November 7, 2013

"Obamacare... will not be politically viable if it hurts more people than it helps, and probably not even if it helps a few more than it hurts."

"If that turns out to be the case, there will be hell to pay politically for the president and his fellow Democrats, likely for a very long time," writes Byron York, in a column titled "The simple question that will determine Obamacare's fate."

Is this right?

1. Don't conflate the continuation of the Obamacare program with the future political prospects of Democrats. We might very well be stuck in the Obamacare system whether people end up liking it or not. Punishing Democrats politically is something that can happen quite aside from whether Obamacare ever ends.

2. Many people opposed Obamacare in principle. We start with a base of about half the people who don't like it and might not even like it if they are substantially benefited. To this base, add the people who believed it would be good and are disappointed.

3. Many of us — whether we've been for or against Obamacare in the past — may believe that the promise was that we'd all be better off. It wasn't sold as: You have a good shot at being a winner. Or: there will be winners and losers, but overall, it's the greater good for the greater number. If this is what people believe they were told, it's not enough that 51% are better off and 49% are worse off or even that 60% are better off and 40% are worse off. Even 80/20 doesn't seem right. It was supposed to make the whole system better for everyone.

4. Mere marginal improvement overall even augmented by the luck of getting a personal benefit does not resonate with the feelings of altruism and idealism that have buoyed supporters of Obama and Obamacare over the years.

124 comments:

Carnifex said...

I'm not suggesting it but it would have been cheaper for the gov't to give every American $1,000,000 strictly for health care. Any money you have left over when you die goes o your kids.

If you can't make it on that, then tuff titties(random Titus throwout)

Matthew Sablan said...

Does it matter if it is politically viable? It exists; you need to not only make further support of it politically toxic, you need to somehow convince Americans to give up an entitlement (or, in this case, a pseudo-entitlement, since most people are paying more for less.) That's... a rarity in America.

chrisnavin.com said...

Why start out with the utilitarian argument when you've got elections to win?

Many Lefties get closer to single-payer and absolute equality. Many Democrats get their wish-list item...and the rest get forced on board by Pelosi (impressive, actually). Many political hacks and the relatively untalented suddenly get jobs, titles, and paychecks to implement the fantabulous flying Health-Care machine.

It's a windfall if you know the right people.

Now wrap it in a bow and go out there and sell it!

This is a big f**king deal!

Seeing Red said...

Wait until the employer mandate kicks in. Millions of rubes think they're safe.

This is a backdoor tax increase.

Sorun said...

False advertising is illegal, unless you work for the federal government.

chuckunderscore said...

When thinking about Obama, and particularly Obamacare, the words 'idealism' and 'altruism' never enter my mind. Rather, the words 'central planning' and 'progessivism' seems to appear.

Maybe it's just me.

Bob Ellison said...

Althouse wrote, "4. Mere marginal improvement overall even augmented by the luck of getting a personal benefit does not resonate with the feelings of altruism and idealism that have buoyed supporters of Obama and Obamacare over the years."

This might be the linchpin. Leftists really want and strive to believe that they are being altruistic. But I, a diabetic epileptic, lost my plan because of Obamacare. (It will expire on 12/31/65.) There are lots of stories like this. Millions. And there will probably be tens of millions of them once employers are forced, in about ten months, to face their own problems with non-compliant plans.

Leftists will keep spinning, and I expect them to keep lying and shouting us down. Maybe they will win this fight, as they did in Russia in 1917 and in China in 1949, etc. This is a long battle against stupidity and the quest for raw power.

Bob Ellison said...

Sorry; that should read "it will expire on 12/31/13".

Big Mike said...

So far, the main impact of the Affordable Care Act has been to increase the number of uninsured individuals by (1) forcing the cancellation of plans, (2) making compliant insurance less affordable, and (3) making it difficult to impossible to sign up even for the less-affordable alternative plans because of a bug-ridden system.

The most egregious example of #2 is forcing a couple where the husband has had a vasectomy, the wife is post-menopausal and has had a hysterectomy, and yet they must pay for maternity coverage.

EDH said...

The Democrats are running up against even larger trends:

1.) Stagnation of wages, due in large part to their policies.

2.) A shrinking differential between the net household incomes of those who work versus those receiving public assistance or subsidy of one form or another.

3.) A growing unwillingness of the givers to pay for the ever expanding "needs" of the takers.

Ann Althouse said...

"When thinking about Obama, and particularly Obamacare, the words 'idealism' and 'altruism' never enter my mind. Rather, the words 'central planning' and 'progessivism' seems to appear. Maybe it's just me."

You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"? You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology (and why it's so hard and painful to give it up and why there's so much opprobrium for peers who don't adhere to it).

exhelodrvr1 said...

Anyone who has honestly had altruistic and idealistic feelings about Obama past about mid-2008 is hopelessly naive.

Original Mike said...

"You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology"

If you're 20 and not a liberal, you have no heart ...

They don't have the life experiences to understand that collectivism doesn't work.

Peter said...

Counting how many benefit vs how many lose is not how politics works.

All special interest politics pits a minority against a much larger majority. The minority wins because it cares intensely about an issue and will base its vote solely on that issue; the majority loses because, although it dislikes the issue, it just doesn't care enough much about it to make it a sole criterion for casting one's vote.

Obamacare is annoying many people, and it appears to benefit a smaller number. But if the benefit to some is large enough and the annoyance to the many is not enough to solely determine one's votes then Obamacare is a poltical winner.

And there's always more to it then just crass self-interest. Plenty of rich liberals support Obamacare even though it will raise their taxes and provide no direct benefit because it offers an opportunity to display their moral superiority (so, you gotta break some eggs to make an omlet?).

I don't think the GOP insiders realize that the label that was stuck on Romney ("heartless plutocrat") is being successfully stuck on the entire party (and facts be damned- perception is all).

EDH said...

You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology (and why it's so hard and painful to give it up and why there's so much opprobrium for peers who don't adhere to it).

That's what draws young people to liberalism. Those who stay do so for more selfish reasons.

Bruce Hayden said...

