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Krugman on Health Care:

Roger Kimball (via Instapundit) properly mocks Krugman's claim that angry opposition to the Democrats' health care "reforms" is a product of racism. But Krugman also includes a logical fallacy, to wit:

There was a telling incident at a town hall held by Representative Gene Green, D-Tex. An activist turned to his fellow attendees and asked if they "oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care." Nearly all did. Then Representative Green asked how many of those present were on Medicare. Almost half raised their hands.

This would only be telling if Green had asked, "how many of you would prefer if Medicare were not run by the government?" Otherwise, it's the equivalent of going to a room full of radical libertarians and asking, "how many of you are opposed to government owning and operating roads?" Everyone raises his hand. "Okay, how many of you use the roads?" It's not like if you're of Medicare age, you have some sort of feasible way of opting out of the government-run health care system.

Although we don't know the views of the seniors singled out by Krugman, there are undoubtedly many seniors who want to keep their Medicare benefits and also oppose further government involvement in the private part of the health care system. And why not? Currently, they get heavily-subsidized care, and as much of it as they want, with no rationing, and "wasteful" private insurance helps subsidize the training of their doctors and medical innovations that will prolong or improve their lives. Pundits are finally starting to notice something that was obvious to me from the start: the Democrats' plans are not just an assault on the private part of the current health care system, but on Medicare as well. Medicare desperately needs an overhaul, but I don't see the Democrats expending the huge amount of political capital it would take to persuade seniors of that. Instead, having defanged the AARP, they seem to have hoped nobody would notice. But after two decades of the Democrats sensitizing seniors to the slightest "threat" to Medicare, the better to get reelected, the Democrats aren't going to fool politically active seniors so easily.

[Comments open for four hours]

UPDATE: Commenter Thorley Winston adds: I can think of at least four reasons why seniors on Medicare would oppose Obamacare:

  1. The proposal to cut reimbursement rates even further means that more doctors won't take Medicare or Obamacare patients.

  2. Destroying or severely reducing the private health insurance markets ends the subsidy for Medicare patients which means that they can expect to pay more, receive less, or both.

  3. Right now there is at least some commonality in Medicare patients due to their age even if they have some variations in their medical needs and wants which gives them a disproportionate amount of clout when it comes to protecting their subsidy. If they get lumped in through Obamacare with younger and presumably healthier patients, they risk forming a countervailing coalition of subsidy recipients with competing needs and wants which threatens the ability of seniors to get what they want.

  4. Younger seniors especially can still benefit from new innovations in medical technology which are one of the primary cost-drivers in our health care system. Slowing the innovation and adoption of new medical technology ("supply rationing") is one of the easiest ways of slowing the rate of growth of health care costs because to paraphrase Obama health care advisor Gregory Bloche "people don't complain if they don't get new treatments that haven't been invented yet."

Steve:
There's only a difference in the way you ask the question if you believe there are a significant number of seniors who would prefer to privatize Medicare. I'd sure be interested in any evidence that THAT is true.

Yes, there are likely many seniors who want to keep their socialized benefits without letting anyone else into the government-run system. And they are free to vote their self-interest like anyone else. But it's not like they oppose it because they want to save the rest of us from the horror that is Medicare.
8.7.2009 11:12am
rick.felt:
It's not like if you're of Medicare age, you have some sort of feasible way of opting out of the government-run health care system.

Also, these folks paid 2.9% of their wages into the Medicare system as premiums. They're entitled to get something out.
8.7.2009 11:13am
Richard A. (mail):
I hate to give Krugman credit, but I think he's right here. Medicare is indeed a form of health care run by the government. And if it were privately run, it wouldn't exist. The whole point of Medicare is the massive subsidy.

In fact Medicare is indeed often administered through private companies that handle the claims. I'm not sure the roads analogy holds up all that well either in that public roads are usually financed fairly equally across the board. Medicare is largely financed by one segment of the population, those under 65, to benefit another segment, those over 65.

That's a classic "from each according to his abilities ..." financing scheme. The analogy would be to a road system paid for by the young available only to the old. If there were such a system, the elderly would probably like it as much as they like Medicare.

But Medicare is going broke. No doubt about that.
8.7.2009 11:16am
Thoughtful (mail):
I've never understood who pays the massive subsidy that is Medicare if Medicare is universalized. It at least is understandable to have one group subsidize another group. I'm never understood how everyone subsidizes everyone.
8.7.2009 11:19am
mcbain:
the fact that politicians othat than Obama exist is racist.
8.7.2009 11:20am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I've never understood who pays the massive subsidy that is Medicare if Medicare is universalized. It at least is understandable to have one group subsidize another group. I'm never understood how everyone subsidizes everyone.
There's one obvious answer, that savvy seniors know: you reduce the massive subsidy, and use that money to fund "health care reform."
8.7.2009 11:26am
DavidBernstein (mail):
And savvy seniors also recognize, more generally, that if Obamacare destroys the health care system, which the more conservative/libertarian among them are likely to believe, Medicare won't be insulated.
8.7.2009 11:27am
mic deniro (mail):


The statement,"It's not like if you're of Medicare age, you have some sort of feasible way of opting out of the government-run health care system" is false.

You can opt out by not paying your Part B premiums, and your part A premiums if you have them.

Anyone can espouse a principle, but I don't know if you are principled until you pay a price for living by it.Or in this case, by not paying the price.
8.7.2009 11:28am
Recovering Law Grad:
Bernstein's partisan goggles prevent him from seeing or dealing with the basic truth: many of those who support and benefit from Medicare cannot articulate thoughtfully why they do not want others to benefit from public insurance in the same way. Apparently they believe that Medicare was created by God or nature and given to them because they are good people.
8.7.2009 11:30am
Recovering Law Grad:
The use of the term "Obamacare" is just absurd and reflects nothing but partisanship and the lack of a willingness to deal with the real issues. What's next "Cap and Tax"? "Democrat Party"? Grow up.
8.7.2009 11:32am
Downfall:
I would cheerfully forfeit any medicare and social security payments I will ever be entitled to, if I'm exempt from FICA taxes and get a refund of what I and my employers have paid in so far. Where do I sign up? Medicare may be a bad idea, but it's hard to blame people who have had 3% of their wages taken from them for availing themselves of it. If somebody robs your house but inadvertently leaves behind their moneyclip, you may as well help yourself.
8.7.2009 11:33am
FWB (mail):
Actually I know a number of sniors who don't want thier Medicare BUT the private companies REQUIRE them to take it for a first payer or the private companies will cancel the private side of their coverage.

Government run health care is like government produced wheels. The wheels are square so we are all safe!

Tiocfaidh ar la!
8.7.2009 11:36am
ShelbyC:

Anyone can espouse a principle, but I don't know if you are principled until you pay a price for living by it.Or in this case, by not paying the price.


