Monday/Tuesday Highlights

Well, I’m back in Jersey for a day or three to finish up here. How about an high capacity clip of links? How about your head tube?

  1. I’d be happier if we all decided to be a little more honest … on both sides. How about the right decide to to forgo exaggeration to attack Obamacare and those on the left stop pretending it won’t be a big budget hit.
  2. Somebody just forgot November, short memories on the left, eh?
  3. Consequences and the pro-choice, err, pro-abortion community.
  4. And the “I am a sociopath” defense.
  5. Cold is, apparently, all relative.
  6. Housing bubble and jobs.
  7. Stupid left wing arithmetic, apparently making “millions” off of $43 million people is unwarranted. What? Not taking a loss is immoral. Let’s see, if they made just over 20 cents off of each person that would be one million. 
  8. Race, gender and “gaps.”
  9. A workout of sorts.
  10. Abortion.
  11. Tiger Mom.
  12. Some thoughts on fasting.
  13. Speaking of the left and death rhetoric
  14. And a hymn from the East for a taste of Orthodox liturgical music.

 

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76 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    So now Morgan’s story is that since you can’t predict the future, his prediction of increased deficits should be accepted without providing any support. Likewise his previous assertion that the CBO has issued some ‘revision’ that said the bill increases deficits I guess now should be retconned out of existence. Beyond that his 6 yr spend/10 yr taxes claim also was never made now because the future is just so fuzzy only the ‘intuition’ of right wing web sites can provide us with any advice.

  2. Boonton says:

    Housing bubble and jobs.

    Kind of interesting in that it actually refutes the ‘structural’ hypothesis that the economy is being held back by ‘skill mismatches’ due to the real estate markets.

  3. Boonton says:

    Returning to Morgan’s latest contribution here…

    The problem here is that bills are proposed all the time and we need a way to evaluate them. Person A proposes a series of ‘space platforms’, Mark proposes building 50 nuclear power plants, another guy proposes building a wall along the southern border of the US, another proposes making Social Security into 401K type accounts with a Federal guarantee against dramatic loss. The true implications of all these bills are honestly unpredictable however to debate them intelligently you need to apply an objective method of scoring to evaluate their impact. simply waving your hands about saying math is hard doesnt help

    The problem here is not that scoring methods are perfect, its that if you want to argue about scoring methods then do so but then you apply them everywhere. By way of analogy, if you think the 3 point rule ruins the game of basketball then lobby to get rid of it. But you can’t argue that the 3 point rule is bad so therefore one particular game will have its score restated accordingly.

  4. Wow, this is hilarious! Mr Freeberg can’t even bring himself to address my point while Mark can’t bring himself to admit I’m right. No wonder they’re so wrong about stuff — how could you be right if you refuse to be admit when you’re wrong?

    “Look at Klein’s chart! The taxes don’t start until the same year the spending does. It’s 6 years of taxes vs. 6 years of spending, not 10 vs. 6.”

    Everybody makes mistakes. What separates those who eventually get it right from those who don’t is the ability to acknowledge one’s mistakes and to learn from the experience.

  5. Addressing your point…From Mr. Klein’s debunkery:

    There is exactly one year when revenues are substantially larger than benefits: That’s 2013. Between 2010 and 2012, revenues are smaller than benefits. And between 2014 and 2019, they’re smaller than benefits.

    This is what is supposed to be assuring us ObamaCare will subtract from the deficit and not add to it. You don’t seem to be reading your own stuff JA.

    I also note one side of this discussion seems to feel the need to continuously shout its own supposed “victories.” Perhaps that is an indicator that the victories are worth shouting about…but…I do not think that is what it means.

  6. Sigh. There are in no way 10 years of taxes paying for 6 years of spending. Look at the damn chart.

  7. I did. You have now spent many times as much verbiage — however you plan to measure it — crowing about how your opponents don’t-get-it, in some way, than Ezra Klein has spent making his point, which falls far short of anything that could be fairly called coherent. He made a chart. Big deal.

    Here, let’s try this. Pick out an isolated segment of the country, and enact ObamaCare within that segment. Demographic…geographic…whatever. Prove to everybody its limitless power in eradicating deficits. If the rest of us like what we see, then we’ll make it universal. That’s how intelligent people implement plans like this that involve drastic change, and have a real potential for going one way or the other…

    But let me guess — no can do, right? Same ol’ leftist twaddle, gotta do it now, gotta do it from sea to shining sea, burn the bridge behind us, and don’t allow anyone to escape. Here are our numbers, anybody who expresses the slightest bit of doubt about it we’re going to say is “missing the point” or “spreading disinformation.”

