Exponential complexity

One of the great tragedies of the health care bill was that it was passed on Sunday night rather than a Monday, which meant that Bobo had twenty-our hours to sober up before writing his column Tuesday. So what we get is less emo screed and more the smooth sounds of the Snooze Hour:

Nobody knows how this bill will work out. It is an undertaking exponentially more complex than the Iraq war, for example.

What the fuck does that even mean? Does it mean we’ll be sending troops into health care clinics to avoid civil war in five years?

Update. Martin nails it:

It’s more complex only if you don’t think of Iraqis as people.






151 replies
  1. 1
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    It means Obama just handed us our wingnut asses and we got nothin”/ Brooksian Sanskrit

  2. 2
    Dave Fud says:

    It means that the easy enemy, those muzlims, aren’t so easily identified in The Homeland. Insurance executives don’t wear turbans, you know.

    For Bobo, not having a strong narrative to guide him nor reducing the storyline’s complexity to 0 and 1 means that he can’t warn us about the dangers of not catering to moderates.

  3. 3
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    Yet I confess, watching all this, I feel again why I’m no longer spiritually attached to the Democratic Party

    Nope dougj, he ain’t sobered up yet.

  4. 4
    gnomedad says:

    It is an undertaking exponentially more complex than the Iraq war, for example.

    Well, possibly, if you assume that not totally fucking it up actually matters.

  5. 5
    Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist says:

    I’d be curious what the exponent actually is.

    Does Bobo have any idea what “exponentially” actually means?

  6. 6
    Morbo says:

    Dear David Brooks,

    Your high school math teacher called and has asked you to show your work.

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    I wonder if BoBo will ever learn that sending a bunch of 20-somethings to a foreign desert to be wounded, traumatized, or killed fighting a country that didn’t attack us, isn’t complex, it’s just fucking stupid and evil.

    .

  8. 8
    Martin says:

    It’s more complex only if you don’t think of Iraqis as people.

  9. 9
    GregB says:

    Does this mean that L. Paul Bremer will be appointed Death Panel Czar?

  10. 10
  11. 11
    JGabriel says:

    BoBo via General Egali Tarian Stuck: :

    I feel again why I’m no longer spiritually attached to the Democratic Party

    Because you sold your soul to Satan.

    .

  12. 12

    What the fuck does that even mean?

    It means Bobo still clings to the Bushies’ Iraq War plan:

    1) Invade Iraq
    2) ???
    3) Enjoy flowers and candies

    When you believe all we had to do was knock off Saddam, install Chalabi, and achieve Babylonian Utopia, everything else is exponentially complex by comparison.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Nobody knows how this bill will work out.

    At some basic level, no one knows how anything will work out-except that someday everyone will die. Should we, therefore, simply sit and wait for death, doing nothing, not even eating or cleaning ourselves because the results are uncertain?

  14. 14
    ellaesther says:

    Earlier this evening, someone I know referred to Bibi Netanyahu as “Bobo” — I think in a sort of “he’s a monkey/clown” sort of way — and all I could think was “Bobo? But that’s David Brooks!”

    Balloon Juice, you have colonized my brain.

  15. 15
    DougJ says:

    @Martin:

    Bingo. Fucking bingo.

  16. 16
    Walker says:

    @Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist:

    “Exponentially” is rapidly becoming a synonym for “vastly” in our society. Like “begging the question” preserving the actual meaning is becoming a lost cause..

  17. 17
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    In Bobo’s defense, was the Iraq War all that complicated? I guess it was if you had to invent a lot of bullshit rationalizations to justify it, then a lot of intellectual/hypothetical domino kinetic sculptures to explain how it would all work out. But as someone who called it a bullshit disaster from start to finish, I thought it was all pretty straightforward from start to… well, now. I almost said “finish”.

  18. 18
    Dave Fud says:

    And another thing:

    It was nurtured by our founders, who created national capital markets to disrupt the ossifying grip of the agricultural landholders.

    What the hell is he talking about? What capital market was created by our founders? They did damn well to create a political infrastructure. That was more than enough.

    The capitalist system was tamed any number of times by federal and state governments and never broke loose until much later in the history of the Republic, as I remember it. But I guess if you are on wingnut welfare that you have your own history.

  19. 19
    ellaesther says:

    @Martin: Well, there you have it.

  20. 20
    Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist says:

    @Walker: It does look like it. People really do like to use words that sound smart without having to know what they mean.

  21. 21
    jeffreyw says:

    For BoBo, war is simple. Just a case of “let’s you and them fight”. Simple, and you can watch it on TV. Health care reform? Best to make soothing noises for a while and pretty soon he’ll pick up some hints from some of the best people and he’ll know what to say.

  22. 22

    @Dave Fud:

    What capital market was created by our founders?

    Spot-on. It was Hamilton vs. Jefferson from the go, and that fight between mercantilism and agrarianism wasn’t settled until 1865. And frankly, that gift just keeps on giving.

  23. 23
    wasabi gasp says:

    Fewer magic bullets.

  24. 24
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Dave Fud:

    Our founding fathers are Exxon, GE, NewsCorp and Halliburton silly. Corporations iz peeple.

  25. 25
    Brian J says:

    I don’t understand this. What, exactly, is with the constant complaining that we don’t know exactly what will happen as a result of the bill? When have we ever known what would happen with a piece of legislation like this in a clear, definable way?

    Any sort of expert who has been writing in response to the bill said that it represents the best possible effort that we have ever put forward at controlling costs. We don’t know what will work and what won’t work, but these are the best guesses. Once we get a better idea of what is happening, we can make adjustments. (Besides, if we knew that something didn’t work, why would it be included in the bill?)

    As far as the costs, well, I guess it’s possible for it to cost more. Maybe it’s even likely. But instead of just insisting that there has to be something wrong with the estimates used by the CBO, why aren’t people offering alternative measures?

