Patterico's Pontifications

8/28/2009

ObamaCare: Can the “center” hold?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:25 am

[Posted by Karl]

We now have reason to believe that Pres. Obama ultimately expects that Congress will settle on a healthcare reform bill that lacks a government-run health insurer, but includes an individual mandate, community rating, guaranteed issue, and a minimum required package. But will Congress settle on it?

TNR’s Jonathan Cohn writes of scaled-back healthcare reform:

Under such a plan, the Center on Budget [and Policy Priorities] concluded, “families with modest incomes who buy the lowest-cost coverage could face significant challenges if they experience a serious illness or injury, because their plans could leave them subject to steep out-of-pocket costs.”

Put aside, for a moment, whether this makes sense substantively. It makes absolutely no sense politically. Scaling down legislation basically means gutting the benefits that would go to the working and middle class. In other words, it would help fulfill the fear many of these voters already have and that opponents of reform have tried hard to stoke: That reform doesn’t have much to offer the typical middle-income American.

You also have blogger-activists like Jane Hamsher considering campaigning against Obama’s seemingly desired bill. But it’s not just the Left, either. Keith Hennessey has noted that the individual mandate could leave millions on middle-class Amercians worse off. Perhaps most important, from a political perspective, Barack Obama made a similar point when he was a candidate.

In this environment, it might be useful to review a 1995 post-mortem of HillaryCare from a lefty like Paul Starr. Although the Obama administration has tried to do everything differently than the Clintons on this issue, ObamaCare’s downward trajectory makes Starr’s description of the final efforts at HillaryCare all the more striking:

In fact, the only conceivable scenario for legislation by the summer was that the House would finally defer to a more conservative bill developed in the Senate. The unwillingness of House Democrats to acknowledge this reality was a premonition of coming disaster.

The final act was played out in the Senate and starred the “mainstream group,” a bipartisan coalition of roughly 18 Senators, led by Chafee and Breaux… The proposal… included insurance market reforms and voluntary purchasing alliances along the lines of the Jackson Hole Group’s version of managed competition. For all its flaws, the bill would have been a historic advance.

There was only one problem: It didn’t have much public support. It was too big for conservatives, too little for liberals. Democrats in Congress who genuinely wanted a compromise found that hardly any organized constituencies would swallow the bitter pill the mainstream group was offering. The elderly saw the proposal as cutting Medicare without providing anything in return; unions saw it as taxing high-cost health plans–the kind some union members still enjoy–without the guarantee of coverage “that can’t be taken away.” The mainstream group and Mitchell might have overcome these problems and in a different political season secured a majority, but the clock ran out.

From the beginning, the proposals in the center had failed to generate any public excitement. Economists and conservative intellectuals may like the individual mandate in the Chafee plan and the cap on tax benefits that both the Chafee and Cooper plans originally included, but no one has built public support for these measures. Most of the initial business backing for the Cooper plan seems to have been expedient. Business interests backed Cooper when they feared worse; they lost interest when the feared alternatives evaporated.

Years later, we again find the chambers of Congress at odds. The bipartisan group working the issue in the Senate is one-third the size of the pool in 1994. Pres. Obama aims for an individual mandate that has shaky public support at best, seniors are against the effort in general, small businesses are joining Big Business against it, and the Democrats’ left-wing base would be greatly demoralized or actively antagonistic. Can the “center” hold? When it comes to attempting government-run healthcare, maybe not.

–Karl

95 Responses to “ObamaCare: Can the “center” hold?”

  1. It’s amazing how out of whack these idiots’ priorities are. They really seem to believe that an agenda what Daddy Soros drew up in 2006-2007 can be implemented irrespective of the circumstances in 2009. That sort of rigidity is more associated with authoritarian regimes than for real American-type ones. Even to dirty socialist historians the incognizance of reality what our dipshit pezzydent is displaying is going to be very difficult to whitewash I think.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  2. The individual mandate is pretty iffy constitutionally. I am pretty sure the feds cannot make me do anything of the sort. They certainly cannot tax me as a penalty for not doing it if they can’t make me do it in the first place.

    Wickard may allow them to regulate medical insurance (ignoring that it is pretty much NOT inter-state) as it allowed regulated wheat-growing regardless of purpose, but even Wickard could not make someone GROW wheat.

    I think that is part of the plan, actually. When the Supremes strike down the individual mandate, the liberals will throw up their hands and say “Damn, I guess the only way out is single-payer.”

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  3. hey happyfeet, you keep mentioning Soros. Do you think maybe he had a hand in the market crash that sank McCain?

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  4. I don’t think anyone has ever explained what happened with oil prices, and they seem to have stopped trying.

    Daddy Soros has been convicted of manipulating markets. He’s a criminal, definitely, so anything’s possible. Also he’s very ugly.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  5. I think it is actually more dangerous for the debate to proceed without the pubic option. Should that noxious aspect be removed, this will be some BS sign that this is some kind of bipartisan reform. The remaining aspects will still cripple the existing system, will be practially impossible to walk back, and will still work towards their stated and true goals of single-payer.

