by Carl, 11/30/2012, 7:57 AM

- 6,000 speeders can’t be wrong.

- Your birthright is being one person ahead in this line.

- I wouldn’t have guessed the West Seattle Tool Library would be a hit, but clearly it’s doing something right.

- The Onion has the best explanation of our anti-tax moment yet.

- Glenn Beck does something ridiculous; day follows night.

- I’ve linked to the Seattle City Hall weddings for gay couples on the first day it’s available. but here’s some more information.

- It’s better not seeing what’s coming.

- Clearly the Tacoma Druggists is the greatest name for a baseball team ever.

71 Responses to “Open Thread 11/30”

1. rhp6033 spews:

Republicans in the House rejected outright the President’s proposal to keep the Bush tax cuts on 98% of Americans, with the remaining top 2% to be subject to future negotiations. To them, if the top 2% don’t get big tax breaks, nothing else matters.

House Speaker Boener responded to the White House proposals by saying he is “dissapointed” at the lack of progress on the “serious issues” of “entitlements”. In other words, he’s dissapointed the President isn’t falling into their trap of having him suggest the specific cuts so they can use it against Democrats in future campaigns.

Which led me to the following:

Why Does that Man Cry?

2. rhp6033 spews:

Once you’ve contributed to the Social Security Retirement Fund, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance for most of your working life, the Republicans call the benefits you’ve already paid for “entitlements”, say that “we” can’t afford to pay for them, and imply that those who earned the benefits over a lifetime of work are lazy and aren’t really entitled to them.

Reminds me of a number of insurance adjusters I’ve had to deal with on occassion. They are more than happy to receive your insurance premiums, but balk at the idea of ever paying out any benefits, however justified.

3. MikeBoyScout spews:

Interesting times politically.
Having repeatedly bet it all and doubled down again and again while using its appeal to its batshit crazy and frequently bigoted base to augment its political capital, the national Republican party and its Congress critters are in a very tight corner.

Currently the best deal they’ve got with the Austerity Bomb they set is to accept the President’s proposal and surrender. If they don’t the Republicans are on the hook for needlessly raising the taxes on the voting public and risk having the economy go into recession.

They have no cards and you can see this when they talk about the need to cut spending while neither presenting a proposal to do so, nor seeming to understand that the Austerity Bomb will cut spending far better than they can.

To me, the funniest thing about all of this is that the constituency which stands to lose the most is their own. It’s not the northeast or the mid-west or our lovely deep blue west coast that will get hammered by the Austerity Bomb, it is the dark red southeast.

4. MikeBoyScout spews:

More facts about the above
More House Republicans see Obama tax hikes as part of “cliff” deal

Another senior Republican lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that a Democratic bill, which passed the Senate in July and would raise income taxes on families with net incomes above $250,000, could pass his chamber if it got to the floor.

What’s an orange Speaker to do?

5. MikeBoyScout spews:

Lee bait

Poll: Nearly half support legalization of marijuana

For the first time since CBS News began asking the question, as many Americans now think marijuana use should be legal as think it should not.

Hope & Change baby! And WA led the way! :-)

6. Politically Incorrect spews:

rhp6033,

Social Security and Medicare represent two of the most mismanaged government programs around. Take Social Security, for instance. FDR said that Social Security would never be in the hands of any “damn politician” and would belong to the participants, but while the words were leaving his mouth, his government was in front of the SCOTUS arguing that the FICA taxes were indeed taxes and owned by the government. In other words, the government doesn’t have to pay you the Social Security money if it doesn’t want to. Now, the reality is that old people would storm the capitol looking for politicians’ blood if the government said they weren’t gonna pay the monthly check, so they send out the checks. The problem is that the returns on Social Security are too low and the actuarial assumptions used are out-of-date big time! I suggest that, if the government wants to borrow from the SS Trust Fund, it should pay an APY of 10% or the 30-year treasury bond plus 3%, whichever is higher. That would boost the return and be fair. After all, if the government wants to borrow our retirement funds, shouldn’t they pay a nice rate of return for that privilege?

As for the actuarial assumptions, there’s no way to avoid raising the age for receiving retirement benefits. I suggest we gradually phase-in 75 as the age of receiving full retirement bennies with age 72 available for a reduced benefit package.

Making these adjustments would make Social Security rock-solid forever and would truly keep the politicians’ hands out of the cookie jar.

Medicare is in even worse shape than SS. The problem is that, the idiot LBJ, when Medicare was established, told the administrators to pay docs whatever they asked for. Well, it didn’t take too long for the health care folks to realize Medicare was a cash cow for them and it was “hogs to the trough” for the docs and others in the medical fields. Reimbursements to providers skyrocketed, and the system is now in failure mode.

To fix this mess, we need three or four times and many docs to stimulate competition. (Have you ever heard of a cardiac surgeon running a special on heart bypass procedures?) There’s no competition among docs, that’s for sure! More docs means more price competition for business.

