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« The Liberal Mind - Ol' RL nails it, again | Main | Online Education Promoting More Inequality? (updated 1jun13) »

29 May 2013



I personally like my endangered frog chared before I eat it. The 9th circuit court of jesters recently put a kibosh on the Eco A wholes sue and settle nonsense. The 9th circuit actually got it right this time as the sue and settle agreements violated NEPA and FLMPA requirements that the public be consulted.
What really needs to change is the mis-named Equal Access to Justice Act's provision that the government pays lawyer fees to the Eco-A-Wholes when they sue.

Ryan Mount

"On that day, the rock will not hide them, and the dead tree will give no shelter."

What are they gonna do? Throw their Foxconn-made iPhones at their enemies? Which, come to think of it, might be a viable warfare tactic because undoubtedly they're insured for at least two replacements.

Suggestion: before attacking the man with your iPhone, remove it from its Otterbox.

Ben Emery

The answer to our health care system woes. If everyone wants to reduce spending health care is an easy place to do it since we spend around 17% of our economy on health care in the US. When we have a for profit health care system we then have a system that profits off of denying care.

Ryan Mount

We're living in profoundly good times. Each year better than the last.

In the past 80 years, as an example, our food spending have plummeted from ~30% of our budget, down to under 10%*. We're living [a lot] longer. Healthcare, BTW is not more expensive but has seemed to stay the same. Sadly, we're spending less on booze. Probably cause our Hilter youth kids will turn us in. Anyhow...

Yet, everyone is miserable. No one is happy. You can fly in a steel tube at 600mph at 30K ft. And people complain about the food (or lack of it) and being cramped. You're sitting in a chair, in the sky.

*If one is "growing" and living the fast, cash-only life at the Briar Patch, disregard this entirely. You're paying $80 to fill your re-usable bag of kale and wait 20 minutes for your mediocre burrito. But then again, you're not paying income taxes. But for the rest of us, it's very true.

George Rebane

RyanM 104pm - Good observations and data Ryan.

Ben Emery

Oh Ryan,
Usually we agree on so much but your post misses the mark entirely. Life for most Americans is just fine but what is fueling the unhappiness is everything you mentioned is superficial in meaning on the big scale of things.

Our food bills at home are less but more goes into subsidizing petro agriculture and more to do we are spending much more guaranteeing our GM food prices are kept artificially low. We are doing this by making the cost indirect and routed through our government. $10 - $20 is the average cost of a gallon of gas in the US when all external costs, that are picked up by you and me are factored in. The food we eat is fertilized, pest controlled, planted, harvested, brought to distributor, and then brought to market on that heavily subsidized commodity of oil. This is only one aspect of a very complex system.

Organic food on the other hand is what growing food in America actually costs without the direct subsides that "conventional" farming/ agriculture receives. Now you have to factor in the yuppie factor of the cost of retail but it still is much cheaper if we actually paid the true cost of food.

Ben Emery

As usual, I go back and edit a portion which then creates havoc with clarity.

The first sentence in the second paragraph should read.

"Our food bills at home are less but more goes into subsidizing petro agriculture. The low costs in our individual budgets has more to do with the level of subsides (direct/ indirect) guaranteeing our GM food prices are kept artificially low."

George Rebane

BenE 148pm - I'm not sure that I (or anybody?) follow your accounting. You seem to say that all that extra indirect cost to us comes through higher taxes which we don't properly assign to the categories like food (which Ryan's 104pm cited). Could you just pick one expense category, like food, and show how all those indirect costs impinge on it. BTW, from the government's budget you should subtract out defense and all the entitlements; then show us from where our tax dollars go to add to the indirect cost.

It should be an illuminating exercise that someone should have already done, so you could just give us a link or cut and paste.

Ryan Mount

I am 100% aware of why our food bills are low: the economy of scale brought on by, well, large productions enabled by relatively cheap energy and fertilizers. It's how we're feeding billions of people. I suppose you might say that prices are artificially low. And that would be partially true. But I'll give you the stage to share the petro-food story, aka "How come we have tomatoes in December, Daddy?" shtick." Somebody should. GM foods are a separate topic mostly because they don't explain our successes over the past 100 years, and are a somewhat recent development.

And as for the food subsidizing, which I suppose is a good (well, better) use of tax money than nuclear weapons , the government picks winner and losers and then the winners flood the market with cheap processed crap. Then they start burning it as energy, because that's more profitable(again due to the government) and people start to go hungry. All this provided by our government.

Anyhow, it's extraordinary expensive to grow one's own food. (it's costing me $4/tomato this year at my house, not counting my labor) Or even to buy locally, which was my observation about the privileged few tax dodgers that can afford to shop at the Briar Patch and then lecture the rest of us poor slobs about what we eat. Dickheads.

However, I think year over year, things are dramatically improving, which is my main point. Not just here, but everywhere. Why are we living longer? Why does it only take 5 hours to fly from LA to New York? They can replace your heart. Poverty is down worldwide. Hosts are leaving ABC TV's the View! And Jeff Pelline has not been able to shame the Union into shutting down.

It's just not that bad. In fact, it's fabulous. I'd go as far to say that we're wasting our bounty on people who don't deserve it, as per Louis CK's observation above.

Bill Tozer

The politicians and political hacks are busy sticking their fingers in the dyke before the dam goes a' busting. Dems and Republican elected political type are working behind the scenes frantically trying to get themselves exempt from Obama-Caring. Problem is nobody wants to go first and look like a hypocrite nor take the heat. No doubt the exemption will end up as amendment to some bill with the author unknown.

All is grand in my neck of the woods. I am so grateful that I picked up this short sale before the Obama-Care tax kicks in on all real estate transactions.

I am especially grateful for WalMart, our nation's largest retail food supplier. Without WalMart, poor folk would not have enough money to eat. Watching one's pennies is a prudent and wise thing to do. Mandatory in today's climate.

Yep, there be some in Ivory Towers that say run up to the Patch and buy some local stuff. What, 2 bucks for a tomato? Or is it 5 bucks? Might as well be a million clams. People in Ivory Towers telling po folk to buy at organic stores is like telling a homeless person to just go buy a house. Problem solved, not! Sure, eating a small $90.00 bag of organic weeds might reduce our health care expenses, but will there be enough money left over to put Chinese shoes on our kids' feet? Thank your lucky stars that we have outlets like WalMart that do help the po folk in deeds and actions, not just flowery words.

From the rumor mill: A Sierra Nevada county is looking at ways to tax the water from one's well. Before we all get riled up, it is just an innocent idea being floated by the Ivory Tower rock turners. They be turning over every rock looking for some money. With that money they will be able to hire some more rock turners. Life is grand. I am most grateful today.


I agree with Ryan, life is great and few are happy. I can't pull myself away from the advances provided to us (by capitalism). I love the idea of simplifying to a 'Little House on the Prairie" lifestyle... but I would miss netflix, air conditioning, deoderant, allergy medication....

What is wrong with health care is that it is not a for profit market.

Obama is making Watergate look like a high school musical. There are many veterans that fought (died, wounded, psychologically damaged) to protect Americans from the evils being done by this administration. Rotten to the core.


