Default Will Extract a Political Price from the GOP

July 5th, 2011 at 10:57 am David Frum | 38 Comments |

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David Brooks delivers a withering column in today’s NYT:

The struggles of the next few weeks are about what sort of party the G.O.P. is — a normal conservative party or an odd protest movement that has separated itself from normal governance, the normal rules of evidence and the ancient habits of our nation.

If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.

Republicans in Congress need to understand that there will be a political price to them, not only to the president, if they force the United States into reneging on its contracted obligations. They need to hear that message from inside, from donors and supporters. That’s not a “pro-Obama” message as some hot-heads charge. It’s a pro “full faith and credit” message. The Obama program can (and in large measure should) be repealed. But default is not an acceptable tool of politics.

Brooks’ column is a manifesto for the times, it should be nailed to the Republican equivalent of the church door at Wittenberg.

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38 Comments so far ↓

  • TAZ

    Will an unwillingness to cut fringe business tax loopholes be the hill Republicans pick to DIE ON?

  • NYNewMex

    Hey David can you please tell me WTF from the Obama program needs to be repealed? Is it his implementation of a health care reform that was invented and supported by Republicans when they actually pretended to give a damn about the problem? Is it requiring corrupt banksters who blew up the economy to have to play by some modest rules such as trading made up bullshit synthetic deriatives in the light of day instead of hiding them and the risks that they pose to our economy? Is it requiring oil companies engaged in offshore drilling to have come up with legitimate containment and clean up plans for BP type accidents before they receive their drilling permits? Is it allowing gay and lesbian Americans who risk their life for your freedom to serve in the open with honor and dignity and without having to be silenced by bigots and knuckledraggers? Is it kicking the ever living shit out of terrorists in a way their your piece of excrement boss never could? Is it not having the rest of the world think we are a bunch of aholes? Is it corporations being in a position where their balance sheets look a heck of lot better than did during the reign of George II? How about you clean up the cesspool that is your party and come up with some actual real and workable ideas for the problems that Obama has attempted to address and then we can talk about modifying what the current president has implemented.

    • jnail

      Brilliant summary. I was wondering what the “Obama plan” was myself.

      If the R’s force a 14th amendment solution to the ceiling crisis they will be done as a party and lose it all in 2012.

  • John Doe

    @Frum: “Republicans in Congress need to understand that there will be a political price to them”

    The problem is that many House Republicans won’t pay a political price, and they know it. They’re sitting in safe conservative districts, and will get reelected even if they are responsible for flushing the economy down the toilet. They’re more afraid of being “primaried” from the right. There are also freshmen members who fully understand the political price, and don’t care. They’re willing to be voted out after one term if they can achieve their budget policy goals.

    There may be more “adults” in the Senate, but I don’t see them taking the lead. Senate Republicans aren’t going to vote for a deal unless the House is on board. Why should they stick their necks out?

    I think the biggest loser from a default will be the Republican presidential nominee. He/she will be a single target on which voters can focus their anger.

  • DFL

    Coming from someone who himself has no m0ral decency, David Brooks’ insults shouldn’t be taken seriously. Yet the Republicans are foolish in attempting a fiscal revolution while holding but one-half of one branch of government. They should pass a one-year budget with the cuts coming from discretionary spending alone and fight a presidential election before going after entitlements.

    By the way, I am finishing David Brooks’ tome “On Paradise Drive”. Compared to “Bobos in Paradise”, it is banal and it’s humor forced, almost like reading a bad comedian contemplate what little of the world he really understands. “Comedian” Gabe Kaplan isn’t this bad. A better read is John Derbyshire’s “We Are Doomed”.

  • armstp

    I sense growing anger out their against the Republicans. It seems to be all one way. There are now many more even conservative commentators calling the GOP nuts and destructive to America. Just today as you say above in the NYT David Brooks called the GOP not a normal party and “have no sense of moral decency”

    The GOP is overstepping like they did in 1994.

    Better to be a RINO than an elephant.

  • rbottoms

    In one column Frum says a “weak” president is to blame this mess. Here he hides behind David Brooks’ skirt to say it’s not.

    Why in the world should president Obama stand in the way of the GOP destroying itself?

    It’s Rope-a-Dope with some very big dopes.

    • jnail

      Agree 100%. Obama “rope a dopes” these fools everytime and yet they keep charging like bulls at a red matador’s cape.

      Maybe they need to go back and see Ali in the “Thrilla in Manilla” to understand how a Champion works his opponents over using their own tools against them.

