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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why are the Democrats having such difficulties passing their bill?

I still think that, in the end, the Democrats will get their bill through. They have the majorities and the will to do whatever they can to push it in. However, it is still somewhat puzzling as to why this has become so difficult that they have had to resort to all sorts of formerly maneuvers to pass it and have had to arrange unsightly payoffs to recalcitrant Democrats to get them on board. Thus we have the stories of three states - Florida, Nevada, and New York, exempted from the cuts in Medicare Advantage simply because their senators inserted those exemptions into the final bill. Why, if what the Democrats were planning was so necessary and so good for people do they have to resort to this last-minute ugly deal-making? Why are the polls showing that the public just doesn't like their plan and wishes they'd start over? Why do they have to rush this through this week rather than let their members go home for Easter and perhaps, gasp, hear from their constituents? Is it just because that is the way politics is always done and we're just seeing behind the veil this time? Or is there something more to it?

I think that the real problem is that Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al are trying to move the country beyond where it is naturally.
IBD is exactly right when they point out
that this entire debate over health care is also a proxy debate over our concept of the role of government. Since the majority of the American populace is skeptical of Washington's role in the economy, that is why we keep getting poll results showing a desire to scrap the plan for ObamaCare and start over with a plan that doesn't put government at the center of everything.

The large majorities that the Democrats have in Congress led them to choose to design their ideal plan themselves and forgo Republican input. That pulled them further to the left in their vision. And they decided that they felt so deeply about abortion that they needed to bypass the understanding that this nation has had since the 1970s that taxpayers should not have to fund abortions. If the Democrats would simply adopt the same policy that we've always had, she wouldn't be straining to find those last few votes since she would have the Stupak Democrats on board just as they were on the original House votes.

And Michael Gerson points to a final revealing aspect of their approach which reveals that they prefer to begin an entirely new entitlement than to reform our existing entitlement crisis.
Third, we have learned that the president and congressional leaders are not serious about entitlement reform. The problem here is not only accounting tricks and the assumption of unprecedented courage on the part of future Congresses when it comes to Medicare cuts -- though these are bad enough. The main source of irresponsibility is that the revenue-gaining measures in the health bill -- particularly Medicare cuts and taxing "Cadillac" health plans -- would be used to create a new entitlement instead of repairing an existing one. The greatest cost of the current reform is its opportunity cost.

The unfunded liability of America's current entitlements is more than $100 trillion. Medicare will eventually require a massive infusion of cash under a congressional entitlement fix. Both the Congressional Budget Office and the Medicare actuary have pressed the point that Medicare savings can be used to pay future Medicare benefits or to finance new spending outside Medicare -- not both. When the entitlement crisis arrives, Obama will have already spent much of the resources required to meet it, leaving growth-killing new taxes as the main remaining option. A value-added tax, anyone?

For some elected Democrats, the prospect of expanding health coverage is a moral goal worth the compromise of any principle and the adoption of any necessary method. But they need to enter their vote with open eyes. The passage of this legislation would decisively confirm an image of the Democratic Party that many have worked to change: partial to big government, pro-abortion and fiscally reckless.
And amazingly enough, the American people, by and large, understand all this and don't want this plan. But the Democrats just don't care. They have been wanting federal control over health care for decades and they're going to ram this through like it or not. And we'll all be paying and paying for their ideological myopia.

And, as Fred Barnes points out, passing ObamaCare will be just the beginning of our battles over health care. The Democrats will want to use this as just as the beginning for a push to even more federal control. But they're going to be running into the financial realities that they're trying to obfuscate now.
If you think the fights over funding of Medicare and Medicaid in recent years have been unpleasant, wait until the funding battles over ObamaCare start. It's all but inevitable that they would occur every year given the way Mr. Obama has proposed to finance his health-care program.

ObamaCare low-balls its cost and exaggerates the means for paying for it. "Our proposal is paid for," the president insisted in a speech in Ohio on Monday. It's not. The financing includes billions that are obligated elsewhere. It claims to cut the budget deficit by $118 billion but achieves this by borrowing hundreds of billions more.

