This Is Not Your Daddy’s Poker Game Anymore

Normally, watching politics unfold is like watching a movie in which you know that before the last credits are run there will be some kind of acceptable denouement and the fun is watching the characters get there, watching the plot develop. 

But this fight over the debt ceiling is turning out to be something else.

Anyone who loves high-level politics, as I do, in a sense loves what’s been going on in Washington the past few weeks.  It’s intriguing, entertaining, even compelling. Politics is part art, part science, and part poker.

Mike Viqueira of NBC News reported today that someone from Chicago playfully said to President Obama after an event this morning that he had met him before and that the President owed him a poker game. Obama replied:

I’ve got a high-stakes game of poker going on right now.

Well, not exactly.  It’s sort of gone beyond poker.  In a poker game, in the end everyone gets up from the table, some as winners, some as losers, or all winning some and losing some and getting the most out of the opportunity. But they all get up.

We need new metaphors now.

Steven Rattner, financier and economic analyst—and the man who helped President Obama rescue the auto industry—was a guest this morning on Morning Joe. He had his own metaphor. He said the following in response to Joe Scarborough’s question as to how the current stalemate can get broken:

I wish I knew. You know, the problem with this is it’s like a form of economic terrorism. I imagine these tea party guys are like strapped with dynamite standing in the middle of times square at rush hour and saying, “You do it my way or we’re going to blow you up, ourselves up, and the whole country up with us.”

So, you tell me how those kinds of standoffs end.

Economic terrorism?  Hmm.  That can’t end well, can it?

 

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22 Comments

  1. hlgaskins

     /  July 29, 2011

    I suspect the United States may well be going into a historical default, because I believe the Tea Party supporting members of congress are prepared to go that far. They really are playing an all or nothing game. The right could be concerned that their gains made in the 2010 midterm elections won’t hold over to the 2012 presidential battle. Here is a quote from Geoff Caldwell in Anson’s blog.

    “Yes, it sounds radical to suggest let Aug 2nd pass and see what happens. But yet is it really? When you consider that ANY debt ceiling increase only makes fixing the problem even harder down the road and that as intransigent as the Dems have been so far about entitlement reform the only alternative facing the country is a complete and utter collapse of everything in a few years anyway.”

    His vision America is like so many others on the right, shortsighted and fatalistic. There is no talk of hope or about forming bi-partisan study teams to look at every possible solutions that could work and satisfy both conservatives and liberals. The right has effectively “painted themselves into a corner” and have no way out. The republicans have so effectively terrorized its constituency, that they’ve left themselves with no way out, because they can’t turn them back. It’s either throw our seniors out onto the streets and let them die in emergency rooms, or it’s Armageddon. Now consider how many of them pray everyday for Armageddon, and the second coming, and then wonder how far they’re really willing to go.

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    • HLG,

      Caldwell’s vision of the world is no vision at all. It is nihilism, seeing through everything and thus not seeing anything at all.

      And I am sorry to say that there is a decent chance we will default on our obligations, although I remain hopeful that a clean debt-ceiling bill will be the last resort. A clean bill only needs a handful of Republicans in the House to pass (about 23 or so) and a handful of Republicans in the Senate (about 7). If we can’t find that many sane Republicans in Congress, then we will see the default now because I can’t see any kind of non-clean bill acceptable to Democrats getting passed this House.

      Duane

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  2. I see a deal at 11:55 PM August 1.

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  3. Jane was thinking about the word denouement just today.

    Re: Kicking the Can

    Absent the teabaggers I would have called for another compromise punt for a few quarters. Now, I think that, with all the politicians concerned, they might actually fail to extend the debt ceiling.

    It is more likely a pre-arranged play, however, with the stage set for the president to cave in in the usual fashion. The tricky part is bestowing the blame.

    GOP wonders do we raise the limit, and will things still go bad for the right wing for dragging its feet to start?

    It is tricky coming up with a convincing story that will gain the best response. And, whoever gets the last word often wins.

