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MEGA HOODIA FOR SALE

July 31st, 2011

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  1. Troy
    July 31st, 2011 at 10:40 | #1

    >Ironically, it would not even cause inflation

    yes it would, massive inflation. Only if the Fed were to sell its treasuries dollar for dollar there would be no inflation.

    > I have the feeling that Obama would probably invoke the Fourteenth Amendment

    People saying this really piss me off. Congress has the power to set the debt limit and the Executive must live within this limit.

    If Congress wants to run this country over the cliff, we’ve Constitutionally got to let them. Let the chips fall.

    Obama might now cave to the hostage taking like he did at the end of last year.

    I say let the Republicans shoot the hostages. They will discredit themselves like they did in the 1930s.

    Or, maybe not, give Fox and the rest of the right-wing media machine.

  2. stevetv
    July 31st, 2011 at 12:20 | #2

    “People saying this really piss me off. Congress has the power to set the debt limit and the Executive must live within this limit.”

    I don’t know about that. Obama can get the Treasury Dept. to sell more bonds to finance the debt, and the Treasury Dept. is part of the Executive Branch. The president has some wiggle room on this, at least according to some interpretations of the 14th Amendment.

    I don’t know if the Platinum Coin plan would work, but down the road it may end up being the premise of another lousy Nick Cage film.

  3. Troy
    July 31st, 2011 at 14:02 | #3

    The Constitution gave the power of the purse to the Congress, more specifically the House. This is partially why the House is on a 2 year cycle, they are closer to the people.

    If the House does not want for the Treasury to issue more debt, the Executive is Constitutionally bound by that decision.

    People don’t understand that Congress is the true seat of power in this country, or should be. The President’s job in general is to run the government as Congress desires.

    This is why Congress is Article I of the Constitution and the Executive is Article II.

    People need to understand that electing monkeys to Congress has consequences.

    The last time the Republicans screwed things up they were out of power for 60 years (save for a brief blip in the 1940s).

    Now, I think the 14th does demand that if social security decides to cash in some of its bonds prior to maturity, Treasury is bound to deliver the cash to them. After these sales UST would have more headroom to sell new bonds.

    FICA taxes go to the General Fund and, alas, social security does not get dibs on this flow.

    But if I were Obama I would not begin liquidating the SSTF just because the Republicans have decided to play games.

    I kinda see a 70% chance that the Dems just fold. I hope they don’t, but I don’t think We The People are all that smart about seeing what’s going down here, so the Dems — Obama specifically — are the ones in the “damned do / damned don’t” trap of the Republicans’ making.

  4. Tim Kane
    August 1st, 2011 at 02:36 | #4

    None of this would be happening now if President O’bumblestumps hadn’t caved on the Bush tax cuts. That was the tell of who he is. At the very, very, very, very least, he should have gotten an increase in the debt ceiling with that cave. So he paved the way for this crisis, and he did it on purpose to serve whatever means he has in mind.

    The man proved he has a strategic mind in 2007 and 2008, he proved he has the ability to do the job, but since he won the election, he hasn’t exercised that ability at all. This has to be on purpose.

    For the life of me, I do not see anyway this country doesn’t go down the tubes, as Krugman said this morning, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, its all a matter of how fast the collaps is going to occur.

    In 2004, I contacted a lawyer in Canada about filing for residency. I was too busy at the time to follow up. BIG MISTAKE.

    In Phoenix area, where my parents live, 25% of the people are living below the poverty line. Now, mix in the fact that a huge % of the people living there are retirees and/or snow birds from prarier provinces, dakotas or montana. My parents neighbors had to sell their house for a song because they lost out on the stock market. Thousands of people work in crappy jobs in retail to support those retirees.

    If Social Security checks get held up, and other safety net programs, the poverty line is going to be around 60%. This is just a prism of what is going to happen to the whole country.

    There is no reversing it now. The wealth is too concentrated. They control the media. They are taking all the money and all the power, and pretty soon we are going to have a reverse wet-back migration going on.

    The Republicans are bat-sh!t crazy and Obama is a tool. That’s the situation.

    `

  5. Troy
    August 1st, 2011 at 02:55 | #5

    I’m with Tim here.

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/

    has some good opinions today, too.

