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Obama could not have picked a better 2nd man.

This is classic Biden to those of us who have watched him grow over the years… There is of course much denial-ability, so it will never get proven, … but the track marks are there… and I’m beaming, I’m so proud to be a Delawarean today…

If any of you have ever been in a decision making position, most of you know that you are being asked to decide the future of events that on paper you have jurisdiction over, but in reality, are way beyond your control.

The best way to get what you want is to point those larger forces in the direction you want to go,… so they carry you along in their current….

If Democrats and Republicans do not agree to another $1.5 trillion in cuts later this year, then automatic cuts of about $500 billion in both national security and Medicare provider spending will be triggered, beginning in 2013. Republicans think the threat of cutting Medicare will force Democrats to bargain, and Democrats hope that the threat of defense cuts will force Republicans to bargain

But what is really happening is something else: Both Democratic and Republicans leaders have realized that they don’t have enough political heft on their own to cut a deal. So they are pointing a gun to the knee caps of corporate lobbyists for the defense contracting and medical provider communities and saying, “Help us, or else.”

This is the part Biden helped craft….. And this is also the part to which Eric Cantor subscribed, giving him the rare praise of being a “smart man”. John Boehner and President Obama, also joined in….

“Under the agreement, a failure to reach an agreement in December would lead to $50 billion in cuts per year in the 50% national security spending account for the next 10 years. So to save their own skin, military contractors, who spent $146 million lobbying Congress in 2010 with more than $16 million in political donations from PACs, will have to get in the game, urging Republicans to find savings in other places. In practice, that will likely mean new revenue, collected by ending corporate tax breaks and eliminating expenditures. If the plan works as Democrats would like, Republicans will be forced to raise taxes with the help of the military industrial complex.”

Ah Ha! Gotchu!

Oh, but wait a minute….. isn’t there another half?

“The other half of the trigger would cause a 2% decrease in reimbursements for Medicare providers (not recipients), pulling about $50 billion a year off their bottom line for a decade. That means lobbyists for hospitals and doctors will also have a dog in this fight. Hospitals and nursing homes alone spent more $107 million lobbying Congress in 2010.”

“Hospitals have already started running ads on cable television protesting the potential cuts, under the banner of a group called The Coalition To Protect America’s Health Care.”

“Like defense contractors, they are the hostages now, and they must advocate for Democrats and Republicans to come together on a final deal in the fall, before the trigger gets pulled. In the deficit debate, Congress has proved itself inept at fighting for the common interest. In turning the gun on special interests, they are essentially outsourcing that job to Washington’s most effective actors.”

(Btw. Hats off to Michael Scherer; I’ve quoted him rather extensively for his writing was done so well. I could find little to improve upon)…..

Somewhere in the discussion, hopefully over a glass of Maker’s Mark, came this question: how can we make our enemies (the lobbyists) be an integral part of this plan, thereby insuring it will pass?

(Note: Lobbyists are the biggest enemy to good government. Far worse than evangelists, socialists, and communists.)

So the brilliance of this agreement, is that it addresses the question: of how can we get the forces of Eisenhower’s “military industrial complex” who’ve always scuttled budget control in the past, and the forces of the AMA, hospitals, insurance giants, and pharmaceuticals, who’ve always scuttled any attempts to control skyrocketing medical costs, to work together with Republicans and Democrats on controlling the budget deficit…..

We do it by pulling the trigger on a large chunk of their change, if an agreement is not forthcoming……

It’s brilliant.

It’s Biden

His good sense didn’t come from Scranton, so it must have been Delaware, that put it in there…. 🙂

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Cigna, based in Claymont, as well as some of its domestic competitors, such as Aetna — argue it’s unfair to require insurance companies to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on actual health care, rather than marketing expenses, commissions or profits.

Crying because they’re required to spend 80 cents of every dollar on health care? And they’re an insurance company?