Fallacy of composition. Just because you think society is better off without medicare doesn't mean that you, as an individual, are better off without it when it exists.
8.7.2009 11:40am
Dave N (mail):
Recovering Law Grad,

My problem with "Obamacare" is that I am not sure what it means. The White House won't commit to a specific policy, just that SOMETHING, ANYTHING, needs to be done NOW, without reflection or thought--bemoaning the lack of bipartisanship in an administration that is succeeding in being more partisan than the one before it.
8.7.2009 11:41am
Edward Lunny (mail):
He should have also asked how many there volunteered to have their wages garnished to be forced into the program. Quite like those whom point to the participation in social security validating other government social programs. Only the very wealthy can opt out of these programs after having about 9% of ones earnings extorted from them. How many are in the financial position to take that kind of monetary loss ?
8.7.2009 11:44am
DangerMouse:
Do the libs realize that if they keep saying that opposition to Obamacare, or any of the Messiah's other policies, is racism, that by the end of Obama's term racism will have no meaning at all?

Crying wolf. That's all it is.
8.7.2009 11:44am
Ari8 (mail):
The use of the term "Obamacare" is just absurd and reflects nothing but partisanship and the lack of a willingness to deal with the real issues. What's next "Cap and Tax"? "Democrat Party"? Grow up.
Right, because having a hissy fit because someone used the term "Obamacare" as a shorthand is the height of maturity.
8.7.2009 11:46am
Jonathan Rubinstein (mail) (www):
Medicare and Medicaid were the foundation of LBJ's Great Society scheme, institutionalizing the New Deal, a disaster for America, unleashing a dramatic power grab that has finally brought us to the brink of economic and social disaster. Medicaid is 25% of NYS's budget! NYC is unable to teach reading and writing to more than 50% of its children, routinely graduates semiliterates who are sent on to college. Current proposals in this Administration will deepen and strengthen this failure. Time for revolt is approaching.
8.7.2009 11:46am
rick.felt:
Anyone can espouse a principle, but I don't know if you are principled until you pay a price for living by it.Or in this case, by not paying the price.

Please allow me to flip this coin over so that you can see the other side:

"Nothing prevents rich folks who are calling for higher income taxes from claiming fewer deductions or simply gifting additional portions of their income. Until they do that, they should refrain from asking others to pay higher taxes."

You doubtless disagree with that argument, but it's consistent with the one you're making.
8.7.2009 11:47am
ShelbyC:
At the end of Bush's term, I thought that the folks saying that the repubs were the party of fiscal responsibility were nuts. But the Dems went and proved them right. I also usta think the folks who said you couldn't criticize Obama without getting accused of racism were nuts. Live and learn.
8.7.2009 11:47am
Steve:
"Savvy seniors" understand that the Republican Party has always been ideologically opposed to Social Security and Medicare in their present forms, and are unlikely to be fooled by sophistry which suggests Obama wants to kill Medicare and Republicans are the program's only true defenders.
8.7.2009 11:48am
mcbain:
Recovering Law Grad,

I take it that you send the IRS refund checks back when you receive them? After it would be very unprincipled to accept a tax cut that one does not support ideologically.
8.7.2009 11:49am
AF:
Although we don't know the views of the seniors singled out by Krugman, there are undoubtedly many seniors who want to keep their Medicare benefits and also oppose further government involvement in the private part of the health care system.

But they were asked whether they "oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care." If so, they should support the elimination of Medicare. And while it's true that one can logically support the elimination of Medicare but still accept benefits, the fact is that very, very few seniors oppose Medicare.
8.7.2009 11:52am
DangerMouse:
I also usta think the folks who said you couldn't criticize Obama without getting accused of racism were nuts. Live and learn.

You just have to understand how libs think and operate, and then it's easy to predict. That's why people like Bill Press are calling the Obamacare protesters Nazis, and Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein says that the protestors are Terrorists.

Here's another prediction for you: the SEIU thugs will violently attack the Obamacare protestors at every townhall they can.
8.7.2009 11:53am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I can think of at least four reasons why seniors on Medicare would oppose Obamacare:

1) The proposal to cut reimbursement rates even further means that more doctors won't take Medicare or Obamacare patients.
2) Destroying or severely reducing the private health insurance markets ends the subsidy for Medicare patients which means that they can expect to pay more, receive less, or both.
3) Right now there is at least some commonality in Medicare patients due to their age even if they have some variations in their medical needs and wants which gives them a disproportionate amount of clout when it comes to protecting their subsidy. If they get lumped in through Obamacare with younger and presumably healthier patients, they risk forming a countervailing coalition of subsidy recipients with competing needs and wants which threatens the ability of seniors to get what they want.
4) Younger seniors especially can still benefit from new innovations in medical technology which are one of the primary cost-drivers in our health care system. Slowing the innovation and adoption of new medical technology ("supply rationing") is one of the easiest ways of slowing the rate of growth of health care costs because to paraphrase Obama health care advisor Gregory Bloche "people don't complain if they don't get new treatments that haven't been invented yet."
8.7.2009 11:55am
Sk (mail):
I don't know why you are not allowing comments to an earlier, fairly innoculous post. But...

"Among the most demanding in the land? Hardly. My impression is that many lower court federal judges work much harder year-round than the average Supreme Court Justice."

Those blinkered partisans, assuming the Supreme Court justice is the most demanding job in the land, aren't able to see the big picture, and realize that a... different judgeship?... is the most demanding job in the land? (wtf)?

How about cement workers? Air traffic Controllers? Soldiers and marines? Wall Street traders? First responders to accidents and disasters? Paramedics? Cops? Emergency room personnel? There are certainly hundreds of jobs that are more demanding than any judgeship in the country.

Sk
8.7.2009 11:59am
ArthurKirkland:
Speaking of crying wolf, I recognize that conservatives were too busy breaking the world for eight years to accomplish anything with respect to health care, but unless and until they (a) declare that they are content with the current situation or (b) advance some sensible proposals concerning correction and improvement, it is likely that their objections (no matter how loudly expressed) to the efforts of those attempting to accomplish something are going to become increasingly irrelevant.

I do not see any racism in the Joker posters or the opposition to health care reform. I also see little reason to believe that racism -- with other forms of bigotry and small-mindedness -- is diminishing as an element of the Republican/conservative base. The small-minded do not constitute the majority of that base, in my judgment, but the aggregation of anti-gay, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, anti-reason, anti-Muslim, anti-science citizens is uncomfortably large and disproportionately influential.

I hope that situation changes soon, because it disserves the worthy elements of the Republican/conservative platform, and the United States.
8.7.2009 12:00pm
DiversityHire (mail):
The use of the term "Obamacare" is just absurd…

What's an acceptable substitute?
8.7.2009 12:05pm
Gabriel McCall (mail):
I take it that you send the IRS refund checks back when you receive them? After it would be very unprincipled to accept a tax cut that one does not support ideologically.