    FDR had the “New Deal”. Truman had the “Fair Deal”.

    Obama has the “Bad Deal”.

    Though I don’t think the Republicans are “crazy”.

    They just want to pay for their wars and tax cuts by forcing Democrats to agree to cut back flagship welfare programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, etc.

    The press is in the tank for this revisionism so Democrats don’t have the luxury of fighting on a level playfield.

    This is going to become a leaner and meaner country.

    We’re totally fucked.

    I, too am getting too old to get into Canada. I’m going to need to learn French to get the visa points soon.

    There’s always Japan again, but I don’t know how viable that is this decade and next. I’d probably prefer Tokyo over BC, maybe,

    Oddly, I’ve also had a hankering for Norway this year, but I’d have to tour there for a month or more to get a feel for the place. By the numbers they really have their economic act together.

  6. stevetv
    August 1st, 2011 at 13:51 | #6

    I hate to say I told you so, but haven’t I been telling you this from the beginning? I’m glad the rest of you are waking up. The danger signs were there all along, beginning with the choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. This wasn’t a show of openness (or compromise), but blatant disregard for his base. Since then it’s been capitulate, capitulate, capitulate. Not with everything, but only the most important things, the historical milestones. And why not? His base was so powerful, and the other side so off the deep end, he took for granted that liberals would support him come hell or high water. And he’s probably right. All of you that are now complaining, are you really willing to risk a President Bachmann or President Perry? Then again, suppose his opponent is Mitt Romney? He’ll be the choice of the moderate and the independent voter, and then it’s bye-bye Obama.

    And why are we acting surprised at this? The parameters of this fight were set long ago: either we default or we don’t. The GOP made clear that they would allow a default before compromising on their principles. So what, exactly, could Obama and the Democrats do other than give in? Say what you will about the other Obama-GOP policy disputes, they didn’t have Armageddon hanging over our heads (not that it stopped Obama from caving in anyway). I mean, it’s what the GOP ran on last year, remember? Cut spending, reduce the deficit, etc. They were just making good on their campaign promises.

    But maybe Obama is a deficit hawk after all. We know he isn’t a good negotiator, and even when he was a campaigner it was no secret that economics was a huge weak spot of his (which was then proven by the Larry Summers appointment, and he seemed clueless all along that an ecomomic collapse was all-but-imminent even though it was portented since 2006 – if not earlier – that the housing/credit bubble was about to burst). And he’s up against an extremely powerful opposition which he still doesn’t know how to come to terms with. But maybe he really is an economic conservative? This is why we need a primary opponent on the left. Not because he/she will beat Obama, but it may finally give him the scare he needs in order to remember who gave him a mandate in the first place. But more likely, he’ll characteristicly respond in his meek way, win the election, and go on conceding to the Tea Party with every negotiation.

  7. SOUSA-POZA
    August 1st, 2011 at 14:24 | #7

    Sadly, we may be witnessing Obama’s Chamberlain moment.

  8. Troy
    August 1st, 2011 at 15:21 | #8

    >This is why we need a primary opponent on the left

    bullshit. I just think Obama’s being played the cards he’s being dealt.

    He’s got to win VA and several other red states to get reelected.

    This is a conservative, bird-brained nation and the 2010 elections made that perfectly clear.

    Obama was saying the right stuff last week — we’ve spent trillions on extra wars and medicare goodies without raising taxes to pay for it.

    The Republicans are playing dog in the manger about tax increases, but someday the electorate is going to have to grow up and accept that Clinton tax levels and higher are necessary if we want to preserve the government services we get now.

    Or we can continue not growing government from here. That also works.

    The Republicans have to run away from the truth that their wars have crippled this nation financially. Without them, we could have afforded the Bush tax cuts and Medicare expansion.

    Unfortunately, the American people are way too stupid to see what they let happen.

    Their funeral, as always.

  9. Luis
    August 1st, 2011 at 15:33 | #9

    It should also be noted that one of Obama’s big promises in the 2008 election was to work in a bipartisan manner, bring everyone to the table, and work out a deal. He made a point of this.

    The thing is, I think everyone figured he was BS’ing on this point, because all politicians say this but few mean it. But Obama seems truly in love with this idea, over and above getting his way, and the GOP is taking full advantage of it.

