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Author Topic: Obama disappointment
JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
Some of us you label as partisan are also trying to beat down what appear to be slanted opinions. I'm frustrated by Obama, but I think he's trying to solve some incredibly difficult and even intractable problems. For instance, saying he's merely breaking a campaign promise by reacting to changing circumstances is one such slanted way to characterize the situation.

Sugar coating the side you support, when they screw up is the definition of partisanship.

I have no problem with a President amending a campaign promise when changing circumstances make that a logical choice. I have a huge problem when the original campaign promise was completely unrealistic, designed to buy votes and then discarded as soon as the election is finished.

This is true in both the "Read my lips, no new taxes" and the "Troops out of Iraq in 16 months" pledges.

There was no significant change in circumstances in either case. The promises were just disingenuous bull**** fed to the faithful.

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Pyrtolin
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If you enter a situation knowing that you're going to have to negotiate and give up ground, then starting from a realistic end point only means that you'll be pulled past it more easily in the process.

Even if 16 months probably wasn't going to be achievable, starting from there and accepting a 25% slip comes out to a better timeline than starting from 20 months and accepting a similar 25% slip.

More importantly, you seem to be trying to make the timeline itself the essential part of the promise, rather than the fundamental goal of "I'll get the troops out of Iraq".

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
More importantly, you seem to be trying to make the timeline itself the essential part of the promise, rather than the fundamental goal of "I'll get the troops out of Iraq".

Yes, words matter.
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Al Wessex
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You have the right to choose which words matter to you. If utter chaos had broken out in Iraq in the meantime, would you still have accused Obama of breaking a promise? How about if the Empire State Building was blown up and AQ in Iraq took credit. If we then went after them with a vengeance, would that still be a broken promise?

How about if they just pledged to hold national elections early this year, but the outcome left the country with no new government and terrorists saw that as an opportunity to destabilize the country again?

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
You have the right to choose which words matter to you. If utter chaos had broken out in Iraq in the meantime, would you still have accused Obama of breaking a promise?

[DOH]

Would it trouble you terribly to actually read my post before asking your questions?

My previous comment:
quote:
I have no problem with a President amending a campaign promise when changing circumstances make that a logical choice. I have a huge problem when the original campaign promise was completely unrealistic, designed to buy votes and then discarded as soon as the election is finished.

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Al Wessex
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So, my question is rhetorical. I don't think the campaign "promise" was disingenuous, circumstances have changed: They held national elections early this year, but the outcome left the country with no new government and terrorists saw that as an opportunity to destabilize the country again.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
So, my question is rhetorical. I don't think the campaign "promise" was disingenuous, circumstances have changed: They held national elections early this year, but the outcome left the country with no new government and terrorists saw that as an opportunity to destabilize the country again

Perhaps circumstances have changed this year, but President Obama modified his campaign promise in February of 2009.

Once he was in office he immediately discarded the fiction that was the original pledge. It was never a realistic promise in the first place and McCain said so at the time.

However, it was a very useful promise to buy the votes of the Peace crowd who were sucked in by the whole "Hope and Change" rhetoric. Once the election was done he could and immediately did dispense with pretense.

He also dropped the pretense that closing Guantanamo within 90 days was realistic, that he could double the size of the Peace Corp, that he would double funding for after school programs, that he would support a manned mission to the moon, reduce earmarks to 1994 levels, Negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN, etc.

He made a lot of promises that no rational person believed could be met.

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Al Wessex
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I guess I'm not entirely rational, but I liked the direction he was pointing. If I ask myself even with the disappointments that have happened if I would have been happier with McCain, the answer is still a very strong No.
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Greg Davidson
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I will acknowledge that 16 months deadline for Iraq from the moment of the Oath of Office is an aspect of the promise that literally will not be fulfilled. Obama never said that every single American military service member would be gone from Iraq, so that's a rather tough and arbitrary standard to hold him to. If Obama gets down to 50,000 military personnel (remember, those include logistics etc. not just soldiers) in 18 months rather than 16 months, and they are not going on combat missions, that's pretty good progress by my standards.

