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US Politics: 1950's edition


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#81 TrackerNeil

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:37 AM

So if employers leak that intention ahead of the election, people scared of losing their current employer-provided coverage may well react by casting votes they believe will prevent their current coverage from being placed at risk. That's a (legitimate) fear that Republican will play up heavily running up to the November election. A vote for Democrats will place you current health care coverage in serious jeopardy. And Obama can't assuage that concern by promising people that their employers won't drop coverage because of the ACA.


So let me see if I have this right. If employers, en masse, decide to drop their group plans and if they make the majority of the American people believe it, voters will decide that the only recourse is to elect a president and a Congress that pledge to repeal the law, whether or not they could actually do it.

First of all, Americans are pretty divided on the ACA, although a majority do not want to see it repealed entirely. It's also interesting to note that in many polls, even those who report opposition to the law change their minds when they understand what repealing it would mean. So it's not clear to me that Americans are going to flock to the polls to vote Republican on that basis.

Second, that reasoning is a long way to walk, and I'm not sure most voters are that analytical in terms of policy. I don't think the ACA is going to drive turnout this year amongst any but the most partisan who, to be honest, would have voted anyway.

Third, I have not seen any sign of a groundswell movement amongst employers to end their group coverage. That's not something that has happened much in Massachusetts, BTW, so I don't see why it would happen nationwide. Even if that should come to pass, I wouldn't count on it happening soon enough to affect the 2012 elections.

So I am not convinced that the scenario you outline is likely.

Edited by TrackerNeil, 06 March 2012 - 09:50 AM.


#82 Jon Sprunk

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:18 AM

Except there are no exchanges yet. The public does not what they will look like yet, or the exact plans that will be offered, whether their current providers will be included, the cost, etc. For people who currently have coverage that they like (and that's a majority of voters), that is exchanging health care coverage they currently like for a complete unknown.

So if employers leak that intention ahead of the election, people scared of losing their current employer-provided coverage may well react by casting votes they believe will prevent their current coverage from being placed at risk. That's a (legitimate) fear that Republican will play up heavily running up to the November election. A vote for Democrats will place you current health care coverage in serious jeopardy. And Obama can't assuage that concern by promising people that their employers won't drop coverage because of the ACA.


Whoa, you really took that hypothetical for a long walk, eh? Oh well. It's the internet and what do we have better to do than argue about theories that have no basis in reality?

I'd postulate that more voters are frightened of returning to a "conservative" economic policy that threatens to trigger another Great Recession; or a "conservative" president that threatens war with Iran, Syria, and any other (usually Muslim-populated) country they can think of; or of a "conservative" president that publicly muses about banning contraceptives; or a "conservative" strain that insults and belittles women.... But that's just my outlandish theory of the day.

#83 Kouran

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:54 AM

Don't worry, we don't think that. We just think Romney has been forced to say things during the primaries that will kill him with moderates in the election.

Otherwise, I have no idea how we'd manage to re-elect a guy who is selling a $900 billion deficit (which would have been a record before 2008) as if it's a good deal. This situation does not look as though it will be resolving itself anytime soon either - the President's projected deficit for 2018 is still $575 billion, which I guess is at least back to Bush era spending.

Of course, the Administration's argument that their budget will lead to reduced deficit spending is true - Bush-era tax receipts are unsustainable. They are astonishingly low. That is, in many ways, the source of our long-term problems. But I am really disappointed to not see more of an effort to bring down spending. How can we possibly add $500-$700 billion a year in deficits to the debt through 2022 and still pay the interest on the debt without killing our economy?

Currently, total debt is $15.5 trillion. $5.9 trillion of that was racked up in 2008-12 (2012 is still estimated at a $1.33 trillion deficit). Using the White House's figures, which involve capturing a historically nearly unheard of 20% of GDP in tax receipts, we will be adding another 6.7 trillion to that figure before 2022.

This is, to put it mildly, not what I expected.

