Patterico's Pontifications

12/11/2009

ObamaCare: Air leaking out of Reid’s trial balloon?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:51 am



[Posted by Karl]

Via The Hill:

The supposed healthcare deal cut by Harry Reid is a “non-starter,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said today.

***

“I think when we get the score back from CBO that it’s going to be too costly,” Nelson told Fox News Live today.

Nelson is not even among the usual “moderate” suspects waiting for a CBO score.  And Nelson is probably right.  Reid’s current trial balloon is a Kennedy retread — and Ted was not exactly focused like a laser on fiscal responsibility.  According to the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Reid’s version of ObamaCare would make the US healthcare system more expensive than if we simply did nothing — and render 20 percent of providers to Medicare’s hospital insurance program unprofitable to boot.  Going further Left is unlikely to change that analysis.

So the hissing sound you hear may be the air leaking out of Reid’s trial balloon.  Or it may be Reid himself, lashing out at the GOP for forcing to work this weekend, instead of flying off to a Saturday fundraiser in New Orleans with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Democratic consultant James Carville:

“I think that this debate has really come to a point that I’ve rarely seen in the Senate — in fact, I’ve never seen it — to have my friends on the other side of the aisle come to the floor and in some way try to embarrass or denigrate me,” Reid said, according to a transcript. “But they should understand, any events I had scheduled this weekend have been canceled. Events I had last weekend had been canceled. Four or five of them.”

Reid said he would never admonish a fellow senator for holding a fundraiser. “I would never, ever intentionally come to the floor and try to talk to somebody about having had a fundraiser and that’s why they’re trying to get out of here,” he said. About taking the weekend off, Reid added, “I thought it would be appropriate because we’ve worked pretty hard here to have a day or two off.”

Maybe Reid was being mocked because Reid started the week comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago.  Given that the Senate has been working at a breakneck pace on his bill, asking for time off to raise money while cravenly accusing the GOP of obstructionism does not seem to have been a winning strategy for the majority leader.

Or the hissing sound may be the public reaction to this increasingly unpopular bill, which Reid is bent on cramming down the throats of the American people.

Update:  Majority Whip Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, claims he does not know the details of the trial balloon. A cynic might suggest he’s leaving himself room to jump out of the way of the Hindenburg, and perhaps stay in position for the top job if Reid gets ousted by Nevada voters in 2010.

–Karl

101 Responses to “ObamaCare: Air leaking out of Reid’s trial balloon?”

  1. His FRIENDS? You mean the ones he accused of supporting slavery last week? You’ve got to be kidding!

    ctmom (f9fbc1)

  2. The worst of this is that no one now knows the net effect of these constantly changing rules. If, by some mischance, this should pass, it would be a disaster. There are better ways to reform healthcare. The basic principle has to be that we cannot afford the prepaid care model we’ve had for the past 40 years. It was great for doctors and patients for a while but eventually, people learn how to game the system. The utilization goes up and the costs get out of control. We need a two-track system, one for those who want prepaid care would be an HMO. Kaiser does a good job.

    For those who want private care with free choice, you have to have them pay for routine care themselves. People spend billions right now on “alternate” medical stuff and that could pay for the necessary routine care.

    The present economic slowdown is tightening everywhere. I know plastic surgeons who are really having to tighten their belts. People are not having plastic surgery like they were.

    I think consumer spending will be down until Obama leaves office. Unless, of course, he succeeds in getting everyone a government job.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. Indeed, Mike K., I’d love to be able to purchase an inexpensive health insurance policy with a large deductible of around $3K to $5K and no mandated, silly or gold plated coverages. It would cost half what I’m paying now.

    Not available. Period. Because of stupid govt regulation purchased by rent-seeking special interests.

    SPQR (c1f32d)

  4. Harry Reid doesn’t have to worry about his “friends” on the GOP side of the Senate, they’re constrained by the combination of good manners, tradition, and the Sergeant-at-arms. It’s Reid’s forsaken constituents in Nevada who represent a clear and present danger to the Majority leader’s dignity and well being.

    Reid put the policies and programs of the far Left in Washington DC before the needs and aspirations of the voters of Nevada. Consequently, he failed at the most fundamental task of an elected representative: Harry Reid turned his back on the people who trusted him to represent their interests, not his.

    Now, they’re mad as hell, and it’s time to get even with the two-faced, lying pipsqueek from Searchlight, that loud-mouthed arrogant fool who’s been embarrassing the Silver State for far too long. Slavery indeed!

    Out in Elko, Winnemucca, or Pahrump ol’ Dingy Harry is more likely to get a pink belly from the boys than he is to collect any campaign funds. Reid’s free ride is over, and the voters of Nevada ain’t going to put up with any more double talk from Obama’s yellow dog Senate stooge this time around.

    Say “good bye” to Harry Reid, he won’t have the voters of Nevada to kick around any more.

    ropelight (5c6f98)

  5. Going further Left is unlikely to change that analysis.

    That ain’t stopping them.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (76097c)

  6. ““I think when we get the score back from CBO that it’s going to be too costly,” Nelson told Fox News Live today.”

    But we knew that already: the public option competition keeps costs down, weaken the public option, and costs go up.

    imdw (c3c479)

  7. That’s not what the CBO said, imdw.

    SPQR (c1f32d)

  8. The only way a “public option” keeps prices down is through price controls.

    Price controls are not cost controls.

    Leftists have never learned this, though price controls have a 4000 year history of failure as policy.

    Karl (f07e38)

  9. I don’t think Reid is too worried about his re-election. His family is so deeply burrowed into the public trough in Nevada that they are fixed for a generation. He may want to come back next Congress but he doesn’t seem to be fearful about losing. His family is notorious in Nevada which has a history of crooks in Congress. McCarren was the character depicted in the Godfather and the airport in Las Vegas is named for him.

    The Democrats are even starting to talk about Durbin as the next majority leader.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  10. “That’s not what the CBO said, imdw.”

    I’m going by this:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/09/cbo_a_strong_public_plan_saves.html

    “The only way a “public option” keeps prices down is through price controls.”

    I think the private sector should be free to charge more than the public option. The public option will be terrible and people will want to pay a premium for the awesomeness that their private insurance company delivers, righte?

    imdw (e6c812)

  11. The plan to enroll people 55 or older in Medicare won’t mean cheap health insurance for them, either. Ed Morrissey says:

    “The Medicare buy-in–for which no federal subsidies are applicable–would carry almost the same cost, at $7600 per individual (it will not have family coverage), or over $630 per month. Remember, too, that this has a diminishing network of providers, no out-of-pocket caps on expenses. . .”

    Official Internet Data Office (0a4bf0)

  12. Private sector health insurance companies operate on a profit margin of 2 to 4%. Government sponsored programs waste over half their budgets long before any money gets beyond the beltway.