    JD (3b62be)

  6. That was not market manipulation in that French case. What he did was insider trading. Manipulation is much harder and trickier to pull off. Ask the Bunkers about their silver cornering. Or better yet be a fly on the wall overlooking the Goldman trading desk when the Plunge Protection Team calls in from the Fed. Lately the guess is during the last hour of trading. One of the reasons I suspect the Fed really really really doesn’t want any auditors snooping around. But that’s as close to conspiracy nuthood I will go. For now.

    And push comes to shove, as long as anyone is free to play in the sandbox, I approve of private attempts at market manipulation [not insider crap] when they are risking their own, their idiot investors’, or any non-public funds. Go ahead, it’s your money, go short or long. It’s when govt agencies use legislation, courts, regulations, and hidden infusions of taxpayer funds to manipulate markets that I rage. And don’t get me started on sovereign wealth funds. Bastids, all of ‘em. And that is what our dear Fed is becoming…a sovereign wealth fund sans the sovereign part.

    political agnostic (d113bd)

  7. As El Rushbo says, the GOP should run away from this and let the Democrats own this monstrosity in its entirety.

    If the Republicans go along with this, they can kiss any chance for gains in 2010 goodbye.

    KingShamus (fb8597)

  8. Just because the far left protests and threatens doesn’t mean far left politicians will not vote for a bill that has 50-80% of what they want in socialized health care. They really need to get this behind them so they stop getting hammered in the polls.

    They will probably pass something that has only carrots and candy with no corresponding sticks. So what if it adds another $1-3 Trillion to the debt, they need to get reelected next year. Hyper inflation, here we come.

    ray (3c46ca)

  9. I don’t if this makes my prior comments on the Fed needing an audit look presciently foolish or just plain stoopid, but I just ripped this off Mike Shedlock’s site:

    What do you get when you cross Ron Paul with Barney Frank?

    No, don’t answer that. I don’t care if Palin and Sullivan sign on to it. Just get ‘er done.

    political agnostic (d113bd)

  10. JD (#5),

    This is exactly why the Right needs to be making noise about the mandate in addition to the public option. Ironically, Sen. Kennedy’s death will likely make the Lefty base even more intransigent viz the public plan, to the Right’s benefit.

    Karl (ade276)

  11. Karl – I am honored.

    JD (b292bd)

  12. That reform doesn’t have much to offer the typical middle-income American.

    Class warfare from the right?

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  13. What is astonishing (not really, to rational people) is how ObamaCare attempts to go about “healthcare reform” completely differently than HillaryCare did and still ends up at the exact same place – fear and loathing on both sides and a complete disaster on Democrats’ hands. You’d think Democrats would learn but they always learn the wrong thing.

    Ronaldus Magnus: “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

    Peg C. (48175e)

  14. #12: “Class warfare from the right?”

    Well, your posts are kind of “astroturfing dishonest trolling from the Left.”

    Right?

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  15. All of this takes place in the final decade before Medicare goes tits up. There has to be a solution to the moral hazard problem that will be acceptable to most people. Rationing care of the elderly will not fly politically. One of the big problems with end of life care is the intrusion of lawyers. For 100 years and more, maybe 1,000 years, doctors and families have made quiet decisions about this. I have been involved with these decisions for over 40 years. One big problem is the fact that so many people get admitted to hospitals and the decision has to be made by a committee. Most elderly people do not want high tech intervention. Smaller procedures, like pacemakers, are another matter.

    Better home care will be a very important part of the solution. If elderly people can be cared for at home, this question will not come up. So far, Medicare has interfered with home care to the point that geriatric specialists are resigning from Medicare and going to cash payment. That is pretty extreme but common. I am on a number of mailing lists of home care advocates and geriatric physicians. They are in the forefront of the “retainer practice” movement. The politicians, as usual, are screwing this up.

    Mike K (8df289)

  16. What about me?

    I have insurance, but I don’t use it. So I’m paying into the system, but receiving no benefits.

    Can I get a rebate?

    mojo (8096f2)

  17. PS: Insurance is basically gambling: you are betting you get sick and the insurance company is giving you odds that you won’t.

    Except that you could get better odds from any bookie.

    mojo (8096f2)

  18. Supercache is getting tricky

    JD (45c904)

  19. Right?

    Let’s be honest here for a brief moment.

    The people who are against medical reform are trying to appeal to people’s basest instincts.

    A selfish plea that if poor people get medical coverage, the folks who already have coverage (especially from the government) will experience a decrease in service.

    It might work, but America’s government is designed to protect against just such tyranny of the masses.

    I think Teddy’s death will provide enough fuel to push medical reform over the goal line.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  20. If alcohol will fuel a Democrat resurgence, then, yes, Kennedy’s death may leave enough of a surplus to push them over the top.

