End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

Monday, September 1, AD 2014

It’s the unofficial end of Summer and it’s my annual gratuitous post of myself day.  The pic below was taken in mid-July, but I waited to fix the feed to The American Catholic in order celebrate the Summer.  Needless to say, it’s fixed and the Summer is almost over.

During the Summer I asked my fellow blogger Don for some book recommendations for the French Revolution.  Of the few he did mentioned, I picked up Simon Schama’s ‘Citizen’.  The reading is in-depth, interesting, and balanced.  I’m a bit over halfway finished of the 948 pages and am so far impressed.  Considering that we are in the post-Cold War era, I wanted to know a bit more on the French Revolution since their errors have already engulfed Europe and has almost metastasizing here in the United States.  The book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens.

My opinion on the subject is that the French Revolution is the confluence of anti-Christian ideas emanating from the so-called era of enlightenment.  These very same ideas unleashed the short-term devastation of the rape of nuns, the execution of priests, and the degradation of houses of worship.  The long-term affects have furthered the cause of eliminating God from all aspects of life blossoming further in the Communist Revolution in Russia and continued to bear the fruit of death in World Wars I & II.  From this compost grew what we now call modern liberalism & democratic socialism.

End of Summer Tito Edwards Simon Schama Citizens 500x625Happy Labor Day!

 

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36 Responses to End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

  • The best histories of the French Revolution probably remains those of two Catholic historians, Hilaire Belloc and Lord Acton.
    Belloc brings out the central rôle of Carnot, the War Minister and effective head of the Committee of Public Safety and gives full credit to the “generation of genius,” Kléber, Moreau, Reynier, Marceau, and Ney commanding the army of Sambre et Meuse, Hoche, Desaix, and St. Cyr on the Rhine and, above all, Bonaparte and Masséna in the Appenine campaign.
    Acton rightly divined the underlying political motive. “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege — were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”
    The love of equality, the hatred of nobility and the tolerance of despotism naturally go together, for, If the central power is weak, the secondary powers will run riot and oppress The Empire was the consummation of the Revolution, not its reversal and Napoléon’s armies gave a code of laws and the principle of equal citizenship to a continent.

  • Thanks Michael!

    Those recommendations are going on my Reading List for next Summer, awesome!

  • Simon Schama’s ‘Citizens’ was published for the bicentenary of the French Revolution. It is regarded as the best work on the subject in the 20th century. The French hated it, calling it ‘Thatcherite history’. Its main thesis, that the violence of the Revolution was inherent, particularly upset them.

    In particular, Schama makes the point that pre-Revolutionary France was not an ossified feudal society but one that was obsessed with modernity. He also stresses that when the revolutionaries destroyed the Church they destroyed the social welfare system with drastic results in the 1790s.

    People tend to mythologize their revolutions. Englishmen did so regarding 1688; Americans still do over theirs (even though many of the mythologizers are well-educated) and the French are no exception.

  • Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.

  • I find a 948 page book to be daunting.

    I am eagerly awaiting the shortest book in history: subject what Obama did right.

  • I want to clarify that the criticism of Simon Schama’s book, Citizen, is my own. He refers to nuns and monks and unfulfilled citizens, it, not meeting any of their potential because they are cloistered. I am not sure if he was be sarcastic, which would be fine, or serious, which would explain my criticism.

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  • My complete recommendations to Tito:

    “In regard to the French Revolution a good starting point is Citizens by Simon Schama:

    http://www.amazon.com/Citizens-A-Chronicle-French-Revolution/dp/0679726101

    Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France still cannot be beat as an analysis of the early Revolution and is eerily prophetic. Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution is quite dated, and written in his usual odd style, but has valuable insights overlooked by many modern commenters.

    The late Henri Lefebvre, although a Marxist, did valuable work on both the French Revolution and Napoleon and I recommend his tomes. His style is dry as dust, but his research is impeccable.”

  • Um, what beach was that?

  • Tito Edwards: I expected you would look more like Padre Pio. You look happy.

  • Tamsin,

    An undisclosed location on the gulf coast of Florida.

    Mary De Voe,

    LOL. Very happy, my wife was there with me, but she had to take the picture. 🙂

  • My brother Mike lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Say “Hi” to him for me.

  • Thank you for fixing the feed!

  • Tito, I share your view of the French Revolution. It lives on in the Social Radicalism that permeates so much of our politics. Social Radicalism is a phenomenon that bears close scrutiny. It transcends the individual with a mindset all its own. If not scrutinized and moderated the mindset morphs into moral chaos. This can happen in slow creeping fashion or with the rapidity of revolution. The French Revolution is a signal example. It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage. Carlyle describes it thus: “On a sudden, the Earth yawns asunder, and amid Tartarean smoke, and glare of fierce brightness, rises SANSCULOTTISM, many-headed, fire-breathing, and asks; What think ye of me?” Do I engage in hyperbole when I compare the presentable, well-clothed and well-intended modern social radical with the maddened mob of Paris? Yes but to make a point. I cross a Robespierre and risk the guillotine, the loss of my life. The modern well-dressed social-radical only asks that I risk my soul. Who does me less violence?

  • John Nolan wrote, “Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.”
    Another Catholic, G K Chesterton described the tragedy of England:
    “A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
    Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
    They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people’s reign:
    And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
    Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
    Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
    In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
    We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
    We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
    The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
    And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
    And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.”
    Hilaire Belloc, too, another Catholic, whose grandfather served in the armies of Napoléon, declared, “Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the Republican Energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”

  • William P Walsh wrote, “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.”
    Certainly, it did start with a bankrupt government, but here is the curiosity: this bankrupt nation found itself able to sustain twenty years of war against the whole of Europe and to raise and maintain an army to fight it. For most of that period it had 700,000 men in the field. As for “open rebellion,” it crushed it wherever it showed itself, in Brittany, in Lyons, in the Vendée. It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.

  • “It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.”

    1. Mass murder against opponents.
    2. Mass repudiation of the debts of the Old Regime.
    3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals that rose to the fore as a result of the Revolution.
    4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preocupation of peoples.

  • Donald R McClarey

    “3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals”

    I would certainly agree with that. There is a sense in which Napoléon, Dumoriez (despite his later defection), Kellerman, Hoche and Kléber were the French Revolution – It is their legacy.

    “4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preoccupation of peoples.”

    The levée en masse and all that it entailed was the achievement of Carnot, but we sometimes forget what an astonishing achievement it was. The army was increased from 645,000 in mid-1793 to 1,500,000 in September 1794. The unbroken succession of victories, from Fleurus in June 1794 to Marengo in June 1800 were all, in a sense, his. He was ably seconded by Lindet, in effect, minister of food, munitions and manufacture.

    The political will and administrative skills needed to raise, equip, train, discipline and provision armies on that scale was enormous and quite without precedent. Much of the credit must go to the Committee of Public Safety, which was, in effect, the War Cabinet and to the brilliant innovation of seconding the “Deputies on Mission” from the National Assembly, as political commissioners to the armies.

  • Michael points out my inattention to the economic situation in France. I admit to a lack of formal study of that dismal science. I have yet in mind the diabolical ingredient of revolution. The first revolution starts with Lucifer’s “Non Serviam” and every revolution carries that sentiment in its bloodstream. The laws of economics are swept away when everything can be stolen from rightful owners. The State can be most efficient when it can murder the opposition. “If God does not exist, all things are permitted”. The Social Radical who looks so benign in his well-tailored clothing can do great injustice with a pen-stroke. If the end justifies the employment of any means, we are living in a state of moral chaos. We are then lunatics pulling down our house upon us. But I sing to the choir, as I sort out my thoughts.

  • I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.

    I am an admirer of Belloc but he was fundamentally wrong on two counts – all his life he believed a) that the French Revolution was a ‘good thing’ and b) Dreyfus was guilty.

  • John Nolan
    I think both Belloc (and Chesterton, too) wrote a great deal in reaction to the way the Revolution and Napoléon were portrayed in England.

    There is a print, which can still be seen in the bar parlours of some country inns, of the handshake of Wellington and Blucher after Waterloo. They must have been produced by the million

    http://tinyurl.com/m42zlof

    Chesterton summed up the whole business pretty well.

    “Our middle classes did well to adorn their parlours with the picture of the “Meeting of Wellington and Blucher.” They should have hung up a companion piece of Pilate and Herod shaking hands. Then, after that meeting amid the ashes of Hougomont, where they dreamed they had trodden out the embers of all democracy, the Prussians rode on before, doing after their kind. After them went that ironical aristocrat out of embittered Ireland, with what thoughts we know; and Blucher, with what thoughts we care not; and his soldiers entered Paris, and stole the sword of Joan of Arc.”

    To both Belloc and Chesterton, the fall of Paris to the Allies could only be compared to the sack of Rome by the Goths.

  • An interesting summary of an enormous matter,re. the French Revolution: “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.” – William P. Walsh
    However, from whence came the bitterly murderous hatred of the Catholic Faith and its individual servants, only the abyss could cough up that demon.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Chesterton wrote ‘The Crimes of England’ in 1916. It’s a polemic, brilliant in parts, but it ain’t history. The author’s unreasoning ‘Teutonophobia’, his withering scorn for Pitt, Castlereagh and Peel (in contrast with his hero-worship of Charles James Fox) and his take on the French Revolution and Bonaparte simply parade his prejudices. Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights, especially since French armies had looted and plundered their way across Europe for the previous twenty years. Historical method requires conclusions to be based on evidence. Both Belloc and Chesterton were counter-historical, if not positively anti-historical. They rightly challenged the consensus of the Whig historians, but what they put in its place was too intuitive and subjective. Since it did not rely on evidence it could be sometimes right, but more often wrong.

    Simon Schama’s book is revisionist, not least in that he uses the narrative approach which was unfashionable in 1989 (Orlando Figes does the same in his study of the Russian Revolution ‘A People’s Tragedy’). But both men are historians; Belloc and Chesterton, for all their brilliance, were not.

  • The errors of the french revolution came from somewhere!
    The protestant reformation shaped Europe and the world in ways we are still discerning. That “reformation” preceded the Enlightenment, which came to the “spirit” of revoltion of the 18 and 19 centuries everything from the very un- “reason”able reign of terror to marx to the culture kampf– and what follows in russia and mexico and china and on and on and on

  • John Nolan wrote, “Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights…”
    Hardly. In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.
    Belloc’s evaluation of the Revolution is not all that different from the great French historian of the Revolution, Louis Blanc. Blanc, one recalls, during his exile in London (he had fought on the barricades during les journées de juin 1848), had access to Croker’s unrivalled collection of manuscripts and pamphlets.
    Acton summarises Blanc’s principle: ”He desires government to be so constituted that it may do everything for the people, not so restricted that it can do no injury to minorities. The masses have more to suffer from abuse of wealth than from abuse of power, and need protection by the State, not against it. Power, in the proper hands, acting for the whole, must not be restrained in the interest of a part.” That was also the view of the great Dominican, Lacordaire, “Between the weak and the strong, between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, it is freedom which oppresses and the law which sets free.”
    This was a principle Belloc and Chesterton would have heartily endorsed. It is the negation of Liberalism and its doctrine of laissez-faire.

  • “In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.”

    Please. Even as hyperbole that is over the circus top. The French Revolution was a complex historical event, but by the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times, one with delusions of grandeur. It was a very good thing for the peace of Europe that Napoleon fell in 1814 and that he was soundly thrashed in 1815 at Waterloo which brought an end to his “Golden Oldies” attempt at a Bonaparte revival.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “[B]y the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times.”
    That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne. As Chesterton said, “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Swinburn’s “Sea-Eagle of English feather”) understood:
    “And kings crept out again to feel the sun.
    The kings crept out — the peoples sat at home.
    And finding the long-invocated peace
    (A pall embroidered with worn images
    Of rights divine) too scant to cover doom
    Such as they suffered, cursed the corn that grew
    Rankly, to bitter bread, on Waterloo.”

    Those “carrion kings, unsheeted and unmasked,” described by Michelet, the great historian of the Revolution.

  • “That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne”

    Augustus was a military dictator, the last man standing of the ambitious warlords/politicians who murdered the dying Republic. Charlemagne was not a military dictator but the scion of a family that had been running the chief of the Frankish states for some time. Napoleon owed his position to his military brilliance and his willingness to use military force against civilian rule and nothing more.

    “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”

    That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.

  • M P-S, the ‘barbarians from beyond the Rhine’ produced Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to name but a few. I’m sure those German citizens, living in their peaceful towns and villages, often in the shadow of old-established monasteries on which the local economy depended and which were soon to be destroyed, were overjoyed at the arrival of Revolutionary French armies with their portable guillotines. Germany in the eighteenth century was civilized in the real sense that the local ‘civitas’ enforced its own laws for the benefit of the citizens. It is telling that the incidence of capital punishment in the German states was far lower than in France or England.

    Michael, get off your hobby-horse and face facts. Bonaparte has a good record when it comes to establishing (or more correctly re-establishing, since the Revolution had destroyed much) institutions in France; but he also erected a police state. His hubristic lust for conquest led (as in the case of Hitler, with whom he has much in common) to eventual nemesis. And France only recovered its 1789 levels of foreign trade in the 1830s by which time Britain had far outstripped it.

  • “I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.”
    .
    The sovereign personhood of the newly begotten human being (His body and his soul) constitutes the nation from the very first moment of existence. His absolute moral and legal innocence are the standard of Justice and the compelling interest of the state in its duty to deliver Justice and in protecting the newly begotten human being. Francisco Suarez says that: “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.”
    .
    The newly begotten human being who constitutes the state from the very first moment of his existence and through his sovereign personhood endowed by “their Creator” is the citizen. At birth the new citizen is given documents to prove his citizenship and a tax bill.
    .
    The French Revolution must have been dealing with the loss and denial of citizenship by the state as in “persona non grata”. Religious persons, priests and nuns, do not forfeit or surrender their God-given sovereign personhood and/or citizenship by answering their vocation. A higher calling, in fact, purifies their citizenship and brings “the Blessings of Liberty”.
    .
    It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth.
    .
    This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.

  • Donald R McCleary wrote, “’ French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.’ – That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.”

    And yet it was, in effect, endorsed by Walter Bagehot, a man politically poles apart from Chesterton. Writing of the nephew, that shrewd cynic observed, “The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas: anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, ‘Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?’ the inquiry comes out thus—’Will you be governed in a way you understand, or will you be governed in a way you do not understand?’ The issue was put to the French people; they were asked, ‘Will you be governed by Louis Napoleon, or will you be governed by an assembly?’ The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.'”

  • “The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.’”

    Preposterous. The plebiscite of 1851 was instituted only after wannabe Napoleon had instituted repression. It had as much validity as one of Stalin’s show trials in the thirties. Like his much greater uncle, wannabe Napoleon owed his imitation imperial title, eventually granted him officially through another plebiscite with an unimaginative 97% yes vote, to the bayonets he controlled rather than the ballots he manufactured in pretend plebiscites.

  • Donald R McClarey
    Louis Napoléon may not have been supported by a numerical majority of the nation, that’s as may be; but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion—determinant in intensity and in weight, that is, as well as in numbers. That was true of his uncle also and it needed no plebiscite to establish this obvious truth.

  • “but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion”

    Nope, like his uncle he had control of the military and crushed all opposition. Speculations about his “true” popularity among the people or the elite are meaningless when he made certain that his opposition had no voice.

  • Mary De Voe’s, “It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth. . This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.”, nails it.
    In America today, the newly begotten human being is no longer protected, the person who is religious, a veteran, a supporter of Constitutional rights is a potential domestic terrorist. Remember Andrew Cuomo’s saying that a supporter of the Second Amendment has no place in New York State. If he becomes President, that may apply to the whole country.

