A. Sullivan v. Reality On "Entitlement Reform"

Andrew Sullivan:

Now we see the real struggle for the soul of this administration. Obama wants to tackle the insolvency of the big three entitlement programs: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. These three programs, especially Medicare, will destroy the fiscal future, unless we pare them back now. . . . The GOP will have to accept some tax hikes and the Dems will have to accept some entitlement cuts.

Paul Krugman:

What makes the projections you actually see so scary is the assumption that “excess cost growth” in health care will continue — that is, health spending per person will continue to rise at close to 2 percent faster than GDP per capita. . . . So if excess cost growth in health care can be brought under control, the entitlement problem is manageable. If not, even savage cuts in Social Security will make little difference.

(Emphasis supplied.) Who you gonna trust on this, Krugman or a Sully the Don Luskin fan? I'll go with Krugman.Speaking for me only

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    heh (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:16:37 PM EST

    Sully is either ... (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:20:09 PM EST
    desperately out of touch, or he has some vested interest in making the elderly sicker and poorer.

    So-called "entitlement reform" is the least of our problems right now.

    Entitlement Reform (5.00 / 6) (#33)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:25:20 PM EST
    is simply code for destroy entitlements.

    Yup (none / 0) (#34)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:27:29 PM EST
    Oh, Sully hates Baby Boomers altho he is one (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:49:46 PM EST
    Sully is all about dissociating himself from his generational cohort, as is Obama. Sully helped Obama set that meme in motion when he wrote this humongous mash-note in The Atlantic, (12/07), Goodbye to All That: Why Obama Matters. Sully says:
    Strictly speaking, Obama is at the tail end of the Boomer generation. But he is not of it.

    [Obama then confounds the matter further when he says:] "my mother, you know, was smack-dab in the middle of the Baby Boom generation...She was only 18 when she had me. So when I think of Baby Boomers, I think of my mother's generation. And you know, I was too young for the formative period of the '60s--civil rights, sexual revolution, Vietnam War. Those all sort of passed me by."

    Obama has a serious problem with generational chronology since his mother was born in 1942 which was, obviously, smack-dab in the middle of the Second World War. Like it or not, Stanley Ann Dunham was a member of the generation that subsequently gave birth to some of the last Baby Boomers, like Obama and Sully, born in the post-war years between 1946-64.

    Why, oh why do they both have such a problem with their place in time.


    The changing of the boomers (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:46:53 PM EST
    I was born in 1949 and throughout my childhood was considered just a shade outside of the Baby Boomer generation. At that time, the boomers were considered those who were born within a short period of time post the return of the soldiers from WWII. Very limited to births between '45-'48. My older sister was a boomer, and I always had wished I was, too.

    Then, the world of marketing spread the dates to include all children born of WWII veteran's, and their neighbors, apparently.


    FWIW, now you're a Boomer if born fr 1946-64 (none / 0) (#85)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:18:33 PM EST
    As you probably know, a "generation" is typically defined as the time span during which children are born, grow up, and begin to have children of their own.

    The process generally takes us about 18 years. The first Baby Boomers were born, post-war, in 1946; that takes us up to 1964 which is typically regarded as the last year of the Baby Boom. So, you're a Boomer IG - enjoy!


    Yes, I understand that, but (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:29:53 PM EST
    the BOOMER was coined to highlight the huge surge in births when the troops got home from the war. It wasn't intended to identify a generation, just a group. I don't believe the adults at the time meant for it to be redefined by marketing groups.

    I recognize that I am part of the marketing definition, but I was too far away from the last troop coming home to qualify as a post-war baby boomer.


    Understood IG... (none / 0) (#96)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:29:51 AM EST
    Thanks for your comments.

    Um wtf (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by lilburro on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:21:12 PM EST
    that whole post is crazy.

    And so we have a tough-on-spending budget and a desire to convene the long-anticipated, endlessly delayed fiscal sanity summit to make the deal we all know needs to be made. The GOP will have to accept some tax hikes and the Dems will have to accept some entitlement cuts.

    Oh yes, we really need to be "tough on spending" now.  We just passed a stimulus bill.

    It seems to me that a key sign of the Republican party's maturing back to sanity will be a willingness to join Obama in this endeavor.

    He must be dreaming.

    The left seems adamant in refusing any reforms until they have us all in their national health scheme, from birth to death.

    Of course Sully cannot look beyond his own pocketbook so his policy dictates have extremely marginal value.  Note that the GOP is here present as (briefly) fallen angels, and we of course are insane commies bent on a conspiratorial health scheme.

    Yes, us leftie, commie, pinkos ... (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:30:05 PM EST
    have this really evil plan:

    Making sure every citizen has health care.

    What's next in our evil power grab?

    Jobs?  Bridges and levies that don't collapse?

    Where will such evil end?



    levies that do not collapse (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by azdude on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:42:31 PM EST
    perhaps even $1 should have been given to New Orleans in the stimulus to accomplish this...

    Crashing the dollar is where it ends. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:50:51 PM EST
    BTW - government really f'd up the levies - not private business - yea let's give the people that f'd up even more money. That way, when they're building something else for us, they'll know no matter how bad they screw it up we'll still hire them back.

    But the big complaint non rightest/leftist people have about leftie, commie, pinkos is that there's disagreement on how much trauma the dollar can take.  The same holds true for the non rightest/leftist critique of Republicans.  Not only do we wage immoral wars, we wage them at the peril of the dollar and our whole way of life.  