I think I would judge a President by the same set of standards. For example:

quote:
"There are 43 million uninsured Americans – 4 million more than when the current administration took office. George W. Bush will reverse this trend by making health insurance affordable for hard-working, low-income families." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]
If the Bush Administration had instituted policies that addressed health insurance affordability even if it had only slowed down the growth in health care costs, I would have given partial credit.

quote:
[B]y far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." [Source: George W. Bush, 2/15/00]

"Governor Bush's income tax cuts will benefit all Americans, but they are especially focused on low and moderate income families."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Taxes website]

If the cuts had even slightly tilted towards lower and moderate income families, I would have given credit. Instead, the top 20 percent of earners received 70 percent of President Bush's tax cuts.

quote:
"As President, Governor Bush will pay the debt down to a historically low level."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]

$1 less than what inherited would have gotten at least an absence of complaint on this account
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Greg Davidson
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How many of us on this site support a political party and are willing to accept responsibility for the effects that our votes have on eventually outcomes?

It is a very comfortable debating position to say that no side represents you, and that your unique positions (if ever they were implemented) would bring unique peace and prosperity to the world. But the reality is that politics is not about Gandalf or Ender solving all of our problems, it is about men and women making decisions under considerable uncertainty. Motives are not always pure; usually they are complex, involving both a sense of what politicians think is right, a sense of what is tactically feasible, differing beliefs as to how the world works, and even personal feelings towards other major actors. Democracy was designed to respect the fallibility of any individual, and our democracy in particular provides checks and balances that results in messy, incremental legislative solutions that reflect the will of many different men and women.

Right now Obama is grappling with major problems this country faces with more intelligence, decency, and collaboration than did Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, or Carter. He is not perfect, but he's the best I've seen in my adult life. He is limited by a Republican Congress who have behaved absolutely disingenuously (it's right out of Orwell's 1984 to assert that the stimulus did not create any jobs - the only way you can get to such a conclusion is by asserting that those words don't mean what they used to mean before it became politically convenient to twist them).

I am proud to support Obama - not because of who he is, but because of what he has done and what he continues to do. It's easier to criticize my position as blind loyalty than it is to criticize someone who stays within the safe confines of a cynicism that decries the world is ending. It is the easy way out to always be a cynic - you can never have your hopes disappointed if you always assume everything is done with ill intent. Ultimately, the truth of the matter is not based on the ease of criticism but rather on its accuracy.

SO let's get on with that debate

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Al Wessex
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I confess I'm surprised nobody followed up on an earlier post of mine or picked up the challenge I made.
quote:
...
That means that available health care *must* decline in the coming years. Fewer hospitals serving patients with less ability to pay for treatment. Fewer people with health insurance, and more people with more expensive health insurance premiums for which they are provided fewer services.

The marketplace won't address this, since the only business commercial enterprises are in is the production of profit. The government has to step in or death panels which already exist at the insurance and hospital level will exist at the family level as well.

So we have a set of contradictory forces that will not converge or resolve themselves in the marketplace if left alone. How do *you* resolve this if not through some sort of government intervention? Or do you let the "marketplace decide"?


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TomDavidson
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Let me again volunteer my observation that I am damn proud of having Feingold as my senator.
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Colin JM0397
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Can we clone him? Maybe a love child with he and Ron Paul for our representative clone army?

------------
Greg says: "He is limited by a Republican Congress"
Funny, last time I checked there is a Democrat majority in both houses.

Otherwise, that was the most rational (hence irrational) well-thought out opinion on why one should support the current left/right paradigm that I've heard in a long time.

Yet we've ceased to be a representative republic in anything but name for quite a while now. I completely reject the assertion that one must "pick your poison" with the Republicans or Democrats. That's faulty thinking at its worse because it is so rational and well-thought sounding. I don’t throw the term “corptocracy” and “fascist system” around very lightly, and that’s what I see from my POV.

And we're not sitting on the sidelines and sniping from our holier-than-thou positions. There is a tide of anger and activism that, finally, is threatening the machine.

Go find Z. Brzezinski’s recent comments to his boys at the CFR on that issue. There is an awakening going on, and many of us are quite groggy and po'ed after our long slumbers.

[ July 17, 2010, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
Greg says: "He is limited by a Republican Congress"
Funny, last time I checked there is a Democrat majority in both houses.

That is how the system is supposed to work, but the Senate has a rule that allows a minority of 40% to prevent almost any action. From Jan-Apr 2009 the Democrats had 56 Senators and two independents (Sen. Franken was not in office due to Republican delaying tactics, and Spector became a Democrat at the end of April). From Jul-Dec 2009 they had 58+2 (with a one month gap from late August to late September when Sen. Kirk was named as Sen. Kennedy's interim replacement was named). Then in January, Sen. Brown was elected and the Democrats went back to 57+2.

