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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Defining Moment

My president has moved the ball down the field beautifully. To mix metaphors, he's playing pool, shifting to one position to have a clear shot at another. It would have been impossible to create a bill that terrified the insurance companies at the same time he was battling titanic obstructionism by the Right. You wait: there will be state-level public options, or something of that sort, within a couple of years. That will lead to what we really want. This is a serious win.



www.realherosjourney.com
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're assuming that Obamacare will actually work, at all, as advertised.

The reason I've opposed it is not that I don't want it to work, but because I think it's radically flawed and simply will not work, for exactly the same reasons that Romneycare and Tenncare didn't work -- but with the compounding bad effects of being nationwide.

I agree completely with you that Obama's won something; what is totally unestablished -- and, really, can only be established by empirical experience over the next 1-10 years -- is what he's won. I'd say the odds of the U.S. having a violent schism by 2020 just went up a lot. But that's just my opinion, and I certainly hope I'm wrong.


--Erich Schwarz

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eric said...

If, by 'violent schism' you mean a nationwide civil war, I think you are wrong. If you mean a couple of douche-bags blowing up a federal building with a Ryder truck loaded with AmFO, ala Terry McVeigh, I see that as a definite possibility.

Dan Moran said...

We always get this violent schism talk when there's a Democratic President. Republicans don't like losing elections.

Frank said...

Well he did manage to encourage bi-patisanship; Against his Health Care bill.

So we'll see how this goes. Generally speaking, I shouldn't complain since this is a huge transfer of wealth from the uninsured to, well, people like me.

I'll likely be able to retire sooner, while those unfortunate to be younger than me likely won't have much of a chance of retiring at all.

But just think, soon science may conquor death in which case Social Security and Medicare will have to go away: Problem solved.

Of course, given that the taxes come well before the benefits, it's also quite likely that people will be upset enough to throw the bums out and repeal the whole thing.

And it's possible that the Senate will not pass "reconciliation" which will allow the President to sign the Senate Bill in it's entirety. If that happens, it will seriously piss off the House members. They will feel snookered.

But they'll have good company.

We'll see how this plays out.

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Anonymous said...

"Republicans don't like losing elections."

This has to be the largest political takeover either you or I have ever seen in our lives. And it's passed on what has to be the most razor-thin political margin we've seen in our lives, at a time when the takeover in question had been polling negatively among the general public for months, and after a Republican got elected to the Senate from Massachussetts on an election where the key issue became Congress' political agenda.

The rebuttals of the Dems that I've been reading are that (1) they did it too! [uh, no, not on anything like this scale "they" didn't]; (2) now that Obamacare's passed, the public will realize that they love it [doubtful, given that to game the CBO, the taxes begin now while the alleged benefits begin in 2014]; (3) but, Obamacare's going to work! [that's the question, isn't it? a lot of us just don't think Obamacare will work, and if we're right, this is going to be far more of a lemming march than the vote to invade Iraq was]; (4) Obama had to pass this, or his Presidency was doomed! [yes, I agree, but what exactly does that say about our glorious socialist leader, and just how popular is he going to be if he continues with the 10+% unemployment, his nonsense like cap-and-trade and "green jobs", bowing to dictators, condemning Israel while ignoring Iran, etc.?].

Meanwhile, the "cost savings" are
either things unlikely to be carried out, or things that we needed already to deal with the Medicare $50T debacle that will now need to be spent on yet another new entitlement program that we can't
afford.

2010-2020 was obviously going to be a hard decade for the U.S. politically already. It's just gotten harder, and we've just seen the Dems establish a horrible political precedent that they're not going to enjoy living with when they no longer have a 217-212 majority in the House of Representatives or a 59-41 vote majority in the Senate.

In 2008, Obama killed the concept of "public financing" utterly with $600M of private funds from god-knows-where; in 2010, he's just killed the concept of "bipartisanship".

This really isn't likely to end well, for reasons that have very little to do with the Republicans per se, and a lot to do with a country facing bad times having just had any trace of political amity scrubbed out of its representative body.


--Erich Schwarz

Dan Moran said...

"Well he did manage to encourage bi-patisanship; Against his Health Care bill."

That's a talking point and untrue. Most Americans want single payer and think this doesn't go nearly far enough. (Personally I just want universal health care; how we get there is not the major issue in my mind.)

This is not the same thing as being shoulder to shoulder with the teabaggers who screamed schoolyard epithets at American lawmakers.

Though I might be a little hard on the teabaggers there. Apparently one of the American lawmakers in the allegedly loyal opposition did the same on the House floor, screaming at Stupak, a devout pro-lifer, that he was a baby killer.

I keep thinking the hard right in this country can't lower my respect for them any more. Wrong so far. I used to respect the likes of Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, Bush the Elder. William Buckley made me change my mind half a dozen times back in the days when I called mysef a conservative democrat -- they were serious men who could win and lose a legislative battle graciously. I used to vote Republican about one time in 3, back when there were moderate Republicans like Pete Wilson and Dick Riordan (and Bob Dole, on the national level) to vote for.

But the modern crowd of conservatives are driven by a howl of outrage that white privilege is dying. My politics haven't changed a lick in 20 years, but I don't call myself a conservative anything more.

Dan Moran said...

"And it's passed on what has to be the most razor-thin political margin we've seen in our lives"

No, that was the Clinton budget back early in his presidency that passed without a single Republican vote. I've seen this temper tantrum before.

Of course that budget ushered in a decade of booming economic activity and lowered (and eventually eliminated) budget deficits, before Bush got his hands on the budget and raised spending and cut taxes, with entirely predictable results.