At the same time, Mr. Obama's plan offers a cornucopia of new benefits: free preventive care, coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, guaranteed issue, no lifetime or annual benefit caps, and subsidies for insuring 30 million people now uninsured. All of this would increase the use of health-care services. The tendency is to underestimate just how large this increase might be. This was true with Medicare and Medicaid, whose costs have ballooned far beyond initial projections. The annual struggles in Congress over funding for ObamaCare would be intense.
Of course, the Democrats will say that such acrimony is all the fault of the Republicans, but that will be to ignore how they made their choices at the beginning that have led us to this divisive moment.


Bachbone said...

The Founders' papers are going to become a lot more widely read in the very near future. And the fact that many states are on the verge of suing over ObamaCare's unconstitutional provisions suggests the "too big to fail" mentality is dead. People are willing to help those who can't help themselves, but not bail out those who consciously dug themselves into holes they can't get out of.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

"The Republican Party would like to take over the Tea Party and use it to gain power," Tanya Bachand said. "It's the other way around and they don't know what's coming."

"Their reckoning is coming."

The GOP and individual Republican candidates are actively seeking Tea Party endorsements and votes. "At every meeting we have, we see local and state representatives of the Republican Party counting heads and trying to drum up support from our members," said Nighta Davis, organizer of the North Georgia Patriots. "For six years the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House under Bush and they could have solved this country's problems. But they did nothing of the kind."

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Some say a showdown between social and fiscal conservative groups may be inevitable. "Fiscal conservatives want to limit the size of government, social conservatives want to use government to further their agenda," Henson said. "That will likely cause problems."

The other problem is the extreme fringe of the Tea Party movement, which was evident at a demonstration outside the Detroit auto show on a snowy day in January. More than half of the 20 or so protesters held signs protesting government bailouts. The rest held placards with black and white pictures of President Obama's face, with a Hitler mustache added.

Within minutes, both groups had moved to opposite corners of their allotted patch of concrete. Andrew Moylan of the National Taxpayers Union said with evident discomfort he had tried unsuccessfully to get rid of the Obama-as-Hitler posters. "I oppose Obama's policies vehemently, I don't agree with what he is trying to do," he said. "But I believe that he is well-intentioned, even if he is dead wrong."

"Comparing him to Hitler is not only wrong on so many levels, it also reflects badly on us because all the pictures in the papers and on TV will be of them," he added. "Our message will get lost in that."

Those who argued here that Obama is like Hitler say that healthcare reform would grant doctors the power of life and death over patients, as under the Nazi regime.

The movement has also attracted members of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which supports some white supremacist causes, and from the John Birch Society and the LaRouchies. In a February 19 column in the Wall Street Journal, former Bush adviser Karl Rove described both as "fringe groups."

"If tea party groups are to maximize their influence on policy, they must now begin the difficult task of disassociating themselves from cranks and conspiracy nuts," Rove wrote. "This includes 9/11 deniers, 'birthers' who insist Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and militia supporters espousing something vaguely close to armed rebellion."

mark said...

Besides mismanaging the issue themselves, dems have had to contend with lies regarding death panels and government take-overs, and hypocrisy surrounding medicare cuts and the use of reconciliation and other tactics that repubs have used.
Unfortunately, the fear-mongering that propeled Bush to a second term is still working on certain segments of society.
Hopefully, this bill will pass, and even if it costs more than the CBO scores indicate, it is certainly more responsible fiscally than the Bush medicare bill (adding at least $400B) and the tax cuts (another $400B) to the deficit.

tfhr said...


This is a thread about how the Dems have resorted to extreme, even unconstitutional measures to force their bill for signature. It's not about the Tea Party.

Be polite enough to stick to the topic presented by Betsy.

Pat Patterson said...

The people with the posters of Obama were followers of Lyndon LaRouche and can hardly be considered part of the tea party movement any more than Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party can be considered part of the Democratic Pary or even MoveOn. Though A.N.S.W.E.R seems perfectly compatible with the Democrats.

Skay said...

"hypocrisy surrounding medicare cuts"

What hypocrisy Mark?

This morning I heard several Doctors discussing what is going to happen to their profession --and all said that they may have to stop accepting new medicare patients since the amount paid to them now for visits and procedures is lower than the cost of the visit.

Many are going to retire now and some will retire in the next couple of years. There will be a shortage or General Practitioners--younger Doctors will go into other fields.

More patients--fewer Doctors--equals rationing. Who gets to see the Doctor and who does not--how long will you have to wait?