It is arguable that the Democrats did not make good use of the 5 months that they had 58+2 votes; in those months they were battling with renegade Democrats (and one independent, Lieberman) who all considered themselves "the 60th vote" and so were trying to extract personal gain for themselves and their constituents out of their potential control of legislation.

Even though the Democrats won significant majorities in both chambers, due to the nature of the Senate, their legislative control has been on the razor's edge, which is why I have been relatively impressed with their legislative accomplishments, and why I am not at all surprised that those pieces of legislation reflect the degree of compromise and incrementalism that they do.

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
And we're not sitting on the sidelines and sniping from our holier-than-thou positions. There is a tide of anger and activism that, finally, is threatening the machine.
Anger is an important motivating force, and it can be quite justified under certain circumstances. However, when unleashing anger it is very important to target that rage appropriately. Much of the strategy of professional politics is channeling anger not on the root cause of the relevant problems, but on targets that are politically expedient to scapegoat.

I am very suspicious of anger against "the machine" or "the government" because that view of the world is just not realistic. "The government" includes a very wide range of people, some of them financially corrupt, some of them blinded by their profession, some of them immersed in professional cultures that are harmful to the majority of the American people. But "the government" also includes men and women who are brilliant, courageous, and dedicated, and they help serve, protect and make this country a better place. The same goes for people in corporations, there's some good and some bad in any large group of people. Where there are systematic flaws that produce certain types of outcomes, then fundamental changes can be necessary, but we better have a pretty good idea of the root cause of problems before we implement fixes. Otherwise, we are at risk of producing iatrogenous* outcomes

* one of my favorite words - they actually taught us this in grad school in public policy - iatrogenous refers to disease caused by a doctor in the treatment of another ailment.

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flydye
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Confidence:

quote:
But one unfortunate pattern that has emerged in the last 18 months is to lay all the blame for our difficulties only on the business community and the financial world. This quite ignores the role of Congress in many areas, but most glaringly in forcing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration to back loans to people who could not afford them. And not to mention the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which in 2004 sanctioned higher levels of leverage for financial firms, from 12 times equity to over 30 times equity.

This predilection to blame business is manifest in the unnecessary and provocative anti-business sentiment revealed by President Obama in a recent speech that was supposed to be seeking the support of the business community for a doubling of exports over the next five years. "In the absence of sound oversight," he said, "responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment, or take advantage of middle-class families, or threaten to bring down the entire financial system." This kind of gratuitous and overstated demonization of business is exactly the wrong approach. It ignores the disappointment of a stimulus program that was ill-designed to produce the jobs the president promised—that famous 8 percent unemployment ceiling.

But it's not just the rhetoric that undermines the confidence the business community needs to find if it is to invest. Consider the new generation of regulatory rules, increased bureaucracy, and higher taxes created by the Obama administration. For example, the new financial regulation bill includes nearly 500 "rule-makings," studies, and reports, compared with just 14 in total for the controversial Sarbanes-Oxley bill, passed after the financial scandals of Enron and WorldCom. The disillusionment has spread to the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which represents small businesses that normally account for roughly 60 percent of job creation.

The chief economist of the NFIB, William Dunkelberg, put it clearly: Small business owners "do not trust the economic policies in place or proposed." He also said, "The U.S. economy faces hurricane force headwinds and the government is at the center of the storm, making an economic recovery very difficult."


I guess I'm just making s*** up. This has less to do with Zuckerman's Saul of Tarsus moment then the opinions of the three business groups whom all have publically come after Obama's policies. Are ALL of the Republicans?

web page

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Greg Davidson
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Zuckerman's article seems to be early 20th century jingoism updated by a century, but no more accurate than it was 100 years ago.

The truth is that we tried moving the country in the direction advocated by anti-regulation free marketeers, and the net results were disastrous. Because many of the loudest voices speaking for the free market philosophy are incapable of taking responsibility for the economic harm caused by their flawed theories, we keep getting these weak attempts to somehow wish and dream that the economic collapse of 2008 was all the fault of Congress or government agencies. The problem with a faith-based system of belief is that any contrary facts have to be attributed to the pre-defined villains regardless of what really occurred.

