January 30, 2010

President Obama goes to the GOP retreat and purports to promote the "absolutely essential... the process of disagreement."

I said I was going to watch the the video of Obama's speech to the GOP retreat and the the Q&A session. (Transcript.) Here's my edit with commentary, beginning with the frist thing that made me laugh:
I've said this before, but I'm a big believer not just in the value of a loyal opposition, but in its necessity. Having differences of opinion, having a real debate about matters of domestic policy and national security; that's not something that's only good for our country, it's absolutely essential.

It's only through the process of disagreement and debate that bad ideas get tossed out and good ideas get refined and made better. 
Would the bad ideas have been tossed out of the health-care plan if the congressional Democrats had gone through a "process of disagreement" that included the Republicans? It's way too late to talk about some kind of "absolutely essential" process that the Democrats never even considered following back when they thought they had an invincible supermajority. Republican support is a necessity now, but not because of some dialectical ideal of policymaking proceeding by debate. You need the votes now, and you didn't then.
The only thing I don't want -- and here I am listening to the American people, and I think they don't want either -- is for Washington to continue being so Washington-like.
The people reacted and are continuing to react to what the Democrats did with their supermajority. The objection isn't to discord and obstruction. The objection is to the rule of a single party rule that has seen fit to ram through policies people don't want.

You're telling the Republicans to be more acquiescent, right when they are well-positioned to win elections in the fall. And isn't that what the people want, a better balance of conservatives and liberals in Congress? And isn't that the way to get to real bipartisanship, with a second party that has some voting power? You're only saying what you are now because Scott Brown won in Massachusetts and took away the overweening power of the Democrats in the Senate.
... I don't believe that the American people want us to focus on our job security. They want us to focus on their job security.
But you really are focusing on reelecting Democrats here. It is about their job security, as you see Republican challengers on the horizon.

Let's dig into the Q&A:
PENCE: ... Republicans offered a stimulus bill.... It cost half as much as the Democratic proposal in Congress. And using your economic analyst models, it would have created twice the jobs at half the cost. It essentially was across-the-board tax relief, Mr. President.... [W]ould you be willing to consider embracing... the kind of across-the-board tax relief that Republicans have advocated...?
I cut down that question to its essence, so I've made it look easier to see than it was, but does Obama answer the question? The closest he gets is:
OBAMA: ... 95 percent of working Americans got tax cuts. Small businesses got tax cuts. Large businesses got help in terms of their depreciation schedules... [T]he notion that I would somehow resist doing something that cost half as much but would produce twice as many jobs -- why would I resist that? I wouldn't. I mean, that's my point, is that -- I am not an ideologue.... The problem is, I couldn't find credible economists who would back up the claims that you just made.... There may be other ideas that you guys have....
Pence cuts through the verbiage, and restates he question clearly:
PENCE: Mr. President, would -- will you consider supporting across-the-board tax relief, as President Kennedy did?
Obama's answer:
OBAMA: ... I think is important to note, you know, what you may consider across-the-board tax cuts could be, for example, greater tax cuts for people who are making a billion dollars.... [a]nd... if you're calling for just across-the-board tax cuts and then, on the other hand, saying that we're somehow going to balance our budget, I'm going to want to take a look at your math and see how that -- how that works. Because the issue of deficit and debt is another area where there has been a tendency for some inconsistent statements.
AKA "no."
RYAN: ... [W]hy not start freezing spending now? And would you support a line-item veto and helping us get a vote on it in the House?

OBAMA: ... [I]f you either increased taxes or significantly lowered spending when the economy remains somewhat fragile, that that would have a destimulative effect and potentially you'd see a lot of folks losing business, more folks potentially losing jobs. That would be a mistake when the economy has not fully taken off....

With respect to the line-item veto, I actually -- I think there's not a president out there that wouldn't love to have it....
Obama cuts Paul Ryan off when he starts to explain why this new version of the line-item veto is unconstitutional. (The Clinton-Era Line Item Veto Act was unconstiutional.)
CHAFFETZ: [W]hen you stood up before the American people multiple times and said you would broadcast the health care debates on C-SPAN, you didn't. I was disappointed, and I think a lot of Americans were disappointed.

You said you weren't going to allow lobbyists in the senior-most positions within your administration, and yet you did. I applauded you when you said it, and disappointed when you didn't.

You said you'd go line by line through the health care debate -- or through the health care bill. And there were six of us, including Dr. Phil Roe, who sent you a letter and said, "We would like to take you up on that offer. We'd like to come." We never heard a letter. We never got a call. We were never involved in any of those discussions.....
OBAMA: ... I think it's a legitimate criticism. So on that one, I take responsibility.
All right! Guilty as charged. But are you going to do anything about it now? That's what "responsibility" really means. Not just, yep, we did that.
BLACKBURN: [T]hank you for acknowledging that we have ideas on health care. Because, indeed, we do have ideas. We have plans. We have over 50 bills. We have lots of amendments that would bring health care ideas to the forefront....

And if those good ideas aren't making it to you, maybe it's the House Democrat leadership that is an impediment instead of a conduit....

OBAMA: Actually, I've gotten many of your ideas. I've taken a look at them...  If you can show me and if I get confirmation from health care experts, people who know the system and how it works...  I'm game....

If you look at the package that we've presented -- and there's some stray cats and dogs that got in there that we were eliminating -- we were in the process of eliminating.

For example -- for example, you know, we said from the start that -- that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you can have your -- if you want to keep the health insurance you've got, you can keep it; that you're not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decisionmaking. And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge.
Snuck in...
[F]rankly, how some of you went after this bill, you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.
That made me laugh... but he just admitted that things got snuck in, so that does sound like a plot, and "Bolshevik" is just a funny way to say: I know this looks really left-wing to you. The question remains: Is it?
[W]e've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality.

I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.
Now, Obama is known for his rhetoric, and any politician uses rhetoric. The Republicans have to say too much government.  It's very effective, and it matches their ideology. Of course, it's annoying to the Democrats.
It's not just on your side, by the way. It's -- it's on our side as well. This is part of what's happened in our politics, where we demonize the other side so much that when it comes to actually getting things done, it becomes tough to do.
That's a fine point, but scrape away the nasty tone that's sometimes there, and politicians still need to state their ideological positions clearly. People need to know that the 2 parties are different. If Obama really believes in the ideal he stated at the outset, that there is an essential process of "real debate about matters of domestic policy and national security," then there needs to be crisp definition of conservatism and liberalism.

If you're going to say people need to be compliant and lawmaking shouldn't be tough, then you don't what happened to your ideal of the "absolutely essential... the process of disagreement"?

210 comments:

1 – 200 of 210   Newer›   Newest»
HT said...

The people reacted and are continuing to react to what the Democrats did with their supermajority. The objection isn't to discord and obstruction. The objection is to the rule of a single party rule that has seen fit to ram through policies people don't want.
+++

Not for this Democrat. They didn't ram through enough, and are continuing to right wimpily take their cues from the Republicans.

Alex said...

Huffington Post talking points on this:

* GOP is party of No
* GOP stands up for the top 5%

class warfare is grand!

Alex said...

HT - you realize that most Americans will not stand for your "ramming through" of the left-wing agenda.

HT said...

More a comment on the internal workings or lack thereof of the Democratic Party.

Fen said...

If Obama really believes in the ideal he stated at the outset, that there is an essential process of "real debate about matters of domestic policy and national security,"

Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste

“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.” — Rahm Emanuel

There was never a good faith effort on the part of Obama or Dems. Obamacare was simply about creating a permanent majority.

Obama: "But I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."

Yah, Go fuck yourself, Mr President. Why should we believe anything you say?

traditionalguy said...

Obama suddenly wants to co-opt the GOP as a source for the appearance of his legitimacy since the voters now favor the GOP over Obama's whirlwind of deceptions aimed at destroying the economy and the military power of what was once the world's only super power. He wants a second chance to tell more stories, and more stories. What he will never do is stick to any truth level over his key fairy tales about saving health care and stopping Global Warming.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

That's a fine point, but scrape away the nasty tone that's sometimes there, and politicians still need to state their ideological positions clearly. People need to know that the 2 parties are different. If Obama really believes in the ideal he stated at the outset, that there is an essential process of "real debate about matters of domestic policy and national security," then there needs to be crisp definition of conservatism and liberalism.

I don't buy it! There's a big diversity of political opinion in America. The notion that it can all be boiled down to this one side or the other is naive. In other countries, there are often more than two parties; each party reflects a particular prevalent way-of-thinking, and the lack of dominance of any one means that a coalition must often be formed.

Why assume that America still falls easily into categories of Republican and Democrat? Perhaps the fact that it doesn't is the problem, and maybe that's the cause of all the public apathy and cynicism out there.

To me, Obama and the Republicans seem like they are mutually engaged in the pointless task of trying to pound a square peg through a round hole.

Alex said...

HT - the internal workings of the Democrat party have nothing to do with where America stands on the issues.

HT said...

Interesting Julius. Thanks.

HT said...

Got your POV Alex. Entendido.

Fen said...

And where's this "smart diplomacy" we heard so much about? NOW would be a good time to start using some.

Dump Pelosi

Replace your political advisors with policy advisors

Put Alinsky back in the drawer

Palladian said...

"I don't buy it! There's a big diversity of political opinion in America. The notion that it can all be boiled down to this one side or the other is naive. In other countries, there are often more than two parties; each party reflects a particular prevalent way-of-thinking, and the lack of dominance of any one means that a coalition must often be formed."

So why is it that almost every country with a host of narrow-focus political parties has ended up a bland socialist nanny state?

Ann Althouse said...

Face it. We have a 2-party system. I'm saying it's a good thing. So was Obama, some of the time.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
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Ritmo Brasileiro said...
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Ritmo Brasileiro said...

If Obama really believes in the ideal he stated at the outset, that there is an essential process of "real debate about matters of domestic policy and national security," then there needs to be crisp definition of conservatism and liberalism.

Some people care more about the crispy nature of their definition of conservatism and liberalism than they care about a crispy definition of the nation's priorities, as a whole, should be.

And then, there are others who see it differently.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...
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Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Face it. We have a 2-party system. I'm saying it's a good thing. So was Obama, some of the time.

Yeah, Obama was saying it like he was the head of one mafia family talking to the leaders of another family. Time to put the differences aside for a while and work together so that they all don't loose out to some new upstart.

Think Tony Soprano and Silvio sitting down with the dudes from Brooklyn. They always distrust one another, but when it comes down to it they'd rather keep "this thing of theirs" going rather than loose out to the Russians or Chinese.

1jpb said...

Following Ritmo re "then there needs to be crisp definition of conservatism and liberalism"

For the most part the conservatives in that room didn't get close to presenting a crisp definition of conservatism.

Since when did claiming everyone can have everything and it won't cost anything be a crisp presentation of conservatism? This seems like the Bush years continued.

The two major points the Rs brought up were deficits and health care. What were the R ideas?

For health care; everyone can be insured, the insurers bad practices can be stopped, and this won't cost a cent.

For the deficit; they'll pass a health care plan that helps everyone and doesn't cost anything (does this remind anyone of the prescription drug bill that was passed w/ zero accounting for the cost?), and they'll lower taxes because under dynamic budgeting lower taxes increase revenue (although this didn't work in the Bush years, it did work on a net basis for Reagan, but that was because the payroll taxes shot up for middle class folks and these surplus funds were used to fill the hole created by tax cuts for the rich; at least these middle class folks are getting a lot of iou's in exchange for covering the tax bills for rich folks.)

And, it's so funny to see this meeting portrayed as BHO being tough on the Rs. There are a bunch of times where BHO takes responsibility and acknowledges his and his party's faults. But, apparently no Rs could think of anything they've done wrong. But, some conservatives are pushing the idea that BHO beat up on the Rs. What does this defensiveness tell us about the Rs lack of confidence in their own talking points?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

So why is it that almost every country with a host of narrow-focus political parties has ended up a bland socialist nanny state?

I guess some people prefer their drama the old-fashioned way, through their consumption of art - rather than infesting their political system.

lucid said...

Why does Obama get to call everyone by their first names--John, and Jim (or Jeb, if he had the first name right), while everyone else has to call him Mr. President?

Wouldn't it be good for all of us if others began to call him Barak?

I think the presdincey has gotten much too royal and monarchical. Time to replace the throne with a decent desk chair.

garage mahal said...

1) Cut taxes on the rich

2) ??????????

3) Recovery!

Synova said...

"Some people care more about the crispy nature of their definition of conservatism and liberalism than they care about a crispy definition of the nation's priorities, as a whole, should be."

What do you think priorities should be?

I agree that this isn't a difficult thing to determine or even to come to a conclusion that people on opposing sides of issues can agree with.

