“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, March 12, 2010

67 Year Old Opens Can of ....


  1. Crunch Time Folks:
    This weekend is it.
    Now or never.

    To send a letter to your elected Representative AND to The Blue Dog Democrat Coalition, whose 58 members hold the fate of Obamacare in their hands, just fill in the (Short Simple) Registration form and click "Take Action."

    ...if it passes and you don't spend the 5 minutes it takes to broadcast your tiny protest to 58 blue dogs, how bad would you feel?

    Except for the socialist, of course.

  2. I got an "unknown error"
    - twice!

    Will keep trying.

    Anybody else send anything original?

    Mine had a link, wonder if that was the problem?

  3. A thing of beauty.

    The Bar should have a thread where we can all post our best Pelosi, Obama, etc pics.

  4. What are Democratic leaders saying?

    “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more.

    That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says.

    “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

    If Obamacare passes, Stupak says, it could signal the end of any meaningful role for pro-life Democrats within their own party. “It would be very, very hard for someone who is a right-to-life Democrat to run for office,” he says. “I won’t leave the party. I’m more comfortable here and still believe in a role within it for the right-to-life cause, but this bill will make being a pro-life Democrat much more difficult. They don’t even want to debate this issue. We’ll probably have to wait until the Republicans take back the majority to fix this.”

    “Throughout this debate, even when the House leaders have acknowledged us, it’s always been in a backhanded way,” he laments. “I’m telling the others to hold firm, and we’ll meet next week, but I’m disappointed in my colleagues who said they’d be with us and now they’re not. It’s almost like some right-to-life members don’t want to be bothered. They just want this over.”

    And the politics of the issue are pretty rough. “This has really reached an unhealthy stage,” Stupak says. “People are threatening ethics complaints on me. On the left, they’re really stepping it up. Every day, from Rachel Maddow to the Daily Kos, it keeps coming. Does it bother me? Sure. Does it change my position? No.”

  5. With Democrats deciding to incorporate changes in student aid into the bill, Republicans suddenly had a new reason to oppose legislation they have long sought to scuttle.

    "Well of course it's a very bad idea," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "We now have the government running banks, insurance companies, car companies, and they do want to take over the student loan business."

    He said it was symptomatic of Democrats' determination to have the government expand its tentacles into absolutely everything."

    No big deal, right Rufus?

    Road to Serfdom Indeed!

  6. Moral of the story...never underestimate the power of a 67 year old white man on a bus.

    You may get a little whoopass.

  7. "...and they do want to take over the student loan business."

    Got to disagree with you on this one, Doug.

    Most of the loans now go through Sallie Mae. Sallie was intially chartered for these loans. Its now SLM Inc, a private company. The government subsidizes the loans. It guarantees the company a profit. While the government sets the maximum rate the private companies can charge, it also guaranties that if it cost the company more to borrow money than they can recover from the loan they will be reimbursed. Likewise, if the student defaults, the government guarantees the loan.

    There are also other banks involved (CITI is number two) but Sallie has the biggest share. Since there is a limit to the amount of guaranteed loans available, Sallie has now taken to offering private loans to students.

    They make maybe 5 times more on these loans than on the guaranteed loans. And while those loans are not guaranteed they do get a special deal. Even bankruptcy court can't rescind the obligation to repay the loans.

    The cost of the government subsidies is about $9 billion a year. The CBO's 10 year budget estimate is $87 billion. The way I see it that's an $87 billion gift to Sallie and the banks. No risk.

    And it's not as if the government would have to establish a new department to take care of this.
    Thirty percent of all student loans are already being handed out directly through a separate program managed at the Dept. of Educ.


  8. The student loan program is an Extremely Important Program for the future of this country. I would certainly hate to see anything happen that would hurt it.

  9. The crazy thing here is bundling student subsidy increases with "The Reconciliation" so it doesn't require the 60 votes that they don't have.
    Beware kitchen sinks for all,
    ...via "reconciliation"

  10. Not such a surprise.

    I've heard, that because of what it was first intended for, you can only have one reconciliation bill a year (I assume that is fiscal year).

    Given the current state of Congress, the surprise is they didn't also try to lump in cap and trade too.

    In for a pence, in for a pound.


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