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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 27, 2010 6:31 PM. The previous post in this blog was Have a great weekend. The next post in this blog is Spring break bloody spring break, cont'd. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flippity flop

Guess who was for it before they were against it.

Comments (26)

I am shocked simply shocked that there is bi-partisan politics behind lies and damned liars.

If the Dems dont use that info against the republicans at election time, then they never cared if they had the majority trump card or not... they get all the perks regardless... and there's always the cush lobby jobs to get after they retire...

Nobody gets it. Today, McCain is "disappointed" that Obama is making recess appointments. When Bush made recess appointments, McCain thought that was great. The difference: it's being done by Obama. He's black.

That's a little too convenient Alan. While I agree that it's two- faced to the nth degree for them to complain about about recess appointments, you can't always cry racism when someone takes another to task and the other happens to be black. If Hillary were president, republicans would still cry foul. Would it be because she is a woman? This is about power, not about race (in this particular instance, anyway).

I enjoy listening to right-wing talk radio at times like these. Oh, the drama. And please, flip-flops? Flip-flops are the order of the day. These are my favorites:

After sitting idly by while Bush and Cheney crapped all over the Constitution, the righties have wiped it off and really support it again. How precious. It's no longer some quaint relic to work around.

Ditto with the freedom thing. Suddenly giving over our rights to authorities in exchange for that safe feeling, has been replaced by a love of freedom.
It's so cute.

The other day that pompous Human Talking Point Victoria Taft, was defending the reaction of the crowd outside of Congress, saying they had been misrepresented by a pro-Obama media. Oh, to be so victimized!
I thought back to when Lars Larson said the protesters in an anti-war rally here in Portland were terrorists.
Gosh, nice to see this sensitive side blossoming with the Spring flowers.

Victoria,
One of the main media sources out there is the Drudge Report. The Drudge Report had four pictures at the top of the page the other day, depicting the crowds outside Congress.
One sign that was shown read, "Kill the Bill". The drawing next to it had President Obama sitting in a coffin. It wasn't a lone sign. They were mass produced - showing the President of the United States in a coffin.
That was way over the line.

So spare me your disingenuous right wing feelings. You people were a lot more believable when you were cheering for an unnecessary war. You always did, "bloodthirsty, torturing psychopaths" much better than "sensitive victims" anyway. It was just more like you.
Remember the Cheney rule: Talk tough while sending other people's kids to die.

And if you spend 8 years squatting over the Constitution, you should take a little longer before you act like you wrote it.

This is the first time in history the federal government has forced individual Americans to buy a good or service from a private party.

Not only that, the Obama bill also extends insurance companies' freedom from anti-trust laws and forbids the government from negotiating lower prices with drug companies or sourcing drugs from other countries that sell them cheaper.

So while no party is willing to put a damper on globalization for private industry (preventing banks from investing bailout money overseas or preventing the use of stimulus money to hire foreign contractors for U.S. projects, for example) we're all very protectionist when it comes to forcing people to pay an insurance oligopoly that engages in price-fixing.

What I'm really curious about is the 2.5% income tax penalty for people who either can't or won't buy the private insurance plan. In theory, that could put someone in trouble with the IRS and IRS penalties and could kick in. A good analysis of the federal income tax piece would be a great public service.

Not totally true Ted, you are also mandated to purchase auto insurance. Even if you tell an officer during a traffic stop that you have auto insurance when you really don't is also crime and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail.

Ted: You're already paying a mandatory FICA tax toward Medicare and Social Security.

But yeah, the bill could have been better along the lines you cite.

I think the mandates are a problem. Not just the feel of them but the unworkable nature of making them happen.
I think the good things about the bill - that are long overdo - will survive. Collecting insurance money from someone for years and then canceling the policy when the poor sap gets sick? That's beyond a crime.
How did we let that happen? It's like a car insurance company canceling your insurance midway through a crash.
It's why I wrote the joke years ago: "I've got good heath insurance if I stay in good health. If I get sick, that's another story."

But these mandates? I don't think they can work. I think they are clunky and frankly, they do feel wrong. You can choose not to drive if you don't want to pay car insurance, but if you don't want this, what do you have to do? Kill yourself?

Well, the mandate is coupled with the offer of a subsidized purchase.

