Austerity-Bombing Medicare: Bad Ideas Never Die

gop doing its best auth

(Tony Auth via GoComics.com)

Professor Krugman, still shrill (and correct!):

Back in 2011, we almost had a “grand bargain” whose centerpiece would have been a rise in the Medicare eligibility age. Liberals were horrified, but it actually would have happened if Republicans hadn’t balked at the idea of any revenue increases at all.

Now we learn that it would have been not just cruel and a betrayal of promises, but bone-stupid too… CBO has redone its analysis, and finds that raising the Medicare age would barely reduce federal spending.

The basic reason is selection bias: many seniors get Medicare before 65 because of disability or specific medical conditions. The ones who have to wait until the headline age are, on average, relatively healthy and hence relatively cheap.

So here’s my question: will people stop talking about raising the Medicare age? My prediction is that they won’t — because it wasn’t really about saving money in the first place. Degrading the safety net and pushing people into more expensive private insurance weren’t bugs, they were features. The usual suspects, I predict, will just keep pushing for the same thing, and dismiss the evidence.

Shrillness must be contagious, because the comments in the NYTimes seem to run deeply in favor of “Medicare for All”:

pcbroborg
Why is it that things that hardly anyone wants (for instance, cuts in Social Security and Medicare) are politically inevitable while things that majorities want (for instance, Medicare for all) are politically impossible?

248 replies
  1. 1
    muricafukyea says:

    I don’t disagree with any of Kthugs points. However, he does not seem to mention that there is a practical reason this is currently being debated in many countries. Not just the US. The reason is that people are living and working longer. In some cases other countries are raising the age limit. Not necessarily on healthcare benefits since most of these countries have universal healthcare but on other things like retirement benefits.

    So it’s not just because big bad Republicans want slash and burn social programs. Of course there is a lot of that going on too.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Liberals were horrified, but it actually would have happened if Republicans hadn’t balked at the idea of any revenue increases at all.

    Silly Krugthulu. That was *never* going to happen. The president was just baiting them for some more 11-D chess. Obama put it on the table because he knew the R’s would never be able to agree.

  3. 3
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Do majorities want Medicare for all? Seems to me a huge number of people get seriously queasy at the prospect of their own health insurance changing, which is what doomed every attempt to build a more comprehensive healthcare delivery system before this one.

    If I had the chance to reboot the system I would probably favor VA for All, with a vast network of publicly-funded doctors on the payroll of the government working in facilities run by the government. Public medicine, like public education.

    Thing is, doctors would hate it. Most privileged people would hate it. Politicians would shit the proverbial brick. So I’m not expecting it to ever happen. But it would be a hugely improved system compared to the status quo.

  4. 4

    The usual suspects

    Remind me, quick. Does Obama have a record of cutting the safety net, or of vastly increasing it?

    Yes, the GOP will always be pushing to screw over the poor and the national media will always be cheering them on because they’re rich assholes. Since the safety net is not being gutted right, left, and center, one might guess there’s another side pushing back. I wonder who they are?

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    As a very non-rich user of the VA I’d have to agree. As a past user of the US normal health care system I’d still agree.
    So in my mind the only people who really have a reason to complain about a VA type(socialist!) system are those with gold plated insurance and health care. It may be somewhat of a hard sell but Kaiser seems to do alright in CA with a similar delivery system that people pay for.

  6. 6
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Degrading the safety net and pushing people into more expensive private insurance weren’t bugs, they were features.

    To this I’d say, yes and no. The greatest power of the argument, such as it is, is a moral one: “we’re making things too easy on our citizenry, and we shouldn’t pour our hard-earned tax money into letting more lazy asses have a free ride.” (That’s the “America turning into Europe!” line.) The secondary power of the argument is the techno-wonk one: “if we saved money here we could use it on other things.” I have some sympathy for that in concept, but it has to be an absolutely crystalline case that outweighs other ways to pull in more money–like higher tax rates for big business and the top 1%–that wouldn’t jeopardize anyone’s well-being. There’s no good reason to make small tweaks that fuck with the lives of the poor or the non-affluent elderly. They’ve been fucked with enough.

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: They’re called ‘voters’.

    Just bear in mind that there is a clear answer to the US health-care problems, it’s called ‘single-payer’ and it’s implemented by pretty much every other industrialized country in the world. It works, it’s time-tested, it’s really not so hard.

  8. 8
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @muricafukyea: That’s almost entirely a myth.

    It’s a plausible-sounding myth to be sure, which is why it’s a reliable old standard on the stages of the Grand Ole Bargain Opry, but it’s just a myth.

    Efforts at making cuts in other countries by the way are for the most part proposals to reduce benefits to levels that would still be considerably better than what we have in the US.

  9. 9
    Pooh says:

    You can’t put the VS in VSP without advocating for shitting on the poors and olds

  10. 10
    Steeplejack says:

    This crap never dies. I just did a spit-take when I saw an ad in the middle of the football game from the Chamber of Commerce ranting about deficit, deficit, deficit, then sticking the landing with “It’s time to have a serious discussion about entitlements.” WTF?!

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Maybe the Chamber should be focused on fighting the Frankenstein’s monster of the tea party they helped create.

  12. 12

    @MattF:
    Single Payer is not relevant to anything I said, and the GOP’s elections have made it clear that there is a large popular movement for fucking over the poor. I’m happy to say we outnumber them, but not by enough that they don’t have power – and for awhile there, they outnumbered us, heavily.

  13. 13
    Steeplejack says:

    @Baud:

    Hell, yes!

    I thought the Chamber had dialed it back a bit recently because of how crazy the Teabangers had gotten, but apparently not.

    None of these business geniuses want to look at the reality that the deficit is largely the result of choking off revenue through tax cuts and unfunded wars.

  14. 14
    MattF says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I tried, and apparently failed, to make it clear that the second part of my post wasn’t meant to be a reply to you. Should have been two posts, sorry.

    I don’t disagree with you about the politics.

  15. 15
    Feebog says:

    So how about this; raise the capital gains tax back to 25 percent, close the loophole on “carried interest” so hedge fund managers are paying what they should, and then raise the marginal tax rate to 49.6 percent on anything over a million on income. Have the CBO score that and see how much revenue we would raise. Then we can talk about cuts.

  16. 16
    Walker says:

    @muricafukyea:

    However, he does not seem to mention that there is a practical reason this is currently being debated in many countries. Not just the US. The reason is that people are living and working longer.

    Krugman has addressed this issue (several times; this is just the quickest to find). People are not, as a whole, living and working longer. Only rich people are.

  17. 17
    fuckwit says:

    Why is it that things that hardly anyone wants (for instance, cuts in Social Security and Medicare) are politically inevitable while things that majorities want (for instance, Medicare for all) are politically impossible?

    Because we don’t have a democracy, and we are not ruled by the majority. We are ruled by a tiny minority, the 1% elite wealthiest people and corporations, who literally own Congresspeople and Senators and Governors and state representatives like they were employees, because they ARE employees.

    What the majority wants doesn’t mean jack shit. This is not one person, one vote, it is one DOLLAR, one vote. That’s capitalism. That’s private campaign finance and Citizens United. That’s the corporate media. The rich minority rule. This isn’t a majority-rule country.

    Because we are an OLIGARCHY, a banana republic. We have capitalism, not democracy.

    THAT is why. Is that such a surprise? Sheesh.

  18. 18
    muricafukyea says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Not just “efforts” to raise age limits. It’s happening in Canada for real. Not to healthcare of course because it’s already universal and free.

    http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca.....ndex.shtml

  19. 19
    xenos says:

    @MattF: Not everybody uses single payer. The difference is that nobody else allows for-profit corporations to sell health insurance to the general public, and where there are multiple payers you at least have a choice of mutuals to subscribe to. Furthemore, the idea of someone getting hundreds of thousands of dollars of compensation each year for working as an executive at a mutual or other type of non-profit is considered unimaginable in most of the world.

    Insiders have wrecked this country, and we need to wreck them in order to save it.

  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ruckus:

    It may be somewhat of a hard sell but Kaiser seems to do alright in CA with a similar delivery system that people pay for.

    This. I tend to think of NHS-type plans as universal, government run Kaiser, which doesn’t seem like such a terrible way of doing things. And there’s excellent evidence that fully integrated systems like that give the best bang for the buck, not just within the government run systems but also when comparing other countries with different systems.

  21. 21
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Silly Krugthulu. That was *never* going to happen. The president was just baiting them for some more 11-D chess. Obama put it on the table because he knew the R’s would never be able to agree.

    Is the notion Republicans saved Obama from himself any less silly?

  22. 22
    MikeJ says:

    There’s an open tag or something in the post. On the mobile site everything is cut off on the left and surrounded by an extra box.

  23. 23
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @muricafukyea: Well calling them “efforts” doesn’t exclude the efforts succeeding ;) but I see your point. I live in France so I was thinking most prominently of that, where many of them were rebuffed (Sarko raised the retirement age, Hollande lowered it back again. To 60).

    Here’s more from Krugman by the way, a full column version following on from mine and Walker’s link to a blog post above. Some pull quotes:

    And right now the most dangerous zombie is probably the claim that rising life expectancy justifies a rise in both the Social Security retirement age and the age of eligibility for Medicare

    First of all, you need to understand that while life expectancy at birth has gone up a lot, that’s not relevant to this issue; what matters is life expectancy for those at or near retirement age. When, to take one example, Alan Simpson — the co-chairman of President Obama’s deficit commission — declared that Social Security was “never intended as a retirement program” because life expectancy when it was founded was only 63, he was displaying his ignorance. Even in 1940, Americans who made it to age 65 generally had many years left.

  24. 24
    Anoniminous says:

    Analysis of future medical care expenses based on recent past (since WW 2) can be piled up and burned. They don’t mean anything. We’ve reached the end of the antibiotic era:

    We are quickly running out of therapies to treat some of these infections that previously had been eminently treatable. There are bacteria that we encounter, particularly in health-care settings, that are resistant to nearly all — or, in some cases, all — the antibiotics that we have available to us …

    and people are going to start getting sick and dying from drug resistant pathogens. Thus, mortality rates will be closer to those of 1935 – to pick year out of the air – than 2005.

  25. 25
    Mike G says:

    @Steeplejack:

    “It’s time to have a serious discussion about entitlements.” WTF?!