  • I started to watch Simon Schamas tv program about judiasm since i enjoyed his shows about England. I caught an episode in the middle and what amazed me was that the program seemed more of a rant against the injustices perpetrated upon the Jews by Christians than a true unbiased history of Judaism.
    I was a bit shocked but it may explain this “book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens “

Lessons For America From the European Fiscal Meltdown

Monday, November 21, AD 2011

Another fine econ 101 video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.   This video exlores the lessons that America can learn from the current European fiscal and debt crisis.

The lessons are very simple:

1.  Higher taxes lead to higher government expenditure and not reduction of government debt.

2.  A value added tax is a recipe for run-away government expenditure.

3.   A welfare state breeds dependency.

4.   Fiscal reform and reduction of government expenditure is impossible once more people are living off the government than are paying taxes to support the government.

5.   Bailouts do not work.

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5 Responses to Lessons For America From the European Fiscal Meltdown

  • Let a candidate take those exact 5 points and build a platform of specifics for election 2012, using campaign funds to hire this young student with a clear, studied vision as advisor in chief. Why let history repeat itself.

    The person talking to the curtains in the opening video, who was pooling (how gross!)guns, religion, and antipathy as a result of frustration with government, isn’t on a path to avoid crippling what’s left of the human spirit.

    While the OWS are still enmass, wouldn’t it be great for them to have the benefit of this 7:05 minute lesson in Econ 101 for America?

  • It is less complicated.

    When government (taxes and spending) grows faster than GDP there will be a disaster.

    PM: It won’t work. They have been taught what to think (brainwashed), not how to think. While we have them all in one place, . . .

    Bray for peace!

  • Wow !!
    She had my vote well before the economics started 😉

    Seems that’s a lesson that most western governments need to take on board, but are turning a blind eye to.

  • 1. No
    2. No
    3. No
    4. No
    5. No

  • Art,

    Care to elaborate?

German Economist: America Is Becoming Too European

Friday, September 3, AD 2010

I found this piece from the English-language edition of Der Spiegel by University of Hamburg economics professor Thomas Straughaar very interest, in part because it reads very much as written by someone who is looking at American history and culture from the outside, yet trying to understand it for what it is. A key passage from the second page:

This raises a crucial question: Is the US economy perhaps suffering less from an economic downturn and more from a serious structural problem? It seems plausible that the American economy has lost its belief in American principles. People no longer have confidence in the self-healing forces of the private sector, and the reliance on self-help and self-regulation to solve problems no longer exists.

The opposite strategy, one that seeks to treat the American patient with more government, is risky — because it does not fit in with America’s image of itself.

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4 Responses to German Economist: America Is Becoming Too European

  • I’d say the author has a better understanding of this country than many Americans do.

    The author fears that if America adopts European ways, “the American age will have really come to an end.”

    But the good professor fears this because he, unlike large numbers of leftists both here and in Europe, actually likes America. He sees the “The American Age” as a positive. The end of the American Age is precisely the result the left is after and when you look at it from that perspective, Obama’s not doing a bad job.

    America is evil in leftist eyes because – oh, heck, all you have to do is read Vox Nova and you’ll have the reasons. The secular left would add a few other reasons to loathe the US – far too many “Christianist” yokels who have silly qualms about abortion and gay marriage. These people never seem to ask themselves if the American Era might be preferable to a Chinese Era, or an era in which there is no superpower at all, just an ineffectual UN in thrall to states like North Korea and Iran and state-funded terrorist groups.

    Unless we get a grip on ourselves and steer back from the cliff’s edge, we may indeed find ourselves living out one of those 2 scenarios. And my bet is that many lives – not just American lives by any means – would once again become nasty, brutish and short, and the world would find itself yearning for the good old days of the American era.

    Another thing: I have noticed that Euro-admiring lefties are pretty good at ignoring aspects of Europe they disagree with. They’ll tout Europe’s smaller cars (it would be pretty difficult to maneuver a Explorer through narrow medieval streets) and railway system, but not, say, France’s nuclear energy program. Or they’ll praise more relaxed attitudes about adulterous politicians or public nudity, but when you mention that no European country allows partial birth abortions – well, that’s one example of American “exceptionalism” they don’t mind at all.

  • B…b…b….but Paul Krugman says …

  • [email protected]!

  • I’m always weary of these cultural arguments. How’s homogeneous state-friendly Greece doing?

Senator Kay Hagan Just Does Not Get It

Saturday, August 21, AD 2010

Miss Kay Hagan is doing a poor job of defending the “merits” of ObamaCare to a mother who has sick children.  In addition to her sick children, her and her husbands benefits have been cut down or eliminated in order to comply with ObamaCare.

Yet Miss Hagan insists on pushing for more European style socialism.

(Hat Tip:  Culture War Notes)

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2 Responses to Senator Kay Hagan Just Does Not Get It

  • She had to pass the bill so we could see what was in it.

    Remember in November.

  • I have just returned from a week’s vacation, staying with long-time friends in Switzerland.

    Here is what I know about their healthcare system: (My friends are, BTW, very happy with their health care).

    First-of-all, health insurance in Switzerland is absolutely mandatory! Virtually no exceptions!

    And, no, it’s not “Socialized Medicine”.

    You buy health insurance from private insurance companies and you go to your own private physician/health care provider. Your monthly premium can vary based on deductibles which you choose.

    Insurance companies cannot by law make a profit on the basic coverage which they must offer to all. And applicants cannot be rejected based on prior medical conditions.

    Where insurers can make a profit is on supplementary coverage, such as
    private rooms, etc.

    And, yes, there are co-pays.

    In Switzerland there is no Medicare.

    My friends are both in their late sixties and they participate in the mandatory insurance to the tune of what we here in the USA pay, about $13K per year. This includes their daughter who lives in Africa, three people.

    For the most part employers do not provide tax-favored medical insurance coverage to employees unlike here in the USA.

    One more thing: There is a government subsidy to those people whose insurance costs more than 8% of their income.

    Would this work in the USA?

When You Vote Democrat, Your Taxes Get Raised

Monday, May 31, AD 2010

The Governors office and both chambers of the Washington State legislature are currently under Democratic control. Years of spending on European style socialist programs have created a budget deficit. The Democrats have decided instead of cutting or trimming their state programs whey will instead add a beer tax (and more) to compensate for the budget shortfall.

Republicans don’t have all the answers either.  But you know (most times) it won’t be taxes that they turn to to solve a budget deficit.

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13 Responses to When You Vote Democrat, Your Taxes Get Raised

  • If taxes were raised to 90% but abortion would be entirely stopped, would you support the tax party or the anti-abortion party?

  • That’s a big “if”.

    But that in most likelihood not ever happen.

  • Plus, I’m pretty sure if you vote democrat you won’t get into Heaven.

  • We need to return to the good ol days of fiscal responsibility we had under Bush.

  • In 15 glorious months, President Quis Ut Deus has achieved: one-in-six Americans unemployed or underemployed. One-in-ten mortgages delinquent. One-in-four mortgage balances higher than the home value. One-in-ten mortgaged homes will be repossessed after the Obaguvmint cuts the loan modification masquerades. One-in-four credit card balances being written off. ETC.

    All this economic achhievement through $800 billion in federal fiscal stimulus (the Chineses fiscal stimulus worked, the dems’ went to pay dem voters/prop bankrupt blue states) and $1.25 trillion in worthless mortgage securities bought by the Fed – that has just ended. Not to mention destructive (same as the bubble run-up) monetary policy actions . . . When the “chickens come home to roost”, we will hold responsible the Dems.

    Next year the Dem powers (controlled congress 39 months) will solve all of the above. The president and Pelosi/Reid will end the evil tax cuts for the rich: Look out below!

    And, in 2013 they’ll add 30 million to government health care entitlement programs and save $$$ billions (ya’ think?). And, generate all the electricity people need with sunbeams and zephyrs. So, they can tax the crap out of oil and gas.

    While he was saving the economy, Obama found the ten minutes he needed to save the Gulf Coast from oil spill devastation – 40+ days and nothing.

    All according to plan objectives: destroy the unjust, racist private sector and reduce citizens to an equal level of poverty and dependency.

    I have the answer: raise taxes!!!!!

  • I’m glad there is an admission that the political right doesn’t have all the answers either.

    To the point — with a Republican President and a Republican Congress there was an increase of public funding of abortion, an increase in the size of government, and a budget-busting foreign policy agenda. Has President Obama and the Democrats done anything to slow this train wreck? No. Will they? Probably not. Do they deserve criticism? Most certainly.

    But this is not merely a Democratic problem. A great number of the same Republican politicians that would be re-elected this November and many of whom would become national leaders are the same figures who were supporters of the Bush Administration, supporters of deficit-spending, and a number of which who voted for 8 years for massive funding of Planned Parenthood without any pro-life amendments through Title X and other programs — and, of course, the National Right to Life’s legislative hawks were out playing cards somewhere, surely only concerned with what the Democrats are doing.

    Every social program has its lobbyists and defenders. Some programs are legitimate and I don’t oppose them at all; others are not. Some I think should be consolidated, others terminated, and some continued. But it is the demand for social programs but a love for low taxation (no revenue) that has created the budget crisis — not just the spending.

    In California where voters tend not to oppose, in principle, social spending, there is also a law — passed by an amendment on the ballot — that does not allow taxes to be raised unless there is a 2/3 majority in both chambers of the California congressional legislature which is terribly difficult. In other words, this is a two-sided problem. So with a number points of distinctions, I do agree with this post.

    Though I do pray that those concerned about fiscal matters will join me when there is a Republican majority in Congress and a Republican president and oppose the growth and massive spending of American imperialism.

    – We spend more on defense than the next 10 nations combined.
    – Our Navy exceeds in firepower the next 13 navies combined. We have 100,000 troops in Iraq, 100,000 (with the arrival of additional troops in Afghanistan), 28,000 in Korea, 35,000 in Japan, and 50,000 Germany. Do we actually need a presence with such great number in the last three countries mentioned?
    – According to the DOD, there are 716 (or more — some may not be counted because they are secret facilities) U.S. bases in 38 countries.
    – According to the DOD’s “Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country” there are U.S. troops in 148 countries and 11 territories.
    – We spend $1 trillion dollars a year for the Pentagon, two wars, foreign aid to allies, 16 intelligence agencies, scores of thousands of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our embassies. Much of this spending is on “the credit card” and we are currently building a $1 billion dollar embassy in London, England in the midst of this economic downturn. Do all of these efforts, all of these facilities, et al, constitute something — every measure of it — that is essential to our security?

    So here’s an idea — it is not a new one — but it is a good one. Republicans will fight new taxes and Democrats will fight to save social programs. So why don’t we gut the American empire?

    Does it make sense that we borrow billions and billions from Europe, Japan, and the Gulf states to defend those same countries? Why borrow billions from China to defend the rest of Asia from China? It is absurd to borrow from all over the world to be defenders of the world.

    Accuse Democrats until you’re blue of being socialist utopians that want to rob Peter to pay Paul. You might be able to make that claim with credibility if you are too alarmed that the Republicans now are on a war-without-end Wilsonian crusade with great budget-busting spending that has as its declared utopian goal of “ending tyranny” in our world and “promoting freedom” — an objective that obviously cannot be achieved in its totality in a world with sin and must surely it won’t be achieved through external force or solely through the use of arms.

    In short, vote Republican and you too will see a budget deficit and war without end. So let’s band together behind a coherent position and reform the parties from within.

  • …and war without end…

    How very silly – in addition to being historically inaccurate.

  • daledog,

    The point was meant to be hyperbolic — and I was not referring to historical precedent (Democratic presidents have launched more wars, surely) but the current political reality underscored by exaggeration. Objectives such as “defeating terrorism,” “fighting tyranny,” and “promoting freedom” are concepts not too far apart from that of “fighting poverty” and “combating racism.” In other words, these long-term objectives are not tangible, feasible goals (versus short-term goals such as “stabilize Iraq and withdraw”) and if the use of arms is an integral strategy in our foreign policy on such matters, then the Republicans will give us more war. If the terrorists move from Afghanistan into Pakistan or we catch them Iran, then we will have to follow them there and wage war against them and in the process nation-build where we’ve wrecked havoc — and this is a costly endeavor and it certainly has its advocates, McCain and Lieberman particularly.

    That was my point.

  • with a Republican President and a Republican Congress there was an increase of public funding of abortion

    ??

  • No Public Funding of Abortion: Myth or Status Quo?:

    In recent months, primarily due to the health care debate, much attention has been given to the contentious issue of public funding of abortion. Though it is true that the status quo, for the most part, has been not to directly subsidize abortion, Americans have been both directly and indirectly subsidizing abortion in a number of ways virtually since its legalization in 1973…

    …During the nominally pro-life Bush Administration, there was considerable federal funding of abortion. Planned Parenthood received funding through the Title XIX (Medicaid) and Title X appropriations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, gaining over $50 million per year through each program.

    The Title X appropriation which funds a “comprehensive” sex education and contraception program is particularly alarming. Its prime recipients are Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations and facilities. While Title X monies cannot be used directly to fund abortions by organizations such as Planned Parenthood who provide abortions, the increase of available funds can be used to offset operational costs and free up resources that can be used to promote and expand abortion services. For the fiscal year 2008, the tax-exempt “non-profit” abortion provider Planned Parenthood reported taking in $1.0381 billion dollars in revenues. More than a third of Planned Parenthood’s budget (roughly $350 million) came from grants from the federal government. In other words, taxpayers directly underwrite abortion by underwriting abortion providers.

    Despite this obvious problem, President Bush signed the appropriations bill increasing the Title X funding level to $265 million, a total of $11 million more than it had been in the last year of the Clinton Administration. In 2004 President Bush signed the annual appropriations bill increasing Title X funding to $280 million, a $26 million increase over his first term. After the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006, Title X received its largest funding increase in 35 years, totaling $310 million with the signature of the then-Republican president.

    In the 1980s, President Reagan issued an executive order clarifying the statute prohibiting Title X funds cannot subsidize abortions to also mean “that Title X recipients may not refer for abortion or combine family planning services with abortion services.” Thus, under the Reagan Administration, health care professionals working in Title X-funded clinics were prohibiting from providing any abortion-related information or referrals. This policy was continued by President George H.W. Bush and was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991. The executive order, however, was rescinded by President Clinton.

    This regulation was surprisingly never reinstated by President Bush; federal appropriations to the Title X program increased every year underwriting the abortion business with taxpayer dollars, with the majority of those increases occurring with a Republican (and an allegedly pro-life) majority in Congress and all on the watch of a nominally pro-life Republican president.

    By no stretch of the imagination could one imagine any of this changing during the Obama Administration. The current trend has continued, with the 2009 and 2010 Title X appropriations totaling $312 million and $317 million, respectively. President Obama in his 2011 budget proposal has suggested a $10 million increase in Title X spending, a total of $327 million.

    It is worth noting that Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced an amendment to the 2009 HHS Appropriations bill intended to de-fund Planned Parenthood. The amendment read: “None of the funds made available under this Act shall be available to Planned Parenthood for any purpose under Title X of the Public Health Services Act.” The amendment (surprisingly) passed out of committee but failed on a floor vote.

    Unfortunately a few pro-life Democrats did not vote in favor of the Pence amendment, though many did. This issue—disunity in terms of congressional pro-life votes—has become quite a stumbling block for pro-life unity that must seriously and immediately addressed. This need not be downplayed nor need it be exaggerated—there are both wavering as well as courageous pro-life Democrats in Congress.

