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Obama’s Health Care Plan Summarized


Health Care Reform Week - As the progressives in Congress try to overcome the obstacles of the Blue Dogs, Republicans and insurance industry, we wanted to add our community's voice to the debate.  All this week, we'll be featuring stories and perspectives on health care reform in addition to our regular posts.  Please feel free to add your posts and comments.



With all the talk about Obama’s Health Care plan in the news lately, I’m still surprised that the nobody in the media talks about the actual plan - they just talk about the endless fighting that’s going on between politicians over the plan. So to inform the public, I’d thought I’d summarize the actual plan that’s being debated about, and the arguments for and against then plan.


First, why have heath care reform?

 

  • Everybody agrees our health care system is broken.
  • The U.S. has a complicated health care system of insurance, doctors, and patients. If you go to the doctor in America, you have to pay the doctor, the insurance company, and fight about who pays who and how much.
  • American has the most expensive health care system in the world, yet ranks 37 in the world in health care performance and 72 in world in overall level of national health. (World Health Organization, 2000)
  • Health care costs are rising three times the rate of wages, so people are unable to keep up with the cost of keeping healthy.
  • The U.S. does not have universal health care, so people who can not afford insurance can not go to a doctor because they can’t afford it.
  • The health insurance industry needs serious reform. Health insurance is a business in the U.S., so companies will raise prices on people who are expensive to insure and kick people off health insurance rolls if they become to expensive too keep healthy.



Obama's Health Care Plan Summarized

  • Cover all Americans with health insurance by requiring employers to provide health insurance to their employees. Mandating all children have health insurance.
  • Allow workers to keep their employer-provided health insurance if they lose their job (or in between jobs).
  • Outlaw the practice of insurance companies rejecting people because of pre-existing health conditions. And make insurance premiums the same for everybody regardless of health status.
  • Provide a one-stop marketplace, called National Health Insurance Exchange, for customers to compare and shop for insurance plans.
  • Have a government run “public” health insurance option to provide low-cost, affordable health insurance for everybody, spur competition.
  • Read the full plan here: http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf



Arguments in favor of Obama’s Health Care Plan

  • 46 millions of Americans, or 18% of the population under 65, are currently without health insurance and can not afford to see a doctor. The plan will insure almost all Americans.
  • Health care costs will rise if we do nothing, putting health insurance out of reach for more and more Americans. The plan will bring down health care costs.
  • Health care needs reform. This is the closest we’ve ever been to reforming health care in America.



Argument opposing Obama’s Health Care Plan

  • It’s expensive. No one knows the true cost of a government-run health care plan. The costs will add to the deficit.
  • Paying for the plan will include a tax increase on wealthy Americans (making anywhere from $350k-$1m + a year). Wealthy Americans will have to pay more taxes.
  • Having a government-run health care plan can be a precursor to government taking over the entire health care system - limiting consumer choice in health care.



This a summary of the FACTS in Obama’s health care plan, not a debate about what I believe or my personal opinions on the plan. I hope you have become more informed about what the current fight over health care reform is all about.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (126 votes)

koala on Sat, 07/25/2009 - 16:00

I think it's on the logical safe side to say that the posted "Arguments Opposing" aren't facts.  They're just fear-mongering paranoia.

On those 3 points, the facts are more like:

- The most current house bill is CBO-stamped deficit-neutral.  If we do the right thing and move to a Government-run health care plan, it will will save us trillions of dollars (eg France).

-Why should the rich being taxed more be an argument against?  We currently have the lowest tax rate in all of American history--low because of an assumption that American growth would be infinatum.  Now that we know that "rational self-interest" is a myth, we should be doing everything possible to repeal the Reagan tax cuts.

-This argument can only be constructed under a falsehood.  How can a citizen have a choice in an employer-based healthcare system?  My employer chooses my insurance provider for me.  If anything, in a single payer system, you would be able to go to any doctor you'd like.  Which option has more choice?

Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 20:50

Wow, I would love to give a detailed reply, but I won't waste my (figurative) breath. You're clearly a left-wing nutjob, and aren't going to change your opinion. I agree that healthcare reform needs to be a priority, but the current plan is a total disaster. I don't think Obama should be rushing something this monumental through just so he can pat himself on the back and continue thinking he's the best thing since sliced bread.

koala on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 21:33

Ah, Anonymous Coward of the radical right.  Always my pleasure.

I, too, happen to carry my own selection of the finest items of the radical right wing agenda.

Let's see:

  • Health Saving Accounts
  • Elimination of Medicare and Medicaid
  • Elimination of Anti-Trust Laws
  • Tort Reform
  • Elimination of the American middle class

Now, these come in a shade of Somalia or Zimbabwe.  Choose your poison, friend.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 08:03

Hmmm.... Didn't we just watch GM and Chrysler, two big employers which are representative of the employers of America, collapse under the weight of carrying the costs of their employee's and their former employee's health and pension costs?

If this goes through, every employer in the country will cut back on staff.

This needs a rethink.

allan on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 09:44

gyuliuscaesar, that's not great analysis. GM and Chrysler failed primarily because they weren't selling cars. Generally speaking, no business can survive if it can't sell its main product. When the bottom fell out of car sales as the general economy tanked, GM didn't have cars that were accomodating of price and fuel concerns that were now ascendant in consumer thinking about their next car purchase. Take a look at Toyota, their car sales took a hit as well but it was never as bad as GM and Chrysler.

On a more rational note, other car companies from countries that have more extensive health care packages for their citizens are still doing fine primarily because much of the burden for health care is shared by their national governments. Toyota benefits from packages given to all Japanese citizens. We should put American companies on the same competitive footing and release them from the burden of providing health care for their employees. That's why you see so much business support for fixing health care. Yeah, who knew that people who were REAL capitalists not armchair ones like Sean Hannity would actually want health care to be taken care of by the government.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 13:25

The writing was on the wall long ago, and it said; 'If GM doesn't sell more cars, and they are saddled with a $1600 per vehicle legacy cost, they will have trouble surviving.' That was from 2005 Business Week magazine, my interpretation of the article. So we are both right.  Here's a snip;

And make no mistake, GM is in a horrible bind. That $1.1 billion loss in the first quarter doesn't begin to tell the whole story. The carmaker is saddled with a $1,600-per-vehicle handicap in so-called legacy costs, mostly retiree health and pension benefits. Any day now, GM is likely to get slapped with a junk-bond rating.