No - it wasn't designed to make things better for most people, but really just for the dependent class, which is a good part of the Dems power base. Federal employees were, of course exempted, as ultimately those in and working for Congress, though that latter is of questionable legality. Unions thought they were covered by the deal, but appear now to have been snookered.

It is a massive income redistribution scheme, with much higher premiums from those who are working and esp those in the middle class supporting almost free health care for those who are not members of such, many of whom already get significant government assistance. For a lot of people, their increased premiums are going to be as much, if not more, than their federal income tax. While those who don't contribute much, if anything, to society and the economy will get cheap, if not free health insurance.

Moreover, it really harms young adults - one of Obama's power bases, but who weren't at the bargaining table. Those who work will pay more than their fair share for insurance, at a time in their lives when most only need catastrophic coverage. Cost of hiring entry level is skyrocketing, while more and more people are being pushed to part time. At a time when they should be buying a house and preparing for their own retirements. So, the percentage who essentially drop out will most likely increase, making the economics of the whole scheme even more unrealistic.

Big Mike said...

You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"?

Some were, of course. There's a sucker born every minute.

You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology (and why it's so hard and painful to give it up and why there's so much opprobrium for peers who don't adhere to it).

But do I think that any of the young people will learn from their mistakes? Not really. I work with millenials, and they're not nearly as altruistic nor as open-minded as they think they are.

MattL said...

You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"?

Yes, I absolutely think you're right. Most liberal policies seem to be motivated by just that sort of thing, but the analysis of them is never taken farther than the most superficial level. And most supporters don't get an up close and personal look at the consequences.

Obamacare is different, because people observe the lies and the unintended consequences in their personal experience. Hopefully we can apply the lesson broadly, but I'm not optimistic that it will even be applied narrowly. We're still largely bound by

1. We must do something!
2. Here is something!
3. We must do exactly that!

Mary said...

Ann said...
'It was supposed to make the whole system better for everyone.'


But most thinking adults are/were smart enough to question that, even if that's what they think they heard... All those new promises for everybody (ie, free birth control) and you honestly thought, or think other people thought, that nobody would be worse off to make others better?

How could that be?


---------------------

Ann said...
'You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"? You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology'


No. 'Kids' want free stuff. Being under 26 and covered by parents, getting 'free' birth control and all the poor people too -- is that what you mean by "feelings of altruism and idealism"?

You are an older person thinking you know how younger people think. Perhaps they're not all as noble as the ones you know and just wanted to help.

MathMom said...

...there will be hell to pay politically for the president and his fellow Democrats, likely for a very long time.

What "hell" does Obama pay for this? Will he wind up in a double-wide in a trailer park, with his OCare card, trying to find a doctor or a health plan?

The buffoon is set for life, and he has unfortunately reproduced, so we will likely be further victimized by his spawn when they fail upwards until they are elected to public office.

EDH said...

Bruce Hayden said...
Unions thought they were covered by the deal, but appear now to have been snookered.

Maybe not. (Hopefully the Heritage ad will run before the Megyn Kelly video link, below. She's been on the warpath.)

Obama Buying Off Unions With $600 Million Dollar ObamaCare Tax Break?!

The Obama administration is reportedly caving to pressure by offering a tax break for unions under ObamaCare. Big labor publicly came out against ObamaCare and wanted the same subsidies that people applying for insurance in the individual market were getting. That was against the law, but the administration has apparently found a work around.

Tonight on The Kelly File, J. Justin Wilson, from the Center for Union Facts, said a few days ago the administration decided it would exempt union plans from paying upwards of $600 million dollars into a fund that's intended to prevent ObamaCare from going into a death spiral. Wilson speculated that now they’ll be looking to businesses to make up for that lost money.

“[Obama] is buying their silence with a $600 million dollar payback,” Wilson charged.

Robert Cook said...

The Truth About Obamacare

(Hint: it's not socialized medicine or a doorway to single payer. It is a gift to the insurance companies...as I've said here many times.)

Mary said...

I work with millenials, and they're not nearly as altruistic nor as open-minded as they think they are.
-----------------

This.
They too can do a crude 'does it benefit me or not'?

For many, it does still and they understand something will be taken from another to help them.

PB Reader said...

It's just a shell game. The president has spoken. We have an "Affordable Care Act" and by definition it provides affordable policies and affordable care.

Regardless of the price/cost, anything before or after that does not follow PPACA guidelines (no matter how they evolve) is by definition not affordable.

The president says the plans are affordable, less expensive and provide better coverage. Everything before was crap.

Who are you going to believe, that which was formerly known as reality or the fantasy world he wants to create? Sign up for OFA, drink some Koolaid, and obey your morning email.

You better do it soon, or lack of OFA membership and a record of contributing and voting for democrats is going to start limiting your career and life.

Rusty said...

It was never meant to help anybody.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Carnifex, even the biggest fan of "quantitative easing" would balk at printing another $315 trillion.

Thorley Winston said...

You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"?

No, I know a lot of people who voted for Obama and “altruism” and “idealism” are not words that I’d ascribe to any of them.

Rusty said...

You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"?

No. Most of them aren't stupid. They see what a ruin your generation has made of this country. They've compared opportunities and know they've been shafted.

rcommal said...

Well done.

William said...

Maybe the point of egalitarianism was never to uplift the masses but to humble the elites. Prisoners of the various gulags and work camps in the USSR and China thought that the system was fair because many high ranking Communists also ended up as prisoners......This system will eventually prove its fairness by making government officials pay more for worst coverage.

Original Mike said...

@Robert Cook: For the sake of argument, let's accept your point. Given the execution of ObamaCare, how can you still hold the believe (which I assume you do) that the government could actually pull off single payer?

And before you respond, "Medicare, Medicare, Medicare!!!", know that Medicare is hemorrhaging debt.

RecChief said...

yes some of us won't like it if we are 'benefitted'. Because I don't want a politicized bureaucracy to have this much control. I don't like the Patriot Act either, so there.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann, I think York is probably right, just because being personally harmed by your government feels more lousy than being personally helped by your government feels good. The PPACA is already screwing over a lot of people, and that number is going to get much larger pretty soon. Even if the absolute number helped is larger than the absolute number hurt (and I'm not really convinced that people who ditched their cheap private insurance for Medicaid, say, are really going to be happy with that decision in the long run), the aggrieved are going to be more aggrieved than the happy are happy.