    In the same instance, one must wonder why is it that the Pence amendment or another equally pro-life measure was not enacted in the six years of a Republican majority to ensure that organizations that provide or refer for abortions did not receive Title X funding? It is almost certain there were a sufficient number of yes-votes. This might be a cynical point (as well as true one) but it seems that the Republicans have gotten too comfortable not forcing the abortion issue by avoiding “showdowns” or any sort of direct confrontation that does not seem to carry with it any sort of political capital that benefit’s the party. In other words, it is not surprising (to a skeptical mind like my own) that Rep. Mike Pence, no matter how sincerely pro-life he may be, would offer such an amendment with a pro-abortion majority in Congress. There is political capital in the amendment’s victory as well as its failure—it is but another issue that the GOP can use against the Democrats. At the very least, the amendment distracts from the enormous sums that Planned Parenthood was receiving under a Republican President and congressional majority. If this is true, there is nothing particularly heroic about the amendment; it is nothing more than bait for pro-life voters.

  • So why don’t we gut the American empire?

    Because there is no American empire.

  • I obviously don’t mean “American empire” in a strictly historical use of the term “empire.”

    Though I’m not sure if you insist on nit-picking my arguments with distinctions instead of substantially undermining it — unless my argument is, for the most part, reasonable.

  • I am not nitpicking over your terminology, Eric. There is a good deal of blatherskite in ‘palaeo-conservative’, libertarian, and social antiquarian discourse (see ‘Front Porch Republic’) about ’empire’ and ‘resistance to empire’. They are not contending with anything outside their own heads. You use their words.

    If I recall correctly, our balance of payments deficit on current account has, since 1982, usually run to about 4% of gross domestic product. That is a measure of the extent to which we are borrowing abroad for our various objects – private consumption, investment, and public consumption.

    Public expenditure is a compound of government purchases of goods and services and transfer payments. Private consumption amounts generally to around two-thirds of gross domestic product. Expenditure on the military and the intelligence services has varied between 3.5% and 8% since 1982, and now stands at around 5%. Military expenditure makes but a modest contribution as to why you are ‘living beyond your means’. There is, however, no secular trend in living memory with regard to the devotion of productive resources to the military. About 10% of domestic product was devoted to the military in 1955. By contrast, the medical-industrial complex accounted for 5% of domestic product in 1960 and 16% today. You made a complaint about the size of our Navy. The personnel strength of the U.S. Navy is the smallest it has been since 1941.

    Bringing ends and means in balance requires financing your public consumption and transfer payments from tax revenues and penalizing private consumption with the tax code. Right now, we face acute problems with fiscal imbalances brought on by an exceptional situation in the economy, so the military budget is an inviting target. The thing is, you only have banking crises once every fifty or sixty years or so in this country. As a rule, the level of military expenditure we have had over the last decade is quite sustainable. The economic arguments against ’empire’, such as it is, are bogus.

Why the Fiscal Lunacy?

Monday, April 19, AD 2010

One of my favorite living historians is Victor Davis Hanson.  I have read every book he has written and most of his articles.  Trained as a classicist and historian of antiquity, he has written on a broad range of topics, from the hoplites of ancient Greece, ancient Greek agriculture, a searching examination of the Peloponnesian War, the farming crisis of the 80’s, the history of warfare and culture, the teaching of the classics and the debacle of our non-policy on immigration, and I have been astonished at how skillfully this man writes and with what intelligence, and very dry humor, he cuts to the essence of whatever subject he addresses.  He moonlights as a pundit on current events and in that capacity I have found a recent column of his intriguing on the question of just why the Obama administration is hellbent on compiling such huge annual deficits.  Here is a portion of the column:

We are going to pile up another $3 trillion in national debt in just the first two years of the Obama administration. If the annual deficit should sink below $1.5 trillion, it will be called fiscal sobriety.

Why, when we owe $12 trillion, would the Obama administration set out budgets that will ensure our collective debt climbs to $20 trillion? Why are we borrowing more money, when Medicare, Social Security, the Postal Service, Amtrak, etc. are all insolvent as it is?

What is the logic behind something so clearly unhinged?

I present seven alternative reasons — some overlapping — why the present government is hell-bent on doubling the national debt in eight years. Either one, or all, or some, or none, of the below explain Obama’s peculiar frenzied spending.

1) Absolutely moral and necessary?

The country is in need of massive more entitlements for our destitute and near to poor. Government is not big, but indeed too small to meet its moral obligations. Deficits are merely record-keeping. Throwing trillions into the economy will also help us all recover, by getting us moving again and inflating the currency. And we can pay the interest easily over the next 50 years. Just think another World War II era — all the time.

So big spending and borrowing are genuine efforts of true believers to make us safe, secure, and happy.

2) “Gorge the beast”

The spending per se is not so important, as the idea of deficits in general will ensure higher taxes. Nationalized health care, cap and trade, new initiatives in education, more stimulus — all that and more is less important than the fact that huge defects will require huge new taxes, primarily from the upper-classes. I see no reason why the total bite from state income, federal income, payroll, and health care taxes cannot soon in theory climb to 70% of some incomes (e.g., 10% state, 15.3% FICA, 40% federal, 3-5% health care). In other words, “redistributive change” is the primary goal. This aim is premised on the notion that income is a construct, if not unfairly calibrated, then at least capriciously determined — requiring the more intelligent in the technocracy to even out things and ensure an equality of result. After all, why should the leisured hedge-funder make all that more after taxes than the more noble waitress?

So big spending and borrowing mean big deficits, and that means taxing the greedy and giving their ill-gotten gains to the needy.

3) Big Brother?

Or does rampant borrowing for government spending reflect our despair over the inability of millions to know what is best for themselves? For democracy to work, all of us must fully participate. But because of endemic racism, sexism, class bias, and historical prejudices, millions of Americans do not have access to adequate education and enlightenment. Therefore, a particular technocratic class, with requisite skill and singular humanity, has taken it upon themselves to ensure everyone gets a fair shake — if only government at last has the adequate resources to fix things. If it proves problematic for one to register and vote, then there will be a program to make 100% participation possible. If some of us are too heavy and too chair-bound, we can be taught what and how to eat. If some of us do not study, we can adjust academic standards accordingly. In one does something unwise, like buying a plasma TV rather than a catastrophic health care plan, then we still can ensure he is covered. In other words, an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-moral guardian class requires resources to finish the promise of participatory America. After all, why would we allow the concrete contractor to “keep” 70% of his income only to blow it on worthless things like jet skis or a Hummer in his garage or a fountain in his yard — when a far wiser, more ethical someone like Van Jones could far more logically put that now wasted capital to use for the betterment of the far more needy?

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11 Responses to Why the Fiscal Lunacy?

  • The rationale for the “stimulus” is rooted in Keynesian economics. The problem with this one as opposed to previous ones is rather than using the stimulus to kick start a stalled economy, combined with Obama’s other policies such as Gov’t takeover of major parts of the economy such as Fannie & Freddie, AIG, GM etc, health care reform, Cap & Trade etc. together they are going to have the opposite effect. The Federal Gov’t now owns 80% of the mortgages in the US. So it is a double whammy. There is, and will be will be no “recovery”.

    The current “recovery” is a dead cat bounce. Bernanke and Geithner’s pronouncements that the “recession” is over is the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace for our time” speech right before Germany invaded Poland. We are in the eye of a hurricane right now and the second half is going to be worse than the first because the Fed is out of bullets. The next shoe will be the collapse of the dollar (brought about on purpose) and the introduction of a regional (Amero) or international currency (SDR’s). Anything denominated in dollars will be bought out out for pennies on the dollar.

    Obama is just a tool of the gang that surrounds him to tank the economy on purpose to bring about the NWO. Obama isn’t smart enough to think this stuff up on his own, but then the same could be said for Bush who lost it with me after telling America to “go shopping” after 9-11. In reality, this has all slowly been taking place since the end of WW 1. We’re just lucky enough to be there for the climax.

  • Given that 53 cents of every dollar of income taxes goes to support current and past military misadventures, I think that VDH needs to reexamine the real cause of America’s fiscal insolvency.

    It’s also worth pointing out that Obama, whatever else he is doing, is set to lower the deficit from Bush’s time in office.

  • “It’s also worth pointing out that Obama, whatever else he is doing, is set to lower the deficit from Bush’s time in office.”

    ?!

  • Given that 53 cents of every dollar of income taxes goes to support current and past military misadventures

    Why not go one better and use Maryland sales tax revenue as your denominator?

    I was not aware that any portion of my New York State income tax payments were devoted to ‘past and present military adventures’. (Though I rather do like the idea of Gov. Patterson calling out the National Guard to arrest the state legislature and stuff them in the Albany County Jail, now that you mention it).

    About 5% of Gross Domestic Product is devoted to military expenditure. (A decade ago, the proportion was about 3.5%). Prior to the recent federal spending binge, about 14% of all public expenditure was devoted to the military. If you wish to apportion debt service costs among other other sorts of expenditure, perhaps 16% of public expenditure was so devoted. That would be, ahem, the sum of costs for maintaining the military, not the costs attributable to ‘past and present military adventures’. (Unless it be your contention that military expenditure itself is illegitimate).

  • We must live in the United States of Topsy Turvy Land. The projected deficit for 2010 (Obama’s second year in office) which was three times as large as Bush’s last deficit *may* turn out to be only 2.5 times as Bush’s last deficit and somehow we’re to consider Obama to have fixed Bush’s mismanagement? Nevermind that Obama’s own budget initiatives project ever increasing deficits YoY.

  • So wj’s citation was an assertion made by the Obama administration that still leaves the deficit higher than it was when Bush was in office.

    Next time you might want to read the sources before linking to them.

  • As I understand it, Obama inherited the 1.3 trillion dollar deficit from the Bush administration, and so it is misleading to attribute the ballooning deficit to his policies alone, which is all I intended to say. If you look at the CBO forecast (and I acknowledge that many deny the accuracy of the CBO), Obama’s budget *will* lower deficit’s longterm. Of course, I am not a supporter of Obama, and it is not terribly important to me whether is is moderately more or less fiscally insane than Bush; but it is fair to point out that the current deficit problem is not *entirely* due to his own recklessness.

    Art Deco: what about this analysis is wrong: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18659

  • That figure includes the Pentagon budget request of $717 billion, plus an estimated $200 billion in supplemental funding (called “overseas contingency funding” in euphemistic White House-speak), to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, some $40 billion or more in “black box” intelligence agency funding, $94 billion in non-DOD military spending (that would include stuff like military activies funded through NASA, military spending by the State Department, etc., miilitary-related activities within the Dept. of Homeland Security, etc.), $123 billion in veterans benefits and health care spending, and $400 billion in interest on debt raised to pay for prior wars and the standing military during peacetime (whatever that is!).

    What is wrong is that this fellow pads the payroll in various ways by adding the budgets of the intelligence services, the space program, veterans hospitals, and the federal police; and pads it further by attributing the entire charge for service on the federal debt to military expenditure, as if there were no domestic expenditure whatsoever. He then further manipulates his figures by expressing these charges as a ratio of federal income tax revenue, even though north of 40% of public expenditure is by state and local governments and most federal expenditure is financed out of Social Security taxes and bond sales. But you knew that.

  • Thank you gentlemen. This thread, thus far, is a classic example of what robust combox debate should be!

  • One thing I like very much about VDH is that he is not only a professor, but a farmer. He and his brother run a California raisin farm that has been in the family for 4 generations. So his great store of academic learning is balanced by the fact that he is familiar with the ordinary, down-to-earth concerns of farming folk.

    The difference between military spending and spending on social programs is that I see defense spending as a legitimate function of the federal government. Obamacare is another matter entirely. I certainly think provision should be made for those unable to obtain healthcare for themselves. I don’t believe the federal government should be in the business of providing it for all of us, whether we want it or not.

Senator Nelson Sells Out Unborn, Health Care Bill Heads to Vote

Saturday, December 19, AD 2009

(Updates at the bottom of this article.)

Harry Reid was able to make huge concessions to the state of Nebraska and bought Senator Ben Nelson’s vote a la Mary Landrieu.  The vote seems headed to the floor with all 60 votes secured to impose on American’s draconian laws that would hike insurance rates and begin the downward slope towards European style socialism.

Nelson secured full federal funding for his state to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Other states must pay a small portion of the additional cost. He won concessions for qualifying nonprofit insurers and for Medigap providers from a new insurance tax. He also was able to roll back cuts to health savings accounts.

What’s in the bill that I’m aware of?  I’ve broken down the Washington Post article almost verbatim below:

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29 Responses to Senator Nelson Sells Out Unborn, Health Care Bill Heads to Vote

  • Senator Nelson said this, this morning:

    “Let me be clear. This cloture vote is based on the full understanding that there will be a limited conference between the Senate and the House.

    If there are material changes in that conference report different from this bill that adversely affect the agreement, I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote.

    Let me repeat it: I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes to this agreement in the conference report. And I will vote against it if that is the case.”

    I am not thrilled with his decision. I am happy that his mailbox is full and so is Senator Casey’s. But this is not a done deal. The legislation has to be reconciled — the slightest appeasement of liberals in the House can kill this thing in the Senate. Better yet, the abortion language is not going to fly well in the House. The first go round there were 64 Democrats to vote for the Stupak amendment and at the end of the day with 39 Democrats voting “NO”. To see this thing fail, there needs to be merely 2 upset Democrats to vote the other way.

    This isn’t over.

    Moreover, I am not surprised. Recent stories in the press suggest that Senator Nelson was being threatened. Maybe they were true. Maybe they weren’t.

    Either way, hopefully this will not succeed.

  • Eric,

    I think you’re absolutely right on this. I think Stupak and the pro-life Dems in the House will hold the line on this.

  • Let’s see. The Democrats, if they can pass this stripped down bill through the Senate, still have to convince the House Dems to scrap their much more ambitious bill. Then there will be a huge fight over the Stupak amendment.

    If this bill passes it will then not be fully implemented until 2014, coincidentally, I am sure, two years after the Presidential election of 2012.

    I do have to hand it to the Dems if they pass this for doing what I considered impossible. They have crafted a bill which is opposed by a majority of the American people, liberal Democrats and virtually all Republicans. They have all the signals known to political man flashing red and saying that this is a one way ticket to a crushing defeat in 2010. Passage of this bill will depress liberal Democrats, the base of the Democrat party, unify and inflame Republicans, and cause Independents to desert the party of the donkey en masse. Never has a political party in my lifetime labored so strenuously to implement a policy that guarantees them an extended vacation in the political wilderness. Democrats have nothing on Lemmings at the moment when it comes to survival instict.

  • I am actually more surprised that Lieberman is voting “Yes.”

    Actually I am shocked they killed the public option.

    ALL THIS POLITICAL AMNESIA DRIVES ME CRAZY!

    We have Republicans defending Medicare (since when?!) and Democrats supporting insurance companies offering national plans that do not have to adhere to state laws (what the…?)

    Our Congressmen need to have their heads examined.

  • Wait…how do they expect to get a bill without a public option through the House?

  • lol Eric, good question. You already have some Dems who pledged to vote it down if abortion funding was scrapped… imagine what they will do with no public option!?

    This whole thing is going to fall apart.

  • I’m trying to understand the bill. So states will able to prohibit subsidized plans from covering abortion. In those states that will allow abortion coverage, individuals will be able to purchase abortion coverage on top of their regular coverage.

    If that’s right, I don’t see what’s so objectionable. Sure, it’s not as good as barring coverage altogether but this is not bad. Those who want abortion coverage will have to pay extra for it. In practice, few would buy the supplemental abortion insurance.

  • I am not sure if that’s how it works. I read something a moment ago suggesting people would have to send two checks — one for abortion coverage, the other for the whole policy. I think it is still account gymnastics.

    I am not sure.

  • So it depends on whether it’ll be the individual’s choice or the insurer’s choice. If the individual gets to choose whether to send that abortion check, this bill isn’t so bad. If everyone has to pay the same premium and the insurers segregate it, that’s unacceptable.

    Need more clarity.

  • Any reaction from the USCCB on this one???

  • Your blog managed to list on google search for reaction to the health care debate.