    Obama could easily have played hardball from the beginning, running the same kind of tough stick-it-to-them campaign and fighting for what his supporters wanted. I think it’s clear that he has the intelligence and moxie to do that if he wants–I just think he doesn’t want to, and he’s OK with giving in while getting the best terms he can wheedle into it. I have a feeling that certain things are being dealt in which we don’t know about, and we’ll find out a lot more later. It’ll still be far more a cave to the GOP, though, essentially giving them what they want because they unnecessarily held the world economy hostage and proved they were batshit crazy enough to pull the trigger.

    However, this may be a camel’s-back moment, and Obama may find himself losing vital support. Right-wingers can get everything they ever wanted and more and yet still call Obama the antichrist; but if he pisses off his base, he’ll find himself losing from both sides, and have nothing to pull the moderates his way.

  10. stevetv
    August 1st, 2011 at 16:20 | #10

    Aah, now the American people are too stupid. From what I can recall, the huge majority of the people, including a substantial number of Republicans, are all for raising the taxes of the wealthy. Granted, they may also believe that the middle class is taxed to death and that government is involved in wasteful spending that does not affect the average voter one jot. But they know very well that the rich get away with god-knows-what. So, the GOP has to engage in spin and scare tactics to convince, entice and distract. That’s how they get their support, by making people believe in things that are not true, and you can call that a symptom of stupidity of the American people. Let’s just not forget the superhero from a few years ago, Captain HopeNChange, promising to bring rejuvination to America with a steroid-enhanced mandate able to knock down any and every obstructionist in congress. Yeah, right. We got mild-mannered, meek and moderate Clark Kent instead. The American people fell for that one, too. So no, the people are not necessarily stupid, but through the sheer weight of propaganda they can be bamboozled… on the left or on the right.

    “This is a conservative, bird-brained nation and the 2010 elections made that perfectly clear.”

    Yeah, what about that election? I distinctly remember people saying it was a disappointment for the tea-pers. They only put in sixty-something members in the House and four in the senate. The people saw through their charade. Unfortunately, what they lacked in numbers they more than made up for in strength, putting the fear of god into the moderate GOPers by threatening to incinerate the world unless they got their way, and to play up the anti-incumbent sentiment and have the moderates ousted by next year’s primary elections if their demands weren’t met. It’s the lily-livered politicians cowardly bowing to the tea-partier’s tratorious demands who let this happen. Not the people. The people are a little more savvy than you give them credit for.

  11. stevetv
    August 1st, 2011 at 16:37 | #11

    “and that government is involved in wasteful spending that does not affect the average voter one jot.”

    That should read “does not BENEFIT the average voter”.

    And one more thing:
    “I just think Obama’s being played the cards he’s being dealt.”

    And getting Rick Warren to give the invocation on Inaugural day, was that playing the cards he was dealt, on day 1 of his presidency?

    And why would Obama allow himself to be sidetracked by the Tea Party goofiness and deal with the high unemployment, rather than be steered into the deficit conversation? Obama seems to have entirely given up on jobs and is letting the nutters direct the issues their way. You can call it playing the cards he’s dealt with, but a better phrase is ‘lack of leadership’.

  12. Troy
    August 1st, 2011 at 17:29 | #12

    So, the GOP has to engage in spin and scare tactics to convince, entice and distract.

    and it works because the media, all in the top bracket, is in the tank for them.

    The Dem Congresses of 1991-1993 voted tax rises and the electorate booted their asses in 1994 as thanks.

    Let’s just not forget the superhero from a few years ago, Captain HopeNChange,

    People who belittle Obama really don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

    with a steroid-enhanced mandate

    FDR had a mandate in 1937 — Republicans in the Senate went from 22 to 16. LBJ had a mandate in 1965 — 300 seats in the House and 68 in the Senate.

    Obama never had those kinds of majorities to get anything through either the House or the Senate. Especially the Senate. Now, *if* Obama had had the institutional mien of LBJ, without the majorities LBJ historically enjoyed, he may have been able to get more stuff through.

    But they did what the could, 2009-2010, and it wasn’t bad. Not enough, but nothing is going to be enough since this nation completely screwed itself 2002-2006.

    and to play up the anti-incumbent sentiment and have the moderates ousted by next year’s primary elections if their demands weren’t met

    Not the people. The people are a little more savvy than you give them credit for.