How about the economy and jobs?

Couldn't we do a better job of that if that's where the attention of our Congress was? So very much was attempted because the Dems had an overwhelming majority and there were so many different emergencies that had to be passed *now*... with no time to honor promises to have the entire final version of a bill available to the public, with no time to actually read the bill, with no time to actually finish writing the bill or bothering to even have a final version to not read or show to people.

Rush, rush, rush. Because there weren't priorities. There was just *everything*.

A crisp definition of what our priorities should be would be a fabulous thing. Obama should be doing that, but when does he state anything clearly? But even just saying, hey, that's just his style... the SOTU was a big list of lots of stuff that "we'd" be doing this next year.

Gotta DO something!! The people want government to do stuff. Lots of stuff. More and more stuff.

Flexo said...

OBAMA'S IDEA OF WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS --

January 21, 2009:

Republicans: Mr. President, we have this idea to . . .

Obama: I won.

(End of discussion.)

When your first move (and your latest move) is basically to tell the other side to go Eff themselves, you're not going to get very far.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Incumbents care about jobs because without them they get voted out of office.

Those who get to care about the long-term might prioritize a rate of increase in health care expenditures that isn't so steep that it continues to threaten the competitiveness of the American economy. They might also prioritize industrial production over a phony-baloney "service economy" that outsources its energy sector to industries that the developed world has no use for.

Everything other than that is negotiable.

MnMark said...

When you boil it all down, there's basically two political philosophies competing for control, and their visions are mutually exclusive. It's a zero-sum game. If freedom, free markets and individual responsibility win, then the collectivist/smart-people-running-big-government-for-our-benefit philosophy loses, and vice versa. All the political posturing, name-calling, dirty tricks, accusations of hypocrisy, etc, etc, etc, is just those two competing political philosophies using whatever means available to get an upper hand.

So realistically it's pointless for a representative of the equality/collectivist philosophy like Obama to go talk to the representatives of the freedom/individualist philosophy. They aren't going to accept each others' "economic experts", they aren't going to suddenly realize they need to pull together for the good of the country, because they have fundamentally incompatible views of what "the good of the country" entails.

That's not to say there aren't a large body of "moderates" out there, people who have no strong political opinions one way or the other and just want to muddle along. But it's basically just competition between those two incompatible political worldviews and nothing is going to change that until one or the other is discredited by enough overwhelming evidence that no one believes it anymore, just like people once believed the world was flat.

The other possibility is that we will get stupider and stupider (a la "Idiocracy"), and I believe the stupider the population the more easily it believes in equality and collectivism. Free stuff paid for by the 'evil rich'? Takes some intelligence to be able to see beyond the immediate appeal of that to a larger, longer-term good.

Flexo said...
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Flexo said...

Obama: "If someone else has a better idea, I'll consider it."

Which of course is total crap.

Obama is the smartest guy in the room (on the planet), so by definition, no one is going to have a better idea.

Obama: "I couldn't find any experts to confirm that."

Again, same crap, different bucket. If he were to find someone to confirm a given idea put forth by conservatives, by definition that person would not be an expert. All the smart people agree with Obama, always, on everything.

The guy so transparently talks out of his a**, not occasionally, but everytime he speaks. Obama may have fired up some of his leftist sycophants, but I suspect that he is merely hardening the resolve of even the most spineless, worm-like Republican.

HT said...

And another interesting thread is added! Thanks Mn.

Balfegor said...

Some people care more about the crispy nature of their definition of conservatism and liberalism than they care about a crispy definition of the nation's priorities, as a whole, should be.

Part of that crispy differentiation ("crispy?") is precisely a difference of opinion about what the nation's priorities should be. E.g. when Obama objects to across the board tax cuts because a billionaire who pays huge taxes gets, on a dollar level, a bigger tax cut than a poor person who pays an effective tax rate of 0 or negative X, with EITF and entitlements, he's communicating something clear about where his priorities lie. Also, when the President says:

OBAMA: The problem is, I couldn't find credible economists who would back up the claims that you just made.

I think he's talking about the idea that tax cuts are a better stimulus than spending. If he can't find credible economists to back up that claim, it's a mark of just how lazy he is, given that one of his own economic advisers, Christina Romer, has published research suggesting more or less that. It's not like there's a monolithic view, among economists, that tax cuts are better than spending, but if the President can't find a reputable economist to back up the idea that tax cuts are better than spending, it's because he hasn't bothered to look.

His defense of the health care bills is also rather disingenuous. He talks about provisions that got "snuck" in, but the skewed economic incentives the bill creates -- and which are likely to lead to people losing their current health insurance -- are actually kind of central to what the bill tries to do. They're weren't snuck in at all. He also plays up the part of the bill people like (the health care exchanges) as though that were the big idea in the bill. That part is centrist, sure. That's not the part people are objecting to (in fact, among the public, I think it's one of the components that polls well, and health insurance exchanges themselves aren't a major cost driver or much of a restriction on individual liberty.) I also find it somewhat incredible that Obama is claiming he has read the Republicans' bills, when in the past, it's been crystal clear that he hasn't read his own party's legislation (or, you know, thinks we're stupid). On the other hand, though, I suppose the Republicans' bills have tended to be a lot shorter, since they aren't quite as geared towards setting up byzantine bureaucracies, and (given they have 0% chance of passing) no one has bothered to put earmarks in.

JAL said...

that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you can have your -- if you want to keep the health insurance you've got, you can keep it;

Cat. Bag. Out.

Key word is KEEP. If, in some way, you LOSE your insurance your choices were to be VERY limited. IIRC the insurance companies were not going to be allowed to write NEW policies for people who did not KEEP their previous policies.

There is a huge difference between "HAVE your [insurance, presumedly, as he caught himself] and "KEEP your insurance."

Trooper York said...

Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry". - (Hamlet,Act I, Scene III).

Leland said...

If I was a Republican, sitting in that audience, I would have been holding up a poster that read "I won".

That's it. Right there. I won.

Last year, when Republicans went to Obama, asking what they could do to get him to work with their minority. Obama's response, "I won". It didn't matter that each and everyone of those Republican Congressmen won too. There was no desire to reach across the aisle.

In the interim, Republicans have been shut out, just like his reponse suggested they would. And what is Obama offerring now? A promise? I hope they ask when the expiration date is.

Synova said...

It's important to keep saying that people can keep the insurance they like because no one really believes it.

There's something about a claim that huge changes won't cause changes that is inherently suspicious.

garage mahal said...

Here it is, Mr President

A 18 page pamphlet containing the GOP Budget Proposal. With no actual numbers, budget, or proposal. Just bubbles. Cantor looks like we just wants to disappear.

LonewackoDotCom said...

What's the point of this post? BHO p0wned them because they're either corrupt or incompetent (or both).

If Althouse wants to do a public service, she should do things like point out that what Pence "asked" weren't really questions. For instance, this: Mr. President, would -- will you consider supporting across-the-board tax relief, as President Kennedy did?

What would anyone expect him to say, "yes"? Of course he's going to say no, then he's going to launch into a stock speech.

If Althouse wants to do a public service, use my guide about asking politicians questions to convert what the House members said into real questions, then encourage her readers to go out and ask them of BHO or his underlings.

Trooper York said...

"Men of few words are the best men" (King Henry the Fifth
Act III, Scene II).

Balfegor said...

Re: garage:

1) Cut taxes on the rich

2) ??????????

3) Recovery
!

Want me to fill in the mechanism? First, the tax cut ought to have two components -- one is a cut in the income tax, and the other is a cut in the payroll tax, both as paid by the employee and by the employer. The payroll tax cut is less for stimulus and more just for job preservation, because (on the employer side), it reduces the cost of labour, and will, on the margin, reduce the likelihood of layoffs. On the employee side, it doesn't have any direct effect, but the hope would be that it will help people continue to pay their bills, such as mortgage payments and credit card bills, so the economy doesn't deteriorate further. The payroll tax cut should be temporary (e.g. on a six month or quarterly basis), and should have to come up for re-authorisation regularly by the Secretary of the Treasury, or possibly Congress itself. When the economic situation improves, you can reinstate the payroll tax.

The income tax is more "stimulative," since it is likely (at higher income levels) to divert more cash into new investment or spending. To a certain extent, it may also accelerate certain sorts of spending from future periods into the present (somewhat like the cash-for-clunkers program did), in order to take advantage of a more favourable tax environment, for the duration of the tax cut. And that too is stimulative.

Meanwhile, the government, which is running trillion dollar deficits already, would still be running trillion dollar deficits -- so no difference there. But that's just modern Keynesianism for you.

JAL said...

Sneaking is in the eye of the beholder, or the Sneak-er.

If someone is concerned that their idea might not be palatable to certain people, but NO ONE is looking, it's not a sneak. Until someone points it out.

That's why no public meetings broadcast, no posting of the 2000+ finale on the net for 72 hours. No consideration of Republican proposals which most libs don't even think existed.

It was all going along with a few bumps over a few bodies, until WHOMP!! Scott Brown got elected.

Ooops.

If you notice a few things here and there in the bill, they somehow got snuck in. (That's reassuring.) We don't know how. [Wringing of hands.] Maybe like those party crashers got into the WH and that was nobody's fault.

But HEY -- if those things got voted on and became law?

Palladian said...

My crisp definition of liberal versus conservative: French Enlightenment vs. Scottish Enlightenment. What we (erroneously) call "liberalism" today is descended from Rousseau and by extension Robespierre and Marx. What we (or at least I) call true conservatism is descended from Locke to Adam Smith to Burke. But many modern liberals would horrify the likes of Rousseau, who was certainly not what one would call "culturally sensitive". This "cultural sensitivity" towards so-called victim groups such as women, racial minorities and gay people I see as a major professed tenet of today's liberalism, and certainly at great odds with its historical, philosophical foundations. And many so-called conservatives likewise would horrify the likes of Adam Smith, who would wonder at the populist, crude religiosity and economic illiteracy of many modern "conservatives".

Start talking about the Scottish Enlightenment and Rousseau's "The Social Contract", Robespierre and David Hume and base, rabid partisans of either stripe will just shout their tiresome slogans right over top of you.

JAL said...

Narcissists and other high control people ae always alarmed (and trying to alarm others) by how chaotic everything is.

There was soooo much going on in soooo many places it was toooo difficult to see what the work that was going on was and it was toooo complicated to have it opened up to everyone ....

And we HAVE to doooo this noooow! Or else!!11!!

Yada yada yada.

Like you guys don't work for US.

And buying a car or a house or a boat or a toaster from the man that makes you DO IT NOW is a good idea.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

Balefegor
The question is: are tax cuts more stimulative versus spending. I think the evidence is no. I think we witnessed that from the last crew that gave two massive tax cuts.

Trooper York said...

"This above all: to thine own self be true". - (Hamlet Act I, Scene III).

Synova said...

"A 18 page pamphlet containing the GOP Budget Proposal. With no actual numbers, budget, or proposal. Just bubbles."

Uh huh.

I suppose a 2000 page bill that includes a great deal of "figure this out later" is more impressive and the ideas obviously more valid.

After all, it's *heavier*.

(Awful hard to "sneak" anything into 18 pages.)

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@Palladian- Funny how your "crisp definition" requires so many words and so much knowledge of history and philosophy.

Will modern American politicians speak as if their audience knows Rousseau and his philosophy, for example?

Nah...

Much easier to use this:

"liberal" = MSNBC

"conservative" = FOX

"don't let them anywhere near our system because they are the only ones who are speaking the truth" = Comedy Central

Synova said...

garage, did Obama argue that tax cuts aren't stimulative, or did he pretty much say that it wasn't worth the risk of accidentally including evil rich people?

Palladian said...

"@Palladin- Funny how your "crisp definition" requires so many words and so much knowledge of history and philosophy.

Will moderns American politicians speak as if their audience knows Rousseau and his philosophy, for example?"

Scottish Enlightenment versus French Enlightenment is only five words. Any definition requires the reader to understand the meaning of the words used in the definition. I don't assume people are stupid, as a rule, and can figure it out.

Stupid people shouldn't be voting anyway. But both parties count on the votes of stupid people, however. It seems the definition simplistic partisans want is: liberal= good, conservative= bad. Or vice-versa.

garage mahal said...

Obama has cut taxes. You can argue the people who benefited from them weren't deserving, but 1/3 of the Stimulus was tax cuts!

MayBee said...

Flexo:Obama: "If someone else has a better idea, I'll consider it."

Which of course is total crap.

Obama is the smartest guy in the room (on the planet), so by definition, no one is going to have a better idea.


