BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Should Obama betray self-doubt?

Mark Mardell | 19:15 UK time, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Obama_press_conference.jpgWe've just witnessed what must be one of the most extraordinary presidential appearances ever. At times, it felt more like therapy than a news conference.

President Obama, looking rather grey and subdued, came up with all the stuff I expected: jobs, understanding people's frustration, listening to the voice of the people, working together with Republicans and accepting responsibility for the defeat.

He then was asked how it felt when he was talking to friends who'd been defeated, perhaps because of him.

"It feels bad," he said.

Near the end of the news conference, he was asked if he had become out of touch. He hesitated and thought for seconds before he replied. He admitted he could get trapped inside the White House bubble and that it was difficult to balance the responsibilities of the office with meeting people.

"One of the challenges we have to think about is, how do I meet my responsibilities here in the White House, but still have that opportunity to engage with the American people on a day-to-day basis and give them confidence that I'm listening to them?" he said.

He spoke of his emotions when he read letters from voters every night, but observed, perhaps rather bitterly, that there were no cameras on hand to capture those moments. He was reflective, introspective and even seemed to doubt his own ability.

He added that nobody had questioned his leadership when he was on the campaign trail.

"They got a pretty good look at me up close and personal. And they were able to lift the hood and kick the tires, and I think they understood that my story was theirs," he said.

But, of course, he wasn't a leader then, just a candidate. He said that whenever he met people he felt much more optimistic - he just didn't look it.

Is this a calculated recalibration? I just don't know. It seemed from the heart, but the best politicians are often the best actors. Sometimes it is as calculating to show the real you, as to disguise it.

But I just don't know whether this will help him. In America, you can certainly tear up like John Boehner, especially when talking about family and the American dream. You can confess to sin but perhaps not to mistakes.

Showing self-doubt, a lack of confidence and insecurity may not be the path back to power.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 8:45pm on 03 Nov 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Did Obama really feels self doubt; there was no way he could come to the podium expressing smiling self-confidence.
    Therapy? Well, there is a type of passive agressive behavior where you beat yourself up, and therefore others around you become reluctant to beat you up.
    Personally, I think Obama is arrogant.
    Yep, he came up with all those things you'd expect
    - unemployment
    - understanding people's frustration,
    - listening to the voice of the people,
    - working together with Republicans and
    - accepting responsibility for the defeat.
    Sounds a little like I KNOW your pain (i.e. cerebrally) ; I understand your pain (i.e. cerebrally), and I accept that I've let you down (cerebrally)...but the emotion never came through for me. The speech sounded cold, scripted, calculating.
    He then was asked how it felt when he was talking to friends who'd been defeated, perhaps because of him. Well, what was he goiung to say: "I felt wonderful, on top of the world!"
    "It feels bad." he said.
    Near the end of the news conference, he was asked if he had become out of touch. He hesitated and thought for a few seconds...He admitted he could get trapped inside the White House bubble and that it was difficult to balance the responsibilities of the office with meeting people. Really? An odd choice of words here: "trapped inside the White House bubble". What does this mean? Does he have handlers who only let him out now and then to play? He's the President for God's sake! If he's trapped inside the white house, that's where he prefers to be - not meeting with people whose questions he cannot likely answer. This is not a man who can easily accept that he does not have all the answers.
    "One of the challenges = opportunity to engage with the American people on a day-to-day basis and give them confidence that I'm listening to them?"
    "Give them the confidence that he's listening to them..." Well, isn't he really listening to them, hasn't he really listened to them, or is that he just wants the American people to believe that he really listens to them?
    He spoke of his emotions when he read letters from voters every night, but observed, perhaps rather bitterly, that there were no cameras on hand to capture those moments. This is the President! There was nothing to stop him from having evening fireside chats where he emotionally answered some of these letters.
    He was reflective, introspective and even seemed to doubt his own ability. I doubt that. He added that nobody had questioned his leadership when he was on the campaign trail. Maybe, he wasn't really listening, or was listening instead to all the wonderful, amazing compliments.
    Is this a calculated recalibration?
    Yes.
    The words were right, but a man who speaks from the heart doesn't have the names of reporters he wants to call upon written on a notepad.
    Obama's arrogance penetrates every word he speaks ("Let me make this perfectly clear! Make no mistake!!"). He doesn't know how to disguise his arrogance. Personally, I find it repelling.
    Was there a confession in what Obama said? He took responsibility; if he hadn't taken responsibility, he would've looked pretty damned silly.
    I'm eager for more postings so that I can see what others thought about the Obama performance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 8:46pm on 03 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    "Showing self-doubt, a lack of confidence and insecurity may not be the path back to power."

    It never was and it never will be.


    Perhaps he feels let down by the false sense of popular support that an election campaign can instill in a candidate. After all, rallies are not exactly objective ways to gauge the attitude of the population, at large. Speeches at such rallies are nothing more than preaching to choirs. Again, not much of an opportunity for arguments or counterpoints. Perhaps he took this sense of false reassurance with him into the White House and none of his Cabinet members dared to throw some cold water on it. Well, the public did so now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 8:49pm on 03 Nov 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Well hopefully in two years time the US will be shot of him.

    2nd worst President of the modern era (after the appalling Jummy Carter).

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 8:51pm on 03 Nov 2010, TellitAsItis wrote:

    Well, he was landed with mission almost impossible - the biggest financial shambles since the Great Depression (not his fault) and TWO wars, (not his fault either). And as he pointed out, Reagan, Clinton and Bush junior ALL got stuffed at the mid-term elections after their own first election.

    But he hasn't been tough enough on big money or on Israel. From what I've read, the rich insurance companies are quite relaxed about the health reform, which doesn't sound good! Sometimes you have to "kick ass" as they say. And in his position he was going to get it in the neck from half the country WHATEVER he did so he could have gone a lot harder in certain areas; it would have made no difference to the hate factor ...... That banks are already paying vast bonuses again is certain to disgust the average American struggling to make ends meet. But in the press conference he was honest (plus points) but a little bit rambling at times ...... he can pull this round, especially if the Republicans are too negative .. in a crisis, you have to "pull that car out of the ditch together" as he so quaintly said.

    But on the whole, we are a bit disappointed, aren't we?

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 8:52pm on 03 Nov 2010, treetop91 wrote:

    I just love that comment from Obama, we are listening to the people ! Would this be as Gordon Brown was listening to the voters too ? Their indoctrinated response is ALWAYS to re-affirm what they originally thought and their need to get the message across better to the so called public who clealry didnt understand them enough. This is why the tea party can do so well,because they just do not listen and are programmed to ignore voters until just before an election and a few,brief hours after each election.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 8:53pm on 03 Nov 2010, moderate_one wrote:

    I totally disagree. I would not call this self-doubt, rather humility. Some of the strongest people I know are also the most humble. I did not vote for Obama, but comments like this demand my respect for him. It would be refreshing to see all political leaders (Rep or Dem) occasionally reevaluate themselves as representatives of the people and move forward with a fresh perspective.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 9:09pm on 03 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    President Obama is extremely disappointed. There's not much he can say. Just has to lick his wounds and swallow his pride.

    But its not like he's the first or will be the last President who has such happen to him, as history clearly proves with Clinton and Bush.
    Sometimes history repeats itself.

    Although, I do imagine he is especially disappointed that his old Senate seat went to Repub Mark Kirk, of which I, myself, actually did vote for, (the first time I have ever voted Repub in my life) although Gov. I voted Dem Quinn, which it is too close to call, so it may be a month or so until we find out who our Gov. is.

    Anyhew, it would be really hard to watch your old bb friend lose your former seat and all that, after the Blago shenanigans. I imagine it is shocking for Obama, as he underestimated the rural and country folk that live all across the state. Chicago is highly populated, but rural country folk are spread out and cover more land mass...and of course, we love to vote.

    I voted for Kirk because that way we are more balanced- one of each party- and I am hoping that this will create a field of moderation and compromise in which our Congress can find a way to create jobs and decrease unemployment, as to do so would make whoever very, very popular. I think Congress knows that the American people are tired of political games and that now that they are elected, we want them to do their job the best they can and resist the temptation for mudslinging and name-calling, as they don't have to worry about elections and can finally focus on helping America.

    As for President Obama, a leader is proven not just by how they lead in the good times, but by how they lead in the bad times, as well. If President Obama can get some rest, summon his strength in the morning, drink some extra coffee and find a way to compromise with GOP without losing himself in the process, he will prove to Americans and to the world that he is not a quitter, that he does not give up when times get tough and that he is tougher than people give him credit for.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 9:11pm on 03 Nov 2010, GrahamPollCrackers wrote:

    I believe the most revealing part of this press conference was that Obama thinks his policies were not to blame. The country was against his health care takeover yet he and the Democrats in Congress shoved it down our throats anyway, because they could.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 9:27pm on 03 Nov 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    Obama deliberates over a decision and he's called ponderous.
    He makes a quick decision and he's called reckless.
    If he takes a strong stand he's partisan.
    If he takes a middle ground he's a ditherer.
    He even dares open his mouth and he must be lying.
    And even if he does something right, the style in which he does it is arrogant.
    He's a socialist-fascist-communist-totalitarian-dictator-Nazi.
    And he needs to put his big-boy pants on and man up.
    There, half of you out there don't even have to post now. I said it all for you.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 9:29pm on 03 Nov 2010, mariein wrote:

    I see a man completely out of touch. He's in a "bubble" of his own making. He might as well have his hands over his ears. Who is he talking to??

    “One of the challenges we have to think about is, how do I meet my responsibilities here in the White House, but still have that opportunity to engage with the American people on a day-to-day basis and give them confidence that I'm listening to them?"

    Here’s an idea: You engage the American people by how you meet your responsibilities in the White House.

    ___________________________

    “..WE have to think about is...”

    HE’s the freakin’ president.
    ___________________________

    “He added that nobody had questioned his leadership when he was on the campaign trail.”
    “They got a pretty good look at me up close and personal.”
    Is he blaming his voters for voting for him?
    ___________________________

    “And they were able to lift the hood and kick the tires,”

    Oh, good, more metaphors from the speaker.

    ___________________________

    “and I think they understood that my story was theirs.”
    Wrongo - the first time you said it, and still.
    ___________________________

    He’s got to be done for. What Democrat is going to put him on their ticket in 2012? (Although I mustn’t underestimate what graphic-and-other designs money can buy.)
    Speaking of 2012, I wonder if candidates will be falling all over themselves to refresh our memories of how they were associated with the Tea Party in 2010. Just speculating what the two big parties will do and what the tea leaves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 9:31pm on 03 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    President Obama, maybe we voted in some fresh faces, but you are still the President and America needs you to stay strong.

    Especially with people like these jokers running around...
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11681920

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 9:32pm on 03 Nov 2010, carolyn-lasvegas wrote:

    The Presidency should not be a popularity contest. We have Hollywood for that (and sometimes we confuse the two arenas). His performance was not moving or emotional (surprise!), and everyone is looking for him to fall apart, but that's just not what Obama does. This is a big and extremely diverse country and with expectations all over the spectrum, his performance in a news conference won't satisfy everyone. Yeah, he is clearly arrogant and out of touch. He was this way throughout his campaign and he still won by a large majority. Get used to it, America. Our President is also intelligent and keenly aware of the economic, environmental and cultural issues facing America and he would like to solve some of them. The real question is will Obama, whatever his demeanor, be able to effectively govern? Will Boehner's House and McConnell's strengthened Senate minority just stonewall everything Obama wants to do? Can they all grow up and work together or will the bullying, name calling, grandstanding and ideological blathering just go on as America sinks into oblivion?

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 9:42pm on 03 Nov 2010, Anarcho-libertarian wrote:

    3. At 8:49pm on 03 Nov 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:
    Well hopefully in two years time the US will be shot of him.

    2nd worst President of the modern era (after the appalling Jummy Carter).

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    You got that right.

    I don't think Obama has any real humility or self doubt. If he had he wouldn't have allowed expectations to run quite so far out of control when he was campaigning. Remember his Berlin rally : lamentable !

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 10:00pm on 03 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #9

    "And even if he does something right, the style in which he does it is arrogant."

    I think the population's voting shows that the majority thinks he hasn't done much (if anything) right.


    "There, half of you out there don't even have to post now. I said it all for you."


    Your maxim would work perfectly on your own assertion though. It is wrong AND it is arrogant. Perfect! :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 10:00pm on 03 Nov 2010, blefuscu wrote:

    Now we will see if he has got character or not.

    Fine words and glowing intentions are never enough.

    Results are needed and, to date, none are apparent.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 10:07pm on 03 Nov 2010, moionfire wrote:

    Not really. Obama should focus on:

    1. Jobs
    2. Ending Housing foreclosures
    3. Jobs
    4. Infrastructure
    5. Jobs
    6. Ending housing foreclosures


    If he can solve these problems, nothing else will matter. He needs to hire someone who sole purpose is to advertise all of his legislative successes. For example, many people don't know that their taxes actually went DOWN....

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 10:14pm on 03 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    Yes, he was caught in the White House bubble. No, he did not listen to his supporters, nor did he ever make an open appeal for their aid in handling tough problems. He just sent us e-mails and asked for money. The reformer we elected became a business-as-usual president. There were no reforms. The stupid wars go on. There is no attempt to address the concerns of the Middle East. And he signed a disastrously expensive new health bill that fell far short of what he promised, feeling, I guess, that he promised a new health-care bill and had to deliver. He lost his courage, he lost his fire, and he lost his faith. He also lost his sense of humor. He settled for what he thought was "presidential," whatever that is. Was he listening to political hacks?

    The outcome of the election is totally his fault, and we must suffer for it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 10:22pm on 03 Nov 2010, blefuscu wrote:

    16. At 10:07pm on 03 Nov 2010, moionfire wrote:

    "For example, many people don't know that their taxes actually went DOWN...."

    but simultaneously,

    State and local tax increases occurred at the same time and health insurance premiums ate up extra after-tax pay so that the ordinary American tax payer saw nothing.

    PS He borrowed to cover his cuts but of course using Bernanke's QE billions inflation forced all other costs up.

    What a dumm way to run a tax cut.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 10:29pm on 03 Nov 2010, Walker wrote:

    Only a few years ago, we lampooned the administration of George W. Bush, for remaining stubborn, unapologetic blowhards till the bitter end. In 2005 and 2006 we pined for the times when Presidents (who are politicians by definition) actually acted like politicians and did not adopt this facade of being 'one of us' (i.e. cowboy president). Leaders who remained calm under a crisis and who had the humility to admit mistakes.

    But four years later we blast President Obama for the very same qualities we used to pine for in a leader. His calmness under the immense pressure (to which all U.S. Presidents regardless of creed are subject) has become synonymous with arrogance. His ability to admit mistakes, as he has done tonight, is seen as a sign of weakness.

    As a Progressive, I continue to support President Obama. The American electorate is fickle in nature, and what is a certain party's triumph in one election becomes defeat in the next. I regard Obama's tenure as President over the last two and half years to have been more centrist (as it should be) than left. He asked America to change, but now it is he who must do so. I urge President Obama to embrace his populism...it works in the United States. I urge him to stop blaming the previous administration for the current ills of the nation: most people, including conservatives, are fully aware of that administration's failings, we need not be reminded of them anymore. But above all, I urge him to champion those core of Progressive causes; to fight for the poor, to end our Wars abroad, to defend the rights and Freedom of individuals, to regulate big business, and to always support the underdogs of society.

    Ted,
    Indian Hill, OH

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 10:44pm on 03 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    19. Walker.

    All the things you say Obama should do is what he should have done in his first two years. He should have addressed us directly on television with Congressional opposition to his health bill, with all the expensive pork, with the shenanigans of the pharmaceutical industry, etc., etc., etc.. We would have attacked Congress with a roar, and it would have capitulated. Obama did not understand the people who elected him. We really wanted change. We didn't get it. We wanted a courageous president. And we didn't get one.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 10:50pm on 03 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    President Obama may be many things but he's not a fool. His party just got taken to the woodshed and soundly thrashed by the voters and as their leader he knows he can't duck his part of the blame for it.

    As to whether he "got the message" or not, only his actions will prove that. Bill Clinton survived a similar mid-term loss in his first term by moving toward the center and adopting some of the Republican's ideas as his own (such as welfare reform). A move to the center right now might let Obama rack up some solid accomplishments to impress the voters with in 2012.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 10:57pm on 03 Nov 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "He added that nobody had questioned his leadership when he was on the campaign trail."

    This is what we call selective memory. Plenty of people questioned it at the time. But just in case everyone else also has amnesia, just look it up on the internet and you will be reminded that before his nomination, even Hillary Clinton said Barack Obama was not fit to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. She added who would you want to be answering the phone at 2 AM? I'll bet even today, general McChrystal would agree with that statement. The danger of being isolated in a political campaign or in the White House is that you hear only what you want to hear told to you by a gaggle of sycophants. Then reality comes crashing in. This has been a midterm job performance review by President Obama's bosses, the voting American citizens. The verdict, D minus. He has not lived up to expectations. Small wonder, his unpreparedness for his job due to inexperience combined with utterly unrealistic promises he spoke made his failure virtually inevitable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 10:58pm on 03 Nov 2010, mgoulden wrote:

    Coming into 2009, President Obama had just won a landslide election, had a majority in the House and a filbuster majority in the Senate. In other words, agree or disagree with his policies if you like, but the American electorate had given him carte blanche to implement his legislative agenda. You can call it 'ramming it down our throats' if you want, but he had just won an election and was therefore entitled to do so. President Bush called it 'spending political capital'. He was right.

    Instead, Obama, showing the traits of the 'community organiser' he once was, tried to find consensus with the other side, only to find they didn't want to know. I don't blame Republicans, I mean why would they want to find consensus, when stalling his agenda made him look weak and them strong? Of course they weren't going to cut a deal with him!

    What you're now left with is Obama, stuck in the middle, getting shouted out by those on the right because of the bills he got through Congress, and being shouted at by those on the left...because of the bills he got through Congress.

    In an ideal world, our political leaders should be able to find common ground and get things done, but in a two party political system that is simply not going to happen. Obama should have been much more aggressive in the opening months of his Presidency because you only get one shot at it. He took his shot and missed.

    Will President Obama get re-elected? Yes. Will his political capital ever be as large as it was in January 2009? No.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 11:05pm on 03 Nov 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    Obama was born in thw wrong era.

    He believe as a leader he should have the divine right of kings and Michelle definitly has a Marie Antoniette complex.

    It is beyond Obama's psyche and philosophy that the commoners or opponents could know better than he.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 11:06pm on 03 Nov 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    Listening? I don't think so. Perhaps Obama may say excuses frustration, economy, Bush did it, but the people didn't buy it. Obama is the President now, how he has dealt with these problems, are part an parcel to the problems. The stimulus, so forth. The wars, then why are they sending barrels of money to Pakistan, Afghanistan. So maybe it was created by others, but the when Obama became President is where the rubber contacts the pavement. But this tyre began soft, and quickly went flat. Makes contact, but just lays there and needs repair.
    So to put it bluntly as a Independent, if the Republicans, Independents, or surviving Democrats fail. We the people can look forward to firing them in another election cycle. Take note of actions and names when next we enter the voting booth. The got what they deserved by their actions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 11:10pm on 03 Nov 2010, Dan wrote:

    3. At 8:49pm on 03 Nov 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:
    Well hopefully in two years time the US will be shot of him.

    2nd worst President of the modern era (after the appalling Jummy Carter).

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Really? Both Obama and Jummy(sic) Carter are/were worse than Dubya? I didn't know that. Thanks for enlightening me. Are you Dick Cheney in disguise Max?

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 11:13pm on 03 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #3. At 8:49pm on 03 Nov 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:
    Well hopefully in two years time the US will be shot of him.

    2nd worst President of the modern era (after the appalling Jummy Carter).

    ---------------------

    Jimmy, not Jummy.

    President Carter might have been an ineffective leader but he was a good man at heart and I always got the feeling he really was trying to do what he thought was right for the country even when I thought he was wrong. I'd place him as third worst.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 11:19pm on 03 Nov 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    # 6 Moderate one

    I totally disagree. I would not call this self-doubt, rather humility. Some of the strongest people I know are also the most humble.

    -------------------------

    If only it were so.....

    There was no humility at all in Obama. He was subdued, and that's it.

    I wonder if anyone here actually listened to the words he said. There was no acknowledgment at all that his policies were failures. He blamed the economy alone. It was shrewd, careful and calculated.

    He is certainly not always cool and calm. His campaigning during the last month was done at fever-pitch and was filled with divisive demands and accusations. But here he did his cool and reserved routine.

    Obama does not - ever - at any time - take responsibility for his personal failures.

    Clinton admitted he had been wrong and was re-elected in 1996. He changed course dramatically. There is no suggestion of that from Obama.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 11:22pm on 03 Nov 2010, Unappreciated Vet wrote:

    President Obama,
    First thing I'd like to address is there is a great deal of posters here! The president of the United States of America sure does not have a friend here. The post that I have read really sadden me. It's easy for the should have and shouldn't have people to raise their head....NOW.. The late great JFK stated--"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country?" The possibility of the posters here have never supported anyone in their life except themselves. If you think you are safe--WAKE UP! All the people that didn't vote don't cry--NOBODY WILL HELP YOU, all the people that feel they are retirement safe--NOBODY WILL HELP YOU, and if you had plans of your kids--The world owes me everything generation--will fill the shoes as leaders of this great country--NOBODY WILL HELP YOU. The state of America for Americans is no more! The worst part of all of this is I have never depended on any political leader, but I have depended on my neighbor next door or down the street--THEY ARE GONE NOW! The truth is you rub my back and I'll rub yours is going to start all over again. If there's anybody to depend on now it's GOD. The way you live, the way you cheat, the way you lie, and the way you think--don't let it catch you. My heart goes out to all my fellow Armed Forces members that are still on Active Duty for ME.I appreciate YOU All! The worst times of our lives are coming and yet my brothers and sisters in arms are going to be stuck in a war where people, friends, and loved ones die--because posters here will not stop being so darn self serving.Basically all I'm saying is will your family, children, and relatives be taken care of via the massive change in government structure? Let's see what Republican brings our forces home. Two years from now--Palin or Painlan???? Keep fooling yourselves-Good Luck

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 11:34pm on 03 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    8. At 9:11pm on 03 Nov 2010, GrahamPollCrackers wrote:

    "I believe the most revealing part of this press conference was that Obama thinks his policies were not to blame. The country was against his health care takeover yet he and the Democrats in Congress shoved it down our throats anyway, because they could."

