Weekend Open Thread (2012-03-30)

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Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday March 30th, 2012. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

88 comments:

  1. 1
    Scotsman says:

    Why health insurance costsa so much:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Cdfn0Wiywk4#!

    Competition- the secret, but forgotten ingredient.

  2. 2
    ricklind says:

    By Scotsman @ 1:

    Why health insurance costsa so much:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Cdfn0Wiywk4#!

    Competition- the secret, but forgotten ingredient.

    Thanks Scotsman,
    Interesting youtube but skewed I think. The idea behind any insurance is that the costs are spread out among both people who are more likely and unlikely to need the coverage, so the average cost is kept down. I think if people pick and choose their coverage the costs will very likely be much higher, not lower, for the things they care about; fewer at risk individuals to spread the financial risk Also, implicit in the vid is the idea that people have financial resources to cover their medical problems and are individually responsible, neither of which I believe.
    Not sure this youtube presents a thoroughly thought out pespective. Spin.

    The system is in melt down mode and has been for a number of years. Just a very long train with lots of cars to unrail. For example, why should the healthy young buy any insurance at all? They are as a group using only a small percentage of health care resources so shouldn’t need any insurance, rationally. (I got away with this strategy for years). But if something catastrophic like an appendicitis or serious hand infection, occurs, who pays the bill? This individual is very unlikely t have the resources to pay the costs, and so the costs are passed, now indirectly, into higher charges for the fewer remaining commercially insured patients. And so it goes.

    This is the reality that health care systems are dealing with, just accelerating, and who really knows all the intended or unintended consequences of the new health care law..

  3. 3

    RE: Scotsman @ 1

    The Health Care Reform Has Its Own Blogsphere per The Tim

    Albeit, anything going up 9.5% a year is destroying Seattle home prices. Hades, they reduced my Social Security benefits by decreasing my contribution 2% and Blue Cross increased their benefit costs and just my 33% share of the Blue Cross payments took ALL my 2% Social Security decrease money.

  4. 4

    RE: ricklind @ 2RE: Scotsman @ 1 – First, that Youtube is not about lack of competition. Second, the point of insurance isn’t that: “the idea behind any insurance is that the costs are spread out among both people who are more likely and unlikely to need the coverage, so the average cost is kept down.” It’s about sharing risk. And the more things you share the risk for, the higher will be the cost of insurance (especially health insurance where it’s no longer a mere risk, but also a pre-existing condition).

    Note that in the four examples given of mandatory coverage, Washington state was included in all four, including some that only had a few states. Washington state politicians act as if money from insurance companies is free found money, so they add required coverages, and then they complain when the cost of insurance goes up faster than inflation! Of course it does you legislative morons–you required more coverage.

  5. 5

    RE: Scotsman @ 1 – BTW, the guy who did that piece doesn’t understand insurance if he thinks the cost of his insurance is higher because his state requires coverage for hysterectomies. (Wow, I can’t believe I spelled that right first try.)

  6. 6
    MacroInvestor says:

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned this. Rates ticked up a fraction of a percent, causing new mortgage and refi volume to drop severely.

    It’s all being held up by gov and the fed. If they ever let it become a free market, things will be very different – and not in a housing bubble kind of way. Go US Soviet States of Amerika… bringing you all the best in central planning.

  7. 7

    RE: MacroInvestor @ 6 – I think most of us have been saying that for a long time. Some day it will be true.

    Either that or the budget deficit will go away because of interest earned on mortgage debt. ;-)

  8. 8
    Blurtman says:

    OK. So the Bernank totally missed this last housing bubble. Was he that clueless or was it by design? I vote for clueless, and so we trust this guy because… ???

    The internet – now more than ever, folks have instantaneous access to information and disinformation. Although the common complaint from the underclass has been – The rich get richer, and the poor get the picture – the internet is making it painfully obvious how this is happening. Add a dash of an increasingly downtrodden educated class, and…?

    Unemployment is necessary to drive home the dollar’s value. The poor and unemployed are the unwilling enforcers of the value of the fiat currency of the United States. A class associated scarcity of fiat acts to maintain the belief in its value. While simultaneously it is clear that the dollar is just a few keystrokes away to the right people, who not only do not have to engage in productive labor, but can engage in destructive labor.

  9. 9

    RE: Blurtman @ 8 – I think what he might have missed is the effect of the derivatives and insurance markets reducing the perceived risk of lenders (not to mention the extent to which those entities absorbing such risk were taking risk themselves).

  10. 10
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 9 – Absolutely. It is fake insurance, to allow greater risk taking and pocket filling. And perception is not quite everything, but very key.

  11. 11

    Just heard from an anon source that Chase is getting ready to release 21,000 REOs into the greater Puget Sound area market.

  12. 12
    wreckingbull says:

    Wow, The Tim on Marketplace Money this afternoon. National syndication, baby. Nice!

  13. 13
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 1:

    Competition- the secret, but forgotten ingredient.

    um it’s well-known that competition doesn’t work in the healthcare market. you really think they missed that?

  14. 14
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Jill Schlicke @ 11 – Quit smokin’ that crack.

  15. 15
    ricklind says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 7:

    RE: MacroInvestor @ 6 – I think most of us have been saying that for a long time. Some day it will be true.