Precisely! That's the key to understanding Obama. Once you've figured that out, you will never see him the same again. He talks about being able to talk to all sides, to listen to all sides. But really, he knows that anybody who doesn't agree with him just hasn't thought it through (or disagrees with him for partisan reasons) and ultimately shouldn't get their way.

People who love him hear him talk like this and think he totally owned the opposition. But people who don't love him realize he consistently disregards different opinions while pretending to be completely open. It's annoying.

Palladian said...

Oh, and it's P-A-L-L-A-D-I-A-N, not Palladin [sic]. I don't play World of Warcraft. Palladianism was an architectural style of the 18th century based on a revival of 16th century architect Andrea Palladio's principles and designs. Adherents included Inigo Jones, William Kent, Richard Boyle the 3rd Earl of Burlington, Henry Flitcroft, Thomas Jefferson and Robert Adam.

Adam was a major figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, natch.

yashu said...

At this point I put as much stock in Obama's political rhetoric as I would a sociopath's. I assume *everything* is a lie. All the more when he makes statements tailor-made to appeal to me (& people like me)-- seemingly centrist, bipartisan, pragmatic, reasonable, etc. After all, it's this kind of language that got him elected-- fooling so many otherwise perspicacious people (like our usually shrewd hostess).

Of course, it's much harder to overlook, now, what was already apparent to many of us in the campaign: beneath the sonorous basso, ringing notes of authority, sincerity, intelligence, his speeches are self-refuting, self-falsifying, at practically every turn. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so infuriating.

There's the high-flown, vaguely-worded, emphatically voiced sentiment, saying just what I would want to hear (say, an endorsement of capitalism/ entrepreneurship);
but in short order (in the very same sentence sometimes, anyway within a paragraph);
there's the proposition which-- when you understand its content & implications-- entirely contradicts and undermines the former. When it's not just an all-out lie.

Of course, now that he's been president for a year, his statements here are refuted-- obviously, blatantly, flagrantly so-- by every single one of his administration's actions. I'm shocked, still continually shocked-- and I mean that without sarcasm-- that he takes us all to be such suckers.

This is not nuance. This is not dialectical thinking. (Mr. President, I've read Hegel, I've studied Hegel, I like Hegel, and you're no Hegelian.) It's brazen deceit and duplicity.

MayBee said...

I think it's a legitimate criticism. So on that one, I take responsibility.All right! Guilty as charged. But are you going to do anything about it now? That's what "responsibility" really means. Not just, yep, we did that.

True, but part of his answer was disingenuous.
We know he had meetings himself- with doctors (before they were given lab coats for the photo op), nurses, the AMA, pharma.
He didn't televise any of those meetings. Heck, he didn't even disclose some of them.
Did he ever televise his meetings with Andy Stern? The other union bosses?

The CSPAN pledge was about the American people being able to see the deals being cut. Not just about the act of writing he legislation. He had his chance to do so, and it wasn't impeded because Congress had meetings all over the place once it got out of committee.
In this one answer he obfuscated, then he took some blame, then he made no promises for the future.

Maguro said...

Tax cuts wouldn't necessarily be more stimulative than spending - according to classical Keynesian theory the important thing is to run (larger) deficits during a recession. In practice, though, the regulatory hurdles that infrastructure projects have to overcome means that tax cuts are a much more immediate way of getting more money into the hands of people who can spend it.

danielle said...

Ann, it seems you missed the point. the Pres didnt say people need to be compliant and lawmaking shouldn't be tough, his whole point is that the republicans wont even engage; they wont even play ball. For example, they say they agree that healthcare costs are a problem; but instead of coming up with real policy solutions, and negotiating them knowing that no party will get 100% of what they want, they just make hyperbolic statements to get the base fired up and they wont even participate in a real discussion about the issues.

JAL said...

Give it a break, danielle.

You apparently didn't get the "I won" message.

Peter V. Bella said...

Scrap the Barak Obama Legacy Making Health Care Bill.

Cut corporate taxes in half.

Eliminate the Estate Tax.

Eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Create one single tax bracket.

Admit openly that wealth redistribution has always been a scam.

Create a business environment manufacturers and industry can survive in, make a profit in, and bring us back as the major economic force in the world.

Level the playing field with importers through the use of higher tariffs.

Scrap the climate change and Global Warming BS.

Start there. Then I will take this government seriously. Until then, it is all one big political performance pandering to the few.

If that was done I would take Democrats seriously. Taxation is not supposed to be punitive. It is not supposed to be

Peter V. Bella said...

Um, Danielle,
Are you literate? Do you watch TV or listen to the radio?

The Republicans have been shut out. Not by Barak Obama. They have been shut out by the real leader of the country Nancy Pelosi. SHe will not deal with them. She also ordered her sock puppet in the Senate to do the same.

Obama just gets the blame.

MnMark said...

At this point I put as much stock in Obama's political rhetoric as I would a sociopath's. I assume *everything* is a lie.

This kind of talk is as useless as the ranting on Democratic Underground.

If Obama was a traditionalist conservative who believed in Austrian/libertarian economics, small government, freedom, and individual responsibility, I would probably think he was one of the greatest politicians ever, just like his supporters do. I'd hear his even-toned voice and his calm demeanor and think, "see! a smart guy believes what I believe - just more confirmation that I'm right! People only hate him because he's so right and they're so wrong!"

But Obama isn't those things. He's arguably the most left-wing guy ever elected President, who believes in "redistributing" the money I earn to his favored interest groups, etc, etc. So I despise him.

It's all about the ideology - freedom versus equality. Mutually exclusive. You more or less love the people on the same side as you on that question and hate the ones on the other.

The best thing we could have is a really detailed national discussion about freedom versus equality and try to come to some agreement on which is the superior value. All of this I-hate-this-politician-because-blah-blah-blah is a waste of time.

Michael said...

Garage: The president said during the campaign that lower capital gains taxes produced more revenues than higher ones. He is not the smartest guy but he knows that.

I have several positions that I could fill but I will not do so until I have some clarity on the tax picture going forward. I also will take all my gains before the Bush tax cuts expire. Both of these decisions are rational. There are tens of thousands of business people who are in a similar position. In the meantime, until we get clarity, those of us at the wheel will work harder.

Danielle: The Republicans were willing to engage at the outset but the Democrats decided they didn't need them and decided to go it alone. Althouse is correct in that it is preposterous for the Republicans to "cooperate" now that the Democrats need them and now that it is apparent that the Democrats drew and kept bidding a losing hand. Too bad for them and too bad for those who, perhaps you?, you egged them on.

Back in the days when boys got in fist fights it was not uncommon for the guy who started the fight to claim pacific beliefs the moment he began to lose.

1jpb said...

Palladian,

Don't forget the link to Athena--wisdom and such. All around a great name.

Synova said...

"If Obama was a traditionalist conservative who believed in Austrian/libertarian economics, small government, freedom, and individual responsibility, I would probably think he was one of the greatest politicians ever, just like his supporters do. I'd hear his even-toned voice and his calm demeanor and think,.."

I'd like to think that I'd still be all "Wow, he does go *on* doesn't he?" and maybe just a wee bit, when he got snotty to the liberals, just a wee bit, "That really doesn't help."

There were people who agreed with his general politics who felt his remarks about "nice enough" Hillary to be every bit as outrageous as they really were, even while thinking "lipstick on a pig" was high intellectual humor.

Sometimes bad behavior really is bad behavior.

MayBee said...

Obama today kind of continues his thoughts:
I will always respect those who take a principled stand for what they believe, even if I disagree with them," the president said. "But what I won’t accept is changing positions because it’s good politics. What I won’t accept is opposition for opposition’s sake. We cannot have a serious discussion and take meaningful action to create jobs and control our deficits if politicians just do what’s necessary to win the next election instead of what’s best for the next generation."

Who decides which kind of opposition is which, and what will he do to "not accept" it?

How would President Obama classify Senator Obama's persistent refusal to support the Iraq surge or even admit its success once it was obviously successful? Was there some great principle there? Or was it opposition for opposition's sake? Did we accept that?

jayne_cobb said...

Danielle,

The reason that occurred is because the Democrats were intent on forcing through legislation as quickly as possible. Don't forget that this was all supposed to have been passed before the August break.

There was never any good faith action on the part of the Dems. to actually negotiate. They wanted as big a package passed as they could get, and were only willing to make small and mostly meaningless concessions (or bribe the hell out of people).

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

they wont even play ball... they just make hyperbolic statements to get the base fired up and they wont even participate in a real discussion about the issues.

I share danielle's impression somewhat.

But I didn't get that idea on my own. I got it from reading Andrew Sullivan's many blog posts referring to Republicans as nihilists, and from the Opinion section of the NY Times.

I think many of those who lean Leftward (when forced to choose) would sympathize with danielle's viewpoint. If it is not true, then the Right-- and especially the media on the Right-- is not doing a good job at dispelling it.

Synova said...

There is something lazy about blaming your own opinion on someone else who should have done a better job of explaining things to you, particularly in the same breath as admitting not listening to them anyway.

MayBee said...

Julius Ray Hoffman-
I can guarantee you that you won't see the Republicans get their message across via Andrew Sullivan or the NYT editorial page.

Or were you kidding?

However, if you want a chance to see the Republicans get some of their message across, watch the replay of yesterday's Q&A. They finally shared a spotlight with the President, so their positions finally got some airtime on MSNBC and CNN.

Synova said...

Obama came up with some incredible stinkers, enough in themselves to make any non-cooperation reasonable. The "I won" thing, the "want those responsible for the problem to get out of the way" the explicit invitation not to participate or otherwise bother those cleaning up the mess.

But I agree that it's probably mostly on Pelosi's shoulders. Unfortunately she expended all of *her* political capital on a strategy of ignoring Republicans entirely because she thought she could force the junior Democrats into line, which made forcing them into line essential... a system with a single point of failure because other bridges are burned.

danielle said...

if the democrats were trying to force something through, they could have. they had a majority in both the house and the senate. they also tried to get some Republican involvement/support with the inclusion of the tax cuts etc, that most progressives think are counter productive in an economy like this.

on the contention that republicans did try to engage, perhaps you all are forgetting about how long it took the republicans to develop the skeleton of a proposal that they eventually did on healthcare. and the savings projections on their proposal were abysmal. that cant really be called a real attempt to engage the problem of health care costs and deficit reduction.

on the 'i won' moment. that wasn't a shut the hell up, i'm doing what i want moment; that was in response to a debate on what were the right proportions of tax cuts vs spending in the stimulus bill -- an essentially philosophical debate that will never be agreed upon. the pres' point was, we all know the country needs this bill, you are not going to win the debate on the proportions, so lets all be happy that some of what we all want is in there and lets pass this.

and for those of you who think that the republicans shouldnt start participating now -- how about you think a bit less about politics, and more about the 1 in 6 people who cant find a job. Our congress needs to start getting things done. People are suffering while they play politics.

1jpb said...

"lower capital gains taxes produced more revenues than higher ones"

This was true for the year after the change Bush made in 2003. But, a year after the withheld transactions flushed through because the expected change actually occurred the revenue went below the baseline. [And, don't forget that these and other tax cuts put more money in the hands of the rich who (along w/ foreign investors) did turn around and almost run our entire economy over a cliff because there were too many dollars chasing too few good investment opportunities, hence the motivation to seek out and fund bad investment opportunities. So, obviously there can be too much supply, contrary to what the supply siders claim.] So, claiming that revenue will forever go above baseline increases is a very stupid argument, if you're smart enough to look at a multi-year analysis.

I haven't seen data for the Clinton change regarding capital gains on primary residences. I would not be surprised if this change did see a sustained increase (above the expected mean baseline increases) because of the housing boom of recent times. But, that boom was fueled by what should have been (and sometimes were) fraudulent loans so I'm not sure that's something we'd want to encourage again.

The supply side argument has gone down in flames in practice. Anyone still pushing this BS is the definition of stupid.

Michael said...

Danielle:

Not sure if you have been in-country for the last year but the Democrats had certain disagreements among themselves that prevented them from using their super majority. Their caucus was not cohesive. They tried very hard to hurry the health thing through by August but the "teaparty" movement which was ignored by the MSM was not ignored by many democrats who came home for recess into what is vulgarly called a shitstorm.

jayne_cobb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

1jpb:

Oh, so some of the money went into the hands of the rich. Can't have rich people getting more money now, can we? They might deploy it to good effect in the economy.

A lot of rich bankers used to go to high end resorts on business meetings. But we showed them and made it impossible for them to do so without attracting the rage of the proles. Guess who lost out? The bankers? Nope. The low level employees of the resorts who were laid off because of the splendid thinking of the lefties who wanted to make the bankers look bad.

Lay off the rich.

Synova said...