    It’s time to have a serious discussion about he staggering sense of entitlement of the Chamber of Commerce to dictate economic policy through their paid puppets in Congress.

  26. 26
    Anoniminous says:

    @xenos:

    Question.

    Do you have figures breaking this down? I’d really like to find how much is devoted to “Business and Overhead” versus how much is actually spent on actual medical care.

  27. 27
    craigie says:

    @fuckwit:
    So shrill.

    But true.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The greatest power of the argument, such as it is, is a moral one: “we’re making things too easy on our citizenry, and we shouldn’t pour our hard-earned tax money into letting more lazy asses have a free ride.” (That’s the “America turning into Europe!” line.) The secondary power of the argument is the techno-wonk one: “if we saved money here we could use it on other things.”

    I’m not sure about that. I think which part of the argument is stronger depends on the audience. Saving money works as an argument for just about everyone, while not making things too easy on people only works on a limited audience. For the people who buy the “don’t turn us into Europe” argument, it may be primary, but for everyone else the saving money argument works. That’s why it’s important to defuse the money saving argument by pointing out that the savings are illusionary; it limits the spread of the basic point to assholes who want to gut the safety net, rather than well meaning folk who have been misled by flawed arguments about monetary savings.

  29. 29
    TG Chicago says:

    @muricafukyea: To pile on to the responses you’ve already gotten, I’ll add digby’s comment that “The Social Security actuaries are not as dumb as rocks“.

    Basically, shortfalls are not a result of people living longer. They’re the result of rising inequality. Compared to historical trends, more money being made today is being made above the $110,100 cap on SS taxable income.

    So the best fix would be to raise the cap, not to penalize poor people for having the gall to possibly live a teeny bit longer.

  30. 30
    MikeJ says:

    @Feebog:

    So how about this; raise the capital gains tax back to 25 percent

    I favor the “income is income” bill that taxes all income the same way, whether you earn it or leech off the work of others. There’s no reason for the cap gains rate to be different from the income tax rate.

  31. 31
    Belafon says:

    Is there a poll showing that the country actually wants Medicare for all?

  32. 32
    Roger Moore says:

    @Feebog:
    While we’re talking about tax increases, can we have a financial transactions tax, also, too? I don’t know if it will raise much money, but it will undercut the whole high frequency trading bullshit that siphons billions of dollars out of the markets and into the hands of a few big investment banks while creating no societal benefit.

  33. 33
    Anoniminous says:

    @Belafon:

    Here you go.

  34. 34
    Botsplainer says:

    Nothing says “hip” like hiring a doucheface Young Republican from Rome, GA (and Berry College grad) to run the nationwide Youth Outreach.

    http://redalertpolitics.com/20.....-director/

  35. 35
    Churchlady says:

    @Corner Stone: Indeed – and that is EXACTLY the point that hair on fire Emos miss. There was never going to be a Medicare cut or chained cost of living indexing UNLESS the GOP agreed to raise taxes.

    And that will happen when (Pig Flying)

  36. 36
    TG Chicago says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Remind me, quick. Does Obama have a record of cutting the safety net, or of vastly increasing it?

    He has a record of attempting to cut the safety net. Should we ignore that? Should we take laws prohibiting attempted murder off the books since the attempts weren’t successful?

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattF: Actually, universal healthcare coverage is pretty much everywhere in the industrialized world; the way the various countries get there differs quite a bit.

  38. 38
    Churchlady says:

    @Belafon: NO! The single payer people have never done ONE SINGLE study to help show how it would economically benefit all of us and save money vs ACA. They do generalizations, they pit single payer against free market costs – but nothing at all has transpired to show how it could help. We talk to one another, we have nothing to offer people who fear single payer as the “Gulag” with no concern for patients, and we just keep insisting it’s better – but never HOW that could be. I had to break from the groups doing that tub thumping because it boils down to lying. If you’re too lazy to do the analysis, don’t ask me to carry the water for it.

  39. 39
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’m not sure about that. I think which part of the argument is stronger depends on the audience.

    True, but what I mean is that contra Krugman I don’t think very many people are thinking, “Mwahahaha, let’s make 65-year-olds buy bad insurance for two years!” The ones who want to “reform entitlements” come in two flavors, the ones who think the welfare state is too cushy (safety net not hammock, etc.), and the good-government ones who think they can find additional savings. I think that’s the difference between the Pete Petersons (flavor 1) and the Erskine Bowleses (flavor 2), not that either flavor is particularly appetizing. And if I had to guess, I’d say that Obama has a bigger streak of flavor 2 than populist Democrats would.

  40. 40
    Chris says:

    @Botsplainer:

    I’m trying to decide if the fact that their public face for the younger generation is (of course) white and male says something about their tone-deafness… or if it really doesn’t matter, since any black or female person they picked would have been someone like Herman Cain or Sarah Palin who would’ve turned off 99% of those demographics anyway.

  41. 41
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Belafon: Or, even more to the point, saying that people would give up what they currently have in order to have “Medicare for All” instead? Because that’s where support starts to break down, IMHO.

  42. 42

    @TG Chicago:

    He has a record of attempting to cut the safety net.

    No, he doesn’t. He has a record of lots of rumors that he’s made a deal to cut the safety net this time. He has a record of vastly expanding the safety net. He has a record of explaining at great length to the public why the safety net is important. His opposition would desperately love to cut the safety net. Rumors of what he meant to do drown in the evidence of what he’s actually done and what he said. ‘He’s totally going to cut SS and Medicare this time’ rumors are as insane as ‘He’s coming for our guns!’ rumors. Probably more insane. He’s at least publicly suggested mild gun control.

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Is the notion Republicans saved Obama from himself any less silly?

    This is a non sequitur.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steeplejack: I am willing to have a serious discussion about entitlements at anytime. Let’s put a guaranteed minimum income, medicare for all, free education through a BA or equivalent (to include apprenticeship programs), and things like that on the table and discuss them

  45. 45
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore: I love that idea too. Apparently it wouldn’t yield very much revenue. But I enjoy the principle of the thing. And I hate that the world of financiers leaches out so many of the smartest people in our society, like my ridiculously brilliant little brother, who works for a hedge fund because they made him an obscenely generous offer, not because he gives two shits about helping already-rich people make even more money.

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Walker: Yeah, work in a foundry for forty-five years and see how it feels to get up and go to work for the extra years. Working in an office can have its stresses but it doesn’t break the body down.

  47. 47
    MomSense says:

    Talked to someone while canvassing who is mad at the Democrats and Obama for caving by not pushing for Medicare for all in 2009. So his solution is not to vote and if LePage is re-elected so be it even though LePage refuses to expand Medicaid making poor people SOOL.

  48. 48
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Frankensteinbeck: Here’s a way to pull both of these together. Everyone remembers that one of Obama’s trial balloons was the much-hated Chained CPI. But it wasn’t to chain CPI and then just walk away, it was to chain CPI and _also_ create a guaranteed minimum benefit. Taken together and done just right, that would be an improvement for people at the bottom, paid for by people in the middle and at the top. Is that an attempt to cut the safety net or repair it? I guess it depends on your perspective. But, you know, just because some people use “reform” as a euphemism for “destroy” doesn’t mean that _every_ instance of the rhetoric of reform is a thinly-veiled attempt to destroy. Like the proverbial cigar, sometimes reform is just reform. (Of course as my literary theory professor said about the Freud quip, “Yes, but you can never be sure when.” It’s funnier with a Russian accent.)

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s funnier with a Russian accent.)

    Many things are.

  50. 50
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Corner Stone: No, it isn’t. You’re implying Obama wanted to make all these cuts to the safety net, but Republicans inadvertently saved us. In order for that to be true, Obama, who had been dealing with Republican hostage taking since 1/11, had to believe Republicans would accept a tax increase.

    The more likely scenario was Obama knew any concession he offered would be rejected as long as it was tied to a tax increase.

  51. 51
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Right on, bro’.

    One thing in particular that frosts me is the idea that the 47% have “no skin in the game,” so why should they have a say about anything? My retort is that their “skin in the game” is years—decades—of working at bullshit jobs with (some combination of) no health insurance, no protection from management idiocy, and artificially suppressed wages (thanks to no rise in the minimum wage, “right to work” laws and unions being choked out over the long term). So, Mr. One-Percenter, if you structure a society in which it’s impossible for most of the people to make enough money to live on and fund their own retirement, then, yeah, there’s going to be a need to provide a safety net by other means.

  52. 52
    MikeJ says:

    @Roger Moore:

    While we’re talking about tax increases, can we have a financial transactions tax, also, too? I don’t know if it will raise much money, but it will undercut the whole high frequency trading bullshit

    An alternative is to tie cap gains to how long the asset was held. Sell a house that you lived in for twenty years and pay a lower rate than we currently have. Buy and resell stock within five seconds, pay a much, much higher rate than we have now.

  53. 53
    Belafon says:

    @Anoniminous: Cool. Thanks. I wonder if anyone explained to the people that Medicare is a government program (see “Keep government out of my Medicare”)? But that’s good to know.

    And the answer to pcbroborg is that representatives represent the people who vote for them, not necessarily the people in their district/state. It has generally always been this way, but between Tea Party people showing up to vote in greater than usual percentages, plus gerrymandering, has made it even more stark. And most Tea Party people won’t accept that getting what THEY ask for is a bad thing.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    @Hill Dweller: There is simply no way you could end up where you are at from my comment.

    ETA, no way that is not unhinged.

  55. 55
    Hill Dweller says:

    @MomSense:

    Talked to someone while canvassing who is mad at the Democrats and Obama for caving by not pushing for Medicare for all in 2009. So his solution is not to vote and if LePage is re-elected so be it even though LePage refuses to expand Medicaid making poor people SOOL.

    Caving? In what bizarro world could the Dems get Medicare for all through Congress. Lieberman, who was needed to reach 60 votes, ran for reelection on a platform of lowering the Medicare age, but said he would vote against it if reached the Senate.

    Nevertheless, I suspect it’s just a handy excuse for voting against Obama.

  56. 56
    TG Chicago says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Obama most certainly has tried to cut the safety net:

    [Obama] agreed to squeeze $250 billion from Medicare in the next 10 years, with $800 billion more in the decade after that. He was willing to cut $110 billion more from Medicaid in the short term. And while Mr. Obama rejected raising the retirement age, he did acquiesce to changing the Social Security formula so that benefits would grow at a slower rate.