And these are the guys arguing against national healthcare, where close to 95 cents of every dollar is spent on health care?

Is is any wonder that as long as private companies treat insurance a cash cow solely to enrich themselves……. we will have problems taking care of our bodies for as long as they allow us to live?

it became obvious that our deficit problems stem from these two entitlements: Social Security and Medicare.

Doing away with both will easily bring our national budget into balance, but that act will wreck inconceivable havoc upon the life of every American citizen. Doing just the opposite, offering free unlimited health-care as well as a full blown retirement package to every aging American citizen, unfortunately is no longer affordable when one factors in both demographic and economic factors.

So what do we do?

If one opens one’s mind to possibilities, we have five choices. Simply put, they are these.

a) Keep both as they are:
b) Keep both with modifications
c) Get rid of one; keep the other as is:
d) Get rid of one; modify the other:
e):Get rid of both:..

If we do nothing about our two entitlements, and if we wish to balance the budget by 2040, we will need to:

1) cut federal spending by 60% (impossible)
2) raise Federal taxes to 2.5 times of today’s intake (impossible)
3) achieve sustainable economic growth in double digit range, every year till 2079 (impossible)….

Obviously choice one …. is out….

Second inning: choice 2

Social Security could be brought into actuarial balance over the next 75 years in various ways, including an immediate increase of 14 percent in payroll tax revenues (from 12.4 percent to 14.1 percent) or an immediate reduction in benefits of 12 percent or some combination of the two.

It’s a small price to pay for solvency. But we must remember that Social Security is the easier of the two entitlements to fix. The problem with Medicare is people keep living longer, and medical costs keep rising at twice the rate of inflation!” No! That doesn’t sound good. “We’d have to have eight trillion dollars today invested in treasury rates, to deliver on that promise…

So what modifications are on the table? Some being mentioned are 1) means-testing supplicants for benefits, 2) increasing payroll taxes, 3) increasing the retirement age, 4) cutting back on benefits, and 5) paying cheaply for preventative health-care so fewer citizens require the more costly operations. But none of these options cover the looming demographic shift of baby boomers who are now beginning to reach retirement

However the surest method of entitlement solvency lies in increasing our payroll taxes. Yes, these are regressive taxes but if we would just be willing to pay 12% to 14% percent more in FICA taxes, which raises their rate from 12.4% to 14.1% percent, it would save social security.. That is an increase of 1.7% per paycheck… At 1.7% percent on an income of $60,000, the average family would receive $1020 less per year in take home pay…. But that extra $1020 would be enough to keep Social Security solvent for years to come… That averages out to $19.61 per week, or .49 cents for every hour you work! That is the unmentioned bottom line that is required to keep Social Security solvent… (Per person $510 or half of the $1020 will be paid by the employer, with the additional $510 being supplemented by the employee).

Jumping the retirement age upwards by 5 years from 65 to 70, adds 5 additional years of tax money pouring into the system, while also decreasing by 5 years the amount of benefits that are needing to be paid out….. If we garnish 5 years of extra funding and lose up to 5 years of paying out benefits, just moving up the retirement age by 5 years gains 10 years of funding per future retiree.. This is easy to do, and benefits all that do it…..

Reducing benefits, however, has a deadly side effect. Saying “yes” to Social Security cuts, ie. a reduction of benefits per person, does indeed cut down on the amount of Federal money being paid out; it also depresses the economy by that exact same amount which is being removed… Now, to diminish the pay-out to those receiving Social Security, hurts the very economy from which we need to acquire the additional income required to pay out those benefits in the first place… Instead of helping solvency, when we cut the benefits, we aggravate its costs spiraling out of control…

Representing 4.3% of our GDP, we do reap benefits from all of that Social Security money moving through the grid of our markets.

Indeed, 41 percent of older couples and 33 percent of singles would experience a living standard reduction of 90 percent or more were Social Security benefits eliminated…

We have looked at all but the last. So what happens to us if we rid ourselves of both entitlements, as conservatives have been arguing for almost a century? The answer is simple.