    As an Irish Catholic who use to be republican, its always distressing to encounter members of holy church who have been utterly beguiled by the evangelical right, I pray for such folks.

    While the issue of abortion is a serious moral lapse in our society, the lies and deception of the GOP and evangelicals pose a more serious danger to both the republic and freedom of faith.

    Pettifogging health care as an element of the debate over abortion is rank hypocrisy and not worthy of big or little C catholicism.

    One can only hope other Catholics who have followed the disciples of the lie into the modern GOP tent will like Paul have their eyes opened to the reality they adhere to a political theology crafted by the Father of lies and promoted by his agents in the GOP.

  • Republicans as agents of Satan? Mr. Keller, it is never a good idea to blog drunk.

  • Mr. Keller would appear to be Gerald L. Campbell’s doppelganger.

  • When I stop Chuckling, Mr. McClarey I assure both lucidity and habitual tea tootling, Nor did I offer implication all republicans serve as agents of the diabolical any more than all members of the German Army were responsible for the Holocaust,

    Art Deco’s reference to Campbell is pithy oh so pithy still I wish you both a merry Christmas

  • Well Mr. Keller, now we have Republicans compared to members of the Wehrmacht and the Holocaust. As I have said to some of my clients when they have committed some felony or misdemeanor sober, “I would prefer that you would at least have had the small excuse that you did this drunk”. And the merriest of Christmases to you.

  • Last one Donald, may I call you Donald? I’m in Phoenix and have to get ready as I prefer Saturday mass, Clients, felony? are you an attorney Don?

    Funny if you are as I find it difficult to distinguish between modern republican leaders and lawyers, both have the tendency when they lack points of authority or a cogent argument to pound the table and besmirch the character of the opposing advocate.

    Please trust me when I say unlike politicians, I will accuse directly when the occasion calls for it.

    Oh I hear the GOP has invited the John Birch society back into the fold, yea that will help.

    Really I try to treat all people as individuals worthy of respect but every time I hear Glen Beck or Sister Sarah Palin speak I think of Forest Gump, White trash is as White trash does, yea that’s going to cost a few hail Mary’s but it had to be said but at least the Merry Christmas was sincere

  • “both have the tendency when they lack points of authority or a cogent argument to pound the table and besmirch the character of the opposing advocate.”

    I am an attorney. The legal saw you are recalling is that when the facts are against you, you argue the law, when the law is against you, you argue the facts, and when both are against you, you pound the table and abuse your opponent. Mr. Keller, as you called Republicans agents of Satan and compared them to members of the Wehrmacht during the Holocaust I would suggest that it is you who have been pounding the table. Of course we also have your charming White Trash reference.

    As for the John Birch society, I can imagine few organizations with less significance for the Republican party. Back in the Fifties William F. Buckley wrote them out of the conservative movement after they accused Ike of being a Communist. Their influence on the conservative movement and the Republican party has been nil since then.

  • Yeah, it’s Campbell.

  • Oh, and Campbell’s referring to CPAC (not the GOP, but who needs facts when you have a hatchet?) having the Birchers as one of their many sponsors. They also have a gay lobbying group as a sponsor this year, so I wonder how he’d process that.

  • Well Mr. Keller or Gerald Campbell or whoever you are, I’ve deleted your last comment since it was an attempt to hijack this thread as part of your effort to convince people that Republicans are evil incarnate. Due to the content of your posts I am also banning you from this blog. Mere invective simply leads to futile combox feuds and we try to avoid that on this blog.

  • “Passage of this bill will depress liberal Democrats, the base of the Democrat party, unify and inflame Republicans, and cause Independents to desert the party of the donkey en masse.”

    I hope so, Don, but I wouldn’t count on it; never underestimate the ability of the GOP (particularly in Illinois, but this is true elsewhere also) to snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory.

  • In Illinois Elaine I grant you, although even here I think the Republicans will gain two house seats and make take the Senate seat. As for the rest of the country, I think the Democrats are in worse shape than they were in going into the 1994 elections when the Republicans took Congress

  • This will go-down in history as but a Pyhrric victory where political costs outweigh the benefits to the Democrats… if people weren’t pissed at the power-drunk Dems before, they likely are now…

    These tools like Nelson will soon regret the day they did this for Obama, he’ll pull all these fools right-over the abyss with him… and the coming GOP majority will rescind it anyway…

  • At this stage there will be a bill with features somewhere between the House and Senate bills. Illinois will see the Dems pick up Kirk’s seat, the GOP pick up one, and even odds for the pro-choice Republican senate candidate beating the Dem.

  • I see the GOP in Illinois picking up Halvorson’s seat, Bean’s seat and Foster’s seat. They will probably lose Kirk’s seat. I think they have a decent chance of picking up Hare’s seat also. Kirk is a pro-abort which is why I oppose him in the primary and will not vote for him in the general election.

  • Eric Brown writes Saturday, December 19, 2009:
    “Our Congressmen need to have their heads examined”.

    I am at a loss to understand that a college education has failed to make an impression. A simple review of the behavior of Congress throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries would demonstrate that these behaviors are par for the course.

    Senator Nelson was bribed. So also was Senator Landrieu. What’s new about the behavior of “our only professional criminal class”?

    I suggest that we make a point of asking our senators if they voted for this “compromise” [lege sell-out. Think Munich] what they got for it for their states.

  • It is curious to consider that this bill scheduled to be signed on the day of the Holy Innocents:
    “Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

  • Very well said Gabriel for something so tragic and sad.

Obamaville Shanty Towns: Tent Cities Sprouting Up Across America

Monday, December 14, AD 2009

As the recession continue to take its toll on our fellow Americans, rendering more and more of them homeless, tent cities have begun sprouting up across this great country.  It would not be fair to blame President Obama for the predicament that our nation is in, but President Obama has done nothing to help the situation.

President Obama’s ‘stimulus package’ only rewarded government contractors with more spending.  It is also correct to point out that former President George W. Bush’s ‘stimulus package’ did nothing more than President Obama’s spending bill.

Small businesses and the private sector in general got almost zero benefit for either porkulus spending bills.  Though this recession is typical of a business cycle, there are some things that can be done to alleviate the stress the economy is undergoing and maybe expedite the expiration of the current recession.  President Obama has done neither.

So it is fitting and fair to label the tent cities that are sprouting across America as Obamavilles.

(Note: In case the above YouTube video is taken down by the Blueshirts, you can see the entire story and video here.)

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23 Responses to Obamaville Shanty Towns: Tent Cities Sprouting Up Across America

  • Perhaps this can be the campaign song for Team Obama in 2012:

  • I would like to know what you think Obama could have done differently over the past year.

    There’s so much misunderstanding over the role of fiscal policy during this recession. It was precisely the huge expansion in the public deficit that counteracted the collapse in private demand, preventing huge negative growth rates, and equally dire employment numbers. Think of it this way: we went from a deficit of 2 percent of GDP in the balance between private income and spending shifted from to a surplus of over 6 per cent – in increase in private savings by 8 percent of GDP. What do you think would have happened without the fiscal crutch?

    It’s fustrating how few people get this point. I listened last night to John King lecture Larry Summers on how government debt is exploding at the very time when households are tighening the belt. Honestly, I thought this fallacy went out with Herbert Hoover! Here’s the issue: the vast majority of the increase in debt during this recession was because of the recession (lower taxes etc). In the jargon, it comes from automatic stabilizers. You work against the stabilizers, you make the recession worse. Moxt experts quite rightly felt that the depth of the collapse in private demand justified going even further than automatic stabilizers – hence the stimulus. The standing “crowding out argument” does not work in an environment when interest rates are near zero and nobody is lending (the case of a liquidity trap).

    Anyway, have a look at this post I did on what governments did right, and 4 key fallacies surrounding this recession.

  • MM,

    he vast majority of the increase in debt during this recession was because of the recession (lower taxes etc)

    Don’t you think if there was less federal government bureaucracy and programs, instead of raising taxes, that we wouldn’t have gotten to this point?

  • MM:

    Moxt experts quite rightly felt that the depth of the collapse in private demand justified going even further than automatic stabilizers – hence the stimulus.

    Except as the author rightly pointed out that the stimulus didn’t do ANYTHING. Most of the money in the Obama stimulus has yet to be spent.

    I supported TARP under the idea that despite that it would be mishandled, the banks needed shoring up. But make no mistake, there was a ton of corruption in TARP and even more under Obama’s stimulus.

  • Think of it this way: we went from a deficit of 2 percent of GDP in the balance between private income and spending shifted from to a surplus of over 6 per cent – in increase in private savings by 8 percent of GDP. What do you think would have happened without the fiscal crutch?

    My guess is that if Congress hadn’t passed a stimulus the Fed would have engaged in more quantitative easing, and we’d be pretty much where we are now. I don’t think Obama is to blame for our current troubles, but the things he’s done haven’t been particularly helpful either.

  • It also would have been nice if they had used tax cuts, or focused a higher percentage of the spending in 2009 and 2010, rather than just handing out money to every Democratic Congressperson’s favorite pork project.

  • Tito – I don’t get your point. The recession was caused by greed in the financial sector. Government softened the blow …. dramatically. And by that I mean monetary, fiscal, and financial sector policy.

  • I reckon living in a tent in Colorado in mid winter won’t be too much fun.

  • MM,

    This is a normal business cycle. Recessions occur every 5-7 years.

    To blame anyone is like throwing darts at a dartboard.

    I was just touching on the debt. Meaning that if we had less wasteful federal programs to defund the debt would be a bit more manageable.

  • John: I take your second point, but not the first. Multiplers are much larger on the expenditure than tax side. And I never got the whole “pork” thing — that’s the whole point of stimulus. Of course, it would be nice to get some socially worthwhile investments going (greening buildings, trains etc) but that’s not really the point of stimulus. The whole “pork” fetish is really an argument for good times – when you are supposed to be building your reserves to use them in times like this.

    On the tax point, Krugman just referenced some cutting edge new research suggesting that tax cuts are a really bad idea in liquidity type situations – http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/a-new-paradox/

  • Tito,

    No, this was not a normal business cycle. It was the buggest global slowdown since the Great Depression. The fact that a meltdown was avoided comes from policymakers learning the lessons of the Great Depression (see the chart in my post).

    On your second point, it certainly makes sense to run prudent fiscal policy in good times to store up reserves for the lean years. And the debt profile today would not look so scary if we had gone into this in good shape. But we did not – the major fiscal loosenings of the last administration were not paid for – Iraq war, tax cuts for the wealthy, medicare part D expanion. Each of these added more to the debt than any single Obama initiative, and they didn’t even pretend to pay for them.

    The key fiscal challenge is that taxes are too low for teh level of desired spending. And if you disagree, you need to be willing to cut military spending or medicare – nothing else is going to cut it.

  • Blackadder, that’s possibly right, but (i) QE doesn’t come without cost; (ii) its success has been limited – again, it comes back to the fact that monetary policy has limited value in a liquidity trap.

  • MM,

    I agree with you that taxes are too low for the level of desired spending.

    Which to me means that we need to cut more federal programs.

    We have never had an income tax at all in this country, with a couple of exceptions, until the current income tax I believe was finally imposed in 1913.

    There is nothing that warrants to take people’s hard earned money.

  • Tito,

    Much as it might hurt to admit it, MM is right here. This wasn’t an ordinary business cycle.

  • Tito:

    (1) But what programs? As I said, you can’t do this without touching the military and medicare.

    (2) Your last sentence is not fully aligned with developments in Catholic social teaching, and reflects more a laissez-faire liberalism. Remember Pope John XXII: “the economic prosperity of a nation is not so much its total assets in terms of wealth and property, as the equitable division and distribution of this wealth” (Mater Et Magistra, 1961). Powerful stuff, that!!

  • MM,

    There’s room for disagreement on taxing hard working Americans and redistributing to the proletariat in Catholic Social Teaching.

    Pope John XXIII’s teaching is not set in stone nor is it mandatory.

    And by wealth he didn’t mean taxes, he meant equitable distribution, ie, opportunities to capital, resources, etc. Not take from workers and redistribute to the proletariat.

    BA,

    I’m not debating whether it’s ordinary or extraordinary (if I gave that impression, I didn’t mean to). But the fact remains it’s a business cycle that the socialist leaning Democratic Party is exploiting to further control our lives.

  • But what programs? As I said, you can’t do this without touching the military and medicare.

    Means testing Medicare and Social Security would be a start.

  • Multiplers are much larger on the expenditure than tax side.

    You will get quite an argument from some macroeconomists on that assertion.

    I would like to know what you think Obama [ie the Administation and Congress] could have done differently over the past year.

    1. Undertake a special audit of Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo / Wachovia, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and GE Capital [?] to determine their authentic book value.

    2. Erect a fund of about $300 bn to compensate defined benefit pension funds and purchase preferred stock in insurance companies as needed, as these entities are abnormally invested in bank bonds.

    3. Prepare articles of incorporation for the successors of each of the foregoing. Each should have at least two successors – an ongoing business concern and a holding company which owns certain assets (illiquid securities, delinquent loans, and swaps & derivative). Citi, Bank of America and JP Morgan might have three successors: the dead asset holding company, their deposits-and-loans business, and their capital markets business.

    4. Recapitalize the aforementioned banks and investment firms through swapping debt (bonds, securitized receivables, l/t loans, &c) for equity in the successor corporations. If any one corporation retains a positive book value, it should be divided between its erstwhile creditors and equity holders; otherwise, the former bondholders, &c. get the whole enchilada.

    5. Call in all outstanding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt and replace it with common stock. If necessary, agree antecedently to exchange the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds held by sovereign wealth funds abroad with U.S. Treasury debt.

    6. Suspend collection of federal payroll taxes. Phase them back in per the performance of the macroeconomy.

    7. Transfer responsibility for unemployment compensation to the federal government.

    8. Institute reductions in pay and benefits for all federal employees. Compensation would be cut each quarter in step with the decline in domestic product per capita.

    9. Remove all conditions on intergovernmental transfers from the federal government to state and local governments bar one: they have to cut the compensation of all public employees in their purview in step with the decline in per capita income in the country at large.

    10. Legislate a pre-packaged bankruptcy for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler which would feature compensation cuts of at least a third for the workforce and legatees in return for equity shares in proportion to losses. The bondholders might get preferred stock. In lieu of making use of TARP funding, have the Federal Reserve provide a bridge loan by purchasing their commercial paper.

    11. Cut the minimum wage to $4.60 an hour.

    12. Institution a mortgage modification program along the lines suggested by Martin Feldstein (with NO means testing): those whose mortgages are held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or banks held by the FDIC might apply for a reduction in the principal equal to the fall (since they purchased the home) in the OFHEO price index for their area; in return, their chattels could be attached and their wages garnished if they defaulted.

    13. Institution of comprehensive tax reform as part of medium term planning for a return to fiscal balance: the elimination of deductions and exemptions, the gradual replacement of the payroll tax with enhanced income levies, the gradual institution of a component which taxes an index of one’s personal consumption, and a an enhanced per-dependent credit.

    14. Introduction legislation to erect a revised financial architecture some features of which might be as follows:

    a. Divestiture of subsidiaries which hold deposits domiciled abroad;

    b. Prohibitions on the ownership of financial firms by non-financial firms, or (for more than a temporary period) of non-financial firms by financial firms.

    c. Separation of deposits-and-loans banking from securities underwriting, proprietary trading (in securities, futures, options, &c.), ‘prime brokerage’, and private equity.

    d. Separation of securities underwriting from all activities other than corporate lending.

    e. Separation of proprietary trading from all other activities.

    f. Separation of prime brokerage from all other activities.

    g. Separation of private equity from all other activities.

    h. The separation of mutual funds from retail brokerage, trust companies, and treasury services firms.

    g. The separation of mid-market, corporate, and governmental lending from mortgage, farm, consumer, and small business lending. The former would be lodged in national banks which take deposits only from governments and incorporated entities; the latter would be lodged in banks which could take deposits from anyone but would constrained to operate within geographic catchments.

    h. Erection of an exchange for trading in swaps and derivatives.

    i. Prohibition of credit default swaps and insurance on securities.

    j. Prohibition on the use of credit to purchase securities other than initial public offerings; limit the ratio of margin loans in individual portfolios to one quarter of total assets; limit the permissible leverage of hedge funds accordingly;

    k. Erection an agency similar to the FDIC to act as a receiver of bankrupt securities firms and roll them up as rapidly as possible.

    l. Prohibition on the securitization of receivables.

    m. Turning Fannie and Freddie into self-liquidating entities.