    I realize you’re going to dismiss this as a “rumor” (even though the reporter saw the documents, and the deal has been reported on everywhere), so how about this: would you agree that Obama would be making a terrible mistake if he were to cut the social safety net? If he puts forward such a proposal publicly, will you oppose it?

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    @MomSense:

    Talked to someone while canvassing who is mad at the Democrats and Obama for caving by not pushing for Medicare for all in 2009.

    If it wasn’t that, it’d be something else. Some people are just haters.

  58. 58
    TG Chicago says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    The more likely scenario was Obama knew any concession he offered would be rejected as long as it was tied to a tax increase.

    So you’re saying Obama put forward a terrible policy because he knew it would be rejected?

    If it’s a terrible policy, maybe just don’t put it forward.

    Why on earth would I applaud Obama for putting forward terrible policies?

  59. 59
    Hill Dweller says:

    @TG Chicago: Why didn’t the deal happen?

  60. 60
    piratedan says:

    @Baud: yeah, that’ll show ’em!

  61. 61
    JoyfulA says:

    Dropping the Medicare age would prevent people like me from limping along to the age 65 finish line. Raising it would triple the number of people having major surgery on the relevant birthday.

  62. 62
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Once the GOP took the House, it became literally impossible not to deal in terrible policies. That’s what the GOP is all about, and unless they are relegated to minority status, blaming Democrats for trying to govern with them gets us nowhere.

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @MomSense:

    Talked to someone while canvassing who is mad at the Democrats and Obama for caving by not pushing for Medicare for all in 2009. So his solution is not to vote

    Do people like this really exist? I mean, honestly, they really say these types of things out loud to a stranger?

  64. 64
    joel hanes says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The president was just baiting them for some more 11-D chess. Obama put it on the table because he knew the R’s would never be able to agree.

    On alternate Tuesdays, I believe this.

    And I must say that if it was and is 11-D chess, Obama did a perfect job of sacrificing some pawns and a bishop while luring the Rs into the final shutdown trap that seems just recently to have so damaged them.

    But: if it is in fact 11-D chess, for the gambit to be effective, the strategy requires that everyone be fooled — done right, it requires the left to react in horror, to lend President Obama that “reach across the aisle” bipartisan cred so valued in Washington D.C. and so worthless in the real world. OTOH, if it’s not 11-D chess, but a genuine determination to cut the safety net, the left should also react in horror. Loudly.

    Now, I am not privy to Obama’s thoughts. Am an attendant lord, one that will do, fit to swell a progress, or start a scene …

    So alternate Tuesday or not, I see my own proper role in the national drama as a sender of modest sums to staunch and vocal defenders of the New Deal and the Great Society, and as a writer of Strongly Worded Letters to those same defenders, and also and especially to the seeming and actual opponents of those programs. Including the President.

    If Obama is bluffing as Corner Stone posits, I can imagine the President reading my letter and chuckling, pleased that his gambit is working so well. And if he is not bluffing, I can imagine that I’m standing up to preserve the policies I think right.

  65. 65
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:

    which doesn’t seem like such a terrible way of doing things

    It isn’t.
    People I think feel that government or Kaiser type of health care is less personal, but even the VA’s socialist medicine just isn’t. I see the same people all the time, we have conversations of much more length and depth than almost all I ever had in private health care. And even more important, it works. And well. Maybe my expectations are different, maybe it’s because I’m not expecting to be treated like I own the Dr. A while back I read about a restaurant that didn’t allow tipping. The owner had traditional restaurants that did and studied very carefully why no tipping didn’t work. It was because the people wanted power over the servers. I wonder if the same thing works in the medical field?

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: There are some really dumb people in the world. Remember that half of the population is below average.

  67. 67
    piratedan says:

    @TG Chicago: perhaps it as an illustration that Obama was willing to talk about the budget, in a true negotiating fashion, i.e. I bring a supposed bargaining chip to the table, you do the same… does that mean that he intended to make those cuts? I don’t know, maybe I would find it appalling that he even brought that to the table, maybe if the R’s were acting in any kind of good faith, what could be seen as an equivalent concession on their side? What is lost in all of this, regardless of the intent or desire or the plan, Obama was willing to sit down and talk. The fact that the offer was refused unilaterally should have demonstrated that the R’s weren’t interested in talking and the MSM have perpetuated this meme that the President refuses to negotiate. The thing is, the President is willing to listen, the R’s don’t want to and have projected their behavior onto the President and the MSM states that its all about messaging.

  68. 68
    different-church-lady says:

    Why is it that things that hardly anyone wants (for instance, cuts in Social Security and Medicare) are politically inevitable while things that majorities want (for instance, Medicare for all) are politically impossible?

    Uhhh… the fucking GOP?

  69. 69
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I am willing to have a serious discussion about entitlements at anytime.

    You left unicorns and Festivus puppies for all kids off your list.
    I think it will be a decade or so before ACA gets so routinized that we’ll realize wha ta fantastic idea, against really stupid political opposition, how fantastic it is.
    Maybe by then Dems will take bot houses, and more state legislatures, over, and we can take another step.

  70. 70
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: What’s the other half?

  71. 71
    Baud says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Well, to be fair, Medicare for All wouldn’t have passed in 2009 with all the Conservadems and Blue Dogs we had in the caucus.

  72. 72
    mainmati says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I understand what you are saying by the moral argument but it is misplaced in my opinion. The Rethug position is to not compel people to get insurance because of FREEDUMB. This simply means that when they do get seriously sick or injured they go to the hospital. There if they are too poor to pay for the hospital costs it gets pushed onto taxpayers. If they are billed and then go into huge debt they are bankrupted and probably end up on welfare (taxpayers pay too). So, the subsidies to reduce costs have to be seen as reducing the otherwise ever-mounting costs of health insurance that are pushing an ever-increasing number of people out of the health insurance pool. The existing system, if not changed, would have eventually resulted in only a small fraction of the non-Medicare population actually having insurance. So Obamacare was a hard-headed economically rational initiative. Not really morality related.

  73. 73
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Do people like this really exist? I mean, honestly, they really say these types of things out loud to a stranger?

    Hell yeah. On this thing called “The Internet” — it’s a very common occurrence.

  74. 74
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    When I was phone banking, some of our callers had to deal with folks like that. I did mostly data entry, which is good, because I don’t think I would have had the patience.

  75. 75
    Litlebritdiftrnt says:

    @Walker:

    I love the way that the people who are talking about raising the retirement and Medicaid ages wear suits and sit on their arses and bloviate all day. The people who take a shower when they get home from work (h/t The Ed Show) are too fucking tired and spent to keep working past 65, they are waitresses who’s feet fucking hurt because they have bunions the size of golf balls, they are construction workers who’s back hurts because they have a bunch of herniated discs, they look forward to hitting 65 because it means they can finally get their bunions and herniated discs fixed, and these suit-wearing, bloviating arseholes think its just fine for these people to keep working for another five years? WTF?

  76. 76
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Baud: That’s only due to a lack of leadership on Obama’s part, though.

  77. 77
    shelly says:

    Classic movie alert. ‘Bride of Frankenstein” on TCM tonight at 8pm, est.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Normally I approach discussions here from what I think is a pragmatic viewpoint; I try to look and advocate for the best result that I believe to be achievable. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want more and in the context of a discussion about entitlements, I think the left/liberals should be able to say “these are the things we really want and by agreeing to, let’s say, the ACA we already fucking compromised so put that in your pipe and smoke it, you asshole.” Fucking austerity doesn’t fucking work.

    Tl;dr version: Sometimes I give full control to my inner social democrat.

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Where do you think Ron Fournier got his schtick from?

  80. 80
    different-church-lady says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s funnier with a Russian accent.

    “In Soviet Russia, cigar dream about you.”

  81. 81
    Anoniminous says:

    @Belafon:

    You’re welcome.

    For me the question is: if it was explained would people understand and accept in all its fullness Medicare is a government program? From local interactions with TeaBaggers, Independents and a chuck of the self-described Moderates, I doubt it. The Conservatives have done a good job of convincing people the government can’t do anything right so when something is going right they conclude it’s not the government.

  82. 82
    efgoldman says:

    @Baud:

    Medicare for All wouldn’t have passed in 2009 with all the Conservadems and Blue Dogs we had in the caucus.

    Nancy Smash could have gotten it through the House, but there’s no way a filibuster would have been broken in the Senate. You go to legislate with the Congress you have….

  83. 83
    TG Chicago says:

    @Hill Dweller: I’ll answer your questions if you answer mine:

    Would you agree that Obama would be making a terrible mistake if he were to cut the social safety net? If he puts forward such a proposal publicly, will you oppose it?

  84. 84
    Corner Stone says:

    @Davis X. Machina: She indicated she was out canvassing.
    But shouldn’t you have just replied: Res ipsa loquitor ?

  85. 85
    different-church-lady says:

    @Baud: I considered mentioning the Blue Dogs but it would have taken all the bounce out of it.

  86. 86
    Cassidy says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt: People love to spread the pain as long as it’s to someone else.

  87. 87
    TG Chicago says:

    @Baud: So you’re saying that because the House Republicans are crazy, that means Democrats are obligated to put forward bad policies? I don’t agree.

  88. 88
    Baud says:

    @efgoldman:

    Nancy would have had an easier time than Harry, but I think that might have been a bridge too far even for her. We’ll never know, though.

  89. 89
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: Oh, Jesus, do we have to do this again? Let’s just say that there’s a huge difference between taking money out of a program and taking money out of people’s pockets, and measuring cuts in terms of programs and billions doesn’t capture even that minimal level of complexity. Cost savings, when realized, would end up taking money out of a program too. It’s kind of the whole point. You can say that you don’t trust that the cuts discussed would spare the people who need the most help, and that’s fine, and that’s what everyone should rightly be vigilant about. But to put it in those terms is to obfuscate massively. It’s like saying cuts to agriculture programs necessarily devastate small farmers. Well, not if the ag cuts come out of big businesses’ profit margins instead while shielding actual small farmers, no?