Health Care: every time I hear someone say "single payer health system" I know who that single payer will be....... me.

We need to free the health care market, not shackle, micro-manage and bureaucractize it.

Collectivism is slavery.


"but I would miss netflix, air conditioning, deoderant, allergy medication...."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, answering the question "what time period do you wish you were from" responded with something like "anytime after the invention of novocaine".

Bill Tozer

Michael Anderson

Mikey wrote: "Obama is making Watergate look like a high school musical."

Completely and totally off the mark, Mikey. What you don't realize is that a president of the USA in the 21st century in completely unable to commit some of the crimes of which Nixon was guilty. There are too many firewalls in place--which were created by subsequent administrations--as a direct result of Nixon's disastrous presidency, that will prevent those types of crimes in the White House from ever happening again.

That being said, it is now easy for the Executive Branch to convince the Legislative Branch to dry up and blow away, which has nothing to do with an individual president's rotten-ness and everything to do with a constitutional system that is flawed and is now allowing one branch to trump the others.

Regarding PPACA, here's some Krugman meat to go with your salad:

Bill Tozer

Mr Anderson: "What you don't realize is that a president of the USA in the 21st century in completely unable to commit some of the crimes of which Nixon was guilty. There are too many firewalls in place--which were created by subsequent administrations--as a direct result of Nixon's disastrous presidency, that will prevent those types of crimes in the White House from ever happening again."

Mr. Anderson. me thinks those firewalls put in place are ineffictive and basically ain't worth the paper they are written on as long as Congress fails to do its oversight duties per our Constitution.

Michael Anderson

Bill, your excellent link to the Fox News story proves my point: the Executive Branch, regardless of party, is hugely FUBAR, and needs to be reformed. As does the rest of the American federal gov't, to a large degree.

The Executive Branch as it is currently designed and constructed could very easily nurture a Hitler/Stalin character in the 21st century (not Obama, he's too black), and the US Constitution needs to be fixed so that the Legislative and Judicial branches are better able to check and balance this kind of serious and world-changing hypothetical situation.

The firewalls I am citing, Bill, are only there to keep the current Dear Leader in Washington D.C. from laying conspiracies down on tape, for example.

All conspiracies in the 21st century are anonymous, which means they are not actually conspiracies, by definition (-;


Thanks to Barry’s misreading of Lord Keynes and listening to fellow nobelist Krugman, the country is up to its collective butt in debt while continuing to dig the hole ever deeper.

We all do know that while Sugar Coated Barry O's Nobel was completely unearned, it was at least granted by the Nobel Foundation. The poorly named Nobel prize in Economics is given by a central bank (Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel)...I know.....I know......hard to believe a central bank would honor economists who shamelessly endorse the tenets of central banking.


MA, the only reform needed in Washington is to limit the regulation of interstate commerce to the regulation of actual interstate commerce. The commerce clause being stretched beyond any reasonable limit, and it is the justification for most of mess.

No, regulating the shotgun sitting unused in a judge's closet because it might have been made in a different state (an actual claim by one US attorney to a Court of Appeals judge when asked) isn't the same as regulating interstate business transactions.

George Rebane

Krugman, beyond being a dubious economist and nobelist of the Yasser Arafat faction (another similarly adorned member is, of course, Obama), he has now become a super-shill for the administration. His assessments of Obamacare, especially the factual citations, are so far beyond the left field fence they are in the next county (e.g. citations of the 'surprisingly low cost' of California's healthcare premiums). And not missing a beat, all hitches existent and yet to come are the fault of Republican "sabotage". It all doesn't speak well for his adoring audience.

Russ Steele

Forbes -- Rate Shock: In California, Obamacare To Increase Individual Health Insurance Premiums By 64-146%

Obamacare to double individual-market premiums

If you’re a 25 year old male non-smoker, buying insurance for yourself, the cheapest plan on Obamacare’s exchanges is the catastrophic plan, which costs an average of $184 a month. (By “average,” I mean the median monthly premium across California’s 19 insurance rating regions.)

The next cheapest plan, the “bronze” comprehensive plan, costs $205 a month. But in 2013, on (NASDAQ:EHTH), the median cost of the five cheapest plans was only $92.

In other words, for the typical 25-year-old male non-smoking Californian, Obamacare will drive premiums up by between 100 and 123 percent.

Under Obamacare, only people under the age of 30 can participate in the slightly cheaper catastrophic plan. So if you’re 40, your cheapest option is the bronze plan. In California, the median price of a bronze plan for a 40-year-old male non-smoker will be $261.

But on eHealthInsurance, the median cost of the five cheapest plans was $121. That is, Obamacare will increase individual-market premiums by an average of 116 percent.

For both 25-year-olds and 40-year-olds, then, Californians under Obamacare who buy insurance for themselves will see their insurance premiums double.

I wonder if California's will soon have some voters remorse?


I wonder if California's will soon have some voters remorse?

Look at what California voters keep sending to both Washington and Sacramento and ask that question again.

Bill Tozer

The Great Divide in 3 words:
Americans versus Washington

Paul Emery

Russ 09:03 AM

Everything you say is fine if you can buy insurance. Many cannot buy insurance at any price because it's essentially not for sale if you have pre existing conditions or are above a certain age. I don't know what insurance you have but if you're above 55 it's virtually impossible to buy even though it's advertised as available because virtyally everyone has a pre existing condition that being you're above 55.

Ben Emery

This s for those who have asked what country does the things I suggest.
10. Mexico
> Life satisfaction score: 7.3
> Self-reported good health: 66% (14th lowest)
> Employees working long hours: 28.6% (3rd highest)
> Disposable income: $12,732 (3rd lowest)
> Life expectancy: 74.2 years

Mexico received a high life satisfaction score despite receiving low scores in a number of categories that make up the OECD’s Better Life Index. No nation rated worse than Mexico in safety — the nation’s murder rate of 23.7 murders per 100,000 residents in 2011 was the highest of any OECD nation and more than 10 times the OECD average that year. Additionally, 13.1% of residents had been assaulted or mugged in 2012, also the highest of any nation considered. Mexico also ranked as one of the worst nations for both work-life balance and income. The nation had one of the lowest averages for household disposable income in the OECD, at just $12,732 as of 2010. This is less than a third of the average disposable income in the United States. However, none of these factors have prevented Mexicans from being satisfied with their lives.

9. Finland
> Life satisfaction score: 7.4 (tied for 7th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 69% (18th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 3.9% (8th lowest)
> Disposable income: $25,739 (13th highest)
> Life expectancy: 80.6 years

People in Finland spent an average of 19.6 years getting an education, more than any other country in the OECD. Based on students’ average scores in reading, mathematics and science, Finland was considered to have the most accomplished students. The government, relative to the nation’s size, is one of the largest spenders in the developed world, providing a significant social welfare system. In 2012, the government’s total spending was equal to nearly 56% of GDP. Finland’s employment rate of 69% in 2011, although lower than quite a few other countries, was higher than the 66% average rate across all OECD countries. People in Finland worked just 1,684 hours annually, compared to 1,776 hours in all OECD countries. Just under 4% of all employees worked very long hours, compared to about 9% in all OECD countries.

