Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pass And Sign The Senate Health Care Bill As Is

I have to say it because the Senate health care bill is terribly flawed and very far from what so many of us were hoping for. However, we must face the hard reality in light of the election results in Massachusetts. There is simply no way anybody is going to get the Senate to pass any variation on it once Scott Brown is seated, unless they can actually change the rules to do reconciliation with 50 votes without mucking about at it for too long. The only possible bill likely to be actually signed into law at this point is the one passed with such enormous effort by the Senate in December. If the House refuses we will not see another serious effort for many years. The bill does little, but it is better than nothing, increasing coverage to two thirds of the uninsured and forbidding insurance companies from refusing people over preexisting conditions or arbitrarily dumping them.

Basically there are six systems of health care out there: 1) more or less pure laissez faire, formerly seen in the US but now no high income countries, although some very poor countries; 2) the US system of mixed public private with for-profit health insurance companies and no universal coverage; 3) universal coverage through private but non-profit insurance companies, seen in Switzerland and the Netherlands; 4) mixed private public system with universal coverage, non-profit private insurance companies, and a public option, see Germany and top-rated on health-care-by-the-WHO France; 5) a single payer system by government with universal coverage, with health care workers still privately (mostly self) employed, with Canada the leading example, and 6) full socialized medicine with health care workers employees of the state, see the UK and the former Soviet Union. There has been talk in the US of single payer, and many in Congress wanted a public option (although nobody was willing to push to change our badly behaved for-profit health insurers to non-profit), but in the end the Senate bill does not move us off System 2, merely extends and improves it some. Still, it is better than nothing, and killing it with no alternative will not help Dems politically this fall in the elections.


r l love said...

Bruce Webb posted what seems to be a critical consideration over on Angry Bear recently. I don't know much about the practical applications of regulating but this struck me as something overlooked and perhaps by design.

TheTrucker said...

The House version of HCR essentially moved the cost of care for the poor off of the middle class and onto the wealthy. There is no such thing as free care. That free care was being cost shifted to the middle class insurance premium payers. By paying with insurance money collected from the rich with a 5% surcharge on income over a million the middle class would have seen a decrease in premiums (all else equal and some honesty involved). And to insure that honesty we had the Single Payer option.

The bought and paid for Senate shifted the cost back to the middle class and killed the Public Option control on the insurance companies. The Medicare Buy in would also have worked to increase the number of Medicare people to the point where the providers could no longer cost shift the low Medicare payments, and physicians would go broke turning down Medicare patients. There comes a point when the general public will refuse to pay the shifted costs and that is when the insurance companies must limit what they will pay and the medical providers have to cut their profits and their producer surplus.

But all of that was destroyed by the clotured Senate. And this nation will continue into fascism until the 60 vote rule is destroyed. It is that rule that should have been destroyed within a week of the Democrats getting the 60 vote majority. I know that the 60 votes can't change the rule (although the constitutional procedural maneuver can). But to "nuke" the rule when you _DON't_ need to (you have 60) is politically more sane then doing it after you lose the 60 and the procedural maneuver is the only way out.

The Republicans threatened to nuke the rule in order to get judges confirmed. It is time to return that favor.

run75441 said...

The MLR is what keeps the insurance company's premiums in line with their payouts with 85% being utilized for group coverage and 80% being utilized for individual coverage. Page 71 of the Manager's Amendment (Senate) claims 26-30% of healthcare cost is administrative. The MLR should help reduce this. If they do not meet that ratio, they will have to refund premiums to insurees.

The House should not blink an eye and just pass the bill. There is still going to be a fight over what that bill will contain anyway as it needs to be fleshed out in detail.

The bigger issue today in the Senate is the creation of a commission to explore the deficit which will also entail SS. Not a good thing for Main Street.

kevin quinn said...

I agree that this is the way to go. I am glad to see that the unions are on board with this. Now let's see if the so-called "progressive" House democrats will be obstructionist and kill it.

KoWT said...

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Martin Langeland said...

In this case the deficient is the enemy of all but the plunderers. Still it expresses the idea that we might, possibly, someday -- maybe-- kinda, sorta, but any way join those societies civilized enough to provide basic health care to all their citizens. Too bad their aren't enough house votes to pull it off.

