March 18, 2010

Been there. Done that. From 1989: "Is Government Dead?"

Twenty years have gone by, and still no solution for America's biggest problems - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance, financial regulation, manufacturing, energy reinvention, and of course, the deficit.

Twenty years.

But soon you'll be able to take health insurance off that list. Next must come entitlements. You think Congress and Obama are unpopular today? Wait until they (rightly) try to touch the social security retirement age. Or try to defuse the medicaid/medicare $61 trillion timebomb.

People (especially selfish baby boomers) want the streets paved with gold. They want to be treated as children. They want services, but they don't want to pay for them - they want to leave that up to their kids. And they elect leaders who promise them everything will be fine, no need for change, until the day when the whole ponzi scheme unravels (and that day is getting close).

The incumbents are going to lose their jobs anyway. Maybe they'll do the right thing for the nation on the way out the door.

Fix this mess now. Or else history will not be kind.

Hint - I think history will not be kind.


Anonymous said...

You call what Pelosi and Obama are doing a solution for healthcare?
I sincerely hope they just keep jamming this square peg through the round hole because this may set off the revolution. I like how most of the states are ready to sue the Federal Government for forcing citizens to buy healthcare.

keith said...

Was what the GOP did with healthcare in the eight years they were in power a solution?

Yes, I call this legislation, as flawed as it is, the beginning of a solution. The status quo was unsustainable. If you don't understand that, just ask someone who's lost their job. Or ask someone who's making $50k but paying $10k for insurance, increasing 10%+ a year. Or ask someone who hit their lifetime cap. Or ask someone who has a pre-existing condition.

"My healthcare insurance is fine, so f*ck everyone else" is where we were. But man, I wish people in that boat would lose their jobs or their insurance. You'd change your tune real quick.

But again, you think people went into a tizzy over this? Just wait until retirement age 70 or 75, or eventually 80. Oh, yes, that will be delicious. But it's reality. We don't have the money (or the demographics).

Bukko Canukko said...

Government HAS been dead since then, as dead as Reagan's brain already was at the time. It's just been staggering around for a while like a chicken with its head cut off.

Anonymous said...

They already did raise the SS age. I have to wait until age 67--highest in the industrialized world.

Plus, they doubled the SS tax rate in 1990, so I have paid in twice as much as the people who are collecting now. Generational theft. Whatever happened to seniors assisting the next generation, rather than raping them?

staticvars said...

"The status quo was unsustainable"

And this plan is even less sustainable. One basic problem we have is that third party payers (Medicare, Insurance, etc) insulate everyone from the costs, so you don't care if your MRI costs $300 or $1300, you still pay $20. People drive across town to save $1 on gas, spend hours clipping coupons to save a few dimes here and there, but they don't mind dropping an extra $1k charge on the rest of us. Tragedy of the commons.

Whole Foods or Indiana plan for everyone would be a better step one if we are going to insure all of these people. I'd rather give them the first $3k to spend in an HSA. When it's your money, you ask how much it costs before the doctor sends you in for another useless test. That's a good thing.

The second basic problem is that the pace of medical innovation has outstripped our ability to pay for it. Sadly, many of the recent pharmaceutical innovations are ridiculously expensive (costing over a billion to develop) and end up killing us. If we stopped approving full payment for new treatments, we might be able to catch up with affording the innovations we are already borrowing to afford.

It's a bit like the housing bubble there. Just because we can borrow money from China to afford the latest Glaxo SK product, doesn't mean we can afford it.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't understand that, just ask someone who's lost their job. Or ask someone who's making $50k but paying $10k for insurance, increasing 10%+ a year. Or ask someone who hit their lifetime cap. Or ask someone who has a pre-existing condition...I wish people in that boat would lose their jobs or their insurance. You'd change your tune real quick."

Right on the money Keith.
My insurance is $1,400 per month to cover my family. I make slightly over $75,000 per year.
My wife (a professional) hasn't been able to find a job in over 12 months.
We have a child.
We have bills.
I am really getting fed up.

Charles said...

Yeah check health care off-the list...

This bill will make it a total non issue moving forward... yeah. Sure.

Keith I'm just not getting your vibe... What about this bill has you so captivated?

I guess this comment belongs in the last thread. But seriously I'm not seeing the empirical evidence.

Charles said...

RE Anon 3:18

So my taxes get raised to cover your expenses????

Eat me. With that many kids and deduction I'm probably paying a higher tax rate than you as a single guy. THIS kind of BS is why everyone's shouting socialism.

Get a smaller house or get the catastrophic insurance Keith talks about but keep your hands out of my wallet you twit.

Maybe you should have put more thought in before reproducing.

keith said...

Charles - we need reform of health insurance, medicare, medicaid and social security. otherwise we're f*cked. I think any sane person (or anyone who knows math) now sees that.

In addition, the status quo with health insurance rates going up significantly more than the rate of inflation year over year over year over year was also unsustainable.