  26. 26
    mr. whipple says:

    “This country is in the position of a free-spending family careening toward bankruptcy that at the last moment announced that it was giving a gigantic new gift to charity. You admire the act of generosity, but you wish they had sold a few of the Mercedes to pay for it.”

    We shall take your Mercedes, Bobo, we shall! And we will use the proceeds to buy health care.

    Jeebus, what an igopiot.

  27. 27
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Bobo is making room for future wingnut maneuvering. He knows that this bill is trouble for the Republicans but that as the public becomes aware of the details of it that they are going to like it much better than the status quo. When that happens the bill becomes a branch line that is connected to the third rail, Social Security. Once that happens, touching it will be deadly. Until that happens the right needs everyone to do their part to bring it down. Bobo’s part is to play the neutral sounding guy, as if he is just a fair and impartial observer simply commenting on a story of public importance. His job is to raise public doubt and anger with his ‘reasonable sounding’ stories and leave the heavy shilling to the shriller voices of the right.

    Bobo plays a background instrument in the Republican party band, his preferred instrument being the elephant skinflute. He would like to play at first chair but realizes he will never play the elephant skinflute as good as Rush, Hannity, Coulter, Malkin and their ilk..

  28. 28
    mr. whipple says:

    I don’t understand this. What, exactly, is with the constant complaining that we don’t know exactly what will happen as a result of the bill?

    But Bobo does know. He says,

    Today, America’s vigor is challenged on two fronts. First, the country is becoming geriatric. Other nations spend 10 percent or so of their G.D.P. on health care. We spend 17 percent and are predicted to soon spend 20 percent and then 25 percent. This legislation was supposed to end that asphyxiating growth, which will crowd out investments in innovation, education and everything else. It will not.

  29. 29
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    I’ve read some nutty pieces by Brooks over the years, but this one is up there with the whackiest. It’s like he decides to go all transcendental or something, but ends up penning a tired rag of mishmash incoherent wingnuttery. Such as this

    With the word security engraved on its heart, the Democratic Party is just not structured to cut spending that would enhance health and safety. The party nurtures; it does not say, “No more.”

    “NO more”. He must have brain bleached the past two years from existence, where his vaunted republican go getters drained the country of wealth from phantom digital dollars conjured up thru a gumbo of Ponzi schemes. And we had to bail out their butts with real hard earned tax dollars.

    Goopers are losing their minds, I am sure of it.

  30. 30
    cmorenc says:

    Nobody knows how this bill will work out. It is an undertaking exponentially more complex than the Iraq war, for example

    The writer has in mind similar thoughts to those expressed by Teddy, an old client of criminal lawyer Ned (William Hurt) in the movie Body Heat:

    any time you try a decent crime, you got fifty ways you’re gonna fuck up. If you think of twenty-five of them, then you’re a genius…

    Substitute “transformative legislation” for “decent crime”, and that nails what the writer is getting at. I don’t happen to agree with him that the unforseeability of exactly how it’s going to work out is a prohibitive factor against a major undertaking.

  31. 31
    Ash Can says:

    What the fuck does that even mean?

    It means that, unlike the Iraq War, HCR was thought out.

  32. 32
    Brian J says:

    @mr. whipple:

    So I guess David Brooks knows better than America’s leading health care economists? Good to know.

  33. 33
    sven says:

    National health care is so complex that every single government (France, New Zealand) which has even attempted it (Britain, Japan) has been blotted (Canada, Germany) from the collective experience (Netherlands, Singapore) of mankind (Sweden, Switzerland) and served as a cautionary tale (Italy, Spain, Austria) of such potency (Ireland, Finland, Australia) that no (Norway, Luxembourg, Taiwan) modern nation (South Korea, Belgium) would even consider it
    (Israel, Argentina, Portugal, etc…).

  34. 34
    Joel says:

    @Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist: I’m going with -1/2.

  35. 35
    mr. whipple says:

    Goopers are losing their minds, I am sure of it.

    Bobo presents the clarity of thought that is acheived after 4 martinis on an empty stomach.

    This column doesn’t even remotely make sense.

  36. 36
    ajr22 says:

    I hope its not so complicated that we just misplace 5 billion here, 5 billion there.

  37. 37
    Ash Can says:

    @mr. whipple: That poor slob is just living in his own little world, isn’t he? He must have been inhaling too many bus fumes or something.

  38. 38
    Deschanel says:

    “For the past 90 years or so, the Republican Party has, at its best, come to embody the cause of personal freedom and economic dynamism.”

    Yeah, tell that to us fags about our personal freedoms in the past 90 years. Blacklisting, persecution, nonstop contempt. Not that the Dems were much better, but ohmigod I hate David Brooks so much. The bitch never stops reciting fairy tales about the Republican party, ever. Personal freedom?? For who in the fuck has the GOP ever represented personal freedom? Rich white guys?

  39. 39
    Joe Lisboa says:

    It’s more complex only if you don’t think of Iraqis as people.

    … and if you don’t think of the American un(der)insured as people, either. Which he doesn’t, so problem solved. See ya’ll at the Applebee’s salad bar of clueless self-righteousness. Bobo: first against the wall, but not before he’s compelled to complete a suitably rigorous suite of basic journalism and/or ethics courses followed by a brief reincarnation as an Iraqi orphan circa 2003 capped by a trial for the fate of his soul before a jury of his peers (i.e, the soulless, opportunistic hack wing of whatever particular pathetic ring of hell is reserved for moral invertebrates).

  40. 40
    mr. whipple says:

    @Ash Can:

    Swear to dog, if someone asked me to summerize what he said in a few sentences I’d have no idea where to start.

    Democrats messy, giveaway, old people, country dying, me wistful, confusion.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    DougJ, This is a dreadful, frightening place, but I have learned the lesson, can we leave it please?