    Follow imdw’s lead and get half the service for twice the price. Have death panels ration care, pay for illegal aliens, pay for abortions, pay and pay and pay through the nose, for less and less. But, be happy in your misery that Democrats in Congress exempt themselves from the servitude they inflict on you. It’s sooo Progressive.

    If you like waiting in line at the DMV, you’ll love waiting around the doctor’s office for some bureaucrat in Washington DC to give the OK for your sick child to get necessary treatment.

    ropelight (5c6f98)

  13. imdw,

    They won’t be paying a premium for awesomeness that their private insurance company delivers. They’ll be paying a premium to cover the costs left over by gov’t price-fixing. Or there would be a vast shortage of doctors accepting patients under a “public option.” Prices are not costs. Costs do not disappear by price-fixing. Someone else pays, or supply of the good/ service dries up. Learn it, love it.

    Karl (0b58c4)

  14. The problem with being the Majority Leader, particularly on the Dem side when you’re elected from a nominally conservative state, is that as the leader, you must push the national agenda of your party which might be antithetical to the expressed interests of your constituents.
    Harry Reid, meet Tom Daschle.

    BTW, Dr.Mike…
    An interesting discussion on the Comments Board over at the WSJ-Online Opinion Journal re Doctors and Medicare.
    It was pointed out by many that if the pay scales for Medicare aren’t changed in a positive manner more relfecting the actual market value of the care provided, and if more people are allowed to “buy in” to Medicare as per Sen.Reid’s latest trial balloon, that more Doctors will be opting-out of treating Medicare patients, as you have informed us here.
    It occurred to me that Congress has the power to easily prevent the opt-out scenario:
    They just amend the Civil Rights Act of 1965 to include in Public Accomodations medical services and care, and the inclusion of Medicare/Medicaid enrollment as a protected class.
    Problem solved, and another sliver of freedom whittled-off of the Tree of Liberty.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e54b5e)

  15. “Follow imdw’s lead and get half the service for twice the price. Have death panels ration care, pay for illegal aliens, pay for abortions, pay and pay and pay through the nose, for less and less.”

    Also it will make your kids gay.

    “If you like waiting in line at the DMV, you’ll love waiting around the doctor’s office for some bureaucrat in Washington DC to give the OK for your sick child to get necessary treatment.”

    Is this really people’s experience? I find I’ve waited longer for doctors than for the DMV.

    imdw (e031a3)

  16. I was hoping Reid would go to his fundraiser and get outta Washington for a day or two. He is an idiot, comes across as an idiot, and I suspect he is in serious trouble with respect to re-election. He must have recurring nightmares about what happened to Daschle in 2004. Talk of Durbin as a replacement majority leader should not excite anyone, however. He is treacherous as they come– as his “handling” of the Burris affair showed.

    elissa (3d27d8)

  17. What’s going on here? Why the break from focusing on Robert Stacy McCain? Clearly that is the most important thing going on in the nation at the moment.

    Ben (43c1ea)

  18. Reid is a mendacious dirtbag. He was all for obstruction when he was in the minority, or when only the Senate was in Democrap hands.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  19. RSMcC envites even less interest that does the Sr.Senator from AZ.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e54b5e)

  20. The public option will be terrible and people will want to pay a premium for the awesomeness that their private insurance company delivers, righte?

    Irrelevant. I’ve said this before over and over and over, and none of the lefties that comment here have once been capable of refuting it: a nation that has $140 trillion in current debt and future obligations on Medicare and Social Security will not be able to pay for complete and total healthcare for tens-to-hundreds of millions more in perpetuity and still meet these other entitlements. It’s a matter of if, not when, the system finally collapses.

    Our entire ponzi economy is ultimately rendered worthless without exponential growth. Without dramatic increases in population and/or inflation into infinity, our current system cannot be sustained in perpetuity. People can find ways to kick the can for a season or even longer(see Enron, Bernie Madoff), but the math eventually wins out every single time, and it doesn’t care how much you or anyone else suffers.

    The sooner people in this country accept that the party is over and that we can no longer spend our way to prosperity, the easier it’s going to be for our elected leaders to actually craft a stable economic reform plan. This healthcare bill (in all its various forms) is simply a medical version of “extend and pretend” that doesn’t acknowledge the current economic reality and doesn’t reform jack squat.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  21. People are not having plastic surgery like they were.

    I can see plenty of evidence of that as I walk around my town. Wearing sunglasses at night is no longer just a song from the 80s. But there has been a reported increase in plastic surgery on people’s credit cards. Some voluntary, but moreso that has been forced upon them. Trouble is that as personal debt shrinks, public debt is outgaining it in the opposite direction.

    political agnostic (c43bf9)

  22. “Our entire ponzi economy is ultimately rendered worthless without exponential growth”

    You’ve got the current debt and future obligations down, what’s the future GDP you’re comparing this against? What changes in productivity or population would be needed to make this not as big of a problem. That seems to me the key question, not the size of the present value of the obligations.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (f5f074)

  23. The projected deficits as provided by the WH are ballooning the National Debt to the point that as the economy contracts, or expands at a rate that is much lower than expectations, the growth of Federal Revenues is being overtaken by the servicing of the National Debt, a problem make even more accute as investors demand higher interest payments as a protection against future inflation – which is coming on like an out-of-control freight train.
    When the service costs on the National Debt become higher than the National Revenue, we (the United States of America) are BANKRUPT!

    AD - RtR/OS! (e54b5e)

  24. “It’s a matter of if, not when, the system finally collapses.”

    Good news…I think..

    cassandra in MT (5a5d33)

  25. No, it’s a matter of when, not if – for under current conditions, it will collapse, for what we are doing is not sustainable.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e54b5e)

  26. I think the private sector should be free to charge more than the public option. The public option will be terrible and people will want to pay a premium for the awesomeness that their private insurance company delivers, righte?

    Comment by imdw

    imdw, if there really were a private option, I think the public option would get a run for its money. Instead, the Democrats have fixed the race by restricting private insurance to policies approved by the exchange and that means the mandates like acupuncture and chiropractic and dance therapy and the rest. The reasoning is that unregulated insurance wouldn’t be “real” insurance and people must be protected from themselves by government.

    The HSAs were only authorized after the GOP took Congress. The high deductible insurance policies that back them up are anathema to Democrats.

    If Medicare was really actuarially sound, I would have no problem with it as an option for younger people. It isn’t. It only has 6 more years to bankruptcy. I kind of hope I live that long and the options are not too good since the passage of Medicare in 1965 instantly ended all post-65 health insurance. Yes, there was health insurance for those over 65. I remember it.

    There is a way to do this. The problem seems to be that there will not be enough government employees and graft to make it worthwhile.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  27. Mike K., you are serious person. Why do you bother to respond to someone is clearly is not?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  28. What changes in productivity or population would be needed to make this not as big of a problem. That seems to me the key question, not the size of the present value of the obligations.

