“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."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Former Director of CBO says Healthcare Bill Filled with Gimmicks and Fantasy

The Real Arithmetic of Health Care Reform

By DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, former director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005, is the president of the American Action Forum, a policy institute.

NY Times
Published: March 20, 2010
Arlington, Va.

ON Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that, if enacted, the latest health care reform legislation would, over the next 10 years, cost about $950 billion, but because it would raise some revenues and lower some costs, it would also lower federal deficits by $138 billion. In other words, a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs — health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits — would actually improve the nation’s bottom line.

Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?

The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.

In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.

Gimmick No. 1 is the way the bill front-loads revenues and backloads spending. That is, the taxes and fees it calls for are set to begin immediately, but its new subsidies would be deferred so that the first 10 years of revenue would be used to pay for only 6 years of spending.

Even worse, some costs are left out entirely. To operate the new programs over the first 10 years, future Congresses would need to vote for $114 billion in additional annual spending. But this so-called discretionary spending is excluded from the Congressional Budget Office’s tabulation.

Consider, too, the fate of the $70 billion in premiums expected to be raised in the first 10 years for the legislation’s new long-term health care insurance program. This money is counted as deficit reduction, but the benefits it is intended to finance are assumed not to materialize in the first 10 years, so they appear nowhere in the cost of the legislation.

Another vivid example of how the legislation manipulates revenues is the provision to have corporations deposit $8 billion in higher estimated tax payments in 2014, thereby meeting fiscal targets for the first five years. But since the corporations’ actual taxes would be unchanged, the money would need to be refunded the next year. The net effect is simply to shift dollars from 2015 to 2014.

In addition to this accounting sleight of hand, the legislation would blithely rob Peter to pay Paul. For example, it would use $53 billion in anticipated higher Social Security taxes to offset health care spending. Social Security revenues are expected to rise as employers shift from paying for health insurance to paying higher wages. But if workers have higher wages, they will also qualify for increased Social Security benefits when they retire. So the extra money raised from payroll taxes is already spoken for. (Indeed, it is unlikely to be enough to keep Social Security solvent.) It cannot be used for lowering the deficit.

A government takeover of all federally financed student loans — which obviously has nothing to do with health care — is rolled into the bill because it is expected to generate $19 billion in deficit reduction.

Finally, in perhaps the most amazing bit of unrealistic accounting, the legislation proposes to trim $463 billion from Medicare spending and use it to finance insurance subsidies. But Medicare is already bleeding red ink, and the health care bill has no reforms that would enable the program to operate more cheaply in the future. Instead, Congress is likely to continue to regularly override scheduled cuts in payments to Medicare doctors and other providers.

Removing the unrealistic annual Medicare savings ($463 billion) and the stolen annual revenues from Social Security and long-term care insurance ($123 billion), and adding in the annual spending that so far is not accounted for ($114 billion) quickly generates additional deficits of $562 billion in the first 10 years. And the nation would be on the hook for two more entitlement programs rapidly expanding as far as the eye can see.

The bottom line is that Congress would spend a lot more; steal funds from education, Social Security and long-term care to cover the gap; and promise that future Congresses will make up for it by taxing more and spending less.

The stakes could not be higher. As documented in another recent budget office analysis, the federal deficit is already expected to exceed at least $700 billion every year over the next decade, doubling the national debt to more than $20 trillion. By 2020, the federal deficit — the amount the government must borrow to meet its expenses — is projected to be $1.2 trillion, $900 billion of which represents interest on previous debt.

The health care legislation would only increase this crushing debt. It is a clear indication that Congress does not realize the urgency of putting America’s fiscal house in order.


  1. The debt, it is not

    As a percentage of assets, the debt, even the unfunded liabilities, is as nothing to US.

    If there is the will and resolve to sell off the Inter State Highway system to the highest bidder.

    If there is the will and resolve to dismantle the Military Industrial Complex in the US, the complex that President Ike said would shred the Constitution and that has succeeded in just that.

  2. It is a clear indication that Congress does not realize the urgency of putting America’s fiscal house in order.

    What does Congress realize?

  3. That they stand for re-election in November of 2010, whit.

    They understand that and will follow the electorate, where ever the voters lead.

    Steady as we go, as we are just in the beginning of the "Rove Realignment", the thirty years of Republican dominance that was promised, in 2005.

    Ain't projections "Grand"!

  4. Too bad he was addicted to that So American Nookie:

    Don't bail out my state!

    Washington is short on cash these days and will borrow every dime of the $150 billion to $300 billion for the "stimulus" bill now being worked on. Federal appetites may know no bounds.

    But the federal government's ability to borrow is not limitless. Already, our nation's unfunded liabilities total $52 trillion -- about $450,000 per household.

    There's something very strange about issuing debt to solve a problem caused by too much debt.

    Yep, with a simple (assinine) assertion, Rat ant Rufie can declare disaster to be nirvanna.

  5. 15,000 more IRS agents is just what the country needs.
    Better to complain about something else.
    2 agents of the left at the bar.

  6. Every year S.C. get a check from the gubmint, ie Mass, Cal, NY, etc.

    For an idiot Governor of SC to stand up and say, "Don't bail out my state" is Silliness Incarnate.

    He's afucking moron just like all Republican politicians.