    What people remember is who got the last word.

    The Independents are turning into the country club Republicans, and the more reckless are now theTeabaggers, irresponsible enough to risk default.

    This is so dangeous that a moderate person would not let it happen. This is an atomic bomb that could kill the whole economy.

    In any case, the backstop is Tim Geithner, punting to Ben Bernanke.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  July 30, 2011

    To all,

    Most Americans that are paying attention to the debt limit crisis see it as a “game” with a clock ticking down to zero on Aug 2. When the clock hits zero at that point they believe the game will be over and we can tally up winners and losers politically.

    I no longer see it that way. I feel that the “game” will be somewhere around half time come Aug 2 with a whole new half or more to “play”.

    It should be obvious by now that no real fix will be applied to our economic problems. Taxes for sure will NOT go up soon. But likewise spending will continue to soar. By whatever accounting system anyone cares to use, cutting a $Trillion over ten years, even if they are REAL cuts means NOTHING. Same with a “tax the rich” scheme. NEITHER fixes the problem of living beyond our means or as said many times STMM.

    Had the Debt Commission recommendations been accepted and passed into law six months ago we might have started down the right path but recall that was only addressing some 40% of our economic problems then. They are even bigger now. But that is all history.

    Whatever happens this weekend in Congress or by midnight Monday will be of little consequence come Tuesday morning, Aug 3rd. The stock market has already gone down about 600 points and will continue to either slide or plunge next week. If you closed on your house this week you probably paid around 5% interest. Watch what it will be in a month or so. Watch the value of the dollar graphs bandied around. Down, down, down.

    Watch the interest charged on your credit cards. Up, up, up in the near future. Watch your 401K value. Down, down, down.

    Then watch unemployment figures. Up, up, up.

    And absolutely NONE of the above curves going in “bad” directions will be directly related to government checks going out or not going out. My guess is some rabbit will still be pulled out of the hat to borrow money, maybe a try at the 14th amendment to allow the President alone to borrow money without action by Congress. But at best that will only be a band aid, again

    Those curves discussed above are related to the “faith and trust” in the U.S. Government, fundamentally. And the U.S. Government is actting like a third world country right now, unable to come to grips with WSTMM and refusing to SSTMM.

    In my view even a BBA passed by a 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress would not prevent the above in general. It would still have to be approved by 3/4 of the States and that would take years.

    The more I watch this “stuff” the immediate fix seems to me to be to FREEZE 2012 spending at 2011 levels, keep it at that level (about $3.5 or so Trillion for several years and continue to cut and/or raise taxes to ONLY lower the deficit during those years.

    THAT would be a serious sign of recognizing the problem and taking action (SSTMM) to fix it.

    But I also do not believe we the people or our politicians have the guts to do so. And for sure BOTH political parties share that blame, equally in my view.

    Face it folks, liberal or conservative, our financial system is broken and we may well have to “break the country” to fix it.
    But we won’t see that explode on Tues, Aug 3rd. We will only see a steeper decline in the curves that matter, like GDP, dollar value, interest rates, unemployment, etc.

    The “game” will still go on and the “home team”, OUR team, is going to get it’s ass kicked next week and beyond.

    Anson

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  5. hlgaskins

     /  July 30, 2011

    Anson

    If the president caves, you may well lose as well many like you who depend on SS and Medicare. A fix on our national debt that makes seniors destitute is no fix at all. The primary reason there won’t be a solution is because the republicans want it done their way only. Democrats aren’t going to go with the republicans solution because their phones have been “ringing off the hook” with callers from Liberals, Conservatives, and Independents who want things fixed but more equitably.

    The reality is clearly indicated in a recent Pew Research Center Poll. How can Obama sign a bill when 87% if Americans think that Social Security is good for the country, and 88% think that Medicare is good for the country. Even Medicaid got an approval of 77% which clearly suggests that any fix for those programs will have to come out of increased taxes. When you’ve got almost 9 out of 10 Americans wanting these programs save you have a public mandate to save them. Remember it’s their money not the Koch brothers.