8. Canada
> Life satisfaction score: 7.4 (tied for 7th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 88% (3rd highest)
> Employees working long hours: 3.9% (9th lowest)
> Disposable income: $28,194 (9th highest)
> Life expectancy: 81 years

Canada was rated among the top nations for residents good health. In 2011, 88% of residents surveyed reported they were in good health, higher than all countries except for the United States and New Zealand. Canada also had one of the higher average household disposable incomes among nations considered, at more than $28,000. This was well above the OECD average of $23,047. Canada was rated as one of the best nations in the OECD for housing — although there are some concerns in the country that a real estate bubble is forming.

7. Austria
> Life satisfaction score: 7.4 (tied for 7th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 69% (18th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 8.8% (14th highest)
> Disposable income: $28,852 (6th highest)
> Life expectancy: 81.1 years

Last year, just 4.7% of all workers in Austria were unemployed, less than any other nation in the eurozone, where the 2012 unemployment rate was 12.3%. As many as 72% of Austrians between the ages of 15 and 64 were employed in 2011, among the top 10 of all countries and better than the 66% average rate for OECD countries. Austria was in the top third of all countries in terms of both household financial net worth, at $47,458, and personal earnings for full-time employees, at $43,688. In addition, 96% of all residents indicated that the water quality was satisfactory, higher than all but two other countries and significantly better than the 87% who indicated that across all OECD countries. Austria also has high levels of civic participation — the voter turnout rate was 82% in 2008, the ninth highest among countries considered.

6. Netherlands
> Life satisfaction score: 7.5 (tied for 5th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 76% (11th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 0.7% (2nd lowest)
> Disposable income: $25,493 (14th highest)
> Life expectancy: 81.3 years

The Netherlands was rated as one of the best countries for jobs by the OECD. In 2011, 73% of the population between 15 and 64 years old was employed, one of the highest proportions of all nation’s measured. Further, only roughly 1.5% of workers had been unemployed for more than one year as of 2011, less than half the OECD average of 3.1%. Also potentially contributing to residents’ happiness is the fact that 94% of residents asked said they had a support network they could count on for help if they were in trouble. This was one of the highest figures among countries measured.

[More from 24/7 Wall St.: The Countries with the Highest Unemployment]

5. Denmark
> Life satisfaction score: 7.5 (tied for 5th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 70% (17th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 2.0% (4th lowest)
> Disposable income: $24,682 (15th highest)
> Life expectancy: 79.9 years (12th lowest)

Employees in Denmark had an average full-time gross pay of $45,802, higher than all but four other countries in the OECD. The average worker in Denmark put in just 1,522 hours annually, much lower than the OECD average of 1,776 hours. Air quality and water quality was considerably better in Denmark, compared to many other countries. Some 94% of residents indicated satisfaction with the water quality, the seventh highest of all countries and better than the 84% indicated across the OECD. The government of Denmark spends considerably to ensure the general well-being of its residents. Last year, government spending totaled 59.5% of GDP, the most of any OECD nation.

4. Sweden
> Life satisfaction score: 7.6 (tied for 3rd highest)
> Self-reported good health: 80% (8th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 1.2% (3rd lowest)
> Disposable income: $26,242 (12th highest)
> Life expectancy: 81.9 years

According to the OECD, Sweden ranks as the top country among all nations measured in terms of protecting its environment. Swedes enjoy some of the highest quality air of any nation — as of 2009, there were just 10 micrograms of small particulate matter per cubic meter in the county’s most populous areas. Its water quality in 2012 also ranked among the highest for all countries. The nation’s residents also are among the healthiest of any nations measured. Nearly 80% of those surveyed in 2011 stated they were in good health, well above the 69% average for the OECD. Although Sweden received moderate ratings for income and jobs, it was one of Europe’s best nations for income equality, with one of the lowest Gini index scores of any country.

3. Iceland
> Life satisfaction score: 7.6 (tied for 3rd highest)
> Self-reported good health: 77% (9th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 13.5% (8th highest)
> Disposable income: $21,201 (16th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 82.4 years

Iceland residents have the strongest support networks of all countries — 98% of residents indicated they could count on friends or relatives if they needed help. Iceland residents tend to be in good health as well, with the country’s life expectancy and self-reported health both among the top 10 of all countries. The employment rate for those between the ages of 15 and 64 was 79%, tied with Switzerland for the highest among all countries. Where Iceland did not do as well relative to other countries was income and wealth — average disposable household income of $21,201 and average household net financial wealth of $31,182 were both lower than OECD averages. But after accounting for taxes and transfer payments, income in Iceland was more evenly distributed among residents than in other nation in the OECD.

2. Norway
> Life satisfaction score: 7.7
> Self-reported good health: 73% (14th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 2.8% (6th lowest)
> Disposable income: $31,459 (3rd highest)
> Life expectancy: 81.4 years

Norway’s employment rate for those between ages 15 and 64 was 75%, tied with the Netherlands for the third highest rate among all countries. The gross pay of full-time employees neared $44,000, the ninth highest of all OECD countries. The average household income was $31,459, higher than every country except for the United States and Luxembourg. People in Norway tend to work significantly less than those in other countries — the average worker only put in 1,426 hours of work, compared to 1,776 in all OECD countries. Less than 3% of the country’s employees worked very long hours, lower than all but five other countries. In 2012, just 3.3% of all workers were unemployed, well less than all but one other nation examined by the OECD, South Korea. As many as 96% of the country’s residents were satisfied with the water quality, tied for third highest in the OECD. Norway also ranked among the 10 best countries in terms of air quality.

1. Switzerland
> Life satisfaction score: 7.8
> Self-reported good health: 81% (7th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 5.9% (17th lowest)
> Disposable income: $30,060 (4th highest)
> Life expectancy: 82.8 years

In no other country did residents have a better sense of well-being than in Switzerland. People in the country tend to be better off financially than residents of most other countries. In 2010, the average household’s disposable income was $30,060, higher than all but three other countries. Meanwhile, the average household financial net worth in Switzerland was more than $99,000, higher than any other country except for the United States. As many as 79% of the country’s residents were employed in 2011, tied for the highest employment rate in the OECD. People in the country work just 1,632 hours annually, compared to the OECD average of 1,776. Very few residents were unemployed in 2012, when the unemployment rate was just 4.4%, lower than all but three other nations studied.

George Rebane

BenE 652am - Thank you for that compendium.

It's interesting to look at your sample. Except for Mexico, they are all small, white, culturally homogeneous (their cultural problems come completely from their minor but growing mulit-kulti factions), European, and not responsible for their own security or keeping the world civilized.

As homogenous social orders become smaller, it is ever easier to organize under collectivist principles where altruistic behavior becomes less of a strain. The family is the natural bookend of such a social order. For example, in the family the overwhelming part of income (analogue of GDP) is spent by the 'government' for collective pursuits and benefits.