I will give "partial" credit for candor to self-proclaimed "lifetime libertarian Republican" Alan Greenspan for his testimony to Congress on October 23, 2008
quote:
Greenspan acknowledged that he was "partially" wrong in opposing regulation and stated "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity — myself especially — are in a state of shocked disbelief."[37] Referring to his free-market ideology, Greenspan said: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) then pressed him to clarify his words. “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Waxman said. “Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”[65] Greenspan admitted fault[66] in opposing regulation of derivatives and acknowledged that financial institutions didn't protect shareholders and investments as well as he expected.
Once upon a time, Greenspan was the nation's foremost voice for free-market economics, but pf course since he has admitted that his theories are flawed, I am sure that the true-believers will now pay zero attention to his words and instead cling fervently to their original faith.
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flydye
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How you can characterize the regulations and incentives forced by Dems and Republicans in this current mess as 'free market' is mindboggling to me. There are three references that you neglect to address at all in the article. Fannie, Freddie, SEC. All had more then their share of blame. Was that 'free market'?

There is a Conservative propensity to equate all regulation as bad. As you have shown, there is another side of the coin...

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Pete at Home
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http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/18/we-re-not-winning-it-s-not-worth-it.html

quote:
The first thing we need to recognize is that fighting this kind of war is in fact a choice, not a necessity. The United States went to war in October 2001 to oust the Taliban government, which had allowed Al Qaeda to operate freely out of Afghanistan and mount the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban were routed; members of Al Qaeda were captured or killed, or escaped to Pakistan. But that was a very different war, a necessary one carried out in self-defense. It was essential that Afghanistan not continue to be a sanctuary for terrorists who could again attack the American homeland or U.S. interests around the world.

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kenmeer livermaile
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If... if invading Afghanistan in '01 was necessary. Saying it was don't make it so.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Greenspan, in those remarks, didn't say "free market", did he? He cited "self interest". Not that "free makett" means anything. Markets, by nature, are regulated. read the history of markets. They have to be regulated. Only when they become immense and virtual can we think of them in abstract ideal terms while ignoring what history has shown time and again.
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Greg Davidson
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Greenspan did not say "free market". The slippery part is trying accountability out of those who believe in the anti-government, anti-regulation, "market forces invariably produce the most efficient solution" economy theory. So that is short hand. But the point he was making is that all of these conservative economic theories have as a fundamental premise that the entire market-place cannot make irrational choices.
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flydye
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Crap. Markets make mistakes and irrational choices all the time. It is that there is a correcting mechanism. After hitting one's hand so many times with a hammer, you stop.

However, as Freddie and Fannie have shown us, that is NOT the true of regulation. They can double down on their old mistakes, returning like a dog to his vomit.

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Greg Davidson
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I believe that you attribute excessive causality to Freddie and Fannie because by labeling them as the primary culprits you can maintain your faith in the market economy. Trading in financially fraudulent derivatives was a far greater cause.
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Al Wessex
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==>"If... if invading Afghanistan in '01 was necessary. Saying it was don't make it so."

We responded to a horrific crime with a full-blown war rather than a concerted and focused police action. We basically penalized an entire nation for the actions of a few who were protected (but not abetted) by their repressive religio-fascist government. It would be like Germany invading the US because a skinhead in Idaho slipped across to Europe and blew up the Reichstag Building in Berlin (the equivalent of our Capitol Building).

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Colin JM0397
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"...direction advocated by anti-regulation free marketeers"

I do tire of this refrain. When enough people repeat it, it starts to sound true, doesn't it.
[Roll Eyes]

Excessive laws, loopholes, and so-called "regulations" that benefit a few at the cost of the many IS NOT a free market. It's corporate cronyism, fraud, and an unnatural conglomeration that ends up tanking the markets.

I don't know what a real free market looks like because we don't have one! This is not to say the free market is the/an answer (as the knee-jerk hyperbolists try to attack anytime anyone points this out). However, statists and control freaks continue to repeat this BS refrain as an excuse to clamp down further. More cronyism, more so-called regulations, and more collusion mean us regular folks keep getting screwed. As that monstrosity passed last week will show, more of the same gets us more of the same.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss… but worse.

If the government would do it's job and quit winking at all these monopolistic entities while taking their money and benefits, then we might actually get somewhere. In other words, regulate the GD industry as it is supposed to!

Too big to fail????!!!!
Holy sh!t, that's why we used to have laws against monopolies!

[ July 19, 2010, 08:58 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Much of the strategy of professional politics is channeling anger not on the root cause of the relevant problems, but on targets that are politically expedient to scapegoat.

For example, Obama demonizing the health insurers when the root cause of health care problems is a system that is too expensive. But demonizing the Doctors, hospitals and health care workers would have been political suicide, so a scape goat was chosen.
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Pete at Home
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And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?