Finally, to help Medicare, we need tort reform. I suggest we adopt a loser-pay system for the costs of law suits. Unethical lawyers are driving up costs like a son-of-a-bitch! Time to rein-in those suits’ greed! If the “injured party” can’t afford to pay the costs should he or she lose the malpractice suit, then the law firm bringing the suit should be the loser that pays for everything. That’s fair, but not favorable to trial lawyers, but I could care less about those assholes!

7. Politically Incorrect spews:

“Hope & Change baby! And WA led the way! :-)”

This is one time I’m in agreement with you, MBS. Prohibition is finally starting to come to an end.

8. Very Severe Conservative spews:

On Global Climate Change.
I get that it’s going to be awful, eventually.
It took a century or two to make and will take centuries and untold quadrillions of dollars to restore, if that’s even possible.
For me, this is just too big to fix. I could cut my carbon foot print to zero and it wouldn’t make a difference, like trying to empty the ocean with a tea spoon.
Why should I sacrifice when the previous generations already doomed the next generations?

Seems the only thing to do is accept and adapt, because it’s already too late to fix.

9. Roger Rabbit spews:

Mass Shooting Of The Day (TM)

Three people were shot to death with arrows at a Wyoming community college this morning.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/30/15574250-bow-and-arrow-attack-leaves-3-dead-at-casper-college-in-wyoming-officials-say?lite

Roger Rabbit Commentary: See? This proves we should let crazy people have access to guns, because if we take away their guns, they’ll just use something else to commit their murders.

10. No Time for Fascists spews:

we need tort reform. I suggest we adopt a loser-pay system for the costs of law suits.
That raises the problem that only the richest will be able to sue, given the specter of having to pay legal costs. The little guy working at walmart 29 hours a week and disabled to medical negligence simply cannot afford to risk losing a lawsuit.

The victim might have a great case, and be perfectly justified, but no regular lawyer will take their case in the off chance they might lose and also be wiped out.

How would you address that?
Or is that just an acceptable cost of keeping medical cost low that almost nobody but the richest will be able to sue for negligence? The care may be crappy and you have no recourse if the doctor or the drug maker is incompetent, but hey, it’s a little cheaper.

11. Roger Rabbit spews:

How Stupid Are Republican Congressmen?

“At the end of the day, it’s a question of whether a nonbinding signature on an outdated and worthless pledge written 26 years ago is more important than preventing the nation from completely going to hell. I just don’t know what to do here.”

http://www.theonion.com/articles/congressman-torn-between-meaningless-pledge-to-ant,30539/?ref=auto

Roger Rabbit Commentary: So, everyone, what do you think? Should we help him out by offering him a clue? Nah, that would be cheating, and give him an unfair advantage over the other contestants.

12. No Time for Fascists spews:

As for the actuarial assumptions, there’s no way to avoid raising the age for receiving retirement benefits. I suggest we gradually phase-in 75 as the age of receiving full retirement bennies with age 72 available for a reduced benefit package.
Desk workers, politicians and supreme court justices might be able to do that, but what about people who work with their hands?
How many working 74 year old factory workers or high tension line men or waitresses or farm workers or oil riggers or bus drivers do you know?
In your world, are they just supposed to die on the job?
Try to live on Wal mart wages till they reach 75?
Beg on the streets till they reach 75?

13. Roger Rabbit spews:

@6 “Finally, to help Medicare, we need tort reform. I suggest we adopt a loser-pay system for the costs of law suits. Unethical lawyers are driving up costs like a son-of-a-bitch!”

Here we go, know-nothingism is preening itself again.

14. MikeBoyScout spews:

@6. Politically Incorrect,

You’re all wet on Social Security dude.
The actuarial analysis shows the system solvent in to 2033 and if one wants to improve that the simplest thing to do is raise the maximum taxable earnings.

People who talk about raising the age, especially to something ridiculous as 75 years of age, don’t hump ass for a living.

15. Gman spews:

@9 – I think there is more to it than just a weapon and being crazy, I think its development of aggression. Who are these aggressors? What do they all have in common?

16. Get off my lawn! spews:

Glenn Beck (Puddymoron’s idol) has just found a new way to make money..

First would anyone buy a crucifix in a jar of urine? It’s “art” right? And “art” often fetches a market price. Sometimes a very good price.

Not me personally but some would I’m sure.

Now would anyone buy a plastic Obama doll mounted in a jor soaked in Glenn Beck’s morning piss topped off with a little H2O??

Heh.. Indeed many many many right wingers like Puddystupid would pay handsomely for that..

All Beck’s gotta do to offer it up for auction in his personal store. E-Bay would take too much off the top.

Bingo. Yet another grift of right wing dopes by a most successful right wing grifter.

17. Roger Rabbit spews:

Some people think if a doctor kills or injures his patient through negligence, the only reason he’s being sued is because tort lawyers are greedy and unethical.

