Weekend Open Thread

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”

–Albert Camus

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56 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    12 0'Clock and all is well.

    Except for the fact that Trump stinks!

    Great God Almighty, 

    Trump stinks!

     

     

  2. DavieDavie says:

    Details of the deal *rump worked out with Mexico to prevent the imposition of tariffs. 

    After intense bargaining with the CEO of Taco Bell, *rump will be entitled to free Taco Salads on Mondays for the rest of his term in office (or in prison, which ever comes first).

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      People will need to grow “Trump Gardens” or “Tariff Gardens” to afford fresh vegetables. (Like “Victory Gardens” during WWII.) It will become the patriotic thing to do. I’m working on mine now that I finally have gardening space.

      The tariffs should also boost local and organic food producers, whose prices will become competitive.

  3. MADCO says:

    Hey!

    Yeah- you!
    All you Medicare know nothings – shut up.
    Ya know – " 'It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and …"

    No fuss, no muss.
    1. Lower the eligibility age to 60 for anyone already eligible just waiting to be 65.
    2. Set the Part A and Part B premiums to preserve actuarial neutrality with the current rules.
    3. Make enrollment optional.

    When that works, advance the conversation.

     

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      For Medicare, best allow a buy-in at an actuarial rate that will allow adequate medical reimbursement ("The most recent AHA data showed that hospitals only received 87 cents for every dollar they spent caring for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.") and not draw down the trust funds.

      But your idea of optional enrollment is vastly superior to a mandated wholesale change for the 150 million people currently using private insurance of some sort.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      The.most logical first step on medicare reform is to lower the eligibility age to 62.  That's when people are eligible for social security but often dare not leave their job because of the fear of losing health insurance.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      Ummm. What is “actuarial neutrality” When it’s at home? Lowering Medicare eligible age to 60 – fine. But why not 18?
      Plenty of young people support themselves from that age. I did.
      I’m thinking of my young son-in-law who got charged $450 to look at a bruised eyeball. Why shouldn’t he be able to buy into a public option, Medicare for all type plan?

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        Well, as you told that story, mj, your son in law neglected to buy any insurance until it was too late.   Should we have a public option?  Sure.  But if it cost your son in law $200 a month, that's $2,400 a year.  Even if he gets "free" eye care, he pays $1,950 more than if he just went without insurance.   So, his sloth in signing up saved him a bundle!

        .medicare is cheap now because i paid taxes into it for 47 years to subsidize maybe 20 years of care — which puts the power of compound interest to work, sort of.  But if every one is covered at age zero, we need a different way of funding it   bernie's plan is $180 billion a year short of break-even.

        Again, the question arises of how much free stuff we can afford.

        • Powerful PearPowerful Pear says:

          Good example “V”. When you started commenting about payments to Medicare not so much. First of all, just like SS there is no lock box of money setting around in the Treasury to pay for services.

          One surgery, knee, shoulder etc, will wipe out all your paid into Medicare over your income producing years.

          The Government is a criminal enterprise, run by criminals who coddle the stooges that vote for them. 

          Let’s face it “V”. America is lost, there are not enough citizens who have a marginal understanding of economics, as demonstrated by our beloved MJ. Medicare for all, Medicare for a few, Medicare for people making minimum wage, it just doesn’t matter.

          Just set back and see how much the Government will send you and make the best of it. Welcome to the new cast system and future Venezuela.

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            If America is lost, and barring another FDR it is, it was Trump and Bush that lost it through total fiscal irresponsibility, Pear.

            We have the lowest unemployment in decades and a deficit of $1.3 trillion!  What will happen in the coming Trump Depression when the music stops.

            We've both read Milton Friedman. He very wisely said: "The burden of government is what it spends, not what it taxes."

             In other words, government spending of about $8 trillion is the same burden even if, as now, about $2 trillion is borrowed.

            But Bush and Trump convinced voters that Visa and MasterCard were a free lunch. 

            Name the point when the game is up.

            $20 trillion?

            $30 trillion?

            $50 trillion?

            $100 trillion?

            I don't know exactly.  It depends on a lot of factors. 

            But either Milton Friedman was an idiot or Trump is a con man.

            And I do know the answer to that question!

             

          • RepealAndReplace says:

            Pear, you and Mamajama are quite a pair. One of you bankrupts the country with massive tax giveaways and the other wants to bankrupt us by giving away free stuff.  

          • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

            Poor, poor Pfruit.  You think we don’t already have a cast [sic] system here in the US?  I just spent the weekend in Selma, AL with a group of black farmers.  The Klan is alive and well in town; hell, they don’t even provide school bus transportation for the kids because the good white folk don’t want their kids mingling. 

            At the peak of the slave era Selma was the 4th richest city in America; in any reasonable, free society that region would be flourishing for all of its inhabitants.

            You wanna take a stab on who ‘has’ and who ‘hasn’t’??

