Raising Medicare to 67: Not an Acceptable Option

I don't care whether the debt ceiling lift is temporary or permanent. I care that I have paid into a system my entire adult life knowing I would get Medicare at 65 and social security at 66. Republicans want to steal the money I've already paid in and put it somewhere else, making me wait another two years for Medicare. And raise my taxes at the same time.

If President Obama backs raising the age of medicare, which won't save the Government money in the long run due to the huge numbers of 65 and 66 year olds who will shift to Medicaid and who will break the backs of small businesses providing health care to elderly workers -- and which will force middle class elderly workers who don't have employer paid health care to pay premiums of ten thousand dollars a year or more for two more years, with huge deductibles and out of pocket costs, he doesn't deserve a second term as Democratic President. Let him run as as Republican or go home to Chicago. He will have sold us out.

< Norway Killings: Lone Right-Wing, Anti-Muslim Extremist | How Obama Has Failed Us >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Before the Tea Party was even a gleam in (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:22:24 AM EST
    the Koch brothers' eye, Obama ran on "fixing" the "entitlement" programs.

    Obama wants to steal the money that you have already paid in and put it somewhere else, making you wait another two years for Medicare. He wants to make this "Grand Bargain" with the Republicans. He also counts on you blaming the Republicans for the actions he is choosing to take. He chose to open the door for this and the other cuts to the safety net programs as early as 2007.

    Obama wants to steal the money (2.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:31:58 AM EST

    Obama wants to steal the money that you have already paid in and put it somewhere elseObama wants to steal the money that you have already paid in and put it somewhere else...

    That is just plain silly.  The money you have paid in has been spent.  Long ago.  

    This a feature of "pay as you go" system otherwise known as "dependent on the promises of politicians" system.

    It works when the number of people paying in is much greater than the number drawing benefits and the politicians can promise and deliver benefits far greater than what any recipient payed in.  However, the pols could not resist spending the big money generated when the baby boom was in its peak earning years.  The problem is that there is no new baby boom coming to create a new huge crop of workers to pay the old promises.

    If any good comes out of this mess it is that more people will realize that a politician's promise is not a guarantee.  If you want retirement income, you had better own an account.



    Let's explain insurance to you (5.00 / 5) (#70)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:21:00 PM EST
    in terms of Social Security, as that term is just the one that Dems came up with in the '30s for the program that long had been called "old-age insurance."

    When you pay your insurance company for homeowners' insurance, your money is long gone by the time that you make a claim -- but you still get paid.

    When you pay your insurance company for car insurance, your money is long gone by the time that you make a claim -- but you still get paid.

    When you pay your insurance company for health care, your money is long gone by the time that you make a claim -- but you still get paid.

    You get paid because, yes, more people are paying in to invest more of their money in the plan.

    Politicians promised old-age insurance.  We paid.  (Like Jeralyn, I have been paying for almost half a century now; my SS annual report shows that I started paying into it with my first job at age 16.)  Now, we are close to the age of filing our first claim.  We still ought to get paid.

    If I do not get paid, of course I will blame the politicians, in part.  But they are pols, so they go with the polls of the public.

    And so, I will blame people like you, too, who now are whining about paying into the plan.  YOU are the ones not keeping the promise and influencing the politicians.  YOU are breaking the promise -- and if you do, I will be looking for a societal commitment that you want me to make to you, and I will tell you where you can put it.

    No, I did not used to feel that way.  But I have had it up to here with so much trashing of me and mine in so many ways, at the federal and state levels, that I am ready to finally get mad as h*ll and let you feel what senior backlash feels like.


    With an insurance company (1.50 / 2) (#121)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:32:45 PM EST

    You have a contract that can be enforced in a court of law.  The promise of a politician is not insurance and cannot be enforced in court.  

    Ponzi promised to pay back more than you paid in, just like the politicians did.  

    If you want to vent some senior backlash, aim it at the politicians that passed off an unsustainable transfer system as "insurance."  You know the ones that said personal accounts, where you owned assets instead of promises, were super bad and ultra terrible.



    Now you're not even trying (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Romberry on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:48:13 PM EST
    That was a ridiculous post. You think the common people have adequate access to the courts and the pockets needed to fund legal representation to take on big insurance? Really?

    I also wish you'd stop talking about Ponzi schemes in the context of things like Social Security. You make yourself look ill-informed at best and utterly ridiculous at worst.


    What would you call a pay as you go system (none / 0) (#132)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 10:52:07 AM EST

    that promised everyone that their payout would be more than anyone paid in even if the number of recipients continues to grow while the number of taxpayers continues to relatively shrink?  This is tooth fairy time, if you don't care for Ponzi.

    BTW there plenty of good lawyers that would be happy to take on "big insurance" on contingency.  


    Great Post Jeralyn (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:43:48 AM EST

    By the way, Jeralyn, (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:57:08 AM EST
    Do you mind if we disseminate your "pink slip?" I mean, if we shared it a little, just to our friends? I'm only asking because, who knows? It could go viral, or something like that.

    Would you be o.k. with that, or prefer to keep a lower profile? I know you have a lot of responsibilities that the rest of us mostly don't, so I'd feel pretty bad if you got publicity you didn't want (or need)

    (Or maybe I'm just paranoid)

    yes you can distribute (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:29:49 AM EST
    the pink slip graphic as long as you leave the "Sincerely, Talkleft" in it.

    o.k. Cool (none / 0) (#134)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 02:31:13 PM EST

    She's expressing dissatisfaction (none / 0) (#35)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:20:21 AM EST
    I didn't see this post as giving a personal pink slip.  She is using 'we' which seems more a prediction of what she believes could happen not that she would withhold her vote for Obama.  Jeralyn may very well vote for any Dem over a Repub for any reason such as the supreme court.

    Don't you think (none / 0) (#90)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:53:40 PM EST
    it's best to let Jeralyn explain what she means herself?

    Tom Friedman, a member (none / 0) (#48)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:18:38 AM EST
    of the "cream pie in the face club",  in his Sunday NYT op-ed, reports on "American Elect", a new movement he predicts will change national politics.  A "third way", to convene and nominate presidential candidates--another bipartisan cure all (a Democrat must run with a Republican, and vice versa), as if divided government is to be our salvation.  

    The goal is to obtain a viable, centrist, third ticket elected by an internet convention.  I relay this information, only because Friedman, who, himself, is rather bereft of ideas is conveying someone's beltway frustrations.  Just so you do not think this is a harebrained or exclusionary idea, the process is open to the president, as well.   If he wants to run with Boehner, he can.  Indeed, Friedman parenthetically, suggests that " Obama should dump Democrats and run as an independent, which he is, at heart, anyway."  I would link, but you probably have more than you need--or want.


    Backward (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:54:29 PM EST
    reels the mind...

    Friedman sees the center as someplace (none / 0) (#106)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:33:52 PM EST
    between obama and the Republicans. No thank you.

    BTW, Jeralyn (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:01:44 AM EST
    This is Obama's cost control measure: Private insurance with high premiums, huge deductibles and out of pocket costs.

    The stated theory is that if it really hurts financially to actually get health care, people will be less likely to get health care or they will shop around for the cheapest options.

    So if any of you get have any symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke after Obama "fixes" the system, be sure to call around the state and see if you can locate the low cost provider to take care of you.  

    Or you could always (none / 0) (#94)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:56:44 PM EST
    make a long list of possible ailments/injuries requiring extensive care, then research the cost of each of those at facilities you can get to, providing they'll tell you what they charge ahead of time, which many of them won't.

    Then you'd need to have the list tattooed on your forehead or someplace else visible so people will know what to do to save you money if you're unconscious.

    See?  So simple!


    One of the small detail that kinda escapes the (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:25:10 PM EST
    geniuses that promote shopping for health care.

    providing they'll tell you what they charge ahead of time, which many of them won't.

    Not to mention the additional staff that would be necessary to answer questions on the cost of each procedure or to keep an interactive database updated with all the combinations of services that may or may not be necessary for each procedure.


    I cried (5.00 / 7) (#12)
    by suzieg on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:25:43 AM EST
    when I saw Obama proudly confirm that he had put social security, medicare and medicaid on the table without any increases in tax rates for 10yrs.