  90. 90
    rikyrah says:

    In a Private Memo, GOP Strategist Explains Why The Republican Party is Dying

    By: Sarah Jones
    Saturday, October 26th, 2013, 2:41 pm

    The Koch brothers’ dark money screwed Republicans again.

    In California, an FPPC investigation into conservative groups funneling money into the 2012 state election turned a previously private GOP strategist’s memo public. The memo Republican consultant and fundraiser Jeff Miller wrote to his clients was meant to be private, but as part of the documents included in the investigation into the Koch brothers dark money, it is now public.

    The state ended up levying $16 million in fines against conservative groups, which they probably won’t end up paying but a legislative point has been made.

    Miller’s memo is a death knell for California Republicans, noting that the only way they are going to be able to hang on is to “to try and force the Democrats into making mistakes”. Miller has a strong reputation within the business community, so his words should carry some weight.

    …………………………………….

    Miller also admitted that the Republicans’ traditional funding base is the corporate world. It’s important to note this because the Republican base seems to be blissfully unaware of this fact, and the Libertarians who think they stand for freedom but vote Republican also seem unaware of this. Miller also claimed that the corporate world doesn’t want to help California Republicans anymore because they prefer to work with dominant Democrats.

    Miller is not new to pointing out the inevitable failure of the Republican Party’s current path. In 2011, he stepped down as finance chairman after warning the party that they were speaking to just 30 percent of the electorate.

    Democrats the nation wide should note Miller’s concern that conservatives can only carry the day when there is ultra-low turnout. This is why Republicans work so hard to depress the morale of the Democratic base by constantly bashing Obama, bashing any policy of Obama’s, concern trolling under fake IDs as disenchanted liberals, and using the allegedly Libertarian left to loudly denounce Obama as a tyrant who is just like Bush.

    http://www.politicususa.com/20.....tinos.html

  91. 91
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Physical.

  92. 92
    👾 Martin says:

    @MikeJ:

    There’s no reason for the cap gains rate to be different from the income tax rate.

    Well, there is, but it should be higher. You should pay fewer taxes for earned than for unearned income. When the GOP complains about people unwilling to work, every Democrat should bring up unearned income.

  93. 93
    Hill Dweller says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Would you agree that Obama would be making a terrible mistake if he were to cut the social safety net? If he puts forward such a proposal publicly, will you oppose it?

    Yes and Yes.

    ETA: I thought the reforms PO made to medicare Part D were smart and effective.

  94. 94
    muddy says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt: I was saying this to my sister the other day. She was saying how *of course* everyone should wait until 70, it was just financially irresponsible not to do so etc.

    I said some people need to get it ASAP as they may not make it crawling to 70 for pity’s sake.

  95. 95
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Ultimately, unless we want the Dems to do what the tea party just did, an agreement has to be reached with Republicans on running the government, and that agreement will have many sucky things in it.

    Even with Dems in complete control, there will be sucky things because of conservative or parochial Democrats. It’s just a lot worse when you have to deal with the GOP.

  96. 96
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Sometimes I give full control to my inner social democrat.

    Yeah, I know. In an ideal world I agree with you. Maybe its because I’m older, and both more realistic and more cynical.
    Although living in homunculus-land, I’d think you’d have to go the the building supply store for an extra-large cynicism bucket.

  97. 97
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Why is it that things that hardly anyone wants (for instance, cuts in Social Security and Medicare) are politically inevitable while things that majorities want (for instance, Medicare for all) are politically impossible?

    Because we live in a plutocracy where a relatively few wealthy interests and their water carriers determine our priorities and policy decisions. It doesn’t matter what the majority wants, we get what the wealthy want.

  98. 98
    rikyrah says:

    Texas Voter ID Law Prevents Women from Voting while Married

    By: Adalia Woodbury
    Friday, October 25th, 2013, 7:01 pm

    If you’re a woman in Texas, getting married or divorced could cost you your vote, especially if you drive too. In fact, Republicans are counting on it.

    Under Texas’ new voter ID law, Women who were married or divorced will have to update their voter ID to match their current legal name.

    It means first, middle and surname on your voter ID must be your current legal name and must match with your voter registration card exactly. This is serious stuff. Some estimates suggest this law affects 34% of eligible women voters. It is complicated, as a Texas judge found out the hard way.

    http://www.politicususa.com/20.....rried.html

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @mainmati: Oh, I agree. I don’t think it’s moral in the slightest. They _think_ it is, though. They think the issue is the development of a government that encourages laziness and free rides (especially by Those People, with villains du jour including Negroes and Mexicans). It’s total bullshit, but that’s what drives a huge proportion of Republican support for a _weaker_ welfare state. Can you imagine thinking the The Problem With America is that poor people and dark-skinned people have it TOO EASY? And yet talk to almost any Republican about politics and it will come bubbling out in less than 30 minutes. The biggest names in “entitlement reform” are the business-suited version of that brand of resentment.

  100. 100
    Belafon says:

    OT: Anna, did you see the picture on LGF of the Oath Keepers at the #StopWatchingUs rally?

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: I think that Obama put those proposals out there with no expectation that they would ever become part of a deal. I think he did it because he was trying to make sure he was perceived as the adult in the room. I think it was dangerous because the GOP could have won if they were smart enough to say yes. Basically, Obama was betting that the GOP was more interested in opposing Obama than it was in achieving its own policy goal. It appears that he was right.

  102. 102
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Corner Stone: No, I’d have said res ipsa loquitur, because I know my passive/deponent endings…

    My daughter was heavily involved in canvassing for the Equality Maine effort summer before last and I’ve met those people f whom Momsense speaks. I’m not sure how strongly they’re attached to politics, or the extent to which they’re paying attention, but I met a lot of them through her — non-partisan, tending towards single-issue, and health-care provision isn’t it.

    One thing I noticed was a frequent (deliberate) inability or unwillingness to distinguish between a system of single-payer health insurance, an NHS-style state-owns-the- bricks-and-mortar service, and a public offering on an all-qualified-providers insurance exchange. When it’s widespread, and thoroughgoing, albeit in a very small and quite hermetic segment of the body politic, one has to ask oneself “who benefits from this confusion?”

    Not in Cumberland Co. Democratic committee circles, though. That crowd is paying attention.

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    No, I’d have said res ipsa loquitur, because I know my passive/deponent endings…

    And you see? This is the kind of incisive commentary I count on from you. Thank you!

  104. 104
    rikyrah says:

    The Republicans’ Food Stamp Fraud: It’s Not About Austerity

    As conference committee talks begin, the GOP isn’t trying to cut $40 billion from SNAP just to save money. It wants to punish the poorest among us. By Michael Tomasky.

    by Michael Tomasky Oct 26, 2013 5:45 AM EDT

    What’s the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done? Tough one, I know

    But spare me a moment here—plus a thousand words down the page—and I think maybe you’ll agree with me that the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done is try to push through a $40 billion cut to the food-stamps program. It’s just unspeakably cruel. They usually say publicly that it’s about saving money. But sometimes someone—one congressman in particular—lets slip the real reason: They want to punish poor people. The farm bill, which includes the food-stamp program, goes to conference committee next week. That’s where, the cliché has it, the two sides are supposed to “iron out their differences.” The only thing the Democrats on this committee should do with an iron is run it across the Republicans’ scowling faces.

    The basic facts on the program. Its size fluctuates with the economy—when more people are working, the number of those on food stamps goes down. This, of course, isn’t one of those times. So right now the SNAP program, as it’s called, is serving nearly 48 million people in 23 million households. The average monthly individual benefit is $133, or about $4.50 a day. In 2011, 45 percent of recipients were children. Forty-one percent live in households where at least one person works. More than 900,000 are veterans. Large numbers are elderly or disabled or both.

    It’s costing about $80 billion a year. Senate Democrats proposed a cut to the program. A small cut, but a cut all the same: $4 billion over 10 years. The Republicans in the House sought a cut of $20.5 billion over 10 years. But then the farm bill failed to pass. Remember that? When John Boehner didn’t have enough votes to pass his own bill? After that debacle, the House took the farm bill and split it into two parts—the subsidies for the large growers of rice and cotton and so forth, and the food-stamp program. Two separate bills. And this time, Eric Cantor doubled the cut: $40 billion over 10 years. This number, if it became law, would boot 3.8 million people—presumably, nearly half of them children—off the program in 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a.....erity.html

  105. 105
    TG Chicago says:

    @Baud: To me, the difference there is between Dems agreeing to compromise to less-than-ideal policies and Dems putting forward bad policies.

  106. 106
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Corner Stone: falsum in uno, falsum in omni.

  107. 107
    efgoldman says:

    OK, I understand that Providence is only 45 miles from Boston, and very much in the Boston media’s shadow.
    But really, does the World Series have to lead the local news down here, every freaking night? (I know. SATSQ.) All they did was a canned person-on-the-street interview from St. Louis.
    I’m too damned old. I remember the glory days of Channel 5 in Boston.

  108. 108
    RobertDSC-iPhone 4 says:

    Obama, who had been dealing with Republican hostage taking since 1/11

    Try lame duck 2010. The GOP terrorists held New START, DADT, unemployment benefits, and the DREAM act hostage in order to keep the Bush tax cuts from expiring.

  109. 109
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Then you’re not talking about policies, but negotiating tactics, which is a whole other flame war.

  110. 110
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @MomSense: a while back, I was looking for numbers on how the damn kids’ voter participation changed from ’08 to ’10. One article I ran across was on college voters in Ohio, one kid said he was disappointed that Obama hadn’t done more for gay rights and the environment, so he was voting for John Kasich. John Kasich, who was Paul Ryan back when Paul Ryan was driving the Weinermobile, with an extra-dose of bible-thumpery– but go figure, he actually expanded Medicaid because of that book they like to talk about.

  111. 111
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He wasn’t right about getting any benefit from being perceived as the adult in the room, so there was no good reason to do it in the end.

    Unless, of course, he really did want to get the Grand Bargain.

  112. 112
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    He wasn’t right about getting any benefit from being perceived as the adult in the room

    Except reelection.

