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Poll: Dem attack on secret money is resonating

As promised, MSNBC's First Read gang releases its NBC/WSJ polling showing that voters do care about the secret cash funding attack ads, despite all the assertions you keep hearing to the contrary:

So how has the White House/Democratic campaign against the GOP-leaning outside groups that have been spending so much on TV ads this midterm cycle fared? Per our poll, 74% say it's a concern that outside groups have their own agenda and care only about electing or defeating candidates based on their own issues; 72% say it's a concern that these groups don't have to disclose who's contributing to them; 71% say it's a concern that the candidates who are helped by these groups could be beholden to their interests; and 68% say they're concerned these groups are funded by unions or large corporations.

First Read's Mark Murray adds this caveat: "Despite these concerns, our pollsters say that the White House/Dem campaign against these outside groups hasn't changed the overall dynamics of this election."

And yet he notes that it seems clear that the Dem campaign may have shifted underlying attitudes:

That said, there has been this shift in our poll: 45% of registered voters say Democrats in Congress are more concerned about the interests of average Americas, versus 41% who think they're more concerned about large corporations. That's a change from May when 52% thought congressional Dems were more concerned about large corporations and 35% said they were more concerned about average Americans. By comparison, 68% in our current poll say Republicans in Congress are more concerned about large corporations, which is essentially unchanged from May. And 53% say President Obama is more concerned about the interests of average Americans, versus 31% who think he's more concerned about large corporations.

Again: No one ever expected this attack line to produce an immediate and dramatic turnaround in Dem fortunes. And it very well may be that the above shifts in public attitudes aren't enough to substantially limit Dem losses in an environment where the economy trumps all.

But every little bit helps, and it's very clear that the Dem attacks on secret money are resonating to some degree. Large majorities say they're concerned about the secret cash and worry that candidates benefiting from the ads will be beholden to the special interests spending it. And larger numbers now say Dems are more interested in looking out for the interests of average Americans, while a big majority says Republicans are more concerned about corporations. Separately, as I noted yesterday, this campaign against the secret cash very likely helped fuel Dem fundraising.

Put it this way: If we can't cite the above polling as a clear sign that Dems are right to be pursuing this line, I'm not sure there's anything we could ever cite that people would accept as evidence supporting that notion.

By Greg Sargent  | October 21, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Campaign finance, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Next: Should Juan Williams have been fired?

Comments

Greg wrote:

"Put it this way: If we can't cite the above polling as a clear sign that Dems are right to be pursuing this line, I'm not sure there's anything we could ever cite that people would accept as evidence supporting that notion"

That's the most reasoned and well thought out line you have written this month!

As I wrote (in satire) yesterday, clearly this is an issue that affects the wallet of every single American, unlike health care, end of Bush tax cuts, Afghanistan, bailouts, mortgages forclosures etc. which only appeal to "special interests".

Greg, make sure you have the line ready I gave you earlier. "The foreign donor thing was working, but we just ran out of time before the election".

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

If Democrats win every race and exit polling showed this was the reason why, that would be evidence.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 21, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

If they link the "secret" funding to the outsourcing of jobs it has even more of an impact. That's the link to the economy right there for most Americans.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 21, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

clawrence, your argument seems to be that if a tactic doesn't produce an instant and dramatic and complete turnaround, there's no point in doing it at all.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 21, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I think the idea of the Chamber of Commerce having sessions with the Chinese on how to outsource American jobs should terrify every American and put into question who the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is loyal to. America as a country or the bottom line of companies that outsource.

I think most of us here know the answer but I don't think it's gotten through every Americans head that when members pay the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dues, those dues are expected to increase their bottom line. If that increase consists shipping manufacturing and customer service overseas for the owners of the U.S. companies to compete with foreign companies then that's what they are fighting for.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not represent the U.S. worker in the least bit and hopefully Americans will come to realize that sooner rather than later.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 21, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"If they link the "secret" funding to the outsourcing of jobs it has even more of an impact."

That should be the plan.

That and connecting outsourcing to the Middle Class. Something like:

"""What's the Republican Party's plan to create jobs for the Middle Class?

OUTSOURCING jobs overseas to the same companies who secretly fund attack ads on Democrats...

That's not a plan for the Middle Class, that's a plan for the GOP's corporate cronies."""

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't Mr. Sargent care about the secret cash funding Obama's attack ads in 2008? As I've pointed out, several times before, Obama's campaign did NOT disclose where "all" of his donations came from either.

Incomplete Disclosure $15,611,429

No Disclosure $25,289,671

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.php?cycle=2008&cid=n00009638

That's "tens of millions of dollars" right there. In fact, on top of the UNDISCLOSED amounts Obama's campaign actually spent, they ended up RETURNING $5,661,816 in campaign donations (some of those were from questionable or outright FOREIGN SOURCES). Lots of his donations were UNDER $200 which carry no disclosure requirements whatsoever.

You add it all up and it's more than $103 million from Obama -- compared to less than $1 million from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- using that same link I gave, above, you can see for yourself that up to $103,353,467 (27%) in donations to Obama were "Uncoded" so we may never find out how many of those were proper.

While we are at it, how about FULL DISCLOSURE from Ezra Klein as to journ-O-list too?

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Greg, it's one of thos polls that people always answer one way. It's like "Are you a Christian?" yes Do you attend church regularly?" yes BUT just don't stand outside churches with a counter on Sunday!

I'm already on notice that my health care premiums will rise 10-12% this year, AND since no action was taken before the end of the session, my taxes will go up, AND the real estate market problems directly affects the value of my house, AND the continuing effects of the bailout and stimulus affects the value of the dollar in my pocket, HOWEVER what is REALLY important to me is the idea that foreign money is funding campaign ads.

The whole idea is just ABSURD!

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

No, my point was that you are wrong about "I'm not sure there's anything we could ever cite that people would accept as evidence supporting that notion."

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 21, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

A week ago I asked how long a new issue takes to be reflected in the polls. My guess was two weeks.

The Dems started pushing this line of attack on October 5th, when Think Progress ran its first story on the Chamber using foreign funds. This poll was probably taken 2 or 3 days ago.

So, what can we take away from this?

1) Mark Halperin is a compulsively incorrect purveyor of right wing talking points.

2) It will take two weeks (usually) for an issue to percolate into the American consciousness.

3) There is a good chance that this issue will resonate more next week, as even more people start talking about it around the water cooler, than it does this week.

4) As the issue of where the money for these ads comes from becomes important to the American people expect these ads to have a higher probability of backfiring.

5) As the ads become the issue, expect more people to actually start caring about the veracity of the ads. It is one thing for billionaires and corporations to fund political ads, it is another thing altogether for billionaires and corporations to pay for and push lies.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 21, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

54465446:

You are the only competent Democrat on this whole board. I would not want to face you from the opposite campaign office.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

clawrence12:

The Democrats are nothing but HYPOCRITES! I'm fully expecting that they try to make "Change You Can Believe In" illegal for the 2012 election ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I am not posting as 54465446, clawrence12 OR Greg Sargent.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

54465446,

You should ask yourself WHY your premiums are going up, WHY taxes will go up, WHY the housing market sucks.

The answer is that the Republican Party -- along with their corporate buddies -- destroyed the economy over a span of years.

THAT is why the 'money in politics' issue is so critical. It is exemplary of the fact that the same people who destroyed the economy, giving you heartache, are now trying to buy elections so they can insert the same destructive policies all over again.