    I am almost curious (5.00 / 5) (#44)
    by Steve M on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:39:55 PM EST
    how levees get built at all, in your world of no government intervention.

    It's always the ... (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:58:51 PM EST
    hole in that argument that "people spend their own money smarter than the government."

    What's the hole? (none / 0) (#58)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:32:51 PM EST
    Gov built levies.  Levies failed.  People died.

    Private industry was also ... (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:47:11 PM EST
    at fault due to industrial effects on the gulf land break, wetlands, and soil structure.

    But what's your fix?  Who supposed to build and maintain the levees?  How will it be paid for?


    If there's a demand to justify the cost. (none / 0) (#62)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:54:58 PM EST
    It will be built.  The only way to find out is to get the government out of the picture.  If there's a movement of private enterprise to build a levy system - then it gets built.  If not, the world moves on.  Like I said, maybe some below sea level places aren't the best sites for home building.  I just don't see how you can bill posterity for a levy the boundaries of which most won't step foot in.  

    The government was tasked with maintaining the levees and they failed.  


    Private industry was ... (5.00 / 4) (#66)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:03:05 PM EST
    tasked with maintaining the banks and the housing industry.

    And they failed.

    The age of "the free market will fix everything" is dead.


    Yea right... (none / 0) (#68)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:12:36 PM EST
    The Federal Reserve setting interest rates and reserve ratios is free market?  The fact that the Federal Reserve is the lone entity that can create funds out of nothing is free market?  The fact that the US dollar is the only legal tender in this country and that one entity has a monopoly on the creation of dollars is certainly not free market.  Not at all.  

    The Fed is a non free market entity and is the center of our banking system.  The US practices interventionist-capitalism.  It's either fascist or socialist but clearly not free market.


    Are you a Ron Paul supporter? (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:58:26 PM EST
    That would explain this libertarianism run amok.

    The problem with just letting people drown because they live in low-lying areas, is that most people do not like to see people drown....

    FDR settled this issue long ago;  hence, your need to revise history.....


    I voted for the B-man, (none / 0) (#82)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:03:40 PM EST
    voted Hillary in the primaries.  

    People don't like to see people drown - FDR settled that.  Ok.


    Return to the Gold Standard (none / 0) (#72)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:54:43 PM EST
     That's what you advocate?

    No (none / 0) (#81)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:02:02 PM EST
    We should keep inflating the money supply forever.

    Please, I beg of you (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:36:24 PM EST
    Go to the library and check out an elementary microeconomics textbook and read it. Private enterprise does not build all the levies that need to be built.

    People live in dangerous places all over the country. Should we move all the Californians out of the state because of earthquakes?  And all those people on the Gulf living at risk of hurricanes-- let's move them up to, where, Missouri? Oops, they have tornadoes and floods in the show-me state. How many refugees do you think we can fit in, say, Wyoming?


    You missed it. (none / 0) (#83)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:08:10 PM EST
    "Need to be built"?  What's that mean?  

    What I said was - if the government buts out - that's how we tell if enough people want a levy.  If they don't want to put up the money as a community and pass the costs onto products they produce more cheaply from the advantages of that area then there isn't a real demand for it in the first place.  Now this is by no means the only way a free market could produce a levy - but what it won't do is build a levy to satisfy the demands of the few at the expense of the many.

    Please don't talk down to me about "elementary micro".  I've certainly read the books.  


    The best (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:01:48 PM EST
    protection against floods are the dikes in the Netherlands.   They are considered an engineering marvel.  They were started after a massive flood in 1953 killed nearly 2000 citizens.  THE GOVERMENT built them and apparently they are considered quite good.

    Your libertarian, right wing mentality that the government can't do anything sounds a lot like Grover Nordquist.
    It really seems like you are here just to trash the notion of government.  

    I think you would feel more welcomed on libertarian or right wing, government hating sites.


    You may have read them (5.00 / 0) (#102)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:08:47 AM EST
    but you don't appear to have comprehended them. I don't mean to offend you by talking down to you, but, seriously, this is elementary economics.

    A levy is an example of a public good. That means that many people can "consume" the good without substantially depleting its value, and that people effectively cannot be excluded from enjoyment of the good. Because of these characteristics, the private sector will not produce enough of a public good. (In this context, "enough" means the socially optimal amount.) This is because it is in everyone's indivdual interest not to pay for the good--they free ride. Because it is in everyone's individual interest to free ride, no one pays for it and the levy does not get built.  This is an example of a market failure that requires intervention by an outside force -- government -- to fix.


    I see what you're saying. (none / 0) (#104)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:13:26 AM EST
    But the micro book writer

    a) can't know that it would not be built under an agreement he has not foreseen.

    b) can't say with confidence that the demand to justify the levy exists.

    No one will be able to free-ride since it will not have been built.  If enough people pay in on a trigger based agreement then the project could start.  All Title transfers in the area could include a "levy fee" but this fee would be different by a tax as it a prerequisite to a specific area.  It would come directly out of the mortgage.  The difference from taxes being that only the people living in the area pay directly for the levy.  They can then choose to up tourism fees or charge more for their exports.  If they fail to remain profitable in doing so - they levy should not have been built.


