Paul Ryan's "fundamentally immoral" plan to privatize Medicare

From The Economist:

Mr Ryan’s plan ends the guarantee that all American seniors will have health insurance. The Medicare system we’ve had in place for the past 45 years promises that once you reach 65, you will be covered by a government-financed health-insurance plan. Mr Ryan’s plan promises that once you reach 65, you will receive a voucher for an amount that he thinks ought to be enough for individuals to purchase a private health-insurance plan. … If that voucher isn’t worth enough for some particular senior to buy insurance, and that particular senior isn’t wealthy enough to top off the coverage, or is a bit forgetful and neglects to purchase insurance, there’s no guarantee that that person will be insured. It’s up to you; you carry the risk.

Mr Ryan thinks this is a good thing, because individuals who are responsible for paying for their own health insurance will be strongly motivated to seek better insurance at a lower price. I think this is a terrible thing, because the mechanism Mr Ryan is using to incentivise people to seek better coverage for the price is to expose them to the risk that they will suffer from disease for which their insurance doesn’t cover them. The threat that you will suffer illness with inadequate treatment because you can’t afford it and your insurance doesn’t cover it is certainly a pretty strong motivator for most people to seek better insurance. But the purpose of insurance is to insulate people from risks like that. …

… Mr Ryan’s proposal to privatise and voucherise Medicare attempts to reintroduce the incentive to cut costs by dumping that risk back onto individual seniors. And the greatest risks will fall on the poorest, sickest, or least savvy elderly; they will be the ones most at risk of going uncovered. I agree with Mr Ryan that the government needs to limit taxpayers’ exposure to Medicare cost inflation. I think this plan is a fundamentally immoral way to do it.

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  • Guest-again

    The Economist? Piffle. They only know what it is like to live in a socialized medicine hellhole.

    Wait a minute….

  • http://twitter.com/sotonohito55 sotonohito

    That’s from the economist? Wow. I’d have thought they, and the WSJ’s editorial page, would be the biggest cheerleaders for Ryan’s plan.

  • Anonymous

    The Economist is a magazine from the UK, which means they know well the advantages and disadvantages of UK’s National Health System and how it costs in comparison to the USA’s system (the UK one is MUCH cheaper). They are not blind to that fact and know their reader would rather have a decent health care system rather than be ideologically “pure” (which means to Republicans The Economist is “socialist” – laughing out loud at that!).

    The problem with the privatisation of such system is that the insurace company has a big advantage over even wealthy patient – the patient has to pay or lose the insurance (which often means being no longer able to afford the treatment). So the insurance company has effectively the patient’s health as a hostage. And that, coupled with the corporations’ insistence on the maximizing of profits and oligopoly or near-monopoly (and so much beloved by libertarians deregulation of the market), means for patients a very bad news. I will leave the ethical side of this situation to not use swear words here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Travis-ORear/1548210373 Travis O’Rear

    Republican overreach, here we come.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    “Here we come”? Check out the things they’re up to in Wisconsin.

    Republican Overreach is their new mandate.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I don’t think there’s any amount of republican overreach that can turn Obama white. And that’s kinda what it would take to make the tea party abandon the GOP.

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Of course, what isn’t discussed is the fact that the insurance companies will likely refuse to offer insurance for seniors at all. That’s one of the main reasons why Medicare was created in the first place – elderly people are very likely to need *a lot* of medical treatment, and it’s not profitable to cover them, so companies didn’t. (Until they could get a guaranteed profit from the government in the form of Medicare “Advantage”, anyway.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=679485013 Brad Raley

    A really key point. This is telling the elderly to go get their own insurance while telling the insurance companies that they don’t have to cover anyone they don’t want to.

  • http://robyrt.livejournal.com/ Robyrt

    The Economist, as usual, has a great two-paragraph summary of what it will take opinion writers 2000 words to say.

    To give Ryan due credit, he correctly identifies and has a plan to solve America’s real long-term budget problem. Unfortunately, his solution is not only politically dumb but counter to the actual purpose of the program.

    I think his core error is a belief in infinite market power. Ryan thinks that if the government just stops paying so much money for health care, a way will be found to offer it more cheaply, and everybody wins. I am a little more pessimistic – I don’t think our existing health care system is capable of cutting costs to Ryan’s extent without some serious infrastructure changes. (No employer-care tax break, subsidized medical school, patent reform, malpractice reform, and more.)

  • Daughter

    I get that the Tea Party, and most of the Republican leadership for that matter, are immoral, selfish assholes. But why do so many American people fall for it? They’ve gone way past demonizing and trying to harm African-Americans, immigrants, Muslims, etc. They have attacked teachers and other public workers, the unemployed, seniors, kids, and so forth. In other words, almost all Americans now have someone they know and love who would be adversely harmed by Republican policies. Yet people keep supporting them. Why?????

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @Daughter: Because thanks to years of painstaking Republican propaganda, approximately 40% of the US population are CONVINCED that Democrats are not actually human beings, but Evil Communist Gay Death Robots built by Satan.

  • Anonymous

    If I really was an ECGDRbbS, I wouldn’t need health coverage when I was 65-75. =P

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @Vmink: Don’t worry. With ReaganCare(tm), you won’t LIVE to be 65!

    Ha. Ha.

    Ha.

    :(

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, CU5012, at this rate I hope I die in the next twenty years. Old age is not kind to my family — I am concerned about the amount of Alzheimer’s literature my parents were getting in the years before they died — and I have dim hopes for being able to survive on retirement what with the pillaging of retirement investment monies and no pension.

    So best to just hope for an accident, or otherwise just die quickly.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @Vmink: Gah. For your sake, I hope things go better than that…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, I hope it goes better for everyone. =)

    On some level, I genuinely believe that history is against authoritarians in the long run. Humanity as a whole is doing better than we were a thousand years ago, and a thousand years from now we will be better still. Cyclically, there will be inevitable periods where rational progressive governance is usurped by reactionary authoritative governance, but history is against them. And there is no blessed way that no matter how much they try, Newt Gingrich’s name will never be remembered in the same way that we remember the Founding Fathers, or Rameses, or Julius Caesar, or Fu Xi. Maybe Reagan’s name, if only to mark the beginning of this current financial melt.

  • Matri

    Speaking of the Founding Fathers, can you imagine what would happen if they ever found out the way the Republicans have co-opted their names to promote their religious intolerance and theocratic authoritarian regime?

    Personally, I’d imagine they would personally strangle them all with their rotting, undead hands. But that’s just me…

  • Rikalous

    The religious right today are the same kinds of people that claimed that electing Jefferson would lead to burning bibles and schools teaching sodomy. He’d looove them.

    I don’t think the reanimated Founders would stoop to violence. All they’d have to do is run against them. No politician would be able to get away with attacking them, so they’d be able to reshape the political landscape however they wanted.

  • Matri

    All they’d have to do is run against them. No politician would be able to get away with attacking them, so they’d be able to reshape the political landscape however they wanted.

    Mmm, wouldn’t work. They’ll blame atheists for the zombie uprising (doubly effective because, Founding Fathers Zombies! How dare they!), point out that Resident Evil is a documentary on the evils of science and how all scientists should be shot, then take flamethrowers to the reanimated FFs.

