Saturday, October 5, 2013

Negotiable instruments

I am not paying close attention to the justifications of the Teahadis, since they are not honestly offered. However, thanks to some of my friends, the more stupid ones do get filtered up to me. Peter Lewis at Words & Ideas ( spotted this from Sen. Cornyn:

“House Republicans have repeatedly sent over legislation that would fund federal operations, but Senate Democrats have rejected each and every bill. They’re effectively arguing that the House bills are simply illegitimate because they contain policy measures that the Democrats don’t like. But what normally happens when the two parties disagree on a policy is a negotiation. It’s become disturbingly clear that the Obama-Reid shutdown is no longer about health care or spending or ideology. It’s about politics plain and simple.”
I note that some of my more backward friends (judging from their Facebook comments) are falling for this sort of twaddle. Well, jeering at twaddle is what RtO was bred to do, so let's state the obvious:

Dear Dimwit Senator:

     The time for bipartisan negotiation comes before final passage of a bill. The Affordable Care Act has been passed and (in part) adjudicated. It has been submitted to the ratification of the voters in an election in which, had they wanted to, they could have fired the people who passed the Act.

While Cornyn's nonsense may be expected to play well among the mouth-breathers of Texas, it is somewhat surprising to find better-educated people proferring the same sort of guess-which-nutshell-hides-the-pea claptrap.


  1. "The time for bipartisan negotiation comes before final passage of a bill."

    First, any bit of legislation is always up for reconsideration. Or do you think things like, say, miscegenation laws, should have been set in stone forever?

    Second, that act was rammed down our throats. If we have to destroy the country to get rid of it, so be it, as long as we can take down Obama and those that did that to us with it.

  2. Well, that's reasonable.

    Wouldn't it be a tiny bit safer to wait 14 month and go to the country with your plea? See how the voters like it?

    If there had been any genuine interest in negotiation (unlikely given what you just posted), a way to have signaled that would have been to have proposed amendments to the ACA. If you are going to define the choices as ACA/no ACA, then stop using the work negotiation.

    If that is not what you're about, then offer legislation. The House tried almost 50 times to cancel the act. Now, all of a sudden, we are supposed to believe they merely want to improve it?

    'Ramming down throats' is rather dramatic, don't you think? They had a roll call vote. That's the way we legislate in a democracy.

  3. The majority always rams legislation down the throat of the minority. There's a term for it: Tyranny of the Majority.

    Since you're in the majority, you're unable to see why I might consider it "ramming." If I were in your shoes, I'd be happy too.

  4. Not really. I don't like the ACA. We should have gone for a single-payer system.

    The cobbled together act we got was an attempt to negotiate and compromise. Got nowhere, as I'm sure you recall now I remind you.

    What I am unable to see is how you (and to an extent Skipper), both smart and reasonable men all the years I have followed you, have gotten unhinged about this one act. And it isn't even over something moralistic, like Prohibition or Abolition.

    You have gone William Lloyd Garrison on us, contra the example of Lincoln.

  5. It looked to me like "the cobbled together act we got" was the result of hordes of lobbyists and lawyers doing the cobbling to split the spoils of funneling trillions of dollars annually through the federal government. The "negotiate and compromise" was each bought-and-sold politician doing their best to deliver the goods to the hordes. And when I read (portions of) the act, that's pretty much what it looks like (to me).

    I'm unhinged about this act because: (a) it will have enormously adverse effect on me (according to me sources - hopefully they're wrong); and (b) it rapidly accelerated the country towards being totallypink. The messages is loud and clear to me: this country couldn't care less whether people like me feel like we have a place in this society and we're going to be fleeced for whatever we can be taken for while our opportunities are going to be limited at every turn.

  6. Boo-freakin'-hoo. I fail to see how providing health insurance coverage to someone born diabetic harms you.

    I kinda like our country, especially since we started letting colored folks vote, and stopped telling Jews they couldn't move to the swell neighborhoods, etc. The country you want to return to was well lost, I think. Even if we forget the racism, it was never a place where everyone had a chance to get ahead if only he kept his clean nose to the grindstone.

    Even in your almost wholly economic scheme, the old US was a failure.

  7. "I fail to see how providing health insurance coverage to someone born diabetic harms you."

    Because then I can't buy things for my children. Yes, yes, I know, according to folks like you I shouldn't've had children so I wouldn't have to worry about it.

    Look. As part of the majority, and under the construct of might-makes-right, you have every right to screw me and you're obviously extremely happy to do so. I'm obviously not going to be happy about it and I'm obviously not going to be supportive of it except to the extent that I'm forced to be by the legislation that you force upon me.

    I didn't use to have a problem with pulling my weight in terms of taxes. I do now because of the crap being forced down my throat.

  8. So, support single payer, cut health expenditures by half, and get better results. What's the downside on that?

  9. Since I don't believe either the cut health expenditures in half or the get better results, there's no upside.

    I actually do support single payer for catastrophic coverage (though I would do it at the state level, making it 50 payer). It's called the donut model: government pays for catastrophic (greater than $10,000 yr) and preventative (that's the inside and outside of the donut); and people are responsible for everything else - they can buy insurance, pay as they go, go without until it becomes catastrophic, whatever (that's the donut itself). But no regulations at all for the donut! No tax breaks, no employer break, nothing.

  10. Might work. Worth a try. Anything would be better than what the Republicans want to go back to.

    How would you deal with people inflating/delaying care until it becomes catastrophic?

  11. That's the point of the inside of the donut. Identify those things in particular that might become catastrophic for a large number of people and pay preventative for those. There's really not all that many conditions like that. However, if not analyzed strictly from an objective cost perspective, it'll be tempting for the government advocates to just throw everything into preventative.

  12. Diabetes is one, and there's plenty of that.

  13. It's interesting that you do find a role for government. We market skeptics certainly see one, since private business exists only to maximize profits, and the very best way for a health insurer to up profits is to stop paying claims.

  14. I find a role in government for a number of things and don't find a role for the federal government for a huge number of things.