    I thought back at all the work I'd done for the Democratic Party and the money I spent to get candidates elected for over 40 yrs, mistakenly thinking that the Democratic party would be the one to protect Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid from the evil Republicans

    It's inconceivable to me that a democratic president and now liberal democrats, such as Pelosi, are stating that they are open to raising the age of eligibility, raising premiums/co-pays and tinkering with COLA to keep the tax rates in place for 10 yrs all because they don't want to demonstrate against the first black president.

    The betrayal is keeping me up at night - I don't know why it's affecting me this much. Probably because I'm scared to death of losing my private insurance on August 1, as I'm turning 65 in 2 weeks, knowing Medicare most likely won't be there for me now, resulting in 6 months without insurance until I can re-apply for my old insurance, if they'll allow it!

    Adding to that it's probably the disappointment of looking forward to finally be free of  extremely expensive private insurance, after counting down the days for the past 2 years and to be able, with the extra money, to enjoy some of life's simple pleasures, like going to the movies, symphony, theater or even a week-end away, which we've not been able to afford and done without for the past 7 yrs.

    I don't think it's that, as much as the thought of the cruelty that will be perpetuated on millions of elderly and the poor while the affluent continues to bask in their riches - it's just too galling!

    My mind keeps racing about what else I can contribute to try to stop this folly, which I have: I've phoned, faxed and emailed the party, Pelosi, Reid, the WH, my senators, house rep - signed every petition out there I could find from the unions, Move On, DailyKos, AARP, The Nation and the groups they've recommended, asking to take the safety net off the table and still feel I must do more. I've never felt so powerless and know I must stop, this is consuming me...

    I'm not a religious person, but in times like these, I hope there's a hell!

    I'm there with you. (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Madeline on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:23:06 AM EST
    As a single female, I have saved and tried to be responsible in my spending. I'm okay but today that means that I probably won't starve or have to live with my kids. The way things are going, being solvent at the moment does not mean I will continue to be for the next xx years.

    I decided that I would wait until 70 and continue the saving. However, by that time, there may be nothing left.

    What is happening, I think, is that we are so worn out by this irresponsible Congress, that getting the energy to continue to fight is so emotionally draining as it seems so useless....at times.


    I am a religious person (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:41:16 AM EST
    I do think there is a hell and I think it is here on earth.  We are living it.
    I am so sorry for how worried and upset you are about all of this.  I am going on medicare in sept because I have been on disability for two years and because I always sublimated my own security and ambition to the needs of my ex husband and my children, I live on very little money.  So, yeah, I am worried too.  But you inspire me to take action.  I have to admit that when the democratic party threw a real democrat under the bus in favor of Obama because he had money to spread around, when they turned their own rules upside down to screw Clinton and the majority who voted for her.... I lost faith that my party would ever do anything ethical again.
    Obama (Yes Barry, you are a Baby boomer.  Suck it up babe you are one of us.  You may be the snotty jealous little brother boomer, but you are boomer none the less)TOLD us what he was going to do during the primaries.  For his first 18 months he had majorities in congress Bill Clinton could only dream about and what did he do but move the country to the right?  He triangulated when the party was in total control of both houses.  It's crazy.
    Do I think he is a conservative?  No, I think he is a semi/idiot savant who focuses on one talent and one talent only...his ability to win his next election by any means possible.
    My only hope is that his circumstances change and he has to join the rest of us under the bus.  I said two years ago that if Obama had not offended you yet or thrown you under the bus, it was just because he had not gotten to your identity group yet.

    My understanding (none / 0) (#96)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:01:46 PM EST
    is that Pelosi absolutely has not agreed to this and indeed has refused to go along with it.  We'll see, but that's the reporting I've heard/read.

    Secondly, even if they do push the Medicare eligibility age back, it's not going to go into effect so quickly that it will affect you.  You're almost 65, and I think (correct me if I'm wrong) the enrollment period is in the fall after you turn 65, so only a few months away.  So I'm about 99 percent confident that you can relax on that score, at least.


    You can enroll when you reach 65 (none / 0) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:48:38 PM EST
    Actually you should sign up before you actually reach 65. Per Social Security Administration.

    NOTE: Even though the full retirement age is no longer 65, you should sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday.
    another good link

    People do not have to wait for the fall enrollment - they have a initial enrollment period.

    People who become newly entitled to Medicare should enroll during their initial enrollment period (as explained under Signing up for Medicare or during the annual coordinated election period from October 15 - December 7 each year. The effective date for the enrollment is January 1 of the upcoming year. There also will be special enrollment periods for some situations.

    Here is the SSA website you need for information more information.

    I got good information and a lot of help by calling the SSA.

    In addition to using our website, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. We treat all calls confidentially. We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    Thank you for the info! (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 06:08:30 AM EST
    I applied for Medicare on April 26th and have yet to receive my card - I call and call every week and the agent for my case never calls me back.

    I've been told to call this morning and if I haven't gotten my card, they would issue me a temporary one! It's a good thing I don't believe in conspiracies otherwise I would believe the reason I don't get my card is because they're going to raise the age NOW!

    I'm sweating bullets until I get any proof of eligibility but my second problem is that I cannot apply for a medigap policy because I don't have a permanent card.

    No wonder I'm a nervous wreck - I've just spent another sleepless night worrying about it......


    It is my understanding that the (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 07:59:36 AM EST
    SSA is swamped and probably understaffed. Not only are they processing SS and Medicare requests but an extremely large volume of requests for SS disability.

    Don't know if you are close to a SS office but it might be worth your time to personally go to the nearest one and get a card, temporary or otherwise. Here in St. Louis and St. Louis county we have a couple that are within easy driving distance. Look in the yellow pages or ask when you call this morning. Bring identification and any paper work they may require. Once again, ask when you call.

    Also, I don't think you will have any trouble applying for Medigap coverage if you don't have the permanent card. All you really need is is your Medicare number which should be on the temporary card or the SS office can give you if you go there and prove your identity. Get the number and apply. In my experience all of the activity for getting Medigap coverage was done on on-line or on the phone. They can't tell what type of card you have or don't have - all they need is the number.  

    My advise to you is to stop worrying yourself sick about this. This has nothing to do with what may happen to Medicare in the future. Instead, celebrate that you will reach 65 now and not later. Never thought I would look forward to being 65 but because of Medicare it was a very happy day in my life. The year before going on Medicare I was under treatment for cancer and more money was going out for insurance premiums and deductibles than was coming in. The negative revenue stopped the minute I turned 65 and went on Medicare.

    Once again, good luck. Don't worry. Be happy


    Thank you again! (none / 0) (#135)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 03:54:09 PM EST
    I took your advice and went to the SS office and they gave me a 60 day temporary card.

    I'm just so relieved!!!!


    Don't Betray Democratic Core Principles (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by john horse on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:19:04 AM EST
    There are many different types of Democrats but if there are any core Democratic principles, it is support for Social Security and Medicare.  Democratic party politicians who mess with these do so at their own peril.  Regarding Obama's willingness to put Medicare on the table, Paul Krugman has pointed out that not only is it bad policy but it is also "politically stupid".

    If you don't believe either Krugman or Jeralyn or any of the other commentators on this site, remember what happened to my former Congressman Allen Boyd.  When Bush proposed to privatize Social Security, Boyd was the only Democrat to support privatization.  I can't help but think that this contributed to his defeat.

    These are sad times.  Let us not forget that the Republicans are willing to destroy our economic system in order to force a "compromise" that will result in the erosion and eventual desruction of social safety net.  I say call their bluff.  As Congressman Barney Frank has noted:

    "I don't think the president should allow the irresponsibility of the right wing to say, 'We're going to shoot you if you don't do this.' No, I don't want there to be a default but there are worse things than default. And worse things than default are wrenching the American government out of shape, losing the principle of majority rule that's been such and important gift from America to the rest of the world, inflicting pain on the most vulnerable people in our society, continuing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to subsidize military budgets all over the world and cut back on people here."

    You fell for the Cuomo scam (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by diogenes on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:28:46 AM EST
    Andrew Cuomo says that in designing a budget he puts in one shocking thing that gets everyone up in arms and would never pass; they are so distracted by this that the rest of the budget goes through.  The great deal is one trillion in tax hikes and three trillion in government cuts in all kinds of services.