You are a smart person, obviously, so there is no legitimate reason for you not to be able to make that logical connection.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

If they link the "secret" funding to the outsourcing of jobs it has even more of an impact. That's the link to the economy right there for most Americans.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 21, 2010 10:26 AM
=======================

Exactly. The Republicans are running ad after ad here in Ohio attacking Democrats for the unemployment rate.

At the same time, their candidate for Governor, Rob Portman, helped send the jobs overseas while working for Bush.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 21, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Sean:

"Memo to White House: Calling voters stupid is not a winning strategy.

The economy and jobs are the No. 1 issue in every poll. Yet Mr. Obama of late has talked about immigration reform and weighed in (unprompted) on the Ground Zero mosque. He devoted Labor Day to an ineffective Mideast peace initiative. He demeans large blocs of voters and now is ending his midterm pitch with attacks on nonexistent foreign campaign contributions and weird assertions that "the Empire is striking back."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304741404575564383870852928.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Naturally people are concerned about "secret money". My concern is intensity. I'm assume intensity this was polled for and that may change the picture. For instance, 75% of respondents will say they are concerned about the environment. 3% of respondents will make environment their top decision priority when voting.

Posted by: Maezeppa | October 21, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Gotta run but let me say...

The right will try to convey a narrative that this direction of attack is not and will not work.

But it will work as it is true and as it constitutes a real threat to a functioning one man/one vote democracy.

Those on the left have to understand this as not merely a short-term strategy but as one of the most important long-term strategies they might utilize.

What we are seeing right now in the Koch story is the result of long-term strategizing on the part of the right begun in the early seventies. The mechanisms and institutions that are now in place began way back then. And we are not better off for the implementation of them.
http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/Republican-Propaganda1sep04.htm

Posted by: bernielatham | October 21, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Ron Johnson On Homeless Vets: This Election Isn't About Details [VIDEO]

The moderator pressed Johnson -- a government skeptic -- to explain exactly how the government should respond to the issue of homeless vets. "Are there specific things that you think need to happen within that galaxy of services, perhaps, that the VA has some responsibility for or other organizations that would help homeless veterans?"

Johnson responded, flummoxed.

"Specifically I can't really -- I haven't been there, I don't have all the details. One thing I will point out: I don't believe this election really is about details. It just isn't. I mean as I've gone through the state of Wisconsin I've viewed this pretty much as a job interview.... I'll have to get there. I'll have to start performing the job."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/10/ron-johnson-on-homeless-vets-this-election-isnt-about-details.php

Wow. Not about details... How dare the moderator ask a question about... um... SOMETHING.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Ethan wrote:

"You should ask yourself WHY your premiums are going up, WHY taxes will go up, WHY the housing market sucks."

I already know the answers. My health care is going up because there is a whole new class of people to be covered who were not there yesterday, namely adult children and those with pre-exiting condtions. I'm not saying it was BAD to cover them, but my party should have been HONEST that this was going to be the result.

My taxes will go up because Harry Reid chickened out and thought I would care more about foreign donors than how much of my own money I get to keep each week.

My house is worth less, because Reps and Dems are in the pay of those who passed atrocious legislation such as CFMA which almost guaranteed something like this would happen, although that is certainly more on the R side than the D side.

I'm not saying I won't vote Dem, what I'm saying is that we have missed what is important to the American voter, and can't simply say:

"No you don't care about that, what you REALLY care about it this!"

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey thunder, while I agree with the sentiment of your post, Portman is running for Senate here in Ohio. Kasich is the retarded assh0le running for Governor.

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 21, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Maezeppa:

Good point.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Were your health care premiums going down prior to 2009?

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 21, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

One other thing:

Lee Atwater and his protégé’s (like Karl Rove) like to attack their opponents where they are strong. Rove attacked John Kerry, for instance, on Kerry's military record. Strategically it makes sense for Dems to attack the GOP's money in a similar fashion. If you can turn your enemy’s assets into liabilities your path to victory becomes easier.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 21, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

54465446

I don't disagree with your points re the more important economic arguments we could be making to the American people. The reason for focusing this on the Chamber and the special interests in campaign finance IMO is because it is the Chamber et al representing the Banks and Wall Street firms, the Insurance Industry, the Oil Industry as well as the Pharmaceutical Industry that are causing all or most of the problems you alluded to. Well, the Chamber and Tim Geithner. :)

Posted by: lmsinca | October 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

(CNN) – Obama is busy trying to convince voters that Democratic incumbents deserve to keep their jobs, but a new poll out Thursday suggests a majority of Americans doesn’t think he deserves to keep his.

According to the survey from Gallup, only 39 percent of Americans say the president deserves to be re-elected while 54 percent think he should join the ill-fated ranks of one-term presidents (assuming that he is even legally President ; )

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/21/trending-more-than-half-thinks-obama-a-one-termer/#more-129982

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Hey thunder, while I agree with the sentiment of your post, Portman is running for Senate here in Ohio. Kasich is the retarded assh0le running for Governor.

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 21, 2010 10:56 AM
======================

Ahh, right you are.

Kasich has said that he was not a high-level decision maker at the now-bankrupt Lehman brothers: "Blaming me for Lehman Brothers is like blaming a car dealer in Zanesville for the collapse of General Motors."
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"No you don't care about that, what you REALLY care about it this!"

Nobody's saying that.

The Democratic Party is making the political argument that the same people who put us in this mess -- remember the Bush years? -- are now trying to buy seats in Congress. And if we LET THEM do that, then none of the problems in America will be solved.

54465446, let me ask you, and this is a serious question:

What's the point in worrying about the housing market or health care premiums if we elect Republicans who we know won't fix those problems?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

You've approached this issue as one of "disclosure". I get that and agree with you.

However there is another component, a by product of this issue if you will, that is largely being overlooked. It's not just that folks resent "secret" money, or "powerful" interests buying elections. I think folks are really getting upset over the amount of "outside" influence period.

By outside influence I'm not just referring to the gazillions of $$$ of special interest money, but also the outside pols like Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton and others who seem to be bigfooting local elections. This may have been more pronounced in the primaries, but I think folks in general are tired of people from outside their locale influencing THEIR elections. As a Floridian I don't want somebody in Ky. or any other state mucking around in MY election. Conversely I appreciate that Kentuckians probably don't really want me, a Floridian having much to say about the Paul/Conway race.

IMHO people resent the fact that huge $$$ from outside interests (disclosed or not) interfere with their ability to determine THEIR elected officials.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

John Kerry's military record was STRONG?! LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Sean:

(CNN) – Count Jon Stewart among the legion of frustrated supporters of President Obama.

Appearing on Fox News' The Bill O'Reilly show Wednesday, the liberal comedian said he thought Obama would do a better job when he voted for him in the 2008 presidential election.

"I think people feel a disappointment in that there was a sense that Jesus will walk on water and now you are looking at it like, 'Oh look at that, he's just treading water' … I thought he'd do a better job," said Stewart.


Stewart, who maintains he ultimately does not regret his vote for Obama, said he is "saddened" the president hasn't done more to change the structure of Washington.

"I thought we were in such a place [in 2008], much like the Tea Party feels now, that the country … needed a more drastic reconstruction – I have been saddened to see that someone who ran on the idea that you can't expect to get different results with the same people and the same system has kept in place so much of the same system and same people," he said.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/23/stewart-saddened-by-obama/?iref=obinsite

HE FEELS YOUR PAIN ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The GOP is within striking distance of the U.S. Senate too:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Ethan wrote:

"What's the point in worrying about the housing market or health care premiums if we elect Republicans who we know won't fix those problems"

Elections are seldom about the opposition, they are usually about the party in power. 2008 was more about Bush and the GOP than it was about Obama. Clinton would have won too.