  • Graychin

    Is the punditocracy starting to notice that the GOP has become a cult – fixated on beliefs that have no contact with reality?

    “If responsible Republicans don’t take control…”

    Who, exactly, might they be?

  • Watusie

    David, isn’t it embarrassing to belong to a party which is so dunderheaded it has to be told such things?

  • ...and David Brooks as Martin Luther - Big Tent Revue

    [...] David Frum points to David Brook’s “withering column” on the GOP and notes that the public will not only blame the President for this mess, but will also look to the GOP as well: Republicans in Congress need to understand that there will be a political price to them, not only to the president, if they force the United States into reneging on its contracted obligations. They need to hear that message from inside, from donors and supporters. That’s not a “pro-Obama” message as some hot-heads charge. It’s a pro “full faith and credit” message. The Obama program can (and in large measure should) be repealed. But default is not an acceptable tool of politics. [...]

  • Frumplestiltskin

    DFL: They should pass a one-year budget with the cuts coming from discretionary spending alone and fight a presidential election before going after entitlements.
    I agree, let this next election be about what directions reform in entitlements should take. If Republicans win, then they have a case to make. If they win the WH, Senate, and House then Democrats shouldn’t filibuster everything as the Republicans did. It is about time we had some real accountability too.

    NYNewMex, good summary too.

    Frum should make the case, saying no to Obama is not presenting an alternative.

  • rbottoms

    It’s like in the movie Armageddon when Billy Bob Thornton says “It’s the size of Texas Mr. President”.

    The GOP pundit class have just collectively realized their guys are actually serious about defaulting and they have all just shit their pants.

    Pass the popcorn.

  • Ridge

    I could write a whole essay about the sins of the GOP beginning with Reagan, but utill you start to hold the enablers up to the light, they will just do it again. When their stock porfolios are threatened, they will all live at the foot of the cross, until the crisis passes.

    The best response to Brooks is driftglass’s post-
    http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2011/07/as-his-batshit-chickens-come-home-to.html

  • El Gipper

    Libertarian- Republicans want to cut the size of the welfare state. RINOs like Frum and Brooks are comfortable with the welfare state. Spending cuts are unpopular. Therefore, the only strategy Republicans who want to cut spending can deploy with any effect is to force Democrats to offer cuts to entitlement programs.

    The only leverage Republicans have is to utilize the debt limit to extract a semi-repudiation of the New Deal and the Great Society by the Democrats. I love hearing all the Armageddon predictions by the milquetoast pundits like Frum and Brooks. The gnashing of teeth by the liberals is also confirmation that this strategy is working quite well.

    It takes 2 to tango. Obama did not have to extend the Bush tax cuts until 2012. That was a cynical and irresponsible maneuver. A lot, but not all, of this fiscal mess would be avoided by re-establishing the Clinton era tax rates. But Obama put politics ahead of the well being of this nation. He employed a cynical and divisive class warfare rhetoric suggesting that letting those making over $250,000 a year paying more taxes would somehow solve our fiscal problems. It won’t, but it makes good headlines.

    Obama sowed the wind, and now he reaps the whirlwind. Democrats must propose massive cuts to entitlement programs. They are the creators of those programs so they, not the Republicans, must be responsible for their demise and/or reform. Instead, Obama went and ramroded PPACA to create a new entitlement that sucks up even more revenue for a program enraging the Republican base.

    All of the predictions of political doom are based on complete ignorance of finance. Obama will earmark revenues to pay interest on the debt. I will bet anyone $100 that he’ll not default. Cutting back 44% on everything else could happen, but it won’t. The Democrats depend upon government spending too much to risk that occurence. So Obama and the Democrats will fold and make concessions. You leftists understand this is the endgame which only enrages your Stalinist souls even more.

    I’m lovin’ it!!!!

    • TerryF98

      You lie so easily. It must come as second nature to you.

      • Bunker555

        Hi TerryF98

        How do you cut and paste these beautiful charts and graphs and the “IF YOU LIE LONG ENOUGH, YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN” decal. Is it some sort of Paint program that enables cut and paste>
        Thanks in advance for some tips for posting graphical representations. Bunker 555

  • El Gipper

    TerryF98,

    Why don’t you change the X axis to “Democrats in Control of Congress.” It would paint a more accurate picture.

    Did I lie about something? Your graph doesn’t address anything I wrote about. I guess that you’re just another angry leftists.

