More On Baucus Care's Excise Tax And Wages

Matt Yglesias writes:

The two major advantages of relying on [the Baucus Care excise tax] method of financing health care are that (1) it “bends the curve” by encouraging people to take more of their earnings in the form of money [. . .] rather than health care services, and (2) it lets you stay deficit-neutral over the long-haul. What the House has done, by contrast, is deficit-neutral inside the three-year window but not longer than that. The big problem with Finance’s excise tax, I would say, is that it doesn’t actually raise enough money.

(Emphasis supplied.) Ezra and Yglesias live in some mythical world of a perfect competition model for labor where workers get to pick and choose how their compensation packages are formulated. It does not exist. Yglesias also contradictorily argues that the Baucus Care excise tax is "deficit neutral" but does not "raise enough money." The two statements are irreconcilable. And then Yglesias goes for the obvious solution - adopt the House approach of a surtax on the wealthy.

I say let's just cut through the nonsense and tax the wealthy - if it makes some feel better that a part of the tax comes in the form of an excise tax on health care benefits - limit it to incomes over $200,000. Mind you, I believe all the "bending the cost curve" stuff is sheer nonsense. But as long as the wealthy pay the bill, it's ok with me.

Speaking for me only

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    tax the wealthy (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Illiope on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:03:07 PM EST
    sounds like a friggin great solution to me

    Deifne weathly (none / 0) (#40)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:47:48 PM EST
    Is wealthy in Iowa the same as wealthy in New York or Pelosi's district?

    Wealthy is 10x poverty rate.... (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:13:03 PM EST
    ...which puts it at $108,300 for an individual, $220,500 for a family of four (see 2009 schedule here).



    Sounds just about right to me (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:42:17 PM EST
    I love Jeralyn mucho.  But the comment that 200,000 doesn't go far is pretty funny when you compare that to what the rest of the country is living on and having to make go far.  By this equation our family is definately middle class, and it feels that way too as I go basically where I want to go and blog all hours when I deem I have the time.  Which seems to be quite a bit.

    Heh (none / 0) (#87)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 09:34:32 AM EST
    I love it.  That will not even float here at TL.

    defined (none / 0) (#90)
    by Illiope on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 10:28:22 AM EST
    those currently in the 35% federal income tax bracket.

    not to mention the need to tax hedge funds much, much higher.


    I don't understand why I have (5.00 / 9) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:16:28 PM EST
    to seek deficit neutral?  Military spending doesn't have to be deficit neutral.  Bailing out Wall Street doesn't have to be deficit neutral.  But tending to our greatest national resource has to be deficit neutral?

    could make the case (none / 0) (#11)
    by CST on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:22:45 PM EST
    that the bailout was "one-time only" and healthcare is over the long term.

    But there were even a lot of conservatives who were ticked off about lowering taxes while starting a war.

    That being said, I do think, in general, deficit neutral is a good thing.  It should just be applied more consistently, and thrown out during emergencies (like Stimulus, etc...).  The key to deficit neutral is raising taxes though, which no one wants to do.


    Can I have as much money (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:30:30 PM EST
    in a one time lump sum to "fix" healthcare (create a national co-op) as Wall Street got.  I'm okay with that too.

    fine by me (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by CST on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:33:30 PM EST
    It's infuriating because it should be easy to make this deficit neutral - a robust public plan would pay for itself a lot more than the (not even) half measures.

    According to my study and your study (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:41:16 PM EST
    a public plan would pay for itself, but there are other studies out there that say different :)

    Because that is the President's (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:09:07 PM EST
    line in the sand.  Don't know why.  But there you have it.

    To appease the Republicans (none / 0) (#46)
    by nycstray on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:11:05 PM EST
    (and ConservaDems) who will vote No anyway.

    What's wrong with making them happy (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:33:03 PM EST
    even though they will vote against it?

    It does seem like a good idea to disappoint those who will actually vote for the bill.


    And I'm not allowed to cuss on here : ) (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:07:58 PM EST
    So the President's line the sand automatically becomes Matt's?  I thought the President had no power when it came to what sort of healthcare reform we get.

    I had the understanding that original goal (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:34:48 PM EST
    was to provide more health care and not less.

    Now as I understand it that goal is

    encouraging people to take more of their earnings in the form of money [. . .] rather than health care services

    and to increase the revenue that the IRS is able to collect from the working poor and the middle class.

    If people actually get more earnings, which I doubt, and never get sick or have an accident, then and only then, will less health care services be a good idea.

    I caught that too but couldn't put it into (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:39:07 PM EST
    the words I wanted to say at the time.  I was distracted by having to be deficit neutral while people die and the general health of America as a whole has erroded away.  But yes, having a few more bucks to buy a few more bags of potato chips could make me feel better until the carb crash :)

    I had the understanding that original goal (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:35:34 PM EST
    was to provide more health care and not less.

    Now as I understand it that goal is

    encouraging people to take more of their earnings in the form of money [. . .] rather than health care services

    and to increase the revenue that the IRS is able to collect from the working poor and the middle class.

    If people actually get more earnings, which I doubt, and never get sick or have an accident, then and only then, will less health care services be a good idea.

    Slightly off topic but health care related (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:17:04 PM EST
    The House Judiciary Committee throws down the gauntlet.

    The U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted to repeal the insurance industry's federal antitrust exemption in a move aimed at spurring competition and controlling the cost of premiums.