    Levying a tax (none / 0) (#105)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:44:05 AM EST
    on property owners is a form of government intervention to assure the provision of the public good. (You can call it something other than a tax, it doesn't really matter.) So I don't think we disagree on the principle that government intervention is necessary, you are you are just saying that the people most immediately affected should pay. Your solution of using a tax on title transfers means that people who live in the area but don't buy homes don't pay, which is probably not what you intended.

    The private solution of getting people to voluntarily pay in under a trigger agreement is a Coasian-type fix that likely wouldn't work because of the transactions costs in forming such an agreement.


    It's not a tax. (none / 0) (#112)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:40:34 PM EST
    If you already live there then it is a voluntary choice.  If you choose to move into the community - then the community can have a mechanism in place (possibly through threat of boycott - or through collective insurance in which they can collect a payout if certain terms are violated) to incorporate the fees into your mortgage payment.  

    For example - and I highlight example - an insurer provides a policy that states they must pay out x dollars if a property is sold in the area in which there is no levy payment requirement in the mortgage.    Citizen of New Orleans wtih a vested interest in the maintenance of the levy pay into the insurer and are guaranteed to collect a much larger sum in the event that a home is sold without a levy payment stipulation in the mortgage.  This would incentivized the insurer to outbid buyers who would not be required to include levy fees.  It's just an idea - hey, look up depleted uranium and tell me this isn't worth a shot.


    Your libertarian idealism (none / 0) (#108)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:52:07 PM EST
    has been tried.  Read the SHOCK doctrine please.

    And understand in the real world people dying affects more than a business failing.....
    on your libertarian world, no emotions are allowed.

    The hospital was bad, people died, the hospital closed, problem solved.  In a libertarian mind, the deaths are statistics, not people with children or spouses or parents whose lives are forever altered,  
    As long as the market is all that matters, then it is all so logical.  

    But in the world of people with feelings, connections, where loved ones means more than stuff and things and getting rich, it's whole different ball game.  I feel sorry for those so young who are determined to live such an existence....


    Shock Doctrine? (none / 0) (#111)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:31:13 PM EST
    You're advising me to read Shock Doctrine?  

    Logic supersedes emotions yes.  It's about individual liberty.  A libertarian is someone in search of personal liberty - not necessarily wealth.  Those would be Republican and Democratic politicians and the businesses that actively support them.


    And BTW (none / 0) (#113)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:41:33 PM EST
    you don't feel sorry - you're being condescending and nasty.  you are ridiculing a straw man.  how about some honesty.

    I am being honest (none / 0) (#121)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:36:14 PM EST
    if you can't take the heat....

    I know what libertarianism is......I know libertarians.  I disagree at every level.  I believe in communities.  Community means I give up some liberties WILLINGLY.  I was lucky enough to have born to a family filled with love and support.  Some people are not so lucky and I believe in supporting those people when necessary.  I don't believe in the cavalier.....oh well, that kid was born to a drug addicted, poor person...too bad for him/her.

    Yes, it cost me money in taxes to make sure no child  or adult is homeless, or starving, or hurting.  I believe in community and in democracy.  You do not.

    Government fails when people fair to be active participants.   You make government sound like it is a separate entity.  It is not. WE, of we the people, are the people.  WE can enact change for the betterment of ALL......not just for a few.

    If you call the truth condescending, so be it.  


    You have your opinion and that's great. (none / 0) (#122)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:18:32 PM EST
    "Yes, it cost me money in taxes to make sure no child  or adult is homeless, or starving, or hurting." Ok that's noble and all but it's not working and your statement is not true.  A libertarian system is better equipped for charity.  If the majority wants to help people - they will have the additional funds to help.  If people don't want to help, then this is false argument.  You want to help the poor?  Get rid of the minimum wage so they can get jobs.  What good is a minimum wage if it keeps businesses from forming in your area right?

    About all that "WE" stuff.  A free market society is a democratic society - consumer demand dictates what the world will be like - not the whims of politicians.  Right now "WE" get to beg every four years - then politicians get to do what they want while "WE" can only threaten to vote in other people - who then do what they want.  Are you really taking responsibility for the actions of the US government?  

    Keep the political system but at least save the free market - what choice will we have left when the government is the only consumer?  That's why the Soviet Union turned to crap - they took the money out of consumer hands and 'centrally planned' everything.

    "If you call the truth condescending, so be it." That sentence is condescending...so be it...great.  

    I don't thin you understand libertarianism enough to "disagree at every level".  Are you really saying there isn't a single thing about it you agree with...property rights?  non-aggression?  


    One more thought.... (none / 0) (#115)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:56:39 PM EST
    I'm not being an idealist - whatsoever.  I'm simply saying that what we have now doesn't work in general - or we end up with a wildly murderous military externalities.  I'm saying that it's worth trying something else.  That's not idealism.  

    Externalities (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:11:15 PM EST
    This is what you are missing in your analysis, among other things...The market often does not encompass all the negative effects of certain actions.

    Sure, if you do not regulate food via the FDA, then, of course, the free market will sort it all out....If enough people die, then the company that produces bad food will ultimately go out of business.  But of course we will have a lot of dead people first.....just too bad in your world, I guess.

    Most begining economic text books have a good discussion on why private enterprise does not do so good with building roads, bridges and schools; or providing public services such as police and fire protection or standing armies, etc.

    And, go read some John Donne....(No man is an Island.....the bell tolls for thee)....for a broader, more humanistic answer to this issue.  