    Stop cribbing from Krugman and assuming that the money is simply going to be there. You need a realistic indication that GDP is going to be at the levels you would require, and with the current debt to GDP ratio running at 350%, that’s fantasyland.

    Furthermore, what industries are going to provide that massive GDP upswing? Our economy is 70% consumer-driven, and of that number, 40% is by the 10% highest income earners. And guess what–they aren’t going to be pulling everyone else out of the fire, especially with the Democrats hot to take even more of their paychecks to pay for things the government can’t afford.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/sorry-upper-class-will-not-pull-us-economy-out-depression

    Sorry, but there is simply no way that a nation whose citizens have roughly $12 trillion in consumer debt, with a U3 of 10% and a U6 of 17.5%, are going to be willing to spend their way out of this recession. Federal and state tax revenues have fallen through the floor, and the states have used the “stimulus” to cover their budget shortfalls instead of creating jobs. Your assertion that GDP and productivity will magically fill in the gaps eventually does not square with reality.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  29. Is this really people’s experience? I find I’ve waited longer for doctors than for the DMV.

    Then you must live in a fairly tiny town – I’ve gone to the local DMV here four times over the past 5 years to try to change my license back to an IL one, but each time the wait’s been well over an hour. Screw them, they can come get me if it’s that important.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  30. Charles Krauthammer, who has consistently believed that Obamacare is destructive but would pass in some form, just stated (on Special Report) that, when it comes to a Christmas deadline, he doesn’t believe that it will pass the Senate; and, he has always believed that if it didn’t pass before the Christmas break, Election Year politics would be a big hurdle to overcome.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e54b5e)

  31. Nelson is my Senator, we are working on him. Florida with the largest retired population in the country is having their voices heard clearly by this hypocrite.

    bill-tb (541ea9)

  32. #10 — Comment by imdw — 12/11/2009 @ 11:52 am

    Imdw’s source was based on this source:

    In total, a public plan based on Medicare rates would save $110 billion over 10 years. That is $20 billion more than earlier estimates, a spokesman for House Speaker Pelosi said.

    The numbers are based on oral communications between CBO staff and Pelosi’s office, a Pelosi spokesman said. They do not represent an official CBO estimate.

    Funny what reading more than a headline reveals. In short, imdw’s premise is false (based on his own source’s source).

    pons asinorum (6adc3d)

  33. That’s why imdw has always been my go-to guy when I need ‘fake but accurate’ info.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e54b5e)

  34. AD — Heh!!

    pons asinorum (6adc3d)

  35. “Stop cribbing from Krugman and assuming that the money is simply going to be there. ”

    I’m not assuming it will be there. I asked how much would be there.

    “Sorry, but there is simply no way that a nation whose citizens have roughly $12 trillion in consumer debt, with a U3 of 10% and a U6 of 17.5%, are going to be willing to spend their way out of this recession.”

    I’m not talking cyclically and spending out of this recession. I’m talking much more long term — How do our obligations look compared to the long term GDP? How much would we need in growth — population, GDP or productivity — to lessen the problem?

    “Then you must live in a fairly tiny town – I’ve gone to the local DMV here four times over the past 5 years to try to change my license back to an IL one, but each time the wait’s been well over an hour. Screw them, they can come get me if it’s that important.”

    Nope. Big city. And waits over an hour are what I see at the doctor.

    “Funny what reading more than a headline reveals. In short, imdw’s premise is false (based on his own source’s source).”

    Wait why is this false? Did that say it didn’t happen?

    imdw (e58fa9)

  36. I’m not assuming it will be there. I asked how much would be there.

    No, you said it was the “key question,” implying that GDP and productivity growth will cover the financial obligations to pay for all these programs and entitlements. You never asked how much would be there. Stop playing word games.

    I’m not talking cyclically and spending out of this recession. I’m talking much more long term — How do our obligations look compared to the long term GDP? How much would we need in growth — population, GDP or productivity — to lessen the problem?

    First you said that you weren’t assuming the GDP and productivity would be there, and then ask how much we would need. You’re begging the question. If you’re going to refute my point that the math does not support these programs over the long term, you better come back with some hard data or start accepting that you are just making stuff up. The $140 trillion in debt and unfunded obligations is real; the future GDP and future productivity metrics you try to imply are speculative and based on wishful thinking.

    I want numbers and hard data–not sophistry– that not just singlepayer healthcare, but SS can be sustained in perpetuity with the debt obligations we have. We’ll leave Medicare out of the equation since singlepayer is just that for retired people. Do you honestly think that these can be funded forever without exponential growth in population and the inflation (read: debasement) of our currency? I’d love to see the math.

    Another Chris (470967)

  37. #35 — Comment by imdw — 12/11/2009 @ 4:39 pm
    Wait why is this false? Did that say it didn’t happen?

    Feel free to read the entire article, then evaluate using critical thinking skills, and draw a logical conclusion — make sure to take into account the objectivity of the author. Then ask yourself: “Self, is this really the best source I can use to prove my conclusion?” Remember evidence to fact, fact to premise, premises to conclusion; all within the basic rules of propositional logic, at a minimum (hint — pay special attention to the bolded part):

    The numbers are based on oral communications between CBO staff and Pelosi’s office, a Pelosi spokesman said. They do not represent an official CBO estimate.

    Good luck!

    Pons Asinorum (6adc3d)

  38. Meanwhile, the Dept of Health and Human Services / Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report shoots the BS full of holes.

    I suspect that this week is the week that the healthcare bill began its death spiral.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  39. Mike K., you are serious person. Why do you bother to respond to someone is clearly is not?

    Comment by SPQR

    I commented for years on Washington Monthly. Then, after I tried to have a reasonable debate with them about health reform, they banned me. Another former commenter pointed out on my blog that the number of comments on Wash Monthly are way down from several years ago. They prefer consensus over diversity.

    I really think there is a way to reform healthcare that would solve a lot of problems. I spent some time a year ago looking into this and did a bunch of posts on the alternative. Yet I see people who don’t know what they are talking about, for example at FrumForum, conflating the NHS and Canada with France (comment # 10). France has a totally different system and is a model for what we could do to reform our own system.

    They require people to pay FIRST for care and then get reimbursed later from a fixed schedule. They allow patients to choose more expensive doctors and pay extra. Both are illegal here.

    The present legislation is an abortion that has the only virtue of jobs for loyal Democrats. Lots of jobs.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  40. Nope. Big city. And waits over an hour are what I see at the doctor.

    Yes, but what are your wait times at your local DMV? That’s the key criteria you’re discussing.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  41. #37 Pons Asinorum:

    Good luck!

    Good grief! Wouldn’t have squeezing mango juice from a turnip have been an easier task, and more likely to be achievable?

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  42. #41 EW1: Well, conservatives are often described as the party of the “haves,” and apparently I have more than my share of them.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  43. “No, you said it was the “key question,” implying that GDP and productivity growth will cover the financial obligations to pay for all these programs and entitlements.”

    So me saying it was a question, implied one particular answer. I see.