18. Roger Rabbit spews:

@6 “Social Security and Medicare represent two of the most mismanaged government programs around. Take Social Security, for instance.”

Wow, did you take a stupid enema before breakfast today?

19. Michael spews:

The Onion piece does a better job of explaining the fiscal cliff than “the real media.” thanks for sharing that.

In other news Wenatchee and Omak are still shit-holes. Although Wenatchee does have about 4 blocks of downtown left that are nice. But, I’ll be glad when I’m headed away from here soon.

20. Roger Rabbit spews:

Roger Rabbit Quiz

Here’s a simple little quiz for our wingnut friends, although all comers are invited to participate. Ready for the question? Here we go …

Let’s say you worked hard all your life, but your company went under after borrowing the entire corporate pension fund, so social security is going to be your only retirement income. Who would you choose to manage your social security funds for you?

[ ] 1. The government
[ ] 2. AIG
[ ] 3. Lehman Brothers
[ ] 4. MF Global
[ ] 5. Bain Capital
[ ] 6. Wachovia Bank
[ ] 7. Bernie Madoff

21. MikeBoyScout spews:

@20 Good and funny point Roger!

Adding to this…. the problem with Social Security is that it was never set up to be anyone’s primary retirement income. Unfortunately a lot of FREE MARKET! suckers have been grifted by the same SOBs who want to steal the safety net thread by thread.

A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts

The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life. The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell’s David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65. Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion.

Despite my generally peaceful nature, I think the time is long overdue for pitchforks, tar & feathers for the Job Creators!.

22. MikeBoyScout spews:

The time is now for grass roots action.

CALL your Republican Congress person NOW:

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-03) 202-225-3536
Doc Hastings (R-04) 202-225-5816
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-05) 202-225-2006
Dave Reichert (R-08) 202-225-7761

Demand your Republican rep get their leadership to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, or demand your Republican rep sign the discharge petition to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. ACT NOW

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has announced an effort to release your tax cut on the first $250,000 of income from the Republican hostage takers.

You are not helpless in the Republican Hostage Crisis. Call your Republican rep and help your friends to let Republicans know you are not a helpless hostage to their political games.

23. Tea for everyone spews:

Not a single “Cut” in Owebamma’s fiscal Cliff proposal. Looks like he want’s a grand recession so he can hand out more welfare and totally bury this country!

24. rhp6033 spews:

# 6: Wow, I can’t believe you have so many mis-statements in one place.

Social Security and Medicare are hardly the most mis-managed programs. Wall street in general (collectively) earns that mark. Right behind them are insurance companies that complain that they should have government protection to prevent them from actually ever paying out on a claim, which is essentially what they call “tort reform”. Of course, most of their income is from investments of premium dollars, so they actually fall into both categories, as wall street and insurance companies.

As for Medicare Retirement Fund, it’s solvent through most of the baby-boomer early retirement years. The rest can be solved simply by taxes. Which is the whole point – Republicans want to make it impossible to raise taxes on the rich so they can argue that the only option is to extend the retirement age to the point where you are pretty much guaranteed to work until you die on the job. This also is intended to reverse F.D.R.’s original reason for Social Security – to allow the aged to exit the work force and make room for younger workers. Republicans want to make sure that everyone is competing for fewer low-pay jobs so we will accept whatever pittance we are offered.

Medicare is another subject. It’s hardly mis-managed, it’s administrative costs are at about 3%, compared with about 15% for private companies. Many Americans would be happy to pay for the added costs of joining Medicare before the age of 65 if they were given the opportunity to do so. The issue is again, simply one of money and the taxes to catch up with years of low growth – especially in light of the George H.W. Bush rescession of 1991-93, and the George W. Bush rescession of 2001-2003, and 2007-2010. When you have a system which relies upon paycheck deductions to fund the system, rescessions hurt the system – especially given the length and bredth of the last rescession.

So, two immediate answers to Medicare: (2) make the rich pay the medicare & social security tax on ALL their income, not just a portion of it; (2) try it like they do in Japan, France, S. Korea, Britain, and other places where they have a single-payor, single-provider system; (3) raise taxes on the rich to make up for the damage done by the off-budget tax cuts, wars, and mandates imposed by the George W. Bush administration.

25. Roger Rabbit spews:

Okay, so let’s put things in perspective, starting with the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

First, Obama’s opening offer to the Republicans is just that, an opening offer, and nobody expects it to be the final agreement. Is that clear? When you negotiate with a car salesman, you don’t start with your best offer; you leave yourself some wiggle room. Everyone understand how this works? Any questions?

Second, the main reason we have huge deficits now is because of repeated tax cuts while increasing spending. Does anyone need the math of how this works explained?

Third, social security and medicare are funded by workers through a special tax on their wages that goes into restricted-purpose funds, and until now those programs have run surpluses, so social security and medicare are not the cause of deficits. Is this clear to everyone?