    How come all liberal plans have these things in common?

  8. Boonton says:

    Morgan

    This is what is supposed to be assuring us ObamaCare will subtract from the deficit and not add to it. You don’t seem to be reading your own stuff JA.

    Here we see the folly of not following the rules. Sigh. The chart was not a comprehensive listing of revenue increases, spending increases AND spending cuts. The chart was only showing spending versus taxes to refute the charge that the decreasing deficit projection was an artificat of ’10 years of taxes compared to only 6 years of benefits”. If you had bothered to pay a bit more attention instead of spawning links we wouldn’t be 50+ posts into this and still going thru it.

    Here, let’s try this. Pick out an isolated segment of the country, and enact ObamaCare within that segment. Demographic…geographic…whatever. Prove to everybody its limitless power in eradicating deficits.

    Hmmm, first Morgan wants to play baseball. JA scores a home run. Then he tells us he’s playing football. We score a touchdown. Then he says he was playing soccar all along, a goal is scored and no it turns out it was cricket that we were supposed to be playing.

    OK, so let’s keep playing. The bill actually does allow for experimentation. Any state can opt itself out provided it replaces it with something that achieves a comparable level of coverage. There are limits, though, to what you can do with segmentation. Programs like Medicare or Social Security simply do not let you ‘segment’ the population….or at least without a major redesign of the program. Do you have an intelligent proposal for how you’d practically do a ‘segmented’ experiment with ‘Obamacare’? Do you even know what Obamacare really is?

    How come all liberal plans have these things in common?

    Well Medicaid is actually a segmented program. The states decide what they want to spend and the Fed. gov’t matches. Some states have very generous coverage, others don’t. Some put poor into HMOs, others just pay docs by preset rates.

  9. Here we see the folly of not following the rules. Sigh. The chart was not a comprehensive listing of revenue increases, spending increases AND spending cuts. The chart was only showing spending versus taxes to refute the charge that the decreasing deficit projection was an artificat of ’10 years of taxes compared to only 6 years of benefits”. If you had bothered to pay a bit more attention instead of spawning links we wouldn’t be 50+ posts into this and still going thru it.

    Precisely. Charles Krauthammer pointed out the inherent dishonesty of using ten years of taxes to pay for six years of benefits, which start in 2014. If you had not only looked at Ezra Klein’s chart, but read carefully through the text around it, you see Klein’s point is something like this:

    “When I saw what Krauthammer said I assumed there must be a big numerical discrepancy that resulted from this, and then when I looked at the charts I found the numbers aren’t that big. See? Here they are in chart form!” In other words, Klein called Krauthammer a liar by first going somewhat beyond what Krauthammer was saying. It’s called “straw man fallacy” and Klein has a history of working this way. Kind of like pretending Sarah Palin said “I can see Alaska from my house!” so you can make fun of what she never actually said, and just for grins, maybe toss in some raw data showing you can’t see Russia from Lake Lucille so the dumb broad doesn’t even know what she’s talking about.

    But back to the subject at hand. Following the rules. This is another fundamental error you have made. We aren’t trying to follow rules. We aren’t trying to marginalize people who fail to fall in line behind Holy Leader’s health care plan, or make fun of them, or show each other charts that Ezra made with his inkjet printer, or figure out who’s smarter than who.

    We’re trying to balance the budget and keep the public debt of the United States from spiraling out of control. Or…rocketing out of control, as the case may be.

    Now, without preening and condescending and lecturing others and engaging in more useless stuff and nonsense about “anybody who doesn’t agree with me emphatically just doesn’t get it”…can you provide a convincing case as to why we should believe ObamaCare will be the very first seizure of private commerce by the federal government, that will have a diminishing effect on the public debt?

  10. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Well Medicaid is actually a segmented program. The states decide what they want to spend and the Fed. gov’t matches. Some states have very generous coverage, others don’t. Some put poor into HMOs, others just pay docs by preset rates.

    and

    The bill actually does allow for experimentation. Any state can opt itself out provided it replaces it with something that achieves a comparable level of coverage.