    Would make a great movie, though.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Matri: Speaking of the Founding Fathers, can you imagine what would happen if they ever found out the way the Republicans have co-opted their names to promote their religious intolerance and theocratic authoritarian regime?

    The problem is that there is no solidly definable group of “Founding Fathers” – it wasn’t something they called themselves, it wasn’t a phrase that was used at all during their lifetime – it was coined by Warren Harding, and he never defined who, exactly, he meant by the Founding Fathers. Lots of people signed the Dec of Ind, and lots also signed the Constitution. You can probably find some two or three in those lists of signatures who agree with the idea of religious intolerance and theocratic authoritarian regimes. Once you expand the group to any of the opinion makers around the Revolution/Framing, you soon discover that there wasn’t a general agreement among them as to what they really wanted, in toto.

    This method of seeking a Founding Father to support dubious views is especially effective if your audience has no real idea what the Founding Father chosen actually said and did. Thomas Paine wrote radical tracts about progressive income taxes, but we only ever hear about Common Sense.

  • Citizen Alan

    Sauce for the goose: thanks to years of observing painstaking Republican propaganda, I no longer recognize the fundamental humanity of Republicans.

  • Anonymous

    A lot of people just really really love to believe in the myth of meritocracy, and they truly, genuinely believe that someday they can or will be one of the rich elite. They believe that if the government simply stopped taxing them, they would suddenly rise to the top of society. Part of it is because they take government programs for granted, and never think about how much they personally benefit from tax money. They never think about the roads they drive on, the cheaper price of subsidized foods, or free schools that they and their children use. Because of this, they only think of tax money as going to undeserving other people.

    My boss is like this. He hates paying taxes and goes so far as to believe that college students shouldn’t vote because the only issue worth voting about is taxes, and college students apparently don’t have to deal with that. He truly thinks that if taxes just stopped, he’d get that extra 20-30 percent of his paycheck to spend on toys and candy. He doesn’t realize that he would have to pay much more money to get to work because every road would be a toll road, and that he’d have to pay huge fees to private security and fire protection companies. He doesn’t even think far enough ahead to realize that if poor people starve to death, then suddenly our company won’t get as much business and he’d be out of a job altogether.

    I guess my point is that these people don’t realize how much they personally benefit from the taxes they pay.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder about this a lot to. Why do so many Americans fall for free market snake oil and what did other Americans do to deserve them?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @LeeEsq: I think a large part of it is the American Myth: Someday, you too could win the lottery/write the next Twilight/start the next Microsoft and be FILTHY RICH.

  • Anonymous

    In other words, almost all Americans now have someone they know and love who would be adversely harmed by Republican policies. Yet people keep supporting them. Why?????

    I think it’s a sort of confirmation bias. If these folks decide that government is the problem, they’ll support anything that promises to shrink government; and then when the inevitable adverse consequences bite them in the seat of their pants, it’s proof that the government is the problem; somehow this problem doesn’t stick to the Republicans in the eyes of their supporters.

  • Anonymous

    Mr Ryan thinks this is a good thing, because individuals who are responsible for paying for their own health insurance will be strongly motivated to seek better insurance at a lower price.

    The biggest flaw with this plan is that it assumes better and cheaper health insurance plans actually exist. People can’t really buy something that doesn’t exist, and the free market so far hasn’t bothered to fill this niche. It’s almost as though the free market isn’t exactly perfect or something.

  • Postpostimpressionist

    Yes. Older people (and that bracket starts before you qualify for Medicare) are generally forced to pay a lot more for private health insurance. This is because older people tend to have more health issues than younger people.

    The large number of older people who already have any significant health problem, like all people with any significant health problem, are completely priced out of the private insurance market. The companies won’t even offer you a sky-high estimate; they’ll just say no thanks. They want to collect mucho premiums and pay zero benefits.

    This is why we have Medicare in the first place. Seniors cannot obtain healthcare on the market, because insurers understand that betting against the healthcare costs of sick old people is a chump game.

    This is sort of “stupid or lying,” but it amazes me that anyone with any experience of the insurance market (e.g. almost every American) can take this idea seriously for a second.

  • cyllan


    This is sort of “stupid or lying,” but it amazes me that anyone with any experience of the insurance market (e.g. almost every American) can take this idea seriously for a second.

    I had the most mind-boggling experience at my work a year or so ago. We were going through the traditional yearly nightmare of finding a new insurance carrier about the same time that the health-reform discussion was really heating up. On the same day, from the same person, I heard a lengthy rant on how horrible any sort of health reform was, and a rant on how much they hated dealing with insurance companies each year and couldn’t something be done about it. I thought about commenting, but I ultimately was too flabbergasted to muster a coherent statement.

  • Matri

    On the same day, from the same person, I heard a lengthy rant on how horrible any sort of health reform was, and a rant on how much they hated dealing with insurance companies each year and couldn’t something be done about it.

    Seriously?! That’s.. that was.. And they didn’t…?

    Ow. Me broke brain thingy.

  • Anonymous

    I work at a health insurance company, and there’s more people than you’d think who do express those views. Not just the clients who called in, but the employees themselves. HRF will lead to the loss of a lot of our jobs, and that’s very sad, but if they want the reform, then that’s the price we pay. A lot of people want to have it both ways, and it just can’t be done. Luckily, I hang out with reasonable coworkers who feel as I do, that reform is needed, and we’ll make do when the time comes to go because we see that the system has to change.

  • http://mistharm.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Reminds me of some of the other Republican double-speak during the reform debate; namely –

    1) Government can’t do anything right, so they’d screw up healthcare too.

    2) Government taking over health care would put insurance companies out of business.

    Now obviously those are mutually exclusive positions to hold; either the government is utterly incapable of delivering healthcare service at least at the same price and quality as we currently get it… or the government can do it, and better than the insurance companies, which would put them out of business.

    Somehow though, they managed to keep BOTH trains of completely contradictory data in their head at the exact same time.

    I mean, I’ve read The Authoritarians before, I know about compartmentalization and the like… but cripes; it’s just so… obvious.

    *facepalm*

  • muteKi

    On http://roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/ he mentions that health care costs are “hidden and inflated” which of course is a complete contradiction in terms (“hidden” implies that they’re higher than estimated; “inflated” of course the opposite).

    Runner-up is how this will empower individuals without helping out bureaucrats and such — apparently this will happen by depriving people below a certain age from receiving medicare benefits from the government.

    And for the love of everything if I see the words “common-sense solution” someone’s getting some shit slapped.

  • muteKi

    Err, “if I see the words…again” that should be. I know they’re on the site.

  • http://robyrt.livejournal.com/ Robyrt

    It’s not mutually exclusive to believe that the government would (a) screw up health care, and (b) drive private insurers out of business, at all. The Republican nightmare scenario is a Dollar Store health care plan: so cheap it’s wildly popular, while delivering shoddy medical care that wasn’t even worth the money. Alternatively, imagine a government plan that delivers excellent care, at twice the price a private insurer would charge, but the government picks up 75% of the tab so it still chokes off the private sector. Now we have great health care for everyone but we’ve introduced monstrous inefficiencies into the system, requiring draconian service cuts and tax increases.