Seeing Red said...

Cookie, insurance companies are the front, like banks for mortgages.

It's all about appearance.

And yes, it is a doorway, Obama wants single payer even if it took 20 years and so does Reid.

Original Mike said...
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Original Mike said...

I can only speak for myself, but I have stated this many times (as have others here). I have NO problem with having my taxes go for health care for the poor.

ObamaCare has nothing to do with providing health care for the poor. It is all about increasing government control of our society.

Marshal said...

Robert Cook said...
The Truth About Obamacare

(Hint: it's not socialized medicine or a doorway to single payer. It is a gift to the insurance companies...as I've said here many times.)


These aren't mututally exclusive categories. It was a bribe to insurance companies not to oppose greater government control. If you want to adhere to the strict definition that socialism is ownership then it isn't there. A more nuanced and meaningful evaluation would be to assess the prerogatives of ownership: (1) designing the product, (2) deciding what markets to enter, (3) setting pricing, (4) earning dividends. Obamacare clearly usurps two of these four prerogatives (1 and 4). Further Obamacare significantly influences 2 and the left is pushing for 3.

So if you change the question from "is Obamacare socialist" to "how far from socialist is it" the answer becomes "not far".

David said...

Sorry, but Obamacare is not going to drive elections. It's especially not going to drive the election of Hillary Clinton. She very cleverly put herself in a place far away from domestic policy, and expect her to break with Obama on this issue when it suits her. For now her silence itself is a statement.

The Democrats have gained immense political leverage by decrying the so-called War on Women and the immigration issue. They maintain a lock on the black vote despite the fact that the first black President (no, it was never Clinton) has done nothing to improve the position of black people. Indeed quite the opposite.

This may be a disgusting and frustrating set of tactics but they work. The Republicans have been setting the table for the Dems on immigration for decades, beginning in California, and they are getting killed by social trends on abortion and women's "issues."

The clever and ruthless democrats, the compliant national media and the clueless Republican leadership are not going to be overcome by the Obamacare issue. In fact it's not clear how bad it will be ultimately. Somehow the country will muddle through and at some point today's headlines may look overly alarmist.

Just what is the Republican position on health care, other than to oppose Obama?

Stumped, aren't you? That's the problem.

Original Mike said...

"These aren't mututally exclusive categories. It was a bribe to insurance companies not to oppose greater government control."

This.

Original Mike said...

"Just what is the Republican position on health care,"

When the Republicans had control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they could have dealt with this issue. I said at the time they needed to do so. They. Did. Squat.

Andy Freeman said...

> You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology

Perhaps our hostess will tell us why universities push left-wing ideology so much.

After all, universities are not staffed with "young people" and they are where many young people are "drawn into left-wing ideology".

tim in vermont said...

"They see what a ruin your generation has made of this country. They've compared opportunities and know they've been shafted." - Rusty


So they have voted to screw themselves. I get it, they are not stupid.

Larry J said...

Bruce Hayden said...

It is a massive income redistribution scheme, with much higher premiums from those who are working and esp those in the middle class supporting almost free health care for those who are not members of such, many of whom already get significant government assistance. For a lot of people, their increased premiums are going to be as much, if not more, than their federal income tax. While those who don't contribute much, if anything, to society and the economy will get cheap, if not free health insurance.


This is it, precisely. Take the "Obamaphone" fiasco and multiply it by a factor of 100 or so and you have Obamacare. For the Obamaphone, we all pay more for our cell phone plans so some people get theirs for free. With Obamacare, we pay much more for health insurance so others get theirs for free or for a reduced price.

This often misattributed quote is what kept we awake after last year's election results:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."

Obama's reelection was a sign that we've passed the tipping point. Obamacare aims to make that permanent. If they can buy off several million more voters with free or subsidizied health insurance, then we're a big step closer to the fall. The fact that the Obamacare website is also another voter registration scheme just makes it more blatant.

Robert Cook said...

"These aren't mututally exclusive categories. It was a bribe to insurance companies not to oppose greater government control."

Greater government control of what? The 1% own the government and the government works in service to them; as for control of the populace, that can only work to the good of the 1% and their corporate holdings. They're not in the least interested in democracy.

RecChief said...

I don't have to have the ability to design something to replace the horse and buggy to see that I don't my primary means of transportation to be a horse and buggy. that is, there is nothing wrong with opposing something because it is a crappy idea and not having something to replace it with. Sure health insurance was expensive pre-obamacare. perhaps there should be a financial literacy class that explains what saving is, what insurance is, and so forth.

Having sold insurance at one point my life, I believe that co-pays have destroyed the understanding that insurance is a transfer of risk. There was a story recently, and I can't remember where, so I apologize for not linking, but where single payer systems actually work well, the populace pays more out of pocket for simple things such as preventive care. that is, the single payer takes care of the really BIG medical expenses, the catastropic ones, not the "little johnny has the sniffles, so I will take him to the doctor, because it is only $10 (out of my pocket)," overconsumption of medical services.

Edward Lunny said...

" You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology " In a word, they are stupid, some of them mind numbingly so. They have no life experience for all intents and purposes. Some of them are very book smart, but have the common sense of a flea.
They are greedy and self centered. Mostly because they don't think beyond tomorrow or this weekend if that far. They are clueless about the work and toil that people perform to get where they are and to have what they have.
And because socialism, collectivism is easy. Someone else pays, someone else works, someone else has all of the responsibility. Christ, look at that surfer asshole in California living on foodstamps. No shame, no concern for who has paid for those foodstamps, and, no plan to live any differently. At his age he is unemployable, he isn't reliable or earnest enough to show up to sweep the floors. Hah, maybe he should be one of dan savage's abortions !
" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"? " No, they are a bunch of overly self important shitheads whom think that they know better than anyone else how we should live our lives. Unsurprisingly ,they don't. Libs never have. They are buoyed by feelings of elitism, self importance, and power. They are a bunch of unctuous twits deserving of a punch in the mouth and a good swift kick in the ass.

