The Problem With Exchanges As Reform: Medicare Eligibity Age, Mandates And Subsidies

Via Digby, Jon Cohn:

The automatic cuts will still hurt, because they’d still affect plenty of important programs. And among them may be the administration’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.

The new health care law will make insurance more affordable by providing subsidies to people who buy insurance on their own. [. . . B]oth administration and congressional sources are confirming, the cost-sharing subsidies are not exempt. They will decline. And that’s worrisome because the subsidies were already pretty low. In fact, many of us were hoping that, over time, lawmakers would see fit to raise them rather than reduce them. [. . .]

Imagine you are 62, making $40,000 a year with employer sponsored health insurance. How are you feeling about the next 5 years?

Speaking for me only

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    Wait a minute (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by lilburro on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:38:55 PM EST
    are you trying to tell me slashing 2 trillion plus in discretionary spending could possibly have a real world impact?

    Thought that you might be interested (none / 0) (#13)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:21:46 PM EST
    in reading column today by Craig Crawford (I accessed it via www.politicalwire.com ) At times, lilburro, you've asked for facts/data. The column was a bit of an eye-opener. Crawford doesn't appear to be shilling for anyone insofar as I know (there is actually a bit of the old-fashioned liberal ala Sen. Harkin in things of his that I've read before.)  In this column, he talks about illusion & the timetable of the agreement. Again, I think that you might find it informative in terms of comparative numbers.

    I like Craig Crawford. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by lilburro on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:55:38 PM EST
    Let me check it out.  What is the title of the article though?  I'm not finding it.

    Basically, all I ask is that people who were optimistic about the debt deal survey what is basically the wreckage.  What did you expect?  How does this deal measure up?  If you thought this was the best we could do, and have thought so since June, then that's fine.  I thought at one point Obama had them on the ropes so to speak.  That we could get a clean debt ceiling raise, more or less, with McConnell's Bs.  I almost bought into Lawrence O'Donnell with that.  We have many battles ahead of us, due to GOP intransigence.  I would like to see an acknowledgment of that intransigence on the POTUS' part that leads to better policy outcomes.  That lets the American people know what's up.

    My point is that if you cut spending, there will be pain.  To casually dismiss a trillion is....casual.

    Subsidies, by their nature, were always at risk.  If they are at risk now, that's a bad sign.

    The ACA is here.  I want it to work...but I also want it to be affordable.

    If it's in danger, Dems need to step up to protect it.


    About "casual" dismissal (none / 0) (#48)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:33:22 PM EST
    Lilburro: You are correct that it is inappropriate to dismiss casually a $1Trillion. (Else we'll sound like those seeming to play with peoples' lives.)

    Perspective: What is the relationship of $1Trillion over a decade to the total budget for said period (adjusted for inflation & beginning in 2013.) To consider the real impact on the longterm budget, it is important to look at it from the perspective within which the action would unfold.  (Crawford's article is found via links on the politicalwire page, going to his column listed separately there under analysis...it is the article earlier today about his take on how the agreement might actually play out.)

    As to optimism or not in the earlier stages of the debt ceiling imbroglio: The closest I got to optimism was shortly after the McConnell proposal, wherein it appeared that some version of it--with $$ reductions & change in the number of voting opportunities--might fly. The final does have that McConnell imprint--the phases mixed with an opportunity for disapproval vote followed by presidential veto, if need be, in the 2nd phase. The committee aspect is a version of the Reid add on to McConnell to make it more palatable to the Repub House, etc.  As I've said earlier, this is lining up for the 2012 elections. I tend to agree with Crawford's broad-brush on the agreement; and, I hope the issues do become clear-cut after the Super Committee tosses them around for a few months...because the American public just might break the logjam that we are witnessing now.


    Well (none / 0) (#53)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 09:31:44 AM EST
    having any optimism about this deal requires believing the Dems will become killer political operatives.  I don't share that optimism.  Is this the article you're talking about?