    The panel, in a 20-9 vote, approved legislation to ban companies from engaging in price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation. The measure may be combined with a proposed overhaul of the health-care system the House is considering.

    Regardless of this measure eventually becomes a part of overall healthcare reform legislation, it does give those in favor of reform important leverage in negotiations and deliberations -- including over whether or not to include a robust public option. link

    This is a true bipartisan effort. Three Republicans voted for it. Take that and stick in your hat, Baucus.

    I don't know much about excise taxes, (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:52:47 PM EST
    but I don't understand the arguments that Yglesias and Klein are making for why they make sense.

    But then, I don't understand the insistence on an employer-based model, either.  Okay, it's an existing framework, but why is the assumption that it's the best one to accomplish most people's goals for reform: increased access, increased affordability and increased competition?

    I suppose the problem I have with Yglesias and Klein is that they don't seem to be applying true critical thinking skills to the issue as much as they are trying to justify what they believe is the administration's preference for the Baucus plan.  That would be a problem for me whether they were 25 or 55.

    I do think life experience brings something to the mix that is lacking with these bright young people, and since they cannot create that experience out of thin air, it means they have a greater responsibility to question, and to listen to ordinary people who do have that experience.

    I was surprised to learn CalPERS (none / 0) (#61)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:11:54 PM EST
    is committed to employer-based health insurance.  Not sure why.  

    Medicare is also an existing framework (none / 0) (#70)
    by sallywally on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:06:46 PM EST
    and overall, doesn't the government framework (Medicare, Medicaid, VA, etc.) cover a large percentage of the population?

    I mean, is it covering nearly as many as, as many as, more than, the employer-based insurance?


    Living in a bubble (5.00 / 5) (#74)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:29:45 PM EST
    Ezra and Yglesias must not have much work experience in corporate America. If they really believe companies will pass on any savings to the employess is just naive at best. (I actually think it's an insult to their readers intelligence).

    Any savings made will be passed on to profits and share holders. Then the executives will get a nice bonus on the money the company saved. The employee will be told they're lucky they have a job!

    Ezra and Yglesias are probably great believers in the trickle economy too. We've seen how great that's worked out.

    If your assertion is the case (2.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 08:33:22 AM EST
    then it would logically follow that corporations would not pay anything at all to their employees.  Obviously there is a force pushing the wage rate that you are not accounting for.  

    You are confusing an internal family model (parents determine things for children who have no choice but to remain with parents) with capitalism (employers compete amongst each other for workers).  


    In what reality? (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 10:42:51 AM EST
    In today's job market, the option of leaving is not a viable option for many (if not most). Companies know this and are using it as leverage.

    We had an incident here in Chicago where the company locked everyone out one morning and then told them that they would only have jobs if they agreed to significant pay cuts.

    Several of my friends have been terminated and then rehired as independant contractors so that the company can not only cut slaries but avoid any benefit package also.

    With the government firmly behind big business and the bust up of unions, employees are being squeezed at both ends.


    What right (2.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 11:27:56 AM EST
    does an employee have to demand their wages and benefits never drop?  Where does this right come from?  

    I agree that if a contract is signed, it should be honored.  But the notion that a laborer is entitled to a specific wage or to maintain benefits or to simply keep their job despite external factors gives rise to major problems in regards to running a business.  

    If demand for a certain good drops, the company making that good has to find a way to lower costs or go out of business.  People that talk about the great results reaped by unions should also take note of how union demands in the auto industry - which disregarded economic reality and sustainability - helped destroy those companies. (This is not to say unionizing is not a good thing at times, but when it is predicated on preventing competing labor from entering the market via violent enforcement it's just amoral behavior for personal gain).    

    So I'm no fan of government or the unfair advantages granted to corporations...but to suggest that someone who made $2/hr building carriages in 1890 should still get at minimum $2/hr in 1940 when demand for carriages has plummeted...


    you mean slavery (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Illiope on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 11:00:07 AM EST
    yes, it would be the corporate wet dream to have free-labor. of course, without reinstituting slavery, this isn't going to happen. hence the moving of more and more jobs overseas, to areas, like china, that force labor into conditions just barely above slavery.

    and you have it backwards: workers compete amongst each other for any job they can get, no matter how crappy. and (thanks to neoliberal economic ideology turned loose on an unsuspecting public) employers can slash benefits, wages, pensions, you name it, and still be able to get job applicants--as desperation is a constant beast.

    "free market", "free trade", "fiscal conservatism": all meaningless slogans.


    I don't mean slavery (2.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 11:19:56 AM EST
    Are you suggesting that slaves had the option to leave and that they only were "forced" to stay in the sense that no one else would pay them a better wage?  Allowing employers to determine the wages they offer their employees is not slavery. Slavery requires violence unlike capitalism which is defined as voluntary interaction (not the US economy).  

    Just a note: It would be everyone's wet dream that labor be free because the customer is the individual that funds the labor ultimately.  

    "workers compete amongst each other for any job they can get, no matter how crappy." Well people compete for the best job they can get.  Otherwise there's no 'competing'.  The number of people competing and their productive capacities as ultimately evaluated by customers (in the price their willing to pay) is a large portion of what determines the quality of their employment.  

    "employers can slash benefits, wages, pensions, you name it, and still be able to get job applicants" Really?  Then why don't all employers just pay the minimum wage?  Since they don't, we know this statement does not describe real labor markets.  


    the "real labor market" (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Illiope on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 11:51:15 AM EST
    maybe you're right.

    maybe in, as you call it, the "real labor market" real wages have gone up, benefits have been added, and pensions have not been eliminated. i should stop reading about the fake labor market, drat.

    silly me.

    and, lord knows, that the spread of capitalism has been one of the most peaceful, pacifistic processes since the rise of christianity. its inherent inequality is loved and cherished by all.