OTOH, there is a projected GDP for 2022 of $25.76 trillion. This budget leaves us with a total debt of $21.6 trillion. Overall, that's a better debt to GDP ratio than we have now. So hopefully those projected GDP numbers are credible and I think they probably are.

Anyway, I find this all to be very, very disturbing, and I would like some explanations from the Administration. OTOH, I'm not even a little bit unsure that total Republican control would leave us in even worse debt by 2022. And, while the debt is my #1 issue as a voter, there's also the fact that the Republicans support a bunch of ethically repugnant positions that often resemble nothing so much as institutionalized hate.

Looks like that's finally starting to be a problem for the party. Why don't you jettison those nutbags already and we can actually have a real conversation about governance going forward? Right now, you can't win with them and you can't win without them. Time to try out another strategy.


One shouldnt forget the 5.5 TRILLION dollars in interest payments on the debit over the next decade as seen here: http://money.cnn.com...erest/index.htm

Anyone who thinks the debit isnt a major issue needs to pull their head out of the sand, the country is racing toward a cliff, and only god knows if we have any brakes on this car or not.

#84 Sci-2

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:01 AM

Looks like that's finally starting to be a problem for the party. Why don't you jettison those nutbags already and we can actually have a real conversation about governance going forward? Right now, you can't win with them and you can't win without them. Time to try out another strategy.


This * 10^27. I also worry about Dems spending like crazy, and their amnesty for illegals leaves a funny taste in my mouth, but so far I can't bring myself to vote for a party whose platform is filled with such rife prejudice.

#85 Former Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:10 AM

Whoa, you really took that hypothetical for a long walk, eh? Oh well. It's the internet and what do we have better to do than argue about theories that have no basis in reality?


There was a poll last year showing that 30% of employers were likely to drop coverage when the ACA kicked in. Among employers most familiar with the provisions of the law, that percentage rose to 50%. The only thing that might make my hypothetical not come true is the timing -- the election is in November 2012, and most of the decisions to drop coverage likely will come at the end of 2013 or in 2014.

#86 Former Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:19 AM

So let me see if I have this right. If employers, en masse, decide to drop their group plans


No. They don't actually have to drop the plans. But if voters believe there is a substantial risk that their employer will (and that would be the money bet), then that might impact the election to the benefit of republicans.


Third, I have not seen any sign of a groundswell movement amongst employers to end their group coverage. That's not something that has happened much in Massachusetts, BTW, so I don't see why it would happen nationwide. Even if that should come to pass, I wouldn't count on it happening soon enough to affect the 2012 elections.


That latter part is the rub. But as to the first part, what is going to happen is when the Feds set the criteria for which plans qualify, and the premiums they will change, employers are going to be faced with a decision to either suck up a lot more cost themselves, or just punt the issue. For a lot of employers employing lower-wage people, I'm guessing you'll end up with an actual drop coverage rate of over 50%

It simply makes economic sense. If the cost to the employer of actually paying for the plan is somewhere around $8000 or so/year, and employees can get a subsidy from the feds of $7500, it would be giving away free money to maintain coverage. They'll drop it, pay the $2000 fine, and their employees will get a fed subsidy instead of the employer paying for it. They might increase wages a bit to even it all out, but the bottom line is going to be a lot more employers dropping folks into the subsidy program than the feds ever thought. And that will blow the budget of the ACA wide open.

Now, the question is how much that scenario gets discussed between the June SCOTUS decision and the election. But if I'm a Republican candidate, I absolutely hammer that. It could be the Harry and Louise commercials that killed HillaryCare and gave the GOP the 1994 majority all over gain.

#87 Former Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:32 AM

Here's a fun little article compiling some of the language from the left regarding women that, for some odd reason, didn't seem to garner nearly as much outrage as Limbaugh. Quite the collection, including money quotes from folks like Matt Taibbi, etc.

http://www.thedailyb...ollow-suit.html

I've read a lot of people lauding and quoting Taibbi here, but I don't recall anyone quoting any of this:

Left-wing darling Matt Taibbi wrote on his blog in 2009, “When I read [Malkin’s] stuff, I imagine her narrating her text, book-on-tape style, with a big, hairy set of balls in her mouth.” In a Rolling Stone article about Secretary of State Clinton, he referred to her “flabby arms.” When feminist writer Erica Jong criticized him for it, he responded by referring to Jong as an “800-year old sex novelist.” (Jong is almost 70, which apparently makes her an irrelevant human being.)