    “Stop playing word games.”

    Indeed. See, I just want to know how the two — future obligations and future production — compare. And what changes need to be made to either to make the situation better. How much more productivity do we need to avoid entitlement cuts? How much more GDP or population? etc…

    “Yes, but what are your wait times at your local DMV? That’s the key criteria you’re discussing.”

    Less than I’ve had at the doctor, and often easier — the bureaucracy and what is required is clearly spelled out and predictable.

    “They do not represent an official CBO estimate.”

    See, but I didn’t say it was an official CBO estimate. I just said it’s what we know. If someone has another link, link away.

    “I want numbers and hard data–not sophistry– that not just singlepayer healthcare, but SS can be sustained in perpetuity with the debt obligations we have.”

    And it shouldn’t be hard to figure out what numbers — hard ones — in terms of productivity and population growth are required to sustain a given level of debt and entitlement obligation. Those are key in terms of affordability. For example, if debt is 350% of GDP, and is at 1% interest, that’s not such a problem if we’re realizing 4% productivity gains. Reverse those percentages, and we have a real problem.

    “Do you honestly think that these can be funded forever without exponential growth in population and the inflation (read: debasement) of our currency? I’d love to see the math.”

    Exponential growth in population is pretty easy. As to entitlement spending on the old, I think its not too hard to reach a stasis where we have the working paying for the non-working. I don’t think we have the numbers now for that. What I’m asking is what the numbers would have to be like for that.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (ee9fce)

  44. “… waits over an hour are what I see at the doctor…”

    People have been complaining about waiting times in Doctors’ offices since before Medicare.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e54b5e)

  45. Dingy Harry threatened to keep the Senate open for business this weekend. He has threatened that on many occasions this year. This time, the GOP called his bluff and forced the Senate to stay open for business this weekend, just as Dingy Harry said it would be.

    Note to Dingy Harry: Being from Nevada, you should know if you can’t afford to be called, don’t make the bluff.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  46. Indeed. See, I just want to know how the two — future obligations and future production — compare.

    Baloney–you’re establishing a false comparison that will never exist in reality. Future obligations can be concretely measured based on existing factors. Future production cannot. The fact that you are stubbornly clinging to hypotheticals rather than facts shows you are clearly not up to the challenge presented here.

    And what changes need to be made to either to make the situation better. How much more productivity do we need to avoid entitlement cuts? How much more GDP or population? etc…

    You tell me–I’ve repeatedly asked for hard data that supported your position on this. You have yet to present any, which tells me you know that the system of government you support cannot be sustained in perpetuity outside of theoretical constructs that you haven’t even bothered to outline in any detail.

    And it shouldn’t be hard to figure out what numbers — hard ones — in terms of productivity and population growth are required to sustain a given level of debt and entitlement obligation. Those are key in terms of affordability. For example, if debt is 350% of GDP, and is at 1% interest, that’s not such a problem if we’re realizing 4% productivity gains. Reverse those percentages, and we have a real problem.

    Again, stop ripping off from Krugman–both of you are making stuff up as you go along because the reality shows that your position is untenable over the long term.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/best-buy-krugman-and-carry-trade

    From the article:
    “We are at the point where the laws of big numbers start to come into play. For Mr. Krugman’ view to work out we would have to successfully sell an additional $900 billion of debt each year for the next decade. (em. mine)I think that is an impossible task. But what is truly impossible is that that amount of debt can be sold without an increase in the 1.2% after inflation cost of the debt that Mr. Krugman is relying upon. You can just fool so many bondholders for so long before they look elsewhere.

    The cost of servicing our debt will likely double. The increase will be a combination of a general rise in interest rates and in increase in the “spread” that the US will have to pay. If debt expense was a modest 6% it would put the cost at $1.2 trillion. I don’t think we will get to that level. We will blow up first.”

    Exponential growth in population is pretty easy.

    But not sustainable. I’m no Malthusian, but it doesn’t take a scientist to recognize that eventually, the earth’s resources will not be able to support the human population. Barring government mandates, land can be allocated to an ever-increasing population for a good long time, but not food, water, energy, etc.

    As to entitlement spending on the old, I think its not too hard to reach a stasis where we have the working paying for the non-working. I don’t think we have the numbers now for that. What I’m asking is what the numbers would have to be like for that.

    You’re kidding, right? The numbers are already there:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/sstf-shocker-6b-august-deficit

    “-In August the US Treasury had to borrow an additional $6 billion in the public market to finance the cash shortfall of Social Security. We already have too much paper for sale to fund the budget deficit. SS added to the supply problem last month.

    -The 2037 Future Value of the August deficit is -$17b based on a 4% return. What this means is that there will be a very significant revision in the 2037 drop-dead date. Based on current trends the go broke date is closer to 2025.”

    None of this, by the way, addresses how we are going to pay for complete and total healthcare for 10s to 100s of millions of people on top of what we are going to owe in Social Security. (A system itself that is broke)

    Another Chris (470967)

  47. “People have been complaining about waiting times in Doctors’ offices since before Medicare.”

    Indeed.

    “Baloney–you’re establishing a false comparison that will never exist in reality. Future obligations can be concretely measured based on existing factors. Future production cannot.”

    So there’s no way of knowing whether our current debt is unsustainable or not? That’s ridiculous.

    “You tell me–I’ve repeatedly asked for hard data that supported your position on this.”

    I don’t know what the numbers are. That’s why I’m asking. You’re pretending I’m saying something other than asking. If you want to say our debt is unsustainable, then that is based on *some* idea of what the future will be like, right? I mean, maybe you’re assuming that it will be just like today?

    “Again, stop ripping off from Krugman–both of you are making stuff up as you go along because the reality shows that your position is untenable over the long term.”

    In one of my scenarios we’re untenable, in the other we’re doing quite good, over the long term. What numbers does krugman say we have?

    “You’re kidding, right? The numbers are already there:”

    I don’t think you understand what kind of numbers i’m talking about.

    imdw (c3c479)

  48. I don’t think you understand what kind of numbers i’m talking about.

    Comment by imdw — 12/11/2009 @ 10:53 pm

    imdw is expressly discussing the square roots of negative numbers, in keeping with his overall thematics.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  49. Or is he a she? Which would partially explain the difficulty with numbers.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  50. So there’s no way of knowing whether our current debt is unsustainable or not? That’s ridiculous.

    So where is the money going to come from to prop up these programs, then? You’ve made noise about hypotheticals like “if” the GDP goes to certain levels which you haven’t specified, but not once have you named any of the industries that are going to magically create the level of productivity you keep implying. The notion that this country can continually place itself into further debt to meet its obligations is ridiculous. We just had an economic meltdown last year that completely refuted the notion that a debt-based economy is not sustainable on a consumer level–what makes you think it’s sustainable on a national level?

    I don’t know what the numbers are. That’s why I’m asking. You’re pretending I’m saying something other than asking.