    The article is entitled (none / 0) (#58)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 03:07:45 PM EST
    "Debt Panel Designed to Fail" (Craig Crawford.)
    Oh...my only optimism is that what Crawford concludes is fairly accurate...that combined with the New Year and its concomitant shift of focus to the elections.  Also: I've noticed the past two days that the tv "news" media are finding a new focus: My goodness, instead of pushing the debt motif the past 6 months, this focus might now get the attention of Congress...and, the focus is--ta da--jobs!

    Show me an article by Tom Harkin himself (none / 0) (#22)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:12:53 PM EST
    and I'll read it.

    If there is an article by Tom Harkin (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:06:00 PM EST
    on the issues of the day today, tomorrow, whatever, I'd read it too. He deserves immense respect. IMO, he has credibility...not pretend credibility of those who merely represent their districts (which, of course, is a good thing too), but the credibility of a genuine liberal. He is not a saint, as politicians usually don't strive for that ethereal space, but he is generally quite dependable.

    Nonetheless, if you are interested in the full spectrum of facts, I'd again recommend the article cited as an eye-opener. (It won't hurt you, really.)


    I've scoured T. Goddard's site (none / 0) (#30)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:19:49 PM EST
    and can't find the Craig Crawford article anywhere. What's the title? Is it to be found on one of the sidebars?

    Never mind. I found it. (none / 0) (#35)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:41:56 PM EST
    It's dinner time, so I'll have to go over it more finely later. But, at first glance, it reads like beltway excuse-making for how bad the bill is. More of that "Oh, calm down, you silly liberals" stuff. I could come to a similar conclusion as Crawford, but from a completely different angle. I want a constituional scholar to tell me how the legislation doesn't infringe on the Congress's authority to make budgets, per Article 1, sections 7 & 8. Maybe I'm talking out of my hat, but, as a layperson, it occurs to me that giving seven people -- who already have the power of leadership positions -- the right to make budgetary policy "or else, the triggers!" is not protected by Article 1.

    The protection question is valid (none / 0) (#39)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:19:33 PM EST
    These Super Committee type things look--at first glance--as if they diminish the role of the overall Congress. But, as I understand it, the counter is that the Congress has not impermissibly delegated away its authority because it retains the ability to vote yea or nay on any/all recommendations that said committee might produce. That makes sense. (Actually, most legislation that calls for a Secretary of such & such dept to make certain decisions faces, at some point or another, the same question (usually in the case of Executive delegation from those who do not favor federal authority.)

    I did deal with the delegation issue over the years at EPA.  While not the same, the challenge of how much can be delegated is similar...and the resolution probably will be as well: So long as the delegator (Congress) retains the ultimate authority, the delegatee is presumed to act lawfully within the boundaries of legislation/agreement/governing document.

    As to Crawford: He isn't always predictable. The point that you might want to delve into has to do with the amount of $$$ as allocated over x years beginning in year y. The point--from a pragmatic standpoint (when the hostage-taker holds the metaphorical gun to the head)--is reasonable.  Also: The concept of what is illusion as he spells out is well-taken from the standpoint of probability. (Forget the stuff about the "calm down" etc.--that is just emotional bait from the writer, as all writers are wont to do.)

    Hey, I appreciate your intellectual curiosity in looking for it.


    It's an interesting article (none / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 12:34:00 AM EST
    by Crawford, but if you want people to read stuff, you really need to give more specific directions on how to find it.  A specific URL for his piece would have been nice, for one thing.

    Crawford may well be right, and if he is, the GOP negotiators are utterly incompetent and the Congressional Dems, as in Nancy Pelosi, are also incapable of understanding what's on offer, so I'm dubious on both counts.  It's only barely possible that Obama's people managed to bamboozle everybody else in the room to the extent the Crawford piece makes it seem.

    It's going to take a good while to figure out exactly what the ramifications of this stuff are, particularly how the trigger mechanisms will end up working out in practice.

    But however it does work out, my biggest sticking points remain-- setting up Catfood 2 to specifically target the safety net, and utterly changing the baseline assumptions about debt and deficits and "entitlements."  Those two things alone are utterly unforgivable, as far as I'm concerned.