    ____________

    This, to foreigners, is absolutely incomprehensible.



    America had (and still has) a crying need for health care reform.
    It was too expensive, and left almost 50m people without coverage.

    After a century of failed attempts, President Obama gets the thing off top dead center. And instead of cheering, people complain?
    No, can't understand that at all.


    He brings in a health care system that is similar to the system in Massachusetts, and that, unbelievably (a) retains the private insurance industry; and (b) doesn't include a single payer public option.

    And people call it "socialist".
    Unbelievable.


    The man is dragging American healthcare forward into the 20th century, half a century behind every other major western democracy. Americans stand to benefit, on average, about $3500 per person for every man, woman and child in the country. The biggest mistake was that he didn't go anywhere near far enough.

    Yet people complain he went too far?
    Cannot understand that.

    And people oppose the introduction of universal - not even public - health care.

    In every other country with public health care, the voters are overwhelmingly in favour of their public systems, and would never give them up. in our country, people regard it as a defining feature of our national character, and a quasi-constitutional right. Any politician who tried to abolish public health care wouldn't get enough votes to keep his (or her) deposit.

    But in America nut cases can fire up the crowds by promising to repeal Obamacare.

    Incomprehensible.
    Utterly incomprehensible.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 11:43pm on 03 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    It's incomprehensible that a majority can have its way in a democracy? Well, if that is the case, have a look at the alternatives. Plenty of other systems of government that ignore the will of the majority. Which one would you prefer? :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 11:49pm on 03 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    30, Interested foreigner.
    "America had (and still has) a crying need for health care reform. It was too expensive, and left almost 50m people without coverage. After a century of failed attempts, President Obama gets the thing off top dead center. And instead of cheering, people complain? No, can't understand that at all."

    The bill he signed was not the one he promised. Costs, to a large extent pharmaceutical costs, were to be cut. Instead, many of the drugs listed as Tier One were switched to Tier Two, which resulted in multiples of the original co-pay. We will be paying more for Medicare Part II. This was never part of the plan (because costs were supposed to come down). The Republicans yelled that health care costs would rise. Democrats yelled that they would be reduced.

    Because of lobbyists and other self-interest groups (involving, of course, the self-interest of Congress) our costs for medical care are the highest in the world. No, I am not cheering. You can't understand it. Try paying our bills and then tell me how you feel.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 11:54pm on 03 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    Before we feel too much sympathy for President Obama after his party's trip to the woodshed let's remember that he wanted the job. No making excuses because fate has thrown him some curves that have thrown him off his game plan--dealing with whatever gets thrown his way is part of the job. Time for him to show his mettle. As president he still has what Teddy Roosevelt called the "bully pulpit". Stop making excuses and start making phone calls. Get the leaders of both houses of Congress into the Oval Office, lay out the most important issues facing us today and ask their advice. Then work with them to form a plan to address them. It doesn't have to be perfect just show us some progress for heaven's sake.

    If Obama can demonstrate that he can work with both sides of the aisle to get things done he will have a powerful argument for a second term.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 00:01am on 04 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    30, Interestedforeigner.

    P.S. Many good physicians are opting out of the HMO's. Mine did and I wound up with a quack. I now have a private MD that I pay out of my own pocket.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 00:08am on 04 Nov 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    Gee talk about generalization Unappreciated Vet. I too am a veteran, I want nothing. I work, help my neighbors, and too feel for my fellow veterans. That is why I want them brought home from Afghanistan, Iraq, and any other. I also grew up with a portrait of JFK, with those very same words. JFK was greatly different Democrat than the Political elitists that presently rule, some got canned in this election. JFK was conservative in many ways, was an NRA member, and, YES a combat veteran. So don't be so drastic, as I saw many of my neighbors in this election, we have fired Democrats for failing to protect our interest within the town. But we have also fired Republicans also in the past. Now their are 3 Independents on the council. America will continue. Problem with Obama is that he isn't a leader. Maybe he is elected as President, but he just doesn't have it. The best part of this Constitutional Republic is that we can control it by making them accountable, and responsible. Or they lose their job. We elect them to represent us, as well are fire them. Kennedy was a great leader, alas Obama could never fill those shoes.

    "The legislator is an indispensable guardian of our freedom. It is true that great executives have played a powerful role in the development of civilization, but such leaders appear sporadically, by chance. They do not always appear when they are most needed. The great executives have given inspiration and push to the advancement of human society, but it is the legislator who has given stability and continuity to that slow and painful progress." Senator J. William Fulbright

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 00:17am on 04 Nov 2010, mgoulden wrote:

    re #30 interested foreigner.

    I too find the health care debate in the USA incomprehensible. I find it incomprehensible that the financing of healthcare - something every single man, woman and child will need at some point in their lives - is placed in the hands of private insurance companies.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong but an insurance company's primary duty is first and foremost to its shareholders. It fulfils that by paying out dividends to its shareholders from as much profit as it can make. The 3 simplest ways an insurance company makes a profit are in order of preference:

    1. Take a customer's premium and hope they never claim
    2. Find a way to avoid paying out when the customer claims
    3. Pay out, but then raise the customer's future premiums.

    I know I'm being simplistic, but that is how insurance companies work, and I have no problem with it. I just would not want that kind of system in charge of the funding of healthcare. It's a recipe for disaster.

    I really am not looking at this from some ideological or political point of view. I'm not an American so I will not presume at all that I have this reading of the Healthcare system in America right, but I find the idea of insurance companies in charge of the funding of healthcare frightening.

    If I've got it all wrong, can someone please tell me how, because I really, really would like to know.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 00:27am on 04 Nov 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 30 Interestedforeigner-

    "This, to foreigners, is absolutely incomprehensible."

    There are some U.S. citizens who also find resistance to health care reform absolutely incomprehensible, as well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 00:32am on 04 Nov 2010, nik wrote:

    I hope it's a wake-up call to Obama. It's not about the image he's casting now, it's about what he will do now to get himself re-elected in 2 years.
    He'll be facing a witch hunt from the Tea Partiers similar to the Clinton impeachment drive - but, he knows that, and now that they have to do it out in the open there's a good chance to defeat their strategy. It's unfortunate a President has to put up with this stuff - but it's necessary. He basically has to learn to defeat FOX News - I see a battle for the American democracy ahead. Will the corporate propaganda channels rule the country in the future?

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 00:44am on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#32. At 11:49pm on 03 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:
    30, Interested foreigner.
    "America had (and still has) a crying need for health care reform. It was too expensive, and left almost 50m people without coverage. After a century of failed attempts, President Obama gets the thing off top dead center. And instead of cheering, people complain? No, can't understand that at all."

    The bill he signed was not the one he promised. Costs, to a large extent pharmaceutical costs, were to be cut. Instead, many of the drugs listed as Tier One were switched to Tier Two, which resulted in multiples of the original co-pay. We will be paying more for Medicare Part II. This was never part of the plan (because costs were supposed to come down). The Republicans yelled that health care costs would rise. Democrats yelled that they would be reduced.

    Because of lobbyists and other self-interest groups (involving, of course, the self-interest of Congress) our costs for medical care are the highest in the world. No, I am not cheering. You can't understand it. Try paying our bills and then tell me how you feel.
    --------------

    Perhaps worst of all, according to the Congressional Budget Office the health care reform bill will still leave at least 18 million people in America without medical coverage. If universal acces to affordable health care was the goal why stop short of it? Democrats had the votes in Congress, they had the president's pen poised to sign a health care bill, so why leave 18 million people out?

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 00:49am on 04 Nov 2010, Jay wrote:

    America is fortunate enough to get a president like Obama.
    My own job is at stake, I am not from the people who were born with golden spoon and have huge bank balance to fight for ideology or can join politics to make some quick buck and lifelong luxary at tax payers’ money. Yet I think that way. This country needs massive reform, mainly in social attitude towards becoming a country/society more than being a person. I doubt if Republicans will ever understand that message and come out from their feudal and immigrant mentality.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 01:07am on 04 Nov 2010, tiredofit123 wrote:

    I remember Clinton and his infamous "I feel your pain" line. Probably only a small fraction of his voters bought it and believed it. A large majority didn't believe it but took it and used it anyways because it sounded good, and to be honest the soundbite was never really discredited. It also raised no more expectations on him than to show he "cared."

    Obama had "Hope and Change." Vague, undefined, and open to whatever people would read into it, with enormous expectations. He was not going to just be president, he was going to change the world of politics.

    I never bought a minute of it, and was suspicious from the first time I heard of him, which was the spoof of the Apple Superbowl commercial featuring Hillary. Things were too orchestrated and rehearsed; and the mainstream media didn't help by simply refusing to look into anything negative or questionable about him.

    I expected people to flock to him anyways, Bush had ridden a slow and painful slide in popularity, and the economy was collapsing. Point fingers how many ways you want over who to blame. But I was surprised how many seemed to buy right into the campaign and take him for real.

    And in office Obama (or more properly the leaders of the Democratic party) did what Democrats always do and ran an ideological power grab. If they had started on the path to recovery and shown they were looking out for us they probably could have an easier time passing any legislation. Instead we got the healthcare and the bailouts and are now over a trillion more dollars in debt with little to show for it.

    So now it's zero hour; the Democrats are trying to spin this as just a typical mid-term loss that always happens, not the biggest switch of the House since 1948. As I said earlier today, figure in the bitter taste many people still have for Republicans and to vote them back in at all says much worse for the Democrats.

    Obama gave his speech, his supporters give the rhetoric to keep up the fight; but when passing their legislation is more important than listening to the people, when a sound rejection of their policies is always portrayed as "they didn't get our message," and when I see things looking more and more bleak, then I ask myself the same thing. What matters more; a brief king of the hill moment to them or us?

    Ultimately I'll never see Obama as anything more than a figurehead, which makes his speech all the more meaningless. Really, when has he ever laid back his veneer and shown the real person? What does he really believe on anything? Was his speech a calculated recalibration? Absolutely, and it won't work as he lacks neither the personality or charisma for people to sympathize with him. I see his presidency as ending like Johnson's; stepping aside in a another calculated moment rather than admit defeat.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 01:11am on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#20. At 10:44pm on 03 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:
    19. Walker.

    All the things you say Obama should do is what he should have done in his first two years. He should have addressed us directly on television with Congressional opposition to his health bill, with all the expensive pork, with the shenanigans of the pharmaceutical industry, etc., etc., etc.. We would have attacked Congress with a roar, and it would have capitulated. Obama did not understand the people who elected him. We really wanted change. We didn't get it. We wanted a courageous president. And we didn't get one.
    ---------------

    Excellent observation. A display of leadership on President Obama's part would given the country a much better health care reform bill and an achievement Democrats could point to that might very well have saved their majority in the House. A golden opportunity wasted.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 01:14am on 04 Nov 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    Any time I see Boehner and Obama names together this video comes to mind

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpOUctySD68

    left/right side of the brain

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 01:24am on 04 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    17. allmymarbles: He never could have delivered on all his promises. Never. The people who feel betrayed by him are the ones who actually believed him. He's just a novice.

    Sorry to hear you're paying privately. Ouch.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 02:02am on 04 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    31. At 11:43pm on 03 Nov 2010, Jeremy Clarkson wrote:

    "It's incomprehensible that a majority can have its way in a democracy?"

    No, it's incomprehensible that America can't figure out how to do public health care, and that American voters can be convinced, over and over, that they won't be better off with public health care.

    --------

    We have a system that costs slightly more than 60% of the US system per capita, produces better overall results, and covers 100% of our people. It eliminates the fear of financial ruin due to catastrophic illness, and it eliminates insurance companies and all the evils that go with them.

    That difference in cost is about $ 3500 per person, per year.
    That is a lot of money.

    It is the equivalent of a 20% tax cut for every American man woman and child.

    ---------

    You'd think Americans would vote, en masse, for something better.

    But no.
    Couldn't possibly have a universal, single payer government system.
    So Obamacare is needlessly complicated and needlessly expensive because he has to sweeten the deal for enough congressmen and women to vote for it. So America ends up with an expensive, complicated monster instead of a universal single payer system that would save a ton of money and produce better results.

    Why should it be difficult to convince voters to push for a system that will save them a ton of money? But in America, the people who would most benefit from a single payer public system are the ones most likely to oppose it as "socialism".

    No, there are aspects of American politics that are just incomprehensible. This is one of them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 02:11am on 04 Nov 2010, mike wrote:

    I support President Obama and his agenda, but I think his Administration and the Democrats did a poor job explaining to the voters what they stand for and why Americans should vote for them.... That said, I think the American people are predominately intellectually lazy and ill informed. How else can you explain 4 of 10 voters choosing Christine O'Donnell?

    Here's an interesting perspective:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/1103/Election-tally-Glenn-Beck-won.-Progressivism-lost.

    As for President Obama's accomplishments:
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 02:43am on 04 Nov 2010, kingn500 wrote:

    obama policies in last two years with the democratic congress is responsible for the disaster economy that everyone in US endure now ,this president is completely out of touch with american people, in last two years he increased spending by 50% , increase size of goverment to 2 million people , he spend 3 trillion dollars in less than 18 months, he passed healthcare bill and financial bill that increase cost and expenses on small businesses,he is not business friendly and this the businesses that hire the people, he didnot communicate with leaders of republican party and try to work with them , he asked far a stimulus of 899 billion dollars to fix infrastructure and bridges and airspace communications and to create jobs and after 18 months and spending money he is telling american people there was no projects to spend on infrastructure or bridges and the jobs created did not do a dent in unemployment that raised to nearly 10% nationally and in some states 15 to 17% unemployment, number of people iiving on food stamps doubled from 20 million to 40 million under his watch ,spending and deficit is out of control , and more middle and low income families are hurt and losing their homes and his speeches do not put food on the table for this people , in reality his policies and this democratic congress is a complete failure and he refused to admit that this policies failed until today and if he does not admit failure nothing will be fixed and american send him a clear message to him by this election( huge margin of loss of his party members in every state all over US that never happen in midterm elections in last 70 years) and if he do not change direction he will be out next in 2012 ( nice speeches do not create jobs and do not put food in the table ) i hope he wake up and listen for a change

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 02:44am on 04 Nov 2010, Leuctrid wrote:

    I think the Republicans are going to find themselves in the same situation in 2 years time - that is, no obvious evidence to show their policies are working, and 'it takes time' etc. I see no future for the Tea Party either and they will evaporate just like a cuppa out in the sun too long. I'll go for Obama winning a 2nd term - they have to give him credit for getting the Tea Party to undermine SPalin (which seems to be a sport in America).

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 02:48am on 04 Nov 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    I can honestly say that this election has not changed my opinion of Obama.

    I detest him as a person. He has made his career to deceive people that trust him and lose their wealth, freedom, and opportunity by his actions.

    The Republicans did not win yesterday.

    The people purged themselves of those that actively seek to damage and destroy the USA. Included in the purge were those that were the minions that made it possible. Included in the purge were many "elites".

    The real losers this election include:
    SEIU (whose leaders deceive and steal from its own members)
    ACORN (by all its new names)
    George Sorros (spent all that money, now the House will not let Obama repay him - again and again)
    AFL-CIO (leadership that sought to steal your 401K's)
    New Black Panthers (no guardian angel to keep them out of jail)
    Eric Holder (only enforce laws if does not mean enforcing against blacks)
    Tim Geithner (soon to be asked about the monies he handled without accounting to anyone)
    Coons (The senator that implements Cap and Trade for personal enrichment)
    Wolf Blitzer (no one cares what he says or thinks!)
    NPR (public funded propaganda, bias against Christians and nuclear families)


    In all due sincerity,

    "BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT, ..., ASAP!"

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 03:16am on 04 Nov 2010, CMS wrote:

    @36-mgoulden:

    I am by no means an insurance expert, but as someone who purchases health insurance directly from the insurer (as opposed to getting it through an employer), that is pretty much the way I understand it, from the perspective of a consumer. Before healthcare reform, insurance companies were able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, which was a way for insurance companies to mitigate their risk. Of course, this means that those who need the coverage the most because of their need for ongoing care, cannot get it. To take this a step further, I saw on television some time ago, an interview with a young woman who was unable to obtain health insurance because she had had cancer 15 years before, but had been cancer-free ever since.

    While healthcare reform deals with access issues, it does not address the issue of the cost of healthcare. I currently pay over $850 per month for myself and my spouse (no children), we are in our mid-40s and have no major health issues. The insurance companies in my state recently applied to the state insurance regulatory body, and were approved for a 20 -30% rate increase, meaning a total of about $12K per year. The fact that we didn't hear very much from the insurance industry during the coverage of the healthcare debate tells me that the insurance industry wasn't very worried about the reform's impact on their profits. One rationalization that was discussed was that now that more younger, healthier people will be required to get insurance, those premiums will offset the increase in benefits paid to those who were previously uninsured due to preexisting conditions, and that premiums will initially go up, but then come back down. Unfortunately, my crystal ball is at the cleaners', but my gut tells me I won't be receiving a notice from my insurer telling me my premiums are going down.

    I just heard a speech by John Boehner in which he described the American healthcare system as "the greatest healthcare system in the world". Really?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11502938

    A more accurate phrase would have been "the American system is the best system in the world if you are a stakeholder in the healthcare industry".

    And really, why should the healthcare industry be any different than, say, the banks, credit cards, big oil, etc.? It's all about profits for the shareholders at the expense of the consumer.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 03:51am on 04 Nov 2010, CMS wrote:

    @45 - InterestedForeigner:

    We have a system that costs slightly more than 60% of the US system per capita, produces better overall results, and covers 100% of our people. It eliminates the fear of financial ruin due to catastrophic illness, and it eliminates insurance companies and all the evils that go with them.

    That difference in cost is about $ 3500 per person, per year.
    That is a lot of money.

    It is the equivalent of a 20% tax cut for every American man woman and child.

    ---------

    You'd think Americans would vote, en masse, for something better

    ---------

    Not if it's "not invented here". I believe it is part of the US psyche that it is, quite simply, the best at everything. It's the greatest democracy, the largest economy, the only superpower left standing after the Cold War, a place of invention and innovation, the home of the American Dream, and on and on. All of these are valid points and, for a country with such a relatively short history, its accomplishments are many. What the US has difficulty with in general is that any other country can do as well or (say it ain't so!) better or more efficiently than it can. The US could never be seen as implementing a system (for anything) that is modeled on that of another country because that would be an admission that someone can do something better than the US can. We can't have that, now, can we?

    If the US is the only wealthy/developed nation that doesn't offer public health care to its citizens, and countries that do offer public health care are all socialist, then is the US the only non-socialist country in the developed world?

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 04:19am on 04 Nov 2010, maitrivihara wrote:

    yes,its frustrating that so much has not been done...but , by whom?
    i think america wants a miracle. and why not.
    but forgetting all the 'goodies' that bush has left them with. two wars, a crippled economy and a battered self image where much of the world is very very wary of america and the american way.
    obama didnt just bring hope. he also did,in many ways that are overlooked and not considered important enough[ cause its not magic] change.
    for that , he pays with the republicans coming to power. a toothless leader now america has.
    someone once said. u deserve the government u choose. and if that is so. sad sad sad...

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 04:33am on 04 Nov 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    #30 Interested Foreigner

    After a century of failed attempts, President Obama gets the thing off top dead center. And instead of cheering, people complain?
    No, can't understand that at all

    ----------------------

    Indeed?

    Perhaps the fact that this bill has been introduced in the depths of a devastating recession, protects the trial lawyers who are paying the Democrats, and places the entire burden of coverage on small and medium-sized businesses and corporations that are already hit hard might have something to do with that.

    Or perhaps you are not familiar with the facts?

    As to why someone from another nation decides to spend many, many hours haranguing, mocking and ridiculing the people of another nation with a steady stream of the most appalling insults is incomprehensible to me.

    Absolutely incomprehensible.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 04:52am on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #51

    "...then is the US the only non-socialist country in the developed world?"


    Pretty much, as far as socialized medicine goes. It's probably a coincidence that American medicine is also one of (if not the) most advanced in the world.

    Other countries with socialized medicine: North Korea, Cuba, China.


    Here is something to consider perhaps: Is it possible that the US (that is, most Americans) is not interested in government run health care because: a) anything and everything run by the government is generally a bureaucratic fecalfest or/and b) most Americans have adequate medical health care (the numbers you hear of uninsured hover around 30 million which sounds like a lot but in reality is less than 10% of the US's population)?

    The latest elections have swung the House of Representatives heavily into the Republican direction. Republicans opposed (along with some Democrats, it's worth noting) Obamacare (socialized healthcare). Therefore....most Americans do not want Obamacare, and in a democracy the most (majority) rule?

    As to the constant comparisons to other countries, recall the saying "What's good for the goose, is good for the gander." The US perspective is that what is good for the gander is not NECESSARILY good for THE goose.

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 05:30am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Sounds a little like I KNOW your pain (i.e. cerebrally) ; I understand your pain (i.e. cerebrally), and I accept that I've let you down (cerebrally)...but the emotion never came through for me. The speech sounded cold, scripted, calculating."



    Got exactly the same impression.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 05:32am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MaxSceptic wrote:
    Well hopefully in two years time the US will be shot of him.

    2nd worst President of the modern era (after the appalling Jummy Carter).






    It's very hard to beat Jimmy Carter in that category, but BHO has been trying mightily hard so far.


    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 05:37am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The country was against his health care takeover yet he and the Democrats in Congress shoved it down our throats anyway, because they could."

    Banning C-SPAN from covering deliberations on that "reform" has been unprecedented.

    BTW. You're right that the country was agaionst HIS form of reform.

    Not against a reform of health insurance schemes per se.


    BTW. Not a word about unsustainable ENTITLEMENTS, such as even partial privatization of Social Security (which "W" desperately tried to get).

    And how can anybody reduce federal deficit without touching such holy cows like SS, Medicare and Medicaid?

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 05:37am on 04 Nov 2010, Gregor wrote:

    Are we missing George yet????????????????

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 05:47am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Other countries with socialized medicine: North Korea, Cuba, China."


    Of course U.S. being a free country U.S. citizens are free to travel to North Korea, Cuba or China for a superb medical treatment.


