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Health reform's hazard

By Tom Toles

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Friday rant: Ask for it and you shall receive it edition

So in a democracy, people are free to vote for incoherence and are apparently about to. For an example you could look at the new so-called Republican "plan" for dealing with the deficit. Tell me that it makes any sense whatsoever. Really, just try, once you get past its airy platitudes. It will give you a refreshing break from explaining why carbon dioxide doesn't really trap heat.

Unless the economy changes direction completely, Americans need to open their eyes and see a world where there will be continuous downward pressure on wages and benefits. Except for the rich, of course, who are being forced to adapt to an ever-mushrooming share of the wealth. Conservatives who think this is the best of all possible worlds also think that priority number one is squeezing some people back out of the federal health safety net. "Someone else." Someone undeserving. We'll leave for another day a discussion of who they think that someone else may be. What they don't realize is that "someone else" will likely soon be them, and there will be nowhere else to turn.

If you were an objective observer, if there were still such a thing, you might be amazed that a significant portion of the voting public, whose wages, health care and retirement benefits are under ruthless market pressure, are fanatically fighting to make sure nobody will be around to ameliorate the consequences. You might say that having working people so viciously divided amongst themselves over their own interests might just possibly be the rich man's dream come true! High fives all around in the corporate executive suite! Enjoy the funny way corporations have of saying THANK YOU! --Tom Toles
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By Tom Toles  | September 24, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  GOP, Health care  
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Comments

Bobbo2, let's ask it this way: "Are you okay with YOUR wages and/or benefits being lowered?" Exactly. Well, union employees feel pretty much the same way.

What's interesting about the whole economic argument is that so many people want a free lunch. Everybody wants lower taxes. AND social security, AND medicare benefits AND unemployment insurance AND good roads and infrastructure AND a strong military... AND ponies. Why not? Might as well promise them, no, PLEDGE them whatever they want.

Posted by: jonroesler | September 27, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

PtGrunner posted: "It explains why water vapor *is* not *a* cause of climate change . . . "
--
Since climate change is an Al Gore hoax, I agree water vaper is not a cause of climate change . . .

Posted by: Xman2 | September 24, 2010 7:50 PM
***************************************************************
And you are an idiot. You have absolutely no facts on your side. So you blame Al Gore. The idea that CO2 and other "greenhouse gases" would cause climate change has been around for more than a hundred years. Therefore, it is not an Al Gore hoax. The only hoax is that of those deniers who listen to the barking moonbats of the right.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 26, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Never mind that you see so many fat people - fear makes us think there is not enough food to go around. So we need someone doing without to make sure we will have enough. Same for health care. We think if everyone has insurance, there will not be enough care for us. Got to have that underclass doing without to make sure we have enough. But what happens is the poor go to the emergency room. Now that is expensive. And we pay for that.

Who said self interest rules?

Fear rules.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 26, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Jazzman, my parents are in their seventies, and were raised in modest circumstances in the shadow of the depression. They are new Democrats, who voted for and still back Obama. Both are college graduates and worked hard all their lives. They have also been frugal, thus have all they need and more. Yet their involvment in the community has shown them many hardworking people who weren't as lucky. They know who's hurting, and it's not them or anyone with more money than them.
They are near in age to Justice Stevens, who spoke on his retirement of the countries long, hard swing to the right. Most modern Democrats are no more liberal than Nixon-era Republicans.

Posted by: spaghettus | September 25, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

We've been trying trickle-down for 30 years now. It - is - not - working. Bush's cuts were the most drastic version yet, and we were in a terrible recession seven years later. Now the monied interests behind the Republican party have instructed them to roll out a "new model".
Only the rich have benefited; working people have it harder than ever.

Posted by: spaghettus | September 25, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles, I think you got the first word wrong the "Thank You" that corporations are sending us.

But you probably know that...

Posted by: mwalimu | September 25, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

PtGrunner posted: "It explains why water vapor *is* not *a* cause of climate change . . . "
--
Since climate change is an Al Gore hoax, I agree water vaper is not a cause of climate change . . .

Posted by: Xman2 | September 24, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

What the 'global alarmists' fail to point out is that carbon dioxide (required for plant life) is only around .04% (that is .0004 of the atmosphere, actually around 380 parts per million) and the major 'green house gas' is called water vapor. If earth would not have green house gasses, and other factors, the earth could be just like the moon . . . +120 decrees C on one side and -230 degrees C on the other. We are blessed with what we have!