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt:
    I’ve stated it here before that I had family members telling me that I would have to work till the day I die. I have(and still do) work in a physical job. It’s not laying concrete(which I’ve done), digging ditches(same) but it is/has over the years taken it’s toll. I had an office/field job for a while and while that had stress, physically not that difficult. But due to my career, which also used to require on average 50 hrs a week(yes overtime) I’m used up, physically about done. I find I like being semi-retired/working part time because I just couldn’t work at all if I had to do what I know best 40 or more hrs per week. I just don’t have that level of energy or stamina any more.
    IOW I am one of those over 60 folks whose career has beat them up. That was one of the reasons that I worked that hard was so I could have retirement and some enjoyment out of the whole experience.
    Fuck those people who say I can work till I die. With a very large, very rusty chainsaw. I’ll find the energy for that.

  114. 114
    TG Chicago says:

    @Baud: I think I’ve been talking about one thing the whole time: Democrats shouldn’t put forward bad policies like cuts to the safety net.

  115. 115
    TG Chicago says:

    @Baud: Can you point to anything that shows that Obama’s interest in cutting the social safety net led to his reelection?

  116. 116
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Baud: we would’ve been better off with President Romney. After four years of Romney, the people would have seen the light, risen as one to put Dennis Kucinich in the White House.

  117. 117
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: That isn’t what Baud said at all.

  118. 118
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    You made the statement that he didn’t get anything out of it, and I didn’t see any proof offered for that proposition. Why put the burden on me?

    ETA: And what Omnes said. I do believe Obama gets mileage about being the adult in the room, although I admit it’s hard to see sometimes because there are so many headwinds to progress right now.

  119. 119
    Mike in NC says:

    @shelly: On a related note, flipping channels just landed us on CNN, where there is much love still for Sarah Palin.

  120. 120
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Democrats shouldn’t put forward bad policies like cuts to the safety net.

    Some Democrats do and some Democrats don’t. Because there are Democrats who are actually Democrats, some Democrats who are actually Republicans, and there are even a few Democrats who are Social Democrats.

    There are maybe five, six parties in the US, depending on where you live. But there are only two labels, anywhere. In Europe you fight the election, form the coalition, then govern if you won. Here you form the coalition, fight the election, then govern if you won.

    And coalition politics is the pits.

  121. 121
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mike in NC: I’ve seen in a couple places the Princess Dumbass is making a “comeback”. Except for her brief hiatus from Fox (pay cut?), i wasn’t aware she’d gone away. Richard Viguerie and Tom Delay are back Ted Cruz’s jihad, and herself surely will too. Maybe this time the “GOP civil war” is for real.

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: If someone said, Hey, we’ve been buying name-brand Band-Aids for the school nurse’s office, but if we bought store-brand adhesive bandages that are pretty much just as good we could save a few hundred bucks per year, would you be alarmed that the school nurse’s budget was being cut?

  123. 123
    Ruckus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    You are being way too kind.

  124. 124
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    And coalition politics is the pits.

    Especially with a separately elected Chief Executive.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: I bet if one looks at any polling from October/November 2012 the fact that Obama was perceived as the adult in the room was a big factor in his lead and ultimate win.

  126. 126
    TG Chicago says:

    @Baud: Cuts to these programs are generally politically unpopular, so it seems highly unlikely that proposing cuts would lead to reelection.

    You said his “adult in the room” status led to his reelection. I asked for evidence of this. Is that not fair?

  127. 127
    gwangung says:

    @TG Chicago: No, I don’t think so. I’m not sure you know the difference.

  128. 128
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Those polls are skewed!

    @TG Chicago:

    Now you’re just talking past me. But for the sake of argument, people do sometimes respect their leaders for making tough choices. I’m not saying that happened here, but I also never said proposing cuts specifically led to his reelection.

  129. 129
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Ruckus: While of voting age, I’ve lived, and served on town and county Democratic committees, in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, suburban Atlanta (then Elliot Levitas’ district), suburban Boston (then Gerry Studs’s district), and Maine, the latter both exurbs and in a coastal city. And I a member of Democratic Socialists of America (the Michael Harrington-Irving Howe faction) the whole time.

    Apart from the second word on the letterhead — always “Democratic” — there wasn’t much else common to all the experiences.

  130. 130
    TG Chicago says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That might be okay. But raising the Medicare eligibility age is not a different brand of Band-Aid. It is a very bad policy.

  131. 131
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: Egad, man. There’s policy, and then there’s personality. Sometimes things that are unpopular can still have a positive effect on personality. Was the Iraq War ever popular? Did people who thought the Iraq War was a bad idea still vote for Bush at least in part because “at least you know where he stands, unlike that flip-flopper John Kerry”?

  132. 132
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @TG Chicago: Bad polities have constituencies. Because they’re not bad for everyone.

  133. 133
  134. 134
    Corner Stone says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I don’t know. I was with you right up until that. But that sounds like you’re part of the purity police around here.

  135. 135
    TG Chicago says:

    @FlipYrWhig: More people were pro-Iraq War than anti- until mid-2005:

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fil...../770-1.gif

    So I don’t think Bush got significant support in 2004 from people who were against the Iraq War.

  136. 136
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: I don’t like that policy either. But your original list arraigning Obama for his interest in cutting the safety net also had a lot of stuff about cutting billions here and billions there, but at least as I understand it a lot of the ways those billions would materialize would come in the form of creating incentives for preventive treatment, ending duplicative tests and reimbursing ineffective treatments, etc. And I think it’s a bad idea to get sucked into the rhetoric where cuts = cuts = cuts, because there are lots of things liberals would be quite keen on cutting (farm subsidies, weapons systems, and such) that can be spun into harm where no harm is actually being done.

  137. 137
    Mike in NC says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:She has a new book coming out, as if anyone couldn’t guess.

  138. 138
    MomSense says:

    You do hear all kinds of things when canvassing or phone banking. I often think that the people who do the most voter outreach tend to complain the least about legislative results because they realize how tough it really is to move a population to support or reject a particular policy.

    This guy was really mad about the individual mandate because he thought the ACA was nothing more than a handout to the insurance companies but he had never heard anything about the medical loss ratio and didn’t know about many of the patient protection provisions. He also is currently without insurance and has a pre-existing condition so now he knows that he can’t be denied and probably qualifies for subsidies.

    I knew I wouldn’t get his support in this one conversation but if I planted a seed and he seeks more information or reconsiders some of his assumptions, then we may have a chance to get his vote next year.

  139. 139
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: I think this is something most folks don’t get, those in DC at the top of the list. I’ve worked behind a desk my entire life. I can’t imagine what it would do to my body to work with my hands roofing a house or in a coal mine for decades.

    One of my grandfathers after WWII worked 35 years in a Snap-on factory. One great job and he had a great retirement plan. But when it was time for him to retire, well his body had taken about all it could take. He lived until 93, but alas he always felt he lost his hearing, eyesight, and had to use a walker cause of all those hours on the factory floor.

    I just don’t see how we can expect people that worked jobs like you worked, and we need somebody doing them, to work into their 60s or beyond.

  140. 140
    muddy says:

    @Ruckus: Agreed. The sister who was telling me about waiting until 70 has never had other than an office job. Even in HS. Her kids have never worked in anything but an office either.

    My son says that the trouble with people saying this kind of stuff is that they are just sheltered and have no damn idea.

  141. 141
    TG Chicago says:

    @Baud:

    I also never said proposing cuts specifically led to his reelection.

    Then what were you saying? Omnes Omnibus said that Obama put forward safety net cuts to be perceived as the adult in the room. I responded that Obama got no benefit from trying to be perceived as the adult in the room. You responded to that saying that it Obama got reelected.

  142. 142
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: “Significant” wasn’t the issue. But it’s really not unheard of for people to vote based on a set of personality attributes that are at least one degree removed from policy stances, and that is how it’s possible for a non-zero number of people to say “even though I don’t like some of the things Obama has done, I like that he’s willing to make hard choices.” You and I don’t fall for that, but campaigns devote enormous energy to getting votes out of people who choose on the basis of vague notions like “He seems like he’s trying his best” at least as much as “I liked that specific thing he did.”

  143. 143
    Ruckus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    Should have quoted you. I was talking about your last line.

    And coalition politics is the pits.

  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:

    @muddy:

    My son says that the trouble with people saying this kind of stuff is that they are just sheltered and have no damn idea.

    There’s not some kind of better saying in your house than this?
    Not something like, “That’s how you know the chartreuse goose has never met the working moose!”

  145. 145
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: I think you’ll find that “mushy middle” medium-to-low-info voters like that “adult in the room” stuff, which is really just a subset of the “I don’t agree with him on everything, but all in all I kind of like the guy” stuff that drives millions upon millions of votes.

  146. 146
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @MomSense: Weirdest canvassing story I ever read was published in Salon in ’04, from PA if memory serves. An old lady told the canvasser she had cast her first vote for FDR in ’44, she depended on Social Security and Medicare, and was so upset about the Iraq War. Volunteer figured s/he could put one down for Kerry. “Oh no! Did you see his wife told that reporter to ‘shove it’? We can’t have a first lady who uses that kind of language.”

    In other news, Lamar Alexander has declared his independence from the Tea Party. I seem to remember in the late 90’s Lamar! was going to be one of the leaders of the newly resurgent moderate wing that was going to take the party back after the excesses of the Gingrich/Delay crowd.

  147. 147
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Obama’s image as the adult doesn’t just come from talking about entitlement cuts. It comes from his general approach to trying to address problems thoughtfully and, at least rhetorically, to be willing to work with others to get things done. His dealing with the GOP on the budget was consistent with that image. What would have been the effect to his image if he had taken a hard line instead? We can only speculate.

  148. 148
    muddy says:

    @Corner Stone: Well, he was the one saying it. I’m the one to make up weird sayings. I kind of like yours, I’ll tell him. We can use the code word “chartreuse” at family occasions when these tiresome lectures begin.

    Thanks!

  149. 149
    MomSense says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    His idea was that if you start with something way out then you can slowly negotiate back and end up getting more of what you want. I actually don’t think that strategy is very effective. If you start with something too far out–you often end up with nothing.

  150. 150
    muddy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: My mother was a Democrat all her life. She didn’t think GWB was that bad “because his mother is pro-choice”.

  151. 151
    MomSense says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Oh yeah and that is mild. I once had a woman yell at me about ObamaCare because she didn’t want to pay for birth control pills for sluts. Then she told me that she has been buying her own birth control since she was 15.