    This county is writhing under thumbs of the Murdoch, Koch, big oil, because they’re are controlling the agenda on the right. If American wants to get back on it’s feet, a first step would be to turn their radios and TV’s off, and to stop listening to angry pundits. There are plenty of fixes that can be applied to our national debt, but the right won’t accept any fix that slaps the hands of their rich donors out of America’s till. The left have avowed to protect SS, Medicare, and Medicaid because it’s their sacred trust to the people.

    The only other alternatives left are to downsize the military, close nonstrategic military bases across the world, reduce our military budget to peace time levels, and end the wars overseas. Fix Health Care as to bring our costs inline with other OECD nations, end subsidies to profitable corporations such as G.E and all the oil companies, and return taxes o the wealthy to Clinton era levels. Increase spending at home on our infrastructure, and offer breaks to new industries instead of all those that are already established and profitable. We need to get people back to work and the current industries aren’t doing that.

    If we do all of that we’re looking at paying down far more than $4 trillion over the next ten years. We could be looking at as much as $15 trillion, but in order to achieve it the right will have to slaughter the sacred cow, and accept that the free market like our government, also has flaws. There’s a reason why China was barely touched by this recession and that reason is simple, the wealth of United States and Europe is filling their accounts by forcing us all into a trade deficit. HLG

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    • “We could be looking at as much as $15 trillion, but in order to achieve it the right will have to slaughter the sacred cow, and accept that the free market like our government, also has flaws. There’s a reason why China was barely touched by this recession and that reason is simple, the wealth of United States and Europe is filling their accounts by forcing us all into a trade deficit.”

      This is a bigger part of our overall problem than most people seem to realize. It’s a difficult problem to fix, too. If we stopped or heavily taxed imports from China, goods would be priced out of the budget of the average American consumer. Wages would need to be raised substantially so we could afford to buy US made goods and you know that ain’t gonna happen. 😛

      Regarding Social Security and Medicare, I always thought the taxes enacted to pay for them should actually pay for them. If payroll taxes aren’t cutting it, there’s something wrong with FICA and that should be fixed to make SS and Medicare solvent.

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  6. hlgaskins

     /  July 30, 2011

    “If we stopped or heavily taxed imports from China, goods would be priced out of the budget of the average American consumer.”

    I don’t believe that we need to place tariffs on Chinese imports since they’ve begun making it easier for U.S exports to enter China. There are however exceptions when it comes to product dumping of products at cost or even below cost with the intent to hurt US competitors. There are still some minor tariffs and licensing requirements on many of our exports but those have been reduced considerably.

    Wages for Chinese workers are much lower than ours which makes it difficult for us to compete but they’ll rise in time. What’s really hurting us is our inflexibility in moving into new technologies such as green technology. Many green technologies began in the United States but we’ve left them to wither on the vine while the Chinese government actively funds them, and now it won’t be long until they own those too.

    Republicans don’t see the need for providing incentives for green industry while at the same time given huge subsidies to soon to be obsolete industries such as the Oil Companies. In every turn where the United States has grown itself out a recession innovation was out in front. The computer industry is a prime example. It’s time to get legislators that look forward and instead of back. The fastest growing industry in the United States is Solar Energy. Solar energy employed 93,000 workers and it’s expect to create another 25-50 this year. America’s greatest trade asset has always been innovation, but it requires education and an incentive for our young people to pursue it.

    Because of outsourcing, enrollment in high-tech fields i college are down, and Universities are cancelling IT classes across America. In the meantime the Chinese are all-over Green Technology, quickly educating their young, and it won’t be long before we end up buying our green-tech from them too. Recently I went shopping for new tools (I’m a tinkerer) to refresh my aging tools. I went to Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware because I was looking to buy American (yes I’ll pay more). Every tool I looked at in all those stores was made in China, and then I found the “Holey Grail,” a hammer made in Taiwan.