    Agree, gyrfalcon, that the key will be (none / 0) (#56)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 01:34:09 PM EST
    how & when the "trigger" mechanisms work in practice. (I don't mean to be cavalier, but the practice of using triggers even in legislation like the Clean Air Act--while serving to get the attention--can slide, very un-triggerlike, into deferral. That is why, when "triggers" seem to be all-the-fashion in the 1990s, a differentiation began to be made between a "hard trigger" & a "soft trigger."  One meant "We mean business," and I suppose, the other meant "Now we really mean business.)

    I do disagree with assumptions of the last paragraph...the "pain" that is supposed to provide is to defense (read: big-time contractors) and revenue/tax reform as well. If both sides feel they are equally hurt--and judging from early reports, that is what both sides are "saying" anyway--then the Phase 2 may have a shot at influencing agreement. My take: I'd be surprised that the whole thing survives the New Year other than in re-fashioned campaign mode.


    Correction (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 01:38:07 PM EST
    Triggers or hammers?? In the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, there were "hard hammers" (as opposed to "soft hammers" one guesses) to underscore the automatic nature of a provision. Well....  In either even--triggers or hammers--<& to mash up a phrase> the intent was willing, but the trigger & hammer were weak.

    Please reread what I actually (none / 0) (#61)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:42:27 AM EST
    said in my last two graphs because your response is a non sequitur.

    Harkin seems like a pretty good guy. (none / 0) (#43)
    by lilburro on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:57:45 PM EST
    I'd love to see him take an even higher profile.

    My Senators right now are Burr and Hagan.  Hagan seems to be doing the Blue Dog skating-by thing.  Unfortunately.  :(


    I don't need to imagine it (5.00 / 10) (#8)
    by Towanda on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:49:55 PM EST
    as this is me in a few weeks:

    Imagine you are 62, making $40,000 a year with employer sponsored health insurance. How are you feeling about the next 5 years?

    And my health insurance costs are doubling in a few weeks -- as are my pension costs.  So I will be making less than I did 10 years ago, in the same job, in which my workload also has increased . . . as have my workhours per week.

    How am I feeling about the next 5 years?  Very, very worried.  Very, very angry about this.  And I tend to act out my anger at the polls.  

    Medicare To Age 55 Would Have Jolted (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by seabos84 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:30:48 PM EST
    Employment, I believe.

    I'm 51 and I've been a teacher for 6 years. I can promise you that if senior teachers, and senior = older than me, didn't have a $1000 a MONTH health "insurance" bill to face until Medicare kicks in for them in 2 or 4 or 7 years, they might ...

    go work 3 days a week at a retail place and leave the craziness of education behind.

    How many over 55 people are hanging onto a job they hate cuz they need that shite health "insurance"?  And, let's get real - whatever dreams and phantasies we chased as 23 and 29 and 33 and 38 year olds - if you made it to over 50 most of us would just like to be able to afford having some time and having a couple of bucks for BBQs with friends - while still working.

    If the over 55 set could pull the foot off the pedal, I bet a lot of them would! Let those chomping at the bit 23 year olds have the freaking the headaches - let the 33 and 38 year olds with young kids break their tails for the golden watch!

    oh well. rmm.


    Incentives to retire (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 12:47:25 AM EST
    Agree with you 100 percent.  I've been saying for a while that what we need as a country is incentives for people to retire and get the heck out of the workforce, but the way things are now, we're being "incented" to keep at our jobs as long as possible.

    It's just nuts.


    What most people also fail to take into (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:50:28 PM EST
    account is that these new spending cuts are on top of cuts that are already in the pipeline, and they make the further mistake of assuming that this is it - there won't be any more cutting - and that is patently false.

    It's really too bad that the president, in working so, so hard to protect the insurance industry, and guarantee them millions more customers, did not realize that his great plan for exchanges and subsidies is completely at odds with a program of fiscal austerity, and is, I believe, doomed.  

    I'm sure someone is hard at work on another Rube Goldberg-esque way to make sure the insurance companies do not have to suffer.  The people, their suffering?  Not so much.

    Cuts? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by DaveCal on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:44:54 PM EST
    I'm sorry, nowhere are they talking about cutting the amount of spending. The entire "deal" only reduces (very slightly) the planned INCREASE in spending.  