    Actually that’s not quite true. Say … a State decides to restructure its entitlement programs … and means test state supported medical coverage and end of life coverage and pay for it with their people’s Medicare and SS withholding. Can they do that? Oops. Can’t do that. How do they prove “comparable” level of coverage? How do they then reduce that ~18% hit in regressive taxation so that people can actually privately afford to cover their health and retirement needs? Hmmmm. Oh, wait. They can’t. Why not, because Feds have co-opted that. And, if they “opt out” of the federal program, does that mean their state “opts” out of paying the taxes collected to fund them and gets a collective federal tax break. Nope. Kinda like voucher-less private education. You can “opt out” of public education, but you’re still on the hook for paying for public education just as well. Kind lowers the incentive to “opt out” when it just means you pay but don’t collect.

    You and JA’s arguments might have a little more force if the ACA audit chief wasn’t testifying today that, well, the plan won’t be able to control costs at all, in fact they will likely rise than in the absence of the program. And, oh, by the way, remember that “you can keep your current coverage” … that too was a lie. You know you kept asking at the start of this conversation what sorts of “bugbears” were in the future of this program that would increase its costs. Well, there are two of them. Do you think that will be the end of it?

  11. Boonton says:

    Morgan,

    The question is not about the truthiness of Kraut.’s column, the question is whether or not you’ve supported your claim that the bill increases the deficit rather than decrease or is neutral. Actually the claim by Mark and supported by you was even stronger, not only does the bill increase the deficit but it is ‘obvious’ that it does and the very position that it might not isn’t even debatable anymore.

    You are the one who has failed again and again to back this stance up. Throughout this thread you’ve done nothing but change the rules around and around to try to prove your point. For example, the CBO was fine when you were touting a mythical ‘revised report’ that said the bill increased the deficit. When no such report can be found the CBO suddenly becomes ‘garbage in garbage out’. But CBO estimates are fine when used by people like Krauthammer to spin tales like ‘six years of benefits but ten years of taxes’…. Then we patiently took a detour through Mark’s floating space platforms which somehow also demonstrate… I’m not quite sure what.

    We aren’t trying to marginalize people who fail to fall in line behind Holy Leader’s health care plan, or make fun of them,…

    Actually you were quite happy to marginalize and make fun when you thought your link spam had your back covered in regards to your deficit claims. When they were actually read and examined and found wanting you realized you had wandered out too far on thin ice. Don’t get mad at my ‘rules’…..the ‘rules’ are there for your own protection. If you had bothered to read and think about the evidence you enlisted to support your claim you wouldn’t be in the position of looking silly. That’s not my fault and that’s not the fault of Klien’s ‘ink-jet printer’.

    We’re trying to balance the budget and keep the public debt of the United States from spiraling out of control. Or…rocketing out of control, as the case may be.

    I’m not sure who ‘we’ are here but actually that’s not the purpose of the health bill. The bills purpose is to provide something somewhat closer to universal coverage and more secure than the current system. Being that the long term deficit is an issue it’s nice that it’s not adding to the problem and if it’s slightly helping the deficit over the long term then that’s cherries on top, but not the purpose of the bill itself.

    I agree that it’s overstating things to say passing the Republican’s repeal bill will cause the deficit to ‘explode’. Adding $200B to the deficit over 10 years simply isn’t that much….but if you are trying to deal with the deficit then why add to it?

    Now, without preening and condescending and lecturing others and engaging in more useless stuff and nonsense about “anybody who doesn’t agree with me emphatically just doesn’t get it”…can you provide a convincing case as to why we should believe ObamaCare will be the very first seizure of private commerce by the federal government, that will have a diminishing effect on the public debt?

    Actually I think you get it very well, after all why the desperate goal post shifting? When you’re playing a game and someone constantly tries argue that the rules should be changed to turn their losing hand into a winning one you can’t really say they don’t ‘get it’. They get it very well, they simply don’t like it and rather than present a winning hand or just concede a point they’d figure they will go round and round until everyone else will just give into them out of exhaustion.

    As for your request, I reject the premise that ‘private commerce’ has been seized by the Federal gov’t (technically even if it was it wouldn’t be ‘the first’ in US history). If you want to discuss the actual health bill be my guest, let me know when you want to actually begin.

  12. Boonton says:

    Actually that’s not quite true. Say … a State decides to restructure its entitlement programs … and means test state supported medical coverage and end of life coverage and pay for it with their people’s Medicare and SS withholding.