    The core problem remains: US health care simply costs way more than it should, and it shows no sign of stopping. And every time someone tries to change it, they get yelled at for hurting seniors, or being a communist Nazi, or whatever.

  • http://mistharm.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Except that nightmare scenario cannot come true in any reasonable fashion. It would work if the situation were say… a manufacturing industry. In that scenario; let’s say the government puts all toaster manufacturers out of business by getting into the system and making crazy-cheap toasters.

    Okay, so now these really cheap but kinda crummy toasters are everywhere, and most other toaster manufacturers are dead or driven into niche markets for specialty toasters. Now the government controlled toaster manufacturer can afford to slack and people no longer have much choice; and thus the already-not-great-but-cheap toasters are now just cheap and barely functional. (I’m tempted to make a comparison to old Soviet car manufacturers.)

    However, health insurance isn’t like manufacturing – there’s no such thing as ‘shoddy’ health insurance; instead you’ve got two kinds:

    The kind that does what it says, wherein the equation is quite simple: Collect premium, get service when needed, avoid fraudulent claims. End result – healthcare, and maybe a marginal profit or loss for the insurer. This is what any reasonable government system would look like, since the goal isn’t to get profit out of a problem, but to actually solve that problem.

    The kind that doesn’t do what it says (ie: present private insurance): where the equation looks more like – Collect premiums, avoid paying for service as much as possible, exclude anyone who might be potentially expensive, avoid fraudulent claims, and claim non-fraudulent claims are fraudulent to avoid paying them; the end result is profit; which being as that’s the end-goal here, this model serves a private company infinitely better than actually doing what people pay them to do.

    In either case, both things are working precisely as designed; the latter case isn’t shoddy, it’s just designed to squeeze money out of the customer without getting them any benefit; while presenting a comforting facade.

    Err, the point being that that nightmare scenario Republicans have dreamed up is exactly that: a dream. The only way that scenario can come about is if the government takes over healthcare… and then begins to treat it like a private enterprise. That’s not impossible, but it’d probably be a post-Universal Healthcare Republican proposal that would bring about such a situation to begin with.

    So yeah, it is mutually exclusive unless you’re looking for an oddball side-pocket scenario that would require the party doing the griping about such coverage to actually initiate the situation wherein such a scenario occurs.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @JJohnson: No, no – the Evil Government Bureaucrats will use their powers of REGULATION to crush the fragile flower that is the insurance industry, thus bankrupting America and killing Baby Jesus.

    _Then_ they’ll set up the Death Panels.

    (Speaking of Death Panels, anyone else notice the big cuts to Medicare the Republicans want? Gee, here I thought it was us Evil Libruls who’d come up with all these plans to kill Grandma, and it turns out all we REALLY had to do was sit back and let the Republicans do it for us!)

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @JJohnson: No, no – the Evil Government Bureaucrats will use their powers of REGULATION to crush the fragile flower that is the insurance industry, thus bankrupting America and killing Baby Jesus.

    _Then_ they’ll set up the Death Panels.

    (Speaking of Death Panels, anyone else notice the big cuts to Medicare the Republicans want? Gee, here I thought it was us Evil Libruls who’d come up with all these plans to kill Grandma, and it turns out all we REALLY had to do was sit back and let the Republicans do it for us!)

  • tarir

    Correct!

  • tarir

    Correct!

  • Daughter

    @ Consumer Unit, I know the Republican propaganda machine has been frighteningly effective.

    But what happens when it’s you? Or your family that’s being affected by these things? How can you still think the Republicans are in your corner? When you’re living with the consequences, when do you realize that you’ve been fed a pack of lies?

    We saw a huge outbreak of outrage in Wisconsin, but that’s a state with a long progressive tradition. These things are happening in other states, without many people mobilizing.

  • Lori

    We saw a huge outbreak of outrage in Wisconsin, but that’s a state with a long progressive tradition. These things are happening in other states, without many people mobilizing.

    Actually, there has been quite a bit of mobilizing & protesting in other states. We had large protests here in Indiana (and some of our Dem officials left the state to stymie GOP over-reach, just like in Wisconsin). There have been large protests in Ohio and other states as well.

    The thing is, unless you read progressive blogs or live in one of the states effected you won’t hear much about it because the supposedly Liberal Media doesn’t cover it. They talk about ridiculous pseudo-candidates for the GOP presidential nomination like Gingrich, Palin and Trump. They’re all over this stupid budget proposal of Ryan’s, talking about how serious it is, even though there is zero possibility of it going anywhere and his ideas are mostly useless or monstrous or both. Polls show the support for the Tea Party has cratered and yet every time someone connected to the Tea Party burps it makes the news. At the same time, they’re barely covering the push back against the Tea Party.

  • Daughter

    Thanks for the links, Lori!

  • Daughter

    @ bananacat, do you tell him this? If so, how does he respond?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Lyons/792600829 Derek Lyons

    @Consumer Unit: And thanks to years of painstaking Democratic propaganda, approximately 40% of the US population are CONVINCED that Republicans are not actually human beings, but Evil Mindless Redneck Death Robots built by Big Oil in collusion with Big Pharma.

  • Loki100

    And thanks to years of painstaking Democratic propaganda, approximately 40% of the US population are CONVINCED that Republicans are not actually human beings, but Evil Mindless Redneck Death Robots built by Big Oil in collusion with Big Pharma.

    No, that would be that all the Republicans who are not part of the wealthiest 1% of Americans have been completely brainwashed (mostly by all that “social values” malarkey), and so blindly follow the Evil Mindless Death Robots built by Big Oil, Big Pharama, Big Energy, and (of course) the Defense Industry.

    Remember kids a vote for a politician who talks about the evils of abortion is really a vote against schools.

  • Daughter

    And a vote against WIC, and prenatal care, and…

  • Daughter

    @ Loki100, that still raises the question: why?

    I believe brainwashing can occur under extreme circumstances (sleep deprivation, torture, etc). But most right-leaning Americans are not undergoing extreme circumstances. Instead, they’ve chosen to believe the rightwing propoganda.

    So, maybe you choose to believe the propoganda because it fits your pre-conceived notions about the world, or makes you feel superior to others, or whatever. And that works when life is decent for you, and you consider those being harmed “the Other.”

    But why do you continue to believe the lies, when you yourselves, or those you love, are being actively attacked and harmed by them? At what point does self-preservation and common sense kick in?

  • Anonymous

    Well, the Republicans/Teabaggers seem to be doing everything they can to live down to that propaganda. Why spoil a good thing now?

  • Anonymous

    @Consumer Unit: And thanks to years of painstaking Democratic propaganda, approximately 40% of the US population are CONVINCED that Republicans are not actually human beings, but Evil Mindless Redneck Death Robots built by Big Oil in collusion with Big Pharma.

    Oh yes, both sides do it. Of course. The problem is, both sides aren’t the same.

    One side doesn’t have a history of playing dress-up and killing people a few shades darker than they. The other one does.

