Patterico's Pontifications

5/13/2009

Dems search the couch for healthcare takeover money

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:39 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama declares  that “the stars are aligned” to pass his health care agenda this year.  Not so fast, pal:

The most vexing question Congress faces in the battle over President Barack Obama’s health-care proposal is how to pay for it.

Pres. Obama’s proposed government takeover of the healthcare system is so patently unaffordable that interest groups are clamoring for Congress to drop deficit neutrality.  However, deficit-neutrality was not only sought by Obama, but it was also written into the budget to get the support of Blue Dog Democrats, whose votes are critical to any plan passing.  Moreover, as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) told Bloomberg, not paying for the plan whould give opponents a giant target.  What Wyden does not say, but likely thinks, is that it would be fatal to not pay for this government takeover attempt, which is being sold much more as cost-containment than it is as a universal coverage measure.

Thus, Congress is forced to look for new ways to squeeze the taxpayer.  They are not having much luck.  House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) would like to use the supposed $210 billion over 10 years that would come in from a proposed crackdown on offshore corporate tax havens.  Aside from the fact that this measure would reduce US competitiveness, the Obama administration was already planning on using that money — and then some — to pay for $736 billion in tax “cuts” (mostly transfer payments in reality) for middle-income families and $99 billion for small businesses.  Rangel may not care if the Democrats ended up as the “all tax hikes, no tax cuts” party, but it seems unlikely to command majority support among Dems.  Moreover, this presumes Dems could get these taxes passed in the face of a broad-based campaign against them as economy-killers.

Sen. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus says the government can save billions by basing Medicare payments on the quality and not just the quantity of care.  These proposals fall far short of the mark, and do nothing to address the underlying cost drivers of healthcare.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) wants to consider a special tax on soda and “junk” food.  That also looks like a long shot, and would hand opponents the ability to point out how the nanny state will start dictating diet and exercise after a government takeover.

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Ways and Means Committee that the administration is willing to consider reducing the tax break on “lavish” health benefits.  That proposal has a nice irony factor, as Obama lambasted Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for proposing it as the GOP presidential nominee.  Experts like the proposal, but it is opposed by both labor and business, and not favored by Rangel and other Democrats.  Rejecting the idea passes up $90 billion in the first year alone.

Democrats thus find themselves deep in the hole, even though their $634 billion “down payment” is about half of what is realistically required.  They are left searching the couch, and finding what such searches usually turn up — spare change and peanuts.

–Karl

67 Responses to “Dems search the couch for healthcare takeover money”

  1. In Obama – speak, when the economy’s in the tank and you’ve already committed to trebling the deficit in short order, that’s a great time to add even more trillions to our soon – to – be debtor nation status. Weimer Republic II, here we come.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  2. Hey, they want to save money in other parts of the budget to finance this, then perhaps they could start with the overly-generous grants to NGO’s such as ACORN, etc….

    Oh, Pardon Me, I forgot who I was talking about.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e8f920)

  3. Think about this: The Democrats have the congress and President they’ve always wanted, and they are all publicly clamoring for health care for decades as one of their top priorities, but they don’t have any money to implement health care because they already spent over a trillion dollars bailing out and taking over banks, auto makers, insurance companies, and the like, and China ** COMMUNIST China ** is standing in their way because they won’t buy up any more long term debt so we can print up more money.

    I love irony as much as the next person but this here is such an industrial strength grade it threatens to blow a hole in the space-time continuum and devour us all.

    Sean P (e57269)

  4. Funny how the MSM has completely ignored the tepid, heck, non – existent bond market auction that happened a few days ago. At least Carville knew what the bottom – line was for his boss regarding re – election prospects: “it’s the economy, stupid!”