    It's a good point, but (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:04:22 PM EST
    the whole purpose of this last-minute exercise, seems to me, is to rush through a complete package intact without the time needed to debate and amend and take out stuff that's not acceptable.

    So I don't personally think there's much question but that the absolute intention is to make these cuts to SS/Medicare/Medicaid.


    Raising the Medicare age is not just (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:29:02 AM EST
    a senior problem. It will have a negative financial impact on all age groups. The Kaiser Foundation looks at the impact in 2014 (remember one year impact) of this policy. I personally think this estimate underestimates the costs  but you will get the general idea.

    With the new health care law, the main consequence appears to be a big shift in costs from the federal government to others.

    Among the report's findings:

    -- Most 65- and 66-year-olds would pay significantly more for their health care because they would not be in Medicare. If the Medicare age was raised to 67 in 2014, about three out of four people ages 65 to 66 would pay $2,400 more, on average. The rest would be eligible for various kinds of subsidies for low-to-moderate income people provided under the health care law.

    -- Employers would pay an estimated $4.5 billion more for health insurance in 2014, because older workers would stay on the job longer to remain eligible for their company's coverage. Under the rules, workplace plans must provide primary coverage for employees who keep working past 65.

    -- People under 30 buying coverage in new health insurance markets that open for business in 2014 would see their premiums rise nearly 8 percent over previous projections. The health care law sets up insurance markets to provide one-stop shopping for people who buy their coverage directly and for small businesses. An influx of older adults no longer eligible for Medicare would raise costs for that pool.

    -- Medicare recipients would face monthly premiums about 3 percent higher because the youngest seniors would be removed from the program's insurance pool, raising per-person costs for those who remain behind.

    -- States would face somewhat higher costs because some low-income people currently eligible for Medicare and Medicaid would be left with Medicaid only. link

    As bad as that sounds, it is optimistic (5.00 / 6) (#31)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:04:37 AM EST
    "older employees would stay on the job".....Who says people will be able to work past 65? Even assuming they are willing abd able, there are plenty of legitimate ways employers can get rid of older employees rather than pay the increased premiums for their insurance. Exciuses abound as the nature of jobs change and skills do not keep up.

    Yes, and it assumes good health. (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:53:29 AM EST
    well yes, (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:50:38 AM EST
    and think of all the people who work in labor intensive jobs or stand at a cash register all day.  I am in my mid fifties and can't do either.  How can we expect a 65 year old who has moved boxes all day to continue to do so for another few years?

    I'll be a cancer (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    survivor, I hope, ans probably in the highest-risk and highest cost categories.
    That assumes I live so long, and actually have a job.

    "Some days, there just aren't enough rocks."


    Yes, there are way more (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:22:44 PM EST
    labor intensive jobs than people even think about.  Cashiers, as you said.  Miners.  Construction workers.  Nurses, orderlies, nurse's aids, and home health aids.  House cleaners.  Janitors.  Cooks and chefs (I know about this one because I cook for hundreds and hundreds of people for my church's food festivals and food sales at least three or more times a year- I can barely do it for 2-3 weeks at a time, and I'm only 63).  Plumbers.  Electricians.  Auto mechanics.  Stockers and warehouse workers.  Long-distance truck drivers.  And on and on and on.  Everyone who works does not sit on their @sses at a desk all day.  

    You'd think (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:11:18 PM EST
    these bozos in Washington would know at least one person in one of those categories, even if it's only the housecleaner, wouldn't you?

    But apparently not.

    You left out farm workers and small farmers themselves from your list, btw.  I live now in the land of small family farms, and people's bodies are just broken here well before the current 65.

    Like other workers on your list, they don't have pensions (hah!) or much in the way of retirement savings, and since their bodies give out so early, they have to start taking SS before the age of full elibility, meaning their monthly benefits are absolutely tiny as it is.

    But geez, in order to "fix" the system, we absolutely have to reduce COLAs.

    This isn't even being thrown under the bus, it's being thrown straight in the gutter.


    Well, I think we're (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:16:15 PM EST
    supposed to run, eat arugula and buy 18 dollar coffee that's environmentally and socially friendly, and go completely organic, but only from the supermarkets.

    Play more basketball and golf, folks! What the hell is wrong with you? Go to your gym that's part of your work package, and use your work-supplied insurance for everything you need.

    Didn't you know that the big employers and big government ALREADY take care of us too much?

    Pass the arugula, please...
    or not.


    They are (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:39:01 PM EST
    Totally clueless about the day to day worries of the average American.  It may as well be from Mars, as far as the "powers that be" are concerned.  Unfortunately, jeff, there are way too many voters who are either uninterested or deluded, and continue to vote against their own self-interests.  I have no idea what the h@ll to do about this, except continue to write and harass my representatives and give my time and money to causes that I believe in.

    Yes, and I'm totally (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:27:32 PM EST
    embarrassed to have left out farm workers, since we have a small farm (and tree farm) of our own.  Although we never did hire others to work for us when we were younger, I have an acute realization of the work involved.  We no longer raise beef cattle on our farm (which we used to), because we are simply too old to do so any more.  We now hire others to harvest our hay and trees.  I would love to have Obama and various congresspeople come out to this area for a year and do the work- farm work, feeding stock, clearing the road of downed trees and snow plowing in the winter, making hay, shoveling manure, and on and on- that needs to be done, and stop and think about whether it is even reasonable to expect people to work even longer before they can access Social Security and Medicare.  As I said, not everyone is sitting on their b@tts at a desk all day.

    I saw this info from you (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:34:38 PM EST
    yesterday (?) and found it so important that I hoped that you would repost it in another relevant thread, such as this one, so that now I do not need to search for it.  Now I will save the link.

    I heartily agree and empathize with the other commenters here talking about workers who will not be physically able or allowed by their employers to stay on the job past 65.  I have many family members in physically demanding jobs, and we worry as to whether they even can work until 65, with the beating that their bodies take daily at work.

    But I am one of the "fortunate" ones, as is my spouse, who have jobs in which we can work past 65 -- my spouse already does, and I will have to do so now, because we are helping so many family members out of work.

    My spouse already has not given up his job for two years to someone younger who wants it, and my spouse expects to be working past 70, until I may be able to retire.

    I am going on 62, and we had hoped to both retire soon, but now I expect to be working for at least the next five years -- and at my workplace, I have job security even longer, until I'm 70.

    So this info is about us, and about at least two younger people who cannot have our jobs yet, nor can they have them anytime soon.  That is sad, but on the other hand, many in their generation have been dumping on us boomers for a long time, leading to the trashing of the promises made to us that would have allowed us to realize our plans and hopes to leave the workplace by now -- in part because they are the ones who put the pols in office, in both parties, who created these manufactured crises as well as the real crises of this economy.

    And now, based on your info here, we may be costing those younger workers more by staying in place in our workplaces than by retiring soon, as we had hoped.  Well, elections have consequences, kids.


    Personal experience (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:05:23 PM EST
    My mother probably never weighed more than 110 pounds soaking wet and did hard physical labor all of her life.

    There is no way on this god's earth that my mom could have worked until she was 69 or 70. She barely made it through to early retirement at 62 and she paid a real price for even working that long.

    So when those fat a$$es in Congress, say people can work into their 70s, I want to see them out doing the same work my mom did for a year or two and see just how long they survive.  


    I hear you, as my mother (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:59:38 PM EST
    didn't make it to 70.  She did physical labor only part of her worklife -- but she worked almost all of her life, while also had the labor and work of bearing and rearing seven children.  She paid a real price for both, too.

    I'm now only five years younger than she was when she died.  I have take a lot of steps, such as going through far fewer pregnancies and childbirths, to try to live a longer life for my children.  But will it be a better life, for them and for me, if I end up being a burden to them, because all that I have paid in for almost half a century to not be a burden to them now will not be there?


    Bingo (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:13:21 PM EST
    What we really ought to be doing is providing incentives for older workers to get out of the workforce so younger ones can have jobs, but instead we're forcing them to hang onto their jobs as long as possible.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.


    Yes, we do not get golden parachutes (none / 0) (#116)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:03:27 PM EST
    in the millions like those to which corporate execs -- and members of Congress and so many other pols -- seem to consider themselves entitled.

