Patterico's Pontifications


Barack Obama Was Right!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:36 pm

Republicans should stand firm on the debt ceiling, and I have drafted a short speech for John Boehner and any other Republican who agrees:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

Eloquent, isn’t it?

OK, I lied. I wasn’t the first to say that. Barack Obama was, in March 2006. Thanks to Elephant Stone for the reminder.

In 2011, Jake Tapper wrote about the way then-Official Spokesliar Robert Gibbs attempted to put lipstick on this pig. Here’s Tapper:

In January, I asked then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about those comments and that vote, given the president’s belief that the debt ceiling needs to be raised in May.

Gibbs said it was OK for then-Senator Obama to have cast that vote, since the outcome was guaranteed.

“Based on the outcome of that vote…the full faith and credit was not in doubt,” Gibbs said. Then-Sen. Obama used the vote “to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline….His vote was not necessarily needed on that.” [The vote was 52-48. — Ed]

Imagine me nodding my head and wearing a serious expression.

On Sunday, senior White House adviser David Plouffe revised that explanation.

“He believes that vote was a mistake,” Plouffe told Fox News Sunday.

Now imagine me saying: “Wait, what?

Anyway, Brad Plumer of the Washington Post has written about what might happen if we failed to raise the debt ceiling in time. Plumer is of the opinion that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be bad, would spook the markets, etc. — but even he acknowledges that the money is there to make bond payments:

Between Oct. 18 and Nov. 15 the government will bring in roughly $222 billion in taxes and owe roughly $328 billion. But it will only need about $35 billion on hand to make interest payments over that time.

I have seen other analyses that say we take in 5.5 times what we need to make interest payments; according to this analysis, for this period of time, we’re taking in over six times what we need. Sure, Treasury claims they don’t have the technological capacity to prioritize payments — but government lies, and Obama people lie a lot. I don’t buy it.

Will some tough choices have to be made? Sure.

Is it better to make those choices sooner rather than later? You betcha.

After all, as a wise man* once said: “Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

Indeed. So very, very true.

If You Like Your Insurance, You Can Keep It . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:28 pm

. . . it’s just that it will cost twice as much:

Adam Weldzius, a nurse practitioner, considers himself better informed than most when it comes to the inner workings of health insurance. But even he wasn’t prepared for the pocketbook hit he’ll face next year under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

If the 33-year-old single father wants the same level of coverage next year as what he has now with the same insurer and the same network of doctors and hospitals, his monthly premium of $233 will more than double. If he wants to keep his monthly payments in check, the Carpentersville resident is looking at an annual deductible for himself and his 7-year-old daughter of $12,700, a more than threefold increase from $3,500 today.

“I believe everybody should be able to have health insurance, but at the same time, I’m being penalized. And for what?” said Weldzius, who is not offered insurance through his employer. “For someone who’s always had insurance, who’s always taken care of myself, now I have to change my plan?”

Almost all of the lowest-cost plans apparently have $4000 deductibles for individuals and $8000 for families. Where can I sign up for insurance like that?! (The answer, by the way, is not on the Internet.)

How dare Republicans oppose such a great system?!

Politico Reports Harry Reid “Offer” That Is No Offer At All

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:28 am

The story comes from Politico, but no links for bullies, so Hot Air gets the link:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has privately offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a deal that would reopen the government until mid-to-late December while extending the U.S. debt ceiling until next year, according to several sources familiar with the talks.

The proposal would set up a framework for larger budget negotiations with the House over the automatic sequestration spending cuts and other major deficit issues, the sources said. Moreover, Senate Democrats are open to delaying Obamacare’s medical device tax and a requirement that those receiving Obamacare subsidies be subject to income verification — but they would have to get something from Republicans in return, sources said.

I think we should respond with this offer: Harry Reid agrees to delaying Obamacare’s medical device tax and a requirement that those receiving Obamacare subsidies be subject to income verification, and then we’ll be open to reopening the government and extending the debt ceiling . . . but we would have to get something from Democrats in return.

When I put it that way: “you do x, and we’ll consider doing y if we get something in return” — it doesn’t sound like much of an offer at all, does it?

That’s because it’s not.

Yet Politico’s original headline, which they have rewritten but you can still see at Memeorandum, was “Harry Reid makes budget offer to Mitch McConnell.”



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

Feeling . . . weak. Starvation from lack of nonessential government services imminent. Goodbye, cruel world. Tell my wife I love her.

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

I leave you with a quote from Zombie, courtesy of Hot Air Headlines. This follows up on my post from last night about the sudden cliff that people fall off of once their income exceeds 400% of the “poverty” line:

The author, Kathleen Pender, correctly points out that there is now a huge and abrupt “cliff” in health care costs for many Americans: earn $1 more than the prescribed limit for being on the federal health-subsidy dole, and you’ll have to pay many thousands — even tens of thousands — of dollars more next year for health insurance than you would otherwise. So obviously the smart thing to do would be to find ways to “lower your income.”

After recommending a few accounting tricks (but also noting that most standard tricks won’t work), on page 2 of the article Pender gets to the point:

“You can also consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less.”

This, right here, is the toxic essence of the Welfare State. It’s already been proven over and over that for the lower classes welfare incentivizes permanent dependence: Since one gets more money receiving a raft of federal entitlements than one would get earning a salary at a low-level job, it’s a rational economic decision to remain unemployed, on purpose. Which millions of Americans do, generation after generation, creating a permanent underclass that only consumes the common treasury without ever contributing anything to it.

Again: pay people more to work less, and you should not be shocked when people work less. Penalize businesses for expanding and employing people full time, and you should not be shocked when businesses stay small and make more people part time.

These are such obvious “unintended” consequences that it’s hard to believe they are truly unintended. One cannot be blamed for suspecting that this system was designed, specifically, to create a class of dependents who will always vote for the party of giveaways.

UPDATE: daleyrocks writes:

Patterico – I think there is a serious problem with this notion of a “sudden cliff” regarding Obamacare subsidies which you referenced in your Day 13 and Day 14 Shutdown posts. It is true that eligibility for a subsidy disappears above certain income level, the problem is that below that income level the subsidy is not an all or nothing proposition, it is phased out based on income, just as deductions are in the tax code, as you reach the threshold income level – say 400%.

At 399% of poverty you are basically eligible for squat in terms of a subsidy. At 200%, your subsidy may represent a significant chunk of the premium.

See my comment 10 to today’s post which includes a link to a subsidy calculator.

Thanks to daleyrocks. I am not in the business of distorting facts, and if the articles I have trusted on this point got it wrong, let’s get it right.

But the truth is, no matter how you slice it, offering goodies for having lower income encourages . . . lower income.

UPDATE x2: daleyrocks adds:

Actually, just reading the SFgate article that was linked in a post linked by gary gulrud on Ace. Phase out is greater at younger ages apparently. Just tested it again using 62 married couple and difference in Calif. between 413% and 400% living in Sacramento was $12,000 per year. I did it earlier with 40 year old in my own zip code and effect was nada. Big dollars are for older folks apparently because that’s where big dollar premiums are – but phase out point is still valid.

Sounds like the numbers in the original article I linked last night were valid, at least for 62 year olds.

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