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    • I figure imports from China will continue to dwarf imports. On Jim’s blog a while back I argued that not only were we sending money and jobs over, but the quality of imported products was so low they only served to fill our landfills. Jim didn’t seem to agree.

      I’m with you on the tools. Sometimes it might be better to just keep your aging tools, they might be better than a new Chinese or Taiwanese replacement. Even Sears is converting the Craftsman line over to Chinese crap slowly but surely. Some of the Taiwanese stuff isn’t bad quality but I’d still rather not send money over there if at all possible so I usually shop at flea markets, pawn shops and yard sales for my tools. Williams still makes some of their stuff in the USA and you should be able to find decent Taiwanese stuff at Lowe’s and Auto Zone (Duralast line). There’s a lot of good info about what’s good and what’s crap over at Garage Journal Forums.

      Agreed on high-tech fields which I consider more along the lines of Engineering rather than IT. IT classes really have no place in Universities anyway due to the changing nature of the field. All that’s required to be successful in IT is good reading comprehension and a little bit of basic knowledge. Even trade school may be too much.

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    • I submitted this reply several days ago but it never posted. I can only assume it’s because I included a hot link and Duane did not approve it. Here it is again with the hot link removed:

      I figure imports from China will continue to dwarf exports. On Jim’s (or perhaps Anson’s?) blog a while back I argued that not only were we sending money and jobs over, but the quality of imported products was so low they only served to fill our landfills. Jim didn’t seem to agree.

      I’m with you on the tools. Sometimes it might be better to just keep your aging tools, they might be better than a new Chinese or Taiwanese replacement. Even Sears is converting the Craftsman line over to Chinese crap slowly but surely. Some of the Taiwanese stuff isn’t bad quality but I’d still rather not send money over there if at all possible so I usually shop at flea markets, pawn shops and yard sales for my tools. Williams still makes some of their stuff in the USA and you should be able to find decent Taiwanese stuff at Lowe’s and Auto Zone (Duralast line). There’s a lot of good info about what’s good and what’s crap over at http://www.garagejournal.com

      Agreed on high-tech fields which I consider more along the lines of Engineering rather than IT. IT classes really have no place in Universities anyway due to the changing nature of the field. All that’s required to be successful in IT is good reading comprehension and a little bit of basic knowledge. Even trade school may be too much.

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  7. ansonburlingame

     /  July 31, 2011

    The above comments only now go to show that we will continue to inexhorbably continue to move towards economic disaster with each side adamant that “it’s” way is the only way. And a half way compromise will not fix the problem either. It will only slow by a very small amount the above movement to economic downfall.

    I of course have no idea where HLG’s $15 Trillion came from. If we zero the DOD, absolutely zero military spending on people, equipment etc. we STILL only cut about $9 Trillion in ten years, maybe. And some of that will be used to provide a European style health care system which he proposes as well.

    But we can always now blame it on China, right. America is getting tired of blaming EVERYTHING on Bush II so let’s go find a new whipping post.

    Com’on everybody. WE, the American people are the sole and fundamental party to blame. WE do not have the guts to SSTMM for any number of reasons.

    Anson.

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  8. hlgaskins

     /  July 31, 2011

    Anson

    You keep forgetting healthcare which is the lion’s share of those savings. In fact healthcare is the one area where we could have the most control over costs. Now get you calculator ready. In 2010 The U.S economy was $14.6 trillion of GDP and healthcare was 17.8% of that and this year it’s expected to top 19%. The average health care costs of OECD countries is only 10% of GDP and there cost have all held stable over the last decade while ours continues to “balloon” out of control. Our goal should be to get our healthcare cost in line with those OECD countries. The difference in percentage of cost in 2010 was 7.8%. Now if you take your calculator and multiply 14.6 by .078 you should get $1.1388 Trillion, no multiply that by 10 and you get $11.388 trillion over ten years of possible savings.