    Jesus Christ–here is what you said earlier:

    “You’ve got the current debt and future obligations down, what’s the future GDP you’re comparing this against? What changes in productivity or population would be needed to make this not as big of a problem.”

    THE FUTURE GDP IS IRRELEVANT, because IT’S NOTHING MORE THAN CONJECTURE. The WHOLE POINT is that we cannot sustain these programs, nor add new burdens, given the economy that we have RIGHT NOW, and FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. THAT’s the reality, not yours nor Krugman’s wishful thinking on “future GDP,” which is a lazy out when the numbers and trends we have on the economy–the ones that use real-world data–don’t conform to the pseudo-Keynesian model. You’re beating this “future GDP” horse because you can’t provide any sort of evidence that shows these programs can be realistically sustained.

    In one of my scenarios we’re untenable, in the other we’re doing quite good, over the long term. What numbers does krugman say we have?

    Read the link.

    I don’t think you understand what kind of numbers i’m talking about.

    Then perhaps you should learn to communicate better instead of relying on your typically passive-aggressive, obtuse debating style.

    Another Chris (470967)

  51. By the way, I’m still waiting for you or any other leftie to explain how we are going to pay for complete and total healthcare for an additional 10s-100s of millions of people, given all of our other debt and entitlement obligations.

    Spare me the vagaries about “future GDP”–where is the money specifically going to come from? This whole discussion, which started out as a challenge for specifics, has been sidetracked by your need to insert hypotheticals. Start giving me some real-world data and facts, or I’m cutting off further discussion with you and assuming that you are incapable of answering the question.

    Another Chris (470967)

  52. #44 AD – RtR/OS!:

    People have been complaining about waiting times in Doctors’ offices since before Medicare.

    People have been complaining about waiting times in doctor’s offices since doctors stopped making house calls in horse & buggy.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  53. Another Chris: You banged the nail on the head with this statement:

    The sooner people in this country accept that the party is over and that we can no longer spend our way to prosperity

    The problem is that you can never spend your way to prosperity. Prosperity occurs when wealth has been accreted, and money is not wealth. Money is an accounting system used to distribute prosperity, in other words, a system to keep track of who has contributed something that society has found valuable.

    Spending in and of itself, doesn’t create wealth…although it can be used in capital formation to create wealth. But that isn’t a role that governments are effective at~notoriously the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries of the last century. When money is distributed by fiat, as the O!ne is doing, it sends the wrong incentives to the market: the masses, the workers, society, whatever you want to call the composite of a population of people’s hopes and dreams, aspirations and wants; and does two things that are ultimately self destructive: it benefits people unfairly that haven’t made a contribution to society that would earn them the prosperity awarded them, and it removes the incentive from people that do have a valuable contribution to make to society at large to do so.

    Unlimited medical care and treatment for all comers is only possible when there is unlimited wealth, and although the world is immensely more wealthy than it was last century, we aren’t at the point where wealth is unlimited. Any attempt to ration health care (or any other commodity) that doesn’t respect the relative contributions of the individuals involved is going to distort the system, with painful consequences in the future…or really, now since there has been a lot of distortion introduced by the “Great Society” and the wacky plans it spawned.

    Only a Democrat (or a delusional Marxist) could believe otherwise.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  54. By the way, I’m still waiting for you or any other leftie to explain how we are going to pay for complete and total healthcare for an additional 10s-100s of millions of people, given all of our other debt and entitlement obligations.

    You already know the answer that’s forthcoming – “deficit spending is good in times of hardship, but sometimes it’s not – or maybe it is, I’m not really saying it is or it isn’t, or what I mean is I really don’t know, but I do know but won’t commit to a definitive statement, but maybe it is after all, I have no idea, etc.”

    Dmac (a964d5)

  55. “You’ve made noise about hypotheticals like “if” the GDP goes to certain levels which you haven’t specified, but not once have you named any of the industries that are going to magically create the level of productivity you keep implying.”

    See, I don’t even know if current productivity is enough to be sustainable. THAT’s why I’m asking that our debt obligations be described in terms of what kind of productivity and growth numbers we’d need. Not because I’m implying magic, but because I want to know whether we are sustainable or whether it would take “magic” to get us there. That’s it. It’s ok if you don’t know. I don’t know either.

    “THE FUTURE GDP IS IRRELEVANT, because IT’S NOTHING MORE THAN CONJECTURE. The WHOLE POINT is that we cannot sustain these programs, nor add new burdens, given the economy that we have RIGHT NOW, and FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.”

    Ah so there is a “foreseeable future” Ok. So it’s not ALL unknowable guesswork.

    Future GDP is very relevant — because that’s the production that we have available to pay off future obligations. You don’t have to tell me what it will be. You just have to tell me what it HAS to be. But you act like any mention of there being a future is a cop out. Which is odd.

    Clearly there will be GDP and production in the future. That’s what wealth creation we’ll have then. One approach to this problem is to first figure out what it needs to be in order to make our known obligations sustainable, and then try to figure out how far we are from that. You act like this is some sort of canard though. Which is very odd.

    imdw (411aad)

  56. Verbal diarrhea at its finest

    JD (a58f1d)

  57. “Then perhaps you should learn to communicate better instead of relying on your typically passive-aggressive, obtuse debating style.”

    How much better can it get than when I ask you a question and you assume that I am giving you one answer and then berate me for being wrong?

    imdw (f8211e)

  58. Unlimited medical care and treatment for all comers is only possible when there is unlimited wealth, and although the world is immensely more wealthy than it was last century, we aren’t at the point where wealth is unlimited.

    Has anyone ever proposed unlimited medical care for all comers?

    Even the British NHS does not do that; note that there are very few people with cyborg limbs there.

    Michael Ejercito (6a1582)

  59. See, I don’t even know if current productivity is enough to be sustainable. Future GDP is very relevant — because that’s the production that we have available to pay off future obligations. You don’t have to tell me what it will be.</

    It doesn’t have anything to do with productivity–I’ve been trying to bang this into your head the whole thread. It has to do with whether the government continues to spend at a rate that far exceeds what it takes in in revenue. Not just taxes, but things like land sales and export duties. Our GDP has increasingly become dependant on consumer spending, and is higher than its ever been in the nation’s history, yet the government is still broke because the government continues to spend far more than it takes in. Right now, the government is the only national entity that’s increasing its spending levels. EVERY other sector of the economy is deleveraging. That’s why GDP is irrelevant over the long term.

    http://www.measuringworth.org/usgdp/

    Furthermore, you seem intellectually incapable of confronting the very real issue of the nation’s debt burden and the strain this is going to put on the our system of government in the coming years. Our country has an economy that is dependant on people spending themselves into massive debt, which caused the current depression (and the one in 1929, incidentally). What on earth makes you think that this is sustainable on a government level? Show me one nation in history that’s survived with exponentially increasing debt levels. It doesn’t exist. Sooner or later, they ALL come down, because their debt renders them incapable of delivering on the social contract with their citizens.