    • TerryF98

      I didn’t realize the Democrats controlled the congress from 2000-2006? My bad. But wait. Dastardly Democrats concocting Medicare part D a totally unfunded new entitlement.

      The Democrats must have waged two wars completely off the budget as well cost 3.7 trillion and counting, and who can forget those Democrats allowing Wall street to crash the economy. Bastards.

      GOP the party of personal responsibility, my ass.

      9/11 was Clinton’s fault according to the right even though he had been out of office for 9 months and had warned Bush up hill and down dale about AQ.

      The Economic crash was Obama’s fault within weeks of the 2008 election, even before he had taken office according to the right.

      Republicans have no values, no spine and no sense of decency.

  • El Gipper

    TerryF98,

    Ahhh, I feel so sorry for you. How did you feel about Obama extending the Bush Tax Cuts for 2 years?

    Probably the same way I felt about G.W. enacting Medicare Part D, as Frum and Brooks advised at the time.

    I know that you think deficits are really important, but I don’t. It’s the level of government spending that really matters to small-government Republicans like me. I’m ecstatic that the Republicans are kicking the Democrats in the balls — FINALLY. Bush was not a small government Republican. In my mind, he was a disaster. On that much, we agree.

    You simply have no clue about what’s really at stake here. We’re out to eliminate the welfare state that is built upon envy and class hatred. We’re out to cleanse the halls of government of the mold and mildew of public employee union parasites. We’re going to slash those outrageous pension and medical benefits, and close down the feeding troughs where pigs from corporate American and professional lobbyist feed every day.

    Yeah, there’s a politically adroit way to do this, and American isn’t going to reach from A to Z in one step. But the first step begins with Democrats eating crow and cutting entitlement programs.

    I mean, if you really want a welfare state that badly, then you have to ensure that your raise enough tax revenue to pay for it. You and the Democrats don’t have the balls to do that so that’s your problem.

    • TerryF98

      As you could currently drown the tea party in a teacup much less a bathtub, best of luck with your grand plans.

      Dozens turned up!

  • valkayec

    El Gipper, since you’ve chosen Ronald Reagan’s nickname as your own moniker, albeit in Spanish, you should know that Reagan never advocated policies – or politics – that you wish. He was far more pragmatic, if not an especially fiscally responsible administrator.

    Reagan was no Libertarian, and like most of his generation of politicians looked upon libertarians as kooks.

    It’s a shame there’s not a digital economics game, kind of like electronic war games, where you can take certain actions and see the potential ramifications. I think if there were, most who claim the mantle of libertarianism wouldn’t like the outcomes of their various scenarios. Kind of like the guy who, this past weekend, decided upon a libertarian protest against wearing a helmet while riding his motorcycle. He got into an accident and died of head wounds. The doctors said he would have lived and recovered completely had he been wearing a helmet.

  • LFC

    El Gipper said… Democrats must propose massive cuts to entitlement programs. They are the creators of those programs so they, not the Republicans, must be responsible for their demise and/or reform.

    Three words for you, Gip. Medicare … Part … D.

    PS: Which U.S. President signed the last big Social Security wage tax hike, keeping the program funded? Those were the days when a Republican could be fiscally responsible without being called a RINO.

  • El Gipper

    valkayec, LFC,

    I’m very pragmatic. I think tax rates should be increased to 21%, not 18%, of GDP. And spending should be slashed to 21% of GDP, down from the 28% plus of GDP it’s projected to grow to if we don’t do anything to change its trajectory before 2035. That’s what the American polity can handle today, and I recognize that.

    Getting federal spending and taxes below 21% of GDP will take a lot of work in the ideological trench warfare fought in universities and media to change public opinion. When we convert Social Security and Medicare into means-tested programs instead of entitlements, then we can get a handle on the looming sclerotic infection of Euro-socialism that will soon afflict our nation.

    The debt limit is the perfect opportunity to wage this battle.

    I’d prefer that we had a Debt Limit Referendum that would allow the voters at large the ultimate say in whether or not the debt limit could be increased. That would make more sense than a balanced budget ammendment, which is a stupid idea. That way there would be some check upon a spendthrift Congress without having a straightjacket of a balanced budget ammendment.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    el gippo: The only leverage Republicans have is to utilize the debt limit to extract a semi-repudiation of the New Deal and the Great Society by the Democrats.

    How about winning elections first instead of taking hostage the entire US economy in an attempt to force down the throats of the American people something that they do not want?