    But your idea that people who “oppose medical reform” are somehow guarding their little horde against the inconvenient poor people betrays your complete ignorance of any conservative economic or freemarket concepts. Have you ever bothered to read anything from outside your own liberal point of view?

    The best summary, and very cheap too, is Frederic Bastiat’s book, “The Law”. It would make a great start. When you are ready to argue on real things instead of straw men, then come back and try again.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  21. Let’s be honest here for a brief moment.

    Well, I guess with you there is always a first time for everything.

    Once again the governing class of liberals has made the classic mistake of over-promising with virtually no chance of delivering. I know that is how they drive their voters to the polls — vote yourself all these neat little benefits that someone else will pay for — but perhaps it is the reason that in polls only about 20-25% of Americans describe themselves as liberal. It’s a good sign that at least three-quarters of our fellow Americans reject the “something for nothing” mantra that the left has been pushing for the last century.

    JVW (04f651)

  22. ignorance of any conservative economic or freemarket concepts.

    I find it amazing that after Bush’s recession there are still people that hold up the free market as some sort of flawless economic system.

    Standard Lame Response: It’s not flawless, but it’s the best we got.

    Wrong.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  23. What about the poor starving kids in Europe?

    Scene from my childhood – during the reconstruction of Europe.

    Ma says “Eat your succotash – think of the poor starving kids in Europe”.

    “Hey ma, how’s about we mail it to them?”

    The Dems are trying to sell this God-awful concoction with the starving kids – the uninsured – line?

    Yup, brilliant politicians.

    Roy Lofquist (f39a88)

  24. Sunshine is propping up the strawpeople and torching them with a flamethrower.

    “Let’s be honest …”

    That would be a first for you. Ironic that what followed the phrase was a pack of lies.

    JD (0e5260)

  25. “It’s not flawless, but it’s the best we’ve got.”

    Oh I’ll go a lot further than that. It’s not only the best we’ve got – it’s the best this world has ever seen. And the fact that it has some flaws in it only means that we could make it even better yet! People in this nation and in other nations around the world, allowed to produce and trade freely without all-wise-nanny-statists like Sunburn to tell them what’s good for them, could do really amazing things.

    But no. Sunburn knows best. And his heroes like Senator Kennedy know what’s good for us lowly plebes.

    It was naive of me to suggest that Sunburn read something about freemarkets before shooting his mouth off. And I apologize to others on the thread for wasting their time.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  26. And the fact that it has some flaws in it only means that we could make it even better yet!

    The Health Care reform bill under consideration is all about improving on free market allocation of medical care.

    Ask any of the posters here who get their health insurance from the government already.

    They wouldn’t give it up without a fight.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  27. I think I can guess where Sunburn gets his health insurance. And it really is a great deal, isn’t it? Because not only do your neighbors pay for it, but then you get to stick them again because the gov’t doesn’t reimburse all the real costs. So everyone else in the system gets to pay even more to make up the difference in Sunburn’s care.

    Well, I’m outa here. I’ll be on the road for a few. Doubt that I’ll waste anymore time on this “discussion”. Sunburn will get to enjoy the kind of society he loves most when his children put him in a nursing home, and the nurse can tell him when to eat and when to go to bed, and the social director can make him go off to play bingo. It’ll all be taken care of so nicely.

    Life has a certain symmetry, doesn’t it?

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  28. sunburb, the only people against real medical reform are the liberals trying to put us in a government program that gives us zero choices and limited access to care, all the while collecting even more personal information on us for no useful purpose than to keep tabs on us.

    Ray (3c46ca)

  29. #22

    So what’s a real world example of something that works better than the free market? Using the criterion of producing the most goods and services desired by the consumer, at the cheapest cost.

    Or do you just mean you want wealth redistributed? I’m guessing the latter. In which case your “Bush recession” thing is irrelevant as well as erroneous.

    Gerald A (78e08a)

  30. “I think it is actually more dangerous for the debate to proceed without the pubic option. Should that noxious aspect be removed, this will be some BS sign that this is some kind of bipartisan reform. The remaining aspects will still cripple the existing system, will be practially impossible to walk back, and will still work towards their stated and true goals of single-payer.”

    I agree. Even the regs on insurance companies, forcing guaranteed issue, community rating, etc. is feelgoodism at its most destructive. It will destroy the differences between individuals that makes insurance work and will as a result cripple the private health insurance system. It will increase the already too-large cost-shifts that occur in the system. And we have seen at the state level, it only creates free rider problems where people

    But *with* individual mandates, you cross the rubicon from healthcare freedom to health insurance socialism. You FURTHER upset the only other group not yet upset withObama – the young and healthy people – in that system, they are the ones screwed by ‘community rating’. They pay huge bills to pay for the sins of the unhealthy. It will create a more broken and regulatory system whose only ‘solution’ is a govt-backed taxpayer-funded public program to cover the increasing numbers who wont be able to afford the hugely expensive health insurance plans that we are mandated to buy.