  152. 152
    Baud says:

    @MomSense:

    I took a short negotiations course once. What they said was, taking an extreme position makes it more likely to end up with a better deal in the end, but also makes it more likely that the parties won’t reach a deal. That’s the trade-off.

  153. 153
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @MomSense: Does he also think it’d be a smart idea to list his house for $10M?

  154. 154
    TG Chicago says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Fair point. But it’s difficult for me to trust the safety net cutters (including those on the D side) when they’re putting forward stuff like raising the Medicare eligibility age or cutting Social Security benefits — terrible policies. And Obama’s negotiation style has always been to start in the middle and work from there — terrible style.

    If Obama can actually find some win-win where costs are reduced without any vulnerable people being hurt, then that sounds great. It also sounds a bit magical.

  155. 155
    gwangung says:

    @MomSense:

    His idea was that if you start with something way out then you can slowly negotiate back and end up getting more of what you want.

    I think that strategy’s effectiveness is dependent on who the negotiators are—on both sides.

  156. 156
    MomSense says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Was she canvassing with EQMe or Maine People’s Alliance? That was such a well done campaign from the field work to the messaging and the advertising. Some of those ads just made me feel so much pride and cry like a fool.

  157. 157
    Ruckus says:

    @muddy:
    Your son is correct.
    And please remember my job is physical but not totally demanding on a day to day basis like a stone mason or wait staff for example but it takes it’s toll over the years. There are many physical jobs that are still done in this country that benefit a lot more people than may be understood. The people that do these jobs are part of this country and deserve a life besides hard work and shitty pay. Because my job is also a craft job I get decent pay but I am still making about the same hourly wage as I did in the 80’s. Of course I’m far from alone or worse in this situation.

  158. 158
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Baud: Anytime you try to negotiate with Republicans you have to invest huge amounts of energy into convincing them that there’s anything beneficial in making a deal at all. Negotiations between mutually interested parties are going to take a different shape than negotiations between one person who really cares and one who doesn’t give a shit.

  159. 159
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MomSense: @Baud: When negotiating a litigation settlement where the probable amounts acceptable to each side would be $40-50,000, I might start by asking for $75,000. If the other side proposed $500 as a counter, it would be rejected as silly. $20-25,000 and I would be willing to move off my initial number. If I started by asking for $500,000, I would expect that opposing counsel would reject it as silly as well.

  160. 160
    Baud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    True. Obviously, my course was focused on commercial negotiations, not negotiations with Republicans or other insane or sociopathic people.

  161. 161
    TG Chicago says:

    @FlipYrWhig: To me, “significant” was indeed the issue, since the question is whether or not Obama’s attempts to be seen as “the adult in the room” (an image he sought through his attempts at a Grand Bargain) resulted in his reelection.

    The effect would have to be significant enough to affect his reelection.

    Shorter version: I don’t believe Obama’s attempt at a Grand Bargain led to his reelection. Thus, I don’t believe there was anything gained from the idea that Obama put forward safety net cuts so that Republicans could shoot them down.

    On top of that, I believe Obama worked for the Grand Bargain because he wanted the Grand Bargain, not as some 11-D jiu-jitsu.

  162. 162
    MomSense says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Wow, that is one of those whiplash decisions.

    I don’t know why the damn kids don’t vote–makes me crazy. I think they fall away in mid term elections simply because there is not as much activity. During Presidential elections there are constant reminders, ads, activities, events, and messages. It is pretty tough to sustain that level of campaigning all the time in order to get the turnout. I really feel like this mid term season we have to pretend it’s a presidential election and pull out all the stops. Stakes are really high and I think that gridlock from now until November 2016 will not be good for Democrats.

  163. 163
    TG Chicago says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I can see this point, but I don’t think Obama achieved any success with it. The “both sides” media was not interested in portraying Obama as an adult unless they could also portray a Republican that way (TipandRonnie). Since it was impossible to portray any current Republicans as an adult, they weren’t going to portray Obama that way, either.

  164. 164
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @muddy: She didn’t think GWB was that bad “because his mother is pro-choice”.

    I always thought the Bushes Sr and Jr played that card deliberately

    @MomSense: Sounds like one of those people who could never quite grasp the existence and effect of ConservaDems.

    How do you work the likes of Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson in to the analogy of negotiating to sell a house? You own the house with 60 (or 278) other people, many of whom don’t really want to sell the house, and are afraid to ask too much because of what the neighbors will think?

  165. 165
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago:

    On top of that, I believe Obama worked for the Grand Bargain because he wanted the Grand Bargain,

    So the Republicans saved us?

    not as some 11-D jiu-jitsu.

    Think p0ker.

  166. 166
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    On top of that, I believe Obama worked for the Grand Bargain because he wanted the Grand Bargain, not as some 11-D jiu-jitsu.

    FWIW, I also think we wanted a Grand Bargain. The more interesting question is what he expected or was willing to accept as part of that bargain. Had the GOP negotiated in good faith, its possible you could have seen a budget that left entitlements alone (at least temporarily) because the GOP could not agree to Obama’s demands.

  167. 167
    muddy says:

    @Ruckus: What is your craft? I’m a potter. Everything seems heavier these days: clay, chemicals, kiln shelves. I had the orders ready early this year though, and have taken a seasonal job as well. I had the choice there of sitting in a chair talking to people on the phone, or packing boxes. I preferred the boxes even though it’s physically harder because, well reasons, and so will no doubt spend a couple of months hanging around with my feet up after the holidays.

    Funny how our choices are so constrained by our preferences.

  168. 168
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago:

    If Obama can actually find some win-win where costs are reduced without any vulnerable people being hurt, then that sounds great. It also sounds a bit magical.

    Well, that’s where the wonkery comes in. When it comes to health care, compared to other nations we collectively spend a huge amount of money and get next to nothing for it. That means a lot of money is ending up in people’s pockets rather than in the form of, you know, health. Recovering those billions that are leaking out of the system would be tremendous — and if it meant spending less per capita for the same or better outcomes, that would be a huge step forward, even though it would mean, in budget terms, a cut. Less money on better health is the goal, and I don’t want to see the “less money” part get wrecked by excessive skepticism.

  169. 169
    Tommy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I would tend to agree with you. I now work for myself. When I started clients often wouldn’t want to pay the rates I suggested in estimates. I didn’t have much of a track record. Now I have been doing this for years and all my business is direct referrals from very happy former or current clients, I noticed nobody ever questioning my rates.

    I felt I might be undercharging and I started to up my estimates. But as you noted I couldn’t just triple them. I’d get laughed at. Not taken seriously. What you’ve outlined is what I most often see noted on the freelance blogs I follow, where the topic of pricing and negotiations is almost the most talked about topic.

    I have a base rate for work I won’t go below, but playing with the higher end of my fees.

  170. 170
    muddy says:

    @MomSense: Luckily Republicans are trying to keep people from voting. Nothing like being told No to get people enthusiastic about their rights.

  171. 171
    👾 Martin says:

    @TG Chicago:

    On top of that, I believe Obama worked for the Grand Bargain because he wanted the Grand Bargain, not as some 11-D jiu-jitsu.

    I think he genuinely wants to get government on a stable track, without the annual hotfixes (putting aside the constant crises). Raising the Medicare age is something that Dems can compromise much more readily than before because of Obamacare. It’s still stupid as fuck because SS kicks in earlier, so every single person you’re moving off of Medicare is going to need an ACA subsidy, so you’re probably spending more by doing it that way, but you can at least entertain the idea as a sign of compromise. When they run the numbers, it becomes clear that it doesn’t do a damn thing for the budget.

    This is probably part of why the GOP hates ACA so much – it eliminates one more easy opportunity to save money buy fucking over poor people.

  172. 172
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tommy:

    Now I have been doing this for years and all my business is direct referrals from very happy former or current clients, I noticed nobody ever questioning my rates.

    Have you noticed, as I have, that the clients who don’t haggle over your rate are also the ones who treat you the best in other ways? And the ones who’s projects go smoothly?

    You’d think it would be the other way around — the ones who pay you would be the ones who would put you through the ringer, because they were at least paying for the privilege. But no, it’s always the cheapskates who make your life miserable.

  173. 173
    Baud says:

    @👾 Martin:

    It’s still stupid as fuck because SS kicks in earlier, so every single person you’re moving off of Medicare is going to need an ACA subsidy,

    Agree it would be bad policy, but I don’t think anyone would have been moved off Medicare. I though the proposal was to raise the age in the future, so it would only affect people who are not quite at Medicare age yet.

  174. 174
    TG Chicago says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’d put this slightly differently. I think Republicans generally do give a shit, albeit about awful ideas. But we’re in a political environment where many Republicans have as their primary political and policy goal “oppose Obama”. That’s what they give a shit about.

  175. 175
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Think p0ker.

    If that’s the metric then I think it gets worse. The government is funded at sequester levels and looks to be that way for the foreseeable future, if not worse. The UI was not extended for the 99’ers, START doesn’t matter a good god damned to anyone’s real everyday life, the Bush Tax Cuts are still in place. So DADT, which I think is an interesting case study in political negotiations, is an unalloyed good thing, absent other alternatives.

  176. 176
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    the Bush Tax Cuts are still in place.

    Not anymore, at least not in their entirety for high earners.

  177. 177
    MomSense says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I always thought the Bushes Sr and Jr played that card deliberately

    Absolutely! It was the way they signaled to Republican women that they were not actually going to restrict abortion access. I heard many Republican women tell me this.

    It is also why I am optimistic about Wendy Davis in TX. There are many Republican and evangelical women who have had abortions, had daughters, sisters friends, cousins who have had abortions and who will go into their polling place and secretly vote for Davis because they are furious about what the legislature has done.

  178. 178
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    So the Republicans saved us?

    It’s either believe that or believe that Obama spent a great deal of energy working on a Grand Bargain he didn’t want. Why would Obama do that? Why put all the emphasis on the deficit unless he believes that’s our biggest priority?

  179. 179
    Tommy says:

    @different-church-lady: Oh there is a direct correlation. People that don’t nickel and dime me and pay me in a timely fashion are always the best clients.

    In fact I now require 50% upfront payment. I call it skin in the game. That when they pay me, well they want things to move along faster, then when I bill them at the end of the project. Projects no longer just sit around. It is amazing, but I am 110% sure it has a direct affect.