  7. And, one last time:

    There is NO Such Thing as as "Unfunded Mandate."

  8. A simple majority in the U.S. Congress, and a President's signature is all it takes to raise taxes.

    Indeed, the bill they're passing today has a 2.9% Tax Increase for Medicare. AND, it cuts Medicare reimbursements. What just happened to the "unfunded mandate?"

    I'll tell you. It wasn't much of a "Mandate," and it just got "Funded."

  9. Look, Morons, the Politicians, and the talking heads, and the scribblers will have you running around like chickens with your heads cut off.

    All they're trying to do is "Make a Buck"/"Get a Vote."

    For the Remaining few years of your live, Think for Yourselves.

    Look at the Numbers, and at the way the world "really" works.

    And, please, understand that ALL Politicians are Trash.

  10. Your the fucking moron!

    It just don't add up,
    unless like you,
    you're SEIU

    A Way Out of Soviet-Style Health Care

  11. There is not ONE of those worthless bastards that you would "Really" want to have a beer with, And there is for Absolute Certainty not one that would "Have a beer" with YOU!

  12. ...and money grows on trees.

    The Real Deficit Effect of the Health Bill

     Deficit increase of $582 billion over first ten years.
     Deficit increase of $1.6 trillion over second ten years.

     What do Democrats say about the Senate-passed health bill that the House is about to vote on? They say that, according to CBO, their bill reduces the deficit by $118 billion in the first ten years.

     For example, CBO indicates that $53 billion of the $118 billion “lower” deficit over the next 10 years comes from Social Security payroll tax revenues that result from the increase in wages that employers will offer employees instead of health insurance.

     But when Social Security revenues increase, it is only because future Social Security benefits are also going to increase.

    Social Security is already promising to pay benefits that the program cannot afford – there is a large unfunded liability. So the increased Social Security revenues resulting from this bill are already spoken for – they will be collected to pay for increased future benefits. They cannot be available for both paying for the related future increases in Social Security benefits and for offsetting the increases in health spending in this bill.

     Therefore, we should not count $53 billion of the “lower” deficit that comes from increased Social Security payroll tax revenues.

     A similar situation applies in the case of the new voluntary federal program of long-term care insurance – the CLASS Act. Because it would work like an insurance program – premiums would...

  13. A case in point: Our local moron, Doug, posts a link, and this is in the first par.

    Mr. Solzhenitsyn himself had no personal experience on which to base his account and yet, in what I have long regarded as a striking example of "creative imagination",

    So, Doug's argument springs from the fevered imagination of a Russin Novelist. Wunnerful.

    That'll get it.

  14. Only a moron would think/say that insuring 32 Million is a "deficit/reducing" act.

    If you will notice, the second ten year period, when all the expenditures, and receipts are included, comes out to $160 Billion/Yr.

    Just what your Old Pal Rufus has been saying for over a Year.

  15. A second major change was the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. These added another large slice of the population to those for whom medical care, though not completely "free," thanks to deductibles and co-payments, was mostly paid by a third party, providing little incentive to economize on medical care.

    The resulting dramatic rise in expenditures on medical care led to the imposition of controls on both patients and suppliers of medical care in a futile attempt to hold down costs, further undermining the kind of private practice that Dr. Oreschenkov "cherished most in his work."

    But in RufieWorld, the invisible hand is inferior to central control.

  16. Milton Friedman or Rufie:
    You decide!

  17. In Rufy's "Real" World Republican politics, and Economic Policies give us things like "The Great Depression," and Americans dying for lack of healthcare.

  18. Uncle Miltie had a nice smile, and a wonderful personality. He was right about some things, and he was wrong about some things.

    In the end he was just another ivory tower academic.

    In the real world Americans are dying for lack of healthcare, and we're pissing off trillions on foreign adventures to prop up BP, Exxon, and Shell Oil.

    That's the "Real" World.

  19. "whit said...

    Sorry, Quirk, I thought you had left and didn't know you had momentarily gone to the "facility."

    I nominate you to be the resident astrologer. Read tea leaves too, if you want.

    Fri Feb 19, 08:50:00 PM EST"

    Today is March 21, 2010. It is also the vernal equinox and the start of the zodiacal year.

    HOROSCOPE – ARIES (March 21 – April 19)

    Origin – First sign of the zodiac; named after Pallas Athena the goddess of war who sprang from the head of Zeus as a fully formed adult. Therefore, Aries are closely associated with the head and war.

    Controlling Planet – Mars
    Lucky Day – Tuesday
    Color – Red
    Symbol – Ram
    Compatible Signs – Leo, Sagittarius
    Incompatible Signs – Scorpio

    Famous Aries – Adolph Hitler, Jackie Chan, Thomas Jefferson, Bette Davis, Harry Houdini, Al Gore, Jessica Lange, Colin Powell, Elton John, Gloria Steinem, Marlon Brando, Van Gogh, Alfred E. Nueman

    Attributes – Bold, brave, aggressive, ferocious, impatient, a leader, naturally athletic, ambitious, love a challenge, extremely competitive, arrogant, erratic, conceited, intolerant, basically a prick. Many have speculated that God is an Aries. To date, he has neither affirmed nor denied this.