    Or to UK, if they want to get permanently brain-damaged by an NHS qualified nurse. [look it up in BBC portal]



    P.S. "All progressive countries"...

    One can only look at fiscal predicament of leading EU countries (Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain) to see that a model of an overreaching welfare state is dead. Very dead.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 06:15am on 04 Nov 2010, Arthur Brede wrote:

    @ 9. Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, part 1:

    Write juvenilia to the BBC whinging about the fact that very few people like or trust the most unlikeable and untrustworthy POTUS since Nixon.

    We are all aware that partisan language exists. Even Americans are waking up to the fact that yeterday's bold, heroic Mujahideen are today's 'Foreign Fighters' or, if the media's really feeling courageous, 'Terrorists' (but never with any racially or religiously un-PC modifier). Nice to see you joining them. Shame about the president, though, whining off to Asia to explain to his paymasters and ideological role-models how the wheel came off....

    Schadenfreude can be such fun....

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 07:13am on 04 Nov 2010, CMS wrote:

    59 - meerkat

    I don't know enough about the entitlements that are extended to the citizens of the specific countries you mention to comment on them. However, it seems to me that finding a way to make healthcare accessible to everyone, not just in terms of availability, but also affordability, hardly equates to an overreaching welfare state. No one is suggesting that the US turn into a cradle-to-grave welfare state, although that works for some countries, I agree it wouldn't work here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 07:19am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    posters claiming that TEA Party Movement consists of primitive, uneducated racists could do worse than read this:


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10295334

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 07:22am on 04 Nov 2010, Anna wrote:

    ALLEGORY FOR AMERICA

    Imagine that you are being rushed to emergency room with a ruptured appendix. You know that if the appendix isn't surgically removed very soon you will die. You FEEL yourself dying!!! Right before you are put to sleep for your appendectomy, the surgeon assures you that everything will be fine. The tooth that has been bothering you for months is about to be taken care of, and your ROOT CANAL SURGERY will go just swimmingly!!! You panic as you quickly go to sleep, KNOWING that this surgeon is incompetent! Miraculously, you survive, but you are still very sick from his critical mistake. You try very hard to get this surgeon's medical licsense REVOKED for neglegent medical malpractice, and you succeed!

    This is what happened in yesterday's election!

    Cast of characters in this scenerio:
    1. You- THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
    2. Surgeon- President Obama
    3. The Ruptured Appendix- American ecomony and unemployment
    3. Root Canal- ObamaCARE
    4. Medical Malpractice Discipline-LAST NIGHT'S ELECTION RESULTS!!!!

    America has a deep rooted distrust of government that is apparent in our individual and collective psyche. It's a unique character trait that has something to do, way back in history, with the "sins of our fathers." It's a trait which was formed before we were even a twinkle in our mother's eyes. YOU, Britannia, are our Mother and our Father, like it or not, and we did NOT want to grow up like mommy and daddy.

    It may be unimaginable to some of you that Americans would reject Healthcare Reform, but WE WERE NOT REJECTING Healthcare reform. No one cried "SOCIALISM" over the singular idea of health reform!! It was the TIMING OF THE REFORM that Americans did not TRUST!

    Our President is given the daunting responsiblity to act in the best interest of the people of America. The current statitics say roughly 9 percent of us are unemployed, but it is a MUCH MUCH larger number than 9%! The 9% are calculated from those who are currently drawing unemployment money from the government which usually ends in 26 weeks. The actual unemployment figure is 16-20% of the population or higher if you calculate those that have taken part time jobs. Add to this the fact that all around you, people's houses are being forclosed on, small and large businesses are closing their doors, no new jobs are being created, health insurance premiums are sky rocketing (My state insurance went from $590 dollars a month to $1400 dollars a month for one adult and three children AFTER ObamaCare was passed) and the cost of higher education is unbelieveable. While all of this is visible DAILY, in front of your eyes, all you EVER hear your President talking about is HEALTHCARE REFORM!!!

    Yes, we needed healthcare reform, but NOT when our economy is sinking into the abyss!! He gave us a ROOT CANAL when we desperately needed our ruptured appendix taken out!!!! Many of us saw his push for heathcare reform while we were/are in economic turmoil as malpractice SO we fought to get his licsence taken away, and WE WON!!

    The following opinions are those of a 31 year old, female, American who is a registered INDEPENDENT that voted for Obama in 2008 and voted for REPUBLICANS in yesterday's election.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 07:30am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    #61 re #59


    As I have said American people are not against reforming/improving their health INSURANCE system.

    And there are many ways to go about it.


    One, for starters, would be to allow every and each insurance company to offer its policies in every and each state of the union.

    That alone, in and of itself, would make costs of health insurance premiums go significantly down.

    For as it is: we don't a have a real free market competition in that area.

    BTW. Unless methods to fund SS, Medicare and Medicaid are changed - pretty soon there'll be hardly any money left for anything else.

    Unless U.S. Congress votes to significantly increase our taxes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 07:55am on 04 Nov 2010, mgoulden wrote:

    #59 One can only look at fiscal predicament of leading EU countries (Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain) to see that a model of an overreaching welfare state is dead. Very dead.

    It's a case of "the public gets what the public wants", By that I mean people want their government to provide, but aren't willing to pay for it. The result? Government has to borrow money and you're left with massive deficits.

    Just look at France. President Sarkozy has just forced through legislation raising the retirement age from 60 to 65, essentially asking the public to give a little more. Opponents rioted through the streets.

    Whether it's any of the above countries you mentioned, or the USA or the UK, the budget deficits have never been higher.

    The continued economic crisis is the reason for the mid-term results. Not the decisions over healthcare, foreign wars, or Obama's declining approval rating. I can hear Bill Clinton now: "It's the economy, stupid!"

    Over here in the UK, the coalition goverment has decided that the answer is to cut government spending by £80billion over the next four years. Essentially this means that around 600,000 public sector jobs will go (mine might be one of them) and anything up to another 600,000 jobs in the private sector might just go as well as a knock on effect. "Why would private sector jobs go too?" I hear you ask. Well, we live in a service economy now, not a manufacturing one, and if you have fewer people with jobs, you have fewer people with the money to spend buying services...

    Of course, there is something else the government could do to address the issue, something simple, something easy, something terrible. It's the elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge. It's called raising taxes.

    There I said it.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't like paying taxes as much as the next guy, but the alternative is a deep cut in the government budget which wreaks definite short term havoc for the hope of possible long term prosperity. The public sector should be smaller, but a reduction in size this quickly can only be damaging.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 08:12am on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #65

    "The continued economic crisis is the reason for the mid-term results. Not the decisions over healthcare, foreign wars, or Obama's declining approval rating."


    Well Obamacare is estimated to cost about a trillion dollars. That's a thousand billions. Anything that costs that much is automatically destined for the chopping block when the economy is in the toilet. So Obamacare is a factor in the election results.



    "The public sector should be smaller..."


    Hard to get that accomplished when the mentality of the welfare state is to rely on the public sector (The State) for everything. Raising taxes does not fix this mentality, it fuels it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 08:19am on 04 Nov 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    63. At 07:22am on 04 Nov 2010, Anna wrote:
    --------------------------------------------

    Great re-cap...

    And if the republicans don't do what we sent them there to do...we will fire their sorry butts

    .....If they don't...its going to be pitchforks and torches...the people are THAT fed up with BOTH parties...

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 08:21am on 04 Nov 2010, Bw54 wrote:

    The ability to overlook the benefits of the health care reform is certainly incredible but one could possibly say that the effects are not showing yet and people still don't know how much it is actually going to benefit them.

    But I can't understand Americans blaming the poor economy on Obama. Was everyone sleeping while Bush was in power? The recession started in 2007, by 2008, economies were tottering. Did someone realistically except a miraculous recovery within 1-2 years??? Obama averted a second great depression...but of course the effects cannot be seen by the naked eye. Mostly because he did not organise a victory march with all the fanfare possible. Instead, he lies low and focuses on passing more reforms and actually working while in office. Seriously,where does he get these ideas from?

    I blame Obama too for these elections. Not because of the work he did, which I think was commendable knowing what he had to start with, but for not screaming louder of his victories and not convincing his voters better. His gandhian values of self-doubt and self-criticism will only make his support shaky. He needs to adopt some "politician" values.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 08:50am on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #68

    "But I can't understand Americans blaming the poor economy on Obama."


    You misunderstand. The voters did not blame Obama FOR the bad economy. They blamed Obama for doing nothing useful to fix it. Remember, he ASKED for the job. He RAN for the job. He WANTED the job. Well, guess what. The job comes with problems and he KNEW it 2 years ago. Part of the job description, of any job for that matter, is to deal with the job's problems and fix them. It is also implied that you don't create new problems, in the job.

    They blamed him for his incompetence, not for causing the bad economy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 09:04am on 04 Nov 2010, mgoulden wrote:

    #66 "Well Obamacare is estimated to cost about a trillion dollars. That's a thousand billions. Anything that costs that much is automatically destined for the chopping block when the economy is in the toilet. So Obamacare is a factor in the election results."

    As it has been stated many times, the USA spends nearly twice as much money per person on healthcare than any other nation. Surely, its healthcare should be twice as good as any other nation? Instead, you still haven't even got universal coverage. Go figure.

    In all comes back to financing. Insurance companies make great money in areas like Travel Insurance and Houshold Insurance. It's easy money. I myself have paid for Travel Insurance half a dozen times and never claimed. If you're a careful driver, you might even get a no claims bonus with your car insurance. But not with healthcare.

    Eveyone needs healthcare. Why would you want insurance companies in charge of the purse strings? I don't get it.

    It's interesting that, whilst the UK government is swinging a huge scythe through its budget, it has ringfenced the money that will go to the National Health Service so that healthcare here will get actually get a budget increase. Times may be tough, and the coalition government is making some hard, hard choices, but even they know not to mess with the NHS!

    On my point about raising taxes. This isn't about ideology. It should always be an option of last resort, but that's the point we're at now. Money is hemorrhaging everywhere and tax cuts can't stem the flow as it can with your run-of-the-mill recession. I'm not thinking of encouraging an increase in the welfare state - I don't what to fuel that mentality - but for the last 3 years the private sector hasn't had the strength to kick start the economy. Right now, only the government does. It is a sad, sorry, state of affairs.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 09:19am on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #68. At 08:21am on 04 Nov 2010, Bw54 wrote:

    "But I can't understand Americans blaming the poor economy on Obama."

    If the economy recovers in the next two years do you think he won't be claiming credit for it come election time? Whatever happens on their watch, good or bad, they take the credit and get the blame. It may not be fair but that's politics and you can bet President Obama understands it, he may not be happy about it right now but he understands it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 09:37am on 04 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    69. Jeremy Clarkson:
    #68

    "But I can't understand Americans blaming the poor economy on Obama."

    You misunderstand. The voters did not blame Obama FOR the bad economy. They blamed Obama for doing nothing useful to fix it.

    ****************************
    As I see it, voters brought republicans back to the table because they want someone who understands the private sector, which is where job creation needs to take place. The president doesn't seem to know what to do with the private sector, alternating between demonizing it and praising small businesses.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 09:59am on 04 Nov 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#59
    Powermeerkat,

    Are Americans really free to travel to Cuba?? I thought that was a no,no

    When I last visited Cuba I did meet Americans that had travelled via Mexico and Canada. Have to admit the health care in Cuba is pretty good considering the country is a basket case.

    As for going to the UK, if you want brain damage is a cheap shot.. After all if you want to have the wrong leg removed go to the USA.. Malpractice isn’t just confined to the UK..

    http://boingboing.net/2010/07/02/90-yo-woman-gets-wro.html

    Remember is was the communist NHS that invented CAT scanners, performed the first hip replacement operation, The first eye lens transplant, developed penicillin. More recently and probably more ground breaking.
    A mother of two has become the first person in the world to undergo a whole organ transplant grown from her own stem cells.
    The breakthrough is thanks to the pioneering work of British scientists, who are hailing a new dawn in transplant surgery which they believe could revolutionise the lives of millions.
    They have won an international race to be the first to use adult stem cells to grow an entire organ and implant it successfully.



    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1087102/Mothers-life-transformed-doctors-unveil-organ-stem-cell-transplant-new-dawn-medical-science.html#ixzz14J2TGjAk

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 10:01am on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. # 63 At 07:22am on 04 Nov 2010, Anna wrote:

    "It may be unimaginable to some of you that Americans would reject Healthcare Reform, but WE WERE NOT REJECTING Healthcare reform. No one cried "SOCIALISM" over the singular idea of health reform!! It was the TIMING OF THE REFORM that Americans did not TRUST!"


    Not just the timing but the content of health care reform which did not live up to the promises he made when he was selling it to the American people. It was supposed to rein in the soaring costs of health care, the numbers show it will increase them. It was going to ensure everyone was covered, Congress' own figures show that at about 18 million people will still be without coverage. Health care reform was not supposed to take money from Medicare, it ended up doing exactly that. Its common knowledge that the cost of malpractice insurance is driving up the cost of health care and even forcing good physicians out of the profession but the reform bill made no meaningful effort at tort reform.

    And to add insult to injury, the government assumed the power to force people to engage in commerce (i.e., buy insurance) when nowhere in the constitution is the government granted that authority. Yes, we know, we should do it anyway because its good for us but that's beside the point. We know fresh vegetables are good for us too but that doesn't mean government has the authority to order us to buy broccoli or face fines or imprisonment. In a constitutional republic there are limits on government power. Ignoring those limits when they're inconvenient is always a temptation to those in power, to let them get away with it--no matter how well intentioned the excuse at the time--is to start down the slippery slope towards tyranny.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 10:13am on 04 Nov 2010, AbstractAnalysis wrote:

    As an American born in the United Kingdom it is sometimes perplexing to observe the "Pantomine" that is todays politics. Firstly; we have Civil Servants , Middle Management across all sectors and the NHS workers whose jobs had been created, secured and guaranteed by a Labour government in the UK.

    What was their reaction when it came to the vote? Because they were earning above average earnings, most of them immediately considered themselves "Upper Middle Class" and voted Tories. (This in a world where "New Money" continually confuses the zeros in their bank balances with an acquisition of "Class")

    So when I now observe those same people campaigning up and down the country and imploring me and others to come and fight for them to save their jobs, homes and lifestyles, one cannot help but sit back and laugh. (And just in case you are confused; this is not the average giggle or cameo laugh, oh no, It is a full bellied, jaw killing belter.

    I will commend the republicans on their campaign strategy; can you imagine tea parties in the UK? No! People cannot even get home with the battle ground that is UK transportation; what ! With trying to put in extra hours in the office to get that promotion, picking up the kids after school, trying to maintain a relationship with divorces out performing succesful relationships and family etc, Not to mention the weather. To go to a tea party with the sole result of listening to an over paid polititian whose party had its period in office; complain and gibber about how we should vote them back into office, with the sole intention of topping up their pay packets is beyond comprehension.

    However, the tories didnt need that in order to take power, all it took were pictures of a man cycling to work without the sweat patches, with full make up and a promise to do nothing new.

    I am happy to sit back and watch them make the same mistake in the United States. Since individuals are incapable of predetermining the effects of a recession, even before the Democrats came into power; for the smart ones among us, these are: unemployment, fall in house prices, inflation etc.

    So lets get rid of the Dems as we did labour and listen to the republicans complain for the next 12 years about how they tried and failed to repair the damage caused by the Democrats which ironically was inherited from the Republicans.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 10:31am on 04 Nov 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The problem with Obamacare is not the principle of health insurnace reform (the health care system is not broken, it remains by far the best in the world the UN's politically motivated evaluation notwithstanding), the problem is with how to pay for it. It's no small matter, it consumes one sixth of the largest national economy in the world. There are only two or three other countries whose entire GDP is larger than America spends on health care alone. The problem came about because of the way the process was implimented. Obama promised an open and frank debate. Instead, the legislation was kept secret in Harry Reid's office for six months and then only at the last second was it taken out, distributed, and voted on without anyone having a chance to even read through it let alone debate it. Every political trick Obama could pull off including special provisions for some states which will be judged unconstitutional were used to buy votes in the back room and railroad it through. Even so, the vote barely squeaked by both houses of Congress. The process made a mockery of the intent of the framers of the Constitution in regard to the process of fashioning legislation and of Obama's promises for open government. As a result, this badly defective law will likely never see the light of day being enacted as it was passed.

    When Barack Obama sat in the United States Senate for three years, he watched and did nothing along with all of his colleagues to see the oncoming financial train wreck that was headed America's way at high speed. He was like a deer in the middle of the road with its eyes glazed over by the approaching headlights. He knows even less about economics than he does about foreign affairs. As a result, he has only one top advisor, Timothy Geitner who is in bed with the financial industry. Geitner has sacrificed the financial welfare of the entire American population to save the finanicial industry from the result of its own folly in the aftermath of the removal of regulations as they had strongly demanded two or three decades earlier. That is where the anger comes from and it is fully justified. In China, the entire government would be taken out and shot for their crimes. Here they will merely be executed at the voting booths in two years, mainstream Republicans too. The polls prove that in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of Americans, its government has failed to secure their interests.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 10:41am on 04 Nov 2010, Iapetus wrote:

    Could someone explain to me what exactly ENTITLEMENTS are (and why they always seem to be spelt in capital letters)?

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 11:12am on 04 Nov 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 11:26am on 04 Nov 2010, Scarborough Fair wrote:


    once again i find your comments incredibly over negative - practically calling the president a .....

    what can you do in 2 years of the worse financial crisis known since the 1930s

    i find rightwing politicians have an incredibly over simplistic view of economics - a bit like left wing politicians!

    it is necessary to wait another two years at least for a verdict

    and in my humble opinion perhaps quite a lot longer than that

    so lets do that shall we!

    and in the meantime please try not to be so ascerbic!

    your there to make impartial comments because you an reporter even if an investigative one!


    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 11:39am on 04 Nov 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 78 “This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules”

    So, I quoted # 9 DenverGuest who wrote "Obama deliberates over a decision and he's called ponderous./He makes a quick decision and he's called reckless."

    I wrote ‘Well put’.

    Cannot be that.

    I also quoted his saying of Obama "He's a socialist-fascist-communist-totalitarian-dictator-Nazi.". This was CLEARLY a reference by Denver Guest to the views of others, and CLEARLY meant ironically. Presumably the BBC thought I was agreeing?

    Then I added “You forgot Muslim”

    And I added a ;-), the emoticon representing a smile and a wink, in case anyone should have any doubt that I was kidding. It could hardly have been that.

    DG added "There, half of you out there don't even have to post now. I said it all for you."

    My comment – ‘as if’.

    I have generally been supportive of the Beeb, but arbitrary censorship of this type makes it increasingly difficult

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 11:41am on 04 Nov 2010, Kerubino Garang Deng wrote:

    Obama had really play a very vital roles in improving the economic of the United States of America. Eg up to now American economic had greatly improved and for that we have to appreciated what he did to America as a human being so that one day one time,this appreciation will give him encouragement to do more in the whole world rather than US only.this is the role of American to re-elect president Obama back to the office for the next term to continue doing good for you and the world as a whole.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 11:45am on 04 Nov 2010, Shane from Croydon wrote:

    I'm with DenverGuest #9. But I would go so far as to say, when big business "goes bad", you blame the president. When the well leaks in the gulf, you blame the president. When your greedy boss sacks you because he wants to move your jobs off shore and get himself a bigger bonus, you blame the president. When your aunty is sick and cant get insurance, you blame the president, when the rich don't get taxed you blame the president and when the rich do get taxed you blame the president. It may be a bit old fashioned and properly all American, but are you not supposed to take personal responsibility yourselves? Unless, of course, the president is your collective fall guy? A head to put on the spike for all the havoc wreaked by the previous administration?

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 11:47am on 04 Nov 2010, arclightt wrote:

    All: There have been a lot of comments about healthcare here. At the risk of offending folks, I think I need to point out a few things again about this.

    It's true that health insurers make a profit off the sale of insurance. Some folks in the government have made big hay calling them "greedy", and some of you agree. Here are some things to sift in your mind:

    1. The average profit percentage for health care plans as of 24 September was 4.8 cents per dollar. Let's say that we passed a law tomorrow requiring all health insurance providers to operate at zero profit. How much would your health-insurance costs decrease? Just that 4.8 cents per dollar. In other words, if you were paying $1000 per year for health insurance, you'd pay $952 per year. Does that $48 difference sound like "greedy" to you? Really?

    2. Let's say that the insurer in your state wants a 30% rate increase. Does that automatically translate into 30% additional profit? You don't know, because you don't know (and the politicians didn't tell you) what his COSTS rose by. Before you decide if the 30% rate increase was unwarranted, don't you need to know how the insurer's costs changed first? How many of you asked that question when you were told about the last rate increase by the political class?

    3. What about all the suppliers to the health insurers? Again from the 24 September 2010 listing, the industry category called "Medical Equipment and Supplies" had a profit margin of 8.7%, and the category called "Medical Laboratories and Research" had a profit margin of 7.2%. Remember that these profits are COSTS to the medical insurers. Is it OK for these segments to make those profit margins, but NOT OK for the insurers to make their 4.8%? What about all the OTHER suppliers that go into the costs to health insurers? If their profit margins are very high, is that acceptable?

    Folks, don't you think it's time we squeezed our political class to provide for us some discussion of just what is IN these black boxes they want to sell us, so we can at least TRY to make a more informed decision? Or should we just rely on our "feelings"?

    Gotta go to yet another meeting. See you later.

    Arclight

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 11:52am on 04 Nov 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    62 posters claiming that TEA Party Movement consists of primitive, uneducated racists could do worse than read this:

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/america-exercises-right-to-punch-itself-in-the-nuts-201011033216/

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 12:00pm on 04 Nov 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #79
    katie wrote:

    once again i find your comments incredibly over negative - practically calling the president a .....

    what can you do in 2 years of the worse financial crisis known since the 1930s

    i find rightwing politicians have an incredibly over simplistic view of economics - a bit like left wing politicians!

    ______________

    I would say the opposite, look at California which is bankrupt. Why do the clueless voters there do? they elect Gerry Brown who caused the problem with the entitlements and inflated compensation to state employees.
    Instead they could have elected someone who was a sucess in the private sector.

    BTW when will Nikki Diaz be deported?