    Either that or the budget deficit will go away because of interest earned on mortgage debt. ;-)

    Works for me!
    (Just kidding)

  16. 16
    ricklind says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 10
    Blurtman,
    You left out a couple things.
    It’s not only “Obey”, but “Consume”, “No Independent Thought”, “Marry and Reproduce”, or in the case of money, “This is your God.”
    Our delightful former Soviet members will appreciate this, I think. Just a slightly shifted paradigm that I think they might recognize.
    Just to revisit, Blurtman’s Avatar is from the movie classic, “They Live.” If you haven’t seen it, you should, just for context if nothing else.
    Best…

  17. 17
    ricklind says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    I used different language while trying to say the same, or similar, thing. Your point about more coverage costing more is also correct, methinks.

  18. 18
    Macro Investor says:

    By Blurtman @ 8:

    Unemployment is necessary to drive home the dollar’s value. The poor and unemployed are the unwilling enforcers of the value of the fiat currency of the United States. A class associated scarcity of fiat acts to maintain the belief in its value.

    You lost me on that one. Isn’t the value based on oil backing?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrodollar_warfare

  19. 19
    ricklind says:

    By pfft @ 13:

    By Scotsman @ 1:

    Competition- the secret, but forgotten ingredient.

    um it’s well-known that competition doesn’t work in the healthcare market. you really think they missed that?

    pfft, I don’t think we have tried competition since at least the Reagan administration. We have had criminal regulation (Rico), civil regulation (torts), administrative regulation (Omnibus Reconciliation Act) , financial regulation (CMS-Medicare/Medicaid), etc, on the federal level alone, not even mentioning WA state actions, to “fix” the system and it is still broken, broken, broken.

    My personal take is that if we had true competition in health care all the people with resources would have great health care, there would be little recourse in court, and anyone with no resources would be left to fend for themselves. The competitive flow would go after those able to pay. I do not propose to offer a solution, I do not have any sweeping answers. I wish I did.

    The polar extremes of positions seem to range from Randian total “free” market to Marxist “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Neither of those has any long term track record of working.

    Opinion: We have to come to some sort of societal agreement on where the optimal benefit lies, and provide that as a “civilized society” and understand that we will neither provide all things to all persons nor kick someone under the curb. Easier said than done.

    Best.

  20. 20
    Blurtman says:

    RE: ricklind @ 16 – These days, you don’t need the sunglasses to see who the parastic aliens are.

    Prophetic quotes:

    “They are dismantling the sleeping middle class. More and more people are becoming poor. We are their cattle. We are being bred for slavery.”

    “The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are non-existent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices.”

    “Outside the limit of our sight, feeding off us, perched on top of us, from birth to death, are our owners! Our owners! They have us. They control us! They are our masters! Wake up! They’re all about you! All around you! “

  21. 21

    By pfft @ 13:

    By Scotsman @ 1:

    Competition- the secret, but forgotten ingredient.

    um it’s well-known that competition doesn’t work in the healthcare market. you really think they missed that?

    Competition doesn’t work because a large percentage of decision makers have insurance, and that affects the decisions they make. And our legislature makes sure that they have insurance which affects a very large percentage of their decisions, including getting massage therapy per the link.

  22. 22
    David Losh says:

    RE: ricklind @ 19

    A civilized society is governed. Health Care is one of those things we can’t trust the private sector to provide. Life, and Death have way too much potential for greed.

    We trust our government to protect us. That’s why we have military, police, fire departments, and court systems.

    Isn’t our health care just as important?

    The private sector proved they will run up costs, be administration heavy, and provide only as much care as is profitable.

  23. 23
    Tatiana Kalashnikov says:

    RE: David Losh @ 22

    “The private sector proved they will run up costs, be administration heavy, and provide only as much care as is profitable.”

    That may be so, but I have seen many single-payer systems that are just as inefficient. I don’t know what it is about health care, but it sure finds a way to burn through money.

  24. 24
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Tatiana Kalashnikov @ 23 – Everyobody wants it, everybody needs it. These are the criteria for abuse.

  25. 25
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 18 – Perhaps incumbent upon if you subscribe to that theory, often cited as the rationale for the second Iraq war. I was speaking from the domestice perspective. If you are starving, 10 dollars has a tremendous anount of value. If you make $1 million per year, and your job and income are backstopped by the USG, you might wipe your bottom with $100 dollar bills, or perhaps, have your student loan debt saddled servant do it.

  26. 26

    RE: Blurtman @ 24 – The problem is government has totally screwed with the private market. First they effectively made income used to pay for health insurance tax free. Then they made hospitals provide services for free. Then they started making insurance cover more and more types of services. Then they transformed health insurance into health wealth transfer by requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions.

    It’s totally screwed up and if not single payer then what we need to go to is a type of insurance which requires larger co-pays dependent on income and a tax to pay for medical services for those without insurance or who otherwise cannot pay.

  27. 27

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26 – One other thing that government has done is allow advertising for prescription drugs. That creates additional consumer demand for a product that is subsidized by insurance. As I mention repeatedly prescription Prilosec costs about ten times what the same stuff in non-prescription form costs.