The MAJOR concen of the American people was NOT health care it was the economy. The year and a half spent on healthcare was a total loss to the D's, when more important things could have been addressed. Furthermore, Pelosi and Reid are loathesome liars (not in the Dick Cheney class of course) and made so many transparent lies about the cost of health care. If you're going to lie, at least hide it well.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"CNN's chief election analyst, Bill Schneider, has written an interesting piece in which he compares Barack Obama to Michael Dukakis, saying both act like law professors and are out of touch with how many Americans feel. Populism has a long history in American politics, going back to William Jennings Bryan and even further back to Andrew Jackson, but right now the only people who seem to be connecting with the anger in the country are the tea party candidates. Schneider points out that although Clinton is a very smart man (he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University [ed. just like Christine O'Donnell, however, he did not graduate from there]), he never talked about that. His great strength was his ability to make people feel he understood their problems. According to Schneider the problem the Democrats have now is their complete inability to convince people that they are angry at the ways things are going in the country. Of course, that is hard to do when you are partly at fault. For example, people are furious at the banks for wrecking the economy and no bankers have even been fired, let alone put in jail."

Once the Dems have even lost Electoral-vote.com, you know it's over ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

This bears repeating:

I think the idea of the Chamber of Commerce having sessions with the Chinese on how to outsource American jobs should terrify every American and put into question who the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is loyal to. America as a country or the bottom line of companies that outsource.

I think most of us here know the answer but I don't think it's gotten through every Americans head that when members pay the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dues, those dues are expected to increase their bottom line. If that increase consists shipping manufacturing and customer service overseas for the owners of the U.S. companies to compete with foreign companies then that's what they are fighting for.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not represent the U.S. worker in the least bit and hopefully Americans will come to realize that sooner rather than later.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 21, 2010 10:32 AM

Posted by: suekzoo1 | October 21, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@54465446

Agree. Obama gambled (wrongly) that the stimulus plan would be enough to fix the economy and he could move on to health care. Obviously the bet didn't pay off, and Obama ends up looking like his priorities are not the same priorities as everyone else.

IMO, if Obama had focused solely (or even mainly) on unemployment and the economy, the democrats wouldn't be in this situation - people would have given him credit for at least trying and focusing on the right issues.

Posted by: sold2u | October 21, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I used to think maybe you love me,
now baby I'm sure
And I just can't wait till the day,
when you knock on my door
Now every time I go for the mail box, gotta hold myself down
Cuz I just can't wait till you write me, you're coming around!

I'M WALKING ON SUNSHINE (whoa ohhhhh)!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Ethan wrote:

"Ron Johnson On Homeless Vets: This Election Isn't About Details [VIDEO]

The moderator pressed Johnson -- a government skeptic -- to explain exactly how the government should respond to the issue of homeless vets. "Are there specific things that you think need to happen within that galaxy of services, perhaps, that the VA has some responsibility for or other organizations that would help homeless veterans?""

Here's the correct answer to that question.

JOHNSON: "How do we know right now what the problem with homeless veterans is based on? Is it 10% unemployment, or is it a medical issue? With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down we'll have a flood of able young men and women entering back into an economoy that doesn't have jobs for them. Won't that increase the possibilities of homelessness? That's why we need to tackle the ecnoomy as the number one issue.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The MAJOR concen of the American people was NOT health care it was the economy. The year and a half spent on healthcare was a total loss to the D's, when more important things could have been addressed.
...
Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 11:13 AM
==================

Really? Wouldn't the entire Republican Senate, with the aid of a couple of Conservadems, filibustered everything?

That's been the entirety of the Republican strategy for the past two years...prevent anything from being done to fix the mess they made, and then blame the Democrats for it.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 21, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

sold2u:

It doesn't "help" of course that the States' legal challenge to Obamacare was upheld, and that he got a stay on the DADT ban to appeal, right before the election too ; )

I'M WALKING ON SUNSHINE (whoa ohhhhh)!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

All, new Adam Serwer post on whether Juan Williams should have been fired:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/should_juan_williams_have_been.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 21, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Christina Romer and David Bernstein are to blame for this in some part. They should have said in the beginning the sky is falling we're going to possibly have 12% unemployment and no GDP growth. Thne by now Obama could be saying see we beat even our own forecast for recovery. Always play down the numbers and then suprise on the upside. If anybody in this administration had business experience, they would have known how to do that.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

ifthethunderdontgetya:

Don't worry, the Conservadems are on the way out too.

I'M WALKING ON SUNSHINE (whoa ohhhhh)!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Juan Williams has have been fired.

And don't it feel good?!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

in response to this:
===========
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not represent the U.S. worker in the least bit and hopefully Americans will come to realize that sooner rather than later.

==================

No, I don't imagine that the Chamber does represent employees. Rather it represents employers.

it is important to understand that businesses focus on profit. Yes they must balance a variety of competing dynamics but the bottom line is their bottom line.

If a business can obtain a profitability edge by buying consumer goods manufactured elsewhere they will do so. trade barriers will not halt that process nor benefit Americans in the long run.

the challenge for the American workforce is this: we must maintain ourselves at the cutting edge. We must be more productive, easier to work with and ready to thrive in new industries or work environments.

Sadly we face a generation of employees who are at the trailing edge of the new industrial revolution. Twenty years ago in my part of the country men could obtain high wage jobs at factories without a high school diploma. Those jobs were always the most vulnerable and now they are gone.

It is just like the textile jobs from the turn of the 20th century. Or the mills that lead to the rise of the sabot revolt before that.

it is ever thus. We have to focus on having a highly educated, highly motivated, flexible and productive citizenry. Beating up on the CoC won't get us that. Beating up on the education complex will.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Show me someone that says they don't think about the plane blowing up when Muslims are on board and I'll show you a liar.

Posted by: twann9852 | October 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"The MAJOR concen of the American people was NOT health care it was the economy. The year and a half spent on healthcare was a total loss to the D's, when more important things could have been addressed."

See, I totally disagree.

Health care is THE #1 economic issue for the long-term health of the economy, much less the health and well-being of average Americans. Given that health care is the #1 long term economic issue and the fact that if they waited on HCR it never would have happened, it HAD to happen early.

With regard to fixing the economy, NOTHING the Democrats could have done -- short of spending at least an additional $2-5 TRILLION -- would have helped the economy more than what they did, which was save us from a Depression.

The amount of over-leveraged debt held by the big banks was on the order of $60 TRILLION. The housing market needed to find its floor. The Democrats addressed the credit crunch for the entire economy and when they needed to further assist small businesses in credit, they did. On all of these occasions they were blocked and stymied by the Republican Party.

So, I don't agree with your assertions in the slightest.

I think you are rightly concerned about the economy, but HCR was a necessity for fiscal health and the systemic risk that the GOP allowed build up in the economy was too much for the amount of spending that was politically feasible from the federal government.

If you think the government and the administration should have done more and spend more to bolster the economy, your blame lies SQUARELY, SQUARELY with the Republican Party.

The Democratic Party performed valiantly given the conditions, and are now being wrongly blamed for not fixing a whole series of interconnected systemic crises that effect the larger economy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Luckily for the Republicans this time around, Ethan2010 does not speak for the majority of the American people and therefore cannot "effect" this election.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

We have to focus on having a highly educated, highly motivated, flexible and productive citizenry. Beating up on the CoC won't get us that. Beating up on the education complex will.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 11:39 AM

And eliminating the Department of Education and, of course, cutting taxes.