    Do NOT have ‘community rating’ regs and allow insurance companies to consider/exclude pre-existing conditions or you have another trojan horse setup for single-payer.

    The way out? The only way out that I see is to be *very* limited and address the ‘pre-existing condition’ folks *only*, not by regulating health insurance packages, but by allowing a backstop govt catastrophic healthcare package for those in need, which they could use to supplement health insurance that might exlcude the pre-existing conditions. If the # of people in this situation is not too large, we can fix almost 10 million of the 46 million uninsured without BK-ing the country, and if need be we could means-test Medicare to pay for it (I dont see the need for the govt to pay for Warren Buffett’s drugs.) Or Convert some s-chip program to this. We are overly generous with govt money in some areas and we dont need more money to cover some more in need.

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  31. So what’s a real world example of something that works better than the free market?

    While America’s economy has been contracting this year and last, China’s economy has been growing at a 7%+ clip.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  32. “I find it amazing that after Bush’s recession”

    You mean that recession that started over a full year after the Democrats took control of Congress and threatened to end the Bush tax cuts? Or the recession that started the quarter Clinton was still in the White House? Or the recession that occured when Senate Democrat leader Goerge Mitchell stopped a tax cut on capital gains and passed a tax increase through Congress?

    I get real confused by that.

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  33. “PS: Insurance is basically gambling: you are betting you get sick and the insurance company is giving you odds that you won’t.

    Except that you could get better odds from any bookie.”

    No, its risk reduction, so is the opposite of gambling. With the lottery, you give up $1 in hopes you might make $1 million. With insurance, you give up $XXX as a certain loss, and offload the risk of much greater risk to the insurers.

    In effect, its the insurance companies that are the gamblers, taking on risk. They have to have their statistics right to make sure that on average they ‘win’.

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  34. 31. sunblurb, that explains it well. The liberal plan is to shrink the economy down by a 1000% so we are the size of China, then we can have huge % increases in growth for years to come as we try to claw our way back up from wood huts, no heating or cooling, and outdoor plumbing. Great plan, but I don’t think many of us will be joining you and your masters.

    ray (3c46ca)

  35. sunburn – Are you suggesting that China’s economic system is better than that of the U.S. or merely pointing out that it has been growing faster? What is your position?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  36. “A selfish plea that if poor people get medical coverage, the folks who already have coverage (especially from the government) will experience a decrease in service.”

    sunburn – You have really not been paying attention to anything but libtard talking points, have you?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  37. “PS: Insurance is basically gambling: you are betting you get sick and the insurance company is giving you odds that you won’t.

    Except that you could get better odds from any bookie.”

    Travis – Mojo wants the famous “heads I win, tails you lose bet” when it comes to buying insurance. Imagine that!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  38. “No, its risk reduction, so is the opposite of gambling. With the lottery, you give up $1 in hopes you might make $1 million. With insurance, you give up $XXX as a certain loss, and offload the risk of much greater risk to the insurers.”

    It’s a bet I hope to lose, is the only difference. The insurance company collects bets from lots of people and pays out on relatively few, but the payouts are large. If there’s risk reduction going on, it’s done by the company raising their minimum bet, lowering their payouts or simply refusing those bets that have a significant probability of losing.

    Fixing the odds, in other words.

    mojo (8096f2)

  39. “The Health Care reform bill under consideration is all about improving on free market allocation of medical care.

    I had thought that after the nuclear bombing of Israel, and the whacky way he snuck his hatred of Joos into a discussion of Honduras, that Sunburn couldnot write anything stupider.

    I am ashamed to admit that I was wrong.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  40. PS. I find it amazing that after Bush’s terms in office there are still people that hold up the Federal Government as some sort of flawless Mr fixit.

    Travis Monitor (8d33ce)

  41. Anybody got sunblock SPF90? We need it.

    Peg C. (48175e)

  42. Insurance is INSURANCE. With insurance you are spending a manageable sum in order to guarantee you will not have to spend an unmanageable sum.

    Unfortunately, what passes for medical insurance is largely something else. If it was insurance, you’d pay $100 and they’d pay all medical bills over, say, $10,000. You’d pick up the normal run of things in between — much as car insurance doesn’t pay for tune-ups.

    But, no, we have pre-paid medical with a side-order of insurance. It is the pre-paid medical that costs so much. Partly because it is usually pre-paid by someone else, so who cares what the bill is.

    Time we stopped calling it “insurance.”

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  43. “So what’s a real world example of something that works better than the free market?”
    “While America’s economy has been contracting this year and last, China’s economy has been growing at a 7%+ clip.”

    And with effective tax rates LOWER than Obamao and Co. propose for USA no less! Can we use the phrase “more communist than the Chinese” in a non-ironic way now?

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  44. All of the “progressive” programs are going broke more or less at the same time. Social Security’s due date is coming closer because of the recession, several blue states are already beginning to feel the pinch from excessive public sector pension plans, and the Treasury bond auctions are already having to be supported by the Fed as the buyer of last resort.