One thing that will be available is tax paid abortion--so the government(through our taxes) will be killing the babies by medical a procedure and the elderly by neglect(rationing). Will they be able to give the elderly the care that they need with 500 billion taken out of Medicare to give to new patients coming into the government system? No.

12,000 new IRS agents to be hired to be sure we have the correct insurance -according to the government -and if not--are we paying the correct fines.
The expect to be taking in quite a bit more tax money(in the bill) so they may even need more agents.

This bill is fiscally responsible?
That is funny.

The size of this bill says it all.
How about real tort reform??
Of course--it is still a work in progress-who knows what else is being put in there behind Democrat closed doors.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

"Deem and Pass", also known as a Self Executing Rule:

A self-executing rule is procedural measure used by the U.S. House of Representatives to approve legislation. If the full House votes to approve a legislative rule that contains such a provision, the House then deems a second bill as also approved without requiring a separate vote, as long as that second bill is specified in the rule. That is, if the vote on the rule passes, then the second bill is passed as part of the rule vote. When considering a bill for debate, the House must first adopt a rule for the debate as proposed by the House Rules Committee. This rule comes in the form of a simple resolution, which specifies which issues or bills are to be considered by the House. If the House votes to approve a rule that contains a self-executing provision, it simultaneously agrees to dispose of a separate matter as specified by the rule. For example, modifications or amendments can be approved while underlying bill is approved at the same time.[1]

The procedure is often used to streamline the legislative process, and has been used 85 times in the past five years.[2][3][1] Some legal scholars question whether the process is constitutional (see Legal arguments, below).[4][5]

The self-executing rule began in the 1930s.[4] From the 95th-98th Congresses (1977-1984) the self-executing rule was used eight times, 20 times under Speaker O’Neill (Dem) in the 99th Congress and 18 times under Speaker Wright (Dem) in the 100th Congress. Under Speaker Gingrich (R) there were 38 self-executing rules in the 104th Congress and 52 in the 105th Congress (1995-1998). Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) there were 40 self-executing rules in the 106th Congress(R), 42 in the 107th Congress (R) and 30 in the 108th Congress (R) (1999-2007).[6]

In March 2010, the procedure is one option being considered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) to pass the United States Senate health care reform bill, H.R. 3590.[3][7]

Some analysts have questioned the constitutionality of the self-executing rule.[4] Some lawyers and public advocacy groups cite the 1998 Clinton v. City of New York Supreme Court case related to the line item veto,[8] and the 1983 Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983) case related to the legislative veto to support these claims.[5][9] Others point to a 2006 case before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia regarding the Deficit Reducation Act, which, in part, ruled in favor of the self-executing provision.[10][4] That ruling was upheld on appeal in 2007, but never argued before the Supreme Court.[11]

Tacitus Voltaire said...

The GOP and individual Republican candidates are actively seeking Tea Party endorsements and votes. "At every meeting we have, we see local and state representatives of the Republican Party counting heads and trying to drum up support from our members," said Nighta Davis, organizer of the North Georgia Patriots. "For six years the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House under Bush and they could have solved this country's problems. But they did nothing of the kind."

tfhr said...


You've really got that copy and paste thing down and without you, what would we ever do if Wikipedia falls down?

Seriously, do you have any ideas of your own? (I'm not counting your "repeal of the Fourth Amendment" announcement)

Tacitus Voltaire said...

How about real tort reform??

the way this term is usually used is to describe federal laws restricting the amount that somebody could get in a civil suit if they were harmed in a medical procedure. this would be, of course, government regulation of civil suits and government restrictions on an individual's ability to be compensated for damages

Gahrie said...

Dateline Washington D.C.June 2010:

In a surprise news conference, citing statistics that show that millions of Americans lack access to daily newspapers, today President Obama, surrounded by Congressional Democrats, signed into law a mandate for all Americans to subscribe to the New York Times.” While it is true that this bill was passed in secrecy yesterday by Congressional Democrats, in the interests of transparency the bill was posted on the internet this morning, and Congressional Republicans briefed on the bill this afternoon", announced President Obama as he signed the bill into law.

mark said...

What hypocrisy regarding medicare cuts? Republicans have been favor of medicare cuts. Now that a dem proposes it, it's "killing granny".