"Still, it bears pointing out that Wall Street has figured out how to make money — megatons of it — in the midst of an economic disaster, and that the method does not involve job creation. Remember, too, that the Dow measures expected future value, and it is signaling that the future value of American corporations is skyrocketing at a time when 17.1 percent of eligible Americans are out of work or working reduced hours. The unemployed who are pinning their hopes to the GOP and its corporatist platform might want to ponder that for minute or two, and ask whether — to update the old saw — what’s good for Goldman is good for America."

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/recession-what-recession

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 21, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@54465446
"Christina Romer and David Bernstein are to blame for this in some part. They should have said in the beginning the sky is falling we're going to possibly have 12% unemployment and no GDP growth."

I think this is a very valid point. I posted yesterday that I am conflicted about this. I agree if Obama had been more forthright about the HISTORIC level of our economic DISASTER things would be going better right now. This recovery is actually stronger than the previous 2 recoveries but the hole is so deep it may take us until 2016 to climb out. Perhaps honesty is the best policy.

On the other hand Obama inherited a nation deeply shaken, dare I say near panic. Perhaps he made the calculation that stopping anymore panic was more important than the bleak unvarnished truth.

As I mention I'm truly conflicted about this...hindsight is usually 20/20 but I still can decide which course of action was proper...tell the truth..or stop the panic. Whichever I certainly don't disagree with your basic point.

Perhaps one niggling bit however...I don't think Romer was the real culprit here. She was simply being the good soldier and doing what she was told to do. In fact, or should I say reportedly...When Obama asked for 3 levels of stimulus Romer came out in favor of the highest amount because she is a student of the Great Depression...Larry Summers Dhead supreme...again "reportedly" refused to take Romer's recommendation to Obama and instead took a lower figure...again hindsight being 20/20 we realize that Romer was right and Summers was wrong.
Eventually Romer did the right thing and simply resigned. If it was a fair world Larry Summers would never again find gainful employment...he mucked up the Presidency of Harvard and he's only done worse as an economic advisor to Obama.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Eliminating the FEDERAL Department of Education and cutting taxes will finally allow local and State governments to innovate and, where successful, other school districts will pick and choose what works best. Ronald Reagan tried to do that, but was unable to because of bigger fish he fried (maybe Sarah Palin can finally succeed -- her dad could be the federal Education czar tasked with handing back our future generations' education back to the proper parties -- we just need to elect her and more REAL Republicans, not RINOs like Mike Castle ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If Christine O'Donnell had been President instead, she would have TOLD THE TRUTH.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@twann "Show me someone that says they don't think about the plane blowing up when Muslims are on board and I'll show you a liar."

OK call me a liar. I've boarded plenty of planes with Muslims..wives in headscarves...I've never batted an eye.

The goal of terrorists is to terrorize...why do we let them win? They don't frighten me. If they blow me up Que Sera Sera. Perhaps I'm a fatalist...maybe I have enough faith not to fear death...maybe I have enough faith in our resources to prevent all but the occasional terrorist success.

Again call me a liar but I simply refuse to let the terrorists terrorize me. They can bite me. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Liar (as you JUST admitted, even with 20/20 hindsight, you don't know whether to tell the truth or not ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Que Sera Sarah

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"They should have said in the beginning the sky is falling we're going to possibly have 12% unemployment and no GDP growth."

That's ridiculous.

First, they were making projections using the data they had, so it's not like they were intentionally trying to minimize the conditions on the ground.

Second, they obviously should NOT have said there was going to be 12% unemployment because it never got even close to that. They should have given a RANGE of 8-10% instead of forecasting a single number based on inordinately complex formulations. Being that far off on the up-side would now be a talking point that they don't get the economy and were pessimistic because they hate America or hate the free market or some bull___t like that. "It's an excuse for Socialism and government spending," is I'm sure the least of what we could have expected to hear from the radical right.

And to suggest that the political discussion about unemployment and jobs is a RATIONAL one based on FACTS is literally a laughable assertion at this point, given the relentless stream of absurd claims from the radical right.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Unemployment rate is actually OVER 10.1%

http://gretawire.blogs.foxnews.com/breaking-news-10-1-gallup/

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

As a general rule I ignore any writing that contains the word "corporatist".

that's just nonsense.

the fact is, you can't refute what I'm saying. The saboteurs tried to stop the inevitable and failed. The liberals are today's luddites. Try as you might you cannot stop the process. As long as people will demand more for less in finished products low skill jobs will go to where the wages are the lowest.

blaming the CoC won't change that any more than blaming the NWS will change the weather.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

What's more, not only did they make these predictions way back in JANUARY 2009, but they actually DID suggest in the same document that unemployment could go over 10%:

"Some private forecasters anticipate unemployment rates as high as 11% in the absence of action."

That was a footnote on their lower prediction...

They also noted the inherent difficulties of prognosticating on such a complex topic:

"as emphasized above, there is considerable uncertainty in our estimates: both the impact of the package on GDP and the relationship between higher GDP and job creation are hard to estimate precisely"

So they had their bases covered, but these uncertainties and statements of possibilities of higher unemployment just NEVER GOT REPORTED or weren't given any credence.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28:

What do you think about this? If one of bin Laden's wives snuck into the U.S. today and gave birth to Osama bin Ladin, Jr., would you want that son to be eligible to be President of the United States in 35 years?

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, I simply disagree.
The cost of healthcare was not a looming issue and now we are worse off than before thanks to the Democrats in congress and, of course, Obama.

the tangential issues that the Democrats could be resolved without the bizarre, bewildering array of new bureaux and new taxes that the Democrats have foisted on the American people.

there is a reason why Americans are angry at their government and Obamacare is a central issue. It solved a "problem" that most of us simply didn't have. It will cost a fortune and reduce quality for everyone.

American's expressed their displeasure and the Democrats passed it anyway. this arrogance comes at a price. The Democrats will make a downpayment on that payment in this election but I think the balance is still due.

there is much that the Democrats could have done about the faltering economy. It is just that liberals like you can only imagine one solution to every problem: throw other people's money at it.

A tax roll back, a regulatory moratorium, letting the weak players like GM and chrysler go all would have had a salubrious effect on the economy. I don't believe in "too big to fail" at all.

Essentially we paid the government to keep an eye on things and, once again, they failed us. An expensive, intrusive failure. No thanks.

if the banks were over leveraged, who was responsible for watching that? if the government collects taxes from us and spends our money on watchdog bureaux, where were they Ethan? Oh yeah, watching porn just like the MMS when the BP well went boom.

The government CREATED this mess. Why should Americans trust that even more government won't result in an even bigger mess?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

This is hogwash, once a person learns just little about this subject, the conclusion will quickly be drawn that Obama is a hypocrite.

What is worse, is that Obama just makes himself a run-of-the-mill guy, not the guy he claimed to be.

Obama is just trying to fool people who don't have all the information - just what he did in 2008. Obama is not a leader, he is a CLOWN.


.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 21, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, Obama claimed a REASON to pass his bill was to get the costs down.

However, the bill has RAISED costs, so the cost issue is actually an argument AGAINST Obama's health care bill.


The democrats FAILED to present different versions of health care to the American People - and FAILED to give the people what they wanted - a striped down, much less expensive bill.

.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 21, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

LeafofLife (Bryophyllum calycinum?):

I agree.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Skip,

Thank you for the questions.

However, I'm not responding to your comments, because they are irrational and disingenuous.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28:

See what you get for trying to be reasonable with these people?