    The above two statements are in conflict. The TP power is the power to remove politicians from office, and they get this power from the ballot box and the fact that 80% of the Republican base are functional retards.

    deal with the high unemployment

    How? There are no fixes without a serious national conversation. This nation is far from being able to talk like grownups any more, if we ever were.

  13. Troy
    August 1st, 2011 at 17:36 | #13

    “Right-wingers can get everything they ever wanted and more”

    nah, this deal is actually a nothing-burger for the right. Boehner may not get the votes for it tomorrow. It just continues to punt the debt question since these $2T in “cuts” are coming on a $46T spending baseline.

    The game of raising the debt limit $100B now and cutting $10B/yr in the future is just optics for the rubes.

  14. Tim Kane
    August 2nd, 2011 at 00:37 | #14

    Luis:

    In regard to Obama’s bi-partisan ship. I recall him saying, all ideas will have a seat at the table. But when time came for talking health care, the single-payer advocates, and there were many prominent ones, made up of mostly doctors and nurses, were NOT allowed a seat at the table.

    No, in retrospect, Obama’s bipartisan ship was just a gambit for selling out, which I think he planned to do right from the very, very, very beginning. He planned it all along.

    His campaign was as vague as possible. “Hope”, “Change” and “yes we can”. Nothing really, when you think about it.

    The man is a walking talking catastrophe for progressivism. It’s now hard for me to think that rightist, republicans, conservatives, teabaggers all hate him more than I do now.

    There were no seats at the table for progressivist causes. He did no advocation for progressivism. None. He knows how to fight, when its for his own job. He didn’t fight for anything progressives care for.

    As for President Bachmann? Why not? Speaking as a frog, a fast boil is better than a slow boil. If the nation goes down the tubes, the faster it goes down the more apt and quicker it is to bounce back. A slow boil gives us a Banana Republica for an infinity.

  15. Troy
    August 2nd, 2011 at 01:35 | #15

    Tim, that’s pretty naive.

    Government-run insurance plans competing with private insurance plans were a non-starter in the Senate. Baucus has been in DC before Obama started smoking and he’ll probably be in DC long after Obama is gone. The state exchanges with subsidies to control costs is a close analog and while more costly, insurance overhead isn’t the cost driver in the room now, it’s the actual cost of care that is the problem.

    Single payer is nice but it’s just a fetish. The important thing is PPACA’s limits on household outgo for medical expenses via subsidies– black or white, the important thing is that the cat catches the mouse. Single payer can be later added to the exchanges should the votes be there.

    What was the real catastrophe of Progressivism was the House falling to the Republicans. The Senate will likely fall next year. Obama may or may not be returned.

    The problem with the US isn’t the politicians, it’s the people. We’re a nation of rubes, and the Republicans win votes by telling us what we want to hear.

    That said, Obama is going to have to actually fight for progressivism to win my vote.

    But my vote in California is meaningless. Obama *has* to win VA or *all* of CO, IA, NH, MNN, PA, NV, WI. The election will be decided long before California closes.

  16. Luis
    August 2nd, 2011 at 09:05 | #16

    Inevitably, as details come out, Obama’s deal does not look quite as bad after the fact–as has been the case for many of these deals. One reader to TPM points out:
    Let me get this straight. The President kept revenues on the table, did not touch the sunset provisions in the Bush tax cuts, ensured that military cuts keep the GOP honest, protected Medicare by adding in only provider cuts in the trigger, made the reduction apparently enough to stave off a debt downgrade, got the debt ceiling raised, wounded Boehner by demonstrating to the world that he is controlled by the Tea Party caucus, took out the requirement that a BBA be passed and sent to the states and got the extension through 2012? What exactly is wrong with this deal?
    The Bush Tax Cuts are still set to expire, and if the GOP tries the same crap again, they might find themselves with much less support than last time–and Obama might have something to make people come back to him somewhat. Better yet, if Obama and the Dems can push maintaining the tax cuts for people under $250,000 a year, and Republicans–like last time–demand rich people be added or else, and Obama somehow manages not to cave on that, it could be a winner.

    Just trying to see something positive out of the last few weeks. The problem is, the GOP has now seen its hostage-taking tactics work twice–and they never give up a good cudgel once they have found it. Expect more of this in the future.