    Next year we will still be spending more than we spend this year.  Each following year we will still be spending more than the prior year.  That's not a cut.  Read up, and look at the charts, here:


    If you anticipate a 4% pay and you only get a 2% pay raise, you're still making 2% more than last year. Only in Washington is this considered a cut.  


    Raises?! (5.00 / 6) (#17)
    by Towanda on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 05:05:08 PM EST
    Six years since I -- or any of my coworkers at my rank -- got a raise.

    So in real dollars, we've had six years of cuts . . . and now, the biggest cuts of all come in a few weeks.

    Yeh, only in Washington will this be considered a reason for re-election.


    This is what (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:00:33 PM EST
    I have said all along about the ACA, it is not expandable only retractable as written.

    asdb (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:15:36 PM EST
    Imagine you are 62, making $40,000 a year with employer sponsored health insurance. How are you feeling about the next 5 years?

    ...assuming I'm not wearing my ABG-goggles? ;-).

    I joke cuz otherwise I'll cry

    Before any cuts occurred, this was scary for people.  The idea that anyone making $40,000 (or less when they approach 65 and get laid off) could afford to spend 8% of their AGI (which is about what they have to spend before subsidies kick in) for a $1500/year deductible and 30% copay is ludicrous....and this is the rosy pre-budget cut picture!

    I have a feeling a whole lot of people are going to be signing up to try and waive their mandate tax while using the ER for their heart attacks for 2 more years than they previously planned.

    Maybe that's the master plan (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:18:21 PM EST
    thin the herd a little  - then it won't cost so much.

    Sad, but true.


    As Alan Grayson said, die fast (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:23:38 PM EST
    His mistake was only saying it was the GOP plan.

    Ding! (none / 0) (#44)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:01:08 PM EST

    I Think We Are All Prety Nervous (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 05:04:24 PM EST
    Imagine you are 62, making $40,000 a year with employer sponsored health insurance. How are you feeling about the next 5 years?

    I'm 41, making more than 40, and have employer insurance, and right now, I feel like the 62 is going to have it better then the rest of us who are off in the distance.  

    In 20 years, with these two political parties leading the crusade as against the middle class I feel like I will envy the person in your example.  

    Health care costs will be astronomical, SS will be a thing of the past, and Wall Street will have figured out how to ransack my retirement.  Yeah, it's scary to be 62 now, but unless we do some T Roosevelt style cleaning, 62 in 20 years is going to be a hell of a lot worse.

    Well, if it's any consolation (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Towanda on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 05:15:04 PM EST
    at least you'll be only 62.

    And I'll be wishing that I still was only 62. :-)

    Kidding aside, yes, I worry very much for your generation -- my children's generation -- as well.  My parents could not leave us anything, but they were able to help us get through college, as only one of them had been able to do during the Depression.  Their parents did what they could, as each generation has done for decades and decades.

    I had hoped to take the next step, leaving something for my children to make their lives and their children's lives better.  But I doubt that can happen, owing to those in Washington and on Wall Street.  Now, my hope is to be able to get through my aging years without being a burden on my children and making their lives worse.


    We need to make sure that SS is not cut... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:02:04 PM EST
    ... FOR ANYBODY.

    I imagine the next move will be to split by generations.


    Sucks, but... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 11:15:45 AM EST
    ... your kids are a safety net, not one that anyone wants to use, but it's still there.

    Like me, nearly all my friends, and lots of people in my generation, we don't have kids, and don't want them, where do we go when our retirement projections fall short because of forces outside our control ?

    I feel like I am set-up well, and my plan is solid, and has wiggle room for recessions or other minor ebbs and flows of a functioning economy.  It doesn't include a lot of the chicken S going on right now with what was once a guaranteed safety net.  I can't survive an economic disaster worse then the Bush one, and with no one willing to real in Wall Street, it seems almost inevitable.  There is a certain level of comfort I expect, and making the sacrifices now to ensure that.