    Spread of capitalism is peaceful by defintion. (2.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:34:07 PM EST
    I believe you're referencing mercantilism or neo-colonialism.  

    Real wages dropping is function of both lower real cost of living and monetary inflation.  

    You're advocating the use of violence to enforce a subjective preference.  You have called voluntary action slavery, which is to say that consensual sex is the same as rape.  A person working at a Starbucks is there voluntarily, referring to this individual as a "slave" is inaccurate.  

    Just to clear a few things up: Statism, not capitalism, is responsible for the violence you are referencing.  Statism, not capitalism, derives it's support through the same mechanisms as religion.  It relies on a benevolent dictatorial super-moral force with an alleged ability to manage every detail of the world.  Capitalism is the opposite of the absolutely absurd notion that a specific group of individuals are fit to be given a monopoly on the initiation of violence so that they can run the affairs of all others.  Trying to merge a "belief in the free market" with religion is a common mistake.  The reality of it is that the "free market" is a term describing all voluntary interactions.  "Believing" in the free market is simply adhering to the non-aggression principal because 1) it's moral and 2) non-violent solutions have been shown time and time again to be superior to violent solutions (morally and in terms of sustainability).

    Frantic Marxist.  


    unicorns and leprachauns (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Illiope on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:24:46 PM EST
    there is no. such. thing. as a "free" market. it is an empty slogan that belies reality, and used as a cudgel against anyone that desires crucial regulation. its like a belief in santa, or unicorns.

    it has never has existed, never will. like a lot of your posts and observations, it only exists in the wonderfully vacuous world of textbook ideology. When the rubber hits the road your angelic capitalism is corrupted by human nature. Enjoy fantasy-land though. You seem comfy.

    And... i have only blogged here for about 2-3 weeks and already, 2 times, you have used the rape-analogy. kind of creepy.


    Well (1.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:40:47 PM EST
    Do you still think working at Starbucks is slavery?  I'll ask again - does consensual sex = rape?  

    You are advocating the use of violence for the benefit of a specific group over another.  


    Where is (none / 0) (#101)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:54:12 PM EST
    Or when was, this rare, purified, completely non-violent form of "Capitalism" (I know, I know, the ONLY kind)?

    Is this the Gospel of St Ayn -- spoken unto the Gentiles?


    Never suggested (none / 0) (#102)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:59:54 PM EST
    the world was free of violence.  

    Only illustrating that those who advocate violent solutions are in fact advocating violent solutions.


    Give us some examples (none / 0) (#106)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:12:11 PM EST
    from the annals of recorded history that will convince us of the public-interest-serving-benefits of this rarified form of capitalism you keep talking about.

    But then, you dont believe in anything like a "public interest" -- or public land, public education etc -- do you?


    Ofcourse not. (2.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:39:58 PM EST
    Except public interest...how much is it a year now?  jk.  

    Check this out School Sucks Podcast

    There are many examples of capitalism helping people.  We're literally surrounded by them constantly.  I'm arguing for the effects of capitalism as defined as any form of voluntary exchange.  

    Capitalism is what encourages farmers to grow enough food to meet demand, the kind of food and where it should be sent.

    I believe what you're arguing is that voluntarism gives rise to power imbalances which cause people to be victims of some sort. You're advocating that the introduction of a monopolistic violent entity called government is necessary to mitigate these effects. Im simply saying that the power imbalances created within in voluntary framework are effectively nil next to the power imbalance between a government and it's citizenry.  The theoretical framework of the "free market" was used in this instance to describe series of causes and effects which would seem to logically occur in the absence of violent intervention.  The reliance on a theoretical framework is necessary as quantifying and removing the effects of violence (govenrment intervention) is not possible.  

    Very briefly: Privately owned land used for harvesting lumber is operated in a sustainable way so that the owners of the land do not destroy their capital investment, the land itself - which allows them to profit repeatedly over time.  Unsustainable lumber harvesting occurs when governments grant contracts to private companies (through bribing bureaucrats)to harvest the lumber over a determined period.  In both instances the private companies are simply "profit maximizing entities", however the latter company's motivation to unsustainably harvest the lumber only arises out of government intervention in which the taxpayer subsidizes the force necessary to claim the land as "public" and bureaucrats subsequently seek profit for themselves and friends in the form of bribes from private business, at the expense of the public that originally footed the bill.  


    You havn't been doing "only" doing that (none / 0) (#113)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:43:15 PM EST
    you've also been non-illustartively attempting to illustrate that capitalism is inherently non-violent.

    Abstract examples from (none / 0) (#117)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:57:04 PM EST
    the realm of pure, Liberatrian theory ISNT what I meant by illustrate, btw.

    Slavebuck (none / 0) (#103)
    by Illiope on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:03:21 PM EST
    huh, now there's a loaded question.

    then i ask you: do you still beat your wife?

    both loaded, and both dumb.

    i never said that working at starbucks was slavery. i responded to your post about corporations getting free labor, which i said would only be possible if there was slavery. i think you need to review the discussion thus far, you seem confused again.

    and i advocated violence? wow... that is delusional. good job with that.

    this seems to be a pattern with your posts. leading me, once again, to find a discussion with you both tedious and pointless.