MayBee said...

Yet when people tried to point out there was no way this was going to make things better for everybody, Democrats were all "war on women!".

The fact that Sandra Fluke was treated as a serious person with a serious issue should embarrass those who fell for her. Should embarrass those who thought what she was demanding was reasonable.

Hyphenated American said...

"You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"?

I distinctly remember young Obama supporters talking about free education, free gas, free mortgage as the reason to vote for Obama. That's not idealism or altruism.

Marshal said...

Robert Cook said...
Greater government control of what?


A few specifics:

1. Obamacare mandates certain coverages, which establishes the principle they can mandate any coverage.

2. Obamacare limits the value of premium differential between young and old, establishing their control of relative pricing.

3. Obamacare mandates community rating and guaranteed issue. Since those who game the system face no penalty more will do so.

4. Obamacare fines people for not joining plans.

C'mon Robert. Why throw away all that hard won adherence to principle just to stump for something you claim to believe sucks anyway?

Hyphenated American said...

" The 1% own the government and the government works in service to them; as for control of the populace, that can only work to the good of the 1% and their corporate holdings."

This is what you get from math-challenged liberals. Why "1%"? Which 1%? My wife and I earn enough money to be considered in the top 1%, and yet! th government consistently wants to screw us.
The liberals like cook repeat liberal propaganda without even attempting to criticaly analyze what they are saying. The mindless slogan about 1% is all they've got.

Hagar said...

If they can't get any of it to actually work, who it would have benefitted and to what extent, if it had worked, will not be of much significance to anyone but college professors and other true believers.

tim in vermont said...

Once the Democrats control what can be covered and what can be charged for it, and even the profit margin of insurance companies, there is no way for private industry to make improvements.

If they develop better software, they will be dinged for it for making too much money.

If they design more efficient ways to use their employees through better processes, well...

You can see where this leads. they have seized control of health care, Roe v Wade notwithstanding.

Oso Negro said...

Ann said: You don't believe that the "supporters of Obama and Obamacare" were buoyed by "feelings of altruism and idealism"? You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology (and why it's so hard and painful to give it up and why there's so much opprobrium for peers who don't adhere to it).

I think young people are drawn into left-wing ideology because the public schools, the mainstream news, Hollywood, and the universities relentlessly promote socialist values. Do you Ann, see this differently? I believe that it is hard and painful to give it up because groups tend to punish people who go against the group norms. Do you see this differently?

Oso Negro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

They are not even allowed to design plans that people might "like."

Robert Cook said...

"I distinctly remember young Obama supporters talking about free education, free gas, free mortgage as the reason to vote for Obama. That's not idealism or altruism."

Assuming you remember correctly, that's not idealism or altruism but simply stupidity.

There was never the slightest reason to believe Obama would deliver any kind of quasi-socialist cornucopia of "free" services to Americans; to the contrary, his facile but shallow (and transparent) rhetoric aside--(it could only have fooled those desperate to believe)--Obama is a hollow man lacking any real convictions, a man ready to sell himself to America's owners to satisfy his ambition to power...and this was apparent even before his first term in office.

(His masquerade as a "people's politician" was not wholly ineffective; although I saw him clearly enough to not vote for him in 2008, he has turned out to be worse than I thought he would be.)

Rusty said...

tim in vermont said...
"They see what a ruin your generation has made of this country. They've compared opportunities and know they've been shafted." - Rusty


So they have voted to screw themselves. I get it, they are not stupid.


Good point Tim.

tim in vermont said...

Let's see 15% uninsured is the disease, 5% lose their coverage is the cure...

And a good number of those 15% don't want insurance, and so are being harmed.

I think the whole thing is more s#$t sandwich than "free lunch."

jimbino said...

The only way to have a chance to make everyone better off would be to get rid of health insurance altogether. Insurance always represents a loss of 20% to 80% of the premium paid, on average, exclusive of co-pays and deductibles.

Under Obamacare, there will be lots of losers that are not so evident: docs who reduce their practice, move to concierge medicine, emigrate or quit altogether, followed by the patients who will have to choose between no doctor, a worse doctor, a long wait for a doctor, or quick and cheap treatment in Mexico.

A sure way to make food more expensive would be to force everyone to buy food insurance. A sure way to reduce medical expenses in Amerika would be to privatize insurance, kill its tax support, and force healthcare providers to publish their prices for all procedures and facilities by CPT on the web, such as is done for Medicare.

Henry said...

His masquerade as a "people's politician" was not wholly ineffective; although I saw him clearly enough to not vote for him in 2008, he has turned out to be worse than I thought he would be.

Have to agree with you there. I was pinning my hopes on passive incompetence. Unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress got involved: "Here Mr. President. We built this giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship for you. You just have to sell the tickets."

Hagar said...

My memories of interaction with my medical insurance providers back when I was working are not happy ones. And then it was only between me, my doctor or hospital, and the insurance company.
Now Obamacare is going to add the HHS, the IRS, others agencies, states, ???, and stacks of various agency issued rules and regulations subject to constant revisions and changes, that is all going to have to be seamlessly integrated and work as one unit.

How on Earth could anyone ever have imagined that this was going to work?

phx said...
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Gahrie said...

They're not in the least interested in democracy.

Good. I'm not either. Democracy sucks.

Let's return our country back to a republic please.

phx said...
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phx said...
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Robert Cook said...

"Why '1%'? Which 1%? My wife and I earn enough money to be considered in the top 1%, and yet! the government consistently wants to screw us."

You may flatter yourself as to whether you're really in the "top 1%", or perhaps that categorization is insufficiently fine; I refer then, to the top 1% of the 1%, the great corporate institutions and their heads and owners, the dynastic families of great wealth such as the Koch Brothers or the Waltons, they who are a quasi-government behind our titular government. (However, the other 99% of the 1%, if you will, of which you may be one, are sufficiently fortunate--especially as contrasted with the rest of us, the top-to-bottom 99%--that I can spare scant sympathy for the injustices you must surely suffer.)