TheTrucker said...

But hold yer fire! The Senate bill isn't going to be canceled. It will be there until the end of the year. It will be there past the elections. It will be there at lame duck time. If the administration can mark some success in the war on stupidity in the economy (not likely, but ever hopeful), then it might yet be possible to fix this mess. A resurgent Democratic party, based on true improvements for the currently hurting middle class is the key to growing a backbone.

The administration is now anxious to move on to other pressing business like the economy and the president seems to be throwing down the gauntlet on the banking regs and the like as well as moving on the jobs bill passed by the House. And unless the administration is contemplating true class warfare, the entire scenario seems designed to lose the congress as in Clinton. I want Glass-Steagall back, but now is not the time unless the administration is planning on going "all in" on the middle class relief effort.

I want to tax the very rich (incomes over one million). We need more spending and more dollar devaluation and not less. Yet it looks like a double dip to me and a continuation of the rich getting richer unless a true class war breaks out between the House and the Senate. That would be a _VERY_ good thing for the nation and a very good thing for the Democratic party.

If the Republicans obstruct the administration in its moves to get the economy fixed then the Democrats may, in fact, do real reform. The Republicans know how to cut taxes and that is all they ever do. Americans have no problem with tax increases on the rich as opposed to tax cuts for the rich and history should be telling anyone with an IQ above room temperature that tax cuts simply cause bubbles and recessions. "Creative Destruction" doesn't sell real well when the majority of the voters are being "destructed".

Charley said...

Excuse me for saying this, but it is amazing how clueless you folks can be: Health insurance reform is dead, stick a fork in it.

Let's review the situation: The independents and blue dogs have already abandoned the Democrats on this issue, and progressives are angry, frustrated and ready to revolt. Republicans want to see it fail. That leaves a very narrow base for anything which pretends to be reform but isn't - a handful of committee chairs in both houses and the administration.

The only thing that will pass is a bill so bold and immediately understandable to average Americans that Republicans will be forced to vote for it as well. This means a bill that actually reduces the cost of health insurance, actually ensures coverage for every American no matter what happens in the economy, completely eliminates the possibility that people will face rescission, and provides complete coverage to even those who have preexisting conditions.

Anything short of this: FAIL! Since the administration is not willing to support anything so bold, you can write off HCR.

run75441 said...

Sorry Charley:

Obviously, you have not read the Manager's Amendment which has left the Senate and resides in the House. Tell me how Senator Brown is going to stop the House from passing this bill? It is up to Pelosi and the Democrats now.

A quick primer on what is in the bill:

- "Beginning in 2011, insurers for large group plans must spend 85 cents of every dollar they receive on premiums on actual health care for consumers, and insurers of small group and individual market plans must spend at least 80 cents of every dollar on care. If less is spent, consumers will receive a rebate for the difference.
- A ban on lifetime and annual benefit limits will be enacted. This will reduce the number of medical-related bankruptcies.
- Consumers will have the right to an independent appeal of any decision by an insurer to deny coverage.
- Consumers will also have the opportunity to choose from multi-state plans, of which at least one is a not-for-profit plan, overseen by the Office of Personnel Management (the same department that selects insurance plans for federal employees). These plans will be offered through Insurance Exchanges in each state.
- Multi-state plans must comply with a 3:1 ratio for age rating, or states may require a more protective rating (a lower ratio).
- Plan enrollees will be allowed to choose their primary care provider or pediatrician from any available participating provider. It precludes the need for prior authorization for emergencies or for a woman seeking gynecological or obstetric coverage.
- Insurers will be prohibited from dropping coverage because an individual chooses to participate in a clinical trial for cancer of other life threatening diseases."

That pretty much covers what you had stated. Other questions?

Charley said...


You pretty much seem content to turn a disaster for the Democrats into a catastrophe. But, don't let me stop you. In fact, I encourage you to try.

What I know is this - no relief for average Americans, none, nada, zip - and the anger and frustration with the Democrats and their behind the scenes Wall Street double agents (also known as "staff") isn't helping. People like my wife - who is a nurse - are so depressed and dejected by this abortion they cannot talk about it.