  • Citizen Alan

    Can’t speak for 40%, but I’m convinced of it. And I don’t need Democratic propaganda, just my own observation of what the Party of Satan wants to do to our nation and our planet as stated in its own words.

  • hf

    Why?????

    You mean aside from the absence of public figures arguing for liberalism, or taking strong action to help the unemployed? Well, almost any kind of crisis situation also increases the human tendency to think in terms of “tradition” and “traditional” authority, instead of rational argument. (I assume this represents an evolutionary adaptation for a very specific circumstance run amok.) We’ve seen in L&J what that can lead to.

  • Anonymous

    Daughter: To be honest, after reading The Authoritarians, I’m not really surprised anymore what people will let authoritarians get away with.

    There is someone at my place of work who has an excellent signature file for their email: “A CEO, a Tea Partier, and a union rep are sitting at a table. The table has a plate with twelve cookies. The CEO takes 11 cookies and gobbles them down. Then he looks at the Tea Partier and says, ‘Hey! That union guy is trying to take your cookie!'”

    I believe that for all their faults, the Tea Party people have some — a few — legitimate concerns about the government. I think many of them express those concerns badly and improperly, but I think some of their concerns are legitimate. Which is why it upsets me when I see the entire movement suborned and subverted by rich, wealthy Americans whose goal appears to be the denuding and dismantling of the Federal income tax structure and all Federal plans.

    Like that one old lady at the very start of the movement was saying: “Get your government hands off my Medicare!” ‘OKAY LADY! HAVE IT YOUR WAY! HERE COMES PAUL RYAN TO TAKE THE GOVERNMENT’S HANDS OUT OF YOUR MEDICARE! Let us know how that goes!’ But… letting it get to that point is childishly immature and irresponsible, and inethical. She’s just a dupe, a foil, an unwitting pawn to someone who will not ever be wanting for quality health care, a place to sleep, and someone to take care of him.

  • Lori

    There is someone at my place of work who has an excellent signature file for their email: “A CEO, a Tea Partier, and a union rep are sitting at a table. The table has a plate with twelve cookies. The CEO takes 11 cookies and gobbles them down. Then he looks at the Tea Partier and says, ‘Hey! That union guy is trying to take your cookie!'”

    I believe that for all their faults, the Tea Party people have some — a few — legitimate concerns about the government. I think many of them express those concerns badly and improperly, but I think some of their concerns are legitimate. Which is why it upsets me when I see the entire movement suborned and subverted by rich, wealthy Americans whose goal appears to be the denuding and dismantling of the Federal income tax structure and all Federal plans.

    I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that the Tea Party movement is being “suborned and subverted by rich, wealthy Americans”. The so-called movement was astro-turfed by the rich from the beginning and was always intended to serve the interests of the rich. Without the rich there wouldn’t be a Tea Party movement, there would just be unhappy Republicans.

    If you mean that you hate to see people’s legitimate concerns misdirected in order to get them to act against their own best interests, then I can agree with that. However, I don’t think the blame can entirely be placed on the rich. Using the cookie analogy, the cookie-scarfing CEO is scum. However the Tea Partier who watches the CEO eat the 11 cookies and then starts beating on the union guy to get the 12th cookie is not a wholly innocent victim.

  • http://mistharm.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    @Derek Lyons –

    No, that’s 40 years of actual Republican behavior. You don’t need propaganda when the other party is arguing against healthcare for old people, attempting to cut funding for public education, trying to shut down unions and does everything in it’s power to expand the ability of corporations to influence our elections; while prattling on about “tough decisions” and “fiscal responsibility.”

    The same party, which I will add, CUT TAXES DURING A WAR. And to give the illusion of responsibility, proceeded to keep that war OFF the budget. Yeah, that’s some great fiscal responsibility there. Oh, and let’s not forget “We’re in the middle of an awful recession, people are more reliant than ever on basic services… let’s cut services and extend tax cuts for the top 2% of earners!”

    I don’t need 40 years of Democratic propaganda, history itself is pretty clear on your record. It’s shit; it’s just shit that’s been paved over with a lot of ill-gotten gold.

  • muteKi

    Whatever happened to not criticizing the president during wartime, for that matter?

    That one changed around pretty quickly.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @Muteki: That only applies if it’s a REAL President. The one we have now is insufficiently white Republican, so he’s a fake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752002772 Andrew Glasgow

    You missed the fine print.

    *Only applies to Republican presidents

  • http://mistharm.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    IOKIYAR.

  • http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ Brandi

    @ bananacat, do you tell him this? If so, how does he respond?

    If banana’s in a right-to-work state, I suspect he dare not do so.

  • Anonymous

    I generally just try to avoid political conversations like the plague, and when the topic comes up, I try very hard to steer the conversation in a different direction. However, I suspect that if I did explain to my boss how he benefits from taxes, he would probably just say that the almighty invisible hand of the free market could do it better, because the invisible hand has essentially become a religious idol to these people, and you must not ever doubt its complete, absolute, tautological perfection.

    Incidentally, I’m a woman.

  • Anonymous

    Daughter, looking at it from a historical perspective, I think it mainly comes down to race. Kicking down the Other has a long history in America and free market capitalism gives people who enjoy this thing a lot of opportunities for it.

  • painini (quite dusty)

    All of you wondering how people could buy into the GOP’s free-market dream – don’t you want to live in a just world? I mean, it’s isn’t a nice idea? Rather than involving yourself with strange, unreliable people around you for the long term, you’d have visible signs telling you who is virtuous, who is smart, who is worth your time. You’ll know their intelligence by their financial success! You’ll know their virtue by how hard they’ve worked for money!

    All you have to do is accept that profit is the highest virtue.

    And by believing in the right virtues, you can trust that you’re part of the natural elite. Even if you don’t have the money yet, you surely have a pure soul and bright eyes and work ethic. With those things, you don’t need to fear the world. You don’t need to fear life, because life IS fair.

    (If you DO have the money, of course; and/or if you’re winding toward the end of your life, and you managed to do pretty well with yourself so what is *wrong* with kids these days??; well, I imagine the appeal is stronger. Which might be why older voters and wealthy-for-their-state voters have been so faithful to the party.)

  • Hawker40

    John Steinbeck – “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

  • LeeEsq

    As witty as the quote is, I don’t know how accurate it is. Socialism didn’t take root in America for all sorts of reasons even though there was a wide variety of leftist activism at the crucial period for the formation of socialist parties. The American poor tended to be divided between immigrant workers, White Protestant workers, and African-Americans. Neither group really cooperated together that much. Lots of white protestant working class people rejected socialism because it seemed like a foreign import rather than something American.

    Even taking away the race/religion/immigrant factor, leftist leadership in the United States never really coalesed around a unifying set of beliefs and tactics as happened in other countries to a much greater extent. In the UK, leftist leadership basically decided to pursue working class goals through a parliamentary frame work via the Labour Party. In Imperial Germany, replace the SDP with the Labour Party. In the United States, Gomper preferred to work with the established parties, others through the Socialist Party, and others rejected party politics entirely.