Posted by: Xman2 | September 24, 2010 5:55 PM
****************************************************************
@Xman2 I guess you are an ex-man. Gender change? OK, all kidding aside... Since you are too lazy to do the homework yourself and I'm too lazy to type out a rebuttal, I've pulled the following from http://www.skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm . Read it. It explains why water vapor *is* not *a* cause of climate change, it is a feedback loop caused by increased temperatures in turn caused by the increased CO2 in the atmosphere. At least you are past the "there is no global warming" phase. We are blessed to have greenhouse gases, but we are not blessed by increasing them. It's changing everything just about everywhere on the planet.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 24, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think until today I've heard someone refer to Fidel Castro as a "liberal." Dictator, sure. Communist, definitely. But simply "liberal"? Nope.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"The goal of socialism is communism."...Vladimir Lenin.

Posted by: jornolibist | September 24, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

@ reussere How will the GOP "pledge to America" work? It won't. It's that simple. Under only three presidents since WWII has the national debt relative to GDP gone up: Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. Even under the much-maligned Jimmy Carter, whose presidency most people here did not even live through, the national debt relative to GDP was reduced. Yet the GOP and TP fanatics persist in the delusion that tax cuts and extremely vague promises of spending cuts, which the GOP will not keep, will somehow save us. And note the insane increase in defense spending. These are the same nutty economic policies that Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 pursued, I did not believe Reagan, Bush 41, or Bush 43. And *I* was right. We've been there, done that. And it didn't work for us.

Moreover, this is not the right time for overall federal government spending. Caveat to that. Cut defense and intelligence spending, defense spending is not work intensive, so it creates to few jobs per $) by 50% and redirect that to infrastructure spending: road and bridge repair, high speed rail, wind and solar energy farms, alternative energy R&D. These are all things that the GOP opposes I know. But any Senator or Representative, GOP or Democrat, whose state receives funding from the Federal government for any programs quickly drops opposition to those programs. In short, the GOP can be bribed...and they are bribed every day in every way. The GOP is always "open for business." These things will create jobs and jump-start the economy. Of course, Central and South Americans will take many of these jobs, because many are difficult, construction type jobs and U.S.-type Americans are lazy and want easy, high paying jobs.

And, let the tax cuts expire. All of them. And blame the GOP for any subsequent cuts to SS, Medicare. etc. The TP whiners will go down in flames, which they deserve.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 24, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"So in a democracy, people are free to vote for incoherence and are apparently about to."

After almose two years, let's face it, Obama, his appointees, czars, Congress and its Democratic leadership have no credibility with the majority of American voters. Seems we already voted for incoherence in 2006 and 2008. The Dems now need 10 million voting illegals to sway this trend.
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"It will give you a refreshing break from explaining why carbon dioxide doesn't really trap heat."

What the 'global alarmists' fail to point out is that carbon dioxide (required for plant life) is only around .04% (that is .0004 of the atmosphere, actually around 380 parts per million) and the major 'green house gas' is called water vapor. If earth would not have green house gasses, and other factors, the earth could be just like the moon . . . +120 decrees C on one side and -230 degrees C on the other. We are blessed with what we have!

Posted by: Xman2 | September 24, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

And not a single comment from the big noisy ones in here regarding just WHAT the Republicans will do if elected. All they say is "cut spending". Okay, where? What are they going to cut that people are willing to give up?

So, tax cuts, and some nebulous "spending cuts"... This is the solution? What did Bush give us? Tax cuts. Did they help? Did the Republican-controlled congress from 2000-2006 cut spending? There's a laffer. No...they just authorized (along with plenty of spineless Democrats) unjustified wars that were never paid for.

Please, those of you who scream in here about "socialism" and "Obamacare" and "the DemoCRAT party"...how about some specifics. Tell us what you're going to do different please. Then maybe we'll listen. I like new ideas. But these aren't new ideas. They are jingoistic mumblings about boogeymen and patriotism and empty promises. "Throw the bums out" means nothing when the people waiting for the bums' seats were the ones that soiled those seats in the first place.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | September 24, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The greed of big Unions has eclipsed the greed of Wall Street.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 24, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah no you're wrong.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 24, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear jonroesler, the biggest financial crisis confronting the States is public sector Union debt. The highest per capita debt is in States with the largest public sector Union workforces. States like New York are asking the Unions to take lower wage and benefit increases. The Unions are fighting that tooth and nail. California, New York, and New Jersey are facing bankruptcy. Only Governor Christie of New Jersey is standing firm. The Unions do not run the show, the taxpayer does. The greed of big Unions has eclipsed the greed of Wall Street.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 24, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Battle. And, everyone, seriously, if we had to list the major positive accomplishments of every president since WWII ended, what would those be?

In the spirit of giving, I will say this: It would be better for the country, if not for me personally, to let ALL of the Bush tax cuts expire. Including mine. If the choice comes to all or nothing, and there's a good chance that it will, I hope the president and what's left of the Democratic Party have the stones to do what needs to be done.