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 12:15pm on 04 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    82. Shane from Croydon:

    When the candidate for presidency promises to change each of those things, he has to deal with the consequences of not fulfilling his promises.

    Obama raised expectations in order to get himself elected. He pumped up expectations in the most irresponsible manner. Americans' irrational belief in him was okay as long as it worked in the democrats' favor.

    If voters are silly for expecting so much of him, he is equally silly for having promised so many things he couldn't deliver.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 12:23pm on 04 Nov 2010, TeaPartyBrit wrote:

    t

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 12:24pm on 04 Nov 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 82 Shane from Croydon wrote:

    "I'm with DenverGuest #9"

    How strange.

    I was "moderated" at #78 and #80 for saying essentially the same thing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 12:25pm on 04 Nov 2010, Feng Shui wrote:

    For the rest of the world Obama was a god send to the international community who dreaded Republican wars and propaganda. Unfortunately these mid-term elections highlighted the ugly greedy competitive jingoistic side to Americans and their underlying views.

    南獅 Kunta Kinte 南獅 Human Right 南獅
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo9KTF2ICtE

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 12:42pm on 04 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    59. At 05:47am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "One can only look at fiscal predicament of leading EU countries (Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain) to see that a model of an overreaching welfare state is dead. Very dead."

    -----------------

    As opposed to the fantastic economic situation the US finds itself in?

    How's that $14 trillion dollar debt (rising over $4 billion every day) treating you?

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 12:45pm on 04 Nov 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#74
    In a constitutional republic there are limits on government power. Ignoring those limits when they're inconvenient is always a temptation to those in power, to let them get away with it--no matter how well intentioned the excuse at the time--is to start down the slippery slope towards tyranny
    ..................................

    Scott,
    I agree with you in principle, but hasnt the US government always acted this way when it see's fit..

    was'nt it an act of tyranny when 120,000 Americans were interned during WWII for looking like Asians. (There is an irony that a lot of them were Korean Americans)

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 12:50pm on 04 Nov 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Obama's appearance at the news conference is not totally of the wall. He needed to express contrition and say all the right things, but his decision to do it this way rather than the standard either refuse to show weakness (Bush) or rent-a-soundbite (Clinton) manner is reminiscent of his approach when the Reverend Wright issue blew up.
    Back then, he talked to the public about race as if there were adults. It was a personnal and almost non-political approach and that's what he's done again here.
    Almost everyone on this blog complains at some time or another that you can't get a straight answer out of politicians, that they can't admit error or weakness. Well Obama just stepped back from the grandstanding and communicated on a personnal level.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 1:04pm on 04 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    83. At 11:47am on 04 Nov 2010, arclightt wrote:

    "1. The average profit percentage for health care plans as of 24 September was 4.8 cents per dollar. ..."

    ________

    Not disagreeing with your comments, the point about the public care system is that it starts with the great advantage of not merely not having to generate profits for the insurance industry, but rather not having the industry at all, i.e., neither its profits nor its costs.

    That entire unproductive overburden is stripped away.

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 1:18pm on 04 Nov 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    I did some looking back over these blogs. Looking at the attacks on Obama above and during the previous 2 years, I'm struck by the lack of focus.
    Obama has been blamed for basically everything at one point or another, but its such a scatter-gun approach that the only thing that has damaged him has been to be in charge of a country with a tanked economy.
    Accusations of failing to bring about a recovery or more jobs fall down because nothing even close to a valid alternative has been proposed.
    Blaming him for the bail-outs falls down because any one with an elementary grasp of economics realises what would have happened if the banks hadn't been bailed out. Also Bush signed the first one.
    Attacking him on healthcare would be workable if the original system hadn't obviously been a complete shambles.
    Accusing him of being aloof or elitist only highlights that fact that the last two darlings of the GOP (W and Palin) might have lost an argument with a piece of toast, It betrays a tacit admission that (like with Clinton and his libido) there's not too much else wrong with how he's doing the job.
    He's been accused of buddying up to big business and the unions at various times. How you can do both at the same time I don't know. These attacks just confuse people
    Finally there are the nut-job accusations, such as accusations of committing treason by agreeing a deal to limit nuclear arms with the Russians. These make the accusers look extreme and diminishes the impact of their other points.
    One or two consistent attacks with a viable alternative policy provided could in the long run do him great harm and unless the economy does begin to look up, might be enough to put the 2012 race in the balance, even without a stand out GOP candidate.
    Failing that, there's always the good old British whisper campaign... "Don't you think he looks tired"?

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 1:18pm on 04 Nov 2010, Andrew Taggart wrote:

    Obama has a very big problem. He can't cut spending or increase taxes and the US has a large deficit and public debt. The Republicans are incredibly labelling themselves and cutters of expenditure -despite the last 10 years.

    Healthcare reform is being attacked because it is new and costly. But really America needs to think about cutting something much much bigger - The defense budget.

    I recall in the boom years that the US deficit matched the US defense budget (so did the UK's) but although the UK can reduce its defence spending the US can't accept that ALL its military might is paid for with borrowed money. If the US could cut Defence spending, then it might stop getting involved with so many wars and, I'm afraid, recognise that it's relative power is declining, bad news but sticking your head in the sand won't change anything and such a change will save the US money.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 1:18pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Found in adjacent Gavin Hewitt's blog, but relevant:


    The EU tea-party in 2010 continues - picking on those whose 'europeanism' was suspect.
    Out with the Romas.
    Out with Turkey.
    Out with Russia.
    The EU tea-party in 2010 continues -
    Blame the Rating Agencies for PIGS.
    Blame Germany for PIGS.
    Indeed, blame the rest of the world - China for manufacturing, USA for their miltary strengths, Russia for cutting off gas supplies.
    Europe will not change - France & Germany created it for only one purpose - to challenge the domination of PlanetEnglish.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 1:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Bro_Winky :"How's that $14 trillion dollar debt (rising over $4 billion every day) treating you?"




    Well, we have some of our own overreaching welfare state to dismantle.

    Have you ever bothered to check what portion of our federal budget is spent on ENTITLEMENTS (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)?

    I suggest you do.


    BTW. Fed wants to pump 600 BILLION extra dollars into our economy.

    Till June. (that's 3.3 billion a day, roughly).

    Unless Republicans manage to stop this madness.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 1:28pm on 04 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    76. At 10:31am on 04 Nov 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "The problem with Obamacare is not the principle of health insurnace reform (the health care system is not broken, it remains by far the best in the world ..."

    [[If, that is, you have coverage. 15% of the population didn't.]]


    "... the problem is with how to pay for it. It's no small matter, it consumes one sixth of the largest national economy in the world."

    [[How true. In most comparable western democracies it is between 1/14 and 1/9 of the economy, not 1/6. One of the huge advantages of universal single payer public health care is that, per person, it costs only about 60% of what the US is paying. People want to control the cost of health care? Well, there is no other measure that offers to cut health care costs by 40%.]]

    "... The problem came about because of the way the process was implimented. ...the legislation was kept secret in Harry Reid's office for six months and then only at the last second was it taken out, distributed, and voted on without anyone having a chance to even read through it let alone debate it. Every political trick Obama could pull off including special provisions for some states which will be judged unconstitutional were used to buy votes in the back room and railroad it through. Even so, the vote barely squeaked by both houses of Congress. The process made a mockery of the intent of the framers of the Constitution ... "

    [[This is the part that is so incomprehensible.

    Why should it be so difficult to get public support, and support in Congress, for universal single payer public health care?

    That is the stumbling block that led to the elimination of a public system from the legislation; that led to the completely needless retention of a role for the insurance industry (which leads to the "compulsory" purchase of health insurance); and that led to the equally needless complexity of the legislation.

    Why were they in such a desperate position of needing to "buy" enough votes in Congress with concessions barely to squeak over the line?

    Why didn't universal single payer public health care pass the House by 100 votes? And why didn't it do it 50 years ago?]]

    ----------

    [[Here is the contrast:

    In the US, representatives who voted for Obamacare care were trying to get re-elected by running away from their own votes in favour of health care, as if they should be ashamed of it.

    In this country, and in every other country that has public health care as far as I am aware, public health care is an overwhelming, guaranteed vote winner. Here, MP's who voted in favour of health care were national heroes. Those who led the fight (half a century ago) have a status approaching sainthood. Any MP who now voted against public health care would be committing political suicide.

    And in the US, they're too scared even to vote for it in Congress?
    And instead they end up with Frankenstein's monster?

    What is going on?

    How can things possibly be so upside down in the US body politic that universal public healthcare isn't overwhelmingly popular? Why is it that universal, single payer, public health care couldn't even get through the legislature?

    Bizarre.]]

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 1:31pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re Kunta Kinte...


    Hold your hands and melodiously sing "Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya".

    Perhaps goodness positively oozing out of your Birkenstock sandals will do the trick.

    In Liberia.

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 1:44pm on 04 Nov 2010, TeaPartyBrit wrote:

    On a general note I share TimR1944's dislike of the anti-Americanism which all too frequently appears on these pages. It is not, however, all one way. There is an under current of anti-British feeling in the US. Why did President Obama return the bust of Winston Churchill which had been a present to the American people? The irony is that despite all this free flowing vitriol. the UK is noticeably much more American than European; and the US still has legal and governmental forms directly descended from the English system despite the majority of US citizens claiming no descent from British, let alone English, antecedents. (That's what is said in surveys, anyway.)

    As Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms which have been tried from time to time". The unity of the, for want of a better term, Anglo-Saxon style democracies, most definitely including the UK and the US, is essential in the face of the present and future threats. Criticism is essential, but it should be thoughtful, justified and never personal. Good manners should be exercised. (How old fashioned is that?)

    I love my country, I love the US and also Canada where I lived in the 60's and 70's, and probably would also love Australia and New Zealand, if I were ever to get there. All these countries were cast in the same mould, it's just they weathered slightly differently down the years.

    It is to be hoped that despite all indications to the contrary, common sense will prevail, and democracy within the rule of law will be preserved. In the meantime "Nil illegitimi carborundum".

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 1:50pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”
    (T. Jefferson)

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 1:52pm on 04 Nov 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    90. At 12:42pm on 04 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:
    59. At 05:47am on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "One can only look at fiscal predicament of leading EU countries (Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain) to see that a model of an overreaching welfare state is dead. Very dead."

    -----------------

    As opposed to the fantastic economic situation the US finds itself in?

    How's that $14 trillion dollar debt (rising over $4 billion every day) treating you?

    ................................

    you should'nt knock Th US debt too much...
    remember the UK is The USA's 3rd largest crediter... so I imagine the interest payments that US tax payers are paying to the UK are coming in very handy at the moment to the British Government...

    Something seems very wrong in the world when the USA is having to borrow money off the Brits!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 2:04pm on 04 Nov 2010, Eeyore wrote:

    There are plenty of people employed full time by corporate America to tell Americans what Democrats are doing wrong, we don't need the president to add to the chorus. What he has repeatedly failed to do is communicate to the public that `We believe we have the right formula for getting the American economy going and the Republicans do not.' It shouldn't be that hard since the republicans have produced zero new ideas since the debacle of the Bush years. He doesn't sound like he believes it himself now. Of course the economy hasn't bounced back from that seismic disaster and Americans are foolish for thinking it could be solved so quickly. But its the job of Obama and the Democratic leadership to explain to people what they're doing and to show some confidence it will work. Riding the downward slope of compromise and contrition wins you no respect from either your supporters or opponents.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 2:08pm on 04 Nov 2010, ainglis wrote:

    I should start off with a disclaimer: I'm a British person living in the US, so I undoubtedly have a different perspective on this election than many US citizens.

    "Back then, he talked to the public about race as if there were adults. It was a personnal and almost non-political approach and that's what he's done again here.
    Almost everyone on this blog complains at some time or another that you can't get a straight answer out of politicians, that they can't admit error or weakness. Well Obama just stepped back from the grandstanding and communicated on a personnal level."

    I am inclined to agree. Oddly, the problem for President Obama is that he tries to communicate with the public at large as if talking to a group of adults. I personally find this refreshing and think the President deserves great credit for it. I quite like my politicians to talk to me sensibly and admit where there are problems, rather than just throw buzz words out there - I wish more politicians were as sensible as Mr Obama. Expressions of self-doubt from a leader don't bother me - in fact, it's nice to see that they are in fact human beings. Of course we rightly demand a lot from our leaders, but surely we can't expect them to be superhuman, unshakeable, omnipresent beings?

    Unfortunately this approach doesn't seem to be going down brilliantly with the US public right now. This is a shame, as I think overall he has done as good a job as President as could be expected.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 2:25pm on 04 Nov 2010, ChangeDoc wrote:

    For purposes of owning my biases up front, I am a disenfranchised Republican (a true "independent", not a Tea Bagger) - fully in favor of limited government and fewer taxes, but a social progressive that is quite concerned about the influence of corporate America in our democratic processes. Having said that, here are a couple of thoughts and issues still in play for me post-election:

    1) like him or not, Obama is stuck digging the US out of the financial hole his predecessor left him in: namely, the single largest expansion of the Federal Government since Roosevelt (the Department of Homeland Security) and a runaway, un- or under-regulated financial industry. The debt - including the Wall Street bailout - occurred on Bush's watch, not Obama's. Holding him and his administration accountable for it is a distortion of the facts.

    2) As the New York Times points out this morning, while the election was indeed a "shellacking" for the Democrats, it was hardly an order from the American people to discard the progress of the past two years and start over again. The electorate may be giving the Republicans an opportunity to lead, but it absolutely has not given them direction on where to lead the country to - note the following:

    a) regarding repealing health care reform: in polls of Tuesday's voters only 18% said health care was the nation's top issue.
    b) while 48% of voters said they wanted to repeal the health care law, 47% said they wanted to keep it. Absolutely NOT a consensus.
    c) 39% of voters polled said cutting the deficit was a priority, however, 37% said they preferred spending money to create jobs. Again, absolutely NOT a consensus.
    d) more voters blamed former President Bush for the country's economic problems and even more blamed Wall Street than President Obama. This can hardly be construed - despite the press - as a full out referendum on Obama.
    e) of the Tea Party candidates that ran, 44 won their races ... but 84 Tea Party candidates lost their races, including the two complete wing nuts that ran in Delaware and Nevada (sorry for the editorial, but for the record, there were NO human sacrifices in the US on Halloween). The self-accredited ophthalmologist in Kentucky, Rand Paul, did have a reasonable margin of victory ... but then again, well, draw your own conclusions here.
    f) of those Tea Party candidates that won, the vast majority won by very, very narrow margins.

    Bottom line: the Republicans need to keep in mind that this is a representative democracy, which means the governmental process is in fact one that is intended to put the best interests of the American people - all of us, not just those we agree with - ahead of the prurient self-interests of either the Democrats or the Republicans. We'll see if anyone in Washington actually learned anything this time around or whether it will be the usual partisan pissing match Americans have come to expect from their elected officials.

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 2:33pm on 04 Nov 2010, Barnaby101 wrote:

    The United States needs to be lead by someone who is intelligent, hard-working and has long-term interests of the citizens at heart. Unfortunately a significant proportion of the volatile independent voters and Tea Party people are actually being led by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Mark Levin and the people paying for those dreadful "attack ads". The evidence is strong that Obama is the leader that the US needs (see http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/how-obama-saved-capitalism-and-lost-the-midterms). Why don't journalists concentrate on laying out the evidence necessary to allow American voters to decide if the talk show hosts and mysterious political funders are the kinds of people who should lead the country.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 2:35pm on 04 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    97. At 1:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Have you ever bothered to check what portion of our federal budget is spent on ENTITLEMENTS (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)?

    I suggest you do.

    ------------------------------

    So I assume you have (or will) destroy both your social security and medicare cards as an act of defiance against this wasteful entitlement program and stick to your principles?

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 2:40pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Something seems very wrong in the world when the USA is having to borrow money off the Brits!!
    "



    Why? Brits (and everybody else, including Chinese) seem to think that U.S. is the safest place to park their money during global crises.


    Besides, if memory serves, Americans borrowed money from Brits over 200 years ago.

    And they still somehow managed to come on top. :-)))
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BEFORE THE FAT DOG GETS SKINNY, THE SKINNY DOG WILL DIE.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 2:46pm on 04 Nov 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    It's morning in America.

    An unemployed welder in Gary, Indianna is trying to decide if he has enough gas in his truck to get to the food bank.

    An investment banker in Bridgeport, Connecticut is trying to decide how to avoid federal taxes on his last $200,000 bonus.

    A teacher in Spartanburg, South Carolina will find out today that her position has been eliminated: the state is broke and the stimulus money is gone..

    The deficit will grow another $2.6 billion dollars today so we can keep building roads and bridges in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one knows why.

    It's morning in America.

    Got Tea?

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 2:53pm on 04 Nov 2010, wozearly wrote:

    Regarding the health insurers' role in the system...

    As with any profit-driven organisation (banks spring to mind), there will be temptations to attract low-risk, high-profit customers; strong disincentives to take on higher-risk customers and a general incentive to find ways to boost profit and shareholder gain over customer gain.

    However, most of those can be mitigated either by law or by ensuring healthy competition. A fair number of countries in the world use health insurers as a key plank of the system, but have rules in place to ensure universal access to health insurance and, in a fair few cases, profit-sharing to discourage cherry-picking low risk customers.

    Problem is that there isn't one right answer. Each approach has its pro's and con's, because ultimately to limit the cost of healthcare you need to be in a position to dictate or at least influence the pay of healthcare professionals, the costs of hospitals, drugs and treatments, etc.

    To do that effectively, you need organisations with large buying power, preferably with government backing. In this case the NHS does fantastically, hence why its such a cost-effective system - and the private sector hospitals and health insurers have to focus on shoring up against the downsides of the system to attract customers whose interests the NHS isn't able to serve.

    However, NHS-scale large buying power tends to also come with lack of competition, which can mean inefficiency, inflexibility and the risk of a culture where serving the organisation's desires sits above serving the needs of patients.

    The critical question is who you want to be in control of the money (e.g. patients, hospitals, insurers) and then how you can use whatever system you construct to ensure that the patients get the best that they can for that money from the system.

    Given the huge variety of healthcare systems in the world, I don't think there's a ready-made answer to what the "best" approach looks like.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 3:02pm on 04 Nov 2010, baircash wrote:

    Pres. Obama allowed the Republicans to frame the discussions. He has yet to realize that he is a street fight. He is dealing with people like #49, AnnArbor who hate him so much that they will never give him a break.
    As far as health care goes, he did over reach. Health care needs reform. the present method of doing it through business is terrible. I'v esold the stuff & got out. Health Ins companies give low ball quotes & then bumb up the premium on renewal. God help the business that has an employee with a serious health problem. Cancellation or huge premium increases.

    #76 Marcus Aurelius . We do not have universal world class health care.
    If you live near one of the premier teaching /research hosptials, you do, but if you are out in the hinterlands spotty at best. Many rural areas struggle to get Doctors to live in their respective areas.

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 3:04pm on 04 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    108. At 2:40pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    BEFORE THE FAT DOG GETS SKINNY, THE SKINNY DOG WILL DIE.

    ------------------------

    Ah the Caps Lock Key; the Keyboard Warrior's most trusted tool.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 3:24pm on 04 Nov 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    "Showing self-doubt, a lack of confidence and insecurity may not be the path back to power."

    Sorry Mark, but I think you're off-target.
    This is exactly HOW Mr.O will STAY in power.
    In America, we are the President's Boss. His job is to serve us. When people think that the President is gettin' too high on his horse, he'll get knocked down a notch.
    ___

    The flip question then follows:
    Is Mr.O actually jus' actin' the part of the sensitive guy to manipulate public opinion?

    My Answer:
    I really don't give a Rat's Behind.
    Why? Because he's a great man with great ideas and he's a great president, regardless of what the Angry Conservative Pundits say about him. So, if he can get a little touchy-feely and stay in power long enough to help turn this ship in a better direction... I'm all for it.

    Peace.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 3:36pm on 04 Nov 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    None of this Obama-bashing rises above the level of garbled platitudes and meaningless catch-phrases like "entitlements" -I am looking forward to watching our representative government represent our collective intelligence for the next two years by wobbling around like turkeys in the yard with their mouths open drowning in the rain.

    It is obvious to anyone that watched Obama's statement that he is for the most part aghast at the fierce stupidity of his people

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 3:36pm on 04 Nov 2010, Feng Shui wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 116. At 3:41pm on 04 Nov 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    @Barnaby101:
    Thank you for your sanity. I agree entirely.

    "Unfortunately a significant proportion of the volatile independent voters and Tea Party people are actually being led by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Mark Levin and the people paying for those dreadful "attack ads"." (Barnaby, #106)

    I have been truly surprised that people I know to be generally sane and intelligent individuals have been swayed by these folks and by adds with clearly cooked data.

    I used to call Rushies "Ditto-heads" because they couldn't seem to think for themselves and just quoted whatever they heard spouted off their AM Dial.

    I find Beck a more disconcerting Poop-Artist because he's a younger, more visual-savvy Infomercial Man who can sculpt the propaganda machine like a McDonalds' Sunday with Hot Fudge on Top

    ... you eat it, knowing it's crap, and at some point you ask yourself, 'why am i eating this?' but it's too late. You've already dribbled the disgusting stuff on your shirt. Better smile and say it was worth it.

    Thinking about it makes my eyes twitch.
    Maybe I need more coffee.

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 3:44pm on 04 Nov 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 100. At 1:44pm on 04 Nov 2010, TeaPartyBrit wrote:
    "On a general note I share TimR1944's dislike of the anti-Americanism which all too frequently appears on these pages. It is not, however, all one way. There is an under current of anti-British feeling in the US. Why did President Obama return the bust of Winston Churchill which had been a present to the American people?"

    An insight into the 'bust' issue is here. Apparently it was a 'loaner'

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201006290073

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 3:50pm on 04 Nov 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 104 ainglis wrote:

    "I am inclined to agree. Oddly, the problem for President Obama is that he tries to communicate with the public at large as if talking to a group of adults"

    "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
    H. L. Mencken
    US editor (1880 - 1956)

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 3:58pm on 04 Nov 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    Haven't done a political haiku in awhile:

    Lovely is the thought --
    One man might try to lead us
    Though we are diverse.



    *snap snap snap snap snap snap*

    Thank you, thank you, thank you...