    All this interference in health care by government leads to news stories like this (outrageously higher insurance rates)”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/31/BUQS1NS6C3.DTL

  28. 28

    Go to Google Maps ( http://maps.google.com/ ), zoom out a bit, then put your mouse cursor over the maps square on the top right and click on “quest.” It’s old-school. ;-)

  29. 29
    Blurtman says:

    Smells like a recovery!

    More Than 46.5 Million Americans Participated in SNAP in December 2011
    Record Participation Continues

    http://frac.org/reports-and-resources/snapfood-stamp-monthly-participation-data/

  30. 30
    Blurtman says:

    Please rise to salute our brave fighting men and women.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiwOVaznIZI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbhZkJ-lA2A

  31. 31
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 29:

    Smells like a recovery!

    More Than 46.5 Million Americans Participated in SNAP in December 2011
    Record Participation Continues

    http://frac.org/reports-and-resources/snapfood-stamp-monthly-participation-data/

    for the millionth time. lagging indicator. we’ve added millions of jobs the last 24 months. the recovery is easily identified in the stats.

  32. 32
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 27:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26 As I mention repeatedly prescription Prilosec costs about ten times what the same stuff in non-prescription form costs.

    link.

  33. 33
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 4:

    RE: ricklind @ 2RE: Scotsman @ 1 – First, that Youtube is not about lack of competition. Second, the point of insurance isn’t that: “the idea behind any insurance is that the costs are spread out among both people who are more likely and unlikely to need the coverage, so the average cost is kept down.” It’s about sharing risk. And the more things you share the risk for, the higher will be the cost of insurance (especially health insurance where it’s no longer a mere risk, but also a pre-existing condition).

    Note that in the four examples given of mandatory coverage, Washington state was included in all four, including some that only had a few states. Washington state politicians act as if money from insurance companies is free found money, so they add required coverages, and then they complain when the cost of insurance goes up faster than inflation! Of course it does you legislative morons–you required more coverage.

    doesn’t Washington state have a mandate problem and not what you said? people can sign up for health insurance when they get sick and still be covered for everything? that would explain most of the costs. it shows why we need mandates at the national level.

  34. 34
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 8:

    OK. So the Bernank totally missed this last housing bubble. Was he that clueless or was it by design? I vote for clueless, and so we trust this guy because… ???

    The internet – now more than ever, folks have instantaneous access to information and disinformation. Although the common complaint from the underclass has been – The rich get richer, and the poor get the picture – the internet is making it painfully obvious how this is happening. Add a dash of an increasingly downtrodden educated class, and…?

    Unemployment is necessary to drive home the dollar’s value. The poor and unemployed are the unwilling enforcers of the value of the fiat currency of the United States. A class associated scarcity of fiat acts to maintain the belief in its value. While simultaneously it is clear that the dollar is just a few keystrokes away to the right people, who not only do not have to engage in productive labor, but can engage in destructive labor.

    I don’t understand the last paragraph.

  35. 35
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 21:

    By pfft @ 13:

    By Scotsman @ 1:

    Competition- the secret, but forgotten ingredient.

    um it’s well-known that competition doesn’t work in the healthcare market. you really think they missed that?

    Competition doesn’t work because a large percentage of decision makers have insurance, and that affects the decisions they make. And our legislature makes sure that they have insurance which affects a very large percentage of their decisions, including getting massage therapy per the link.

    Why markets can’t cure healthcare
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/

  36. 36
    pfft says:

    By Tatiana Kalashnikov @ 23:

    RE: David Losh @ 22

    “The private sector proved they will run up costs, be administration heavy, and provide only as much care as is profitable.”

    That may be so, but I have seen many single-payer systems that are just as inefficient. I don’t know what it is about health care, but it sure finds a way to burn through money.

    most single-payer systems in the developed(OECD) world are pretty efficient.

  37. 37

    By pfft @ 32:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 27:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26 As I mention repeatedly prescription Prilosec costs about ten times what the same stuff in non-prescription form costs.

    link.

    I exaggerated. It’s only 7x as expensive in prescription form.

    http://www.drugstore.com/prilosec-otc-acid-reducer-20-6mg-tablets/qxp83091?catid=184249&fromsrch=prilosec (OTC is $12.95 for 14. 20. mg)

    http://www.drugstore.com/prilosec/20mg-delayed-release-capsule/qxn00186074282 (Prescription is 30 for $195.00)

  38. 38

    By pfft @ 33:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 4:

    RE: ricklind @ 2RE: Scotsman @ 1 – First, that Youtube is not about lack of competition. Second, the point of insurance isn’t that: “the idea behind any insurance is that the costs are spread out among both people who are more likely and unlikely to need the coverage, so the average cost is kept down.” It’s about sharing risk. And the more things you share the risk for, the higher will be the cost of insurance (especially health insurance where it’s no longer a mere risk, but also a pre-existing condition).

    Note that in the four examples given of mandatory coverage, Washington state was included in all four, including some that only had a few states. Washington state politicians act as if money from insurance companies is free found money, so they add required coverages, and then they complain when the cost of insurance goes up faster than inflation! Of course it does you legislative morons–you required more coverage.

    doesn’t Washington state have a mandate problem and not what you said? people can sign up for health insurance when they get sick and still be covered for everything? that would explain most of the costs. it shows why we need mandates at the national level.