    What the FK's in Washington seem to ignore is most people do their financial planning based on a certain set of criteria.  These plans are 20, 30, 40, and 50 years in the making, they don't have the right to change the game midstream because they are too chicken S to raise taxes.


    Well, maybe I'm dim but it never occured to (none / 0) (#59)
    by Joan in VA on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 07:39:47 PM EST
    me that I was birthing my future safety net. Children are an extremely expensive proposition. Not just feeding and clothing them but the costs of living in a good school district, lost wages while being a full-time parent, health care and auto insurance when they're teenagers(yikes!), college, etc. I love mine to death but I would be a freakin' millionaire now if I had remained childless. If you save all the dough you would have spent on children, you should be fine in your old age.

    Guess I'll head down to (none / 0) (#60)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 08:52:20 PM EST
    Colombia and start over...

    "Got a wife in Chino, babe, and one in Cherokee
     First one says she's got my child but it don't
           look like me

    "Set out running but I'm taking my time,
     Friend of the devil is a friend of mine
     If I get home before daylight, just might get some
        sleep tonight."

    some days I just feel old.


    I Didn't Mean it Like That (none / 0) (#62)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:03:52 PM EST
    Just like now, my parents are a net, sure they are 1500 miles away and I am 41, and it would be a fate worse than... well not worse than the streets is pretty accurate.

    But it's there.

    Kids... yeah, for me, it's the dealing with idiots part that I can't handle, the fact that they cost over $1M a piece is pure bonus.  

    And when I say idiots, I am thinking of myself as a child/adolescent and the endless stream of BS my parents had to deal with.

    I certainly wasn't implying anyone's kids are anything but grand.


    Actually, (none / 0) (#63)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:14:56 PM EST
    $180,000 in direct cost from birth to 16, on average.

    But I agree with you, children are our safety net. I just need mine to get a super-acting or super-sports contract at eight years old...

    Guess I"d better not bet the whole bankroll on it, lol!


    Not to get into a p*ssing contest but (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ding7777 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:54:19 PM EST
    25-30 years ago when Reagan raised our taxes with the promise that SS and Medicare would be here for the boomers when we turned 65 and now we find out that is not true - so what's a boomer to do?

    I think the good news for you is that in 20 years many of the boomers will have passed on and SS/Medicare will be in better shape


    If They Survive... (none / 0) (#54)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 10:50:33 AM EST
    ... and miraculously don't get privatized.

    austerity (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by baddog on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 05:49:47 PM EST
    Cat Food is nutritious and tastes good with melted food bank Velveeta. I know, am over 65 and live on 15000.00 a year

    This is not the way to attack ageism (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Palli on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:38:53 PM EST
    Someone on a thread on another site had a great suggestion: Do not allow elected officials to receive their federal version of social security monthly checks until they reach the age of social security for the rest of us.

    How are you feeling about the next 5 years? (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:19:16 PM EST
    Like I better start stocking up on that cat food now....

    That's only step one of the plan. (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Towanda on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:08:32 PM EST
    Step two for me would have to be:  

    And get rid of the cats.


    I heard catfood tastes good with barbecue sauce (none / 0) (#2)
    by Buckeye on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:26:09 PM EST

    You're feeling very Willy Loman (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:28:04 PM EST

    Accurate and tragic. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:31:55 PM EST
    And given the end of ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:32:45 PM EST
    that play.  That's not a good way to feel at all.

    But it will, as Scrooge suggests, "Decrease the surplus population."


    Here's the best part of that post (none / 0) (#7)
    by vicndabx on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:49:54 PM EST
    Update: I reworded the ending to emphasize my uncertainty about how exactly the cuts will affect individuals.

    i think you're right (none / 0) (#19)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 05:38:01 PM EST
    that is the best part of that post

    Jonathan Cohn is uncertain

    i feel better now


    Gee, and I was getting all excited for 2014 (none / 0) (#21)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:10:05 PM EST
    and those magical exchanges!

    Is it time for the middle-aged and seniors co-op housing yet? As long as the winters aren't bitter cold, I'll move there. And I know how to cook.

    That housing is called (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:33:37 PM EST
    "the work house" or "the poor house."