    The poster's thinking (5.00 / 0) (#109)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:57:18 PM EST
    reminds me of a school board member in our community whom we worked hard to recall...and succeeded.

    He wanted to "privatize the schools" and got backing from libertarian neocons who see dollar bills over the heads of poor children.  
    He said this to someone who he thought was in tune with him, not knowing the guy was baiting him.  When asked about what would happen if the poorest children were failing in his dream world of private schools....where those children would be thrown out, or rejected.  
    His response "We'll always need maids and garbage men...."   and he laughed.
    This is a man who did not believe the poor were worthy of saving.  It's the libertarian model of the free market.....
    people like this actually believe they are islands in and of themselves and no matter who it hurts, as long as the free market works for them, to hell with everyone else.


    Think one level deeper. (none / 0) (#84)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:13:23 PM EST
    In a free market companies like the FDA would exist - but would not be a compulsory government monopoly.  That is, when they f up like the FDA does - another company is there to take it's place.  Food providers can seek certifications from non-governmental businesses.  

    Furthermore, since these will be profit driven businesses in competition - they will be less likely turn a blind eye (as the FDA does or they're flat incompetent) and they will find ways of inspecting food that are much cheaper (the FDA has not cost-cutting incentives).

    Standard example again: Post Office vs FedEx - one turns a profit and is preferred by businesses - guess.


    I have only one question (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by Steve M on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:23:42 PM EST
    Do you believe in traffic lights?

    Ofcourse I do. (none / 0) (#88)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:31:56 PM EST
    Business owners would certainly put them up - otherwise who would drive to their stores and by their goods?  Same with local police!  And these cops would get fired if they harassed people unjustly - since these people are the customers the businesses want to attract.  They'd have more than enough money with their tax savings.  

    Give me a harder one!


    GROAN... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by weltec2 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:54:45 PM EST
    Oh please. You don't believe this nonsense yourself. Will you stop. You're just arguing to be arguing.

    I do. (none / 0) (#103)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:09:01 AM EST
    Governments didn't give us our cellular networks with international reciprocity agreements.  I think private business can handle some LEDs hung up on a poll and wired to a server.

    Hey yea (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:05:40 PM EST
    Maybe Blackwater could run the police force they way they run parts of the army.  They get really BIG BUCKS and thus feel pretty comfortable about doing whatever it takes to get the job done...a few troublemakers?  kill them....

    No thanks.

    Some of us prefer the idea of community, not corporations being in charge.

    And whether you get it or not, believe it or not,
    WE, the people are the government. If it is bad, it is OUR job to change it.  No way in hell would I want to live someplace where corporate greed meisters decide everything...who is a good cop or who is bad....

    You really are delusional if you think privatizing everything is the answer...well maybe you are just another neocon troll.


    Sam had quite the monopolity on the subject (5.00 / 0) (#97)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:36:22 AM EST
    of discourse there didn't. Imo, is was a fishing expedition - that's the polite name for it.

    0 substance. (none / 0) (#101)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:07:39 AM EST
    Plus people were asking questions.  So inaccurate.

    Blackwater (none / 0) (#99)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:03:15 AM EST
    Is hired by the government - get's funding from taxes - which is not free market.  If Iraqi businesses hired them I doubt they'd behave that way.  

    You are sadly (3.00 / 0) (#107)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:44:21 PM EST
    clueless and naive.

    Get some experience under your belt and come back when you mature a bit, have lived life, have observed with an open mind and have learned compassion.   Then maybe we can have a conversion rather than your know it all preaching.


    Thanks. (none / 0) (#110)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:27:50 PM EST
    For the advice.  If you want to respond to my points, feel free.

    I have some American experience... (none / 0) (#114)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:45:11 PM EST
    under my belt...that is exactly what turned me on to libertarian thought...the lack of personal liberty in this country.

    You could have fooled me that there is a difference between corporate power and government power....looks and feels the same down here at the lower rungs of the big ladder.  If Citibank ain't f*ckin' you today, Uncle Sam is, and Citibank will be back tomorrow.  At least in a more libertarian society I have the tool needed to fight 'em both...more freedom.


    I thought most libertarians (none / 0) (#116)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:07:18 PM EST
    recognized the right of indivuals to organize into corporations and that "corporate power" ie: money was the same as the right of free speech?

    Sounds about right.... (none / 0) (#117)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:17:23 PM EST
    as well as recognizing the rights of individuals to form unions.

    Who knows if it would work, it may well be worse...all I know is right now our big government isn't protecting us from the big corporations of today, they are in bed with them.  

    At least in the libertarian universe I wouldn't be subject to arrest at anytime...I'll take that bone.


    Now all you have (none / 0) (#119)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:26:00 PM EST
    to is come up with a way to eradicate the Puritanical - Moral Majority gene (organic mescaline, maybe?) and we'll be on our way.

    Talk about miracles.... (none / 0) (#120)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:29:10 PM EST
    may as well take the "human" out of humanity:)

    Give me liberty and come what may...I'll settle for that.


    Big business is can act as a cartel (none / 0) (#123)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:21:36 PM EST
    because of government regulations enforcing cartel behavior.  Remove government regulations and they begin have to compete for business by being as cheap as possible once again.

    Big example - no fed - the first bank that lends out 9 times the amount of it reserves goes bust - crisis stops there.