The operating budget deficits result from spending more on general government than is collected from general-purpose tax revenues. They result from things like spending $1 billion on a bomber and collecting only $500 million of taxes to pay for it so voters think they’re getting the $1 billion airplane at half price. Everyone over the age of 18 knows congressmen are roughly as honest as used car salesmen, so if voters fall for this, it’s the voters’ fault. Does anyone disagree?

Okay. Getting back to the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Federal taxes, as a percentage of GDP, are at their lowest level since before World War 2 even with GDP reduced by the worst recession and slowest recovery since the Great Depression. So it’s just logical that budget negotiators have to do something on the revenue side. Can there be any serious argument about this?

Now, I’m not saying nothing should be done on the spending side. Not at all. It’s obvious that when you’re spending beyond your income, you need to cut back on your spending. But because social security is running a surplus, there’s no need or justification for cutting social security, or requiring people to work until age 70 before getting benefits, etc., because social security is spending less than it takes in at this point. Now, if you want to talk about long-term actuarial projections and whether benefit payments might outrun payroll tax receipts 30 or 40 years from now, that’s fine, but that’s a separate issue from the current budget negotiations.

Medicare is a bit different for several reasons. (1) Medicare is already in deficit, or nearly so. (2) Costs are variable depending on medical costs and service utilization by beneficiaries. (3) The Republicans under Bush added a hugely expensive prescription drug benefit without providing any means to pay for it.

Given these considerations, it’s reasonable to look at medicare for cost cutting. Unlike social security, you can’t opt for taking a reduced medicare benefit early, you have to wait until full retirement age, so Congress doesn’t have the option of saving costs by making everyone wait until full retirement age. It seems kind of obvious that the unfunded prescription drug benefit is a prime target for cuts or elimination. Sure, it’s nice to have, if you’re a senior citizen. I’m among those who benefit from it. But it’s a freebie none of us have ever paid any taxes for, being funded by borrowing money from China and other foreign countries, so why should we expect it to continue?

Medicaid is also a hugely expensive general tax revenue-funded program, but it’s how we provide health care to kids whose parents are too poor to provide it for them, so medicaid isn’t something you want to take a meat-ax to.

Finally, you can’t talk about budget cuts without putting defense on the table. Let’s face it, the rest of government is too small to get any meaningful cuts, so to cut discretionary spending you’ve got to consider defense cuts. This is especially true given that defense spending has nearly double since 2000. Nothing could be more obvious than the fact that if we don’t want to pay higher taxes, then we have to spend less on defense. How can anyone possibly argue otherwise?

So, is the deficit really a problem? Do we need to do anything at all about it? Right now, our government is able to borrow money for nearly free, thanks to the artificially low interest rates our government has engineered, so the public debt really isn’t an urgent problem that needs to be addressed right now. If and when interest rates are allowed to rise to market levels, then the interest payments on $16 trillion of debt will become, shall we say, an uncomfortably large piece of the federal discretionary budget. So, yeah, we should rein in these deficits to at least keep the debt (and future interest payments) from getting exponentially bigger. You can reasonably argue the debt shouldn’t grow faster than GDP once we’re out of this recession.

But if you want to do that, you can’t do it with spending cuts alone, there has to be more revenue. And I can’t think of any reason not to raise taxes on the rich. In straight dollar terms, they’ve gotten most of the tax cuts of the last 30 years, so if someone has to give back it logically should be them. They can afford it better than the rest of us, and every study has shown that taxing the rich has little or no effect on job creation. Letting the rich keep their special tax privileges won’t create jobs in this economy because the lack of jobs is due to lack of consumer demand, not lack of investment capital. The world is awash in idle capital that can’t be put to work, with the result that investment savings are earning nothing for most savers. The rich are the logical people to pay more taxes. We’re not asking the world of them; hell, I’d be satisfied if Warren Buffett pays the same percentage of his income as his secretary does. But maybe the rest of us should pay more, too, starting with reinstating the full payroll tax.

Obama has made his first offer to the Republicans. They’ll come back with a counteroffer. Then negotiators will bat the ball back and forth over the net until it comes to rest in some middle ground. That’s how these things work. The final package will be a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, and I’ve explained where I think those should fall, and my reasoning behind it.

That’s my take on the situation.

26. Roger Rabbit spews:

@23 “# 6: Wow, I can’t believe you have so many mis-statements in one place.”

I hate to say this, but I’m tempted to suspect this may reflect the poster’s personal integrity.