    15. Postponement of action on medical insurance UNTIL THE BLOODY BANKS ARE REPAIRED.

  • Means testing Medicare and Social Security would be a start.

    Bleh.

  • socialist leaning Democratic Party

    Hillarious!!

  • Morning’s Minion writes Monday, December 14, 2009 A.D.

    “preventing huge negative growth rates”

    I have read this phrase in several places. I have not succeeded in understanding what is “a negative growth rate”. Is it shrinking?

    [I make the point chiefly to illustrate that much discussion about matters economic has similar fine-sounding nonsensical phrases].

We Are Americans, Not Europeans

Friday, August 14, AD 2009

Isn’t it obvious that most of our American ancestors came over from Europe because they wanted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  They fled totalitarian regimes, socialist governments, and anti-Christian repression for the freedom that is afforded all Americans.

We have the best health care in the world precisely because it is not operated by the government.  Private industry drives innovation, government regulation or government-run health care eliminates innovation, awards bureaucrats, and ultimately leads to marginal health care in the long run.

We are Americans, not Europeans.  Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.  What Europeans have is not necessarily right nor good.

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42 Responses to We Are Americans, Not Europeans

  • My ancestors from Norway came here because they wanted to farm, and the soil where they lived was rocky, and the seasons short. My ancestors from Germany came, we think, because they were younger sons who were cut out from owning the family farm in the Rhineland. My Quaker ancestors from England and Wales were indeed escaping religious persecution, although if they had landed in the wrong colony in America (anywhere but Pennsylvania or Rhode Island), they would have encountered it again.

    None were escaping government-run healthcare. Most were not escaping any form of statism. It could be argued they were pursuing prosperity in the freedom of America, but it should be noted that most immigrants to the U.S. supported the state-led reforms of the progressives and Democrats in the first half of the twentieth century (although that was less true of the Scandinavian and German farmers of the Great Plains, who tended not to care about urban issues like that, although they did support populist initiatives like North Dakota’s central bank). In other words, your narrative of American history is certainly uncomplicated, and not unrelatedly, quite inaccurate.

    Why does it matter whether public health spending increases as a percentage of GDP if overall spending as a percentage of GDP is decreased? Why consolidate vastly different government healthcare programs – what does Medicare have to do with NIH?

    When you win an election for economic reasons, generally it’s because people think your policies will help address the economic situation. When part of that economic situation is healthcare (concerns about its costs, and about losing your coverage), presumably it’s not absurd to think there’s a connection. For years a greater percentage of people have trusted Democrats more than Republicans on healthcare. That suggests that maybe the “We’re Americans, so don’t try to learn from other countries” argument doesn’t hold as much sway as you think.

  • Zak,

    Excellent points.

    But if I were to jump into the details for every European ethnic group that moved to the US it would have ended up being a novel.

  • Ha! In and out of moderation. Hope you are having fun, policeman!

  • Not *all* of us come from European stock. 😉

  • Tito – Interesting that you deleted all of my comments here EXCEPT for that one. What is the point of that?

  • Michael,

    Your less than charitable comments are being deleted. And not only by me.

    Unlike Vox Nova, where I have been banned due to my comment that I am an American first and Mexican second thus destroying the myth of the American left that minorities need to be self-empowered by adding a “hyphenated” prefix attached to “American”, we have charity at this website, so many of your comments do get approved.

  • You know you were not banned for that comment.

  • My comments were moderated before, but that was the first one that got deleted, while the others were in moderation and then approved.

    So apparently that was the final straw that destroyed the delicate liberal world view that all minorities need to be pampered and told how to talk, think, and vote.

  • We have the best health care in the world if you are at a certain income bracket…

  • Proud to be an A-mer-i-can…

  • Eric,

    When I ‘had’ health care insurance, I got the cheapest plan available and ended up having the best orthopedic surgeon in the country repair my damaged knee.

    And I made less than 6 figures.

    Mark D.,

    Me to brother.

  • “Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

  • Tito – Believe what you want. Make things up if it turns you on.

  • “We are Americans, not Europeans. Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.”

    I’ve seen it suggested that “blue state” America, especially college campuses, looks so much like Europe because American academics helped rebuild the continent after the war and made themselves and the like-minded into the uncontested establishment. Is there anything to this?

  • Tito,

    Would you forego governmental assistance in the form of medical care and martyr yourself, if need be, for the principles of your America?

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

  • Pingback: COACHEP » Blog Archive » Posts about Obama Health Care Failure as of August 14, 2009
  • Kevin,

    It happens sadly in red states as well.

    Mark D.,

    There is the emergency clinic.

  • Touche

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize)…

    They’re not the same thing if there are no nation-states. Socialized health care could also operate on the state (in the u.s.) or provincial level (as in Canada) as well.

    …“work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    There you go with your “homogeneous places” stuff again. “If only we could keep all the races separate, everything would work great!”

  • Mark D.,

    I just want to be clear that I want Health Care reform as well. Just not as drastic in some portions of the bills that are floating around in the House with possibly an addition to including tort reform.

    We need health care reform, but together as Americans, not as a strictly Democratic bill.

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

  • Just because an idea or system is not American, does not make it automatically bad (or good). After all, most of us on this blog really like the social and moral ideas promulgated in the last 100 years or so by certain Italian, Polish, and German guys who wear funny hats 😉

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

    Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending “their own money.”

    Your me, mine, all mine attitude is sub-Christian.

  • When does society begin to look at itself to curb the healthcare problems? Obesity, smoking, drinking, STD’s, unwanted pregnancy, abortions, elicit drug use all put demand on the system in overdrive. Seems easy to say let the government take care of it so all share in the cost, but we are not eager to curb our own appetite for vices. There can be no true social justice that is not rooted in virtue and our Government does not respect the dignity of life so it is really a farce to think they care about the quality of life. If we as a country do not respect God as our creator, no government program is going to save us.

  • Ray – Sadly, not all health problems are connected to “virtue.” Aside from the fact that accidents happen in real life, your comment is the same old blame the victim nonsense.

  • Michael,

    While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    Dufus.

  • While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    This doesn’t make any sense.

  • Tito, you had a good health insurance plan. That does not mean the entire system is not deeply flawed.

  • Mikael,

    Cost is a product of demand; the demand is greatly increased by health care administered to people who made a choice to engage in risky behavior. US Policy Makers have done nothing to slow the erosion of this immoral behavior, but now have a plan to reduce cost. All hollow without morals in the driver’s seat. You will not contain a fire by putting a fire hose in the front door and a gasoline hose in the back.

    And don’t take this to mean I am not compassionate. I am not in favor of a GOVERNMENT run plan. Private and faith based working together with the government will provide greater success. What is the purpose of keeping their body alive if you are not trying to save the soul?

  • Michael, a portion of health care costs are the result of affluenza, the indulgence of appetites in ways that previous generations could ill-afford. That is just a social fact.

  • Today’s reading and Gospel summed up my thoughts better then I did.

    “But when the judge died,
    they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
    following other gods in service and worship,
    relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.”

    We are quick as a nation to anoint blame and seek fixes for our problems and concerns, but we are slow to admit there is a divine plan at work here. This country does have a lot of Greed, Does have a lot of Lust, Does Kill it’s unborn, and we are trashing the Mother/Father family structure. Now as you listen to our elected policy makers we “must” do something about the broken health care system; Some what being sold as a moral obligation to the poor and a “must have” to prove we “love your neighbor”. Poppycock if we do not relinquish our evil and stubborn conduct.

    The way we are asked to help the poor is Charity given from the heart, not policy given by our babbling law makers.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Hey thanks for reminding the Sloth in our country has too.

  • Another difference with Europenas is their lifestyle – they tend to be healthier in diet and exercise (lots more walking). Of course that has an impact on health care costs. Not to mention their defense budgets are a heck of a lot less than ours.

    But we are Americans, dang it. If we want that custard filled donut with bacon and eggs for breakfast to help us sit at our cubicle for the next nine hours before we go home and plop down in front of the tube for 3 hours while we wait for the pizza delivery guy, then by golly, we’re gonna get it.

    On the other hand, why the rush to pass this particular bill? Why so hurried – if health care reform is worth doing, isn’t it worth doing right?

  • “Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending ‘their own money.'”

    Actually, the Administration proposes that very few people pay for it.

  • C Matt,

    It’s our choice to eat what we want.

    Granted it is excessive, but God gave us free will.

    (For the record, I agree with you that Americans don’t eat very well).

    As far as defense budgets are concerned, the US pretty much is NATO. If they were ever to be attacked by Russian or the Arab states, you can be well assured that the Americans will rush quickly to their defense.

    It’s how NATO works.

  • Michael,

    To your reference to “dufus”, I apologize about that.

    I should have been more careful.

    In my defense, I thought it was a silly word appropriate for you, but when I looked it up in the dictionary, it went to far where you didn’t deserve to be called that.

  • 1960 Flemming v. Nestor the Supreme Court ruled “The noncontractual interest of an employee covered by the Act cannot be soundly analogized to that of the holder of an annuity, whose right to benefits are based on his contractual premium payments”. The decision means that since no one has any legal right to Social Security benefits, Congress can cut or eliminate benefits at any time.

    Keep this in mind as Baby Boomers retire. Early on SS was a trust fund that was eventually raided in 1965 to offset the deficit. When the retirees payments exceeds the collections taxes will skyrocket, benefits will get cut, or they print money and inflation runs rampant.

    Flemming v. Nestor will have the same impact on a public option healthcare, it is not a contractual right and they can cut or eliminate benefits at any time. With a private option you have a contract and legal rights. Private payments that are deductible for the poor is a much better solution.

    As far as who is paying? It does not pass the squint test that this can be paid for with only a handful of wealthy people footing the bill. Hence the panic that the “end of life” counseling session will turn into nothing more then trying to talk the elderly into NOT accepting advanced and costly treatment. So why reinvent the Living Will? Promote everyone to write a Living Will; don’t replace it with another system which will open decades of new legal questions already established by Living Wills.

  • Michael,

    That’s between you and Donald.

    While we’re on the subject, look up the word charity and read the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 5, verse 39.

Nancy Pelosi Calls Protesters Un-American

Monday, August 10, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this posting.  Most recent update at 6:54 pm CST 8-10-09]

Nancy Pelosi, the liberal Democratic Representative from San Francisco, wrote early this morning in a special USA Today Nancy Pelosi 1editorial that those protesting against government run health care are “un-American“.

It is clear to Representative Pelosi and her cohorts that the majority of Americans do not want further government intrusion into their lives, hence Mrs. Pelosi’s attempts at demonizing ordinary Americans.

Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.

She is referring to the many town hall meetings where Americans were voicing their displeasure to government run health care.  Deliberately smearing Americans for voicing their opinions.

Sadly, the mainstream media is doing their part in painting these town halls as darkly as possible, regardless of the evidence that SEIU goons, Blueshirts, have already attacked health care protesters.

Let’s wait until the 2010 congressional elections and see their opinions voiced in turning back European style socialism by voting these malefactors out of office.

Update I: House GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) ripped his Democratic counterparts Monday for labeling those disrupting lawmaker town halls as “un-American.”  Read the rest of this here.

Update II: The guy that beat up Mr. Gladney:

Elston K. McCowan is a former organizer – now the Public Service Director of SEIU Local 2000 – and board member of the Walbridge Community Education Center, and is a Baptist minister, has been a community organizer for more than 23 years, and now, he is running for Mayor of the City of St. Louis under the Green Party.

McCowan accused the Mayor of setting fire to his van . . . because that’s what big city mayors do in their spare time, I guess.  He also called [St Louis Mayor Francis] Slay a racist.  And, on election night, McCowan thanked the family who voted for him.  It was quite touching, actually.

McCowan is not a rank-and-file, card-carrying union guy.  He is a director with SEIU. He IS the union.  He ISSUES the cards. Andy Stern himself might as well have kicked Gladney.

Read the rest here.

Continue reading...

71 Responses to Nancy Pelosi Calls Protesters Un-American

  • Nancy Pelosi is un American to say what she said. Our founders scuffled all the time. Time to come down from your ivory tower congress and listen for a change instead of shoving things as us we dont want. The protests will not stop til you listen and do what the people in your areas want.

  • Be fair, for heaven’s sake… You don’t have to like Nancy Pelosi (I don’t) and yu can be against the health care plan, but she did NOT call the protesters “Un-American” She said:

    “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American”

    Let’s discuss this issue and quit trying to put words in the mouth of anyone…

  • m.,

    Read my article carefully.

    I mentioned what you said and I explained how she referred to protesters as un-American.

    She doesn’t distinguish between mob attacks (which have been done by the Dems) and actual grassroots protesters.

  • Quit spinning. Nancy Pelosi is against anyone who wont take her poison pill. You must think Americans are stupid. Go USA. She works for us and will soon be fired.

  • Nancy Pelosi is trying to drown out our opposing views by calling it un American. She is trying to punish us for not agreeing with her horrific lack of healthcare plan

  • Well, if you go to the source, you’ll notice that the sentence in context points pretty directly at anti-Obamacare protesters, some of whom have had the unmitigated gall to chant slogans (!) at Pelosi and her buds.

    Funny, since from where I’m sitting it looks like an awful lot of that trying to drown out opposing views is coming from Pelosi, her buds, and some of their hired or coopted punks.

  • obamas union thugs have brought the violence to the scene. they beat up a black man at one rally and yesterday shoved a camera in a ladys face. they are bringing the violence to the scene and they have been endorsed by the whitehouse to go stir things up. there was no violence before just yelling

  • OK, so the people show up and don’t have something like Acorn T shirts, or union Ts and professionally manufactured signs and such are the typical Americans? I get it…If you have one of those Ts then you can drown them out.

    It is after all a one party system and we are to sit down and shut up. I get it.

  • i have been to 3 tea parties. i went on my own with my senior citizen car. absolutely no organizing. you go if you want. you go informed and that is what is killing congress. they expect us to be stupid and too busy to follow the issues. congress if first time meeting their voters and they know more than them. Americans will win this cause we are patriots and we fight to win.

  • Obama & Pelosi aren’t the only ones who like perfectly scripted townhalls and speaking engagements. Did Bush ever have a public forum to which tickets were not restricted to only fawning sycophants – only one that I can think of that press conference in Iraq where he had a shoe tossed at him. If these forums dealt with the “WAR” on terror and there were persons speaking out US policy in the middle east who would be calling people un-American then – who did call people un-american when they spoke out against the war – go to your back issues of National Review dealing with those Un-patriotic Conservatives who dared to opposed Bushes war in Iraq.

    I think both sides are terribly hypocritcial.

  • Did Bush ever have a public forum to which tickets were not restricted to only fawning sycophants

    I don’t recall Bush and Cheney calling people who disagreed with them un-American. Oh, but there was that one article in NR (written by the guy that most conservatives have long ago written off as being a total sellout idiot). I guess that makes the two sides equivalent in some weird, wacky way,

  • Welcome to Bizarro world Paul.

  • bush is gone. move forward zummo. america is speaking and congress must listen or get the boot pure and simple. it is not about how nice anyone speaks it is about how well the congressman listens and answers. simple stuff

  • Errr, mommalu, I was responding to awakaman.