    But thought that we had worked hard to earn the promised return on our own investment; that was the incentive for paying without question, never seeing a large part of our paychecks, into old-age insurance and post-retirement health insurance.  


    Let's look at the other ramifications of this (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:39:37 AM EST
    policy particularly in this area:

    -- Employers would pay an estimated $4.5 billion more for health insurance in 2014, because older workers would stay on the job longer to remain eligible for their company's coverage. Under the rules, workplace plans must provide primary coverage for employees who keep working past 65.

    Employers have many creative ways to get around the age discrimination laws. Job discontinuation is one of their favorites. They officially discontinue the job of the older employee. They rename and reclassify the job and hire someone younger and cheaper.

    Bottom line I predict that many employers will let many of their older employee go. Refuse to hire people over a certain age and structure their retirement insurance to cover only a certain dollar amount instead of a percentage of the total cost.

    The other option is that many may just discontinue their employee coverage all together.

    Absolutely (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by mjames on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:53:46 AM EST
    That's why employer-based health insurance is so awful. The employers may also switch employees from employee status to independent contractor status or part-time status, thereby negating the requirement of providing health insurance.

    You said it (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:07:56 AM EST
    It is a system that cannot stand, and it won't.

    Single payer now, please.


    The Obama health insurance legislation (5.00 / 5) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:21:44 AM EST
    is designed to prop up our failed private insurance based system. If even the bare bones of the legislation stand, it would make the insurance, phara and medical industries more wealthy and powerful. The legislation will IMO delay any move to a real health care system for years, if not decades.

    I, hold what seems to be minority position, that it IMO will cause more harm than good. We are seeing some of that now by it being used as justification of raising the Medicare age to 67. It will also once Medicare and Medicaid are sufficiently weakened be used to prove that government should stay out of health care.


    Yep. It truly is an intractable mess because of (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:30:24 AM EST
    the lack of political vision and will. The sooner the whole thing collapses, the better. Unfortunately people will suffer needlessly in the process.

    I wish there was something that could cause the elimination of insurance altogether so we could start over.


    Prior to this insurance legislation (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:45:33 AM EST
    passing there were strong indications that the private health insurance industry could collapse from its own greed.

    I wish I could find the articles which highlighted the number of people who were opting out of the insurance system and the numbers of employers who might drop their employee coverage due to cost. These articles provided numbers that would indicate that the insurance system could collapse within the next five years or so. Obama chose to prop this up with taxpayer funds and structured the legislation to encourage lowering the actuarial value of policies so the insurance companies pay even less and the insured even more.

    Unfortunately, my google skills are primitive at best and I fail miserably at accessing older articles.



    I remember it. I agree with you (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:55:46 AM EST
    You have better things to do with your Sunday.

    I know that people that are sick and dependent on insurance at the moment would not have liked to see that happen. It is easy for me to embrace the collapse and eventual reform when I will not miss a chemo treatment or operation waiting for the (presumably better) system. Politicians have no will to face their constituents in that situation. I understand that dilemma, but the solution they embraced,as you say, just makes it worse while postponing the inevitable.


    I have been involved with (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:21:07 AM EST
    several cancer organizations and with other cancer patients. If you know about and use the resources available, people need not go without chemo treatments because of lack of insurance. Hospitals here write off the cost (pass them along to others) of total annual care for people who meet their financial requirements. You do not have to be without assets either. One person I know owns 2 homes (hers and one she recently inherited from mother) and has a retirement savings account but limited income coming in and the hospital wrote off her entire bill. Also there are several caner related foundations that will pay for your treatment without you being completely without funds.

    Basically what might happen under the insurance legislation is that people may not have the money for both the premiums and the cost of care. I don't know how the hospitals and the foundations will treat that type of situation as theoretically they will have insurance.    


    You may be a minority, MO Blue (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:54:18 PM EST
    But I'm right there with you.  If anyone with a brain were designing a health-delivery system from scratch, who would ever think that private health insurance was the best way to deliver health care?  Insurance companies have to answer to their stock holders, cannot be losing money, and in fact must make money, or they will not be fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities.  And how do they fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to their stock holders?  By maximizing profits and minimizing losses, which basically means charging more and denying costly claims.  The only way private insurance works is if the government severely limits what the health insurers can charge, and essentially restricts them from making any profit whatsoever on basic health care insurance (while, perhaps, allowing them to make some kind of profit on "supplemental" insurance).  That simply is not going to fly in this country.  Single payer.  Medicare For All.  That's what we need, and that's what we're not going to get, at least not in my  lifetime.

    Obamacare won't even be funded (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by mjames on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:51:00 AM EST
    so that option is gone before it began.

    Medicare right now is damn expensive. Part B (doctors and labs) is roughly $150/month and rising fast. Part D is roughly another $50/month, with, of course, the lovely donut hole. A supplemental policy to cover all that Part B doesn't is roughly another $150/month. There is a yearly deductible of around $400 or so. And, if you don't sign up at the first point of eligibility, there are huge price increases each year.

    All of this comes from the Social Security check, which, for many, is only about $1200/month.

    And Social Security is taxed federally as ordinary income, as well as by many states.

    I have no idea what Obama and the government intend to do with all these sick, old people who cannot afford health care. Seriously. They aren't just going to die off immediately.

    This is insane. I do not know how people can think Obama is intelligent. Any objective analyst warns of the impending disaster. History shows us what is coming. And history, if there is one, will not be kind to the great conciliator.

    Sure, he wants to be in with the Wall Street gang, but he also wants to be the great savior with the great vision and grand bargain to save the country. Those two goals are mutually exclusive.

    Get rid of Obamacare. Dissolve the health insurance companies. Create single payer. Lower the age for Social Security and increase the benefit. How to pay? Well, we could stop fighting wars that have no meaning, except to turn the world's poor against us and make money for private contractors. We could have public financing of campaigns. We could break up the big banks. We could establish a reasonable estate tax (first $7 million free and clear; everything after that at 50% or more). We could tax offshore businesses.

    Well, enough. The problem is easy to solve; it's just that no one wants to solve it. They all want to rake in as much cash before the whole system collapses.

    Many of your suggestions have (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:55:17 AM EST
    merit yet are the exact opposite of what Obama plans to do.

    Barney Frank on the debt limit (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:28:13 AM EST
    "Yes," Frank predicted. "I've already voted to raise the debt limit. I voted to raise it earlier this year straight forward. And by the way, it's not my debt limit. I voted against the war in Iraq and I voted against the Bush tax cuts. On my debt limit, I got a couple trillion left to go. I was very generous. I voted to raise the other people's debt."

    This is amusing. Typical Frank. Guess we will see whether or not he will vote "Aye" if the debt limit legislation contains cuts to the safety net programs.


    Expensive (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 12:54:43 PM EST
    FYI: Compared to individual insurance plans Medicare is darned cheap....  I pay more than that and don't have nearly as good of coverage, and I'm only 47!

    But yeah, the government is now about collecting taxes from the little people and handing it off to themselves and their ilk via corporate welfare.


    Making our voices heard on progressive sites (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Babel 17 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:19:51 AM EST
    Bravo for this thread!

    He's only one voice (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:35:48 AM EST
    Gutting Medicare is not just a problem for Obama. It will send the entire Democratic Party into a tail spin that will take years to recover.

    I fault Obama for leading the charge but I hold any Democrat that marches to his orders equally at fault.

    I have written each of my reps in Congress and told them that I would never support a politician that votes to destroy the New Deal. True to form none of them has even bothered to reply.

    Where are the elder statesman in the Democratic Party? It's time for them to step forward and make the trip to the WH.

    Obama may not care what happens to him politically. (He's already achieved his goal) The other Democrats in Congress may still want to pursue the career. Obama won't be the only Democrat to go down with this. This will destroy the party.

    I have already told my so called Dem (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:53:14 AM EST
    Senator and my Dem Rep. that I would hold the entire Democratic Party responsible for any cuts to the safety net programs and I would not only not vote for them but that I would work to defeat them. No "cutsy" little games of labeling them something other than cuts will work. There are enough informed seniors and boomers to make sure that people in their sphere of influence understand what is going on.  

    These cuts cannot happen without the support of the President and congressional members of the Democratic Party. If they allow this to happen they have IMO eliminated any reason for the Democratic Party to exist. One Republican Party is bad for the country. Two Republican Parties is two too many.  