27. EvergreenRailfan spews:

Love this news story from Australia’s Capitol, Canberra. In the recent election for the legislature in the Australia Capitol Territory, Labor got 8 seats, the Liberals(which is a Center-Right party) got 8, and the Greens 1 seat in the 17 member body. The way it is elected, is a variant of proportional representation, with 3 districts, 2 with 5 seats, one with 7. It is rare for one part to get an outright majority in this elected body in Australia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare-Clark_system

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Capital_Territory_general_election,_2012

The Greens, despite losing seats, still held the balance of power, and one of their campaign agendas was getting transportation alternatives in Canberra going. Labor agreed to that part of the agenda, and a Light Rail project helped form a government. The Greens do not always support the Center-Left Labor Party, they have backed Liberal candidates and Liberal Governments in the past(in most Australian elections, all spots on the ballot have to be ranked for it to count)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-04/political-deal-under-the-microscope/4351758

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/tasmania-showed-greenslib-alliance-can-work-well-20121021-27ztd.html

28. rhp6033 spews:

# 24: It’s true the President put the first offer on the table. It’s up to the Congress to give a counter-offer.

But House Republicans are acting like (a) they won the election, and (b) a pawn-shop owner who insists the other side has to keep lowering his price, without he himself having to put an offer on the table. It’s a lot like the game the N. Koreans have played for years: set a list of pre-conditions, and after you have given up everything of significance, then we can begin telling you what else you need to surrender.

Only a fool would fall for that trick, and the President has proven that he’s no fool.

29. Get off my lawn! spews:

What was wrong with Obama’s stimulus package?

Seems pretty obvious now.. Too much tax cutting to appease braindead right wingers and TOO LITTLE infrastructure spending:

Sylvain Leduc and Daniel Wilson studied the effect of unexpected infrastructure grants on state GDPs (GSPs) since 1990 and found that, on average, each dollar of infrastructure spending increases the GSP by at least two dollars. Valerie Ramey, Professor of Economics at UC San Diego and member of the National Bureau of Economic Research, reports that the typical fiscal multiplier is between 0.5 and 1.5.

http://www.businessinsider.com/infrastructure-economic-multiplier-2012-11

Much more infrastructure spending means a much QUICKER economic recovery from a meltdown and guess what?

Once things bounce back you can then taper off the spending to appease right wing idiots.

All is happy again.

30. Get off my lawn! spews:

I don’t see why Wall Street is so hostile to Liz Warren:

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/can-wall-street-tame-elizabeth-warren.html?mid=r_dailyintel

All they got to do is stop stealing from people.

31. Tea for everyone spews:

25
“If and when interest rates are allowed to rise to market levels, then the interest payments on $16 trillion of debt will become, shall we say, an uncomfortably large piece of the federal discretionary budget. So, yeah, we should rein in these deficits to at least keep the debt (and future interest payments) from getting exponentially bigger.”

And what choices will there be if interest rates are allowed to rise on 22 Trillion dollars wort of debt, if nothing is done to change the current projections?

There will be nothing left over to fund government.

32. Roger Rabbit spews:

@26 I’m perfectly willing to see Obama sit back and let us go over the “cliff.” We’ll get real deficit reduction, very fast, and the automatic tax increases will hit the rich and defense hardest. Plus we can blame the resulting recession on Republicans in the next election cycle. There are so many “wins” for our side in this scenario I’m surprised Obama is talking to them at all. They want spending cuts? Okay, the next time Obam invites Republicans to the White House, he should charge them for lunch and coffee service. Let’s start with that.

33. Tea for everyone spews:

Any rational American recognizes that raising income and capital gains taxes on wealthy Americans will not reduce the deficit or pay down our national debt any time soon if at all. Actually, confiscation of all income wouldn’t even make a dent in it. Likewise, printing money is not a long term solution to our economic troubles or unemployment problem. So unless some radical steps are taken to reduce spending, we can all look forward to more economic erosion and income redistribution; at least until the well runs dry

34. MikeBoyScout spews:

@29 Roger,
Not wanting to quibble with you, but Obama is not the party responsible for whether the Republican’s Austerity Bomb explodes. That’s squarely on the House Republican leadership.

As I noted above, a real House Leader named Nancy Pelosi has a plan to save the hostages. If the Republican House leadership [looking at YOU, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA05)!] won’t bring the bill up for a vote by next Tuesday she’s going to issue a petition to get the bill discharged. Takes 25 Republicans with any sense to move forward.

Politically the Republicans have gambled themselves out of options. Time to wake-up and smell the teabagged Mittenfreude.

35. MikeBoyScout spews:

Speaking of Mittenfreude,
BooMan remarks, “Remember when health care reform was going to be the president’s Waterloo?

Those were good times.

36. MikeBoyScout spews:

How stupid are Republicans?

If a fiscal-cliff agreement includes tax-rate increases, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican whip, will oppose the deal.

[NRO, so no linky]

Guess what numb nuts? You already voted for increased rates. They become effective in January 2013.