That is one reason why social scientists tell us that the ideal size of sovereign nation-states never exceeds 5M by much, and the ideal size of communities is below 50K. When nations get bigger and culturally inhomogeneous, then peace and order must be maintained by a strong central government. And as we all know, there are enormous costs to such forms of governance - loss of freedoms and widespread poverty being the ones that readily come to mind.

Self-determination is not easily practiced wholesale.


Paul, even under Obamacare, you can't buy "insurance". What you will be forced to buy is all the prepaid health care that the Obama administration thinks you should buy, not an insuring against an unexpected major expenditure.

In general, those of us who don't overuse healthcare services subsidize those who do when we buy any insurance beyond catastrophic coverage, and Obamacare is WAY BEYOND catastrophic coverage.

George Rebane

The sludge on Obamacare just continues to pour in. Here's a heads up for all those celebrants of the feds running national healthcare - rationing has already begun on pre-existing conditions, and predicted out of pocket costs are going through the ceiling since everything, as usual, was underestimated to calm the sheeple. Here's what the GAO is now reporting (don't look to the lamestream).

The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is overseen by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is headed by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. ...

Further, the CCIIO “instituted benefit changes for the federally run PCIP that shifted more costs onto enrollees starting in January 2013,” reported the GAO. “For example, it increased enrollees’ out of pocket maximum for in-network services from $4,000 to $6,250 and for out-of-network services from $7,000 to $10,000.”

The report concluded, “Finally, due to growing concerns about the rate of PCIP spending, in February 2013, CCIIO suspended PCIP enrollment to ensure the appropriated funding would be sufficient to cover claims for current enrollees through the end of the program.”

More here -

In case you missed it in my post - "As I have said before, Obamacare will turn out to be the world’s most expensive and despised healthcare system ever."

Paul Emery


The 18% of the GDP that our current "system" is already the most expensive so I don't see it getting much worse. I don't support it because as you know I believe in single payer, but it may be better than what we have or the Republican "let's tweek what we have a little bit and see what happens" so called alternative.

Paul Emery

04:36 PM re-write
Our current "system" is already the most expensive in the world at 18% of the GDP so I don't see it getting much worse. I don't support Obamacare because, as you know, I believe in single payer, but it may be better than what we have or the Republican "let's tweek what we have a little bit and see what happens" so called alternative.

Here's more info about our current health care costs.

"Hospitals, drug companies, device makers, physicians and other providers can benefit by charging inflated prices, favoring the most costly treatment options and curbing competition that could give patients more, and cheaper, choices. And almost every interaction can be an opportunity to send multiple, often opaque bills with long lists of charges: $100 for the ice pack applied for 10 minutes after a physical therapy session, or $30,000 for the artificial joint implanted in surgery. "

Bill Tozer

Gotta love it. Special hunting socks are now considered a "medical device" and subject to the ObamaCaring tax. If you don't believe me, just hit the Cabellos in Reno. Hand warmers are next. Good thing thrift stores still sell medical devices such as wheelchairs and crutches. I don't mind using dead people's "medical devices", but I resent paying an indirect tax for getting around on a busted knee.. Looks like ObamaCaring wants an arm and a leg and the wheelchair to go with the kitchen sink.

Paul Emery

Latest polls show strong support for Obamacare with overwhelming combined support for Obamacare and a more "liberal" solution of 59-35%. That poll would include people like me who prefer single payer.

George Rebane

PaulE 436+pm - Current healthcare is about 16%. Early Obamacare estimates take it up to 18%. By 2015, I'll wager that it will be 20% and counting.

I'm not aware of any "tweeking" Repub healthcare plans. All of them entail a massive overhaul with inter-state competitive insurance policies, multiple levels of healthcare practitioners, revised tax codes and tort laws for medical litigation, etc.

I would be very suspicious of that poll. Obamacare has been uniformly disliked by Americans for a couple of years now with all kinds of polling organizations taking part. Last week's 54% against swinging to 59% in favor in less than a week would represent a very big swing just as all the bad news on Obamacare is hitting the media. Not very likely.

Bill Tozer

Nothing to see here, move on.

Michael Anderson

George wrote: "Obamacare has been uniformly disliked by Americans for a couple of years now..."

uni·formly adv. - always the same, as in character or degree; unvarying.

Allow me to revise your statement so that it is factually correct: Obamacare has been uniformly disliked by conservative Americans for a couple of years now...

There, now it makes some logical sense. Sorry, 54% is not a mandate. My guess is that once PPACA kicks in, and the 30 million currently using the ER as their primary care facility are brought into the system in a more cost-efficient way (which, BTW, is the main reason our local hospital is totally on-board with the legislation), the polling numbers will reverse.

I predict that by the summer of 2014, over 60% of ALL Americans (not just conservatarians) will have a positive opinion of the PPACA.

In the meantime, let me use a baseball analogy regarding the incessant mewling of the PPACA opponents. I mean seriously, trying to repeal it 38 times in the House of Representatives?!? That's just pitiful. Look, the umpire listened to your complaints and said sorry, the ruling stands. But the whining continued, to the point where the ump finally had to throw you out of the game (National Federation of Independent Business, et al., v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., June 28, 2012).

From the Baseball Official Regulations and Playing Rules: Rule 4.07 -- When a Manager, Coach or Player is ejected from a game, they shall leave the field immediately and take no further part in that game. They may not sit in the stands and may not be recalled. A Manager or Coach ejected from a game must not be present at the game site for the remainder of the game.

Opponents of PPACA have only two choices: They can either work to reform PPACA by adding "inter-state competitive insurance policies, multiple levels of healthcare practitioners, revised tax codes and tort laws for medical litigation," or they can leave the ballpark and stop annoying everyone else in the stands.

Paul Emery

George, in that poll I combine support for Obamacare and "more liberal" options, which would include single payer. The Repubs had six years of total control of the Presidency, House and Senate and came up with nothing so I give them no credibility in coming up with a solution to a dire problem for millions of Americans. Remember, it was Romndy who last year proposed

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” Romney told interviewer Scott Pelley. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and — and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

But Romney’s position is a shift from 2010, when he told MSNBC that part of the impetus for the Massachusetts health-care law was to keep people out of the ER.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility,” he said.


" The Repubs had six years of total control of the Presidency, House and Senate and came up with nothing so I give them no credibility in coming up with a solution to a dire problem for millions of Americans."

The GOP barely controlled both houses during Bush's first six years and *never* had the absolute control of Obama's first two years. Democrats killed substantive efforts on tort reform, the trial lawyers, being a major Dem power center, not wanting their excesses reined in. This not only drove up medical malpractice insurance costs, but also all medical costs since doctors were (and are) practicing defensive medicine and ordering many more tests than they would otherwise. That stampede I hear is probably horses or cattle, but we'd better rule out zebras and ibexes just to be sure.

One Dem medical malpractice lawyer who specialized in channeling dead babies when hitting juries up for huge damages almost became Vice President.

Like I said, it could have been worse.


Checking, Bush started in 2001 with a literal 50/50 in the Senate, and not much better in the House.

Total control? And, if you think that by 9/12/2001 that *anyone* thought that healthcare reform was a front burner issue, you've been smoking some bad granola (apologies to Zapp Brannigan).