    During the crucial period, roughly the time between Reconstruction and WWI, there seemed to a certain amount of cluelessness among more than a few of the leftist leadership on how to talk to Americans. Many assumed that American workers would respond to the same sort of rhetoric as European workers and possessed the same amount of hatred towards their government and the established order that European workers had. This might have been true among the immigrants and African-Americans. Among white protestant workers, not so much. There were framming issues.

  • tarir

    Anyone under 55 they won’t be rich for long paying $20,000 + per year….it will be a matter of buying your end of life years. And of course, not many people can do that so they haven’t talked about what happens then. I am imagining a different American than today. Class wars and ageism. I am pretty disgusted with Ryan’s plan….buying votes from those 55 and older and saying sorry to the rest of us. I have paid FICA for 38 years and I am shown the door (I am 54).

  • Anonymous

    ConsumerUnit, that explains some of it but it certainly doesn’t explain all of it. Past generations of Americans, especially for the bulk of the 20th century, seemed more immune to this thought process.

  • LL

    It should be amusing, watching the Republicans’ incompatible interest groups rip each other new ones and still not solve any problems. That’s the upside here. Well, for me, anyway.

  • Kaido

    I highly suggest that anyone who thinks that the insurance industry works like any other in the United States look up the McCarran-Ferguson Act. Unlike most industries in the US, the insurance industry is not subject to anti-Trust laws. This leads to a number of egregious incidents, like the mass denial of coverage to Katrina victims under the false “it was a flood” premise so those people would have to collect government flood insurance dollars rather than the actual wind damage coverage they had paid for.

    TL;DR, leaving the elderly to fight insurance conglomerates not subject to the normal laws governing fair play in this country is equivalent to throwing them to the wolves, full stop.

  • PJ Evans

    Half the people covered by Medicare are children. Nearly half of the money goes to disabled people.
    Ryan is an idjit.

  • Dan Audy

    As an outsider looking in, the incredible willingness to accept lies and do evil things that harm society to improve the lot of the wealthiest and most influential in the United States reminds me a lot of Germany in the 1930’s. Certainly the extent to which American facism has progressed is less than Germany eventually achieved (and is reviled for) but consolidation of corporate-governmental power, attacking the less priviledged under the guise of being a ‘victim’ of their oppression, ultra-authoritarian nationalistic rhetoric, imperialistic ‘wars’ on economically important states, and the wave of anti-democracy certainly seem to be moving that direction and laying a stronger foundation for its success when it does rear up.

  • hapax

    Before you get all het up about Ryan’s cruel, immoral, and certainly politically dead plan, you have to understand the real point of it is not to eliminate Medicare; it’s to yank the Overton Window even further to the right.

    Digby and others have pointed out that after all the soi-disant “liberal” punditocracy finishes tut-tutting and having vapors, they turn to the Obvious Reasonable Compromise: Boyles and Simpson’s cruel, vindictive, Social Security-slashing plan, often referred to a “The Fiscal Commission Report” (although the misnomer is a blatant lie.)

    Nobody should be giving Ryan’s proposal the dignity of serious rebuttal. If asked about it, all Democrats should stare blankly and respond, “No, and we’re not going to solve our economic problems by raising taxes on unicorns either. What we SHOULD be discussing is stimulating the economy by sound, proven economic methods such as creating jobs fixing our infrastructure, educating our future workforce, and ensuring that our most vulnerable citizens are all have income to spend at the grocery store and the car dealerships, instead of giving more handouts to billionaire tax dodgers and corporations who ship their jobs overseas.”

    But all our Democratic lawmakers are just as beholden to the Koch brothers and GE as the Republicans; and they cannot seriously conceive of the economic situation of us little folks who make less than six figures a year.

  • Guest-again

    ‘…approximately 40% of the US population are CONVINCED that Republicans are not actually human beings, but Evil Mindless Redneck Death Robots built by Big Oil in collusion with Big Pharma.’

    Well, a generation ago, that number was much higher, if the statement would have been that Republicans are dedicated to maximizing profits of big business, breaking the power of unions, opposed to any and all regulation (particularly environmental and worker protection), and destroying Social Security.

    And of course, that higher percentage of citizens then was right – though for the Republicans, 3 out of 4 isn’t bad.

  • Anonymous

    Before you get all het up about Ryan’s cruel, immoral, and certainly politically dead plan, you have to understand the real point of it is not to eliminate Medicare; it’s to yank the Overton Window even further to the right.

    Yes, I’ve thinking about this – what on earth can be done to start yanking the window back to the left? I read about Ryan’s appalling plan, and my blood pressure rises, I start grinding my teeth and I calm myself when I remember that it really isn’t going to happen – but I get irritated all over again when I realize that it’s sort of a victory for Ryan in that this plan, appalling as it is, is actually taken seriously by the media, in that pundits will discuss it and so forth. If, say, Bernie Sanders or someone stood up and introduced a budget plan that had everything I wish and dream about for in it, what would happen? Would the press just not even cover it? Would the pundits just roll their eyes and wave it off?

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Trixie_Belden: Yes, I’ve thinking about this – what on earth can be done to start yanking the [Overton] window back to the left?

    If I understand the principle, we do that by proposing equally and counterbalancingly radical ideas on the left side of the window, thus widening the available “reasonable” options. To that end, I propose we start a new political party with the following platform. If elected, our party would immediately empty the bank accounts of anyone with more than 1 million dollars in their account, reducing them to living in modest houses on human salaries, and give the money gained by this method directly (in cash – great big handfuls of 5s and 10s) to street people. Then, we would fire all management everywhere, turning control of all businesses everywhere over to the workers. Then, we give everyone health insurance, a new bicycle, a pair of Birkenstocks, a year’s supply of organic granola, and a latte. Then, everyone who has a job has to drop down to 2/3 of their regular hours so that someone else can also have a job. Finally, we propose to give everyone their very own unicorn pony, we make Friday part of the weekend, and give every new baby chocolate eclairs.

    Then we organize a second party to denounce our party as being too moderate, and have the second party announce an even more radical set of proposals.

    Alternatively, we continue the long, slow process of pulling the debate back away from the right side of the spectrum by rewarding politicians when they do right and punishing them when they do wrong, we work within and outside* of the established parties, we support fora which allow a variety of voices and denounce Fox-News-like echo chambers and we resolve to stick it out for the long haul. We join unions, we attend rallies, we sign petitions, we engage in forms of creative political protest, we understand that all of this is going to hurt and take a really long time. We study the long Civil Rights movement (1865-present), we look at all of the Women’s Rights movement (1840-present; and forget the whole “waves” nonsense – there are strong links throughout the process), and we never ever give up hope, strong in the knowledge that we are having an effect, however incremental it may appear at the moment.

    But that’s less fun. I’m going outside to play with my unicorn pony.

    *Outside is vital – the progressive legislation that we progressives like from the early 1900s came as a result of third party pressure and (largely Democratic) responses to the platforms of the 3rd parties.

  • Anonymous

    we make Friday part of the weekend, and give every new baby chocolate eclairs.

    How’s the gourmet pizza business these days, your majesty?

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    How’s the gourmet pizza business these days, your majesty?

    Slow. But that’s the way it should be.