But Danielle... the Congress isn't trying to get me a job.

The Congress is trying to get a huge health care thing through so I won't need a job or income or *anything*.

And rather than get me a job the Congress tried for that Cap and Trade thing.

And rather than get me a job the stimulus had all the "job creation" focus of magic fairy dust... throw the money out there, anywhere, into the economy, and it will work... no need to think about incentives or how to help business other than to throw money at them so that they can be scapegoated later as the bad guys and we can all conveniently forget the strong-arming that went on if anyone said, hey, maybe we don't want to participate in this. And then add some funding for government service programs that will employ people... they create *nothing* but they employ people... at least as long as more tax money keeps funneling in to them.

And rather than do something that will spur the economy and create jobs *now* that people are starting to complain that things really haven't gotten much better and unemployment rates don't even include those who gave up and quit looking... we're going to do the stimulus again? And scapegoat business and banks as the enemy and add another fee.

But don't worry... the census is hiring. That will make the numbers look better. At least for a while.

Mimi Stratton said...

Jane Cobb said: (and others on this thread) "There was never any good faith action on the part of the Dems. to actually negotiate."

And the same can be said of the Republicans. I went to see Mitch McConnell speak at the National Press Club middle of January 2009, a week or so after Obama's inauguration, because I thought it would be interesting to hear the minority speaker's point of view. And I came away convinced this man never EVER had any intention of cooperating, of negotiating in good faith with the Democrats. Not only that, but how did that man ever get elected to a position of leadership? I was sitting with some very nice young people from Czechoslovakia, and had to listen to McConnell insult Europeans. I was so embarrassed, for him and for my country. What a rube! You know what--someone on this thread referred to "bland socialist nanny states". Have you been to Europe lately?? It's fantastic! I'd live in a socialist nanny state anytime. I wish everyone in Congress would pull their heads out of their collective arses and enact some legislation. Yes, there are millions of people out of work and others who need affordable health care. Get on with it.

Flexo said...

they also tried to get some Republican involvement/support

You don't try "to get some Republican involvement/support" by defining Republicans as the problem.

If you look at any given speech that Obama gives, it really only consists of two -- and only two -- components: (1) mentioning ad nauseum how great Obama is, and (2) demonizing this person or that person, this group or that group. That is all Obama does -- tell us how awesome he is and how much others suck.

Alex said...

danielle - this is revenge time. No mercy to DemoRATs!

1jpb said...

"A lot of rich bankers used to go to high end resorts on business meetings."

You have no idea how funny this comment is.

I was a executive who ran the home loan and construction department for a bank. But, I cashed out about four years ago (before everything fell apart). I can confirm that we spent a lot of time running up our expense reports all over the country. You did nail that.

Michael said...

Mimi:

Like many commenters on the left side of the debate you seem to love Europe and trains and all the wonderful benefits of the life that western Europed has to offer. But like most lefties I expect you haven't the initiative to haul yourself across the pond and actually make a life there. Instead your fellow believers want us all to adopt the European way. It isn't going to happen. So you would doubtless happier sitting in a cafe in the former Czech republic having a sneer at the embarrassing rubes. So go.

danielle said...

yes michael, debates w/in the dem party did add to it -- but you cant possibly want to dispute the fact that ire in conservative leaning districts was spurred by the political stance and rhetoric of the republicans in office.

had republicans in office come to the table, honestly want to take on the massive problems this country faces and agreeing that we need to get something passed, you cant possibly think that the narrative wouldnt have been different, and that people would be a lot less annoyed and upset than they are now.

the way republicans are behaving right now is completely irresponsible.

Paul said...

Palladian @ 3:04

Yes!!!! Too many people, and particularly "liberals", have no clue about the underpinnings or pedigree of their political philosophy.

Many if not most conservatives know some political philosophy. Liberals...hardly any.

If Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics" and "Conflict Of Visions", neither of which is polemical, were required reading in our schools our nation wouldn't be coming apart at the seams like it is.

c3 said...

1jpb;
For health care; everyone can be insured, the insurers bad practices can be stopped, and this won't cost a cent.

Are you saying the bad practices ending won't cost a cent or the everyone can be insured part?

I'm not sure about the former (though I'm pretty sure that ending pre-existing condition will cost some people more than a cent), but as for the latter.....uh, no (that will cost many cents)

c3 said...

I do believe BO has this world view (as it relates to this meeting)

1) I'm a reasonable guy

2) You disagree with me

3) You're not reasonable

Flexo said...

Danielle -- you seem like a nice person, but by this latest statement, it is clear that you do not have the faintest clue about conservatives.

Most conservatives think that office-holding Republicans are spineless squishes -- they do not take their talking points from them.

Moreover, had Republicans played along with Obama and the Dems in their zeal to destroy the existing country in an effort to rebuild it, the narrative would indeed have been different, but it would have seen conservatives going totally ape-sh*t against the Republicans for doing so. People would have been infinitely more annoyed and upset than they are now.

Michael said...

Danielle:

Not one word in the health bills about reigning in medical malpractice litigation.

No removal of the prohibition of insurance companies competing across state lines.

If you believe in big government and I believe in small government do you think it is reasonable of me to ask you to come over to my side and then dismiss you as uncooperative if you refuse, if you become an obstructionist? Of course not. It is not "irresponsible" to stick with your opinion.

What was irresponsible was the way in which the majority party sneered at the ordinary people who actually took to the streets to get across the point that they didn't want what was being crammed down their throats.

you don't think that attitude was abrasive? you don't think that didn't poison the waters?

danielle said...

so c3, despite all of the presidents attempts to get the republicans involved, you still choose to believe that he thinks they are unreasonable because they disagree.

so you think the president is just reading their proposals for show, and just going to events like this for the optics ?

i dont think i've heard any (rational) person that agrees with you. I've heard several say that they believe Pelosi behaves as your suggest; but i havent heard people say the president is how your describe him.

1jpb said...

c3,

I was repeating the claims that the Rs made when they explained their "ideas" to BHO. Theses "ideas" are actually BS, but Althouse thinks that they are a crisp definition of conservatism.

I would like to assume that this sort of unworkable BS wouldn't be a problem because the Rs would never try to implement things w/ no consideration of budgeting realities. But, we've seen they have no problem implementing unworkable BS e.g. 1)the prescription drug thing, and 2) the unsubstantiated claim (when you don't also raise other taxes, as Reagan did w/ payroll taxes) that lowering taxes increases revenue in the long, multi-year run, and 3) that pumping more and more of our nation's wealth into the supply side (i.e. rich folks) is the way to go, hence there is no need to support a healthy population capable of demand (i.e. middle class) w/o relying on unsustainable borrowing.

Geoff said...

"Mimi Stratton said...
Have you been to Europe lately?? It's fantastic! I'd live in a socialist nanny state anytime."

Then go already?

Some of us don't want to "live in a socialist nanny state" and apparently there are enough of us, to vote that tension into the system.

Your side seems to only want us to lay down and die. (in more ways than one)

former law student said...

The Republicans have two ideas regarding health care:

1. Malpractice reform. Per Amitabh Chandra of Harvard, even eliminating malpractice awards entirely would save one-half percent of our health care costs. And eliminating "defensive medicine" entirely would save another three percent.

So the Republicans' "tort reform" would save, at best, 3.5% of US health care costs, while leaving tens of thousands of those maimed by doctors without any compensation.

2. Buying insurance across state lines.

Policies sold in one state cover the costs of health care in that state. No policy issued for residents of Fargo ND can cover the costs of practicing medicine in midtown Manhattan. Further, the police power of each state allows it to regulate insurance for the benefit of its residents. The Federal government's attemtpt to supersede the police power of the states is likely unconstitutional.

Thus the GOP's plans for health care reform are either grossly ineffective or likely unconstitutional.

And Obama is supposed to take the GOP seriously?

Mimi Stratton said...

Michael,
Absolutely I love Europe and there's a lot we can learn from them. No, I don't live there, I work and live here in the U.S. I save my money and I visit Europe when I can. And I want my politicians to speak respectfully of all the world's people--McDonnell didn't do that. He was the one who was sneering. You might also want to reconsider some of your assumptions and stereotypes before posting comments.

MayBee said...

Danielle:
despite all of the presidents attempts to get the republicans involved,
What were the president's attempts to get the republicans involved? What exactly does "involved" mean?

you still choose to believe that he thinks they are unreasonable because they disagree.


Yes, that's what I think he thinks.

so you think the president is just reading their proposals for show,
He is obviously not reading their proposals for show, because for show he is saying they do not have any ideas.
and just going to events like this for the optics ?

This is the first event "like this" he's gone to. It happened after he lost the super marjority, after a MA Senate seat went to a Republican. If it isn't for optics, it is certainly a brand spankin' new activity at a time he needs to do this kind of thing.

Synova said...

High end resorts employ people.

This is one of the things I don't get... I just really don't.

Let's talk excess shall we?

I once had the pleasure of attending the Lucas Film holiday party. We're talking 4000 guests with food and games and entertainment. I can't even imagine how much the bill was for that event, not even just for the venue large enough. What was the server to guest ratio? What did they pay the actors in the "marble" body suits to stand on a pillar and pretend to be statues holding up worlds?

And, at the time, there was some complaints in the media and from people and stuff... a person heard it, right?.. that movies and all the tremendous profits they made, were somehow a bad thing. Frivolous, certainly, but bad, too... pulling all those movie ticket dollars and putting them in George's pockets. Yeah, it was specifically criticism of Star Wars and Lucas.

So, I walk into this extravaganza with the actors playing greek statues and decorations and servers and people running games and buffets of food giving evidence to unseen hoards in unseen kitchens. And everywhere there were the people who took home the paychecks paid out with the money collected from all those movie tickets, that went to rent or mortgages, to groceries and dance lessons, to schools and day cares and car dealers. To State taxes. To Federal taxes.

And the spectacle for me was just as much about just how much the event represented and illustrated the dynamic spreading of wealth to ever more people.

Why... this is what I don't get... why is spreading wealth only a good thing when the government does it?

High end resorts employ people.

1jpb said...

"Not one word in the health bills about reigning in medical malpractice litigation."

Ask anyone following this debate and you'll know that BHO was eager to do this. The BHO folks were actually tellling the moderate Rs that they'd easily do this as part of a way to get them on board. But, none of the Rs wanted to be on board, the particular policies and issues didn't matter.

Even during this meeting w/ the Rs BHO repeated that he'd be willing to do this. But, the CBO has done the math and it only saves 5 billion a year, so it doesn't even make a dent on anything.

danielle said...

michael, please see CBO projections on the actual savings by tort reform; and please also come up with a solution to the problem of varying coverage requirements by state and preventing insurers from cherry picking, and driving costs up -- and once you do that, please let us all know how what you are suggesting here lowers costs and lowers the deficit.

if we agree that health care is bankrupting the country, and if we both know for sure that we need to find a way to handle it, i would hope that both of us would come up with *realistic* solutions to lower costs and the deficits. The democrats have done that. The republicans have not, and instead of really trying to address the issue, they just make hyperbolic statements about the size of government and death panels. And then they pretend like tea partiers represent all of American opinion. And they forget about the *actual* voice that the american people offered when they elected Obama president.

What poisoned the waters was the republicans' political tactic to obstruct, to not engage at all.

JAL said...

I do.

former law student said...

Musing further: That the ideas advanced, apparently sincerely, by Republicans are either grossly ineffective or likely unconstitutional makes one think that Republicans are stupid. Or they're insincere to the point of malignance.

So which is it? Are the Republicans stupid or malign?

How should Obama proceed to work with Republicans assuming they're simply stupid, and how should Obama proceed to work with Republicans assuming they're evil?

MayBee said...

some very nice young people from Czechoslovakia

The old Soviet state, the Czech Republic, or Slovak Republic?

Geoff said...

"So which is it? Are the Republicans stupid or malign?"

Ladies and gents, Bipartisanship.

"How should Obama proceed to work with Republicans assuming they're simply stupid, and how should Obama proceed to work with Republicans assuming they're evil?"

I agree, this experiment in voting representatives has gone on too long. Let us round up all Republicans and kill them, and so bring forth a new era of hope, peace, and free health care.

danielle said...

MayBee,

The healthcare bills were written in congressional committees. do you know the composition of congressional committees, and knowing that do you still want to suggest that the republicans had no opportunity for input ?

c'mon. get real.

JAL said...

That is I do think it's for show. He's still trying to work the playbook.

Barack Obama wants to REDISTRIBUTE the WEALTH [other people's wealth] through the Federal Government
whole hog, not just helping out a few people here an there who need a "boost."

He wants the Federal Government to RUN THE WHOLE DAMN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

He said it didn't matter if it took 20 years. That was the goal.