Upon retirement, many Americans would have no income and no health-care. Can we afford that budget cut? Is balancing our budget worth the social cost it imposes on our elderly and society?

Delaware Politics points to an article regarding the loss of doctors… The original source eminates from the Cato Insitute.

As you may have heard, the Republicans are threatening to “bankrupt the world” by not allowing the world’s largest creditor and lender, to raise the ceiling on it’s own obligations to itself.. It this number does not not raised, eventually our military will stop receiving paychecks, our seniors will stop receiving social security checks, and doctors will stop receiving medicare payments. Likewise, those corporations supplying clips to our soldiers, will likewise not be paid for their past services, perhaps causing those life and death supplies to stop arriving… After all, who would provide service if they knew they wouldn’t get paid?

Even just today, Republicans insist, they will only allow this ceiling to go up if they are able to make drastic cuts in Medicare spending…..

Ok, so this article in Delaware Politics (which incidentally has nothing to do with the debt crises) in it’s attempt to blast health care; implies that Obama’s healthcare is causing a flood of doctors to opt our of Medicare, supposedly because there are no profits in medicine anymore…. At least, that is the scary implication they try to portray….

“Making matters worse, Congress in 1996 capped the number of new doctors Medicare would pay to train. And President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed cutting Medicare funding for training even further, by $60 billion through 2020. “If this cut is enacted, the doctor shortage would get far worse,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

If read closely, you will see this line…. President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed cutting Medicare funding for training even further, by $60 billion through 2020..

Who? Barack Obama. What? Cut $60 billion from Medicare….

Isn’t that what the Tea Party Republicans are clamoring for more of in the House? Deeper Medicare cuts are the source of pride in Ryan’s proposed budget? Deeper cuts to Medicare?

And the proposed solution?

“As a start in dealing with the problem, the Obama commission’s recommended cuts in training funds should be set aside, Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, writes in the Journal. “Secondly, the cap enacted in 1996 on training new doctors should finally be lifted. These two steps would go a long way to addressing our country’s medical needs.”

The solution: CUTS SHOULD BE SET ASIDE….. lol..

Isn’t this a situation of “if WE say it’s good it’s GOOD, but if YOU say it’s good, it’s BAD?

So.. here we have an interesting situation: … Republican think tanks, people hired to write papers extolling the nonexistent virtues of Republicanisms, are actually (in print), arguing against the very proposals being negotiated upon by Republicans themselves deep within our budget talks…

IF YOU ALREADY KNOW ITS BAD FOR AMERICA, WHY ARE YOU INSISTING UPON FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH IT?

Oh, that’s right. Only because it makes the bosses who “hired” you, mo’ money; America be damned…

BUSTED!

Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony from the head of Medicare and Medicaid, Dr. Berwick.

It began with a series of questioning from a paper he had written in 1996…

1996? Wtf? In it, Dr Berwick described the benefits of the NHS Health Service in Britain. In Gestapo interrogative fashion, Chairman Camp sharply asked if he still believed those thoughts today… “Do you believe the single payer plan is the best plan for health care?” “Did you not say the British Health Service was the ideal form of medical care?” “Did you not wax enthusiasm over this “socialized” medical program?”

To these answers, Dr. Berwick, head of Medicare and Medicaid consistently answered: “each country has their own unique solution to healthcare; our best solution is in the Affordable Health Care Act”.

Fortunately one of the questions asked by Chairman Camp, was incomprehensible… The chamber, spectators, and witness all thought Mr. Camp had suffered a stroke.. Despite the Chairman’s repeated entreaties to answer his question, Dr. Berwick couldn’t. It hadn’t been framed logically. He couldn’t understand it. No one could. Chairman Camp was reading off some incomplete notes, which apparently made sense to him, but, without that aid in front of anyone else, his question was, if politely put, incomprehensible. A page quickly showed up and handed the chairman a sheaf of papers, and Chairman Camp continued: ” your words, you wrote this” and then he mentioned the title, “and it was written by you in 1996….”