  42. 42
    The Dangerman says:

    I’m calling it: we’ve reached Wingularity.

    That may be the most criminally stupid thing ever published in a mainstream new outlet.

  43. 43
    scav says:

    I feel again why I’m no longer spiritually attached to the Democratic Party

    whereupon many wipe their brows and give thanks for dodging a bullet

    It seems to have syntactical and logical structure, but only at the local level. Folks, we may have just witnessed the birth of an entirely new genus, possibly even family, of word salad.

  44. 44

    @Deschanel:

    “… personal freedom and economic dynamism….”

    Translation: “Fuck you. I got mine, you’re on your own.”

  45. 45
    Geeno says:

    I hate to be a wet blanket, but it’s “a day late and a dollar short” for me. My brother died this (monday) morning due to untreated heart ailments. He didn’t have insurance and hadn’t seen a doctor in at least 12 years.
    No more arguments with my wingnut brother at family events, but I’m still very sad.

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @The Dangerman:

    That may be the most criminally stupid thing ever published in a mainstream new outlet.

    Take that back or else people will find worse things and post links to them just to prove you wrong.

  47. 47
    Joe Lisboa says:

    Also too: how could anyone possessing even the slightest grasp of (American) political history begin a sentence in earnest with the phrase: “For the past 90 years or so”? I’m not snarking here. This reads like the middle-of-the-stack archetype of the undergraduate papers I’m grading right now. They are desperate, and Bobo the Spineless Wonder is left with his under-indicative finger-in-the-air hanging sadly alone. Hence this We’re-So-Mad-Lib of a pseudo-column. How the fuck does this guy still have a (paying) gig?

  48. 48

    @Geeno: Wow. You have my condolences, Geeno. Seriously. That’s sadder than sad.

  49. 49
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Unless and until I become exponentially more coherent we will live amid the relationships of group versus group, party versus party, inhumanity versus inhumanity.

    It reminds me of a scene in Anthony Trollope’s political novel, “Phineas Finn,” in which young Phineas, about to enter Parliament, tells a party leader that he is going to think for himself and decide issues as he sees best. One glimpse and you got the whole panoply of what you loved and found annoying about these people.

    Finally, channeling Sarah Palin I say the essence of America is energy — the vibrancy of the market, the mobility of the people and the disruptive creativity of the entrepreneurs.

    Therefore, you admire the act of generosity, but you wish they had sold a few of the Mercedes to pay for it.

    Sincerely,
    BoBo

  50. 50
    Batocchio says:

    I think it means that for Bobo, killing brown people is a no-brainer, but good policy iz haaarrrd.

  51. 51
    Joe Lisboa says:

    Geeno: I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I know that doesn’t even begin to cover it, but I feel ridiculous for bitching about David fucking Brooks in light of your loss, so please accept my condolences. This shit is not a game for a lot us: elections — and policies — have consequences. I’m sorry it was too little too late, Geeno. You and yours are in my thoughts.

  52. 52
    JGabriel says:

    Deschanel:

    For who in the fuck has the GOP ever represented personal freedom?

    Well, they actually did, in the 19th century. Lincoln was a Republican. But that was 145 years ago.

    .

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Geeno: My condolences, Geeno.

  54. 54
    mr. whipple says:

    @Geeno:

    Jeebus. Sorry. Peace to you and yours.

  55. 55
    Ash Can says:

    @Geeno: That’s awful. Condolences to you and your family at this terribly difficult time.

  56. 56
    DougJ says:

    @Geeno:

    I’m very sorry to hear that.

  57. 57
    IndyLib says:

    the ossifying grip of the agricultural landholders.

    Agricultural landholders? You mean like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, Richard Bassett, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll and Daniel Jenifer.

    Bobo – historically illiterate asshat.

  58. 58
    Geeno says:

    @Polish the Guillotines:
    I was really looking forward to rubbing HCR in his face too. One of his friends joked with me that he had this morning’s headlines and it was too much for him.
    My brother and I never really liked each other, but we were brothers and loved each other anyway.

  59. 59
    The Dangerman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Take that back…

    Perhaps you are right.

    HCR is 2000+ pages.

    Kill Saddam and get Oil; that couldn’t have taken more than 20, tops.

  60. 60
    ds says:

    It will be hard to control costs if Republicans demagogue every single attempt to control costs as death panels.

    If just a handful of Republicans were willing to exchange their votes for deep, strict cost controls in the bill, they could have easily gotten it.

    But destroying Barack Obama was more important to every single one of their members than reducing government spending.

    Bobo needs to stop concern trolling Democrats and ask why the Republicans spent the last year redefining themselves as Great Society liberals, demanding unlimited spending on Medicare. More importantly, where the fuck were the “cost controls” in Bush’s Medicare Part D? They didn’t even attempt to pay for it.

  61. 61
    jl says:

    @sven:

    thanks for that list, but you forgot Costa Rica, the future home of Rush.

    “National health care is so complex that every single government (France, New Zealand) which has even attempted it (Britain, Japan) has been blotted (Canada, Germany) from the collective experience (Netherlands, Singapore) of mankind (Sweden, Switzerland) and served as a cautionary tale (Italy, Spain, Austria) of such potency (Ireland, Finland, Australia) that no (Norway, Luxembourg, Taiwan) modern nation (South Korea, Belgium) would even consider it
    (Israel, Argentina, Portugal, etc…).”

  62. 62
    Brian J says:

    Well, I’ll be damned. ADAM NAGOURNEY wrote an article entitled “G.O.P. Faces Drawbacks of United Stand on Health Bill.” It’s just one article, but considering that too many of them seem to rely on the DEMS R IN DISTRESS OMFG!!!!! mode of thinking, at least in the headlines, it’s a nice contrast.

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Joe Lisboa:

    This shit is not a game for a lot us: elections—and policies—have consequences.

