Friday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. For the open borders crowd.
  2. The Constitution a continuing series.
  3. Envy? Really!?
  4. Fundamentalism.
  5. Fan/Fred.
  6. Some local NJ history.
  7. Belief and unbelief in Russia.
  8. A US map.
  9. Rahm and Chicago. Somewhere I read that almost all of Rahm’s financial backing for this run, which exceeds by far that of his opponents, comes from big Wall Street banks. Awareness of the cognitive dissonance on the part of the party of the people seems to be missing.
  10. Silence in the left wing echo chamber.
  11. Hitting some of my pet peeves regarding the Holocaust.
  12. Stupid cop tricks in the land of liberals.

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22 comments

  1. Awareness of the cognitive dissonance on the part of the party of the people seems to be missing.

    There’s no dissonance for us. We know the Democrats are a center-right party with too much Wall St. influence. We vote for them because we don’t have a genuinely liberal party that can win in this country. The dissonance is on your side, who thinks (or pretends to think, in the case of the vanishing Republican elite) the Democrats are socialists.

  2. Boonton says:

    Silence in the left wing echo chamber.

    Another site that makes a big todo about something without bothering to actually link to the original source. Well here’s the original AP article
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hCT4GhKaleCpy570YTLr9p7nq54Q?docId=7a1abd4a6937454f90aa34acf72c9870

    Few interesting things:

    1. The ‘keep your own coverage’ issue is absurd unless you ask by what criteria would you consider the statement true? If by that you mean will almost everyone in 2015 be able to have the same coverage they had in 2007 then of course it’s not true. It wouldn’t be true even if you opted to repeal the bill or if it was never passed. If by it, though, you mean that the same general system will be in place for most people then yes it is true. There is no abolition of private insurance companies as the system moves into single payer (from the left). There is no wholesale abolishment of the tax favorability of employer provided insurance so employers drop coverage and make people buy policies on their own using more take home pay (from the right).

    2. “Foster says analysis by his office shows that the health care law will raise the nation’s health care tab modestly because newly insured people will be getting medical services they would have otherwise gone without”….so much for Mark’s idea that massive coverage dislocations are going to happen because the costs of the coverage you have now are going to ‘explode’. We’ve seen costs rise in double digit numbers while inflation has been at single digits. More interesting is this other tidbit:

    “Costs could also increase if Medicare cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies turn out to be politically unsustainable over the years. The actuary’s office has projected those cuts would eventually force about 15 percent of providers into the red. The health care law funnels savings from the Medicare cuts to provide coverage to uninsured workers and their families.”

    In other words he’s not disputing the cost savings of the actual bill, he’s disputing cost savings in future hypothetical bills that may roll back some of those cost savings with no offsetting savings. That’s kind of a strange way to justify repealing a bill. It’s kind of like saying your current cable bill is running $200 a month so you’re going to drop some premium channels to bring it down to say $130. But you know if HBO gets another great series a year from now you may be tempted to add those channels back in…..so therefore you should just leave them all in place now! But of course that doesn’t do anything to save you money. A financial advisor would tell you to drop the channels, save the $70 a month and if at some point in the future you really think you want some of those premium channels back then visit the issue then.

  3. Boonton says:

    Speaking of echo chamber, if your only source of coverage of the health bill was the NY Times you’d be quite familiar with Richard S Foster’s criticisms:

    It would seem the NYT wasn’t so silent after all. Foster’s assertion that the law might increase costs was covered back on

    Dec 12 of 2009 (That’s 2009, not 2010)!

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F01E6D71430F931A25751C1A96F9C8B63&ref=debbiestabenow

    Jan 6

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/health/06health.html?scp=3&sq=Richard%20Foster&st=cse

    And again on Jan 8

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/health/policy/08cong.html?scp=5&sq=Richard%20Foster&st=cse

    Or again back on April 24 2010

    But Mr. Foster said, ”Overall national health expenditures under the health reform act would increase by a total of $311 billion,” or nine-tenths of 1 percent, compared with the amounts that would otherwise be spent from 2010 to 2019.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A02E1DD1430F937A15757C0A9669D8B63&ref=richardsfoster

    What’s interesting about that criticism is how much it subverts the ‘you can’t keep your coverage because costs are going to explode’ idea. $311B over ten years is $31.1B…. 2007’s spending on health care was $2.26 Trillion. If 9 tenths of 1% is an error it’s one that’s pretty easy to live with considering we’ve had single year increases 5-10 times larger.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Costs could also increase if Medicare cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies turn out to be politically unsustainable over the years.

    Yah think. If the disallowing McDonald’s brand of insurance was politically unsustainable, you think the planned coverage Medicare cuts will somehow be sustainable? And if not, then you’re going to pretend that the bill itself was fiscally sound, its just that these cuts were taken out without matching tax increases. Uhm, the only problem is that is you’re being dishonest. The objection being raised right now is that these cuts, which represent a bigger part of the projected “savings” in healthcare aren’t politically feasible. But … as noted the CBO can’t and doesn’t take that into account.