The link to the entire article:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_19/b3932001_mz001.htm

 It saddens me to think that this once proud company, a fixture on the Dow Jones, has managed to fail, essentially.

 And the proposal by Obama is to offload much of the cost of this health care initiative onto 'big companies'. Even when the employee is no longer employed by that company while in between jobs. How will this make America competitive?

 P.S. I'm from Canada, land of the socialists, keepers of the model of health care America should follow.

allan on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 14:42

America is already competitive but we're fundamentally hobbling ourselves with a pretty informal industrial policy that puts the burden on large companies to administer health care whereas other Western European nations and Japan don't do that. If you want to think about legacy costs, think about the money and labor involved in administering health care up and down the line with every company in the United States.

Simply put, companies of any size (and nonprofits too) that want to put together a health care package for their employees have to go through a fairly extensive process of meeting with insurers, getting bids, and then administering that package. It adds to a pretty heavy amount of paperwork. The worst part is that none of these companies can combine their efforts so they can't really scale up to help drop healthcare costs. The basic premise behind government healthcare is to take advantage of scale. Not even GM could do that. Keep in mind that GM's problems were in the way it offered pensions to its employees as it was negotiated by unions. That's not really a health care issue. There was some bad planning there on the actuarial side as well. As a result of its bankruptcy, GM's pensions (in the foreseeable future at least) are being administered by the government. When GM does get out of receivership AND if the US passes a health care plan, GM will be able to start paying into that pension fund without necessarily having to deal with health care. I think the legacy cost is probably easy for GM to handle if it doesn't have to deal with providing health insurance. You can do a quick Google search on GM's health care expenses and you can see numerous articles discussing the billions of dollars spent by GM on health care. This is what I mean by a national health care plan putting American companies on a more equal footing with their competitors.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 15:36

Alright, let's assume the payments that G.M. is going to make under the 'plan' are the same as when it provided it's workers with health insurance themselves. I'm sorry; I don't see the savings, unless you're talking about corporate savings because they are no longer responsible for the health care of the retirees, who are now being covered by Uncle Sam ( who has no money of his own, only yours.)  Is America more competitive? What am I missing here?

Getting back to that abomination, Canada, the place I call home, our health care costs eat up under 11% of GDP, whereas yours eats up over 15%. There must be some lessons to be learned there. Your costs south of the border are 40% higher than ours. Why?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada

koala on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 15:56
1

Adding to Allan's point, if he doesn't mind:

Attributing "legacy costs" to the downfall of GM and Chrysler are completely misleading.  The theory is rather widely debunked so anyone can google around for numbers.  To summarize, one needs to know that healthcare and pensions aren't provided by the company, rather, there's a shared cost involving UAW workers getting monies deducted from their paychecks for those very purposes.  In fact, this pool of money was doing so well in their investments, in better times, the company would "borrow" money out of this fund.

The real culprits are things like the short-sightedness of American corporate culture, unwarranted Executive Compensation Pay and free trade. 

Think about it.  (I'll try to make it short)

The American Executive, shareholders, et al. are interested in primarily quarterly profits.  There's too much of "How's our stock doing?Not well?  Lay off some workers to generate some profit for this quarter."  Rather than how do we invest in our products and people better?  They take no risk and their products become much crappier.

In the United States, an Executive gets paid 300 times more than the average worker regardless of a company's profit/loss. (gyulius, a Canadian Executive gets paid around 100 times more than the average worker.)  And Japanese Executives get paid 11 (I think the numbers are closer to 40, so I think my source is wrong) times more than the average worker.  It's not the "legacy costs" that bankrupt a company when times are tough.  I'll argue that it's really because of "executive welfare."

Third point, free trade.  The concept behind free trade is having the ability to outsource the externalities associated with conducting business in America.  In the context of cars, I offer you the example of Senator Shelby of Alabama.  Shelby doesn't like the UAW.  So he spends hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to invite Japanese and German car companies to make manufacturing plants in Alabama that are not friendly to unionization.  

If you take into consideration the $$ numbers involving executive compensation and Shelby's foreign automaker welfare, the "legacy costs" factor becomes pretty myopic.

I share gyulius's sentiment on his question:

 And the proposal by Obama is to offload much of the cost of this health care initiative onto 'big companies'. Even when the employee is no longer employed by that company while in between jobs. How will this make America competitive? 

It's factually inaccurate, but I agree.  The costs of healthcare shouldn't be in the hands of "big companies."  I'd rather see it in "big government."  If companies don't have to worry about healthcare costs, then they can use more of their resources into making better products.

 

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 16:53

Koala, I'm going to have to poke a hole in your logic.

"The costs of healthcare shouldn't be in the hands of "big companies."

You'd rather see them in the hands of 'Big Government' (which I assume you to mean the Federal Government)

"If companies don't have to worry about healthcare costs", you go on to say, "then they can use more of their resources into making better products"

 The average cost here in Canada to provide health care for everybody is $5000 apiece. If you put that money towards 45 million U.S. citizens, the figure would be about $225 billion. Every year. Year in, year out. Where is Uncle Sam going to come up with this princely sum? TAXES. Taxes on companies, executive pay, taxes on the goods they sell and the goods they buy. Same for you. You cannot monetize treasury auctions forever without consequence.That bit of sneakiness will only go so far. And Obama has said this 'We are broke!' So it's back to the companies to foot the bill.

The only place where $225 billion a year could be saved is your astronomically expensive military.

Heck, maybe if Obama convinces China that he'll give them back Taiwan, or Formosa, or the Republic of China, or whatever it's called today, the PRC might just fund the universal health program, for a couple of years, anyways. Just a thought.

Am I wrong, or did Bush think that the KMT was communist (in the context of a comment made upon Madame Chiang Kai-Shek's death?) I could find nothing in a google search. Maybe I'm just getting old.


allan on Sat, 08/08/2009 - 23:23

gyuliuscaesar, you have a pretty myopic view about American industry if you only look at GM. As I've said before, the issue is one of scale for all companies in the US. The savings is there both in reduced health costs and in every American company not having to deal with the issue of health care anymore. You have no answer to my point that every US company has to compete with foreign companies that don't have to deal with healthcare.