There's a principled difference between thinking you're entitled to your own money, and thinking you're entitled to someone else's. Refunds and cuts don't pick anyone's pocket, they just mean that mine is picked less.
8.7.2009 12:12pm
Melancton Smith:

Bernstein's partisan goggles prevent him from seeing or dealing with the basic truth: many of those who support and benefit from Medicare cannot articulate thoughtfully why they do not want others to benefit from public insurance in the same way. Apparently they believe that Medicare was created by God or nature and given to them because they are good people.


Maybe they feel that all of us who have not yet paid into the Medicare program over the course of our careers will, upon reaching the appropriate age, become eligible to benefit much in the same way that they did.

It really isn't rocket science. Literally.
8.7.2009 12:12pm
DangerMouse:
Arthur,

I don't see any explicit eugenics in Obamacare. I also see little reason to believe that eugenics, along with other forms of dehumanization, such as government denial of care to those deemed politically unworthy, the use of infanticide on the poor, the sexualization of pre-teen children with kindergarden sex education, and other forms of demented savagry, are diminishing as an element of the socialist/lib base. The evil do not constitute a majority of that base, in my judgement, as those who are merely stupid or greedy and believe that others owe a duty to care for them are the majority. But the aggregation of anti-capitalist, eugenicist, greedy, stealing, robbing, lying Chicago corrupt political types, are uncomfortably large and disproportionately influential.

Oh, I surely hope that the situation changes soon, because I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY want the United States to be served by a worthy lib platform. Yeah, sure.
8.7.2009 12:12pm
MCM (mail):
I also see little reason to believe that eugenics, along with other forms of dehumanization, such as government denial of care to those deemed politically unworthy, the use of infanticide on the poor, the sexualization of pre-teen children with kindergarden sex education, and other forms of demented savagry, are diminishing as an element of the socialist/lib base.


Waiting for Bernstein's banhammer to come down on this on idiocy.

Not really holding my breath, though.
8.7.2009 12:19pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Speaking of crying wolf, I recognize that conservatives were too busy breaking the world for eight years to accomplish anything with respect to health care, but unless and until they (a) declare that they are content with the current situation or (b) advance some sensible proposals concerning correction and improvement, it is likely that their objections (no matter how loudly expressed) to the efforts of those attempting to accomplish something are going to become increasingly irrelevant.


Except as has been repeatedly pointed out in other health care threads on this site, when Republicans controlled Congress they did pass legislation in the House that would allow small businesses to form association health plans (about 60% of uninsured Americans work for small businesses) and purchase insurance for their employees at more affordable rates and had legislation to allow consumers to buy health insurance across State lines. Both were killed by Senate Democrats who wanted wait until they regained control of Congress so they could pass "their" version of health care reform.
8.7.2009 12:20pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Sk:

The logic is as such: Supreme Court Justice cannot be the hardest job in the world, as Federal Judge, a job no one thinks competes for that title, is harder.

No disrespect intended for people who have more physically demanding and less prestigious jobs.
8.7.2009 12:24pm
Ron Mexico:
What's up with the repeated strawman re: all Democrats believe that any criticism of Obama is racism? There are a few commenters who seem obsesses with this notion, but it doesn't seem to be grounded in much, if anything. There will always be a few bizarre people who see racism in everything (i.e. why are most garbage bags black, etc.), but you just bring down the dialogue by assigning these motives to all Democrats. It's rather silly and distracts from any kind of serious conversation.
8.7.2009 12:27pm
rick.felt:
The use of the term "Obamacare" is just absurd

I don't use it as a pejorative. (If I was going to speak pejoratively, I'd probably go with "KenyanKare," "HusseinHealth," "SecretMuslimMed," or "AyersCare.") The problem, as others have noted, is that there's really no good name for, um, whatever the Franken-legislation (as in -stein, not Sen. Al) is that Congress has been working on. Is it "Health Care Reform"? Maybe it was at one time, but that was never really accurate, because the care per se wasn't going to change, just how it was paid for. Apparently the Democrats are at long last starting to grok that Americans don't like the government taking over the whole system, so now they're selling the legislation as taming the insurance companies. God only knows what the pitch will be tomorrow.

What is certain is that there is no one alive who knows what will be in the final legislation, and that even the President won't know or understand all the details of the legislation when he signs it. The only thing we can be sure of is that President Barack "Are We Allowed to Say 'Hussein' This Week?" Obama will sign it. "Obamacare" it is.
8.7.2009 12:28pm
John Thacker (mail):
"Savvy seniors" understand that the Republican Party has always been ideologically opposed to Social Security and Medicare in their present forms, and are unlikely to be fooled by sophistry which suggests Obama wants to kill Medicare and Republicans are the program's only true defenders.


And that's like saying that there's no way that anti-immigration voters will vote against Republicans for proposing amnesty programs. Or that there's no way that teachers' unions will endorse and teachers will vote for a Republican because a Democrat takes on the unions-- but just ask ex-governor of Georgia Roy Barnes and Governor Sonny Perdue about that one.

Speaking of crying wolf, I recognize that conservatives were too busy breaking the world for eight years to accomplish anything with respect to health care, but unless and until they (a) declare that they are content with the current situation or (b) advance some sensible proposals concerning correction and improvement,


Several sensible proposals have been advanced, but yeah, none of them are going anywhere because Republicans don't have votes. Since everyone knows that Republicans don't have the votes in Congress, you can certainly question how serious these proposals are. And GWB did propose Medicare reimbursement cuts of exactly the same sort and size as Obama has proposed; Congress ignored them. Congress voted against them in a bipartisan fashion, but Democrats again referred to it as destroying Medicare.

Blind opposition is annoying, but it works. See the Social Security debate. Perhaps if voters didn't reward blind opposition, but it's much easier to run against something than to support something. People who oppose the changes for entirely opposite reasons may both end up opposing them.

Democrats are proposing changes that they've constantly referred to as destroying Medicare when Republicans have suggested them. I'm touched that Democrats have such faith in the impressive honor of Republicans that they would expect Republicans to not only turn the other cheek and not attack the proposals, but even vote for them as to allow vulnerable Democrats to vote against them.
8.7.2009 12:32pm
JK:

DB:
Otherwise, it's the equivalent of going to a room full of radical libertarians and asking, "how many of you are opposed to government owning and operating roads?" Everyone raises his hand. "Okay, how many of you use the roads?" It's not like if you're of Medicare age, you have some sort of feasible way of opting out of the government-run health care system.



Downfall
I would cheerfully forfeit any medicare and social security payments I will ever be entitled to, if I'm exempt from FICA taxes and get a refund of what I and my employers have paid in so far. Where do I sign up? Medicare may be a bad idea, but it's hard to blame people who have had 3% of their wages taken from them for availing themselves of it. If somebody robs your house but inadvertently leaves behind their moneyclip, you may as well help yourself.