So I don't get real rattled when Republicans howl these days. Been there, done that, got a golden age of balanced budgets out of it.

Anonymous said...

"Of course that budget ushered in a decade of booming economic activity and lowered (and eventually eliminated) budget deficits..."

Dan: I think you know me well enough by now to know that, if you're right about this historical parallel, I'll be glad.

But I'm really not convinced that the parallel holds. Clinton was governing as a centrist New Democrat; his goal was to balance the budget, placate the bond markets (which were already being spooked by deficits back in 1993 -- oh, those innocent times!), and avoid the grisly fate of Jimmy Carter.

Obama seems to be governing as if Carter was his role model, not his horrible Example To Avoid. Which doesn't give me much confidence that this will end well.

That political revulsion which you're labelling a "temper tantrum" is the response of a great many of us who are old enough not merely to remember Clinton, but also Carter. If you're right and we're wrong, great. If we're right and you're wrong ... read the essays I linked. We could be in for very bad times.


--Erich Schwarz

Dan Moran said...

"I think you know me well enough by now to know that, if you're right about this historical parallel, I'll be glad."

I think I do, and I don't doubt you.

"Obama seems to be governing as if Carter was his role model, not his horrible Example To Avoid."

The people making the diagnosis (or their spiritual children, at least) made eerily similar predictions about Clinton's budget back in the early 90s. I'm sure I could dig up Limbaugh's predictions that the budget deficit was going to explode because of the Clinton budget, for example.

Your guys might be right this time, but with a sample size of one, they were wrong last time.

I read your link to the Atlantic with counter predictions -- most of them were of the "things won't actually change" variety. I suspect it's true, that for all the screaming about this bill, not much is going to change --

Though I now get to keep my children on my insurance until they hit 26. I'm sure thrilled about that.

Anonymous said...

"I read your link to the Atlantic with counter predictions -- most of them were of the 'things won't actually change' variety."

In other words, that the hopes of Obamacare's supporters were well-meant but, fundamentally, delusional.

It would seem that, now that Obamacare's passed, there's a certain diffidence among its supporters about actually making any kind of falsifiable predictions of its alleged benefits:

"Forgive me, but to my admittedly naive ears, this sounds like what you are saying is that you think that if we cover the uninsured, we will have lower mortality rates, fewer medical bankruptcies, and a lower deficit."



--Erich Schwarz

Dan Moran said...

And the fears of the anti-HCR crowd were paranoid and hysterical. Yep, that's where I'd go with this one. I do think it'll improve American health in measurable ways, but I don't think it's going to save tens of thousands of lives a year. I also don't think the Obama stormtroopers are going to come and take my current insurance away....

It is going to save me personally some money by permitting me to include my children on my insurance until they're 26 without carrying separate policies. I'm selfish enough to like that.

Anonymous said...

"I do think it'll improve American health in measurable ways..."

Are those "measurable" ways describable in English prose? Are they concretely describable enough, that any rational human being who was not committed to Obamacare as an article of faith would have any empirical, reality-based way of telling a success of Obamacare from a failure?

"... but I don't think it's going to save tens of thousands of lives a year."

In other words, despite the claims that were used to sell this stupid thing, you don't actually expect Obamacare to, like, do anything about those legions of uninsured sufferers passing through Dis' yawning gates. They were a great prop while they were needed to save Obama's floundering Presidency and give Pelosi something to grin Botoxedly about; but now that Obamacare's been slammed through, who cares about them? And who cares about the extra $200B/year of Chinese debt that our government's just committed itself to?

I'm sorry, but I really don't think all of this is going to end well.


--Erich Schwarz

Dan Moran said...

Where you getting the 200 billion a year in debt figure from? I believe it is inaccurate.

As to what I expect the bill to accomplish, I expect it to extend health care insurance to tens of millions of people who don't currently have it. Will this save tens of thousands of lives a year? No, but a measly few thousand would suffice for my purposes. I'm not greedy.

Anonymous said...

"Where you getting the 200 billion a year in debt figure from? I believe it is inaccurate."

For 2010-2014 it's inaccurate because the Dems set up Obamacare to start taxing now but not start spending until 2015 -- to game the CBO cost estimates and keep them below that magic $1T figure.

For 2015, as far as I know, it's quite accurate.


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

Does anybody really care what Erich Schwarz, another chicken little, actually thinks?

Why do we even have a military to defend our country if we don't want to honor our citizens? And don't get me started on how we treat our troops after they come back from war. Any war. I recall a gross number of Vietnam vets who were homeless for decades, without proper care. we will see the same, I expect, when these two wars are over.

The argument of the VA ineptness is an empty argument; because if people REALLY supported the troops, they would tear off their fucking stupid "I SUPPORT THE TROOPS" lapel pins and do something about it. The time to support the troops is NEVER during a war. It's too late by then; all the money that could help the troops is being funneled into the war machine. And how exactly does that help the troops quality of life? If people are serious about supporting troops at all, it should equal the military's commitment: 24/7.

If we can't honor our citizens, then why do we even care enough to defend this country?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" wrote:

"Does anybody really care what Erich Schwarz, another chicken little, actually thinks?"

Beats me. Why don't you ask Steve Barnes, the host of this blog?

(By the way, who are you?)


--Erich Schwarz

Mr. Nobdy said...

Trust me, Erich. You're just entertainment. The court jester.

Who am I? You can call me Mr. Nobody. Ever read Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol? Mr. Nobody ran for president. Mr. Nobody was also the leader of The Brotherhood Of Dada. His slogan? "VOTE FOR NOBODY. NOBODY FOR PRESIDENT."

Now that you know who I am, does that help you in any way?

Mr. Nobody