    The costs of healthcare mentioned above doesn’t even take into consideration the collateral damage caused to Americans, and hence, our economy and tax base. Remember that 62% of all bankruptcies filed in 2007, cited healthcare cost as a factor, and nearly 80% of them had health insurance.

    To put things into perspective. In March of 2009 my wife was diagnosed with Metastatic Her2 breast cancer. Our health insurance is Blue Cross Blue Shield and we also have an FSA. My wife’s bills reached the cap limit of our insurer and now the bills were coming straight to us. We of course debated the issue with a lawyer and saved over $40,000, and then we wrote a check of $56,000 to pay the rest. We survived it but how many other families would’ve.

    Now return the taxes on the wealthy to Clinton era levels and you’ve already made up the difference of that $15 trillion.

    “The non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts estimated in May 2010 that extending some or all of the tax cuts would have the following impact under these scenarios:

    1. Making the tax cuts permanent for all taxpayers, regardless of income, would increase the national debt $3.3 trillion over the next 10 years.

    2.Limiting the extension to individuals making less than $200,000 and married couples earning less than $250,000 would increase the debt about $2.2 trillion in the next decade.

    3.Extending the tax cuts for all taxpayers for only two years would cost $561 billion over the next 10 years.”

    On top of that let’s end corporate subsidies to already profitable corporations. “According to the Cato Institute, the U.S. federal government spent $92 billion on corporate welfare during fiscal year 2006.” Note that the Cato institute is a “Libertarian think tank.” Let’s use that money instead to spur emerging technologies which is our best hope for providing jobs in the future. We need a middle class tax base, but the middle class is being decimated.

    But let’s not stop there: Let’s wind down the wars, close a few bases, and reduce the size of the military. We won’t kill it since most modern warfare through technology is seeing less need for “foot-soldiers.”

    It’s time to make moderate increases to Social Security payroll taxes which most of us should be glad to pay for future security. That should make SS solvent long enough for most of the “Baby Boomers” to die off. Then the ratio of worker to elderly should start leveling off.

    The point that I’ve been trying to make is that we have plenty of money but it’s not being spent wisely on existing programs. We need to get the private sector out of tax payers pockets.

    We won’t need to deal with Medicare and Medicaid since all healthcare would be grouped as a single entity.

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  9. ansonburlingame

     /  July 31, 2011

    ok HLG,

    I followed you numbers above. First question, if it so “cheap” to run a single payer system, why is Europe backing off of such a system, or trying to do so?

    Then we go to the Clinton era taxes on EVERYONE. Wonder what unemployment figures will look like. You see all that extra revenue coming in but do not count for the capital flight overseas which will be inevitable if you reinstitute such taxes, just for starter. Damn greedy rich trying to save money on taxes. “There outta be a law….” Now go get one passed and again, watch unemployment figures.

    I just read some estimate that we could be facing unemployment of 50% in the next couple of years and that is without such tax increases. Just skyrocketing interest rates will do so for us. And NO, I don’t (yet) believe such a wild prediction but……?

    Now HLG, just for you I just posted a new blog “Let’s Discuss Defense Spending”. You have clearly said you want such spending down to “peacetime levels” right? The blog suggests a way to do so. I look forward to your views in that regard.

    Tell you what, I will cut DOD down by $300 Billion and you do the same with a single payer health care system. We all save a little less than half of our annual deficit in one fell swoop. Want to give it a shot?? Then we can raise taxes to collect the “other” $900 Billion and achieve a BB, right???

    Anson

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  10. hlgaskins

     /  July 31, 2011

    “I followed you numbers above. First question, if it so “cheap” to run a single payer system, why is Europe backing off of such a system, or trying to do so?”

    If you noticed I didn’t state a single payer system in my last two post but only that we need to get our healthcare systems inline with OECD nations. Many European nations don’t have a single payer system but they do have universal healthcare. If you have a link to the information that “Europe is backing off” of such a system I
    ll read it.

    “Then we go to the Clinton era taxes on EVERYONE. Wonder what unemployment figures will look like.”