    Clearly there will be GDP and production in the future. That’s what wealth creation we’ll have then. One approach to this problem is to first figure out what it needs to be in order to make our known obligations sustainable, and then try to figure out how far we are from that. You act like this is some sort of canard though. Which is very odd.

    Sorry, but you’ve been shifting the burden of proof off on me this whole discussion.

    YOU are the one who is asserting that increasing the GDP level is going to save us.

    YOU need to provide the evidence that it can, using hard data.

    YOU have not done so.

    If you cannot provide the data which shows what we need to produce in GDP to meet our current obligations, that’s fine. But if you can’t provide the evidence, then there’s no point in continuing the discussion further–you’re arguing from an unsupported premise.

    I’ve shown that we can’t continue to meet our obligations with the current debt burden we have, nor is the system sustainable if we continue to take on further debt. You have yet to provide any evidence AT ALL to support your position, that GDP growth will allow us to meet our future spending obligations.

    I’m going to bold this in case the link above in this post doesn’t drive it home–with the highest GDP ever in this nation’s history, we are incapable of meeting our nation’s spending obligations. Between 1835 and 1836, when the national debt was paid in full, our per capita GDP was a little under $1800. In 2008, it’s $43,714, yet we are rapidly approaching a debt state where we could become insolvent. Why do you think that is?

    Stop assuming GDP growth is going to save our ponzi economy. It’s not. The links I’ve provided in this thread clearly show this. Either come back with some hard evidence for your position, or admit that you can’t prove what you’ve been arguing this whole thread.

    Another Chris (470967)

  60. By the way, imdw, trying to get people who don’t support your premise to provide you with the data necessary to show you that it can be done is a weasel tactic. If you can’t provide the hard evidence to support your own stated position, you’ve officially lost this argument. Anything further is going to be pointless.

    Prove your point with actual data and facts, or stfu. I’m not interested in engaging you in a theoretical exercise nor in doing your research for you.

    Another Chris (470967)

  61. #58 Michael Ejercito:

    Has anyone ever proposed unlimited medical care for all comers?

    Certainly. That is the premise underlying the promotion of socialist health care, and the ludicrous comparisons of US health care to other countries, like Cuban health care, for example. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  62. #58 Michael Ejercito:

    Even the British NHS does not do that; note that there are very few people with cyborg limbs there.

    Note that there seems to be an inverse relationship between the promised quantity and quality of healthcare and the delivered healthcare under socialist systems.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  63. “It doesn’t have anything to do with productivity–I’ve been trying to bang this into your head the whole thread. It has to do with whether the government continues to spend at a rate that far exceeds what it takes in in revenue.”

    What the government can take in — and what we can spend on entitlements — ultimately depends on productivity.

    “That’s why GDP is irrelevant over the long term.”

    Well, if domestic production is irrelevant, then it doesn’t matter what you or I think, because what we can afford to spend clearly depends on how much we’re producing.

    “Show me one nation in history that’s survived with exponentially increasing debt levels. ”

    If we keep debt per unit of GDP constant, then debt will be increasing at exponential levels, since that is how GDP increases. What I’m interested in is the comparison of the two growth rates — debt and GDP.

    “Sorry, but you’ve been shifting the burden of proof off on me this whole discussion. ”

    Well, you told me it is unsustainable, and I just asked what we can sustain, and that the key question in what we can sustain is the comparison of how much we’re owing to how much we’re producing. But how can I be shifting the burden of proof when you say things like:

    “Stop assuming GDP growth is going to save our ponzi economy.”

    I’m not assuming it. I’m explicitly asking what kind of growth rates we’d need to make it sustainable. Clearly there is some GDP growth rate at which we can afford the path we are on. But I don’t assume that is the GDP rate we will have. I don’t even know what that rate would be!

    “If you cannot provide the data which shows what we need to produce in GDP to meet our current obligations, that’s fine.”

    It really is just another way of measuring our current obligations. For example your SSTF link said the 2037 future value of the deficit was 17 billion at 4%. What’s the august GDP, and what’s the % at which it needs to grow to pay that 17 billion?

    Your other link also talked about how we might double the debt in 10 years. That’s scary sounding. But if we double the GDP, that’s not so bad. If we triple it, we’re doing great. And if we get less then double, then we’re not on a sustainable path.

    imdw (431506)

  64. What the government can take in — and what we can spend on entitlements — ultimately depends on productivity.

    Well, then what industries are going to be making this happen? Need I remind you that 70% of our GDP is based on consumer spending? How on earth is that sustainable and how on earth can we rely on that to cover all of the current entitlements over the long run? You haven’t even come close to answering this. Do you honestly think this depression is productivity-based? It’s not–it’s debt-based. The government increasing it’s own debt when people are not spending themselves into debt as well makes the system unsustainable in the short run, and when people and the government ARE spending themselves into exponential debt over the long run, THAT is unsustainable. ESPECIALLY when you’re relying on “productivity” to fill in the gaps. “Productivity” doesn’t make up 70% of our economy. Consumer spending on largely imported goods does.

    I’m not assuming it. I’m explicitly asking what kind of growth rates we’d need to make it sustainable.

    Baloney–your whole premise from the very beginning, and one you reiterated just above, is that GDP–“productivity”–is what will allow us to provide for SS and complete healthcare coverage in perpetuity. Not only have you not provided any real data that this is possible, your hypotheticals are based on wishful thinking. “If GDP was ‘this’, then we can sustain ‘this much’ debt.”

    Guess what–GDP is NOT this, and NO current industries in this country are going to make up that gap. Pretending that it will doesn’t change the reality.

    WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING TO COME FROM? WHICH INDUSTRIES? I’ve been asking this since the beginning, and you repeatedly dodge it like a weasel.

    Well, you told me it is unsustainable, and I just asked what we can sustain, and that the key question in what we can sustain is the comparison of how much we’re owing to how much we’re producing.

    God, you are obtuse–we have a 350% debt to GDP ratio. What industries are going to make up this gap?

    We can’t sustain jack squat because we are over-leveraged. Period. GDP ain’t going to save you. Deal with it.

    Your other link also talked about how we might double the debt in 10 years. That’s scary sounding. But if we double the GDP, that’s not so bad.

    You really aren’t paying attention, are you? WE CAN’T SUSTAIN WHAT WE HAVE NOW–HOW THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO SUSTAIN THAT DOWN THE ROAD? Spare me your hypotheticals–they’re a waste of time. If you don’t have any actual evidence showing where these gaps are going to be made up, then you have nothing.

    Another Chris (470967)

  65. Once again–

    Prove your point with actual data and facts, or stfu.