As for GM specifically, I don't make the assumption that the savings are going to be a zero net. It's hard to make any assumptions right now about GM simply because it's undergoing some radical surgery right now. It's unclear how everything is going to play out in terms of health care and its pension liabilities. For instance, we don't yet have a health care bill in the legislative pipeline and we don't know what the disposition of assets will be within GM. We're not even sure how much of GM the unions will end up owning. I suggest you hold fire on GM until they start offering stock again. Oddly, I think whatever stock price GM comes up with will be undervalued. I'm planning on taking a very close look at their stock when they come back to the public market.

However, you seem to think that the US govt would do a worse job than companies in regards to negotiating say cheaper drug costs or any of the myriad line items associated with health care in particular. The minute Obama started moving the health care ball rolling, the health care industry fell all over itself trying to negotiate lower prices with the Feds. THAT is the power of scale. For instance, the pharmaceutical companies offered a "deal" of 80 billion in price reductions over the next 10 years. It seems to be an attempt to spike any future possible negotiations with a possibly more liberal health care plan. You simply don't have an argument for that and that's just because there really isn't one. There was no way even Fortune 500 companies were going to band together and negotiate as one entity vs. health care providers. And that's where we all need to look at what the Fed govt can do. They can stand in as the single bargainer with the insurance industry.

And your worries about Canada are simply that -- your worries. The US has some singularly difficult challenges, such as the fact that health care costs rise very much faster than inflation in this country. We HAVE to get that under control. We are seeing figures of the US paying 20% of its GDP for health care by 2017. That's simply unsustainable. As I always say to the naysayers about health care, come up with a plan yourself. Don't stand back there pooh poohing the process because you think it's "socialism". 

koala on Sun, 08/09/2009 - 01:10
1

Ah, gyulius has a good point.  Money.  

Well... I damn well hope taxes go up.  Here's where I'm coming from in 3 steps:

I support one of our greatest Republican presidents, Dwight Eisenhower, on taxes.  He supported a 90% marginal tax rate on people making over roughly 3 millions dollars.  That's Step 1.

Enforcing high corporate taxes is good.  It forces businesses to keep their profits inside the company (because let's be honest, nobody wants to pay taxes).  This leads to better wages and a happier workforce.  This also leads to better equipment, better technology, better R&D, and promotes long term growth-oriented thinking.  That's Step 2.

Step 3.  I think smaller government will take care of some of our wasteful spending.  I think we should eliminate the military industrial congressional complex.  We should also eliminate the prison industrial complex.  Department of Homeland Security (originally an Adolf Hitler creation) should probably go, etc.  Oh, almost forgot the 750 military bases we have spread around the world.

All this money business "Oh this is so expensive talk" is nonsense.  Conservatives are really the worst bunch here because the tax cuts that they claim will generate wealth--don't really generate wealth and plunges us deeper into debt.

Let's be honest here. Taxes are the price we pay for the use of our commons.  The people who make more use of our commons should pay more.  If those people paid their fair share, then things like health care or education just wouldn't be an issue.

Quite frankly, Canada's healthcare is only ranked 30th.  5 above the US.  It's not the model healthcare system.  Lord save us if Canada really is the goal for our model American healthcare system.

I hope this "plugs" the hole in my logic.

On the Kuomintang issue.  You managed to put the words "Bush" and "think" together in one sentence.  That makes the sentence illegitimate according to our latest "New Rule."  Sorry.

PS You mentioned our astronomical healthcare costs.  And then asked why.  It's actually because of the 10% - 30% overhead it takes for insurance companies to process and deny paperwork, advertise, lobby, and buy gold-plated plates for use in gold-plated private jets.  I'm only kidding about one part in there.

Your country doesn't really have to deal with those because it's illegal to do some of that north of the border.  Pretty cool stuff.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Sun, 08/09/2009 - 13:40

I'll have to respond to your counterarguments point-form style.

"myopic view about American industry if you only look at GM"

 Er, wasn't GM the biggest corporation in the world, at one time? From wiki;

This unprecedented growth of GM would last into the early 1980s when it employed 349,000 workers and operated 150 assembly plants.

GM led in global sales for 77 consecutive years (1931 to 2007), longer than any other automaker. It manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. GM employed 244,500 people around the world, and sold and serviced vehicles in some 140 countries.[4]

And I did say 'representative'.

"You have no answer to my point that every US company has to compete with foreign companies that don't have to deal with healthcare."

Germany doesn't have health care? Britain? Canada? Japan?

"you seem to think that the US govt would do a worse job than companies in regards to negotiating say cheaper drug costs or any of the myriad line items associated with health care"

 You'll have to read it back to me where I "seem to think that the US govt would do a worse job...."

 I took a position in Humana just prior to Obama publicly announcing that he was going to keep 'health care companies from making excessive profits'. Tanked my stock. I'm still bitter. I sold out before the rebound that came from people realizing that Obama says one thing, and does another.

 As for 'drug companies falling over themselves offering an $80 billion reduction in prices over the next ten years', I just have this to say; What is that pill you're taking worth? How much did it cost to produce? I actually know these things. My wife's uncle owns a pharma company here in Canada. Believe me, it costs virtually nothing to make the things, and still, he's moving some of his manufacturing to India to save some money.

It's a play, this 'acrimony' between the drug companies, the insurance companies, and Obama. You're watching it, and you believe it to be real. Check out who Obama has staffing those departments. Newest appointment;

Michael Taylor, former senior V.P. lobbyist of Monsanto. Chosen to head the FDA. Ha ha.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm170842.htm

Time for a rethink.

 

 

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Sun, 08/09/2009 - 14:06

Hey, Koala, you seem to have everything right, including the difficulties we face in Canada providing world class heath care on a budget. Although other countries fare better in this regard, our system is so wildly popular here that trying to open a private-at-your-own-expense clinic here is regarded as a threat to the very concept of universality.

Think of it; if government can offload the cost of expensive procedures onto willing people who can afford the procedures in the first place, why wouldn't they be o.k. with that? The answer lies in the fear that the rest of us wind up with second class healthcare. It's all the country can afford, but still, the prospective patient feels that somehow he/she is being shortchanged. Of course, if a Canadian is so inclined, he/she can jump on a plane, head to John's Hopkins, and receive the best treatment money can buy. It's kind of a goofy fear; we can't afford for everybody to go to John's Hopkins, neither can the U.S., but somehow, we here in Canada are fearful of this small concession to healthcare for profit.

 You're right; 'Bush' and 'think' don't go in the same sentence. It's an oxymoron.

My mention of 'astronomical costs' was associated with your military, not your health care costs.