Back to Tozer 7:34

"The IRS scandal may have its roots in Illinois politics. Specifically, the 1996 U.S. Senate race between Democrat Congressman Dick Durbin and conservative Republican State Rep. Al Salvi... Soon after the IRS story broke, Al Salvi told Illinois Review that it was IRS official Lois Lerner who represented the FEC in the 1996 Democrat complaint against him. According to Salvi, Lerner was, without question, politically motivated, and went so far as to make him an offer: "Promise me you will never run for office again, and we'll drop this case."

And now she's in charge of the IRS group running Obamacare. Gives new meaning to the IRS 'getting out the proctoscope' during tax audits.

George Rebane

Obamacare was lofted on a pack of lies, cobbled together in back rooms as a stepping stone to a grander socialist vision, and passed in the dead of night on a party line vote. As a result when 54% of the population dislikes it, that is not a mandate for any given new healthcare, but it is more than enough mandate to at least overhaul the garbage that is being forced down our throats now. Politicians regularly claim 'mandates' with pluralities a lot lower than 54%.

And dear reader, do you notice all the crickets the liberals are invoking to answer the daily reports that everybody from Congress, through unions, to companies big and small are doing everything they can to get out of Obamacare. On that we hear the sound of silence.

And the only ones who will ever have a positive opinion of Obamacare in full force will be those whose hands are eternally in the 'gimme' position. The others have been drinking too much Pelosi Punch.

bill tozer

Mr. Anderson: While I have a fondness for analogies, the danger with the baseball analogy is the removal of dissent and the squashing of free speech. The rule book is different in baseball, but I always enjoy seeing a manger get the boot in baseball and totally love seeing an enforcer sent to the penalty box in hockey. Really fires up us spectators.

Mr. Anderson, here is my analogy:

Paul Emery

George 12:13 you ignored the cumulative poll numbers that I cited that show 59% either support Obamacare or prefer stronger national health care programs such as Single Payer. That's what the polls read, strong support for a national health care system.

Gregory 11:26 AM

Poor Pubbers, they can't even pass legislation when they hold all the cards. They should be renamed the Grand Old Wimps party.


Got it, Paul 7:40. You'll just be silly when you think you can get away with it.

A 50/50 senate is holding all the cards? Obama/Pelosi/Reid had a 59%/41% edge in the House and 58/42 in the Senate, courtesy of the general public deciding, like Paul, that a Republican President when crap happens means it's the Republicans' fault. The fact that the electorate got rid of Pelosi's majority mostly because of the Obamacare debacle for the 111th Congress is testament to the popularity of the program.

The costs are only now just mounting. We'll see in the upcomin'. This time next year we'll be 5 months and counting until the election. If it's as popular as Paul thinks, Obama will be the only time a lame duck president's party actually gains Congressional seats. It's more likely that the GOP will gain in the House and take over the Senate.

Ben Emery

The problem with Obamacare is it forces individuals to purchase a service from a private sector health insurance company. In 2010 the poll that Mr McClintock misrepresented of 53% of Americans agreed with him on was actually broken down and nearly 30% of that 53% wanted the legislation to include a public option. In other words it wasn't strong enough. I am one of those 30%.

Lets not fool ourselves the D's are in bed with the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries just as much as the R's. Baucus (D) excluded single payer advocates while allow health insurance lobbyists sit at the table. Baucus (D) also had singer payer advocates arrested.

In CA the D's passed single payer when they knew Arnold would veto it but when Brown took office the D's decided to abstain 4 votes and have 2 vote "No" for the same bill that pass previously to fall by two votes. The Democratic Party likes the idea of being for singer payer but will not as a political party fight for it.

Single Payer Falls 2 Votes Short In California Senate
Four Democrats Sit Out Critical Vote

Ben Emery

In the US over a million people a year file for bankruptcy due to medical bills. 75% of them have health insurance. In every other developed nation on the planet that number is virtually zero.

45,000 Americans will die in 2013 due to lack of health insurance or the equivalent of 15 September 11, 2001 happen every year because a person cannot afford health insurance in pursuit of the highest profit margins. This is the same industry that pays CEO's tens of millions in compensation packages. When denying care makes higher profits the incentive is to not approve claims from premium paying costumers. Absolutely immoral.

bill tozer

"In the US over a million people a year file for bankruptcy due to medical bills. 75% of them have health insurance. In every other developed nation on the planet that number is virtually zero."

Ben, I have read those stats before and the numbers do not mean one million people a year file for bankruptcy BECAUSE of medical bills.

All debts one owes must be declared in bankruptcy, even any amount you owe to your bankruptcy attorney. All monies owed to all parties, omitting none. The stats are skewed because if you owe 400 clams to a doctor, then that is included in the stats and wrongly proclaimed as the primary reason one declared bankruptcy. Might as well say over one million people file for bankruptcy a year due to charging pizza and beer on a credit card, 75% of whom who are making car payments.


The even bigger problem with Obamacare is it forces individuals to purchase a service designed by Obama-appointed bureaucrats from a private sector health insurance company.

None of that ol' "if you like your current insurance you can keep it". You have to buy what Obama's people decided you should have to buy. But yes, you can buy it from your old insurance company.

It's almost as if you could buy any car you want, except the only car that will be available for sale is a Toyota Prius with all the bells and whistles. You can buy a Ford, a Chevy or even a Kia if you want, but Ford, Chevy and Kia all have to make a Prius to sell. They can also sell Explorers and Corvettes, but if you buy one of those you have to pay the fine (now called a "tax" to be constitutional) levied on anyone who doesn't buy a Prius as ordered.

What a country!

Ben Emery

You are correct not all of their debt was medical but the major debt came from the inability to payback their medical. This is just a guess I would thing the study/ poll would ask what is the major cause of the bankruptcy and medical would be the answer.

Paul Emery


The Grand Old Wimps didn't even present a serious proposal for comprehensive Health Care Reform during the 12 years they controlled the Congress which included six years in the White House. They had the ability to show leadership and did nothing. Can't blame this one on the Dems.

George Rebane

PaulE 844am - You seem to think that the only way to improve healthcare in America is through the launch of a mammoth "comprehensive" state-run healthcare system. It will come as a shock, but there are numerous other ways to improve healthcare in our land. I have mentioned several of these that include massive tax reform (needed also for other benefits), revision of tort laws, national competition for healthcare insurance, etc. These have all been tried by the GOP in various forms, but guess who doesn't want to play any other game than socialization of healthcare on the European model?

BTW, I notice that the predictions, made some weeks ago, of the demise of the Obama scandals (IRS, Benghazi, DoJ) were greatly exaggerated.

Ben Emery

Allow all Americans to buy into Medicare if they wanted. Make health insurance and care not-for-profit once again. Break the strangle hold of the AMA and the pharmaceutical industry on medical schools. If we were to do these things the need for a mandated state solution wouldn't be necessary. I agree with Paul on the R's absolute apathy towards the plight of Americans and the skyrocketing health care costs. The D's did something I would have expected from the R's and in fact Obamacare was first proposed by the Nixon administration and Ted Kennedy stopped it from happening because it wasn't strong enough. That is how far to the right both the R's and D's have gone. Nixon (R) was to the left of Obama.