P.S.: If you think your laundry list covers what I stated, just try explaining it to you neighbor using no more words than I did.

Good luck with that.

Charley3 said...


This isn't a question of legislation, per se - you twits lost the game while you were still in the huddle. Even if you pass this bill you have lost.

And, I say that as a person with family members who multiple preexisting conditions - we mostly hate you bastards now.


Charley said...

If you really want to know how my friends think about you guys, try imagining how Elin felt about Tiger the moment she realized he was screwing everything in sight.

Yeah. Like that, times about 50 million. said...


You can hate as many people as you want, but I fail to see why someone with family members having preexisting conditions would fail to support a bill that would ban insurance companies from refusing to take such people on such people(or arbitrarily dropping people later) rather than the status quo. Now, maybe there can be some improved version that can be snuck through the Senate, but I doubt it, hence my position, however hateful.

Do keep in mind that the "you" you are addressing here are largely people who would much prefer something quite different from what is sitting in the House right now. I would suggest you focus more on the GOP making it "normal" to use the filibuster on everything with the Senate rules requiring 60 votes to overcome that. This is why we are stuck with the lousy Senate bill that is much worse than the House one, which was already worse than what at least I would prefer. But I do not particularly see the Dems as responsible for the crazy Senate rule and the absoluteness of the GOP approach and stance there and throughout the country. Do you want a tea bag party and go on about "death panels"?

Charley said...

If you want something different, demand it - don't try to push a silly bill that does nothing for anyone.

Krugman stated today that it is impossible to get a bill the Republicans would support. I thought to myself, "How stupid is this guy?" No one ask for health insurance reform that House and Senate Republicans would accept - we wanted reform that was acceptable to us.

This is the same game Democrats play every election: hold up the evil Republicans as reason why they can't get things done. But we are on to you now. We understand the game. The Democrats were never looking for reform, they just wanted the revenue - the taxes.

Enjoy your tea party, buddy! You had all the power anyone needed and you blew it.

Barkley Rosser said...


Yes, all kinds of people were demanding health care reform since the failure of the Clinton effort back in the early 90s, which did not even get voted on in either house of the Congress. Some said, oh well, we can go for incremental changes, but nothing happened.

So, voters swept in a lot of Dems in 2008 who were supposedly for health care reform, although there were plenty of differences among them, unfortunately with some of the more conservative Dems in the Senate very unenthusiastic about anything at all serious (and many of them were not elected or reelected in 2008). So, the House passed a not-too-bad bill, although not as good as most of us wanted.

Then we ran into the situation in the Senate, well known by everybody. Given that there were no Republicans willing to sign on at all (except for some vague noises and a vote in committee but not on the floor by Olympia Snowe of Maine), the unpleasant reality of the filibuster and the GOP use of it meant that these ConservaDems got their way with all kinds of further scaling back and dirty deals. You can "demand" all you want, but what we are going to get anytime in the next decade or more is probably not much better than this Senate bill.

Now, there is at least the window that the Senate bill is in place until the end of the year. That means that in principle there is some room for maneuver and discussion, even after Scott Brown gets seated. What is really limiting this is that the Congressional Dems in both houses are sick of this and think the public is sick of this (which is almost certainly true) and want it off their desks, no later than March I hear, if not sooner. So, if they cannot get something that enough Senators will be willing to accept going the reconciliation route on within that time, then it will be the Senate bill or nothing, and I repeat my pessimism about the House to pull that off. But, well, let them try.

I would also note that while one can complain and hate all one wants, getting something as complicated as this health effort through to an actual law was (and is) a huge effort, requiring going through many committees in both houses. I give the House credit that they did get something not too bad through, and it took huge effort by many committees, and quite aside from the details, I appreciate that part of their unhappiness with the Senate bill is that it is being shoved down their throats, abrogating all that effort. Heck, the last effort never even got a vote on either floor of the Congress. This one has actually gotten competing versions through both houses, and if we did not have the Republicans getting away with enforcing their filibusters (and frightening Olympia Snowe and the other few remaining moderates from supporting it at all), the election of Scott Brown would not have been the big deal that it is.