Next, I'm sick of seeing people having to rely on their employers for insurance. In other words diverting their salary to health care. Could you imagine your employer choosing your auto insurance policy? Of course not. You should be able to shop around in a free market, and get the product that's right for you. And relying on your employer really f*cks people who lose their jobs. It's tragic. The system is stupid. The insurance companies and their proxies in the GOP have a stranglehold on the nation, and it needs to be broken.

And finally, I like the math of this bill - saving $100 billion over 10 years and another $1 trillion after that. It's a start. Drop in the bucket, but a start. Now we need to save $50 trillion on the other entitlements. Which can be done - just drastically cut them in the future, and give people warning that's what's coming.

Meanwhile, doing the right thing is going to make the people who do the right thing incredible unpopular with ignorant and selfish American voters. Is what it is. They want streets paved with gold, and they want their kids' kids' kids' kids to pay for it. Shameful.

keith said...

Mike - ever see a bill? this post would take about 5 pages in double-spaced wide-margin legalese bill writing. Ever see an appropriations bill? They're 3,000 - 4,000 pages long. So should we not have appropriations bills? Ever read the bible? how many pages is that? So everything with a lot of pages sucks? It's a childish argument, promoted by Roger Ailes, and repeated by unthinking people.

And actually, most of the arguments against this bill are non-substantive and childish. Why? Because they poll-test well. And Fox News does a wonderful job spooning that stuff out to their gullible audience. A wonderful job.

Ugh - me against bill. Bill too long. Ugh. Me against bill. Bill is socialism. Ugh. Ugh. Me against bill. Bill pays for abortions. Ugh.

Of course, none of that is true.


Anonymous said...

The US Government is doing plent of leading, just not for most of its population.

It leads in military expenditures, it leads in subsidies to the wealthy and their corporations.

It leads in manufactured poverty, it leads in unmaintainable car-dependant infrastructure.

It leads in manufactured violent crime, it leads in constructed poverty.

Anonymous said...

Keith! You have finally awaken. We all know you were able to see the housing crash way before others.

But I was worried that you had finally closed your eyes and thought everything was going to be okay.

It is not! We are at the steps of a Greater Depression! The time is now for you to start a new blog.

The Greater Depression!

Anonymous said...

They already did raise the SS age. I have to wait until age 67--highest in the industrialized world.

Plus, they doubled the SS tax rate in 1990, so I have paid in twice as much as the people who are collecting now. Generational theft. Whatever happened to seniors assisting the next generation, rather than raping them?

I'd like to second this post. Have you ever worked a spreadsheet with modest growth that shows how much money you would have if you invested the 12.4% STOLEN from your paycheck for 45-50 years? It's insane. We need more Joe Stacks with bigger planes.

Ross said...

Just started reading a book called "American High," written in the 80's describing the the post-war era of 1946-1960.

It almost reads like it was written about today's issues and problems.

If you think we are different, or special, because we're "modern," think again.

Anonymous said...

"Wait until they (rightly) try to touch the social security retirement age. Or try to defuse the medicaid/medicare $61 trillion timebomb."


What makes anyone think there will be an effort to reform entitements (non-expansionary reform, that is)? The health care legislation has been sold as a free lunch. The supposed "savings" come from unspecfied future cuts. Who believes those will ever materialize? No thinking person. But, that all can be cured through the elimintation of "waste" and "inefficiency," and uninsured people showing up in emergency rooms for primary care, and insurance company bureaucracy, at least has a veneer of plausibility, sufficient for the Obama lemmings to buy into. That entitlement reform isn't a free lunch either won't be as easy to cover up, assuming the Democrats even desire to touch the issue (they don't).

They can't even bring themselves to allow unemployment compensation benefits to expire.

Anonymous said...

Maybe from your perspective SS sucks but just like you I never had a choice if I wanted to join or not. Most of the people I know on SS need 6-8 years of payments just to get their money back not counting the interest that should have/could have been paid on it. OBTW if you have problems with the way SS has been run wait until you get the Obama monstrosity he calls Health Care. The bigger it is the slower and more corrupt it will be.

Anonymous said...

Keith said.....

"Was what the GOP did with healthcare in the eight years they were in power a solution?"

No,they didn't and I don't care about what either party has done about healthcare. The problem here is the side-stepping of the constitution and the ramming through of something so big and important. This bill will be historic becuase of its size alone. If this was not a genuine concern, then why are states ready to sue the Federal Government for forcing people to buy healthcare?

What happened to the Ron Paul backing, libertarian, constitutional, freedom loving person named Keith that used to own the Housing Panic blog before this one?

Admit it, you are an imposter who bought this blog from the real Keith in some pub over in London.

This healthcare bill ramming sounds too much like "We have to abandon free market principals in order to save the free market."

I truly belive that if this thing is forced through right now, there will be riots in DC and things are going to get real ugly. I want it to happen. Our government cannot be fixed. It has been kidnapped and completely taken over by special interests. Everyone at the highest levels making decisions for the entire country is a corrupt criminal. The connections are plain as day and now we are reaching the point where the people are becoming aware at the same time the clowns in DC are screwing us right to our faces.

They realize these criminals cannot be trusted. They will not allow any further shredding and side stepping of the Constitution.