    Another Chris (470967)

  66. “Baloney–your whole premise from the very beginning, and one you reiterated just above, is that GDP–”productivity”–is what will allow us to provide for SS and complete healthcare coverage in perpetuity. ”

    Obviously there is an amount of productivity growth that will allow us to afford our current obligations. The reason why I think this number is important is that once we know it, we can then determine how fucked we are. Because if it is out of our reach, then we’re fucked. If we’re already there, then we’re not. If it is within reach, then well, we can reach for it.

    “Need I remind you that 70% of our GDP is based on consumer spending? How on earth is that sustainable and how on earth can we rely on that to cover all of the current entitlements over the long run?”

    What percent of GDP do you think should be for consumer goods?

    “God, you are obtuse–we have a 350% debt to GDP ratio. What industries are going to make up this gap?”

    So ok, we have a 350% debt to GDP ratio. It’s as if someone earns 100K a year and takes out a 350K mortgage. Unsustainable? Depends. Now the key is what is going to happen to this debt to GDP ratio: if we grow GDP faster than debt grows, then it will go down. Otherwise it will go up.

    “WE CAN’T SUSTAIN WHAT WE HAVE NOW–HOW THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO SUSTAIN THAT DOWN THE ROAD?”

    We’re certainly meeting our obligations now. Down the road, well that depends on how well we grow down the road. That’s all.

    [note: released from moderation filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (89ba95)

  67. So ok, we have a 350% debt to GDP ratio. It’s as if someone earns 100K a year and takes out a 350K mortgage. Unsustainable? Depends.

    Are you REALLY sure you want to bring up a mortgage analogy? Need I remind you–AGAIN–why we are in this depression? IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PRODUCTIVITY. It is entirely DEBT-BASED.

    We’re certainly meeting our obligations now.

    The debt says otherwise. Do you realize that the government gets roughly half of its income from selling government bonds? We might be meeting our obligations from the superficial perspective you propose, but a government that needs to spend itself further into debt

    You seem to fall into the Pete Stark school of economics that says the more debt you have the wealthier you are. Well, yes, initially, until the bill comes due. If it’s not sustainable in the future, it’s not sustainable now.

    You STILL haven’t said what industries are going to make up this GDP surplus you say is going to save us, by the way. Why do you keep dodging it, unless you honestly think it’s a good idea for people to spend themselves into bankruptcy again just to prop up the GDP number.

    Again, you are the one asserting that raising the GDP level is going to save us. You need to back it up with evidence that this is so, not ask the person who doesn’t share that position to provide you with the data to prove your point. You need to do it yourself. I’m flat out telling you that raising the GDP level isn’t going to do jack squat to save this economy, and I’ve provided links and evidence to support that position based on what’s going on in the real world, not what I wish it would be. You have yet to actually refute any of the sources with facts or evidence of your own.

    Until you actually provide evidence of your position, and use real-world data to show that this is going to fix things, this is the last time I’m going to respond to you on this topic. I’m tired of running around the mulberry bush with you trying to get you to put your money where your mouth is and back up your statements with facts instead of wishful thinking.

    Another Chris (470967)

  68. that should say: but a government that needs to spend itself further into debt to meet its obligations is not running a sustainable budget. Saying it is does not make it so.

    Another Chris (470967)

  69. “You STILL haven’t said what industries are going to make up this GDP surplus you say is going to save us, by the way. ”

    But I don’t say it’s going to save us. Haven’t you gotten this?

    “I’m flat out telling you that raising the GDP level isn’t going to do jack squat to save this economy, and I’ve provided links and evidence to support that position based on what’s going on in the real world, not what I wish it would be.”

    What’s to link to? GDP is what we produce in a year. If we produce more, we can pay off more debt.

    I’m afraid all along you haven’t understood what I’m saying.

    imdw (ee9fce)

  70. Karl,

    I haven’t said this before or, if I have, I haven’t said it enough. I’ve learned so much from your health care posts. Thank you for taking the time to do these posts and for helping us understand and discuss this complicated issue.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  71. #69:

    I’m afraid all along you I haven’t understood what I’m saying.

    ftfy.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  72. When the Fed/Treasury’s devaluation of the dollar finally hits the markets, the interest on the US debt is going to skyrocket. Between that, and the completely unsustainable growth in spending that the Democrats have been creating, the US Federal budget will spiral into the ground and crater around 4 to 5 years from now.

    The damage that Obama and the Democratic Congress are doing to this nation’s finances will take a generation of financial pain to correct.

    The blind lemming suicide behavior of Democrats is completely unbelievable.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  73. “…Ah so there is a “foreseeable future” Ok. So it’s not ALL unknowable guesswork…”

    The Soviet’s famously had their Five-Year Plans, and the U.S.Congress, not to be outdone, uses Ten-Year Projections.
    Both are complete and utter Bull-Shit!

    AD - RtR/OS! (9bb379)

  74. #72 SPQR:

    The blind lemming suicide behavior of Democrats is completely unbelievable.

    I don’t see any understanding on their part of how badly things are going in Main Street, Smalltown, USA in the small business sector.

    And I sure don’t think they have any clue how that relates to a larger construct like the “nation’s finances.” Given that the cratering you expect sounds about right in that time frame, I suspect it may take a good 10-14 years before the country is back on a sound business footing and federal revenues start to grow again.

    It ain’t gonna be any fun.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  75. Comment by Michael Ejercito — 12/12/2009 @ 10:10 am

    Speaking of the NHS, it seems that the latest horror stories coming out of that system make even King-Drew look like an acceptable alternative,
    and we know what a disaster it was.

    AD - RtR/OS! (9bb379)

  76. Another Chris:
    Everyone knows that unicorns will sprout wings, and farries will have an un-ending supply of pixie-dust as soon as Boeing flies the E-Liner!
    And we’ll all be living in Lake Woebegone.

    AD - RtR/OS! (9bb379)

  77. Yeah, EW1(SG), I’m suspecting that in the next few years US debt obligations will become such poor grade as to be unmatched since the days of the Articles of Confederacy.

    And we have no Alexander Hamilton to rebuild our nation’s finances.

    Democrats seem to have never paid attention to what happened to nations like Argentina. And just how difficult, if not impossible, it is to come back from that abyss.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  78. Maybe Senator Durbin saw these 12/11/09 Rasmussen poll results:

    The numbers in this month’s survey suggest that the race at this point is a referendum on Reid, who earns 43% of the vote against each of three GOP candidates. Incumbents who get less than 50% of the vote at this stage of the game are viewed as vulnerable. Reid, who is seeking a fifth term, received 61% of the final vote in 2004.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  79. We’re certainly meeting our obligations now. Down the road, well that depends on how well we grow down the road. That’s all.

    The point is that the policies of Obama and the Democrats will cripple the private economy. They don’t understand that the government doesn’t create any wealth. That is why the USSR failed.

    We are heading into a prolonged economic slump analogous to the Japanese “lost decade.” The spending they are creating will not add to the GDP. The Japanese at least spent the money on real infrastructure while the Democrats are spending on graft and corruption.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  80. Amazing. First, you say this:

    But I don’t say it’s going to save us. Haven’t you gotten this?