    No, for faux Libertarians (actual fascists), Democracy is useless, it is your way or the highway.

    Well, it is not, this is why idiots like yourself feel that they have to resort to anti-democratic means to achieve your goals, you hate freedom and democracy.

    Libertarians are the worlds great losers, they simply have no understanding how economies work living with this la la la land belief that if there were no government everyone would be happy that most people are poor and the world is polluted.

    “We’re out to eliminate the welfare state that is built upon envy and class hatred” Who the hell talks like this except losers? People of deep insecurity who blame people with physical disabilities who receive Social Security benefits as the source of their own misery and poverty. This knucklehead doesn’t realize that the welfare state was created by the wealthy class, men such as FDR or JFK (and what the hell did they have to be envious about)

    He is frankly an unwitting Satanist who believes in the exact opposite of the teachings of Christ.
    That is fine by me, I look down upon such morons as a matter of course, I just can’t fathom the thinking that goes behind such stupidity as that and that he imagines it will ever be successful (among people who have intelligence that is)

  • Frumplestiltskin

    “And spending should be slashed to 21% of GDP” More unthinking cant. It should be slashed to 21%, why? No why, it just should be and if it is leprechauns will ride unicorns over chocolate rainbows.
    The United States is involved in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, quasi wars in Pakistan and Yemen, has military bases all over the world…yet according to El Gipper it will be paid for by…magic?
    If he wants to argue we should drastically cut military spending, then do so (not very Reaganesque) and vote for someone who advocates it.

    It is this rigid mindset, government must not spend more than 21% because….just because…that is so contemptuous.

    how about the American people deciding, via the ballot box, the level of Government that they want and then paying for it via taxation?

    But this notion that America can spend on the military as much as the rest of the world combined, yet still spend below the OECD average, is nuts.

    If you decide to go to war, you freaking pay for it.
    Thank God people like El Gipper were nowhere near the White House during WW2, we would all be speaking German right now (but something tells me a lot of teabaggers would be quite happy if that had happened)

    Of course, I realize that logic or reason can’t penetrate these peoples minds (Japan pays 8% of their gdp on healthcare vs. the US 16%, for these people becomes…Japan? never heard of it)

  • LFC

    El Gipper said… We’re out to eliminate the welfare state that is built upon envy and class hatred.

    So you support the death of the poor when they are sick or old, right? Because elimination of “the welfare state”, i.e. the Medicare and Social Security programs that have been paid for by specific taxes on workers’ wages, means just that for many. At least we know you value small gov’t over the survival of those less fortunate.

  • El Gipper

    Frumplestiltskin,

    You and your ilk are true Stalinists. There was an election in 2010, and your side lost. The Constitution gives Congress the power to control borrowing. And now you’re accusing Republicans of being undemocratic?

    What could be more democratic than ensuring that you raise enough revenue to pay for the programs you want to spend money on? Clearly, the Democrats haven’t done a good job of that. Especially, our cynic-in-chief who signed an extension of the Bush Tax cuts. So you can claim the support of the masses for all your wonderful programs, but if you don’t raise the money to pay for them, then you’re a screw up.

    Republicans have no obligation to cooperate with your vision of sustaining the welfare state.

    BTW, I’m all for helping the poor — at the level of state government, in compliance with the 10th ammendment of our constitution. FDR and JFK couldn’t give 2 sh**s about the poor. They cared about building winning political coalitions.

    I was being generous with 21% of GDP. I really want to reduce FEDERAL government spending much lower. I understand that state governments will have to raise taxes and expenditures to cover the federal government’s exit from many of these areas. Therefore, it’s not clear how much overall taxation and spending would be decreased on the taxpayers that pay the bills in the end.

    • TerryF98

      El Griper.

      Did you vote for Bush in 200?
      Did you vote for Bush in 2004?
      Did you vote for Bush lite (McCain) in 2008 Inquiring minds want to know.

      And please if you can remember how, please be truthful.

  • Xunzi Washington

    I don’t see where Medicare Part D – entirely unfunded – is not a ‘welfare state’ program. 800 Billion. Totally unfunded – not even the attempt to try to fund it. “Deficits don’t matter.”

    Dems have actually done a fine job of paying for their programs. You folks just don’t like the programs. The problem emerged when El Busho passed 1.2 T in tax cuts during 2 unfunded wars and an unfunded Med Part D, all topped off with a massive housing crisis.