Not directly, no. Insurance companies pay the bills, add a surcharge and pass the cost to the customer. They don't have any significant responsibility for the 5-10% average annual increases.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?

Not directly, no. Insurance companies pay the bills, add a surcharge and pass the cost to the customer. They don't have any significant responsibility for the 5-10% average annual increases.
If not the insurance companies, who else has the leverage to negotiate against those price increases? If the surcharges that the insurance companies are adding on amount to 15-25% of their revenue, and they're working actively to find ways to avoid paying for services to boost that profit margin, then they're not only doing their duty to their customers in pushing back against the problem, but they're actively selling their customers out in favor of profits and returns to their investors.

Are providers charging too much? Sure. But by basic market principles, that's because their biggest direct consumers- the insurance companies- aren't pushing back against them to keep rates down, but instead using the escalating prices to drive their own profits, since their customers don't have the leverage to push back against them in turn.

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Al Wessex
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Like any business, insurance companies are most importantly dependent on what their customers are willing to pay. So as long as companies with insurance benefits are willing to pay the increases in premiums, the insurers will pass along "necessary" provider cost increases to them without protest.

The cycle extends to medical care consumers, and ultimately we decide how much we're willing to pay. Since we pressure the insurers about our insurance premium costs and not our doctors about what they agree to be paid by the insurers, the insurers can deal with our anger either by pushing back against the providers or by providing fewer services for the amount of money they charge. Guess who loses.

They have been taking the path of least resistance all along with HMO's that limit patient access to providers, and now are coming up with "custom" and creative "insurance plans" that give you less for as much more as you're willing to tolerate. Their greatest asset is our certain consumer knowledge that insurance premiums will go up year after year. They depend on our lack of real understanding of what we get for what we pay.

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Colin JM0397
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The Obama Deception - 2 hrs. I triple-dog dare you to watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?

Not directly, no. Insurance companies pay the bills, add a surcharge and pass the cost to the customer. They don't have any significant responsibility for the 5-10% average annual increases.
If not the insurance companies, who else has the leverage to negotiate against those price increases?
So you don't dispute the premise, but you insist that insurance companies should be held responsible for lowering costs.

What should their approach be:
1) Rationing care
2) Refusing to pay hospitals, doctors and health care workers as much
3) Other

I'm not opposed to any approach as long as it's rational and across the board. No favoring special groups.

And yes insurers are worried about making a profit, so is the government (it's profit (votes) is just measured a different way). So passing this over to the Federal government doesn't change the underlying cost issue. Tax payers aren't going to pay for unlimited care from the government to any greater degree than they did from private insurance agencies.

Demonizing the insurance companies remains a cheap, rhetorical trick.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
The Obama Deception - 2 hrs. I triple-dog dare you to watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

quote:
The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery.
Captains?? I want to hear what the Generals are crafting. And didn't Steve Jackson Games trademark that phrase "New World Order". [Razz]


Link

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
What should their approach be:
1) Rationing care

This is what they currently do, but they do it to maximize investor benefit rather than customer benefit because they can screw their customers with impunity.

quote:
2) Refusing to pay hospitals, doctors and health care workers as much
This is a big one- they should be actively using their buying power to negotiate reasonable prices rather than blithely passing costs along. Their active goal should be to ensure that all of their customers needs are met at the lowest cost possible, and their profits should come from what's left after that is done.

It's worth looking at what Maryland did here- it, as a state, took over this responsibility because the healthcare companies weren't doing it, and set a rate system for services ( including Medicaid/Medicare) that accounts for type and location of hospital as well as other similar considerations, and the result was not just stopping the escalation of costs, but solid profitability for the hospitals and care providers as well.

quote:
And yes insurers are worried about making a profit,
Making a profit isn't a problem in and of itself. The problem is treating profit as the overriding goal, instead of as the natural result of putting priorities on customers and products (and employees, but that's not germane to the context). Instead they choose to focus on short term profits at the expense of those, because they have rigged the system and taken advantage of mortal need such that their customers can't walk away, even if they realize that they're being scammed.
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Pyrtolin
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And- to add- yes, government profit can be seen as votes, but those votes are also its customers, investors, and employees all wrapped up into one, so it's down to just gaining votes based on the apparent quality of its product, which is about how it should be, as long as it's kept honest on that count.
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LetterRip
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Rather than watching the film, here is the summary version

http://www.cynicsunlimited.com/2009/03/17/movie-review-the-obama-deception/

Sounds like a reasonably objective summary.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
What should their approach be:
1) Rationing care

This is what they currently do, but they do it to maximize investor benefit rather than customer benefit because they can screw their customers with impunity.