    It’s time to start pushing for smaller government, because it’s becoming obvious that the current size of government is not sustainable. Time to start the discussion on what to cut and who to fire. I’m not talking about turnover in Congress (Lord knows we need some of that) but in the bureaucracy.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  45. The Health Care reform bill under consideration is all about improving on free market allocation of medical care.

    This has got to be the dumbest post ever from this site’s new pet rock. Please detail how a gov’t funded and sponsored public option plan will improve the free market allocation, and provide examples of such as well.

    BTW, have you ever heard of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman? Oh, yeah, I forgot – you hate those Jooos. Never mind.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  46. The Health Care reform bill under consideration is all about improving on free market allocation of medical care.

    Ask any of the posters here who get their health insurance from the government already.

    They wouldn’t give it up without a fight.

    Comment by Sunburn

    The level of ignorance here is breath taking.

    What is most interesting is the bald faced lying about what this bill HR 3200 is about. The lefty blogs all have the same theme so I guess sunburn and the other lefties are getting marching orders from the same source.

    One- Medicare is unsustainable. Depending on how long I live, it may or may not last as long as I do. IT IS UNSUSTAINABLE !

    It doesn’t matter who thinks it is government care or not. Once the Medicare law passed in 1965 all the private medical insurance for those over 65 vanished. It is a myth that insurance did not exist for the elderly. It is also a myth that the AMA opposed all of Medicare. What they opposed, too late it is true, was the all encompassing plan that became Medicare. They were pushing a program called Eldercare. Here is Morris Udall’s letter which opposed Eldercare and supported Medicare. The program, as is so often the case, was written by politicians, not economists. The result is that it has been fiddled with over the years, just as Social Security has been. The result is that, as the years went by, the program became less sustainable.

    I suspect that we will see a cash-only parallel system grow for elderly patients who can afford to pay. The others will gradually be passed over. The political left cares little about their supporters. It is all about power.

    If central planning worked the USSR would have won the cold war.

    Mike K (8df289)

  47. Off topic:

    Via Drudge, at CNET, headline “Bill would give president emergency control of Internet”

    Do you trust this administration with the power to shut down private networks? Supposedly to fight cyber-terrorism, if so it’s the only kind of terror Dems seem to care about…

    jodetoad (059c35)

  48. One- Medicare is unsustainable. Depending on how long I live, it may or may not last as long as I do. IT IS UNSUSTAINABLE !

    No need to get hysterical, Mike.

    From the most recent trustees report:

    “The Medicare Report shows that the HI Trust Fund could be brought into actuarial balance over the next 75 years by changes equivalent to an immediate 134 percent increase in the payroll tax (from a rate of 2.9 percent to 6.78 percent), or an immediate 53 percent reduction in program outlays, or some combination of the two.”

    http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html

    Raise the Medicare tax a little, trim a few outlays and everything is fine for the next 75 years.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  49. sunboob, Medicare won’t last that long. Its going broke, bankrupt, like you.

    Obama wants to destroy the private insurance industry. Here’s the video, sunstroke: http://www.breitbart.tv/uncovered-video-obama-explains-how-his-health-care-plan-will-eliminate-private-insurance/

    PCD (dfef5f)

  50. This was my favorite statistic from this supposedly new troll:

    “…or an immediate 53 percent reduction in program outlays…”

    So, we double the payroll tax, cut outlays by half, or some combination…which is described by the troll as:

    “…Raise the Medicare tax a little, trim a few outlays …”

    Gosh, I would hate to see what this alphabetist troll thinks is a big tax increase, or a large benefits cut.

    But I expect we will all be learning those things, if the Left has its way.

    Nope. Nothing to worry about there! Crazy Republicans!

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  51. More than doubling the medicare tax, an already regressive tax on the lower incomes, is “a little” … wow, that’s a wonderful alternative universe that Sunburn lives in.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. Eric, did Sunburn leave the red nose and floppy shoes are your place?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. Gosh, I hope so. I hate these weirdos walking around the neighborhood. Don’t you? I used to think the guy was talking to friends through a bluetooth, but then I saw he was just muttering to himself.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  54. Even better, SPQR, is that the study to which sunbeam refers taxes future workers in order to pay for current retirees. Imagine some college sophomore who was full of hopeandchange last fall and a big Obama supporter. Wouldn’t it be great to see her get their first paycheck in 2013 and have it breakdown as follows:

    Gross pay, semi-monthly: $1250 ($30k per year starting salary)
    minus Federal tax: $312.50*
    minus Social Security tax: $93.75**
    minus Medicare tax: $84.75***
    State tax: $100 (taking an average of 8%, also raised to meet budget promises)

    That leaves our newly minted college graduate with a whopping $659 take-home pay, or just under 53% of her gross income. And for that she is going to pay more for products in the store because of the value-added tax and other taxes on businesses which will be passed along to the customer. This assumes that our college graduate will be able to get a job, what with businesses not having a whole lot of money for that sort of thing.