    Afterwards, people start talking as if we’re in shit storm that we’re in because of entitlements. Seriously.

    By the way, as for the Bush tax cuts, I agree with you that Obama should not have extended them. He clearly did not want to, but political situations dictated otherwise. When he is re-elected, I trust that he will let them expire.

    And that will be that. Game over.

  • valkayec

    There was an election in 2010, and your side lost.

    That statement is utter crap! The American electorate got fed up with the bickering and seeming inability to get anything done about the economy. As a result, the voters cried, “out with the old and in with the new.” Or to put it as an acquaintance did, “Vote out every incumbent. It doesn’t matter who the new person is, just vote for someone new.” That’s what voters did. There was no mandate from the voters to decimate government. That’s a TEA party/Libertarian fiction.

    On the contrary, the whole GOP message was “we will focus on creating jobs and nothing else.” They’ve been in office for six months, with about 64 days of actually working in DC, and not one jobs bill – unless you count that tax cut GOP House bill masquerading as a jobs bill.

    As to reducing spending to 21% of GDP, that’s a laudable goal and historically about average except in times of war when federal spending as a percentage of GDP was much higher. Moreover, given the baby boomers, economists say federal spending must naturally be around 23 – 24% of GDP.

    If you want to means test Medicare, fine. The rich (retired people with incomes over 100k annually) certainly don’t need it. But will doing so really save much money? I doubt it. The health care system as a whole needs revamping. Look at Singapore which is far from a socialist country. You couldn’t get much more capitalistic than Singapore, from what I understand. Yet, they spend 5% of GDP on health care, and their system is so good that they’ve become a health care destination. Meaning, they’re making money from around the world, including the US, on great on-demand delivery of great services at a highly affordable cost.

    However, Social Security is another matter. Everyone paid into the income support system and were promised that they’d get their money back. You want to renege on that promise? I know plenty of well-to-do people who say if they can’t collect social security, then give them back the money they contributed. Sure, they don’t need the money, but it’s the principle involved. Social Security is not a welfare program. What has changed is that FICA no longer covers 90% of all wages as the Reagan compromise envisioned. The Social Security Admin. stated last year that if the earning cap were lifted, most if not all of the funding problems with Social Security would disappear.

    Then, you’ve got over $1 trillion in tax expenditures baked into the budget every year that never get re-examined as to value to cost ratios, cost-benefit analysis, or even if those expenditures have outlived their usefulness. Many of them just prevent competition and others are just plain earmarks. Take tax expenditures for the yachting industry, for example. The tax code is loaded down with these boondoggles for nearly every industry sector. Where’s the free market competition, free market “stand on your own two feet and compete on an even playing ground” ideology in that? Before taking on the low income retirees, take on the oligarchs who control congress through the tax code to prevent competition.

    But even beyond these challenges or problems is the inherent dichotomy of the TEA Party rhetoric: Cut spending on everything but defense, my Medicare, my social security, my mortgage deductions, my veteran’s benefits, my capital gains, my inheritance income, my children’s or grandchildren’s education expenses, my, my my. The fact is that Americans, including the TEA party, want everything but don’t want to pay for what they want.

    So, the argument in DC is not about the deficit or even the national debt (which largely results from, I suspect, a trade imbalance) but what role government should play in the economy. While some like the Pauls’ say the government’s role should be nothing more than existed in 1800, most would say it should be far more. Even Hyak advocated for the role of government to prevent excesses in the market. And even more now advocate for government to do what people individually do on their own: negotiate health care pricing as large corporations can do; save for retirement that is not affected by the vagaries or manipulations of Wall St.; prevent the truly bad business players from harming the commons and commonweal; etc.

    And as for States Right argument, ie let the states do it, that argument not only ended with the Civil War but should have ended with the ratification of the Constitution. States Rights hinged on the wording in the Constitution. Should it say the government obtains it’s authority from the “people” or the “states”? Federalists said the people. Anti-federalists said the states. Federalists won the argument when the Constitution was ratified.

    To those, like yourself, who don’t like the benefits of national programs because of perceived costs, I ask show me a cost-benefit analysis. Ideology means zip. Costs are what count. Will costs nationally go down if 50 states do all of these things on their own or will they increase? My guess is that nationally the overall costs will increase using up even more of our GDP because one platform or program or set of rules decreases costs to both businesses and consumers. How is your libertarian ideology going to reduce costs nationally as a percentage of GDP while protecting consumers from the con-artists and liars.

