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Old 10-28-2013, 04:06 AM   #946
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NYT OpEd: The Big Kludge

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But while we wait for the geeks to do their stuff, let’s ask a related question: Why did this thing have to be so complicated in the first place?

It’s true that the Affordable Care Act isn’t as complex as opponents make it out to be. Basically, it requires that insurance companies offer the same policies to everyone; it requires that each individual then buy one of these policies (the individual mandate); and it offers subsidies, depending on income, to keep insurance affordable.

Still, there’s a lot for people to go through. Not only do they have to choose insurers and plans, they have to submit a lot of personal information so the government can determine the size of their subsidies. And the software has to integrate all this information, getting it to all the relevant parties — which isn’t happening yet on the federal site.

Imagine, now, a much simpler system in which the government just pays your major medical expenses. In this hypothetical system you wouldn’t have to shop for insurance, nor would you have to provide lots of personal details. The government would be your insurer, and you’d be covered automatically by virtue of being an American.

Of course, we don’t have to imagine such a system, because it already exists. It’s called Medicare, it covers all Americans 65 and older, and it’s enormously popular. So why didn’t we just extend that system to cover everyone?

The proximate answer was politics: Medicare for all just wasn’t going to happen, given both the power of the insurance industry and the reluctance of workers who currently have good insurance through their employers to trade that insurance for something new. Given these political realities, the Affordable Care Act was probably all we could get — and make no mistake, it will vastly improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans.

...

And Republicans still dream of dismantling Medicare as we know it, instead giving seniors vouchers to buy private insurance. In effect, although they never say this, they want to convert Medicare into Obamacare.

...

No, the assault on Medicare is really about an ideology that is fundamentally hostile to the notion of the government helping people, and tries to make whatever help is given as limited and indirect as possible, restricting its scope and running it through private corporations. And this ideology, at a fundamental level — more fundamental, even, than vested interests — is why Obamacare ended up being a big kludge.

In saying this I don’t mean to excuse the officials and contractors who made such a mess of health reform’s first month. Nor, on the other side, am I suggesting that health reform should have waited until the political system was ready for single-payer. For now, the priority is to get this kludge working, and once that’s done, America will become a better place.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:46 AM   #947
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Um, the deficit's been at its lowest right now.
At its lowest? I mean, it's gone down substantially since 2009, but it's still high.

In all honesty, though, I'm not really worried about America's near-term fiscal policy, as long as growth keeps chugging somewhat forward. I am scared about it long-term, once entitlements become more of a Japanese-style burden. If that happens and the economy is not cyclically depressed, inflation would be counterproductive.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:29 AM   #948
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At its lowest? I mean, it's gone down substantially since 2009, but it's still high.

In all honesty, though, I'm not really worried about America's near-term fiscal policy, as long as growth keeps chugging somewhat forward. I am scared about it long-term, once entitlements become more of a Japanese-style burden. If that happens and the economy is not cyclically depressed, inflation would be counterproductive.
If you've been reading the economic news on Japan, things are turning around because the PM is increasing inflation.

All the inflation fears from a few years ago has never happened. Keynesian economists insist that under current conditions, particularly with low employment, inflation was never likely to happen.

On the other hand, Keynesian economists say that with rising inflation (even if China calls the debt, which is said to be 10% of U.S. debt, because the U.S. debt is basically charging itself, so to speak): U.S. exports would be more competitive, and employment and wages are likely to rise.

I dunno if I can articulate/support these positions any better. I've just been following liberal economists...

One thing I certainly do understand, though, is liquidity trap. For me, that's very intuitive and evident.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:34 AM   #949
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Here's the debt chart regarding to whom U.S. owes $$.

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Old 10-28-2013, 09:39 AM   #950
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Debt Is (Mostly) Money We Owe to Ourselves - Krugman

Foreigners and the Burden of Debt - Krugman
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:45 AM   #951
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Sorry, just one more NYT OpEd article from Krugman

Nobody Understands Debt
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:50 AM   #952
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At its lowest? I mean, it's gone down substantially since 2009, but it's still high.
Oh yeah, while the deficit seems high at $600B... it's nowhere near what Rand Paul declares “running a trillion-dollar deficit every year”
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:14 PM   #953
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NYT OpEd: Plutocrats vs. Populists
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:56 PM   #954
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Inflation won't solve the debt problem if deficits are high. If debt it high, it will bring that down in real terms, but debt will climb higher if the government is forced to pay higher yields on its debt. And inflation could spook investors into demanding higher yields for a time after it dies down, in case the inflation happens again.
Except that can be offset by the Federal Reserve continuing to buy bonds, which would have the effect of suppressing interest rates.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:11 PM   #955
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Except that can be offset by the Federal Reserve continuing to buy bonds, which would have the effect of suppressing interest rates.
True, although I expect that the Fed would work to jack interest rates up in an inflationary environment. But if they are intentionally ignoring half of their mandate by creating inflation to drive down real government debt, that's an unrealistic expectation to have, I suppose.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #956
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Except that can be offset by the Federal Reserve continuing to buy bonds...
Buying your own debt... what could possibly go wrong???????
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:55 AM   #957
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Essay: Tea party has roots in the Dallas of 1963

By Bill Minutaglio, Published: November 21

The president is a socialist. He is neutering the United States on the world stage. He is spending us into bankruptcy. He is hellbent on expanding national health care, which will surely lead to government death panels.