  180. 180
    Baud says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Why put all the emphasis on the deficit unless he believes that’s our biggest priority?

    IIRC, Obama’s budget proposals tried to get more stimulus spending as part of the budget deal. That was what I believe he really wanted, but that wasn’t going to happen in that political environment with a budget that didn’t propose to reduce the deficit long term.

  181. 181
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s funny about pricing for services rendered. I don’t have the study to reference but a while back a Native American tribe found that they could not sell their turquoise jewelry. It was very affordable but no one wanted it. One day a clerk made a pricing mistake and labeled an item (something like) triple what it had been. And the whole shelf sold out. The exact same thing that wouldn’t sell they now could not keep in stock. At a higher price.
    An anecdote. I have a friend who does business in the MENA region. One day, a good friend pulled him aside and said, “You’re losing business at your rate. They don’t feel they can respect your judgment because your are priced too low compared to others, etc.” He raised his rate by about 40% and essentially dominates the referrals for what he does in that region.
    So, pricing is a funny thing when it comes to negotiations.

  182. 182
    Litlebritdiftrnt says:

    @Baud:

    Which is good how? As I said before you cannot tell someone who has worked manual labor all their life that they can go on working for another five years. Unless of course the idea is for people to die before they can even begin to receiving their benefits, if that is the case then of course it is a brilliant plan. There has long been a metric in the Social Security calculations that black men work all their lives to provide a comfortable retirement for old white ladies, because black men tend to die before they are eligible for benefits while little old white ladies live long beyond their contributions. As a little almost old white lady I suppose I should be grateful for that.

  183. 183
    TG Chicago says:

    @👾 Martin: It’s also stupid as fuck to raise the Medicare eligibility age since that takes the relatively-healthy seniors out of Medicare, thus putting the program in a worse fiscal position.

  184. 184
    Baud says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt:

    I didn’t say it was good. I was correcting what I perceived as a factual error that people currently on Medicare would have been moved to Obamacare.

  185. 185
    Steeplejack says:

    @Baud:

    This is a hot-button issue for me, because I think the “Bush tax cuts” got murkified in that deal a year or two ago and thus were removed as a strong issue for Democrats. Some of the cuts were rescinded, but in a half-assed way, and a lot remained, and the whole thing was done in such a way that it’s hard now to say clearly that the “Bush tax cuts” remain, although my sense is that many parts of them do remain. But now it has all gone down the memory hole of “no new taxes,” whereas before there was a good argument that “it’s not new taxes, it’s just reinstating old ones that were lifted temporarily.”

  186. 186
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Corner Stone: I’ve said it before: I know a Ron Paul supporter whose objections to Obama include that the ACA somehow kept single-payer health insurance from happening. Because Ron Paul is so keen on Medicare for all, I guess.

  187. 187
    bemused says:

    @muddy:

    True. Easy for the more comfortable in job and money to say.

    Then there are also the other folks who will have to work until 70 or death who are extremely angry as they have entered their 50’s/60’s that their lives haven’t gone the way they expected. They are bitter and damn it, if they have to suffer, everyone else should too. After all, they deserve to be doing better and those who “refuse” to work sure shouldn’t be getting all those breaks. I heard one guy say he thinks Social Security should be privatized for people 50 and younger. Of course, he happens to be over 60 with no kids and watches Fox religiously. Some of these people even used to lean towards the Democratic party but now blame Obama for hurting the “little people” as another said. They are just consumed by bitterness. oth, they don’t seem to feel the same rage towards the corporations and wealthy that pay little or no taxes and don’t talk about that. I often wonder how they, the “little people” can watch Fox News or other cable news for that matter hearing over and over that entitlements have to be “dealt with” and not get that those mouthpieces are talking about them. I imagine they convince themselves that the mouthpieces are talking about those other lazy moochers.

  188. 188
    Tommy says:

    @Corner Stone: Pricing is very strange. For me it is hard. I do WordPress web sites, email marketing, and social media. I think my rates are fair, but when somebody sees a commercial and they can get a web site for “free,” well that makes me charging well over $1,000 harder.

    Where I am playing with pricing is related to WordPress plugins. They are basically little apps that add additional functionality to WordPress sites.There are a ton of free plugins I use, but the best of the best charge. I buy what is called a Developers licence and I can use them on as many sites as I want. A single licence is like usually $25-$50. I used to just think of this as the cost of doing business.

    But now I charge each client what a single licence would be for them.Often it is another $350/site. Not a SINGLE client has questioned this, cause I included links for the pricing page for each in my estimates/proposal.

    As I said, figuring out pricing is a strange and interesting process.

  189. 189
    Baud says:

    @Steeplejack:

    When Obama campaigned on repealing Bush tax cuts, I believe he said he was going to keep them for folks under $250K, so those were always off the table. I think the final deal did raise the limit to $450 K and there were some other items that got in there also. But there were a lot of people who believed that all the tax cuts would be permanent after Obama agreed to them for a couple of years, and that didn’t happen (thanks to his reelection).

  190. 190
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …Admittedly, that could be perfectly rational: he might understand that he disagrees with Ron Paul on this but just cares about guns more.

  191. 191
    WereBear says:

    @bemused: I imagine they convince themselves that the mouthpieces are talking about those other lazy moochers.

    Of course they do.

    What they do is above reproach. What others do is nefarious. As it always has been.

  192. 192
    Joel says:

    One thing that never gets touched on in these discussions is that medical providers (i.e. doctors) are better compensated under the private insurer system than in medicare. To the point where a small number refuse to take medicare at all. Now, physicians are very well compensated and could easily handle a minor salary cut. But the pushback would be enormous. And we’re talking about a group that enjoys elevated social stature in addition to enormous financial/lobbying power. Unlike pharmaceutical and insurance companies, physicians are rarely – if ever – blamed for escalating health care costs.

  193. 193
    Steeplejack says:

    @Baud:

    So it would be interesting to see somebody run the numbers and calculate how much federal revenue was restored from the tax cuts that were rescinded.

    I say this because somewhere I have a link to a page that used to be great for shutting up the deficit scolds. It showed that almost half of the deficit would go away immediately if the “temporary” Bush tax cuts were done away with. But now, as I said, the whole issue has been murkified.

  194. 194
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: I see much of what Obama has done since the 2010 elections as a bid to do two things. First, get reelected in 2012. Second, limit the damage that the GOP can do.

  195. 195
    Baud says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I’m sure someone’s run the numbers somewhere. CBO probably did a report when that bill was passed.

  196. 196
    Corner Stone says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I’ve said it before: I know a Ron Paul supporter whose objections to Obama include that the ACA somehow kept single-payer health insurance from happening. Because Ron Paul is so keen on Medicare for all, I guess.

    Living in TX, I know lots and lots and lots of stupid voters. But none of them were going to vote for Obama or a D no matter what color the sky was that day.

  197. 197
    Keith G says:

    @TG Chicago: The great thing about being the Obama of the Balloon-Juice Bubble™, is that if what you do works out, you directly get all glory. If what you do does not work out, all is good since it was only a gambit for some greater plan.

  198. 198
    Steeplejack says:

    @Baud:

    I agree. I just wanted to whine a little more about how the “Bush tax cuts” got neutralized as a very clear, discrete issue. Dagnab it.

  199. 199
    WereBear says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Basically, Obama was betting that the GOP was more interested in opposing Obama than it was in achieving its own policy goal. It appears that he was right.

    Seems to me their policy goals solely consist of opposition!

  200. 200
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Why would Obama do that? Why put all the emphasis on the deficit unless he believes that’s our biggest priority?

    Because it a huge thing for every talking head in the MSM and, like it or not, that matters. If he didn’t put emphasis on it, they would have crucified him for it. So things were put on a table and the Republicans refused to talk. Ultimately, look at who is getting the blame for the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. Why? Because Obama made himself seem like a reasonable person who was generally willing to deal.

  201. 201
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WereBear: I should have said “stated policy goal.”

  202. 202
    MikeJ says:

    @Keith G: And for the firebaggers, everything Obama does is a a huge failure, and anything good that comes out of it is just the luck o’ the negro.

  203. 203
    👾 Martin says:

    @Baud:

    I though the proposal was to raise the age in the future, so it would only affect people who are not quite at Medicare age yet.

    Yes, individually it does not do that. But budgetarily that’s exactly what it does.

  204. 204
    Yatsuno says:

    @Joel:

    Now, physicians are very well compensated and could easily handle a minor salary cut

    Only if there is some student loan assistance offered as well. Otherwise most doctors in the first few years of practice are about as poor as they were in college.

  205. 205
    Keith G says:

    @MikeJ: Well, I cannot speak for the “firebaggers” whoever they may be. I guess you do.

  206. 206
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Sanctimony must be fun.

  207. 207
    👾 Martin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Because it a huge thing for every talking head in the MSM and, like it or not, that matters.

    That’s not the reason. The reason is that every year the only thing that gets done is fighting over the pennies, rather than actually solve problems. He wants that out of the way so that real shit can get done.

  208. 208
    👾 Martin says:

    @Yatsuno:

    Only if there is some student loan assistance offered as well. Otherwise most doctors in the first few years of practice are about as poor as they were in college.

    It would be the bargain of the century to take $1 out of every $2 in salary cuts and put that money to pay down the debt of GPs (and other in-demand physicians) and nurses. Everyone would come out way the fuck ahead that way.

  209. 209

    @TG Chicago:

    Obama spent a great deal of energy working on a Grand Bargain

    He didn’t. It came up in a report on a possible budget deal, but did not even get to be voted on. That would be the weakest argument that he wants to cut Medicare as you can get, except the argument that immediately follows it: If he DID want to cut the safety net, he could have done it with incredible ease during any of the hostage negotiations over the debt ceiling or government shutdowns. The idea that he wants to cut the safety net in any way is absurd.

    Why put all the emphasis on the deficit unless he believes that’s our biggest priority?

    Because we really need to raise taxes on the rich, cut military spending, and rein in medical spending, and that’s what everybody needs to think about when they hear ‘deficit’. Since he spent 30 seconds talking about the deficit being bad and the entire rest of the deficit speech talking about those three priorities and why what we absolutely can’t do is cut social and infrastructure investments, it’s pretty clear that he isn’t into austerity and doesn’t want to cut Medicare and SS.