    That’s the thing, isn’t it? One side treats it purely as a struggle for power; the other is aware of consequences and seeks to do something about them.

  64. 64
    Brian J says:

    @ds

    I don’t mean this to sound like I am picking on you, but a lot of people, such as Jon Gruber of MIT, have said this includes every reasonable effort to control costs. Maybe was being slightly dramatic, and if so, what else could they have done? I’d really like to know.

  65. 65
    scav says:

    @Geeno: all our condolences. at our best, we can argue passionately and still care for one another.

  66. 66
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @Geeno: very sorry to hear this. Condolences.

  67. 67

    @Geeno: Well, I’m damn sorry you didn’t get the chance. Family matters are complicated, and I get your drift. Still, he was your brother. It’s trite to say, but take care of yourself.

  68. 68
    JGabriel says:

    BoBo:

    Today, America’s vigor is challenged …

    Vs.

    General Jack D. Ripper:

    I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

    It’s kind of amazing, really.

    .

  69. 69
    Geeno says:

    Thank you, everyone. I need to at least try to sleep now. I don’t how successful I’ll be, but the charletans at the funeral home will try to take advantage of Mom tomorrow if I’m not there.
    Thanks again.
    Good night all.

  70. 70
    JGabriel says:

    @Geeno: My sympathies, and my condolences.

    .

  71. 71
    IndyLib says:

    @Geeno:

    Condolences and sympathy. Losing people you love sucks.

  72. 72
    Yutsano says:

    @Geeno: Pacem a tei Geeno.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Geeno: Sleep well.

  74. 74

    @ds:

    But destroying Barack Obama Bill Clinton was more important to every single one of their members than reducing government spending neutralizing Al Qaeda.

    There’s a pattern here. I’m not sure what it is, but I swear, there’s a pattern….

  75. 75
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @sven:

    Damn. You sold me on it. ;)

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Polish the Guillotines: I know! I know! Call on me! Because they aren’t Republicans? Close? Oooh, they are Democrats, right?

  77. 77
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Geeno:

    I am sorry to hear of your loss, my condolences go out to you and your family. I hope this bill leads to making things like this a thing of the past some day.

  78. 78
    sfinny says:

    Geeno, I am so sorry about your brother. I can’t imagine losing a sibling, still adjusting to losing parents. All thoughts for you, and for your family.

  79. 79

    @Omnes Omnibus: You’ve won a year’s supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat!

  80. 80
    jl says:

    The complete sum of rational argument in Brooks’ piece consists of the phrase “It will not”.

    And here we have this wonderfully foolish line:
    “the vibrancy of the market”

    I suppose that Brooks means the completely unregulated market by the word ‘market’. Of course he does.

    Let us repeat this very slowly:

    Competitive equilibrium often does not exist in insurance markets when

    1) different people have different risks of loss
    2) it is difficult to observe a person’s risk of loss when writing a policy

    if you add

    3) it is costly to improve the estimate of a person risk by gathering more information, and costly to write contracts,

    economic theory from almost 35 years ago predicted almost exactly what has happened since our misguided effort to improve healthcare by making it more competitive and privatized.

    Rothschild and Stiglitz, Equilibrium in competitive insurance markets. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1976.

    You can look it up! Joseph Newhouse has looked at the evidence closely and thinks there is a serious problem with a competitive equilibrium. So, there may well just be chaotic cream skimming and churning around. And amoral corporations doing ghastly immoral things to stay afloat, either in covering business costs, or raising capital in the stock market.

    There are equilibria that would work in property insurance, in auto insurance. There are equilibria if you assume, say, lifetime caps (strict quantity constraints on payouts) or if one company gets significant market power. Those last two sound familiar in health insurance.

    So what is Brooks up to?

    In my opinion, it is social engineering to persuade people that whatever happens in an engineered environment of rules that favor the rich, is something called ‘the (unregulated) market’, and whatever it does is the best of all possible worlds. And that to tinker with it at all will result in a commie-fascist dystopia, taking away all of our freedom and wealth.

    Just ask the Swedes, the Swiss and the Costa Ricans.

    I hope we scrape through, but even if we do, late 20th century US economic ideology will be considered by history as a disgusting and hilarious intellectual scandal.

  81. 81
    ds says:

    @Brian J:

    There are a lot of cost controls in it, but they could have gone a lot further if Republicans were willing to give even the slightest bit of bipartisan cover.

    For instance, the bill could have been paid entirely out of Medicare spending cuts and the elimination of the employer health care tax subsidy.

    Republicans could have gotten “entitlement reform” in exchange for health care votes.

  82. 82
    patrick says:

    Exponentially is an adverb.

  83. 83
    scav says:

    I’m getting these weird images of Bobo in a military uniform yelling to the American populace: “You can’t handle the complex!”

  84. 84
    Mark says:

    Man does Bob Hebert rip one out of the park…

    At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.

    It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.

    For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03.....ef=opinion

  85. 85
    Brian J says:

    @Geeno:

    That’s terrible to hear. I feel like one of my brothers and I will end up the same way. I’d like it to change, but I am not sure if it will.

    Anyway, it’s not about me. My thoughts are with you.

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Polish the Guillotines: Um, thanks?

  87. 87
    Brian J says:

    @ds:

    But those are more of a tax issue, not a spending issue. I’ve read that changes in Medicare didn’t go far enough to change fee-for-service, but I am not sure of what else they could have done.

  88. 88
    jl says:

    My condolences to Geeno.

  89. 89

    @Mark:

    Man does Bob Hebert rip one out of the park…

    Hell. Effing. YEAH! This is right up there with Colbert’s Press Club disemboweling of W.

  90. 90
    ds says:

    @Brian J:

    The employer health care tax subsidy drives up health care costs because any money spent on employer health plans is untaxed while cash income is taxed, so companies have an incentive to give very expensive health plans rather than higher wages.