    Aries are well suited to be soldiers, surgeons, athletes, or the self employed. Due to their impulsive natures and impatience, their finances are often erratic. They can easily go from boom to bust in a very short time, and could be living in a mansion one day and a used shipping crate the next. Aries usually pay by cash since their credit scores are typically in the 500 – 600 range.

    Aries are strong physically and usually have excellent health. They make good athletes and love competition. Unfortunately, they are also poor sports and are often penalized for aggressive play and head-butting. Those who survive without crippling injuries, usually take up Russian roulette in later life. Many Arians are seen participating in the x-games and some have appeared in Jackass: The Movie.

    Aries is a fire sign. They are combustible and impetuous. They make good soldiers. The downside is that they love to start wars and burn down buildings for no apparent reason. For that reason, it’s best if their competitive natures can be channeled into commerce. Many Aries are self-employed. They are entrepreneurs and are willing to take risks. The worm farming industry is dominated by Aries.

    Aries’ personal relationships are often tumultuous. They like to speak their mind, don’t like to be pushed around, and they have explosive tempers. They tend to be smug. After a while most people come to view them as real dicks. Fortunately, the Aries is so self-centered that he really doesn’t give a shit. This is one of the reason Aries don’t get along with Scorpios. They are continually vying to see which is the most self-centered sign in the zodiac.

    Aries typically have exciting love lives. They are passionate with stamina to match. They like sex anywhere, anytime, and especially if it’s risky. That’s why they buy cheap condoms. Male Aries are sexual athletes and love urgent passionate sex. Unfortunately foreplay is not one of their long suits. A smart women can overcome this as long as she doesn’t bruise the Aries ego. For instance, asking “Is it in yet?” is not advised.

    Female Aries tend to be into sadism, satanic rituals, and mud-wrestling. As they age, male Aries tend to spend more and more of their time in Thailand each year.

    Aries Quotes (Female) – Diane Ross “Just because I have my standards they think I’m a bitch.”

    Aries Quotes (Male) – Alec Baldwin “Remember, sex is like a Chinese dinner. It’s not over until you both have your cookie.”

    Pets – Aries need pets that are strong and bold with lots of get up and go. Doberman pinchers, wolverines, and bald eagles are appropriate pets for the Aries. Cats are inappropriate unless they are both feral and mean.

  20. 2010 Horoscope (Aries) -- This year should reverse the downward spiral you have been in. Your finances should improve dramatically as healthcare costs plummet from unexpected source. Your health will improve and many uncertainties will be removed. While you may not get that job you were hoping for unemployment benefits will be extended indefinitely.

    Changes in state law will allow you to open that medical marijuana boutique you have been considering. Although it is likely you will have trouble financing it.

    You will meet a stranger, fall madly, passionately in love with them, be arrested for having sex in the back of a taxi cab, and spend 30 days in jail. An additional 30 days will also be added for that cock-fighting warrant you ignored.

    You will purchase a new pet which will maul you mercilessly and need to be put down.

    Beware of friends who challenge you to participate in various “extreme sports” or to “beat that train to the crossing.” Any of them could be a Scorpio.

    Next Month: Taurus (monthly personalized horoscopes available by request)
    • Tea leaf readings also available. Leave small amount of liquid in bottom of the glass and send picture of leaves to The Great Quirkster, Po Box 666, Ann Arbor, MI. 48666
    • Private readings available for female members of the EB.
    • Also, in follow-up to a previous post, a limited amount of souls (garnered through the New Zealand technique) are still available in gaily decorated Smuckers jars for a nominal price.
    • Note: Discounts are available to fellow Rosicrucian’s. Bartering alternative available. Secret knowledge accepted.

  21. House convenes at 1 PM. Vote between 6 and 10 PM.

    CSPAN will unfortunately be unable to cover the last bagman operations, helicopter rides, etc. Not like if they could it would matter in the least at this point. Those who've been waiting to hippie-punch Republicans and naysayers of their own party both, would not balk at the sight of a strap-in team showing up. And who can blame them?

    Not me.

    I watched a little particularly unlively FNC yesterday.

    That just added to a brilliant afternoon, as did a slippery hike along the river with the dogs.

    Springtime in DC. Smells goooooood.

  22. Kudos to the Great Quirkster!

    The EB is moving up in the whirled. I'm so proud, I could burst.

  23. Whatever the actual effects of HC reform, the tactics and propaganda are disgusting.

  24. "Whatever the actual effects of HC reform, the tactics and propaganda are disgusting."


  25. Yep, here's to the Q. Somebody has Finally contributed something worthwhile to the EB.

  26. How are insurance premiums not going to increase if insurance companies cannot rate risks? They have to go up or the insurance provider will go out of business.

    Rising insurance rates will push more people into "Cadillac plans" due to inflation of prices and that will be taxed.

    Who will pay for the drug addicts, released convicts, the grossly obese, fools riding motorcycles without helmets?

    When insurance companies start dropping out as they have for hurricane prone areas or in some automobile markets where will that coverage come from?

    All of this happening at a time with record foreclosures, chronic unemployment, timid economic investment, huge government shortfalls in revenue and record borrowing.

    This is hardly going to be without consequence.

    This is a net tax on the economy at a time when common sense and past experience calls for a tax decrease.

    Every well meaning government welfare system gets gamed. Food stamps, workman's compensation and unemployment are three currently well abused areas.