    Are you talking about Medicaid or Medicare or the Health Bill? 3 different things. No the state can’t use Medicare because Medicare is actually a different program. The bill funds some of its benefits by reducing some Medicare spending but Medicare is like Social Security in the sense that its between the individual and the Federal gov’t. If you’re collecting Social Security you can move to any state you want and the check still comes from the Federal gov’t. Medicaid is different. The state decides how much to spend and what to spend it on and the Fed. gov’t matches (with other rules and complications of course). If you’re poor and on Medicaid in New York and move to Texas you may or may not be able to be on Medicaid there and if you are it may not cover the same types of things.

    Oops. Can’t do that. How do they prove “comparable” level of coverage? How do they then reduce that ~18% hit in regressive taxation so that people can actually privately afford to cover their health and retirement needs?

    18% tax hit where exactly? Are you talking about the health bill or about Medicare/Medicaid which pre-existed the health bill and while connected are actually independent programs?

    Nope. Kinda like voucher-less private education. You can “opt out” of public education, but you’re still on the hook for paying for public education just as well.

    Really? Your community pays for public education by a tax on kids? No it probably uses property tax and other taxes to pay for public education and the number of kids you have has no bearing on that. If you should get a voucher for sending your kids to private school how come I don’t get a voucher for not having any kids at all?

    You and JA’s arguments might have a little more force if the ACA audit chief wasn’t testifying today that, well, the plan won’t be able to control costs at all, in fact they will likely rise than in the absence of the program

    You’ll have to flesh that out a bit more. It sounds like you’re saying costs will rise but without the plan they would rise even more. Which costs exactly are rising and why?

    And, oh, by the way, remember that “you can keep your current coverage” … that too was a lie.

    Well actually it wasn’t a lie. You can keep your current coverage in the sense that the bill doesn’t override what the status quo is. A single payer system, for example, would void out Medicare and all employer provided plans. Numerous plans floated by Republicans (other than the one that passed which is basically a Republican idea of health reform) that proposed things like abolishing employer provided coverage by eliminating its tax benefit would likewise mean you couldn’t ‘keep your current coverage’. In fact the core reason we have such a complicated bill is that it generally tries to keep everyone who has coverage more or less untouched….but since we get coverage from so many systems with a chunck on Medicare, a chunck getting through work, a smaller chunck buying it privately and a group going without coverage, any non-radical program would by definition be pretty complicated. An actual radical plan (such as Canada’s single payer system or the UK’s) would be much simplier in that it would wipe away all the pre-existing systems like Medicare, employer plans, private plans etc. rather than work around them.

    But more directly “keep your current coverage” is perfectly true in the sense that if you are getting coverage thru work or by buying a private plan or through Medicare/Medicaid you’re basically not touched by the bill. It isn’t true if you take it to mean that whatever coverage you have in, say, 2008, will never change. The ‘current coverage’ of 2008 changed all the time. Most of us have probably seen our employers changing around the insurance providers every enrollment period and even if they don’t we’ve probably seen ‘in network’ doctors come and go and our insurance company changing what they cover and how aggressive they are in challenging claims etc.

  13. Don’t get mad at my ‘rules’…..the ‘rules’ are there for your own protection.

    No, they aren’t. The rules are there to make it look like we can save money by spending it.

    And if I look silly by keeping in mind +1 is greater than -1, then that suits me just fine. See…it’s called remembering history, having a long term memory, using it. Your “rules” seem to have something to do with starting history this morning…which…to accomplish what they’re supposed to, I guess that has to be in there somewhere.

  14. Boonton says:

    Actually my ‘rule’ is that you simply understand and can defense the sources you cite in support of your argument. Not that you don’t cite any ‘history’. In fact the only people here who cited history was JA and I. Mark came in with hypotheticals about space platforms and your arguments were imaginary history (such as your CBO ‘revision’ that has disappeared from you rargument)

  15. Actually my ‘rule’ is that you simply understand and can defense the sources you cite in support of your argument. Not that you don’t cite any ‘history’. In fact the only people here who cited history was JA and I. Mark came in with hypotheticals about space platforms and your arguments were imaginary history (such as your CBO ‘revision’ that has disappeared from you rargument)

    There have been a lot of things that have disappeared from my argument.

    Once I took the time to read and re-read and re-read Ezra Klein’s column, and realize he wasn’t really saying anything because his entire case was built around a straw-man…and then when you poured in paragraph after paragraph after paragraph about the “doc fix” issue which hadn’t been brought up by anyone, and I then realized you were just scraping things off web sites and pasting them in here…I decided the time came to just stick to the issue at hand. Someone has to.