    Washington has a mandate in some situations–primarily where they were already covered under a group plan.

    Making it national wouldn’t change that because I don’t think there are a lot of people moving to Washington for that benefit.

    BTW, the links to the Prilosec costs are held up in moderation. It’s 7x as expensive at Drugstore.com.

  39. 39
    Tatiana Kalashnikov says:

    RE: pfft @ 35

    “most single-payer systems in the developed(OECD) world are pretty efficient.”

    Sources please.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Macro Investor says:

    By Tatiana Kalashnikov @ 39:

    RE: pfft @ 35

    “most single-payer systems in the developed(OECD) world are pretty efficient.”

    Sources please.

    You can look that one up easily. It’s common knowledge that many of the European nations have single payer systems that cost 1/3 to half of the US system.

    The question is – can we really do that in the US, even if we wanted to? In the UK, for example, doctor salaries and the cost of everything is regulated. Here they’re all free to charge what ever they want, and the insurance just takes an average and calls it “usual and customary”. So nobody has an incentive to cut costs. Everybody charges as much as they can and the insurance passes it on to the consumer.

    It will never work until we go either full capitalism with competition of published prices and quality measures, or full socialism with gov controlling every aspect. Our “hybrid” system gives us the worst of both worlds.

  42. 42

    RE: Macro Investor @ 41 – That’s largely correct. Also, politicians are much less likely to force government to pay for something than they are to force insurance companies to pay for something. Insurance, after all, is free money that no one has to pay for! /sarc

  43. 43
    Blurtman says:

    RE: pfft @ 34 – Try this. You purposefully make airplanes that will crash, get paid 1 million dollars per year, and the USG funnels money to your employer to pay your undeserved salary and bonus. Everyone in the USA gets paid 1 million dolars per year, whether they do anything constructive or destructive. What happens to the value of the US dollar in the USA? Or, what happens to the price of goods and services in the USA?

  44. 44
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 37:

    By pfft @ 32:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 27:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26 As I mention repeatedly prescription Prilosec costs about ten times what the same stuff in non-prescription form costs.

    link.

    I exaggerated. It’s only 7x as expensive in prescription form.

    http://www.drugstore.com/prilosec-otc-acid-reducer-20-6mg-tablets/qxp83091?catid=184249&fromsrch=prilosec (OTC is $12.95 for 14. 20. mg)

    http://www.drugstore.com/prilosec/20mg-delayed-release-capsule/qxn00186074282 (Prescription is 30 for $195.00)

    actually yesterday I found a link saying it cost 10 times more.

  45. 45
    pfft says:

    By Tatiana Kalashnikov @ 39:

    RE: pfft @ 35

    “most single-payer systems in the developed(OECD) world are pretty efficient.”

    Sources please.

    no problemo.

    Chart of the Day: U.S. Outspends Developed World 141% in Health Care
    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/04/chart-of-the-day-us-outspends-developed-world-141-in-health-care/238054/

  46. 46
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 41 – That’s largely correct. Also, politicians are much less likely to force government to pay for something than they are to force insurance companies to pay for something. Insurance, after all, is free money that no one has to pay for! /sarc

    imagine that. insurers having to cover medical procedures when one has healthcare. what an outrage. set up some tents!

    of they have to force insurers to cover stuff because they business model is to take your money and not give any back when you need it.

  47. 47
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 43:

    RE: pfft @ 34 – Try this. You purposefully make airplanes that will crash, get paid 1 million dollars per year, and the USG funnels money to your employer to pay your undeserved salary and bonus. Everyone in the USA gets paid 1 million dolars per year, whether they do anything constructive or destructive. What happens to the value of the US dollar in the USA? Or, what happens to the price of goods and services in the USA?

    I still don’t understand.

  48. 48
    pfft says:

    You just have had to be alive for the last 20 years or be a democrat to know this.

    The Anti-Laffer: New Research Shows Tax Cuts Don’t Help Growth, Tax Increases Don’t Hurt Growth
    http://news.firedoglake.com/2012/03/28/the-anti-laffer-new-research-shows-tax-cuts-dont-help-growth-tax-increases-dont-hurt-growth/

    a growing body of research suggests not only that the government could raise much more revenue by sharply raising the top tax rates paid by the richest Americans, but it could do so without slowing economic growth. Top tax rates could go as high as 80 percent or more.

    And before anyone goes nuts we should raise taxes high enough to balance the budget in a few years and not cut programs like SS, medicare and others for the poor.

  49. 49

    By pfft @ 46:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 41 – That’s largely correct. Also, politicians are much less likely to force government to pay for something than they are to force insurance companies to pay for something. Insurance, after all, is free money that no one has to pay for! /sarc

    imagine that. insurers having to cover medical procedures when one has healthcare. what an outrage. set up some tents!

    of they have to force insurers to cover stuff because they business model is to take your money and not give any back when you need it.

    By more stuff I’m referring to the things referenced in the link in the first post here–acupuncture and massage therapy for example. Mental health coverage would be another, and much more expensive, coverage.

  50. 50

    RE: pfft @ 48 – It depends on what taxes you cut. Cutting taxes on most W-2 income, or raising taxes marginally on such income, would not have much impact on GDP.