37. MikeBoyScout spews:

Even MSM weak tea slackers like Joke Line are piling on the hapless grey matter challenged Republicans.
How to Negotiate

The Republicans are, reportedly, outraged by President Obama’s opening bid in the fiscal cliff talks. Republicans always seem to be outraged. It’s getting boring. They need to step up and make a counter-offer.
[snip]
We had an election. The President won.
[snip]
But the assorted Republican drama queens seem so two months ago, don’t they?

Getting bitch slapped by Joke Line won’t leave a mark, but it is funny to watch.

38. Politically Incorrect spews:

All,

Yep, SS & Medicare are fucking disasters which will eventually fall apart under the weight of financial stupidity. I know you guys don’t like it when somebody with a little financial analyst experience criticizes your “progressive” sacred cows, but it’s true: Social Security and Medicare are disasters and will eventually collapse under their own weight. Thomas Sowell was right: FDR was a financial illiterate. LBJ was as dumb as a box of rocks, but crafty and sly. In any event, they both sold the country buckets of shit, from a financial perspective.

Tell me, do you guys believe in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, too?

The way to save Social Security forever (not just until 2033, which is 21 years from now) is to up the age for receipt of benefits and make the feds pay for the privilege of borrowing our money. If you want, go ahead and make the tax effective to all earned income if you want. That’ll be icing on the cake of fiscal security for the system but not the sole response to save it.

Medicare will continue to self-destruct unless we get tort reform and more competition among docs and other health care providers. As it is now, they have an oligopoly going and aren’t too interested in losing any of that market power. Tort reform is also necessary – the loser should pay. No more of this shit about bringing a law suit and trolling for judgments. Can’t you guys see that the tort system is just a place where trial lawyers extort money from decent people? Oh sure, there are about 1% of the personal injury suits that are legitimate, but most of them are scams. You guys should be attacking trial lawyers with the same ferocity that you attack hedge fund managers.

39. Politically Incorrect spews:

“Plus we can blame the resulting recession on Republicans in the next election cycle.”

That’s exactly the Milk Chocolate Messiah’s plan. Ray Charles can see that, and he’s dead and blind!

40. rhp6033 spews:

Perhaps we should make some effort to get some better trolls?

(Craigslist Ad)

Want an opportunity to express your conservative political opinions? HA.com needs trolls to serve as a sounding board for the “loyal opposition” to express their views and engage in vibrant debate with the other contributors to the site.

Requirements: Must be able to read and write in coherent English, avoid logical falacies such as “straw man”, and express some original thought instead of simply re-posting Limbough, Fox News and Glenn Beck pronouncements. (There is no need for such trolls, we already have more than enough of them on the site). Being able to write coherently and factually about national budgets and policy is a plus.

This is not an employment position, all posting is on a volunteer basis.

To apply simply post a series of comments on the site. If you can emerge from the subsequent discusions with your soul intact, you may stay.

41. rhp6033 spews:

PI @ 34: You are a financial analyst???? The only thing you are protecting is the Republican plan to privatise Social Security and pay doctors more money.

And while you are attacking our “sacred cows”, note that you are the one heading right toward the Republican Sacred Cows of Tort Reform and No New Taxes.

If you work for a publically traded company as a “financial analyst”, please tell me which ones, so I can avoid investing in them.

42. MikeBoyScout spews:

@34 Racist Lingo Using Loser,

First, knock off that racist lingo when you refer to people whose skin color is different from yours, ok?

Second, whenever you say “Thomas Sowell was right” about anything you’ve shown you should not be taken seriously. Referring to Sowell is just a tad better than referring to Ayn Rand.

Regarding tort constraints, they’ve imposed them in Texas. What is the difference in health care costs in Texas compared to a wonderfully unconstrained tort system like WA? Even a bad tort system provides a value to the public, WTF do vulture capitalists (nobody’s beating up on hedge fund managers here dude) bring to the table?

43. Roger Rabbit spews:

@34 “Yep, SS & Medicare are fucking disasters”

You don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

44. Roger Rabbit spews:

@30 “Obama is not the party responsible for whether the Republican’s Austerity Bomb explodes.”

I didn’t say he is. All I said was he should do nothing to stop it.

45. MikeBoyScout spews:

@40 peace.

46. MikeBoyScout spews:

@36. rhp6033,

I think its hopeless. They just don’t make good wingnut trolls anymore.

47. rhp6033 spews:

Republican Playbook

Social Security: A socialist program enacted by an enormously popular Democratic President which, for some reason, remains very a very popular program among both Democratic and Republican voters. For that reason, it must be destroyed, but only indirectly, by making false attacks on it’s security, it’s management, and advocating it’s privatization, and falsely blaming the Democrats for endangering it. Attacks on Social Security must be done indirectly under the code-phrase “Social Security Reform” or “Entitlement Reform”.

Medicare: Socialized Medicine program proposed and advocated by another Democratic President, Johnson. It, also, is popular among both Democratic and Republican voters, so it also must be destroyed. Attacking the program must be done indirectly, under the code-phrase “Medicare Reform” or “Entitlement Reform”.