    Most experts believe that eliminating the subsidy would slow health care cost growth, and additionally it would be financing health care reform with money that’s already subsidizing health care, instead of throwing new money at it.

  91. 91
    Ash Can says:

    @Mark: BOB HERBERT WANTS TO STOMP ALL OVER MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH

    /teabagger

  92. 92
    James in WA says:

    Woah, I’m late to the game.

    What Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist@5 said. People say “exponentially” WAY too much. Seriously, if you are not in a mathematics-based profession, just stop using the adverb “exponentially.” You don’t know what it means, and that’s a fact.

  93. 93

    For the past 90 years or so, the Republican Party has, at its best, come to embody the cause of personal freedom and economic dynamism

    Doing a bit of math puts this as “since 1920 Republican…” and I do have to wonder if the man has had any access to a history book or if he can tell the difference between rhetoric and policy. So the Crash is in, opposition to FDR, McCarthyism, fighting against Civil Rights, and so on? If these are examples of personal freedom and economic dynamism I do have to wonder what their converse would be? He sure managed to crank out all the idiotology talking points, almost like he’s got a random number generator tied to phrases … um, probably not in an Underwood….

  94. 94
    Comrade Luke says:

    These fucking attorneys general suing because of states rights have me at the end of my rope.

    My (Wa St) AG is Rob McKenna, and he’s joining the group suing. I remember when he first ran for AG and my “moderate” friends and I got into an argument about voting for him. Their argument was that he seemed like a very “moderate” Republican and an all-around good guy. My argument was that no matter how he was acting then the fact that he was a Republican should be all you need to know. I said that as he moved up the ranks he’d get more and more conservative, and once he wanted higher office he’d be just like the rest.

    I told you so, you asshats.

    I have this fear that the plan going forward is to sue to stop anything they don’t like that gets passed, hoping it gets to the Supreme Court which will of course overturn it because they’re wingnut tools. Am I being paranoid?

  95. 95

    @Omnes Omnibus: Hey, it’s a nice alternative to Top Ramen.

  96. 96
    Yutsano says:

    @Comrade Luke: Gregoire had better grow a pair and quash this bullshit. Seattle is still a very liberal city and if McKenna wants any kind of career beyond AG he’ll re-think this. Trust me it will haunt him if he bothers.

  97. 97
    Joe Lisboa says:

    The douchebag AG in Michigan (Mike Cox: not a prank-call misnomer), a Repub angling to be our next Gov as Granholm is out thanks to term limits, has signed on too. It drives me nuts. I’ve read the Commerce Clause, fuckers. And the rest of the document, too, in fact. I can tell when people aren’t generally up on the relevant con law case law and it’s forever frustrating to hear parroted calls of “it’s unconstitutional!!1!!” from people who apparently have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Proposed new eligibility requirement for participation in The ObamaCare Glorious People’s Labor System: passing a basic American civics exam.

  98. 98
    Martin says:

    @Chuck Butcher: ‘at its best’. See, there was this one day, back in 1921…

  99. 99
    Brian J says:

    @ds:

    That’s true, but is that what people are referring to? If that’s the case, then the changes we need to enact are relatively easy, aside from making the political case. But the impression that I’ve gotten is that when people talk about cost control, they mean specific problems with the structure of Medicare and Medicaid, not tax incentives, even if they are related.

  100. 100
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    It’s more complex only if you don’t think of Iraqis as people.

    Surely the best comeback I’ve heard in a long time.

    And luckily, we didn’t think of them as people. How else to explain something as vile as “Shock and Awe” to describe death raining onto a city in the dead of night?

  101. 101
    Brian J says:

    @Joe Lisboa:

    I want to be a lawyer, but I have no idea of how to think like one, so I will refrain from trying to do so. Instead, I would simply ask guys like them, do you really think the president, a former constitutional law professor at one of the finest schools in the world, who no doubt has very skilled, very smart lawyers working for him, would leave this open to a challenge like that?

  102. 102
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Yutsano: Gregoire drives me nuts too. Cut services and refuse to increase revenue via taxes…I swear she might as well be Republican. I voted for her, and she’s really disappointed me.

  103. 103
    Triassic Sands says:

    Nobody knows how this bill will work out. It is an undertaking exponentially more complex than the Iraq war, for example.

    I guess that’s why Bobo threw his wholehearted support behind a universal single-payer system — because that would have been the simplest system of all (except perhaps the preferred Winger Health Care Plan where providers get to charge anything they want and the chronically ill, elderly, and poor can piss off).

    Then, suddenly I realize, Bobo didn’t throw his weight behind the simpler system, he just wants to complain about the only thing that had any chance of passing in this backward country.

    Wingerland — the world of zero responsibility and even less accountability.

  104. 104
    Joe Lisboa says:

    Also: that Herbert piece was spot-on and overdue. Did the editors of the NYT REALLY just give the impression of totally looking the other way until the gentleman journalist of color actually addressed this nonsense? In a sane world, the despicable behavior of both the so-called Tea Partiers and their GOP cheerleaders in the U.S. House (who aided, abetted and encouraged this shit) in the build-up to this vote would prompt a swift condemnation from every editorial board in the land. Instead, much like that evasive, archaic beast the “fact check in contemporary political journalism,” the (analytical/critical/meaningful) silence is deafening until Herbert shares his take. There’s something deeply unsettling about this to me, something about the lowering of the discursive bar but worse or deeper. I dunno. Good night, all.

  105. 105
    ds says:

    I have this fear that the plan going forward is to sue to stop anything they don’t like that gets passed, hoping it gets to the Supreme Court which will of course overturn it because they’re wingnut tools. Am I being paranoid?

    I don’t know how they plan to get the Court to repeal health care reform without knocking out half the federal government.