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

In other "poll" news, Obama's approval rating hit a new low (his favorable rating and re-elect figures are also at new lows):

http://www.gallup.com/poll/143921/Obama-Approval-Rating-New-Low-Recent-Quarter.aspx

He has, officially, lost the gays too:

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/10/20/DOJ_Appeals_For_Immediate_Stay/

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

jake wrote:

"What do you think about this? If one of bin Laden's wives snuck into the U.S. today and gave birth to Osama bin Ladin, Jr., would you want that son to be eligible to be President of the United States in 35 years?"

Hey I thought we settled this birth thing between us a few days ago.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Ethan wrote:

"Health care is THE #1 economic issue for the long-term health of the economy, much less the health and well-being of average Americans. Given that health care is the #1 long term economic issue and the fact that if they waited on HCR it never would have happened, it HAD to happen early."

I don't agree, BUT if that was true, nothing in this bill changed the rising costs. There still is no right to negotiate prescription durg prices, no cap on medical malpractice awards, cuts in Medicare provider payments that will never take place, and coverage of adult children.

Again some of the the things in the bill are laudable but the numbers don't work at all. So if you do think that health care COST as opposed to health care itself is the number one issue, this bill just blew it all up.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

ethan wrote:

"Second, they obviously should NOT have said there was going to be 12% unemployment because it never got even close to that. They should have given a RANGE of 8-10% instead of forecasting a single number based on inordinately complex formulations. Being that far off on the up-side would now be a talking point that they don't get the economy and were pessimistic because they hate America or hate the free market or some bull___t like that. "It's an excuse for Socialism and government spending," is I'm sure the least of what we could have expected to hear from the radical right."

As opposed to the current favorable talking points about D's and the economy?

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"nothing in this bill changed the rising costs"

Not true at all.

Health care costs will go down in the long-term because of the bill.

Health care costs are still increasing NOW because, again, nothing short of the government investment of billions or trillions of dollars would prevent that.

HCR is inherently a long-term bill, which is why the deficit impact of the bill was segmented into forecasts over the next 10 years and the following 20 years... NOT the next 1 year or the next 2 years. In fact, as you know, many of the central provisions don't go into effect until 2014.

Politically, they had to get it done early. The longer they waited, the more likely it would have run into the current election season. If they waited until after the midterms they never could have gotten it done because of the realistic appraisal that voters would be upset at Democrats in the 2010 midterm cycle because they knew that there was no feasible way to solve such systemic, intractable problems in under 2 years. The ONLY time they could have gotten HCR done was early on, immediately after the stimulus, and that, thankfully, is exactly what they did.

"So if you do think that health care COST as opposed to health care itself is the number one issue, this bill just blew it all up."

What does that mean, "just blew it up"? Do you mean because premiums are still increasing?

Sorry, 54465446, but that shows a basic misunderstanding of the economics of HCR.

There was -NO WAY- to eliminate health care premium increases over our massive private health care system outside of injecting trillions of dollars into the system from the federal government. And even then, the money would have had to be borrowed from China or raised in taxpayer revenues by dramatically increasing taxes.

Again, eliminating premium increases was simply -NOT FEASIBLE- given the political and economic realities at hand.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh Ethan, I'm cut to the quick!! How sad I am that your opinion of me is what it is. Let me rethink my entire world view and get back to you. OK?

In other news, the liberal attempt to protect workers displaced by the march of time will fail, just as the saboteurs attempt to halt the new fangled looms failed in the 15th century. As a society we should act to help each other. Trade barriers won't get it done.

For example, the Bush steel tariffs hurt domestic manufacturers of things like RV's because the cost of their raw materials rose. So to protect steel workers we harmed auto workers elsewhere.

The answer is simple, but not easy. America needs to be famous for its resiliant workforce. This requires at least two things: self sufficiency and high quality skills.

Self sufficiency means that people understand that they must take care of themsleves. For example if the economy in Ohio tanks, we should be willing to relocate to Texas where the jobs are.

High quality skills means that we do work that cannot be easily replicated by low wage workers in the Kingdom of Burundi or Tierra Del Fuego.

Instead we try to offset the challenges we all face by throwing other people's money at the problem. It just won't work.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

rukidding wrote:

"Perhaps one niggling bit however...I don't think Romer was the real culprit here. She was simply being the good soldier and doing what she was told to do. In fact, or should I say reportedly...When Obama asked for 3 levels of stimulus Romer came out in favor of the highest amount because she is a student of the Great Depression...Larry Summers Dhead supreme...again "reportedly" refused to take Romer's recommendation to Obama and instead took a lower figure...again hindsight being 20/20 we realize that Romer was right and Summers was wrong."

I'm no fan of Summers for sure, but you are mistaken. The whole stimulus package does not exist in a vacuum. Some people think that we can just print money without it having a ripple effect on the economy.

Here's the possible/probably effects of a stimulus package 3 times the size of the one that happened:

-as our currency becomes more debased, oil which is priced worldwide in dollars, shoots over $100 a barrel minimum, along with many other commodity prices shooting up concurrently even faster than they are doing right now.

-ethanol, the world's greatest boondoggle becomes even more attractive at higher gas prices and the switch to a 15% ceiling, and takes even more land out of food production and into corn for ethanol production causing less grain for export and higher US food prices

-the dollar which is the world's reserve currency has more more nations trying to take away that status. This would negate our current huge advantage in borrowing costs raising the cost to finance the huge deficit you have created with the expanded stimulus package.

-China, finally gives up and starts to lower purchases of our Treasury securities, again causing yields to rise substantially to finance the debt.

These are a just a small amount of the side effects of what you contemplate.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

54465446:

Not as to a hypothetical Osama bin Ladin, Jr., who WOULD be a "natural born" citizen (assuming nothing else changed re: 14th Amendment) and eligible to be President of the United States in 35 years.

And, I thought that we simply agreed to disagree as to the current (purported) President?

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

jake:

As you wish then.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

ethan wrote:

"Health care costs will go down in the long-term because of the bill."

I'm willing to be convinced, how will they go down? Also:

"There was -NO WAY- to eliminate health care premium increases over our massive private health care system outside of injecting trillions of dollars into the system from the federal government."


You are abolutely correct, so why did the President, Reid and Pelosi all say other wise?

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, I know you won't answer this question but it bears asking all the same. What, specifically, in this bill will act to LOWER health care costs?

You provided liberal/Democrat talking points about the politics of the bills passage. Now your side must explain how it will do what you say it will in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

Didn't Obama actually admit that costs will rise? Why yes, he did!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"As opposed to the current favorable talking points about D's and the economy?"

You're the one highlighting the Republican Party's disingenuous arguments now.

But you've also spent the entire thread arguing, despite the facts which clearly indicate otherwise, that Democrats haven't addressed critical economic issues.

You need to figure out who you are going to believe:

a) the Republican "Just Say No" Party who rubber-stamped the Bush Agenda which caused the economic mess we are still in

or

b) the Democratic "Yes We Can" Party who have done everything possible to help the Middle Class despite a series of systemic economic crises and despite wholesale opposition from the radical right.

That's really what it comes down to.

We can argue specifics about HCR all day long...

But if you can't make up your mind based on the political reality of the day and the clear facts in front of us, then I don't know else I can tell you. I strongly encourage you to side with the positive agenda that the Democrats have engaged over the corporate welfare/deregulation agenda of the right.

Even if the economy is not where it needs to be now, it is vastly improved since 2008, and the only way to get it back to some semblance of prosperity is to continue to promote an agenda based on reforming our broken system and investing in private-sector growth industries that are good for the long term sustainability of the American economy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"I'm willing to be convinced, how will they go down?"

Numerous ways.