  51. 51
    Scotsman says:

    “Senate Republican staffers continue to look though the 2010 health care reform law to see what’s in it, and their latest discovery is a massive $17 trillion funding gap.

    “The more we learn about the bill, the more we learn it is even more unaffordable than was suspected,” said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Republicans’ budget chief in the Senate.

    “The bill has to be removed from the books because we don’t have the money,” he said.”

    http://market-ticker.org/cgi-ticker/akcs-www?post=204181

  52. 52
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 51:

    “Senate Republican staffers continue to look though the 2010 health care reform law to see whatâ��s in it, and their latest discovery is a massive $17 trillion funding gap.

    you actually believe that?

  53. 53
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 49:

    By pfft @ 46:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 41 – That’s largely correct. Also, politicians are much less likely to force government to pay for something than they are to force insurance companies to pay for something. Insurance, after all, is free money that no one has to pay for! /sarc

    imagine that. insurers having to cover medical procedures when one has healthcare. what an outrage. set up some tents!

    of they have to force insurers to cover stuff because they business model is to take your money and not give any back when you need it.

    By more stuff I’m referring to the things referenced in the link in the first post here–acupuncture and massage therapy for example. Mental health coverage would be another, and much more expensive, coverage.

    acupunture and massage therapy don’t cost that much and they are good for you. not many people will use those for their insurance so the affect will be negligible.

  54. 54
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 52

    I’ll believe it until you can show me a credible refutation. You know, one with real numbers, not just pffft.

    Obama. Epic fail.

  55. 55
    David Losh says:

    RE: pfft @ 52

    There is a funding gap until the programs put in place, or proposed programs are funded.

    There is nothing in ObamaCare that will change anything other than make insurance companies cover all individuals. That is expensive, and we will all pay for it. There is no magic bullet in the legislation. It is a step, a very small baby step to a single payer system.

  56. 56
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 53:

    RE: pfft @ 52

    I’ll believe it until you can show me a credible refutation. You know, one with real numbers, not just pffft.

    Obama. Epic fail.

    yeah because republicans are great with real numbers. no doubt they just made something up, made a mistake, didn’t understand something or only accounting for how much we spent for something and not how it fit into the big picture.

    My sources have been looking through obamacare and said it’ll save $17 trillion.

    the Republicans leadership is stupid, gullible and will believe anything as long as it puts Obama and Obamacare in a bad light. Look at Paul Ryan. This is a guy who is as dishonest as they come. Same with Willard Romney.

  57. 57

    By Scotsman @ 53:

    RE: pfft @ 52

    I’ll believe it until you can show me a credible refutation. You know, one with real numbers, not just pffft.

    Obama. Epic fail.

    I tend to not believe it because Obamacare is a huge transfer of government spending to the private citizen. I really doubt it could do that AND give rise to such a large deficit change.

  58. 58
    pfft says:

    By David Losh @ 55:

    RE: pfft @ 52

    There is a funding gap until the programs put in place, or proposed programs are funded.

    There is nothing in ObamaCare that will change anything other than make insurance companies cover all individuals. That is expensive, and we will all pay for it. There is no magic bullet in the legislation. It is a step, a very small baby step to a single payer system.

    it’s real easy given a long enough timeline you can inflate a molehill into a multi-trillion dollar mountain.

  59. 59
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 57:

    By Scotsman @ 53:

    RE: pfft @ 52

    I’ll believe it until you can show me a credible refutation. You know, one with real numbers, not just pffft.

    Obama. Epic fail.

    I tend to not believe it because Obamacare is a huge transfer of government spending to the private citizen. I really doubt it could do that AND give rise to such a large deficit change.

    you shouldn’t believe it because republicans are morons.

  60. 60

    RE: pfft @ 58 – Republicans and Democrats both play to get the votes of morons. That was my point with President Obama’s anti oil company rhetoric. Eliminating tax benefits that encourage the development of oil resources will hurt the country and hurt the economy. But it will get votes, because morons think oil companies make too much money.

    Even Fmr. Congressman Ford, a Democrat, partly agrees with me on that point:

    Mr. Obama should also work with our leading energy companies instead of fighting them. Domestic energy companies contribute to our economy, support millions of American jobs and retirement accounts, and some, like Exxon Mobil, are investing in the energy solutions of tomorrow like fuel from algae. Yet the president continues to use them as his rhetorical foil. Calling for higher taxes may bring applause at partisan political events. But it won’t lower energy prices.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304692804577285382088330516.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  61. 61
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 60:

    RE: pfft @ 58 – Republicans and Democrats both play to get the votes of morons. That was my point with President Obama’s anti oil company rhetoric. Eliminating tax benefits that encourage the development of oil resources will hurt the country and hurt the economy. But it will get votes, because morons think oil companies make too much money.

    Even Fmr. Congressman Ford, a Democrat, partly agrees with me on that point:

    Mr. Obama should also work with our leading energy companies instead of fighting them. Domestic energy companies contribute to our economy, support millions of American jobs and retirement accounts, and some, like Exxon Mobil, are investing in the energy solutions of tomorrow like fuel from algae. Yet the president continues to use them as his rhetorical foil. Calling for higher taxes may bring applause at partisan political events. But it won’t lower energy prices.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304692804577285382088330516.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    they make enough money already they don’t need subsidies.

    you don’t seem to understand that if we repeal the subsidy it doesn’t increase the cost. it shifts it from taxpayers to users of oil. I don’t understand how you don’t understand this. whatever we spend as a nation on oil you have to add in the cost of tax breaks.

    tax breaks are for new technologies like solar.