    It’s well established by Social Security precedent that the government can force contributions for insurance programs. That’s how the individual mandate is structured. You aren’t actually forced to buy private insurance. It’s just that if you can’t show proof of some form of insurance, and if your income is high enough, you have to pay a special tax to the government.

    There’s nothing vaguely unconstitutional about it. There are all sorts of taxes that are predicated on what services you purchased or didn’t purchase. See the homebuyer’s tax credit, cash for clunkers, etc.

    Health care reform is unconstitutional if you’re a 10th-er who doesn’t believe in federal supremacy. But even the wingnuts on the Court haven’t gone that far.

    I think the court challenges are just part of the Republican plan to make sure the public remains confused and skeptical about the legislation. If people keep hearing on the news about legal challenges they’re not going to believe health care reform is something they can rely on.

    It’s a smart play, but I wouldn’t worry about it actually leading to repeal.

  106. 106

    @Comrade Luke:

    Am I being paranoid?

    The ideology of the Supremes is bothersome, but the attack would set precedent for some things the Supremes really don’t want to screw with – I doubt they’d hear it.

    I think the Supremes really didn’t want to hear Heller v DC and that the opinions on both sides show it in the face of the literature and that law. Standing and the blanket nature of the DC law forced their hands where the Court had ducked it for a long time. This one gets itself tied up into areas that they just don’t want to touch without the AGs having the blatant standing of a Heller.

    I use that case as an example because there have been a load of attempts to engage the Supremes and they would not do so – and there have been a lot of ideologies in the Court during that very long time frame.

  107. 107
    Martin says:

    @Brian J: Being a Republican in office right now is like having a dozen crocodiles living in your bedroom. Even if you’re a vegetarian, you better keep throwing that red meat or else they’re gonna one day decide to eat you.

  108. 108
    Martin says:

    @ds: Not to mention that I think state mandated auto insurance purchased from private companies has already survived repeated legal challenges.

  109. 109
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    For the past 90 years or so, the Republican Party has, at its best, come to embody the cause of personal freedom

    Huh. Well, so much for the history of the Civil Rights Movement, then.

  110. 110

    @Martin:
    The states I know of, several, have opt-outs if you post a bond. Those are state issues, but the use of tax dis-incentives is common enough and I would assume that is why the structure is set that way. I mentioned before, the Machine Gun Tax Stamp which has spit to do with raising revenue.

  111. 111
    Yutsano says:

    @Comrade Luke: I guess this is the part that truly sucks about having no opposition party to speak of. I can only think of two prominent Republicans in the state right now: one’s a total douche who couldn’t even manage to beat our weak-ass current governor TWICE (I really want him to take on Patty, she’d slaughter him now!) and the other is just discovering his teabag side. Otherwise honestly I can’t think of one that even comes close to being able to win a state-wide office.

  112. 112
    moe99 says:

    Inspired by a previous post that mentioned a young cancer survivor who went to his group and persuaded them to take action on the health care bill, I went to the cancer group that I spend some time each day with. I have stage IIIB lung cancer–diagnosed 7 months ago.

    I was taken aback with the reaction I got. Here’s a taste:

    Oh boy.. do I have an opinion on the health care bill.. I’ve stated it in detail before, so rather than repeat myself, I’ll add this– which just happened today…

    My mother has NSCLC and will be having surgery after the chemo. She also has a bleeding disorder which can cause internal bleeding and be life threatening without a clotting factor. She had to have this factor before and after her needle biopsy.

    Today, her hematologist called me today to talk about her next appointment, and he said, “You know, I’m really worried about patients like your mother with this health care reform bill that was just passed. She had three IV bags of clotting factor which cost about $10,000 each for her needle biopsy. There’s no way the government is going to be able to pay for that down the road, particularly with the medicare cut backs.”

    He said, and I quote, “I’m not going to be able to do my job anymore. I’m not going to be able to save lives.”

    There you have it, from a doctor. So for those who have been duped into thinking this is somehow going to be a panacea, you’re going to find doctors and hospitals will no longer be taking medicare and medicaid, and health care rationing.

    Don’t even think you’ll be getting the care for your cancer that you’re getting now. Those days will be over shortly. Compare our cancer survival rate with Great Britain and Canada.. we’re well above them. Guess why? That’s not going to last long either.

    You think things are bad now, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. And this thing was rammed down our throats even though 73 percent of Americans didn’t want it.

    P.S. … the website you provided is nothing more than propaganda from the Obama administration. [www.healthreform.gov]

    This is, the single largest tax hike in U.S. history. It’s expected to increase our Federal Deficit by 1 trillion dollars or more, cutting Medicare, and forcing you to buy insurance– which is unconstitutional. It fines or taxes you just for living. It takes away our liberty and our choice.

    It raises taxes on small businesses who provide 70 percent of the employment in this country.

    And.. it taxes dividends, capitol appreciation and annuities nearly 4 percent more for those families making $250,000 a year or more. If you live in a major metro area, $250,000 a year is not being rich or wealthy.

    If this thing were so great, then why were all the arm twisting and back-room deals?!!!

    This is an outrage.

    I’d like to get that hematologist’s name and report him to the state medical association if he said that to a patient. Assholes.

  113. 113
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Doing a bit of math puts this as “since 1920 Republican…” and I do have to wonder if the man has had any access to a history book or if he can tell the difference between rhetoric and policy. So the Crash is in, opposition to FDR, McCarthyism, fighting against Civil Rights, and so on? If these are examples of personal freedom and economic dynamism I do have to wonder what their converse would be?

    Bingo. Shorter BoBo: Ever since the halycon days of the Palmer Raids, it’s gotten harder & harder for the respectable white male Robber Barons to keep the lower classes in line. I, as a professional apologist for those Robber Barons, am deeply dispirited that the Black President and the Woman Speaker are allowing mere citizens to suck federal largesse that has historically been reserved for people like me! ! !