So yes. It's for show.

HT said...

Mimi,

Not sure if you are from or live in Washington, and maybe it has become clear to you, but Mitch McConnell does not give one shit what people in DC think. He was speaking beyond DC.

Now of course, when the foreign execs come into his office, he is duly respectful.

He was acting out what he wants his constituents and donors to think of him.

(Didn't see it; but that is my educated guess)

He seems like a fairly false fellow.

DADvocate said...

Huffington Post talking points on this:

* GOP is party of No
* GOP stands up for the top 5%


If this was true, how do Republicans ever win an election?

I'm sure Obama's idea of partisanship is like my ex-wife's - as soon as you do everything my way, when I say to, we'll get along just fine.

Synova said...

So now we're going to start with the "it won't solve all problems it should not be done" thing?

MayBee said...

The healthcare bills were written in congressional committees. do you know the composition of congressional committees, and knowing that do you still want to suggest that the republicans had no opportunity for input ?

I asked what all the president's attempts to get Republicans involved were. That's what you asserted happend.

HT said...

Ha! He did a reverse Bear, but of course he has none of the pride.

McConnell was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama to Julia (née Shockley) and Addison Mitchell McConnell.[3] His official U.S. Senate Web site biography omits his Alabama birthplace, stating that he was "Born on February 20, 1942, and raised in south Louisville".

wiki

former law student said...

Bipartisanship.

To bend James Bovard's phrase, bipartisanship cannot just be a wolf and a lamb deciding what's for dinner.

"it won't solve all problems it should not be done"

No, this would be the "worse than useless" thing. Even mere windowdressing would be better.

Mimi Stratton said...

Former law student,
I don't know how Obama can work with the Rs, they have clearly said, for instance, they have no intention of allowing healthcare reform to pass. They see no need for it. They have theirs, so there's no problem.
I've read the bills--and I see that it will not allow insurance companies to deny healthcare for childen with pre-existing conditions. That alone is enough for me. But people have been scared shitless by the Rs into thinking this is a bad bill. The Rs are brilliant at convincing people to vote against their own interests.

Big Mike said...

I'm going to want to take a look at your math and see how that -- how that works.

Well, Barry, if you hadn't slept your way through calculus classes, you'd be acquainted with Rolle's theorem (which I'll let you readers look up in wikipedia or you can dust off your old calculus textbooks if you can find them in the attic). Rolle's theorem is the basis for the Laffer curve relating taxation rate to revenue. At a taxation rate of zero percent there is zero revenue. At a taxation rate of 100% or higher, the predicted revenue is also zero -- no one would allow themselves to be paid in cash (except as a black market transaction) if all of the cash they receive must be immediately turned over to the government.

Where I'm going with this is the indisputable fact that after the Bush tax cuts the United States increased its revenue from the top money-earners. If you go to wikipedia and look up the Laffer curve, it is accompanied by an illustration depicting a symmetric curve with a maximum value at 50%. But the entry for Rolle's theorem correctly shows that the curve need not be symmetric, and that the maximum point can certainly be below 50%.

Again, Rolle's theorem is a theorem. It is always true. It does not care whether you "believe" in it.

Okay, Barry? And you, too, Mimi.

yashu said...

MnMark (@3:43), I take your point, and generally agree with your sentiment, but my frustration there wasn't directed at Obama's ideology/ideas, but his abuse of the English language: the actual sentences emitted from his mouth in which he (ostensibly) communicates what his values, ideas, beliefs, intentions, and actions are.

After all, for all of us on the American political spectrum-- right left and center-- it's been no straightforward matter to deduce what Obama's ideas, beliefs, and intentions are. It's certainly not something you can arrive at from (any selection of) his words-- which are such a miasma of rhetorical contradiction, fallacy, and deception.

Like you, I am strongly opposed to Obamanian ideology/ ideas-- that is, what I have come to conjecture must be his ideas, after a year of observing the actions taken by this administration (& the Dem legislature). To the extent he's actually verbalized (what I take to be) the essence of this ideology/ ideas, this is so interlarded with conflicting notes, prevarication, and rhetorical dissimulation, that even now he remains, for many, something of a chimera & chameleon. (Which allows for all the variety of excuses and rationalizations provided by his defenders, from soi-disant right to left.) All I know for sure is, he continually presents himself (& his ideas) as what he is (& they are) *not*-- take, for an example, any of the quotations in this post.

In that sense, the frustration I express might well be shared by someone ideologically very remote from me. E.g. commenter Robert Cook, whose ideology/ ideas I disagree with 98% of the time, but who I still respect for his consistency. I gather, from his comments elsewhere, that he is (almost) as disgusted with Obama as I am. (Almost, because of course he's more disgusted with Bush-- who, for all his flaws, I generally like.) We're disgusted for radically different *ideological* reasons-- but very similar reasons, too.

This is the thing: I have never in my adult lifetime encountered an American president whose use of political rhetoric was so Orwellian. That is what I was expressing in that comment-- not "ranting" so much as lamenting. And anyway, the line you quoted from me *was* a form of rhetorical hyperbole. (DKos, really? Oh well, so be it.)

Big Mike said...

@danielle, did you just arrive from somewhere off planet? My dear, the Democrats themselves were open about the Republicans being shut out of the process. They even drove off Senator Snowe, who tried to meet them way more than halfway.

The real flaw in your argument is your foolish assertion that the healthcare bills were written in committees. They were not. They were drafted behind closed doors by a handful of party members, and most of the politicians of their own party were not cognizant of the contents of the bills when presented to them for a vote.

1jpb said...

Big Mike,

Ha ha ha.

The Laffer Curve and the supply siders who used it as justification for tax policy have been completely discredited in practice. So put some reality in your pipe and smoke that instead of crack.

Synova said...

"No, this would be the "worse than useless" thing. Even mere windowdressing would be better."

If it's actually bad, why would Obama be so willing to incorporate it?

Jim C. said...

Ann Althouse said Face it. We have a 2-party system. I'm saying it's a good thing. So was Obama, some of the time.

Well, to be picky, conservatives and liberals are not parties.

Perhaps it'd be better to say Dems and Reps should both explicitly say what their positions are on health care. Yes, that would make things easier, including attacks from the other side. That's why they won't do it.

danielle said, michael, please see CBO projections on the actual savings by tort reform

Please see CBO projections on the actual non-savings of the currently proposed package.

if we agree that health care is bankrupting the country and if we both know for sure that we need to find a way to handle it

Who's proved any of that? Absent that, your "ifs" are huge and there's no reason to agree.

i would hope that both of us would come up with *realistic* solutions to lower costs and the deficits. The democrats have done that.

Is that why they've taken votes late at night, including Friday? Is that why they haven't put all the negotiations on C-SPAN and haven't put the bill online, like Obama promised? Is that why they've exempted unions? Is that why they had to bribe other members of Congress with exemptions?

Sorry, that looks as if they KNOW what a steaming pile it is.

wv: dialater. The phone is busy, call back.

RebeccaH said...

It's interesting that Obama told the Republicans they didn't give themselves "enough room to negotiate" with him by opposing the intrusion of government into every aspect of our lives. What he's really saying is, "Whatever Washington does to or for the voters now, you Republicans own a piece of it." And that seems to me the clearest statement yet that it won't do the Republicans any good to win back some power if they continue with the same old closed-door fatcat deals.

So thank you, President Obama, for giving the Republicans a heads-up (as if the Tea Parties weren't already doing that).

Also, if the president wasn't able to find any economists that agreed across-the-board tax cuts are a good idea, then maybe he should look outside his ideological Chicago-way circle.

Mimi Stratton said...

Big Mike,
Nope. Your math aside, I know the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer in this country. Incomes have not risen over the last decade. America's richest 1 percent now holds more wealth--over $2 trillion more--than America's entire bottom 90 percent. Unequal societies lead to societal problems such as we have in this country: teenage pregnancies, low birth rates, drug use, and that are growing because of all developed nations, the US is the most unequal. Check the scatter-graphs in the new book, "Spirit Level"--http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Level-Equality-Societies-Stronger/dp/1608190366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264894208&sr=1-1
And we all have to gain from a more equal society!

traditionalguy said...

Danielle...Have you seen Obama keep a promise to a Democrat, or seen Obama speak well of a Republican? What could be his problem? I remember that Bush was a powerless lame duck since January, 2007, so Bush has not been the problem. The only thing Obama has kept his word on is making peace with the Muslim world by telling them we refuse to fight back, and also leading the charge to stop using all of our cheap energy resources and building a forest of practically useless Wind Turbines to take their place. So what could the Republicans do to help Obama out except do a Jim Jeffords and outflank the Demos all the way to the Finland Station.

MayBee said...

i would hope that both of us would come up with *realistic* solutions to lower costs and the deficits.

One would hope.
One huge problem with the bills as proposed is they wouldn't actually lower costs. They did, at some income levels, lower out of pocket expenses for people buying health insurance.
They would ---possibly--- lower costs for government to administer Medicare, because the plans sought to lower Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

That doesn't actually lower the cost of health care, it just passes costs on to be absorbed by someone else.

President Obama did, at the outset of his discussions about health care, try to discuss the cutbacks on medical treatment that would have to take place to lower the real cost of health care. What he was saying became enormously unpopular, his candidness ceased, and the bills went on to be what they are now.

1jpb said...

regarding BHO's economic policie: "his ideological Chicago-way circle"

I didn't know that he was a Chicago school of economics guy.

HT said...

Maybe said

That doesn't actually lower the cost of health care, it just passes costs on to be absorbed by someone else.

President Obama did, at the outset of his discussions about health care, try to discuss the cutbacks on medical treatment that would have to take place to lower the real cost of health care. What he was saying became enormously unpopular, his candidness ceased, and the bills went on to be what they are now.

____

There was a good article on the cost of health care in the Atlantic. Did you read it?

Said stuff similar to what you are saying.

Obama stopped being dynamic, agreed (or else he never really was).

I honestly don't know - yet.

Mimi Stratton said...

Maybee:
I concur, the discussion that needs to take place is completely reforming the profit-driven medical-industrial complex that doctors hate and keep them from treating patients and making them better--the reason why many of them became doctors to begin with. We squander millions of dollars on unnecessary tests, unproven and sometimes unwanted procedures and overpriced prescription drugs. Little of that has been discussed in the healthcare reform debate.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If doctors hate tests and prescription drugs so much, maybe they should stop ordering and prescribing them.

Synova said...

mimi, that sounds like what most conservatives think is important. They just don't see the reason for those problem is the profit motive.

The idea that removing a profit motivation, an impure motive, will automatically result in a system without sin is just about as faith based as the words I used to describe it.

Geoff said...

"To bend James Bovard's phrase, bipartisanship cannot just be a wolf and a lamb deciding what's for dinner."

Ahh, but who is the wolf and who is the lamb?

When you say Rs are "stupid or evil" you imply that those they represent are also "stupid and evil."

So what is your solution to this situation of stupid and evil people voting?

MayBee said...

There was a good article on the cost of health care in the Atlantic. Did you read it?

I doubt it, because I rarely read Atlantic articles lately.

But...the date I personally pinpoint as the end of Obama's dynamism is the ABC health care forum. Prior to that, I believe he had been very transparent about his desire to lower the expense of end of life care. Which means, of course, limiting access to it.
People did not like the talk about taking the painkiller instead of giving the 100-year old lady the pacemaker so she could live another 8 years.
After the ABC forum- at the next prime time press conference- he had taken to saying we wouldn't have to give up anything but that which doesn't make us well.
The foot-lopping, tonsil-snipping greedy doctor emerged.
But it was too late. Voters knew that we didn't like what he had originally planned, but we also knew the new information didn't make sense. We stopped trusting the information we were getting about the health care bills. And here we are.

Mimi Stratton said...

HT,
Yes, I did read that Atlantic Mag articled on healthcare, I think you may be referring to this:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200909/health-care
"How American Healthcare Killed My Father". It won a Sidney Award from NY Oped columnist David Brooks.
Well, yes, President Obama did initially try to discuss cutbacks on unnecessary medical treatments, and then all that horseshit about "death panels" started up. Remember? Completely ran rational discussion right off the rails.

Maguro said...

Well, yes, President Obama did initially try to discuss cutbacks on unnecessary medical treatments, and then all that horseshit about "death panels" started up.

The problem, as always, is who decides what medical treatments are unnecessary? And on what basis?

If you're going to call "death panels" horseshit, you must know the answer to those questions.

MayBee said...

If doctors hate tests and prescription drugs so much, maybe they should stop ordering and prescribing them.

always the best retorts.

Mimi- I'm not sure I follow how profits (whose?), tests, and prescription drugs are keeping doctors from making people well.