    We’ve been hearing this crap since day one, and it hasn’t happened, and it’s not going to. A lot of it has come with ‘And we’ve heard he’s agreed to a deal…’ from the MSM. They’ve never panned out. He doesn’t want to cut Medicare benefits. Accept it.

  210. 210
    bemused says:

    @WereBear:

    Most of the bitter people are receiving (or soon will be) SS Medicare so they have to pretty obtuse to think they wouldn’t be affected. Then again, I believe some of them are so enraged, they’d rather take a cut themselves so those “others” won’t get one cent more and then they can be even more bitter toward Obama. All said, some very messed up bunch of old whiners.

  211. 211
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well it’s certainly not a solitary pleasure hereabouts.

  212. 212
    bemused says:

    @MomSense:

    That’s hilarious.

  213. 213
    Yatsuno says:

    @bemused:

    Then again, I believe some of them are so enraged, they’d rather take a cut themselves so those “others” won’t get one cent more and then they can be even more bitter toward Obama.

    Curtain rod, meet sparrow.

  214. 214
    efgoldman says:

    @👾 Martin:

    Everyone would come out way the fuck ahead that way.

    Back in the dark ages, when they were called “National Defense Student Loans,” there was loan forgiveness for every year the graduate worked in a certain job. One was teaching school. I don’t remember the others.

    The only really good idea John Silber ever had: Send everybody to school for free, and after graduation, everyone pays a fixed percentage (he suggested half of a percent) of income back, until age 65. So Jamie Dimon would pay half a percent of whatever stupid seven figures he makes, and a teacher on an Indian reservation would pay half a percent of whatever pittance s/he makes.

  215. 215
    Ruckus says:

    @muddy:
    Mold maker. If you are close to my age(64) you would know many of the products that I worked on molds for. Right now I use those decades of skills learned to be a machinist. So standing up all day cranking handles, moving metal and plastic for the medical industry. We mostly make machines or parts for production of other parts. Which is exactly what a mold maker does. We make tools. Not the kind you buy at Sears or Snap-On but tools none the less.

  216. 216
    jacy says:

    @efgoldman:

    there was loan forgiveness for every year the graduate worked in a certain job. One was teaching school. I don’t remember the others.

    My daughter is a senior in college getting a degree in primary ed (1st-5th grade) and, in Louisiana at least, there’s a fair amount of loan forgiveness if you agree to teach at a poor school for three years. (I’m not sure of the exact specifics, but I remember thinking it was a pretty significant chunk of change.)

  217. 217
    efgoldman says:

    @jacy:

    …. in Louisiana at least, there’s a fair amount of loan forgiveness if you agree to teach at a poor school for three years.

    Memory is hazy (I’m talking ~50 years ago), but I think it was 10%/year up to 50% of the loan value.
    Of course my senior year tuition, at a large private college, was @$1200.
    Last time I checked, same school was @$30K.

  218. 218
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G:

    Well it’s certainly not a solitary pleasure hereabouts.

    Solitary, no. It’s practically a circlejerk.

  219. 219
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Especially when you consider who’s asking.

  220. 220
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: No one asked anything.

  221. 221
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You didn’t? Seemed like you did. Huh. My bad.

  222. 222
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @MomSense:

    I don’t know why the damn kids don’t vote–makes me crazy. I think they fall away in mid term elections simply because there is not as much activity. During Presidential elections there are constant reminders, ads, activities, events, and messages.

    College students are usually living far away from home, and often vote absentee in their home district, if they vote at all, because they’re discouraged or prevented from registering locally. Or if they do register locally, they’re alienated from townie politics. That makes it much less likely that they’ll be motivated to vote in elections where the issues under discussion are local rather than national. They’re not automatically going to even know who most of the candidates are; before the Internet, it was hard for them even to find out if they wanted to.

    The remedy would be to make it easy for college students to register to vote locally, and to turn college students into a recognized force in college-town local politics. But in most such places, the local politicians are terrified of that happening, and don’t even regard college students as legitimate voters.

    So it’s no wonder that they only turn out in presidential elections. By the time they get out of college, they’re used to the idea that nobody votes in the midterms.

  223. 223
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: I made a statement. The punctuation should have been a giveaway. And, fwiw, sanctimony isn’t my thing. I’ve done arrogance. Some condescension. Maybe even a little failing to note the mote in my eye. But not sanctimony.

  224. 224
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Concerning the OP’s question, I’m coming to think that for everyone who wants Medicare for all, there’s somebody who actually loves the crappy non-ACA-compliant health plan they had before, and is now raising a ruckus about Obama taking it away.

    They may not be a huge fraction of the population, but they’re loud and enraged, and everybody knows one.

  225. 225
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s not a mote.
    And if you think sanctimony isn’t in your bag, baby…well, then.

  226. 226
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Yes.

  227. 227
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    Some of that may be that older people may have heard about the VA from decades ago, or the stories about Walter Reed, I believe it was. They think once the government touches anything it is turned to crap. And all they have to do is watch almost anything about congress to get conformation. I don’t think a lot of people realize how big this country is and how even though our federal government is big, it really isn’t all that big in the overall scheme of things. Of course nationally what else do we hear about on the msm? Federal government or entertainment news which of course includes sports.

  228. 228
    TG Chicago says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Because we really need to raise taxes on the rich, cut military spending, and rein in medical spending, and that’s what everybody needs to think about when they hear ‘deficit’.

    Not sure why that’s more important than the economy, but anyway:

    “Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns,” Obama said during his speech Thursday. “But here’s the truth. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it. “

    Or there’s this:

    According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues.

    So we’ve got tons of reports confirming that Obama wants to cut the safety net. You seem to think that these are all invented. Okay. Has Obama ever come out with a statement saying “I will never sign a bill that cuts the social safety net”? That would be an easy way to clarify the issue.

  229. 229
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: Obama is pretty competent politician. I would think that, if cutting the safety net were a priority for him, he would have managed it by now. This argument is in the dead horse stage.

  230. 230
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Wow. Such unbridled sanctimony. This is getting to be hard to watch.

  231. 231
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: If the many, many reports that Obama wanted to cut entitlements and raise the Medicare eligibility age are wrong, it would probably be a good idea for Obama to say so.

    Why do you think he’s allowing these scurrilous rumors to go unchallenged?

  232. 232
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: I take issue with the “wanted to,” if you go with “was willing to,” you have a better case. I still say it was a gambit – a dangerous gambit; you disagree.

  233. 233
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Ruckus: There are a lot of friend-of-a-friend tales going around about somebody whose health plan is going away and who’s being forced to buy incredibly more expensive insurance. Since there’s no specifics in these cases, it’s difficult to say in any specific way “that’s not true, here’s the better plan they can get now.” It’s always this sort of un-rebuttable “my sister has to play twice as much now, thanks Obama.”

  234. 234

    @TG Chicago:

    You do realize that, assuming all goes well and we end up with some semblance of a single-payer system, Medicare will go away, right? In fact, that’s the end goal. It would be beyond stupid to have two separate single-payer systems, one for people under 65 and one for people over 65.

    Obamacare and Medicare will eventually be merged and Medicare will be killed off.

  235. 235
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    Of course there will always be horror stories. Some of them will actually be true.
    But look at how many healthcare horror stories there are now. How many of those will go away? Most of them. That is what is huge, how many people stories will change from horror to positive.
    I’ve talked about the VA and how good it is but one of the things that makes it even better is they don’t care what condition you are in when you start. They told me that I’ve had a heart attack but the only thing that meant was they knew they had to work to keep me from having another. There are no preexisting condition problems at the VA. When I tried several years ago to purchase HC insurance on the open market, all of my existing conditions would not be covered and my cost was not even close to doable. If nothing else works no preexisting conditions is just fucking huge. No that’s not right, it is almost everything.
    We need to use the issue that the current horror stories will mostly end and that the reason we will have new horror stories, which will be about money, is that conservatives have been screwing all of us for the last 30-40 yrs and if that would stop so would the vast majority of horror stories.

  236. 236
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):
    Along with all the workers comp systems. If everyone has health care as in single payer or VA type then all the separate systems can be merged or at least aligned to avoid overlap. Yes there may need to be some specialization such as the VA provides for mental health care for PTSD and amputee care but those things happen in normal life as well just not usually for the same reasons.

  237. 237
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TG Chicago: dude, what happened to all that conceptual ground we were gaining earlier? It is in fact possible to make changes to Medicare without “cutting the safety net.” The key is, and Obama in your quote says _exactly this_, protect beneficiaries. If you can find savings in the system without cutting benefits, or if you can swap an expensive service out and a cheaper one in that’s at least as effective, that allows you to spend less money while protecting beneficiaries. That’s a genuine reform to the program, not a draconian cut dressed up as “reform” to trick you.

  238. 238
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Dead horse. Stop beating it.

  239. 239
    Ruckus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Agree with Omnes, you can keep flogging but that horse can’t think anymore.

  240. 240
    A Humble Lurker says:

    I find it odd that Obama can manage to get a health care bill passed, something that politicians have been trying to do for ten years at the very least, but with both Republicans and the MSM on his side on the issue he has yet to cut Medicare and Social Security. Weird.

  241. 241
    TG Chicago says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): You want to see Medicare abolished and replaced by Obamacare?

  242. 242
    TG Chicago says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Did you miss the part where Obama proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age? Or are you in the group that says Obama proposes stuff he doesn’t really want?

  243. 243
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: No. No, she doesn’t. Not at all. Don’t be an ass.

  244. 244
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TG Chicago: I will give you my daughter’s virginity if you give me $47 billion dollars by noon tomorrow. Any chance it happens?

    ETA: I can put anything on the table if I know you won’t put up my price.

  245. 245
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Not sure your request is possible.

  246. 246
    Waysel says:

    @fuckwit: This!

  247. 247
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: She said “Obamacare and Medicare will eventually be merged and Medicare will be killed off.” I don’t view that as a positive outcome.

  248. 248
    TG Chicago says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: If you made that offer, you would at minimum sound like an awful person for making such an offer. I doubt your daughter would appreciate it, given that it’s her life you’re gambling with.

    Some people are committed to preserving the social safety net. When the president is bargaining it away, they’re going to object. They’re still going to object if it turns out that it was some risky gamble. People don’t generally like their lives being gambled with.

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