    Your so-call Dem Senator (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:39:20 PM EST
    is McCaskill, correct?

    Do keep us posted on what her daughter tells her to do next about all of this!  A nation awaits, again, advice from a teenager -- or is she past puberty yet? -- as to what to do.


    Yes unfortunately it is my sweet Claire (none / 0) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:09:36 PM EST
    One of the Dem Senators who has signed at least two letters to the president demanding that a deficit committee be established. One before the Senate failed to get cloture for a Senate committee and one to promote Obama setting one up by presidential decree. Think that there may have been one more. A more recent one that Warner put together but I'm too hot and lazy to do the additional research. She is also behind the McCaskill/Corker bill that would establish firm spending caps that would force draconian cuts to domestic and safety net programs in a way that shields the members of Congress from any responsibility for the cuts.

    Regardless of all this activity on the part of my sweet Claire, she has been sending out letters to people in MO asking for contributions so she can save the entitlement programs from the Republicans.  


    So she still has no shame (none / 0) (#120)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:11:01 PM EST
    and still is a shill for Obama.  Thanks for the info on the details at to her letter-writing and other efforts to continue to achieve the aims of a teenager enamored of the cute guy.

    While Republicans do want to (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:26:29 AM EST
    undercut the safety net with the goal of getting rid of it altogether, I don't believe we would ever have heard of the Ryan plan had Barack Obama not opened the door with all his talk about the deficit/debt crisis and the unsustainable cost of "entitlements."

    For every accusation that will be made by the Obama administration and his re-election campaign that the GOP want to put Granny and Gramps out on an ice floe, the GOP will be able to counter that with Obama's own words; if you don't think there are Republican operatives pulling and stockpiling video and print clips even as we speak, you've got your head in the sand.

    We know what both sides wnat to do, the question is, how do you stop it when you know that no matter which party you cast a vote for, you are voting to undermine the safety net (among other things that Obama and the GOP seem to share an affinity for)?  And, really, how much confidence can anyone have that, in a second term where he can really leave a lasting mark and be true to his conservative leanings, Obama will nominate someone to the Court that will maintain its status quo?

    What we are going to end up with is a choice between the Republican with an (R) after his - or her - name, and a Republican with a (D) after his name; if those are the only choices, then I pick no one, because I don't vote for Republicans.

    I still say that we need to mount a campaign to pressure Obama to change his party affiliation to the one that syncs with his ideology; let him prove by his actions that he deserves to carry that (D) behind his name.  I don't think he can make that case.

    In the unlikely event that would happen, that Obama would go (R), who runs in his place?  

    Honestly, I have no idea.

    compare & contrast (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:37:15 AM EST
    A Republic, if you can keep it.
    --Benjamin Franklin

    The banks, hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created, are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.
    --Sen. Dick Durbin

    NO!!! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by koshembos on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:55:24 AM EST
    Did not visit this blog since about July 2008 when TBD started to support Obama in the primaries. For me, Obama was alway beyond the pale as a person, candidate and a choice for running even a small store.

    I voted for the Democrat in 2008. We live in a disaster that Obama is eager to enlarge and extend. As Jeralyn says, not in 2012 and not for any Democrat supporting Obama.

    Don't make a mistake, a default is better than the Obama/Boehner plan.

    in fairness to TBD (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:30:20 PM EST
    (not that he needs me to defend him), he didn't "support" the obama candidacy, as much as decided that obama was the dem with the greatest chance of winning the general election. hardly a ringing endorsement on his part.

    It isn't just the Republicans, J. (4.90 / 10) (#2)
    by caseyOR on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:38:13 AM EST
    Obama is the one who put Medicare and Social Security on the table.  He's the one who's in such a d@mn hurry to sacrifice us on the altar of "Bipartisanship."

    If the Medicare age is raised and if SS is cut either by use of the chained CPI or by an outright benefit cut, the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Hope and Change.

    I am heartened to see that, unlike so many liberals/progressives who are upset at what Obama is doing, you have not made the ridiculous mistake of chastising Obama while in the same breath pledging your vote to him.

    It should be clear to anyone who is paying attention that Barack Obama does not have the best interests of the majority of Americans at heart.

    Even if this happens (2.00 / 1) (#28)
    by SOS on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:57:48 AM EST
    America will still be stuck in its essential predicament of being broke.

    A visual demonstration on (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:03:54 AM EST
    well propaganda works on some people.

    In the context of rational thinking, (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:45:23 AM EST
    the citizenry might pause to analyze how are deficits grew so big, so fast and then determine what, if any of these factors could be reversed or addressed.  Perhaps, a critical eye could then discover something other than killing or maiming social safety nets.

    For starters, we need go back only about ten years, from the end of the Clinton administration.  At that point there were surpluses and now, not so much.  What major changes might have impacted this reality?   Well, the Bush tax cuts; spending in Iraq, Afghanistan and other assorted wars and non-hostilities; and the recession, with its temporary tax shortfalls owing to joblessness and its associated expenses to the economy.

    Most discretionary spending has not changed, although Medicare Part D was expensive, both in its privatization and in the constraints in economies imposed upon it.   Well, upon thorough analysis, I can't see any way to budge the budget other than to cut the safety nets. I must go now, I am on the way to my eye doctor.


    Excellent point. (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:14:20 PM EST
    Even through 2011, from 1998-2001 the revenues exceeded spending. Now, in the midst of the little depression, medium depression, or Great Depression Redux, spending vastly exceeds revenues.

    Yet the president gave away the sunset of tax reductions. The president has proposed some pie-in-the-sky increases, but has decided to stand and grasp the Third Rail of Politics.  Politically, he could squat down and poop Tiffany cufflinks, but he's a lame duck.

    I'm thinking as a liberal all that's left for me to do now will be to fight Obama's radical approach to social programs and his continued support of oppressive, rights-taking federal policies, laws, and actions.


    We can agree on some things (none / 0) (#68)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:17:01 PM EST
    Others? No.

    In 8 years under Bush the debt increased 100% from $5 to $10 billion. In 30 months under Obama it has increased 40% from $10 billion to $14 billion.

    All of Bush's was spent on the war and Obama's was spent on Medicare/Medicaid Social Security??

    I think not. In fact, Social Security paid for itself. Medicare has a tax base plus premiums.

    There is a lot of cutting that can be done before we get to the safety nets....


    We can probably (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:35:56 PM EST
    agree on a lot of things that need to be cut, starting with any more aircraft carriers... we have 11... enough? I think so.

    Mohair subsidies. ???

    Corn to fuel subsidies. Use more energy to produce the fuel than the fuel produced. Switchgrass is much more efficient. Methanol, not ethanol.

    Hydrogen. WTF is the deal not using something occuring naturally that can be obtained cheaply through electrolysis?

    The Joint Strike Fighter. Even if China and Russia have carriers, I think this can needs to be kicked down the road a few years. Suspend funding. SDI? cut, cut, cut. No more nuclear weapons production. We have enough. No nuclear bunker-busters. Come up with conventional... it's amazing what creative engineers can do.

    Government research into ceramic engines. Not government-sponsored, but controlled by the feds.

    Drastically changing mission of the department of the Department of Education. End immediately NCLB. Make money available to schools AND people for re-training, but not the simplistic methods used in welfare-to-work.

    Close down the Green Zone in Baghdad. We may disagree on this one, but I don't envision  terrorism from Iraq having much impact here.

    And others.  As to why the debt has increased so much, a part is just accounting for Iraq/Afghanistan. Another large part? People without jobs not paying taxes... those slackers!


    If two poker players (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:00:36 PM EST
    can solve this problem why can't our super smart people in DC do it??

    And the answer is.... they don't want to take the heat from the mohair producers...and others sucking on the public teat.


    We know when to fold a bad hand (none / 0) (#95)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:01:32 PM EST
    and wait for the next deal. Or bluff big and push it all in.

    Politicians used to play poker. What happened?


    Yes, the deficits and their (none / 0) (#92)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:54:27 PM EST
    accumulation (debt) have increased under Obama. But, once again, what accounts for this?  As you note, Obama inherited  an increase in the debt from Bush.  He also inherited  an economy in  dire straits, including a banking system that was teetering on depression era-like pivots.  