    Well (2.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:15:37 PM EST
    Regarding Slavery:  If someone is in fact choosing to work somewhere, there should be no need for the government to control wages via the threat of violence.  I mistakenly thought you had implied that people do not choose to work but are rather "forced" through desperation.  I thought your argument was that the existence of this "force" was the basis for government intervention.  Are you saying that an employee at Starbucks chooses to work there or is forced to work there?  

    Regarding Violence:  Suggesting any form of government wage control is advocating violence because the government has no other means of controlling people.  All fines/levies/taxes are back by violence, otherwise more people would ignore them.  You are quite literally advocating violence whenever you suggest a government solution.


    The same guy who (none / 0) (#104)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:05:24 PM EST
    would probobly say the unmarried mother sleeping with her lecherous boss does so "consensually" and leaves it at that.

    There's no such thing as economic coercion and abuses of power in that realm of perfect freedom which is capitalism.


    So a small group of people (none / 0) (#105)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:08:50 PM EST
    should be given a monopoly on violence.  

    Did she do it (none / 0) (#107)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:13:38 PM EST
    consensually or were there other contingencies involved?

    Like was she mind controlled? (2.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:19:14 PM EST
    I don't really get it.  Does this woman have the option to not have sex with her employer?  Can she leave the building?

    You're saying that this woman is sleeping with her boss as a form of exchange for something else correct?


    Right. (none / 0) (#110)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:26:53 PM EST
    A survival pass for her and her kids. For another couple of months or so.

    Of course people always (none / 0) (#111)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:32:40 PM EST
    choose to be poor and poverty in itself dosnt inflict suffering: to see it as such is a choice people who havnt read Atlas Srugged make.

    Lame (none / 0) (#114)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:43:54 PM EST
    never read a word of Ayn Rand...get over it.

    I don't believe people choose to before.  I also don't believe that someone, because they are poor, has a moral right to steal from someone who has more.  

    Is that what you're saying?  


    Apparently someone you HAVE (none / 0) (#116)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:54:50 PM EST
    read has.

    Is poverty a form of violence?


    Poverty can arise from violence. (none / 0) (#118)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 04:05:16 PM EST
    But is not inherently violent.  

    Not violent (none / 0) (#119)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 04:12:47 PM EST
    That way we can say the withholding of assistence is non-violent and moral.

    My first thought is that one should be careful when discussing experiences one has never had at first hand.


    Can you state that again? (none / 0) (#120)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 04:14:06 PM EST
    I don't think I'm reading it correctly.

    You seemed to be saying (none / 0) (#121)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 04:22:11 PM EST
    that certain of "the poor" -- minimum wage workers? -- use the Govt to steal from those who have more.

    Im suggesting that the withholding of assistence on the part of those who "have more" and benefit from the minimum wage workers labor is stealing and morally untenable.


    Oh i wasn't saying just the poor. (none / 0) (#122)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 04:31:34 PM EST
    Anyone who uses the government to obtain an ends is utilizing violence.  There are many more instances of the wealthy using the violence of government to receive undue "profit" (if you'd call stealing profit - which gets back to capitalism vs violence).  I was asserting that forcing people to help the poor is still force.  

    I'm still confused by your example.  Are you saying that the laborers in your example are not already benefiting from their wages?  If not why are they working there?  If I'm willing to pay someone 8/hr to mop a floor is that morally untenable...is 7/hr?  At what nominal amount is a moral judgment passed?  

    Assuming the employer has not erected a fence around the factory and the employees are free to go anywhere they please, this individual cannot be said to be forcing anyone into anything.  


    Once again (none / 0) (#115)
    by Samuel on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:45:16 PM EST
    that's the same as saying that you are forced to work at your job because eventually you'd run out of money and food and die.  

    When I previously Wiki-ed Ezra Klein, (none / 0) (#79)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:11:55 PM EST
    I learned he started blogging in college. Hasn't stopped, as far as I could tell, although now, I suppose, he is employed by corporation

    Priorities (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 10:58:07 AM EST
    Maybe we should reassess our priorities as a country. We have more than enough revenue to support a national health care program.

    Congress just authorized something like 44 billion for homeland security. How much money are we doling out in foreign aide? And the defense budget is a bottomless pit.

    Where are all this fiscal conservative's in Congress when these bills come up? I'm sick and tired of hearing that we're broke when it comes to domestic policies.

    Erza came of age during the (none / 0) (#2)
    by SOS on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:03:09 PM EST
    Clinton boom years and instant internet millionaires he apparently doesn't "get it" yet he was what 16 in 2000?


    Ezra's callow (none / 0) (#49)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:24:19 PM EST
    Not without a sense of humor, and he's got the guts to actually make an arguable point. I kind of like him.

    I disagree with your definition of (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:06:37 PM EST
    wealthy. How about just taxing the people with incomes sufficient to make the Forbes 400 list? Or at least multi-millionaires? $200k a year doesn't go that far in some places, and doesn't make one wealthy. I think the Government should pick up the tab, health care should be a right for all. If we spent less on war and law enforcement and the war on terror, we could cover it.

    I pegged it off of Obama's pledge (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:10:56 PM EST
    to not raise taxes for persons making 200k or less.

    You want a definition... (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:37:10 PM EST
    ...who doesn't? Wealth should be quantified like poverty. Like I said in a comment above, 10x the poverty rate is wealthy. That's $108,300 a year for an individual. If $108,300 income (HHS 2009 poverty threshold) a year is too low a threshold to be considered wealthy, then let's raise the poverty threshold. Anyone that can't live well on $108,300 a year, anywhere, is living like a pig. Anyone making more than $108,300 a year should be paying a LOT more in taxes than they are now.