 

 

 

allan on Sun, 08/09/2009 - 20:55

GM was once representative of an industrialized America. I guess you haven't noticed that that's no longer the case in the US. Your argument is weak if you only rely upon a discussion of GM simply because I'm talking about health care costs in the aggregate.

You responded:

"You have no answer to my point that every US company has to compete with foreign companies that don't have to deal with healthcare."

Germany doesn't have health care? Britain? Canada? Japan?

Uh -- did you misread companies for countries? The point I'm trying to make here is that US companies have to compete with foreign companies that are unshackled from dealing with health care. Have you ever stopped to think how much a company has to pay in health care costs alone (much less making their HR people deal with the headache of all the paperwork)? You still have no answer for this. Do you or do you not agree with the premise that it is inefficient for every US company to deal with health care on its own? If you don't agree, then please explain your position. 

I agree with you in general that pills are cheap and could probably be sold for even cheaper. Clearly, big pharma's position was to try to co-opt discussion currently in the House that would allow the US to purchase drugs in bulk. I see $80 billion as a mere starting point whereas the drug companies would have loved to have stopped there. Apparently, even PhRMA's head, Billy Tauzin admits this:

Tauzin said the reason is that this deal prevents a much worse deal, which might allow reimportation, or apply Medicaid’s price controls to dual eligibles in Medicare Part D, etc.

BTW, you don't even bother to read your own source material which leaves me thinking your debating skills are a bit suspect. Michael Taylor is not the head of the FDA, he's been named advisor to the FDA commissioner. Get your facts straight.

koala on Sun, 08/09/2009 - 23:18
1

Good to know. Thanks for the info gyulius.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Mon, 08/10/2009 - 11:32

"GM was once representative of an industrialized America."

In spite of my weak debating skills, I see an ambiguity in your statement. Did you mean that at one time GM represented America, because it was the biggest company in America,  or that America is no longer industrialized? You follow this up with

"I guess you haven't noticed that that's no longer the case in the US."

 I have an employee that did the grand tour of America 2 months ago, by pickup truck. He said that when he went though Cleveland, in the middle of the day on a weekday, that there was just a couple of people walking around. He thought it was pretty freaky. Is this representative of America? Has America lost it's industrial base?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZzgAjjuqZM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysmLA5TqbIY

 These videos depicting Cleveland are cause for concern.

 Get back to me after you watch them.

 

allan on Mon, 08/10/2009 - 11:49

America is post-industrial. Have you not noticed this already? That's not a debating point but a fact. Our attempts at laissez-faire free trade have led us to this moment. Regardless of whether this was the wrong or right way to go, that is where the country is. You don't have to tell me about the loss of industry in America. I live here in NYC where you can see the remnants of heavy industry all throughout the city. However, NYC remade itself, Cleveland et al has to do the same (or die trying).

However, I do notice you completely ignored my very pointed question:

Do you or do you not agree with the premise that it is inefficient for every US company to deal with health care on its own?

I think that's the fundamental issue at stake when it comes to capitalism and health care. Do you agree with this or not?

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Mon, 08/10/2009 - 13:04

"Do you or do you not agree with the premise that it is inefficient for every US company to deal with health care on its own?"

 I can't speak for Every U.S. Company, but I can speak from my experience. My company (I own it), provides packages to my employees to cover things not covered by our national health care, like dental, corrective lenses, etc. My accounting people take care of the details, coming to me for final approval on budgets and the scope of coverage. I don't think that paying for the basic medical coverage would involve much more in the way of paperwork; in fact, I think our insurance provider could just add it on, like a rider, if it became necessary. If I was to become responsible for the basic medical for my employees, I would expect that my taxes would be reduced commensurately.

 What I'm saying is this; we all pay, one way or the other. The cost of administration for health care plans to the companies is negligible.

As for your assertion that the U.S. is the victim of free trade, I must laugh in your face. America is a victim of itself.

By the way, did you know that the U.S.'s biggest trading partner is Canada?

http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/top/dst/current/balance.html

 If you ask a Canadian about free trade and it's net effect, he/she would tell you that it is the U.S. that invariably bullies it's way into taking the biggest share in any exchange. Rather than being laissez-faire, we believe your country's tactics to be pointedly and universally self-serving. But that's just our opinion.

allan on Mon, 08/10/2009 - 21:02

gyuliuscaesar, it's hilarious how you equate paying for dental to the cost of providing full medical. Try moving your company to the US. I'd love to see how you feel about American health care then. You're not dealing from direct experience here. Ask your American counterparts about their attempts to provide health care and how much the costs have risen in the last 5 years. I guarantee you will get more than an earful.

As for America being a victim of free trade, I never said that. We made choices about how we were going to deal with our industrial base and we decided en masse that cheaper goods made overseas and then shipped here would be a better deal for Americans. You can see our foreign trade imbalance with China at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html It's quite large.

As for the US being a bully, perhaps the US ought to be better at it when it comes to Canada as we have run fairly massive trade deficits with Canada as well. In the 2006-2008 period alone, the US ran up a 218 billion dollar trade deficit with Canada. This is not to say that the US doesn't arrange for fairly asymmetrical trade benefits but that's small pickings when you think about the size of the trade deficits involved. My guess though is that much of that trade imbalance is from natural resources such as lumber and oil. 

gyulius, it seems most of your animus towards Canadian health care is also directed at any change in American health care. I can tell you that our direct American experience with the high cost of health care has resulted in an overwhelming percentage of Americans (71%) who want to change health care right now. We don't have much of a chance BUT to change and how we do it is the unfolding drama before us in Congress after the recess.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Mon, 08/10/2009 - 22:14

 Our socialized healthcare system came about in a different time, when people were altruistic, when community meant something, when people really cared about each other. Doctors became doctors to help people, not to make piles of money. That has all changed, and I'm the first to admit it.

If we had your system today, and we wanted to change it to something resembling a universal health care system, I'm afraid we could not do it. Corporations would plead poverty, doctors would walk out, government would fold in on itself. We're not the same people we once were. What started in little towns in Saskatchewan and gradually spread across Canada would never have the chance to do it all again. We, as people, have become to willing to let someone else pay, and our doctors are unionized and militant. We are not one community of man anymore.

And neither are you.