    The deficits were incurred mostly  from effects of the serious recession (joblessness and loss of tax revenues, expenses for unemployment) and efforts to staunch the hemorrhaging of the nation's economy: bailouts of  Wall Street, stimulus expenditures including tax cuts, and interest on the debt.  Of course, then there are the wars and the continuation of the Bush tax cuts.   While arguments can be made as to the policies undertaken by Obama to address the mess inherited, we can point to its cause and note that, for most instances,  the steps taken can be considered temporary until the economy turns around, people are back to work paying taxes and able to spend money.  

    Oh, and your statistics are off a little, which would seem to matter to any good poker player,: those " $ billions"  you are tossing around are more accurately described as "$ trillions."    As the legendary Senator Dirksen (R.Il) is often quoted as saying, a $ billion here and a $ billion there, and the next thing you know , it starts to add up.


    America isn't broke (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:44:47 AM EST
    Our corporations are making record profits. The top 10% is enjoying unprecedented wealth.

    Our problem is that the top 10% of earners (who in 2008 already enjoyed 50% of the national income and by now, with the huge increase in their fortunes over the last two years, may enjoy more) don't want to pay their debts -- to pay the taxes necessary to pay down the deficit run up in supporting their interests during the Bush years, or to maintain social order and the civic resources needed to see the rest of the country through a period of economic change and dire consequences (mostly resulting from the self-dealing mismanagement of that elite).

    They yell "income redistribution" when it is suggested they pay their bills, but the only income redistribution that's occurred in this country is from the bottom 90% to the top 10%. They yell that taxation is illegitimate "confiscation" but ignore the fact that the responsibility to tax is one of the first responsibilities laid out for the Congress in our Constitution. They yell "socialism" but also ignore the fact that up until the middle of the last century it was presumed that ALL taxation would be taxation that primarily impacted the rich. The founders didn't levy taxes on the rich because of socialist envy, they did it for the same pragmatic reasons we need to do it today -- because the rich have the money, and, as the founders recognized, they get the most benefit from government.


    insanity (4.90 / 10) (#3)
    by desmoinesdem on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:42:44 AM EST
    The best way forward on health care reform would be to gradually lower the eligibility age for Medicare, because Medicare is a much more efficient insurance provider than private companies. Obama proposes to screw over people nearing retirement age, yet he was promising Boehner no increases in marginal tax rates at any income level for the next decade!

    These last few days, for the first time I have started seriously thinking about writing in a candidate for president in November 2012.

    Exactly. The bat way to save it is to (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:59:37 AM EST
    get younger people into it, paying premiums.

    that is correct (5.00 / 0) (#47)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:14:26 AM EST
    no private insurance co in it's right mind would have a group of insured made up of old people, sick people and old sick people.  Medicare for all should at least have been discussed.  

    And the very last thing (none / 0) (#87)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:43:55 PM EST
    they'd do is cut out the youngest members of that group.

    This is such an insane idea, I have no idea where it came from.  I've certainly yet to hear any explanation of the thinking behind it-- if there is any other than throwing Boehner a bone and hoping he doesn't notice there's no meat on it.


    Keep your seatbelt fastened (2.00 / 2) (#27)
    by SOS on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:56:54 AM EST
    Going broke fast is a very compelling problem.

    The only thing broke is our minds (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Dadler on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:06:24 AM EST
    Explain how a government that has the sole right to create money can be broke?  Explain how, say, our debt to China or any other country is any different.  Where did China get its money, or any other country?  They created it out of thin air.

    Being a slave to money is the most absurd thing in all of human history.

    We just cannot, for anything, wrap ourselves around the reality that the only thing breaking us is allowing the financial game, that we are all forced to play, to continue to be rigged and corrupted.


    What financial game? (none / 0) (#51)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:24:44 AM EST
    I completely agree that the 'we're broke' mantra is beyond ridiculous but I think complaining about the financial system is moving up the ridiculous scale.

    It's all choice.  No one is forced to participate in the financial game.  Yes, it's rigged to exploit and you have to pay a bit of attention to not be tricked, but it's not difficult.

    Even though the Dems have the WH and the Senate the rentiers are trying to exploit seniors onto SS cards but it is possible to direct deposit to an appropriate credit union (if someone is still at a bank, they are part of the problem) and eliminate charges.  There is always a loop-hole the fall back always being refusal to go along.

    You're only a debt slave if you choose to be a debt slave.


    nonsense (none / 0) (#56)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:38:03 AM EST
    Obama's Fighting For Obamacare For All (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dan the Man on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:33:18 AM EST
    Yes, raising the Medicare age from 65 to 67 sucks.  What is patently incoherent are those who supported Obamacare - some even going so far as calling Obamacare a kind of "public options" or even a kind of "single payer" - and yet are now saying raising the Medicare age is such a horrible thing.  That's because kicking the 65/66 years olds off of Medicare merely makes them covered by Obamacare, and if Obamacare is as wonderful as they say it is, why is that such a bad thing?

    A prime example of this is Paul Krugman.  In his recent blog post, he criticizes Obama for taking away from seniors aged 65/66 their "single-payer system" and forcing them into a "private insurance."  But then in the previous paragraph, he says that's actually not true - the 65/66 year olds would not actually be in "private insurance" but would be covered by the Obamacare system which "more or less simulate[s] the effects of single-payer."  This (of course) raises the inevitable question:  if Obamacare "more or less simulate[s] the effects of single-payer", why is it such a bad idea to put more people in Obamacare?  I don't expect Krugman to be able to answer this question in a non-incoherent fashion.

    Right now, Obama's fighting for the same thing he was fighting for when the ACA was passed - Obamacare.  The ACA gave Obamacare to non-seniors.  Now, he's incrementally trying to expand Obamacare so that both senior and non-seniors have Obamacare with the goal of Obamacare for All.  This was what I was saying would happen when the ACA was passed, and this is why the ACA should never have been passed.

    Dan, (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:49:13 AM EST
     I don't see how you could have read Krugman's column and come to the conclusion you did.

    What part of  "it's horrifying" didn't you understand?


    who are all these people, (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:48:43 AM EST
    of which you speak, who proclaimed the HCR to be the greatest thing since sliced bread? aside from obama and his aides, of course. those of us in the real world recognized it for what it is: better then the present system, but a far cry from single-payer. ultimately, your health insurance coverage is still in the hands of private, for-profit health insurance companies. because of that, those of us living in the reality-based world of economics tempered our "enthusiasm".

    dr. krugman, unlike say, oh, yourself for example, is quite clear: HCR as it ended up was better than nothing, but don't go putting those people who qualify for an actual single-payer system (medicare), which they've paid for, into the ACA private-insurance based model, purely by dint of changing the minimum age. it isn't cost-effective, and it sure as heck isn't fair.

    how did you manage to miss 2/3rd's of his column?


    IMO (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:00:42 PM EST
    Obama care is not better than what we had.  It prevents real reform from happening because congress and the president can say "we already fixed it".  They are not going to spend another precious political minute on healthcare again for years and years unless it is to repeal Obama care and then privatize medicare.

    Obama is a Self righteous Hypocrite ! (none / 0) (#7)
    by samsguy18 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:47:29 AM EST
    Who for most of his political career has been adept at never being held accountable for his actions or decisions. He has been an expert at talking the talk while using semantics to manipulate a captive audience. His petulant arrogant behavior increases with each self-serving press conference and televised speech. He has botched the economy and healthcare. Obamacare was literally thrown together. Who does that with such an important task.... I am a boomer and I can assure you I will not vote for such an individual. His unpresidential behavior last week was embarrasing.

    jeralyn, this leads to (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:51:39 AM EST
    blatantly obvious question, that has yet to be asked:

    who's your proposed alternate for obama, come 2012? is alan grayson running for the democratic nomination, and i just missed it? trust me, i'd vote for him in the primaries, but i just don't see this happening.

    "Where ELSE are you gonna go?" (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Yman on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:22:10 AM EST
    This line is getting so old it isn't even funny anymore.

    I don't think it matters who any potential (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:20:25 PM EST
    candidate may be. Given the current state of affairs, nd with no significant improvement, something I consider unlikely with current plans, there will be a republican taking the oath of office.

    A real Republican, not a PPUS republican.