Anyway, try not to put yourself into a "post-existing" condition from all your vehement hating.

Charley said...

It wasn't complicated at all, Barkley.

All the Dems had to do was extend Medicare to everyone who wanted to purchase it. But, it didn't happen, because they never were interested in reform. It was all a hoax. The entire goal was to lay claim to more revenue for Washington. Just as is the goal of cap and trade, financial reform, green jobs, etc.

That much was clear the moment Obama announced his economic team. The entire Dem agenda is to feed the beast until it devours them.

Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love our "betters" telling us that we're wrong, evil, and unserious to ask for anything more ambitious. In personal relations and politics, it's a helluva strategy! Best of luck with your future endeavors rationalizing the status quo and the continued looting of the middle class for the benefit of the insurers and health-care providers. I'm sure that wil go down well too.

Charley said...


I guess we're not supposed to notice the Medicare already takes care of the sickest population in our society - and at significantly lower costs than a typical union negotiated plan.

We're stupid, unread, idiots, who can't connect dots. said...

Charley (and redscott? Am I a "better"?),

I would not have minded that at all. However, when you speak of what the Dems should have done, they had deep disagreements among themselves. Some wanted what you suggested. However, many opposed single payer (of which your proposal is a species, but not the only version proposed out there). Others wanted a public option, but without single payer, which is what the House ultimately passed. As it was, not enough Dem Senators could even be talked into some form of public option.

You're right that the "collective Dems" did not do it, but it was because there was not agreement among themselves about what to do.

Regarding Obama's role in this, I think it had little to do with who his economic team was. The more important thing he did, or more precisely did not do, was to propose or push hard on any specific option out of this plethora of alternatives. It is easy now to say that was a mistake, and maybe it was. But there was a very good reason why he did not do so: that was what Clinton with Hillary tried, and they did not even get a bill up for a vote, much less ones passed in both houses. It was widely viewed that the Congress resented their "shove it down our throats" approach, and so Obama let them craft it. Again, of course, part of the problem here, both then and now, is that there are deep differences within the Dems over what to do.

So, you can denounce all the Dems you want to, but the Republicans are being universally negative on doing anything at all, and somehow are getting praised for their stance. And you want to focus your anger on the Dems? Really?

Charley said...

How did the Republicans ram through a vote on the war? How did they ram through a vote on prescription drug plans? How did they ram through the tax cuts for the rich? By forcing the Democrats to support bills they did not like, of course. You never ask your enemy to accept defeat - you impose defeat on him. You make voting for your bill better than the alternative. Defeat is imposed long before the first vote is ever taken.

Like the tea baggers are doing to you. >>smirk<<

Democratic strategists know this. If the party suffered a defeat it is because it wanted to feign weakness - with 60 votes, mind you!

Charley said...


You just can't be this dense. You're a darn professor for god's sake!

Suffern AC said...


Not every interest group that is standing in the way of this reform is a corporate lobby. Extending Medicare would be something I support as it would not involve creating a brand new agency but expanding one that for the most part does a good job. However, AARP has been against that expansion as it would make the program into a "welfare" program for the poor. AARP is very consinstently opposed to having any part of core medicare services paid for out of general revenues like Medicaid is. The program is for retired workers, their spouses, and the disabled.

And so it shall stay unless more people state clearly that that is the "reform" they favor. When voters show up at town halls and state "keep your hands off my medicare", that is what they are referring to. (Unfortunately, people who made statements like that were fairly consistently and derisively mocked by leading media liberals, which is part of the reason why they now seem to be mobilized against any reform whatsoever.)

AARP is as capable of mobilizing voters on these issues as anybody.

Charley said...

At last it comes out: The enemy of simple easy straightforward health insurance reform is ... AARP!


You're ridiculous, dude. Stop protecting them! Stop covering for them! Stop enabling them!

Suffern AC said...


The reason that the Republicans were able to push through all those things was that many elected Democrats, for better or worse, favored those things as well. It's not like Democratics are simply the opposite of Republicans in every way.