Fen said...

You've conflated Obama's Health Care Rationing with his opposition to Tort Reform.

25% of all unneeded medical tests are done to cya from the lawyers. Like John Edwards.

Mimi Stratton said...

Synova,
Obviously some profit is required in the medical industry as any other business. I'm speaking of the magnitude. The obscene amount of profit made by the pharmaceutical and insurance corporations, that twists and corrupts the entire system. Add to that the lobbyists, the trade associations--everybody's got their hand in the till. That's why the costs are so breathtakingly high--it's in everybody's interests to keep them that way. Except for the people who have to pay healthcare insurance or who are sick.

Big Mike said...

Can I take, then, Mimi, that your goal is redistribution and not the overall benefit to society?

Distribution of wealth has been observed to follow a mathematical formula called a Pareto distribution. Percentage-wise the wealthiest individuals control the most wealth everywhere. They control the most money in dollars here because of the overall wealth of the United States. You can get the disparity down in dollar figures by pauperizing the entire society, but that won't stop teen pregnancies or drug use or the like. But I'm not interested in being pauperized by you or Barack Obama or anyone else because your concept of social justice deviates so far from what is right and proper.

Your drivel is the product of three fallacies. The first is that teen pregnancies and drug use and the like are the product of maldistribution of wealth in the United States. Not true. The two issues are essentially orthogonal. Teen-aged girls do not get pregnant out of wedlock because they are mired in the bottom socio-economic stratus; they are mired in the bottom of the socio-economic status because they made an unbelievably bad decision, and chose to carry the infant to term despite the ready availability of abortion clinics.

Second fallacy is that you can stop uneven distribution of wealth. As long as upper management is willing to pay money to keep top talent in their company, as long as people are willing to pay good money to hear rock musicians or country singers or opera stars sing, as long as people are willing to pay to see somebody run up and down a football field holding a football under their arm, people who combine talent with a good work ethic will become wealthy.

Third, and most basic fallacy is that you don't understand what economic justice is. Economic justice means that someone who works harder than someone else should do better financially than that someone else. That's what you want to change. And that's why you are a boat anchor on the economy of the United States.

And I'm not all interested in paying good hard earned money for some drivel scatter charts. I'm a mathematician, so I know how readily statistics can be abused.

Mark said...

The solutions to the economic problems could of been addressed slashing the payroll tax or permanently whacking off 50 per cent off everyone's mortgages.

The economy would of boomed and the party in power would of been heros.

Instead we get convoluted legislation by and for Congressional power brokers.

BTW, health savings accounts are fantastic...yet, how many have them or know about them?

MayBee said...

and then all that horseshit about "death panels" started up. Remember? Completely ran rational discussion right off the rails

Do you remember our very popular president ever broaching the subject again? Did he try to re-rail it?
Did he candidly and honestly address the nerve that was obviously struck by a facebook page using the hyperbolic term "Death Panels"?

MayBee said...

BTW, health savings accounts are fantastic...yet, how many have them or know about them?

These bills were to do away with them. Something David Gergen pointed out yesterday, when he completely correctly said that no items important to conservatives were included in the Health Care bills.

I can think of no good reason to eliminate them

flenser said...

for those of you who think that the republicans shouldnt start participating now -- how about you think a bit less about politics, and more about the 1 in 6 people who cant find a job. Our congress needs to start getting things done. People are suffering while they play politics.




Congress getting things done is what led to the people suffering. You're calling for more hair of the dog that bit us - more expensive programs to be paid for by the dwindling number of taxpayers.

Bruce Hayden said...

Obviously some profit is required in the medical industry as any other business. I'm speaking of the magnitude. The obscene amount of profit made by the pharmaceutical and insurance corporations, that twists and corrupts the entire system. Add to that the lobbyists, the trade associations--everybody's got their hand in the till. That's why the costs are so breathtakingly high--it's in everybody's interests to keep them that way. Except for the people who have to pay healthcare insurance or who are sick.

Ok, what profit level do you consider "obscene", based on a percentage of revenue? As a return on capital? Where do you think these two industries fall in comparison to other industries?

Have you considered that pharmaceutical companies are some of the riskiest endeavors out there? Companies in that industry routinely spend tens of millions, hundreds, if not billions trying to take drugs to market, and fail. And, if they fail a couple times at the top end (i.e. in the final steps before getting to market), or missed something along the way, they are liable to be out of business. They need whatever profits they can get, in order to compensate for the exceedingly high costs of bringing products to market AND the high chance of failure. If the rate of return were the same, a competent investor would put his money into less risky investments.

What you need to keep in mind is that the risk/rewards of different industries will ultimately get in quasi-equilibrium. Money inevitably flows into industries that have too high of a risk adjusted rate of return, from industries with too low of a rate of return.

wv: hyper

flenser said...

Obviously some profit is required in the medical industry as any other business. I'm speaking of the magnitude. The obscene amount of profit made by the pharmaceutical and insurance corporations, that twists and corrupts the entire system.



The pharmaceutical and insurance corporations were cheerleading for the Democrats healthcare bill.

And they were cheerleading for it because it was written so as to give them "obscene amount(s) of profit".

I don't object to the Democrats adapting a populist tone, but it's a bit much when they marry that populist tone to corporatist substance.

Synova said...

Obscene profits do not cause the problem.

I don't know that the profits are obscene... both insurance and pharmaceutical companies take large risks, after all... but for sake of argument lets say the profits of those industries are "obscene."

If those companies are making obscene profits, it's still not a description of the *problem*, which is what about those industries sabotages the checks usually in place, such as competition, that penalizes a business that sacrifices too much service for the bottom line.

Removing profit is very like taking a magic pill without even trying to figure out what is wrong.

Bruce Hayden said...

Your drivel is the product of three fallacies. The first is that teen pregnancies and drug use and the like are the product of maldistribution of wealth in the United States. Not true. The two issues are essentially orthogonal. Teen-aged girls do not get pregnant out of wedlock because they are mired in the bottom socio-economic stratus; they are mired in the bottom of the socio-economic status because they made an unbelievably bad decision, and chose to carry the infant to term despite the ready availability of abortion clinics.

I don't think that they are quite orthogonal. Rather, the drive towards what she believes is social and economic justice is a large reason for this problem.

If all the Mimis in the world could do was just talk about economic justice, you would be right about the two being orthogonal. But they don't, but rather through politicians like President Obama and others, policies inimical to economic justice are implemented in its name. Not because they are evil, but because they almost never take into account the unintended (by those pushing the policies) consequences of their actions.

Thus, the single set of programs that has done the most towards this problem was the ill-named War on Poverty. It should rather have been named the War for Poverty. Why? Because it institutionalized single parent households by paying women to have children out of wedlock. This part of the program, of course, was aimed at taking care of children who were growing up without fathers. BUT, the obvious consequences of making the fathers superfluous, and even counter-productive economically, was never seriously considered. That last great Democratic majority never looked at the incentive effects that they were getting ready to throw trillions of dollars of tax payer money at. And the natural result of that was exactly the economic injustice that Mimi so deplores.

Mimi Stratton said...

Did he candidly and honestly address the nerve that was obviously struck by a facebook page using the hyperbolic term "Death Panels"?

Yes! About a hundred times. And I don't think it was a nerve that was struck by that term--it was that it was so patently absurd.
Re: health savings account--I would hate to see them go, as well. Like the childcare savings account--it's a great way to reduce your tax.

Maguro said...

So Mimi, under Obamacare, who decides which medical treatments are unecessary? Some kind of...commission? And what criteria does this commission use? Hmmm?

setnaffa said...

Anyone in the GOP who believes anything that Obama says and is willing to vote for anything that is acceptable to Pelosi/Reid needs to be replaced in November or as soon after as possible.

Read the history of the Leftists around the world. They promise anything and everything in order to gain power and then kill freedom.

Look at Chavez in Venezuela. Now he's saying people who use Twitter are terrorists!

Look at the Chinese. They will kill you for going to the wrong church. Well, whatever Falun Gong folks go to.

If we want to keep America, we must not go silently to our death!

Spam said...

"The obscene amount of profit made by the pharmaceutical and insurance corporations..."

Insurance companies do not have high profit margins (they average around 6%), and while some pharmaceutical corporations do very well, not all of them are so profitable, such as generic drug makers. It's particularly ironic your trying to convolve such details considering Obama's attempt at a secret deal with Big Pharma.

Bruce Hayden said...

The thing that liberals keep missing when they talk about the failure of the Laffer Curve, and how great Keynesian economics is, is that the important thing here is not how much money the government has, but rather, how much the private sector has, and, in particular, small businesses, which are the ones that create most of the jobs in the economy.

Also, not all tax cuts are created equal. The "tax cuts" in the "stimulus" package passed into law last year were unlikely to ever provide much in stimulus effect, since they were mostly transfer payments, transferring wealth from those who would use it to create jobs to those who mostly did not pay income taxes in the first place. Or, they were for such long term things as the Cash for Clunkers program. Or, the creation of "green" jobs. Pretty much all resulted in transferring wealth from the more efficient sectors to the less efficient.

What is extremely humorous to me is that all of these people, from President Obama, through some of the posters here, are claiming that reputable economists believe that (real) tax rate cuts don't help, but that Keynesian economics does. But that is just the opposite of reality. Before the Obama Administration came into office with their 1930s view of economics, Keynesian economics was pretty much dead. It had been repeatedly debunked from 1970 or so onwards. It. Doesn't. Work. It never has, and it never will. But, the Obama Administration was in a mindset of not allowing a good crisis go to waste, and so flushed much of a trillion dollars down the drain in order to enrich its best friends. And, so, it resurrected Keynesian economics to justify it.

Synova said...

"Teen-aged girls do not get pregnant out of wedlock because they are mired in the bottom socio-economic stratus; they are mired in the bottom of the socio-economic status because they made an unbelievably bad decision, and chose to carry the infant to term despite the ready availability of abortion clinics."

Third choice (and we'll ignore the implication that devaluing children is ever the better choice) is that having a baby is a wholly creative and elementally powerful act. And that is why teenagers do it, why they risk it. Even when they change their mind and have an abortion.

Trying to combat teen pregnancy without admitting the primal nature of procreation will never work.

1jpb said...

BH,

Could you be more wrong? Nope.

R&D is a relatively small part of these company's budgets compared to marketing and administration and profits.

And, the Bayh-Dole Act made it possible for these companies to make money on gov sponsored research.

And, even though the Hatch-Waxman Act and other new laws made it easy to extend patents these drug companies can also make slight molecular changes to introduce new wonderful drugs that restart the patent clock, e.g. Prozac becomes Prilosec. Then it's marketing time!!

And, don't forget that there are a lot of multi-use drugs where the manufacturers don't develop new drugs but the extend applications for the drugs they already have. And, there are a lot of drugs that are essentially copies of an initial drug w/ slight molecular manipulation, e.g. the statins; Mevacor, Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lescol, and, Crestor. Relying on my ChemE degree I can tell you that developing and producing slightly varied molecules is not a hugely difficult R&D challenge.

This piece is informative when you weed through the opinion stuff.

Bruce Hayden said...

I should add to my last suggestion that the Administration didn't want to allow a good crisis go to waste, and so used the recession to funnel a lot of money to its best friends, that at the time the "stimulus" bill was passed into law, it is unlikely that President Obama truly understood that Keynesian economics had consistently failed for the last 80 years whenever it had been tried. I don't think that he knew enough economics at that point. Rather, I think that he depended on his people. And now? He still may not understand it, but that is likely more a result of the cocoon that any President lives in.

Big Mike said...

@Synova, I'd hate to get on your wrong side, if only because then I'd be fairly certain that I'd made a mistake somewhere. I should have left off that bit about abortions, but it certainly is an option that could be exercised. Failure to take precautions, coupled with a decision not to abort, virtually assures that a teen-aged girl born into the lowest socio-economic strata will stay there.

Mimi Stratton said...

Maguro,
You asked:
under Obamacare, who decides which medical treatments are unecessary? Some kind of...commission? And what criteria does this commission use? Hmmm?

No--for crying out loud. Read the bills. Your doctor and you decide what medical treatments are necessary. As Obama said about a hundred times--if you like your doctor and your health insurance, nothing changes. Has everyone forgotten why the healthcare reform bills were being created? It was to help the several million people who had no healthcare insurance--to make it affordable. It was to give them access.

Michael said...

FLS:Mimi: Danielle:

Have any of you hired someone? Fired someone? Had to make a payroll from your own capital? Do any of you provide insurance to employees? Do any of you make over a half a million dollars a year? Your world views are astonishing.

Bruce Hayden said...

R&D is a relatively small part of these company's budgets compared to marketing and administration and profits.