  114. 114
    scav says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Bingo. Shorter BoBo: Ever since the halycon days of the Palmer Raids, it’s gotten harder & harder for the respectable white male Robber Barons to keep the lower classes in line. I, as a professional apologist for those Robber Barons, am deeply dispirited that the Black President and the Woman Speaker are allowing mere citizens to suck federal largesse that has historically been reserved for people like me! ! !

    Even shorter: The Decline of Western Civ.

    no?

  115. 115
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    why were all the arm twisting and back-room deals?

    Aside from the fact that this wasn’t even a sentence ….

    Are these people just now, in the year of our lord 2010, discovering that back room deals are part of the legislative process?

    Alrighty then.

  116. 116
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    why were all the arm twisting and back-room deals?

    Aside from the fact that this wasn’t even a sentence ….

    Are these people just now, in the year 2010, discovering that back room deals are part of the legislative process?

    Alrighty then.

  117. 117
    Nylund says:

    I have no doubt that saving people’s lives is harder than killing them but it doesn’t make the latter the better option.

  118. 118
    ds says:

    I mentioned before, the Machine Gun Tax Stamp which has spit to do with raising revenue.

    Perfect example, which I forgot about. It’s well established that the federal government can incentivitize/disincentivize whatever economic activity it wants through the tax system, even to the extent where the goal is clearly to eliminate such an activity.

    The individual mandate challenges have as much validity as apartment renters suing to strike down the mortgage interest tax deduction.

  119. 119

    @Anne Laurie:
    The real shit? How about who was in charge during “The Gilded Age”? What time in American history most resembled the present in regard to income disparity and concentration of wealth? Granted that pushes out a bit from the 90yr, but hey, Lincoln is back a bit from Gilded Age as well. So from Lincoln to FDR shows what about the GOP and Wealth and general properity?

    One might ask Bobo about Haymarket, murdered coal mine organizers, Wobblies in general, and some other rather pointed questions pre-dating the nastiness of Tailgunner and civil rights workers in dikes…

    I understand you don’t even have to be able to read to get you some history now…

  120. 120
    tc125231 says:

    The first Mayor Daley is reputed to have defined an “honest” politician as one who stayed bought.

    By this definition –and absolutely no other –David Brooks is an “honest” man.

  121. 121

    @ds:
    Like I said, the Supremes might ideologically want to kick this apart but there a shit load of places they don’t want to go…

    People might want to frame Scalia as a gun nut righty, I can tell you that reading his opinion in the face of what he could have written shows someone unwilling to actually address the issues, that is one POS opinion – especially in the majority. You can force their hands if you have a big enough legal stick to do it, but I’m not seeing anything in that regard.

  122. 122

    @tc125231:
    Somebody over paid – a lot.

  123. 123

    @scav:

    The Decline of Western Civ.

    Damn good thing for the GOP that Tancredo’s literacy/civics test isn’t in effect?

  124. 124

    @moe99: Good lord. My sympathies. It’s really hard to argue against that kind of crazy.

    OK. Intrigued by the snippets y’all quoted, I actually read the whole column (I haven’t done that in ages). Now I must say, I hate you all. Seriously. Don’t ever make me do that again. Bob Hebert, on the other hand, wrote a palate-cleansing column, indeed.

    Ugh. I feel like shit right now. Anybody up?

  125. 125
    gwangung says:

    @moe99: Good lord. My sympathies. It’s really hard to argue against that kind of crazy.

    Reminiscent of arguing with creationists. Uses the same type of arguments, even (dismissal of research as propaganda, etc.). It takes patience and slow and steady fact-based arguments.

    Anybody up?

    Home from tech. In a surly and argumentative mood.

  126. 126

    Anybody up?

    Yup. Bottom of the eighth, archived Rivercats game. Helping my wife learn scorekeeping for our son’s little league team.

    Pretty cool, I must say. By the end of the season, she’ll be all over it.

  127. 127

    @gwangung: Hey, I couldn’t get your video to work on the other thread. Post again, please? Sorry about the bad tech rehearsal. They can be brutal.

    @Polish the Guillotines: Oh, that’s so fucking cool! What a great bonding experience.

  128. 128

    @asiangrrlMN: Yeah, it is. She basically got roped into it since none of the other team parents volunteered. It’s our first season in LL, and she’s never done this before, but she’s digging it, and therefore, so am I. :-)

  129. 129
    gwangung says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Rats. The subtleties of video on the web continue to elude me. How about
    http://www.vimeo.com/10367970
    for another service…

    Tech can be demanding if you’re looking for high performance. It’s fortunate I’m not too far involved, but it’s nerve wracking enough on the production team. Hard to come down off the adrenaline to get to bed…

  130. 130
    Cain says:

    @jeffreyw:

    For BoBo, war is simple. Just a case of “let’s you and them fight”. Simple, and you can watch it on TV. Health care reform? Best to make soothing noises for a while and pretty soon he’ll pick up some hints from some of the best people and he’ll know what to say.

    Maybe a Massa massage is involved! Wouldn’t that be JUST.. delightful! Following up with a tickle/pillow fight later!

    cain

  131. 131

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Now I must say, I hate you all

    I’m really sorry about that, but I got roped in the same way… well sort of, if I wanted to make fun of him I figured I needed to know what he actually wrote. I am no better for it – damn.

  132. 132

    @Polish the Guillotines: Awesome. Baseball is probably the best sport for that, too. I am assuming it’s baseball, right?

    @gwangung: That’s some funny shit right there. Tech was tedious as an actor, too. But so damn necessary.

    @Cain: For some reason, I saw the word “leather” in there. Huh.

  133. 133

    @Chuck Butcher: Oh, I don’t actually hate you all. I am just projecting–like a nutter. I hate myself for actually clicking on the damn link! How’s your wife?