We do need another contract on America like we need a hole in the head... which is pretty appropriate picture.

Oh, and the whole "downward pressure on wages" idea? Unfortunately, Tom's right.
Science is grand, but what it comes down to is that, like it or not, we have an increasing number of people competing for scarce resources. More people; less resources per person.
Unless you can convince somebody that the fact that you happened to be born well somehow entitles you not to have to compete on the same playing field as everyone else. Not all of us have patience for that sort of nonsense.

And Unions? Union wages have barely kept up with inflation and many unions have sacrificed plenty in order to help keep the companies they work for alive and their own jobs intact, while executive wages have risen at many times the rate of inflation right along with health care costs. So, please, remind me how it is Unions who have been screwing the pooch?

Yikes. It's obvious hardly anyone remembers the Depression, but it's starting to sound like nobody remembers beyond January 2009!

Posted by: jonroesler | September 24, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

It is not the responsibility of the Federal Government to create jobs in the private sector. What the Government needs to do is keep the red tape to a minimum, keep the business taxes reasonable, and to allow writeoffs on equipment in existing business for expansion and modernization. Government agencies must have their budgets cut across the board, no exceptions. All public sector Union contracts need to be renegotiated by the States, Counties, and Cities. The States are buried in debt by the Unions.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse


Ameliorate. Easy for you to say, Tom.

Posted by: quiensabe | September 24, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Even if the repubs win the house, it won't matter until 2012. Obama will just veto anything they attempt do (un)do.

If I had to judge Obama's presidency with no further accomplishments, I'd say it was pretty successful.

And that's not bad for a black kid from a broken home.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | September 24, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't think until today I've heard someone refer to Fidel Castro as a "liberal." Dictator, sure. Communist, definitely. But simply "liberal"? Nope.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 24, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@ Valiant
Great post: I couldn't help but think that Mr.Boehner must feel the same way about we the untanned masses.

Sorry, but I have a feeling I will be stealing that image.

Posted by: disposall | September 24, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The other day people weren't smart enough to realize they should just automatically believe 98% of the liberal scientists who say there is manmade global warming even when the vast majority of people know better. Today people don't have enough smarts to figure out why they are planning on voting out the ultra liberal failed democrat government which is trying to complete Carter's second term. Jimmy Carter must really like what's going on. Just the other day Carter commented on how superior he was to other Presidents. Recently dictator Fidel Castro said liberalism has failed in Cuba. Both Carter and Castro had to revise their remarks because they say they were taken out of context. The people realize the context perfectly that liberalism fails whenever it is tried and have had enough of Carter's second term.

Posted by: jornolibist | September 24, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse


By Toles' blog and the comments here, it is apparent that Obama is achieving one of his goals.

Creating "class envy."

Obama's diversionary tactics are working.

Posted by: janet8 | September 24, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I was born at the tail end of the "Great depression. (There's an oximoron of the first degree).

I was told recently by a neighbor, that we were considered rich. My Dad had a job and we kids had ten cents a week to spend.

My grandmother lived next door, several of my cousins lived with her (or us) at times. Mr grandfather had been crushed in a coal mine accident (no Social Security at the time it happened). She had taken in washings and ironings to get by.

The Republican party hated FDR for helping the unwashed masses.

I couldn't help but think that Mr.Boehner
must feel the same way about we the untanned masses.

The Republicans and their tea party apparently long for those days and want to return the country to those "golden years".

Me, Not so much.

Posted by: Valiantlytrying | September 24, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

It's my fault. I failed, over 35 years, to teach how to read and to think.
Mea culpa.
(Please don't take away my retirement benefits.)

Posted by: GeneTouchet | September 24, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

My mother is fond of saying "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." She and my dad are "old timers"; they were in their teens and early 20s during the depression years. Now in their early 90s they are appalled by the wanton misdirection of Republicans. They - as am I - are shagrinned by the divided and weak reaction of Democrats to a wholesale give-away of American ideals to the power centers of giant business concerns. We will get what we wish for and should be more careful with out wishing.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | September 24, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

If Mr. Toles MUST make a straw figure to explain why every9one does not agree with him on our climate's future - I have to give him this: there probably are some people who fit that image. Straw and all.

He can't be wrong all the time. Just incomplete.

Sigh.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 24, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Best place to find quality quality bankruptcy info online is http://bit.ly/avB0jI

Posted by: chadwick23 | September 24, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse

In just wish someone from the right wing of the political spectrum could explain how the new GOP pledge would actually work without resorting to name calling and hand waving.

I really do want to understand, because this new GOP stuff just doesn't make sense to me.

Its probably not a good idea to have taxes go up in a recession, I will grant that one. This is good old Keynesian economics and is probably correct.