Beyond that, the "death panels" charge that is still repeated is disgraceful. We need to have a frank, mature discussion about the huge amount of money being spent the last few months of a person's life. Thanks to Palin and other shrill idiots, nobody from either party will go near that again.

I did not claim the bill is fiscally responsible. That remains to be seen. I said it was more responsible than the Bush's medicare prescription plan. He hid the true costs until it passed. I remember some grumbling about that, but no outrage by republicans.

Sorry, but given some of your incredibly callous comments regarding respect for your fellow-Americans (unrepentantly dismissing millions of men, women and children as "undeserving"), I question your commitment to anyone's life besides your own and a small circle. You sound a bit like one of those faux-Christians who claim to cherish the sactity of life only until the child is born. Then their on their own.

Any evidence to support the tax-payer funded abortions or the hiring of 12,000 IRS agents?

Skay said...

"Any evidence to support the tax-payer funded abortions or the hiring of 12,000 IRS agents?"

You must not be watching the news. There are people actually reading what parts of the bill that are available.

I hardly think that you are in the position to jucge or comment on my Christianity, Mark. I will leave it at that.

In fact, the total breadth of arrogance and ignorance shown in your comment about someone you do not know is breathtaking.

Pat Patterson said...

Cuts in Medicare when the largest recent expansion was during Bush's presidency? Besides its not a cut when the argument is over a 5% or a 10% expansion for one particular year.

mark said...

You forgot to provide a link for your claims regarding taxpayer-funded abortion and IRS agents.

Your indignation at questioning your "Christianity" is ironic. You have never been shy about judging the patriotism of myself or others here who dared to criticize Bush or speak out against torture. You have called our president a Marxist (putting you on the outermost fringe of the fringe.) Worst of all, you called all the millions of recipients of stimulus funds "undeserving". One has to be hateful or unthinking to make such a callous statement (I suspect you're in the latter). Either way, no true Christian (or any decent human being) would say such a thing. Perhaps you'll consider your words more carefully next time.

tfhr said...

Hell hath no fury like a preachy liberal, eh mark?

The tone of your commentary is disgusting.

Skay said...

"You have called our president a Marxist "

I had no idea that he would prove me right so soon.

We know where most of the money from the stimulus is going--in fact the very crooked ACORN is once again going to receive the payoff money originally targeted for them in the bill.
I do not remember using the word "undeserving"--but in this case the word fits. There are some cases where the money helped --but the bill has basically put our children in debt for Democrat payoffs.

" Either way, no true Christian (or any decent human being) would say such a thing."

Socialism is not Christianity Mark.

"Perhaps you'll consider your words more carefully next time."

Take your own advice.

mark said...

As you know, my comment wasn't about your criticism of socialism. It was about your blanket statement condemnation about recipients of stimulus money. I'm glad you've modified that to acknowledge that (at least some of) the funds have been put to good use. Good for you!

Not sure if the guy who mocked a dying man (and called him a son of a bitch the day he died) should be criticizing the "tone" of commentary.
But thanks for the laugh.

tfhr said...


I went through Betsy's archive of the week including 25 August 2009, the day Ted Kennedy died, and I could not find where I called him a son of a bitch. Not on that day or any day, but then you have always given accuracy a wide birth.

I did find where I called him a bastard after he died:


You're so sensitive.

Does it bother you at all that his "colleagues" on the left have hardly allowed the body to cool before they dragged it through the streets with an Obama sticker on it?

If you think I've mocked a man that used his family name, wealth, and influence to evade justice for the negligent homicide (and that is giving him some benefit of the doubt) of his passenger, just wait until I get around to some of the finery in his political resume.

That people can fawn over that bastard because his brothers were murdered is just amazing to me. And before you start off on another crying jag over my bad manners, just consider the Ed Klein comments provided above by Skay. Bad taste? Mockery? Yeah, that pretty well describes the man but it's still too generous.

(Skay's comments were about the disclosure of Kennedy's habit of asking if people had heard any good Chappaquiddick jokes lately)

And I did find where I called him a low life scumbag when discussing "the finery of his political resume":

....when a low life scumbag...Ted Kennedy, with all of his power and access...put his personal political ambitions ahead of the country...Ted Kennedy, hopeful Presidential aspirant, approached Yuri Andropov with an offer to help counter American foreign policy, he proved to me that he was as responsible and clear-headed as a Senator as he was as a driver.