  62. 62

    RE: pfft @ 61 – Get over how much money they make. They make that much money because they invested in developing oil fields and happen to be in an industry where foreign governments operate a cartel. They got lucky, but more importantly, if they hadn’t done that we’d really be screwed with even higher prices.

    The point is that you want them to make even more money! You want them to find more oil, so things like favorable provisions for depreciating the cost of drilling an oil well help us!

    The other stuff President Obama wants to do to them is just nonsense. He wants to take away their ability to deduct royalties they pay to get oil from other countries. That’s a legitimate expense, and will only lead to foreign companies developing those resources. He wants to charge them a new higher rate than other companies.

    None of those policies will lead to more oil. All of those policies will lead to less oil and higher prices. But advocating for those stupid policies will get the votes of morons.

  63. 63
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 62:

    RE: pfft @ 61 – Get over how much money they make. They make that much money because they invested in developing oil fields and happen to be in an industry where foreign governments operate a cartel. They got lucky, but more importantly, if they hadn’t done that we’d really be screwed with even higher prices.

    The point is that you want them to make even more money! You want them to find more oil, so things like favorable provisions for depreciating the cost of drilling an oil well help us!

    The other stuff President Obama wants to do to them is just nonsense. He wants to take away their ability to deduct royalties they pay to get oil from other countries. That’s a legitimate expense, and will only lead to foreign companies developing those resources. He wants to charge them a new higher rate than other companies.

    None of those policies will lead to more oil. All of those policies will lead to less oil and higher prices. But advocating for those stupid policies will get the votes of morons.

    ok let’s get this straight. with record profits they still need incentive to drill?

    you just don’t seem to understand. the $4 billion just shifts from taxpayers to those who consume oil. there is no increase in costs or anything. it’s a wash. it’s like saying a carbon tax would increase the price of carbon. no, it would pass the cost from the public to the polluters.

  64. 64
    pfft says:

    Giving oil companies incentive to drill is like give the rich “job creators” to create jobs.

    Last week the Republicans “found” $1 trillion in new costs in Obamacare. This weekend it’s now $17 trillion. haven’t you people figured it out yet? Republicans are morons.

    They also will believe anything if it makes Obama look bad. like saying he wasn’t born here. or that he is a muslim(not that there is anything wrong with that).

  65. 65
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 64

    Won’t matter- it’s all gonna be thrown out. The Supremes say “no, no, no!”

    By the way- thanks for the concise rebuttal. Ad hominem attacks- the “new math.”

  66. 66
    Scotsman says:

    Pffffffft- whatcha gonna do when the .gov checks bounce?

  67. 67
    Scotsman says:

    “A 2,700-page law is not a ‘law’ by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there’s no equality: Instead, there’s a hierarchy of privilege micro-regulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown, and unnumbered bureaucracy. It’s not just that the legislators who legislate it don’t know what’s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can never hope to understand it, but that even the nation’s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/294947

  68. 68
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 65:

    RE: pfft @ 64

    Won’t matter- it’s all gonna be thrown out. The Supremes say “no, no, no!”

    By the way- thanks for the concise rebuttal. Ad hominem attacks- the “new math.”

    I don’t need math. I just need to know that Republicans are involved.

    projections over 75 years are worthless.

  69. 69
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 66:

    Pffffffft- whatcha gonna do when the .gov checks bounce?

    weren’t they supposed to bounce over a year ago?

    anyway don’t let the facts get in the way of what you are wishing for…

    http://moneyland.time.com/2011/07/15/the-u-s-is-not-drowning-in-debt/#ixzz1TqddSm5q

  70. 70
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 67:

    �A 2,700-page law is not a �law� by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there�s no equality: Instead, there�s a hierarchy of privilege micro-regulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown, and unnumbered bureaucracy. It�s not just that the legislators who legislate it don�t know what�s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can never hope to understand it, but that even the nation�s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.�

    http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/294947

    Scalia thinks it’s beyond comprehension…that should tell you something.

    Governing is hard, it sounds like we should like it to Democrats. Republicans are too stupid and don’t want to put in the work.

  71. 71
    pfft says:

    It should be noted that Republicans and their think tanks all supported mandates before Obama passed it. Willard Romney wrote an op-ed during the healthcare battle telling Obama to drop the public option and do a mandate.

  72. 72
  73. 73

    By pfft @ 63:

    ok let’s get this straight. with record profits they still need incentive to drill?

    Wow. We found the only person on the planet who thinks there is enough oil, and who thinks that whether there is enough oil is somehow related to record profits.

    Here’s a clue. It is related, but opposite the way you think. If oil companies are having record profits, there is not enough oil!

    you just don’t seem to understand. the $4 billion just shifts from taxpayers to those who consume oil. there is no increase in costs or anything. it’s a wash. it’s like saying a carbon tax would increase the price of carbon. no, it would pass the cost from the public to the polluters.

