts and researching all the various controversies. Contacted my state exchange as well.

    What I found was that pretty much every accusation of impending ills was a fabrication or took some tiny grain of truth and distorted it to the point of being a lie. Cruz’s retelling of the conservative legend “15000 UPS workers lose spousal protection due to the ACA” is a pretty good example of this. Yes they did lose it… but only when the spouse had other insurance available at their own work! And the UPS directly stated that the ACA was not the the reason for this action. And on and on, every accusation had little or no actual substance and always omitted the plus side details. The act will not cause people with work or medicare related insurance to be thrown off their insurance. In some cases people will lose insurance, yes, but not because of the ACA directly but because of decisions made by their employers or insurance providers. However, directly due to the ACA they will have access to quite a few more options to have another plan. The GOP plan is simply to confuse people about the ACA and I think it can backfire badly.

    For the roughly 15% of the population that does not have work related or medicare related health insurance, most will receive subsidies that do in fact make health insurance more affordable. Thus the Affordable tag. Not to mention available at all to millions with pre-existing conditions. Nor does the price tag approach anything that will sink the US budget.

    It is not the end of the world as we know it, in fact it provides a significant benefit to tens of millions of people who will be grateful and I think that the Republican party brand is going to sink even lower when it hits home how little of the accusations against the ACA will bear out.

    The ACA website on the other hand is a true disaster, heads ought to roll for the confusion and trouble that fiasco is going to cause. But its just one form of a portal to the program, its not the program itself.

    As to the “dolts” at the DHS, when one treats people like dolts, they almost always will be happy to assume that role for you. You might be surprised how much more intelligent people become when they are spoken with decently and politely.

    Finally, looking into your complaint that the ACA should apply to congress I found the facts and history on that ploy as well and you have performed the same mangle of those facts that is current in the GOP. Anyone who takes the time to look that one up will see that it is a nonsense and complete political ploy not worthy of discussion, let alone last minute default brinksmanship.

    Have you seen today’s republican poll numbers?

    • October 22, 2013 1:29 pm

      I am sure that the IRS can administer their portion of the ACA tax penalty. After all, they are really good at what they do, right?

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/22/irs-paid-132B-bogus-tax-credits-over-last-decade/

    • Ron P permalink
      October 22, 2013 4:42 pm

      Anonymous.
      1, How about entering a name in the details block so we know what to address you by. One who makes comments should also identify themselves in some way at the bottom of the comments screen..
      2. You are correct about UPS. Many companies already did this years ago. As Assistant VP of finance at a medium sized health system with about 80% female employees, I recommended that the health system require the working husbands to take out their own insurance if available in the early 2000’s. This saved the health system a sizable amount each year. The reason being our coverage was much better than the furniture and textile companies coverage, so all the husbands wanted to be on our plan. If they were working and their company offered insurance, we then ask the employees to limit their coverage to employee and children. (If we found they lied about spouses working, that led to other personnel actions)
      3. There are cases where employees will lose coverage. Your comment that the act will not throw people off their plan is incorrect. Temporary employment agencies that provide coverage to their administrative and office help will now be required to offer coverage to their “temp” workers even though they are temporary, but since they may work more than 30 hours they are considered full time employees of the agency and will have to be covered. Many temporary agencies are dropping coverage and paying the fine per employee as it is much cheaper. The employees now covered will have to find coverage in the open market.
      4. Yes the act does provide coverage to many who could not get coverage. Had the insuance cmpanies acted responsibly before this came about, the ACA may never have occurred. But taking ones premiums for years, paying out a large claim for a major illness and then cancelling the insurance was not acting responsibly. And not covering kids with major illnesses from birth even though parents had coverage was also not acceptible. The increased premiums for everyone is due to coverage for these new covered lives with preexisting conditions.
      There are good points and bad points. The GOP should be working to improve the ACA as that is possible. Defunding and repealing is not.

      • Roby L permalink
        October 22, 2013 6:05 pm

        Very thoughtful. I stand corrected on point two and have done enough additional reading to know that I was being overly glib about this issue. It is true that in nearly every case GOP politicians had brought up and incorporated into the working legend, the accusations were wrong. In a more complex and roundabout way their is the danger of people losing their work related insurance.

        This new world obviously creates a new set of conditions and risks for insurers. Since their are many unknowns about their future pool of customers their future individual and group behavior has a new element of unpredictability that in some scenarios could lead to undesirable cost levels.

        The world never is a stable place and we unfortunately live in interesting times.

  37. October 22, 2013 1:20 pm

    A- I am not a member of the GOP and don’t care.

    B-Have you seen Obama’s numbers, as low as GWB at his lowest.

    C-You still don’t know what you are talking about re: the ACA and really, I will not waste my time on anyone who searches for “facts” on MSNBC.

    D-Most of the new applicants will net/net be paid for by others, whose rates have already or will be raised much higher to provide the “benefit.” The state by state data is really quite appalling but that info would not be on MSNBC.

    E-In fact, to even figure out what the rates are, you must (if you can) sign on and give the Feds all of your pertient data. In other words, this data is not for public consumption.
    Ask yourself, why not?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 22, 2013 4:52 pm

      D. That is correct. But is this not what insurance is? Those that participate cover their cost plus the cost of others that exceed what they pay in. Now if you accept the fact that insurance companies can take premiums for years and then cancel when someone has a major illness, that is fine. It is also fine when one believes everyone should be able to obtain insurance. In those cases, the cost is spread over the total number of covered lives. The ACA tries to legislate how the insurance companies will act and if the GOP does not like how it is written, then they should improve it. They will never repeal it.

      And remember, 60% of your healthcare bill today is to pay for what comes from bad debts that people will not or can not pay, amounts that the government will not pay or amounts managed care companies will not pay. If everyone paid their fair share, that $10,000 bill now would only be $4,000. But no one other than private insurance and self pay patients that pay 100% will opay 10K.

  38. October 22, 2013 1:23 pm

    “Nor does the price tag approach anything that will sink the US budget.”

    I love this line. The US has not had a budget passed since Obama became POTUS. How would you detrermine what would “sink” our budget? The debt is at $17T (not counting off-balance sheet items (+43T). When do you think we should stop spending money we don’t have or never will have?

    Let’s be real: the Obozo admin can’t make a website work. Why do you think they know how much this will cost?

  39. Anonymous permalink
    October 22, 2013 4:27 pm

    Or 73% of GDP. The deficit is at 4% of GDP and projected to hit 2% in 2015 ( and then start a rise as baby boomers retire).This compares with 10% in 2009, the last Bush Budget. Looks like your buddy Obozo is doing OK actually, doesn’t it?

    So, if the US Govt were a person with a $50,000 income and their mortgage and other debts equaled $36,000 should they be scared to death and run around with their hair on fire cutting their spending drastically?

    In 2038 the deficit is project to hit 108% of GDP. the full baby boomer hit. Large but not the disaster some want to believe in.

    Debt is by definition spending money we don’t have. Debt is a normal fact of life. The sky is not falling. I don’t think we should ever stop spending money we don’t have, businesses don’t either, that’s why there are banks and other lenders. Quick, if the supply of short term lending were to become very tight, as during the crisis, how would that affect small businesses? Why?

    ACA costs are projected by the CBO, which is non partisan and is not the Obama administration.

    I relied on non-partisan sources, including the CBO, for my facts. I’ll admit that the distortion of the insurance market by the ACA regs was not emphasized in my reading, and this is the source of the actual threat to the cost of existing health insurance provided by the workplace. That factor does exist and does not get enough play.

    • October 22, 2013 6:36 pm

      I love the way you wish away the $43T or so in unfunded liabilities that the Feds have on the book. I love the way you reference the Federal debt to the total good and services that the entire United States produces, as if the Feds owned the goods and services and revenue was actually theirs.

      I love the way you ignore that fact that this POTUS has produced $6T in deficits in a little over 4 yrs. Given that total federal income is around 2.7T annually, that is quite a trick.

      BTW-the federal gov’t is NOT a person and why you would use that analogy is beyond me.

      If the federal reserve wasn’t printing money (buying US debt) the real interest rate on our debt might be a bit more realistic. If they ever stop pumping, that real interest rate will come knocking on the door. What will happen to federal deficits if God forbid, they have to pay market rates?

      Put another way: Can you just decide to buy your own debt to keep your interest rates low?:

      You bet your ass you can’t.

      And that, is why the feds are NOT like a person.

      PS-the latest CBO estimates suggest the cost of ACA to the federal gov’t will be about 1.3T through 2023. This cost is ONLY for the feds and ignores costs to everyone else in the system (states, employers, employees, insurance companies).

      These latter costs are unknown and likely dwarf the federal costs

  40. October 22, 2013 9:19 pm

    Ron,

    I agree that we are past the stage – unfortunately- where repeal of the ACA is possible without a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a GOP president. Republicans blew their chance to reform healthcare when they had it, and now we have a monstrosity of a law that would be better scrapped, so that we could have a do-over, but that ain’t happening. I am still flabbergasted at the SCOTUS decision upholding the individual mandate, which just seems mind bogglingly unconstitutional, but, for now, that’s water under the bridge too……

    You talk about insurance companies not acting responsibly, but there were plenty of fixes for that that did not require forcing health insurers to “community rate” the entire nation, without any ability to offer lower rates to the young and healthy. And, by young, I mean those in their 20’s and 30’s, trying to build families and careers.

    I understand the argument that it’s a “fair trade” for subsidizing the needy and the sick, but I disagree… it seems very UNfair to me. It forces millions of young working people just starting their careers (and not making much, but too much to qualify for subsidies) to pay hundreds of dollars more every month for insurance, rather than simply subsidizing the needy directly.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 22, 2013 11:22 pm

      Pricscilla, one of the problems I find with the exchanges is the government did not “community rate” the entire nation but they required each state to be community rated. Had they allowed insurance companies to cross state lines and sell in 50 states under one plan administered by one entity, increasing the size of the population in the plans could have reduced rates in most all cases. That is another flaw in the law which also includes employer insurance for national companies. If you own a business like Catepillar with divisions in Illinois and North Carolina, you have two plans meeting two states requirements other than the feds minimum, not one plan for all employees.

      As for the young paying for the old and sick, just add another liability on their backs. They already have social security that they pay and will get nothing, they have FICA tax when they will get nothing from Medicare when they get older, they will have to cover the cost of unfunded pension liabilities in the tune of 1 trillion today and heaven knows what it will be 30 years from now and then the 17 trillion in US Debt will grow substantially that they will have to pay. So it appears Obama has found that the increase in insurance rates to be a minor inconvenience.

      • October 23, 2013 6:54 am

        It is so ironic that the younger generation has been a rock-solid foundation of Obama’s electoral base, while their opportunities have shrunk and their liabilities have skyrocketed under his administration.

        I remember back when they used to call Reagan the “Teflon President,” – because, supposedly, nothing bad would “stick” to him. There is probably a new high tech material to replace Teflon today, but, whatever it is, Obama is that guy. Last night, on CNN, Kathleen Sebelius said that the President “knew nothing” about the likely failure of the exchange web sites, until after October 1st!! How could that be, that an executive would be totally ignorant of the status of his signature legislation? It strains credulity, but, if true, it also shows how little he cares about the “little people” who actually have to live under his law.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 23, 2013 1:47 pm

        Priscilla, so right about the young beeing all in favor of Obama. But I also was a liberal when I was that age, voting for Robert Kennedy the night he was killed. Not until I grew older, began working to support a family,paid too much in taxes and understood the waste in D.C. did I become a Reagan supporter. The rest is history.

        The young are used to being supported by someone and the ones that are not, a large number of them are social liberals and fiscal conservatives. To them social liberties are more important than some far off debt crisis. They view that like they view the need for a retirement account.

        Right now, after the decisions made by the GOP leadership in the house, I don’t believe anyone is thinking about the little guy.

  41. October 23, 2013 7:48 am

    “If you like your plan, you can keep you plan!” Straight from Obama’s lips.

    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/October/21/cancellation-notices-health-insurance.aspx

  42. October 23, 2013 7:49 am

    “When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on Paul’s support (vote). We will see how this plays out in 2014.

  43. October 23, 2013 7:49 am

    Pols love “plausible deniability!”

  44. October 23, 2013 8:02 am

    Dr. Allen has just about nailed it. The MD shortage is actually already here (been coming for about a decade or two) and it is going to get ugly.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303448104579149642030106938

    • Ron P permalink
      October 23, 2013 1:57 pm

      Why would you invest 200K into a degree in medicine so you could treat medicare, medicaid and managed care covered patients where the reimbursement is based on some percentage of the Medicare/Caid rates. In most instances, an appointment with the doctor will be reimbursed at or below the cost of an oil change at the Jeffy Lube.If it is an extended visit, they may get around $100 or so.

      How about investing 100-200K into earth moving equipment and charge $150-$200 an hour to clear land, not have the office overhead expense, the malpractice expense and be your own boss without employees like office help, high cost RN’s and other techincal help. My son-in-law has been quoted $12,000 to put in a 200 ft drive, clear out about 25 trees and a basement dug into the slope of the land, and that was the low bid. Might take all of two days. Pretty good hourly income and a heck of alot more than a primary care doc makes in two days.

      • October 23, 2013 10:46 pm

        Wow, not a bad gig that your son-in-law’s got there, Ron!

      • Ron P permalink
        October 23, 2013 11:29 pm

        Sorry Priscilla, he is not quoting, he is building a home. That is the cost to clear a space for a home and dig a basement.

        But yes, for the person doing the work, “not a bad gig”.I wonder how many patients a primary care doc has to see to make $12,000?

      • October 23, 2013 11:50 pm

        Oops, sorry, I thought your son-in-law was the proud owner of an earth mover! Which just sounds cool, anyways, lol…..

        But it is not a bad gig, that’s for sure!

  45. Roby L permalink
    October 23, 2013 10:47 am

    Matched by the little that the GOP as a whole cared about the nearly 50 million who had no insurance, many of whom are also young.and starting families. Very few in retail have work related insurance even at the management level. Not to mention people at all stages of life, including ones with health and financial risks who the companies would not cover. That is a worse injustice by far. Attempts to fix that have been thwarted for years mainly by conservatives. Finally, they lost. As of a few days ago I was ambivalent about this, now I am beginning to be happy that we have made the step forward.

    I’d say that making insurance finally available to all and bringing tens of millions into the health care system is worth the trade of some people paying another hundred per month.

    Its about like property taxes fairness wise, People with no kids still paid for the education of our kids. Most accept it, some howl.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 23, 2013 2:12 pm

      http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2009/september/03/nixon-proposal.aspx

      Please read. You may find where Obamacare was created.

      Can’t blame all the GOP. Nixon and Ted Kennedy had a deal that was going to congress when Watergate broke. Nothing got done during this period. After Watergate, the economic situatin of the country took top billing until Clinton proposed his plan. That one went no where because it did not have many employer requirements. Then the intern issue blew up and no further action took place.

      • Roby L permalink
        October 23, 2013 3:05 pm

        Amazing, poignant, and very sad. What a pity Nixon and Clinton had such deep flaws to go with their talents, we all lost a lot.

        Of course, at that time in my life I thought Nixon was the devil to be honest.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 23, 2013 3:11 pm

        And from my perspective, Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan would not have a chance to get the nomination for their party with the positions taken by the GOP today unless they moved much further right than they were when they were elected. There would be no term “Reagan Democrat” for sure.

    • October 23, 2013 8:47 pm

      The problem lies, I think in the fact that universal coverage has always been the top priority for Democrats – even if that coverage would force most people to accept a lower standard of care and government rationing across the board ( remember when Obama talked about how grandma would have to take the pain pill, rather than get the hip replacement?), while Republicans always advocated free market reforms, which would lower costs through competition, and maintain higher quality of care, but would never achieve the universal coverage goal, and would allow rationing to be controlled by the insurance market.

      Liberals always think that government is the only force capable of cost control, and conservatives think that government is always an obstacle to cost control. The ACA could have benefitted from some real debate on this. Alas, the only debate was how to pass it without debate.

    • October 23, 2013 9:14 pm

      50 million is a misleading number…I believe the actual number cited by the Census Bureau was 46 million, and included 10 million non-citizens, 18 million who voluntarily chose not to buy insurance, even though it was available and affordable to them, and 14 million who were eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP. Also, the Census Bureau counted as “uninsured” people who were between jobs and lacked health insurance even for a month or two. The actual may actually not be much more than those who will remain uninsured under the ACA.