    Do you see why this “let’s just raise taxes on everyone” attitude fails so miserably?

    Footnotes
    * Obama will have to raise tax rates to at least 25% to close the massive deficit
    ** Obama will raise it from 6.2% to 7.75% in order to keep it solvent
    *** Sunbeam’s new 6.78% rate from his comment above

    JVW (387524)

  55. Last part of my comment addressed to sunbeam, not SPQR.

    JVW (387524)

  56. If that is just a little tax increase (134%!) and trimming a little is only (53%), then I do not want to live on sunbeam’s planet. Good Allah, first it proclaims that the government healthcare system will improve the free-market allocation of heathcare, and then this one. There is a black hole opening somewhere, and the space-time continuum is teetering ….

    JD (78ecba)

  57. sunbeam should have to pay a surcharge to use oxygen that could be better utilized by sentient beings. Or wildabeasts.

    JD (593b0c)

  58. “The Medicare Report shows that the HI Trust Fund could be brought into actuarial balance over the next 75 years by changes equivalent to an immediate 134 percent increase in the payroll tax (from a rate of 2.9 percent to 6.78 percent), or an immediate 53 percent reduction in program outlays, or some combination of the two.”

    http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html

    Raise the Medicare tax a little, trim a few outlays and everything is fine for the next 75 years.

    Comment by Sunburn

    You idiot !

    The FICA is the heavy burden on the lower middle class and the working poor. I don’t agree with David Frum about a lot but he is absolutely correct when he says that FICA is the reason why the average person has not seen much economic progress the past 30 years. The lefties talk about this all the time but do not analyze why it has happened. Now an idiot comes along and not only ignores the reason but proposes making it worse.

    We must relieve the lower middle class from the burden of FICA. The idiot ignores the fact that the employer contributes an equal amount, doubling the burden on the worker.

    For 2008, the employee’s share of the Social Security portion of the tax is 6.2% of gross compensation up to a limit of $102,000 of compensation (resulting in a maximum of $6,324.00 in tax). For 2009, the employee’s share is 6.2% of gross compensation up to a limit of $106,800 of compensation (resulting in a maximum tax of $6,621.60).[6] This limit, known as the Social Security Wage Base, goes up each year based on average national wages and, in general, at a faster rate than the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The employee’s share of the Medicare portion is 1.45% of wages with no limit. The employer is also liable for separate 6.2% and 1.45% Social Security and Medicare taxes, respectively, making the total Social Security tax 12.4% and the total Medicare tax 2.9% of wages. (Self-employed people are responsible for the entire FICA percentage of 15.3% (= 12.4% + 2.9%), since they are both the employer and the employed; however, see the section on self-employed people for more details.)

    I don’t mind fools around as long as they stand there and keep their mouths shut.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  59. FICA is the reason why the average person has not seen much economic progress the past 30 years.

    Or it could be the poorest 80% of Americans haven’t had a raise in the past 30 years.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  60. Again, before you snark about Poisson distributions, you might review fractions. You seem unclear on the concept, since you are all about D versus R. And “D” doesn’t stand for “denominator” with you, apparently.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  61. Or it could be the poorest 80% of Americans haven’t had a raise in the past 30 years.

    Anyone care to try to untangle the illogic, talking points, assertions, abject idiocy, and basic untruths in this one little sentence?

    JD (d55760)

  62. I think the time has come to stop responding to this idiot. I think I know why he hasn’t had a raise in 30 years.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  63. I would be curious as to who he would include in the poorest 80% of Americans. I cannot believe, even this troll, is so farking stoopid as to suggest that the poorest 80% of Americans, which is 80% of America, have not had raises in 30 years. Though, as Mike notes, it would not surprise me in the least that he has not had a raise in that long.

    JD (9f4ff6)

  64. So what’s a real world example of something that works better than the free market?

    While America’s economy has been contracting this year and last, China’s economy has been growing at a 7%+ clip.

    So what part of China’s economic policy mix do you think accounts for that? No labor unions? Far less regulations like environmental? Aggressive exploitation of natural resources? Extremely limited lawsuits (no class action)? A corporate tax rate of 25%? I’m assuming you agree they account for their growth rate since they’re obvious differences between them and us.

    Gerald A (78e08a)

  65. So what part of China’s economic policy mix do you think accounts for that?

    The average Chinese worker saves 40% of his paycheck.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  66. While you are explaining the intricacies of the Chinese economy to us, maybe you could also explain how 80% of Americans, or the poorest 80% of Americans, have not had a raise in 30 years, or how the government takeover of healthcare will really just improve the free market allocation of services, or how a 134% tax increase is just a little tax increase.

    JD (f303d4)

  67. Sunburn said:

    The average Chinese worker saves 40% of his paycheck.

    And those ten cents keep the whole family, except for the poor girls thrown down the well, swimming in Won-ton soup.

    For the learning impaired, that was sarcasm.