You are, of course, ignoring the cost of all the levels of clinical trials and other administrative hoops they have to jump through. The actual cost of discovering a drug is, yes, very small, in comparison with all the other costs. These companies routinely have to write off drugs that they have invested tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in, because something comes up in the later clinical trials.

It is the real possibility of a drug company failing that drives up the uncertainty of investing in such companies. All they need is for a couple of late-trial failures, and they are out of business, or in the case of the biggest drug companies, unable to pay dividends for awhile. This is what drives down their stock prices, in comparison to their dividends, etc. On the other hand, generic drug companies don't have this catastrophic failure problem, and so have a much lower risk, and thus, much lower rewards.

1jpb said...

BH,

Your economic beliefs have been completely disproved by the Bush W experiment. Everything you supply siders wanted was done. And, the result was that rich folks started producing stupid supply because they ran out of smart supply that could be supported by natural healthy demand.

So what was the solution? To get the middle class hooked on ridiculous borrowing. How did that work?

Your philosophy was tested and it failed. Remember when you supply siders said WJC would destroy the economy w/ his tax increases. Remember how wrong you were then. Remember how Reagan only saw increasing federal revenue after tax reduction for rich folks because he implemented huge taxes on the middle class with payroll taxes. And, he kept spending like a drunken sailor which makes him the perfect Keynesian stimulator of the economy. Deficits baby Deficits!

How did you forget all of this.

Synova said...

"Failure to take precautions, coupled with a decision not to abort, virtually assures that a teen-aged girl born into the lowest socio-economic strata will stay there."

That is certainly true.

My remark was only about the reason that teen aged girls get pregnant.

Frederick said...

I can't believe some of the comments here, can't believe anyone here actually watched the exchange between the President and the House Republicans. Obama walked all over the GOP with a classic showing of Clintonism. He made it perfectly clear he has co-opted all the Republican ideas that work and what are you going to do about it! At this point Richard Nixion and Ronald Reagan were to the left of Barak Obama.

Michael said...

1jpb:

You should be delighted at the outcome of the Bush tax experiment that failed. Clearly your brilliance in economic matters led you to short the financials and homebuilders, cover with giant profits and redeploy into the long position in the same stocks after they were oversold. Why would you complain about policies that were so transparently wrong that they gave you such huge profits? Odd.

1jpb said...

"You are, of course, ignoring the cost of all the levels of clinical trials and other administrative hoops they have to jump through."

This is BS. Trials are minuscule compared to the profits raked in.

BTW, I'm guessing that getting folks to push these drugs is fairly expensive I know a drug rep who made more than $300k, and all she did was get docs to push her drugs.

Spam said...

"As Obama said about a hundred times--if you like your doctor and your health insurance, nothing changes."

What Obama says is not what becomes law. The legislation that gets passed does. If you glance upward you'll see that the bill contained parts that broke his pledge. He was either aware of this - which means he doesn't care, or he wasn't, which means even he doesn't even know what is in the bill.

"It was to help the several million people who had no healthcare insurance"

You don't need a 2,000 page monstrosity to do that.

Big Mike said...

@1jpb, your 6:52 post is, unfortunately, all too true when it describes drug company behavior. When we incentivize such behavior we get what we pay for.

But I don't see that your post in any way refutes, or is even responsive to, what Bruce Hayden said at either 6:35 or 6:48.

And your suggestion that the Laffer Curve has been invalidated? Simply wrong. First of all, it's based on a theorem and if you really are a ChemE then you must have done well in calculus or you'd have never gotten past stoichiometry. So you do know what a theorem is.

What people call "debunking" the Laffer Curve is the trivialization of supply side economics as "trickle down." But no sane economist would utterly ignore the supply side when making economic policy in the 21st century.

So how about if you try a gedanken experiment (again, if you really are a ChemE you must have passed physics so you know what that is). At what point between your current overall (state and local taxes, as well as federal income tax) and 100% would you stop working and go on welfare, supplemented with barter or black market? 50% 60% Surely it would come well below 100%.

1jpb said...

Michael,

As I've noted on this blog before (including in this thread) I was a bank exec who cashed out about four years ago before everything went to hell.

So, to answer your question; yes I did take financial advantage of this financial disaster. And, recently I've been using cash to buy houses at auction. I'm able to buy at 65 cents on the dollar and then list them at 90 cents on the dollar for immediate liquidation. I don't hold out for top dollar because I'm still very nervous about this market so I don't want to be holding tons of houses; much better to keep turning them over so I that I can move down (or up) w/ essentially no lag to the market.

Mimi Stratton said...

Michael,
Danielle and I are long gone. We're out having cocktails. So calm down.

Maguro said...

What Obama says is not what becomes law. The legislation that gets passed does.

Quite right. Not only that, but we can't really know how the Federal bureaucracy will implement the law until they actually do it. There's almost limitless room for interpretation in a 2,000 page piece of legislation, so we won't really know what we'll get with Obamacare until we've already gotten it.

Dudley Do-right said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
1jpb said...

BM,

The Laffer is a joke.

It's completely meaningless because nobody knows what "the" curve is.

Sure, it's sensible that at some point taxes are too high such that revenue decreases, but it is total BS to claim that anyone knows what that point is.

And, any true Laffer believer would also need to acknowledge that there are tax rates that are too low to product the maximum revenue. So, a person could claim that Laffer efficiency demands that tax rates should be higher to maximize revenue for the gov. The whole thing is stupid because, as I wrote, nobody knows what "the" curve looks like.

Big Mike said...

@1jpb, your response was to Bruce, but you could almost have been trying to refute me while I was still typing my last post.

Except that you are utterly, factually wrong as regards the Bush years. Under the Bush tax cuts the tax revenue from the wealthiest segment of American society went up, both in terms of percentage contributed to overall tax revenues and in constant dollars.

Getting the middle class "hooked on ridiculous borrowing" is orthogonal to the Laffer Curve. Under the policies pushed by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd people were encouraged to get mortgages they couldn't afford to pay. Before she surrendered her realtor's license my wife had a listing where the couple was way under water on their house. It was an $800K home, the wife was never employed, and the husband's job was as a taxi driver. Blaming insanity like that on the Laffer Curve is insanity in its own right.

Big Mike said...

@1spb, no one knows the functional form of the curve, but we do have some evidence from the fact that revenues from the wealthiest segment of society increased under the Bush tax cuts that perhaps we were pretty close to the optimum point right there.

Of course that could be a local maxima. Perhaps the ideal point is around 70%.

But that's not the way I'd bet.

SH said...

"It's only through the process of disagreement and debate that bad ideas get tossed out and good ideas get refined and made better."

Pretty hard to do when Obama misprepresents and lies about his ideas and goals...

Bruce Hayden said...

No--for crying out loud. Read the bills. Your doctor and you decide what medical treatments are necessary. As Obama said about a hundred times--if you like your doctor and your health insurance, nothing changes. Has everyone forgotten why the healthcare reform bills were being created? It was to help the several million people who had no healthcare insurance--to make it affordable. It was to give them access.

No, Mimi, that wasn't why the bills were created. That was the reason given by the Democrats creating them. There is a big difference there.

You know that that wasn't the reason, because such things as malpractice tort reform were never considered (and it isn't the cost of the insurance or the settlements that is important, but rather the level of defensive medicine that runaway malpractice verdicts engenders - and if you doubt this, I have two words for you: "John Edwards", and the ob/gyns fleeing his state). Also, throw in selling insurance across state lines.

FLS claimed above that selling across state lines would be an unconstitutional usurpation of the states' police powers. I have two phrases for him : "Interstate Commerce" and "Supremacy Clause". If raising and consuming agricultural products entirely within a state is considered Interstate Commerce, surely selling insurance ACROSS state lines is even more so.

Back to Mimi's contentions.

How would ObamaCare affect the doctor/patient relationship as far as determining a course of treatment? The answer for private insurance is really in all the comparative effectiveness, etc. panels, commissions, etc. that are being set up. Such panels, etc. would decide that treatment A is more cost effective than treatment B for a given medical problem. Then, the insurance companies would have legal cover for denying treatment B. In the case of the Public Option, as well as existing public programs (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid), we would have actual "Death Panels" that would reject treatments that were not deemed cost effective.

Now that all sounds great. Why wouldn't we want to limit treatment to the most cost effective treatments? Well, for one reason, often the most cost effective treatments aren't the best for the patient. For example, I have a friend who was injured in a car wreck (not her fault). She had six disks injured, five have herniated and been replaced. The most cost effective solution would have been to fill her full of narcotics for the rest of her, well shortened, life. A lower cost solution would have been to fuse the disks. Unfortunately, fusing more than, maybe two, disks puts excess strain on the rest of the spinal column, ultimately resulting in other disk failures. The solution taken was to replace all the failed disks and to implant a neurostimulator for control of the remaining pain. Well over a million dollars, so far. Not cost effective for the system, but far, far better than the other treatments discussed for her. Yes, her insurance company screams whenever she has surgery, but they pay, because she had this policy before she was injured. Even now, it is questionable how much of this Medicare would have paid, regardless of her age.

Another reason that you know that the excuse of the 30 million uninsured is bogus as the real reason for health care "reform" is that the cost of insuring them with existing programs is far lower than what is being proposed.

Finally, how is President Obama going to guarantee that if you like your doctor, you can keep him? Throw the doctor in jail if he quits practice because he can't afford to continue, or if he drops all of his government insured patients in order to stay in business? To be more honest, he would have said that ObamaCare was not going to intentionally force you to utilize another doctor if you and he wished to continue working together.

Michael said...

1jpb:

Good on you for your view of the markets. Surprised that you would take advantage of the poor by buying up busted housing but I admire the shark in everyone. The excellent news is that the government urged lending to those who could not possibly pay thus encouraging the builders to build more and better for the buyer borrowers. If you are buying at 35 percent off you are right to move quickly as you are possibly overpaying. Good luck. Love success. Love money. Love people of action.

Bruce Hayden said...

And, any true Laffer believer would also need to acknowledge that there are tax rates that are too low to product the maximum revenue. So, a person could claim that Laffer efficiency demands that tax rates should be higher to maximize revenue for the gov. The whole thing is stupid because, as I wrote, nobody knows what "the" curve looks like.

Well, as I pointed out before, the money doesn't belong to the government, and maximizing government revenues should not be the primary goal of taxation. Rather, the primary goal should be to maximize economic growth while providing adequate funding for the government. The problem with your goal of maximizing revenues for the government is that in the long run, that will often stifle job creation in the productive sectors of the economy (from which governments are specifically exempted).

One analogy that works for some is that governments are parasites. Badly behaved parasites kill their hosts by taking too many resources from them. Well behaved parasites don't take too much, allowing their hosts to grow and mostly thrive. This allows the parasites to grow and thrive in relationship to their hosts.

Using this analogy, it appears to some that the Democrats, led by President Obama, have forgotten that government is a parasite, and are turning from well behaved to badly behaved by taking too much from their host, the private sector of our economy. And, as a result, it is really no wonder that unemployment has risen from 8% or so to 10% or so after the "stimulus" package was enacted a year ago. Too much was taken from the sick host at a time when the host was already under the weather.

Synova said...

"Finally, how is President Obama going to guarantee that if you like your doctor, you can keep him?"

The problem with those promises, that people could keep both their insurance or their doctor is that they were promises about other people's behavior over which Obama and the congress had no control. They were promises Obama could not make.

What he *meant* was that the bill wouldn't *require* the changes. But what he promised was to prevent the changes. What he promised wasn't true.

1jpb said...

Michael,

It's very hard to get below 65 cents at an auction. Although, a week ago a great house that was listed for sale at $950k on Thursday got a min bid from the lender at the last second (this is sort of inside baseball, but I should note that the timing of a min bid is critical to buying these properties) on Friday so it was purchased for $380k. The actual value is around $650 (the idiot owner who wasn't paying their mortgage was trying to sell it for the ridiculous $950k so that they could avoid the foreclosure, pay junior liens and pocket some dough--idiot.

BM,

Give me the data on the dollar amount of taxes paid for the richest Americans from 1990 to 2009. Ideally it'd be nice to see all taxes paid, e.g. capital gains, payroll (which drop away pretty early at approx 100k), and so on.

1jpb said...

Bruce,

When you try to claim a correlation between the stimulus and an increase in unemployment you prove that you are a hack completely unbounded by logic and/or math.

Michael said...

1jpb:

360 on 650 value is excellent on stilts. the 950 was indicative of greed and stupidity but probably suggested underlying debt in the 800 range, perhaps higher. The banks are quite stupid to let assets go at this level even if they have marked w/in range but when they do then investors have a great score in store, assuming they can move.