    I hear that Sam... (none / 0) (#126)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:59:29 PM EST
    like enviromental regulations...I want clean air and water as much as the next guy, I just wonder if what you end up with in a corrupted corroded government situation such as ours, legalized pollution or enviromental protection?

    I read the history books and 100 years ago the industrial revolution polluted the hell out of the joint, regulation had to have helped.  Otoh, the same government was spraying fields in Latin America with poison.

    I wonder...


    Oh (none / 0) (#92)
    by Steve M on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:55:36 PM EST
    So we really ought to leave traffic lights to private enterprise?  Fair enough.

    Don't forget... (none / 0) (#100)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:06:57 AM EST
    When comparing my free market traffic light to your gov traffic light - the traffic light you use requires a system that has been repeatedly exploited to go to unnecessary wars.  So I'd take a much worse traffic light if it mean no more depleted uranium in the lungs of innocent people.  

    The traffic light free enterprise thing would certainly be a shaky transition (that is if traffic lights didn't already exist everywhere) but businesses would strike cooperative deals and be able to pass costs off to customers who would have increased funds from reduced taxation.


    The "system" (none / 0) (#118)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:19:55 PM EST
    of which you only make recognize the governmental side, convenientlly choosing to forget that "businesses" hepled create that overseas goon squad for their convenience -- in another exercise of free speech, no doubt.

    And those depleted uranium victims should've thought to live somewhere that wasnt blocking the wheels of commerce.


    Businesses use government. (none / 0) (#125)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:28:52 PM EST
    BIG POINT HERE - The goon squads aren't funded with private funds, it's tax money.  Think about it for a moment: hiring people to go into Iraq isn't cost effective unless you have the taxpayer pay for the weapons and you have the weapons.

    As for the oil itself - it's a net loss for the United States financially - war expense minus oil revenue.  This should indicate that a business without government funding would not pay for such an endeavor.


    LOL (none / 0) (#95)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:51:46 PM EST
    I dunno... (none / 0) (#55)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:23:34 PM EST
    part of the fees for living in a community - required in the mortgage - or maybe people just don't settle in flood zones.  The gov levies didn't work so that may not be the answer.

    Just to highlight the point. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:32:05 PM EST
    The government levies failed - having built no levies would have been better.  Maybe people shouldn't settle below sea level right next to the sea itself.

    I'll notify the Dutch government (5.00 / 5) (#59)
    by Faust on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:39:56 PM EST
    Maybe they can move in with Germany.

    Well hey hey... (none / 0) (#60)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:46:50 PM EST
    They killed 2000 people in the 50's.  

    Look, the Post Office works.  I get it.  That said, they operate at a loss, lose more mail than FedEx and UPS and lose business to FedEx and UPS (who post profits).  

    Whenever you get into no bid land you're asking for trouble.  Now Steve may have a point - either the gov builds levees or we get nothing - ok maybe, but I don't know that.


    That's offensive (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by TheRealFrank on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:09:32 PM EST
    As someone whose family was involved in the flood of 1953, I find your comment that "they (the government) killed 2000 people" to be incredibly shortsighted, offensive, and dumb.

    Go bother someone else with your anti-government fundamentalism.


    Sorry (none / 0) (#124)
    by Samuel on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:23:13 PM EST
    I got riled up by everyone else and lost my decency.  

    Sounds great on paper... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:15:52 PM EST
    so does Marx...the devil is in the details and the implementation.

    But, since Krugman isn't making (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:34:10 PM EST
    the decisions, we have to hope that Obama shares Krugman's views on this, don't we?

    If Obama had taken Krugman's excellent advice about the stimulus, I would be feeling a lot more confident that Obama would heed his advice on entitlements.

    Trying really hard to keep an open mind, but I have to say that I am expecting entitlements to get hit with the "pragmatic" stick, just like the stimulus did, and for Obama to put everything on the table and subject it to immediate compromise.  I just don't get why his opening move always seems to be one of concession, and I wish someone with some spine would snap him out of it before entitlements get completely mucked up.

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:35:36 PM EST
    More than a bit disappointing.  When bold action is needed we get the conceit of 'bi-partisanship.'  That somehow a weak kneed compromise, achieving bi-partisanship, is more important than actually producing tangible results.

    The Pete Petersons of this country need to be scorned, exposed and ridiculed not given a platform.

    So I guess this was the 'Change' Obama was talking about. A government not dedicated to any tangible results good or bad.


    Joe Conason writes today in Salon.com (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by hairspray on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:44:39 PM EST
    that 'entitlement reform' is what those who want to get rid of SS do by lumping the whole topic together.  He contends that we should fix health care which will fix medicare and leave SS alone.  SS he says, is solvent for years to come but not medicare.  He also takes Obama to for allowing the summit to convene with the media and the slash and burn folks determining the narrative. Its on line.

    Then maybe you (none / 0) (#38)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:32:17 PM EST
    shouldn't watch the news tonight.

    Our President made it very clear at his "summit" today, right after telling us for the hundredth time, "its not going to come fast; its not going to be easy; WE all have to contribute........and, oh, yeah, cough, cough, mumble, we have to look into the long term viability of Social Security."

    took no questions....walked off stage


    Ok, I'll bite (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by bocajeff on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:34:31 PM EST
    How do you limit the growth in health care costs? You either limit costs, expand revenue sources, or...????