A few examples:

* Covering some 30 million uninsured removes them from seeking medical care in emergency rooms across the country. Paying insurance for these people is FAR more beneficial than the public having to pay costs associated with treatment of illnesses in an emergency room situation.

* Health and wellness programs encouraging people to live healthier lives reduces costs associated with treatment of preventable diseases and conditions and the long-term effects of those diseases

* New health insurance pools/markets will enable consumers to take advantage of increased competition.

Plenty of other ways the bill moves to limit premiums over the medium to long term...

"You are abolutely correct, so why did the President, Reid and Pelosi all say other wise?"

I actually should have said:

There was -NO WAY IN THE SHORT TERM- to eliminate health care premium increases

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

another yawner from Ethan.

I will agree with Ethan,though. The Democrats HAVE addressed the current economic mess. In keeping with Rahmbo Emanuel's dictum to never let a crisis go to waste they have cut a swath through America's economic strength and personal freedom.

they let a crook and a fool write the financial regulation bill. They relied on complete lies to pass a health care reform bill. They spent money like drunk sailors on leave to "stimulate" their poltical cronies.

so yeah, the "addressed" the issues. They just didn't, you know, solve the problems.

next, the republicans screwed up big time during the Bush years. That's why so many of the old liners got fired. Mike Castle is the poster boy for conservative anger against establishment Republicans. The division in the party is likely to get stronger in the near future as a new group of office holders who aren't career politicians yank the party back to the right.

The Republicans spent too much. The conservatives showed their displeasure at the ballot box in 04 and 06. The Democrats misunderstood the dynamic. They thought we were voting FOR Democrats. Actually we were voting AGAINST RINOs.

this time around we're making it clear to these folks. We're not voting FOR Republicans. We're voting AGAINST Democrats. We gave them a shot, they screwed up even worse that the Republicans did.

The passage of HCR has done damage to America. The price will be paid by the Democrats. This will be a protracted battle as many of us view the HCR legislation as a major assault on our freedom.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

In rsponse to this:
============
Covering some 30 million uninsured removes them from seeking medical care in emergency rooms across the country. Paying insurance for these people is FAR more beneficial than the public having to pay costs associated with treatment of illnesses in an emergency room situation.
=========
What studies can you cite to support this contention? What data exists to prove this? What proves that people rely exclusively on the ER for primary care if they are uninsured?

======================
Health and wellness programs encouraging people to live healthier lives reduces costs associated with treatment of preventable diseases and conditions and the long-term effects of those diseases
======================
Sadly for Ethan, there is significant data to the contrary. Preventative medicine certainly sounds good. It certainly sounds like it should save money. It just doesn't.

Here's my support Ethan:
"Our findings suggest that the broad generalizations made by many presidential candidates can be misleading. These statements convey the message that substantial resources can be saved through prevention. Although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not."

That's just, you know, that bastion of right wing tomfoolery, NEJM.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0708558

The unalterable fact is that we are all going to die. If we don't die because we've let our diabetes get out of control, then we'll die from something else. both deaths will come after spending a fair amount of money. That's just the way it is

Heritage does a good job of skewering the CW that the Democrats are throwing around. for those open minded enough to examine a different perspective, here's another addy:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/09/Obamacare-Increases-Health-Insurance-Premiums.

here's the addy:

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Emergency Rooms:

- Report: Uninsured Cost Families Extra $1K -

The report found that, in 2008, uninsured people received $116 billion in health care from hospitals, doctors and other providers. The uninsured paid 37 percent of that amount out of their own pockets, and government programs and charities covered another 26 percent.

That left about $43 billion unpaid, and that sum made its way into premiums charged by private insurance companies to businesses and individuals, the report said.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/05/28/health/main5045280.shtml

- Uninsured drive up hospital costs -

Hospitals have felt the pain of providing more and more uncompensated care, said Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association.

But the pain doesn’t stop there. Employers and individual consumers are feeling it in the wallet, too.

As providers are forced to cost-shift their losses from uninsured patients to commercially insured patients, private insurers have raised their monthly rates to customers, contributing to more employers and individuals being unable to afford private insurance, Becker said.

“The big problem we’ve seen is nobody wants to pay for health insurance,” he said. “It’s kind of a death spiral of, the more people dropped (from insurance), the higher the commercial rates go, the more people dropped.”

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2010/oct/05/uninsured-drive-hospital-costs/

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Wellness:

Employees also pay the price — with higher contributions to insurance, higher co-pays and deductibles, reduction or elimination of coverage, and trade-offs of insurance benefits against wage or salary increases.

“Research shows that companies can save anywhere from $3 to $15 for every $1 spent on health and wellness within 12 to 18 months of implementing a program,” said Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the paper. “Beyond cost savings and increased productivity, visionary employers are realizing the value of an employee’s total health. An effective worksite wellness program can attract exceptional employees, enhance morale and reduce organizational conflict.”

With more than 130 million Americans employed across the United States, prevention activities have the potential to reach a large audience.

http://www.newsroom.heart.org/index.php?s=43&item=832

The impact of employee wellness programs can be significant. A recent report in the American Journal of Health Promotion found wellness programs reduced health care costs for companies by about 26 percent, and cut sick leave by an average of 28 percent. Employers have undergone an awakening about workplace wellness programs over the past decade, and especially in the last four to five years.

"They have made the strong link between having a healthier workforce and both having better productivity and less absenteeism, which strongly contribute to the bottom line," says Donna Marshall, Executive Director of the Colorado Business Group on Health.

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kunc/news.newsmain/article/1/0/1714892/Regional/Using.Workplace.Wellness.Programs.to.Help.Reduce.Healthcare.Costs

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

so ethan, what you are now saying is that by forcing everyone to buy health insurance we're now paying for something we were already paying for.

I see. I'm sure that makes sense to you.

Interesting how the Families USA outfit has a "Wellstone Fellowship". Kinda makes me wonder just what kind of bias the group has. What do you think?

the second story to which you link provides no support for your contention that the uninsured are using the ER as a source of primary care. Your contention is that because the uninsured rely on an expensive source of primary care, forcing everyone in America to buy health insurance will allow these people to go to the doctor's office instead of the ER and we'll save beaucoup.

sorry, don't see proof of THAT contention in either story. You claim we will save the difference between the cost of care in the ER and the cost of care in an office. I just don't see it in either study.

I completely agree that the health care system treats people without insurance. That is because most of them are organized as non profit charitable organizations. We already pay for the cost of treating the uninsured. It is what communities do, without intervention from the DC know it alls.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Skip,

I appreciate the NEJM article.

All it says is that we have to be smart about which wellness programs we emphasize and which illnesses are best treated when they become existing conditions.

The accompanying chart highlights a few wellness programs -- in this case, the ones that address smoking prevention and diabetes screening -- which do, in fact, save money while improving quality of life:

http://www.nejm.org/action/showImage?doi=10.1056%2FNEJMp0708558&iid=t01

You can surely argue that "we're all going to die someday," and you're correct obviously. But being healthy in your productive adult years, versus being ill, effects your insurance premium prices, your employer's bottom line, and your quality of life. So, yes, you can be a lazy slob and 3-pack a day smoker if you want, but it will cost you in the end both in monetary terms and, for the typical person, in terms of your general happiness.

As with other issues, Skip -- such as seat belts and efficient light bulbs -- your never-ending quest for total freedom from government regulation winds up costing you more money while not contributing anything to your life other than perhaps a Pyrrhic victory. I would wager that MOST people, when given that choice, prefer keeping more of their money while improving their quality of life.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Ethan wrote:

"Covering some 30 million uninsured removes them from seeking medical care in emergency rooms across the country. Paying insurance for these people is FAR more beneficial than the public having to pay costs associated with treatment of illnesses in an emergency room situation."