    Unemployment enhanced with a little under the table work for cash is appealing enough for many to run out the calendar.

    Those on food stamps rarely go off them.

    If the US is already a magnet for illegal immigration, the expansion of guaranteed health care will only increase the incentive to come to the US illegally.

    The US has a well functioning health care system for 85% of the US population and a default coverage for those not covered for any reason including personal neglect and irresponsibility.

    We just had a lesson in what happened to housing when government guaranteed home ownership to all and forced the banks to make credit available to everyone.

    The ususal scammers made massive amouts and there will be those who make a lot of money with these changes, but the vast majority of working responsible people will have their wealth diminished by this bill if it passes.

  27. Deserve.

    What part of your property do I deserve without your consent?

    Does my irresponsibility or bad luck, bad habits or bad behavior diminish my call on your property?

    Was I born with a right to take what belongs to you and were you born with an obligation to give me what I need?

  28. I think you could argue that "fools riding motorcycles without helmets" actually cost us less than those who are in accidents while wearing helmets.

    Oftentimes, the only expense involved with the helmetless riders is the emergency response and some time in the morgue cooler.

  29. What portion of your wealth do I deserve?

    Why do I deserve it? Explain that to me. Do my relatives in (fill in the blank) who are poor and without teeth, deserve for you to pay their dental bills and for you to educate and feed their children?

    What are the geographical boundaries that obligate or exonerate you?

    If not there, and I bring them here does that put them in the deserving column?

  30. On the other hand, go to spinal centers and notice the disproportionate share of young African American men in wheelchairs.

    Gunshot victims?

  31. And that is my problem, yours or both of us?

  32. Do Amish farmers owe Puerto Rican gang bangers health care?

  33. Sorry, Deuce, I don't mean to make light of your very good arguments.

    It looks as though conservatism is losing out to the nanny staters and as it happens my reaction is increasingly "detached."

    The fools will do as they wish and the people will get the government they deserve. My goal is to separate myself from the system as far and as much as is practical.

    This morning, the wife was once again saying that maybe we need to cash out and explore other locales where our dollars will go farther.

    She mentioned a certain CA country of which we are familiar.

  34. And that is my problem, yours or both of us?
    Sun Mar 21, 01:34:00 PM EDT
    Deuce said...

    Do Amish farmers owe Puerto Rican gang bangers health care?

    Apparently the Dems think so and intend to increase our insurance premiums to cover them. Of course, we're told, not to worry, in the long run, we'll be paying less. Never mind the 'factory medicine' we'll have to endure.

  35. yes, trish, a few too many commas there.

  36. Lost in the hubbub is the fact that this legislation will still leave another 23 million uninsured.

  37. I had some Puerto Ricans in my unit in Nam. Didn't see any "Amish."

  38. "Indeed, the bill they're passing today has a 2.9% Tax Increase for Medicare. AND, it cuts Medicare reimbursements. What just happened to the "unfunded mandate?"

    I'll tell you. It wasn't much of a "Mandate," and it just got "Funded."

    Thirty-eight states disagree with you Rufus. What do you think the $100 million that was supposed to go to Nebraska was all about? Dumping millions of new people on the state medicare rolls has consequences. And those consequences are not fully funded by the Feds.

    Now whether the states AG's will be granted standing before the SC is an open question. However, some states have already passed laws which are in direct conflict of the proposed HC bill.

    I suspect some challenge in one form or another will end up in front of the court.

    We'll see then what is decided. Until then you and I have dueling opinions.

    Frankly, in terms of the constitution, I think the Dems will have bigger problems with the Individual Mandate than the Unfunded Mandate.

    But again, that's for the courts to decide.


  39. I said "medicare roles". I meant "medicaid roles".


  40. My good friend Rufus. The Amish do not take up arms for any government. I am sure you did not have any nor did you have any gang bangers Puerto Rican or otherwise, but that , with all due respect, does not answer the question.

    Do the Amish farmers owe the gang bangers even if they are fallen altar boys?

  41. Sorry I was distracted by the obviously insane Patrick Kennedy.

  42. The Amish are freeloaders. Given my druthers, I'll take the Puerto Ricans. At least, they "Serve."

  43. Besides that, do the Amish even pay taxes? It couldn't be much, considering theirs is, basically, a "barter/swap" society. Also, I'm sure, shielded by numerous "religious" exemptions.

  44. NO future expenditures are "Funded" by the Fed, fully, or otherwise, Q.

    We have a "Liability" to pay the Treasury Bonds when due. THAT is the extent of the Legal Liabilities of the Federal Government. Everything else is subject to immediate, and capricious change.

    Today, 51 Senators, 216 Congressmen, and the President can increase, decrease, cancel, or wipe their asses with any "promises" made by any past congress, and President. In the year, 2121 the story will be the same.

  45. "We have a "Liability" to pay the Treasury Bonds when due. THAT is the extent of the Legal Liabilities of the Federal Government. Everything else is subject to immediate, and capricious change."

    This comment is so simplistic as to be meaningless.

    Of course the Feds can cancel out any program if they have the political balls to do it. Likewise, the constitution gives the Feds jurisdiction over some matters involving the states. However, whereas the Feds can continue to pump out as much fiat currency as they want to pay their bills, the states don't have that luxury. Almost all have balanced budget amendments written into their constitutions.