Now, switch that around to Limbaugh talking about a female writer with a "big, hairy set of balls in her mouth", and imagine a similar lack of reaction from the left. Funny, that.

The winner is apparently Bill Maher, who among other comments, called Palin a "dumb twat" and
a "cunt".

What's interesting to me is that you'd figure that folks on the left are far more likely to watch/listen to left-leaning programming than Rush Limbaugh, so they would tend to be a lot more familiar with the mysogynistic comments made by leftists. But curiously, the outrage seems to be just a touch muted.

#88 Guest_Raidne_*

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

FLOW, I do think, FTR, that the ACA increases government spending. Not sure when you throw projected Medicare costs into the equation, but I think we'd be seeing cuts to Medicare without the ACA, so that's moot for me.

But I also think having employers bear the burden of healthcare chokes economic growth in the US compared to other countries so it's worth it to me. Additionally, health care has gotten so out of control that some amount of brakes from the top down has unfortunately become necessary. I want single payer government insurance + private supplemental insurance and I'll keep pushing for more government funding of health care until that happens. I am willing to see big cuts to social security to see this happen.

Regarding a conversation, I don't expect Republicans to come around on health care. You're still trying to privatize social security half a century later - some things are core values.

#89 TrackerNeil

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:21 AM

Now, the question is how much that scenario gets discussed between the June SCOTUS decision and the election. But if I'm a Republican candidate, I absolutely hammer that. It could be the Harry and Louise commercials that killed HillaryCare and gave the GOP the 1994 majority all over gain.


The problem being that the likely Republican nominee is the guy who introduced "Obamacare" to Massachusetts. I'm not sure Romney is very credible on this issue...but then again, it hasn't hurt him too much so far, so what do I know?

Edited to add: I am perpetually amazed that Romney has managed to somehow elude conservative wrath over the ACA, given that he himself signed a smaller version into law in MA. So I don't bet against Multiple Choice Mitt.

Edited by TrackerNeil, 06 March 2012 - 11:24 AM.


#90 Mlle. Zabzie

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:28 AM

FLOW - the comments are reprehensible, no matter who says them (glad Taibbi, who I don't care for at all, got called on it), and the fact that there are some troglodytes on the left doesn't excuse sexist comments on the right, either.

As has been pointed out in thread after thread here, current US culture is suffused with latent sexism. It's pervasive, and the sad fact is that if you call people on it (particularly if you are a woman) you then open yourself to all sorts of criticism and name calling (a la Erica Jong).

The husband person used to get New York Magazine. It is fairly left-leaning. We stopped getting it because we started to notice (and once we noticed, it started to be obvious and annoying) how many articles were extremely sexist, but couched in the smug self-assuredness that it was "liberal" and therefore ok to be "provocative" (meaning sexist).

#91 Former Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:34 AM

But I also think having employers bear the burden of healthcare chokes economic growth in the US compared to other countries so it's worth it to me. Additionally, health care has gotten so out of control that some amount of brakes from the top down has unfortunately become necessary. I want single payer government insurance + private supplemental insurance and I'll keep pushing for more government funding of health care until that happens.

FLOW, I do think, FTR, that the ACA increases government spending. Not sure when you throw projected Medicare costs into the equation, but I think we'd be seeing cuts to Medicare without the ACA, so that's moot for me.


Well, about 1/3 of the funding for the ACA comes from future, unspecified cuts in Medicare. That's why it is a bit of an accounting trick, because you can't count those Medicare cuts as helping the bottom line of Medicare, while also counting on those same funds to pay for the ACA. The reality is that if those cuts occur, and you say they improve Medicare's outlook, then you're really saying that the ACA is adding hundreds of billions to the deficit.