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 4:10pm on 04 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    114 mabelwhite,

    “It is obvious to anyone that watched Obama's statement that he is for the most part aghast at the fierce stupidity of his people”

    That’s okay, because his “people” are aghast at the fierce stupidity of Obama and the democrats. How many times do people have to say, “It’s the economy stupid!” before it sinks in?

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 4:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#171,
    Prime Minister Blair gave the Bronze Statue to President G W Bush after 9/11 to show that Britain stood alongside the USA and to offer inspiration against tryanny..
    Churchills 'bust' was a loaner, but the British foreign office did offer President Obama the option of keeping hold of it.. He respectfully declined and had it returned...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/4623148/Barack-Obama-sends-bust-of-Winston-Churchill-on-its-way-back-to-Britain.html

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 4:51pm on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #70


    "Instead, you still haven't even got universal coverage."


    Because the US does not want it. It boggles the mind but it is entirely possible, don't you think? I mean for some country to want to do something or not to do something like all the rest? :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 5:11pm on 04 Nov 2010, sotos_68 wrote:

    Two years ago, the Republicans were wiped out in the House, the Senate and the Presidency elections. They didn't start "listeing to the people" who had sent them packing, nor did they adopt a conciliatory, centrist stance. They closed ranks, fired up their base and took over the public debate on pretty much everything.

    Obama should take this as a lesson: Faced with a recession that doesn't ease, an equally deep environmental crisis, Western societies disturbingly keen to turn against their weaker links, in this case Muslims, and a dozen or more possible confrontations around the globe, he must stand firm. Now is not the time for going with the tide and bowing down to business interests, corporate media and the loony American Right. The Democrats have an obligation to take what is left of the progressive agenda and make it hegemonic in American society again.

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 5:17pm on 04 Nov 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    121. At 4:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, strontiumdog007 wrote:
    re#171,

    Hey strontiumdog007,how on earth did you know post 171 is going to be on
    Churchill's bust,can you tell me the winner of the 3.30pm at Kempton Park
    tomorrow...

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 5:25pm on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #73


    "Remember is was the communist NHS that invented CAT scanners, performed the first hip replacement operation, The first eye lens transplant, developed penicillin. More recently and probably more ground breaking."


    Penicilin = discovered in 1928, 20 years before the NHS was established. "The development of penicillin for use as a medicine is attributed to the Australian Nobel laureate Howard Walter Florey together with the German Nobel laureate Ernst Chain and the English biochemist Norman Heatley."


    hip replacement = first performed in 1890 Germany (with ivory) and again in the US with metal in 1940. No NHS involved.


    corneal transplantation = first performed in 1905 by an Austrian. More than 40 years before the NHS was implemented and in another country.


    May want to verify the NHS propaganda a bit. Oh but they can claim something about CAT scanners:


    "The first commercially viable CT scanner was invented by Sir Godfrey Hounsfield in Hayes, United Kingdom at EMI Central Research Laboratories using X-rays. Hounsfield conceived his idea in 1967.[7] The first EMI-Scanner was installed in Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, England, and the first patient brain-scan was done on 1 October 1971.[8] It was publicly announced in 1972."

    They can claim that they bought the first one :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 5:46pm on 04 Nov 2010, Hapennyworth wrote:

    There's something almost Biblical about this fall from grace: most would agree that Obama, whatever one thinks of his policies, appears to be thoughtful, sincere, inclusive and principled (rather than bold, determined, cunning and tough-skinned). Does his electoral comeuppance reveal something rather chilling about governance in America in our times? That leaders who are "nice", who try to include other points of view, who think sternly of "the common good", who worry about principle, are essentially doomed to fail in the vicious bear-pit of modern politics? Does the system favour rule by zealots and demagogues?

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 5:48pm on 04 Nov 2010, Jay wrote:

    "Strickland's loss cause for celebration in India" : http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/11/04/o4-kasich-india.html?sid=101 (Columbus Despatch newspaper)

    Read the comments too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 6:55pm on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#89. At 12:25pm on 04 Nov 2010, Feng Shui wrote:
    "For the rest of the world Obama was a god send to the international community who dreaded Republican wars and propaganda."

    You must be bitterly disappinted to learn that the annointed one is mortal after all, most Americans have been aware of it for quite some time now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 7:00pm on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #114. At 3:36pm on 04 Nov 2010, mabelwhite wrote:
    None of this Obama-bashing rises above the level of garbled platitudes and meaningless catch-phrases like "entitlements" -I am looking forward to watching our representative government represent our collective intelligence for the next two years by wobbling around like turkeys in the yard with their mouths open drowning in the rain.

    It is obvious to anyone that watched Obama's statement that he is for the most part aghast at the fierce stupidity of his people

    -----------

    Isn't it odd that politicians bow to the wisdom of the people when they're being elected but question their mental state when the people question their leadership?

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 7:18pm on 04 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    114. mabelwhite :

    "It is obvious to anyone that watched Obama's statement that he is for the most part aghast at the fierce stupidity of his people"

    ************

    He had a chance to check out plenty of them on the campaign trail. Did he notice their "fierce stupidity" then?

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 7:22pm on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#108. At 2:40pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "Something seems very wrong in the world when the USA is having to borrow money off the Brits!!
    "



    Why? Brits (and everybody else, including Chinese) seem to think that U.S. is the safest place to park their money during global crises.


    Besides, if memory serves, Americans borrowed money from Brits over 200 years ago.

    And they still somehow managed to come on top. :-)))

    ------------

    I don't about the Brits but we borrowed wuite a bit from the French. In fact the French government's huge debt from supporting our revolution and the taxes King Louis tried to impose on the nobles and the commoners to pay for it was one of the things that drove the French to Revolution.

    British investors did play a major role in building America's industrial and transportation infrastructure in the 19th century.

    Never mind that though. Please, please, please do not loan our government any money. They're addicts and they'll only spend it on something frivolous like economic stimulus or the war in Afghanistan. We don't need enablers, we need an intervention to help them get clean and learn to live within our means.

    I know, if they can't borrow it they'll just print more, but we have to start somewhere. When the American ambassador holds out his tin cup just say NO.

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 7:43pm on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #119. At 3:58pm on 04 Nov 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Haven't done a political haiku in awhile:

    Lovely is the thought --
    One man might try to lead us
    Though we are diverse.


    *snap snap snap snap snap snap*

    Thank you, thank you, thank you...

    ----------

    I'm inspired to give it a try.

    Storm clouds gathering,
    The old answers not working...
    Our leader ponders.

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 7:44pm on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #131


    "I know, if they can't borrow it they'll just print more, but we have to start somewhere. "


    Start somewhere with what? With the printing of money? Funny you should say that, yesterday the Federal Reserve announced that they will print 600 billion more dollars.

    Odd, no?

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 8:22pm on 04 Nov 2010, Anna wrote:

    #126 said the following:

    "Most would agree that Obama, whatever one thinks of his policies, appears to be thoughtful, sincere, inclusive and principled (rather than bold, determined, cunning and tough-skinned). Does his electoral comeuppance reveal something rather chilling about governance in America in our times? That leaders who are "nice", who try to include other points of view, who think sternly of "the common good", who worry about principle, are essentially doomed to fail in the vicious bear-pit of modern politics?"

    _______-------

    I agree with you that Obama "APPEARS to be thoughtful, sincere, INCLUSIVE and principled". As a independent who voted for him in 2008 and against him this week, his APPEARING to be all these things is one of his BIG PROBLEMS! Actions speak louder than WORDS! His appearence does not jell with his ACTIONS! He does "appear" this way while he is working secret deals in closed door sessions in order to push through a health care reform bill that is as thick as a dictionary during a time when the economic fabric is shedding like a cotton skirt made in India and purchased at Wal-Mart. Keep in mind that he is the same man that promised us that an OPEN GOVERNMENT, a government that would be inclusive and disclose to the American people what it was doing. No one knows what is in the in health care bill, not even the medical community!! Any Brit who has visited the US has seen the power of our insurance and Pharma industry in TV commericals for meds like Viagra. WE KNOW that WHATEVER is in the healthcare bill it HAS NOT nor is it going to hurt those industries. If it was going to, the American people would be BOMBARDED by their propoganda via every media outlet. If the insurance and pharmacy industry aren't being drastically revamped by this bill then WHO IS THIS BILL GOING TO HELP? HOW IS IT GOING FIX OUR BROKEN SYSTEM that is riddled with the high cost of medicine and insurance? I don't know the answers nor am I privy to what has been going on in his government which is why I mistrust the man's "apperence". As his boss, the American people trust him with making decisions that benefit the people. This ObamaCare bill was to the sinking economy as the Iraq War was to 9/11. "What? Huh? Explain it to me again, Mr.Obama. Exactly how is ObamaCare going to fix our failing economy?" is VERY similar to "What? Huh? Explain it to me again, Mr. Bush. Exactly HOW is a pre-imeptive war with Iraq going to solve 9/11 or our secure our country from further terrorist attacks coming places in the MidEast that ARE NOT IRAQ?"

    Obama promised us an open, sincere, and thoughful government, and I expect that from him. What he has given us is the opposite? I have seen many comments on message boards talking about how stupid Americans are for not understanding what Obama is doing. Well, they are somewhat correct if they interchanged the word "stupid" with "ignorant". Of course, they DO NOT hold the same connotation. The word "Stupid" implies that you had the opportunity to educate yourself and yet you made the choice not to be educated. "Ignorance", however, is often the result of NOT having the opportunity to educate yourself at ALL!! President Obama left his population in a state of ignorance!!! It smells of deception, manipulation, and of arrogance that the American people are too "stupid" to understand his ideas. Therefore, he rinders it necessary to keep us all "ignorant" on what he is up to. Now, I have NO IDEA if this is what is ACTUALLY happening, but it is what "appears" to be happening from the viewpoint of electorate that has been made "ignorant" by its president in a time when people were/are DESPERATE for a leader who will put all his work and energy into making sure we SURVIVE this economy with jobs, houses, and food.

    Complain about this comment

  • 135. At 8:26pm on 04 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    125 Hapennyworth,

    "Does the system favour rule by zealots and demagogues?"

    Our system does not favor "rule" by anyone, not even nice guys. Maybe that's were Obama went wrong.

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 8:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    Has the health care bill been repealed yet?
    Is the government shrunk back to the size it had in 1936?
    Is the deficit gone now? Unemployment back below three percent?

    What's taking so long?

    When the party that controls the nation's purse strings promises to change each of those things, they have to deal with the consequences of not fulfilling them. Right?

    I think it's high time we vote all of these people out of office and put some HONEST people in there!

    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 8:34pm on 04 Nov 2010, Anna wrote:

    AT #134

    "Please, please, please do not loan our government any money. They're addicts and they'll only spend it on something frivolous like economic stimulus or the war in Afghanistan. We don't need enablers, we need an intervention to help them get clean and learn to live within our means."

    -----
    LOVE IT!! Well, done!! I SECOND that motion!! They ARE addicts!! If I have to stop using my credit card, SO should my government! Break the addiction cycle!

    Complain about this comment

  • 138. At 8:44pm on 04 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    123 sotos_68,

    "The Democrats have an obligation to take what is left of the progressive agenda and make it hegemonic in American society again."

    An interesting choice of words, but the progressive “hegemony” has been pushed back by ten to fifteen years; maybe longer. Elections have consequences. This is what happens when you force an agenda rather than building consensus.

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 8:44pm on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #136

    "What's taking so long?"


    Obama is still president, is the main reason it is taking so long. Hold your horses until 2012.

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 8:50pm on 04 Nov 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #116
    , Philly-Mom wrote:
    @Barnaby101:
    Thank you for your sanity. I agree entirely.

    "Unfortunately a significant proportion of the volatile independent voters and Tea Party people are actually being led by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Mark Levin and the people paying for those dreadful "attack ads"." (Barnaby, #106)

    I have been truly surprised that people I know to be generally sane and intelligent individuals have been swayed by these folks and by adds with clearly cooked data.


    _____________-

    Some of us work during th day so don't listen to Rush or other radio people,. but I'll take Rush and Beck over Oprah and the Veiw ladies

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 9:04pm on 04 Nov 2010, Anna wrote:

    AT #106, #116 abd #140

    It's easy to sway public opinion when it is the ONLY opinion out there!! It's also easy to distrust your president when he clearly doesn't trust YOU by purposely leaving you in the unknown about what he is doing and why?

    Promise of open disclosure government was a LIE!! Who knows what his agenda is? When we aren't given the information to educate ourselves, it leaves a HUGE gap of unknown and OTHERS will fill in the blanks with whatever they like.

    Complain about this comment

  • 142. At 9:14pm on 04 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    93. At 1:04pm on 04 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    83. At 11:47am on 04 Nov 2010, arclightt wrote:

    "1. The average profit percentage for health care plans as of 24 September was 4.8 cents per dollar. ..."

    ________

    Not disagreeing with your comments, the point about the public care system is that it starts with the great advantage of not merely not having to generate profits for the insurance industry, but rather not having the industry at all, i.e., neither its profits nor its costs.

    That entire unproductive overburden is stripped away."


    Like in the ex-USSR/eastern bloc, Cuba?

    Complain about this comment

  • 143. At 9:20pm on 04 Nov 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    news flash for the Euros and libs around the world..............

    America is not European nor liberal...we are a center/right nation...

    Sorry to break it to you...

    Your starting to see the cold water of reality start hitting some of your social systems....I think Lady Thatcher said it best:

    "Socialism is great...until you run out of other peoples money..."

    Complain about this comment

  • 144. At 9:32pm on 04 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    83. At 11:47am on 04 Nov 2010, arclightt wrote:

    All: There have been a lot of comments about healthcare here. At the risk of offending folks, I think I need to point out a few things again about this.

    It's true that health insurers make a profit off the sale of insurance. Some folks in the government have made big hay calling them "greedy", and some of you agree. Here are some things to sift in your mind:

    1. The average profit percentage for health care plans as of 24 September was 4.8 cents per dollar. Let's say that we passed a law tomorrow requiring all health insurance providers to operate at zero profit. How much would your health-insurance costs decrease? Just that 4.8 cents per dollar. In other words, if you were paying $1000 per year for health insurance, you'd pay $952 per year. Does that $48 difference sound like "greedy" to you? Really?

    2. Let's say that the insurer in your state wants a 30% rate increase. Does that automatically translate into 30% additional profit? You don't know, because you don't know (and the politicians didn't tell you) what his COSTS rose by. Before you decide if the 30% rate increase was unwarranted, don't you need to know how the insurer's costs changed first? How many of you asked that question when you were told about the last rate increase by the political class?

    3. What about all the suppliers to the health insurers? Again from the 24 September 2010 listing, the industry category called "Medical Equipment and Supplies" had a profit margin of 8.7%, and the category called "Medical Laboratories and Research" had a profit margin of 7.2%. Remember that these profits are COSTS to the medical insurers. Is it OK for these segments to make those profit margins, but NOT OK for the insurers to make their 4.8%? What about all the OTHER suppliers that go into the costs to health insurers? If their profit margins are very high, is that acceptable?

    Folks, don't you think it's time we squeezed our political class to provide for us some discussion of just what is IN these black boxes they want to sell us, so we can at least TRY to make a more informed decision? Or should we just rely on our "feelings"?

    Gotta go to yet another meeting. See you later.

    Arclight"


    That's only half of the story. Because the Dems didn't have the votes, Obamacare's provisions will ensure that single-payer health care be introduced gradually through the back door:

    1) In two months, the 85:15 provision of Obamacare kicks in. Insurance companies will be required to pay out 85% of their revenue for claims, while the meager gross profit will have to cover all costs and net profit, if any.

    Industry insiders predict most of the insurance companies will exit the health care industry in the next five to seven years.



    2) Obamacare provides enough incentives for businesses to drop employer-provided insurance (the penalties for dropping employees are much lower than the actual costs of keeping them). Those who lose their employer-provided insurance will end up as clients of Obamacare.


    The actual number of Americans who do not have health care coverage and cannot afford it is app. 10 m (the 40-50 m number is an outright lie, as it includes aliens, younger Americans who can afford insurance, but prefer to not buy, etc.). Overhauling the entire system to cover 10 m: 'tis madness yet there's ("progressive") method in it.



    Complain about this comment

  • 145. At 9:33pm on 04 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    142. At 9:14pm on 04 Nov 2010, peterbo wrote:

    "Like in the ex-USSR/eastern bloc, Cuba?"

    ---------

    As in Canada, a county whose health care system has cradled you, for example, for half a century.

    Complain about this comment

  • 146. At 9:34pm on 04 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    132. At 7:43pm on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962:

    re. #119. At 3:58pm on 04 Nov 2010, Philly-Mom:

    __________

    Not bad at all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 147. At 9:34pm on 04 Nov 2010, Echotheword wrote:

    Check this website out for political contributions as of Oct. 25, 2010.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/index.php

    Complain about this comment

  • 148. At 10:00pm on 04 Nov 2010, Unappreciated Vet wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 149. At 10:03pm on 04 Nov 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    On the posters saying that having govt paid healthcare is a no brainer:

    2 Questions

    Why do so many rich Europeans come here for medical treatment?

    2 What about the long wait for surgeries?

    Complain about this comment

  • 150. At 10:25pm on 04 Nov 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #148

    Make up your mind, did you laugh or was it a sad day? :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 151. At 10:55pm on 04 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#133. At 7:44pm on 04 Nov 2010, Jeremy Clarkson wrote:
    #131


    "I know, if they can't borrow it they'll just print more, but we have to start somewhere. "


    Start somewhere with what? With the printing of money? Funny you should say that, yesterday the Federal Reserve announced that they will print 600 billion more dollars.

    Odd, no?

    ---------

    No, I was well aware of it that's why I mentioned it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 152. At 11:12pm on 04 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    145. At 9:33pm on 04 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    142. At 9:14pm on 04 Nov 2010, peterbo wrote:

    "Like in the ex-USSR/eastern bloc, Cuba?"

    ---------

    As in Canada, a county whose health care system has cradled you, for example, for half a century."

    Canadian expenditure on health care:

    app. 70%, diminishing - govn't (fed+provincial)
    app. 30%, increasing - private

    Thank goodness, we're moving away from Cuba and Douglas' utopia.

    Complain about this comment

  • 153. At 11:19pm on 04 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    Anyone noticed the $600 bn "fresh" money the FED QE2-ed/printed today? Extremely worrying development ensuring the demise of the $US, and eventually the economy.

    If US congress fails to reign in the keynesians at the Fed, hyperinflation will not be unimaginable at all (see price of materials, gold, etc).

    Complain about this comment

  • 154. At 11:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#149

    Magickirin,

    bit of a odd question don't you think
    You could of just as well said "why do so many rich Americans send their children to Great Ormand's Street children's hospital in London and are major benefactors' to their trust foundation" The best are the best and will always get the top funding single payer system or private, I don't think anyone is arguing that American hospitals are not the best but its the cost and the availability people seem to discuss here..

    We have rich Arabs come to my country for specialist surgery and we have a socialist, single payer health care, highly unionized labour, bloated civil service and a welfare system that pays so well that some people think they don't need to work.. Yet I've never seen anyone here refer to Israel as the USSRael. That seems reserved for only the Europeans here..... In mho the USA seems just as socialist as a lot of European states. You have medicare, majority State owned car industry. state owned banks, State owned postal service. Countries like Holland privatized their postal services years ago.. And as for Thatchers quote don't you think that's inappropriate from a country that is borrowing 4.5 billion dollars a day from Communist China and others (borrowing off communists doesn't make the US capitalist system look like a winner to our friends in the East) . Plus the day after the elections the fed is going to print some more money it doesn't have and throw another 500 billion dollars into the economy..

    Complain about this comment

  • 155. At 11:52pm on 04 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    136. Curt Carpenter:

    Shall we wait until legislation is actually passed? How about we give republicans 2 years (without their party in the oval office)?

    If republican moves wind up hurting private sector hiring, they will be in as much trouble as Obama. And, yes, their actions have consequences, and they should be held accountable. Now that Obama has replaced his advisors, I have hope for him as well. It can't be easy for him having to deal with such a negative reaction to his "safety net" initiatives. Hard to be safe without a job.

    It's still unclear to me what "repeal" means. I've heard that an alternative will be proposed, I think from Boehner. There's been talk of changing certain provisions. I am very surprised at the number of people who favor "repeal". Rasmussen had it at 59 percent a few days ago. Numbers and polls will vary, but this shows there's a lot of pressure from voters. It was the second most important item, and it wasn't because they liked it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 156. At 00:21am on 05 Nov 2010, american grizzly wrote:


    104. At 2:08pm on 04 Nov 2010, ainglis wrote:

    I wish more politicians were as sensible as Mr Obama. Expressions of self-doubt from a leader don't bother me - in fact, it's nice to see that they are in fact human beings. Of course we rightly demand a lot from our leaders, but surely we can't expect them to be superhuman, unshakeable, omnipresent beings?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Why bother to reflect what Obama read from a teleprompter? Written for him by professional writers. Do Presidents and elected officials even write their own speech anymore??? "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. I am the great an powerful OZ" Wizard of Oz

    Well the Democratic and Republican munchkins can drone on, but if they fail to perform (like Obama, and the ejected one), fail to listen, hack bad legislation together, dump the perfume on a pig and call it a bill. THen the house of the electorate will land on them again, and again, and again. Until we find a strawman with a brain.

    Complain about this comment

  • 157. At 00:41am on 05 Nov 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    IF

    "One of the huge advantages of universal single payer public health care is that, per person, it costs only about 60% of what the US is paying."

    Most of them are being cheated. They're not getting care that's even 60% as good as Americans get. I'm not going through this debate again, it's over and done with. I've seen foreign hospitals and foreign health care and that is one reason any American who is ill in a foreign country would do well to get on the first plane home. And that includes if you're stuck in Canada.

    2700 pages of gobbledygook. No time to debate it, no time to even read it. So much red tape, so many rules and regulations. It will never see the light of day as written. Obama lied, cheated, and weaseled his way through this. He's no better than any other Chicago politician.

    Complain about this comment

  • 158. At 00:44am on 05 Nov 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    crashbar 111;

    "#76 Marcus Aurelius . We do not have universal world class health care.
    If you live near one of the premier teaching /research hosptials, you do, but if you are out in the hinterlands spotty at best. Many rural areas struggle to get Doctors to live in their respective areas."

    And your solution is...to legally force doctors under penalty of death to live next door to you. I'd take death.