    A Ha! (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:40:05 PM EST
    Now you are debating the issue.

    I have no freaking clue.

    But can we jettison the "entitlement reform crisis" now? We have a health care and cost crisis.


    Raise taxes (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:49:21 PM EST
    You limit costs! (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:52:32 PM EST
    The growth of health care costs have grown at a higher per capita rate than any part of the economy other than housing in the last 30 years, and this is due to the growth of administrative costs via health insurance companies.

    And, of course, the growth of health care costs has negative effects throughout the economy.

    Programs like medicare prove that administrative costs could be much lower.


    Our healthcare (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:54:20 PM EST
    is the best in the world--if you can afford it.

    So we can either ration care by price, or the government can ration by need (or spend whatever it takes).


    Do the math (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:12:43 PM EST
    In the US, administrative costs account for about about 30% of health care expenditures.

    This has grown from about 18% in 1969.

    There are 47 million uninsured people.

    How many of those people could be insured by returning administrative costs to 1969 levels?

    During the same period in Canada, administrative costs grew from about 16% to 19%.

    These figures exclude insurance company personnel's salaries.


    We can't afford to not have single payer national (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by jawbone on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:59:00 PM EST

    We can't afford the Aetna excutive leeches, parasites, and vampires sucking the blood out of the body politic.


    Robot is correct (5.00 / 6) (#50)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:59:33 PM EST
    government can pay bills far cheaper than anyone. And that is a large part of what we're talking about.

    One of the few positive steps we've seen so far is the proposal relating to automated records.  This proposal alone can significantly lower costs for every health care provider, lowering the total cost of health care.

    Health care insurers profits, phamaceutical costs.  Many ways to cut costs and in fact improve care quality.

    Andgarden has a good point.  Raising taxes is one very smart way of improving the fiscal part.

    Medicare withholding is currently 1.2% of gross.  When Medicare Part D was passed withholding should have been at least raised to 1.7.  And negotiating the cost of pharmaceuticals was a no brainer, an illustration of what Republican rule consists of, no brains.

    More and more pharmaceuticals are used for treatment, getting a handle on those costs means dramatic savings.

    People who claim there is no room for savings should be asked why all of the other rich nations in then world provide good health care to all of their citizens using some form of government financed health care at roughly half our cost and end up with a healthier population.


    Agreed ... (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:56:56 PM EST
    the automation of records was a great first step.

    And people don't understand what a positive effect UHC would have on real dollar incomes.


    I think our big problem is the (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:14:46 PM EST
    satisfied middle man providing no actual service to any living being.  Doctors have difficulty making a decent living after they pay their malpractice insurances in instances, and the rest of us can't even give ourselves decent insurance coverage because of the cost of that coverage and the denials that follow from the companies we pay all this money to.  Who are the only entities in these equations satisfied?  The insurance companies. Whose life did they actually dirty their hands to save?  And how many obstetricians exist these days?  I could go on and on and on but let's face it, the only people needing to make a living on healthcare are the people bestowing health.

    Limit health care costs? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Coral on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:20:46 PM EST
    Single payer. Get rid of large percentage of administrative overhead, plus doctor/hospital paperwork costs.

    Billions (none / 0) (#31)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:23:50 PM EST
    Look for efficiencies in operation ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by santarita on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:42:36 PM EST
    might be one way - like computerizing records.

    limit costs (none / 0) (#23)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:08:46 PM EST

    How do you limit the growth in health care costs?

    There are only three ways to reduce cost.

    1.  Reduce the quality of service.  As just one example, in the UK a large fraction of their doctors come through third world medical schools.

    2. Reduce the availability of service.  An example of this is the Jepp quads that had to be delivered in Great Falls, Montana (pop 58,000)because of lack of capacity in Calgary (pop 1 million).  BTW, having the US next door is the Canadian fail/safe.

    3. New technology.  This is a two edged sword.  Using drugs to treat an ulcer is less costly and provides better outcomes.  OTOH, many drugs that keep people alive longer increase costs.

    The root of the problem is demographic.  As the baby boom population ages, it will consume more health care.  Hip replacement, heart bypass, cateract surgery are all costly.  

    Compared to France, we're worse off, btw. (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by jawbone on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:00:24 PM EST
    Blair, iirc, had promised to correct the damage done to the NHS by Thatcher and the conservatives. But he didn't.

    Compared Europe (none / 0) (#127)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 09:41:38 AM EST
    our cancer survival rate is significantly better.  



    #4. Develop More Efficient Service. (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by santarita on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:50:05 PM EST
    #5.  Spend More Money on Prevention, including better nutrition.

    More Efficient Service (none / 0) (#128)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 09:47:15 AM EST

    Sure thats the ticket.  The same government that buys $600 hammers is just the outfit to be come up with a more effecient way to deliver health care.  BTW, how is health care at the VA these days?

    Of course the BIG LIE is: (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by DFLer on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:36:47 PM EST
    the insolvency of the big three entitlement programs: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    Social Security is not now insolvent nor will it be close to being insolvent for next thirty or so years, unless of course Sully raids the SS fund to pay for his tax cuts

    And medicare and ... (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:38:27 PM EST
    medicaid are in better shape than most of our banks.

    again, not true (none / 0) (#13)
    by azdude on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:44:03 PM EST
    Medicare Part B (outpatient) ran out of money in fiscal year 2006--- all providers did not get paid for the last 10 days of the fiscal year because system ran out of money...
    and no interest or penalty for late payment...