Bush was not able to privatize social security, even partially. Because many Democrats were opposed to that. And taking that stance was one of the things that cost the Republicans seats in the next 2006 election.

The reason the Pharma benefit could pass is that none of the groups that currently stand ready to punish any politican who votes for health care reform were against that reform. No one was asked to give anything up. No one was asked how it would be paid for. That's usually quite popular, though expensive. Comprehensive health care reform could pass today if no one was going to be asked to give anything up was trying to make certain it would somehow be "deficit neutral."

Want to reduce the looting or the waste to control costs? Well that "waste" is someone's profit margin. $400 billion in waste by health care providers. Well, they'll just send people on the TV to talk about how the politicians in Washington want to come between you and your doctor. Apparantly, the idea that someone in Washington should tell the doctor or the hospital how much it will pay for drugs and procedures is not very popular...with the PEOPLE (and with doctor's and hospitals and pharma companies), who all summer long complained that they don't want the government to ever ever do that. EVER. Did you hear me! EVER.

Looking for Medicare waste. The government wants to destroy medicare and doesn't care at all about seniors! It would put them to death if it could! (Now, in no other country with democratic institutions and comprehensive public health care or highly regulated insurance companies are the seniors put to death, but you know our government would if given the chance).

Well, that is going to make cost containment very difficult. But since no one ever wants to tell the people that they can't have what they want (it is a very quick way to lose an election), all of these cost containment negotiations are taking place with industry groups in secret. Why? So that these industry groups won't put people on TV and scare people into opposing any meaningful reform as well as splitting off senators. (WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENED IN 1993!) (

(Note that the Democrats in the Senate responded to pretty much every concern the "People" had about the bills over the summer. It's not like the bill had no "input".)

Congress did try to tackle minor insurance reform again with the "Patients bill of Rights" in 2001, which died in 2002 in the house. Killed due to lack of interest, I suppose. I wonder why that was? Apparantly, insurance companies were able to get that killed in the House on their own - and that was "bi-partisan" Senate bill in a republican controlled Congress. Apparantly the failure of the Bush Administration to pass even minor insurance reform doesn't really matter. Bush always got whatever he wanted.

I don't know. I hate the looting. I hate that people are dropped from coverage when they get sick. I hate that people are paying more and more for insurance that covers less and less. I hate that Democrats often support things I associate with Republicans. I hate that when I elect someone, they often put party interests above the needs of the people. I hate that people in other places elect people who are different from who I would want them to vote for and that those votes matter, too.

I doubt that if this "give away" dies, Congress will be any more successful passing a better plan if it starts over again in 2010 or 2030.

Charley said...

You're all like a dysfunctional family where everyone knows Dad is a molester, but everyone pretends to be ignorant of the fact.

And, don't complain.

If you complain they all blame you for messing everything up.

Washington is corrupt beyond any hope of ever being salvaged. It thrives on the inequality and poverty it facilitates. You know this is true, but, you pretend otherwise. You just don't want to be the first one to say it.

run75441 said...

Sorry Charlie:

Wrong again.

The Senate Bill may not be the perfect healthcare reform bill; but, it is a start the same as Social Security was when it was initially passed (and yes Charlie there is a history to SS also). For someone who wishes to be noticed, it would be kind of cool if you came armed with something a little more substantive. I am not even going to attempt to correct every erroneous comment you have plastered here; but, I will answer one of your quips and allow it to be the measure for the rest of your blather.

“What I know is this - no relief for average Americans, none, nada, zip. . . .”

Literally no relief? Have you read the Manager’s Amendment which sits in the House? No, of course you haven’t, you are content to come here and babble away about something that could have been and the results of it. As far as Medicare, it was a done deal until the great-independent Liberman, the Senator from Aetna, flip flopped on providing Medicare to those 50 and above. Damn those independents that flip flop, heh?

No relief for the average American, hmmmmm . . . . What would you consider as average? Since I do not feel like looking up average income, I believe Median Household Income is $50,300 (2009) which is close enough for this discussion. Here is what is contained for the average person:

“Families that earn less than four times the Federal Poverty Level will receive help. For example, a single person earning less than $43,320, a couple with income under $58,280, a three-person household reporting earnings up to $73,240, or a family of four earning as much as $88,200, are eligible for “premium credits.” Maggie Mahar, Healthbeat, “Glass Half Full”

Somewhere within that range for households, I believe the average is contained. To make it even better, the amount paid out for premiums is capped according to those limits at 2.8 to 9.8%. It would behoove you to take a moment and read up on this before you say much more.