It would be like having a penalty for not signing up for food stamps.

Or like having a penalty for not claiming one or more of the huge list of possible tax deductions, like mortgage interest deduction or gifts to political campaigns or churches or charities.

Any tax deduction, or just a super special subset of them, could now come with the enhanced incentive of a penalty.

I am puzzled by how this might eventually affect the calculation of the Modified Adjusted Gross Income. Or whether the government gift/subsidy should or should not be considered as taxable income as with Cash For Clunker money or First Time Homebuyer money dedicated for *the real beneficiary in interest* -- the targeted special seller.

When the Dairy Farmers of America point to legislation of interest to them it might be properly labeled something like "Dairy Product Price Support Program". They don't call it the Dairy Product Price Reduction Program (except maybe when talking about reductions in subsidies).

The political game of giving something to A but claiming that B is the real winner is psychotic, except that it seems to work. Market *distortion* can be illustrated with ordinary supply and demand diagrams on a chalkboard, but not everyone has taken economics courses in Price Theory (except perhaps the back room staff for lobbyist groups). When Donks talk it is hard not to just change the channel.

I think there could be a chair-pulling move coming up here. Let the opposition focus on this aspect, then take it out later.
At least I hope so.

But these mandates? I don't think they can work. I think they are clunky and frankly, they do feel wrong.

Im curious to see how the unions deal with the 40% tax on high-end insurance coverage. Particularly after Obama's appointment of a union lawyer to the Labor Relations board.

Chris, as others have pointed out the mandate to purchase auto insurance is conditional on your choice to purchase a car (setting aside for a moment the other major difference that such mandates are, I believe, typically state and not federal, and requirements vary significantly between states).

Pdxnag, this is most certainly NOT like "like having a penalty for not signing up for food stamps". What a ridiculous distortion. It's more like (though not entirely) having a penalty for not spending enough every month at the grocery store. Yes, those who receive food stamps get a leg up on meeting that arbitrary requirement, but those who don't quite qualify for assistance get to choose between either paying penalties to the feds (for no return) or spending money on a product they may not feel they need (also, in most cases, for no return).

And Bill, the problem with the "good things" you like in the bill is that without the oppressive universal mandate, they don't work. It's waaaaay too expensive to just force insurance companies to accept anybody who applies (no exclusions for pre-existing conditions) and never drop anybody no matter how expensive they become (unless, of course, they stop paying the premiums) without adding huge numbers of net contributors to the funding pool.

As in, the young and healthy who won't actually be *using* the coverage that they've been required to buy, but whose premiums will go to support those who *do* use coverage.

If you eliminate the mandate but retain the restrictions on insurance companies, you'll see enormous premium increases that make current increases look like simple cost of living adjustments.

The bottom line is that the "system" in this country is seriously out of whack, and these bills (especially the "fix" that House Dems put together) will end up doing more harm than good overall. Yes, there are going to be people who benefit from this legislation (there are always winners and losers). But by only addressing health care "availability" without addressing the reasons health care may not have been "available" in the first place, Congress has taken a huge leap towards further financial ruin.

Oh, I get that it's a gigantic disaster but I'm still optimistic. The Dems are invested in it so they have to address the underlying problems.
The GOP is invested in the notion that we should repeal it so they can fix it. No thanks. After years of fixing Wall Street and Halliburton's budget they're going to fix this? Why the big wait?
To me the healthcare bill forces us to address these unsustainable cost increases.
The status quo was killing us, so having a bill like this might just force us to address the real problems. I hope.

"If Hillary were president, republicans would still cry foul. Would it be because she is a woman? This is about power, not about race (in this particular instance, anyway)."
====

Too true. If Obama resigns, will it still be about race with Pres Biden? If he gets shot, it'll still be racist to oppose Pres Pelosi? Me thinks not.
---

"And please, flip-flops? Flip-flops are the order of the day. These are my favorites:"

I agree Bill. Sen Kerry was the poster child of Flippers, with the wind-surfer add tacking back and forth.

And now Obama has joined the crowd of flippers.

1) He was against the War, remember (as a state Sen?) He pilloried Hillary. Now, he OWNS Afghanistan! (Where is World is Obama right now? LOL)

2) Gitmo: "Closed in 12 months, You have my word on it", said Pres Obama!