    Before we demand... (none / 0) (#89)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 10:07:07 AM EST
    people pay more taxes, how about we have the state justify the current spending first, then see the funding proposals for new programs like the public option, and then figure out what everybody owes.

    We do this backwards all the time imo...demand the rich pay more, bleed the rich/poor/middle with things like the insane tobacco taxes, and the state rushes to spend it all and then some.  You don't collect and then figure out what to spend and where, you figure out what needs doing then collect...at least thats how we do it at my house, I don't hit the roomies up for a number then pay the heat, electric, rent...I figure out what we owe as a collective and collect accordingly.


    Fair enough (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:10:16 PM EST
    I do not want to pay the tax either.

    I am not for the excise tax.

    I am for a millionaire's surtax.


    Wow: (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:02:03 PM EST
    Personal income in U.S. and income distribution

    Only 6.24% of Americans had personal incomes exceeding $100,000.


    They can (none / 0) (#88)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 09:42:10 AM EST
    pay for everything.  I love it.  Small business owners, rejoice.

    I don't necessarily think (none / 0) (#30)
    by Watermark on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:05:36 PM EST
    it would be the best economic decision to put all of it on the wealthy.  I'm not a supply sider, but in some place like New York that would lead to certain people paying over 60% of their income in taxes.  That wouldn't necessarily be bad if we were a national economy, but in an international world it could lead to capital flight.  Logically most people would come out better even if we did something like the regressive VAT.

    However, because Obama promised 200k, that means it's mostly out of question.  In that case, we're probably going to be looking at some creative tax that ultimately raises cost on the middle and lower class indirectly - which is the approach Baucus took.


    Definition of Wealthy (none / 0) (#35)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:28:56 PM EST
    Maybe we should talk in terms of percentages. For example: While I agree that 200K might not fit a reality of wealthy in some places or circles, perhaps looking at the top 1 or 2 or 5 per cent of yearly family or individual income might make some sense. I might be mistaken, but my assumption is that those individuals in the top 5 percent of income (here or in any country) are usually regarded, in some fashion, as wealthy...at least, by the other 95 percent.

    Top 5 percent (none / 0) (#39)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:41:13 PM EST
    The income cutoff for the top 5% of households is going to be about $180,000.  That's a significnat amount of money for anyone, but it means something different in Wichita than it does in Manhattan.

    Not to the fed it doesn't... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:48:28 PM EST
    As far as the fed goes, our income isn't worth more in one place than another. I agree. You want your money to stretch farther than in does in New York or Denver or Portland or Atlanta? Move to Chicago or Salt Lake City or Louisville or Madison. Median US income is around $50,000 a year. According to HHS, 20% of that is the poverty level. In my opinion, 200% of that, $100,000 a year, is wealthy. At the federal level. States where average annual incomes are higher need to make their own adjustments. But if we're a united country, then we can't fairly say my money here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is worth so much more, dollar for dollar, than yours in San Francisco.

    Well, opinions differ (none / 0) (#69)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:36:36 PM EST
    And in defining what a word like wealthy means, there is judgment and opinion involved. In my opinion, a better definition of wealthy would tie it to...wealth, not a single year's income.

    Many factors other than income determine whether someone is financially well-off. I make twice as much as my sibling in the Midwest, but with cost of living differences I am not twice as rich as he is. (My job doesn't exist in the Midwest, so your suggestion that people should just move is meaningless.) My sibling's children get free college because of where he works--a non-taxed benefit not reflected in his income. And I'm very happy that he gets this benefit, but to ignore all the complexities and say it's $X in income per year that makes you wealthy seems simplistic to me.

    When people are discussing taxing the wealthy, I think you will find that the most common definition is one that does not include the person defining the term!


    Then redefine poverty (none / 0) (#81)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:47:45 PM EST
    I understand your point. I have siblings on the coasts, too. I've lived for long periods of times on both the east ahd west coasts, where wealthy means something entirely different than it does in the other 35 states. When it comes to poverty it doesn't matter where you live. If you make $10,830 a year or less as an individual (~$22,000 a year or less for a family of four), you're not living in poverty; you're fighting for survival. The same rule must apply categorizing wealth, regardless of where you live. Saying that looking at it that way is simplistic is divisive. Either we are one country, where we share absolute quantified categories of wealth, and poverty, or we are not.

    You want I should feel bad that your $100,000 dollars a year for a single person, or $200,000 a year for a family of four (like my coastal brothers) isn't enough because you live in New York or California? Feh. I don't feel bad for you. That's a lot of money. That's a lot of money anywhere we live. That's a lot of money where I live, though maybe I can afford a nicer home on a bigger lot here in the midwest. No sympathy. Either we're in this together, or we're not.

    You want to redefine wealth; then fight to redefine what is poverty: and no matter where you live $10,830 a year is way less than it takes to survive. Be fair.


    I didnt ask for your sympathy (none / 0) (#84)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:33:10 PM EST
    If you think it's just as hard to live in a big coastal city on $10K a year as it is to live in a rural midwestern town, then you are not recognizing reality. The coasts are more expensive for everyone, not just the "wealthy."

    I think you are attributing all kinds of attitudes to me that are not justified by anything that I actually wrote in my comment. Where did I say that the money I make isn't enough for me? Where did I ask for your sympathy? Why in goodness's name would I want to be "one country" with you and your misplaced judgments?