    Complain about this comment

  • 159. At 00:52am on 05 Nov 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    155. At 11:52pm on 04 Nov 2010, AndreaNY wrote:
    "Shall we wait until legislation is actually passed? How about we give republicans 2 years (without their party in the oval office)?"

    But they ---PROMISED---!

    It's like I read, more or less, right here up around #44, or maybe it was 86:

    "they raised expectations in order to get themselves elected. They pumped up expectations in the most irresponsible manner. Americans' irrational belief in them was okay as long as it worked in the TEA party's favor."

    And wasn't it "If voters are silly for expecting so much of them, they are equally silly for having promised so many things they couldn't deliver..."?

    More or less? Nothing about time there, was there? Did I miss something?
    Two years? Two days? Two -decades- to get the old act together? No specification out of you that I can recall, until just now.

    Sure you want to commit to a mere two years before your crowd takes some responsibility?

    I guess hypocrisy comes in more than one flavor. The whine certainly does.

    Complain about this comment

  • 160. At 01:38am on 05 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    159 Curtcarpenter,

    "More or less? Nothing about time there, was there? Did I miss something?"

    Yes, you did. Republicans have already improved the economy and they haven’t even taken up their majority yet. How, you ask? Cap-n-trade legislation is dead; big savings for consumers and business right there.

    Complain about this comment

  • 161. At 01:46am on 05 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    159 Curt Carpnter,

    "More or less? Nothing about time there, was there? Did I miss something?

    Yes, you missed another one. Bush tax cuts will be extended for at least two years unless Obama plans to be a one term president. Good news for small businesses.

    Complain about this comment

  • 162. At 02:18am on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    157. At 00:41am on 05 Nov 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Most of them are being cheated. They're not getting care that's even 60% as good as Americans get. I'm not going through this debate again, it's over and done with. I've seen foreign hospitals and foreign health care and that is one reason any American who is ill in a foreign country would do well to get on the first plane home. And that includes if you're stuck in Canada."

    __________

    I have been in health care facilities in Canada, Britain, the US, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Fiji, the Netherlands Antilles, Cuba, and probably a few others I have forgotten.

    First, all of them provide good basic care. I would guess that both Cuba and Fiji have a fairly high ratio of results to expenditure, because their systems are plainly much, much less expensive. The Netherlands Antilles had health care very much like in Europe. Switzerland is excellent.

    I'm not sure I would want major surgery done in Cuba or Fiji, but the other rich European countries and Canada do just fine.

    Complain about this comment

  • 163. At 03:27am on 05 Nov 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    161. At 01:46am on 05 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:
    "Yes, you missed another one. Bush tax cuts will be extended for at least two years..."

    And that's a GOOD thing for reducing the deficit how, exactly?

    Didn't you guys Pledge to cut taxes, cut spending, cut unemployment and cut the deficit too, all at the same time? All I'm saying is: I'm still waiting. What's taking so long?

    Oh, and Hey: I'm part of the American People too -- and I thought you were going to -listen- to me. So far, I'm very, very disappointed on that.

    Get back to me on the splendid cap and trade response when you have a viable alternative to offer that fits the "free markets" paradigm.

    Complain about this comment

  • 164. At 03:53am on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    36, mgoulden.
    "I too find the health care debate in the USA incomprehensible. I find it incomprehensible that the financing of healthcare - something every single man, woman and child will need at some point in their lives - is placed in the hands of private insurance companies."

    That is the problem in a nutshell. And the more they charge us the more profitable it is. The more unnecessary tests, the greater the profit. And the more drugs they push....

    There are two ways to get the prices down, way down:

    (1) Get rid of all insurance and restore free clinics for the needy. (No paperwork, no medicaid, just care.)
    (2) Put the system in the hands of the government.

    The present system is not based on care, but extortion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 165. At 04:48am on 05 Nov 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    164. At 03:53am on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:
    36, mgoulden.
    "I too find the health care debate in the USA incomprehensible. I find it incomprehensible that the financing of healthcare - something every single man, woman and child will need at some point in their lives - is placed in the hands of private insurance companies."

    That is the problem in a nutshell. And the more they charge us the more profitable it is. The more unnecessary tests, the greater the profit. And the more drugs they push....

    There are two ways to get the prices down, way down:

    (1) Get rid of all insurance and restore free clinics for the needy. (No paperwork, no medicaid, just care.)
    (2) Put the system in the hands of the government.

    The present system is not based on care, but extortion.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Brother I'm with ya on number 1...but item 2 is just plain crazy...

    you want the same people who run the Post Office, DMV and FEMA to be in charge of life and death decisions? are you nuts...you would allow your kids to play with flaming knives, keep starving lions as pets and sleep over at child molestors house?

    No way BABY!!!!!....

    I have ZERO love for those buzzards in the insurance bizz..but I have even less trush for those jackels, theives, con men, pond scum and prostitutes in govt. (my apologies to the prostitutes out there for comparing you to politicians, I know I went too far with that one, please accept my humble apology)

    Honestly...what organization run by the government does a good job..heck for that matter what doesn't the govt REALLY stink at?

    Give me a system that protects the quality of care with the lowest prices and most choices...and no government control...Is that so hard?


    Complain about this comment

  • 166. At 05:44am on 05 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    163 Curt Carpenter,
    161 rodidog wrote:
    "Yes, you missed another one. Bush tax cuts will be extended for at least two years..."

    “And that's a GOOD thing for reducing the deficit how, exactly?”

    It’s called increased economic activity which leads to larger tax revenues even though the tax rate is lower. Ergo, more revenue coupled with less spending decreases the deficit. The key is controlling spending and finding the right balance in tax policy. Higher taxes depress economic activity and result in stagnant growth and less revenue.
    -----

    “Didn't you guys Pledge to cut taxes, cut spending, cut unemployment and cut the deficit too, all at the same time? All I'm saying is: I'm still waiting. What's taking so long?”

    “Oh, and Hey: I'm part of the American People too -- and I thought you were going to -listen- to me. So far, I'm very, very disappointed on that.”

    That’s funny; you must be in sad shape. .
    -----

    "Get back to me on the splendid cap and trade response when you have a viable alternative to offer that fits the "free markets" paradigm."

    Try explaining how cap and trade fits a free market paradigm first.

    Complain about this comment

  • 167. At 07:46am on 05 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    At 1:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Have you ever bothered to check what portion of our federal budget is spent on ENTITLEMENTS (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)?

    I suggest you do.

    ------------------------------

    So I assume you have (or will) destroy both your social security and medicare cards as an act of defiance against this wasteful entitlement program and stick to your principles?




    I hate to tell you that but I dumped my Social Security card years ago (I am not entitled to SS, although I do have a SS number) and have never used Medicare.

    Sorry, bout that. :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 168. At 07:48am on 05 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "It's morning in America.

    Got Tea?"



    Go to Boston Harbor: we've dumped some there long time ago.

    Complain about this comment

  • 169. At 07:55am on 05 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "There is an under current of anti-British feeling in the US. Why did President Obama return the bust of Winston Churchill which had been a present to the American people?""



    Worse: BHO barely acknowledged Gordon Brown in a hotel kitchen.

    Complain about this comment

  • 170. At 08:02am on 05 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Stgatement: "That entire unproductive overburden is stripped away."

    A reply: "Like in the ex-USSR/eastern bloc, Cuba?"





    Well, of course you have to creat a massive state bureaucracy
    if you want to run any major governmental welfare program efficiently.

    Take for instance SS, Medicare, Medicaid... :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 171. At 08:13am on 05 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    # 153 "Anyone noticed the $600 bn "fresh" money the FED QE2-ed/printed today? Extremely worrying development ensuring the demise of the $US, and eventually the economy."


    Look up #97

    Complain about this comment

  • 172. At 08:23am on 05 Nov 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #169
    powermeerkat wrote:
    "There is an under current of anti-British feeling in the US. Why did President Obama return the bust of Winston Churchill which had been a present to the American people?""



    Worse: BHO barely acknowledged Gordon Brown in a hotel kitchen.

    _________

    We need to be careful. this disdain is primarily Barack Obama and a small minority. It is another reflection of his disconnect from most of america.

    Most americans value our relationship with U.K and Israel, but Obama does not. He thinks its more important to appease left wing dictators and the islamic world

    Complain about this comment

  • 173. At 09:15am on 05 Nov 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref 172~ Magic
    2 things:
    1. Gordon Brown would barely get an acknowledgment from himself in a hotel kitchen. He's a lovely guy, but was so ineffective a political leader as to be almost invisible.
    2. In the grand scheme of things, "Yo Blair!" was probably more insulting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 174. At 10:50am on 05 Nov 2010, kenton de man ville wrote:

    Showing a measured response to a disappointing period of presidency might just be the thing. Still two years to go till next presidential elections. Maybe Mr Obama is preparing for the long-haul. Some American voters will respond to the Sarah Palin glitter and meaningless rhetoric. I believe that many others will pause and take a deep breath just before they vote.

    Complain about this comment

  • 175. At 12:03pm on 05 Nov 2010, 60022Mallard wrote:

    The BBC have presented us with both the second and third "comings" -Saint Anthony in 1997 and Saint Barry in 2007/8.

    Both have turned out to have feet of clay. It took rather longer for the first than the second to be found wanting.

    The disgusting pork barrel politics among the "Democrats" being bought off to support the health care bill turned my stomach. The BBC hailed its passge as momentous, but it doesn't quite seem like that now.

    The BBC portrayal of the U.S. changed overnight from contempt to admiration with the election of Saint Barrack (except for the cranks involved in the Tea Party of course when they finally had to mention them). Having lauded two losers now perhaps it's time for the BBC to return to impartiality and simply rather report on events rather than perpetually comment on events from the left wing intelligentsia / Guardian viewpoint now so all pervasive in its news and current affairs output.

    Complain about this comment

  • 176. At 1:09pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    165. At 04:48am on 05 Nov 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    164. At 03:53am on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:
    36, mgoulden.

    That is the problem in a nutshell. And the more they charge us the more profitable it is. The more unnecessary tests, the greater the profit. And the more drugs they push....

    [[This is very much like GM in the auto industry: you only want a modest car, but they want to sell the biggest, heaviest road-yacht they can, because the profit is in all the extra doo-dads and gizmos they can bolt onto it. The unreliability of those cars was also key to profitability of dealerships, and generated large profit margins on replacement parts. So, over 40 years, they steadily lost market share to companies that produced cars the were more like what buyers wanted, and that didn't break down as often.

    The problem with private health care in the US is that you can't buy the equivalent of a Toyota Corolla if that is all you really want.]]


    "There are two ways to get the prices down, way down:

    (1) Get rid of all insurance and restore free clinics for the needy. (No paperwork, no medicaid, just care.)
    (2) Put the system in the hands of the government."

    "The present system is not based on care, but extortion."


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Brother I'm with ya on number 1...but item 2 is just plain crazy..."

    "you want the same people who run the Post Office, DMV and FEMA to be in charge of life and death decisions? are you nuts...you would allow your kids to play with flaming knives, keep starving lions as pets and sleep over at child molestors house?

    No way BABY!!!!!...."

    __________

    [[That's the even bigger irony about government-run public health care.

    It is badly run in an administrative sense, no doubt about that. (It is not badly run in terms of the quality of doctors or the quality of actual care).

    It is over-unionized. It is bureaucratic. It makes little or poor use of communications technologies. It has poor levels of labour productivity. There are both doctors and patients who game the system. Administration eats up a disproportionate share of funding, and actual front-line health care personnel are chronically under-resourced. There is waste in almost every corner. It doesn't rely on enough competitive bidding by private sector suppliers, etc., etc., etc.,

    All of these things are true. Nobody denies it.


    Which makes it all the more remarkable that despite all that waste and inefficiency the public system still does a better job, overall, than America's private fee-for-service health care, and it does it at 40% less cost.

    That is the true measure of just how incredibly bloated America's health insurance and health care industries are.

    No wonder they are fighting the introduction of public health care tooth-and-nail. They want the gravy train to last forever.

    .....

    You may have lost your job when the V-8 engine plant in Shelbyville closed, and all the guys you know may now be 48 years old, jobless, and with your company-paid health insurance merely a memory. But there has been no recession, at all, in the health care business.

    Complain about this comment

  • 177. At 1:11pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    172. At 08:23am on 05 Nov 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #169
    powermeerkat wrote:
    "There is an under current of anti-British feeling in the US. Why did President Obama return the bust of Winston Churchill which had been a present to the American people?""



    Worse: BHO barely acknowledged Gordon Brown in a hotel kitchen.

    __________

    So now both of you are pretending that you were ardent supporters of the British Labour Party?


    Complain about this comment

  • 178. At 1:32pm on 05 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    167. At 07:46am on 05 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I hate to tell you that but I dumped my Social Security card years ago (I am not entitled to SS, although I do have a SS number) and have never used Medicare."

    ----------------

    I wonder if you would have the same attitude if you found yourself in long term unemployment, got a serious illness, or became disabled? I guess I'll have to take your word on it...

    Complain about this comment

  • 179. At 2:00pm on 05 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    IF

    "One of the huge advantages of universal single payer public health care is that, per person, it costs only about 60% of what the US is paying."

    ____________________________________________________________


    This myth keeps giving. How many posts are needed for IF to comprehend that:

    1) With a single payer system, the govn't and health care bureaucrats place a ceiling on the supply of health care services (X% of the annual/quarterly/monthly budget). In US app. 52% of health care expenditure comes from private sources where the restrictions are the business profitability (for employer-provided insurance), and disposable income (for private insurance)

    2) Comparing single payer with US health care (the private portion) is useless because of subsidy/cost distortions withing the single payer system

    Complain about this comment

  • 180. At 2:06pm on 05 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    IF


    "Which makes it all the more remarkable that despite all that waste and inefficiency the public system still does a better job, overall, than America's private fee-for-service health care, and it does it at 40% less cost."


    Another non-starter. Even in EU, up to 20% of the health care expenditure on average comes from the private portion. You'd better compare, if you can dig up data, the public portion with Madicare and Medicaid.

    Complain about this comment

  • 181. At 2:06pm on 05 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    152. At 11:12pm on 04 Nov 2010, peterbo

    Canadian expenditure on health care:

    app. 70%, diminishing - govn't (fed+provincial)
    app. 30%, increasing - private

    Thank goodness, we're moving away from Cuba and Douglas' utopia.

    ----------------------

    Seeing as how these percentages have remained more or less constant over the past 10 years, I don't know how you've determined that the proportion of public funding has been decreasing. In fact, our healthcare costs have been steadily rising and most of this increase is beeing covered by public funds.

    The facts remain:

    1 - Under the Canada Health Act, public funding is required to pay for medically necessary care.

    2 - The vast majority of Canadians support our system, at least when compared the US system (surveys show about 80-90% approve). I guess you represent the minority.

    We still have a ways to go to achieve your Randian utopia.

    Complain about this comment

  • 182. At 2:13pm on 05 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    "There are two ways to get the prices down, way down:

    (1) Get rid of all insurance and restore free clinics for the needy. (No paperwork, no medicaid, just care.)
    (2) Put the system in the hands of the government."

    ______________________________________________________________

    That "free" communist system collapsed before 30 years, comrade. But the dream lives on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 183. At 2:24pm on 05 Nov 2010, diamondnharris wrote:

    I have two words to all of the Obama haters in the US who want him out of the White House in 2012 which will be followed by another four words:

    Sarah Palin

    God Help Us All

    Complain about this comment

  • 184. At 2:31pm on 05 Nov 2010, Feng Shui wrote:

    Obama make them know you have the remedy and Bush did screw it up sweep them out

    The people want Obama
    (Little John) ★ Obama ★ All Over Me ★ Stong Sensi ★
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_VXFwTyBQw

    Complain about this comment

  • 185. At 4:04pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    179. At 2:00pm on 05 Nov 2010, peterbo wrote:

    IF

    "One of the huge advantages of universal single payer public health care is that, per person, it costs only about 60% of what the US is paying."

    ____________________________________________________________


    This myth keeps giving. How many posts are needed for IF to comprehend that:

    1) With a single payer system, the govn't and health care bureaucrats place a ceiling on the supply of health care services (X% of the annual/quarterly/monthly budget). In US app. 52% of health care expenditure comes from private sources where the restrictions are the business profitability (for employer-provided insurance), and disposable income (for private insurance)

    2) Comparing single payer with US health care (the private portion) is useless because of subsidy/cost distortions withing the single payer system

    Complain about this comment

  • 186. At 4:25pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Previous posting posted in error. It should read:

    "179. At 2:00pm on 05 Nov 2010, peterbo wrote:


    2) Comparing single payer with US health care (the private portion) is useless because of subsidy/cost distortions withing the single payer system"

    __________


    We've been through this all before, and you are still as wrong now as you were then.

    The figures come from The Economist - hardly a bastion of left-wing radicalism, or a publication failing to understand the need to compare apples with apples.

    The figures are for total health care spending in the respective economies, whether public or private.

    ----------

    When we last went over this, what your complaint boiled down to was that you felt you had a God-given right to take advantage of a collective action market failure problem at the expense of your fellow citizens.

    The "distortion", as you so laughably refer to it, is the unearned economic rent that players in the health care industry would otherwise be able to extract (Marbles says "extort") from the public generally as a result of that market failure.

    This unearned economic rent is not a small amount. In the US it appears to be something like 6 - 7 % of GDP, or, roughly, something like $ 3000 - $ 3500 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

    In essence, your complaint is like that of a burglar, caught red-handed, demanding compensation, and calling it market "distortion" when he has to give back the stolen goods.



    What the government has done, in line with classic economic liberalism, is to intervene to correct that market failure. That is the correct and completely legitimate role of government.


    As Bro-Winky says, somewhere between 80 and 90 % of Canadians disagree with you.




    No doubt, since you feel so aggrieved by publicly-funded health care, henceforth you will not be using your public health card, and will, instead, pay for your government-provided health care in cash from now on. Please confirm.

    Complain about this comment

  • 187. At 4:27pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    181. At 2:06pm on 05 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    "We still have a ways to go to achieve your Randian utopia."

    __________

    He could always go and live in the US if he is that enamoured of US health care...

    Complain about this comment

  • 188. At 4:53pm on 05 Nov 2010, dceilar wrote:

    This article in the New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/business/04care.html?src=busln - says that every single one of the proposed measures by the GOP either increases the cost of health care and the size of the federal deficit, or has no effect on them.

    The GOP needs to go at the back of the bus!

    Complain about this comment

  • 189. At 5:13pm on 05 Nov 2010, dceilar wrote:

    More info here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/11/health-reform_repeal

    Complain about this comment

  • 190. At 5:30pm on 05 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    187. At 4:27pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    He could always go and live in the US if he is that enamoured of US health care...

    ----------------------

    True. It's not like he would miss the Medicare he loathes so much anyway, since I have to assume he has never utilized it himself. Why, that would make him a total hypocrite, wouldn't it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 191. At 5:35pm on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    176, Interestedforeigner.
    "It is badly run in an administrative sense, no doubt about that. (It is not badly run in terms of the quality of doctors or the quality of actual care)."

    I take issue with your parenthetical comment. We are constantly being told we have excellent medical care. Whence this myth? Let us take one example- childbirth.

    At present the rate of C-sections in America is 33 per cent. It should be well below 10 per cent. Why this vast discrepancy? Simple. The doctor makes a hell of a lot more money if he slices his patient open like a peach. Never mind the added risk, never mind the complications, never mind the unnecessary trauma, never mind the added risk in subsequent labors. This unnecessary surgery is unethical and immoral and bad medicine, but it sure is profitable. And not only that. They want short, quick labors. So if the medical staff is impatient they give medication to speed things up. A normal labor can be quite long indeed. But you might deliver in the middle of the night which upsets the social life of your caring physician.

    Great quality of medical care, Interestedforeigner. Out of fear of modern obstetric malpractice my daughters opt for midwives. I have four children. Three were born abroad. The single experience in America was most unpleasant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 192. At 5:55pm on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    176, Interestedforeigner.
    Further to 191.

    As evidence to our not having the best obstetric care, the maternal death rate in America is 11 per 100,000. In most of Europe the rate is lower and in Ireland it is lowest, at only one death per 100,000. Ours is the best care? Sounds like AMA propaganda.

    Complain about this comment

  • 193. At 6:21pm on 05 Nov 2010, random50 wrote:

    "Instead, Obama, showing the traits of the 'community organiser' he once was, tried to find consensus with the other side, only to find they didn't want to know. I don't blame Republicans, I mean why would they want to find consensus, when stalling his agenda made him look weak and them strong?"

    Why would they want to find consensus? Maybe because it's supposed to be about what's best for the country rather than what's best for them?

    Republicans firmly nailed their colours to the mast with their utterly self-centred approach this term. It disappoints me, although I'm not surprised, that the American public have rewarded this behaviour.

    Complain about this comment

  • 194. At 6:41pm on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    182, peterbo.

    I don't understand your comment.

    Complain about this comment

  • 195. At 6:49pm on 05 Nov 2010, ainglis wrote:

    As someone who grew up in the UK and has relied on the NHS until my recent move to America, I would certainly not try to claim that the NHS system is perfect. Nor would I suggest that there is any problem with the quality of healthcare in the US. I suspect that the quality of US healthcare probably is among the best in the world.

    But that's not the issue. The real problem, as many other people have alluded to, is the *availability* of healthcare. The basic principle of systems like the NHS is that healthcare is a basic right for a citizen (and non-citizens too, for that matter), regardless of a patient's financial circumstances. The major gripe that I (and I suspect many others) personally have with the US system is that it does not provide universal coverage. So the treatment may be excellent for those who can pay, but what of those who can't?

    I am also uneasy about the role of insurance companies in a healthcare system, since in my view healthcare is not about making a profit, but about caring for patients. People being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, for example, seems very wrong (although I confess I don't know whether this really happens much). Also, the tendency to 'over-treat' patients because it's more profitable is a problem.

    In short, I guess I am trying to say that in the US healthcare is run as a profit-making business, rather than a public service. Unfortunately I suspect the biggest winners may be the businesses, not the public.

    Complain about this comment

  • 196. At 6:52pm on 05 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#186. At 4:25pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "...collective action market failure problem..."
    "...unearned economic rent... "

    Would you mind putting that in simple English for those of us not familar with economic jargon? I'm sure you were trying to make a point I would find interesting but you lost me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 197. At 6:54pm on 05 Nov 2010, dceilar wrote:

    Krugman in the NYT has given a fair analysis of Obama's failings IMO. He did not lack 'focus' on the economy, what he lacked was the audacity required to fix the economy.