1996? You have got to be kidding.. Gee, how long is that? Fifteen years? What even was the beltway’s thought processes at that time. From a medical point of view, we had just come off from the Clinton’s health care debate over reform, one that was squelched by insurance advertising. Dole was campaigning against Clinton, who beat the Republicans rather handily. Back then, I was hauling around the neighborhood children like a soccer mom; now, they’re driving me. This whole idea of tainting people with something said way back in time, with no context involved, is the most stupid of all idiotic attempts to appear smart. It is ridiculous and embarrassing to defame the halls of Congress with it’s tripe. There needs to be a statute of limitations on evidence brought up in Congressional hearings of at least five years, especially if it is being used to damage the credibility of a witness. If anything is over that time frame, the peers of that person need to call him out publicly on his public demonstration of his own stupidity, for even thinking that something said fifteen years ago, even makes an iota of a difference…

So we learned early off, that the Republican debates are not going to be about substance. The rest of the Republican questioning turned out to be nothing more than the repetition of rumors, supposedly told to them by their constituents, all of which were put to rest by the diplomatic Dr. Berwick. So lets define the illogical frame of argument being used by Republicans to overturn all hope for affordable healthcare…. The Republicans send dire predictions out to their constituents about the implications of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Those predictions were hand written by lobbyists for large medical corporations. The citizens then comment on these writings, telling their Congressman if it’s true, then they are afraid of this new Health Care Act, (at functions where only other Republicans are invited), and Republicans bring that back as a mandate to repeal Healthcare…

Another observation: Congress is broken.

Being naive, perhaps I assumed that Congressmen would at least listen to both sides, thereby when voting time came, they could make a balanced decision. What I witnessed was to the contrary. Instead, I saw all the Republican Congressmen walk in, sit down, get called on to speak, ask questions for 4 minutes, then when time had expired, collect their stuff and shuffle down the hall to another meeting…

The House and Ways Committee was practically empty through most of this very important hearing. So how do they vote? Do they read the bills? No! There minds are made up before hand. Nothing said or done within these halls, matters one iota.

Unless of course, America is watching. Then, we need to understand what a menace removing the healthcare act is, and express to each of our representatives, that they too need to understand this, or be unemployed the next term.

Here are the facts.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, seniors who received a $250 dollar check in 2010 to cover prescription costs… will have to pay it back!

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, seniors who would have received a check this year, won’t, and will pay over $500 more for their prescription costs than if Republicans had left the bill alone.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, college students up to 26, who use medical coverage since the bills passage, may have to reimburse that amount back!

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, anyone who got a screening without paying a deductible, could be billed for all amounts charged them had the act never been passed.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, anyone who had a pre-existing medical condition and got treatment under the new law in 2010, may be required to reimburse their provider, if that provider could justify they would not have received coverage under the new law.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, the national deficit will take a $575 billion increase by 2019, because the cuts that were to go into effect, will not.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, everyone’s insurance premiums are estimated to jump 20%, supposedly to cover the private insurers losses this past year.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, considerable numbers of people will not be diagnosed early enough for diabetes, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, or any of the other diseases, where early detection can lead to cheap procedures that prevent far more expensive ones down the road, and whatever happens in 2019… won’t matter to them anyway.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, over half our children in public schools, will not see a doctor, they could have easily afforded it were the law to stay intact.

Guess what else I learned?

Despite Republicans saying the Affordable Health Care Act is the worst law ever created…. people are voting for it with their feet.

People signing up for the Medicare Options are up by 6%. Their numbers were predicted to go down by the actuaries.

Costs are down by 5%. They were predicted to go up by the actuaries.