    I hope the house can come back... to tell you the truth, that's about my only hope, and it's forlorn.


    oh, and which member of the current (none / 0) (#74)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:27:50 PM EST
    republican klown car of candidates do you anticipate being the lucky winner? that may be the only thing a successful democratic challenger to obama might have going for them in the general: the republican candidates, individually and as a group, are just so horrific to normal people, they might not be able to win against any democrat.

    Mittens McPlasticman. (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:39:38 PM EST
    And some running mate like a western governor other than Rick Perry.

    Bingo (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:40:21 PM EST

    Well, maybe not. An all Mormon ticket strains the imagination.



    It doesn't matter (none / 0) (#118)
    by sj on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:24:04 PM EST
    A generic R will win.  Of course, he might have a D after his name.

    Nope, Grayson is running for the House again (none / 0) (#32)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:05:46 AM EST
    Plan B is not in sight.

    Perhaps it's time for (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:40:18 AM EST
    a third party candidate. One who embraces Democratic principles.

    I'm ready to jump ship! (5.00 / 0) (#44)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:54:21 AM EST
    Is that really the proper solution (none / 0) (#42)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:48:13 AM EST
    here, and haven't we Dems been down that road before, as in 1980 and 2000?  Running a reasonably viable non-Nader 3d party candidate from the left almost guarantees the left will be split and thus the Repub will win.

    And that outcome might be acceptable if we were dealing with the old GOP of my youth, the one that hadn't been completely hijacked by its radical right wing, the one which still had a strong moderate-liberal presence.

    Isn't Bernie Sanders right here, if a bit late with his rec, that the thing to do with Obama is to nudge him back away from his rightward drift with a good primary opponent?


    Short-Term Thinking (5.00 / 5) (#49)
    by BDB on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:19:21 AM EST
    This is a problem that isn't going to solve itself in one election cycle.  The right-wing, of which most D leaders are members including Obama, didn't take charge of this country focusing solely on the next election.  They lost elections.  See Barry Goldwater and Gerald Ford.  

    And most of the real change on the left hasn't come through Ds anyway.  All those great D programs - Social Security, labor laws, Medicare - were actually ideas promoted by third parties.  It was the fear of these third parties - particularly Socialists and Communists - that prompted the Ds to embrace these ideas to "save capitalism" in the 1940s.  In my opinion, it is no coincidence that having given up the greatest engine of change - third parties - the left is now reduced to simply clawing and scraping to try to keep what it already won instead of expanding on it.  

    If you give up the option of costing Ds elections, then you surrender all power within the current system*.  Basically, we're going to end up the same place under the Ds as we are the Rs, it just may take a decade longer to get there.  And the reason for that is ironically people fear the Rs for where they are going to lead us.  If you doubt this, look at how much of Bush's policies Obama has normalized.  The Ds aren't interested in changing course and that course is disastrous for average Americans whether its being led by a (D) or an (R).  Although given the number of D partisans who still seem to doubt this - after TARP, Bernanke's renomination, the complete lack of action on jobs, the expanding wars, the continued erosion of civil liberties, the almost demand that Soc Sec. and Medicare be cut, the awful health care deform bill, etc., etc. - perhaps we do need one more term of Obama.  

    I will also add: 1) the Ds may well lose anyway given the economy, 2) even if the Ds don't lose the next election, they are bound to lose some time in a two-party system so you're basically fighting for an impossible goal - to simply keep the GOP permanently out of power and suggesting the left STFU and surrender its influence to attain this impossible goal; and 3) why in the heck should anyone care if the Ds win if all they're going to do is essentially what the Rs will do, but slightly more slowly.

    * Of course, there is a legitimate question about whether the current system can be saved or is worth saving.  But that's another discussion.

    NOTE - the hatred of Nader and blaming him for 2000 is factually wrong for a number of reasons.  First, Gore won Florida and the election and then the Ds sat on their hands and let the Supreme Court take it from them.  Second, more registered Ds in Florida voted for Bush than for Nader and somehow these people are never blamed.  Third, most Nader voters indicate they would not have voted for Gore, they would have stayed home - so Nader didn't take from Gore, he brought in voters who otherwise wouldn't have participated.  In fact, 2000 has been very good for the Ds since they've been able to use it to neuter their left flank and ensure they can suck up to corporations and not have to worry about losing the "progressive" support.  


    One more thought on 2000 (5.00 / 5) (#52)
    by BDB on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:25:33 AM EST
    The left learned the wrong lesson.  Instead of prostrating itself and apologizing for having cost Gore - who let's remember thought Joe Lieberman would make a good VP - the election, should instead have embraced it and told the Ds that if they didn't move further left, liberals would keep costing them elections (even if I don't think Nader really did cost Gore the election).  If that had been done, perhaps the nominees following Gore would not have been the most conservative running those years.  

    "Progressives" have paid a heavy price for decapitating those to the left of them.  Unions have paid for having taken out the communists.  Progressive Ds have paid for taking down the Greens.  Etc.  Etc.  It means that the furthest left position now is roughly the Daily Kos and when that's the left, you can bet the center is going to be right around Barack Obama, which is to suggest someone who is to the right of Bachmann on TARP and is to the right of Nixon on everything.   The right has long known this which is why you'll rarely hear a Republican telling the wacko conservatives to STFU.  They know the "crazies" help them move to the right.  "Progressives", however, absolutely love telling those to the left of them to be "pragmatic" and a "realist" and accept whatever horror the Ds are inflicting on us.  It makes them "serious".


    Oh those poor put-upon Greenies (1.00 / 1) (#110)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:57:11 PM EST
    and their boy Ralf -- never their fault, always the fault of those meanie Demos.  Ditto the old unions -- none of their leaders or rank and file who voted for Nixon and Reagan and presented a terrible PR profile for years, none of those union people are to blame.


    Otherwise, I see a lot of emotionalism in your very long posts, which I won't respond to, nor am I interested in rehashing add nozz the 2000 election, Holy Joe and Holy Ralf.


    For the record (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by BDB on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:32:00 PM EST
    I voted for Gore.

    And it's just like a Democratic Partisan Hack to take facts (e.g., Gore won Florida, more Florida Ds voted for Bush than for Nader, etc.) and claim it's really just about hurt feelings.  The sad fact is the Democratic Party has spent the last forty years, but particularly the last ten failing this country.  The evidence is all around you.  But keep doing what you've been doing (and what I used to do).  It's obviously working out very well.

    Also, how in the hell are the Greens responsible for where we are?  They don't control anything.   And if you read my post above, you'll see very clearly, I do blame the unions.  They made the mistake of silencing their leftist most members, which weakened their bargaining position.  They don't actually strike anymore.  They're very "reasonable".  That has not turned out well for them.  Neither has their leadership's alignment with the Democratic Party, which is busting unions across the country almost as quickly as the Republicans.  

    The left did indeed put itself in this position.  And if it were up to you, the left would stay there.


    The only emotionalism (none / 0) (#119)
    by sj on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 07:30:22 PM EST
    I see in this sub-thread is right here in your comment.  In fact, your comment is more than a little shrill.

    I noticed that you didn't address a single point that BDB made just kind of ... thumbed your nose.  And it's hysterical that you, of all people, whine about a very long post.  I would have thought the historian in you would take these for the serious statements they were.


    I saw a couple of lengthy (none / 0) (#123)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:22:26 PM EST
    posts that began with this absurd assertion

    The right-wing, of which most D leaders are members including Obama,

    and drew certain conclusions about the poster's rather extreme political positioning and decided there wasn't going to be much basis there for a reasonable exchange of views.

    Sorry to some if I was a little too abrupt in reply but I'd just been over this tired Nader terrain the day before on this board and didn't want to revisit it at great length twice within a 24 hr period, especially when there looked to be so many promising and much fresher discussions elsewhere at TL today.  


    Hilarity (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by lambert on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:53:15 PM EST
    What's your test for right wing? Torture? Check. Militarism? Check. Cut social programs like SS and Medicare? Check. Heritage Foundation HCR? Check. And on and on and on. Of course Obama's right wing. Just look at his actions.

    Only a shill could think otherwise. As for the Nader terrain, if D weasels would stop lying about the history, we wouldn't to have keep beating them about the head and shoulders with the facts they hate so much.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#133)
    by sj on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 12:30:08 PM EST
    I didn't want to take that on and trigger another diatribe ... but yeah, just yeah.