      The other issue has always been that “uninsured” is not the same thing as “untreated.” Even if we succeed in getting everyone covered under the ACA, what good will it do, if there aren’t enough doctors to meet the demand, or if the drug that you need is not on the government’s formulary? Hospitals are prohibited from turning uninsured people away, and a big part of the problem was not so much that people were going untreated, but that the hospitals were not getting paid.

  46. October 23, 2013 10:54 am

    “Its about like property taxes fairness wise, People with no kids still paid for the education of our kids. Most accept it, some howl.”

    Indeed, and you are about to see the medical care system become about as effective as the local public school and post office. How happy are we with our public schools? Ah, not so much.

    God help us all when that happens.

    PS-the GOP and many others have attempted to address this issue for decades. Fact is, the liberals want a fed govt single payer system. Always have, always will.

    The union movement of the 20s started it, Obama intends to deliver.

  47. October 23, 2013 10:54 am

    Libs are always willing to spend OPM.

  48. October 23, 2013 6:49 pm

    Well, it is OK if WE decide to delay!

    http://www.capitalisminstitute.org/official-confirms-delay/

  49. October 23, 2013 9:47 pm

    “The ACA could have benefitted from some real debate on this. Alas, the only debate was how to pass it without debate.”

    Amen. Still, debate is NOT the Chicago way!

  50. October 24, 2013 8:18 am

    Rick: We need you to address this issue. I am sure you would do it justice:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10401112/US-spying-row-to-dominate-EU-summit.html

    • October 24, 2013 2:16 pm

      Rich: I don’t know enough about this issue to address it in a full article, but I can’t for the life of me understand why we’d tap the phone of an allied head of state. It just makes no sense, other than explaining it in terms of a government that’s obsessed with gaining access to all communications. I could see tapping the phones of leaders in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Egypt (heck — ALL the Muslim countries), plus China and Russia and probably a few more. But France? Germany?

      I think the U.S. government is entitled to make some infringements on privacy in fighting the war on terror, but the effort should be focused on “the usual suspects,” not allied leaders or, for that matter, non-Muslim Americans. I mean, what are the odds that an Irish Catholic schoolteacher in Perth Amboy would be recruiting for al-Qaeda?

      • October 24, 2013 2:24 pm

        It is bizarre. You wonder who (if anybody) is in charge in DC. The risk/reward on this is idiotic. Trust is very hard to build and easy to destroy. Leadership 101.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 24, 2013 2:30 pm

        JB..Wonder who is in charge in D.C. The first 16 days in October provided that answer. No One!!!!

  51. Roby L permalink
    October 24, 2013 12:27 pm

    A NYTimes news piece today has a very unfavorable report on the results of the ACA thus far in rural areas, prices are going up. (So much for the idea that the mainstream media will bury negative coverage of teh ACA.)

    To follow Ron’s point “one of the problems I find with the exchanges is the government did not “community rate” the entire nation but they required each state to be community rated. Had they allowed insurance companies to cross state lines and sell in 50 states under one plan administered by one entity, increasing the size of the population in the plans could have reduced rates in most all cases.”

    This seems to me dead on. Is ti possible to actually do this what with each state having its own Ins regs?

    Most of us are not experts on this process its going to be a slow learning curve.

    Actually, Ricks original piece is on the shut down not the ACA. So I note that according to CNN poll teh moderate McCain, who was agin the shut down strategy has a 48% popularity while Cruz is at 23% and the tea party and Boehner about the same. The Democratic party is 8 points underwater, while republicans are 34 points underwater.

    Since I am just learning here my first impression was that the criticism of the ACA was just a lot a easily disputable tea party propaganda, I am beginning to see the problems that are not so easily dismissed.

    Its a process,,its going to be long and painful. I think that there will be enough reality behind the general republican dislike of the ACA to keep the GOP alive, as long as they do not shut down the govt or threaten default again. If they bring adult negotiators to the table they may have fertile grounds to negotiate to remake the ACA

    The shutdown default strategy and general tea party radicalism is the albatross around the neck of the GOP, the ACA may well be the albatross on the Dems as time goes by. It would be great if either party would get something smashingly correct or do something well, but that does not seem to be in the cards. We will limp forward into the future trying to undo the worst mistakes.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 24, 2013 2:26 pm

      Roby, I too am not an expert on insurance rating, but my belief is insurance companies have the computer fire power to feed in data to analyze all the claims that are processed and actuarially determine what rates should be nationally. If they passed state legislation like they did with employers who self insured their employee health plans, the states were bypassed and ERISA (Employment Insurance Retirement Act of 1974) regulates those plans. A good example of insurance companies providing one national plan is the Medicar advantage plans from Humana, Cigna and others.

      The plan by the GOP to defund the ACA was a loser from the start. The GOP had a much larger citizen support for reducing the deficit though the debt ceiling than they ever had with defunding. Had they closed the government over the deficit and provided Public Relation ads showing the results of continued deficits, they may have accomplished something.

      I think the Tea Party movement was a good movement when it started. It was all about spending and taxes. Then radicals like Cruz, Palin and others became the mouthpiece of that movement and it became a much more radically right movement than it started out.

      I don’t see much happening until we get leadership that is much closer the the Libertarian Party positions, those being social liberalism and fiscal conservativism. Then we may see many more young voters begin to get interested in those candidates. And they would have to be separate from the current parties, as they could not support either party 100% like it is expected today.

      • October 25, 2013 9:27 am

        In all fairness (and I am not a tea party supporter,) the tea party position taken during the shutdown was not really extreme. Defunding, delaying, or changing parts of the ACA was basically it.

        The truth is, that since the shutdown ended and the rollout of the ACA has begun it is now several Democrats who are calling for a delay in the implementation of the law. And no one is calling them terrorists, traitors or radicals.

        As we all keep saying, both parties have become dysfunctionally partisan – the tea party faction of the GOP is most obviously so, and it certainly gets the lion share of the blame. But, yesterday,I watched my former congressman (now from a different district) Frank Pallone (a Democrat) call a congressional hearing into the ACA website failure a “monkey court,” and refuse to yield the floor to further questions about how the website may be violating HIPAA regulations.

        Same shit, different party.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 25, 2013 12:09 pm

        “Same Shit, Different Party”..What I find so very interesting is everyone I talk to, either in person, across the country with friends on e-mail or websites like this, I find no one happy with our current government.

        But we have no one to blame except ourselves. We, as voters, keep sending these bozos to congress (who then later run and are elected President). We need to blame the right people, the extremist on both sides of the isle that vote in primaries, who make the idiots in D.C. the people we have to vote for that result in the government we have today.

  52. October 24, 2013 3:02 pm

    Certainly, we can agree (I hope) that Obama, Reid, and Boehner are fairly pathetic examples of “leaders.”

  53. October 25, 2013 10:20 am

    Priscilla,

    Indeed, there are two sets of rules: One for Congress and the POTUS, and one for the rest of us. If my University’s clinic violates HIPAA, there is no hearing and we are simply fined. Don’t pay the fine? Go to jail.

    The Tea Party pols are the only ones who are willing to write a set of rules THEY will also file. I don’t consider them extreme at all. I consider them, awake!

    • Ron P permalink
      October 25, 2013 12:18 pm

      Looks to me from everything said about the Tea Party that they have been labeled “extreme” when in fact they are not.

      Just another snafu with PR that the GOP has to live with.

      Maybe the GOP needs to look internally as to why they have such a piss poor PR machine and why they allow the left to frame them in all issues as extreme. Why are they always reacting instead of framing themselves and their positions.

      Just like the calls now by the left to delay the implementation of Obamacare, its fine now and no one is saying a thing. Two weeks ago it was the extremeist that wanted to do the same.

      • October 25, 2013 12:45 pm

        Yup, it was ANARCHY!!! These tea party terrorists were trying to obstruct the LAW OF THE LAND!! How could Obama negotiate with these RADICALS who were holding the entire country HOSTAGE and strapping bombs to their chests.

        Ahem….now, it’s just reasonable to suggest that it might be a good idea to delay this thing for a while, until everybody has a handle on what the hell if going on….

        Sometimes you just have to laugh – or else you’d cry.

      • October 25, 2013 12:56 pm

        But, yes, Ron, when it comes to getting its message out, the GOP is pretty pathetic. There is a reason why it’s called the stupid party ;)

      • Ron P permalink
        October 25, 2013 5:29 pm

        Priscilla, and remember the GOP is said to be the party of old white guys. Could that have something to do with being the stupid party? Just asking…..

  54. October 25, 2013 11:49 am

    You don’t need to be an actuary to see where this train is headed: the cliff!

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/census-bureau-means-tested-govt-benefit-recipients-outnumber-full

  55. October 26, 2013 12:25 am

    I think I am leaning towards letting this thing play out exactly the way Obama wants….I’m not sure if that is “letting it burn” or not. ( and does this make me a tea partier??)

    In any case, I agree with the old saw that if your opponent is determined to hang himself, you shouldn’t take away the rope.

    After all, it IS the law of the land.

    • October 26, 2013 10:07 am

      It is indeed. I can tell you, spent my entire pre-teaching career in the health insurance industry. I would suggest to the POTUS that the pain is just beginning. Once people actually think they are “enrolled” in their new health plan, that info has to get to the insurance carrier AND to their doc AND their ACO and, well you get the point. And, it better be fast and correct, because newly insured patients are at the doc’s door on DAY 1 of their coverage!

      Then, when a insured wants to CHANGE something (plans, docs, ACO) it has to happen all over again. This is not a trivial administrative task. We spent years trying to perfect our systems and at best, we got fairly good at it. This was in a somewhat simple arrangement, nothing like the complexity that the exchanges have created.

      I can tell you that right about now, the insurers who did opt into these exchanges are feeling very badly about their decision.

      The fun, has just, begun!

      • Ron P permalink
        October 26, 2013 11:57 am

        And when you think about it, they already had a pretty good model to follow. The Medicare Advantage plans allowing individuals to go to the open market and sign up for the managed care Medicare insurance that is in place of traditional Medicare. Once signed up, CMS was notified and the traditional plan was cancelled.

        But that is allowing the private sector to handle most everything and we all know how Obama likes the private sector.

      • October 26, 2013 2:02 pm

        And they also had a good model for separate insured populations, which is the Veterans Benefits Plan ….va.gov A separate high risk pool would have allowed rates to rise more modestly for the relatively healthy in the exchanges.

        And that is even an example of the government running something like this fairly efficiently.

  56. Roby L permalink
    October 28, 2013 3:35 pm

    The comments here about other models that were ignored are reasonable or at least sound reasonable to me, although I really do not know enough about how the Veterans Benefits plan or Medicare Advantage work..

    Here is a thoughtful conservative analysis by Ross Douthat in the NYTimes that is pretty objective and not at all hysterical:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/sunday/douthat-but-what-if-obamacare-works.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    The most popular (800+ upvotes) liberal reader response began “Ross, what you and your ilk ignore…” I liked Clive Crook’s recent comments about just how dumb and counterproductive liberal prejudices are towards what he called the fly over state populations, which the left thinks of in an elitist way as just stupid hicks.. (Those so-called stupid hicks do most of what could actually be recognized as work in this country.)

    As to comments here, single payer is a strawman, Only 15% want it and the structural obstacles to getting it are not surmountable.

    The Tea party is not radical because they think the ACA is flawed, any more than the American Communist Party is radical because they believe in “equality for all.” Its those other things that extremists believe in along with the reasonable and innocent sounding goals that all good radicals depart from in a hurry, The remedy the Tea party favored was not a delay, it was a government shutdown and if necessary a debt default. That is the face of the radical part that emerged last month but the flavor of the tea party was pretty apparent before they pulled that.

    Rational people on the right of center need to be able to face reality about the further out elements of the the right coalition instead of empowering them by sort of not noticing that there is a lot more to them than just the harmless sounding idea that the Tea partiers and friends think the ACA is flawed. The moderate right has empowered the non-moderate right for a long time, so long that the GOP realistically may not ever be able to nominate a candidate who can win the presidency unless there is a drastic restructuring of American politics, What is it, five out of six popular presidential votes lost and still counting as the center of gravity GOP heads further right almost daily? Can you say Hillary in 2016?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 28, 2013 5:37 pm

      Hillary will be the next president unless the democrats run someone further left like they did when Obama challenged her and then the far left segment of the Democrat party will choose that candidate unless Hillary moves much further left than she has ever been in her career. The Republicans will do the same thing this coming election as they did the past election. Kill each other off well before the general election during the primaries. Romney did not stand a chance after Santorum, ginfrich and the further right chewed him up and spit him out,

  57. Ron P permalink
    October 28, 2013 5:49 pm

    300,000 Floridians sent letters of cancellation
    160,000 Californians sent letters of cancellation
    Small business owners sent letters of cancellation, causing many to pay up to 6 times more for coverage for coverage they do not need, like maternity care.
    Single mom’s sent letters of cancellation, leaving them to pay the fine and go without inssurance since they can not pay the increased rates.
    Individuals in most rural states will pay significantly higher rates than currently, while individuals in some very large liberal states may pay less.

    All of the above have been stories that have been told on the news over the last few days.

    If this program was a Republican program, how long would it have taken the Democrats to get an ad on the TV stations much like the grandma-going-over-the-clift ads. I would suggest they would be running in most every market or on cable TV beginning today and possibly yesterday. Take any individual with kids, have them show the cancellation letter, make comments about not having insurance and the higher rates they can not afford, let them ask how they are going to get health coverage for their kids, then have the announcer come on and ask if this is keeoping your current insurance, at a lower rate and keeping your doc.

    Playing to women with children through a scare ad could be right up their with the grandma ad in effectiveness.

    But again, the GOP is setting by doing nothing except saying no.

  58. Roby L permalink
    October 28, 2013 6:54 pm

    Ron, those letters of cancellation, are they dated Dec 15, Dec. 30? If the insurance is not replaceable by the actual cancellation date due to lack of a state pool or functioning fed pool site what happens? My shallow understanding is that the cancelled policy should be replaced by a policy from the same Co or different Co that meets the increased requirements and will be, as Douthat wrote, more expensive, more comprehensive, and more subsidized. Perhaps I am too easily fooled but I do not believe that these cancellations are supposed to be actual cancellations, as in the holder will be unreasonably and unavoidably uninsured on that day. If they did design teh ACA like that and people will be really and truly uninsured by no fault of their own due to it then that was incompetent and the Dems are going to get punished.

    What type of circumstances would lead to a six fold increase? Obviously the victim would be in the unsubsidiized category but what else would lead to six times higher rates? I’m imagining a scenario like the insured person was getting free insurance at work and now has to buy at market rates. Should not their employer share the windfall with the employee in this case, since the actual pay of an employee is their wages PLUS all their benefits and if an employer no longer has to pay then that is a windfall to the employer that it would be fair to share instead of pocketing. Or am I all wet?

    Making men pay for maternity insurance sounds weird and wrong but how many similar things occur already, i.e., the risk of needing any service is spread across a population,many of whom could not possible need that service.

    BTW I have never been a Clinton fan.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 28, 2013 11:31 pm

      I am writing this before reading your link in the next message as I see that you posted another message.

      Obama said that if you have insurance you can keep your insurance even if it did not meet the new requirements. The insured were grandfathered into those plans, but no new people could be covered under those plans. The DHHS wrote the rules to cover those plans and basically no changes to the current policies could take place, That included any changes to premiums. That has created many of the cancellation notices as most all would have gone up based on healthcare cost increases.

      There have been many examples of individuals receiving those letters that has been provided by different news outlets, but one example is a middle age lady that has individual insurance with high deductibles that is paying 55.00 a month. Her plan is cancelled and the replacement plan offered by her insurance is 547.00 per month. It meets the government mandates, but she just wants to self insure basic needs and then by coverage for catastrophic needs. She also can’t afford the new insurance based on her income and debts, including her home. Her budget is based on $55.00, not $547.00. As she said, not many middle income people with normal debt can cover a $500.00 increase in monthly payments without getting rid of some other debt.

      What has happened is our nanny government has decided that you and I, along with everyone else in the country is not smart enough to decide what kind of insurance is best for themselves. Obama, Reid and Pelosi has decided they know best and have decided that the government will tell you and I what kind of insurance we will buy.

      What’s next? Name any consumer product and the government can dictate what we will buy. That is not liberty in my mind.