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  5. Does anything other than an aspirin and bandage count as excess health benefits for purposes of taxation by the Democrats?

    rochf (ae9c58)

  6. They’ll let you have two (2) aspirins, once a day.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e8f920)

  7. pass the popcorn please….

    i’ve been calling my dem senators and reps everyday, *demanding* that they pass this, cap & trade, and everything else that’s on the list…. 1 item a day.

    redc1c4 (9c4f4a)

  8. I think the health care reform, no matter how much they long for the levers of that engine, is beyond them this year. Not even Obama is that reckless. If they try this as they have so far, the Congress in 2010 will be voted out. The Republicans have only one thing going for them; the Democrats.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  9. Dmac (#5)

    James Carville on the bond market:

    Then, like now, we have a charismatic new president planning ambitious spending initiatives to boost the economy. In early 1993, Clinton’s team plan for a big increase in government spending was rejected by credit markets, which threatened to increase interest rates and damage an already vulnerable economy.

    James Carville, Bill Clinton’s former political strategist, said in an interview last year: “Every time I would talk to someone, they would say, ‘You can’t do that, it will freak the bond market out.’ I said, ‘Goddamn, whoever the bond market is, these bastards are powerful.’” Carville also famously quipped that he wanted to be reborn as the bond market because “you can intimidate everybody.”

    Karl (f07e38)

  10. But Mike K., good friend, just what could possibly lead you to believe that “Not even Obama is that reckless” ? What about the last four months leads you to that conclusion?

    SPQR (72771e)

  11. The problem with the reach for Health-Care is the lack of funding, which was to come from Cap-&-Trade, which is being shot-down by everyone, including the professional staff at EPA.
    No money….No National Health Service!
    And, if they don’t get the economic numbers up (notice that consumer spending, which a lot of people were touting as a leading indicator from the 1Q reports, has dropped the last two months: March and April), and as prices keep creeping up (compared the price of gasoline to where it was on 11/4?), and then with serious inflation starting to kick in the last half of the year (which will only get worse as the Treasury has to pay more and more to sell its’ bonds), the Dems are looking at a serious butt-kicking in next years Cong election – and I don’t think that they like being the masochist.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e8f920)

  12. Pelosi promises to have a health care bill in the House by July. I think I read elsewhere that conservative Democrats had been excluded from the negotiations and drafting, so it will be interesting to see if she can keep her side united.

    DRJ (b0f193)

  13. You all are being set up and you’re too dumb to notice.

    Public attention should NOT be on how Obama intends to pay for his health care reform but rather on the practical effects his plans will have on the public.

    Furthermore, it is delusional to think that you can derail Obama’s plans on budgetary restrictions; who doubts that, just like with his make believe budget, he won’t offer up some numbers that the Democrats and MSM accept, putting an end to the debate over financing reform? (same thing happened when Medicare was first started, the same thing took place with Bush’s Medicare drug benefit… all used make believe numbers).

    By arguing over the money, the GOP is putting the cart before the horse and loses the opportunity to focus debate over the substance of the plan… in fact, arguing over the money aspects is an implicit admission that the only thing wrong with Obama’s plan are the financial aspects, that once those problems are solved, Congress ought to accept it.

    All of the GOP’s attention should be devoted to highlighting how Obama’s plans will make it more expensive for the public to receive medical care, how it will take longer to see a doctor, how new drugs and treatments will never see the light of day and how it will take even more control away from the doctor and patient and hand it to government bureaucrats (key theme: if you don’t like HMOs making decisions, the last thing you’d want is the government to get involved). The GOP needs to scare people (and can’t shy away from criticism that it is doing so) that Obama-care will not make things better, it will only make things worse. They need to make employees afraid that Obama-care will cause their employers to dump them into the government plan (which, of course, will have lower benefits). They need to make people afraid that Obama-care will pay doctors so little money that doctors and hospitals will have no choice but to charge much higher rates to everybody else (just the way that low Medicare reimbursement rates drive up the costs for non-Medicare patients).

    And to counter the argument that they’re simply the party of ‘No’, the GOP needs to offer up some solutions of their own that appeal to the majority of Americans who, while not thrilled with their health insurance, sure don’t want anything worse. The GOP ought to push breaking down state barriers against out of state insurers, eliminating mandated coverages for such things as maternity care and acupuncture which drive up the costs of coverage, allowing smaller employers to band together more easily to obtain better group rates for their employees, restricting lawsuits which drive up the costs of defensive medicine, and so on.

