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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words


On a related note, the president's debt reduction commission is going to be an amusing exercise. Its first meeting will presumably occur a few weeks or months after health-care reform finally passes. But if the people around the table are honest, the main recommendation is still going to have to be "we should reform the health-care system." Congress will love that.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 15, 2010; 8:09 AM ET
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words. But apparently only one title.

Posted by: pj_camp | March 15, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse


yes very comical. "Don't cut my medicare, my government run healthcare".

The only difference is you had Republicans vote for Medicare. None will vote for this so you'll see Republicans at every instance that something goes wrong (rate hikes annually) blame the Dems and then you'll have Dems (similar to stimulus) say, "But wait a minute, it would've been MUCH MUCH WORSE if we didn't".

Same story, different topic.

As far as the election goes I don't see how it doesn't work out bad for Dems. You've got every Republican and conservative against it for the most part and the most liberal/progressive Dems against it as a sell-out (see Kucinich, Dennis as hypocrite #1).

Now the Dems had to do this to get barely over the 50.1% majority to get this through so I don't fault them for the process so long as they know the repercussions.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 15, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

At this point, I don't think it's a great outcome for the Democrats, either way, but it's certainly better for them if they pass it than if they don't. While the Republicans will be at fault for the failure of healthcare reform, the base--and many younger, possible over-optimistic voters--will be disappointed and drop-out of the process and punish the Democrats at the post office by default.

So, while I don't see how it doesn't turn out poorly for the Democrats, I think failing on this hurts them worse, and probably much worse in 2012 if it starts a string of failures.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that the deficit reduction committee either takes a pass of controlling healthcare costs, or tries to hide it behind a lot of talk about cutting other entitlements, particularly corporate welfare, cutting defense spending, trimming the bureaucracy and raising taxes. If HCR has passed, it will be politically tone-deaf to come out and say, "Well, the first thing we need to do is control these healthcare costs." Might as well hand the Republicans a bag of feathers and a bucket of tar.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 15, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

We know who is going to be around the table and they are not honest. We know what the recommendation will be unless Commissioner Andy Stern blocks it: price index initial Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age to 70. Not because Social Security actually faces any real gap or because it presents any threat to the deficit picture, those numbers don't stand up to actual examination on a year to year basis. It is just that "serious" people like Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson 'understand' that Social Security is 'unsustainable'.

No matter that the immediate cost of a 20 year fix to Social Security is less than $1.50 a week for the median $50k household or that really moderate levels of GDP growth going forward would make even that fix unnecessary, only deeply unserious DFHs with calculators will tell you anything different.

The whole 'entitlements crisis' has always been 1% driven by 'fiscal responsibility' and 99% by the need to piss on FDRs grave. Because once people get the idea that social solutions to social problems are possible, and that just maybe that in some cases Big Government is not the problem, then maybe we would actually start striving for something that could be labeled a New Deal or a Great Society. Can't have that, because as St. Beck told us in the Prosperity Gospel 'Social Justice' is just a code word for Satanism.

"But if the people around the table are honest, the main recommendation is still going to have to be --- Go into Iraq to rid Saddam of his know arsenal of WMD." You know just like the last time the serious people got together and kicked the DFHs to the curb. I call this the "Even Clinton knew" syndrome. And once again we are supposed to be relieved because Clinton's Chief of Staff Bowles and Budget Director Rivlin are on the panel. Sheesh.

Posted by: BruceWebb | March 15, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, this goes along the line of Republicans running the country into the ground from 2000-2008 and now blaming the Dems for the current situation while at the same time filibustering every fix and saying, "Look, they haven't fixed things!"

Posted by: zvelf | March 15, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So you're already on record admitting that what's being promised in 2010, will necessarily be curtailed in 2012 as the numbers catch up to the reality?

Why not just be open about that now, so seniors especially can decide if they prefer the system as it is, or whether we want to promise free ponies to all ... and then start culling from those currently receiving benefits whent the healthcare welfare rolls begin to swell with newly entitled Americans, and their recenly born offspring, conceived and paid for under the new healthcare plans. (And free breakfasts and lunches in every schoolroom!)

Posted by: Mary42 | March 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse


we've got your "big government isn't the problem" right here in NJ. Problem is that we have hundreds of municipalities where kickbacks and $200,000 salaries, 3 years built up sick pay taken at the end of someone's career are the norm and financial sanity the exception. Thankfully tomorrow Gov. Christie cleans house.

All the while unions are kicking and screaming. Maybe they ARE the problem.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 15, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

only difference is you had Republicans vote for Medicare.

Well party alignment was different in 1965. There was such a thing as a moderate to liberal NE republican. Both parties were more diverse, with the dixiecrats on the dem side and the Weiker/Rockefeller/Chafee brand of republicanism as a part of the party.

It you actually look at what is in HCR, it is a mostly moderate republican bill, very similar to what repubs proposed in 1993 and follows the contours of the Baker/Dole/Daschle (all screaming socialists, I know) plan. Things that are essential to this plan, the individual mandate (as opposed to an employer mandate) is a republican idea. Insurance exchanges (selling across state lines) are a republican idea. This is fully 1/2 of the substantive parts of the bill. Republicans of 1965 would jump at the chance to vote for this kind of bill. It is the hyperpartisan repiglicans of today, relentlessly opposing anything that Obama does (outside of escalating wars that repiglicans started) that keep this from being a bipartisan bill, not the dems who have bent over backwards to add republican ideas to their plan.

Posted by: srw3 | March 15, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse


its kind of comical that every time Dems offer this up as their liberal entitlement it gets more and more conservative. They'd better get it now or its vouchers for all in 2025!!

Actually I'm in favor of not only an individual but an employer mandate too. No reason businesses should get off the hook too. If we all are to benefit then we all need to pay.

And it doesn't matter what the facts are, its just how they're portrayed by both parties and who believes them.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 15, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@vb: And it doesn't matter what the facts are

As long as this is true, substantive debate is senseless. Isn't it the media's job to not only present both sides of the argument, but point out which side is actually objectively right (medicare is a single payer system, for example, the VA is a British style NHS system, and both function in a democracy without being secret socialist plots to destroy america). Otherwise, we might as well go to the Dem and GOP websites to get our information.

Posted by: srw3 | March 15, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse


i've long argued on here that the american public in general is stupid and for my money the throngs that watch Glenn Beck to the left and the far left of FDL and to a smaller extent Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow will never want to hear the truth. Just their distorted verision of it.

While I'll agree that medicare and the VA both function in a democracy I'd hope you'd understand that not all models of insurance are for profit motives with no concern for the consumer. How about MA? How about the large group marketplace where the employer is the payer basically?

If it works for the left it works for the right too.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 15, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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