    When the Feds create a mandate which imposes a requirement on the states to fund a program they don't have money for, it creates a problem. The states plan to have that constitutional question answered by the courts.

    This is not a question of the
    Feds abrogating their responsibility and cancelling a program, it's a case of the Feds abrogating their responsibility and greatly expanding a program to the detriment of the states.


  46. I'm using that new edition of Avast, Doug. Got it about a month ago with the 3-fer price.

    Shopping now for a new mouse. Scroll control is shot on my old one. Plum wore it out trying to dodge all the FOS remarks from the sage of mississippi.

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. Quirk said:
    I said "medicare roles". I meant "medicaid roles".

    I think you meant "medicaid rolls".

    Medicaid and Unemployment Comp are the two biggest headaches in Florida's current est $3 billion shortfall.

    I believe Medicaid is mandated by the Funds but funded by the States. Sounds like an "unfunded mandate" to me.

  49. ...mandated by the Feds...

  50. I ruined two keyboards screaming


    Prior to swallowing my beer.

  51. Have you tried the sandbox for you browser?

    ...supposedly some virtualization deal.

  52. The next time Rufie "explains" why there is no such thing as an unfunded mandate, the proprietors should make a post out of it for me to recheck.

    ...for some reason I NEVER remember anything that is TOTAL BULLSHIT.

  53. ...Plus, we could have a running comment section berating him and a contest to come up with new names to describe the swamp water drinking retard.

  54. Rufus thinks the Medicare Rolls will be taken care of when BHO hands out Tootsie Rolls to taxpayers unable to access the system because it's overrun by the new Democrat Permanent Majority.


  55. Neither would be 50 Dems - 50 Pubs I suppose.

  56. Sun Mar 21, 03:05:00 PM EDT

    Don't worry a bit about forgetting that one:
    The reality we face daily.

    Will California be the first state to become a ward of the Federal Govt?

    New Powers for BHO and Nancy.

  57. It'll all be over soon, fellers.

    The Republic will, undoubtably, fall. Prolly by noontime, tomorry.

  58. Abortion Deal Seems to Assure Passage

    Health Bill Gains Support From Key Democratic Holdouts

    House Democrats who had withheld support of the health care bill because of abortion concerns said they would back the bill, all but assuring that Democrats would have the 216 votes needed for passage.

    Health Vote Caps a Journey Back From the Brink
    Text: Proposed Executive Order on Health Care Bill
    Live Video From MSNBC

    ...and Stupak's hair got it's 30 days of fame.

    Whata Crusader for Christ!

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. The Real Arithmetic of Health Care Reform

    Take away the budgetary gimmicks and games, and it’s clear that health care reform raises, not lowers, federal deficits.

  61. Rufus will lead the parade on the march to the ovens.

    ...after Obama confiscates everything and has nothing better to do with his time.

  62. ...Rufie secretly hates his grandkids.

    ...and anxiety-inducing freedom.

    His beer budget will go down when Nancy mandates his daily schedule and confiscates his bank account.

  63. Haven't played in the sandbox, Doug. Some reviews diss it. My system is slow enuf without adding one more layer of dubious protection. Apparently still some bugs in Avast sandbox. I like Avast, overall. I suspect there's a broken script deeply embedded in my Windows registry that still plagues me at content rich sites like gerard's.

    All the jargon telling me how to clean up my registry makes my hair hurt.

    In three minutes Deuce will tell me to go Mac and remove stress from my life.

  64. go Mac and remove stress from your life.

  65. Take away the budgetary gimmicks and games, and it’s clear that health care reform raises, not lowers, federal deficits.

    Of course it does. I've been saying that all along.

    It's going to cost us about $150 Billion/Yr. About 1% of GDP.

    I doubt seriously, though, that a program that costs one percent of GDP is going to "bankrupt" the Republic.

  66. My first computer was an Osborne, second Columbia...then I saw the light and the future and never went back.

  67. It looks like the Democrats have made their deal. The deal is based on over-promise and understated costs.

    The bill will not advance employment, nor will it do much for health care.

    It will increase the deficit.

    Seven months remain to expose the true cost of this bill. The Democrats will pay a price. How much depends on their follow-up.

    I will be unaffected.

  68. The people that need it the most, adults with a pre-existing condition, won't benefit until 2015. Higher taxes kick in, immediately (2011, I suppose.)

    It will lower the deficit a twitch in the first couple of years, increase it, thereafter.

    The only thing that worries me is that this might make it easier for the Dems to pass that steaming pile of shit known as Cap and Trade. Now, THAT would be a Severe Kick in the Nuts of the economy. A Huge tax with no benefits to anyone (other than GE, and a couple of very high powered rent-seekers.)

  69. "President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best," NOW President Terry O'Neill said. "The message we have received today is that it is acceptable to negotiate health care on the backs of women, and we couldn't disagree more."

    Demonstrators kept up an hours-long protest outside the U.S. Capitol, chanting 'vote no' and waving American flags. Earlier, they were encouraged by a handful of House Republicans, who emerged on a Capitol balcony.