    And of course, being the stupid party, the GOP won’t do it.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  14. “And of course, being the stupid party, the GOP won’t do it.”

    Yeah, the GOP is so stupid it can’t emotionally appeal to folks using the self-evidently logical ideas of the conservative intellectual set.

    And we wonder how the GOP can ever win elections.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  15. sturm, there is no health care bill on the table to attack in that manner yet, so all that can be discussed is funding.

    SPQR (72771e)

  16. And we wonder how the GOP can ever win elections.

    Seems the only way it happens is when the Democrats nominate someone really, really, really stupid (same holds for the Democrats). it would be nice if the GOP could win an election that was issue-driven.. but that requires competent candidates who can articulate conservative principles in a way that appeals to mainstream America and without scaring them into thinking the religious right is taking over.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  17. there is no health care bill on the table to attack in that manner yet, so all that can be discussed is funding.

    There are plenty of Democratic proposals floating around. The GOP needs to pick some of these proposals and scare the public so much so that any eventual Democratic bill will automatically be tainted.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but did Hillarycare actually ever amount to a finite bill? Didn’t the opposition succeed in defeating the concept of Hillarycare so much so that the Clinton Administration never got down to specifics?

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  18. Well, I’ll correct you then, sturm. Hillary’s proposal was published in quite a bit of detail although it was not introduced in legislation. We have nothing, not even an outline, from Obama nor the House Democrats. Scare tactics at this point can too easily be laughed off as unrelated to the hypothetical bill. Your advice is not good.

    SPQR (72771e)

  19. In order to get a concrete plan, BHO is going to have to commit to something. Unless he will do his usual lean-on-someone-else-to-do-the-dirty-work schtick.

    Vivian Louise (eeeb3a)

  20. Scare tactics can work by taking so called hypothetical aspects off the table.

    And why pretend that we don’t know what they’re going to propose? They know it, we know it, and acting like we don’t only shortens the time in which an anti-Obamacare offensive has to work. There’s plenty of material floating around to build a campaign around.

    Analogize this to Bush’s thinking of ‘privatizing’ social security. I don’t think that ever got to written form, yet the Democrats didn’t wait, they mobilized and so scared the public that it went nowhere.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  21. [...] II: More great commentary by Karl at Patterico and by Ronald Bailey at [...]

    GM’s Place.Com » In The Shadow of Socialized Medicine (391595)

  22. I believe Hillary’s plan was DOA before it ever got out of committee, Steve.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  23. Dmac: that’s sort of my point, kill the beast early on the anticipated substance and not get into a glaze the eyes inside-Washington debate over the funding.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  24. Didn’t the opposition succeed in defeating the concept of Hillarycare so much so that the Clinton Administration never got down to specifics?

    Comment by steve sturm

    No, Dmac, it was spelled out in some detail and the item that killed all physician interest (There are a lot of doctors who like universal coverage) was criminal penalties for providing service outside the local coops. That was too similar to Canada which also rationed care by prosecuting doctors who didn’t cooperate. That’s why a lot of them emigrated.

    The present program is being left vague, like the stimulus bill, so they can fiddle the details later. The problem they have is that 82% of the public is satisfied with its present healthcare and will start to balk at details as they leak out. The GOP’s best strategy is to attack details and keep demanding more. Unfortunately, there are few people in Congress who know anything about healthcare. These bills are written by staff. The Clinton plan was written largely by the Dartmouth health services research department. I arrived there about three months after it went down and there were many long faces, no doubt having dreamed of being the new “Brain Trust.”

    I once was in a small group that met with Senator Durenberger (R Minn) about some health bill. He said to us, “I’m the only one in the Senate who knows anything about healthcare, so everyone asks me what to do.” He added, “You’re going to get screwed, you know.” We have survived this far but there is no body of knowledge except maybe Coburn. Frist would have been good as he is not only a doc but his family built HCA. He really knows the area.

    I think the next treasury auction will get someone’s attention. maybe Summers who might be able to convince Obama they are going off a cliff.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  25. steve sturm (and others),

    I agree that opponents will have to get to the impact on consumers. The funding issue can be part of that. As I note in the original post, this thing is being falsely sold as cost-containment.