  • Anonymous

    Who needs gourmet pizza when there’s homemade?

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Who needs gourmet pizza when there’s homemade?

    Are you seriously suggesting that pizza made by a mere commoner could possibly compare to pizza made by the immortal hands of me, the King of Spain?

  • Rowen

    How’s that humble pie working out for you?

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    How’s that humble pie working out for you?

    I must admit, it’s less tasty than I had thought it would be when I switched places with that pauper, but he refuses to switch back, so what can I do? Hey, at least I get to drive the Zamboni!

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    It’s worth noting that there are several different “overton windows” and several different “rights and lefts”.

    Speaking as a recently-married queer man who 15 years ago would not have dreamed that that would be possible, I’m very aware that the baseline in my part of the country along a particular axis has shifted radically away from social conservatism.

    OTOH, at the same time, we’ve become more conservative along other axes.

    That way everyone gets to feel aggrieved.

  • Anonymous

    What can be done? Propose single payer and nationalizing all the health insurance companies on the basis that peoples’ health is not a for-profit industry.

    That would yank it over so hard Glenn Beck would be reduced to canine barks for an entire show.

  • Lori

    That would yank it over so hard Glenn Beck would be reduced to canine barks for an entire show.

    If this is the reaction we want we’ll have to hurry, at least if we want it on TV. Back is “transitioning out of” his Fox show.

    Which I guess means that we now know the lower boundary for acceptability on Fox—Beck’s behavior and ad income from last year. Now that he has fallen below that, he’s out.

  • Anonymous

    Wha… really? He’s being canned? I mean, he’s being shoved off for being to outre? It’s not just that he’s trying to find a more profitable, lucrative niche?

    *does the Snoopy dance*

  • Lori

    It’s being billed as a mutual decision, but I think it’s fair to say that if his ad revenue & ratings hadn’t tanked his contract would have been renewed instead.

    There’s talk of Back trying to pull an Oprah and have his own channel, but I don’t see that happening. It’s unclear if even Oprah can make that a profitable business model and Beck is no Oprah.

    This is from the NY Times:

    Glenn Beck will end his daily Fox News Channel program later this year.

    His departure was jointly announced in a statement on Wednesday by Fox and Mr. Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts.

    Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, which have clashed over the making of “Glenn Beck,” will “work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties,” the companies said in the statement.

    As expected, a senior Fox News executive, Joel Cheatwood, will join Mr. Beck at Mercury Radio Arts starting later this month.

    The joint statement did not specify an end date for Mr. Beck’s show, called “Glenn Beck,” which has been telecast at 5 p.m. on Fox News since early 2009. Asked if Fox News had a rough end date for “Glenn Beck,” a spokeswoman referred back to the statement. Mr. Beck’s contract with Fox ends in December.

    The statement was briefly posted on The Blaze, a Web site owned by Mr. Beck, but it was then taken down. Representatives for Fox and Mr. Beck did not immediately explain why.

    Mr. Beck is a hugely popular figure on Fox News, averaging 2.2 million viewers each weekday, though his ratings have fallen somewhat in the last year. He is beloved by his fans for speaking out against what he sees as threats from progressives. His opponents — and there are many — condemn him for his conspiratorial views and apocalyptic predictions.

    Almost immediately after Mr. Beck’s announcement, the progressive group Media Matters for America, which combats Fox on a daily basis, said it was “no surprise” that he was leaving, given that many advertisers had shunned Mr. Beck’s show ever since he labeled President Obama a racist in the summer of 2009. (Fox said that the advertisers simply moved over to other programs on the network.)

    Color of Change, the group that spearheaded an advertiser boycott of Mr. Beck, asserted that the program lost “over 300 advertisers.” James Rucker, the executive director of the group, said in a statement, “Fox News Channel clearly understands that Beck’s increasingly erratic behavior is a liability to their ratings and their bottom line, and we are glad to see them take this action.”

    Mr. Beck has been contemplating an exit from Fox for some time. Two of the post-Fox options he has considered, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web. His company has been staffing up — making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.

    Mr. Beck also hosts a syndicated radio show in the morning. He was estimated to earn about $32 million in total revenues in 2009, the first year that he worked at Fox.

    In the statement on Wednesday, Mr. Beck said he would be starting a “new phase” of a partnership with Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News. “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News,” he said.

    Mr. Ailes said in the statement, “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards. I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    No, what Fox is doing is getting the best of both worlds (from their perspective). Beck will still have a show, or shows to air his propaganda from (“producing a variety of television products”), but since he won’t be on a regular time slot, it will be impossible to for companies to boycott him. And so Fox gets its advertising dollars back.

  • Lori

    I don’t think Beck will be anywhere near the draw without a regular timeslot to play on viewer habits. His ratings have already taken a huge slide. This is is pure spin:

    Mr. Beck is a hugely popular figure on Fox News, averaging 2.2 million viewers each weekday, though his ratings have fallen somewhat in the last year.

    He started the year with a run of weeks where he was consistently below 2 million viewers and compared to last year he’s lost approximately 1/3 of his audience—that’s around a million viewers. That’s even worse than it sounds, because he managed to lose all those viewers during a year when he got a ton of free publicity and Tea Party ass-kissing with his 9/12 rally and Beck University and all that points and principles crap he was churning out.

    I think his days of being a ratings and ad revenue winner for Fox are over and both Beck & Fox are simply trying to put the best face on it.

  • Anonymous

    The Republicans/Teabaggers not only want to, to borrow from Thomas Jefferson’s famous phrase, pick our pockets and break our legs, they also want to make it so that we can’t afford to go to the hospital! I didn’t vote for this kind of crap, did you?! Let the recall campaigns begin, and let it start with Ryan and John Boehner!!!

  • Anonymous

    honestly – i’m terrified. i JUST, last week, after FOUR YEARS, got approval for SSI/SSDI because i can’t even SIT. i have medicaid, and without it, my meds are over $3,000 a MONTH and i will die without my meds…

  • Anonymous

    @ denelian: That’s… that’s just appalling to think of. I don’t know what to say. It’s horrific that you should even have to worry about that as a vague possibility, let alone have it raised as a serious threat. I really, really hope things work out for you. :(

    You know, we have had a recession over here in communist utopia (otherwise known as the UK) as well, and we’ve got a cut-happy conservative-led coalition in power, and the Economist is not known for being a bastion of socialist sensibilities. When the Economist calls your conservative economic plan fundamentally immoral, you know you’ve left the common ground of humanity. Even if it is a political game to push something less extreme but still cruel – I mean just what? how does that even?

  • Anonymous

    thank you.

    and i don’t know – what i DO know, is all the Republicans were voted in to fix the “economic problems” [that REPUBLICANS caused! it’s like people literally cannot REMEMBER that this started under Bush II, and that HE’S the one who did the huge bailouts of banks and etc…] are NOT trying to fix the economy – they are A) attacking women and B) trying to destroy what’s left of worker’s rights.

    which makes me even MORE terrified.

    i really REALLY want to move, preferably to somewhere in Scandanavia. but i can’t – i’m totally disabled, who’d take me?