A bit OT, but I wish that conservatives had a similarly big picture view when it came to environmental regulations. You can have an inefficient vehicle, or fly on planes frequently , and still be in favor of environmental regulations that would restrict such activities. Childish accusations like this are inappropriate from both sides.
8.7.2009 12:32pm
MCM (mail):
What's up with the repeated strawman re: all Democrats believe that any criticism of Obama is racism? There are a few commenters who seem obsesses with this notion, but it doesn't seem to be grounded in much, if anything. There will always be a few bizarre people who see racism in everything (i.e. why are most garbage bags black, etc.), but you just bring down the dialogue by assigning these motives to all Democrats. It's rather silly and distracts from any kind of serious conversation.


It makes the entire debate much easier for them. Once someone is dismissed as a Jesse Jackson-esque race card dealer, they can assume nothing else they say has any merit. It's definitely the narrative du jour.
8.7.2009 12:34pm
mcbain:

Refunds and cuts don't pick anyone's pocket, they just mean that mine is picked less.


That's not exactly true, a middle class tax cut is at the expence of the upper class, a farmer's tax cut is at the expense of the non-farmers, etc.

But that was not my point. It is perfectly congruous to accept free healthcare from the government without supporting free government healthcare. As Clay Davis said "I'll take any mothafucker's money if he given it away"

This is to say that criticizing a medicare recipient for being against medicare is a weak weak argument.
8.7.2009 12:35pm
DangerMouse:
Maybe Krugman is unaware of the problems affecting socialized health care elsewhere in the world. As the Wall Street Journal reports:

When Laure Cuccarolo went into early labor on a recent Sunday night in a village in southern France, her only choice was to ask the local fire brigade to whisk her to a hospital 30 miles away. A closer one had been shuttered by cost cuts in France's universal health system.

Ms. Cuccarolo's little girl was born in a firetruck.

France claims it long ago achieved much of what today's U.S. health-care overhaul is seeking: It covers everyone, and provides what supporters say is high-quality care. But soaring costs are pushing the system into crisis. The result: As Congress fights over whether America should be more like France, the French government is trying to borrow U.S. tactics....

And service cuts -- such as the closure of a maternity ward near Ms. Cuccarolo's home -- are prompting complaints from patients, doctors and nurses that care is being rationed. That concern echos worries among some Americans that the U.S. changes could lead to rationing.
8.7.2009 12:36pm
progressoverpeace (mail):
The Washington junta justifies their esatblishment of a public, national government health insurance company by the need to "provide competition" to the private sector. They have gone right past the collectivist ploys of old, trying to abuse "general welfare" or the commerce clause to supply Constitutional backing for their un-Constitutional ideas, straight into the unbelievably insane claim that the federal government has the power to just open companies in order to "provide competition".

This is pure insanity and I am quite distressed that no one has bothered to tear this un-Constitutional rationale to shreds. If the federal government had such power, to have a mandate to "provide competition" through direct participation in the market, then there would be no effective limits on it. As one of the guiding principles of our Constitution was to limit the power of government, this is the greatest offense to our governmental structure that we have seen in a very, very long time. But, people just let Washington babble on about this, as if we had no Constitution, at all.
8.7.2009 12:36pm
Virginian:

Maybe Krugman is unaware of the problems affecting socialized health care elsewhere in the world.


Actually, he is aware of that.
8.7.2009 12:40pm
MCM (mail):
The Washington junta justifies their esatblishment of a public, national government health insurance company by the need to "provide competition" to the private sector. They have gone right past the collectivist ploys of old, trying to abuse "general welfare" or the commerce clause to supply Constitutional backing for their un-Constitutional ideas, straight into the unbelievably insane claim that the federal government has the power to just open companies in order to "provide competition".


Wouldn't they just say providing competition serves the general welfare?

I'm not saying I agree with you one way or the other, but c'mon. Could you at least think before you post?
8.7.2009 12:40pm
mcbain:
Ron,


What's up with the repeated strawman re: all Democrats believe that any criticism of Obama is racism? There are a few commenters who seem obsesses with this notion, but it doesn't seem to be grounded in much, if anything.


I understand what you are saying, but in the last few days two of the countries biggest newspapers (which have immense influence in the liberal circles) accused people who disagree with Obama of racism.
8.7.2009 12:41pm
John Thacker (mail):
It makes the entire debate much easier for them. Once someone is dismissed as a Jesse Jackson-esque race card dealer, they can assume nothing else they say has any merit. It's definitely the narrative du jour.


Yes, it's just like dismissing people as "terrorists" or "birthers" or "AstroTurf" when they have complaints about proposed health care reforms and are none of those things. It certainly is the narrative du jour from the White House.
8.7.2009 12:41pm
Steve:
When Laure Cuccarolo went into early labor on a recent Sunday night in a village in southern France, her only choice was to ask the local fire brigade to whisk her to a hospital 30 miles away. A closer one had been shuttered by cost cuts in France's universal health system.

Whereas in the US, hospitals never close, only open. What are you, Pravda?
8.7.2009 12:42pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
I see that the AFL-CIO has indicated they will send in Union Goons to keep citizens from exercising their civil rights.

I see You-Tube littered today with some clear examples of young large burly males (i.e. likely union goons) pushing old people and women around to keep them from exercising their civil rights.

Since I know little about criminal law and civil and criminal lawsuits based upon violations of civil rights I was wondering if their isn't a lawsuit that couldn't be brought against the AFL-CIO and/or democrat politicians making use of Union Goon squads for violating or conspiring to violate the civil rights of citizens opposed to the health care take over? Could this be some kind of RICO violation or other violation.

Is there a problem when we have Unions being paid off with taxpayer money and then funneling some of that money back to the democrats and funneling some of it back through free labor or free Union Goon services if you will. Is there a problem when democrats avail themselves of these free union goon services to deny the civil rights of citizens? Is there a problem when the whitehouse begins collecting and soliciting nominations to an enemies list? Does all this come together in an actionable way (not counting the apparent violation of a Nixon era federal law that prohibits the president from collecting these enemies lists).

I know there are many people here both bloggers and commenters who are far more knowledgeable about all this than I, so I was wondering if there was anything to this line of thinking or not.

Says the "Dog"
8.7.2009 12:44pm
byomtov (mail):
Of course, a fair percentage of those outraged people don't even know Medicare is a government program. That includes even Arthur Laffer.

They are entitled to say and think what they want, but there's really no reason to think they are making any sort of contribution to the discussion.

And I'm curious about something else. What is driving the right-wing thuggery at the town halls?
8.7.2009 12:45pm
Kazinski:
Why is "Obamacare" worse than "Reaganomics", or "Hoovervilles"? Presidents often get closely associated with their major policies.

To me the absolute worse thing about Obamacare, and there are many things to dislike, is the technocratic "standing commission of doctors and medical experts" that are going to decide what medical procedures are "cost effective". Any proposal that requires innovation to get government approval before it proceeds is going to choke off most innovation.
8.7.2009 12:51pm
MCM (mail):
Any proposal that requires innovation to get government approval before it proceeds is going to choke off most innovation.


Or drive innovation in cheaper procedures?
8.7.2009 12:57pm
MCM (mail):
Yes, it's just like dismissing people as "terrorists" or "birthers" or "AstroTurf" when they have complaints about proposed health care reforms and are none of those things. It certainly is the narrative du jour from the White House.