    As for Hillarycare, there was a detailed plan, which ran into a buzzsaw in the Democratic Congress. Part of that was turf-battles. Part of that was people afraid at what it would do to their healthcare. And part of it was cost — then-CBO chief Robert Reischauer really stuck a dagger into Clintoncare, just as past-CBO chief Orszag (now Obama’s budget guru) put out the numbers in Decmber that are giving Baucus fits today.

    Karl (6738d9)

  26. Mike K writes:

    The present program is being left vague, like the stimulus bill, so they can fiddle the details later. The problem they have is that 82% of the public is satisfied with its present healthcare and will start to balk at details as they leak out.

    True, dat. My only quibble would be that Obama didn’t lay out his own plan based on what happened to Hillarycare in Congress. He’s avoiding that problem, but the more fundamental problems are all still present.

    Karl (6738d9)

  27. Thank you all for the clarification, but the Dem – controlled Congress back then also had many more actual adults in charge than the present cast of characters. Who among the Dems comes even close to the pragmatism of Moynihan or the true moderates like Kerry (Sen – Nebraska)? That’s the real danger here, as we’ve already witnessed with the recent stimulus ram – throughs.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  28. The GOP needs another Contract with America - type policy platform in the worst way.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  29. They have Evan Bayh but there are few in the House. The blue dog Dems may help but they are not enough to stop it. What may stop it is the economy and the treasury auction. That’s not good news, of course. But it might prevent even worse news.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  30. “….it would be nice if the GOP could win an election that was issue-driven….”

    Ok, Steve Sturm, now I get to ask you the question: Do Ideas, in and of themselves, generate Emotional Appeal (hey, Limited Government! Lets do it NOW!), or do Ideas get strength from the Emotional Appeal that already exists or is developing? Answering this question correctly will help you come to an understanding of why Sarah Palin is still in the public mind.

    Not to mention, as Karl has pointed out to me, it will help you understand why the Tea Parties are so Emotionally Appealing, despite being a rehash of every conservative principle in existence over the last 50 years. Too many conservatives have developed a line of thinking that they have to have Ideas, and that those Ideas will carry the day over those Emotional Democrats.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  31. I shook hands with Sen. Bayh last week at a launch for a lithium ion auto battery production line. Great guy in person, and he voted against the “stimulus” plan, so he is not so horrible.

    JD (a7fa4a)

  32. And to counter the argument that they’re simply the party of ‘No’, the GOP needs to offer up some solutions of their own that appeal to the majority of Americans who, while not thrilled with their health insurance, sure don’t want anything worse

    steve sturm, I agree with you about the incompetence of the GOP. Exhibit A was the budget with no numbers.

    But McCain’s plans for reforming health care were actually pretty good. He got slammed by Obama saying that your benefits were going to be taxed, but that was all a sideshow. We have to get people into the market for buying their own health care and / or insurance, so that costs come into line with market-driven forces.

    carlitos (aa025a)

  33. JD – but how did he smell?

    (apologies for inside joke)

    carlitos (aa025a)

  34. Do Ideas, in and of themselves, generate Emotional Appeal (hey, Limited Government! Lets do it NOW!), or do Ideas get strength from the Emotional Appeal that already exists or is developing? Answering this question correctly…

    Actually, neither…. sort of. Ideas, as you seem to be using the term, are means to an end, they’re the features that make possible the benefits some people want. For example, ‘limited government’ and ‘judicial restraint’ by themselves mean nothing, neither offer a benefit. That’s one of the reasons the GOP is having trouble getting any traction, they focus on procedural issues, ignorant that most of the public doesn’t have the time or the desire to figure out what the GOP is talking about and why they should care. Obama, on the other hand, offers benefits and his polls reflect that he hits a nerve. (I’m not endorsing his policies, just commenting that he’s doing a better job of positioning himself than the GOP is doing).