Ben Emery

I should say Nixon (R) and the Republican Party were to the left of Obama and the modern day Democratic Party.

Paul Emery

Benghazi is off the front pages, DOJ has peaked, there is no evidence any laws were broken and it's pretty consistent with the Patriot Act, IRS is ripe right now. Soon it will settle into a long slog of "plausible denial" from the White House, aka Iran Contra, Watergate, Valerie Plame, something the Republicans perfected. Oh I must add Clinton's famous "I did not have sex with that woman" as one of the gems of the gendre.

As far as healthcare is concerned by the time Obama became President it had degenerated to the point that it was an urgent problem. Whatever the Republicans tried during their control of the government obviously didn't work. The Pubbers are bought off by the same money that buys off the Democrats, a Billion a year in lobby cash. Obamacare is the result of that bi-partisan effort to do nothing to interfere the cash flow to the Medical industries which include legal, insurance. pharmaceutical, medical and hospital interests. The Republicans offered no alternatives that became law RE: 8:52 so they are not a threat and just keep raking in the dough.


"Whatever the Republicans tried during their control of the government obviously didn't work."

Because they didn't *control* the government, they couldn't institute the reforms they wanted. That's what happens when you have an evenly split Congress, Paul. They also had other fish that needed frying, and outside of Libertarians and P&F/Greens, *everyone* was on board on the War on Terror.

Obama/Pelosi/Reid rode in on a 60/40 horse after the electorate blamed Bush for the economic shudder caused by the Democratic subprime mortgage chickens coming home to roost. Thanks in part to Arlen "Benedict Arnold" Specter who jumped from Republican to Democrat in hopes to keep his seat in 2010 (didn't work, once he helped pass the ACA they unceremoniously dumped him), a deal got made, passing on a party line vote.

I can't help but note Paul seems to be rejoicing that there are so many scandals, the new ones are overshadowing the old ones. I don't see how that is a big positive for Democrats in power. It appears to me that the press has past its tipping point: while some may have given Obama a pass for pulling out the proctoscope for Fox, ramming it up the AP's reporters phone records finally ruffled some feathers.

Nov 2014 should be interesting.

Paul Emery


As far as instituting reforms the Pubbers didn't try very hard. Armstrong Williams, conservative commentator sums it up like this in a recent editorial:

"Ignoring tort reform has been devastating to taxpayers, the economy and American business. The U.S. is the most litigious nation in the world; it weakens us competitively and lessens respect for America’s legal system in the eyes of the world. The question isn’t how this critical issue fell from our sight lines to the sidelines. The question is: Why have we permitted trial lawyers to worm their way into our ranks to undermine GOP priorities and the party itself?"

This view affirms my contention that the Pub Party left on it's own will bow to the will of special interests rather than take action for meaningful reform.

Paul Emery

Oh yeah, the link

WILLIAMS: Republicans unreliable on tort reform


That "recent" column dates from 2011.

Paul, those NC bills passed and were signed into law. Armstrong is ranting that there were a couple of GOP outliers really isn't the point, that 97.5% of the money from trial lawyers went to Democrats is.

Ben Emery

Why should any special interest group have sway over our government?

A couple of statements from Judge Napolitano on Tort Reform.

"Tort has resulted the uplifting of human society"
Judge Napolitano 6-2-10

Is tort reform constitutional? Many Republicans have argued that trial lawyers have filed frivolous lawsuits against health care providers and that has caused their insurance carriers to seek higher premiums on the providers' malpractice policies, and those costs have been passed on to patients. In fact, all states have laws against frivolous lawsuits, and lawyers are frequently forced to pay the legal fees of those whom they have wrongfully sued. Moreover, well over 95% of all health care malpractice litigation takes place in state courts. The states run their own court systems. Congress is powerless to tell the states what awards juries should give or who can be sued in the state court systems. Thus, in my opinion, so-called federal tort reform would be unconstitutional as a congressional invasion of the powers retained by the states when they joined the Union.

A great interview with Ralph Nader and Andrew Napolitano.


"This view affirms my contention that the Pub Party left on it's own will bow to the will of special interests rather than take action for meaningful reform."

This post of yours affirms my suspicion you'll do your best to find something that justifies your preconceived notions. In this case, Armstrong (whose ship has come and gone) is ranting about a couple of GOP lawmakers who are also trial lawyers who didn't vote against the trial lawyers.

It would be more interesting if they'd voted for the trial lawyers if their votes held the bill's fate in the balance. In this case, the bill didn't *need* their votes to pass, and by voting for it, they won't become targets among their peers. Maybe they even thought the bill was a bad one.

Really, Paul, is this the best you can do? Demanding the GOP be 100% in lock step with their leadership 100% of the time lest the news director of KVMR not take them seriously?

Paul Emery


The Pubs have been totally ineffictive in passing any kind or Tort reform. That's the bottom line. Cheap talk is all I've heard. The Rebane types are the ones who should be pissed about it since they've been counting on the Pubbers to carry their flag which they've done so ineffectivley. Do you have any theory as to why the pubs have been so ineffictive other than blaming it on the Dems? Do you think at all that special interest money has been an influence?

Can you document this? "97.5% of the money from trial lawyers went to Democrats "

Usually special interewt money is spread about more evenly.


"The Pubs have been totally ineffictive in passing any kind or Tort reform. That's the bottom line."

The bottom line is that Democrats have blocked it because the Trial Lawyers are a Democratic Sacred Cow. Give the GOP a 60/40 advantage in Congress, or a 55/45 with a healthy number of Democrats willing to cross the aisle, and you'll get tort reform. Blaming the GOP for Dem intransigence is beyond obtuse.

Ben Emery

Paul it is about more than just donations. Here is a link that puts in lobbying and spending.


"Can you document this? "97.5% of the money from trial lawyers went to Democrats ""

I guess you didn't bother reading to the end of that piece you lauded... I pulled that from that Armstrong op-ed whose link you posted:
"According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the American Association for Justice contributed more than $2.8 million in 2010, of that amount only $71,000, or 2.5 percent, went to Republicans."

Subtract 2.5 from 100 and you get 97.5% going to Dems.

Paul Emery

Well noted Gregory. Why then do you think the Repubs are so impotent when it comes to passing Federal tort reform legislation? Perhaps because the Cato Institute among others question the Constitutionality of the Feds doing that.

"Congress is now considering the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011.” This bill alters state medical malpractice rules by, for example, placing caps on noneconomic damages.

But tort law — the body of rules by which persons seek damages for injuries to their person and property — has always been regulated by states, not the federal government. Tort law is at the heart of what is called the “police power” of states.

What constitutional authority did the supporters of the bill rely upon to justify interfering with state authority in this way? ......”

AS far as interstate health insurance, under Obamacare Section 1333 permits states to form health care choice inter-state compacts and allow insurers to sell policies in any state participating in the compact. Two or more states may enter into compacts under which one or more insurance plans may be offered in the such states, subject to the laws and regulations of the state in which it was written.