      • October 29, 2013 8:19 am

        Liberty is not on the statist agenda unless it is the freedom to think like a statist and comply with every state law. We are not free to make errors that bother statists; this proves inconvenient, as they love order (sounds like a Marxian, doesn’t it?). Even if the error causes no one else any pain, statists don’t like this fact, unless they change their mind about some behavior.

        Thus, homosexuality is now “good” and should be the law of the land. Abortion, of course, is a “right” and so much be sacrosanct. Smoking pot is now, good, as is illegal immigration. Muslims are becoming good and will soon be misunderstood, discriminated against, and thus, a protected class.

        Also, statists don’t like their feelings hurt. so you are NOT free to disagree, criticize, or point out when their past promises/lies are contradicted by the facts.

        There you have it: the liberal/statist world in a few short paragraphs.

  59. Roby L permalink
    October 28, 2013 7:27 pm

    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/October/21/cancellation-notices-health-insurance.aspx

    Was this what you read Ron? Its pretty much what I had understood and not that alarming although I am sure it sucks to be one of those paying a lot more.

    I, by the way, seem destined to pay more myself.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 28, 2013 11:40 pm

      Yes this is what I have been hearing.
      Roby, you and I are ignorant and do not know what’s best for ourselves. Pelosi says so after reading the ACA.
      I suspect the next thing the liberals in congress will do when they get control is to tell us how we invest our retirement funds. Specific percentages in specific accounts as we don’t have the brain of a knat to do it ourselves.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 28, 2013 11:42 pm

      Sorry, that’s Gnat, not Knat. Typo.

  60. October 28, 2013 11:49 pm

    Roby, you ask what would lead to a six fold increase It depends on a couple of things: first, what state you live in. About 5 states, one being my state of NJ, already have very high insurance rates (for a number of reasons) so the ACA rates may be comparable, only somewhat higher , or even lower ( for those people with pre-existing conditions which previously caused their rates to be higher than normal anyway). It also depends upon your age and what type of coverage you had – my son, who I mentioned in a previous comment, also lives in NJ and will lose his plan in 2014, and the cheapest plan he will be able to buy on the exchange will be 100% more expensive, with a lot of coverage that he does not want or need ( maternity benefits, well child care, drug rehab, abortion, etc.) and will cost him much more out-of-pocket.

    In most states, rates are going to go up dramatically, because the ACA has basically outlawed what was once called a “catastrophic” policy….in in other words, a plan that existed to make sure that, in the event of serious illness or injury, your major expenses would be covered, but did not cover checkups, elective surgeries, birth control pills, etc. Now, you’ve got to pay for that stuff, whether you want it or not – and, if you earn more than $36,000 ($70,000 for a family) you are also paying more to make up for those who will be subsidized.

    So, yes, Douthat is right, plans will be “more expensive, more comprehensive, and more subsidized.” They will be more expensive for everyone, more comprehensive for all, even for those who don’t want or need the coverage, and more subsidized for some, while many working people will find even the bronze plans too expensive, so they will end up losing the coverage they have, without an affordable alternative.

    As far as employers go, remember that the ACA also had an employer mandate, which Obama “delayed,” allowing many more employers to effectively dump their employees into the exchanges.

  61. October 29, 2013 12:17 am

    By the way, I disagree with both of you that Hillary is the anointed successor to be POTUS. She is clearly beginning to make move, and I don’t see any other Democrat at this point who could realistically challenge her – although, at this point in 2006, no one really foresaw the Obama phenomenon.

    On the other hand, she is not likeable and has a ton of political baggage. I think someone like Chris Christie could appeal to a lot of her political base, and I think that a more libertarian candidate like Rand Paul could, as well.

    But I also get what you are both saying about the GOP being currently unable to get it together to put forth a coherent and unified vision for how they could make things any better.

    Two years is an eternity in politics, however………..

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2013 12:25 pm

      Priscilla, I love Chris Christie, but hell would have to freeze over before the far right wing of the GOP would ever accept someone as moderate as Christie as the nominee, especially after the Romney campaign. Paul would be a more acceptible candidate and maybe his more libertarian views would also be more acceptible to the moderate Democrats needed to win an election. Whoever runs will have to win over a vast percentage of social liberals and that will take an effort that almost eliminates womens reproductive rights from the campaign. I can not see many women voting for a candidate that does not allow the freedom of choice in their positions and those votes are critical for anyone to win. There are not enough old white guys voting to win an election.

      • October 29, 2013 10:58 pm

        Ron, what I have observed here in NJ, is that Christie is able to win the grudging admiration of almost everybody – even the people who don’t really like him personally (the “Jersey tough guy” persona can grate) or agree with his politics- because of his ability to communicate what he is going to do, and why he is going to do it. They may not like it, but they appreciate his relative straight talk, I say “relative” because I don’t believe that any politician is really straight up all the time, but Christie is far better than most.

        The other thing is that he understands how to wield executive authority and how to negotiate and bargain with a Democrat legislature. Of course, he exaggerates his successes, but at least he appears to be a leader who values bipartisan consensus.

        I agree that he will have a tough sell to the TruCons, but I think he’s got a shot.

        I also like Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Susana Martinez….all governors. I think we need a reasonably competent governor as our next president, not a DC pol.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 29, 2013 11:53 pm

        We seem to agree on candidates. I also like Christie and I think he is the only one that could stand a primary challenge from the right wing of the party. But there is a fine line to walk as Bob Dole was also a straight talker and he was painted by the dems as a sarcastic SOB. He did not win over many moderates due to this issue.

        But whoever it is needs to be a leader. I would like to see the next President contact the speaker and majority leader and tell them that much work needs to happen to repair the relaionships between the arms of government and regular meetings of all three needs to take place. Then schedule them, talk about the issues, try to come up with a plan and have no comments to the press made without all three being present, unlike Obama and Boehner who agree on something and then go to the press and say something different.

  62. October 29, 2013 8:21 am

    I just think that the Hillary outburst at the Congressional hearing (what difference does it make now) will prove to be a wonderful campaign ad for the GOP. That said, they are such Wuss’s ‘ they likely won’t use it.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2013 12:39 pm

      What makes you think the GOP is smart enough to use this against her? These incompetent boobs have not capitalized on the insurance cancellation issue like the democrats would have done in a heart beat. The only place you hear about it is on conservative talk shows.

      They will only be dumb enough to go against Reagans 11th commandment in the primaries and run a severly injured candidate against her in 16.

  63. Roby L permalink
    October 29, 2013 9:17 am

    I could vote for Christie if he can somehow get nominated and not have to choose some utterly inappropriate right wing nut as VP to satisfy the true conservatives that he has failed to win over. I can’t see that all happening but if it did he would get my vote.

    Hillary was at 60+ popularity in the CNN poll the other day.

    Two years is an eternity in politics, granted.

  64. Roby L permalink
    October 29, 2013 9:33 am

    To me four things define the pickle we are in with government.

    1 The world changed, gradually but drastically, since my childhood..America was at the top when I was born, consequences of WWII and history. Since then the world caught up.

    2 Unlimited Political advertising by interest groups, especially extreme ones.

    3 We hate our congress, but the house has been rigged so that even if 60+ % of us would change every member, actually we can hardly change 20 members. That is a frustration of the popular will and its corrosive.

    4 The GOP has an internal political situation that makes it very hard to see how a winning candidate, one who has enough support in the center, can be nominated. So that is another frustration of the wishes of a huge number of people, both those who want a sensible moderate and those who want a conservative, for president.

    I guess a fifth reason is that the process is now producing people of inappropriate stature Ws and Obamas, where it once produced Eisenhowers, Kennedys and I hate to say it Nixon’s. Gerald Ford, considered a political lightweight at the time looks like an ideal president now compared to our recent lot.

    • October 29, 2013 10:17 am

      Roby, I generally agree with you, although I would quibble about the importance unlimited political advertising. I agree that money in politics is at the root of what is wrong with our government, but it is the crony capitalism and corruption of public officials, not advertising, that is destroying our system.

      Take a story that has gotten very little coverage in the press. The Canadian company, CGI Federal, that was awarded a no-bid contract and then spent $600M royally screwing up the O-Care website has a top executive who is a close friend and former classmate of Michelle Obama’s. CGI Federal has previously won a $5M no-bid to distribute almost $2B in Hurricane Sandy relief funds. That’s no-bid. Money handed over on a silver platter.

      Interestingly, CGI Federal had been previously fired by Canadian healthcare officials, for royally screwing up THEIR website, BUT, apparently, that was not nearly as important to the Democrats as the fact that the company was heavily involved in fundraising for Obama and other Democrat candidates. I wonder how much of that $600 million is going to end up coming back in big donations??

      Can anyone say Halliburton?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2013 12:53 pm

      1. Yes the world has changed drastically. Programs designed to help, which they did at the beginning, have now distroyed much that made America great. Where social programs helped in the beginning, one only needs to look at the family structure in America today to find how it has been distroyed by “help”. Feed the animals in the wild long enough and they forget how to hunt for food themselves and become dependant on others. Could also apply to those on government programs
      2. Money for political advertising would not have the impact it has had if there were laws that required those ads to tell the truth completely. Today bits and pieces of the truth can be taken out of context to twist the message, thus making the message a lie and no one can do a thing about it. And no one will call another a liar for some reason in politics. Obama lied about the insurance issue and not one person has said he is a liar. They just beat around the bush.
      3. 60% of us would replace congress, but then ask if they approve of their own representative and a majority like what they are doing. “Replace all of them except mine”.
      4.One only needs to look at the Va govenors race to see how many fiscal conservatives view candidates. 10% of the fiscal conservatives are supporting the Libertarian. If this holds true, the democrat will win. This has alot to do with social positions of the GOP. Now that could change when people vote, but it is a good indication what is happening in the party.

  65. Roby L permalink
    October 29, 2013 9:56 am

    I will agree with you Ron that the point by point description of what the new plans have to cover is the worst part of the ACA and does show the liberal arrogance. IF the GOP and perhaps some dems as well, would choose to focus on that and change it then that could succeed and I would certainly support it. I don’t that that even most liberals are OK with what is happening in the case of your example of the lady with 55 going to 500+.

    If we could get the political compromise process working again somehow. Actually I thank we will, because there are lots of consequences of the ACA that will go over well with almost no one, even liberals.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2013 1:13 pm

      “If we could get the political compromise process working again somehow. Actually I thank we will, because there are lots of consequences of the ACA that will go over well with almost no one, even liberals.”

      Wow, maybe something good will come out of the ACA. Sure hope you are right!!!!

  66. October 29, 2013 10:36 am

    Interesting how the no-bid contract going to Michelle’s friend is a yawner to the mainstream media.If I did that back when I was running my insurance companies, my board would have handed me my ass!

  67. October 29, 2013 12:47 pm

    I love the term, “reproductive rights.” Calling the act of killing a 24 week old “fetus” a right, is quite a trick of language. That same 24 week “fetus” can be operated on to save its life. Moreover, that same “fetus” would be accorded legal status if it were killed by an outside party ,by say, a assailant. What makes the abortionists any different than the assailant?

    I would not be so sure about women’s support of abortion. The data has been shifting as people become more aware of exactly how this “right” is execised. It is fairly gruesome.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2013 1:09 pm

      This arguement will continue for years until somehow we define exactly when “life” begins. One state defines it at 24 weeks. Another at 26 weeks. Another at 20 weeks. I personally believe it begins at conception. From your previous writings, I believe you may think the same.

      But it can not be men sitting is plush chairs in a state or federal capital building defining when this begins without representation from women, young and old helping to define when this happens.

      Look to any delegation at any state or federal level and how many people are not
      white men over 40. How can they tell women in the 20’s if and when they can have an abortion. Is it more than 20 weeks or the morning after pill that is illegal.

      This arguement will go on for years until one clearly defined time period covering 50 states has been written and accepted as law. And that most likely will never happen.

  68. October 29, 2013 2:18 pm

    I really don’t see this as an “argument” and I don’t see it as a man or woman issue, but a human being issue. If someone tells me that a “fetus” is not a human being at say 16 weeks, I would ask them if they would be willing to attend an abortion (live). If they would not, then I would suggest then know full well what they would be witnessing.

    If they would, then we should have the taxi waiting.Then, we can ask them again. It is no small wonder that most people avoiding reading the details of Kermit Gosselin’s operation; candidly, it made me sick to my stomach. I doubt that it would have if he really were just removing “excess human growth” from a woman’s body.

    My bet is if women who were going to have an abortion were forced to actually watch one, we would not be having much demand for the “service.”

    PS-In Europe, several countries are debating whether to allow children the right to euthansia. Seriously, how depraved are we willing to become?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2013 7:06 pm

      This is the same discussion that goes on in state capitals and the federal government daily. You believe that a baby is a baby from day one. Others do not believe in that same logic. And today, there are more young people that believe they should have a choice than there are ones that believe a woman should carry the child even if she does not want a child.

      That is why the GOP will find it harder and harder to garner support fromthe “Reagan Democrats” than in the past. Where this was not front and center daily on the news when Reagan ran (because there was not cable news and instant news on the internet), it is right there daily for everyone to see,

      When a candidate like Cuccinelli has support for many of his positions and then opens his mouth about his position on abortion, he loses enough votes to allow McAuliffe to take a sizable lead in the Va governors race.

      What the Republicans have to accept is the fact that they can not attract the younger voters support when social issues go against their views even when the younger voter may be a fiscal conservative.

      Your views, my views and many others with the same views on social issues are in the minority. That is why I have accepted the Libertarian Party platform on social positions as well as fiscal positions. Right now both the GOP platform and Libertarian party are in a losing position. I look forward to the day the Libertarians run a candidate that has a small chance of winning.

      And that is why Hillary or someone further left of her will be the next President, regardless of her bengazi speech or the Obamacare outcomes. Those will be forgotten in 16.

      • October 29, 2013 10:05 pm

        That is more than fine with me. As this culture degrades and human life become something to discuss “relatively” you can have that. To me, anyone who is afraid to witness an abortion is simply confirming what I have stated previously.

        To wit: I am totally fine about going to witness an appendix removal. An abortion? No thanks, this will make me uneasy and we can’t have that!

        What is especially illuminating are the libs who decry the use of capital punishment for say, a Tim McVeigh, but champion “reproductive choice!”

        This hypocrisy is laughable on its face. These same lib robots are fine about Obama using drones to kill innocents in the name of “security!”

        So, if my candidate “loses: an election, so be it. Integrity has a price, at times, and I am willing to pay it.

        Are you?

        Will you speak up for what is right or simply go with who can win the young “socially liberal” voters?

      • Ron P permalink
        October 29, 2013 11:44 pm

        “Will you speak up for what is right or simply go with who can win the young “socially liberal” voters?”

        There are a couple of discussion points in this statement. But first, no I would not witness an abortion. And remember I said there needed to be specific information on a national level as to when life begins. How can life begin in Texas and North Carolina at 20 weeks, but not until 26 weeks in other states. So yes, I guess I am a hippocrite in this issue becasue I support a womans right to choose shortly after conception, but not long after.

        Now the other issues. “What is right”. Who defines what is right? You, me, people in your religious group, your state elected officials,,,,,,?What is right to you may not be right to others.How do we define right that is acceptible to most everyone.?

        “or simply go with who can win the young “socially liberal” voters?” To achieve a partial positive outcome and to protect the next generations coming after me, I would vote for the moderate right of center candidate that was fiscally conservative even if they did not supoport the right to life movement. To me, that is better than a total defeat and running this country fiscally into ruin.

      • October 30, 2013 7:54 am

        “I think we need a reasonably competent governor as our next president, not a DC pol.”

        Agreed! Or, even better, someone who has run something successful and who is NOT a pol?

  69. Roby L permalink
    October 29, 2013 3:35 pm

    Ron, you and I have fairly different political views, while we may agree on a lot of important things, its interesting to me that, all the same, Christie is a guy we both appreciate and could support. Personally, I doubt that Paul would generate that much support in the middle.

    I was waiting for years for the pleasure of voting for McCain, who I always have admired and then he went and picked Palin (I guess he did not really realize at the time who she was or would turn into). I had also wanted to vote for Dole for many years but then he ran further to the right than my comfort zone. He probably would have been a good or great president.

    Everything seems to work these days to produce the least desirable result and make the best choice for political stability and compromise, a candidate from the center, nearly impossible. A center right (with the emphasis on the center) president would be a great thing for the country right now, a Ford, a Bush I, even a Nixon. Or a true center left Democrat. The government would function a lot better if the middle had control of it and the extremists on both sides had to pound sand. We need things to salt out like the Truman-Dewey election, extremists from all sides attacked Truman and somehow he squeaked through.