He is advancing big-government agendas everywhere from Main Street to Wall Street. And do we really know the truth about his personal history and religion?

Perhaps the man in the Oval Office should be impeached — even tried for treason.

If today’s extremist rhetoric sounds familiar, that’s because it is eerily, poignantly similar to the vitriol aimed squarely at John F. Kennedy during his presidency.

And just like today, Texans were leading what some of them saw as a moral crusade.

To find the very roots of the tea party of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months and weeks leading to the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry political polarization, driven by a band of zealots, burst wide open in America.

It was fueled then, as now, by billionaires opposed to federal oversight, rabid media, Bible-thumping preachers and extremist lawmakers who had moved far from their political peers. In 1963, that strident minority hijacked the civic dialogue and brewed the boiling, toxic environment waiting for Kennedy the day he died.

As he planned his trip to Dallas in November 1963, President Kennedy knew that hundreds of thousands across Texas adored him — or at least, respected the office he held. But he also knew that there was an increasingly hysterical fringe.

As Kennedy approached Dallas, he turned to his wife, Jacqueline. “We’re heading into nut country today,” he said.

Dallas Morning News publisher Ted Dealey had a loathing that became particularly deeply personal. At a social luncheon for Texas news executives in the State Dining Room of the White House, Dealey berated Kennedy to his face: “We need a man on horseback to lead this nation — and many people in Texas and the Southwest think that you are riding Caroline’s tricycle.”

Back in Dallas, Dealey ordered his reporters to investigate whether Kennedy had been married to another woman and whether the Kennedy dynasty had somehow erased evidence of that marriage.

Not far away in downtown Dallas, oil billionaire H.L. Hunt was pouring millions into a ceaseless anti-Kennedy radio campaign; it was the dawn of extremist radio in the nation. Hunt’s program, “Life Line,” reached 10 million listeners a day with its scorching attacks against “the mistaken,” the term Hunt’s announcers used to describe the president’s supporters.

When Kennedy proposed Medicare to provide health care for the elderly, Hunt’s shows warned that government death panels would follow: “a package which would literally make the president of the United States a medical czar with potential life-or-death power over every man, woman and child in the country.”

Hunt’s pastor in Dallas was the thundering W.A. Criswell, head of the largest Baptist congregation in the country. Criswell was deeply suspicious of the president’s Catholic religion, and he assailed Kennedy’s candidacy as a possible plot that would undermine America’s true Christian values.

Dallas was represented in Congress by an eloquent, Ivy League-educated ideologue regarded by some as the most extreme politician in Washington. Bruce Alger had cast the lone “no” vote against a federal program to provide free surplus milk to needy children. Even among his conservative peers, Alger was considered on the outer edge.

There was also Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker, the commander who had been hailed as a hero for breaking the grip of segregation in Arkansas’ capital; he led the bayonet-carrying troops who escorted African-American students to the doors of a Little Rock high school and kept order in the streets afterwards. Within four years, Walker had been relieved of his command by Kennedy’s defense secretary, Robert S. McNamara, after he was accused of trying to brainwash his troops with ultra-right-wing propaganda. The defrocked Walker moved to Dallas and was welcomed by the mayor in a grand public ceremony.

Walker promoted anti-federal agendas as well as what were once quaintly called “Southern traditions.” He made national headlines by instigating bloody riots against James Meredith’s brave attempts to integrate the University of Mississippi.

Many historians now agree that the blind absolutism of these powerful men of Dallas in the early 1960s has been discredited.

But here we are in 2013 and the echo is painfully clear:

The ad hominem attacks against a “socialist president.” The howling broadcasters. The mega-rich men from Texas funding the political action campaigns. There is even another charismatic, Ivy-educated ideologue: Sen. Ted Cruz would have been quite comfortable in Dallas 1963.

In the days leading to Kennedy’s fateful hour in Dallas, the city experienced one dark moment after another. Swastikas were plastered on the high-end emporium Neiman Marcus. A bomb threat was made during a visit by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. A cross was burned on the lawn of a Holocaust survivor. U.N. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson II, in town for a speech, fled for his life after being surrounded by a spitting mob.

It all occurred in a place where a few powerful people had marched far from the political center and erected a firewall against reasoned debate.

Fifty years after Kennedy’s death, it is as if nothing has changed. As the nation continues to sift for meaning in his tragedy, this is the most aching lesson of all.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...40e_print.html
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:49 PM   #958
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Good to see 'Obama is a socialist' still getting a good run. He's still nothing like one.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:19 PM   #959
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Pamphlets are idiotic. I don't think you're find too many people defending this.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:24 PM   #960
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Pamphlets are idiotic. I don't think you're find too many people defending this.


agreed. it is fringe. but the historical parallels are interesting.
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