    . . . when Mr. Obama took office, America had just suffered its worst financial crisis since the 1930s. What the nation needed, given this grim prospect, was a really ambitious recovery plan.

    Could Mr. Obama actually have offered such a plan? He might not have been able to get a big plan through Congress, or at least not without using extraordinary political tactics. Still, he could have chosen to be bold — to make Plan A the passage of a truly adequate economic plan, with Plan B being to place blame for the economy’s troubles on Republicans if they succeeded in blocking such a plan.

    But he chose a seemingly safer course: a medium-size stimulus package that was clearly not up to the task. And that’s not 20/20 hindsight. In early 2009, many economists, yours truly included, were more or less frantically warning that the administration’s proposals were nowhere near bold enough.

    Worse, there was no Plan B.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/05/opinion/05krugman.html?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB

    Complain about this comment

  • 198. At 6:58pm on 05 Nov 2010, dceilar wrote:

    ainglis @ 195

    Spot on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 199. At 7:21pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    191. At 5:35pm on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    176, Interestedforeigner.
    "It is badly run in an administrative sense, no doubt about that. (It is not badly run in terms of the quality of doctors or the quality of actual care)."

    I take issue with your parenthetical comment. We are constantly being told we have excellent medical care. Whence this myth? Let us take one example- childbirth.

    __________


    I was actually referring to the quality of care under our publicly run system, not under the US private fee-for-service system.


    We also do far too many C-sections. They have, however, reduced the number of unnecessary epidurals and they do not rush labour - my sister was in labour for 37 hours with her first child.

    Even here, though, the hospitals often seem to arrange things so that doctors can have the weekend off. The one really unhappy healthcare experience we have had arose from exactly that. Luckily, the head of obstetrics was a man who put duty before himself, came in on the weekend "just to check", because that's the kind of guy he is, sized up a situation that could have gone badly wrong, and stepped in where the doctor who should have been paying better attention was taking the weekend off. The head of obstetrics didn't get that job by accident. Top notch, character guy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 200. At 7:22pm on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    195, ainglis.

    Overall I agree with what you have said. But it is the "overtreatment" that calls into question the quality of care in America. For instance, one out of 10 boys age 10 have been diagnosed as having ADD/ADHD. Common sense alone will tell you that one out of 10 boys cannot have this problem. And the treatment for this "problem" are uppers that affect growth, distort personality, and are addicting. The side effects can be disastrous.

    Also, as far as vaccinations are concerned, infants, in their first year of life, are subjected 64 vaccines (some of which are booster). The number is not apparent, because the vaccinations are multiples. For an infant with an undeveloped immune system to have to overcome 64 mini-illnesses is outrageous. Does it result in autism? I don't know. But reason tells me that the infant is harmed. Mothers refusing the vaccine regimen are not crackpots, and they are not ignorant. In fact, it is the educated who refuse.

    It is a sad day when we have to protect ourselves from those whose profession it is to care for us.

    Complain about this comment

  • 201. At 7:31pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    195. At 6:49pm on 05 Nov 2010, ainglis wrote:

    "Unfortunately I suspect the biggest winners may be the businesses, not the public."

    __________

    The irony here is that lack of a system of proper public health care in the US has been a huge burden to the manufacturing sector, has put it at a big competitive disadvantage relative to foreign rivals, and has, ultimately, been a significant factor in the decline of American manufacturing, e.g., in the rust belt between the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley.

    Every manufacturer (assuming they haven't gone out of business in the meantime) should be an ardent supporter of universal, single payer public health care.

    Come to think of it, wasn't that one of the big factors motivating Bismarck to bring in social programs in Germany?

    Complain about this comment

  • 202. At 9:13pm on 05 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    AMM wrote: As evidence to our not having the best obstetric care, the maternal death rate in America is 11 per 100,000.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Something to look into on that is how more American women than ever are now doing C-sections as opposed to natural birth. Could this have an affect on birth rate of baby or health of mother? Absolutely.
    I can't remember the exact number but C-sections have tripled in America affecting millions of births the last several decades, especially this one.

    In some instances, women have to have C-sections, but in other situtions the woman chooses to have a C-section because she thinks its easier, although they say there is much longer recovery time, because of the cutting through of abdominal muscles, connective tissues, etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 203. At 9:39pm on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    202, Lucy3.

    Also, many women develop adhesions and require another operation to have them removed. Sort of double jeopardy. I know someone this happened to.

    Complain about this comment

  • 204. At 9:43pm on 05 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    202, Lucy3, further.

    And as to woman requesting C-secgtions in the mistaken notion that they are "easier," an ethical doctor would refuse. I can remember my obstetrician telling me that he had a patient who wanted him to induce labor because it was near the end of December and she wanted the extra tax deduction. He refused. I had obviously chosen my doctor well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 205. At 10:59pm on 05 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    195 ainglis,

    “But that's not the issue. The real problem, as many other people have alluded to, is the *availability* of healthcare. The basic principle of systems like the NHS is that healthcare is a basic right for a citizen (and non-citizens too, for that matter), regardless of a patient's financial circumstances. The major gripe that I (and I suspect many others) personally have with the US system is that it does not provide universal coverage. So the treatment may be excellent for those who can pay, but what of those who can't?”

    I do not mean to over simplify what is indeed an issue for many Americans, but we should recognize a few facts when discussing those who can’t pay for health care. Medicaid is a government run insurance plan that covers those considered poor. Medicare covers those over 65 or disabled. If you are under 65 you can pay a monthly premium for hospital insurance if you are eligible. There are also many hospitals and free clinics which provide free health care for those who qualify, especially for children. At issue, IMO, are those people who work but are above the poverty line and find health care insurance unaffordable. Folks who find themselves in this situation can participate in special assistance programs sponsored by states and local governments.
    -----------------------

    “I am also uneasy about the role of insurance companies in a healthcare system, since in my view healthcare is not about making a profit, but about caring for patients. People being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, for example, seems very wrong (although I confess I don't know whether this really happens much). Also, the tendency to 'over-treat' patients because it's more profitable is a problem.”

    “In short, I guess I am trying to say that in the US healthcare is run as a profit-making business, rather than a public service. Unfortunately I suspect the biggest winners may be the businesses, not the public.”

    Health care in the US is not that simple. There are non-profit health insurance providers and those who do run for profit have failry low margins. In the US we have public hospitals, non-profit hospitals, and for profit hospitals. The vast majority of hospitals are run as a non-profit organization or are public hospitals not private ones.


    Complain about this comment

  • 206. At 11:34pm on 05 Nov 2010, McJakome wrote:

    154. At 11:27pm on 04 Nov 2010, strontiumdog007 wrote:
    re#149


    You are mistaken about the Post Office. The Postmaster General used to be in the President's cabinet [when it was run by, and part of, the government]. In the case of the Post Office [now Postal Service], it was semi-privatized in 1983.

    The passenger railroads [formerly a number of private companies or parts thereof] was semi-nationalized in 1970s. The joke is that, in both cases, we got the worst of both worlds. We got the worst of capitalism and the worst of big government, including corruption, featherbedding [when PMK and MK rail against the unions-no pun intended-they may be thinking about these two agencies which are famous for bloated, inefficient and trigger happy-as in "going postal"-employees].

    Complain about this comment

  • 207. At 11:46pm on 05 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    181. At 2:06pm on 05 Nov 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    152. At 11:12pm on 04 Nov 2010, peterbo

    Canadian expenditure on health care:

    app. 70%, diminishing - govn't (fed+provincial)
    app. 30%, increasing - private

    Thank goodness, we're moving away from Cuba and Douglas' utopia.

    ----------------------

    Seeing as how these percentages have remained more or less constant over the past 10 years, I don't know how you've determined that the proportion of public funding has been decreasing. In fact, our healthcare costs have been steadily rising and most of this increase is beeing covered by public funds."


    THe increase for the past 30 years is app. 6%:



    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/pubs/expen-depens/2001-exp-depen-1980/2001-exp-depen-1980-1-eng.php


    Since 2001, the share of private health care expenditure v. total has increased insignificantly, reaching 30%: this means that it has grown at a slightly higher rate than public expenditure.

    That means your wiki quote ("In fact, our healthcare (sic) costs have been steadily rising and most of this increase is beeing (sic) covered by public funds.") is misleading and not valid.



    Comparison numbers for private health care outside EU: Switzerland @ 41%, Korea @ 45%, Australia # 33%.

    Complain about this comment

  • 208. At 00:13am on 06 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    186. At 4:25pm on 05 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Previous posting posted in error. It should read:

    "179. At 2:00pm on 05 Nov 2010, peterbo wrote:


    2) Comparing single payer with US health care (the private portion) is useless because of subsidy/cost distortions withing the single payer system"

    __________


    We've been through this all before, and you are still as wrong now as you were then."



    Yes, we have. For umpteenth time, please explain: when a medical student in Germany earns his diploma for free, is that gon't subsidy factored in in the total German health expenditure? When the same doctor's remuneration is capped by the German govn't (same applies to every German nurse), is that not subsidizing the system, at the expense of the doctor/nurse?

    Same income caps apply to GPs without specialty in ON.

    Now how will you compare such a system to one that does not enforce caps on medical staff remuneration?

    And that's just one tiny aspect of cost/expenditure distortions.

    Leave aside the lofty rent talk, and provide a straight answer.

    __________________________________________________________

    IF: "No doubt, since you feel so aggrieved by publicly-funded health care, henceforth you will not be using your public health card, and will, instead, pay for your government-provided health care in cash from now on. Please confirm."



    No, I don't need to. I have good disability and critical illness coverage purchased from insurers, to be used in the private health care sector in Canada or overseas.

    Since you claim you are in the 1%-highest tax bracket (oh, one of those virtual claims of "I am so-and-so". SamTyler/Ron Craven, anyone?), why do I have to subsidize your medical expenses through my taxes? Buy your insurance. By exiting the public health care you will help reduce the burden on the system. Are you really the do-gooder you claim you are? There's your chance, but I won't be holding my breath.


    Complain about this comment

  • 209. At 00:21am on 06 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    197. At 6:54pm on 05 Nov 2010, dceilar wrote:

    Krugman in the NYT has given a fair analysis of Obama's failings IMO. He did not lack 'focus' on the economy, what he lacked was the audacity required to fix the economy.

    . . . when Mr. Obama took office, America had just suffered its worst financial crisis since the 1930s. What the nation needed, given this grim prospect, was a really ambitious recovery plan."


    _________________________________________________________




    The Kaynesian guru will have to explain, when exactly has tax-and-spend-(and-bail) produced economic growth.

    Talking about FDR and the 30s, this is what FDR's good friend and secretary of the Treasury had to say in 1939, TEN years after the 1929 crach, on FDR's "achievements":

    “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong…somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises…I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…And an enormous debt to boot!”



    FDR was lucky enough when WWII shifted demand in the right direction.


    Complain about this comment

  • 210. At 03:27am on 06 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    205, rodidog.
    "There are non-profit health insurance providers and those who do run for profit have failry low margins. In the US we have public hospitals, non-profit hospitals, and for profit hospitals. The vast majority of hospitals are run as a non-profit organization or are public hospitals not private ones."

    But what does this matter if the underlying costs are jacked up? When I was abroad and lost one of my medicines I bought it at a pharmacy there for less than half the American price. (Same proprietary brand.) No one has ever explained this to me satisfactorily.

    Complain about this comment

  • 211. At 05:23am on 06 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    208. At 00:13am on 06 Nov 2010, peterbo wrote:

    ... yet another load of non-sequitur gobbledygook.

    You do not, by the way, subsidize my medical expenses. It is rather more likely that I subsidize yours.

    And why do I do that?
    Because nobody knows ahead of time in this life who is going to be lucky enough to be financially successful and who isn't.
    Because nobody knows ahead of time in this life who is going to be struck with catastrophic illness and who isn't.
    Because that what it means to accept the rights, duties, and obligations of being a citizen of this country.

    Because I am consistent in my beliefs in respect of the duty of government to address market failures.

    Because public health care is a matter of basic social justice - and the consensus on this point in this country crosses all party lines.

    And if you don't understand those things, then, first, you are miles and miles away from the consensus beliefs of Canadian society generally, and, second, maybe you would be happier somewhere else.




    You still haven't answered the question posted at 263 on the Obama and the House string.


    Complain about this comment

  • 212. At 05:40am on 06 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    206. At 11:34pm on 05 Nov 2010, JMM wrote:

    "The passenger railroads [formerly a number of private companies or parts thereof] was semi-nationalized in 1970s. The joke is that, in both cases, we got the worst of both worlds. We got the worst of capitalism and the worst of big government, including corruption, featherbedding [when PMK and MK rail against the unions-no pun intended-they may be thinking about these two agencies which are famous for bloated, inefficient and trigger happy-as in "going postal"-employees]."

    __________

    Where to start?

    Passenger rail service in North America was killed by a number of factors.

    First, and foremost was the advent of relatively inexpensive long distance passenger airline service following WWII.

    Second was the creation of the interstate highway system.

    Third was the very low price of fuel in North America coupled with widespread automobile ownership.

    Fourth was the desire following the war of every person to be able to live in a detached home in the suburbs.

    Fifth, an over-unionized cost structure that could not compete with alternate forms of transportation.

    The entire railroad industry in the Northeast - freight as well as passenger - more or less went bankrupt in the late 1960's. This led to the ill conceived merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central as "Penn Central". It led to the collapse of Penn Central and the formation of ConRail.

    Amtrak was created because all of the passenger services were bleeding red ink. It was unsustainable. So the burden was removed from the freight railroads.

    It wasn't enough.

    The thing that finally turned the business around was the Staggers Act, almost the last piece of major legislation signed into law by Jimmy Carter.

    The Staggers Act saved the railroad industry in North America from extinction.

    Amtrak, however, remained the unloved, unwanted, and un-funded ugly step sister.

    Fundamental economic condition in North America are shifting, again, and rail passenger services are being re-evaluated.

    Amtrak wasn't "the worst of capitalism". It wasn't capitalism at all. By rights, long distance passenger service should have disappeared in 1971. It was not economically viable. Only the political cost of eliminating it completely kept the government from turning off life support.

    We'll see if that changes.

    This is a longer topic for another time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 213. At 06:31am on 06 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    196. At 6:52pm on 05 Nov 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    "Would you mind putting that in simple English for those of us not familar with economic jargon? I'm sure you were trying to make a point I would find interesting but you lost me."

    __________

    Sure.

    This might be a really long one.

    Liberals believe in free markets as the best way to promote both economic advance and social justice. This can be argued, but for now, just assume that this is the starting point for classical Liberal policies.

    Liberals also believe that the only justification for government interference in the lives of citizens is the need to defend the operation of free markets, e.g., by addressing collective action and market failure problems.

    A collective action problems occurs where everybody would be better off if they worked together, but individual incentives in the marketplace may encourage "each-man-for-himself" behaviour that results in every person being worse off. A classic collective action problem is the "tragedy of the commons" where everybody has an incentive to try to overgraze the land before his neighbours do, with the result that the commons becomes barren, and everybody's livestock starves. There are many kinds of collective action problems.

    Market failure problems occur where the basic postulates of free market cease to apply. Monopoly or monopsony situations are the easist example of market failure.

    When Liberals talk about free markets, they are talking about market in which (a) there are many buyers and sellers; (b) no individual buyer or seller can, by their own unilateral action cause a change in the prevailing price for goods or services in the market; (c) exchanges take place on the basis of a price that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller - neither of them being obliged to make the exchange at all (d) exchanges take place between buyers and sellers of equal bargaining power; (e) both buyer and seller have equal access to information; (f) there are no barriers to entry or exit from the particular activity in which the parties are going to make their exchange.

    In the health care business, almost none of these basic postulates is true.

    A third belief of Liberals is that maximizing overall welfare is desirable.

    A fourth belief of Liberals is that markets should be able freely to adjust to eliminate surplus economic rents.

    An economic rent is one that covers the full cost of the seller's activity, including a return on invested capital, that is equivalent to what the seller could obtain in any other activity of comparable risk in the market.

    Unearned economic rents occur where one party to a transaction can demand a higher price than what would be the market clearing price in a perfectly fluid market (i.e., one in which all of the above postulates are true.) For example, if you own the only ferry boat, anyone who wants to cross is going to have to pay your price, and you can hold travellers to ransom. But if there are several competing boat services, the price will be bid down until the profit each boat owner can make is the same as they can make doing something else - farming, fishing, working in an office, whatever. If one of them has higher costs than the others, then he may decide that his or her profit is too small, and shift to something more profitable.

    In this example, the amount by which the monopolist's price exceeds what would be the market clearing price in a fluid market of many buyers and sellers is an unearned economic rent.

    Both Liberals and the law consider monopolies, and monopolistic behaviour (i.e., the seeking of unearned economic rents) to be offensive.

    In the health care example, consider the following divergences from free market behaviour:

    (1) The supply of doctors is artificially restricted by the number of persons trained as doctors, and by the restrictions on being admitted to practice by the college of physicians and surgeons.

    (2) There is high inequality of bargaining power between buyer and seller, for many reasons.

    When a patient is ill, they are simply not in a position to bargain about price.

    Further, a patient is not in a position readily to change doctors every time they need medical help - it isn't that easy to find a doctor you trust, there is a certain amount of effort tied up in that choice, and in the advantage that an existing doctor's knowledge of the patient has over another doctor. So there are significant transactional costs in finding a new doctor, and there are significant barriers to choosing alternatives (quacks not registered to practice; do-it-yourself is, for most people not an option; if you need medical help, you aren't in the position of a willing buyer or seller having the option of not buying or selling at all.)

    Further, even if a patient were in a position to negotiate with an individual GP, when it comes time to go to the hospital in an emergency (e.g., due to a traffic accident or a sports injury) they are dealing with an institution of enormous size against whom they would have no bargaining power under any circumstances.

    Further still, there is a completely lopsided inequality of information. The doctor has the knowledge and experience of many years of training. The layman does not. He doesn't necessarily know if he is on death's door, or merely in need of a readily available over-the-counter prescription.

    Further again, the relationship is one of trust in which the patient is completely vulnerable to the training, knowledge and judgment of the professional.

    For all these reasons, the basic assumptions of free markets don't apply, and service providers are in a position to extract unearned economic rents from consumers. As you can see from the comments at 208, some people have a sort of "Diving Right of Kings" notion that if they are prevented from extracting unearned economic rents, then they are "subsidizing" the public.

    How can those problems be addressed?
    That is the purpose of public health care.
    It addresses the huge inequality of bargaining problem.

    I am going to have to pick this up in the morning, or maybe the following day.

    In the meantime, here's a last thought for now:

    A Liberal believes in the power of markets at all times, and for that reason will always favour steps to counteract market failure.

    By contrast, a rogue believes in the power of markets only when he sees them as being in his own favour. But as soon as he sees a market failure working to his own advantage he seeks to entrench that failure, and opposes all efforts to counteract it.

    That is why, more than 230 years ago Adam Smith wrote (and I paraphrase): "never do men of a common business meet than their conversation soon turns to a conspiracy against the public interest."

    It was a rather insightful comment, and the philosophical foundation of anti-trust law.

    Complain about this comment

  • 214. At 2:22pm on 06 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    AMM wrote: And as to woman requesting C-sections in the mistaken notion that they are "easier," an ethical doctor would refuse. I can remember my obstetrician telling me that he had a patient who wanted him to induce labor because it was near the end of December and she wanted the extra tax deduction. He refused. I had obviously chosen my doctor well.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Is doing a C-section on someone who is able to give natural healthy childbirth crossing the line?

    I would also say ethically, yes, and physically, yes, due to the complications, longer recovering period, higher infection risk, etc.

    Is it up to the woman or her docter?

    Complain about this comment

  • 215. At 2:24pm on 06 Nov 2010, wappingersgal wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 216. At 2:27pm on 06 Nov 2010, wappingersgal wrote:

    Bottom line: people who blindly voted for Obama did so because they were disgusted with Bush and the Republicans. They never expected the socialist path Obama, Reid & Pelosi have taken. Several Obama diehards have told me so. These eklections are the first step in ridding America of Obama's socialist/Marxist leaning.
    P.S.: I believe that he and Michelle hate America and want to destroy our proud nation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 217. At 4:01pm on 06 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    211. At 05:23am on 06 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    208. At 00:13am on 06 Nov 2010, peterbo wrote:

    ... yet another load of non-sequitur gobbledygook.

    You do not, by the way, subsidize my medical expenses. It is rather more likely that I subsidize yours."

    ______________________________________________________________


    Even in ON, the health care tax McGuinty imposed is collected as general revenue: so who subsidizes whom is pretty unclear. That's the beauty of socialism.




    "And why do I do that?
    Because nobody knows ahead of time in this life who is going to be lucky enough to be financially successful and who isn't.
    Because nobody knows ahead of time in this life who is going to be struck with catastrophic illness and who isn't.
    Because that what it means to accept the rights, duties, and obligations of being a citizen of this country.

    Because I am consistent in my beliefs in respect of the duty of government to address market failures."

    __________________________________________________________

    So that's why you do not buy your own insurance?! Rather, to stick to the haughty declarations above, you should exit the public health care system. And continue to pay your taxes.




    "Because public health care is a matter of basic social justice - and the consensus on this point in this country crosses all party lines."


    _________________________________________________


    Oh, another haughty one. Social justice: the socialist/"progressive" lingo for redistribution.





    "And if you don't understand those things, then, first, you are miles and miles away from the consensus beliefs of Canadian society generally, and, second, maybe you would be happier somewhere else."

    ___________________________________________________________


    Maybe you still haven't digested the reality of the unsustainability of the welfare addiction in Canada.

    Remember: Choulli v. Quebec

    BTW, did you take notice of the provincial premiers' meeting last summer? Major health care changes/fees/etc will be introduced, and soon.




    "You still haven't answered the question posted at 263 on the Obama and the House string."


    #260. Written in CAPITALS.

    Complain about this comment

  • 218. At 4:32pm on 06 Nov 2010, as is wrote:

    #213 IF

    Curious to see what govn't/(Liberal?) "remedies" will be offered.