Apparently, at least based on the feet of Americans, the Affordable Health Care Act is working. In trying hard to find some merit in the Republican antagonism for this great piece of legislation. ( Remember Republicans were against Truman’s Healthcare, were against Johnson’s Medicare, Newt Gingrich boasted Medicare would wither on the vine, were against Clinton’s medical reform, for the record, Republicans have always been trying to kill it) the only explanation I could get from any of them, was philosophical: it was government run.

Puts them in this position: “I don’t care if it saves you money, I don’t care if it decreases the deficit, I don’t care if it provide better health care, I don’t care if it drops costs, i don’t care if it saves more lives, ….. it has the government behind it and for that reason alone, it must be repealed…….”

Yep, that about sums up their argument…. (Of course none of them are willing to give up their own Federal Employee Health Insurance, which carries a subsidy paid for by the Federal Government, which is larger than that paid for any Medicare recipient….. )

So what was to be a tour de force, … as to why affordable health care should be abolished, turned into just the opposite. The more we learned, the more it makes sense….

Here’s hoping they have a lot more hearings on the Affordable Health Care Act. 🙂

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

Estimated Impact of the Senate Version of Health Care Reform

Estimated Impact of the Senate Version of Health Care Reform

A couple of exciting trends:

Medicare costs drop.
Medicaid and CHIP increase
State’s Portion of Medicaid and CHIP increase
Out of Pocket Decreases
Employer Sponsored Insurance Decreases: our products are more competitive overseas.
Other Private Health Insurance Drops
Percent of GDP devoted to Health Care climbs 0.1%.
34,000,000 more Americans are insured.

Bottom line:

34,000,000 additional Americans receive insurance at a marginal increase of 0.1%.

Democrats win where Republicans failed.

As of this writing there is still 20 minutes to go.

My take.

It was good the Republicans insisted on having this. They were shown up to be well meaning citizens concerned with the future of health care profits. There is no denying it anymore… The tapes are in.

It was good that Obama chose to be the moderator. He definitely is the best president of this century. I could not help but think of George Washington moderating between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Today we saw a real leader in action… Not someone who happened to grab a megaphone during a time of sorrow. Most impressive was his grasp of the issue. He responded to Republican posturing with facts against which they could not argue back.

The Democrats have really tried to be bipartisan and that has produce a good bill. This bill is necessary to help seniors, to help small businesses, to help every American making less than 100,000 a year, to help America compete with cheaper government run health care systems utilized by our prime competitors. It helps everyone but insurance executives… That is fair in my book because they voted for the losing side..

Defining moment: When one Republican congressman was arguing for switching to health cost withholding plans, Obama retorted if it was indeed so good, why ddidn’t he give up the Federal Employee coverage he had now and go for it… The Congressperson’s face became crimson…. If it wasn’t good enough for him at $174,000 a year, how would it be good enough for someone making $40,000?

Most disgusting moment. CNN’s coverage diverted away as soon as Stenny Hoyer began speaking to discuss around their high priced round table, just how strong Lamar Alexander had come out fighting… So obviously a set up… I switched to CSpan. Never again CNN…..

Tit for Tat:

Anyone who reads this blog knows that comments are where the action is.. The best writing is usually below the canal, where smart minds give and take and dissect the others points of view… Having spent an inordinate amount of time on one such comment, I thought today’s epistle would be, something that in the olden days would have been titled: “Comment Rescue… ”

(Since I didn’t garnish another’s permission, I’m not naming him or her, but if they want to come forward on their own, they most certainly are welcome… They probably will, because their comment is not that hard to find.. But I thought the overall give and take was done well enough to showcase to others how all argument should take place on blogs, and use this as a measure upon which all other future commentary can be judged…)

“Bush is the person who fought a war in which Americans died for oil.” Where was Congress? I seem to remember they voted to send troops but that can’t possibly be so, can it?