    But then, libertarians don’t really talk cost-benefits analyses or how to reduce costs as a percentage of GDP. They talk about individual freedom and liberty without taking into any account the cost ramifications nationally of their ideas.

    All of what I said above is why I can’t take arguments made by people like you seriously. You don’t seriously put forth anything to reduce costs as a percentage of national GDP or for consumers. When you engage in that discussion, we might have something to talk about.

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  • ottovbvs

    El Gipper said… We’re out to eliminate the welfare state that is built upon envy and class hatred.

    This at bottom is why the Republicans in their present guise are doomed. Quite apart from the absurdity of the claim that Medicare and SS are built on envy and class hatred, the vast majority of the American public both wants and needs these social programs . For example, something like 54% of all healthcare expenditures in the US are already paid by the government. Does anyone seriously believe a substantial reduction in this percentage is either possible or indeed desirable? I’m supremely confident that in the last analysis the worldview of El Gipper is destined for the trash can of history. It’s going to be interesting whether the GOP chooses to go into the trash can along with it.

  • Raskolnik

    People, you seem to be missing the fatal flaw in El Gipper’s argument (not that you haven’t exposed plenty of secondary flaws!). He claims that Obama’s allowing the Bush tax cuts not to expire is the central problem with Obama’s revenue policy, and even puts that claim in defamatory terms about Obama’s character. But allowing the tax cuts to expire would constitute a net raise on the current marginal income tax rate, which is against his professed ideology. That is, unless El Gipper will publicly repudiate Grover Norquist’s absurdist manifesto.

    El Gipper isn’t making sense even on his own terms, so there is no reason to believe he will acknowledge facts, reality, or logical reasons why he is wrong.

  • El Gipper

    Raskolink,

    Grover Norquist is a political punk. A real man would be out there fighting against federal expenditures. But punks like him focus on cutting taxes which is easy.

    There’s nothing libertarian about insisting that taxes shouldn’t be raised. I think taxes should be raised, but only as part of a deal enacting massive cuts in entitlement spending. Your straw men are ridiculous.

    As for international health care cost comparisons, they omit important facts that Americans have far worse dietary and exercise habits than Europeans and folks in Singapore. Studies have been done comparing European and American morbidity rates as a explanatory variable for the cost differences. Also, Cuba’s morbidity rates nose-dived after the removal of Soviet subsidies forced Cubans to use less automobiles and eat less fat and sugar in their diets. To really bend the cost curve you have to create incentives to force people to adopt better behaviors, not nationalize health care.

  • Raskolnik

    “As for international health care cost comparisons, they omit important facts that Americans have far worse dietary and exercise habits than Europeans and folks in Singapore.”

    So in other words a Death Panel is going to decide if Fatty McGee gets a pancreas transplant to treat his adult-onset diabetes? Because of Obamacare and the Evil Democratic Conspiracy?

    The men made of straw are all on your side of this particular dispute, sir. Uncritical free-market ideology only perpetuates the problem, which is a reprobate pecuniary interest in every sector of society, especially those traditionally above such mundane concerns (e.g. healthcare). Once upon a time, righteousness and goodness was its own reward. Now everyone wants a piece of the pie…

  • El Gipper

    Raskolnik,

    No, stupid. We’d have 10% Medicare tax rates for fat slobs like you, but we’d offer steep discounts in tax rates based on annual measurements of blood pressure, body fat percentage, cholesterol, and nicotine. So someone really fit like me gets to pay a 2% rate. Offer financial incentives for people to behave better. Obamacare won’t do squat to stop lazy bums like you from eating french fries, beer, sour cream and chips, and candy bars that cause the type 2 diabetes that you expect me to pay for.

    Impossible arguing with a dumb-a** leftist. There’s massive government intrusion in our health care system, and the tax code creates incentives for employer-provided insurance which is really, really stupid.

    Eliminate tax deductibility of employer-provided health insurance. Move toward high deductible plans to remove the insurance companies from as many transactions as possible. Let government focus on Medicaid for the poor, not Medicare for everyone. That’s some semblance of a free market solution.

    As things are now, you blame free markets for things screwed up by government policies. What a joke!

  • Raskolnik

    Instead of responding to El Gipper’s ad hominem attacks in kind, I will simply take this opportunity to point out two things.

    1) I have been accused of being a “leftist,” by someone who wishes to raise the marginal income tax rates.

    2) The format of El Gipper’s arguments is demonstrably faulty, and he would be well-served by re-examining his thinking process.