    Since you and JA are the only ones citing history, maybe you can answer my questions about it. What, in that history, indicates government will take charge of our health care, and in so doing make that health care easier to acquire, and in so doing bring down the public debt?

    That’s really what the discussion is all about, isn’t it?

  16. Boonton says:

    Actually the ‘doc fix’ was brought up as an example of a spending cut that was reversed by Congress. What wasn’t mentioned, though, was that the bill that reversed the rate cut for doctors in 2011 was offset itself. The argument was essentially that the Obama health bill can’t be deficit neutral because Congress may pass follow up bills in the future that aren’t deficit neutral. The problem with that argument is:

    1. Simply don’t pass such follow up bills or if you do insist that they maintain deficit neutrality.

    2. This has nothing to do with the health bill. Sure Congress in 2015 may pass a law giving everyone with diabetes $5,000 with no offsetting tax increase or spending cut to pay for it. That’s not an argument for repealing the 2010 health bill since Congress may or may not do that in 2015 no matter what laws we pass today.

  17. Since both the major political parties have lost credibility in the deficit-hawk department, and what we’re doing is now discussing what Congress ought to do, how about this:

    Just pass a bill with all the cost-containment measures that are supposed to make ObamaCare deficit-neutral, without the new health care plan. IF they work like they’re supposed to, then we can discuss the rest of it. While we have it in our rear view mirror, fairly close in our rear view mirror, that Congress has finally done something to improve the government’s solvency.

    Heck, even work in a sunset provision so there’s an actual date by this meeting-of-the-minds that’s supposed to happen later. But to reject that would be to add fuel to the fire of Krauthammer’s original point: It is silly to talk of closing up the deficit by saving $700B with these future cuts…and oh by the way…while we’re doing that I have a new plan to spend $500B so the net savings is actually $200B.

    The reason you’re getting resistance isn’t that people aren’t following your rules, or that inadequate respect is being paid to the distinguished Ezra Klein and his mad debunking skillz. The plan itself just doesn’t inspire confidence in people. And it shouldn’t.

  18. Boonton says:

    Actually the GOP has no deficit hawk credibility. As for passing spending cuts that are ‘in the future’, where exactly are spending cuts supposed to be? In the past?

    No one has talked about ‘closing the deficit’. The only deficit argument is that the health bill either modestly helps the deficit or is neutral. The purpose of the health bill was not to close the deficit.

  19. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Actually the GOP has no deficit hawk credibility.

    And that’s what Mr Freeburg said. He said that neither party has said credibility. That means in particular the GOP does not.

  20. Boonton says:

    Are you working on your summary?

  21. Boonton says:

    In terms of what to have confidence in, well we are presented here with two different bills. The bill Obama passed in 2010 and the repeal bill the House GOP voted on in 2011.

    Morgan should address why we should have confidence in the GOP bill in terms of deficit neutrality? The GOP bill was the pre-2010 status quo. In 2010 I recall a lot of people bemoaning high future projected deficits, Medicare running deep into the red etc. Why would the pre-2010 status quo be better for the deficit over the next ten to twenty years? Does removing cost containment to Medicare spending, giving tax favoritism to ‘cadillac plans’ that shield patients from even token sensitivity to the price of medical treatment, letting private insurance drop patients for pre-existing conditions thereby increasing the odds that they will end up on Medicaid with serious illnesses, and having no individual incentive to secure coverage likely to help the deficit? Why?

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Uhm, I posted it.

  23. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I’m curious, do the CBO cost estimates for the budget impact of the ACA/Obamacare healthcare bill include the now admitted effect of further increasing the overall cost of healthcare, because as you well know there are just a few somewhat large entitlement programs that will be affected by that.

  24. Boonton says:

    Thanks for your follow up.

    Good question on the CBO. Counter question, the patients that would get more health care procedures now that they have coverage (either Medicaid if they are poor or private insurance if not), what were they doing before the health bill?

    Medicaid’s reimbursement rates are pretty low so I wouldn’t expect health costs to be driven up that much by a flock of new Medicaid patients. So in regards to private insurance, assuming these people aren’t dropping dead now without insurance why would private insurance companies who are competiting against each other in terms of premiums not institute cost controls to keep new medical procedures limited only to what is necessary?

  25. Boonton says:

    Also on the flip side you have patients that are more cost conscious due to the fact that ‘Cadillac’ plans will become more rare and Medicare will get more cost controls. Not saying the two forces perfectly wash each other out but they do seem to push in opposing directions making the final outcome unclear.