  17. Tim Kane
    August 2nd, 2011 at 09:26 | #17

    Howabout this for positive. Though fancyful I believe as well.

    If Obama can cut $1 trillion dollar platinum coins to avoid the debt ceiling, why can’t he do it to stimulate the economy as well?

    The Koreans avoided the Great Recession by producing the equivalent of 25% stimulus over a four year period (they didn’t ‘produce’ all of that stimulus, some of it came in the form of currency devaluations, which at one point was more that 30%) at the beginning of 2009 (the currency began its devaluation a full year earlier, btw, an echo of the 1997 currency collapse, as ten year cash infussions were paid back).

  18. Troy
    August 2nd, 2011 at 09:39 | #18

    I was going to say that the Treasury issuing currency directly would be Weimar and Mugabe economics and that we need wage inflation in this country, not price inflation.

    The Fed’s QE1 & QE2 were indirect stimulus measures, and were somewhat inflationary.

    But $500B/yr for 4 years would be an interesting investment. It could fund 5 million jobs (@ $100,000/yr each!) for these 4 years, brining the country back to full employment.

    Just goes to show what a waste the DOD budget is.

    The return of the Clinton tax rates would bring in $500B/yr too, so those would also pay for this job program, no big seignorage required.

  19. Tim Kane
    August 2nd, 2011 at 09:41 | #19

    Oops, I hit the button before finishing.

    A 25% stimulus, over a four year period, for the U.S. economy is about $4 trillion. That’s one platinum coin per year. The good professor explains how that money makes its way into the treasury, but he doesn’t explain how it makes its way out into the economy.

    Some how, if there is money in the till, it can find its way out. Congress is usually happy to spend, and every single one of the jackals and jackasses wants to get elected next year, and ever sing Republican will have a target on his back thanks to the extortion they performed.

    In the case of Bozo Obama, if he wanted to get re-elected in 2012, that spending would almost need to happen immediately. But it appears to me, that he and Geithner and Bernanke could do it tomorrow, without having to tell a soul about it. Again, the problem is getting it to leak out into the commercial economy where it could then have some effect.

    I’m a progressive. If I could be any progressive, I would want to be just like FDR, a fighting progressive. If it were me, I would just go ahead and do it.

    People need jobs.

    Here’s some more news. I’m in Kansas City – there’s an unbreakable high pressure system hanging over head, the tempatures are in the triple digits and it hasn’t rained, appreciatively in weeks. The bread basket is burning up before our very eyes, and it’s not likley to let up before mid August. By then the corn crop will be gone. There is literally a ring of fire over the Mid-West. You can see it on all the weather maps. The rain if falling to west of the ring in Colorado, North of the ring in Northern South Dakota and Minnesota, an in points west. But in the bread basket, nothing.

    That means food prices will be going up again soon. I believe some one somewhere said that the French revolution came during a time of bad harvest and the cost of food went through the roof.

    If I’m Obama, I’m minting me a bright, shiny new one trillion dollar platinum coin. I think I’d put a character of Bob Hope’s face on it. I like the swoping nose thing.

  20. Tim Kane
    August 2nd, 2011 at 10:20 | #20

    Well, the Nazi’s payed for the early stages of their re-armament with “mofi” bills, which were nothing more than elaborate IOUs that were excepted as currency because the major manufacturing firms in Germany at the time backed… meaning they said they were willing to take them and as a result, every one was willing to take them. In a seriously demand deficient recession, inflation is almost impossible. And even then, it’s not insufferable.

    Japan used deficit spending to arm themselves throughout the 1930s. They battled inflation from 1934 on, according to Chalmers Johnson’s book, but that didn’t stop them. By 1935 the Army was running the government and they wanted the weapons.

    Sure the inflation was a problem. They implemented cost controls according to Johnson, to only very limited success.

    In 1929, a list of the ten largest Japanese firms would have all been light industry, mostly textile firms, and textile equipment manufacturing firms. In 1939, a list of the ten largest Japanese firms was dominated by heavy industry. Nearly all of that heavy industry, at least initially, was for producing weapons: guns, shells, ships, and planes and importantly engines for the ships, planes, and transports. That means all that heavy industry was the result of deficit spending. By 1938-9 Japan’s per capita industrial production was just below the U.S. per capita industrial production – but the U.S. was still depressed.