  • Sorry Paul & Tito:

    I am obviously Un-American (or bizzare) for not recognizing the greatness of the Bush presidency and the War on Terror. You have proven my point – engage in strawman agruments as opposed to addressing the facts.

    Did Bush or Cheney call people who opposed their policies Un-American I don’t know or remember – but their agents Limbaugh, Hannity, Mark Levin, O’Reilly, Beck, The Weekly Standard, FOX News, and NRO sure did. Either that or “you didn’t support the troops”. It wasn’t just David Frum it was the entire Mainstream “Conservative” Media.

  • “I am obviously Un-American (or bizzare) for not recognizing the greatness of the Bush presidency and the War on Terror.”

    Oh yeah —

    I forgot about all the devestating terror attacks that took place on U.S. soil subsequent to 9/11 due to the remarkable incompetency of that very administration.

  • (written by the guy that most conservatives have long ago written off as being a total sellout idiot)

    Mr. Frum is a libertarian of a sort atypical among journalists and academics but (one suspects) fairly common among rank-and-file voters of a libertarian orientation inasmuch as he does not attribute the disagreeableness of the world abroad to the bumbling of the governments of the United States and Israel and tends to share Arthur Vandenberg’s view that we are no longer innoculated by geography to this disagreeableness. I would doubt he is a sellout; he was just never your ally (or mine) bar on a restricted range of questions.

  • I forgot about all the devestating terror attacks that took place on U.S. soil subsequent to 9/11 due to the remarkable incompetency of that very administration.

    None of Mr. Bush’s discretionary appointees were in charge of the Massachusetts Port Authority, nor did they generate the Chinese walls within the FBI.

  • Did Bush ever have a public forum to which tickets were not restricted to only fawning sycophants – only one that I can think of that press conference in Iraq where he had a shoe tossed at him.

    Which of us (including you) was keeping a catalogue of the public appearances of either man?

  • Art Deco:

    Perhaps you would’ve been much more relieved had another 9/11 occurred during Bush’s presidential terms; perhaps then you could glory on how incompetent his administration was in preventing a subsequent attack on U.S. soil all throughout his extended terms — the again, such leftists are known to glory in the deaths of innocent civilians so long as their political aims are celebrated in the end!

  • Awakeman,

    Don’t stop engaging in dialogue. Just because we disagree we don’t have to be disagreeable.

  • am obviously Un-American (or bizzare) for not recognizing the greatness of the Bush presidency and the War on Terror. You have proven my point – engage in strawman agruments as opposed to addressing the facts.

    Umm, do you even know what a strawman argument is? From this paragaph, obviously not, especially since it is you who just created one.

    Did Bush or Cheney call people who opposed their policies Un-American I don’t know or remember –

    The answer is no. The rest of your comment is therefore gibberish.

  • I suspect the point of Pelosi’s comments weren’t to name call, rather to distract American’s for actually debating the health care legislation. If she can demonize the protestors their concerns become less important. Amercan’s see this bill as another step towards socialism, where our liberties are slowly being eroded. For real health care reform, it must start with tort reform. The medical malpractice in the US has assumed crisis proportions, and is the single largest contributor to insurance and health care waste, estimated over $200B every year. Fear of litigation pervades all aspects of medical practice, if forces our doctors to act and behave in ways that are contradictory to their medical profession. This is because the spector of lawsuits erodes professional integrity and promotes the practice of defensive medicine. Forty years ago only 1 in 7 physicians were sued during their careers. Current estimates indicate that 1 of 7 physicians are sued every year. Recent reports indicate that half of all physicians make clinical decisions that are influenced by either an extreme or a strong desire to minimize the possibility of lawsuit. With the money that is saved on Tort Reform we would be on our way to paying for many of the uninsured.

  • Pelosi is an embarrassment, not only to her party, but to her country.

  • This article misrepresents Nancy Pelosi’s comments. She is not against disagreement. She is talking about the rude, shouting, unwilling to let others talk behavior that is being fostered and encouraged by some front groups for a conservative lobbying firm, Fox News and some Republican sites. Nancy Pelosi is not saying disagreement is anti-American, she is stating the disruptive behavior which interferes with the actual discussion is anti-Amreican because it is not allowing discussion. It’s unfortunate that a Catholic site would so clearly misrepresent the Speaker’s words and intent.

  • Solarzar,

    If you read the context that she wrote the article in, she is implicitly denigrating the point of view that contradicts her world view.

    Secondly, the fact that you refer to anyone protesting government intrusion in peoples lives as ront groups for a conservative lobbying firm, Fox News and some Republican sites clearly demonstrates your disdain towards others that hold views dissimilar to your own.

    You’ve outed yourself as one of those that finds it difficult that there are others out there that actually have views different from your own.

    That is the fallacy of those on the left. You’re allowed to disagree, just as long as you don’t disagree with your point of view.

    To use your condescending words, it’s unfortunate that a liberal would so clearly show contempt towards other Americans that don’t share your politics.

  • Fox News

    I have no particular love of Fox News, and frankly I think all television news is complete crap, but why does every single person who derides conservatives bring up Fox News? Do they really think that we’re all just sitting there awaiting our marching orders, oblivious to any other information out there?

    Well, they probably do, but that only speaks to their limited sources of information and constrained worldview.

  • Art:

    1. Please see the following article from that “balanced” news source FOX News:

    “There is an active campaign underway to try and disrupt and disturb his [President Bush’s] events in hopes of undermining his objective of fixing Social Security,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy told FOXNews.com. “If there is evidence there are people planning to disrupt the president at an event, then they have the right to exclude those people from those events.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,153720,00.html

    2. I would not refer to David Frum as a libertarian. He like most Neo-Cons have a love for the State, at least one that they control and have no problem with big government and higher taxes so long as it advances their agenda. I suppose you are only addressing his position on abortion, but a pro-choice position on abortion does not a libertarian make.

  • Paul,

    What rankles liberals is that most Americans, not conservatives, watch Fox News instead of CNN or MSNBC, which is their favorite source of biased programming.

    With that said, I don’t watch Fox News either.

    Though it is interesting the bitterness and contempt that many liberals do have for Fox News.

    Awakeman,

    Thank you for rejoining the conversation.

  • I bring up Fox News because they specifically encourage protestors to challenge the town hall discussions of Health Care. You are correct that I don’t agree with Fox News but I do agree with disagreement. I did read the interview with Nancy Pelosi, I’m not outed as anything. I agree with free speech, but that is not the same as people shouting and disrupting the discussions preventing the dialogue. Also, Fox News tells not relate news, it fosters misinformation. In addition, I have never been anything but a registered Republican who served 21 years in the Marine Corps and currently works for the Department of Defense. But I do believe whether you like Pelosi or not, this article misrepresents her point. I do despise Fox News, because it is not news, it is propaganda and it is against free speech. So if you choose to define me, I will help. I am someone who has served and continues to serve this nation. I am not against any view, I am only against views based on false information and lack of fairness to the truth.

  • I seldom ever watch broadcast news either, but when I do I go to Fox news.

    One, even though most of the commentary personalities would fall on the right, the actual reporting isn’t seething with a particular bias, and you’ll actually see negative things said about the Pubs, where you won’t see negative things said about the Dems on other networks.

    Two, as much as I dislike Hannity and O’Reilly, I have never seen such despicable commentators as those who lead up MSNBC.

    Three, and perhaps most important, Fox is at the forefront of having a wide lineup of extra-talented woman anchors and commentators.

  • Solarzar,

    What part of “front groups for a conservative lobbying firm, Fox News and some Republican sites clearly” did you misread?

    I didn’t accuse you of being a Democrat nor of not serving your country… which has absolutely nothing to do with my original point.

    You’re a liberal for bringing up “conservative lobbying firm(s) and Republican sites”.

  • I bring up Fox News because they specifically encourage protestors to challenge the town hall discussions of Health Care.

    Here’s Charles Krauthammer, on Fox last night riling up the protesters:

    he Democrats are pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and the Republicans (or conservatives) are handing the Democrats the rabbit. The Democrats have no argument. They have no facts. They don’t even really have a bill.

    And if people were just to stand up and quietly and civilly raise questions — “the money doesn’t add up,” “the CBO has said that you say it is going to control costs, but it increases it by $1 trillion,” all of this stuff, it’s really out there — they would be winning this debate as they were before the town halls.

    What’s happening is this is causing a backlash. It’s completely unnecessary. It is shooting yourself in the foot. If you want to demonstrate, you want to shout, you do it outside carrying signs. When you walk inside [the town hall meeting], you ask questions.

    This is going to have two effects. Public opinion will make people, if anything, rather unsympathetic to those who oppose the bills.

    And secondly, it’s going to give a great excuse for the Democrats, when Congress returns, to push a partisan bill with no Republican support and say it’s because the opposition is not — is simply oppositionist without any arguments and is acting in an irresponsible way.

    Yeah, really sounds like he’s egging people on there. And Mort Kondracke, another loony right-winger of course, was even more critical.

  • If I choose to dislike Fox, that is still not the point. Let me be more clear, Hannity specifically has encouraged misinformation and false informatin and encourage people to challenge the Health Care debate, as had Glenn Beck. Now if Fox wants to encourage fair and balanced I’m not asking it to censor news reporting, but it has an obligation to correct misinformation. Locally I prefer my Fox channel, but I do not appreciate corporate Fox programming under the banner of news. That’s my preference, and when I state they have encourage the disruption you will find it with several of the woman anchors you mention, Hannity, Beck and O’Reilly. That’s more than an occassional item. Whether you like any other news or not is your choice, however, I hear many sources of information and read. My decisions are based on that. This article is biased again Nancy Pelosi in language and intent which makes it unfair. Notice how quickly I was labelled a liberal, I didn’t like others point of view and how quickly I had to be wrong in my point of view. I didn’t challenge anyone’s point of view only the bias of this article.

  • Excuse the typos on the last post. I often think ahead of my fingers.

  • Solarzar,

    Many of us here at AC do not like nor have much respect for Hannity or O’Reilly.

    And to be fair, I don’t have cable period, hence why I don’t watch FOx News, nor CNN, nor MSNBC.

  • Also, Fox News tells not relate news, it fosters misinformation. In addition, I have never been anything but a registered Republican

    Bash Fox? Check.

    Claim to be a life-long Republican? Check.

    Do I think this person is a seminar commenter? Double check.

  • Solarzar,

    Please disregard the last two lines of my comments towards you for the 11:41pm comment posting.

  • and encourage people to challenge the Health Care debate,

    Oh no, he’s telling people to “challenge” the supporters of HC reform. The man is truly a Nazi in disguise.

    Also, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are not and do not claim to be straight news anchors in the traditional sense. They are opinion journalists – no different in that sense than Olberman and Mathews on MSNBC.

    Anyway, from the sounds of it you spend a lot more time watching Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity than any of the people who actually are conservatives on this site do. Unless of course you’re just spewing talking points from leftist websites, and there’s no way that could possibly be true.

  • What is a seminar commenter? And why am I a troll?

    Also, you there is a direct line to a lobbying firm that began the instructions on how to disrupt the town hall meetins. I’m not in a place to relay the specific information but I didn’t make it up I saw the interviews and read the articles. Does it have to be false if you don’t believe it?

    When you name a person as a liberal with disdain, when you choose to use terms with dismissal are you being open to discussion? You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but I didn’t challenge anyone on this forum. I challenged the article as being biased, and the language is.

    And I challenged media misinformation. This why the discussion gets sidetracked, it turns into a personal attack or dismissal instead of a discussion of differences.

  • Solarzar,

    “front groups for a conservative lobbying firm, Fox News and some Republican sites clearly”

    Liberal talking points.

    Whether you got it from HuffPo, Daily Kos, or Vox Nova, liberal is is liberal say or do.

  • And I challenged media misinformation. This why the discussion gets sidetracked, it turns into a personal attack or dismissal instead of a discussion of differences.

    You haven’t made a single substantive comment. You’ve made vague assertions about Fox News, and spent the rest of the time whining about how people choose to respond to your comments.

  • Since when did Fox’s Hannity, O’Reilly and the like pass off for the News of the Right — especially given the fact that these are largely the feeding posts of the Neo-cons?

    Also, you don’t see me mocking the biased leftist shows like Stewart’s Daily Show, which often actually passes for legitimate news for most, if not, all liberals!

  • I will agree that using Hannity, OReilly and Beck in the same breath as Fox News is unfair on my part.

    Tito I think I know which comments you are asking me to ignore. Fair enough.

    Also to Paul’s comments I have a talk radio show so I do spend time researching many of these issues. I came across this site because of research I was doing and only chose to comment because I believe the Catholic church should spend more time presenting the information with less bias.

    Since you don’t know me I am also a biblical scholar who spends a great deal of time reading and studying the bible. As a former Catholic I do find many of the views expressed in the political arena to be counter to a Christian view. Can they disagree, absolutely. But first present the unbiased facts.

    What are facts.

    1. Many groups are disrupting Town Hall meetings.

    2. Repulbican sites (not all), are listing Democratics town hall meetings (not Republican) as sites to debate the Health Care issue.

    3. The lobbying form run by Dick Armey has put together a program on how to disrupt the Democratic town hall meetings.

    4. The health insurance companies have put together a campaign to fight against the Health Care initiative by calling it socialism (how many times have you heard that).

    5. An M Street conservative lobbying firm has sent Health Care information buses to various states and they have been captured on film reciting the “euthenasia” mantra that is not in the House bill on Health Care.

    6. Do you have to believe anything I day – No. However, this isn’t an emotional rant. It’s a different view of the Speaker’s comments based on these points.

    So we can agree to not agree.

  • Solarzar,

    Thank you for engaging us in this conversation.

    There may be links from a lobbying firm, but you have to admit that this is a small group when you look at the whole sample.

  • Tito,

    You may be right. Back to my original point, whether you like Nancy Pelosi or not the framework of her statements are some of the overt “disruptive” behavior, not disagreement.

    That was my disagreement with the article, and not with others views. Since you seemed to know each other I just attempted to put my views in context.

    Thank you for sharing your views.

  • Actually, some of your facts are disputable, and others are hardly damning. People are organizing protests? Shocking!

    But yes, let’s agree to disagree.

  • Solarzar,

    I still don’t have the foggiest idea what you’re attempting to demonstrate, especially given the opinions (rather than “facts”) which you’ve presented before us as what should solidify some God-only-knows contention concerning some saintly depiction of Pelosi as anything other than arrogantly biased.

    Tito Taco and Paul Zummo might agree with whatever fertilizer you’re selling them as “facts”; however, I am still quite awed how easily they’re taken by your style of argumentation which seems more so likened to a peasoup fog; yet, I guess what passes off for legitimate debate these days is this kind of refuse.

  • e,

    I didn’t think they agreed with what I said, only agreed with our disagreement.

    Also, my only point was I felt the article was biased to Nancy Pelosi’s opinion, and I don’t believe they agree.

  • however, I am still quite awed how easily they’re taken by your style of argumentation

    Heh. I thought I was being overly aggressive with solarzar, but evidently I wasn’t being clear enough in my dismissal of his points.

    I’ll try harder next time, e.

  • e.,

    I’ll try to be more condescending and obtuse next time as well.

  • paul zummo:

    Good for you! I’d expect better from a person of your stature.

    You shouldn’t let falsehood get by so easily.

    Sure, by all means, be courteous; however, that doesn’t mean neglecting what your very intellect is advising you and, not to mention, surrendering your very dignity to the likes of such petty opponents — especially those whose arguments are a little more than merely makeweights.

    Leave that to the likes of Tito Taco.

    Based on past comments I’ve surveyed from you, you’re certainly better than this.

  • e.,

    Thank you for that Eddie Haskell comment.