  134. 134

    @asiangrrlMN: Yup. Baseball. Of course, Little League — at least at this level — is more like anarchy with uniforms.

  135. 135
    Cain says:

    @Geeno:

    I hate to be a wet blanket, but it’s “a day late and a dollar short” for me. My brother died this (monday) morning due to untreated heart ailments. He didn’t have insurance and hadn’t seen a doctor in at least 12 years.
    No more arguments with my wingnut brother at family events, but I’m still very sad.

    Oh! I’m so sorry for your loss. :( I can’t imagine what that feels like. How come he didn’t spring for insurance?? Best wishes during this difficult time.

    cain

  136. 136
    Cain says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    @Cain: For some reason, I saw the word “leather” in there. Huh.

    Wishful thinking? :)

    cain

  137. 137

    @Geeno: I’m really sorry to hear this. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I send a white light to guide your brother on his journey to the other side.

    @Polish the Guillotines: That makes it even better! Please tell me that a home run is counted as a home run and not as a double.

    @Cain: Probably. Though, not with Massa. Shudder.

  138. 138
    Alex S. says:

    Wow, what a silly column. He’s basically saying: I’ve seen both parties and have come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party is unamerican.

  139. 139
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Mark:

    Last night I was over at Redstate reading some of the member posts. In one post about the person saying that they were no longer going to ‘play nice’ (so to say) they were instead going to be deliberately mean and rude to any liberal, especially any Obama supporter. Cut them off in traffic, refuse to let them merge, run over liberal yard signs and the like. Several members were proud to display their ignorance in rebelling against the Census by not filling it out or filling it out with the number of people but no data about them. They were all looking forward to ‘visits by the ACORN census workers’ in the hope they can do something to them.

    This is what the Republican party is fomenting; hate of anyone not properly Republican and white. What is a proper Republican? The party doesn’t know because they delegated that purity test to their insane clown posse supporters. People are dying because these selfish party assholes only want power, they don’t care if fellow citizens die for them to obtain it. Hell, they don’t care who dies, just as long as it’s not one of their true believers who needs to send them money and vote for them. If their supporters kill their enemies, just pay lip service and give them a wink and a nod.

    The Republican party is dead, it’s no longer a responsible political party. It has become a pawn of the most hateful, regressive elements of our society. It is nothing more than a tool that they hope they can use to bludgeon us into submission and rid the country of anyone not white or one of them. I fully expect their members to start seriously pushing for secession real soon, not just talk about it. These people are not patriots, they are terrorists.

    They have become what they claim to despise.

  140. 140
    valdivia says:

    geno—so sorry for your loss.

  141. 141
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Patrick #82:

    If you removed all the adverbs, Atlas Shrugged would be a 16-page brochure.

  142. 142
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Geeno: I am so sorry. Even if you weren’t especially close, and had big political differences, your brother’s death is still a big loss. Peace to his spirit and to everyone who loved him.

  143. 143
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Geeno:

    Sending every supportive thought to you right now.

    I hope it’s not inappropriate to bring this up, but you and your mother have rights that the funeral home is bound by law to respect. It varies by state, but few funeral homes will go out of their way to let you know.

    The website for your state’s consumer protection agency would be a good place to start. California’s is here.

    Also, local funeral societies can also be good sources of information and consumer advocates.

    I hope this makes you and your mother feel less vulnerable at this time.

  144. 144
    bob h says:

    It will be interesting to see whether by Friday Newshour Bobo has managed to decently conceal his intense resentment at this Democratic success.

  145. 145
    kay says:

    @moe99:

    The doctor doesn’t understand the bill.
    The Medicare cutbacks are to Medicare Advantage. They are going to save 500 billion over 10 years by not making higher reimbursements to private insurers who contract with Medicare.
    If the private insurer raises rates in response to that, the enrollee pays the difference. If the enrollee objects to that, they can switch to the public Medicare program.
    Which they should have been on anyway, since the private contractor was costing taxpayers 15% more than the public program.
    They privatized 20% of Medicare, and that didn’t save money, despite promises from free market conservatives, it cost more money.
    It’s one of the reasons the system isn’t sustainable.

  146. 146
    tomvox1 says:

    Key Brooksian Dead Wrongism:

    The essence of America is energy — the vibrancy of the market, the mobility of the people and the disruptive creativity of the entrepreneurs.

    Having healthcare that is portable and not dependent on one’s job to maintain it is going to allow for infinitely more mobility of the workforce, as well as enable those beloved entrepreneurs to “creatively disrupt” much more so than now. Not being a healthcare indentured servant anymore was absolutely the most underappreciated part of this reform. The increased labor liquidity that this reform allows may well be the most revolutionary component in its long-term effect on the US economy.

  147. 147
    moe99 says:

    Thanks Kay for the info on medicare. As someone else wrote upthread, it’s the facts that we need to overcome this sort of massive ignorance.

  148. 148
    Elizabelle says:

    @Ash Can:

    No bus fumes for Mr. Brooks, ash can.

    Lexus trails and Mercedes fumes.

    Don’t go all Applebee’s salad bar on us, please.

    PS: How would you like to have been the editor who saw that inchoate column in its first, gin-soaked form?

  149. 149
    Elizabelle says:

    @tomvox1:

    Agreed!

    And why were more people not making this argument? It resonates.

    Truly portable GOOD healthcare, not dependent on one’s job, is the engine of economic development and more entrepreneurship. A jet engine.

  150. 150
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @ellaesther: EE, Netanyahu is often referred to as “Bibi”, as a diminutive of “Benyamin”. If someone called him “Bobo” *holds back laughter* then they either were making fun of the Likudnik puke, or mistakenly thinks that’s his nickname; or mispoke.

  151. 151
    Original Lee says:

    @Geeno: I’m sorry for your loss.

Comments are closed.