    Truth in political advertising would be great, only problem is that partial truths count technically as truths. I Don’t follow you on the idea that no one will accuse a politician of lying, its our national pastime, both the lying and the calling it lying.

    For example, the statement that if you like your insurance you can keep it. I think that in the end that phrase will determine Obama’s legacy. And I am not someone who just cannot be happy at all while he is president.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2013 7:35 pm

      Roby first of all please send me any quotes from any member of congress wher they cal Obama an outright liar. They say he “misinformed”, “did not tell the truth”, etc but I have yet to hear anyone in a political position that “Obama is a liar”

      Now I don’t really believe we are that far off in our views. It may be you are left of center where I am right of center. So where am I? I believe we need entitlement reform. The age that one starts getting social security needs to be increased. If not, there will be nothing for the future generations. I believe in welfare reform to reduce the number of people on welfare, much like the reforms of the 90’s when Clinton and Gingrich worked out their plan where someone had to be looking for work or in a work study program. Those truely needy need help. But those that stand on the corner asking for an handout and talking on a cell phone do not need my help. I believed that there needed to be insurance reforms so people with preexisting conditions or those that had paid in for years and then were cancelled when they had a large claim could continue to get insurance, but not the government telling people what insurance plan to buy like Obamacare does today. I believe that life begins at conception, but my views should not be the legal position for abortion, but there needs to be some accpetible timeframe for a woman to choose. I believe in the constitutions position on god and that is a fine line between when and where god should be allowed. In schools, no, since there are enough none believers and others of other faiths that god should not be in schools. And our teachers have enough to do with the problems they have now. I also believe the pledge of allegence should be in its original form, not the one amended in the 50’s to add “under god”. And the same holds true with foreign affairs. If other countries want our help and assistance, then they need to step up to the plate and provide their opwn help before we provide the help. Just like Israel. If the Europeans are worried about Syria, then we are all in it together including the French. The day of America allowing our young men to die for foreign countries should be ended.

      So tell me where you may differ so I can have an idea what to debate in the future.

  70. October 29, 2013 11:44 pm

    When you’ve lost David Frum……..

    “As best I can tell, the ACA will require me to pay $200 a month more for a policy that is marginally worse than the one I have now. ”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/29/the-obamacare-ripoff-more-money-for-less-insurance.html

    • October 30, 2013 7:55 am

      Isn’t that what Obama promised? Hard to remember anymore.

  71. October 30, 2013 8:33 am

    From the Tea Party Patriot website. Boy, these guys look like a bunch of “terrorists” to me!

    OUR MISSION

    The Tea Party Patriots’ mission is to restore America’s founding principles of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.

    OUR CORE PRINCIPLES

    FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY means not overspending, and not burdening our children and grandchildren with our bills. In the words of Thomas Jefferson: “the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity [is] swindling futurity on a large scale.” A more fiscally responsible government will take fewer taxes from our paychecks.

    CONSTITUTIONALLY LIMITED GOVERNMENT means power resides with the people and not with the government. Governing should be done at the most local level possible where it can be held accountable. America’s founders believed that government power should be limited, enumerated, and constrained by our Constitution. Tea Party Patriots agree. The American people make this country great, not our government.

    FREE MARKET ECONOMICS made America an economic superpower that for at least two centuries provided subsequent generations of Americans more opportunities and higher standards of living. An erosion of our free markets through government intervention is at the heart of America’s current economic decline, stagnating jobs, and spiraling debt and deficits. Failures in government programs and government-controlled financial markets helped spark the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Further government interventions and takeovers have made this Great Recession longer and deeper. A renewed focus on free markets will lead to a more vibrant economy creating jobs and higher standards of living for future generations

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2013 11:25 am

      I am perplexed. This sounds exactly what the Libertarians stand for, but they are considered an inconvenience to the Republican party. Cuccinelli running for Va governor holds all these ideas, but then add the social issues and it blows him out of the water.

      So my suggestion is for all those that believe in the Tea Party Patriots mission of Fiscal Reponsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets to begin supporting the true Libertarian candidates for all elected positions at all levels. Right now the elected officials that are supported by the Tea Party are not 100% as they do not believe in limited government based on their social positions. Anyone supporting those candidates have had to compromise their positions where supporting the Libertarian would not require any compromise.

  72. October 30, 2013 8:41 am

    “What is right to you may not be right to others.How do we define right that is acceptible to most everyone.?”

    Well, I have given you a test above. Most directly, would “most people” watch an abortion performed at say 15 weeks and feel that it was “right?” I bet they would not. But, for the “reproductive rights” crowd, this is irrelevant. They want their rights, even if it comes at the expense of the life that they willingly created. After all, it is the “law of the land!”

    Now that that the life inside them is inconvenient, well, it is time to exercise my “right.”

    The question I have always wanted to ask these birds who have abortions at 20 weeks or so is this: Is this the earliest possible moment that you could have decided to have this abortion?. Really, do you need 20 weeks to make up your mind?

    Or, put another way, what the hell is wrong with you?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2013 11:40 am

      Hummm…”The question I have always wanted to ask these birds who have abortions at 20 weeks or so is this: Is this the earliest possible moment that you could have decided to have this abortion?. Really, do you need 20 weeks to make up your mind? ”

      Are you saying that there is some acceptible time period after conception to have an abortion? Is the morning after pill acceptible when no one knows if they are pregnant, but they use it just in case?

      I go back to your previous message about constitutionally limited government.”The American people make this country great, not the government”. This to me says people should be free to make their own decisions and I don’t have the right to make my beliefs infringe on others.

      We will never agree on this subject, but we can understand each others position through dialogue such as this.

  73. October 30, 2013 8:42 am

    PS- to me, this is not a religious issue, it is a moral one. If someone murders my wife, it is immoral, and illegal. I don’t need a religion to affirm that I am right on that score.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2013 12:00 pm

      Yes sir, you are 100% correct. It is a moral issue. But moral values can become part of ones life based on many different religious, philosophical or cultural teachings. Society also plays a part in ones moral beloefs and that is the problem today. The moral code in many people in our society today accept this while others do not. The question still lies in the issue as to ones moral belief infringing on another moral belief

      • October 30, 2013 12:29 pm

        So, if we have folks who think pedophilia is moral, we are not free to infringe on their morality?

        Seriously?

      • Ron P permalink
        October 30, 2013 6:17 pm

        This comment does not deserve a rational answer.

  74. October 30, 2013 10:26 am

    It’s interesting to see the conversation turn to abortion. In many ways, abortion and gay marriage seem to be the defining issues driving so much of our political debate these days, even though they are, in the scheme of government power and responsibility, relatively minor issues.

    And by minor, I certainly don’t mean unimportant, but that they are social and moral issues that should not be taking center stage in our political debate, over, say, the economy, war and foreign policy, political corruption, etc. Based on the amount of discussion the two issues generate, one would think that half the population is gay and the other half is getting monthly abortions.

    They are both issues that Democrats use to paint Republicans as “extreme,”

    In reality, I see the majority of Republicans are fairly moderate on both issues (most support abortion up to 20 weeks and are in favor of equal rights for gays, even if many prefer civil unions to marriage) and the Democrats as extreme (infanticide for abortion survivors and forcing churches to perform marriages that go against their beliefs).

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2013 12:08 pm

      Yes it seems as though this happens more than other discussion. It seems as though the trigger point is some comment concerning the GOP platform positions on these issues and another about going against your principles if you achieve 75% of your desired outcomes while not compromising anything and wanting 100% compliance.

      I think I started this one when I said candidates like Cuccinelli in the Va governors race was losing because of his position on this subject. The Libertarian was taking 10% of the vote because the younger voters voted first on social issues and then on fiscal issues.

      And yes, these are not as important today as the fiscal issues you bring up, but to the younger voters and famale voters they are front and center. That is why the large majority of Republican voters are older white males.

      • October 30, 2013 12:26 pm

        “And yes, these are not as important today as the fiscal issues you bring up,”

        I think you need to clarify that as a personal opinion. To the child that is killed in a late-term abortion, it is a matter of life or death.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 30, 2013 6:15 pm

        JB…I have never said anywhere in this or any other place that I favor late term abortions. I do not. I do not favor any abortion that has the possibility of the baby living outside the womb.

        However, I did say we need to clarify exactly when this occurs. It can’t be 20 weeks in Texas and 26 weeks in another state. That is where my Libertarianism stops. Even if the federal government does not legislate abortion regulations, they need to define this timeline, it needs to be defined for the states to follow.

    • October 30, 2013 12:23 pm

      Priscilla, if the referece below is accurate, there have been nearly 57M abortions performed since Roe vs Wade.

      http://www.numberofabortions.com/

      NOot a trivial matter, at least to me. I do agree on the gay marriage issue, certainly not a hot button issue for me and at 2% of the population being gay, way overblown IMHO.

  75. Roby L permalink
    October 30, 2013 11:38 am

    Ron, I know of no such liar quote from an actual national politician (doesn’t mean there haven’t been any), and I am glad of it. “Not telling the truth” says the same thing less crassly. Lets keep some kind of boundary of civility in politician’s speech. There are a lot of liars in politics, in fact they are all liars, as are 99.99% of all people. Given the unrealistic things we all want them to promise they are doomed to lying sometimes if looked at critically Going around calling each other liars point blank would not be the path to anywhere good.

    As to where we differ, well you are a libertarian, you have an ideology, that is you have an ideal, a somewhat precise picture of how society should run. Liberals and conservatives have ideals as well. I do not mean this in a bad way, just being objective.

    I have fewer and more flexible ideals about how society should be run. I’ll take common sense and common decency as ideals, realizing that they are relative to each persons upbringing and that someone like Bastiat will likely find my idea of common sense and decency opposed to his.

    I worry less about debt and taxes than you do, but more than democrats do. I do not believe the US is headed for economic or financial doom due to borrowing. The debt is a large number, but so is the power of the US and world economies, these are large flywheels and it is not in the interest of anyone to call in their debts and sink the whole ship. I am glad that there is a conservative or libertarian side to keep the democrats in check but I am glad there is a dem side to keep the more conservative ideal of government, which does not work the modern world, from being put into action. The ugly even repulsive process still leads us to something I can recognize as a middling position.

    I also worry less about infringements on my liberties than you as a libertarian. My liberties have been infringed on since day one and that is a good thing. I followed suit with my own children infringing right and left and thus they are nicely mannered pleasant people who do not make pains in the ass out of themselves to society. I am willing to follow more rules than a libertarian is, though no one who knows me could call me a slave to authority I promise you.

    There are at least 20 situations that are more likely to do us in us than debt and taxes If I focus on any one, I could panic or despair. Things have a way of working themselves out in spite of the trade deficit, nuclear weapon proliferation, or porous borders. I have witnessed enough looming end of the world scenarios in my life that I have become fatalistic, even about the things that worry me most. Huge impersonal forces drive them, population growth, weapons technology, the ability to spy on anyone and steal their identity, climate change, growth in ideological extremes . There is nothing an individual can do about stopping these things, they will stop when another huge countervailing impersonal force opposes them. Even when I comment on them or bitch about them thats all it is, a pressure release I am not deluded enough to believe that as 1/316,000,000th of the population of the US I am going to change anything but my own personal surroundings, which is what I concentrate on to my benefit and my family’s.

    As well, I don’t like revolutions, and setting the clock back on all those social programs you feel as a libertarian are destroying us (I don’t agree) would take a revolution. You really cannot overthrow the existing system with anything short of a revolution and revolutions in the modern social world are quite painful and destructive in the short and mid term where I and my family will live our lives. Evolution, not revolution, that is my motto. As far as I can tell that is not the motto of true liberals, conservatives or libertarians.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2013 12:15 pm

      Thank you! Very nicely written. I think over time we may find we are much closer in our thinking than what we find today. There are degrees of Libertarianism just as there are with Liberaisml or Conservatism.

      • Roby L permalink
        October 30, 2013 2:04 pm

        Lets Hope! Thanks to you as well for the compliment, which I return, you describe your libertarian views persuasively and put them in a very good light.

        Its human nature that disagreements get a lot more energy than agreements in these kinds of discussions but it certainly is pleasant to find areas of agreement with someone from a different political background.

    • October 30, 2013 12:41 pm

      Roby, I agree that social programs are here to stay, but it is not necessarily “turning back the clock” to say that many, if not most, of our social programs are wasteful, corrupt, inefficient and, most of all counterproductive and downright harmful. Just as a single example – has the “war on poverty”, started in the 60’s under Johnson, reduced poverty, or even attacked its root cause? Actually no. As tax money spent has risen, so has the poverty rate.

      So, I would posit that libertarians and conservatives are not trying to “turn back the clock,” but trying to stop the relentless spending spiral that has failed in its purpose and has hurt the country in many ways. It does not mean that people who want to end and/or reform these programs do not care about the poor.

      • Roby L permalink
        October 30, 2013 1:39 pm

        As Ron wrote, there are different flavors of conservatives and libertarians. What you describe above as ” stop the relentless spending spiral” is reasonable enough in a general way and meets my personal test of something that can be accomplished by evolution rather than evolution.

        Some conservatives and libertarians are working towards this and it is a good thing that some elements of the political system resist the spiral. There are others, and not a small number of them, who do really just want to see that whole idea of the New Deal and later programs, Dole’s food stamps for example, die altogether

        I can argue about the effectiveness of the war on poverty, and what we would have without it, but no one can win that argument. We will have to agree to disagree.

      • October 30, 2013 2:33 pm

        In many cases, “turning back the clock” would be a wonderful idea!

      • October 30, 2013 3:47 pm

        Roby, You may have arguments in favor of the war on poverty, but they would likely pale in comparison to the billions spent wastefully and corruptly.

        The problem I have with liberals is that they always insist that more money thrown at a problem will solve the problem, despite the fact that they can almost never demonstrate empirically that that is true. Case in point: failing urban school districts that receive the lion’s share of federal funds, but have the worst teachers and the worst student performance.

        Add to that, the fact that they are not throwing their own money at the problem, but rather throwing taxpayer money at it, usually without any of the benchmarks for success that would be required in the private sector, and with few safeguards to make sure that the money is properly spent ,and you’ve got…..well, you’ve got Detroit, for one.

  76. October 30, 2013 12:32 pm

    “Are you saying that there is some acceptible time period after conception to have an abortion? Is the morning after pill acceptible when no one knows if they are pregnant, but they use it just in case?”

    I struggle with that question myself. But I KNOW it’s not 20 weeks. WTF, in the interests of everyone, get off your ass earlier, right?

    Go watch a 20 week abortion and report back.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2013 6:23 pm

      OK so now we are getting into new territory. You struggle with the morning after pill being legal. How long is too long? So if you are unsure about the morning after pill, then maybe all abortions should not be made illegal and the woman might be able to make that decision. That is still unacceptible to me, but should my view on this be the law of the land?

  77. Roby L permalink
    October 30, 2013 1:27 pm

    Oh, I’m going to be sorry I know, but I’ll step in it here with abortion.

    Roe Vs. Wade was a terrible decision. Blackman was able to overcome Warren Berger’s idea of a first trimester deadline rather easily as Berger wrote later and went on to write the decision. The deadline should have held at the first trimester (common sense and common decency), we would all be much better off.

    Here are the statistics about late-term abortions, which I despise:

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

    I was about right in my guess of how rare they are but I admit to being shockingly wrong about the reasons for them, basically the mother was clueless is what it boils down to almost in all cases. Which is nauseating. No one should consent to do them

    I’m OK with abortion in the first trimester, I don’t believe the fetus is conscious based on what I know of the fetal development of the brain. It has cute little fingers and toes but the brain is tiny and has not undergone the neural connection process that would lead to consciousness. If there is consciousness it is highly limited.

    What does one balance the ills of a first trimester abortion against?

    Like it or not, prior to Roe vs Wade there were plenty of abortions, they were just not safe to women. Thus, the very real concern about women’s reproductive rights.

    If parents or even only the mother just do not want a baby because they haven’t the resources or just don’t want one what are the chances that child is going to receive good parenting and be a happy person? I do not understand why this question has so little weight to the people who just flat out oppose abortion. The misery that is avoided to unwanted children, who, believe me, are fully conscious beings while they are having shitty childhoods, far out weighs any hypothetical suffering of a fetus with no functioning brain at say 12 weeks. How many of those kids in that situation grow up to be exactly the kinds of people that many conservatives look at as drains on society who need costly social services? Its unbelievably ironic. A potential parent who does not want to be one knows best, in the first trimester.