    The GOP needs to start with the benefit punch line: letting voters keep more of the money they make, keeping them in control of their medical treatments, keeping them safe, letting parents control how and what their kids are taught in school, keeping bureaucrats from sticking their noses where they don’t belong, keeping the environmental doomsayers from jacking up the price of gas and other petroleum based products and so on. They need to start making people think they’ll be happier with the GOP running things. Once you get the public sold on the benefit, you’ve got their vote, you don’t have to worry about voters asking for details on just how you’re going to deliver (Americans don’t bother with details: Bernie Madoff offers nice returns, no one asks to see the backup).

    I would thus rephrase your statement: Emotional Appeal (i.e., things people want for themselves) are achieved through Ideas (the Means to the Desired Ends)

    And please don’t kid yourself, Sarah Palin is already a fringe player among the public as a whole. Sure, she’s popular among the hard right, but so is Rush Limbaugh and neither by themselves will win you any elections. She’ll write her book, it will make the best seller list solely because of sales to the hard right, she’ll make lots of money on the lecture circuit and she’ll never be able to win a national election. She’s the Quayle of 2008: (unfairly, perhaps) mocked to the point where she’s a joke to much of the public. Nominating her is a signal to the voters whose votes you need that the GOP is run by a bunch of non-serious folks.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  35. carlitos: you’re making my point. nobody cares about who buys the insurance, all they care about is that they have insurance that pays their doctor for what their doctor does to keep them healthy. talking about who pays is a distraction that makes most people’s eyes glaze over. and that was McCain’s problem: he was all about process and not enough about tapping into the emotions of the voters.

    and by the way, the only ‘health care reform’ that matters to voters is that which cuts their premiums and co-pays, gets them in to see their doctors faster, saves them from arguing with their insurance company about usual and customary charges, doesn’t leave them screwed if they lose or switch jobs and doesn’t force them to take generic drugs. Were the GOP to get them some ‘ideas’ that delivers those benefits, they would own health care.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  36. steve sturm,

    As noted above, I largely agree w/ you that the Right will have to make attacks beyond the cost factor (note to Brad S — fear is an emotion we’ll likely see exploited before it’s all done).

    However, at this early stage, it’s useful to look at the cost issue. It’s part of one of the larger themes beneath many of my posts here: Reality Bites. Whatever the Dems may want to do, they ended up committing to deficit-neutrality, lest they lose the center from the outset. That was one political reality of the situation. Even if they thought they didn’t need Blue Dogs, they need the bond market, which is an even bigger reality.

    The Dems clearly hope to exploit the financial “crisis” to try to ram through as much of the nanny state as they can. One of the subtexts of my posts here is that the Dems nevertheless face certain constraints in doing so. I don’t see my gig here as solely about pushing an agenda. Sometimes, it’s just analysis, providing a broader context in which the specific political fights get waged.

    Karl (6738d9)

  37. steve sturm…
    I would be reluctant to exclude any politician from future consideration…
    All you have to do is look back to 1962, and RMN’s loss to Pat Brown in the Gov’s race in CA, and his walk-away line…”Well, you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around any more”…
    In politics, nothing is forever!
    Today, we have absolutely no idea as to what the premier issues will be facing the electorate in 2012; just as in 2005, no one contemplated the financial meltdown that dominated the last six-months of the campaign.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e8f920)

  38. “That’s one of the reasons the GOP is having trouble getting any traction”

    steve – What traction are you talking about here? There is already a growing resistance to Obama’s humongus spending plans. Can you be specific? The midterm election isn’t until next fall. Are you already worried about polls? Obama is clearly starting to react to the news cycle, so that’s a good thing.

    “The GOP needs to start with the benefit punch line: letting voters keep more of the money they make, keeping them in control of their medical treatments,…………..”

    steve – I don’t know what you’ve been reading or whether you’ve been asleep, but these points have been getting hammered constantly.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  39. I put this in another thread, so I apologize for spamming … but GOP traction is pretty good actually right now.