I don't think those cuts will happen anyway, because (as the CBO itself noted) the political reality of finding completely new cuts in Medicare every year that Congress won't stop is unlikely. It's the same reason for the doc fix. Reimbursement rates are supposed to be much lower than they are now due to supposed automatic cuts, but each year, Congress passes legislation to stop them. Cost savings that require members of Congress to touch that third rail every year won't happen, which is why real savings must be in the form of a major piece of structural reform that is effective when passed, and doesn't need to be revisited every year.

But I also think having employers bear the burden of healthcare chokes economic growth in the US compared to other countries so it's worth it to me. Additionally, health care has gotten so out of control that some amount of brakes from the top down has unfortunately become necessary. I want single payer government insurance + private supplemental insurance and I'll keep pushing for more government funding of health care until that happens.


Assuming this is true, then the ACA is the worst possible solution. At least, if you believe the Administration's projections. Because according to the Administration, only 7% of employers will drop coverage. The rest will all maintain coverage, and will pay significantly more for that coverage than they did before because of the cost of the additional mandates -- no lifetime caps, no preexisting conditions, etc. etc. etc. That makes for an increased burden on American businesses, and more choking of economic growth than under the current system.

And then you have the ACA's effect on all those employers who do not currently offer insurance. They'll all be slapped with a brand new, $2000/employee fine. Wouldn't that also have a negative effect on economic growth by making them less competitive?

So the only way you get what you desire -- moving insurance away from the employment relationship -- is if the Administration's projections are wrong, and large numbers of employers ditch coverage and pay the $2000 fine instead. And you're right -- that would lower employment costs, and arguably would make those businesses more competitive. But, that would blow the alleged fiscal integrity of the ACA all to hell, because the budgeting of subsidy dollars is based on subsidizing a much smaller number of employees. Having to pay out subsidies as high as $7500 per employee, and having that paid for by fines of only $2000/employee, simply does not work.

Regarding a conversation, I don't expect Republicans to come around on health care. You're still trying to privatize social security half a century later - some things are core values.


Well, that's sort of my point, and even more so with respect to Medicare. The passage of the ACA and creation of a brand new health care entitlement program means that there cannot be agreement on a structural reform of Medicare that reduces the level of entitlement under that program. As you say, it is a collision of core values, where one side is willing to pay whatever is required to guarantee health care for all, and the other side isn't.

#92 Lord O' Bones

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

*stuff about Rush Limbaugh as if he wasn't a purely bombastic tool*

zzzzzzzzz....

The winner is apparently Bill Maher, who among other comments, called Palin a "dumb twat" and
a "cunt".

What we should note here folks, is that some seem to think that the Libertarian asshole comedian Bill Maher is a shining example of "what people on the left are like (please ignore that he is an entertainer please.)"

Also, he was apparently the first person to correctly identify Sarah Palin as a "dumb twat."

What's interesting to me is that you'd figure that folks on the left are far more likely to watch/listen to left-leaning programming than Rush Limbaugh, so they would tend to be a lot more familiar with the mysogynistic comments made by leftists. But curiously, the outrage seems to be just a touch muted.

What's interesting to me is that you'd figure that folks on the perpendicular are far more likely to touch/taste parallel programming than Bozo the Clown, so they would tend to be a lot more familiar with the antidisestablishmentarianists.

But non-curiously, there is no outrage as nothing posted or quoted here makes any sense.

#93 Former Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:52 AM

FLOW - the comments are reprehensible, no matter who says them (glad Taibbi, who I don't care for at all, got called on it), and the fact that there are some troglodytes on the left doesn't excuse sexist comments on the right, either.


That's true. What Taibbi and others have said doesn't excuse or mitigate what Limbaugh said. On the other hand, it does make those on the left who jumped Limbaugh's shit but love Taibbi look like it's not sexism/misogynism that really bothers them at all.

In other words, I'm not calling out Taibbi. I'm calling out his fans.

Edited by Former Lord of Winterfell, 06 March 2012 - 11:54 AM.