    Then, you say this:

    GDP is what we produce in a year. If we produce more, we can pay off more debt.

    You just contradicted yourself in the very same post. Congratulations.

    I’ll stand by my assertion that none of the leftists commenting here have refuted the fact that we can’t afford to pay for our current obligations and complete and total healthcare for an additional 10s-100s of millions of people. imdw gave it the old college try, but ended up claiming to not assert a position and then taking up that position in the very same post.

    And STILL hasn’t said which industries are going to be creating this magic level of GDP that will supposedly allow us to pay for not just all these programs and entitlements, but pay down the debt as well.

    Another Chris (470967)

  81. They don’t understand that the government doesn’t create any wealth.

    Nor was it ever the intent or plan when originated and formed. It’s still a jolt when stepping back and realizing just how far away from the original ideal we’ve come.

    Now that the piggybank has been emptied by the kids in charge, they have no choice but to look to those actually generating income to get more play money. They have insatiable appetites and little want or ability to see the big picture and understand the long-term. It’s just the short-term, here and now, for them. Scary stuff.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  82. #41 — Comment by EW1(SG) — 12/11/2009 @ 7:10 pm
    Good grief! Wouldn’t have squeezing mango juice from a turnip have been an easier task, and more likely to be achievable?

    Heh – for sure EW1, but not nearly as challenging 😉

    Pons Asinorum (6adc3d)

  83. #43 — Comment by imdw — 12/11/2009 @ 8:59 pm
    I just said it’s what we know.

    That is your conclusion and it is in dispute because the premise you cite is based on a biased opinion, not fact or evidence.

    To state that “it’s what we know” is patently false.

    Further you referenced a source of a source which is bad form. The unoriginal source you referenced is by Ezra Klein, hardly an objective journalist.

    Pons Asinorum (6adc3d)

  84. #80 Another Chris:

    ended up claiming to not assert a position and then taking up that position in the very same post.

    It does that a lot.

    #77,79,81~SPQR, Mike K, Dana:

    to get more play money.

    And that’s the problem in a nutshell. It’s just play money to them, so they don’t connect spending with real world consequences.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  85. #51 — Comment by Another Chris — 12/12/2009 @ 1:08 am
    By the way, I’m still waiting for you or any other leftie to explain how we are going to pay for complete and total healthcare for an additional 10s-100s of millions of people, given all of our other debt and entitlement obligations.

    Me too, I wonder if something like this is what they have in mind (you know — deficit spending being a good thing and all).

    Pons Asinorum (6adc3d)

  86. #82 Pons Asinorum:

    not nearly as challenging

    Maybe not. But not quite as much like sticking your head in a paddlewheel and watching the spokes slap you in the face either.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  87. #85 Pons Asinorum:

    ZOMG!!

    /Hilarious if it weren’t so freakin’ depressing.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  88. #81 — Comment by Dana — 12/12/2009 @ 10:59 pm
    Now that the piggybank has been emptied by the kids in charge, they have no choice but to look to those actually generating income to get more play money. They have insatiable appetites and little want or ability to see the big picture and understand the long-term. It’s just the short-term, here and now, for them. Scary stuff.

    Short-term, scary and selfish; they are proposing to take money away from the elderly generation and then saddle the next generation with incomprehensible debt.

    Pons Asinorum (6adc3d)

  89. #86 — But not quite as much like sticking your head in a paddlewheel and watching the spokes slap you in the face either.

    EW1, HAH!!

    You’re killin’

    Pons Asinorum (6adc3d)

  90. “We are heading into a prolonged economic slump analogous to the Japanese “lost decade.” ”

    I do think we may be facing this. We’re going to have to work out the results of our past credit boom. And it’s going to hurt.

    “You just contradicted yourself in the very same post. Congratulations.”

    Do you understand what the word “if” means? It doesn’t mean that what follows the “if” is true.

    imdw (017d51)

  91. I think Obamacare is just about dead. I don’t see anything major happening at this point.

    girls (8ed385)

  92. Do you understand what the word “if” means? It doesn’t mean that what follows the “if” is true.

    What a shame–I thought President Clinton would have been able to provide a more robust defense of his position than what he displayed on this thread.

    Another Chris (470967)

  93. That is the premise underlying the promotion of socialist health care, and the ludicrous comparisons of US health care to other countries, like Cuban health care, for example. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

    And yet it never occurs to them that it is not true even in places with socialist health care.

    As I have pointed out, not too many people in Britain have cyborg limbs.

    Secret Squirrel (6a1582)

  94. You seem to fall into the Pete Stark school of economics that says the more debt you have the wealthier you are.

    It is only true if you have a fatal terminal illness. If I were dying of cancer, I would get a hundred credit cards and max them all out!

    Secret Squirrel (6a1582)

  95. Medicare will have to be reformed. That is actually happening now without any action by Congress. Doctors are refusing to do primary, and even some specialty, care for Medicare payment. They are dropping out of the program, since any private care in addition to Medicare is illegal, and practicing for cash. I’ve been e-mailing Hugh Hewitt about this for months and he has begun to talk to other docs and sees what is happening.

    The young docs coming out of training have large loans to repay and are stuck. Fortunately, most medical students today marry other medical students so most new physicians are part of two-income families. That is the only way they survive. The older docs are dropping out and the younger ones can only afford to care for Medicare as part of a group that pays them a salary.

    This trend will result in two tier care very soon. Unless you pay in cash, Medicare patients will be seen in big clinics. Medicaid, which Obamacare also expands, will be seen little outside big city hospitals. They will not see private docs.

    I think these trends will keep going regardless of what Reid and Pelosi do. Canada outlawed private practice but it is coming back anyway. I can’t see that happening here. Obamacare will be delivered by nurse practitioners and physician assistants with a few salaried MDs to supervise. Routine care will probably not suffer and complicated diagnoses will be mostly missed, which is what they want anyway.

    The nurses who run the WalMart clinics have a list of 12 conditions they are allowed to treat. If Obamacare passes, that will be the standard of care. If I was a trial lawyer, I might not be supporting that since malpractice suits against nurses with a computer algorithm telling them what to do may not be very susceptible to lawsuits.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  96. “If I was a trial lawyer, I might not be supporting that since malpractice suits against nurses with a computer algorithm telling them what to do may not be very susceptible to lawsuits.”

    Who wrote the algorithm?

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (c660ef)

  97. Price controls are not cost controls.

    Leftists have never learned this, though price controls have a 4000 year history of failure as policy.

    Definitely for food and shelter, because people tend to use more of both when they are both cheaper.

    But seriously, do you expect people to get more clogged coronary arteries ’cause there is a 25% discount on coronary bypasses?

    Secret Squirrel (6a1582)

  98. If I were dying of cancer, I would get a hundred credit cards and max them all out!

    Not coincidentally, our government is following the same policy.

    Another Chris (470967)

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