    SPQR (72771e)

  40. Have the Democrats even decided what story they are going to sell on this “Health Care Reform” yet? Is it going to be more efficient and affordable healthcare? Is it going to be universal coverage? Is it going to be single payer or combo government/private sector? My Loont Rep. Jam Schakowsky says it is going to put the private insurance industry out of business. Are Dems going to stick to that story? Are they going to call is socialized or nationalized healthcare? Are we going to provide health insurance for illegal immigrants or whatever Obama decides is the politically correct term for them?

    It seems the Dems have a lot of message coordination to do before people start sniping at the Republican response as others have pointed out.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  41. Story? They don’t even have the same page of the platitudes.

    SPQR (72771e)

  42. SPQR – Thanks for that link. It confirms all this mythmaking about conservatives being in the wilderness and not being able to get any traction is just that – mythmaking. Obama is starting to look over his shoulder as I indicated above.

    I’ll have a Bilderberger with cheese – hold the Illuminati.
    h/t Ace commenter.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  43. (note to Brad S — fear is an emotion we’ll likely see exploited before it’s all done).

    We certainly will, Karl, on ALL sides of the healthcare reform debate. And I’m willing to venture that the RIGHT will win the emotion part of the debate, and thus either kill healthcare reform or tailor certain healthcare reform measures that are more to the liking of the WalMarts and Walgreens of this country. Those places have investments in cheap walk-in clinics that they’re rather not thrown in the toilet, you know.

    Brad S (5709e3)

  44. (note to Brad S — fear is an emotion we’ll likely see exploited before it’s all done).

    Brad S. – We’ve already seen Obama exploit fear quite early on in his Presidency with the Porkulus Bill. Remember how there was no time to waste, it had to get passed now. Shoot, there was no time for anybody to read it. So far ony 5% of it has been spent or allocated, just as the Republicans were warning. What was the fearmongering about if the spending was all in 2010 and beyond again?

    Love you emotional appeal theme? If you don’t have facts, you gotta have something.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  45. Is it too cruel to call the new Obama socialist health care “Ration and Kill”. After all, isn’t that what eugenics is all about? They got the abortion part, granny your time is up. Just ration the middle.

    Soylent Green comes to mind, it’s planet safe.

    bill-tb (26027c)

  46. Traction for the GOP is not the same thing as slippage for the Democrats. Lacking a message of their own, the GOP, being the beggars that they are, won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but getting people to vote for you as opposed to against the other guy is a much more attractive position to be in.

    Karl, the deficit is something that voters don’t care about. It’s an abstract, so running a deficit, even an $1.8 trillion deficit, won’t by itself cost the Democrats any votes (in fact, by portraying the deficit as the price of restoring economic health to the country, the Democrats get a pass). Voters only care about the deficit to the extent they believe it will cost them something they don’t want to give up, whether it be higher interest rates or something like that. thus, the Democrats don’t need to have their proposal be revenue neutral.

    But… even though they won’t need to, they may try to go down that path as it gives them a two-fer, pushing through their version of health care reform and raising taxes on unfavored segments of the public.

    steve sturm (3811cf)

  47. steve…Is inflation an abstract also, or aren’t you old enough to remember the late 70′s?

    AD - RtR/OS! (e8f920)

  48. daleyrocks, #43, it does provide an amusing contrast to the BS from various trolls does it not?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. I second that link, and echo the comment there, that it is odd to see Dems gain on ethics.

    carlitos (aa025a)

  50. ” but getting people to vote for you as opposed to against the other guy is a much more attractive position to be in.”

    steve – When is the next vote?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  51. I’m definitely old enough to remember the 70s… and the 60s.

    Inflation is less of an abstract in that most people equate inflation with having to pay higher prices and with no compensating increase in pay.

    Is your point that deficits lead to inflation which hurts the pocketbook? If so, it ain’t going to fly, people have gotten numb to those claims (from way back to Reagan… you know, the 80s?)