I'm sure the top 1% of the 1%, too, though, are aggrieved at the impositions on their wealth and privilege that they perceive to be emanating from the rabble below them. Unlimited wealth and privilege leads to an egregious assumption of entitlement, and to the starving of patience with any limits, perceived or actual, proposed or extant, however tentative, on their prerogatives by the wealthy and privileged.

Thorley Winston said...

When the Republicans had control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they could have dealt with this issue. I said at the time they needed to do so. They. Did. Squat..


Actually when Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress they passed a number of health care reform bills including Association Health Plans, expanding MSAs, and allowing for the purchase of health insurance across State lines. These bills were passed in the House but killed in the Senate by Democrats who wanted their own “historic, once in a generation” bill.



MattL said...

I refer then, to the top 1% of the 1%...

So, then, do the Koch brothers and Soros trade off or something? The No True Scotsmen of conspiracy theories?

The institutions are more interesting and important than personalities. Also, the realization that the solution to abuse of power is not giving the abusers more power.

tim in vermont said...

"or perhaps that categorization is insufficiently fine;"

And yet you are so sure of everything else as you recite your lefty catechism.

tim in vermont said...

If you consider the demographic mathematics of what he is proposing, it amounts to genocide. Fit subject for humor among the left, I guess.

tim in vermont said...

"You may flatter yourself as to whether you're really in the "top 1%""

Spoken like somebody with little experience filling out tax returns. You suffer from a false consciousness.

Scott M said...

Unlimited wealth and privilege leads to an egregious assumption of entitlement, and to the starving of patience with any limits, perceived or actual, proposed or extant, however tentative, on their prerogatives by the wealthy and privileged.

And here I thought progressives believed that wealth was zero sum.

Andy Freeman said...

> When the Republicans had control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they could have dealt with this issue. I said at the time they needed to do so. They. Did. Squat.

It's unclear how Republican failings excuses Democrat failings.

RecChief said...

I still think selling across state lines would be one of the best things for the insurance industry. the only question would be how to keep 50 state insurance commissioners from protecting their fiefdoms (and dorking up the works) while maintaining federalism.

Lydia said...

David said...
Just what is the Republican position on health care, other than to oppose Obama?

Stumped, aren't you? That's the problem.


No matter how many times they're reminded that, yes, the Republicans have proposed alternatives, some just keep repeating this lie.

Paul Ryan and Tom Coburn had a plan in 2009, the Patient's Choice Act. And the Republican Study Committee released
another one in September.

Henry said...

When the Republicans had control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they could have dealt with this issue. I said at the time they needed to do so. They. Did. Squat.

That approach looks increasingly wiser in retrospect.

grackle said...

You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology (and why it's so hard and painful to give it up and why there's so much opprobrium for peers who don't adhere to it).

Why? Maybe because they are bombarded with anti-conservative propaganda 24/7 all their lives. It's been going on for generations. TV, movies, literature, the intelligentsia, the teachers and professors – with all that I would be surprised if they weren't drawn to the Left.

it's not socialized medicine or a doorway to single payer. It is a gift to the insurance companies

The big insurance companies love Obamacare – the small independent ones not so much. Big Insurance will be the caretakers of Obamacare. No more having to compete with a product, no more having to sell stuff – which is very hard work. Just sit back and let the money roll in. It's an illusion, of course, that will last until healthcare becomes fully politicized – I give it a year or two. Then they too will be destroyed.

But single payer, which is the current euphemism for socialized medicine, and will be a death sentence to Big Insurance, is already being presented as an Obamacare fix. Create a crisis, then use the crisis you created to further your true goal.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

The Afraudable Care Act will remain, modified time-to-time to increase give-aways and net program deficit.

There is simply too much opportunity for graft. Our elected and appointed Public Serpents will not give it up.

Broomhandle said...

Obamacare or no, so long as Democrats can hand out free stuff paid for with other people's money they will continue to win elections. When they are no longer able to do that (and that day is certainly coming) the Democrats will fracture and wither.

n.n said...

Young people are drawn into left-wing ideology (i.e. a faith in intelligent or coordinated design) because of idealism stoked by safe surroundings or ignorance of the terms and circumstances of reality. For the former, they enjoy a dissociation of risk which cannot be reasonably expected through their lifetime. For the latter, consider this: A third-world immigrant witnesses for the first time the grandeur and luxury of a first-world society. They wonder how all of it was accomplished, while their own society is simply struggling to survive. They fail to appreciate the evolutionary process (i.e. chaotic change) followed to reach the current semi-stable state.

Young people, or immature people generally, are naive and prideful. They are unfamiliar with their new world. While their optimism is welcome, they are poorly served by their ignorance of reality, which is why their mother and father are tasked with smoothing their introduction.

Incidentally, it has been a mistake to shift parental responsibilities to the state or third-parties. Our focus on money (e.g. taxation) and pleasure (e.g. sex) has been a poor servant of our society's sustainable development.

Gahrie said...

Unlimited wealth and privilege leads to an egregious assumption of entitlement,

Isn't it lonely being the last Marxist on Earth?

tim in vermont said...

"Unlimited wealth and privilege leads to an egregious assumption of entitlement, and to the starving of patience with any limits, perceived or actual, proposed or extant, however tentative, on their prerogatives by the wealthy and privileged."

Gee, this sure sounds like Obama to me.

Alex said...

As usual teahadists have no alternatives.

paul a'barge said...

...the feelings of altruism and idealism that have buoyed supporters of Obama and Obamacare over the years

so, you're still trying to peddle the myth that Obama (and Obamacare) supporters are basically good people who are by nature atruistic and idealistic?

What if you're wrong? What if Obama supporters are by-and-large moral, cultural and spiritual monsters who are driven not by ideals but by the desire for the exact opposite: destruction of the American Dream and the American Way of Life?

Hint: it's an easy trick to look in the mirror and every time see yourself as "the good guy". Seeing the "good guy" in the mirror does not make you the "good guy". It is your behavior, your thoughts, your goals and your tolerance for others that makes you the "good guy".