    I really believe, that the decisions made in 1940 and 1941, were aided by the Japanese believing that they had near per capita industrial parity with the U.S. – and the U.S. more concerned with the Atlantic, couldn’t bring more than half their capacity to the Pacific – and an early attack, causing massive damage would put the Japanese in a position where they’d be able to hold their own against the U.S.

    Look at me, I went off topic. Except to say, that depressions create after shocks in geopolitics that are greater than the depressions themselves.

  21. stevetv
    August 2nd, 2011 at 10:54 | #21

    “Obama could easily have played hardball from the beginning, running the same kind of tough stick-it-to-them campaign and fighting for what his supporters wanted. I think it’s clear that he has the intelligence and moxie to do that if he wants–I just think he doesn’t want to,”

    Which leads to the question: why doesn’t he want to? It’s not just that he’s given away too much of the farm; he also never starts out with a strong negotiating position. Once he declared that the Fourteenth Amendment was not an option, he lost all his leverage and there was no way the talks weren’t going to end in the Republican’s favor.

    “However, this may be a camel’s-back moment, and Obama may find himself losing vital support. Right-wingers can get everything they ever wanted and more and yet still call Obama the antichrist; but if he pisses off his base, he’ll find himself losing from both sides, and have nothing to pull the moderates his way.”

    That’s the disadvantage of having a “bigger tent”. There are plenty of center-right Democrats but not many centrist Republicans. Ideologies are more widely disbursed among the Democratic party than among the Republicans. As a result, one caucus is going to be more difficult to compromise with, and the other caucus isn’t going to be as united if they feel disenchantment with what their leaders are doing.

    —————————

    “The Dem Congresses of 1991-1993 voted tax rises and the electorate booted their asses in 1994 as thanks.”

    And in 1937 (which you refer to later), congress enacted spending cuts which drove the economy back into the recession. I’m not so sure the GOP scare tactics will work this time. Then again, if unemployment doesn’t drop, where will that leave Obama?

    “People who belittle Obama really don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.”

    Now, why would that be? Is it because you think no one could possibly know what they’re talking about if they must resort to a condescending tone, or is it because no one can speak ill of the president and be knowledgeable about anything? I know it’s not the former, because I see you engaging in personal insults with other posters on this site, and disparage other political figures. You even call the American people stupid. So, I know it’s not that.

    But if it is the reason, I’ll rephrase less disparagingly. Obama intended from the beginning to pass himself off as a dignified concilator, all the while using campaign rhetoric passing himself off as someone more forward thinking and visionary. There’s nothing wrong with conciliation… for a referee. But for a leader, you need to be more than a tri-colored campaign poster. You’ve got to stimulate passion in your base, the same passion that was mustered up for the election. You’ve got to put muscle behind your vision. What he adamantly refuses to do is stand up to his opponents, either because he’s cowardly or because he’s truly naive about human nature at its most base. That’s why the definition of an Obama compromise is to give in. Whatever successes Obama has had have been won after much wrangling that ultimately caused more harm than good. He’s coming across to others as weak, scared and very mindful about not upsetting others. The Tea Partiers see this, and that’s why they think they can get away with stuff. And they’re right.

    “The above two statements are in conflict. The TP power is the power to remove politicians from office, and they get this power from the ballot box”

    Huh? Of course it’s not in conflict. As many post-mortems in Nov. ’10 pointed out, the Tea Partiers had fewer candidates elected to office than they were hoping for and others were expecting. That’s a fact. (What happened to O’Donnell? What happened to Karen Angle? What happened to Ken Buck? You could call their congressional office and ask, except… oh right! They don’t have one.) But the carrying on and hostage-taking tactics they’re engaging in is OUT OF PROPORTION to the numbers of them in office. That’s NOT the voters’ fault, because the voters turned their backs on many of them. That’s the fault of their colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and it’s the fault of the president.

    “deal with the high unemployment

    How? There are no fixes without a serious national conversation.”