  • PJ Evans

    It goes back farther than that. Reagan was the first president I remember pushing the ‘taxes are bad, deregulation is good’ idea, along with ‘trickle-down economics’. Those ideas didn’t work any better then than they do now.

  • Anonymous

    Re Hapax: I don’t think the sole reason the Democratic Party isn’t aggressively anti-conservative as some of the base wants is because the Democratic Party is also beholden to corporate money. Its also because, a lot of the Democratic base likes it when the Democratic Party compromises and negotiates more:

    See: http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/86237/must-democrats-act-such-wimps-actually-yes

    The Democratic wimpiness that liberals/progressives complain about is very popular among a lot of Democratic voters.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention that the current Medicare option that uses the same logic costs more than the original, basic option.
    In case you haven’t been paying attention, it’s not about the deficit, it’s not about money, it’s about gutting everything so that the corporatocracy can get richer while the rest of us are returned to the place where we owe our souls to the company.

  • Anonymous

    Mr Ryan thinks this is a good thing, because individuals who are responsible for paying for their own health insurance will be strongly motivated to seek better insurance at a lower price.

    Let’s not ever consider the consequences to a person on a fixed income of making them pay all of their income for health insurance as an incentive to try and find someone who will cover them for merely half of their income.

    And anyway, the private health insurance providers have shown themselves unwilling to cover everybody, or even come through when those people they have agreed to cover have medical costs.

  • hapax

    LeeEsq: Its also because, a lot of the Democratic base likes it when the Democratic Party compromises and negotiates more

    Yes, Lee. Having been a Democrat as long as you have, I am in fact aware of that.

    Unfortunately, the Republican leaders are aware of that, too. And they are also aware that THEIR base likes it when the Republican party threatens and sulks and remains intransigent. (They call it “standing firm.”)

    As a result, the Democratic Party is now in the position of “compromising” and “negotiating” with the Kitten-Burning Coalition.

    These are not “reasonable policy differences.” There is one party out there that is proposing policies that litterally call for letting the disabled and elderly die in the streets. Letting the hungry starve. Letting the innocent rot in prison or be killed. Probably arresting the naked for corrupting public morals is on the docket soon.

    And all for the sake of making the rich get richer.

    I honestly don’t care what the “Democratic base” likes. Because if compromise with THOSE position is what they like, then they are base indeed. And political leaders who don’t say so, loudly, clearly, and forcefully, are just holding the matches for the kitten burners.

  • PJ Evans

    hapax, I’m ticked off enough that when I get mailers from the DNC (or other allegedly Democratic groups), asking me for money, I return them with a note that they’ll get money from me when they’re actual Democrats again, and not Reagan Republicans.

    I’m looking for an honestly left/progressive/socialist party to join, because I’d really like to have a choice between ‘right of center’ and ‘falling off the cliff’.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I’m looking for an honestly left/progressive/socialist party to join, because I’d really like to have a choice between ‘right of center’ and ‘falling off the cliff’.

    You could take a look at the Greens; they don’t suck. Here in NY, the won enough votes to be on the ballot in the next round of elections, and to get public financing.

    (I’m a big fan of public financing of campaigns. I think it should be mandatory – no more fund raising, no more spending your own cash, all candidates start out even. Short of that, the Arizona system is not bad – the state government will kick in funds to match any private funds your opponent might bring to bear. Rich folks complain this limits their speech, to which I say, too bad, so sad.)

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    @Mike Timonin: No big argument here. The extent to which the Money has utterly distorted politics in this country is hard to comprehend.

  • Anonymous

    Probably arresting the naked for corrupting public morals is on the docket soon.
    What, there aren’t public indecency laws where you are? /snark

    I am equal parts outraged and exhausted with the political situation this year. This is only the latest; as hapax points out, there have been many such ridiculous proposals made, and while few have actually succeeded, thank goodness, all of them have pushed the discourse a little more toward cutting the poor to feed the rich; all of them have gone a little further toward authoritarian control over the Other. (Defined as anyone not a wealthy straight cis neuro-and physiotypical white male, and I’m sure I’m leaving off adjectives there.)

    At the moment, the exhaustion is winning, and I am mostly sticking to writing and thinking about happy things.

    Elect the unicorn-pony-giving party and you’ll have unicorn ponies. Elect MY party and everyone gets a free baby penguin. Those lollipop- and candy-sharing liberals are not nearly liberal enough. I propose housing and healthcare for all, work for those who want it and a magical supply of unicorn-based foodstuffs for everyone else, served on silver platters made from the bootstraps of the subjugated rich.

  • Anonymous

    I had a joke here generally involving a Motorhed song, but I realized it was incredibly tasteless (pun intended, but regretted) and moreover while probably not triggering would be squikifying so… yeah. Sign me up for the unicorn food products.

  • Bryan Feir

    Off-topic for this post, but the latest on-topic post was a while back now…

    The Rob Bell mess just hit the CBC website today, and the headline was on the front page: http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2011/04/06/pastor-rob-bell-love-wins.html

  • Andrew Galley

    Oh, no, he’s not going away, sadly. They’re looking for a new format.

  • Anonymous

    (C’mon, let me enjoy the moment!)

    *Snoopy dance!*

  • http://mistharm.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Kirby will help!

    (>-_-)>~~ (>O_O)><(O_O

    (Hopefully Disqus will accept my kirbies… we’ll see!)

  • Anonymous

    ^_^!

    Well, now that my joy is enjoyed, I can look at the announcement and wonder what fresh, yet stale, horror Beck is going to impose upon the world.

    You know, there’s a REASON why a lot of kids are scared of clowns.

  • Anonymous

    I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I am gobsmacked to find out that there are other Moxy Früvous fans here.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I am gobsmacked to find out that there are other Moxy Früvous fans here.

    I was a little surprised at the volume of response I got too.

  • Anonymous

    I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I am gobsmacked to find out that there are other Moxy Früvous fans here.

    ::guilty face:: Really all I know about them is what Pandora serves up on my TMBG channel, which tends to be King of Spain.

    I intend to look into getting some albums, but that list of CDs I intend to pick up is fairly large and it may take a while.

  • Anonymous

    Hah, that’s how I learned of them, so no worries.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be as surprised as I was, since many of their songs have a very…Slacktivist view to them. (“Big Fish” and “Greatest Man in America”, for example, are pretty strong critiques of American far-right-authoritarianism).

    I also like them for all the Canada references. I mean, it makes sense, they’re a Canadian band, but in “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors” every one they name is, IIRC, a Canadian, and that’s just not something I’m used to in music.

    They don’t make it into my top three (Great Big Sea, Barenaked Ladies, TMBG)*, but they’re definitely up there.

    *Huh, just realized that 2/3rds of my top 3 are likewise Canadian. Weird, since their being Canadian isn’t why I listen to ’em.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’m a little inclined to think that the Cookie Story, while good, misses a few key elements. Here’s how I’d tell it:

    A CEO, a Teapartier, and a Union worker are sitting at a table with 12 cookies in the center. The CEO eats 11 cookies, then leans over to the teapartier and says “If I had a cookie, I’d give you half. But I’m all out of cookies. There’s one left on the table, but I have to let the union man have it.” So the teapartier beats up the union man, and gives the CEO the last cookie. Then the CEO eats it and says “If I had a cookie, I’d give you half. But we’re all out of cookies. You should tighten your belt and be more frugal.”