3) Iraq: Troops out ASAP, it is an UnWinnable War. Against the surge in Iraq, that he later replicated with Obama's Surge in Afghanistan.

4) Constitution and Exec powers... with Bush, bad, bad, bad, now Pres Obama says: "Michelle, I just took a dump and we have no TP, can you get me the Constitution? Hurry, I gotta wipe my ..."

Any others, Bill?

Larry,
Good luck attacking President Obama this week. Chris Wallace of FOX News said it best: America loves a winner and this was a huge victory. Anytime the other side is this upset you have to call it a win.
I hope it gives the President enough momentum and will to address some of these other abuses of executive power.
And yes, I hope we get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Incidentally, one of the fun flip-flops I hear from the right is the notion that government is bad. Then when you ask them why we can't leave Iraq they say, "Not until the government is stronger." I love it.
But the Kerry thing? Please. That's all you've got? I begged those guys to address that during the long summer of the Swiftboat.
Begged them and I was dealing with David Wade, way up in the organization.
Kerry should have had them take some of the shrapnel out of his leg from Vietnam on live TV.
How the right could say that our soldiers are heroes except for John Kerry was really world-class spin.
Especially when their guy was sitting on a barstool and the only calling he heard was "Last call."

Arent the very politicians that created this legislation with the mandate, also gaining succor in the form of campaign donations from the very insurance companies we are mandated to buy products from?

So, all of us are being forced to fund the politician of choice that our insurance provider chooses to support.. thanks to the new supreme court ruling giving freedom of speech to the corporations..

Isnt the mandate a conflict of interest or a form of collusion? or both? based on the relationship between the politicians that wrote the bill, approved it and then gained financially from it in the form of campaign donations? Didnt one hand just wash the other and then hand us the citizen taxpayer the bill?

Point well taken David and I agree my analogy isn't completely applicable. Most of Ted's concerns were legitimate but I was just trying to point out that this is not completely new territory for government.

"America loves a winner and this was a huge victory."
---

I agree with you Bill, America does love a winner and Obama won big.

And maybe I did not clearly communicate, but on each one of my examples of Obama flips, I actually agree with him. I still don't want to cut and run on either of the wars. Get out intelligently, with something positive instead of just in 12 months. And if not in Gitmo, then where, NYC? Except maybe the Constitution point, there are so many side streets on that one, where to start?

I can sum up flip-flops with one sentence:

"Don't be so naive as to confuse governing with campaigning, you got to win the latter before you can tackle the former."

To me the healthcare bill forces us to address these unsustainable cost increases.

Sort of how Congress has been forced to address the unsustainable costs of Social Security and Medicare by continually kicking the can down the road?

Optimism in the face of the unknown is I suppose a positive trait. Continued optimism in the face of a track record to the contrary is wishful thinking on the verge of delusion.

This must be a good plan for our senators and representatves to be covered. Oh wait--they aren't. Sorry.

Anytime the other side is this upset you have to call it a win.

Wow...where was that logic during the previous administration?

Personally, I am sooooo sick of the "other side" mentality. Its why politics in this country is so hosed up.

How the right could say that our soldiers are heroes except for John Kerry was really world-class spin.

Golly, Bill. Maybe because Kerry ran around calling his "fellow" soldiers "war criminals" and generally acting like an ass?

Maybe because Kerry was so inept that he managed to shoot himself?

Or maybe because Kerry was then - and has always been - all about his aspirations, and to hell with anyone else?

Show me, Bill.

If you can come up with one example of Kerry heroism, then do it. The people who served with him sure haven't. Maybe you know something they don't.

I freely admit that I know little about the guy, other than that he has a tendency to marry wealth. Basically, as far as I can tell, he's not a lot different from that other John (Edwards).

So, enlighten. Kerry is a war hero because, like McCain, he....

Am I hearing crickets?

Max,

Hell hath no fury like a republican scorned...

"Kerry is a war hero because, like McCain, he...."

Kerry didnt have Daddy and Granddaddy as admirals and he didn't graduate 5th from last in a class of 899.

And McCain was shot down because he tried a stupid low-flying routine.

As for marrying money yeah McCain never did that....

Anyone with enough sack to serve, particularly during wartime...is a hero.


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