There are two ways an administration can approach Congress… One is to say look at all the evidence and come to your own conclusion… The other is to say, take our word, we have the intelligence that says this will happen, we need your support as a fellow American… The latter was the path that was taken… Today, trying to pin Congress in on the instigation of the Iraq War, is nothing but a cowardly attempt to shift blame… Those of us who know human nature, chuckle at each such attempt, because we know that is done only by people who KNOW they are guilty… The act of blaming Congress actually drives home our point that Republicans were guilty and got caught! The proof is there. Cheney constructed the threat of Iraq and sold it… We found out too late it was nothing but a contrivance…

“Bush is the person who bankrupted our nation by spending every dollar of the surplus and then ran our nation on deficit spending for 8 years…Let our children pay for it!” So you’re a deficit hawk then. Great. Please direct me to the post where you go bananas when Obama takes a mere 143 days to surpass Bush’s 8 years of spending which included not one but two wars.

There are two kinds of deficits. one is flagrant spending of favors to bolster the Republican party’s power; the other is to borrow to save a nation… Deficit spending saved us during WWII… The deficit spending that was spent recently, is an investment that saved the entire financial global network. The government of the United States of America, absorbed the stupid Republican-caused collapse. We now own shares of the banks. When the economy grows, we can cash those shares in at a profit. Your deficit argument is like castigating a well-meaning American homeowner for going into debt for a house… After all, someone signing a $250,000 note while making $30,000 is scary. But it is a good thing for the rest of us, that a lot of homeowners have balls, isn’t it..

Republicans obviously don’t have balls or brains. … Their wimpy whinings are no more relevant than the naive advisor who says “don’t buy a house, rent… You don’t want to go in debt.” Bottom line, the deficit of saving a nation, worked.. or has so far. The previous administration’s deficit, of making the wealthier even wealthier, didn’t work. Instead it fucked up this nation….

“Bush is the person who pushed the Medicare Reform that first tripled the cost of pharmaceuticals and then reimbursed drug companies three times over what the drugs originally were worth.” Cite please. I agree that the program was ill conceived and even poorly executed but I’ve not seen anything approaching these numbers.

If you bought drugs over the counter and paid $40 dollars for your supply before the Medicare pharmaceutical supplements came to be passed by the Republicans, today those same drugs cost $120 dollars, and the government covers $80 of those dollars and you pay….. $40 dollars… What has changed for you? The pharma companies are now getting $120 dollars for the same drugs they once got $40 for…. you pay the same $40, and your children and grandchildren pay the $80, which assuming interest will accrue, could amount to about $240 dollars depending on how long we allow the debt to continue unchecked…… The sacrilege comes from the fact that the $80 dollars part, was added to the deficit, so the wealthiest 1% could receive a tax cut… We doubled the cost, while cutting the revenue stream in half…

Smart Republican policy… WE are all paying for our nations stupidity now, aren’t we? As for citation… go to you own bills or ask you parents… That is far better citation than I could ever give… Go look.

“Bush is the person who deregulated our finance industry, so it collapsed on his watch.”
Nope. Bush warned three times that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were headed for trouble and he was rebuffed three times. Misregulation was the cause not deregulation. The largely unregulated hedge fund industry (Cerebrus Capital notwithstanding)skated through while the very tightly regulated insurance and banking were devastated.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not the problem although Bush was right to warn us of their unwieldiness… No, they were secondary symptoms caused by the main problem which was in Phil Gramm’s Commodities Act, a clause he inserted which allowed all derivatives to be unregulated. Insurance on these derivatives, was also unregulated… When the time came for AIG to cough up? There was no money! It had all been spent on bonuses… and when the Feds coughed money to save AIG, they tried again to spend it on their bonuses… such malfeasance among our corporate brethren, can only happen on a Republican’s watch… “do what you want… we Republicans won’t interfere.” The Democrats would have been all over that before a crises had occurred…

“Bush is the person who sent your manufacturing jobs overseas.” Really? Did he put them in boxes or…? Labor and regulatory costs sent them overseas. Blame our high standard of living.