Can you show me where the White House dismissed someone's health care policy opinions as those of a "birther"?
8.7.2009 12:59pm
Neo (mail):
It's so good to see how President Obama has brought us all together ... a national "Kumbaya" moment.

Everybody sing ...
8.7.2009 1:00pm
mcbain:


Any proposal that requires innovation to get government approval before it proceeds is going to choke off most innovation.


Or drive innovation in cheaper procedures?


well I guess we have no choice but to run an experiment on 1/6 of the economy then.
8.7.2009 1:05pm
Anon1111:
Maybe Krugman is unaware of the problems affecting socialized health care elsewhere in the world.



Actually, he is aware of that.



Ah, he just doesn't care, then.
8.7.2009 1:05pm
progressoverpeace (mail):

Wouldn't they just say providing competition serves the general welfare?

You can claim that anything serves the general welfare. That is not an argument and that is not what they are claiming. They specifically cited the need to "provide competition" to the private sector, which I cannot find in my copy of the Constitution.

I'm not saying I agree with you one way or the other, but c'mon. Could you at least think before you post?

Maybe you should read the posts you are responding to. I addressed the general welfare angle in my original post and also pointed out how, if the federal government had the power to just open up companies in order to "provide competition" then there would be no limit to its power.

But, if you have heard Washington referring to "general welfare" as the Constitutional justification for their nationalization of health care, then please cite some instances for me. I have heard all sorts of arguments, with the idea of needing to "provide competition" being the most often repeated, but not 'general welfare'. But ... I guess everything is "general welfare", if the federal government says we need it, so they can do anything they want ... Sheesh.
8.7.2009 1:06pm
John Thacker (mail):
Can you show me where the White House dismissed someone's health care policy opinions as those of a "birther"?


I can show you Paul Krugman, who says that Dick Durbin has said such and agrees with him:

Senator Dick Durbin has suggested that the birthers and the health care protesters are one and the same; we don't know how many of the protesters are birthers, but it wouldn't be surprising if it's a substantial fraction.


I can show you Gail Collins of the New York Times:

members of Congress are getting yelled at about socialized medicine by people who appear to have been sitting in their attics since the anti-tax tea parties, listening for signs of alien aircraft. But on the bright side, they've finally got something to distract them from the president's birth certificate.


And considering that the White House is sending marching orders and coordinating the responses, "if you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard" and all, I think it's fair.
8.7.2009 1:07pm
MCM (mail):

I can show you Paul Krugman, who says that Dick Durbin has said such and agrees with him:

I can show you Gail Collins of the New York Times:


So no, you can't. Just imputations and innuendo.
8.7.2009 1:10pm
John Thacker (mail):
David Bernstein's original point is quite correct-- the Democrats have consistently made seniors paranoid about any changes to Medicare. In the particular case, seniors are right to suspect that changes will threaten their special subsidy. Me personally (and David), I'm in favor of threatening their special subsidies in some ways. But Democrats are still taking a risk when they assume that Republicans will be so incredibly honorable and non-cynical that they won't stir up seniors using the same tactics that Democrats have used against Republicans.

And for those who say that seniors will never vote against Democrats for this, well, the teachers and teachers' unions elected Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) when ex-Gov. Roy Barnes (D) proposed reforms that would hurt them. Seniors seem more likely to me to swing vote than teachers.
8.7.2009 1:10pm
MCM (mail):
You can claim that anything serves the general welfare.


Exactly my point. Don't get bogged down worrying about how it's justified, because at this point it's all justified anyway.
8.7.2009 1:11pm
John Thacker (mail):
So no, you can't. Just imputations and innuendo.


The same sort of innuendo and imputations claiming that the town hall protesters are all AstroTurf, yes. With evidence that the White House is coordinating the response.

The fact that the senior Senator from the President's home state is doing it doesn't matter to you at all, MCM?

You really think that the White House has absolutely no control over its own party?
8.7.2009 1:13pm
MCM (mail):
well I guess we have no choice but to run an experiment on 1/6 of the economy then.


"Experiment" is a foolish comparison because anything you do is "running an experiment". Letting things continue as they are is "an experiment". Changing anything is "an experiment".
8.7.2009 1:13pm
John Thacker (mail):
But I see, MCM, that you're at least admitting that it's the narrative du jour among Democrats and Democratic-supporting journalists and op-ed writers as well.
8.7.2009 1:14pm
rightwingthug (mail):
"What is driving the right-wing thuggery at the town halls?"

Aren't you assuming something shouldn't? Why haven't you stopped beating your... etc.

My guess, the same thing that drives ACT UP, Code Pink, ELF, tree-spiking, blood-smearing, pie-throwing, red-paint-tossing types: excess of zeal.

Except "thuggery" here is merely speaking out of turn, as opposed to burning houses or threatening researchers. Maybe you mean "rudeness and incivility?"
8.7.2009 1:15pm
AJK:

Of course, a fair percentage of those outraged people don't even know Medicare is a government program. That includes even Arthur Laffer.


Care to elaborate?
8.7.2009 1:15pm
progressoverpeace (mail):

Exactly my point. Don't get bogged down worrying about how it's justified, because at this point it's all justified anyway.


Throwing the Constitution away is not any solution. It's not "all justified", just because people are willing to offer laughable Constitutional justifications for their ideas. When they make claims that are outrageous, such as the federal government having the power to just open up companies in order to "provide competition" to the private sector, there needs to be a pushback in defense of the structure our Constitution actually defines for our federal government. Otherwise, you might as well just turn the lights out, now.
8.7.2009 1:21pm
MCM (mail):
The same sort of innuendo and imputations claiming that the town hall protesters are all AstroTurf, yes.


So... that makes you as believable as they are? I don't see how this helps you.

With evidence that the White House is coordinating the response.

The fact that the senior Senator from the President's home state is doing it doesn't matter to you at all, MCM?


Again, you have a secondhand statement imputed to Dick Durbin. He is an indepedent political entity with a career of his own. I don't think he's a sockpuppet of the White House, no.

You really think that the White House has absolutely no control over its own party?


I don't think that, no, but the question was "Where has the White House dismissed someone's health care policy as that of a birther?" and the best you have is a second-hand Dick Durbin statement by way of Paul Krugman? Seriously? Weak.
8.7.2009 1:22pm
MCM (mail):
Throwing the Constitution away is not any solution. It's not "all justified", just because people are willing to offer laughable Constitutional justifications for their ideas. When they make claims that are outrageous, such as the federal government having the power to just open up companies in order to "provide competition" to the private sector, there needs to be a pushback in defense of the structure our Constitution actually defines for our federal government. Otherwise, you might as well just turn the lights out, now.