I am with you in theory, but in my particular area more than half of those using the emergency room for primary care are illegal aliens. We may presume this will vary geographically, but as you can see that will cut substantially into your savings.

I am skeptical about the health and wellness aspect but that is personal observation on my part, not quantifiable data.

I also believe that more people insured means more cost to the system, more tests, more stays in the hospital etc., because people always consume more of things that are free or subsidized cost than things that come out of pocket.

The exchanges don't begin for five years I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, so we will get slammed with increases for a significant time, first.

Thanks for the reply, we can disagree, without shouting.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks for the reply, we can disagree, without shouting."

Most welcome. I hear your points. Frankly, to me, they are all more reasons why we can't wait to fix our system. The fact is we need holistic solutions -- not holistic medicine, mind you, but solutions that address problems replete throughout the entire system.

Covering the uninsured is one. Wellness is a second. Exchanges. But also high-risk pools, health care IT, addressing pre-existing conditions, addressing waste and repetition, addressing the for-profit activities of several insurance companies...

It is an inordinately complex system with huge problems, many difficult to solve. But, again, those are reasons why we need fixes NOW. Even if not every solution completely solves its respective problem, the reforms will continually be tweaked as the political environment allows.

Nobody is fully satisfied. Not you, not Skip, not me. We just have to keep pushing Congress to address issues we ALL face in our daily lives.

But, again, the alternative -- doing nothing -- was simply not an option... And that is essentially what the Republican Party's plan amounted to, few or no changes to the status quo.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

But don't you think when you sell a new health care system by lying about the costs, you damage the ability to make any more necessary changes in the future?

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see you guys having a rational discussion about HCR. Even though I am a progressive and admire Obama personally I think he has planted the seeds of his own destruction...simply because nobody stood up to address the real problems.
1.)Tort reform I start with a favorite of the right...5546 or skip can enlighten me with links if they have them but everything I've read said this represents 1% on low side with a max of 3% on the high side estimates. Not huge savings but every little bit helps so go for it.

2.)Procedure driven medicine-my brother in law the cardiologist got so disgusted with new Indian docs who always went for a cardiac cath instead of stress tests for their patients because as Willie Sutton explained the reason for robbing banks...that's where the money is...that he had to leave his group and start a new practice a great personal financial sacrifice. Another example..a Urology group on the border of Ill/Iowa suddenly saw the number of MRI's they ordered QUADRUPLE in just a couple of months time. The only difference..same number of docs and patients..the group had purchased their own MRI system. Add in duplication of very expensive technology because of "free enterprise" competition amongst hospitals and we end up with underutilized EXPENSIVE stuff. A Canadian Doc who had come to America to practice staying for several years before returning in disgust...pointed out that yes Orlando had suite after suite of incredible equipment, but he got tired of spending his days arguing with insurance companies over procedures..he returned to Canada and happiness because of streamlined paperwork.

3. And the toughest nut of all to crack..."pulling the plug on granny" How can a society keep a brain dead woman like Terry Sciavo alive for years with ZERO quality of life when other healthy people die of lack of diagnosis of curable illnesses because they have no health insurance. In addition we spend an appalling amount of our resources at the very end of life.

http://www.thirteen.org/bid/sb-howmuch.html

40 percent of Medicare dollars cover care for people in the last month.

10 percent of Medicare beneficiaries account for 70 percent of program spending.

We need to encourage more hospice and less I.C.U. We need to learn to die gracefully so that others might enjoy a longer quality of life.

The wealthiest 2% are ALWAYS going to spend whatever to get whatever..fine..I am talking about the majority of Americans here...the other 98%

We can do better, we should do better..and even though I like Obama he fumbled HCR..BECAUSE HE let the R's hijack the debate and turn it into absurdies like "death panels" and socialism.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 21, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, both sources you cite for prevention are invested in prevention. Of course they are going to say that prevention works.

The NEJM article points out that prevention won't work long run.

Here's a quote from health Affairs. The article was cited in the Heritage study I mentioned earlier:
"Over the four decades since cost-effectiveness analysis was first applied to health and medicine, hundreds of studies have shown that prevention usually adds to medical costs instead of reducing them. Medications for hypertension and elevated cholesterol, diet and exercise to prevent diabetes, and screening and early treatment for cancer all add more to medical costs than they save. Careful choices about frequency, groups to target, and component costs can increase the likelihood that interventions will be highly cost-effective or even cost-saving"

The full text requires a subscription, but the gist is the same. Prevention won't in and of itself save anything, in fact it will cost more.

I stand by my original thesis: we spend 80% of our health care dollars in the last 20% of our lives. Spending to keep a diabetic under control won't result in immortality. so diabetes may not kill, but something else will. And that something else will be expensive.

As for cost shifting let me make one additional point. It is noted that those without insurance are treated and that the resultant cost is borne by the community. The community also bears the cost of treating patients whose government funded program doesn't cover the actual expense of the treatment required.

Obamacare will herd millions onto Medicaid. Medicaid is notorious for not covering all the costs of the care it mandates. Now what Ethan?

and you're missing my position. I don't say that we should have zero regulation. I say that the government should strive to strike a balance between personal freedom and intense regulation. Will the liberals mandate that all diabetics get routine tests at their own expense because diabetes costs the society so much? Where does it end?

Whenever the government compels us to do something or prevents us from doing as we wish we surrender freedom. I believe that we should insure that there is a darned good reason for such compulsion. Don't you remember the bumper sticker "Question Authority"? I certainly do.

Here's the addy to the heritage study. I neglected to include it in my earlier comment:http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/09/Obamacare-Increases-Health-Insurance-Premiums

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 21, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@54465446

"But don't you think when you sell a new health care system by lying about the costs, you damage the ability to make any more necessary changes in the future"

Directed at Ethan but may I offer MHO.

I am in absolute agreement. Just as we had our discussion about whether Obama should have been frank about the economy, like you 5446 I feel he should have been just as frank about HCR.

He should have pointed out our country ALREADY has socialized medicine...the V.A.
He could have added the stats that show the V.A. is currently the most successful system in our country while being honest enough to point out how it s*c ked in the 70's because Congress didn't fund it properly.

He could have pointed out we already have "Canadian style" single payer..it's called Medicare

And then he could have pointed out how our private system is actually giving us less bang for the buck and is doomed.

My solution would have been to go for a "Medicare for all". It would have eliminated the talk of "mandates" because we are already "mandated" to pay FICA. It would have protected private insurers because every Medicare recipient I know also has to purchase supplemental "private" insurance..admittedly I have no poor friends I suspect Medicaid picks up the difference there.

It would have streamlined the system reducing cost...it would have created the "opportunity for "rational" rationing...it would have focused the arguments...providers could lobby for their reimbursement rates, Gov't would argue over what % to cover and how much to leave to the private sector, and it would have achieved a major moral goal...universal coverage.

Obamacare is a hopelessly convoluted "group" of programs that the private insurers will fudge anyway. Here in Florida less than 5% of the people eligible under the "prexisting" condition clause have even bothered to apply...yes the insurance companies have to provide it..but the folks still can't afford it.