    The unemployment rate during the Clinton yeas was the lowest since 1969. We certainly don’t want to risk the threat of lower unemployment. There is no evidence that supply side economics has created a single job, and there’s no evidence that Clinton’s era taxes had a negative effect on the economy.

    “The Clinton years were unquestionably a time of progress, especially on the economy, Clinton’s 1992 slogan, ‘Putting people first,’ and his stress on ‘the economy, stupid,’ pitched an optimistic if still gritty populism at a middle class that had suffered under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. By the end of the Clinton presidency, the numbers were uniformly impressive. Besides the record-high surpluses and the record-low poverty rates, the economy could boast the longest economic expansion in history; the lowest unemployment since the early 1970s; and the lowest poverty rates for single mothers, black Americans, and the aged.”

    What Clinton did:

    “In proposing a plan to cut the deficit, Clinton submitted a budget that would cut the deficit by $500 billion over five years by reducing $255 billion of spending and raising taxes on the wealthiest 1.2% of Americans.[49] It also imposed a new energy tax on all Americans and subjected about a quarter of those receiving Social Security payments to higher taxes on their benefits.”

    How the Republicans responded:

    “Republican Congressional leaders launched an aggressive opposition against the bill, claiming that the tax increase would only make matters worse.”

    They were wrong then and they’re wrong now.

    Then we got George Bush and his tax cuts and it all ended in disaster.

    “just read some estimate that we could be facing unemployment of 50% in the next couple of years and that is without such tax increases. Just skyrocketing interest rates will do so for us.”

    Try getting your information from politically neutral sources. A typical right-wing political move is to scare the hell out of voters using misinformation.

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  11. ansonburlingame

     /  August 1, 2011

    HLG,

    you said, “The unemployment rate during the Clinton yeas was the lowest since 1969.” That is because the economy in the 1990s was BOOMING. Look at GDP growth, unemployment, value of the dollar, etc. We were all riding a huge wave (filled with bubbles?). Clinton era taxes did not cause the booming economy. Private enterprise caused it.

    Then what happened to that economy? A BUBBLE (the first of several) BURST. Remember the dot.com bubble and downturn in the economy. THAT is what promoted the Bush tax cuts, to restimulate the economy. And guess what, it worked for a while.

    But then we were hit by a much bigger bubble bursting, one that had been growing by leaps and bounds for over ten years and no one saw it coming. That bubble, the housing bubble is still with us today and our economy stinks to high heavens.

    NOW, let’s go back to your above comment related to healthcare costs. You indicate that healthcare will be 19% of GDP this year. Make the math easy and call it 20% (of $14.3 Trillion) That amounts to $2.86 TRILLION for the “goods and services” provided by health care.

    Now would you please explain to me where the government is going to find $2.86 Trillion to pay for health care for all? It currently pays around $420 Billion for Medicare alone. So you seem to be short some $2.4 Trillion in your goal for universal health care.

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  12. hlgaskins

     /  August 1, 2011

    “you said, “The unemployment rate during the Clinton yeas was the lowest since 1969.” That is because the economy in the 1990s was BOOMING.”

    Not when Clinton entered office in 1992. The dot-com bubble didn’t happen until 1995. Another reason the economy began growing rapidly is that government spending under Clinton was less than the revenues coming in which meant we were actually paying down our debt. This instilled enormous confidence in investment and unprecedented growth. Because of rising concern regarding the growth the Fed. increased interest rates 6 times 1n 1999. Then came George Bush who began cutting those very same taxes that Clinton put into place.

    Bush also returned to Reagan’s “Starve the beast policy,” which was intended to create a financial crisis. “Essentially, Reagan switched the federal government from what he critically called, a “tax and spend” policy, to a “borrow and spend” policy, where the government continued its heavy spending, but used borrowed money instead of tax revenue to pay the bills.”

    The current debt crisis is the outcome of those policies as well as the Tea Party republicans attempt to kill and privatize Social Security and Medicare, which was the plan all along. What the republicans didn’t count on is public support for those programs. I keep hearing republicans on the news saying that they’re doing what the people elected them for. I guess they must not mean the 88% who want to keep Medicare, or the 87% who want to keep Social Security.