By and large, Democrats, Liberals, and other Obama supporters are not "good guys". Until you realize that and begin to change your very nature, you will never be the "good guy".

Larry J said...

But single payer, which is the current euphemism for socialized medicine, and will be a death sentence to Big Insurance, is already being presented as an Obamacare fix. Create a crisis, then use the crisis you created to further your true goal.

I call this "failing foreward." Their very incompetence at one thing is their claim of justification for a bigger thing. The bigger the screw up, the bigger the new government program must be to fix the problems they created. This is beyond the traditional government self-licking ice cream cone. It's a self-licking ice cream cone that also stacks new ice cream on itself.

Matthew Sablan said...

"No matter how many times they're reminded that, yes, the Republicans have proposed alternatives, some just keep repeating this lie."

-- For the most part, it is because the political left are some of the most, what's the phrase? epistemically closed communities in modern America.

damikesc said...

You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology (and why it's so hard and painful to give it up and why there's so much opprobrium for peers who don't adhere to it).

Doesn't educational indoctrination come into play here?

When the Republicans had control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they could have dealt with this issue. I said at the time they needed to do so. They. Did. Squat.

Their veto proof majority occurred...when?

And, the Democrat plan made the problems appreciably worse.

n.n said...

Alex:

End distortions of the market, including real and effective monopolies enforced through government intervention, union negotiation, cost shifting, etc.

Construct a triage system to distribute the consumption and load on resources and personnel, respectively. This is similar to what Michelle Obama did in Chicago, but it would be more effectively coordinated by medical professionals (e.g. family doctors).

Distinguish between contributory entitlements and non-contributory welfare, and repurpose the latter, in order to constrain progressive corruption of both the providers and beneficiaries, and to effectively rehabilitate individuals who fall behind.

Obamacare fails as a national policy and regulation because it preserves and exacerbates the status quo. It promises benefits which are unbacked by economic development and productive activity. It conflates earned and unearned entitlements. It normalizes the degradation (i.e. elective abortion) of human life to commodity status.

Medical care is an earned privilege (i.e. inherently exploitative) which should be purchased through economic productivity or provided by charitable individuals and organizations.

RecChief said...

Paul a'barge said....
"What if you're wrong? What if Obama supporters are by-and-large moral, cultural and spiritual monsters who are driven not by ideals but by the desire for the exact opposite: destruction of the American Dream and the American Way of Life?"

Actually, I think given the hostility to traditional American values, and the American way of life in schools, I think they are altruistic that the only way to save America is to destroy it, and remake it. They fundamentally believe that they are going to make everything better for everyone (at least everyone who is right thinking). The more I look at leftism, the more I think it is a cult. Especially with the current obama followers running around.

RecChief said...

ah..."teahadists" the refuge of prople who don't really ahve an argument. maybe a 'better' idea hasn't been proposed because for more than 85% the old system worked just fine. Let me clue you in on 2 little secrets. First,No one is 'happy' with their health insurance, not in single payer systems, not in employer provided systems, not in individual market systems. Second, there was no reason to dismantle a system that actually worked for 85% of the population to 'fix' something for 5% of the population (the other 10% didn't want it or thought they didn't need it.

n.n said...

RecChief:

They prefer intelligent or coordinated design, and as such defer their dignity to mortal gods. They even sacrifice human lives to enable service (e.g. taxable activity, sexual promiscuity) to their gods.

I agree that they want a new order, but there is no evidence that it represents positive progress for the majority of human lives. In fact, their effort to normalize elective abortion (i.e. degradation of human life), especially among their own ranks, suggests that their purpose coincides with other left-wing efforts, which is to principally consolidate capital and control for a minority's benefit.

Basil said...

Professor, have you never read David Horowitz? He fully explains the motivations and goals of the Obamas and their leftist ilk. Geez, no Ayn Rand and no David Horowitz. Do you read at all?Burke? Montesquieu? Thomas Jefferson? de Tocqueville? Whittaker Chambers? Hayek? von Mises? Solzhenitsyn? Thomas Sowell? We got tons of them!!!!

Alex said...

n.n. - medical care an "earned privilege". You'd be right at home in Edwardian England.

RecChief said...

Alex - If Obamacare is so good, why does it need 'enforcement'?

Alex said...

“Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.”
Mao Tse-Tung quotes (Chinese stateman, the key figure in China in the 20th century, 1893-1976)

n.n said...

Alex:

Perhaps you would prefer a feudal alternative? You do realize that medical care consumes limited resources and is provided by human beings, right? You do understand that dissociation of risk is the principal cause of progressive corruption? Neither the consumer nor producer should be enslaved in each other's service.

That said, progressive taxation and subsidies ignores the problems, real and manufactured, and offers only temporary relief. A taxation scheme on survivors (of abortion) is truly a regressive construction.

There is a reason why Obama did not focus on economic development. It is hard and requires participation by qualified and motivated individuals. Instead, he offered a quick fix which would be emotionally appealing. The same quick fix that abortion offers. There is an underlying theme to his good intentions.

Alex said...

We enforce everything in the law, that's the function of government. Why all the hullabaloo over this one, except that ya'll hate the skin color of the President.

ALP said...

RE: Young people drawn into left wing ideology...

**************
That's easy. Young people have not been around long enough to have had the actual experience of a politician promising to deliver the moon (aka "a better more equitable world") - but failing miserably.

Reading historical accounts of previous attempts, and subsequent failures, doesn't have the same impact as living through the attempts made in your adult lifetime. Once you've hit 30 or so, if you've been paying attention, you begin to notice its all bullshit - that politicians promise much more than they can deliver.

RecChief said...

the racism gambit? c'mon, try harder.


"we enforce everything in the law"???? you owe me a new monitor oafter I spit coffee on this one. that's too ridiculous to even address....thanks for the laugh.

damikesc said...

We enforce everything in the law, that's the function of government.

Employer mandate going strong, huh?

Congressional staffers are in the exchanges, right?

Nobody has ever received exemptions from the rules here, right?

ALP said...

RE: Double dipping the young.

Are not young people now supporting older folks twice now?