    Then, as president and leader of the country, you TAKE CONTROL of the conversation. This is another thing Obama is incapable of. He had a health care bill, and “death panels” dominated the conversation. People accused Obama of not being American and hiding his birth certificate, and Obama (and the rest of the Dems) foolishly let it go on until it built up to a point where it couldn’t be ignored anymore. Which goes back to my theme of being a weak leader. Nothing is a fait accompli unless you allow it to be.

  22. Troy
    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:19 | #22

    >What he adamantly refuses to do is stand up to his opponents, either because he’s cowardly or because he’s truly naive about human nature at its most base.

    This is the BS about belittling Obama. He’s not some kid who fell off the turnip truck.

    Everything Obama does has to play in Peoria, literally. The muddled middle that is going to decide 2012 in VA, IL, PA, etc are sick of politics and don’t want to see fights.

    What the 20% soft center wants Obama to do is going to determine policy in this country.

    >Huh? Of course it’s not in conflict. As many post-mortems in Nov. ’10 pointed out, the Tea Partiers had fewer candidates elected to office than they were hoping for and others were expecting.

    Sure it is. You said the TP has the power to primary people:

    1. and have the moderates ousted by next year’s primary elections if their demands weren’t met

    and this nation isn’t full of bird-brained voters:

    2. The people are a little more savvy than you give them credit for.

    Clearly the idiots are putting the power into the TP at the ballot box. Not to win necessarily, but to punish incumbents. Same difference if you’re an incumbent in their sights!

    >That’s a fact. (What happened to O’Donnell?

    O’Donnell wasn’t the impact of the TP, Mike Castle was. 35% of this country are TP or TP wannabees and they can primary out anybody they want, as demonstrated in 2010.

    35% are low-info independents and/or can’t bother to vote. 30% diehard progressives ain’t going to cut it.

  23. Troy
    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:28 | #23

    >Then, as president and leader of the country, you TAKE CONTROL of the conversation

    This assumes a party-run press organization that people watch.

    We don’t have that in this country.

    At best the press is center-right conservative. They already have health care plans and 401ks, reasonable protections against their jobs getting off-shored, benefits from strong-dollar policy (they manufacture BS for internal consumption not exports), etc.

    They may be socially liberal but they are very fiscally conservative.

    And that’s just the notionally objective press. Alongside that you find FOX and all the republican operatives embedded in the other orgs, and the talk radio dial, and the astroturfing and thinktank propaganda mills.

  24. August 2nd, 2011 at 20:48 | #24

    The seam ripper is poised to unravel Medicare, then the rest of the social safety net and anything not privatized. The Bush tax cuts will be extended. The “Super Congress” is an excuse for legislators to not be on the record to vote for these things. A Republican will be the next president. I haz pessimism.

  25. Troy
    August 3rd, 2011 at 03:17 | #25

    While Theresa’s pessimism is well-placed, Medicare is something that needs to be reformed. This nation pays $8000 per capita on government health payments for only part of the population.

    This is TWICE the average of other UNIVERSAL systems. Medicare is one helluva gravy train for medical providers (even though doctors who take Medicare are going away due to the problems in the system).

    The Republicans were trying to pick a fight with Obama but he bargained them up to a point where it became obvious that they weren’t going to say yes to anything.

    The Republicans didn’t have a case to take the the American people, which is why they finally signed off on this abandonment of their tea party kabuki show.

    The current agreement should not be that big a deal. The committee thing might come out with a “Gang of 12″ massive reworking, or it may fizzle. Either way, the cuts they’re going to do are just reductions in future increases. Republicans can continue to demagogue the ceiling raises Obama has to ask for, but as the economy continues to crater that’s going to be a dog that doesn’t hunt any more.

    Since all the tax cuts are expiring in 2012, Congress just has to do nothing to start fixing things. The Dems left this “crisis” stronger than they entered it. Republicans are going to continue to eat themselves over the deficit.

  26. Troy
    August 3rd, 2011 at 03:23 | #26

    ^ correction, per capita gov’t spending is ~$3000, which is more than Japan and theUK but not twice other universal coverage systems.

  27. Troy
    August 3rd, 2011 at 04:40 | #27

    wow:

    http://images1.dailykos.com/i/user/6685/EmployRecessJune2011.jpg

    Back when Luis was rah-rah about the recovery I was trying to tell him it wasn’t going to move the needle much.