 

 

allan on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 06:49

Awesome, gyuliuscaesar. Thanks for the non-sequiturs and lack of clash on the arguments. If I need someone to discuss the community of man, I'll go straight to you next time.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 07:29

"Michael Taylor is not the head of the FDA, he's been named advisor to the FDA commissioner"

Thanks for the debate; it's been fun. As far as my 'mistake' above, I'll defend it by adding 'senior' before the word advisor, and then I'll tell you a little inside joke, amongst the women in my community. They say "I let my man be the head of the household, but I'm the neck!" Then they laugh conspiratorially.

Make of that what you will.

allan on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 07:49

Here's more about Michael Taylor:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-escobar/hes-back-former-vp-at-mon_b_228792.html

A lot of food advocates and environmentalists are pretty upset at his hiring. He apparently helped introduce rGBH into the national non-organic milk supply. It's ugly. Obama has not been as interested in food safety issues as I'd like him to be.

Oddly, the First Lady has been putting on a show about organic gardening so it'll be interesting to see if there's going to be any kind of clash regarding her advocacy and this guy.

 

Flavored Coffee Drinker (not verified) on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 14:24
5

I am not sure what needs to be done but something needs to be done about the costs of health care.  Maybe telling drug companies they can’t advertise, or use advertising as a cost of business.. I am so sick of restless leg sydrome and other even more offensive commercials for drugs.
Sparky “Flavored Coffee Drinker”

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 16:05

Just to expand on the scope of change we might expect now that Mr. Taylor is 'senior' advisor to the commissioner; let's look at the Monsanto group of companies, and the affiliations.

http://www.politicalfriendster.com/showPerson.php?id=2582&name=GD-Searle-&-Company-(Pharmacia-Company)

Searle, Pfizer, yikes. Can you say 'conflict of interest'? This is as bad a putting Goldman Sachs alumni in the Federal Reserve, as senior adivsors to Tim Geithner. Oh, that's what's happened.

Exhibit C: Secretary of the Treasury....an official appointed by the President of the United States to represent the People in development and execution of economic policy. Certainly this position will be the unbiased, protector of the People...

Currently the official holding this position happens to be Timothy Geithner. Geithner is a career bureaucrat, former member of Kissinger & Associates and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the NY regional Fed branch. Geithner's Informal group of advisers include or have included E. Gerald Corrigan, a managing director of Goldman Sachs and a former New York Fed president; ex-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr (ex Goldman Sachs CEO).; and John Thain, ex-CEO of Merrill Lynch (ex Goldman Sachs executive).

 The government has been hijacked by the corporations.

 

 

koala on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 18:06
1

I want to step in and share some insight a little bit because this is getting so exciting.

First, some good news.  According to this hidden gem on the Huffington Post, it is "anticipated" that Director Hamburg (what an ironic name) will ask for the resignation of Taylor.  Link: http://tinyurl.com/mvrejc

Now, on Geithner.  I agree with what you say, gyulius.  But I whole-heartedly disagree with your use of the term "has been hijacked" as if this is the Obama administration's fault.

You must realize that Geithner is, originally, a George W. Bush appointee.  He was instrumental in the development and the execution of the TARP Program, which, believe it or not, most likely saved us from the "immediate" collapse of the approx. $1.14 QUADRILLION dollar derivatives bubble.  (That's about 1.5 x more than the global GDP). 

Secondly, but probably most importantly, Obama had to present an illusion to the American public that the economy was doing okay.  (It's not and it won't for a long while).

I'd much rather have seen Stiglitz in the role of Geithner.  But, from a PR stand point Summers et al. was probably a necessity, but I digress.

I guess the point I really should have made was to point out that a lot of the mess we're in is the cause of Alan Greenspan, Ronald Reagan, and all the subsequence presidents who kept re-appointing Greenspan to the Federal Reserve, which absolutely needs to be abolished.

We could even go back much further in history and... you get the drill.

What I'm saying in response to your statement is this: "The U.S. Government has been incrementally been taken over by corporations ever since President Abraham Lincoln struck a deal with the railroad tycoons in order to win the Civil War."

To attribute this to Obama and to expect that 1.5 centuries of encroaching corporate rule will be stopped in the next 7.5 years is ludicrous.  It's a notion I reject and it's a reality not enough liberals in this country seem to have a grasp of.

Americans are just too impatient for their own good. They also give up too easily.  I could go on, but, I think I've addressed my point.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 19:43

"But I whole-heartedly disagree with your use of the term "has been hijacked" as if this is the Obama administration's fault."

WSJ Blogs

Political Insight and Analysis From The Wall Street Journal's Capital Bureau

The Obama administration, eager to improve the FDA’s record on food safety, recently picked a new pointman for food safety, Mike Taylor. Taylor had been at the FDA in the early 1990s, and is now senior adviser to Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. A White House group also recommended establishing a deputy commissioner’s position on food safety.

 Obama....eager..... picked....pointman.....Michael Taylor.

If it's not his fault that lobbyists are eagerly picked to be the point men of supposedly unbaised governmental safety agencies, then who's fault is it? 

 Maybe you disagree with the word 'hijacked'?

 

 

koala on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 21:09
1

Ah, can't choose the Wall Street Journal for unbiased information.  Canadians apparently haven't heard of the name Rupert Murdoch, eh?  Also, note the Obama administration.

I wouldn't necessarily "fault" Obama, although I'd certainly call it his "responsibility."  Our Federal Government is huge and Obama is, after all, one person.

And you're right.  My disagreement is with the verb "hijacked." My point was that the corporate take over of America has been a long time phenomenon. If you're into law, please check out Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) and the implications of that court case a whole century and a bit ago.

Even the genesis of the word "lobbyist" comes from the fact that at one point in America the lobbyists could not enter the congressional offices--they could only wait in the lobby and hope, nay dream, to speak to a member of Congress.

I don't mean to sound like an Obama Administration apologist, though, I understand that that's how I sound.

If I could vote for Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, or even Ron Paul in a Presidential election (not primary), and expect a viable presidency, then I would.  Those people are the real "change" candidates.

To have starry eyes and to expect perfection from a presidency is futile in a co-equal branch government.  The Senate, after all, is known as a place where legislation goes to die.  Right now, the Supreme Court is the most right-wing court arguably in all of the history of the United States.

The problem with America is systemic.  Until we go to the roots of the problem and address those, we have no right to criticize the top to do is ultimately our job as the grassroots.

work (not verified) on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 06:14

Work.   We're in the problem because too many Amercians REFUSE to work, would rather stay home and wait for the handouts, cry "Poor Me" and say I can't take care of my "baby" (one of 10).   These are the same group that drop out of school, abuse lawful and unlawful drugs, can't speak a word of English.  