But the pledge says we need to make them permanent. Simple arithmetic tells me if we have less income with the same spending levels, deficits will go up, not down.

So we need to reduce spending. A whole lot of spending. We have to find 500 billion dollars a year to cut from the budget each year just to pay to continue the Bush tax cuts, and that just keeps us in place. Where is it going to come from? The big ticket items, like the military, social security, Medicare, and the like are either necessary or have such huge political constituencies that any politician that says they can make substantial cuts there are simply lying through their teeth. Won't happen. You think the tea party members are loud. Imagine 20 million pissed grandma's and grandpa's converging on Washington. I promise blood on the streets before anyone in Washington DC will change those programs.

Folks their is no way around it. We MUST pay for what we get. If you don't like going in debt, the trick is to spend less, not to take a pay cut. So lets see some specific proposals for cutting spending please. Exactly which programs, and how much from each. Otherwise, I am highly skeptical of politicians flashing their snake oil smiles and promising me the deal of century, particularly when they just sold me a nasty smelling pile of junk a few years ago.

Posted by: reussere | September 24, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

@fostersm1 I hear ya! I suppose I'm not genetically capable of being part of the Greedy Old Party. I'm not a sociopath.

What bothers me about the TP whiners, many of whom come here to cry in their caviar, is that is all they do is...WHIIIIIINE! They +say+ they want government off their back, but complain that the government does not solve all their problems TODAY. They think Obama should appear at their door and make everything right immediately. These people don't seem to understand that life in the U.S. has always been difficult. The economy has always had its ups and downs. Decent work has almost always been hard to find--I certainly took some dismal, low-paying jobs that I did not like, but I didn't complain at the time, and I'm grateful to have had them. They were a means to an end...the end being a much better job, both in pay and status. The people I hired when I finally got to a good job often wanted everything immediately...big bucks, no drudgery, etc. Life, and working life in particular, was not like that for me. And I never expected to have it all. We're going through a tough time, no doubt. If we don't give Obama a solid chance of at least 4 years, pulling on the rope ourselves instead of trying to trip Obama, we are pretty much doomed. During the last 4 years of the Bush 43 administration, I promised myself that I would never vote Republican again. I +don't+ have a short memory. I've been paying attention since the dismal Reagan years. Experience tells me that the Republicans are not the answer. Not now. Maybe not ever. And the TPers are a pretty sad bunch of know-nothings.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 23, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

You want solvency and jobs? 1) Allow +all+ of the Bush tax cuts to expire and increase the top marginal tax rate to 50% with estates and capital gains taxed at the same rate as regular income--this will reduce the deficits. 2) Redirect 50% of current defense and intelligence spending to infrastructure repair, high speed rail, improved airports, alternative energy research and development--lots of good jobs.

The Republican plan increases debt, just as all their tax plans do; and nothing in their "pledge" increases jobs. TPers, give all of your government benefits back to the government.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 23, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Wages, health care, and retirement benefits Mr. Toles? How many cities, counties, and States have public sector Union contracts that cannot be paid for? We have States facing bankruptcy. Our Federal Government has debt that is unsustainable. The party is over. The last bubble is about to burst if we don't do something about it right now. We must get on a path to solvency. It has to be shared by all Americans. There will be the usual hollering and gnashing of teeth. So be it. We must have in our future a limited, responsible Government and realistic costs to the taxpayer. From big Government to big Unions to big business fiscal responsibility has got to be achieved.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 23, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Paid socialists your message is weak.

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 23, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

You don't know what will happen once you encage an endangered species...wait until mourning on the 3rd of November..

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 23, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

@ptgrunner: We lost the birth lottery, plain ans simple. Sure, I've heard of people who bootstrapped themselves into the Republican Party, but that doesn't guarantee that the dough will come rolling in. It's much easier to start with a trust fund and work up from there.

Posted by: fostersm1 | September 23, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

You know. Other than the moral and ethical problems it might cause me, I wish I were a connected Republican. Christopher Buckley wrote 'I say this as a lifelong Republican. To us, corruption is just another way of saying, “We are open for business!” ' He also noted that Democrats were also corrupt, but pretended to be above bribe-taking. Fair enough. But Republican politicians waste no time or energy _pretending_ to be honest. Moreover, I could make bundles of money off the useful, middle class or poor, idiots who support the Republican agenda. It's the perfect scam because people willingly buy into it knowing it's the proverbial "free lunch", and it's legal. It's not moral or ethical but they are Republicans, so we expect them to do the wrong thing.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 23, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Do they conserve their hypocrisy at the expense of the rest of us?

If only they could conserve the 10 COMMANDMENTS, i.e. do not lie.... do not steal....

Posted by: Tony-KS | September 23, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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