Once through FICA deductions from one's paycheck, and again through ACA?

Is there a single journalist or blogger that has picked up on this? Where is the Gen-X voice on this?

Its almost too horrible to contemplate...worse than "The Walking Dead" - young people that are THAT dense?

I guess wacky cults were onto something: they know that the easiest recruits are young, white, middle class kids full of idealism.

avwh said...

This iwill be the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the American public, if what's now in motion isn't stopped or changed.

"Universal health care", the "noble" goal, has morphed into the biggest weath redistribution and stealth tax increase in the history of this country. And we've only seen the tip of the iceberg so far.

What will be the Admin's excuse next year when 40-70% of the insured lose their company plans, when now, their only defense is, "it's only 5% of the population"??

Writ Small said...

It could be overturned.

Unlike other entitlements such as Medicare, Food Stamps or Social Security, ACA cannot be financed with deficit spending.

Insurance companies must at least break even and are still very much in the middle of it. That means the costs of all of the mandated goodies (no penalty for pre-existing conditions, Fluke's pills, care for the previously uninsured, etc.) must be born by the sum total of those paying for insurance.

Unless you believe new people signing up for insurance will offset all those new costs, the closed nature of the program means inevitable higher premiums for nearly everyone.

ACA is a transfer of wealth from the responsible / healthy / fortunate to the irresponsible / unhealthy / unfortunate largely regardless of the income of the first group. It is easy to see the political will forming to put an end to it, but ACA has so changed the healthcare landscape, there will be no prior system to return to.

Hagar said...

That much is correct.
Gasoline prices went back to normal after the OPEC panic in the mid-seventies, but the "full service" gas stations were gone forever. No more part-time jobs for teenagers cleaning windshields, etc.

wildswan said...

As far as younger people supporting older people twice - FICA, ACA

Think about this. With FICA you support your parents who supported you and then your children support you as you supported them. That's the strong girder under it all, the reason it isn't just a Ponzi scheme or a case of the old ripping off the young.

Now the ACA - Obamacare - 600 million has been taken from Medicare to subsidize the young in Obamacare so that they will buy plans and subsidize us. Doesn't this seem circular? like one of those Escher pictures of water falling down and then flowing and then somehow it has flowed uphill and is falling down? Maybe that was secret Federal diagram that they wouldn't give the states. Anyhow ...

... a further point is this. Medicare is turning into one of those scam plans Obama is always talking about - benefits are being lost.

For instance, the regime is taking away Advantage plans, a type of Medicare plan, even though regime hacks are (now) saying that Obama meant to say that if you had Medicare you didn't have to change. That's a lie. We on Medicare do have to change. And the reason the regime took benefits and took away Advantage plans was to give the Obamacare 600 million. And now, incredibly, the unions are getting 600 million so they keep their great plans under Obamacare. Why can't we have our 600 million back and keep our Advantage plans? And don't insure the young if they don't want it. Then we don't have subsidize them so that they can have to subsidize us. Water doesn't have to flow uphill - simple.

Bottom line: These discussions are irrelevant - I believe that the IT problems are metastasizing, that fixes are causing problems Sebelius and Carney are acknowledging they won't meet the deadlines. To me that means Zientz has told them it is a disaster and they are creeping away.

ALP said...

With FICA you support your parents who supported you and then your children support you as you supported them.
****************
With declining birth rates? I am not so sure this holds up.

Consider my family tree on both side. My parents (in their mid-late 70s) are descendents of early 1900's immigrants with very large families: up to 13 kids.

Family size starts shrinking with each generation. If I had to characterize why - its because we were raised with frugal, "live within your means" thinking - so having a kid before you could support one was unthinkable. Thus..the next generation had up to 4 kids...no way were they going to attempt the 13 kids of past generations.

Fast forward a bit to the current, future of our family tree: one lone, 24 year old niece who's been caught up in this crappy economy and has finally found enough work to pay SOME of her bills...but SHE is still being supported by my sister - who's doing ok but one good crisis would send her into financial difficulty.

So how does a constantly shrinking base of young people hold up all of these older folks? How does my one nice position herself to support her parent's generation when she can barely make her own way?

Our situation can't be that unique.

Big Mike said...

So how does a constantly shrinking base of young people hold up all of these older folks?

Healthcare rationing by age.

Hyphenated American said...

"We enforce everything in the law, that's the function of government."

So, the law is right and moral inherently because it is the law? No exceptions?

" Why all the hullabaloo over this one, except that ya'll hate the skin color of the President. "

Maybe Obama refused to enforce immigration law, gay marriage law, and his own obamacare law because of his skin color? Are you saying this?

Hyphenated American said...

"You may flatter yourself as to whether you're really in the "top 1%", or perhaps that categorization is insufficiently fine; I refer then, to the top 1% of the 1%,"

Robert kook just after 5 minutes of discussion changed his scientific analysis of the evil conspiracy group. After my question, the group estimates went down by two orders of magnitude. He still cannot explain why it's 0.01%, and how he got the number, but math is hard and only Jews do oil to confuse people. Of course, how he decided that Koch brothers control,the whole us government is left unsaid. Do Koch brothers, bill gates, George sorors and John Kerry control the country, while Obama is their toy? How about nancy pelosi?
But more to the point, if everything the government does, it does to help the 1% or 0.01% of the peopl! at the expense of everybody else, wouldn't it hen make sense to cut the role of th government and the government spending and taxes, and thus free the 99.99%? Let's begin by eliminating Medicaid, welfare, social security and Medicare, as well as labor laws and endangered species act, cause these certainly don't help American people..... After all, you said it yourself, th government works only for 0.01% percent....

Skeptical Voter said...

Altruism and idealism that has buoyed Obama supporters over the years? Is that a synonym for "floating on a sea of B.S."?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Michael K said...

" Blogger Seeing Red said...

Wait until the employer mandate kicks in. Millions of rubes think they're safe.

This is a backdoor tax increase."

A poster on another blog reports that his small business is now obliged to pay $1000/ month because their health insurance EXCEEDS Obamacare criteria. We haven't yet heard about this tax on "golden plans."