  • Tito Taco:

    Well, sorry to disappoint, but I’m not the “Thank-you, Sir, May I have another?” kind of person.

    Bad enough that somebody is putting forth what hardly seems an argument in the first place; worse, to treat such a person as if his very point was somehow so dignified!

    You gents might prefer such humiliation and treat such insulting adversaries as if they were God’s-Gift-to-the-World; however, back in the ole days, when Right was right, we didn’t let off such falsehood so easily and, even further, thanked them for not only their insultingly risible argument but also for their apparent ridicule, too.

  • e,

    I didn’t believe I ridiculed anyone here. You don’t like my opinions, fine. I didn’t attempt to insult anyone, only the article.

  • awakaman,

    That there are lobbies and other organized activity is neither sinister nor an indication that they are the motor for most of those in protest.

    Mr. Frum about fifteen years ago published a book with the title Dead Right. The contents certainly looked like an extended libertarian argument to me, but perhaps a deficient memory or my Neo-Con love of the state has addled me.

  • Solarzar:

    Adducing as your supporting “fact” that Fox News is biased, etc.; for the still dubious contention that the article itself is somehow “biased” because it doesn’t rightly portray Pelosi et al. in some sort of spectacularly positive light and expecting us to take such “facts” as valid corroboration for such contention is indeed (even if somewhat) of a ridiculing nature.

    You are either being deceptively disingenuous or perhaps, at the very least, remarkably naive.

  • I have never been anything but a registered Republican who served 21 years in the Marine Corps and currently works for the Department of Defense.

    ….

    I have a talk radio show

    I am also a biblical scholar

    I don’t buy this guy for a second. He comes on attacking the majority conservative/republican approach to bad legislation, defends the democrat leadership, attacks conservative commentators, defends the bad legislation… claims to be a US Marine and a lifelong Republican, talk show host and biblical scholar…. wow…

    if it walks and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

    I call QUACK.

    No further discussion until you provide some bona-fides, how about the name of your “show” and station it airs on?

  • Why must I defend everything I say. How come I must be either lying or wrong.

    Here is the fallacy: I was researching the Pelosi interview. This link appeared. I mistook the blog entry for a news report of Pelosi. The blog is certainly biased against Pelosi and what she said. It has the point of view of the blogger – I didn’t realize that.

    I never said I was lifelong Republican. It is the only party I have ever belonged to. I left the Republican party in 1994 because of it’s affiliation with the Religious Right. I believe in the separation of Church and State and the integration of a religious platform into the Republican platform doesn’t suit me.

    I research these topics for discussion on my show, which I don’t have to prove. It’s unfortunate that only one view is the right view. Life is actually nuanced. Not right or left.

    My service was 21 years from machine gunner to Director of a benefits and customer service agency for the Department of Defense. I went from enlisted to officer during my 21 years. Currently I am a subject matter expert for the DoD and I coordinate and provide benefits to the active, retired and reserve Service members and their family members. I support over 37 million people, as well as manage projects that support the exchange of information and benefits between the VA and the DoD.

    I walk my talk and believe in free speech, not the stifling or limitation of opinions. I also believe everyone has a right to express based on the facts. Pelosi was expressing a dissatisfaction with the disruption and shouting at town halls and said it was un-American for either side of the discussion to stifle discussion by shouting or not allowing the people to express their views. It was not a biased or partisan position.

    I did not paint some spectacularly positive lights for the Democratic Party, Pelosi, or even the Health Care issues. I do consider myself a Progressive, but on some issues I’m conservative, on some I’m moderate and on some I’m liberal. None of that matters if the discussion is only framed around one side. There is no single answer to anything.

    It took until e’s last comment for me to recognize that I was naive that this was a blog and not a Catholic sanctioned site so I was interferring with a secular house that only accepted a particular view. The discussion often generated into an attack of me, not my opinions, although I have to admit my general criticism of Fox news sure lit a firestorm.

    Dick Armey has a lobbying firm called DLA Piper. He accepts clients and then generates “grass roots” support throught his group called Freedom Works. Freedom Works generated guidelines for how to “disrupt” (their term, not mine) town hall meetings on Health Care it is called the “August Recess Action Kit”).

    Members of DLA Piper include Matt Kibbe, former RNC Chair, and Richard Stephenson, CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Frredom Works also supported the “Tea Party Patriots”. You might like the work they do, but they are disgusing how they do it and proclaiming it as grass roots when it is financed, funded and sheilded. That is the false part. Can they object – sure.

    Any American can disagree, have opposing views, and as citizens any member of DLA Piper can object to any position. However, they use Freedom Works as their front organization claiming grass roots action based on the client list of DLA Piper. You don’t have to take my word. Just take the time to look into Freedom Works, DLA Piper, and Dick Armey. It’s all avialable if you look hard enough.

    My show is Good Vibrations Radio: Tools for Transformation on AM 540, KRXA in Monterey, California. I’m certain you wouldn’t like it since it is progressive. As for my biblical studies, I’m working on my Doctor of Divinity, have spent the last 18 months on New Testament studies with many more months to go. Notice I said scholar, not expert. But I speak only what I believe to be true. Yet, there are many truths to many people, we learn by listening.

    I won’t bother you gentleman again since this is a public, yet private forum that I mistook for an affiliated Catholic site. Now that I’ve explored I do agree I was naive in what I thought the site was.

  • Matt McDonald:

    I don’t buy this guy for a second.

    Thank God — finally, a voice of reason!

  • Solazar,

    I have never been anything but a registered Republican

    you basically started your posting here with an intentionally misleading statement. Whatever you were up until 15 years ago, you are now an progressive/liberal. So that’s why I called quack, I knew something wasn’t right.

    As to your other points, it’s clear that you’re reading the talking points put out by the Soro’s funded elements so it’s a little bit of pot calling the kettle black. In any event, that some group is disseminating information does not change the nature of the opposition. Most people opposed to health care have an instinctive reaction to it and then follow up with research and seek like-minded organizations to work with. Unlike many Soros funded “activism” no reimbursement or assistance beyond information is provided to the groups who are opposing health care and so it’s far more legitimate.

    Your points on the health care bill are all based on the best presumptions about how the executive and bureaucracy will perform their duties. It’s clear from past history that this is a very naive approach. Consider that 2 of Obama’s key advisers have come out in favor of euthanasia and eugenics, positions they have never dissavowed… who is running the bureaucracy?

  • One can find out the basics of military service from public records such as Military.com if one has a real name. There are several things that can be Googled about Solarzar starting with his radio broadcast. One wonders about what his divinity dissertation will be like given this:

    http://www.solarzar.com/

  • One can get a sense of his political views on his blog:

    http://www.solarzar.blogspot.com/

    Somehow I don’t think he is a Republican.

  • Not a little self-serving biography:

    Solarzar is an expert in Leadership, Communication & Customer Service, Goal Planning, and Stress Management. He’s a Master Trainer, award winning Speaker, and Psychic Entertainer who has lived many lives in one: from living on the streets as a teenager to going through the enlisted to the officer ranks in the U.S. Marine Corps during a 21 year career. He is a high school droput who became the Principal of a publicly traded company and brings a wealth of experience that he shares in his powerful, life-changing, magical presentations.

  • So Solarzar is a Psychic entrepreneur that performs magical presentations?

    That makes since, given that the general outline of his argumentation herein is just about as magical as his ironically “biased” contention.

  • Abacadabra: “since” become “sense”!

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  • You have to understand that the “New Democratic Party” is now a party of the “Elitists”. They used to represent the average “Joe In The Street” but now are only concerned in a, shall we say, Socialist point of view and if you don’t agree with their view, get out of the way. Look at the sweet hearts of the Democratic Party. Would you like to have them in your house? Pelosi, Reed, Dodd, Frank, Boxer?

  • Dean Carlson:

    As Fr. Groeschel himself once remarked, it wasn’t former democrats who betrayed the Democrat Party; it was actually the Democrat Party itself.

    Your above comments are the best thus far that not only addresses this but the rather unfortunate fact that is the Democrat Party.

So….What About the Other 10 Million?

Monday, August 3, AD 2009

By this stage in the health care debates, most people are aware that roughly 47 million individuals in America do not have health insurance. And many people are further aware that the 47 million statistic is misleading, because roughly 14 million of these individuals are already eligible for (but have not enrolled in) existing government programs, 9 million have incomes over $75,000 and choose not to purchase private insurance, 3-5 million are only temporarily uninsured between jobs, and roughly 10 million do not have the legal right to reside in the country. In the end, this means roughly 10 million U.S. citizens lack meaningful access to health insurance.  It has been noted elsewhere that insuring these individuals would cost a lot less than the $1 trillion proposal currently under consideration in Congress, and further that it would not require a dramatic (and costly) restructuring of the U.S. health care system.

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11 Responses to So….What About the Other 10 Million?

  • If you could come up with some alternative to ObamaCare that would really stay limited to that ten million or so people in question then I would support it. Even within that ten million, however, there are a lot of people who could afford health care without undergoing serious hardship but who don’t do so because they would rather spend the money on something else (i.e. people who are young and healthy). As to that group my thoughts are similar to those of Megan McArdle: “If you could reasonably afford health insurance by dropping down to a lower-priced cell phone plan and cutting back on your bar tab, you are not a national emergency.”

  • If we’re talking something fairly heavily means-tested, I have nothing in particular against putting something out there to cover that “other ten million”.

    If that could be packaged with means-testing medicare and social security, I’d become downright enthusiastic.

    For me, at least, the big objection is when you start trying to use the predicament of a small number of people to justify putting _everyone_ into some big program.

  • I would suggest a subsidy of some sort, probably tagged on to the earned income tax credit, to allow people who simply can’t afford health insurance to purchase it. I, like Blackadder, do agree with Ms. McArdle however. In my bankruptcy practice I do find quite a few debtors, most without much in the way of medical bills, who have run up high tabs on self phones and drive far more expensive vehicles than I drive, and who could easily afford health insurance but simply prefer to spend their funds in other ways.

  • Health care is a basic human right? Health care is something I’m owed simply by virtue of being a human being? Who’s responsibility is it to see that this “basic” right is not denied to me? Where is that person’s obligation in the natural law? What kind of health care am I owed? What is it’s extent? What does the term even mean?

  • Please delete my brief rant if you think it’s not sufficiently related to, or will only distract from, the point of the post.

    FWIW, if universal coverage is really the goal, then I think the best way to achieve that is to make it affordable for everyone. Because of the way our economy works, the only way this is really possible is through competition and deregulation. This is obviously a very general prescription, but it’s all I’m really capable of:)

  • Well, there seems to be general agreement (Zach excepted) that an expansion of government-provided health care is desirable here (even if not the best of all possible solutions). Apologies for the caricature in the post if that’s how it came across. I have a few more thoughts I’ll throw out just to be contrary:

    BA – Since we agree on the larger point here, I suppose it’s just quibbling, but I think Ms. McArdle’s ‘unsympathetic recipient’ illustration is somewhat beside the point, both because a hypothetical (or actual) ‘sympathetic recipient’ could just as easily be produced, and because over and under-inclusiveness are a necessary consequence of every expansion or reduction in government services. The relevant question to my mind is: “what is the best way to serve the common good here?” A substantial over-inclusiveness problem obviously harms the common good because it is a wasteful use of resources, but we don’t have evidence of substantially over-inclusive public health care benefits with regard to these individuals. If anything, the data suggests we have the opposite problem.

    DC – I think we’re in basic agreement. It still amazes me that Social security and Medicaid aren’t means-tested. Everyone seems to agree it should be done, but politicians in both parties seem to be terrified of the political consequences. At some point, hopefully, sanity will prevail, but I’m not holding my breath. As they say in finance, the market (and politicians) can stay irrational longer than you (or the government) can stay solvent.

    Zach – I left your comments undisturbed (although you are certainly free as a contributor to modify or delete them if you would like). I think your underlying concern about the ambiguities of rights language has some validity, particularly when the ‘right’ involved is, more properly speaking, a duty imposed on other citizens that evolves and takes different forms as a society becomes more prosperous. Nevertheless, it seems clear to me that the underlying concept of the preferential option for the poor is soundly rooted in the teachings of the Church throughout the centuries and the Gospels.

  • I think it would be best to forego this until the banking system is arighted and the public sector deficit extinguished. For flusher times, i’ll offer the following suggestions; those of you more sophisticated about the technics of tax collection and accounting and who have consulted some academic literature on insurance and medical economics can tell me where I have gone astray:

    1. Equalitarian tax reform:

    a. Abolition of property taxes and general sales taxes.

    b. Generous use of tolls and fees on public services.

    c. Conversion of corporate taxes to a flat rate on net profits, without deductions exemptions allowances, &c.

    d. Abolition of the current portfolio of payroll taxes

    e. Replacement of estate taxes with a tax on gifts and bequests received over and above a lifetime deductable. The deductable should be calculated such that these sort of taxes are limited to about 4% of the population with serious assets.

    f. Establishment of a policy that imposts and excises are to be used as instruments of trade negotiations and to change relative prices and induce ‘substitution effects’, not raise revenue. This can be done by distributing the receivables on a roughly per capita basis as a credit against one’s income tax liability.

    g. Define ‘capital gains’ as any increase over and above the increase in the GNP deflator since the base year.

    h. Rely on completely unadorned income taxes for about nine-tenths of public revenue. Calculate them as follows:

    (r x income in cash and kind from ALL sources) – (sum of credits)
    [a dollar value credit for yourself and each dependant]

    Fix the rate and the dollar value of the various credits such that revenues meet expenditures and that about 20% or 25% of the public pays no taxes but receives a net rebate. The net rebate for each head of household would, however, be constrained by a ceiling calculated as a percentage of his earned income; the ceiling could be relaxed for the elderly and disabled.

    2. Scrap public subsidies and provision for commodities for which household expenditures are regular, predictable, and subject to adjustment for amenity (food, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, etc). Turn interstitial social services (the Office for the Aging, the midnight basketball, &c. over to philanthropies).

    3. Incorporate philanthropic foundations to assume ownership and management of all public hospitals, clinics, and homes. Members of the foundation would include those on the attending lists of the hospitals, donors, members of the local chapters of the American Legion and the VFW, those on tribal rolls, &c.

    4. Gradually discontinue state funding of medical research, bar that in the realm of public health.

    5. Consider removing the adjudication of malpractice claims to administrative tribunals who issue awards from a stereotyped compensation schedule, derived from a state fund collected from an annual assessment on practitioners.

    6. Systematize extant schemes in place for extending services to undesirable loci by creating an ROTC-like program for medical students and residents at the end of which they would put in five years with the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, accepting deployments to Indian reservations, &c.

    7. Enforced savings: each family would have two bequeathable savings accounts, one devoted to medical care and the other devoted to custodial care. The state would make a flat monthly assessment of one’s income with a portion destined for each account. One would be permitted to draw on one or the other to pay for care, and would be permitted each quarter to withdraw for use at one’s discretion any amount over legislated minimum balances. (These minimum balances I would think be fairly high).

    8. Public insurance:

    a. Each state government defines by legislation a standard insurance contract. The contract would provide for the re-imbursement of providers once the individual has exhausted the contents of his savings account (or exhausted the legislated minimum balance, whichever is lesser). The state government would divide the territory of the state into catchments on which demographic information would be available and with regard to which insurers could do their own research. The state would then assemble qualified insurers every few years to submit sealed bids to be the insurer for the catchment. Low bid wins, and the state government acts as the bag man for the insurance company in question, collecting the community premium by assessing a surcharge of a certain percentage on the state income tax bill of each family in the catchment.

    b. The state government would do the same for the provision of insurance for custodial care.

    c. The federal government would enact a parallel plans much like the above to cover medical benefits and custodial care of certain clientele (e.g. military families and others in itinerant occupations) and those who have moved into a state in the last three years.