No, our jobs went overseas because it was cheaper under the tax codes made up by Republicans to make something in another country and bring it back over… Under a better tax package this would not have occurred, we would not have had as deep of a deficit, and we would have had a much healthier economy. As pointed out in the Kavipsian theory of economics, the difference of only 5% in our top rate, is all we needed to keep our economy steaming forward as it did during the Clinton years.. Pure and Simple. It is the Republican financial philosophy that caused us to experience what earlier this week became official: 0 % real job growth over the entire Republican presidency… That is just plain sick.

“Bush is the person who tried to remove your social security.” If remove = privatize then yeah he made a half-assed attempt and then quit.

Facts are in: Had Social Security been privatized.. as of around somewhere in November 08… It would not have existed. I call that getting rid of Social Security.

“Bush is the person who tried to get rid of Medicare.” By increasing funding?

Medicare has always been on the Republican chopping block. Bush was nothing new at putting lip service into eradicating it… The increased funding you mention, was passed on to future generations… That shows real responsibility… “Here, spend as much as you can on your health… Don’t worry! Your children and grandchildren will foot the bill…”

“Bush is the person who came close to nuking Iran.” Define close.

As for defining usage of nuclear weapons upon Iraq, that is what all were saying… In fact, one ranking officer said he would refuse the order if given to bomb Iran… Everyone who wasn’t a neocon, received a sigh of relief…

“Bush is the person whose policy made the US hated around the world.” Really? How’s Barry’s Charm Offensive going? Poland hates us, he snubbed the King of Norway and the UK, our closest ally isn’t returning our calls. Bang up job there Barry. Oh, and Muslim terrorists are still trying to blow up our airplanes.

As for Barack, I haven’t seen the evidence you mention… I do know, however, that the entire globe breathed a sigh of relief to see the former president step down…

“Bush is the person who destroyed the economy…” Please keep it straight. Is he a dunce or an evil genius. He can’t be both. (I’ll give you a hint. Liberals typically make Bush the dunce and Cheney the Evil Genius.) YMMV.

So say what you will about Barack… He is no Bush and for that, every American can be thankful…..

Since taking office, he has saved this nation several times… Bush in eight years… with help from all Republicans, mind you… destroyed it… At the rate were are currently on, (knock on wood) we should be in good shape to remove the rest of Republicans from office by this November…

With lies about Barack circulating about, yes, we do have some work to do, but then again, everything wonderful that ever happened to this nation, has always had some work behind it….

Just in! Unbelievable….

According to the Republican leadership, they want to kill seniors.. they want senior citizens to die.. They want to do away with Medicare….

Senior Citizens worked hard all their life. They deserve dignity. Republicans disagree. They believe insurance companies deserve high profits. To achieve those profits, they must keep all their prices high, remove sick people from their roles, and not pay out claims.

This is what every Republican Senator is supporting. If you are a Senior, you need to worry. If the public option does not pass, YOU WILL BE DROPPED FROM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AS SOON AS YOU STOP WORKING…

If they succeed in taking away Medicare like they have proposed ever since 1994, with no private insurance companies supporting the remainder, Senior citizens must sell their houses if they wish health care. If they rent, they must depend on their children and grand children to support them during their golden years.

Only Obama can save seniors.. He and the Democrats. If no public option is in the health care bill that becomes law this year, senior citizens will be killed by the death panels brought about by Republicans…not Democrats.

If you follow through on the logic of every single Republican argument, it leads to this startling conclusion…..

REPUBLICANS WANT TO KILL SENIORS… EVEN IF THEY SUPPORT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Now as a disclaimer, this piece may sound over the top… But is it? Do private insurance companies decide every day, who will live… and who will die, based solely on their bottom line?

That is why no Republican who does not support the public option, can be taken seriously.. They want to kill seniors.

(please copy and email to every senior citizen you know)