Welcome to the club on pre-existing conditions. 61 year old runner with high blood pressure (same as Shorter) without insurance got stuck with most of a $1,400 bill for pneumonia which I had the beginnings of while running a 10k. Sure this plan will help me . . . to the tune of 3 times that of the younger couch-potato chubbies out there and twice that of those who choose to introduce cigarette smoke into their lungs. Such a deal! The biggest hole in healthcare is for the elderly between $58,000 and $100,000 who will have to pay 3 times what the younger crowd pays. And no, the elderly are not the reason for the rising cost of healthcare.

So what if we choose to do nothing? The Urban Institute does a nice study on that also. You may wish to read it also. “The Cost of Failure to Enact Healthcare Reform” If you believe things are expensive now, just wait! Have you ever read an insurance policy? They are long and tedious. That you expected to see one come out in print from the Senate is silly. What passed was the skeleton which will need to be fleshed . . . hence the 2013 date.

Barkely and rosser are being nice to you. You can continue to be an obstructionist and get what you deserve or learn something that can be valuable in support and maybe walk away better off.

Charley said...

To be absolutely honest and forthright here: I have not looked at any of the documents on this issue. I want you to understand this. I have only looked at four things:

1. A President elected by a country weary of the bullshit
2. A House with an overwhelming Dem majority
3. A Senate with a filibuster proof super-majority
4. No health insurance reform 12 months later

We are expected to believe that the election of a single Republican senator, 12 months after the beginning of this process, is somehow supposed to make it necessary for the House to adopt the Senate's version of this plan in order to close the deal?

You must think I am an idiot! I mastered the simple math of 2+2 in kindergarten.

Now, let me tell you what is happening: This reform is the first step, not of lowering health care costs, but of lowering labor costs on pretext of making America competitive. It will be followed by severe austerity imposed on state and local governments, union smashing, and removal of labor, social and environmental protections.

All of which will be carried on under the pretext of creating jobs.

You mark my words, Run - and mark this day on your calendar. A reminder of the time Charley told you that you are living in a dreamworld, and you didn't believe him.

Charley said...


Download this economic study and read it: It concerns the problem of reducing labor costs in the non-tradable sector of Portugal's economy. This is the playbook, baby! said...


Actually there are only 58 Dems in the Senate, technically speaking. Both Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman are officially Independent, although caucusing with the Dems. Now Sanders is a Socialist, or calls himself one, and in any case is at the left wing of the health care debate. But Lieberman is something else, and his damaging role has already been noticed here. Unfortunately, as long as the Republicans maintain a unified front, the election in MA makes a big difference. Something can only be passed in the Senate using reconciliation, and a lot of Dems there seem to oppose that, unfortunately.

Charley said...

It almost looked as if you had something substantial to add to the conversation, Barkley. But ... uh ... no.

Sandwichman said...

Shorter Portugal paper: lower nominal wages (refracted through DSGE fun-house mirror model) = higher aggregate income = greater human wealth.

The secret to this mathematical miracle is all in the wrist: 1. Assume the outcome you purport to demonstrate; 2. Distributional outcomes don't matter.

Pile of crap.

run75441 said...

Look Charley:

I sympathize with you on a lot of the healthcare issues. It is not the best; but, it is the best we will see for the next decade. It is going to change and there was "no" promise as to having a complete and final healthcare bill to come out of Congress. In fact it is impossible to do so in one year.

As far as labor costs, manufacturing, and throughput; I am one of those Lean Six Sigma guys and a follower of Drucker . . . Labor being the smallest incremental cost of the cost of manufacturing. Blaming and whacking labor for the cost of a product is "STUPID" (I didn't say you said it). I also like Sandwichman whose lump of labor fallacy argument makes sense to me. The same as the world is shrinking so is the need for Labor.