Read this article for starters:

Here's a few "highlights", if you want to call them that:

"[Kennedy]...proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. 'The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,' the memorandum stated. 'These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.'"

"Kennedy would make certain the networks gave Andropov air time--and that they rigged the arrangement to look like honest journalism."

I think foxmarks put it all into context with this comment about Ted Kennedy and the use of his name after death:

foxmarks said...

When his legacy is used as justification for legislation, that legacy is properly put into the public discourse. It becomes a premise of the argument, and all premises must be tested before an argument is proven sound.

Maybe mark nobly wanted some respect and reverence, but to honor Ted’s perseverance and courage, I am not going to withdraw from the fight because someone’s feelings might get hurt.

His legacy is apt, perhaps, because good intentions (like free healthcare) usually have hideous costs. Let’s look at everyone who suffered at Ted’s hands, not just those who took Ted’s handouts.

I think Ted Kennedy makes a much better ex-human than human.

That last line was a nice play on mark's snotty back handed remark about George W. Bush.

If you want a civil tone, try not to provoke hostility as you have done in this and so many threads with your bad manners.

mark said...

Thanks for correcting me.
You called him a bastard. Not a son of a bitch. A bastard. The day that even Rushbo and Beck had the decency to hold fire, you called him a bastard.

Thanks again. I'm always trying to improve myself, so this really helps.

Have a swell day.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Socialism is not Christianity

certainly not, but i don't believe you could successfully come up with definitions for either word

who would like to show us that they are not throwing the word 'socialism' around without knowing what it means?

tfhr said...


Here's a tissue.

Skay said...

Are you a socialsit TV?

Skay said...

so·cial·ism   /ˈsoʊʃəˌlɪzəm/ Show Spelled[soh-shuh-liz-uhm] Show IPA
1.a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2.procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3.(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

congratulations, skay - you actually looked up the definition in a dictionary! good for you!

no, i don't consider myself a socialist. actually, i am, among other things, a small business owner

note that it says "vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole"

now, while it is true that the government currently holds %55 of GM stock, for the meantime, it is not true that the government is "controlling" GM

as for other actions that the bush administration took at the end of their term, and that obama continued at the beginning of his, in regard to banks, insurance companies, and automobile manufacturers -

it was to lend them money to prop up these private enterprises that, as you will notice, remain private (i.e., not owned or controlled by government). lending money to banks and insurance companies to help them stay in business would have to be the opposite of socialism, eh?

the health insurance reform bill that the house passed last night will funnel about $100 billion a year of tax money into PRIVATE insurance companies. the "public option" plan never made it into law. the only thing that was "socialized" under this bill was payment to PRIVATE insurance companies to help poorer families pay for health insurance

and if you are angry that, according to the HCR bill passed last night, the tax dollars of people making over $250k/yr are being used to pay for health insurance for poor children, that's something else to talk about

tfhr said...


And the PRIVATE (I'm so impressed with your recent discovery of the shift key that I had to borrow that) insurance companies can do ANYTHING they want with that money, right? Or do they have to do what the government instructs them to do?

TV, those poor kids...does that include 26 year-olds? Or just the ones that would have qualified for CHIP/Medicaid anyway?

So if GM wanted to produce a twelve cylinder gas hog called an Obamamobile (similar sounding to the defunct Oldsmobile line), do you think the federal government might have something to say about that? Is that "loan" to GM based on the notion that it is too big to fail or because the UAW and other unions involved in the decline of American automobile are too big to fail?

TV, you said:

"no, i don't consider myself a socialist. actually, i am, among other things, a small business owner"

So are you a "Progressive", "among other things"?

Pat Patterson said...

Gee, according to Rev Sharpton, one of Obama's staunches supporters, the US did indeed vote for socialism in the last election. Now either he is full of hot air, which since Tawana Brawley is probably true, or what passed for a middle of the road view of Obama and another of his admirers TV, they misrepresented their views.

Skay said...

The government has also taken over the studen loan program as part of the healthcare bill. They need the interest they will make off the students to go into funding the monstrosity healthcare bill they just passed. What is the next takeover?

How many employees do you provide healthcare for in your small business TV?