            In other (predictable) news, guess who has his own personal grant promoter inside his wife’s office?  How’s that ‘draining the swamp’ thingy working out for you? 

             

      • MADCO says:

        "neutral"

        New eligibility rules would pay enough to offset the cost of them being added – so a current beneficiaries pay according to the rules and actuarial math that set their premiums as if there are no new eligible rules.

        I oppose any proposal to increase premiums for current beneficiaries – they earned their eligibility under the old rules. They pay under the old rules. (or less)

  4. Powerful PearPowerful Pear says:

    Colorado Pols, here is a great quote for you to use as a thread. “The tragedy of the stooge is that even if he thinks this through, he wants so much to believe that his relationship with the candidate is special that he shuts out the truth. The terrible art of the candidate is to coddle the self-deception of the stooge.” By Michale Grove. Tory candidate for UK PM.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      Your quote is very applicable to all of Trumps cabinet and inner circle, although the ones under indictment may be seeing things more clearly now.

      And what a lovely tribute – you and V can bond over your hatred of me and the other “KOOKs” and “LWNJs” ( regular progressive Polsters) on here. Such a special relationship, indeed.

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        Stooges do not fare well in the Democratic party, in my experience. The criminal hierarchy that is the Republican (now Trumplican©) party is a breeding ground for toadyism.

        Stooges and toads are a natural by-product of the greed that is fundamental to "conservative" policy. The ultimate reality of such slavish devotion to a personality or creed results in death threats made to reporters. Ask Jim Acosta.

         

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        I don't hate you, mj, though I do regret your lack of basic math skills.  You, however, do hate me, R&R and anyone else who dares to disagree with your diktats.  Your whole world view is shaped by your running a fourth grade class, where you are the only educated one.  You even attempt to dictate who can speak on what subject on this blog!   

        You are one voice, on the whole a positive one, but by no means the commissar of political purity.  And no one here is going to raise our hand before going to the bathroom!

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          It’s all projection on your part. Luckily, it’s a very small projection. devil

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            MJ: stating this politely….. let us know when you figure out who is going to pay for Medicare for All.

            • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

              Smarter people than I have figured out several options to pay for MFA.

              Option 1 cost savings through efficiencies, and employer / household taxes-

              1. 500 Bn /yr from administrative efficiency – private insurance now spends 6% of budget on admin costs, Medicare only 2%.

              2. 113 Bn / yr direct negotiation w/ Drug makers

              3. 3.9 T over 10 yrs Employer 7.5% payroll tax. This would adjust by the size of payroll. 1st 2Million payroll exempt to give small biz a break. Employers would still save ~ 9,000 per employee cost from present system.

              4. Household 4% premium 3.5T /10 yrs Families and individuals would still save ~$5,000/ yr over present private insurance system. No copays, no premiums.

              5. Savings from tax deductions – you can read this part, hard to sum up in 1 sentence. Savings: 4.2 trillion over 10 yrs

              :Total: over 10 years approx 12 trillion usd revenue streams paying for MFA

              [edited to show this is total for #1-5. #1-2 per-year totals are multiplied by 10 to match all other totals over 10 yrs]

              Obviously, the CBO hasn’t done a financial analysis because McConnell won’t allow this bill to get that far. But I’d invite you to go to the links in the bill, check them and calculate for yourself.

              Option 2 No employer / employee taxes – make “”the billionaires” pay for MFA

              1.revenue of comes from a combination of reforming tax structure to be a progressive from 40-52%’ with less than 29k income exempt as it is now

              2. Capital gains would be taxed the same as income

              3. Limit tax deductions for wealthy

              4. Make estate tax more progressive

              5. Per/transaction fee on stock trades

              6, various other loopholes closed, breaks eliminated, rates raised. You read it yourself. Revenue over 10 yrs ~ 3.5 trillion usd

              Probably you won’t read the proposed MFA bill, having already made up your mind that it won’t work, and we’re all flakes for proposing it. But you did ask politely, without any extraneous insults, so there you have it. These are some of the proposed ways to pay for MFA.

              • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                Your number 5 claims 120 TRILLION in savings over ten years from tax deductions. Either you meant BILLION or I want some of that Ganja you're smoking. 

                • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                  MJ: after spending a quarter century working in state social services programs, with a lot of federal rules, I found that "administrative efficiency" was generally a catch-all for "we don't know."

                  • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                    Perhaps…but it makes sense that dealing with one bureaucracy (Medicare) with one set of rules for payments and allowable procedures would be more efficient than dealing with hundreds of private insurers, each with its own strictures, and most of which are still focused on denying care and denying payment.

                    For consumers, it’s also a helluva lot easier not to change bloody insurers every year while your employer tries to find one that will cover more for less $$. Which is the case with most rural school districts. And which is one of the main selling points of a government-funded healthcare program.

                    I know there are several doctors and medical people on this forum – Dr Daft, itlduso, what say you?