    I think the Obama administration and the plutocrats have underestimated the number of Vietnam-era veterans through today's veterans who think that promises made then still count.

    Mot to mention the rest of the population.

    Of course this is a very bad case scenario. How likely is it? I'd say it's still not on the side of 50 percent, not even 30, but it's growing.

    I happen to know some survivalists, completely anti-government pro civil-liberties types. They seem... not eager, because they just want to be left alone, but... resigned.

    They seem resigned to some sort of strong disagreement with the government.

    And no, they don't watch Olbermann, or Fox, either.


    Gosh (none / 0) (#24)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:38:57 PM EST
    I haven't heard someone talk about the poorhouse since my grandmother died. She used to say you better do this or that or you're gonna be in the poorhouse.

    You must (none / 0) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:39:47 PM EST
    have an old fashioned southern granny or momma the way you talk!

    It's much more commonly (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:45:14 PM EST
    said in the small towns and rural areas... I've heard it all my life.

    People are not restful based on the changes and issues such as Veterans' benefits, Social Security, and Medicare. To the folks here, these have been earned, and now somebody wants to take them away.

    Don't get between a Southerner and something s/he thinks has been earned. Scotch-Irish have long memories and tempers.

    No, I'm not Scotch-Irish. Just an observation.


    I'm no "survivalist" (none / 0) (#29)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:11:45 PM EST
    but, if it's any consolation, I have a pantry full of canned beans. And they're mostly the organic brand, left over from last year's end-of-summer bash (you can cook just so many pots of smokin' hot vegetarian chili in one night.)

    I'm ready.

    Oh, and we need a good guard dog or two.


    I've got a pit bull and an (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:26:33 PM EST
    attack poodle, if you're offering ;-)

    Perfect! (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:33:31 PM EST
    And those poodles are hypo-allergenic.

    Yep, my pit doesn't cause allergies, (none / 0) (#36)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:45:34 PM EST
    but he's (neutered) allergic to grass.

    Tomorrow little Jeffinalabama and I will be giving him a haircut, to include a mohawk. He won't mind. Much.


    How many (none / 0) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:31:37 PM EST
    people were you expecting? It must have been a crowd to have that many beans left? You sound like you could live months on nothing but beans and rice.

    Heck we all might be living on beans and rice.


    I think I may have exaggerated a wee bit... (none / 0) (#41)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:51:30 PM EST
    Instead of "a pantry full" I should have said "a cabinet full in the pantry." I buy in bulk! And each big pot calls for six 15-oz. cans.

    Invited 28 folks, and 22 showed up. I think the old folks co-op is going to atttract more people than that.


    Imagine you are 37 (none / 0) (#33)
    by Slado on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:38:00 PM EST
    And you have no faith that entitlements will be around when you are 65 because our politicians would rather let them go bankrupt then do face the ridiculous outcry that results from making common sense decisions.

    These programs can change now or later.  But the idea that the government can afford it's promises is ludicrous.

    Liberals need to face fiscal reality or they will be left behind.

    No, liberals need to face POLITICAL reality (5.00 / 5) (#37)
    by shoephone on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:46:03 PM EST
    that our current leaders don't have the cajones to fight for the simplest remedy there is: Raising the income cap on SS. "Crisis" fixed.

    $16 trillion to the banksters (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:05:03 PM EST
    No strings attached, no questions asked.

    Raising Medicare to 67 for the peasants.

    That's "fiscal reality."


    Americans need to prioritize! (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 08:21:16 AM EST
    Yeah, we got a fiscal reality, but nothing that can't be overcome with drastic reprioritization.

    I could not look anybody waiting on their Medicare and SS in the eye and tell them to apply at Target with what we spend on the drug war, prisons, foreign occupations, defense, security, corporate welfare, ineffective and non-critical programs.

    Ever see Dave?  We need Dave. They'll say its not that simple, but I think it is that simple.  See what is important and fund the hell out of it. See what is unimportant, or downright harmful, and cut it out.


    Health Insurance... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 12:38:07 AM EST
    Back when mobsters were honest, that would have been called a protection racket.