    Few people in this country actually understand (or at least state) the fact that the 2003-2007 recovery was floated on a sea of consumer debt, mostly new home mortgage
    debt.

    Some of the debt itself was & is sustainable as long as the interest rate regime is half what it was in 2001, but the new flow of debt take-on stopped once interest rates hit the floors, suicide lending (to unfit borrowers who could not make principal payments) went away.

    Living in Japan, Luis should understand what a “balance sheet” recession looks like. Japan’s 2005 recovery largely came from increased trade from the US consumer, who was at peak debt take-on, ~$100B/month of stealth stimulus.

  28. Anonymous
    August 3rd, 2011 at 05:04 | #28

    I recall an oecd study that pretty much said our Government spends more per capita on health care than any other nation, save Norway, but then on top of that, non-government spending on health care, which is private insurers, doubles what the U.S. spends on health care.

    So, in theory, we could adopt France’s vaulted system, and federal spending on health care would go down – which, in theory, means tax cuts – and as a boiling frog, I’m willing to give all those tax cuts to the rich. Everyone else could monetize their health care benefit, and have it roll into their pay check. The increase in purchasing power would end demand drama we’re suffering through, and drive us out of the recession in a fortnight.

    A better system yet would be Taiwan’s which cost about $30 per capita, per person. Taiwan uses a modified version of Japan’s system. There is one private insurer, instead of many. I lived in Korea, for 4 years, they had, I believe, a similar system to Japan’s. I paid $42 a month and my employer paid $42 a month. I suppose if Korea had Taiwan’s system, I would have paid $15 a month. When I rolled out of my last real job in St. Louis, the cobra payment was roughly $450 a month.

    Our health care system is a form of tyranny by the rich and powerful, against everyone else.

    The best we can hope for is incrementalism. “Obama/Romney Care” rolls into place in a few years, the batsh!t crazy repugs get turned out of congress and reforms start rolling in.

    A big reform would be – taking decision making power from the insurance companies. Let doctors decide if I need care. If they say I do, then the insurance company pays. Case closed. In that scenario, the insurance company is little more than a bank. This basically takes us to a form of Japan/Taiwan care. Eventually a panel or board has to be set up that will then decide how much a doctor gets paid for a procedure.

    So, you pay $x a month to an insurance company. They get rich collecting the money and investing it, just like a bank is suppose to do, but then the money get’s withdrawn by doctor’s claims against the insurance company. That’s why the board has to be set up: doctor’s can’t claim $5000 for a 5 minute visit over a sore throat exam. The insurance company wants to pay $5 dollars (they think $1 a minute is more than generous). The board sets the price, maybe something like $50 or $100.

    The next waive of reform consolidates claim servicing. Since all claims are the same – all doctors send their claims to the same servicing processory, who in turn, makes the withdrawal from the appropriate ‘bankified’ insurance company, and pays the doctor.

    At that point, the next waive of reform would be ‘merging’ all the insurance companies into one large private insurance company or mega bank – the Ma Bell approach. This is the main difference between Japan and Taiwan.

    The next waive after that is making the insurance companies not for profit – or, as a step before that, limit profits to natural rate of return (historically that’s 4%, plus 1% incentive chip).

    At that point, the monthly cost for health care should be at least as low as Taiwan’s $28 per capita. But it might be lower still, if economies of scale play any part. At that point, imagine if the per capita price were driven down to $20. I pay $10, and my employer pays $10?

    Maybe, at that point, America is competitive in manufacturing again.

    As the saying goes, a girl can dream.

  29. Troy
    August 3rd, 2011 at 05:35 | #29

    The key thing is forcing all service providers into this cost-controlled system.

    Right now the US allows doctors to opt-out of the both the medicare and medicaid systems. This creates a 3- or 4-tier system that protects the profit margins of the top 2 tiers.

    It is my understanding that Canada has a 2-tier system, doctors can refuse national insurance but if they refuse for one patient they have to refuse all.

    (I could be wrong on that, I don’t know anything about Canada)

    Canadian doctors who don’t like their national system are free to move down here, and many do. Japanese doctors don’t have that freedom to escape, due to language and social barrier.

    There was an article in the paper than medical care is going to skyrocket to $15,000 per capita later this decade.

    Utterly ridiculous.

  30. Troy
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