This plan is purely socialist.   Let's bring EVERYONE to the same level.   Take from those that have utilized the American Liberties they have available to them and give it to those that refuse to put an effort into living.  

Let's not forget, Social Security was created in much the same way that this health care "reform" is being pushed.  Where are we now?   A huge tax burden that is basically folding in on itself and that no one is willing to accept responsibility for fixing.   I hate to think what our tax burden (for those that WORK for a living) will be if this thing is passed.  

Get a job and quit crying

koala on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 07:10
1

Ah, so true work.  Those millionaires and billionaires who sit all day in their pool waiting for their dividend check to come.  And when they stop coming, they yell "poor me, help help!"  They asketh government and government provideth,

These are the same group that drop out of school, abuse lawful and unlawful drugs, can't speak a word of common decency.

This plan is purely capitalist.  Let's make sure that the poor remain poor so we can bilk them for taxes that they shouldn't have to pay.  We need to make sure that the American way of self-destruction continues.

Let's forget the fact that social security was created and passed by democrats and democrats only.  It was doing so well that Ronald Reagan borrowed billions from the Social Security Trust Fund to fix his colossal failure of a presidency.

But, I digress.  Pick up a history book and start learning.  If you can read, that is.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 07:12

What?! I can't trust the media for unbiased information?! Do you mean that the media news, done for profit, is more or less just another department for the corporations? Do you mean to tell me that just because big pharma buys 50% of late night advertising and a substantial portion of the rest of the day's commercials that the networks selling, I mean 'reporting' the news have a vested interest in reporting that which makes their clients happy?  Wow. I must be living in an igloo.

Seriously, you have to give me a little more credit than that. And, I would venture to say, you should give all Canadians a little more credit for being able to see what's really going on, in spite of the "Rupert Murdochs" and "Izzy Aspers" of the world.

Here's another thing. Lobbyists can't just flop back and forth between lobbying and high government office. At least not here in Canada. Lobbyists have to be registered, report their activities monthly, and if they have occupied a high government office or bureaucracy, they are barred from lobbying for 5 years. And by occupying, I mean if they were an adivsor to a minister or commissioner, they are still bound by the same laws.

What does the U.S. have to safeguard against the marriage of Government and the Corporations?

Hijacked is the proper, correct and timely word.

 Here are a some more contentious words you may reject as well.

The Corporate States of America.

 Somehow, I don't believe that the C.S. of A. is interested in universal health care. Hurts the bottom line.

 Plan dies in the Senate, by a slim margin.

 

 

allan on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 09:03

gyuliuscaesar, you're misinformed and willfully so considering that you could have easily Googled information on lobbying in the US.

Here are the new Obama rules on lobbying that were enacted almost as soon as he became President:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/ExecutiveOrder-EthicsCommitments/

The relevant passage related to your specious claim about lobbyists is:

2.  Revolving Door Ban    All Appointees Entering Government.  I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.

You could also have read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying_in_the_United_States

If you read it closely, you will understand lobbyists are registered in the US and they do have to report their activities. I don't know where you get your information but I believe that you simply don't know what the hell you're talking about and need to educate yourself.

As I've already pointed out to you, many businesses in the US are willing to adopt universal health care precisely because it's a bottom-line issue. You're all too willing to repeat the same old tired argument that the US is too bottom line oriented to adopt health care but when I directly challenge you on it, you go off into non sequitur land. This makes you disingenuous in my view.

 

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 13:53

2.  Revolving Door Ban    All Appointees Entering Government.  I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.

 Did you read about the Obama administration's appointments of 'registered lobbyists' to high government office in the last 6 1/2 months? I'm afraid that although there are printed words published that are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, the reality is quite different.

 I asked what protection you had in the U.S.; I never said your lobbyists weren't registered, or that they didn't have to report their actions. If action is any measure,  your printed regulations mean absolutely nothing. Your safeguards are impotent.

Do you now see what it is I'm on about?

 

allan on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 16:44

Gyuliuscaesar, do you have links or any supporting proof for your claims? In the words of Bush, bring it on!

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 18:22

First, you'll have to leave the Corporate States of America for the ride. Seems that Turner communications and Rupert Murdoch underreport the sensational, and sensationalize such things as Michael Jackson's memorial.

http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/20471.asp

 Now check out these names for yourself, so as to be completely satisfied that what I purport to be  the truth.

Here are former lobbyists Obama has tapped for top jobs:

Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm.

Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. (born January 21, 1951) is the 82nd and current Attorney General of the United States and the first African American to hold the position.[2] He is serving under President Barack Obama.

Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.

Barack Obama announced Vilsack's selection to be the United States Secretary of Agriculture under his administration on December 17, 2008. Vilsack's nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on January 20, 2009

William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.

William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.

He narrowly missed garnering the Secretary of Health position to one Kathleen Sebelius.

David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.

David J. Hayes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
David J. Hayes.

David J. Hayes is the Deputy Secretary of the Interior in the Obama administration. His nomination was confirmed on May 20, 2009  

Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.

Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.

Ron Klain

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Ronald A. "Ron" Klain is the Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden and the former Chief of Staff to the Vice President under Al Gore.[

Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.

Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.

President Barack Obama chose Muñoz to succeed Elizabeth Dial as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.


Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.

Patrick Gaspard is the Director of the Office of Political Affairs for the Obama administration. Gaspard is a Haitian American labor leader.

Gaspard was also on the advisory board for President Barack Obama's transition team[1]. During the presidential campaign, Gaspard was Obama's National Political Director.

Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

President-Elect Barack Obama announced on December 5, 2008, that Strautmanis will serve as Chief of Staff to Valerie Jarrett who is to be the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement.[2] He is currently Chief Counsel and the Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs on Obama's presidential transition team.[3][4]

 I hope these few examples suffice.

 

koala on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 18:38
1

Gyulius,

I suspect that we share the same world view.

Apologies for my remarks on Rupert Murdoch.  I was merely point out the irony of a liberal bringing up the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal to prove a point.

The United States actively seeks to marry corporations and government.  There are still more military contractors in Iraq than our military.  The State Department refuses to issue sanctions against the military contractor Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, in various State Department services (mostly for security).

It is, in fact, as you claim, the Corporate States of America.  (See neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism.)

Let me clarify my stance on usage of the word "hijack."  You're correct in saying that corporations have hijacked the United States.  However, I object to the implication that the Obama administration is the instigator of said "hijacking."  If anything, corporations "hijacked" the above-mentioned Supreme Court case and set a radical course for a long-term take over of the U.S. government all the way back in 1886.