EMD said...

Ha! I see people are still engaging the resident shapeshifter. (Alex)

Michael K said...

"Just what is the Republican position on health care, other than to oppose Obama?

Stumped, aren't you? That's the problem."

The GOP has had a series of proposals but none has gotten any traction because the media wants single payer.

It doesn't matter that the NHS is a disaster and Canada has reintroduced private practice. Most other European plans are NOT single payer.

When we have 67 million uninsured and looking for scapegoats, we may get some interest in other proposals.

Kirk Parker said...

Matthew S.,

"in this case, a pseudo-entitlement, since most people are paying more for less."

Well, there's your key to a rollback, right there in your own words.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

The stupid unprincipled Republicans will never have the balls to eliminate obamacare. Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats, neither gives one god damn about what is best for the nation. The answer is there will be a good size window of opportunity to repeal obamacare, but Republicans will save it. Republicans will modify obamacare to mold it into their preferred centrally controlled medical system.

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse,

"You need to think more about why young people are drawn into left-wing ideology"

For each of my kids, their first paycheck stub was enough inoculation to keep them from getting totally drawn in to the leftist cult.

BarryD said...

It's hard to think of a lot of Progressive steal-and-spend schemes that DOESN'T hurt more people than it helps. And yet, they seem politically viable.

Economically, no, but politics aren't about reality.

David said...

Lydia said...
. . . . the Republicans have proposed alternatives, some just keep repeating this lie . . . .

Paul Ryan and Tom Coburn had a plan in 2009, the Patient's Choice Act. And the Republican Study Committee released another one in September.


You just made my point. There have been lots of Republican plans. There is not a Republican plan. There is nothing that the party and its leaders have gotten behind and pushed. The Republicans--and I sometimes call myself one of them--are splintered, unfocused, confused and confusing. Lots of plans is the same as no plan at all.

Bruce Hayden said...

I still think selling across state lines would be one of the best things for the insurance industry. the only question would be how to keep 50 state insurance commissioners from protecting their fiefdoms (and dorking up the works) while maintaining federalism.

Problem there is that one of the big problems causing the difference in premiums are all the state mandates that some states have imposed. Not surprisingly, the more mandates, the higher the premiums. Crossing state boundaries would allow people to shoppe and ignore the mandates driving up costs in their home states. And ditto for tort reform - how does a state set prices if the state they operate in has good protections against all of John Edwards' buddies in the med-mal industry? Excess med mal costs drive up healthcare costs, which drive up premiums. The problem is contained to the states that are still bought by the tort bar, but wouldn't be if insurance were sold across state lines.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert kook just after 5 minutes of discussion changed his scientific analysis of the evil conspiracy group."

Hardly. I merely conceded for sake of discussion that when I refer to the 1%, I mean specifically those who are at the apex of that cohort; this does not mean I have any sympathy for the whinging of those in the "lower echelons" of the 1%, as, by definition, anyone in the top 1% of income earners/wealth holders in this country is doing incredibly better than the vast majority of us. And, it is the conglomeration of interests of the 1% as a whole that is served by the government, even if it is the 0.01%, the Kochs and Waltons and their ilk, who are most active and visible in funding those agents of change--within and without goverment--who insure government serves their prerogatives. The "lesser" (sic) among the 1%, you can be sure, vote for those candidates and support those causes that work to achieve the larger and long-term objectives of the 1% as a whole.

"Let's begin by eliminating Medicaid, welfare, social security and Medicare, as well as labor laws and endangered species act, cause these certainly don't help American people..... After all, you said it yourself, the government works only for 0.01% percent...."

You see? You're working for the 0.01% yourself, in advocating the elimination of government programs that are a benefit to the American people, programs enacted at a time when the elites feared--not without basis--that unless they did something to ease the shock of the depression to the masses of Americans, violent uprisings, even revolution, might result. In other words, the elites understood there were consequences to ignoring the rabble in their misery. Today's elites don't care: they have the means at hand to clamp down hard on any signs of such uprisings.

That we're hearing from more and more in government--including the President!--that we must "reform" these programs...code for cutting them...is proof of my factual statement that the government works for the 1%. It has always been the wealthy elites in this country who have despised these programs and who have advocated for their eradication since these programs were birthed; the American people at large--the 99%--are pleased with these programs and do not want them cut or eliminated.

Robert Cook said...

"What if Obama supporters are by-and-large moral, cultural and spiritual monsters who are driven not by ideals but by the desire for the exact opposite: destruction of the American Dream and the American Way of Life?"

Well, Obama did receive much financial support from the big corporate donors, so...there you go!

cubanbob said...

Well, Obama did receive much financial support from the big corporate donors, so...there you go!"

No RC. They thought they were paying protection money to the Chicago Outfit.

grackle said...

The Republicans--and I sometimes call myself one of them--are splintered, unfocused, confused and confusing. Lots of plans is the same as no plan at all.

Lots of plans? How terrible! So much to choose from, so much to debate, so many possibilities! It's all too CONFUSING to me!

I KNOW! I've got the answer to our distress. Just have one plan, The Plan, chosen by a Trusted Leader; no need to read it since it's so long(1500 pages not counting the actual regulations which will be written later by our trusted leader's minions out of the sight of prying eyes).

After The Plan becomes law we can apologize for any slight inconveniences caused by The Plan to totally insignificant numbers of people. Regrettable but you can't make an omelet without killing a chicken. They will have the immense consolation of the Trusted Leader's apology, after all.

And can we all just admit that the important thing is to cut out the confusing debate on too many plans and just pass what our Trusted Leader has decided that is best for us? Talking about so many plans at once is a sure recipe for chaos. We need just one plan, The Plan, from one Trusted Leader in order to get things done in an orderly manner. None of this unsettling uncertainty about what to do with so many plans, so much befuddling discussion and perplexing details. No need to burden ordinary folks with all that …

Mountain Maven said...

I think it will haunt the Dems for a long time. The things that hurt the GOP in past like watergate and iraq were one time events that ended. Obamacare and its consequences will not end unless a GOP controlled congress and president can repeal it 4 years from now.