    Cut in half law enforcement & (none / 0) (#51)
    by MKS on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:36:25 PM EST
    end the war in Iraq and de-criminalize drugs....

    Even Ron Paul would agree....


    Honestly (none / 0) (#72)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:22:02 PM EST
    whether or not I might be personally affected, I just don't think we can organize a society around the idea that government will deliver all these great things and only the top 1% will have to pay for any of it.  I don't expect health care for all to be a free lunch.

    Heh. Sarcasm. (none / 0) (#82)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:50:41 PM EST

    Huh? (none / 0) (#85)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:37:51 PM EST
    As for (none / 0) (#6)
    by SOS on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:11:23 PM EST
    Yglesias . . What has his generation accomplished other then ground zero is still a construction equipment parking lot.

    what's with the age bias? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:15:07 PM EST
    I met Ezra and Yglesias when they were 20 and found them smarter than many 50 year olds. I have championed them and their engagement in current affairs since I started blogging and they were both in undergraduate school. I think they are the future and they do us proud. When I disagree with them, it's due to their opinions, not their age.

    their opinions on HCR (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:17:48 PM EST
    have been ridiculous imo.

    I have written about their opinions.


    I agree you have (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:19:19 PM EST
    been very fair in your criticisms and it is based on what they write. It's SOS I was responding to and his two comments critical of them for their age.

    It's a valid observation.... (none / 0) (#63)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:15:06 PM EST
    I read a story today in the local university newspaper (The UWM Post). The elected president of the university student association held the first of his promised series of "fireside chats" in the union lounge. Four people showed up. Three of them were student association senators. The fourth was the reporter that wrote the article in the paper.

    Four showed up. This would be for a university with enrollment of 25,000 or so this fall. The ONLY ones that showed up were other SA politicians and a reporter.

    It's old news. Twenty-somethings don't participate in politics. It's no fault of Ezra Klein or Matt Yglesias; and good for them both that they give a sh!t. But truly, younger Americans now are so much more apathetic politically than they were in the 60s and 70s there's no comparison. Apathy barely describes the lack of engagement that we see in adult Americans born from 1980 to 1990.  I don't blame them, nor Klein and Yglesias. If I was born and raised during Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, and the defining moment of my life was 9/11/2001, I'd reject political engagement too.

    It's not hard to understand why the Reagan generation lacks depth, but it's impossible to deny that they, as a generation, are out of touch with reality.


    They participated just long enough (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by sallywally on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:14:40 PM EST
    to put The One in the White House, perhaps.

    I think their age is a large (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:23:31 PM EST
    disability for both of them when it comes to their opinions and what they deem most important about Democratic issues.  I'm sorry Jeralyn but I don't feel like they do us proud outside of the fact that they are young voices.  They need to be criticized for the fact that neither one of them seems to understand average life in general and they've had no time to come to understand that.  They will not be compelled to understand it either if nobody criticizes them for what many of us older folks experience when we read their words advocating selling us out.  When I was young I was going to live forever, and healthcare was for sick people and I was not one of those.  I didn't care and I had had no experience in order to better understand that nobody lives forever, and one day every single one of us will be ill.  Nobody gets off the planet alive.

    no need (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by CST on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:25:32 PM EST
    for the 9/11 parking lot dig.  None at all.  And a lot of us do care about this stuff because we have parents.  And we worry about how we will pay for it long term.  And we are currently without insurance.

    There are plenty of older people who are also clueless on this.  See the entire Republican party.


    So I don't criticize Republicans? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:34:42 PM EST
    You know I do :)  Just not much lately :) This is just my opinion, but the Democratic party like ummm....runs everything right now.  The Republican party is irrelevant when it comes to actually getting anything done.  They are only relevant when Democrats make them so.  I don't know if they were instrumental in some way for tying up any work being work done at ground zero.  If they weren't, then it probably was an uncalled for dig.  Ground zero has never been a situation I've ever followed closely.

    I guess I am saying (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:43:03 PM EST
    criticize them all you want for what they say or do.  And if you think their personal background has something to do with it fine.  But not all of us "of that age" have had it easy and don't understand health problems.  I just thought the "what did their generation accomplish besides screwing up the towers" was totally unnecessary.  SOS seems to be blaming an entire generation for the fact that it's a construction lot.  Not sure how that follows.

    Get off my lawn! (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:50:06 PM EST
    True, frustration at the young will not make it rain.  A lot of people are really really sick of reading those two on healthcare though and being sold out by "important" pundit voices daily.  Those two need to realize that if there ends up being no public option, they could face a very large readership backlash.  It could be a moment of great learning though, that if you are an important voice for a certain party you shouldn't look for ways to analytically justify selling them out.

    I would appreciate comments by (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by KeysDan on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:19:57 PM EST
     Yglesias if his perspectives were not laced with tired White House speak, such as "bend the curve".  I just get skeptical of the originality of it all.

    It does appear that (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:29:54 PM EST
    Yglesias desires to be mouthpiece for the White House.  I think it's sad use of his talents.  When it comes to playing the game, cheerleading isn't anything more than entertainment and doesn't make a touchdown.

    It ain't age. (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:06:06 PM EST
    It is lack of "life experience."

    Do you run around seeking to clearly (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:02:32 PM EST
    define the real issues for a living or something :)

    Oh, good idea. But who will pay me. (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:09:00 PM EST
    That was one of my criteria in picking a jury though.  "Life experience."  If none--goodbye.  If wrong kid--goodbye.