    Dude, if you want to make an honest argument, compare apples to apples. China isn’t a capitalist society, despite what the press may tell you.

    China’s economy is expanding because it exploits cheap labor at the expense of the individual.

    If you disagree with me, the Communist Party might enlighten you further.

    But, hey, if you want to stuff Beanie-Babies or sew soles on Nike shoes at the expense of living in a society that values the freedom to — I don’t know — post on a blog, be my guest.

    And you can count your quarters after your 10-hour shift is done.

    Putz.

    Ag80 (b7e24c)

  68. “Or it could be the poorest 80% of Americans haven’t had a raise in the past 30 years.

    This kind of utter ignorance of economics can’t happen by accident. It has to be created.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  69. Well, the average troll uses 10% of their brain.

    Some less than that.

    Remember, this is just someone trying to be irritating. Just make fun of him. If he starts trying to be serious, that is different.

    But since he can’t master fractions, let alone honest comparison groups, he is merely an alphabetist who no doubt calls his political opponents “stupid” while displaying, well, what we have seen.

    Eric Blair (a88004)

  70. And the “average Chinese worker” has a wonderful safety net from a benevolent government, as well!

    Eric Blair (a88004)

  71. maybe you could also explain how 80% of Americans, or the poorest 80% of Americans, have not had a raise in 30 years

    Pretty simple, their “raises” have not kept up with the rate of inflation.

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  72. That is not what you said, and I would like to see a source for that. 80% seems like an asspull.

    JD (e6edba)

  73. Don’t fix what ain’t broke. If it’s tattered around the edges work on that. Eleminate the lawsuits against doctors and 50% of the problem is fixed. Eleminate the fraud and thief by government employees/elected officials and the other 50% is fixed. It cost less to keep a congress critter in prison than it does to let him/her keep stealing millions from the taxpayers. Start with Rangel, the chief tax code writer or head thief in charge. People like to argue for the life style of countries like China, Korea, or even Japan. Few know of what they speak having never lived with the people of any third world country. I lived in several far east countries and people don’t live, they exist (most worse than a stray dog in the U.S.) People feed stray dogs as I did today.

    Scrapiron (996c34)

  74. JD, what you wrote is an insult toward pullers of ass. This is a fellow who doesn’t get fractions, and you are seriously trying to get him support his talking points?

    Eric Blair (a88004)

  75. The Health Care reform bill under consideration is all about improving on free market allocation of medical care.

    Wrong. It’s about getting the government to fund yet ANOTHER part of the market that it shouldn’t be. If you liked the bank bailouts, with all the post-TARP privilege that’s come with being “too big to fail,” you’ll love the government being involved in health care. If you think this won’t result in the same cronyism and protectionism that’s resulted from TARP, you’re absolutely naive or ignorant.

    Ask any of the posters here who get their health insurance from the government already.

    1) The government doesn’t provide “health insurance,” it provides the same menu of private sector plans as any private business. Having worked both the public and private sector, my private sector plans beat out the government-provided plans any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
    2) Promoting a socialist-oriented healthcare scheme using the language of capitalism is fundamentally dishonest. If the proponents of the so-called “public option” had any honesty whatsoever, they’d admit that promoting this scheme has far less to do with supporting competent healthcare for all citizens and far more to do with forcing their fellow citizens to pay for the needs of others. They’re simply getting pissed because there aren’t enough people with ability this time around willing to prop up those with “need.”
    3) Having had “government health care” under Tricare when I was in the military, I wouldn’t wish government-run health care on anyone.

    Another Chris (f29ad3)

  76. “Pretty simple, their “raises” have not kept up with the rate of inflation.”

    sunburn – Linkage for your assertions is always helpful.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  77. According to U.N. statistics, 2007 per capita GDP in China was $2, 607 versus $45,047 in the U.S., so sunburn’s vaunted Chinese economic model is really doing a heckuva job.

    Congrats sunburn. Should the U.S. switch?

    http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/socind/inc-eco.htm

    daleyrocks (718861)

  78. Great! It’s always nice to know that more help (?) is on the way for the middle class!

    JerryT (83436c)

  79. Gosh, I would hate to see what this alphabetist troll thinks is a big tax increase, or a large benefits cut.

    That makes me think of this person I know who’s the essence of a limousine liberal. He adores Obama and is such a “lefty” that he loves to needle even a RINO like Ah-nold Schwarzenegger for being at the root of the debacle that is California’s state government.

    This individual is responsible for managing certain aspects of a medium-sized business, and bends over backwards to not pay higher corporate taxes. He’s encouraged employees to be signed on as private contractors so that he doesn’t have to deal with their various taxes, payroll included.

    He recently mentioned to me that he loves ordering products online from out-of-state businesses so that he can sidestep sales taxes.

    Again, the essence of a limousine liberal, which I think is a label that describes the behavior of a fair number of people of the left, regardless of their income level.