That's better than any reform Pubs have been able to achieve

Steve Frisch

Ah, the GOP, first they lost black voters because they embraced the southern strategy, then they lost women voters because they embraced the philosophy of Phyllis Schlafly, then they lost Hispanic voters because they embraced Pete Wilson, then they lost trial lawyers because they embraced the Federalist Society, then they lost Libertarians because they embraced George W. Bush Now they are losing young voters because they embrace the philosophy of Ted Nugent.

Talk about a zero sum game!

I wonder what % of Sheldon Adelson's more than $30 million donated in 2012 campaigns [10 times more than the American Association for Justice] went to Democrats?

Kind of a silly case if you ask me.


Report on IRS employee political donations traceable to the Cincinnati office (the one doing the 501c determinations) in the last election... 100% to Dems. Overall, 2:1 to Dems over the GOP.

From the CNBC program Kudlow & Company.


"Why then do you think the Repubs are so impotent when it comes to passing Federal tort reform legislation?"

Does Paul not think that if Dems have 50+% of the Senate as they did for much of the Bush years and for all of the Obama years, and that Dems vote against tort reform in a block, that it's simple math that nothing will get done?

I think you're in danger of leaving obtuse in a cloud of dust on your way to idiotic.


"under Obamacare Section 1333 permits states to form health care choice inter-state compacts and allow insurers to sell policies in any state participating in the compact." -Paul

...Since all the insurers have to sell essentially the same policy, why does Paul think that's better than tort reform? That's totally unlike past attempts by the GOP to float Federal regulation (imagine the Feds invoking the interstate commerce clause to actually regulate interstate commerce rather than anything that has a faint dotted line to interstate commerce) to allow insurers to cross state lines to sell whatever insurance that customers in that state might want?

Give me catastrophic insurance (with an option of out of state underwriters) with a moderate deductible, open pricing by health care providers, forgiveness for prior conditions diagnosed during periods of continuous coverage and no risk pool smaller than a congressional district, and we're good to go.

Paul Emery

Once again the Republican tort reform proposal

“Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011.”

This was questioned as to it's constitutionality by the Cato institute. That's probably why the Pubsters are backing off on the idea. What is your view on a federal legislation regarding tort reforms. Is that not a States prerogative ?

Section 1333 under Obamacare has nothing to do with Tort reform so but with interstate insurance availability so there's no reason to compare it with Tort reform.


Given that Federal dollars were buying more than half of all healthcare *before* Obamacare, I suspect there's constitutional room for tort reform at the federal level. The commerce clause has been stretched way beyond that in the past.

Regarding 1333 you brought it up as though it was a greater benefit than tort reform. Personally, I think it was a red herring that some might confuse with past GOP efforts to allow interstate competition, but it isn't. Just window dressing. Practically useless.

Bill Tozer

Oh, our silly community organizer has problems of late. Think the first problem is Obama himself. Don't believe he is particularly fond of governing. He loves being the top dog, but me thinks he would rather delegate responsibility of pushing important bills rather than roll up his sleeves and fight for his agenda with every ounce of energy he can tirelessly muster in every waking moment.

He let the Dems push through Obama-Care and the result is an unworkable plan. The economy was in a free fall so he got his Stimulus that would create 400,000 jobs building bridges and solved that problem, and moved on the to vacations and campaigning. Don't know if the nuts and bolts of governance just bore him, but he sure acts like it does.

The second problem about Obama that has caused woes for our leader was his 2008 message. He spoke in populist terms, simplistic idealism which was widely popular. He seems, like most true liberals, to have forgotten the history of the last 50 years or so and foolishly spouted that it would be different this time, "change you can believe in" and "hope and change." Most transparent Administration in history, in the history of the World!! Nice words and phrases lifting one's emotions but rhetoric fails miserably when the rubber meets the road. He is not pragmatic like Clinton was.

The third cause of his woes is bringing Chicago style politics to Washington. Arm twisting and unveiled threats may be so common in Chicago that it is not even newsworthy and someone coming from that background just might believe that is politics as usual. Any political threat, real or imagined, must be dealt with swiftly and fatally as long as the results are favorable. This "above the law" Chicago style mindset has not served Obama well under the bright lights of fame.

Michael Anderson

Gregory wrote: "Report on IRS employee political donations traceable to the Cincinnati office (the one doing the 501c determinations) in the last election... 100% to Dems. Overall, 2:1 to Dems over the GOP."

Does it trace back to the White House? Of course not. Is there an Enemies List of people to be audited by the IRS? Of course not.

Game, set, match. Next.

Gregory wrote: "Give me catastrophic insurance (with an option of out of state underwriters) with a moderate deductible, open pricing by health care providers, forgiveness for prior conditions diagnosed during periods of continuous coverage and no risk pool smaller than a congressional district, and we're good to go."

I would be good to go with that too! But since the Republican Party almost no longer exists, if I were you I would get the Democrats to hoist your flag. Look, they act and think like the old Republicans from decades ago, they believe in things like this, and they are the only who can possibly pass any legislation these days! Why pine for a party that is busy in a disgusting and scary display of self-trepanation?

Time to move on, Gregory.

Paul Emery


Any reason my recent postings that were once here have disappeared? The last one was around 9:30.

George Rebane

PaulE 1022pm - not a clue. If you've been away from RR for a while, be sure to refresh the page before you post a comment. Sometimes TypePad times you out.

Michael Anderson

Paul, I have had the same recent experience. You have to be diligent with TypePad:

1. Always create your comment in another editor that can save the data.
2. Post your comment, then close the tab or window and open a "freshy" to see if it stuck.
3. If no sticky, rinse lather and repeat.

Eventually you will achieve TypePad joy, but there are no guarantees. Don't even read the boilerplate, it is meaningless.

Paul Emery

Let me try again


What is your view about the constitutionality of Federal tort reform keeping in mind the view of the CATO Institute editorial ?


Time to pull your head out from it's hiding place and into the sunlight, MA. While I've never been a member the death of the Republican Party has been greatly exaggerated, and the IRS scandals are growing, not receding.

That 'party that no longer exists' still controls the House and may pick up a Senate seat in the next few days.

Looking forward to dumping your young employees into Obamacare next January?


MA, let me help you with your Typepad woes. No, an external editor isn't required though it is a workable brute force method.

Start off being signed in. If you forget and write first, copy the text in the edit window before proceeding because it will get lost if you don't.

Use the editor as is. When finished, push Post. If timed out, copy the text in the edit window before proceeding. You might not lose it but I'd not bet on that.

George Rebane

PaulE 630am - As a conservetarian I do back states rights and look forward to the several states reforming their tort laws as they see fit. ("laboratories of democracy" and all that) But it is Congress that 1) should make a federal law that doesn't allow tort lawyers to shop states and their courts for filing suits for grievances committed in another state. And 2) as for collecting sales taxes, 'locus' for suits is important. If you got hurt in California, you file in California.

However, Congress can allow you to do commerce (buy/sell) across state lines. Therefore, I should be able to buy health insurance anywhere I want.