From your perspective, the Constitution has already been thrown away. There's no point to engaging the health care debate on this point. If we followed your logic we'd get rid of most of the federal government. Not that I wouldn't support that, but we're long past that.
8.7.2009 1:24pm
Joshua Macy:
I think it's pretty amazing how Medicare is simultaneously an out-of-control budget buster that demonstrates the clear urgency of getting health care costs under control right now before anybody has any time to read the bill and living proof that the government can provide affordable health care to everybody.
8.7.2009 1:24pm
John Thacker (mail):
So... that makes you as believable as they are? I don't see how this helps you.


Except that I have never complained about "AstroTurf," and there's more evidence of the White House coordinating pro-Administration responses to the protesters than there is evidence of the RNC or any official GOP organ coordinating the protesters. (I just don't believe that the GOP is that effective.)

Any sort of effective protest requires some level of "community organizing." The White House is incredibly hypocritical in working out carefully scripted response campaigns with allies like the SEIU and then accusing other people of being "AstroTurf." It's a silly complaint; most people will join a protest, organized externally or not, based on whether they agree. I suppose some union members could feel pressured into participating, but I don't really believe that.

But I'm glad that you've admitted that your original complain about the narrative du jour applies just as well to Administration supporters as to opponents.
8.7.2009 1:28pm
MCM (mail):
But I see, MCM, that you're at least admitting that it's the narrative du jour among Democrats and Democratic-supporting journalists and op-ed writers as well.


"Admitting"? That's the first time you've asserted it.
8.7.2009 1:29pm
MCM (mail):

But I'm glad that you've admitted that your original complain about the narrative du jour applies just as well to Administration supporters as to opponents.


Can you move the goalposts any faster?
8.7.2009 1:32pm
John Thacker (mail):
I don't care about AstroTurf complaints. I think that the Administration and its supporters are being highly hypocritical, just as anyone who pretends that the Administration and its supporters aren't doing exactly the same thing in choking off debate by impugning people's motives and lumping them in with the crazies.

No doubt the Bush Administration did the same thing by pretending that everyone anti-war was one of the true nutballs who were fanatic enough to organize many of the protests. It wasn't fair to lots of people who had no other good organized way to protest; they didn't necessarily agree with everything the organizers thought. But the Bush Administration at least didn't call them all AstroTurf, at least not that I saw.

The Obama Administration and its allies are committing exactly the same sorts of tactics, and are enormous hypocrites about. Having big conference calls with the SEIU and popular bloggers to coordinate top-down a response to protests, but calling the other guys "AstroTurf" but not yourself is silly.
8.7.2009 1:32pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
To me the absolute worse thing about Obamacare, and there are many things to dislike, is the technocratic "standing commission of doctors and medical experts" that are going to decide what medical procedures are "cost effective". Any proposal that requires innovation to get government approval before it proceeds is going to choke off most innovation.
I am not sure why you think that that many doctors would be involved in determining what is cost effective and what isn't. Rather, I would expect it determined by statisticians, MBAs, and maybe a couple of lawyers just to even things out.
8.7.2009 1:33pm
John Thacker (mail):
Can you move the goalposts any faster?


Sorry I'm unable to keep up with your goalpost moving. I know you're asking me to do it faster, but I just can't keep up with you.
8.7.2009 1:35pm
John Thacker (mail):

"Admitting"? That's the first time you've asserted it.


I think not, but I apologize for being unclear. But I'll take it that you do agree that the Democratic Senators, and Democratic-supporting op-ed writers are just as much part of your "narrative du jour" as the other side?
8.7.2009 1:37pm
mcbain:

"Experiment" is a foolish comparison because anything you do is "running an experiment". Letting things continue as they are is "an experiment". Changing anything is "an experiment".


If you don't know what your law is going to do, its better to put down the pen.

Your, "the new way could be better than the old way" is super weak.
8.7.2009 1:39pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
MCM, could you please stop what you're doing? I've been to other leftist blogs, and posters like you are exactly why there is no elevated "dialogue" and "discussion" over at those places. That's why you come here to meaningfully troll. Feel free to be sarcastic, snarky, or substantive, but please for the love of God do it all in one post.
8.7.2009 1:40pm
MCM (mail):
Sorry I'm unable to keep up with your goalpost moving. I know you're asking me to do it faster, but I just can't keep up with you.


Ok, I'll give you a review. You said:

Yes, it's just like dismissing people as "terrorists" or "birthers" or "AstroTurf" when they have complaints about proposed health care reforms and are none of those things. It certainly is the narrative du jour from the White House.


Then I asked:

Can you show me where the White House dismissed someone's health care policy opinions as those of a "birther"?


You were unable to provide any statement from the White House dismissing anyone as a "birther". You posted some statements by people not inside the White House and accused the White House of hypocrisy by engaging in "astroturting".

None of that is an example of where "the White House dismissed someone's health care policy opinions as those of a 'birther'". The goalposts, sir, have never moved. But you were never in sight of them in the first place.
8.7.2009 1:41pm
MCM (mail):
MCM, could you please stop what you're doing? I've been to other leftist blogs, and posters like you are exactly why there is no elevated "dialogue" and "discussion" over at those places. That's why you come here to meaningfully troll. Feel free to be sarcastic, snarky, or substantive, but please for the love of God do it all in one post.


I've not been to these "other leftist blogs" (I didn't think this was a "leftist blog"?) but I'll take your word for it.

But I apologize, I didn't realize posts were a limited resource of which I was consuming more than my fair share.
8.7.2009 1:43pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
What I don't see is the agitation on the part of the Republican party. Rather, I will suggest that the assertion that all these protests are being orchestrated by the RNC and Fox is mostly projection by those on the other side (including the White House), who did, and continue to, engage in a lot of community organizing in order to turn out their crowds.

What seems to be happening, from my point of view, is that the uprising is mostly spontaneous, or at least was. Now, it has gotten to the point that when people hear about a Town Hall meeting, they show up, without anyone pushing them to. But, the left is desperately trying to spin this as orchestrated. What I can't decide is whether they know that it isn't, and do it to try to spin it as much less spontaneous than it really is, or they don't know, but assume that since they ginned up support for Obama, etc., through a lot of organization, that those protesting had to do the same. Maybe it is a bit of both.

Why wouldn't a lot of people be upset about this? Sure, those on Medicare have been subsidized for a long time. But, as noted above by Thorley Winston, the Medicare crowd have very good reasons right now to panic. But then, why shouldn't the rest of us panic? The President has promised a bunch of contradictory goals, which means that none of them are likely to be met.
8.7.2009 1:46pm
P M (mail):

Krugman's claim that angry opposition to the Democrats' health care "reforms" is a product of racism.


Mock it all you want, but Krugman is just repeating what Lee Atwater, Ronald "states rights" Reagan's guru said:

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

Cite
8.7.2009 1:52pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
The problem with this 'astroturf' meme is that it flies in the face of all the polling numbers that show a majority of Americans deeply skeptical about this mashmash of healthcare schemes that nobody understands, much less can explain.

It would be far more worrisome if people weren't freaking out about it. This Congress has no standing left with the American people after the trillion dollar stimulus debacle. It is right that we insist on ready the fine print before they jam a program down our throats that they admit they don't read and don't understand.