    “NOW, let’s go back to your above comment related to healthcare costs. You indicate that healthcare will be 19% of GDP this year. Make the math easy and call it 20% (of $14.3 Trillion) That amounts to $2.86 TRILLION for the “goods and services” provided by health care.”

    “So you seem to be short some $2.4 Trillion in your goal for universal health care.”

    I don’t see your point. You keep counting out of control costs resulting from a fragmented healthcare system bent on gouging the government and the public.

    Actually the goal as I described it, is to get our healthcare costs down to OECD levels of 10%. That means a savings of 9% annually which if you do the math, GDP of $14.6 multiplied by .09 comes to $1.314 trillion annually in savings, but we’re still going to owe around 10%. The idea is to eliminate middlemen profits and redirect the costs into paying for actual care. Compress all the different administrations under a single governing body which simplifies paper work and unneeded administrative costs.

    Have all employer contributions moved to a single account, and require employee payments as well. Put an end to expensive uninsured emergency room costs by insuring everyone, and include subsidies for the poor which would actually save us money. Begin a program of preventative care which would eliminate much of the costs of expensive late-term illnesses. Create a single healthcare negotiating team to lower the costs of drugs and technology services. Since Medicare and Medicaid would now be extraneous the funds from the services would be pooled along with employer and employee contributions. The health of Americans should never be left to scrupulous private sector businessmen looking only to make money. When comes to the bottom line or life, life will lose.

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  13. ansonburlingame

     /  August 1, 2011

    HLG

    My goodness, you said, ” … government spending under Clinton was less than the revenues coming in which meant we were actually paying down our debt”

    Well that is exactly what we need to do today? But we only collect $2.2 Trillion and spend $3.7 Trillion this year alone.

    As for your fuzzy math related to healthcare, we are in agreement that such health care amounts to some 20% of GDP or about $2.86 Trillion per year in goods and services to the American people for their health.

    And you seem to think we should and can lower those goods and services (like other countries) to 10% of GDP with a universal system. Well to do so Americans would have to STOP spending about $1.8 Trillion each year on health care, would they not? OR you would have to come up with some $2.4 Trillion MORE ($2,86 T minus $420 Billion) from “somewhere” to keep the status quo in goods and services provided by medical practioners today

    Anson.

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  14. “As for your fuzzy math related to healthcare, we are in agreement that such health care amounts to some 20% of GDP or about $2.86 Trillion per year in goods and services to the American people for their health.”

    My math is not all that fuzzy since it has already passed the requirement of “proof of concept,” across the globe. Are saying that we can’t achieve what more than 30 other countries have?

    “And you seem to think we should and can lower those goods and services (like other countries) to 10% of GDP with a universal system. Well to do so Americans would have to STOP spending about $1.8 Trillion each year on health care, would they not?”

    No they would not! Now show where your “fuzzy math” is coming from. For instance, where did you get the $1.8 trillion from? The total cost of healthcare is currently $2.92 trillion annually, but reducing our costs by 10% would reduce that to $1.42 trillion. If we got rid of Medicare and Medicaid the cost of healthcare would go beyond 20%. It’s already projected to rise to around 25% by 2015. Remember we will never refuse healthcare to anyone so our best be is to make it more economical.

    Remember this?

    “For instance in 2005 the percentage of GDP for these countries were: Israel 8%, Australia 8.8%, Canada 9.8%, Finland 7.5%, France 11.2%, Germany 10.5%, and the United States (drum rolls) 15.7%.