    I have exactly equal sympathy for the feminist radicals who defend every word of Roe to the last drop of their blood and see nothing wrong with late term abortions as I do for conservatives (usually religious ones) or anyone else who ignore the part of the equation that involves the tragedies that occur to unwanted children and to the lives of their parents, often in their mid teens who are not willing and ready, not to mention to the consequences to women’s health in places where abortions are not legal. All these real tragedies weigh nothing and only the suffering of a fetus that has a tiny and as yet un-wired brain matters to this group of concerned citizens. This has to be based just on religious teaching, there is no logic or actual human decency in it. This actually IS a libertarian issue. Religious conservatives attempt to use government to impose their religious values on other people. That should not be allowed.

  78. Roby L permalink
    October 30, 2013 4:25 pm

    For a start, can you define the programs that comprise the war on poverty?

    Next, what is your alternative scenario that will work better?

    As to those poor urban schools, what is your alternative for the millions who live in those places to funding their schools?

    • October 30, 2013 6:42 pm

      Roby.

      Only in gov’t can a program that has been around for nearly 50 years and is an abject failure be seen as better than the theoretical alternative.

      I can tell you from experience, the WOP is indeed just that. I was born in poverty and very happily this occurred BEFORE the WOP tried to help us all out.

      It seems the way out of poverty is to make more money than your parents did. Not easy, just simple.

      PS-did you ever get to wondering WHY we have more poor performing urban schools now than we did in the 50s.

      Think about it.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2013 7:31 pm

      Roby and Priscilla.. Hopefully I can make a comment in your conversation wihtout being a pest.

      I would offer their is one solution that could be tried that could offer a sizable savings and not have much impact on any current “effective” program.

      All governmental agencies would be required to submit zero based budgets yearly. All programs being funded would have to have justification for the continuance of that program. All programs being justified would have to identify other government programs designed for the same purpose and have information included as to how that program differs from others. In addition, 4th quarter spending could not exceed the average of the previous 3 quarters without that unusual spending being justified in the original budget or with advanced approval by someone in authority, maybe in the congressional budget office. This would allow the agency to identify spending by quarter and if 4th quarter spending was always higher, they could document in their budget and be allowed to spend at that level. If not in the budget, spread, then approval would be required.

      No more budgets that allow one to spend 50 million this year and only have to submit a budget of 52.5 million if the inflation adjusted budget was 5%. One thing this would eliminate is programs that have run their course and are still funded with manpower, resources and expenses. This would also eliminate year end spending to spend all your funds if its in the budget, regardless if the item is needed or not.

      Do I think this will happen. NO. Governmental departments have built kingdoms and staffing for useless duplicative programs and too much political pull will keep them in place.

      • October 31, 2013 12:21 am

        Ron, what you are suggesting makes a lot of sense, and would not dismantle any true safety net programs that the government funds.

        As a result, I agree with you that its chances of it happening are slim and none. If politicians can’t buy votes or skim off some graft, then what good is it?

    • October 31, 2013 12:52 am

      Roby, Generally, the package of social welfare laws passed under the Johnson administration was called “The War on Poverty” ( please excuse me if this sounds didactic – I was once a HS history teacher, and I’m drawing on distant memory, here, lol!) Medicaid, Food Stamps. the Job Corps, VISTA, Head Start, Title 1, and some others.

      Don’t get me wrong, the idea here was to help poor people, which I agree with. But, pretty early on, it became obvious that many of these programs were simply handouts with no endgame. Food Stamps, for example, a program that has been VASTLY expanded under Obama….it was supposed to be a supplemental program to help the poor feed themselves and their children. It is now easy to get food stamps and easy to stay on food stamps ( really just a debit card now). You can go on Craigslist and ebay and find EBT cards for sale, by those “poor” people who would rather have spare cash than food, I guess. Is the government trying to stop this? Hell no, the program is relentlessly expanding, and most states make little or no attempt to find out if recipients have found work since being approved.

      I honestly don’t understand why liberals aren’t as incensed by this kind of fraud and abuse as conservatives ……the only conceivable reason that I can come up with is that they would rather support programs that help Democrats get elected, than take a chance that “evil” Republicans might try to cut some of the fraud and abuse and somehow this will cause children to starve? Honestly, I have a hard time with this….you seem to be pretty moderate and reasonable. I am interested in your perspective.

  79. October 31, 2013 8:04 am

    And so it goes, the progressives move on. Next up, Eugenics. You know, we have too many people on the plant, so………

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/belgium-considering-unprecedented-law-to-grant-euthanasia-for-children-dementia-patients/2013/10/31/67fd55be-4200-11e3-b028-de922d7a3f47_story.html

  80. Roby L permalink
    October 31, 2013 10:52 am

    I feel the need to defend food stamps. Never got em, don’t know anyone who did. They go to those with low or no income, which includes many seniors by the way. Do some people abuse the system? Is there any system some people don’t abuse?

    Structural unemployment is at a high point, NAFTA, the crisis, the technological workplace, broken cities like Detroit, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Anecdotes about craigs list aside, the program is designed to make sure that people in the USA don’t starve, especially the young and old. . Most people and not just liberals would probably want to err on the side of giving a bit too much than being too restrictive and having kids and old people starve. I’ll be honest, this tendency to be really sore and find all the faults and see little of the good of programs like food stamps is one of the largest reasons I will never be a conservative. I don’t know if this side of conservatism or the GOP is actually “evil” but its certainly blind.

    Judged by the standard of making poverty go away, every attempt will be judged a failure. Conservatives especially are quite quick to do so. Every first world nation, and many that are not in the first world, has its own version of the war on poverty, many much more extensive and far reaching than US programs. Since there will always be poverty there will always be a war on it. I’d think a lot less of any society that just threw up its hands and said, get a job or starve. There isn’t always a job, especially if you are too old, uneducated, or live in the middle of a depressed area. Some individuals escape poverty. Populations of poor stay poor especially when something like NAFTA and free trade in general exports the jobs American poor once had to poor .people in Mexico and China. Very easy for those whose are in a much better position regarding their families cultural level, education etc. to think those people are just lazy.

    By the way, cut it all off that war on poverty and rather than die quietly you will start to meet the unemployed as they enter your house to redistribute wealth with no intervening government program.

    If this makes me one of those liberals who don’t care about the “fraud and abuse”, so be it. But your idea of why I don’t care is way off base.

  81. October 31, 2013 10:59 am

    That is oneiof the more simplistic analysis I have seen in quite some time. Devoid of facts, silly in its assumptions, and full of generalization and stereotypes. One assumes that prior the so-called War on Poverty, people died in the streets, most of them children.

    They did not. What the WOP did do was to replace an entire system of voluntary and local govt efforts to address real need and replaced them with federal government workers whose job it is to make sure they keep there jobs. Think about it. What happens to them if the program actually worked?

    This of course, goes in spades for most of the Wash DC machinary, including Congress. I can tell you from experience, the “system” we had prior to the WOP actually helped people who actually needed help and weeded out those who simply wanted a ride.

    The current system does not do that, at all.

    • October 31, 2013 11:34 am

      You are better than I am at explaining this, Rich. I think that what I was trying to say in response to Roby was that these types of government programs work best when they are intended to be safety nets and bridges to a better life for people who are struggling financially.

      In other words, they should be administered as temporary programs, and have built into their structure a mechanism for people to get out of them….in other word, to get decent jobs, so that they no longer have to rely on the government to support them. Of course, there will always be the long term poor, and they will be supported by these programs, because we are a caring and generous nation.

      But the idea should not be to turn everyone who needs assistance into “the long time poor,” which is what the federal government has begun to do. As the percentage of people supported by taxpayers goes up, and the number of taxpayers goes down, the tension between the two groups is bound to escalate, and that is what we are seeing. The LA times had an article about the sticker shock happening with the ACA, and quoted a young woman who said something like ” I thought Obama Care was great , until I found out that I was going to be paying for it!” Which, of course, has always been the problem with it. Not that Americans don’t want to do the right thing, but that the middle class does not want to be the cash cow for the government. It’s all fun and games until they find out that the 1% is them.

      • October 31, 2013 12:14 pm

        If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on the support of Paul.
        You and I both know that there is no Santa Claus. No, if only those clowns in DC stopped thinking of we taxpayers as a big fat guy in a red suit.

    • Roby L permalink
      October 31, 2013 11:48 am

      Speaking of silly…

      Assume what you want, its your prerogative but I did not say what you heard

      There are actually facts in there by the way, I count at least five that are indisputable.

      The post WWII world you speak of prior to the WOP, I cannot say whether the poor starved or not, but it was a far different economic and social situation in every way. For some reason conservatives like to believe that we can recreate 1958 in 2013.

      This has now reached the point where further discussion with you would not be profitable.

      • October 31, 2013 12:03 pm

        Roby, political discussions often become contentious. One of the things I try to do is to try to understand what the “other side” is really saying ( and we are all really on the same side, at least I hope so!)

        I know that I was trying to explain – poorly, I guess- why libertarians and conservatives oppose the limitless expansion of government, and why the current state of our economy can no longer support continued expansion of taxpayer funded programs, without creating more taxpayers.

        I only meant to counter the argument that anyone wants to roll back the clock to a David Copperfield world. No one does. And, I really do struggle to understand why liberals are so willing to support failing programs that are ever more costly and burdensome to the economy. I mean, there is going to come a time, maybe too soon, when we will not be apple to support these programs even if they are successful. For example, if the economy continues to grow at the less than 2% it is growing now, Social Security will be unsustainable. If we could increase production and jobs and grow at 3-4%, that increased wealth would enable the government to continue it. I just don’t understand why anyone is opposed to that, and my question was genuine. But, if you found it offensive, I regret asking.

  82. Roby L permalink
    October 31, 2013 12:02 pm

    Priscilla, I am not sure why you are stung, I was not trying to. But you all do sort of assume that no one here will defend anything that can be labelled liberal.

    For many of the poor on fixed incomes, the situation is long term or permanent. An old person living on a small SS check is one example, disabled people are another. Food stamps are not a bridge to these populations I do not believe.

    Systems can make two basic errors, e.g., the justice system, tighten the rules and you convict more guilty people but more innocent ones as well. Loosen the system you convict fewer innocent people but fewer guilty people. Same with food stamps and programs in general. There is no system that just gets it right, not too much not too little.

    Conservatives harp on what is wrong with government so much that I just don’t listen much any more, even if they are occasionally onto something real, they often seem to just be at war with the very concept of government programs to help someone

    • November 1, 2013 8:31 am

      At the moment, your comment on the lack of liberal “defenders” is true. Some of our previous commenters – not to mention our fearless leader (hint, hint!!) – haven’t been active on this comment thread.

      I didn’t mean to sound testy. Liberals and conservatives have a tendency to paint each other’s motives with a broad brush, ignoring nuance. I was admitting that I see liberal intransigence in a particular way, and wondering if I was missing something

  83. October 31, 2013 12:03 pm

    “This has now reached the point where further discussion with you would not be profitable.”

    You got that right. It is interesting the way you assume what “conservatives” like to believe. Such stereotypes (like “structural unemployment”) are laugable on their face.

  84. October 31, 2013 12:04 pm

    PS-There are very few facts that are “indisputable.”

  85. October 31, 2013 12:10 pm

    “For many of the poor on fixed incomes, the situation is long term or permanent.”

    Yes, and I believe that I said that. I know people in that situation, and if it weren’t for government assistance, they would be in desperate straits.

    But, that does not mean that we can continue to ignore the fact that there are millions of people who can succeed on their own, if they get the right education and assistance, but who are being turned into ward of the state and being supported citizens, with billions of dollars that we are borrowing from China. How can continuing that be a good idea?

    • October 31, 2013 12:14 pm

      Oops, decided to change my wording a bit, and left in some stray words! Hopefully, it still makes sense!

  86. October 31, 2013 12:11 pm

    “Conservatives harp on what is wrong with government so much that I just don’t listen much any more, even if they are occasionally onto something real, they often seem to just be at war with the very concept of government programs to help someone.”

    Well, there you go again. When a country has more people on “federal public assistance” of a kind than they do people working full-time, you know, just maybe, the “system” may need a correction or two. As we dump more federal money into education, we get poorer results. As we dump more money into the WOP, we get more poverty. As we fund the NSA to the moon, we get the Boston bombers AND less privacy of all kinds (just ask the Pope!).
    So, if one questions the efficacy of these programs, CLEALY they want to hurt the poor and kick children in the teeth. On the other hand, if one wants to end abortions say past the 16th week, they must hate woman and want them to die at the hands of a butcher. Such hyperbole.
    You see, you cannot win. At our current all-time record federal tax revenue of $2.7T, we are running about a $650B deficit, with more to come once Obamacare fully kicks in.
    Some might view this all as a negative outcome, worthy of some soul searching. Others simply want to install more tax increases. Just ask Harry Reid; we WANT to pay more taxes.
    You decide what might be appropriate right now.

  87. Roby L permalink
    October 31, 2013 12:38 pm

    I was not offended Priscilla,, hope I did not offend you.

    You would be surprised to see how often Bastiat contradicts you on the things that “no one wants.”

    I’m off for two weeks of vacation and will stay of the internet, just in time I think.

    • October 31, 2013 12:44 pm

      Haha, JBas and I agree on many things, so I guess I don’t see his comments as contradictions to mine, so much as his greater willingness to cut through the BS and say what he thinks. Me, I’m more of a moderate in temperament as well as politics…..

      Have a great vacation, and don’t check the news! (But come back, we need your voice here)

      • October 31, 2013 12:53 pm

        Hey Priscilla,
        You and I do see eye to eye on most things. Must be where we went to high school?
        Yes, I do try to cut through the BS on these topics and that often makes me come across as “curt.” So be it. At my age, I don’t have a lot of time to waste on the “niceties” that moderates so often want to engage in.

        Given the rather dire straits the US faces right now, I think a fire bucket is needed rather than another conference committee.

        $1M debt/federal commitments made on behalf of every citizen in the US. Is that dire enough for some urgency? I think it is.

        And, for the record, NO one wants to go fact to 1958; that said, we could use some common sense, which seems in very short supply.

  88. Roby L permalink
    October 31, 2013 12:43 pm

    Ah, I see now, this system puts replies anywhere. It was not you Priscilla with whom conversation is not profitable.

    But no, I do not think he explains things better, its more like he throws red meat that those who agree will enjoy hearing and those who do not will soon stop wasting their time reading.

  89. Ron P permalink
    October 31, 2013 12:53 pm

    Roby..”Judged by the standard of making poverty go away, every attempt will be judged a failure. Conservatives especially are quite quick to do so.”

    What we find today, compared to just 20 years ago, is any attenpt by Conservatives and Libertarians to suggest any changes to entitlement programs will be demonized by the liberals as taking away safety nets for everyone and leaving children and grandma to starve. No longer will we see the day where the government can work together to revise programs like Clinton and the GOP house did with welfare (and food stamps) in the 90’s. Can you imagine the negative press that would come out if those same proposals were made today. “How awful those tea party and right wing extremist are!!!!!” Then the linerals would have their TV ads on the next day showing dirty kids with torn cloths in trash cans looking for food because they were starving.

    But if you look at those changes, they worked.

    Not all conservatives are heartless. Not all Libertarians want to eliminate all government programs. I would venture to guess even Bastiat would support some effective programs to feed the actual needy in this country. And the key word is “actual”.

    But what we have today is an environment where anything that changes a program is considered extreme and anything that proposes a new helping hand is socialist. There is no moderate views anymore that makes changes like Monyihan made to social security in the late 80’s or Clinton made to Medicaid in the 90’s acceptible.

    The only acceptible alternative is to continue to spend money on programs that have alot of fraud and abuse and sit by and do nothing. Doing anything to eliminate fraud or improve the effectiveness is considered extreme.

    • October 31, 2013 12:57 pm

      Absolutely! My saying that the WOP was a flop and actually made things worse does not mean that all government programs should be obliterated. Many libs today assume there were NO programs to address the needy until 1967 and Lyndon Johnson invented them all.
      Far from it.

      The fact is, there are many legitimate ways to assist the needy, both private and public. However, libs believe that only the government should do this, preferably the feds, and no limits need apply.

      Reality bites, but, that is simply nonsense.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 31, 2013 1:14 pm

        Jb..Some do not know much about what went on before the WOP. History is not important these days, just the here and now.There were many programs during the depression like the CCC and the WPA. Those were Roosevelt programs, an actual liberal.