    If you’d like, tax gasoline more. That would have a smaller negative impact on the economy than the nonsense spouting out of President Obama’s mouth at political events, and would help transform the economy to other sources of energy and conservation. You could offset the tax with an income tax cut, and/or allow businesses a credit for the tax so that wouldn’t affect their output and employment.

  74. 74

    By Scotsman @ 67:

    �A 2,700-page law is not a �law� by any civilized understanding of the term.

    I don’t think it’s just Obamacare. My last two blog pieces touch on issues out of Olympia, where the favorite term has apparently moved from “fiduciary” to “owner-occupied.” The Legislature just tosses that term into statutes without even thinking about it, as if it’s a good thing.

    http://www.trulia.com/blog/kary_l_krismer/

    If you look at the Governor’s page, she has signed dozens and dozens of bills this year. How much poor drafting and how many unintended consequences are contained in those bills?

  75. 75

    By pfft @ 71:

    It should be noted that Republicans and their think tanks all supported mandates before Obama passed it. Willard Romney wrote an op-ed during the healthcare battle telling Obama to drop the public option and do a mandate.

    My first reaction to the mandates was that it was a good idea, because it addressed the freeloader problem. You can though actually have some thought on an issue and change your mind. I changed my mind when I realized that more insurance added to the system would just create more inflation in the health care system, and eventually lead to either th destruction of the health care system or the destruction of the economy.

    Also, even if you think mandates might be a solution, it doesn’t mean it’s a solution that the federal government has the power to implement under the federal Constitution. Whether a state can do it would be dependent on its constitution.

  76. 76

    RE: pfft @ 72 – Given all the provisions in Obamacare, and all the changes leading up to its enactment, it’s extremely unlikely that what Romney was proposing was “exactly” what was passed.

    In any case, what Romney thinks is hardly the basis for determining whether something is good or whether something is constitutional.

  77. 77

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 74 – This is from the end of my piece on carbon monoxide detectors, where “owner-occupied” became a limiting term.

    The real problem is this “owner-occupied” language. The consensus seems to be that these CO detector rules do not apply to REO sales, because that’s not an owner occupied sale. Assuming that’s the case, what about a vacant listing owned by a natural person? What about a normal listing owned by a family trust? What about a normal listing where the seller moves out the day before closing? What’s the purpose of having an owner occupied restriction? Why not cover any residential dwelling unit instead? If you want to be so safe that you’re requiring all electric homes with no garage to have a CO detector, why not require a CO detector with all resales?

  78. 78
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 73:

    By pfft @ 63:

    ok let’s get this straight. with record profits they still need incentive to drill?

    Wow. We found the only person on the planet who thinks there is enough oil, and who thinks that whether there is enough oil is somehow related to record profits.

    Here’s a clue. It is related, but opposite the way you think. If oil companies are having record profits, there is not enough oil!

    you just don’t seem to understand. the $4 billion just shifts from taxpayers to those who consume oil. there is no increase in costs or anything. it’s a wash. it’s like saying a carbon tax would increase the price of carbon. no, it would pass the cost from the public to the polluters.

    If you’d like, tax gasoline more. That would have a smaller negative impact on the economy than the nonsense spouting out of President Obama’s mouth at political events, and would help transform the economy to other sources of energy and conservation. You could offset the tax with an income tax cut, and/or allow businesses a credit for the tax so that wouldn’t affect their output and employment.

    you just don’t understand that the cost just goes from taxpayers to oil consumers.

    Ex-Shell CEO Says Big Oil Can Live Without Subsidies
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/ex-shell-ceo-says-big-oil-can-live-without-subsidies-20110211

    high oil prices are the only incentive you need.

  79. 79
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 75:

    By pfft @ 71:

    It should be noted that Republicans and their think tanks all supported mandates before Obama passed it. Willard Romney wrote an op-ed during the healthcare battle telling Obama to drop the public option and do a mandate.

    My first reaction to the mandates was that it was a good idea, because it addressed the freeloader problem. You can though actually have some thought on an issue and change your mind. I changed my mind when I realized that more insurance added to the system would just create more inflation in the health care system, and eventually lead to either th destruction of the health care system or the destruction of the economy.

    link please.

  80. 80
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 76:

    RE: pfft @ 72
    In any case, what Romney thinks is hardly the basis for determining whether something is good or whether something is constitutional.

    is that what he was thinking when he advocated mandates at a national level, that they were unconstitutional?

  81. 81
    pfft says:

    let’s not forget that states do get to decide if they want a mandate system or not. they can ask for a waiver like Vermont. Vermont is trying to set up a single-payer system

    For some states, health care waivers are a big deal
    http://www.stateline.org/live/printable/story?contentId=556581

    Vermont’s Road to Single Payer: Waivers, Waivers and More Waivers
    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2011/05/26/vermonts-road-to-single-payer-waivers-waivers-and-more-waivers/

  82. 82
    Macro Investor says:

    By Scotsman @ 67:

    �A 2,700-page law is not a �law� by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there�s no equality: Instead, there�s a hierarchy of privilege micro-regulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown, and unnumbered bureaucracy. It�s not just that the legislators who legislate it don�t know what�s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can never hope to understand it, but that even the nation�s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.�

    http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/294947

    Who wrote that law? Because it sure wasn’t Obama or anybody in congress. I’m quite sure none of them read past page 20. The only thing that’s even remotely plausible is the insurance industry wrote it, with their own best interest in mind.