I also get sweaty whenever I see Angry Bear's Spencer, Cactus, Linda, Rebecca or someone else there start doing graphs. Time Series Fitted Line Plots excite me as well as Binomial and regression analysis.


BillCinSD said...

Well there is a way for improving the current Senate bill -- recnciliation. Now without a considerable push, there probably aren't the votes for reconciliation in the Senate. Of course there aren't the votes in the House to pass the Senate bill either.

My question then is why do all the supposedly left websites pretty much only focus on the House? To me it seems they are a) panicking like a bunch of Chicken Littles and b) forming the standard circular squad to kick the hippies.

It's good that they are as well adjusted as always and will work as well as always. I keep hoping someday that just because the left will compromise because they want to help people won't be used as the weapon to keep the dfhs in their place

Charley said...


Eventually, after much suffering and misery, we will all conclude that the tea baggers are right: Not their solutions, which are as delusional as any on the left, but their diagnosis that Washington, and anything Washington does, is evil.

Should that day come, those we elect will be empowered not to reform Washington, but to burn it to the ground and throw salt on the earth so nothing will ever spring from its soil again. said...

BillC in SD,

Well, in the comments I have modified my view from my original post to say in effect, "let the
Dems in the two houses of Congress work on getting something better than the Senate bill to go through reconciliation," although my understanding is that this will require the House to pass the Senate bill as is, with the understanding of what will be done in a reconciliation that at least 50 Senators will agree to. I fully agree that pressure should be put on the Dem Senators to do this.

My worry is that there will be no sufficient agreement to pull this off, and the early signals point in that direction. It is true that the House can sit for awhile, but given the apparent frenzy to bring this issue to an end pretty soon, the reality is that "awhile" is not too long, and if the Senate Dems cannot be cajoled into some sort of reconciliation a majority of the House agrees to, then I stand by my original post.


You may be right that I have added nothing "substantial" to this discussion/debate. As it is, quite a few people have now made the same argument I did in my post more publicly, especially Paul Krugman, whose post on this went far and wide, all the way to daily kos, where they are more of your position than his or mine. However, I posted it before he or most of the others, for what that is worth, and I have done some altering of my position since, as is described in above in this comment.

If an improved version can be arrived at that will go through reconciliation, let it do so, and let there be negotiations to try to achieve this. But if this cannot be achieved, then I stand by my original post here. said...

BillC in SD,

Well, in the comments I have modified my view from my original post to say in effect, "let the
Dems in the two houses of Congress work on getting something better than the Senate bill to go through reconciliation," although my understanding is that this will require the House to pass the Senate bill as is, with the understanding of what will be done in a reconciliation that at least 50 Senators will agree to. I fully agree that pressure should be put on the Dem Senators to do this.

My worry is that there will be no sufficient agreement to pull this off, and the early signals point in that direction. It is true that the House can sit for awhile, but given the apparent frenzy to bring this issue to an end pretty soon, the reality is that "awhile" is not too long, and if the Senate Dems cannot be cajoled into some sort of reconciliation a majority of the House agrees to, then I stand by my original post.


You may be right that I have added nothing "substantial" to this discussion/debate. As it is, quite a few people have now made the same argument I did in my post more publicly, especially Paul Krugman, whose post on this went far and wide, all the way to daily kos, where they are more of your position than his or mine. However, I posted it before he or most of the others, for what that is worth, and I have done some altering of my position since, as is described in above in this comment.

If an improved version can be arrived at that will go through reconciliation, let it do so, and let there be negotiations to try to achieve this. But if this cannot be achieved, then I stand by my original post here.

Charley said...


The Democrats couldn't stop the war, they said, because they didn't have a majority.

So we gave them a majority, and they still didn't stop the war. With their majority, they couldn't investigate war crimes. With their majority they couldn't stop the invasions of privacy. With their majority they couldn't stop the torture. With their majority they couldn't close gitmo.

Okay, fine. It just might be difficult to do all of these things when you control both houses, but the presidency is in the hands of the other party.

So we gave them the Presidency, and massive majorities in both houses.

And, they gave us Scott Brown.

Barkley, there will be no reform.