There's a second reason against the use of the word "hijack" in a post-9/11 world.  The usage of the word buys into the radical right wing meme that Barack Hussein Obama is a muslim terrorist who is not eligible to be President.  That's simply not acceptable to me.  No liberal should make use of that word lightly.

Do you see my points?

I'd like to say a couple more words on lobbyists.  Lobbyists are only one element in a web of corruption of government.  As I said before, the problem is systematic.  There's a reason why President Obama issued an Executive Order re: lobbyists instead of directing the Democratic Leadership to introduce an anti-lobbying bill in Congress.  Simply put our current culture doesn't allow it.  Also, quite frankly, I don't know if an anti-lobbying bill will make a big enough dent to undo what's wrong (see C Street Center).

On your prediction that a Healthcare Bill will/won't pass:

You're correct in saying that the United States Congress is not interested in universal healthcare for all and a universal healthcare bill, if introduced, will not pass the current congress.  (see Health Insurance Reform; the Democratic Leadership's refusal of using the meme "Healthcare is a right")

Regardless, there's no question that something will pass that will somewhat dampen the effects of rising healthcare costs in America.  I have much faith in Peter Orszag of the OMB.

No one is betting on something not passing.  (see http://www.intrade.com)  Health Insurance Reform will pass.  And there are glimmers of hope in a couple of the amendments... notably debt forgiveness for medical school costs for general practice in under-served areas and/or allowing states to enact its own single-payer plans.

In our country, perfect cannot be an enemy of the good.

For example, part of the problem with Canadian healthcare is that it's provincial insurance and not one operated through the federal government.  (see wait times in Ontario vs Greater Victoria)  But it's still a great plan compared to our plan.

I might toss in that the United States already has good socialized healthcare provided for our veterans and we have a pretty excellent form of socialized insurance for our seniors in the form of Medicare.  TRICARE for the military is another example of the former.  (I don't know enough about Medicaid to comment on it, but it is a system similar to Canada's)

Government, like people, cannot be judged from a black/white perspective.  It's certainly an effective tool to get a message across in the form of propaganda, but aside from that, it detracts from real debate and understanding of the issues.

To tack onto my point I refer to your experience as an owner of a business.  I'm sure that you've had your share of competent employees and incompetent employees.  No organization, including government, is an exception to that rule.  We are incredibly lucky to have a competent and smart president.  But good government doesn't come from the top, it comes from the bottom.

As someone who considers himself a patriot, inaction from cynicism is inexcusable.

We watch for our openings and see what we can get.  Lobbyists, corruption, addiction to money, corporations, AM Talk Radio, etc. be damned. 


 

 

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 18:46

I suspect that you and allan are both baiting me in order to gauge my sentiments; I do the same thing here, with less fear of retribution. You should read some of the stuff I blog about.....it may be funny or ill-received, or both, but one thing is certain, when I'm on a subject that concerns me and mine, I tend to leave the literal battlefield as if it were bulldozed. It's a fault of mine, though I don't make any apologies. Many people ask my opinion; I'm sure many ask for yours. What's necessary is for the free exchange of information to continue to increase the overall knowledge of every citizen. And I, like you, take my duties as a citizen seriously. We are 'Citizen Initiators', and we can change the world.

But seriously, Barak ain't helping his cause by breaking his word time and time again, or by ignoring his own 'anti-corruption' rules. Deeds, not words. Facta non verba. (a reference to our own JTF2)

  See ya later!

koala on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 18:49
Title: I agree.
1

I agree.

allan on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 22:26

gyuliuscaesar, I don't think you have a cogent argument here. You've got a list of known appointees and officials who were past lobbyists. However, you've failed to provide evidence of any malfeasance by any of these folks. Mere evidence of past lobbying activity is not a cut and dried case that these folks are up to something. I've noticed that you've lumped in nonprofit execs, defense contractors and lawyers all in the same group. Only one of these people are related to health care issues, William Corr. Here's a good set of links on him: http://www.mahalo.com/william-corr

Looking at his past work, he's either been working for nonprofits or working in government. He's hardly an example of the mean lobbyist that you've been trying to portray. Sorry, guy, you did all that work but it was in defense of a pretty leaky hypothesis. Try again.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 07:19

From the text of my post;

Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.

 I do not choose to ignore appointments made in direct violation of Obama's own rules. Neither do I think that Goldman Sachs is anything other than the epitome of corporate malfeasance. I could go on for hours about GS and what they have done to you, the taxpayer, and to investors, companies, municipalities, counties, states, and the currency you carry in your wallet.

 And that's just on memory. Where's yours?

 

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 10:20

I just sent in an application to Howard Smith Law Agencies, signing up for the class action suit against ProShares, a company that operates an ETF that supposedly represents double the inverse of the Dow Jones (Rupert Murdoch's company) U.S. real estate index. Seems that the suit alleges that the prospectus is fundamentally faulty, and useless to the investor. I lost a bit with that one, and not just once. I'll keep you guys in the loop.

Wayne S. (not verified) on Sun, 08/16/2009 - 10:12

The real overwhelming cost of health care in this country is the result of malpractice suits, and the resulting malpractice insurance coverage, as well as CYA medical testing that doctors have to order to protect themselves from suits. Capping malpractice payouts, extending arbitration as a lawsuit substitute for most cases and simply allowing doctors to recommend rather than order frivolous CYA tests and requiring subscribers to get their insurance to authorize them or pay themselves for these unneeded tests would go a long way toward cutting the long term costs of private health care insurance and the overhead cost to provide care from doctors and hospitals.

koala on Sun, 08/16/2009 - 10:54

Nah, California and Florida have addressed those issues by "aggressively reforming" tort laws.  Have those in any way raised the numbers of the insured in Cal or Florida? No.

In fact, medical costs have gone up in those two states and the numbered of insured has gone down.


gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 11:20

Obama health care plan summarized.

Tell people that if elected, he will make public health care plans available to all Americans, and they will be substantially the same as government health plans.

 

 Once elected, say that the majority of Americans aren't interested in the above, so therefore the public plan will morph into a 'co-op' plan, a 'not-for-profit' plan. Similar to other plans already in existence for 60 years. Tell people that the essence of the health care plan, the universality of it, is but a 'sliver' of the overall plan.

 Tell people it's difficult to put a plan through congress that doesn't satisfy all of Congress's interest groups.