#94 Sci-2

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:54 AM

I think Limbaugh's comments are beyond insults, because they insinuate that Fluke should, because of her opinions, make herself available in some form or another to any man that comes along.

All the stuff by Taibbi and Maher is sexist as well, but it doesn't go so far as to suggest the person owes others some kind of sexual gratification because of monetary responsibility.

#95 Former Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:59 AM

I think Limbaugh's comments are beyond insults, because they insinuate that Fluke should, because of her opinions, make herself available in some form or another to any man that comes along.


No they don't insinuate that at all. They were a tasteless, sexist joke about someone else paying for her birth control. Nobody actually believes he was saying that she really was a prostiture.

All the stuff by Taibbi and Maher is sexist as well, but it doesn't go so far as to suggest the person owes others some kind of sexual gratification because of monetary responsibility.


If you see a difference in levels of misogyny between "hairy balls in mouth", "cunt", and "twat", on the one hand, and "prostitute" on the other, I think you're being guided by politics rather than the language being used.

#96 Lord O' Bones

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

In other words, I'm not calling out Taibbi. I'm calling out his fans.

I'm afraid to tell you, but you aren't calling out a fucking thing. Unless:

1. There is some contingent here comprised of raging Taibbi fans that I just completely spaced on noticing or

2. This post is just one insignificant part of your 'asmuchastheinternetwillallow' plan to talk smack to Taibbi fans across the whole of the internets and hope that they meet you at the bike rack after school for some 5 finger litigation.

#97 Former Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:03 PM

What we should note here folks, is that some seem to think that the Libertarian asshole comedian Bill Maher is a shining example of "what people on the left are like (please ignore that he is an entertainer please.)"


Oh, so it is okay because he is just an entertainer, not a real journalist? What's Taibbi's excuse? There are plenty of folks here who laud the guy precisely because of his serious journalism.

I'm afraid to tell you, but you aren't calling out a fucking thing. Unless:

1. There is some contingent here comprised of raging Taibbi fans that I just completely spaced on noticing or


You spaced.

Edited by Former Lord of Winterfell, 06 March 2012 - 12:06 PM.


#98 Lord O' Bones

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:07 PM

Oh, so it is okay because he is just an entertainer, not a real journalist? What's Taibbi's excuse? There are plenty of folks here who laud the guy precisely because of his serious journalism.

Is what ok?

That you claim he is an example of the left when he clearly isn't?

This is like apples to an orange colored basketball.

But for the sake of argument, who here lauds this Taibbi guy of whom I've barely even heard?

Edited by Lord O' Bones, 06 March 2012 - 12:08 PM.


#99 TerrorPrime

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:17 PM

This * 10^27. I also worry about Dems spending like crazy, and their amnesty for illegals leaves a funny taste in my mouth, but so far I can't bring myself to vote for a party whose platform is filled with such rife prejudice.


Since our residential GOP cheerleaders are slow in their response, let me help. Here are the points that address your concerns:

1. Those are fringe elements within the party, and do not accurately reflect the party as a whole. And by "fringe" we do not mean isolated in power from party identity, but instead we mean that we are generally embarassed by them and yet we are unable to jettison them because we need their votes to win elections.

2. They are largely ineffectual in affecting "real" policies. And please ignore their consistent success in setting the talking points for the party, from saving Schiavo to enshrining rights of personhood for unborn babies to stem cell research.

3. They are not really prejudiced or biased -- they just want the federal government to stop regulating people's lives. For instance, opposing Roe v Wade is not _really_ about limiting women's right to control her own body, but about returning the right for each state's right to make their own laws. So state government intrusions are okay, but federal intrusions are bad.

4. Economic issues are more important than social issues, any way. Wouldn't you want to see a trim federal budget rather than normalizing LGBT prople's serving openly in the U.S. armed force? I mean it is money in your pocket!


You are welcome.

#100 TrueMetis

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:19 PM

The winner is apparently Bill Maher, who among other comments, called Palin a "dumb twat" and
a "cunt".


Nothing sexist about that unless calling someone a dick is also sexist.