    And yes, the other part of increases in healthcare costs being the regulatory costs incurred aren’t going to be mentioned or figured in by the actuarial calculations being considered here.

  5. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Uhm, the testimony was given this week. Your links are far earlier than that. My point was that I saw no discussion of this in the echo chamber … this week.

  6. Mark says:

    JA,
    No dissonance in claiming to be the “party of the little guy” and claiming the “other side” is the party of big business … when your money support comes from big business and banking.

    Are you pretending that Ms Pavin (a liberal much in the news this week) is not a socialist? Or is that she is no true Scotsman, err, Democrat.

    You do realize that when y’all chide me for being a small government conservative and why then would I be voting for the GOP … your point on your dissatisfaction with the Democrats seems exactly parallel.

  7. Boonton says:

    Yah think.

    Well actually no I don’t. I think bills may be intruduced to reverse some spending cuts but if they are kept deficit neutral then they get offset elsewhere. The solution seems to be simply don’t vote for bills that reverse spending cuts unless those bills are themselves paid for.

    Likewise the problem with Foster’s position is that basically spending slow downs are impossible. If spending cuts are impossible then by definition any and all deficit bills such as Ryan’s ‘roadmap’ are likewise ‘fiscally unsound’. But on the positive side, I don’t really buy it. 15% of hospitals and nursing homes may be ‘in the red’ in ten years? A 15% attrition rate per decade in most industries would be considered great (quick, what % of search engines from 2000 are still viable? Hard drive manufacturers? Even supermarkets? It’s a lot less than 85%)

    And if not, then you’re going to pretend that the bill itself was fiscally sound, its just that these cuts were taken out without matching tax increases.

    The problem is that most of the spending cuts are already locked and loaded, not subject to executive or regulatory discretion. To undo them you’d need to create a new bill (such as the GOP repeal bill). Again if a new bill undoes cuts without paying for them then it’s not the original bill that’s unsound but the new one.

    Uhm, the testimony was given this week. Your links are far earlier than that. My point was that I saw no discussion of this in the echo chamber … this week.

    Interestingly the blog you cited didn’t bother to link to the original report about his testimony. Didn’t bother to mention that Foster has a long history of being an independent minded skeptic (thereby giving the impression that he was somehow in on some ‘lie’ about the health plan and was now just revealing the ‘truth’ to the American people). It provided no information that the administration and Foster have been disagreeing on the projections of total health spending over the next ten years (again the true story is a lot less sexy, “wonks disagree over cost projections” rather than “a lie is revealed!”)….and worse yet plays up Foster’s projection that costs will increase but fails to provide the reader with the fact that his projection is for a very modest increase!

    Again a person who got his information only from the NYT would be able to intelligently understand and speak about Foster’s criticisms. A person who got it only from the blog you cited would find key pieces of information strategically dropped leaving them unable to speak truthfully about Foster’s criticism or their importance.

  8. Boonton says:

    Rahm and Chicago. Somewhere I read that almost all of Rahm’s financial backing for this run, which exceeds by far that of his opponents, comes from big Wall Street banks. Awareness of the cognitive dissonance on the part of the party of the people seems to be missing.

    source? From http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-21/emanuel-raises-10-million-with-help-from-jobs-griffin-geffen.html it seems like a good portion of the larger donations are either coming from non-financial firms or Chicago based financial firms rather than Wall Street (one wonders what advantage would Wall Street see in whose mayor of Chicago? A Senate race at least would carry some national implications).

  9. No dissonance in claiming to be the “party of the little guy” and claiming the “other side” is the party of big business … when your money support comes from big business and banking.

    Who claims to be the “party of the little guy?” The Dems are a little less against the little guy than the Republicans.

    Are you pretending that Ms Pavin (a liberal much in the news this week) is not a socialist? Or is that she is no true Scotsman, err, Democrat.

    Who?

    You do realize that when y’all chide me for being a small government conservative and why then would I be voting for the GOP … your point on your dissatisfaction with the Democrats seems exactly parallel.

    No, the Dems are always the less-bad of the two parties from my perspective, while the Republicans aren’t less bad if you believe what you say you do since they have been ridiculously irresponsible for half a century.

    Would you agree that Obama and B. Clinton occupy essentially similar ground economically as Eisenhower and Nixon did? And yet they’re called socialists by the propagandists on your side and the propaganda is believed by huge swaths of your party?

  10. Boonton says:

    Nixon instituted accross the board wage and price controls on all private transactions in the economy and, Chavez like, threatened to revoke the broadcast licenses of news networks that were too critical of him. If Obama did half of what Nixon did the right would go ballistic…but as someone over on Ordinary Gentlemen pointed out, its about signalling. Nixon signaled he was Conservative hence what he did was defended, or at least tolerated by the right. If you think times were just too different 40 yrs ago then consider George Bush.