George Rebane

Re the much hailed deaths of the Republican party and the Obama scandals, it is clear that the news sources of our liberal readers are woefully selective and late in what they report. It appears that most of those readers then have very little idea of what is going on in the country. This is confirmed by the cricket brigades sent to answer specific points raised here.

Paul Emery

So then George, looking at your reform measures you say will help with health care costs, comprehensive tort reform, to be Constitutional, has to happen on a state by state basis with some exceptions as you outlined 08:08 AM . Obamacare does allows insurance pools to be operated across state lines so that should help. As far as "massive tax reform" what realistic goals can be accomplished that would help out? Since health care is a vital issue, pragmatic politics is necessary here to extend any hope if indeed Obamacare gets repealed as you would prefer.

Basically I'm asking you what you see as the near term landscape for healthcare if indeed Obama care gets the ax.


"comprehensive tort reform"

Comprehensive? Paul, you're moving the goalposts a bit too much. The trick is to not build straw men that are so unlike what has been said as to be easy to spot.

BTW this fascination you have with the 'across state lines' red herring is really misplaced. So they "allow" states to cooperate. How special. The reforms that Dems thwarted was the Feds allowing people to buy across state lines no matter what *their* state wanted. Breaking the stranglehold states had to deny purchasers access to the insurance markets of other states.

BTW I buy one insurance policy I need from an out of state broker representing an out of state underwriter. It exists, just not for types of insurance the State of California, in its infinite wizdumb, has decided it's own department of insurance needs to control. Follow the money.

George Rebane

PaulE 500pm - For openers, if Obamacare is repealed, the "near term landscape for healthcare would" would return to its normal rate of increase instead of the rate increases on steroids and rationing now becoming evident. Among the many things Obamacare fails at, 'First, do no harm.' is probably the most egregious.

Attempting to outline "realistic goals" for tax reform today is an empty exercise. The progressives in power will not accept reforms that call a cease fire on class warfare. The indelible goal of theirs is to eliminate wealth and income inequalities no matter what penalties the isheeple have to pay in their QoL. Both Cato and Heritage, among others, are replete with flat and fair tax reforms that would return real growth to our economy. They all have a snowball's chance in hell.

Paul Emery

So under the Repubs plan it's back to the emergency room for the uninsured. I doubt if a majority of Republicans would support a flat tax let alone Democrats. It's far too radical a change with too many uncertainties for the business community to support.

Nice to see you quote a Buddhist line.

'First, do no harm.'

Todd Juvinall

Here is a CBO report on how many people will still be uninsured after Ocare kicks in by 2022. Now all I can say is, we have been snookered. Thanks to a ridiculous decision by John Roberts, all of we Americans bodies are in the hands of the IRS, except those 30 million.

George Rebane

PaulE 1103pm - Who supports what is a different matter from what I would recommend. All my life I've been fortunate enough to be out of the mainstream.

BTW, 'First, do no harm' comes from the Hippocratic 'corpus' that ultimately was ensconced into western medical ethics as 'Primum non nocere'. Have no idea where the Buddhist got it from.

Ben Emery

George and Paul,
I wish this blog could stop equating republicans and democrats as representatives of right and left ideology. Both parties represent the same interests at this point.

If these graphs are correct it was during the Reagan years when health care costs exploded. That was about the time when health care become a for profit all through out industry.

It seems the late 70's and 80's was when wages stopped tracking productivity but core expenditures for the average American household have gone up dramatically. As campaigns have become more expensive to run (handcuffing candidates to corporate interests) the corporate profits have exploded, 2012 being the best year in 60 years for corporate profits.

1976 -1992 the % increase to run for public office was 10%

1992 - 2008 the % increase to run for public office was 400%

2008- 2012 the % hasn't been published yet but there will be a big increase for sure

Health Care costs about twice as much as it did in 1980 when adjusted for inflation

Mortgages are twice as much as it did in 1980 when adjusted for inflation

Higher education is exponentially higher in cost since 1980.

George Rebane

BenE 856am - I'm sure everyone knows that neither party exactly represents the various shadings of Right and Left ideologies. I know the Repubs don't exactly hew to my conservatism. But using them as referents is simply a convenience, especially when we also include aspects of implementing political power.

I continue to find amusing your understanding of history and economics as you remind us again that there was a golden age when healthcare was not a for-profit enterprise.

Todd Juvinall

The R's best represent most of my beliefs even though there are some issues I wish they should leave alone. That is the only way we folks who are not sheeple, like the BenE's are, can gain access to make changes. Better most of the loaf than none as those "indies" experience. It must suck to be starving all the time.

Paul Emery

George, Todd have either of you ever voted for anyone other than a Republican for President?

Ben Emery

Golden Age of health care was when average working people could afford it.

The two party's rhetoric is what we might identify with but if we truly look at their actions it isn't a whole lot different. Government programs such as SNAP are an indicator of a dysfunctional system especially when the enrollment rate has skyrocketed along side corporate profits. In an economic downturn with millions of people losing their jobs, houses, health insurance, and hope we have at the same time Wall St hitting record highs. It can't get much more black and white.

How else can this be perceived other than cronyism and corruption?

George Rebane

PaulE 1031am - You've asked that question several times in these pages. Once more: Yes, I voted for Bobby Kennedy.

BenE 1031am - I couldn't find the answer to my 903am puzzlement about when healthcare was a not for-profit enterprise.

Paul Emery

That must have been in the California primary since Kennedy was assassinated before the election. Were you registered as a Democrat back then George?

George Rebane

PaulE 1113am - Correct. I voted for him in the morning, and before nightfall Sirhan Sirhan had shot him. And not only was I a registered Democrat then, but also a member of the NAACP which I joined after MLK's assassination earlier that year.

Todd Juvinall

PaulE, have you ever voted for a Republican for President?

Paul Emery

I did, Barry Goldwater in '64. Also I voted for Ross Perot in '92 and Gary Johnson, Libertarian, last year. How about you Todd? Ever vote for a Dem or Independent?


The old saw about if you are not a socialist when young you have no heart, and not a conservative (let's give them a pass, they meant libertarian -grins) when old you have no brain, seems to hold here.

I shook Bobby Kennedy's hand in '68 and voted McGovern in '72.

Paul Emery

Yeah Gregory I was a Conservative in 64 I always liked Goldwater, who would not qualify as a Conservative nowadays and would never be picked as a Pres candidate by todays Repubs. For example here's Goldwater on gays in the military:

" After more than 50 years in the military and politics, I am still amazed to see how upset people can get over nothing. Lifting the ban on gays in the military isn't exactly nothing, but it's pretty damned close

Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. They'll still be serving long after we're all dead and buried. That should not surprise anyone.

But most Americans should be shocked to know that while the country's economy is going down the tubes, the military has wasted half a billion dollars over the past decade chasing down gays and running them out of the armed services. "

And on a woman's right to choose:

“Today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ don’t even know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.”


I suspect the 'conservatarian' here would put up with the right to an abortion if Roe v Wade didn't also find a right of the abortionist to pick the pocket of conservatarians in order to pay for it.

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