    Meanwhile, inside the House gallery, some House Republicans appeared to encourage protesters shouting "kill the bill" in the seating area overlooking the House floor. Observers are not allowed to interrupt House proceedings.

    Health Care Overhaul

  70. well 1st day was exhausting

    attended lectures about iran

    that seemed to be the biggest issue

    that and there was some interesting things about the dust up last week..

    apparently staffers were and are quite worried about anyone "booing" hillary and spoke about professional behavior and how WE dont treat people in PUBLIC with disrespect.

    some other things that i wont post on the blog, but I will say this...

    the clock is ticking

    and i think there is a BIG attack coming...

    i dont really have much faith on the current admin to do anything but create space between themselves and israel...

    the I VOTE PRESENT is the strategy..

    sadly that is the strategy for a 3rd rate, two bit nation, not America.

  71. Lebanese anti-aircraft guns opened fire on two Israeli warplanes that were violating its airspace at medium altitude on Sunday, the Lebanese military said. “The army’s anti-aircraft guns fired at two Israeli warplanes overflying Hasbaya” in southeastern Lebanon, an army statement said.

    The incident came amid rising regional tension and heightened concern in Lebanon over recent Israeli threats against Shia militant party Hezbollah and its backers Syria and Iran. Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in the summer of 2006 which destroyed much of southern Lebanon and killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and close to 160 Israelis, mainly soldiers.

    UN Security Council Resolution 1701, adopted unanimously in August 2006, ended the war and expanded a UN peacekeeping force deployed at the Lebanese border with Israel. Israel’s regular overflights into southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, are a breach of Resolution 1701, but the Jewish state argues they are necessary to monitor what it claims is massive arms smuggling by Hezbollah.

    Lebanese Military

  72. I read that there is a contingent of Dems who will not vote for the bill if any restrictions are placed on public financing of abortion. Hmmm. How's that going to play out?

    As I understand it, Obama has promised Stupak that he will sign an executive order prohibiting Fed payment for abortion. This is all very interesting, convoluted and opague. CATO says the Obama administration is the most transparent but this HC reform is anything but...

  73. Deuce wrote:

    "Seven months remain to expose the true cost of this bill. The Democrats will pay a price. How much depends on their follow-up.

    I will be unaffected"

    As will be most by election time - unaffected. Those that are affected will be positively so. In seven months the issue (if the Dems are smart...well, not stupid) will be financial reform and the stoopid fucks that wrecked wall street. The 'pubs will have a hard time defending those rich fat cats.

  74. I think from this point forward Obama Owns the Economy.

    I just have a gut feeling that this was the inflection point.

    The Dems will get hammered in the elections, but will probably retain a very slight majority (they just have too big a lead to lose control, completely.)

  75. I've opened a nice, crisp Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc.

    I plan on thoroughly enjoying the evening.


  76. From comments at Malkin's:

    On March 21st, 2010 at 7:20 pm, Ignatius Reilly said:

    We need a constitutional convention to strengthen the Second Amendment.

    Citizens who have no criminal record or evidence of mental instability should be allowed to own mortars, laser-guided munitions, and predator drones. Okay, maybe I got a little carried away with the high-tech weapons but certainly every citizen should have small, mobile mortar. And those with the means should look into devices in the six to eight inch range. The Viet Cong showed how much hell can be raised with mortars, even against very sophisticated enemies.

    Heck, I can think of where I’d like to drop a mortar round right now, although, of course I wouldn’t, because it would be illegal. And I advise others to obey the law, as well.

    Small, mobile mortar?

    Like a fucking ball server?

    Well. Why not.

  77. They get better.

    One martin.musculus says:

    I am a Mormon. Since I was re-Baptized after leaving the Church (in my “wild youth” — a long, long, long time ago…) no matter how bad things got, I haven’t had the urge to get drunk.

    I was homeless for two years, living under a bridge. I was stranded in Asia, w/my passport stolen and wrongfully in prison for 19 months, and penniless when they learned of their mistake and did release me. In my more than 90 years I’ve buried a wife, friends and family.

    Never have I felt the need to “just get drunk!!”

    May my Heavenly Father and His Son forgive me, I feel it now.


  78. "apparently staffers were and are quite worried about anyone 'booing' hillary and spoke about professional behavior and how WE dont treat people in PUBLIC with disrespect."

    You're certainly not going to lose anything for letting it all hang out.

    I say go for it.

    Smuggle in a few pies. Maybe some rotten fruit. Turn your back and drop your trousers. Have a (good) friend pen an obscene message on your ass.

    Won't change a thing.

  79. :)

    Truth is breaking out all over the place, today.

  80. However, Netanyahu has not yet done enough to show he understands just how badly he handled the situation two weeks ago, when he insulted Vice President Joe Biden during a state visit by announcing construction of the illegal settlements.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been appropriately tough, too, reminding Netanyahu of Israel's responsibilities to furthering the peace process with the Palestinians.

    Americans should find out this week if Netanyahu and other Israeli officials got the message.

    Firm with Netanyahu

  81. The House also approved a separate bill of changes to the Senate-passed measure. The changes will be considered by the Senate under rules that require only a simple majority of the 100-seat assembly for passage.

    Democrats control 59 seats.

    President Obama is expected to sign the House-approved health care bill into law in the coming days. The Senate is expected to take a longer period to debate the changes approved by the House in the separate legislation.