Entitlement Reform: See “Social Security” and “Medicare”, above.

Tort Reform: the code-phrase under which Republicans falsely claim that rising medical costs and Medicare payments are caused by contingent-fee lawyers making fraudulent claims (even though only a very small percentage of insurance payouts are for litigation payments or costs). The goal is to make sure that insurance companies never have to make a payment on claims, and that the doors of the courthouse are barred to potential claimants.

48. Serial conservative spews:

Exclusive: The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He’d Win

http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/110597/exclusive-the-polls-made-mitt-romney-think-hed-win#

This is what those of us who were reading blogs written by people in contact with Team Romney were being fed in the week leading up to the election.

49. Roger Rabbit spews:

@34 “Can’t you guys see that the tort system is just a place where trial lawyers extort money from decent people?”

No, I don’t see that. Having a little bit of legal experience (about 40 years’ worth), what I see is two major types of cases: Your garden variety personal injury case where two cars collided; and products liability cases against giant corporations who treat individual citizens’ lives and health as trivial, for example Ford continuing to sell Pintos with exploding gas tanks or McDonalds continuing to sell dangerously hot coffee because these companies put profits above the safety and well-being of their customers. And then you have the tobacco companies, who are in a class by themselves when it comes to harming their customrs and lying about the harm their products do.

The trial lawyer working for a contingency fee is the only line of defense the innocent individual has against dishonest banks, greedy corporations, careless doctors, and negligent (or drunk) drivers.

Try taking that away from us, and you’re going to have one hell of a fight on your hands.

And, btw, “decent” people don’t get sued.

50. MikeBoyScout spews:

@35 Racist Lingo Using Loser,

If a driver knowingly runs down a little old lady crossing the street, of course you can blame him. Wasn’t your side all about “responsibility”?
Look, the way this is going to go down is that either the Republican House votes to maintain the tax break on income under $250k or they will deny the vote. If the decrease in demand which results from the tax hike tips us in to recession, then the House Republicans are the responsible party.

It is only conservative to blame Republicans for what they do and what they fail to do.

51. Roger Rabbit spews:

@42 They never did. This has been a problem since this blog started.

52. Roger Rabbit spews:

@35 Then why can’t House and Senate Republicans see it? Do they have to be hit over the head with it to get their attention?

53. MikeBoyScout spews:

DEEP THOUGHT:

What’s politically worse for Republicans?

[a] Stubbornly allowing their Austerity Bomb to explode on the middle class, and a likely recession?

[b] Surrendering to reality and working to allow higher rates on the uber-wealthy and watching the economy boom again (like it did when Clinton & Dems raised rates in 93) and watching their entire edifice of economic bullshit crumble before the nation’s eyes?

54. rhp6033 spews:

# 34: “Can’t you guys see that the tort system is just a place where trial lawyers extort money from decent people? Oh sure, there are about 1% of the personal injury suits that are legitimate, but most of them are scams”

Obviously, you know nothing about the practice of personal injury law, or how insurance companies actually pay claims. You just bring your prejudices and display them for the world to see.

A friend of mine, a lawyer, had a neighbor who owned a small business would get upset at his insurance rates rising by over 10% per month. His insurance agent said it’s because of all the damned lawyers, and he believed it. They would get into some spirited discussions.

Then one day his neighbor was seriously injured in an automobile accident, where the other guy was at fault. He had to hire someone to do his work for him at the business, his business profits declined due to his absence, and he had medical bills of over 100K (this was some fifteen years ago). He asked my friend, his neighbor, to take his case.

My friend did his initial investigation. Liability by the other driver was clear, but the insurance company was offering almost nothing to settle the case. My friend, the lawyer, then laid it out for his neighbor: he had a choice of paying a 1/3 contingent fee (he owes nothing if the recovery is zero), but if he chooses to pay it on an hourly basis the legal fees & costs would equal about 50K – before they even set foot in the courtroom.

The neighbor quickly became a convert, once he understood why contingent fees are necessary for most injured claimants.

Oh, and any lawyer taking frivolous cases will soon be out of business, because the insurance companies will insist that each one be taken to trial where the lawyer would soon be working for free (since no money is recovered) and shelling out expense money on top of it all.

55. Roger Rabbit spews:

It’s clear our friend PI doesn’t like being inconvenienced with paying FICA taxes. Or maybe he just doesn’t like Social Security and Medicare for ideological reasons. It’s equally clear he has nothing informed or intelligent to say about the genuine issues those programs face. So, I believe the most appropriate and effective response to PI’s whining is: FUCK OFF.

56. Uncle Jim's Kool-Aid Stand spews:

And, btw, “decent” people don’t become lawyers.

11/30/2012 AT 3:42 PM

Repairs completed.

57. Roger Rabbit spews:

@50 “Obviously, you know nothing about the practice of personal injury law, or how insurance companies actually pay claims.”