    Nobody will pay you right now (none / 0) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:13:01 PM EST
    After everything has completely gone to h*ll though, there might a paycheck in there somewhere :)

    That 's true (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by sallywally on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:39:12 PM EST
    but those seem to go together too often....on the other hand, I guess when I think of the time when I was in my early 20s, don't know what their age is, the people who told me I didn't have enough experience to understand the issues were the Goldwater folks!

    It seems to me that back then many of us grasped the importance of helping those in need through the govt and would have been committed to the public option.

    But even after Reagan, Bush, etc., destruction of unions, etc., I think it takes very little to understand why this will not work without a public option, and I don't think lack of experience is the problem.

    It may be lack of imagination, lack of serious analytical skills ... lack of perceptiveness, something. But IMHO plain logic and common sense should make the significance of the public option exceedingly clear to anyone who can think and has Democratic values.....


    I think SOS meant ground zero as an example... (none / 0) (#68)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:35:53 PM EST
    ...of how bad it's gotten. Ground zero almost ten years later is an example of the shame of our age. An example of how powerless we've all become, whether we've been "mopping up" for the past ten years or not. The more we mop, the more the Republicans and Fox News and the Senate sh!t's on the floor. We can't mop up fast enough to clean it up any more.

    I read Klein and Yglesias and no matter how "smart" I think their writing is on the surface, the more I read them the more I think they're still in shock; unable to comprehend the depth of the disaster that Reagan made of America.

    Klein and Yglesias are good for young writers. But the travesty of ground zero is a good example of why they've got a lot to learn.


    Not to mention... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:58:29 PM EST
    last I checked the boomers are in charge of the WTC reconstruction, or lack there of, not us whipper-snappers...if we're gonna play the generational blame game:)

    Experience comes more from life experience than age anyway...older folks have had more time to experience, some took advantage and learned a trick or two and some didn't...and some of the youth are experienced beyond their years.


    That's true (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:07:43 PM EST
    Joshua is nine and is experienced beyond his years when it comes to the fact that the fields of healthcare are full of land mines.  So we can more appropriately surmise that it probably isn't only because they are young that Matt and Ezra choose to almost daily encourage the selling out of the people.....and probably lilburro is correct as well.  I don't think Joshua will ever be able to sell out everyday folks though needing healthcare.  His "experiences" and my "experience" as his mother lead me to believe that it would be impossible for him to do so.  

    Another issue (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:32:25 PM EST
    re: age ...I would think young people would be more inclined to support the public option in general.  Young people are the most strained currently by unemployment for example.  I don't get insurance through my job (it's a small business) so a strong public option is quite important to me.  

    I wasn't so inclined (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:01:28 PM EST
    And Joshua's new P.T. has two brothers who have recently become Marines, both youngsters so to speak.  She was pretty upset last week though because one began experiencing appendicitus and what followed was an emergency surgery.  He wasn't combat wounded though, which would have been a completely different story, but he never signed up for DEERS.  She asked him what the hell he was thinking and he said he realized that he could be wounded, but not ill or sick.  His surgery isn't covered by anything now.  Signing up for DEERS is free, you just have to go to the DEERS office on post or base and do it.

    Maybe Joshua should have his (none / 0) (#60)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:09:28 PM EST
    own blog?  

    And give up available video game time? (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:16:07 PM EST
    Yer crazy.  He even watches certain television programs with his "best friends" while they all wear those Xbox live headsets and they talk to each other as if they were in the same room watching Ghost Hunters.

    Funny. (none / 0) (#66)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:21:38 PM EST
    Not understanding average people... (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:52:47 PM EST
    Does David Broder?  Does Dowd or Brooks?

    The problem isn't their age, it's that they are playing big media games.  


    Ex;actly. n/t. (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by sallywally on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:41:53 PM EST
    I think you are right (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:54:15 PM EST
    Maybe we can save Matt and Ezra (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:55:35 PM EST
    from selling themselves out :)

    Waste of time IMHO. (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by oldpro on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:17:28 PM EST
    They appear to want to be players in the big arena.

    To Militarytracy (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:34:06 PM EST
    Outstanding comment. Understanding the "pains" of healthcare can certainly come from reading and thinking.  But, the experience of years has an advantage of strongly driving home the reality of life and empathy in this domain.

    Hypocrite (none / 0) (#56)
    by NealB on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:59:44 PM EST
    Ezra and Yglesias are as smart as they are. They're still very young. I think you are too if I recall correctly (30-something?).

    You're all as young as you are, too. That's not a bias; it's a fact.


    The problems solver around here (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:21:48 PM EST
    has decided that it is life experience, and I think she's most likely right.  I'm 44,  daily going through this family with a spouse doing combat thing, one very disabled child with at least two surgeries a year, and I read what those two often say and for me it does add up in my head that they are essentially babies in dealing with adult real life situations...but that is more about experience than age.  So for me, I don't think it is their age that causes me to snort when I read them but their lack of life experience.

    what is the excise tax? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:32:19 PM EST
    If I am an employer and the health care plan I offer costs $12,000 a year per employee in premiums, would it mean I pay a tax based on top of the premiums? Or is it that the insurer pays it and then raises my premiums even higher? From Heritage (first source on google when I googled it)

    Under the Senate Finance plan, providers of health insurance plans that cost more than $8,000 a year for individuals ($21,000 for families) would pay a 40 percent tax on their value above that threshold. For instance, a plan that costs $10,000 a year for an individual would face this 40 percent tax on the $2,000 over the $8,000 threshold. The health insurer would have to pay $800 (40 percent of $2,000).