        And you know what, they required people to work, unless they were disabled and then there were other programs.

      • October 31, 2013 2:09 pm

        Ron, you’ve hit on something that moderates are always afraid to say, which is that liberal programs are not necessarily the same as socialist programs.

        Taxpayer funded assistance programs are fine when they are democratically enacted and carefully crafted. As we have all said, Americans want to help the poor and the needy, and most are willing to have some of their money be put to that purpose.

        What most do NOT want, is to have their income transferred, through confiscatory taxation, to other people who do not pay taxes, for the purpose of “even-ing things out.” Spreading the wealth generally means forcing everyone to live with mediocrity – except, of course, for the government elites who design the programs.

        But, libertarians and conservatives are mocked and derided if they dare utter the word “socialist” in the same sentence as “Obama” or Democrats”…Obama spent 3 years lying about the redistributionist ,aka socialist, structure of the ACA specifically so that it could pass. Had he told the truth about how the system would work, very few would have supported it.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 31, 2013 3:54 pm

        There are many programs that do not tranfer wealth or programs when they started did not transfer wealth like they do today. Social Security was designed to assist the aged population when they were nearing the end of life expectancy. It was never designed to support an individual for 15+ years. Today that program transfers wealth from the young to the old. Medicare was a program that was designed to assist the aged with medical bills and the government paid the actual cost of providing care for that population. Due to life expectancy, the expectations that every conceivable means be used to prolong life even when life is only a functioning heart and partial brain waves, the inability of government to identify and control fraud and the massive consulting industry that has made millions by educating providers on how to take advantage of the program, this to is a transfer program from the young to the old. And there are other programs that transfer wealth without the recipient required to do anything other than receive the money. With the CCC and WPA, we did receive some benefit from those programs.

        As for the war on proverty, could it have anything to do with minority out of wedlock births rising from 3% of the children born in the 70’s to over 70% born today?

        In reply to the ACA being a redistribution system, I agree 100%. I also agreed at the time that some changes needed to occur with the current system. As a former finance director at a large community hospital, I saw first hand how insurance companies could screw over their customers. Come into the ER with a major health problem, be in the ICU for days and if someone in your family did not call the insurance company within 24-48 hours and get approval for the admission, they denied coverage. ( We then employed individuals to do the preadmission work for the patient to insure payment) There should have been legislation that addressed preexisting conditions and other basic needs such as this, but the system designed by Pelosi is a disaster.

        We could have lived with the Kennedy-Nixon health plan. Not sure how long we can live with this plan.

  90. Pat Riot permalink
    November 1, 2013 8:36 pm

    Hello Priscilla! I saw your hello to me further up! Your rose pic is a nice touch! Hello jbastiat, Ron P, Roby L., Rick, et al

    I remained on the sidelines regarding ACA and healthcare details as I think the Founding Fathers realized centralized control morphs into tyranny, devised a system of limited central government, and are rolling over in their graves with our government increasingly overstepping into private sector territory. Laws that would allow other private sector alternatives to naturally rise up and chip away at the medical insurance “monopolies” and gatekeepers would be preferable to any federally mandated program.

    When I see discussion of “programs,” well then I have things less extreme to say! What comes to mind with the words “government program?” Handouts? Training programs? Waste? Saved lives? Some posters here on TNM may remember I worked on various sides of various fences under the Job Training Partnership Act from 1992 on, and then under the Workforce Investment Act from 1998 on. Old welfare entitlements essentially came to an end in 1996 when Clinton made it a 5-year only deal that was also attached to work. That’s over-simplied, but the number of Americans on welfare plunged from 12.6 million in 1996 to 4.2 million in 2009.) I think that’s a 67% decrease. Not your father’s father’s welfare!

    Anyway, as I’ve said before, I went into government-funded workforce training having come from a blue-collar and white collar family/background (strong work ethic) where the general opinion about “programs” was that they were for lazy people and a waste. Take away the freebies and these people will be forced to get work, say the free market economists. I took a good hard look at what was going on from down in the trenches in my early days to designing programs later on. I learned there is a segment of the population that just cannot access the private sector. They are missing too many pieces and the private sector can’t afford to bring them up to speed. The connection to work just will not be made. It won’t. So I’ve seen it be cost effective for We The People to apply tax dollars to bridging the gap between employers and job-seekers through training and other TEMPORARY help. Otherwise the really needy segment of the population costs our society a great deal more in other ways. That said, some of the waste and abuses are there of course. It’s a messy world full of people!

  91. November 2, 2013 8:37 am

    “So I’ve seen it be cost effective for We The People to apply tax dollars to bridging the gap between employers and job-seekers through training and other TEMPORARY help. Otherwise the really needy segment of the population costs our society a great deal more in other ways.”

    As usual, Pat, you are right on. A compassionate society should be willing to give a hand up to anyone in need, and to support those who cannot support themselves.

    It’s the idea of a welfare state, not the wisdom or compassion of social programs, that divides our country politically. Most liberals believe that there can be such a thing as a “healthy welfare state,” always citing countries like Sweden and Denmark as examples. Interestingly, both of those countries have recently embarked on pretty serious austerity programs, necessitated by the fact that their spending threatens to outrun their GDP and render them bankrupt.

    Most conservatives believe that welfare (hand outs as opposed to hand ups) will ultimately doom everyone to a failed economy…the “running out of other people’s money” that Margaret Thatcher famously talked about.

    I agree with you that the ACA is and will continue to be a travesty. Fixing the technical signup problems is the easy part. :\

    • November 2, 2013 9:25 am

      Btw, it occurs to me that we already have quasi-welfare state system with SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc……which has worked so far, as the economy has continued to grow. Expanding centralized welfare while the economy contracts is what is going on now. So, I’ll amend my description to say that the moderate conservative view is that “expansion” is what endangers us. The farther to the right you get, the more likely you are to see the opinion that our current entitlements need to be rolled back. But, frankly, I don’t know anyone, even on the “tea party right”, who is advocates eliminating programs like SS and Medicare……yet liberals characterize everyone from right of center on as “anti-government”…..go figure.

      • November 2, 2013 9:47 am

        Priscilla,

        I will take exception to your statement that SS, Medicare, and Medicaid have “worked.” You Can easily see (I think) that they have “worked” only in so far that they have largely been constructed as a Ponzi scheme. Unless the US population grows to infinity, these programs simply run out of money. Now, these programs COULD have worked (funding wise) if they had been constructed on a pay as you do basis (not unlike a 401K).

        Another way of putting this is this: If you delude yourself into thinking that a program costs A, but it really cost 3A, you are in for a world of hurt. Now, if you are the feds, you simply put the real costs “off the books.” In the private sector, you go to jail for hiding these costs, but not so in Wash. DC.

        Moreover, as you know, once you create these programs and get folks hooked on what appears to be “free money” the urge is to expand them, which has been the case in three programs you cite.

        Is it really true that we (the taxpayers) need to fund college students with food stamps, Medicaid, and in some cases, welfare? Is that really the “needy” population that we must devote funds to?

        If one had to make choice, will you fund the local children’s orphanage or the neighbor’s kid who is at State U?

      • November 2, 2013 11:13 am

        Well, you are right that current entitlement programs are not working. And, I also agree that, despite the claims that SS was begun as an “insurance” program and morphed into any entitlement, it was always an entitlement based on the premise that people would die on schedule and the younger generation would continue to grow and prosper. Now that the pesky oldsters are living into their 90’s and young people can’t find work, the whole program has been exposed as, if not exactly a Ponzi scheme, certainly a plan that relies on a growing economy and a stable birth rate.

        But, under Team Obama, the idea of growing the economy has been downplayed and demonized as helping the 1%.

        When I said that SS and Medicare have “worked,” I guess what I really meant was that the vast majority of Americans want to keep them. Rarely, if ever, does anyone in either party propose eliminating either program, just reforming them.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 2, 2013 1:19 pm

        Priscilla..Once again I will repeat myself, but in a different context. The SS and Medicare systems were workable programs, but they got screwed over by incompetent government workers and politicans (also incompetent government workers). One major problem with SS is the fact they took the money out of the investments to fund general fund expenditures, then said they would repay with interest based on the bond interest rates. That is the lowest return on your money over a 10+ year basis one can find. So no wonder the fund is going broke. Had they left the money in the fund and invested in a diversified portfolio, based on investment manager expertise, the funding would be much greater.In addition, nothing was ever done to continue to base the program on life expectancy. Roosevelt did not begin a program to fund 15+ years of a person life, it was based on funding life expectancy when it was in the mid 60’s. If you lived past life expectancy, you received monthly payments.

        As for Medicare, one only needs to look back at previous comments about fraud and abuse.

  92. November 2, 2013 9:54 am

    The problem with helping the “needy” is that there is no precise definition of that word. All of us have needs, and of course, tons of wants. What is nice when we use charity and donations to address these needs is I have the choice to give to anyone who I feel has a legitimate “need” without trying to force someone else to do likewise.

    I love donating to animal shelter causes. I do not try to force this giving on others. Yet, the left must force ALL of us to give to their pet causes. Public funding of the arts (to them) is right up there with “funding cancer research.”

    I am not making this up! Really, seriously, should tax money be used to pay for someone’s “art” to sit outside a museum?????

    So, does the guy down the street “need” a cell phone? No kidding, there are folks out there that are trying to define access to the internet and having a cell phone as a “basic human right!”

    What the hell did we all doing back in 1985 without these basic human rights. The lunacy of the left is really too much to fathom and yet, there is Harry Reid telling us we want to pay more taxes to the Feds.

    The man is delusional.

  93. November 2, 2013 11:09 am

    About the way Medicare works, it also works this way: Sad but true:

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/medicare-paid-23-million-for-services-after-beneficiaries-deaths/article/2538313

    • Ron P permalink
      November 2, 2013 1:08 pm

      Jb..I was in healthcare finance for over 30 year. In the late 70’s the fed began addressing the fraud and abuse rampant in the Medicare system. Today, over40 years later, the fraud and abuse is still as rampant as ever.

      And the major component of that fraud is the total incompetence of employees at CMS (part of DHHS that screwed up the healthcare website) to adress the issues. Paying for services after death is just a small fraction of the fraud that takes place.

      Why the far left can not see that the problem with government programs is not the prgrams themselves, but the incompetence of the employees administering the programs is beyond me.

      Maybe they will realize this after the complete roll out of Obamacare.

      • November 2, 2013 1:23 pm

        You are dead right. When I got into Health care in 1971, we were going to “bend the cost curve!” through federal programs. How is that working out for us?

  94. Pat Riot permalink
    November 2, 2013 11:10 am

    Jbastiat, I think I share many of your “libertarian/constitutional/personal responsibility” views and principles. I see such principles as the way most things should operate most of the time to free us people up to be our best. (I despise and fear “statism,” but I don’t despise government, laws, and programs.)

    We should paint our own houses, raise our own children, make our own choices, wipe our own asses, etc., but we should pool our money together to build roads and other things in common. We don’t all want to build our own little section of road out in front of our houses so that it’s a big patchwork of different materials and different designs, including unfinished ditches where some of the neighbors didn’t do their road. There are some things we want to do together as We The People. It’s the Public Sector.

    You’re confusing social programs with charity. It’s well beyond “donations” to get chronically unemployed people into the workforce to be productive and self-supporting.

    If you yourself have been employed, you may think you went out there and got that job, showed up every day to keep that job, and that others just need to do the same.

    The truth is there were a whole bunch of specific things in place for you to be able to obtain and retain employment for which you can’t take credit: you had enough language skills, enough health, your parents weren’t in the middle of getting arrested, you knew how to dress appropriately, knew how to act on the job, didn’t look so different from the people hiring, had a car or lived near public transportation, had reliable family and friends, had some decent teachers, didn’t have a physical disability, hadn’t witnessed your brother or sister getting murdered… hypothetical, but there was a list of things which enabled you.

    If you had one or more serious barriers to employment and then DID obtain and retain employment, it was because you had enough other support to get you through, and if you think much of that came from inside of you, do you not have people to thank for helping you become that capable person?

    The chronically unemployed have a set of things missing. Giving them a donation isn’t going to get them employed. It’s a different 3 or 5 or 8 things for different people. Some struggling moms just need transportation and some day care, some ambitious young men willing to work just need some counseling to understand the do’s and don’t’s of the workplace. They didn’t have the earlier guidance. They don’t know what they don’t know (said D. Rumsfeld, haha).

    We can just say “screw all those people…it’s their own fault” or we can put a few systems in place to fill in the missing pieces so they can become self-supporting members of society. It happens. It works. Not for everyone. Some are beyond the scope of some programs.

    Sorry, didn’t know how to make it shorter and still make the point.

    • November 2, 2013 1:21 pm

      Pat, now you sound like Obama.

      “You didn’t build that, someone else did.”

      To be candid, you don’t know anything about my life, what I did or didn’t do, what support I had or didn’t have. And, it is irrelevant. People (adults) have what they have and they go from there. Somehow, over man’s historical development, it has all worked out without government programs, esp. at the federal level.

      Some folks have families, some don’t. Some have support, some don’t. What you fail to see is that the very programs that were aimed at helping families in need actually made things worse, overall, over time.

      There are many studies on the Welfare programs of the 60s that suggest strongly, that the American black family was WAY better off in 1965 than it is now. How could this happen?
      Well, traditionally, family units provided support, which is one of their functions. When the government says to a black unwed mother, don’t worry, we will pay you, the need for a “father” becomes less urgent.

      You get my point. I would suggest humbly that most of what was built into the WOP has benefited the government workers more than the recipients.

      By the way, I never said, nor implied that we should “screw all the people” That said, I grew up in the projects and many people there, belonged there. Others got out.

      The funny thing about many liberals is they have never been to the projects or met these “people in need” yet they profess to know how to “help them out!”

      • Ron P permalink
        November 2, 2013 1:38 pm

        “There are many studies on the Welfare programs of the 60s that suggest strongly, that the American black family was WAY better off in 1965 than it is now. How could this happen?
        Well, traditionally, family units provided support, which is one of their functions”

        It is also reported that gangs provide this family stucture missing from society today. Black, white , hispanic…whatever

      • November 2, 2013 2:19 pm

        For what it’s worth, the fact that it is a different world today largely as a result of the government undermining and destroying the traditional avenues of self-help (family, education, etc), makes it all the more necessary, in my view, that the government help fix what it broke. I think that this should be done through programs funded by the government but run through the private sector, but I do agree with Pat that there are many people today who have been denied the upbringing that enables them to succeed, and have essentially become wards of the state because of it.

        One of my sons worked for a short time, as an attorney for Covenant House, and he worked with 18 year old kids that wanted to bring themselves out of poverty and addiction, but did not so much as know what an interview was, much less how to prepare for one. Not to mention that most of them already had a criminal record and a couple of kids of their own.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 2, 2013 8:08 pm

        Priscilla, I like your ideas about programs funded through grants to the private sector. But that would never work. To much political clout lost and too many government workers unemployed.

        But that would get moving back toward a time when more local governmental agencies were handling programs and not the feds. Your idea would be better since it is all private. But look at vouchers for schools, the overwhelming response to private schools by the black community when they are available and the negative positions taken by the liberals on the subject. NYC is a good example and the apparant winner will do away with vouchers.

        How the black community can continue to support people like this and get screwed is beyond me.

      • November 2, 2013 2:26 pm

        Oh, and by “funded by the government,” I guess I mean “supported” through grants and vouchers, etc…

  95. Ron P permalink
    November 2, 2013 1:36 pm

    Hey everyone, I just read where the stipend for food stamps was “cut”. Seems like the feds approved a temporary increase in the food stamp allowance in 2009 and it was designed to terminate in 2013 as part of the stimulus program.

    Once again the right is the villian since the left approved something and then the GOP took it away. REALLY???? That’s what most of the media is reporting!!!!

    • November 2, 2013 2:28 pm

      Yep, I read about that. $36 p/month for families and $11 p/month for individuals. And already I’ve read how children will “go hungry” because their families will only receive $400 p/month instead of $436??!!

      • Ron P permalink
        November 2, 2013 7:53 pm

        For some reason I have a hard time understanding why they can not survive on $400.00 per month. Maybe it is because the people that run the markets in their neighborhoods are ripping them off.

    • November 2, 2013 4:21 pm

      Of course. It is the death of a thousand cuts. No federal program ever goes away and no federal program ever has enough funding.

      It is all about the narrative.