 Tell people that you're not doing an about face, but really, instituting reform in health care in a progressive manner.

 In effect, lie through your teeth. Serve 3 1/2 years more as president, and go down in history as being a puppet to corporate self-interest, if something doesn't end your presidency sooner, like an election.

  I'm just the messenger.


koala on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 18:04

Would you prefer a theocratic or monocratic government?

That would seemingly take care of all your concerns.  Answer me this, gyulius.  How much money does the White House and its allies have at its disposal versus the for-profit industrial complexes?

Would a new election guarantee a more progressive and experienced candidate?  How many votes did John McCain get?

Your messaging adopts right wing corporatist talking points designed to demoralize the progressive base. ("Obama is a liar." "A puppet of the corporations.")  

If that's the message you want to deliver, then the message is not one that anyone should receive with open arms.  Curiously missing from your arguments are figures such as Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, and the cons that will stop at nothing to kill health reform in this country.

It took FDR a year in office and an attempt on his life to seriously implement progressive policies.  Read the book "Traitor to His Class."  The deal is not over yet and to pass judgment at this point is seriously stupid.

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 20:15

Would you prefer a theocratic or monocratic government?

Actually, l would prefer an isocracy.

How much money does the White House and its allies have at its disposal versus the for-profit industrial complexes?

 I have no idea.

Would a new election guarantee a more progressive and experienced candidate?

 Do you read your own stuff before posting? No, there are no guarantees.

How many votes did John McCain get?

58 million.

The deal is not over yet and to pass judgment at this point is seriously stupid.

 Are you a betting man?

The Democrats took over the senate in late '06, the house in 07, and the presidency in 09. If they can't get it together to pass any healthcare bill, but move like greased lightning to pass bills that help their banking buddies, you've got to ask yourself this question;

Just who do they represent?

That's why I like the idea of an Isocracy. Cuts the B.S. right out.

But I doubt we'll see anything like that anytime soon, if ever, although the technology exists today and has for some time. No, the powers that be like the status quo; They control You, and you have the opportunity every couple of years to push a button on a voting machine that doesn't even give you a receipt. Whoopdeeding. Choose candidate A or candidate B. Whichever one you choose, you're not getting health care unless the corporations think they can make money off of you.

Am I right?




koala on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 23:49

Your sentiments are well-taken, but I stand by that your tin-foil hat attitude is not productive.  

You've also engaged in shift-framing (attacks on Obama -> attacks on Democrats, general politicians) and ad-hominem attacks (Do you read your own stuff before posting?) to address my concerns.  You're not a dumb guy so I know that you do so simply because you're not fond of losing (not that there ever was a winning or losing to this discussion).  I encourage you to clarify your statements instead of issuing a combative response.

Here's an example:

You are aware that I brought up the "theocracy/monocracy" argument because your arguments made it seem that a President single-handedly controls the body politic of America. Instead of saying "no," you switched your frame to a discussion on preferred methods of government administration.

Here's the biggest problem with you, gyulius.  A lot of progressive (new and old media included) pundits share it, so you're not alone.

Politics in America can also start from the ground up.  The City of Portland has instituted campaign finance reform.  The City of Arkansas has implemented Instant Run-Off Voting.  The State of California still refuses to permit off-shore oil drilling despite its critical budget woes.

In looking for things that promote your dooms-day world view, you miss these nuggets like 13 Republicans voting for a state-run single-payer amendment in the US House Education and Labor Committee (it passed).

During 2008, Obama and McCain spent $1 billion combined to win a national election.  Impressive, right?  For the 2010 election cycle, the insurance lobbyists have already spent $7 billion.  This is only 1 industry.  How can this be an easy job?

In order to win a national election in America, a candidate needs to raise (on average) $20,000 a day.  Do the math.

The problem is in the system.  Even you admit it by pointing towards a "isocracy."

Even for voting, you can read stories of horrible voting machines and private corporations taking over our voting process.  I have never voted on a voting machine.  I've always been a permanent absentee voter where they mail me my ballot.

There are constructive ways to approach this issue.  Yours is not an example of one.






gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 14:25

"You are aware that I brought up the "theocracy/monocracy" argument because your arguments made it seem that a President single-handedly controls the body politic of America."

Did you read my post? I quote;

"The Democrats took over the senate in late '06, the house in 07, and the presidency in 09."

 As far as me not realizing that politics start from the ground up, did you not read my post? I quote myself, yet again.

"Actually, l would prefer an isocracy"

"Cuts the B.S. right out."

 Maybe you miss my point. I haven't seen any evidence of Obama working toward the common good, for all Americans. What I do see is more of the same, 'Old Boy', 'Blue Dog' networks that put their efforts into taking more for themselves, and leaving less for everyone else. Call it 'tinfoil hat' stuff if you want, but I personally gauge the validitiy of any point of view by actions, not words.

 You bring up campaign financing frequently. It seems to be a pet subject of yours. Look into this; Penny Pritzker, campaign fund-raising manager for the Obama campaign. Look up who she is; who her family is, the failed attempt to make her Secretary of Commerce (no, I'm not kidding), until somebody pointed out that she was reponsible for allowing a financial institution to fail, even though she vowed to save it and the deposits of the bank. She didn't. Sounds familiar. Say one thing; do another. Life goes on. 

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/11/obama-pritzker.html

As for a lack of constructiveness; you're right. I have little hope for your country ever having anything like the 'Obama Health Care Plan'. I am trying something here that may have escaped you. I'm trying to get those people who still believe in their 'system' to realize that the system has been (apologies) hijacked. Top to near the bottom. What you need to do is stop placing your futures in the hands of those in whom you have invested your faith. You need to move toward true self-determination, not this 'representative' system. As you can see, your representative represents his own and his financiers interests. Time to move to a different way of government.

As for the tin-foil hat remark, I have to admit, I am the resident conspiracy theorist of Mensa, so I'm partial to tin-foil. But make no mistake; many theories are supportable. Many are not. It's the ones you choose to believe that makes you who you are. 

 

gyuliuscaesar (not verified) on Fri, 08/21/2009 - 17:26

The 'Public Option' is dead. The kernel of the health bill is dead. The Obama administration is giving the health care industry everything they asked for. You get to pay, if the corporations let you pay to be in their flawed, self-serving system. There is no change. Watch this;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRK_Xw1KG9U&feature=related

You guys need a new way to govern, obviously.

 

 

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