  11. Boonton says:

    Would it be fair to say at this point by investing deeper into the line that ‘the spending cuts are not politically viable’ Mark is rejecting the Megan McArdle take that the spending cuts in the bill are the ‘easy low hanging fruit’ that she would have rather seen used for deficit cutting but now are used for expanded coverage? It can’t both be harsh cuts that can never stand politically and the easiest of all cuts to make…..unlesss……

    Unless Medicare is already highly efficient making even the easiest cuts unviable unless we are really willing to harm people that need help. If you go there though then why not simply make Medicare the standard for everyone?

  12. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I’m pretty sure you’ve got it upside down, that Ms McArdle noted that there isn’t any low hanging fruit in Medicare.

    And what you’re saying is that these cuts are going to stand in an era in which the boomers just start needing them … and remain voters.

    And they if unrealistic things remain in the bill, but which when cut will “require” offsetting cuts to remain budget neutral isn’t then why didn’t they do that in the first place. Oh, wait, that’s because they cut everything they thought was politically feasible already and packed other hidden spending traps all over the bill (like required increases in insurance and so on).

  13. Mark says:

    JA,
    I’d linked several accounts talking about Ms Pavin who came into a spotlight of sorts this week (that is the discussions and my linking).

    Oh, … looking I misremembered her name. Ms Piven, for example here.

  14. Boonton says:

    I think you’re wrong about McArdle’s stance, she said that the bill does capture the ‘easy’ savings in Medicare making it difficult to find yet more savings for deficit reduction.

    Regardless you and the Republicans are trying to make the absurd case that “We must reverse spending cuts today because they are politically unviable and will get reversed tomorrow”.

    And what you’re saying is that these cuts are going to stand in an era in which the boomers just start needing them … and remain voters.

    Here I think is an important area to zero in on. When does cutting Medicare spending equal cutting Medicare health benefits? I agree cutting actual benefits that people need is politically very difficult, but not necessarily impossible. Repubicans in Az are ‘death panelling’ pepole who need organ transplants on Medicaid today.

    But there’s still a gap between health spending cuts and health cuts. Here’s a minor example. One of the new provisions is that seniors would have to rent motorized wheel chairs (think Scooter store) for 13 months before Medicare will pay for them to buy. The reason is pretty simple. A good number of people who get those chairs are going down hill fast and they rise those chairs right to their graves. Instead of spending $3600 to buy a chair for someone whose only going to be around 6 months, spending $600 to rent one saves $3000. To the person, though, nothing has effecitvely changed. They still have their chair.

    I think a larger and more promising case will be ‘Accountable Care Organizations’ which receive a flat fee to treat patients (based on how sick they are) rather than a fee for each service they do. (thereby making a profit if they can treat the patient with fewer expenses)

    The argument you’re essentially making is that Medicare is already ‘lean and mean’ and you can’t cut it without harming seniors. This is an interesting argument because Medicare already treats patients on a lower average cost than private insurance does. If that’s really your position then it logically leads to the conclusion that Medicare should simply be expanded to everyone with private insurance pushed back to ‘Medigap’ for those who want even more covered.

  15. Boonton says:

    Oh, … looking I misremembered her name. Ms Piven, for example here.

    Remind me again why its very important for JA and I to argue about her? Keep in mind you have asserted that you are under no obligation to defend Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Michele Bachman, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc.

  16. Mark,

    LOL, what? Are you really arguing that this one woman whom I’ve never even heard of is a socialist and a Democrat, therefore the Democrats aren’t de facto center-right? I’m talking mostly about Democratic presidents and Democratic Congresses as collectives anyway — obviously there are many liberals in the Party!! WTF?

  17. Boonton says:

    Even better, the issue seems to be an article she wrote for The Nation in 1966! 1966! Does Mark want to take responsiblity for, say, The National Review from 1966 onwards? This could be a good trade.

  18. Mark says:

    JA,
    Hey, you’re the one who calls Mr Obama “center right” through the election and beyond … an odd label for one who had one of the three or four most liberal voting records in the Senate.

    Boonton,
    She is not in the news today on account of her 1966 article but because she is recently touting real violence against the state in the wake of the AZ shooting. Her former articles resurfaced because they are (apparently) the last time she was having her moment in the limelight.

  19. Boonton says:

    Who exactly is she?

  20. Boonton says:

    but because she is recently touting real violence against the state in the wake of the AZ shooting…

    OK and this is related to socialism in what way?

  21. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    It’s related to socialism because the violence she touts is in the service of bringing socialism forth.

  22. Boonton says:

    So it’s not related to the question of whether or not she’s a socialist. that was your question remember?

    The other question is why exactly is it important whether or not she’s a socialist.