      • November 2, 2013 9:31 pm

        Nobody is “ripping” them off in crappy neighborhoods. Try running a store in the hood and figure out what your cost structure is. Actually, it is very high indeed. If there were high profits in the hood, there would be plenty of stores. There are not.
        .

  96. November 2, 2013 4:22 pm

    Have you ever seen the folks at Wal Mart using their food stamp card? Believe me, no one in that line needs to consume any more food!

    • Ron P permalink
      November 2, 2013 8:01 pm

      Jb….You are bad…bad..bad… But you did open up a question. If the government does not believe the average citizen is smart enough to buy insurance to cover healthcare needs, why are they just giving away money so people can buy whatever at the market. They can’t be smart enough to buy their own food either.

      I think Pelosi, Reid, Michele and the rest of the nanny government should have the FDA identify all foods without salt, sugar and empty calories and tell the recipients that is the only food they can buy with their food stamps. As for meat, nothing but fish and chicken. No pork or beef due to the fat content. No eggs due to the cholesteral. You get the picture.

      Now lets see how that would go over.

      • November 2, 2013 9:32 pm

        Humans are fallible. This bothers progressives no end. It bothers me not a bit.

  97. Pat Riot permalink
    November 2, 2013 6:21 pm

    I should have used more generic phrasing such as “if a person has a job…” or “people who are employed…” instead of the word “you…” I didn’t intend to focus in on anyone personally.

    Nonetheless, it’s too easy to look around and find injustices and flaws, real and apparant. Compare the dog-eat-dog chaos in many undeveloped nations and see if TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE looks so bad.

  98. November 3, 2013 10:26 am

    “Nonetheless, it’s too easy to look around and find injustices and flaws, real and apparant. Compare the dog-eat-dog chaos in many undeveloped nations and see if TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE looks so bad.”

    Agree, temporary assistance can be a fine thing. Sadly, there is no such thing at the federal level. As the GOP tries to bring spending down to say, 2008 levels, the Dems act like they are trying to murder folks and wreck the economy.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 4, 2013 12:18 pm

      Reform = cuts = extremist tea party heartless Republicans

      • November 4, 2013 1:30 pm

        Wait, you mean…..that’s not true?! ;)

      • November 4, 2013 1:38 pm

        What is funny is that if you want to poke a lib, simply agree with them that, yes, you are one of those heartless bastards. They can’t get over the fact that you might be fine about it. Seems the feelings thing is what they use to know they are alive.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 5, 2013 12:26 am

        Priscilla..It has to be true. That’s what the media tells us every chance they get. Just like the internet, anything presented from either of those sources has to be true! Please don’t burst my buble and tell me something else.

        Yes I believe in the tooth fairy and Santa also.

  99. November 6, 2013 9:31 am

    I am curious as to what you all think is going to happen with Obamacare (you too, Rick Bayan – jump in anytime ;) )

    I see a few possible outcomes: 1) The law continues to be implemented, acting as a kind of wrecking ball to the entire economy, with minor changes that keep the relevant constituencies appeased and the exchanges functional; 2)The insurance death spiral causes the whole thing to collapse and, in the midst of crisis, we get a national, single-payer plan; 3) the insurance death spiral causes the whole thing to collapse (are you sensing a theme here?) and, since the private insurance market has been essentially destroyed, Congress votes for a massive bailout of the market, reinstating, with reforms, the system we had before the great O, increasing the debt and costing taxpayers billions.

    Are there other possibilities that I am missing? Do you think any of the above are more likely than others? They all kinda suck, I know :(

    • Ron P permalink
      November 6, 2013 1:49 pm

      Priscilla, I think the whole thing depends on what happens in the employer market and how they handle the issue of coverage for their employees. From my experience, a large number of employer plans already covered preexisting conditions, when a new employee was hired, the preexisting condition clause was waived so they or family members were covered and the plans covered much of the minimum requirements that is in the ACA. In many ways, it appears the minimum coverage wass developed using employer plans to begin with.

      With that said, if there is not much movement in the employer market, I have a feeling that all of this “big news” today will not be “big news” in 12 months. I just read where 685,000 additional people in North carolina will be eligible for a tax rebate that are not eligible for anything today. That allows individuals earning up to 46K and falilies up to 94K to wqualify for a government subsidy. That will go along way in allowing the left to use people in this group as examples of the benefit of Obamacare when the right brings out examples of those paying more.

      As for single payor, maybe not what the feds want, but in many areas the insurance companies may secretly devy up the states where one company has the largest percentage of the individual market and everyone else pulls out, leaving those individuals with a “single” payor market.

      We in America and voters in particular have a short memory. There will be something else that will come along that Fox news will have to cover 24-7. They can not continue to cover Obamacare for another 12 months nonstop like they have for the past 4 weeks.

      As for beyond 2014, another financial turmoil will occur taking all the attention form anything else for the 2016 election. And due to those like the 685K added to government subsidies through out the country, Hillary will be the next president.

      • November 6, 2013 2:02 pm

        Maybe maybe not. The bill will come due soon enough and in effect, the Libs have doubled-down on spending money no one has. Shifting turds in the sand, so to speak.

        It may just blow up right around election time.

        As for the employer markets, the costs are must know coming through and they are being passed on to employees directly ( I am one of them).

        So, as much as we think employer insurance is safe, I say, maybe.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 6, 2013 2:36 pm

        Could it be that we need to shift attentin to the causes of healthcare increased costs? If the insurance companies are limited to 15% over claims paid, then there is another issue at play.
        When malpractice insurance cost 500K per year or more for Obstetrical physicaians and close top 1M for surgical docs in neurosurgery and other complicated specialities, could that be a reason for increased healthcare cost?

        When medical supply companies charge $1500-$2000 for a stainless steel spring about 1/8 inch in diameter and an inch in length called a stent, could that be a reason for the high healthcare cost?

        When impants like hips and knees cost 5 digits from the suppliers and the hospitals have to pass on that cost, could that be a reason for high healthcare cost?

        When someone goes into the hospital and all available means are used to save a life that is determined not one that can be saved, is that a reason for high healthcare costs?

        The problem in America is not caused by the ACA or any one issue. It is caused by a multitude of reasons and all of them need to be part of a global review, not one that points out one cause or another.

      • November 6, 2013 2:58 pm

        The ACA did not “cause” higher HC costs in the US. They have been relatively high (compared to the rest of the world) since before 1960. The ACA has simply dumped more costs into the system (administrative costs/non-value added) without taking any costs out. These higher costs will be “spread around” but the net effect of more insurance coverage in the US has always been to increase price inflation..

        Sure, there are many reasons why costs in the US are higher than the rest of the world but it is NOT patient usage in the main. That is a fallacy and one that the ACA perpetuates.
        The real issue is UNIT PRICES. That issue is not addressed by the ACA in any way at all.

        God help us all.

  100. November 6, 2013 9:43 am

    I think much depends on what happens between now and next Nov election. If the system continues to drop people and increases rate shock, the consequences next Nov could be severe.

    I see the Obama clowns employing same strategy: blame everyone else and run out the clock. The media will do there part, while pretending to cover the story. We will see how stupid the average voter is, come this time next year.

    It will take some time for the entire financing system to implode. As this occurs, all pols will be looking to blame the other guy.

    Chaos ensures. Single payer will be used by Libs as the “final solution.”

    They are right, either way you look at it. It is what they have been after since the 1920’s.

    Hey, socialism doesn’t work but that doesn’t stop some folks from trying.

  101. Ron P permalink
    November 6, 2013 2:40 pm

    I may have to stop posting until Rick opens a new blog. It is taking my computer and connection along time from the time I click send to the time it allows me to do something else due to the large number of messages on this one subject.

    I can read your messages, but can’t reply easily.

    • November 6, 2013 4:00 pm

      Oh, the pressure! Well, it’s been almost a month since my last column, so I owe you one. It’s not simple laziness (though that’s a factor); it’s just that nothing in the news has really grabbed me lately. There’s the Obamacare/website disaster, but the subject is so mindbogglingly complicated that I really don’t feel qualified to comment on it. Let’s just say I would have preferred a simple government-funded plan for the minority of Americans who are refused coverage due to pre-existing conditions. (I think I’ve said this before.)

      The Obama plan is coercive, definitely, but I guess it beats having the rest of us foot the bill for poor people who use emergency rooms for primary care. I just wonder what will happen if not enough young people sign up to offset all the hobbling baby boomers and their elders. Somebody up there should have thought of that in advance.

      As for whether Obama was lying through his teeth about being able to keep our old plans, I don’t think he’d be that blatant if he wanted to pull a Pinocchio. It’s such a convoluted system that yes, some — maybe most — people get to keep their old plans and no, others don’t — or their old plans are replaced by modified plans, for better or worse. I don’t know how any one human being can keep it all in focus.

      • November 6, 2013 4:13 pm

        “The Obama plan is coercive, definitely, but I guess it beats having the rest of us foot the bill for poor people who use emergency rooms for primary care.”

        Not really buddy. MA is still trying to reduce ER usage. And yes, Obama lied through his teeth.

  102. November 7, 2013 12:44 am

    Rick, I won’t argue the merits of Obama Care with you ( there are one or two ;) ) But, seriously, the man lied through his teeth. And, yes, he did it blatantly, because ….well, because he knew he could get away with it. And he did.

  103. November 7, 2013 8:00 am

    Ron/Rich, Your comments regarding the root causes of spiraling healthcare costs are so right….and so totally ignored by recent news reports about opposition to the ACA.

    Actually, back when the law was being “debated” (sort of an inaccurate term, in this case) I would read articles about tort reform, insurance policies made portable from one job and one state to another, expansion of HSA’s, reforms to Medicaid/Medicare, etc. But, the real goal of the ACA was never to reform the system. It was to centralize it under federal control, and create a framework for massive tax increases and wealth distribution.

    The system it creates is more facist than socialist – the government doesn’t own the insurance companies, but it totally controls them.

    So yeah, “bending the cost curve” and providing universal healthcare? Not happening with this system. Quite the opposite. Equal or greater numbers still uninsured, with less access to doctors and hospitals for all except the elite. Hooray.

    • November 7, 2013 8:55 am

      Priscilla,

      This “strategy” has been going on since around 1960. The shift to single payer is the statist’s dream, as that is the only “solution” that will suit them. Funny, as chronyism is so rampant and obvious in Washington DC (is there a more obvious affront to George Washington on the planet?) one wonders what world these statists see that the rest of us don’t.

      This is no dream we are living, it is a nightmare of our own making.

      PS-at the root of the high cost of health care is (wait for it), government.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 7, 2013 1:30 pm

      The objective for this health plan all along was to increase the number of individuals getting “help” from the federal government. As I said earlier, it is estimated that 685,000 taxpayors in North Carolina will qualify for a healthcare premium tax rebate (subsity, refund, welfare of some sort). That is about 7% of the NC population of 9.5 million. Apply any formula to the 685K spread over 50 states or apply the 7% or portion of the 7% to the 50 states and you now have a sizable portion of the population that gets some form of support from the federal government. ( over 10M and under 22M)

      And that was the objective of this program all along. Just like feeding birds all year around on a bird feeder will result in birds dependant on the feeder for survival (they lose their instinct for finding food elsewhere), so too will humans be dependant on government and will vote to protect those handouts.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 9, 2013 11:14 pm

        Ron P, I like the analogy of the bird feeder. It is indeed a liberty-stifling form of dependency. I’m sure there is some percentage of people “at the top” who delude themselves that they’re creating a helpful system, but another percentage of creeps who damn well know that dependency for the masses at the bottom of the pyramid helps keep the ruling class at the top of the pyramid.

  104. November 7, 2013 3:50 pm

    I think that requiring people to carry a minimum level of insurance coverage and subsidizing those who cannot afford it, or who are not eligible for private plans due to pre-existing conditions is reasonable. And fair.

    What is not fair is to include every conceivable form of elective care, along with “free” birth control and abortion on demand, in that “minimum” level and forcing people to pay for it, not only for themselves but for everyone else. It’s not just unfair, it’s grossly unfair.

    So, even if I use the liberal standard of morality, which is based on caring and fairness over other moral foundations, the ACA is unsupportable.

  105. Pat Riot permalink
    November 9, 2013 11:24 pm

    Priscilla you are using the f-word (i.e. “fair”). Haha. Be careful ! It might provoke miles of debate about whether anything is “fair.” I think aiming for fairness is worthwhile and can be practical, and I agree with you that forcing citizens to pay for controversial services is grossly unfair, and I’ll add “just plain wrong”.

  106. Pat Riot permalink
    November 9, 2013 11:41 pm

    I’m going to think WAY out of the box here regarding health care and project into the not-too-distant future: are you ready for this?? Here goes:

    Extended families and other various groups of people begin taking advantage of rapidly-improving online education to the point that each family or group of people has its own well-educated doctor(s) Families and other groups are able to purchase sophisticated medical equipment that is mass-produced for this exponentially expanded market. The price of such things goes down.

    Eventually the average educated citizen knows more than our doctors today. An imperfect analogy is how most of us can print at home from our own computers rather than trudging off to a professional printer for every little thing. The professional printer is for limited special needs/items.

    Anyway, pretty soon we don’t need an oligarchical health care system,. We have our own MRI machines, knowledge, and Fed Ex brings the meds when needed.

    It’s right on the horizon, I swear. What do y’all think?

    • November 10, 2013 11:01 am

      Pat, you bring up a fascinating scenario. I do believe that there will be work-arounds to the ACA that will allow people to stay out of the government healthcare system. Sort of like home schooling has grown in response to the centralization and decline of public education….

      I have heard of doctors who are attempting to form medical groups that will charge a monthly fee, sort of like a retainer, to provide a whole array of preventive services and treatments to their clients. They would have “a la carte” pricing for specialized surgeries and treatments, but those prices would cost less than comparable services paid for by insurance. Basically, if successful, these groups would exist off of the Obamacare insurance grid, and create a whole other category of choice.

      What you describe is not something I had heard of before, but why not? Who ever thought that we would carry around phones that could do more than the most sophisticated computers of the 70’s and 80’s? (For that matter, who thought we would carry around phones or computers at all?)

      I just hope that, when the time comes for me to buy my personal MRI machine, I don’t end up calling my kids and asking “How do you work this thingie? The blue light keeps blinking and I don’t know what that means! ;)

      • November 10, 2013 12:13 pm

        I am less optimistic on this front (much of my research has been in the area of how healthcare providers collude with government to restrain trade). The next obvious step for Obama and company is to pass a law (or executive order) that mandates that physicians accept Medicare and Medicaid patients as a condition of licensure.

        This has already been done in other countries and it is the next logical step for the statists who have designed Obamacare. Similarly, the insurance companies can be forced in to the system as a condition of their licensure and then their rates can be regulated.

        This has already happened in Massachusetts.

        Hope I am wrong but suspect that I am not.

      • November 10, 2013 1:37 pm

        Ugh. :(

    • November 10, 2013 11:07 am

      Under the current legal structure, this can’t happen Pat. The way the “practice of medicine” is regulated, one can be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license if they attempt to self-medicate or provide certain care for their family members. Indeed, individuals have been prosecuted for providing legal RX drugs to patients through the Internet and in some cases. the patients have also.

      On the drug side, hey,, you can’t even sell trans fatty acids since the FDA decided they were “unsafe.”

      On the medical device side, ditto. One cannot legally obtain a X-ray without a MD RX and they can only be provided in licensed facilities. You cannot build and sell a medical device for home use without FDA approval. Try and get that.

      Let’s be clear here: this regulatory system is there because professional associations and industry lobbied for it. It was (is) a form of protection from competition and a way to keep prices high.

      Just ask any chiropractor or optometrist for a history lesson on how this all developed.

      The fact is, the cost structure is a self-inflicted wound and you will notice that there is nothing in the ACA to attack anything of substance on cost side. Indeed, costs were added to the system by the ACA.

      Once the website for the ACA starts to actually produce quotes, we shall see the true nature of this new health “reform” and it will not be pretty.

      As a aside: I think the exchange website the flaws in the website are intentional. The slower the roll out, the more the attention focuses on the site and NOT the crappy insurance and high prices.

      Obama is running out the clock. To me, this is obvious.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 10, 2013 12:47 pm

        Jb…You may think the website flaws were intentional. I do not. Why? I worked with these clowns for over 35 years as a finance director at a hospital. There were many times where we had questions or issues with CMS (division of DHHS overseeing the implementation) and there were few times we got good information or answers. That is why there are so many appeals of decisions they make to courts and when those do go to court, they have attorneys to support their positions as they can not do it themselves. They are totally incompetent and that is how they ended up with the mess they have. Only the government would put out an untested website.