    Alternatively, the tea partier could smash the last cookie, because if he can’t have it, he’ll be damned if anyone else gets it.

  • Anonymous

    The thing that chafes me about these proposals is that if someone is incapacitated, how the heck are they supposed to get insurance? If you have any form of dementia – let’s say diagnosed at 62 – and then you have to sign a new insurance contract at 65 (assuming the health care reform isn’t repealed), when things are probably worse, is that really wise? Or you don’t make enough to have insurance, but then you have a stroke? Does Ryan want to saddle people’s children and grandchildren with paying off a $250,000 heart attack?

    I hope that Ryan never has to get old.

  • Anonymous

    “I hope that Ryan never has to get old.”

    Screw that! I hope that, should his travesty of a budget ever become law, he lives long enough to see his own spawn (and grand-spawn) fully suffer it’s effects and curse his (and their) very name! If he’s so determined to ruin the lives of people who have no resources — and no recourse to change their circumstance — due to this legislative atrocity, then his kids and grandkids should have to suffer as well. I fully realize that my position may sound un-Christian and vindictive, but Ryan’s bill is just as un-Christian and vindictive; so I make absolutely no apologies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    Mr Ryan thinks this is a good thing, because individuals who are responsible for paying for their own health insurance will be strongly motivated to seek better insurance at a lower price.

    That’s nice. Where is the motivation for insurance companies to provide such a thing?

    Why does anyone think that giving out vouchers is going to cost the government less than simply providing the coverage itself?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752002772 Andrew Glasgow

    Because… invisible hand… market forces… consumer incentive… look a puppy! *runs away*

  • Lori

    Why does anyone think that giving out vouchers is going to cost the government less than simply providing the coverage itself?

    Ryan doesn’t think his bill will save money, he knows it will. It’s built into the plan. Over time the amount of the vouchers will decrease, thus the government will save money. Anyone who can’t afford to cover the difference between the voucher they receive and the actual cost of their private insurance will, of course, be screwed, but the government will save money so it’s all good.

  • Anonymous

    The only problem is that when those people have to stop working because of health conditions that they can’t afford to treat or prevent, they won’t be paying income taxes to the government. So the government would save money, but also lose revenue. But Republicans like to pretend that taxes serve no purpose other than to punish people, so they can’t admit that money coming in matters as much as money going out.

  • Lori

    Yeah. It’s not in Ryan’s best interests to call attention to the logical outcomes of his plan. If he does that people will see that this “serious” budget proposal is just another transfer of money from the poor to the rich. Can’t have that.

  • Magpie

    When the Australian government gave vouchers towards private health insurance, the premiums went up by the value of the vouchers.

  • Hawker40

    Amazingly enough, that seems to happen whenever the government passes out vouchers.
    School vouchers? Private schools raise thier rates by the value of the vouchers.
    Health? Insurance raises thier rates.
    It’s almost as if it’s a intentional transfer of government funds to private industries…

  • http://mistharm.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I forget who coined it, but I really like the term “Kleptocracy” for our current state of affairs.

  • Brad

    “However, I don’t think the blame can entirely be placed on the rich. Using the cookie analogy, the cookie-scarfing CEO is scum. However the Tea Partier who watches the CEO eat the 11 cookies and then starts beating on the union guy to get the 12th cookie is not a wholly innocent victim.”

    It could be that at some level the Tea Partier knows the rich guy is taking more than his share, but he figures the union guy is an easier target – less likely to sue.

  • Art

    As a reality check, Mr. Ryan could become a “mystery shopper”, armed with the statistically highest maladies and see just what the cost of those maladies are without any of the discounts, doctor samples, etc. That should provide a basis for where to start with his stupid vouchers. BTW the retail industry has a voucher system too- it’s called maintainence agreements. the best news on those things are that a grossly large percentage of the population never exercises them. Bottom line profit AND unspent resources all at once.But wait- we are not lawn mowers, we are people, citizens, members of the commonwealth.

  • Michael Cule

    [COMMANDER_MONTCOMERY_SCOTT] A privatised, voucherised health system? How…quaint! [/COMMANDER_MONTGOMERY_SCOTT]

  • Syfr

    So I could make you all jealous by telling you that I have seen Moxy Fruvous in concert several times?

    -syfr (login is weird)

  • Bryan Feir

    @Syfr:
    Not I, because I have as well. Their concerts are where I first ran into Tory Cassis, too.

    @GDwarf:
    Well, ‘Big Fish’ was about Mike Harris, aka ‘Mike the Knife’… the man who left the provincial government billions of dollars in debt in part by ‘balancing the budget’ using the sales of government-owned buildings as income… and then not selling them. And then using the same buildings as potential income the next year. It took forensic audits after the next government came into power to discover just how bad it was.

    As far as their political leanings are concerned, it’s worth noting that one of their special guests at one of the concerts I was at was Dr. Henry Morgentaler. For those not familiar with him, he’s been one of the strongest campaigners for reproductive rights in Canada; R. v. Morgentaler is effectively Canada’s version of Roe v. Wade.

    Oh, and given you like Great Big Sea as well, it’s worth noting that one of the founding members of Moxy Früvous, Murray Foster, toured with Great Big Sea after Moxy Früvous broke up.

  • Anonymous

    another thing –

    Like Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare is something *WE* pay for, directly – it’s listed as a separate deduction, there’s a deduction for “Taxes:Federal”, “Taxes:State”, “Taxes:Local”, “Social Security”, and “Medicaid/Medicare”

    so it’s NOT a freaking “government funded” program – but the LIE is backed by the fact that, for DECADES, the goverment has been STEALING from those funds to pay for other things [mostly “defense” things]

    but someone who has a platform REALLY needs to start YELLING about it – how they’re not talking about cuts from things funded “by the government” but rather things “funded DIRECTLY BY THE PEOPLE”

  • Anonymous

    another thing –

    Like Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare is something *WE* pay for, directly – it’s listed as a separate deduction, there’s a deduction for “Taxes:Federal”, “Taxes:State”, “Taxes:Local”, “Social Security”, and “Medicaid/Medicare”

    so it’s NOT a freaking “government funded” program – but the LIE is backed by the fact that, for DECADES, the goverment has been STEALING from those funds to pay for other things [mostly “defense” things]

    but someone who has a platform REALLY needs to start YELLING about it – how they’re not talking about cuts from things funded “by the government” but rather things “funded DIRECTLY BY THE PEOPLE”

  • Freedom-Fighter

    >In other words, almost all Americans now have someone they know and love who would be adversely harmed by Republican policies. Yet people keep supporting them. Why?????

    Because they’ve seen years of government “solutions”, and they realize government is incapable of fixing all their problems.

  • PJ Evans

    Nothing is capable of fixing all their problems, but government is the best method we have of fixing problems that are bigger than one person, and most of us recognize that.

    It would, however, be nice if politicians would stop promising things they have no intention of delivering, as well as things they can’t deliver.


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