Again my wife and I HAVE to work three more years than we planned before retirement SIMPLY because of health care costs. No prexisting condition other than being 62 a horrible actuarial position. $23,000 annual premiums..$4,000 deductibles across the board...and God only knows how badly we'll get wacked next year. If Joe LIEberman hadn't killed the early 55 Medicare buy in my wife and I could have retired. Karma can be a b*t ch and if LIEberman died a slow painful death of colo-rectal cancer I can't say I'd feel any pity for him...I HATE that I feel this way but these sc*mbags have messed with my life over their own political aspirations and hunger for power.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 21, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"But don't you think when you sell a new health care system by lying about the costs, you damage the ability to make any more necessary changes in the future?"

Yes, obviously. But that's not what happened here.

See the CBO's explanation of the updated cost totals:

Table 1 differs from CBO’s table of specified authorizations provided on
March 13, 2010, in the following ways:

1) Certain provisions that extend (existing) authorizations with a specified level have been added. (In the previous version of that table, only new authorizations were included.) Also, provisions that provide mandatory grants for 2010 but authorize future spending of such sums as necessary (subject to appropriation) have been included. Those provisions are noted in the updated table.

2) Table 1 includes an estimate of the cost of section 10221 of PPACA, which incorporates the provisions of S. 1790, the Indian Health Care Improvement
Reauthorization and Extension Act by reference. (CBO had not completed an
estimate of the Indian health provisions for the March 13 version of the authorization table.) Those provisions authorize the appropriation of such sums as
are necessary for the Indian Health Service (IHS) for carrying out responsibilities broadly similar to those in law prior to enactment of PPACA. As a result, the amounts included in Table 1 reflect recent appropriations for those IHS programs, with adjustments for anticipated inflation in later years.

3) Table 1 also includes a few corrections to the table provided on March 13. For
example, section 5207, which authorizes funding for the National Health Service
Corps, was inadvertently left off the March 13 table but is included in Table 1.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/114xx/doc11490/LewisLtr_HR3590.pdf

So yeah.

Democrats were clearly not "lying about the costs," as much as they were relying on a preliminary estimate which was lower due to the aforementioned reasons.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

54465446:

On top of all the lies about lower costs, don't forget that the Dems had to break into the student loan "lock box" in order to even pretend to be paying for Obamacare.

Are Democrats Suffering from "Roverload"?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_newsroom/20101021/el_yblog_newsroom/the-fast-fix-is-attacking-karl-rove-good-political-strategy/

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

None of the proposed Medicare provider payments cuts will ever happen. They have been waived every year since the legislation that authroized them. If they actually did go through thousands of doctors would stop taking Medicare patients. Including them in healthcare savings estimates was a lie.


"My proposal would bring down the cost of health care for millions—families, businesses and the federal government"

"The costs to families for the same coverage they have now will go down 14%"


Both of those quotes are from the President. the ones from Pelosi and Reid are far worse.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

54465446:

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 21, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

I don't mean to gang up on you. It's just that my central premise is that the Obama administration made serious tactical errors about how they went about things and where they subsituted their judgement of what was important for what concerned the American people most.

The vast majority of Americans were covered by healthcare already. In any system, business included, the closer you try to get to 100% the greater the difficulty and the greater the cost.

I will always maintain that had he gone after the financial legislation first, he would have had more people on his side and he would have built his power base, not diminished it.

Water under the bridge, and the price will be paid in November.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@54465446 Sorry you were insulted by Joke.

I know how depressing it can be to get encouragement from a loon. :-)

I love Ethan and consider him to be a highly motivated caring individual. I wish I could believe his arguments because I also like and admire Obama. However I'm afraid you are closer to the truth and that is truly sad for me.

In addition as I mentioned the wife and I face the real possibility of draconian cuts in our lifestyle because IMHO the Insurance companies are going to gouge like crazy before the provisions of HCR ever kick in...

One of the perverse perhaps unintended consequences of Obamacare...by putting off major provisions for a couple of years all we boomers who have reached our early 60's are getting ready to take it right up the ole......and they haven't even provided the KY jelly. I'm certainly not expecting any 14% drop in premiums..in fact at this point I literally will be happy if our premiums only go UP 14% this March!!!
We'll be looking at $26,600 a year and $5,000 deductibles across the board. It's really starting to get insane.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 21, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

54465446,

I'm not doubting that the administration made some tactical errors. Clearly, giving the Senate Finance Committee so much time to work on bipartisan approach was a colossal error.

But it sounds like you have some more ideologically-based reasons for opposing HCR.

Me, I'd rather pay a little more of my income in taxes if I am lucky enough to be in the Middle Class -- which I am -- just so that all Americans have access to affordable high-quality care. My extra payment makes America, as a whole, a better place. That is MY ideology and I will stick to it no matter what.

"My proposal would bring down the cost of health care for millions—families, businesses and the federal government"

That is 100% accurate.

"The costs to families for the same coverage they have now will go down 14%"

There is some truth to that. It's not a "lie" by any means. Costs may not go down for everyone because for some their health coverage will be more substantial. For some who grandfather in their old plans there may not be reduction. So, really, it's a pretty small population who won't see either reduced costs or greatly improved services. In other words, DEFINITELY not a "lie."

http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/feb/25/barack-obama/obama-says-under-democratic-health-plan-family-ins/

"I will always maintain that had he gone after the financial legislation first, he would have had more people on his side and he would have built his power base, not diminished it."

In a perfect world, I totally agree, and I wanted FinReg to be even stronger, but the only caveat is that the political realities around HCR were such that they NEEDED to do HCR first if it was going to get done. Financial reform is great, but has not really had any impact on the economy yet, it is more suited to establishing rules that prevent systemic risk while watching consumers' backs.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan....I hope you realize that I HOPE you are correct...alas I'm afraid for the future.

IMHO I think Obama simply went for far too much...not in HCR but in his obsession with bi-partisanship. I could stand it in the beginning but after the infamous Demented email about "Obama's Waterloo"...B.O. should have realized what was going to happen. They made it clear they were going to obstruct for the purpose of winning the midterms just as they did under Clinton. Ahhh well it's all water under the bridge now. The progressive ideas ALWAYS win out in the end and so I view this as just a temporary setback. Sooner or later the only workable solution will be some form of Medicare for all/single payer supplemented by private insurance for those who can afford it.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 21, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks RUK, I hope I'm right too! I'm am optimist, no doubt, but I like to think that I'm a pretty informed optimist. :)

On the whole, I'm not afraid of anything politically, and I think that while there were obviously some fumbles in crafting HCR and that policy-wise HCR could have been much stronger (public option, drug re-importation being the two main ideas I would've liked seeing in the bill), I think it is still an historic, game-changing bill that is a major accomplishment and will be viewed as such by historians.

Hopefully more responsibility for governing the country will force the GOP to work with the Dems for at least a modicum of progress. It could really work out to our advantage in 2012 and beyond.

The only problem is that the Republican Tea Party corporate elite have some REALLLLLY deep pockets, so we can guarantee that they will do everything to subvert the democratic and legislative processes. We -- Democrats -- have to be focused on moving the country forward and we have to stick together, no matter what!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Ethan I read the politifacts article. In my opinion, it's reasoning is completely without fiscal merit. That's not your problem, or mine. Everyone in the FEHB for instance will see 10-15% premiums rise this year, and no increase in coverage at all. Now there are increased PEOPLE covered, but no increased coverage as in benefits. I think the writer was confusing the two or more accurately using the latter to cover the former, so that Obama's statement would be at least partially true.

I think this will hold true for the majority of the market. Some people, not a majority, will have an enormous increase in benefits. However many companies that had insurance offering more than the mandatory miniumums, will now probably drop that down to the minimums to save money.

I know you disagree, and that's ok. I'm glad we don't have to act as if this is LIFE OR DEATH. lol

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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