    Okay (none / 0) (#124)
    by sj on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:18:16 PM EST
    But I don't understand why you just didn't go to those other, much fresher discussions elsewhere.

    Thank you, BDB (none / 0) (#86)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:41:00 PM EST
    My thoughts exactly.

    nothing factual (none / 0) (#67)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:14:56 PM EST
    in your comment.  Nader voters, most of them, would have voted for Gore and said so.  Nader lied when he promised to stay out of swing states.  Nader lied about Gore, who he was, what he would do as president and what he stood for.  
    No third party has ever enacted legislation in this country. When any third party gets that kind of power it is because they have replaced and become one of the two main parties.  

    But third parties can influence agendas (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Towanda on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:50:07 PM EST
    of the parties that drag more voters to the polls.

    So voters who refuse to do so have influenced, and repeatedly, the political agendas of major parties.

    (Example:  The source of many New Deal programs, which did not come from Dems.)


    It's astonishing to me (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by BDB on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 04:52:09 PM EST
    that so many people who claim to want the Democratic Party to move left still like to beat up on Ralph Nader, someone who actually tried to move the Democratic Party left.  Instead of beating up on the Democrats in Florida who voted for Bush, which outnumber those who voted for Nader.  Or, you know, actually blaming GOP dirty tricks, the Supreme Court and the Democratic establishment's acceptance of same, which was the true cause of the election loss.  Gore after all f'ing WON Florida, it's just his votes weren't counted and some of them even disappeared.  

    But instead of focusing on that, Democrats, including me for a time, spent the last ten years beating up those on their left and using it as a reason to justify voting for whatever corporate hack the Ds nominate and telling the left-wing of the party to STFU.  Personally, I'm done with that and I urge others to be done with that, too.  This country is not being destroyed by Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky or any other person on the left.   It is being destroyed by conservatives.  And they are the ones to blame for it, regardless of what party affiliation they have.  


    BDB never argued third parties... (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by lambert on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:55:08 PM EST
    ... enacted legislation. She said the main parties enacted legislation because they were afraid of the third parties. So your response is off point.

    Which is why a third party would be good, because the legacy parties definitely need to be in fear.


    what the heck? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:05:22 PM EST
    The thing to do with Obama is not to nudge him.  If there is a challenge to Obama we should defeat him not gently nudge him to the left.  Obama's problem is not a rightward drift.  He has never been left or right.  He is adrift in both directions.  He is incapable of doing the job.

    That should be a goal in a (none / 0) (#75)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:28:48 PM EST
    primary challenge -- nudge him as much as possible back towards this direction because he has been leaning too far right lately in order to reach accommodation with the Goopers.  That's rather plain to see.  He certainly hasn't been drifting left, as you also state.

    And the ideal outcome would be for a stronger incumbent, not one somehow defeated by another who would almost certainly divide our party along racial lines.  

    I can't think of a single viable challenger to him who could avoid the racial divide outcome, with the possible exception of a Tavis Smiley, who isn't running.


    The problem with that idea is (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:51:29 PM EST
    that he's entirely capable of changing his rhetoric during the campaign and changing nothing when he's in office-- as we have seen.  Once he gets back in, then why does he care what people think?

    With his cute little Medicare/SS maneuvers, he's cut the Dems. off at the knees for the congressional elections, so he clearly gives not one da** about them or the party.

    So what good does "nudging" him to the left during the primaries do?


    third party candidates (none / 0) (#72)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:23:20 PM EST
    have less than the proverbial snowball's chance in hell of being elected at the national level. so no, that would be a waste of time, money and energy. gosh, and i know this is potentially treasonous, how about a legitimate democrat challenging obama for the dem nomination?

    yes, mr. grayson has stated he is going to challenge for his old seat. is there a law that says mr. grayson can't change his mind, and decide to challenge obama for the oval office? i've never heard of one.


    Even I wouldn't vote for (none / 0) (#89)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:52:07 PM EST
    Alan Grayson for president.  Are you kidding me?

    Bernie Sanders is now saying (none / 0) (#16)
    by observed on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:35:16 AM EST
    Obama might need to be primaried. It is too late, and besides, primary votes don't count against Obama. Anyway, I think default is a real possibility. Obama's  serial caving has made the Republicans think they can get the moon. Obama has helped create a monster.

    Why is it too late? (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by BobTinKY on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:12:09 AM EST
    A challenger from the left will have his or her coffers filled with contributions disaffected Democrats and the netroots. Feingold, Whitehouse, a candidate of that caliber.  Hell, at this point I;d give money to Kucinich.

    Agree it's not too late -- (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:58:11 AM EST
    though it's getting very late, especially to run someone who can't almost fully self-fund.  (though it is too late, and a complete waste of time and money, to even discuss yet another Kucinich candidacy, much as I agree with many of his stances; he's about spent as a national candidate after his last two runs).

    A primary challenger might come from a lib in the House or perhaps one of our outspoken prominent and well-known libs from the progosphere will step up to the plate and put his/her name up for consideration.  S/he would probably get plenty of quick funding from online sources and build mo from there.  


    Whew... i had rated a 5, (none / 0) (#104)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:18:37 PM EST
    but it turned into a 3... meant it to be a 5.

    hell no (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 01:26:53 PM EST
    we don't need a candidate from the left.  The left fell for Obama all the way.  He was their savior and they ignored the fact that Clinton was always more reliably left than Obama.  We don't need a candidate from the right or left.  We need a candidate from the guts, experience and competence wing of the party.

    Oh, Whitehouse! (none / 0) (#102)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:15:30 PM EST
    Now there's an idea I think I could probably go for.

    OTOH, Whitehouse for the White House is a little dicey...

    But Whitehouse is one of the most articulate and convincing people out there on the subject of what used to be core Dem. principles.


    Agree WH is very articulate (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:48:41 PM EST
    and impressive.  But he's even less likely than Feingold, far less in fact, to undertake a primary challenge to Obama.  ANd, unfortunately, his very name itself, while it works at one level, works against him on another, in terms of intraparty politics and underlining the racial aspect of a Whitehouse run against the first A-A president.

    In any case, if I know him (and I don't, I don't), he won't run.


    America's Last Hack President (none / 0) (#127)
    by lambert on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:56:35 PM EST
    A man can dream...

    a feature not a bug of Obama Presidency (none / 0) (#84)
    by jedimom on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 02:16:29 PM EST
    I said in early 08 that Obama had been 'selected' to be the Dem candidate by TPTB/TBTF to cut SS/Medicare.

    Obama supporters said I was a crazy racist.

    Nothing this man has done has changed my mind. Every move he makes is at the behest of TBTF.

    If he had done HOLC as Hillary suggested we would have had a real recovery on Main St balance sheets, and consumer demand, and jobs.

    Instead we got HAMP and more TARP programs, ie PPIP, Fed bailing TRILLIONS of foreign banks out while Main St tanked and contionues to tank.

    Charlie Gasparino and I dont agree on much but his book Bought And Paid For lays it all out nicely.

    I am and have been supporting the GOP. McCain was to the LEFT of Obama on housing and healthcare.

    Obama is the worst of both worlds he is destroying the Democratic brand while unmaking the Social Safety Net. I will take the GOP who tells me to my face I am on my own every day over Obama.

    I predict Romney 12 Hillary 16 or we are doomed.

    Don't expect support for (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 03:01:53 PM EST
    Republicans here, they are far worse than Democrats. The problem with Obama is he isn't embracing Democratic principles. He's moved too far to the center/right.

    And please don't shill for Republicans here. You will be a "chatterer" under our comment rules and limited in the number of your comments.

    The point of this exercise is to change Obama's mind and stop him from going down this Republican path, at the risk of a voter revolt against him and Democrats in 2012. We don't want that to happen, we want them to see the error of their ways and change course before it's too late.

    I will never vote for a Republican. Ever.


    And if the only way to change Obama's mind... (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by lambert on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:58:01 PM EST
    ... is not to vote for him? What then?

    Not voting for Obama doesn't mean (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 01:41:22 AM EST
    you have to vote for a Republican.  There are other names on the ballot and, in fact, one need not vote at all in any race.  Leave it blank if you must.