Defenseman Emeritus said...

the money doesn't belong to the government, and maximizing government revenues should not be the primary goal of taxation. Rather, the primary goal should be to maximize economic growth while providing adequate funding for the government.

Thank you, Bruce. The paragraph above needs to be repeated on an endless loop until the left gets it through their increasingly calcified skulls.

jmatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jmatt said...

Hmm, a rather different attitude than when Obama stated simply "We won" as his justification for completely ignoring his political opponents.

1jpb said...

"suggested underlying debt in the 800 range, perhaps higher. The banks are quite stupid to let assets go at this level"

Total debt was more than that. But, most were junior liens, so if the first mortgage holder feels like it they can sell at the auction to get themselves paid while the juniors are screwed (in theory they could buy the house and try selling it to make back some dough, but they don't do that.)

The interactions between pre-foreclosure sales, short sales, foreclosure auctions, and REO properties are fascinating. This business is as much art and gut as it is numbers and data.

But, It's too easy for me to become completely focused on the "game" while forgetting about the personal devastation that families are going through as they deal w/ foreclosures. I can't imagine what it's like going through that.

BTW, folks shouldn't be blaming the gov for the bad loans. In addition to that link there was a more recent FBI study (I can't seem to find the link right now) that identified non Fannie and non Freddie institutions as the originators of this mess. And, in my previous occupation, I dealt w/ the GSEs and Countrywide, and WaMu, and IndyMac, and Lehman(SIB), and National City, and a bunch more companies that went bust, as well as a bunch more that didn't go bust. I can tell you w/ absolute certainty that the place to unload bad loans was on Wall Street; NOT the GSEs. The GSEs were not big players in the scary stuff until after the market was already going sideways, just look at the data.

And, for the record, I didn't let my bank do a lot of these scary loans because I refused to allow charging higher fees (like mortgage brokers did) for them even though they took more time to do, so they were bad for my productivity.

Milwaukee said...

President Obama has indicated an interest in a single payer system, has mentioned one previously: and that single payer would be the government. This sounds like government taking over health care to me. I would hope conservatives would oppose this.

When did "no health care" become a death certificate cause of death? I know people who have died who had insurance. Having insurance did not prevent them from dying. Medicaid is designed to help the poor.

If Medicaid and Medicare are in such bad shape, reform them first.

How about President Obama making a list of what he sees as being wrong with health care in this country, and concrete steps to correct those problems?

I have opposed the versions of the health care bill because President Obama promised all these wonderful things, and "If you like your insurance you have now you can keep it." And we are going to insure more people with out spending more money. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

So where are the proposals to double the number of medical schools, and doctors and nurses and nurse practitioners and physician assistants?

The Federal government had to get involved in civil rights because enough states were obstructing citizens civil rights. Isn't this a state problem? States regulate their own insurance companies, so why is the Federal government even involved?

As for Europe, well that is a very different place. With higher population densities, they can have high speed trains, and, in some countries, 95% of the population living within 15 minutes of a 1st class emergency room. We need our solutions, not theirs.

HT said...

After reading Milwaukee's post, I now see how the earlier entry about Howard Zinn COULD be news to readers of this blog, and why they might be interested.

Newsflash: Obama, not a leftist. Did not fight for public option.

Milwaukee said...

HT said...

After reading Milwaukee's post, I now see how the earlier entry about Howard Zinn COULD be news to readers of this blog, and why they might be interested.

Newsflash: Obama, not a leftist. Did not fight for public option.

If he isn't a leftist, what is he? We know he claims he isn't a Bolshevik.

I have seen video of Obama promoting a single payer system, and saying it would take years to get there. Many of the Democratic leadership has promoted the public option as a way to get to a single payer system.

Forcing insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions defeats the purpose of having health insurance. A public option, combined with driving existing insurance companies out of business, will create the single payer system.

Obama didn't do much of anything, except talk and try to scare people. He of the 'doctors take out tonsils because they need some money.' or 'surgeons charge $15,000 to amputate a leg.'. Hard to believe he can criticize others for mangling the truth and trying to scare people.

He let the House and Senate write their own bills, so none of it is his. That the Democrats couldn't pass something when they had the majorities they had is beyond me. Wasted opportunity. Why the House doesn't pass the Senate version now, with the hope of amending it later, is beyond me. Do Democratic members of congress really think they are going to get something better at this late date?

Penny said...

Obama didn't fight for the public option, even though he stated many times that he supported that as an answer to our healthcare woes.

Instead, he tossed out the "problem" and watched just how things unfolded.

As we might have expected, there were too many creases, and far too many sharp edges on the "linens".

The legislators gathered around the table may be very dignified people, but not a single one stood up to either "iron" out those linens, or even "remove" the linens for a more casual encounter.

HT said...

All I can say Milwaukee is that you make my point (except for O being a leftist or a Bolshe.)

MayBee said...

Yes! About a hundred times. And I don't think it was a nerve that was struck by that term--it was that it was so patently absurd.

Then, if you remember him addressing it rationally about a hundred times, how did it run rational discussion right off the rails?
Can you describe to me the time you remember him discussing end of life costs in a calm, rational manner, in a way related to his health care bill, after the "death Panel" comment?

I mean, this either ran rational discussion off the rails or it didn't.

damikesc said...

Ann, it seems you missed the point. the Pres didnt say people need to be compliant and lawmaking shouldn't be tough, his whole point is that the republicans wont even engage; they wont even play ball.

They produced 50+ alternative solutions that got ignored.

How much more ball do they need to play? This isn't like the Democrats dealing with the problems of Social Security funding.

they just make hyperbolic statements to get the base fired up and they wont even participate in a real discussion about the issues.

Welcome to "The Democratic Party playbook, 2001 - 6".

A bit annoying, isn't it?

...except, the GOP actually produced alternative options. The
Dems just said no and left it at that.

But I didn't get that idea on my own. I got it from reading Andrew Sullivan's many blog posts referring to Republicans as nihilists, and from the Opinion section of the NY Times.

Solid sources. Truly. A sufferer of AIDS-related dementia and a paper that decided to stop reporting the news at least a decade ago headed by a functional retard who was the ultimate winner of life's lottery.

and for those of you who think that the republicans shouldnt start participating now -- how about you think a bit less about politics, and more about the 1 in 6 people who cant find a job.

They are.

Obama is making the problem worse. When the only people hiring are the Feds, you don't have a recovery at all.

Have you been to Europe lately?? It's fantastic! I'd live in a socialist nanny state anytime. I wish everyone in Congress would pull their heads out of their collective arses and enact some legislation. Yes, there are millions of people out of work and others who need affordable health care. Get on with it.

So, even though most people don't want it --- because you like Europe, your beliefs should triumph? Intriguing theory.

You can live in a bland socialist state if you so wish. There is a reason why the US managed to avoid authoritarian regimes pretty well while Europe has been markedly less successful in that area. When you rely on the gov't for the necessities of life, you revert to being a child, incapable of being able to handle the world as an adult.

If that is your dream, feel free to chase it. Personally, I'm competent enough to not need an idiot in Washington to make my choices for me. Shame you feel so little for your own capabilities.

had republicans in office come to the table, honestly want to take on the massive problems this country faces and agreeing that we need to get something passed, you cant possibly think that the narrative wouldnt have been different, and that people would be a lot less annoyed and upset than they are now.

Pass...something? No need to actually ask if it is worth the money or will work? Just pass it, eh?

Hey, I bet that stimulus kept unemployment around 8% as promised. I bet it was deficit-neutral as Obama claimed it would be during the debates.

And I want my politicians to speak respectfully of all the world's people-

Yet you speak highly of Europe, whose pols have made hating America an art?

i would hope that both of us would come up with *realistic* solutions to lower costs and the deficits. The democrats have done that.

When? Their plan has 10 years of taxes to pay for 7 years of coverage and numbers that get REALLY bad shortly after 10 years are up.

And that is with some optimistic projections.

MayBee said...

Your doctor and you decide what medical treatments are necessary.

As long as there is someone else paying the bills- and there is for most of us- that is not the case.

It is right that it is that way. So the question remains, who makes that decision, how, why...and what is the recourse when you feel it is wrongly made?

There will never be a program that is affordable to most and also provides whatever treatment a doctor prescribes must be covered.

bagoh20 said...

It's deeply disappointing that so many people believe that the people in Washington D.C are going to fix the economy or Health care or anything. I mean, you do know who these people are and how they operate and what is important to them and how little they understand most everything they get into from economics to health to climate to energy to balancing a budget.

No group of people who ever existed have failed so often and so large. Yet we expexct them to fix it?

Obstructionists are just people who know their limits. Maybe that's not why they are obstructionists, but it is why we need them.

The economy will be fixed by the American people when they are confident, ready and let free to do it. Nothing else will matter.

I have no doubt that those in power will take credit for it when it happens, but like a Jihadist, they only have the tools and skill set for wrecking things not building them.

The only positive thing they can contribute is to take a vacation. All of them. The American people can fix the economy. All they need is the freedom from government to do it.

These things are incredibly complex and these people are incredibly unable, unwilling and clueless to deal with it. Not really their fault, it's just a fact.

Jim B said...

"Newsflash: Obama, not a leftist. Did not fight for public option."

Newsflash: Just because he didn't "fight for the public option" isn't proof that he isn't a Leftist. That's like saying since he only shot 9 out of 10 men that he's not a murderer. It shows either simplistic thinking or outright mendacity.

He has pushed for either implicit or explicit government takeovers of approximately 70% of our economy once you add up all of his grand plans.

If you don't think that's Leftist, then you either don't understand the word or you're lamenting the fall of the Soviet Union.

There's no serious debate that he's not a Leftist except by Leftists who think he's not sufficiently ideologically pure. I don't care if you want to play a game of "I'm more left than Obama, so he's not left at all." Claiming that he's not a Leftist ideologue only disqualifies you from further serious conversation on the subject.

Mimi Stratton said...

I hope you all enjoy doing your ever-shrinking-in-ideas circle jerk. After hanging out here a good part of yesterday, I decided I never have been among a more hostile, mean-spirited, disrespectful, smug, small-minded coterie. And that goes for the blog owner, too. Who would ever come back, or want to? How sure am I that someone will write: Good riddance! Go to Europe! Very.

AllenS said...

circle jerk ... hanging out ... coterie

No, please, stick around. I love it when you talk dirty to me.

former law student said...

The Rs are brilliant at convincing people to vote against their own interests.

Like retired cop Peter V. Bella, who argued here for a single tax rate just the other day, not realizing or not caring that would mean he would pay more in taxes in any revenue-neutral reshuffling. Like Joe the Plumber.

In the class war, low and middle income Republicans have surrendered without firing a shot.

I can understand why social conservatives vote Republican, but few Republicans here seem socially conservative. Surely not the gays.

Do any of you make over a half a million dollars a year?

Only 1.5% of American households make even half that amount, so I would say the odds are strongly against it.

Maguro said...

I can understand why social conservatives vote Republican, but few Republicans here seem socially conservative. Surely not the gays.

Maybe they realize your soak the rich doctrine leaves everyone poorer in the long run.

Maguro said...

I can understand why social conservatives vote Republican, but few Republicans here seem socially conservative. Surely not the gays.

Maybe they realize your soak the rich doctrine leaves everyone poorer in the long run.

master cylinder said...

They vote against their own self interest because the think they are in the club.

master cylinder said...

Mimi, this blog only approves Obama hating. If you dont fall into the group, so be it.
This is what they call nuance.

Mimi Stratton said...

Hi Master Cylinder,
Yeah--I got that about only Obama-haters are here. That gets old fast. Also, the crying about "The Dems aren't involving us in the process!" I figured out that constant refrain is so they can sit back and snark and throw stones, and then complain that everything's getting worse and it wasn't their fault! Obviously not the kind of people who care about other people or finding solutions. Hey--I like your blog--left you a message over there. ~mimi

Fen said...

How cute. The two soros-funded sock-puppets are mewing to each other with last weeks talking points.

master cylinder said...

Thanks Fen-how about a three way?
You know 2 on 1?

Mimi Stratton said...

Fen wouldn't know since he probably hasn't had sex in years but a three-way usually devolves into two couples and one observer, and that's so old-hat.

Fen said...

My bad, they're the same person - an incestuous little brownshirt goon.

Michael said...

I would think that most commenters on this blog are not "Obama haters" but rather people that do not like the policies being promoted by the President. With GWB the left conflated policy and personality, a mistake that the smarter conservative commenters and bloggers do not make.

master cylinder said...

Good one Fen! when all else fails-call them Nazis.
The charm bomb has exploded! Is this how you treat all your girls? Never mind the the 3-way, I think Ill go to mass instead.

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