    9. Grandfather clauses:

    The federal government would add balances to the medical and custodial savings of the elderly, the disabled, and in-theater war veterans for some decades to hold harmless people whose financial planning was dependent on a certain benefits configuration.

    10. Private insurance could be purchased at the discretion of the head of household to supplement or supplant benefits in the state’s standard contract. He still has to pay his surcharges, though.

    11. State insurance funds derived from assessments on private insurers, to compensate hospitals for emergency care delivered to patients who use insurers with which that particular hospital does not do business.

    12. Philanthropy of the formal and informal sort.

  • On McArdle’s unsympathetic recipient — if one was willing to come up with some reasonable means-testing and stick to it, I think that could mostly alleviate that problem. Assign a subsidy or possibly public coverage ala Medicare to those in that ten million, but only to those who meet a certain threshold of need.

    If people don’t have the stomach to leave those who can cover themselves but refuse to out in the cold, one could allow them use of the same program as those who meet the means test, but then dun them for payment via the IRS.

    Now, I’ll say, I’m not crazy about public subsidies (for people or enterprise) in general, but I think given the society we find ourselves in at this time we’re probably stuck with using that as a way out of certain problem. I admire groups like the Amish who accept neither social security nor medicare nor insurance because they believe in relying on one another — but we clearly don’t have that kind of community cohesion so there’s no point in cutting our legs out from under us based on the ideal.

  • I do not care for subsidies for private goods, either. What is (among other things) characteristic of medical care, custodial care, and legal counsel is that over the course of your life you suffer somewhat unpredictable spikes in your demand for these services. If we are being admonished to place the interests of the poor front-and-center it ought be acknowledged that the information deficits in the purchase of these sorts of services tend to be more acute the more impecunious the recipient and that trouble with time horizons is inversely correllated with income. Legal counsel and common schooling are also a facility for taking your place as a citizen and common schooling and mass transit are a facility for entering the workforce. Ergo, there is a case to be made for redistribution taking the form of common provision of a modest selection of purchasable services. What is mad about our current welfare system is that policy is generally to subsidize the purchase of frequently replenished goods of which consumption varies according to consideration of amenity. We can ‘pay’ for the collective consumption of certain services in part by erasing the unnecessary subsidies as well as certain baleful income transfer programs (TANF, for example), as well as targeting the role of public agencies in heath to public health measures and the provision of care, not to academic pork barrel. Concern about ‘cost control’ is somewhat misplaced. What should concern us is that public expenditure not be put on autopilot, which we can accomplish by adjusting a deductable upward every few years in order to maintain the committment of the state in the realm of medical and custodial care somewhere in the neighborhood of 8% of GDP.

  • John,

    Nevertheless, it seems clear to me that the underlying concept of the preferential option for the poor is soundly rooted in the teachings of the Church throughout the centuries and the Gospels.

    Does the preferential option for the poor entail a right to health care? What does the option entail? I don’t believe this has ever been spelled out in any specifics in terms of policies. I think it means political leaders and leaders of communities should consider the poor in all that they do.

  • Based on Darwin’s estimate of $4-6K for 1yr of insurance, I’d think that we could just buy ordinary insurance for those folks at a cost of $50B/yr. (And I assume that merely adding those people to medicaid would be less expensive than $5K/yr.)

    According to this story,

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/10/business/moneywatch/main5230656.shtml

    the reform plan will cost $90-100B/yr over the next ten years. According to the same story, we could make up that amount either by raising taxes for individuals making over $280,000 and families with income over $350,000 or by taxing employer provided health insurance as income. I think that either of these would be fair ways to pay the tab for the extra 10M uninsured.

    QUESTION: What is the source of the 10M figure? I’ve seen George Will’s column…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/19/AR2009061902334.html

    but that gives 9.7M illegals and 9.1 over $75K income, for a total of 18.8M not to include so far.
    Then he says that there are AS MANY AS 14M who are already eligible (which implies that there are likely <14M) and that there are many who are uninsured for 6 months or less (but states no figure). He ends up suggesting that there may be 20M remaining, not 10M. In other words he is sure that at least 25.7M can be excluded. That would mean that the figure for the already eligible plus the 6 monthers may add up to as little as 6.9M Moreover, his starting figure was 45.7M and not 47M, which would mean adding a possible 1.3M

    To me, that implies that there may be as many as 21.3M chronically uninsured, unless there is another source for the 14M which does not use it as an upper limit and another source for the 3-5M figure. (Daylightsmark gives no sources, and the 3-5M seems to come from there.)

    The two sources of funding I mentioned above, when combined, would still accommodate the larger estimate of uninsured.

Canada Has Its Own Health Care Debate

Monday, August 3, AD 2009

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. John Stossel is an anomaly:  he is a libertarian in a profession, journalism, dominated by liberal democrats.  Here is a column he wrote which summarizes the video, which spent quite a bit of time discussing the shortcomings of Canadian health care.

The experience of Canada under national health care is intriguing.  A battle is raging over the net with opponents of ObamaCare pointing out its shortcomings and proponents rallying to the defense of  the Canadian system.  One often overlooked feature is the role of private medical clinics in Canada.   Recently such clinics have been made legal based upon a Canadian Supreme Court decision and are becoming increasingly popular.  A good article on the subject is here Here is another article on the clinics.

I found this quote from the last article linked to curious.

“It’s obviously extra billing and queue jumping,” says David Eggen, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “If this goes on unregulated, it’ll spread like wildfire and we can see it, even in a recession, starting to expand here in Alberta.”

Now why would these clinics spread like wildfire if the Canadians are as enamored of their national health care system as the proponents of ObamaCare say they are?  Here is a story from 2006 on the subject which appeared in that notorious right-wing rag The New York Times.   As we debate changing our health care system to something approaching that of the Canadian system, we should also understand that there is a debate in Canada about broadening the availability of private pay health care.

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5 Responses to Canada Has Its Own Health Care Debate

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  • But..but..you’re just pointing out the inefficiencies and poor care because you’re already against government control of health care. Just like when you railed against GovMed because it will cover abortion and most likely euthanasia. These are small things, the important thing is that we have the honorable and intelligent people in congress give everyone free health care. Where’s the hope, people?!?

  • I also found this interesting. I wonder why this is happening?

    “While proponents of private clinics say they will shorten waiting lists and quicken service at public institutions, critics warn that they will drain the public system of doctors and nurses. Canada has a national doctor shortage already, with 1.4 million people in the province of Ontario alone without the services of a family doctor.

    “If anesthetists go to work in a private clinic,” Manitoba’s health minister, Tim Sale, argued recently, “the work that they were doing in the public sector is spread among fewer and fewer people.”

    But most Canadians agree that current wait times are not acceptable.

    The median wait time between a referral by a family doctor and an appointment with a specialist has increased to 8.3 weeks last year from 3.7 weeks in 1993, according to a recent study by The Fraser Institute, a conservative research group. Meanwhile the median wait between an appointment with a specialist and treatment has increased to 9.4 weeks from 5.6 weeks over the same period.

    Average wait times between referral by a family doctor and treatment range from 5.5 weeks for oncology to 40 weeks for orthopedic surgery, according to the study.”

  • Rick,
    You invoke the virtue of Hope in the same paragraph you call Abortion and Euthanasia “small things”. In our creators eyes abortion is the modern day Holocaust. Hope is the virtue that makes the Christian Crave for the Kingdom of God and to place his trust in the promises of Jesus to get us there. Your insensitivity, to the point of trivialization, of the dignity of life clearly reflects your lack of Hope. Whenever a virtue whether Hope, Charity, Justice, etc are invoked without regard for it’s origin in divinity you have Nothing.

  • Sorry, Ray. I was being sarcastic and mocking a type of argument that is offered by some in these parts. The really sad thing about it is that I didn’t need to take much creative license to do it. Nevertheless, I should have written something at the end to indicate that I was being snarky.

How to Get There from Here

Tuesday, July 28, AD 2009

There’s been much discussion of late about what other country’s health care apparatus the US should consider emulating, and in such discussions France is often mentioned. Now, all cheerful ribbing against the French aside, their health care system is not nearly as “socialized” or nearly as afflicted by treatment denials and waiting lists as those of the UK or Canada. It is also rather more like the system that the US already has, in that it is a hybrid public/private system, though in their case there is a guaranteed base level of coverage everyone has through the government (funded via a hefty payroll tax — not unlike Medicare) which most people supplement with private coverage. Most doctors are in private practice, and 25% do not even accept the public plan, just as some practices in the US do not accept Medicare. However, everyone does have that minimum level of coverage, and the French spend a lower percentage of their GDP on health care than the US (11% versus 16%) which when you take into account that France’s GDP per capita is a good deal smaller than that of the US (which is the polite, economist way of saying it’s a poorer country) works out to the US spending about twice as many dollars per person on health care, while still not having universal coverage.

So what are we waiting for? Why don’t we go enact the French system here right now? Why doesn’t Obama put on a jaunty beret, dangle a cigarette coolly from the corner of his mouth, hoist a glass of wine, and just say, “Oui, nous pouvons.”

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9 Responses to How to Get There from Here

  • Well done Darwin,

    Many factors in health care. One is physician salaries as pointed out in other posts. Many factors in physican salaries as you point out including the high cost of medical school and indirect malpractice costs. If those aren’t addressed while cutting physician salaries, problems will most certainly follow.

  • Dear God… someone finally stopped talking about British and Canadian health care and realized that are quite a number of schemes to reach universal coverage and single-payer systems aside (I don’t feel like having that go-round), France is a pretty good model.

    Moreover, I think if we attacked education (costs) and provided greater assistance to medical students (not just with public funds), we could slightly lessen doctor salaries — as health care costs go down and depending on their specialty.

  • And by ‘lessen’ I don’t mean put caps on it via legislation.

  • Related to this but in a more general sense: I think that dealing with a situation like this (in which it becomes necessary to drive a group of people’s income down for the common good) the impersonal nature of markets is generally more socially acceptable than government action. I don’t think anyone would tolerate reducing doctor pay 30-40% by fiat, even when they generally make a lot of money. But creating the conditions for it to gradually reduce due to market pressure doesn’t have the same antagonistic edge.

    Just had to get the market plug in. 🙂

  • 30 – 40% again seems not to take into account malpractice costs let alone medical school. Maybe your figures take into account malpractice costs. But if not, using your figures, a specialist in the US averages 230k vs 149k in France. Subtract the average 55k for malpractice and you get a difference of 175 vs 149. Excluding medical school costs you’re now talking about a 14% difference, not 30 – 40.

    What’s the average malpractic attorney’s pay?

  • Actually just Googled it. In 2006 it was 100k.

  • I guess, I’m not sure how stuff like malpractice insurance is usually accounted for. Do doctors always have to pay it out of pocket (thus out of their personal pay) or is it often payed by their practice as a business expense?

    Either way, significantly reducing the malpractice lottery would have a salient effect on health care prices — not just in allowing for health care providers to charge less, but also reducing the number of extra procedures which are done for tail covering purposes rather than medical effect.

  • Depends on the practice. Those that are stand alone pay out of their own pocket. Those in large practices or hospital based practices get it paid for. But that will be considered part of compensation and usually salaries are lower to reflect that. Either way, there is a cost to income from malpractice premiums.

  • The cost of malpractice insurance is inflated by insurance companies, just as insurance companies inflate the cost of medical insurance. But the big issue is that usa doctors and hospitals do not like to be held accountable for their bad medical practices and poor outcomes. Their private for profit medicine ranks 37th in outcomes compared to other countries, which rank muych better using national health programs. Malpractice costs would clearly go down if usa outcome rankings improved. The fact that france ranks number one, having the best outcomes, while paying their doctors much less, is all just a further indictment of our private medical system in the usa.

Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

Friday, July 24, AD 2009

In light of Zach’s stellar posting which generated over 240 comments ranging from anarchism to Oscar Romero and which inspired a posting by Michael Denton.  These comments, although informative to a certain extent, may have detracted from the original intent of the posting.  Henceforth in regards to said activities being done on Zach’s posting concerning Representative Chris Smith, I am starting a new tradition here at American Catholic, the open thread.

So feel free to comment to your hearts delight that isn’t related to any other postings on this website.

The comments policy is still in place so don’t forget to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Enjoy.

Marxist Health Care

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12 Responses to Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

  • I do not oppose a health care bill that extends coverage beyond the narrow concerns protected under Medicaid, Medicare, and SSI. I object to bloated bills that have not been read. I object to rushing to publish a bill, any bill, for purely political reasons. I object to “stealth” measures to hide within larger bills truly controversial legislation like FOCA. I object to the blackmail that this process creates, diminishing debate and deliberation to little more than key points, without the detail necessary to analyze the effects. Most of all, I object to a President, ANY President, telling the legislature what kind of legislation to pass, what it should do and say, and when it shall be completed. This is bullying and strikes as the core of the Separation of Powers.

    In the instant debate, I am THRILLED to see this rush to cobble together a bill delayed. Now, maybe, we can come up with something that specifically addresses the issues as hand without delving into issues that should be addressed as separate bills.

  • G-Veg,

    I agree to most of your points except the need for government run health care. Which both violates subsidiarity and distributism.

  • I forget who pointed out. Appropos of your cartoon, it appears the right has an unhealthy obsession with anal penetration, specifically anal rape.

  • M.Z.,

    What gnostic class can I take to follow your line of thinking?

  • Tito,

    I love you, man, but you are better than a post with that cartoon as its header.

  • Frankly, the cartoon was a lot more innocuous than M.Z.’s rather inflammatory response to it.

  • Why does it violate subsidiarity?

  • The principle of subsidiarity is that matters should be handled at the most local level as possible and if it cannot adequately at that level be taken care of, it can move up to the next point. The problem is, I think most Democrats will argue, is that the states do not have the resources to address the matter sufficiently because it is fixing a regional problem within a intricately more complicated problem. So, I don’t think one can simply say it violates subsidiarity as if that is some obvious objective fact that cannot, rightly or wrongly, be disputed.

    All Democratic proposals aside. I have read criticism after criticism, but I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem. I have seen what I think are credible starting-points amending parts of the system, but nothing comprehensively to address the whole of health care in America, while restraining the government. If this were really a serious problem, I’d almost expect a solution. The closest thing I’ve seen is the Patients Choice Act which has earned about every stripe of Republican criticism and has incorporated by and large waves of Democratic ideas.

    I think the *structure* of the health care markets is deeply flawed and I don’t see them re-structuring unless it is via the legislative process. I’m sure we won’t agree on details. But it seems opposition to Democratic health care proposals almost always opposition (indirectly) to reform, which ends up not happening — to the total chagrin of the people who need it the most.

  • Eric,

    Were the Federal Government to provide a straightforward and unrestricted subsidy to state, county, and municipal government determined according to a formula taking into account population and per capita income, the principal structural impediment to state authorities acting as medical insurers would be removed. Why not leave general income redistribution, macroeconomic stabilization (e.g. unemployment compensation), and public works implicated in moving people and goods across state lines to the center and other services to the periphery?

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  • Eric,
    I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem.

    have you checked out the Republican proposals? John McCain’s policy is a great starting point. I believe it’s the brainchild of an actual physician.

    Here’s the key points without getting into the nitty gritty:

    1. Tort Reform – liability insurance and payouts for exorbitant claims account for 20% of healthcare costs.

    2. Equal Access – eliminate preferential tax treatment of employer sponsored plans vs. private plans. Accomplished by eliminating the employer’s deduction, and giving a tax credit to all Americans with which to purchase health care as they see fit.

    3. Open Market – allow individuals and employers to purchase any plan authorized by any state.

    4. Encourage Health savings and catastrophic INSURANCE coverage instead of pre-paid health care.

    These actions will drive down the cost of health care while maintaining the motivators for continued advancement and excellence.

    Now, you can never again say haven’t heard any alternatives.