    For a start, a very convenient omission: the restriction on supply of physicians in ON, with all the negative consequences for 1.5 m Ontarians who currently do not have access to one, was mainly a result of a deliberate decision of the On govn't - for lack of funds. The ON S & P College has all the incentive to keep the status quo,
    but the major culprit is the ON gov't.



    IF, you may not be aware of the fact that a medical school graduate requires app two years of residence in a hospital to be fully licensed to practise. And you may not be aware of the fact that residences are paid for with taxpayers' monies. And that there are only XYZ govn't dollars in an annual ON budget for that.

    Another market-distorting aspect: ON govn't can provide only ABC dollars annually as a subsidy for medical schools in ON. Certain decisions were made in the 90s (not the Harris govn't) by ON govn'ts to restrict the number of medical school students.

    Does this govn't-run system distort the market-determined demand for doctors by introducing a ceiling on the supply, with all negatives for the economy and the general welfare of Ontarians? Does it provide physicians with disproportionate bargaining power vis-s-vis patients and at the remuneration negotiation table? You bet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 219. At 6:32pm on 06 Nov 2010, _marko wrote:

    #213 Interestedforeigner

    "But as soon as he sees a market failure working to his own advantage he seeks to entrench that failure, and opposes all efforts to counteract it"

    I believe one symptom of this rogue entrenchment is a tendency to depart from rational transparent evidence-based discussion and move more towards a rhetorical faith based unthinking position. Most politics seems to be about arriving at this balance between those who want to preserve their existing wealth and those who want to acquire some based on merit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 220. At 6:54pm on 06 Nov 2010, _marko wrote:

    To #216 wappingersgal

    "P.S.: I believe that he and Michelle hate America and want to destroy our proud nation."

    Can you list any evidence that supports your belief?

    Complain about this comment

  • 221. At 6:57pm on 06 Nov 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    I love that I doubt everything I do. Certainty! Hmm. Mark I hear that a "new Obama" has been found - this time on the GOP side. It used to be a Bobby Jindal but he was allegedly found wanting. So much for certainty. But "new hope" had not served a day in his new job - but BBC TV said the words and no offence - "picture perfect family" and I chuckled. Respectfully of course.
    Before the next Vice Presidental candidate was mooted as a possibility for this person.
    Yup. Let us hear it for uncertainty. I am almost sure I am for - uncertainty! lol.

    Complain about this comment

  • 222. At 7:22pm on 06 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    214, Lucy3.
    "Is doing a C-section on someone who is able to give natural healthy childbirth crossing the line? I would also say ethically, yes, and physically, yes, due to the complications, longer recovering period, higher infection risk, etc. Is it up to the woman or her docter?"

    The physician's first injunction is, "Do no harm." If the woman asks for a C-section, and it is mot warranted medically, the physician must refuse on ethical grounds. If this were not so, the physician who prescribed and administered the drugs that killed Michael Jackson would not be being hassled by the authorities. There is a similar case with a Nicole who died some time ago.

    Complain about this comment

  • 223. At 7:24pm on 06 Nov 2010, wappingersgal wrote:

    To #220 Marko,

    What I wrote is my opinion. However, I read several sections of Michelle Obama's graduate thesis which, in my opinion, displays her contempt for America. She has described us as a "downright mean country" and her husband embarked on an apology tour shortly after inauguration. This brought embarassment to Americans and showed him to be weak.
    Additionally, his policies are sure to bring us ruin. If he had a knowledge of history and economics, he would know that you cannot spend your way out of recession.
    Barack Obama has mocked the middle class. He showed contempt for "Joe the Plumber", the common guy who tripped him up with tough questions during the 20008 campaign and showed Obama to be the Marxist many suspected. He has shoved a ridiculous health care plan down our throats, a plan no one in Congress understood, yet forced it on us. Barack Obama has taken from us our freedom of choice for health care and has clearly violated our Constitution by forcing us to buy health insurance. The government cannot do that at all! He also thonks that thje Constitution is a seriously flawed document, but cannot say how. He believes that people are too stupid to take care of themselves, therefore the Government must become the nanny!
    Barack Obama's hubris will guide him. It will also be his ruin.

    Complain about this comment

  • 224. At 7:56pm on 06 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    213 Interestedforeigner,

    I enjoyed reading your description on free markets and classical liberalism. A thought occurs to me though, what you are describing is a mixed market and in the case of health care more of a controlled market. When government controls health care you can no longer claim it as a free market service or commodity. There is not much difference between controlled markets and a monopoly; both leave the consumer with no bargaining power or an alternate source for service.

    Complain about this comment

  • 225. At 8:56pm on 06 Nov 2010, _marko wrote:

    To wappingersgal #223

    Thanks for your reply.

    Some people might not be convinced and only see speculation/delusion/rhetoric in your post.

    To clarify it would be useful for you to post a list of specific alternative regenerative actions that you support that would in your opinion show that he and Michelle love America and want to create a proud nation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 226. At 10:53pm on 06 Nov 2010, McJakome wrote:

    212. At 05:40am on 06 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    206

    I couldn't source the information that I was hinting at, so I was reluctant to risk mentioning what I could not prove. The US government allowed the previous owners [or so I was told] to remove the best rolling stock, equipment and other essentials after the agreement but before turning over the rest to Amtrak.

    This is what I meant by the worst of capitalism. You are quite correct about the reasons for the decline in passenger rail service in the US, especially the influence of the interstates.

    Another "worst of capitalism" was the collusion of the oil companies and car makers with government officiqls to sabotage public transportation. There is the case of L.A. once having had a good public transit system that was destroyed in the early 20th Century. I must admit I originally thought the story a paranoid assemblage of facts that were not really moe than coincidence.

    Recently, I have been thinking that that there is more substance to this, especially when linked to subsidized cheap gas, and states under-funding public transport while over-funding highways.

    Complain about this comment

  • 227. At 01:50am on 07 Nov 2010, goldfishguy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 228. At 01:53am on 07 Nov 2010, goldfishguy wrote:

    How con you trust the sincerity of a man who laments that reading the letters of voters is not a photo op?

    Complain about this comment

  • 229. At 05:43am on 07 Nov 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    #100

    Tea Party Brit

    It is not, however, all one way. There is an under current of anti-British feeling in the US. Why did President Obama return the bust of Winston Churchill which had been a present to the American people?

    -------------------------

    I agree completely.

    That was a rude and offensive move by the White House. I was embarrassed when I heard about it.

    In general, though, Americans have a much higher view of the British than the British have of us. The anti-Americanism that is so prevalent in Britain has no equal in the US.

    Even at the height of the BP mess, it was the White House that was offensive regarding the British. There was no anti-British sentiment at all here among the people.

    Complain about this comment

  • 230. At 4:22pm on 07 Nov 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    216 wappers wrote: P.S.: I believe that he and Michelle hate America and want to destroy our proud nation.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    In general, though, do you think Michelle's thesis and Obama's comments show that there is a bitterness toward a certain type?

    Sometimes I feel this way also...like some people are unhappy with the past and want justice from present, even though the two are not the same...

    Is past bitterness leading our future?

    Complain about this comment

  • 231. At 4:50pm on 07 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    216, wappingersgal.
    "I believe that he and Michelle hate America and want to destroy our proud nation."

    Whence this information? Do you hear voices? Is your toaster speaking to you?

    Complain about this comment

  • 232. At 4:54pm on 07 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    223, wappingersgal.

    Wow,you like Joe the Plumber! Maybe he would make a good running mate for Sarah Palin. And Donald Duck could be Secretary of State.

    Complain about this comment

  • 233. At 7:31pm on 07 Nov 2010, allmymarbles wrote:

    Obama said something about not getting his message across to us. He had it backwards. He was not listening to his supporters.

    Complain about this comment

  • 234. At 8:42pm on 07 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    224. At 7:56pm on 06 Nov 2010, rodidog wrote:

    213 Interestedforeigner,

    "I enjoyed reading your description on free markets and classical liberalism. A thought occurs to me though, what you are describing is a mixed market and in the case of health care more of a controlled market. When government controls health care you can no longer claim it as a free market service or commodity. There is not much difference between controlled markets and a monopoly; both leave the consumer with no bargaining power or an alternate source for service."

    __________

    Your point is correct.

    Part of what make policy formation so difficult is that, almost inevitably, every public policy "cure", has side effects. Sometimes (as in the case of voter ID laws, prohibition in the 20's and 30's) the side effects are substantially more perverse than the original "problem".

    There is also that great humbler of the efforts of men: the law of unintended consequences.

    ----------

    There are many very good reasons why we have public health care.

    But in any system of pooled risk, there are, inevitably, moral hazard and free rider problems.

    For example, a very big problem with insurance schemes generally, and with public insurance in particular is that people come to believe (a) that the service is "free"; and (b) that I should use as much of it as possible, otherwise I am paying for other people who use it more than I do to get a bigger benefit than me ...

    Effectively, when the marginal price of the product is reduced to zero, demand goes through the roof - and so we see the above posting suggesting that the government isn't providing an adequate supply of doctors to meet "demand". Well, okay, demand at what price?

    We could, of course, solve that problem simply by admitting to practice all of the foreign trained doctors who come to our shores, and then end up driving taxis and running restaurants because we won't accept their qualifications or they can't get an internship. It isn't hard to see several problems with that idea, very quickly.

    ... all the time, the government is under enormous political pressure to stop the exploding growth of health care without preventing anyone from going to the doctor anytime the want to ...

    The real issue, of course, is not that the supply of doctors is necessarily inadequate, but that by making marginal cost to consumers zero we have primed the pump of infinite demand.

    We could solve that problem, or go some fair distance toward solving that problem, by imposing modest user fees - say $ 25 or $ 50 - every time a patient visits the doctor.

    The problem with that is that some people are so cheap that they will then not go to the doctor even when they really need to. That has two probable results (a) they will wait until it is so desperate that they end up going to emergency admitting at an hospital, thus costing the taxpayer far more than if they had gone to their GP in the first place; and (b) the failure of a significant portion of the population to make a timely visit to a GP results in the spread of contagious diseases.

    Another way to address this problem is to give each person an annual allocation of "free" visits to the doctor, and once they have used up that quota, then they must pay a user fee. Again, there are foreseeable problems with this.

    Another way to address this problem is to identify abnormally high cost patients, and then to audit the public expenditures to see whether the expenditures are merited, or whether some individuals need help in understanding appropriate use of public services.

    Yet another way to do this is to identify abnormally high billing doctors. I seem to recall ten or fifteen years ago there was a big stink about the release of confidential information pertaining to the billings of a particular doctor. It turned out that he was in some high position in the OMA, and was essentially the OMA representative in negotiations with the government concerning fee setting, and at the same time he was either the highest or one of the highest billing doctors in the province. His role in the whole thing stank to high heavens. Of course that particular doctor didn't want that information made public - and, of course, that's why someone leaked it to the press.

    ----------

    There are other huge systemic problems.

    Anywhere there is a lot of public money being spent, you will find groups interested in feathering their own nests. There is, therefore, a constant battle over the proportion of expenses that go to administration, as opposed to the proportion that goes to front line care. Similarly, the health care supply industry includes large and powerful private sector players, including, e.g., big pharma, and also large public sector players. It also includes some extraordinarily powerful public sector unions, whose ability to defend their turf is legendary.

    It seems to me that government should maximize competitive tendering to private sector companies. I have no problem with that at all.

    ---------

    Then there is the ever-thorny issue of waiting lists.

    When it comes to waiting lists, is it wrong to allow people to "queue jump" by paying a premium, or going outside the public system?

    We allow queue jumping in lots of other government services, where you can have your case moved to the top of the pile by paying an extra fee or demonstrating urgency, or both.

    The public sector unions resolutely oppose queue jumping, particularly if it involves using private sector resources. With a level of hypocrisy worthy of the CMA, the unions say they oppose these measures because they undermine universality. What they really mean is that opposing queue jumping, in general, is popular. And, oh yes, opposing private sector queue jummping protects the public sector union monopoly. What a coincidence.

    Nobody has ever explained to me why public sector care has to come through unionised health care provider institutions ...

    ----------

    This posturing - and there is no shortage of it - disguises a more important point.

    If the government permits people to jump the queue by paying a cash premium, (a) is that not an invitation to government to underfund services, so that rather than wait umpteen years for a publicly funded procedure, people will get tired of waiting, and pay for it privately instead; and (b) if so, doesn't that mean we will end up with two-tier health care, where rich people can go to the head of the line, and ordinary working Canadians (a phrase beloved of NDP leaders) are left to wait in pain interminably... if health care providers can make more money providing services privately, nobody will be willing to provide publicly funded services at the set fee allocation for those services

    In the end, government could choose so inadequately to fund various procedures that the public system would simply wither away. Financial pressures are now so great on governments that the temptation to under-fund will inevitably become irresistible.

    Alternatively, some suggest that private sector facilities with the cherry-pick all the profitable parts of the health care system, and leave the onerous and unprofitable parts to the public system. (I have difficulty seeing that. If they are removing costs from the public system, while leaving funding unchanged, it is hard to see how the public is worse off.)

    On the other side of the argument, if someone can pay to have a procedure done privately, and they are willing to pay for it, isn't that generating a positive externality for all other taxpayers (a) by removing that person from the waiting list and so thereby taking pressure off the public system; and (b) leaving their share of tax dollars to be spent on others?

    If the matter is not life-and-death urgent, why should differences in levels of care matter? We already permit private insurance plans to top up coverage from wards to shared rooms or single rooms. We accept in all other walks of life that those who wish to buy golds or platinums get to sit closer to the ice than those buy greens or nose-bleed greys. Why not here? What's the harm?

    It is not obvious, at least not to me, that private sector queue jumping is necessarily the work of the devil and the end of civilization as we know it, but I certainly know other people who disagree.

    Again, it is something that bears careful thought in respect of the incentives it creates in the system, whether it creates perverse incentives, and whether it will produce unexpected consequences.

    ----------

    Then there is prevention, and the moral hazard problems relating to behaviour and lifestyle.

    Any sane approach to public health care would say that people who needlessly cause costs to be higher (and therefore selfishly impose unnecessary costs on their neighbours) ought to pay more for that service than people who are frugal with public funds.

    We also know that in terms of careful husbandry of public resources, prevention is orders of magnitude less expensive, less intrusive, and more beneficial than medical intervention after-the-fact.

    We know, too, that lifestyle factors are huge drivers of health care costs.

    You have to wear your seatbelt. You have to take a cab if you drink too much. We put much higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco.

    How about if you eat too much sugar? We have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Are we going to have a sugar tax? Are we going to have a fatty acids tax? Are we going to weigh everybody and put them on a treadmill at income tax time to figure out how much they should pay?

    Are we going to make people pay more for health care if they don't exercise regularly? If they don't eat green vegetables? If they don't get enough fish oil in their diet? If they have a sedentary job?

    To that end, it makes sense that the incentives in public health care should encourage people to live in a manner likely to reduce health care costs. But we don't have compulsory enrollment in the armed forces, and subsequent hounding by NCO's. In a democracy where we value civil rights there is no real practical way to make people eat their vegetables and get exercise regularly, no matter how well we all know that we should, and no matter how much it would reduce health care costs.

    This, it seems to me, is a place where creative approaches to tax incentives is badly needed.


    At the end of the day, public health care poses many extremely difficult public policy problems. It is easy enough to identify the principles that ought to drive public policy. But it is much more difficult to design systems that achieve the desired public policy goals efficiently and without giving rise to other very significant problems.

    Complain about this comment

  • 235. At 00:13am on 08 Nov 2010, McJakome wrote:

    234. At 8:42pm on 07 Nov 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    “...If the government permits people to jump the queue by paying a cash premium... doesn't that mean we will end up with two-tier health care, where rich people can go to the head of the line, and ordinary working Canadians (a phrase beloved of NDP leaders) are left to wait in pain interminably...”

    That is a legitimate worry, but it is already happening. Some Brits and Canadians even come to the US because they have the cash and don’t want to wait. I haven’t heard of others coming for the same reason but would not be surprised.


    Once again you provide excellent, balanced and thoughtful information. Would you please consider applying for the position of Health “Czar” with the Obama Administration.

    Complain about this comment

  • 236. At 02:32am on 08 Nov 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: heath care, passim above.

    I have had a great deal of experience with the Canadian healthcare system of late. I can say with confidence that if you develop a major health problem (there has been an epidemic of cancer in my family of late) you will be diagnosed and treated promptly and effectively.

    The only caveat to this positive assessment would be the GP. They are often overworked and sometimes careless in their initial diagnosis. Finding one, never mind a good one, is very difficult.

    This is not a problem unique to Canada, or any publicly funded system, however. There were administrative decisions taken in both Canada and the US which sought to rationalise the numbers of new doctors being trained. These decisions were based on a number of false projections, and were clearly in error.

    Another factor is that many med students don't want to become GPs -- the work load is high, and it's just not as lucrative or, frankly, as sexy as some specialties.

    In any event, the GP issue notwithstanding, the core of our single payer system generally works, and works well -- for everyone. The vast majority of Canadians seem to share this assessment -- all our major political parties, including our Conservative Party, remain committed to the single payer system.

    This is not to say there are not issues -- the demographic bulge of boomers is getting older, and the demands on all health care systems, public or private or whatever, is going hit critical levels.

    IF ably sketched out above the options we face in Canada.

    One of the things that has long puzzled me about the heath care debate in the US is how Medicare and Medicaid, which treat the most expensive and expanding end of health care demand, seem to be exempt from criticism. Are they not a kind of public subsidy for the private insurers, insofar as they exempt such insurers from underwriting the highest risk category of the population?

    Is it wrong to see heath care in the US as a defacto two tier system, with private firms 'cherry picking' the most profitable segment of the population, while tax payers do the heavy lifting?

    Complain about this comment

  • 237. At 02:56am on 08 Nov 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    (and non-citizens too, for that matter), from one of the posts. What caused this mess Obama, Pelosi, Reid, they took a sinking ship an drilled more holes in it to let out the water. So if non-citizens are taken care of in the UK, what does that cost and who pays? I mean they estimate that if all illegals disappeared for one day the savings would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 billion dollars, law enforcement, emergency rooms, welfare, food stamps (ebt cards), schooling, college, many non-citizen illegals get this in the US.
    So I have heard that Sharia law is practiced in the UK, so if the Islamic peoples decide to say carve out a territory in the UK thus could they impose their majority/minority law on those in the territory? Lastly how can the the illegals here come to the UK so it would help ease the problem here in the US, then all the wonderful socialists there can build the better world order, hell you can even have Obama as the favorite poster child/ blessed son to lead you to utopia. As Obama makes jokes about the trouble in Arizona, what was his plan! Send them signs calling the US territory a dangerous place, 80 miles inside US borders, and only 30 from the capital of Arizona. Obama makes jokes, this man is a poor leader and a fool for not listening to the citizens of the US.
    ///
    Meanwhile as you look into a VA hospital, and watch the quality of care given to the veterans, along with article 99 budgets type constraints, and watch the truth, try as good people do who work there, the purse strings are under the control of the politicians who basically don't care. The beauty of the state to control, who lives and dies. By the way I loved the Benny Hill skit, old though it may be of the NHS, that man was hilarious, and I miss him.

    Complain about this comment

  • 238. At 03:05am on 08 Nov 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 209 peterbo "FDR was lucky enough when WWII shifted demand in the right direction."

    Demand from whom, old boy?

    Oh, that's right -- the government.

    US government debt:

    in 1931 16,801,281,491.71
    in 1939 40,439,532,411.11
    in 1943 136,696,090,329.90
    in 1945 258,682,187,409.93

    Silly old Keynes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 239. At 04:20am on 08 Nov 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    #238

    Chronophobe

    Demand from whom, old boy?

    Oh, that's right -- the government.

    ----------------------------

    This is only partly accurate and generally misleading as you leave out GDP figures. Debt means nothing without growth rates - as well as unemployment figures.

    The unprecedented economic boom during the war years here began with a strong expansion in late 1938 that turned into the strongest boom in US history in late 1941 thanks to war spending AND a powerful domestic economy.

    The war forced FDR to suspend his ludicrous and economically devastating war on American business. There was no place for his nonsense when the business realm was needed for the war effort. This had a powerful positive effect on the entire economy.

    After the war, even the scrapping of war plant and the end of most war production - which suppressed GDP briefly - left the US economy more than twice the size, in real terms, as it had been in 1938.

    Deficit spending alone is never enough. The private sector is the productive part of the economy and one of the main reasons for Obama's intense unpopularity is his retrogressive fascination with the old-fashioned anti-business policies of FDR. This has produced great uncertainty on the part of business people who are wondering what the Democrats will do to them next.

    Complain about this comment

  • 240. At 09:28am on 08 Nov 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 237 American Grizzly
    "So I have heard that Sharia law is practiced in the UK"
    You heard wrong.

    "Meanwhile as you look into a VA hospital, and watch the quality of care given to the veterans, along with article 99 budgets type constraints, and watch the truth, try as good people do who work there, the purse strings are under the control of the politicians who basically don't care"
    This is not a government problem, its the impact of good people trying to care for everyone who needs care. If it was run by a business, half of those veterans would have been turned away at the door. Unless you're suggesting businesses will ruin itself just to provide better service than the government.

    I miss Benny Hill too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 241. At 1:43pm on 08 Nov 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 239 timr1944 -- "This is only partly accurate and generally misleading as you leave out GDP figures. Debt means nothing without growth rates - as well as unemployment figures. ... After the war, even the scrapping of war plant and the end of most war production - which suppressed GDP briefly - left the US economy more than twice the size, in real terms, as it had been in 1938."

    And there in a nutshell is the logic of Keynesian economic theory ... gov't deficit spending to create demand that stimulates growth (and thus employment) in the economy. A growing economy increases tax receipts without increasing tax rates, allowing the gov't to carry the debt as money well spent.

    "The war forced FDR to suspend his ludicrous and economically devastating war on American business. There was no place for his nonsense when the business realm was needed for the war effort. This had a powerful positive effect on the entire economy."

    What policies were those? Social Security? Glass-Steagall? Inheritance tax reform? Do you seriously maintain that things like this caused the Depression? And that 'suspending' them (really? when?), not pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy through war spending, ended the Depression?

    Ludicrous.

    Complain about this comment

  • 242. At 9:08pm on 08 Nov 2010, weidao99 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.