    Mark (411533)

  80. What is it about trolls so stupid that they confuse the federal government offering private health insurance plans to federal employees with the idea of a government-run health plan?

    Really, is it that these trolls are repeating talking points they don’t think about, or are they college-kids whose parents supply insurance and so are demonstrating their ignorance and lack of preparation for the real world?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  81. Well, the goal of a troll is to make the other people go off and look things up… Keep in mind that trolls generally post one sentence nonsense (like savings rates among Chinese workers) in a snarky fashion. Or they post links that don’t apply.

    Then the other people go look things up, respond with references…and the troll either bugs out or posts more snark. Or changes the subject with something else inflammatory. It’s a game.

    It’s a “stoned dorm room” approach to debate. Lots of the trolls around here fit that mold, whether or not they are currently in college.

    Eric Blair (a88004)

  82. Supercache is superannoying

    JD (be8dcd)

  83. Well first off to fix healthcare you need to lower the cost, because the middle class and rich don’t care unless there prices are low. First thing to cut cost would be malpractice reform, because there are to many slip and fall lawyers. So to get rid of that the system should be loser pays, because than we wouldn’t have any of these cases which raises the cost of healthcare unless it’s legitimate. Now let people cross state lines to get competition flowing to cut cost. Also a large amount of the cost of healthcare comes from TV ads and things like that. So you should have it that there’s one website where anyone who wants care can purchase it on this site, but there’s no adds and people by the better insurance company not by the flashier adds. Now I don’t support government backed insurance companies, but I would support insurance companies that don’t make there profit through selling the insurance, but by people accessing it and it would cost like 50 bucks. To make it so if you stay healthy you wont need to let them have profits and save 20%. And right now under the current system there’s no competition so they can make all the profit they want. Also by making it so the FDA is eliminate you can lower the price quiet a bit. And to fix medicare and Social Security you invest money into renewable energy so when your older you can get money from the Nuclear or geothermal plant. Now healthcare is the thing we need to fix as soon as possible, but we have to have conservative solutions to fixing the economy. Also my idea can work to replace welfare and medicaid when your out of work.

    charles (eb6028)

  84. SPQR – What about trolls so stupid that they don’t understand the difference between rationing by government fiat and allocation through supply and demand in a market system.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  85. “I would support insurance companies that don’t make there profit through selling the insurance”

    charles – What should insurance companies make their profit selling?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  86. “The people who are against medical reform are trying to appeal to people’s basest instincts.”

    Yeah, like when Howard Dean came out against MEDICAL TORT REFORM because the Dems could not / would not stand up to the tort lawyer special interests… in effect saying “we will only beat up on the GOP special interests, the Democrat special interests are off limits!”

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  87. “Or it could be the poorest 80% of Americans haven’t had a raise in the past 30 years.”

    “This kind of utter ignorance of economics can’t happen by accident. It has to be created.”

    True Dat… Degrees in stupidity, ignorance and dishonesty are out there. I think Prof Henry Gates has some inside skinny on how to get one.

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  88. “I have insurance, but I don’t use it. So I’m paying into the system, but receiving no benefits.

    Can I get a rebate?”

    I pay taxes for prisons, welfare and numerous public subsidies, but I don’t use it. So I’m paying into the system, but receiving no benefits.

    Can I get a rebate?

    Travis Monitor (9e3371)

  89. daleyrocks, you missed the best part of “charles”. He thinks that health insurance can only cost $50.

    This is hilarious.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  90. [...] The second (and larger) risk is that a proposal designed to grab the center holds only a handful of votes. That is what happened in the dying days of HillaryCare in 1994. [...]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » ObamaCare: Public option + trigger = exit strategy? (e2f069)

  91. [...] that a proposal designed to grab the center holds only a handful of votes. That is what happened in the dying days of HillaryCare in 1994. Those proposals never made it to any sort of [...]

    Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » The Obama Back-Peddle On Health Care? Not Believing It (e7cd22)

  92. [...] that a proposal designed to grab the center holds only a handful of votes. That is what happened in the dying days of HillaryCare in 1994. Those proposals never made it to any sort of [...]

    The Baltimore Reporter (5ef58e)

  93. [...] Meanwhile, Senate Democrats may be even less happy with Baucus than the GOP Gang of Three. It is a distorted echo of 1994, when centrist mandate-driven healthcare proposals could not attract substantial support in the [...]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » ObamaCare getting even more partisan and more unwieldy (e2f069)

  94. [...] coverage folks; and (6) insurers, device makers and labs. It is a list that helps explain why supposedly centrist healthcare proposals died in 1994. And that final group is especially important, as opposition from business is the best hope of [...]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » ObamaCare: Who loves the Baucus bill? (e2f069)

  95. [...] is ClintonCare backer Paul Starr’s memory, too. The lesson here is that time is the enemy of ObamaCare. Then again, time has always [...]

    ObamaCare: State of the Undead Bill »• for •, >> and » » Conservative Viewpoint Blog (1cad67)


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