At least somebody is doing any level of diligence, aside from lining behind a program the president who assures us half a dozen congressional committees have perfected and will surely compromise down this mishmash of bills into something not utterly ruiness... but that (of course) Obama can't explain very well either.

Lets keep this clear- THERE IS NO BILL. We have a bunch of conflicting ideas, some virulently hated by the American people and this government is surprised that people want answers before going into lockstep? The sheer arrogance is staggering.

This health-care promotion is so bad its no even wrong. There's nothing to even criticize because there is no plan.
8.7.2009 1:57pm
JK:

But the Bush Administration at least didn't call them all AstroTurf, at least not that I saw.


Yeah they called the "terrorist sympathizers."
8.7.2009 1:59pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Mock it all you want, but Krugman is just repeating what Lee Atwater, Ronald "states rights" Reagan's guru said:


Oh, well if a dead guy said it 30 years ago, it clearly must apply to this situation.

At least give us some parameters- is there ANY way to oppose Obama on ANYTHING that won't be criticized as racist using this logic?
8.7.2009 1:59pm
P M (mail):

But I apologize, I didn't realize posts were a limited resource of which I was consuming more than my fair share.


I think Cato was complaining that you were destroying slander with logic. This is completely unacceptable.
8.7.2009 2:01pm
JK:

MCM, could you please stop what you're doing? I've been to other leftist blogs, and posters like you are exactly why there is no elevated "dialogue" and "discussion" over at those places. That's why you come here to meaningfully troll. Feel free to be sarcastic, snarky, or substantive, but please for the love of God do it all in one post.

There are several people responding to MCM's posts, and he or she is responding in turn with unique (in the basic sense) posts. That's not a violation of any reasonable internet discussion protocol. You should be thanking him for providing the other side of the argument for so many posters here, he or she is doing it in a intelligent and basically respectful manor (with some snark, but not a bad point to snark ratio).
8.7.2009 2:03pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
A couple of questions:

Why can't older voters hold two completely contradictory ideas about government provided health-care? It's not like we haven't seen much of the same type of dissonance in other venues, with different people -- remember this survey of German public opinion? From bart's post within:

rick.felt:

Okay, the Germans are idiots.

Item 1: "89% of Germans trusted Obama to do the right thing regarding world affairs."

Item 2: "The German public does disapprove, by 37% to 54%, of Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan"

Americans have a similar disconnect between connecting Obama [Medicare?], whom they like, with his policies, which they dislike. It has only been a hundred days. The folks will eventually make the connection, which is why the Administration and Dems want to move so fast.

Don't some of you think that the responses to the posed dichotomy will vary wildly, depending on how its phrased? Most Americans aren't self-interested to simply seek the best policies for themselves, but indulge in their philosophical "fancies" at the ballot box -- that's what Bryan Caplan's well-regarded Myth of the Rational Voter addresses.

I imagine they would tend to be very ignorant of what exactly problematic government spending is, and might rather think of the word "entitlement reform" as a Republican scare tactic, while being much more concerned about much less concerns, such as earmarks. I sense some you erudite can come up with good rationalizations, but I'm suspicious that our citizenry wholly reasons on your high level.
8.7.2009 2:05pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
There are alot of typos in that last post, I'm sure of it, so if you would please excuse my rushed thinking.
8.7.2009 2:07pm
JPG:
Reason #1792 not to go with Obamacare : I heard Kenya's socialized gynecologists aren't able to provide proper long form birth certificates.
8.7.2009 2:08pm
Anon1111:

Mock it all you want, but Krugman is just repeating what Lee Atwater, Ronald "states rights" Reagan's guru said:

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

Cite



Oooh, citing Bob Herbert. Maybe you could cite someone less hateful of Republicans and more balanced, like Michael Moore.

Besides, Krugman was not "repeating" Atwater, he was, in fact, saying something different, unless cutting a program is the same thing as not enacting a program. Under that logic, opposition to cutting any program, r failing to adopt any proposed program, is really coded racism. Oppose the F-22? Racist. Want to cut corn subsidies? Racist. Oppose "National Star Wars Appreciation Day"? Racist. White people hate black people so much that they're willing to kill themselves just for the chance to kill black people! I love arguing this way - it's so easy!


Of course, the part where Atwater said "I'm not saying that", where "that" means that cutting taxes appeals to racist southerners in the 1960's because, subconsciously, it will hurt black people more than it will hurt white people, kind of ruins your idea. And also that if you have to be so "coded" that saying "cut taxes" equals "lynch black people", then you are doing away with the racial problem altogether.

If advocating any position held by Southerners in the 1960's is racist code, then you've defined racism completely out of existence. (Like NASCAR? Racist code. Like country music? Racist code. Like moon pies? Racist code. Like a strong military? Racist code. Hate communism? Racist code.)
8.7.2009 2:10pm
byomtov (mail):
AJK,

Care to elaborate?

For Laffer see here.

For more discussion see here.
8.7.2009 2:10pm
hawkins:

But they were asked whether they "oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care." If so, they should support the elimination of Medicare. And while it's true that one can logically support the elimination of Medicare but still accept benefits, the fact is that very, very few seniors oppose Medicare.


How did no one else pick up on this?
8.7.2009 2:12pm
P M (mail):

Oooh, citing Bob Herbert.


If you dispute the Atwater quote, provide evidence. Don't clutch at straws. It makes you look pathetic.
8.7.2009 2:14pm
P M (mail):

If advocating any position held by Southerners in the 1960's is racist code


Reading is fundamental.

and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

My point is that any fisking of Krugman is a fundamental fisking of the Atwater vision of the Southern Strategy that drives the Republican party today.
8.7.2009 2:16pm
P M (mail):

There are alot of typos in that last post, I'm sure of it, so if you would please excuse my rushed thinking.


Cato, please do not consume posts, especially with those that are completely vacuous and state obvious points.
8.7.2009 2:18pm
DangerMouse:
Anon1111,

Like I said, they're crying wolf. I don't think anyone really lets charges of racism bother them anymore. What's odd is that the left seems unaware that this "attack" is meaningless.
8.7.2009 2:18pm
Anon1111:


Mock it all you want, but Krugman is just repeating what Lee Atwater, Ronald "states rights" Reagan's guru said:



Oh, well if a dead guy said it 30 years ago, it clearly must apply to this situation.

At least give us some parameters- is there ANY way to oppose Obama on ANYTHING that won't be criticized as racist using this logic?



No. Follow the logic:

1. Liberals are good persons.
2. Therefore, being good persons, liberals advocate good thing.
3. If you are a good person, you must favor good things.
4. If you do not favor good things, you must not be a good person.
5. Therefore, Republicans must be the opposite of good people, since they oppose the good things that the good people favor.
6. Therefore, Republicans are bad people.
7. There must be a reason that Republicans are bad people, since people in general are not bad people.
8. Racists/sexists/homophobes/classists/religious intolerants are bad people.
9. Republicans must therefore be infected with racism/sexism/classism/homophobia/religious intolerance.