    Health Care Legislation

  82. Supporters of the bill were there too. Jesse Jackson - a veteran of the civil rights movement - stood in the shadow of the Capital as a witness to history.


    It was a day for the history books....but not the end of the story. While the health care bill has cleared Congress, the Senate must still sign-off on a series of changes approved by the House.

    Senators are expected to act this week.

    US Congress

  83. Missiles fired by a suspected US drone have killed at least five people in north-western Pakistan, officials say.

    The missiles hit a militant hideout in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan area near the Afghan border, officials said.

    They said the identities of those killed were not known.

    5 Killed

  84. Norks got plenty of Mortars,
    why not patriots?

  85. "The 'pubs will have a hard time defending those rich fat cats. "
    You mean the ones that team Timmy and Co. have made twice as rich in a single year?

  86. Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Waxman are Pubs?

  87. The Meltdown That Wasn't

    A primer on credit default swaps, the latest Beltway scapegoat.

    "Mr. Waxman's committee exists to stage show trials; he doesn't have jurisdiction to legislate about credit markets or anything else. But his media events are helpful to his comrade in exculpation, Barney Frank. The House Financial Services Chairman is among the most desperate to blame something other than housing, where he famously vowed to "roll the dice" with Fannie Mae. He too has fingered credit default swaps and now promises "sensible" regulation. If he does to this market what he did to housing, he will again be rolling the dice with other people's money."


    Would you say this still holds true, today, Milty, I mean, Rufie?

    Rat will join Ash in blaming it all on the pubs,
    but of course we already knew that.

  88. Repeal Obamacare

    Damn! I wish DeVore could win, but Carly's got cash.

    "Electing just any Republican is not the answer. We've seen what happens when we send Republicans to Washington who don't truly believe in the principles of freedom. They abandon their principles, lose the trust of the American people, and leave us with Democrats controlling Congress and the White House. "

    DeVore's the one that had those perfect ads of Boxer and the General.
    Then came Boxer and the head of the Black Chamber of Commerce.

  89. "If there is the will and resolve to sell off the Inter State Highway system to the highest bidder."
    Los Angeles wants to sell off it's parking meters for a one-time budget fix, and a lifetime of additional hurt for the taxpayer.

    Following in the footsteps of Chicago, where fees and fines have more than tripled under crony capitalism!

  90. Well, doug-o, I blame the guy that wrote the legislation that exempted the Banks from Fed regulation on those derivative dealings, Phil Gramm, GOP.

    I blame the President, at the time of the debacle, George W Bush, Republican. I blame the majority Party, at the time of the debacle, those that I supported and that folded on the principles and policies that I voted for.

    I do not blame the back room players, the boys that were not in the lead parts. Those that I opposed, previously, and that had been beaten, politically.

  91. I blame the boys the screwed the pooch, doug-o.

  92. Why then, doug-o, should the Federals not own the rail beds, as well as the Highways?

    Why should the entire rail system not be managed by Amtrak?

    If the Federals manage systems so well?

  93. doug-o now argues the benefits of Socialism, to and for US.

  94. Because doug is no ideologue, no, he is a pure partisan.

    He is not even conservative in his rants, anymore, but has just become an anti-Obama reactionary.

  95. This comment has been removed by the author.

  96. This comment has been removed by the author.

  97. doug even complains that in Chi-town the true costs of government are being passed on to the electorate, through increased fees for services.

    He believing, it seems, that those folk should have their government services subsidized, instead of billed for in full.

    He tells us that LA can better manage cash flow collections and the payroll required to process those collections than could a private company. A company which would then provide a continuing service and income stream to the City. Without payroll expenses of meter readers hired by the government.

    Bad things, says doug-o.

    We need more City workers, in LA.
    While billing the electorate at less than cost for services in Chi-town.

    That is his remedy, more subsidized government services, not less.

  98. I blame the liars and betrayers, doug-o.
    I do not blame those that held to their misguided beliefs. The Dems had been beaten, decisively.

    They held no power positions.
    No Committee Chairs.

    They had no majorities.

    Phil Gramm and GW Bush, those are the political poster boys of economic debacle.

  99. " A company which would then provide a continuing service and income stream to the City. Without payroll expenses of meter readers hired by the government.

    Bad things, says doug-o.
    You do rant on, but that's not the way it works:
    Chicago gave a 75 year lease to MORGAN STANLEY (!) for a billion bucks.
    Morgan reaps the yearly (ever increasing) income, Chi-Town gets the one-time budget fix I refered to above.

    FAIL, Part One:
    Chicago's Parking Meter Lease Deal

    How Daley and his crew hid their process from the public, ignored their own rules, railroaded the City Council, and screwed the taxpayers on the parking meter lease deal.

  100. "October 3, 2008 Fearing a run on banks, Congress props up the industry by passing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)—the $700 billion bailout bill.

    About $10 billion goes to Morgan Stanley. JPMorgan Chase—whose midwest chairman is the mayor's brother William Daley—gets $25 billion.

    A few weeks later JPMorgan announces plans to buy a new fleet of corporate jets. Morgan Stanley quarterly dividends are paid out on schedule."