He doesn’t know anything about anything else, either, or he’s just a liar.

You could have added that any lawyer filing frivolous cases will lose his license in short order. The organized bar is well aware of the potential for abusive litigation and preempted that temptation long ago.

58. MikeBoyScout spews:

@52 Silly Sock Puppet,
That’s genius! Did you come up with that yourself? You should print that and hang it up on your front door.

59. Roger Rabbit spews:

Which raises an interesting point. Some years ago, a subset of rightwing extremists got the idea of harassing public officials and neighbors they didn’t like by filing a multitude of frivolous lawsuits against them. Having worked in government, this was a problem I had to deal with.

The solution is pretty straightforward. You go to a court of general jurisdiction (the superior court in Washington) and file a petition for relief based on the court’s broad equity powers. The relief you request is an order of the court prohibiting the harasser from filing any legal actions without clearance from the court. In other words, these people still have access to the courts and the right to sue, but because they have a history of abusing that right to the detriment of others, they need a judge’s permission to file lawsuits in the future. Under this remedy, the court will not prejudge the merits of a complaint, but merely review it to determine whether it’s frivolous.

When you ask a court for this type of relief, you are in effect asking for a protection order against harassment. The court has the authority to enter such an order, and will do so in appropriate circumstances. Once it’s issued, if the harasser ignores it and continues to file harassing lawsuits, s/he can be held in contempt of court and subjected to contempt penalties including jail.

This technique has been used successfully against extremists in California and other places who have tried to misuse the courts to harass innocent people.

60. Roger Rabbit spews:

@52 I know plenty of decent lawyers. In fact, dishonest people aren’t allowed to be in our profession.

61. Roger Rabbit spews:

Toooooooo funny!

“After enduring negative headlines that all of the House Republican committee chairmanships will be filled by men in the next Congress, Republicans have found their woman.

“NBC News has learned that Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) will be named chair of the House Administration Committee. … The committee can decide … whether or not the House cafeterias will use paper or Styrofoam plates ….”

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/30/15574035-after-criticism-gop-adds-woman-to-chair-house-committee?lite

No Shit Sherlock: Oh, and the above article also says, “Lack of diversity has been an issue for the GOP, and many strategists believe that the party’s problems with women and minorities led to President Obama’s re-election.”

62. MikeBoyScout spews:

@57 Roger,
That’s just another example of EXCELLENT Republican messaging.

Vote for us, and then “Shut up, bitch! Go fix me a turkey pot pie!”

63. Michael spews:

Fucking communist!

“My employees are largely responsible for any success I’ve had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that,” Lueken told the Star Tribune. “You can’t always take. You also have to give back.”
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/49984095/ns/today-good_news/#.ULlz_xw8Zt9

64. Michael spews:

@56
I’m working with a really good and honest one in Omak right now. And of course, sense he’s in Omak I don’t have to be. Which is nice (he’s working on some property issues so my family can sell some land we own).

65. Roger Rabbit spews:

@60 “he’s working on some property issues so my family can sell some land we own”

That’s probably okay with the wingies. They don’t like it if their buddy plays with a gun on their property and it goes off and the bullet crosses the property line and hits a neighbor’s kid and then a personal injury lawyer sues them. That’s when they don’t like lawyers.

66. Roger Rabbit spews:

Random Thought Of The Day

Few things in life are more tedious than listening to wealthy people whine about how poor they are.

67. Roger Rabbit spews:

Republican Crook # 012-0082719934-08

“The former chief executive of National Lampoon, Timothy Durham, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for swindling investors out of about $200 million. …

“Durham … was a businessman and major Indiana Republican party donor. …

“Prosecutors … said Durham participated in a fraud that stripped an Ohio company … of its assets and used the money to buy mansions, classic cars and other luxury items ….”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/50029650

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Now he’s got another reason to oppose Social Security and Medicare — he’ll never need it. He’s got free room, board, and medical care for the rest of his life. P.S., The previous CEO of National Lampoon went to jail for swindling investors, too.

68. Liberal Scientist is a Dirty Fucking Socialist Hippie spews:

@63
Is National Lampoon a branch of the College Republicans?

69. Roger Rabbit spews:

@64 Are you referring to these guys? The College Republicans who bilked vulnerable senior citizens of their life savings?

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2002075044_repubs28m.html

70. Roger Rabbit spews:

“As this next chart shows, corporate profits have displayed unprecedented strength in this recovery. Never before have profits been such a big percentage of GDP ….”

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1037291-3-under-appreciated-gdp-facts?source=email_macro_view&ifp=0

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Corporate profits are at all-time highs, and corporate taxes are at postwar lows. Raising corporate taxes should be a no-brainer. If you’re against taxing corporations you’re not serious about deficit reduction.

71. Michael spews:

My credit union just posted a $2.48 dividend to my checking account. Woo-hoo I’m rolling in cheddar! Gotta love those low interest rates!