        As for the governments concern for people getting insurance at a competitive price. how many states are like North Carolina where only Blue Cross offers policies. One insurance company per state can charge almost anything.

      • November 10, 2013 12:52 pm

        Well, I can’t disagree with you concerning the incompetence factor. Either way, this whole process should give all of us pause on where we are headed.

  107. Pat Riot permalink
    November 10, 2013 9:55 pm

    Priscilla, I saw the idea some time ago in Popular Mechanics Magazine that MRI machines will be built in to our bathroom shower stalls, etc., so when we shower we can get check-ups/read-outs on a regular basis. Hopefully they’ll be automated. Hey, there are some new jobs for the future: Residential MRI Repair Tech…

    jbastiat: you are looking at my futuristic scenario in the context of today’s regulations and constraints. Of course some current regs would have to be changed, circumvented, twisted, tossed out, replaced, and they will!…you know how it works: some people can make A LOT OF MONEY selling millions of affordable MRI machines to the population at large instead of just a handful to hospitals, so they hire lobbyists…

    If you’ve managed to climb out the box, stay out for a minute: big Pharm will eventually be a thing of the past. It’ll become commonplace–commonplace–for people to have PhD’s in botany and chemistry, and we’ll be making our own wholesome, home-grown “pills” and medicines from backyard plants and private greenhouses.

    We’re headed wherever we take ourselves.

    • November 10, 2013 10:26 pm

      Pat,

      Not gonna happen buddy. Sorry.

      Human nature is, well, human nature.

  108. Pat Riot permalink
    November 11, 2013 8:54 pm

    jbastiat,

    What’s not going to happen? MRIs to the public? High tech home remedies? A sustainable future? You sound sure.

    Human nature varies from Ghandi to Jeffry Dahmer and everything in between. Human nature is fluid and changing, not completely static.

    Are you admittedly pessimistic? I think you are a Libertarian, and so am I, sort of, but are you a Libertarian-Curmudgeon? I’m not being hostile. Some men like being negative and/or grumpy and/or pessimistic, et cetera. This format doesn’t communicate tone very well. I’m in a pleasant mood, in a café with my young adult son, shortly to walk to an open mic to meet a friend who earlier pledged to buy me a beer, within walking distance of where some of the Founding Fathers hoisted some brews, so I’m not looking for a fight, just some lively debate.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 12, 2013 12:32 am

      Pat, are you sure Jb is a Libertarian. After many debates with me on social issues, I am not so sure. I beleive he is closer to the Tea Party social positions than the Libertarian positions.

      • November 12, 2013 9:20 am

        I actually don’t like the labels. That said, I lean more libertarian on many social issues, but not all. It should be noted that not all libertarians are OK with abortion as a “right.”

    • November 12, 2013 9:29 am

      Yes, I am pessimistic these days, certainly about the intermediate future of the US and in particular, health care. Maybe I am just too close to the HC debate and perhaps, a bit tired of all the nonsense that passes for “reform.” This notion that “this time, its different” just annoys me to death. Having been in the industry my whole life, I have heard this over and over.

      However, I will agree with you that if left to the markets and to individuals who want to innovate, things could be transformed regarding health care. I see the possibilities which is why I get frustrated. It could be SO MUCH better!

      I also see the way that gov’t and existing positions align to stifle and kill innovation. When these cartels and aided and abetted by gov’t, the fix is hard to counter.

  109. Pat Riot permalink
    November 12, 2013 1:39 am

    Hmmm. I’m thinking aloud and unedited after three pitchers of beer and many good musicians and comedians tonight….my son got up on stage and made the whole place laugh about the 19th century and cages for the insane…anyway, how does the somewhat amorphous tea party compare/contrast with Libertarians? Please correct me if I’m over-generalizing or wrong but Libertarians and Tea Party enthusiasts have much more in common than different (?)

    • November 12, 2013 9:31 am

      Pat, I see three main differences: 1) on social issues, tea party types seem to align with social conservatives, 2) tea party supporters have been committed to working from within the system, using opposition tactics against their own party in order to force it closer to tea party positions. This started out as a great success in 2010, when the tea party candidates focused on fiscal issues and O-care….but that success has resulted in an internecine war within the GOP, and 3) libertarians are generally viewed as more isolationist….although, I honestly don’t think that foreign policy positions have played much of a role in our politics recently.

      When it comes to opposition to the healthcare law, they are strongly aligned, and, for my money, should concentrate on that and on other issues of crony capitalism that have hollowed out the free market.

      (I just realized that there may be a divide on amnesty as well, with many libertarians for and tea party against.)

      • November 12, 2013 9:36 am

        The amnesty issue is another place where I differ from hard core libertarians. The rule of law is a very necessary virtue in any civilized society. Some radical libertarians don’t see that, which is why they are so marginalized (and should be).

        Maximum personal freedom does not mean absolute freedom. One is NOT free to take my property or my life. So libertarians blur the lines on these issues. I do not.

        If the US wants to change the immigration laws on a go forward basis, there is a process to do so. This amnesty issue (for the 3rd time) is simply indefensible in my view.

        How many times does one need to get a pardon in a lifetime?

    • Ron P permalink
      November 12, 2013 1:10 pm

      Pat, there is a mix of Democrat and Republican in Libertarians. A strict Libertarian could be described as right of the Tea Party in fiscal matters. A strict Libertarian does not believe in most any federal spending or taxation, but most all know this is not going to happen. Most Libertarians believe most programs should be at the lowest level possible, either private, city, county or state. Most Libertarians believe that government is the most inefficient method to deliver services. Privatization of many services at the state and local levels have proven this to be true. Corporate welfare like the GM bailout is not supported by Libertarians.Much of this is also supported by the Tea Party members of the Republican party.
      Where we differ from the Tea party is social programs. We believe a woman should have a choice in reproductive issues. At what point should this choice be illegal during the term of pregancy is open for debate. but also, government plays no role in funding anything to do with reproductive issues. A strict Libertarian beleives in open borders, but we know that will never happen. But we also know that we will never send home all the illegal aliens. I have always asked how to handle the child brought to America as an infant, raised as an American, educated as an American, served in the armed forces and then when found to be illegal, is identifed for departation. compare that to our President who was born in American, but raised and educated as a foreigner, still has ideals of a foreigner, but is allowed to be the “supreme” leader of this country. Another example of wide differences with the Libertarians and Tea Party is Marijuana laws. The war on drugs is a complete failure and only benefit has gone to the cartels, but those on the right want tighter laws. Libertarians want to relax the laws. Just like illegal gambling became legal with the lotteries (old numbers racket) and sold sex is now legal through excort services ( legal name for prositution and street walking).so will Marijuana become legal in most places. The Tea Party objects to these plans.

      There are degrees of Left, right and moderate in all parties. Libertarians are no different, but are right in fiscal matters and left on social issues, unlike the religious right dominated Tea Party.

  110. November 12, 2013 9:24 am

    Pat,

    I THINK you are correct about the overlap on the TP vs. libertarian views. However, as I said above, I doubt there is some form of test one can take to see where one fits in all this.

    To wit: I am sure that many of our founding fathers would be considered libertarians by todays standards. Yet, if we examine many of their statements, they would not endorse homosexuality or abortion.

    So, again, the labels can mislead as well as inform.

    • November 12, 2013 9:39 am

      Rich, as I read your comment, it occurs to me that part of the problem is that everyone has become kind of “label happy.” I have often be “accused” of being a tea party supporter, when I express any right of center opinion, although I do not self-identify with the TP. And my main problem with the TP is not its views, per se, but the “purity” test that it seems to impose on moderate right-wingers who pass Reagan’s 80% friend test, but who the TP insists on viewing as the enemy.

      • November 12, 2013 9:59 am

        Yes, it is kind of silly. I see this at the University everyday. One must be “culturally competent” which in the current climate, means calling an Indian (from India) an “Asian.” We are label happy in the extreme, which I think allows many to simply write off the other’s views as “extreme.” What is extreme about wanting the government to actually produce some real world value and operate with some level of fiscal integrity?: Is that extreme?

        Makes sense, doesn’t it? Indeed, I received criticism the other day for asking someone how to pronounce their last name. Seems I might have offended them by such an extreme action?

        Go figure!

  111. November 12, 2013 12:32 pm

    Had dinner this past Saturday with friends who are very liberal Democrats, both voted for Obama twice, freaked out over the shutdown, the whole 9 yards. They are flabbergasted, horrified and confused by the O-Care debacle. At one point, when I was describing the rate/deductible/out of pocket increase that my son was facing, one asked, “Why can’t he just buy a catastrophic insurance policy?” Well, it’s no longer legal, I replied, the minimum ACA requirements do not allow insurance companies to offer them. “Well, they can’t FORCE a person to buy an expensive policy that he doesn’t want, can they?”

    Ummm…..yes they can. Many liberals are only just now realizing why Republicans have so doggedly opposed this from the start. Not because they were the “party of no,” but because, at least in regard to the healthcare law, they were the party of “know.”

    • November 12, 2013 12:41 pm

      An inability to think critically. Liberalism in this form, is like religion. If one only believes, it will all work out. Maybe not!

      That is the problem with blunt “solutions” to thorny problems. Something has to give and it may not be what you like. In this case, one loses the ability to purchase what one desires based on personal preferences and financial trade-offs. We all have to buy what Big Brother dictates.

      Statism is a bitch, no?

    • Ron P permalink
      November 12, 2013 12:50 pm

      And where are the Republicans now in this debate. Again running their mouths, bad mouthing the program and giving the public no positive message. And that is what is wrong with that party and why it is always the party of “no”. There is alot of opportunity to get positive messages out on how the delay in the program would have benefited everyone had the left allowed a delay like was requested and is now being requested by some moderate democrats. Its fine to delay now, but 45 days ago it was all about the shutdown.

      The Republican Party must have satan as its PR director. No one else could keep the heat on them like they keep putting on themselves.

      • November 12, 2013 1:02 pm

        I do agree, Ron, but I also think that letting this healthcare train wreck play out for another month or so, so that the facts finally get out there, is a good strategy. If the GOP were out there fighting for delay now, the media would simply spin it as Republicans trying to sabotage the law of the land. The law of the land is doing quite a good job at that by itself. Better to wait until the Democrats start calling for changes to the law (Bill Clinton has started that already) and then begin pressing for repeal and a do-over.

        Do I think that the GOP has the smarts to do that? Eh, doubt it, but we will see.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 12, 2013 1:20 pm

        I agree that it needs to derail on its own. But there are ways to present messages that are positive. I am not a PR person myself, but a good one could have taken this mess and spun it for the right to make it a good public message.

        Maybe doing nothing is best, but then they need to keep their mouths shut. Always biching about something is no different than saying no.

      • November 12, 2013 1:51 pm

        Actually there are plenty of GOP members who have been PLEADING for a delay. And, yes, the entire ACA sucks and it is more than right to point it out.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 12, 2013 4:49 pm

        Jb..Yes I know they have been pleading for a delay. And for some reason now that the democrats are asking for it , that request sounds better even though B.O. does not seem to be listening.

        My point is the message. Why can’t the GOP find a PR firm that can take their position and make a positive message for the country. Why do they want it delayed other than they hate B.O. and anything he does?

        When you have such a low approval rating like the GOP congressmen/women have, an image change is required.

      • November 12, 2013 6:50 pm

        For sure, the GOP needs better leadership right now. That said, I doubt the mainstream media will every cut them a break. I believe the data suggests that 89% of the media vote Democratic?

        If that is true, the GOP will needs it own industry to catch a break.

      • November 12, 2013 3:19 pm

        The more I read about the this thing, the more I think that there is no way to reform it, without repealing it. Bill Clinton said today that Obama should keep him promise to the American people, that they can keep their plans and their doctors, even if it means changing the law.

        But allowing people to keep plans that are no longer available, and have been cancelled by law, so that O-Care can “work” means…….oh, right, that O-Care will not work! Without young and/or healthy middle class people forced under penalty of law to buy extremely expensive plans, there will not be enough money to subsidize the poor and sick.

        So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not sure how Republicans position that, before there is a crack in the Democrat ‘s monolithic support for the law (which has possibly begun with Clinton). But, still, until there is a general realization that this law can’t be “fixed” without scrapping it, I think that it would be difficult for opponents to present a positive message. Better to let the Democrats attack it, and then present repeal as a good option.

        Delaying won’t help. Better to keep quiet.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 12, 2013 5:06 pm

        Priscilla, Have to agree if there is no way to present a positive message as to why the GOP wanted to delay or repeal, then no message is better than a continued attack. I had one person who is a supporter say “they know the website does not work, why do they have to spend 24-7 on the news telling us that?” I asked them if they knew about the other problems like insurance cancellations, increased premiums, etc and they said “I am so sick of hearing about the website problems, I change the channel whenever that subject comes on.”

        So there are some that are not getting the message just like your friends. They either turn the news off or change the channel as all they expect is more harping about how bad the website is. They still believe all will be good once they have that fixed.

        Maybe when it is fixed and people find out what is really in front of them, then all those in favor will also begin complaining. Hopefully that will not be too late as once the insurance policies are cancelled, how do they reverse any decisions given the need for yearly information for co-pays and deductibles.

      • November 12, 2013 3:28 pm

        Heh, my typos were pretty bad in that last comment. Sorry!

  112. November 14, 2013 12:58 pm

    Rejoice and all hail our Dear Leader, who says some, not all, people can now renew their cancelled plans temporarily, until after the midterm elections. No co-equal branch of government needed, he just waved his wand. Yay.

    Where are we living again?

    • Ron P permalink
      November 14, 2013 2:04 pm

      And what world is he living in again? In my world some states require changes to plans to go before the insurance commission. So they find that these plans did not meet federal requirements, they go before the board requesting that they be eliminated and ask approval for replacement plans. The state approves those changes and they begin cancelling. In my world, that also does not happen with a wave of a wand. That takes some time to get into place.

      So his waved wand now eliminates that states requirement to reinstate those plans? Not in my world. Maybe in his!

      • November 14, 2013 2:13 pm

        He doesn’t care about the “details” just what is expedient.

    • November 14, 2013 2:12 pm

      I thought the law was the law? At least last month, that is what we heard

      Established law apparently means different things depending on Obama’s mood. Law scholar????????

    • Ron P permalink
      November 16, 2013 12:34 am

      Priscilla..After listening to many of the insurance people, consultants, strategists and just those “experts” called newsreaders for TV news shows, I have come to the conclusion that this decision showed alot of “Chicago politics”. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

      And in this case, use your own crisis to your own advantage. Today everyone is up in arms about cancelled plans. So, lets change the law, regardless if the genie can be put back in the bottle. Six to eight weeks from now, something else will be front and center for the media to cover 24-7. No one can continue the unstop coverage like today.

      Oops, people begin complaining they still can’t get insurance or their plans were still cancelled. “Well it sure is not me” says Obama. “I fixed the problem in the law and the insurance companies refused to go along. And the ones that did were in states where the state is controlled by the Republicans and they would not allow the insurance commissioner to allow the old plans to continue. Don’t blame me, I fixed the problem”.

      Fast forward to election and all the senators are quoting Obama’s play book that corrections were made and its the Republicans and money grubbing insurance companies that blocked subscibers from keeping their old plans. “We did everything we could so you could keep your plan just like the President said from the beginning”

      And guess what, liberal voters will vote for the dem..whit anyway. Independants will be bombarded with negative ads about Republicans plans to cut programs and will forget the insurance mess. WOOHOO..Dems keep control of the senate.

      And Obamacare survives.

      • November 17, 2013 9:53 pm

        Ron I agree that Obama’s extralegal “fix” (which doesn’t fix anything, really) will be enough for many to give him a pass from here on out on all of the continuing disasters which will be Obamacare. Poor guy, he didn’t even know that these things would happen. He’s always the last to know, hearing it on the news and such, just like the rest us………you can’t blame him for not knowing what was going to happen, right?

        On the other hand, a significant number of people who supported this law have turned against it, for the exact same reason that Republicans opposed it from the start: it does nothing to decreased the number of uninsured, and it make healthcare much LESS affordable for the majority of people.

        If nothing else, perhaps that will change their mindset about giving the government so much control over their lives.

        Now, if the GOP could only avoid missing this opportunity to jump in with a positive message……yeah, I know, the GOP rarely misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity, lol.

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