  101. The Daley clan.
    Long time Pubs, and friends of the Fat Cats.

  102. October 8, 2008 The full City Council approves the Midway lease deal by a vote of 49-0. One alderman who's been critical of the deal speaks frankly to us on the condition that we not identify him: he says he didn't really think the mayor would withhold services from his ward in retaliation for a nay vote but he voted yes anyway, figuring,
    "Why take a chance?"

    Another admits that privatizing assets gives city officials cover when fees are jacked up. If aldermen voted to raise the tolls on the Skyway or the price of parking downtown, citizens might get upset at them, he says—so why not let a private company take the heat while the city gets a quick injection of cash?

    October 15, 2008 Mayor Daley releases his 2009 budget, which he says will be balanced despite the city's "financial challenges." It hinges on hundreds of layoffs, hiking various fees and fines, and an expected $150 million infusion from a parking meter lease. Many aldermen say this is the first they've heard that the city is close to such a deal.

  103. November 21, 2008

    Unbeknownst to the public or the City Council, the city receives two official bids for leasing the parking meters. (At deadline budget department spokesperson Peter Scales had not been able to provide an explanation of how the pool was winnowed down from ten.)

  104. Billion today, that is not the deal I'd have made for the City, but if that's what they decided upon, democratically, good deal.

    The City should not be in the cash collection business. No reason for it to be. It should farm out to private contractors as many of the services it requires or provides as is possible.

    Meter reading to fire fighting, all can be done by private companies and workers, rather than government agencies and civil employees.

    That is the first step to fighting the Leviathan, but that is not your cause, doug-o.

    You just want the monster to do your bidding, not to kill the monster.

  105. Daly is a Democrat, that makes it "democratically?"

    I don't hate or distrust all government, esp when it is not centralized.
    States better than Feds,
    Cities better than States,
    (except Dem led cities vs Pub led States)

    December 4, 2008

    The full council meets to consider the deal. Many aldermen privately concede they still don't understand it. Alderman Scott Waguespack unveils an analysis his staff has put together that shows the city would make far more money if it just held on to the meters—he estimates their value over 75 years is about $4 billion.

    "I argued that the city was not getting a good deal, and that at a minimum the Council should see the City's numbers," he later writes in an e-mail to constituents.

    "They instead argued our numbers were wrong (without having seen them). I was then told I could see some numbers, but not before the vote."
    ...a model of Obama/Pelosi Transparency and fair dealing!

  106. January 21, 2009

    Mayor Daley suggests that newly inaugurated president Obama follow his lead in learning to "think outside the box" and start leasing public assets.

    "If they start leasing public assets—every city, every county, every state, and the federal government—you would not have to raise any taxes whatsoever," he says. "You would have more infrastructure money that way than any other way in the nation."

  107. The fella estimates top line collections, but not the cost of collecting the monies.

    The employee costs of the City Workers. The objective is to cut government costs, doug-o, not maximize revenue streams.

    The City of Chicago cannot, by the nature of government, contain costs.
    Except by eliminating entire functions. Such as meter reading.

    Or, on the Federal level, the Dept of Education, for example.

    Or the Highway System. That could easily be privatized and the true costs of operation then factored into life.

    While eliminating the need for Federal taxes on fuels that are collected for infrastructure maintenance, but not all spent in that cause.

  108. By obsessing upon the "debt".

    While only discussing revenue and cash flow in relation to that "debt", but never assets, is an attempt to gain political advantage.

    While, in reality, debt is really tied to assets, at the hip.

    Just have to redeploy our collective portfolio, in this new millennium, to maximize the social benefits, to our people, of our assets.


    You know you’re already having a bad day when you’re dead.

    But, last week, a corpse in New York received one final insult when it was given a free ride to a NYC tow pound.

  110. Mon Mar 22, 05:48:00 AM EDT


  111. The point is, the payout gets squandered upfront in Daly/Villagarosa corruption, city employees are still gauranteed their bennies. now has one less revenue stream.

  112. March 25, 2009
    The Sun-Times notes a surge in parking meter vandalism, and Marin suggests that the meter rate hikes and breakdowns could ignite a voter backlash similar to the one that drove Mayor Michael Bilandic from office back in 1979, after his response to a blizzard was perceived as inadequate.

    March 26, 2009
    Mayor Daley sends out city work crews to fix broken parking meters, even though Morgan Stanley and LAZ Parking are supposed to be responsible for maintenance now.

  113. Good for Chi-town, doug.

    If folk don't like it, they can vote in local elections or move to where City government is not corrupt.

    But the corruption of Chi-town does not invalidate the idea that government should not be in "business".

  114. The "business" of regulating parking and traffic on city streets?
    Seems like a natural for government, to me.
    Elected officials (sometimes) responsible to the citizens that put them in office.


    For much of the past decade the meters have brought in about $20 million a year, costing $3 million to $4 million a year to maintain.

    But as the economy began to cool in fall 2007, the administration proposed a series of fee and tax hikes for the next year's budget. Among them was a doubling of parking meter rates: in documents released publicly in October 2007, city officials predicted the hike would boost meter revenues from about $22 million in 2007 to $56 million in 2008. Aldermen protested that the increase would be bad for business.

    The city council voted 40-5 to approve the deal, and within weeks Chicago Parking Meters as much as quadrupled hourly rates at meters all over town, igniting outrage among motorists.