                    • Curmudgeon says:

                      Funny how the argument always ends up being the people who already have a certain benefit arguing about whether somebody else should have it. 

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      No, Curmy.  In this case, people on Medicare paid in for 40 years before they got a nickel back in benefits.  Apparently, you want people who never paid a nickel in to get trillions in benefits back.

                      The question is how would we pay for trillions of free stuff.

                      Frankly, the scheme of paying into medicare for 40 years so you get health care when you're near death anyway seems like a dumb idea to me.   Obamacare — with medicare as a public option for those who want it, with subsidies for those who need it — strikes me as the best option for now.  I'd pay for that by erasing Trump's tax cuts.  And maybe by adding a stiff curmudgeon tax!

                    • Curmudgeon says:

                      How is that different than what I said?  You believe you've earned it, and others don't deserve it. Of course, those others are paying for what you "deserve" now.  

                    • Anyway, we can pay for it with taxes without making the average costs per person rise. We just need to raise taxes about as much as premiums + deductibles used to be, then change the levels to make it progressive. If done in that way, average cost per person will stay exactly the same while the burden of that cost will fall more on those with more money who can handle more costs and less on those with less money who need less costs.

                      So a progressive income tax while eliminating premiums and deductibles are all that's really needed for that.

                  • RepealAndReplace says:

                    Administrative efficiencies…

                    I'm reminded of Ronald Reagan's famous promise in 1980 that he could taxes and increase military spending simultaneously by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. We saw how that worked out.

                    • While there are likely some administrative effecencies inherent to putting all insurance under one roof, most cast savings will likely be the result of the healthcare market becoming monopsonistic which gives a lot of power to the consumer.

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      When in human history has a monopoly market benefitted the consumer?  

                    • Monopsony, not monopoly. Monopoly is when you have a single supplier which benefits suppliers. Monopsony is when you have a single consumer which benefits consumers.

                      An example of monopsonistic markets is the labor market where there are far fewer employers, the consumers, than workers, the suppliers, something which vastly benefits the employers, the consumer. This would be a true monopsony which would even more benefit consumers.

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      So, you're going on the theory that we consumers control the U.S. Government?  Have you told the Koch Bros.?

                    • I'm going with the fact that negotiation for healthcare is done at the level of the insurance company, not at the level of the individual getting healthcare. That's why we can treat everyone in a singular insurance company as a single consumer b/c that's what they effectively are. Thus, when the insurance market is consolidated into a singular entity controlled by the government and paid for by taxes, there is a single consumer in the healthcare market.

                    • I'm not even pro-Medicare for All. I think it's liberal reformism that does very little to actually solve the structural problems in the insurance market, but it's got clear benefits to consumers over the existing healthcare system, including the monopsonistic nature of it, and it allows many more people to have access to healthcare than would have access without it, so, despite it not being ideal, it is beneficial and, to the extent that it's better than what we have now, I support it, much like I support the ACA over what we had before.

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      Rome wasn't built in a day.  As a practical matter, we seem about aligned on health care.  My ideal would be Canadian style single payer.  Incremental reforms along the way are better than nothing, however.  

                      The "good" thing about families bankrupted because their kid got cancer is that such things are rare and easily handled in a universally supported system.  But getting to there from here is a long journey that can't be finished in my lifetime.

                    • I think that something more like the British NHS would be even better as it cuts out the middleman, eliminating more than nationalizing insurance, but, ofc, my ideal is a complete restructuring of the economy to make even something like the NHS unnecessary.

                      However, practically speaking, we are likely pretty well aligned on healthcare with our short term goals lining up.

                      I am also pretty pessimistic about our chances of getting any sort of single payer through in the next few years and, tbh, I think climate change is gonna just absolutely wreck the US before we can get anything meaningful through.

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            Thought for the day, class:  If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, it's still all about MJ.

            Class dismissedwink

  5. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    This. One thousand times, THIS.  Speaker Andrew Romanoff was one of the best things to happen to rural Colorado under his leadership.  

    The Untapped Power of Rural Voters

    This is within reach. From 2012 to 2016, Democrats lost 11 percentage points in rural areas overall. But those same rural areas trended in a Democratic direction from 2016 to 2018 and ended up about six points more Democratic. There’s room for growth in rural America for Democrats.

     

  6. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    The Democrats!

    Tom Perez Defends DNC Not Holding Climate Change Debate: ‘It’s Just Not Practical’

    “We will have issue areas in debates, including but not limited to climate, but it’s just not practical for us to have one debate on democracy reform, one debate on voting,” the chairman said. “And as someone who worked for Barack Obama, the most remarkable thing about him was his tenacity to multitask, and a president must be able to multitask.”

    It's just not practical to have a debate on the single thing most likely to end the human race within the next century.  What next? A debate on whether to censor spoilers from Avengers: Endgame?  A debate on whether the Game of Thrones finale was a betrayal of the promise of Daenerys' character arc?  Where does the madness stop?

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