    Congress authorizes the Treasury (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:48:27 PM EST
    to write a check. End of story.

    the other part of the BIG LIE (5.00 / 5) (#45)
    by DFLer on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:42:32 PM EST
    I forgot to add is that Social Security is not really an entitlement, as it is an insurance program that is self-funded.

    actually, you're wrong, (5.00 / 6) (#47)
    by cpinva on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:56:44 PM EST
    I forgot to add is that Social Security is not really an entitlement,

    it is absolutely an entitlement; having paid into the fund for close to 40 years, i am entitled to payments from it, when (if ever!) i retire, as is everyone else who did the same.

    medicare/medicaid is the same; a fund i have paid into, and am entitled to receive benefits from, should i so choose.

    the problem is that the right has co-opted the term entitlement, making it a pejorative, much as they've done with liberal.

    had i paid into a private mutual fund for 40 years, no one would even dare question my entitlement to those funds, and their earnings (assuming there are any), upon my retirement.

    because SS/medicare/medicaid are government run programs, that we all pay into, somehow, our entitlement to benefits from them is propagandized by the right as welfare. it isn't. i've paid for it, and i'll take those benefits i've earned with no shame or guilt.

    so should all of you.


    yes to your point (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by DFLer on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:17:52 PM EST
    I meant "entitlement" in the sense that it is used in political parlance....that it need to be budgeted and finance by Congress..etc. ya know?

    I like your interpretation of the word better


    I am entitled! (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by nellre on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:10:52 PM EST
    I paid into SS for over 40 years and I am entitled to the benefits promised.

    The label entitlement has all kinds of negative connotations... such as getting something not earned.

    It is often used as a pejorative term in popular parlance (i.e. a 'sense of entitlement').


    They ought be calling SS the promise!

    I've taken to calling it... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:33:34 PM EST
    a ponzi scheme...paying out past investors by taking on new investors until there aren't enough new investors and the whole thing blows up.

    Except (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Steve M on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:39:02 PM EST
    new people do indeed keep being born!

    And they have to work... (none / 0) (#67)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:08:08 PM EST
    points taken...big differences.  

    We may need to start having a lot more kids to pay for all this stuff.  Your doing your part Steve...I'm skirting that responibility:)


    It's insurance ... (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:44:53 PM EST
    which isn't a Ponzi scheme.  In insurance, you bank on the fact that not everyone will fully collect.

    Today people live longer than they did in the thirties, so more people collect.

    But, as has been stated ad nauseum, SS is solvent for the next 30 years.


    From op/ed page a couple of weeks ago (none / 0) (#53)
    by 1040su on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:07:33 PM EST
    Here's the ... (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:59:01 PM EST
    relevant section:

    That's how I feel every time someone calls for "saving" Social Security. Conservatives have been likening it to the Bernie Madoff scandal. Some call it a Ponzi scheme, as MSNBC's Joe Scarborough did recently. And even Democrats talk of fixing the program.

    Social Security is about the only thing around here that doesn't need fixin'. The Congressional Budget Office says it can pay all scheduled benefits into 2049.

    I thought it was a pension (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:17:40 PM EST
    It's actually ... (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:25:00 PM EST

    What about contract? (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by nycstray on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:30:40 PM EST
    Don't we essentially have a good faith contract with SS? We are "buying" a product under set terms, right?

    I would say ... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:34:18 PM EST

    But I'm not a lawyer.


    It's actually (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by steviez314 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:00:12 PM EST
    a defined benefits pension plan.

    Regardless of what you put in during your working lifetime, you will be getting a benefit based on what the government says. (Obviously some people work less and receive less than the max benefits, but mostly people get the max).

    Unlike a 401K which is a defined contribution pension plan.


    Dems resisting Obama (5.00 / 7) (#36)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:29:05 PM EST
    on Social Security:

    President Obama is eager to seek a bipartisan solution to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security, people who have spoken with him say, but he is running into opposition from his party's left and from Democratic Congressional leaders who contend that his political capital would be better spent on health care and other priorities.

    Mr. Obama considered announcing the formation of a Social Security task force at a White House "fiscal responsibility summit" that he will convene on Monday. But several Democrats said that idea had been shelved, partly because of objections from House and Senate leaders.

    This month, Mr. Obama unexpectedly approached Mr. Graham when he was at the White House to meet with Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's chief of staff. Mr. Graham, who was a vocal foe of Mr. Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan, said in an interview: "I know he's sincere about wanting to do something about entitlements generally, health care and Social Security. And I want to help him."

    That would be Lindsey Graham...urk.

    Social Security "was a critical issue before we got into this crisis," Representative Ellen O. Tauscher, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the New Democrats coalition of House moderates, said in an interview. "Now it's one of those things -- the question is, is it a nice-to-have or a have-to-have?" She said she would favor having a bipartisan group take up the issue and devise a plan "that doesn't get delivered until perhaps a year from now."

    These people are stone crazy.

    With an attitude like Tauscher's and Obama's willingness to concede from the jump, I am getting a really sick feeling about all of it.

    Me too. Plus the reporter of that piece, Jackie (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by jawbone on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:05:01 PM EST
    Calnes, wrote that budget analysts agreed that a mix of raising taxes (FICA only? not clear) and cutting benefits had to be done.