    Although the insurance companies would technically make the tax payment, they would undoubtedly pass this cost along to employers purchasing the plans for their workers in the form of higher premiums. Employers, in turn, would pass that cost on to their workers by lowering other forms of compensation like wages. Once the excise tax is passed on to workers, the result is no different than an increase in their income taxes.

    Passing the tax on to workers would result in an effective tax rate that is even higher than the specified 40 percent. When the insurance companies embed the cost of the excise tax in premiums, the prices of plans will rise. A higher price means the excise tax would be higher, too.

    That is basically my understanding on how (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:03:54 PM EST
    the excise tax works.

    Basically with no price controls on premiums ,IMO most employers will have to purchase  less and less actual health care services for the same amount of money. The end result of increasing the out of pocket expense, people will delay or not go to the doctor when they actually need health care and the amount that the insurance company actually pays will continue to decrease while they rake in higher and higher premiums.


    I saw that nyceve had a diary up today (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:09:23 PM EST
    about 30%+ increase today in a healthcare premium.

    Did you read through the comments? (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by nycstray on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:09:06 PM EST
    She's not the only one. Tis' the season to find out how much more you will be gouged after the first of the year and time to ponder if you can afford it. November seems to be a time of year for layoffs also.

    Wages vs. Net Pay (none / 0) (#23)
    by Julene on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:48:11 PM EST
    Doesn't most everyone operate in a world where we argue for our wage plus the benefit of health care (opportunity to buy insurance)? My wages will never change dependent on which health care plan I choose, but my take home pay does. And either way my compensation package does not change. The company calculates my health care benefits as a cost per employee - that number is always the same per employee (not executives clearly) because insurance rates are the same at a large corporation for each person.

    I know there are small corporations where this would not apply... but I would think those compensation packages are probably still figured out as an average.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:19:23 PM EST
    tax the employee for the subsidy amount provided by the employer for purchase of health care plan?  Not saying I like the idea.  But it would make more sense.

    The employer (none / 0) (#73)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:24:31 PM EST
    is the one getting the tax break in the first instance.  The idea is to remove the employer's incentive to offer these gold-plated plans in lieu of salary.

    When I was working, my portion of (none / 0) (#78)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:09:05 PM EST
    health care, dental, and vision care premiums was pd. in pre-tax dollars, although I think that was the result of contract.  Not a given.

    cadillac health care (none / 0) (#71)
    by diogenes on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:10:32 PM EST
    Not taxing employer-provided health care is a bad idea, period.  Taxing the expensive plans is a way to slowly work one's way down to taxing them all.  Compensation is compensation; people are taxed on their compensation.

    Lots of compensation is not taxed (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:03:35 PM EST
    I'm not necessarily against taxing all compensation, but health insurance isn't the only piece that's left out.

    So tax all compensation (none / 0) (#123)
    by diogenes on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 08:23:51 PM EST
    No one can figure out how to pay for this health care extension that everyone says they want.  Maybe Obama should exert some leadership and tax ALL compensation, not just wage compensation, to raise this money.  No one else is figuring out how to raise this cash.

    This is all wrong (none / 0) (#83)
    by Salo on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:58:29 PM EST
    Union workers ought to be able to pay into a pulic option. It's not sopposed to be welfare.

    Does high premium equal "gold plated"? (none / 0) (#91)
    by esmense on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 10:42:18 AM EST
    I'm confused. Doesn't premium cost vary by factors that have nothing to do with the extent or quality of coverage -- region, age, occupation, gender, etc? Does higher premium cost actually always translate into better coverage? Like everyone else in the US, the increase in my premium over the last decade has been dramatic -- with no change in actual coverage. My "gold plated" coverage has a $6,000 deductible and hefty co-pays. And it doesn't cover dental or vision. A decade ago it cost about $3,000 per year, now it cost closer to $10,000 -- with more increases to come. Should I, would I, be taxed the same as someone who receives more coverage at the same cost?

    It's Hard To Believe (none / 0) (#124)
    by norris morris on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 02:14:32 PM EST
    But we've been had. Obama's excuse that he wants Bi-Partisanship with one lone vote from Snowe who is totally against a public option is a scam.

    The real reason Obama has been a bystander in this mess is that he has already made backroom deals in WH this spring and summer for deals that involve a cap on what the drug and insurance monopolies will give with the tradeoff that they don't get in Obama's way with a barrage of anti Obama advertising, etc.

    We've been sold out and Obama has reiterated that he isn't "sold on a public option, maybe, er, perhaps, but not necessary".  All of this kind of compromise and sellout.

    The reason Obama will not and has not entered the fray and fought for a public option?  He needs the donations for re-election from BigPharma and Insurance monopoly and toss in Wall St.

    Obama has gone back on his word and has behaved like a political wimp hiding behind his handlers and dealing with the enemy behind our backs. He's been missing in action for one lousy reublican vote? That vote will cost us a terrible bill which is worse than nothing. He never took on [LBJ style] the Blue Dogs.

    Nothing means we can start over and fight in the streets to get a decent bill. Taking a watered down version that will enrich insurance monopoly by millions and leave out at least 12 million uninsured, is a disaster.

    Obama thinks he's putting one over in the name of bi-partisanship. It's going to cost him.