    In 2010 Australia’s healthcare was 8.7%, France 11%, Canada 10.1%, Germany’s 10.4%, and the United States (more drum rolls and then a canon) 18.5%. So let’s put this in perspective all the other countries healthcare systems remained statistically the same with some slightly more and some slightly less over 5 years. The United States in that same time frame rose by 3.3% ” HLG

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  15. ansonburlingame

     /  August 2, 2011

    HLG,

    Fundamentally I AM saying we in American cannot do what other countries have been doing, specifically ONLY spending 10% or our GDP on health care. We the people have demanded the best possible health care in the world and thus spend 20% or our GDP to meet those demands.

    I agree that if we reduce our health care spending to 10% of GDP we achieve your spending goals of slightly more than $1 Trillion a year, in total. But I do not think Americans will be willing to take that kind of cut in the health care benefits they have thus far received over the last decades.

    So the first question in this discussion is exactly HOW MUCH should we the people be spending for health care, as a % of GDP. Then the second question becomes where do we find the money to meet that spending goal. You seem to suggest we should only be spending around $1 Trillion instead of $2.++ Trillion each year?

    I wonder how you will convince the American people to do so?

    Anson

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  16. “We the people have demanded the best possible health care in the world and thus spend 20% or our GDP to meet those demands.”

    The problem is that we’re not getting the same quality of health care that these other countries are, and yet we’re paying a lot more for it. Remember that every single one of these countries live longer than we do, and they have much lower infant mortality rate. Our current method of healthcare delivery is disarrayed, rationed, gouged, and more interested in profit than its clients health which makes no sense.

    “I agree that if we reduce our health care spending to 10% of GDP we achieve your spending goals of slightly more than $1 Trillion a year, in total. But I do not think Americans will be willing to take that kind of cut in the health care benefits they have thus far received over the last decades.”

    There is no cut in health care benefits, we’re the ones getting cuts not the other countries. The only reason that Americans are concerned about such a plan is that they’re being terrorized through corporate control or our media. Healthcare insurers pay millions of dollars every year to insure that we’re all afraid of change. Healthcare will continue to climb in costs until we get rid of the henchmen robbing our country blind. If we don’t then healthcare alone will soon take 25% of this countries total Gross Domestic Product.

    Face it Anson, there are really only two options. Either we refuse to treat the uninsured or we take control of how healthcare is delivered. If we should choose refuse to provide medical care to those who can’t afford it, then we’ll have become the most repugnant people of the face of the earth. If we throw 40 to 76 million seniors off of Medicare (some will be able to buy it) they will be forced to go to our already over crowded emergency rooms at a cost that will make Medicare look like a deal.

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    • It’s simple, and it’s untoftunare. It’s simple, the answer is that most people haven’t the depth of education to distinguish between Fascism, Communism, or Dictatorship. The term communism is used to generically describe Statism, of which Communism is one form, Fascism and Dictatorship are others. When they call it communism, they are just expressing their displeasure with the fact that the government is doing this, despite there being no Constitutional authority for it at all. It’s untoftunare, because people with enough education to know the difference use the error to justify dismissal of their actual concern, thereby paving the way for more Statism in the future. Hide and watch.

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  17. ansonburlingame

     /  August 3, 2011

    HLG,

    Well you and I are now coming to agreement on something that Jim Wheeler and I have agreed upon for now months. It is the COST of health care which must come down.

    But you know as well as I do that health care costs have NOT come down as a result of Obamacare. Rather they have skyrocketed up particularly with the premium increases levied by private insurance companies And NOW as a result of the “debt deal” we are going to artificially cut payments to medical providers, federally without changing any benefits to those on the health care rolls.

    See my recent blog on that predicition. It is simply government price controls on a segment of the health care industry (care for old people whether rich or poor) and government price controls NEVER work. Just like raising taxes during a terrible economy NEVER works either.

    Your call for universal health care, paid for exactly by whom being unstated, will in fact probably put some false “lid” on medical costs. But no way do you reduce such costs from $2.86 Trillion per year to around $1 Trillion per year.

    We must control the cost of defense and control the cost of health care, and control the cost of a helluva lot of other stuff as well to begin to live within our means, which is MY goal, but I suspect not yours.

    There is our dilemma, at least as I see it.

    Anson

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