    And how does the Rasmussen survey disprove my claim that the Democrats are losing ground rather than the Republicans making positive strides? The slippage for the Democrats is greater than the gains for the GOP. And I doubt the survey is all that accurate: that big a shift in party preference on abortion strikes me as indicative of polling problems.

    steve sturm (3811cf)

  52. As I recall, one of our trolls denied that the Britains got inferior care so I’m sure he’ll ignore this little news article about how the NHS will effectively ban new cancer treatment drugs because they are too expensive.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. Steve, if stagflation comes back (and I hope to hell it doesn’t), then you can wave goodbye to the Dems in both houses shortly, while Obama will be the next one out the door. And while the bond market may be an “abstract” concept to most folks, if their home finance rates start shooting up they’ll figure it out quite shortly. BTW, a national survey was done testing the knowledge of current events from the general population, and guess what? A significant number knew that the Chinese owned most of the outstanding debt issued by our gov’t over the past decade. They’re not as clueless as you think, so there’s hope for the future.

    My Loont Rep. Jam Schakowsky

    Daley, in the pantheon of nutbags and excreable politicos to grace our state over the years, that woman is already climbing in the charts of supreme awfulness. I can’t stand to watch her speak anymore, she’s that level of noxious.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  54. steve…the deficits of Reagan, and of Bush-43, did not cause runaway inflation because there was some attempt to keep the money supply under control. But, BHO has spent more in deficit in the 3+months he has been in office than B-43 did his first 7-years – with Trillion-Dollar deficits stretching out into the future.
    We are facing inflationary pressures that easily will exceed 1 to 1.5 per-cent per month.
    And, if the Chinese and others stop buying Treasuries, there will be no recovery –
    just billions and billions and billions of fiat money (snark intended).

    AD - RtR/OS! (e8f920)

  55. The stars are aligned? How about the moon, is it in the seventh house yet?

    I thought Obama was going to break out in song: The Age of Aquarius from Hair. His thinking is about as new and original as the old hippie musical.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  56. steve sturm writes:

    Karl, the deficit is something that voters don’t care about.

    That’s not only debatable (Tea Parties, Cali referenda), but also completely missing the point of my prior response. The cost matters to the Senate and ultimately the bond market. The political fights to come take place within that context.

    Karl (3bf5f8)

  57. Nominating her is a signal to the voters whose votes you need that the GOP is run by a bunch of non-serious folks.

    Non-serious. Huh? You mean people (or those “voters whose votes you need”) who’ve looked the other way as the big butthead — aka Joe Biden — who in reality was Palin’s direct opponent (meaning VP vs VP) — sits one slot away from the Oval Office?

    Now you can say that “those voters whose votes you (ie GOP) need” won’t be happy with any candidate in the Republican camp who isn’t super squishy philosophically, perhaps a variation of Ah-nold Schwarzenegger. But to claim their preferences are based on whether a candidate is “non-serious” or not is far too imprecise and ironic a phrase.

    After all, a lot of “those voters whose votes you need” are the same goofuses — ie, self-described independents who in reality are closeted liberals, and too embarrassed to admit it — who have pushed California (aka the “Golden State”) further and further to the left over the past 10 years–nothwithstanding a minor pause or hiccup when out of desperation they voted to recall Gray Davis. And we all know what a wonderful — and very non-serious — joke the “Golden State” has become.

    Mark (411533)

  58. So this is what happens when you promise everything to everyone. Can’t pass cap and trade because it will hurt the unions in that industry who you made promises to. Can’t pass health care because somebody will need to pay for it and you already promised everybody that nobody will have to pay for anything. Well, I suppose we can just keep on borrowing the money from our children. They’ll understand some day and thank us for it.

    MJBrutus (dc3d12)

  59. Some early indications of the plan being mooted by Democrats.

    Notice that the Coward in residence of the White House is not putting his fingerprints on it directly.

    SPQR (72771e)

  60. More signs of just how utterly incompetent Obama and his people are.

    Beyond my most cynical beliefs in just how empty this suit is.

    SPQR (72771e)

  61. Barcky misrepresented what someone else said? Nah, get out of here.

    JD (26bc30)

  62. JD, I think he believes that no one would dare contradict him.

    SPQR (72771e)

  63. It is just like he did with Caterpillar. Actually, I think it is intentional. Barcky knows that his words will get much more coverage than someone from a trade association will get days after the fact.

    JD (26bc30)

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