    No naming of the analaysts--guess it's just "received wisdom."

    Grrrrrrrr. With reporters like this, who needs stenographers?


    Post at Corrente gave figure for savings from sgl (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by jawbone on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:24:15 PM EST

    Every person living or visiting in the United States and the U.S. Territories would receive a U.S. National Health Insurance Card and ID number once they enroll. This program will cover all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long-term care, mental-health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic and substance-abuse treatment.

    Patients have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics and practices. No co-pays or deductibles are permissible.

    In 2007 the average annual premium for families covered under an employee health plan is roughly $11,000, according to the National Coalition on Health Care. A study by leading national economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research concluded that under H.R. 676, a family of three making $40,000 per year would spend approximately $1,900 per year for health coverage, representing a savings of 80 percent.  (My emphasis)

    Calmes was with the WSJ b4 the NYT (none / 0) (#69)
    by imhotep on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:12:57 PM EST
    Something to keep in mind as far as point of view.

    Actually, the WSJ news division (none / 0) (#79)
    by Spamlet on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:57:30 PM EST
    is OK. It's the WSJ editorial board that houses the wingnuts.

    Well, we can reduce costs by (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:38:17 PM EST
    getting everyone insured and normalizing access to healthcare which should reduce the use of the emergency rooms around the country as if they are clinics.  Presumably also by opening up access to normal prevetative healthcare we will also reduce the incidence of catastrophic care in cases where timely treatment would have prevented a catastrophic event.  If we went to a universal single payer model, doctors offices and hospitals would not spend so much on overhead related to negotiating the maze of health insurance forms and billing requirements.

    Another thing is that pricing for healthcare is all over the place largely because hospitals and doctors have to factor in claims being rejected into their overhead.  Presumably, the costs of many basic procedures would be priced more reasonably and more consistently if doctors and hospitals were confident that they would always be paid for their work.

    Those are just some topline thoughts on cost reductions that would not really be all that difficult to achieve if we were to follow the Medicare model as it is now.

    Is Sully ever... (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by atdleft on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:25:04 PM EST
    In touch with reality? I think not. Sure, sure, he has a crush on President Obama. But beyond that, he's still a conservative prick. Krugman, once again, is right. If we fix the health care crisis, the faux "entitlement crisis" just vanishes away. ;-)

    Yes. The nuts over at Democraticunderground (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by AX10 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:48:28 PM EST
    will have a hard time explaining this one away.
    I have already said that Sully has a crush on Obama, that is all.  Sullivan still is opposed to government intervention to deal with the current economic crisis.

    Aren't the SS funds just bonds? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:43:05 PM EST
    Which would mean the solvency of the SS program is linked to the solvency of the US government. I'm not expert on Medicare/Medicaid but SS is literally spent as it's collected.  The US issues an IOU to us - now is this similar to or exactly like debt the gov owes China and Japan?  Thanks.

    You're back? (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:47:18 PM EST
    Yes, the US government borrowed from the Special Security trust fund and issued notes signifying the debt.

    I suppose you can imagine a world where the United States will default on its debt.

    I have always said when that day comes, the civilized world will be pretty much over anyway and Social Secuirty will be the least of our problems.

    Since you are Hoover's Ghost, I assume you disagree with that.


    How can I be Hoover's ghost? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:55:11 PM EST
    I hate the guy...seriously...not liking FDR and not liking Hoover is consistent.

    So when people say SS isn't insolvent - they just mean the Fed can print up the funds.  Great.  That means we'll be getting taxed twice for SS - and that in the process of paying out SS we may destroy the dollar.  


    I'm actually Coolidge's ghost! (none / 0) (#22)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:02:02 PM EST
    Wasn't Cal noted ... (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:17:23 PM EST
    for being silent?



    So was the librarian in the beginning of... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Samuel on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:28:10 PM EST
    ghostbusters.  Ask Ray about that.  I dare you.  Ask Ray.  

    Dogs and cats sleeping together.

    Seriously though, I'm haunting the blog - what do you expect?


    The group with the most to worry about (none / 0) (#15)
    by azdude on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:47:27 PM EST
    in the health care reform world are everybody between the ages of 18-30 who are currently healthy...

    that group must be heavily taxed/ assessed/ whatever you want to call it to get funds for everyone else...

    plus-- that group has no good representation in Washington...

    to quote our good friends from Americas Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)---"universal healthcare with an enforceable individual mandate"

    it seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:28:52 AM EST
    that it would be a reasonable price to pay to expect the 18 - 30 yr old healthy citizens of the society to pay for insurance throughout their entire life in order to ensure they have access as they age and begin to need and use the services.

    If NO ONE had to pay for insurance until they actually needed it, there would be no such thing as insurance because each individual would just be required to pay full price for their own medical care.

    The whole point to insurance is to spread the risks (costs) across a large enough pool to make the costs as resonable as possible.

    Arguing against everyone participating in the costs of healthcare is the same as individual residents wanting to "opt out" of their portion of taxes that pay for services like law enforcement, fire protection, schools, libraries etc just because they don't feel they have an IMMEDIATE need for those services.


    The very same age group... (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by sj on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 09:47:02 AM EST
    ...that has grown up with the idea that as long as I have mine, the rest of you must show personal responsibility.  That group has been well represented by the Selfish since Reagan.

    It takes a strong mind and a strong spirit to see through that and realize that the common good is also good for me.