    That means a million loop holes buried deep in mind numbingly boring text. What ever they wanted to do to screw us and prevent competition — you can be sure it’s in there.

  83. 83
    Macro Investor says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 75:

    By pfft @ 71:

    It should be noted that Republicans and their think tanks all supported mandates before Obama passed it. Willard Romney wrote an op-ed during the healthcare battle telling Obama to drop the public option and do a mandate.

    My first reaction to the mandates was that it was a good idea, because it addressed the freeloader problem. You can though actually have some thought on an issue and change your mind. I changed my mind when I realized that more insurance added to the system would just create more inflation in the health care system, and eventually lead to either th destruction of the health care system or the destruction of the economy.

    Also, even if you think mandates might be a solution, it doesn’t mean it’s a solution that the federal government has the power to implement under the federal Constitution. Whether a state can do it would be dependent on its constitution.

    When you get right down to it, the constitution gives congress and the president very limited powers… then says everything else is reserved for the states. If not for a very wide interpretation of “interstate commerce”, most of the federal gov would cease to exist. When I was a young, naive liberal I thought that was a good thing. But now I wonder — where are all the ambitious lawyers who could challenge this beast and make a name for themselves?

    Not that I support either party, but hurray for the conservative justices. More please.

  84. 84
    Scotsman says:

    pfffffffffffffffft- you’re sounding a bit shrill and tense these days. Stressed out? Daubber dragging? Wondering where the change went?

    Dreams die hard.

  85. 85

    By pfft @ 78:

    you just don’t understand that the cost just goes from taxpayers to oil consumers.

    Ex-Shell CEO Says Big Oil Can Live Without Subsidies
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/ex-shell-ceo-says-big-oil-can-live-without-subsidies-20110211

    high oil prices are the only incentive you need.

    First, it’s a common misconception that taxes are passed along to the consumer. It depends on the market at the time. Sometimes they can be passed along and sometimes they cannot be.

    Second, of course the oil companies can survive without the “subsidy” (nice use of term, since two of the three things are discussed are normal tax situations). The oil companies own millions and millions of barrels of oil which sell for over $100 a piece. And without the “subsidies” those barrels of oil will sell for even more! Collectively it’s better for them that the incentives to drill go away. Individually it’s better for each of them to drill.

    Third, assuming the tax is passed along, that increase is likely minuscule compared to the increases in the price of oil we’ll see if production isn’t increased significantly. More and more countries are using more and more oil. That means we need to find more and more oil and increase the daily capacity to pump oil. If we don’t do that, prices will skyrocket.

    Fourth, President Obama likes to brag that we’re producing more oil today. That’s not due to him! It’s due to new technology and the incentives he wants to cut. His repeatedly threatening to cut the incentives has probably already had a negative impact on future drilling. So he’s already probably causing problems. All to get some votes from morons.

  86. 86

    By pfft @ 79:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 75:

    By pfft @ 71:

    It should be noted that Republicans and their think tanks all supported mandates before Obama passed it. Willard Romney wrote an op-ed during the healthcare battle telling Obama to drop the public option and do a mandate.

    My first reaction to the mandates was that it was a good idea, because it addressed the freeloader problem. You can though actually have some thought on an issue and change your mind. I changed my mind when I realized that more insurance added to the system would just create more inflation in the health care system, and eventually lead to either th destruction of the health care system or the destruction of the economy.

    link please.

    You want a link to how my own personal analysis of the individual mandate developed? I’m sorry, but I don’t blog my life.

    In any case, we’ve discussed that repeatedly in the health care thread. Most recently discussing the impact insurance has on drug prices. You simply fail to see it has that same impact on virtually everything in healthcare because you don’t understand simple supply and demand concepts.

  87. 87

    By pfft @ 80:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 76:

    RE: pfft @ 72
    In any case, what Romney thinks is hardly the basis for determining whether something is good or whether something is constitutional.

    is that what he was thinking when he advocated mandates at a national level, that they were unconstitutional?

    How am I supposed to know what Romney was thinking?

    In any case, he has touched on the fact that he thought the mandate was a good solution for his state. IMHO I think he should hit more on the federal constitutional restriction–the the federal government is one of limited powers, and continue to argue that states might want to do that. I’m not sure why states would want to follow Massachusetts to having the highest health care costs in the country, but they could if they wanted.

    Assuming though that he made that federal/state distinction, that would really help counter some of the adverse reaction conservatives have to him, because that’s what they believe (because it’s true). And in the general election it would help counter the liberals reaction to his opposition to Obamacare, because it wouldn’t be his fault that Obamacare is unconstitutional (assuming it’s struck down). Perfect situation for him.

  88. 88

    By pfft @ 81:

    let’s not forget that states do get to decide if they want a mandate system or not.

    How could we forget the 10th Amendment–the last Amendment of the Bill of Rights?

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    It’s part of the reason why Obamacare is likely unconstitutional! The federal government has limited powers, and the powers they do have only exist because the states wanted an express restriction in the Constitution (the 10th Amendment) before ratifying the Constitution.

    Stated differently, you’re arguing that Obamacare is unconstitutional.

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