You are living in a fantasy world created in your head to hide from the recognition that your own government - democratically elected - has sided with the most predatory interests in the history of mankind. That it feeds on misery of billions.

Wake up, dude.

Charley said...


And,s top attempting to engage me in debate on this issue. It is becoming painfully obvious you are actually engaged in a bout of self-justification against a rather ugly rebellion of conscience. said...


"Stp the war." Are you talking Iraq? No US combat deaths since November, and the Marines left their last combat positions two days ago and are about to leave the country. See my post on "Obama and the Generals on Iraq," where almost nobody seems to know what he did, standing up to the generals to maintain a withdrawal plan against their wishes that is nearing final stages. The fighting going on there now is pretty much Iraqis against Iraqis, which I fear we are helpless to stop completely.

As for health care reform, the Senate bill is some reform, better than nothing, if only the House would pass it as I suggested. I am disappointed about what has happened, although not all angry and hate-filled like you, and I worry the bozos will pass nothing. But they are almost there to actually doing something, if not nearly as good as hoped for.

This has nothing to do with if I am justified or not, somehow, but everything to do with if we get or fail to get at least some improvement in our health care system. You act as if somehow I and others here are responsible for the failure to get a better bill through the Senate. Give all of us a break on such nonsense. You are as responsible as anybody commenting here, although you may get your rocks off by somehow or other holding us (or some of us) responsible. Does not fly. Sorry.

Charley said...

Yes, Barkley. When that Republican voter in Alabama asks who killed this bill, I want you to point at me and say, "He did."

I take full responsibility for it - full responsibility for getting a bill killed that everyone hates and despises, and which has exposed the complete corruption of Washington.

You, Paul Krugman and Paul Begala can blame me.

And, next, since I am a master tactician, I will try to build a movement that strikes at the very heart of Washington: Fighting to prevent it from raising the debt ceiling until it has been reformed.

Every time there is a vote to raise the debt ceiling, I will be there to remind people of the corruption and pure loathing of the American People that emanates from Washington. I may not be successful the first time, nor the second, nor even the third - but, this crisis is going to last a long long time, and that means trillions will have to be borrowed from the very wealthiest in society to service the debts to the very wealthiest in society.

Time is on my side. said...


Oh, I am so glad to learn that you are taking full responsibility. What a relief to have all this off my shoulders!

TheTrucker said...

Charley said...

"Every time there is a vote to raise the debt ceiling, I will be there to remind people of the corruption and pure loathing of the American People that emanates from Washington. I may not be successful the first time, nor the second, nor even the third - but, this crisis is going to last a long long time, and that means trillions will have to be borrowed from the very wealthiest in society to service the debts to the very wealthiest in society."

There seems to be a religious affliction here that springs from a misunderstanding of fiat money. And until you develop an understanding of fiat money and taxation you will continue to make claims such as "borrow from the wealthiest". Raising the debt ceiling and continuing the near zero interest rates can be the proper solution to our current economic problems. It depends on what is done with this money and how and when this money is eventually removed from the economy.

It is the printing of money and the injection of that money into the bottom of the economy that causes wage inflation and it is this inflation that causes the monetary price of housing to come more in line with the ability of the vast majority (the bottom people, the wage earaners) to pay it. But more importantly, it is the devaluation of money as compared to _real_ assets or fixed capital assets (and labor) that instills the _NEED_ of the "wealthiest" to invest or see their wealth eaten by the inflation monster.

It is fitting and proper to criticize the Democrats for their failure to stop the lies of the very rich (and the Republican party who are their hand maidens). It is fair to criticize the lack of effort in providing a high school curriculum that informs potential voters as to the realities of fiat money and basic classical economics.

The failure of the Democrats to swim against the tide of enforced ignorance from the Republicans is the result of the (d/D)emocratic failure to properly educate the common folk as regards civics and classical economics. And now they cannot buck the rich because of the ignorance of the voters. If the Democrats are to survive as a party and if the middle class is to remain viable in America, the Democratic party is going to have to launch a major class war in which the Democrats PROVE that they are the representatives of the common people. And the Keynesian economic professionals are going to have to help. No more Mr. Nice Guy.