Conservatives generally think:

1. Liberals are stupid and mush-headed.
2. Some leftists hate America, the rest are stupid and mush-headed.
8.7.2009 2:19pm
Anon1111:


Oooh, citing Bob Herbert.



If you dispute the Atwater quote, provide evidence. Don't clutch at straws. It makes you look pathetic.


I didn't dispute it. I disputed your characterization of it, in the same post as I was making jest for citing a Bob Herbert article. You can dispute my characterization of the quote if you wish, but since you didn't, I must assume you agree with me.

As an aside, you could have, in fact, cited either the original interview, which would have provided the context and, more importantly, the questions he was asked that prompted the responses, or even the Wikipedia page on Atwater, which provides more context. That you cited anyone on the NYT op-ed page, let alone Bob Herbert, is a source of amusement and mirth to me.
8.7.2009 2:23pm
Anon1111:

If advocating any position held by Southerners in the 1960's is racist code



Reading is fundamental.

and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

My point is that any fisking of Krugman is a fundamental fisking of the Atwater vision of the Southern Strategy that drives the Republican party today.


Of course, you assume that Krugman's policies would help blacks more than whites. I could point to the utter desolation of the black family and complete decay in the inner-city as a result of the policies of the Great Society as evidence that, in fact, Republican positions would have been better for black people. Or, how welfare reform in the mid-1990's, opposed by right thinking liberals everywhere as an attack on the poorest among us, especially blacks, actually benefited those groups. The policies of the left designed to help the poor and minorities have done more to hurt than help, or so I believe, and so do most all to the right of center in this country.

But don't let that get in the way of your charge of racism, because, you know, I secretly hate black people, poor people, and women. In fact, right now, I am smoking a Cuban cigar (the embargo is for the other guy) that I lit with a $100 bill and drinking expensive Bordeaux while I careen through south-side Chicago in my H3 with a gun rack and dixie plates, on my way to cheat on my wife with a hooker, and hoping to scare many black women into spontaneous abortions and thereby reduce the crime rate (which Bob Herbert, in the very same article you cited, actually seems to believe that Bill Bennett thinks would be a good idea - but let's trust his judgment on the Atwater quote).
8.7.2009 2:33pm
rick.felt:
byomtov couldn't be bothered to post the whole quote, so I will.
"If you like the post office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they're run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government."


First, does anyone actually think that Art Laffer doesn't know that Medicare and Medicaid are government programs? I mean, really.

Second, while I agree that "done by the government" could modify "Medicare" and "Medicaid," that's not the only interpretation.
8.7.2009 2:36pm
JPG:
I think this thread must have broken any previous record of fallacies (on both sides) ever to appear in a VC comment section since the last presidential elections.

I'm not sure I learned anything valuable here, besides the obvious heat generated by the whole debate on health reform. If one is looking for a rational debate on the issue to make up his mind, he ought to look at previous debates (here and elsewhere, since we can't expect the pace to slow down anytime soon).
8.7.2009 2:38pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

Mock it all you want, but Krugman is just repeating what Lee Atwater, Ronald "states rights" Reagan's guru said...

P M,

One reason I doubt your progressive project is that on too many issues, I see you default to "at least we're against racism" position in lieu of reason. For example, I saw it done recently with Dave Carpenter's recent blog post, defending against the systematic libertarian critique (which I don't necessarily agree with). It was done again, in Adler's Sotomayor thread, in a comment saying to effect..."the Founders and originalism are elevated too highly, because they signed a Constitution that restricted the voting franchise to propertied white males." I thought to myself, "so what?" I suppose I'll digress a moment and explain.

They are admired, I think, because as evidenced through documents like the Federalist Papers, they dealt with the world as it was, not as they just magically wished it could be. They managed to found a system that allowed the evolution of the multicultural State, a precious gift partially enabled by the rigidity by which they interpreted fundamental rights. Whatever their faults, I find through my own personal research that their views on race-relations were much more complicated than the simplistic notions some present. Despite the fact that we've expanded the franchise, we seem to be regressing against the idealistic principles this country was founded upon. It's impossible to explain this idea within your schema of the world.

I think progressives take far too much pride in the accomplishment of Civil Rights, especially because as the blog Dissenting Justice documents, left-liberals often live in the same states that have amongst the worst records of de facto segregation. Elite left-liberals are least likely to live in the diverse neighborhoods and cultures they take so much pride in. From my personal observations, things are very different in the "racist" South. You don't practice what you preach, and then you have the temerity to wax sanctimonious over it. As a black conservative, nominal Republican, I'm afraid I'll never understand it.
8.7.2009 2:38pm
rick.felt:
If you dispute the Atwater quote, provide evidence. Don't clutch at straws. It makes you look pathetic.

I have a better idea: I see your Lee Atwater, and I raise you a Margaret Sanger.

Sanger favored legal abortion as a means to reduce the population of blacks. Therefore, anyone who today supports legal abortion does so because they're racist against blacks.
8.7.2009 2:46pm
MCM (mail):
From my personal observations, things are very different in the "racist" South. You don't practice what you preach, and then you have the temerity to wax sanctimonious over it. As a black conservative, nominal Republican, I'm afraid I'll never understand it.


Well, I grew up in a working class house in Winston-Salem, NC, and I think I agree with P M. So let's keep evaluating arguments based on ridiculous presumptions about the other guy's background, and we'll see where it gets us!
8.7.2009 2:51pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
MCM,

How is repeatedly invoking "racism" when discussing Republican dissent from Obamacare not a "ridiculous presumption about the other guy's background?" Maybe there are 1,000 African-Americans posting at Volokh.
8.7.2009 2:56pm
MCM (mail):
How is repeatedly invoking "racism" when discussing Republican dissent from Obamacare not a "ridiculous presumption about the other guy's background?" Maybe there are 1,000 African-Americans posting at Volokh.


Huh? I think there's more going on here than I care to unpack. Feel free to elaborate - if you believe it is worth using valuable internet post to do so.
8.7.2009 3:00pm
Stephen Goldstein (mail):
1) Regarding seniors and ObamaCare . . . .

An earlier commentator suggested four reasons for seniors to be opposed to ObamaCare. I agree with those, more or less, and add my fifth. While I'm a "senior," I'm also a parent and grandparent and I'm worried about my kids and grandkids. Sure, there's a certain appeal to have greater senior benefits but as a conservative, I know that someone has to pay for these and I worry about the next generation.

The high tax rates that will result from government largess will mean reduced standards of living and less opportunity for them.

2) With regard to seniors wanting their Medicare . . . .

Of course we seniors want to preserve Medicare. We've been paying into it for more than 40 years. I'll be 65 in 18 months -- I paid for that benefit! And I must say, that while I not thrilled with all aspects of it (I understand some doctors won't take new medicare patients, etc), the thought of securing commercial insurance, on my own, has not been in the plan.
8.7.2009 3:04pm

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