A) The industries profits aren't that high (US avg = 6.2%), so clearly they aren't making excessive profits. Link

B) No they can't screw their customers with impunity, because customers can and do switch health insurers when they are mistreated. Usually on a company basis (I do support health portability requirements).

And somehow allowing the government to take over is going to increase customer service? I doubt it. When the government takes over an industry you can't choose someone else.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
2) Refusing to pay hospitals, doctors and health care workers as much
This is a big one- they should be actively using their buying power to negotiate reasonable prices rather than blithely passing costs along. Their active goal should be to ensure that all of their customers needs are met at the lowest cost possible, and their profits should come from what's left after that is done.

Again their current profits are 6.2% per year.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
It's worth looking at what Maryland did here- it, as a state, took over this responsibility because the healthcare companies weren't doing it, and set a rate system for services ( including Medicaid/Medicare) that accounts for type and location of hospital as well as other similar considerations, and the result was not just stopping the escalation of costs, but solid profitability for the hospitals and care providers as well.

I don't have a problem with state negotiating across the board rates. That's working to fix the root cause, not trying to imagine that we can save the system by demonizing health insurance companies. If individual insurers try to fix the rates and ration care they would be excoriated, but the government can get away with it much easier.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
A) The industries profits aren't that high (US avg = 6.2%), so clearly they aren't making excessive profits.



That's ROI, not net profit (revenue-expenses). Citing that stat at all as a measure of the company's profit margin is trying to pretend that their investors are their primary customers.

quote:
B) No they can't screw their customers with impunity, because customers can and do switch health insurers when they are mistreated. Usually on a company basis (I do support health portability requirements).


Individual customers are actively blocked from switching by adverse pricing schemes, and are extremely vulnerable to rescissions, since they have no bargaining power. Some company customers have the ability to switch between multiple plans, but even then, their choices are limited by the company's selections, and the actual cost to them is hidden because they don't see how much potential pay is being allocated as insurance payments behind the scenes. And since the market is so segmented, what leverage a larger company can apply to get better rates results in costs that are absorbed by other customers instead of being pushed back to any significant degree to the providers.

quote:
And somehow allowing the government to take over is going to increase customer service? I doubt it. When the government takes over an industry you can't choose someone else.
That's a flat out false argument. From specific example- PA's Medicaid/Medical Assistance program is a single payer system. But the actual mechanism for it is a number of insurance companies who act as customer advocates to the state to qualify recipients for care and pay providers for services rendered. Since their income depends on the coverage that their customers get and not direct premiums, their service level far exceeds that of private healthcare companies, because it's in their best interest to actively identify and suggest coverage options that their customers are qualified for, and since they have to pay the provider services under that coverage, they have a strong motivation to push back on fraud and improper billing, as well as costs of service in general, since that eats away from the pool of money that they're allocated to pay for such services.

So not only does choice absolutely still exist under proper implementations, but it's a choice among companies competing to provide the best service possible rather than ones that are colluding to extract as much money for the least services possible.

quote:
I don't have a problem with state negotiating across the board rates. That's working to fix the root cause, not trying to imagine that we can save the system by demonizing health insurance companies. If individual insurers try to fix the rates and ration care they would be excoriated, but the government can get away with it much easier.
I fully agree there- it would have been a far better solution to implement the MD plan across the board, or at least the inclusion of the public option, which would have set a competition baseline that did effectively the same thing, but that's a much harder sell than one that tries to use market forces with only private companies to achieve the same results.
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Colin JM0397
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LR - that is a good synopsis. I was expecting the standard hit piece, but that is well-thought and, IMO, fair criticism where it’s due.
From the end:
quote:
Hence, the Obama Deception is not the smear job some political partisans may have hoped for; instead, it is a discomforting launch point for discussion about the impotence of American democracy. If viewers come away from this film with one question, it is hopefully be why such readily available facts and inconsistencies must be highlighted in fringe films and not the so-called free press (from the Huffington Post to FOX News) that shapes the vast majority of public opinion and has been supposedly liberated by the internet.
IMO, that was the point. It was kind of Trojan horse to get a lot of Republicans to see the illusion of the right-left political theater. They think they are getting an Obama hit piece, and 2 hrs later they've just had a much bigger point drilled into them.

Of course, the answer to that question is in the film itself - the vast majority of the MSM is owned/controlled by a small number of key multinationals, which are also tied into the banks and such.

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