Whatever they do in Congress, it should follow the right process and should adhere to the Constitution. This blatant disregard for the Constitution was bad enough under Bush but under Obama is even worse. The unconstitutional power grab by the President is also continuing under Obama. More of the same we can believe in.

Now the pendulum will swing way to the far right unfortunately, and slowly but surely we'll get more bad legislation jammed through for their buddies when they are the majority again.

You are exactly right, history will not be kind.

unomyname said...

Hey I'm a boomer and I want a depression and am psychologically preparing to eat dog food in my dotage - if possible please make it ALPO.

Anonymous said...

Time is a bunch of wankers.

Charles said...

Keith I think I agree with your goals but not the path to get there. This bill is simply another wealth transfer just like the housing bubble.

What would my insurance cost if I could by Catastrophic across state lines?

Not an option with this bill. No interstate competition as every health plan offered has to meet the government platinum standard whether you need those services or not.

All to subsidize the retiring boomers and there shitty physical states. We all pay so a McDonald's eating fucktard can squeeze out a few more years.

Sorry Keith... FUCK 'EM. Liquidate there assets to pay for their care. Let all the pent up wealth hit the market and enjoy the deflation. And to the oldies who didn't save anything for retirement or buy a house, sorry SOL buddies. The worlds harsh and not everybody gets to live to 80.

And I STILL don't think it'll pass (Blue Dog Dems shitting bricks right now)

And even if it does Mark Levin's firm has a boondoggle of lawsuits lined up. Forced private insurance is unconstitutional PERIOD!

Medicare/SS will trudge on by, we'll inflate our way out of it. RE will be dirt cheap but prepare for $8-10 gallon Milk and $15 an hour fry cooks.

Anonymous said...

please say health care insurance, not just health care because being forced to buy health care from incompetents could be murder......although, perhaps thats governments way to deal with the bum economy....

Anonymous said...

why are there hughly expensive and complicated and sophistacated drugs and machinarys to deal with arterial blockages and the narrowings caused by fats and cholesteral and plaques, yet no complicated single drug to reverse athersclerosis and arterial sclerosis when restoration of blood flows in the 40 thousand miles of the human arterial system could/would prevent 80 percent or more of the yearly complicated? or not enough hospital or doctor profits or continuing long term profits for the drug companys?..who exactly do you trust?

Mike Hunt said...


No, I've never seen an actual bill.

So you are saying the 2000 page bill would fit into 80 pages of normal typed text? Ok. Does that mean that everyone voting for this has read through it? Seems like that's not the case.

Are you sure about the math in creating the savings one decade out? That is because of the higher purchasing power from more people driving down rates, or because expenditures for uninsured would be less?

I really tried to research the content of this bill but I cannot get much real information- just spin from both sides.

What about Americans working abroad? Will they be forced to buy US insurance? What about you, who doesn't have insurance when you travel in the US? Will you need to pay the IRS penalty?

Since you are so well researched and for this I'd like to know what you have been able to find since you are in the same boat as me, citizenship-wise.



Anonymous said...

Medicine is a business and people get into business to make money. Take away the money and you take away the incentive. Without the incentive we would be in dire straights to have enough doctors, enough hospitals, and enough research.

Our health care system isn't perfect by any means, but its this incentive based business that's lead to most of the medical advancement we have today.

I know this health care bill sounds like the shining becan of light, and many feel its better then not doing anything, but its not sustainable because its not affordable. We can't print our way to the solution. Its a bit like sitting ideally by while your wife continually buys everything she needs or thinks she needs with money you don't have. Short term you get into a lot of debt. Long term you go into bankruptcy. Kind of like where we're headed now.

I think its time to take the printing press away from these clowns and remind them that we're living in the real world and it's time to live within our means. Big Pappa Government can't solve all our problems and was never meant to.

I for one support Tort Reform and the break down of state barriers to foster competition among health care providers. Real change in medicine will happen from the outside coming in and not the other way around. What I mean by that is health care is the inside and doctors, hospitals, research labs, and pharmacies are the outside. Reform Tort, reduce administration cost and open the boarders to free market trade and you will see health care premiums go down.

Robert said...

I cannot believe anyone here has not mentioned the military.We spend more on the military fighting useless wars of imperialism than all of the countries in the world combined - top the tune of a TRILLION a year! Also, if we had single payer like every other civilized country on earth, we would not be having horrendous problem we are experiencing with healthcare. France, England etc, are rate way higher than America for quality of healthcare with everyone covered and they spend at least 30% less than us. If we slashed military spending and had single payer, we would have enough money for everything. Screw all of you. We have paid into social security and medicare all of our working lives.The politicians do not want to go after their masters - so they keep coming at us. Try taxing the wealthy a bit more like they do in Europe (does not seem to have hurt them at all) and most of the corporations in America pay no taxes at all - even though they keep feeding us the bullshit that they have the highest corporate taxes. Not after their CPA's get finished doing their "taxes".

This "healthcare bill is an abomination. Single payer is the only way to go. This just forces 30 million more people to buy insurance from the insurance companies, making them wealthier. Why do you think the stocks of healthcare companies are going higher? DUH! This is wealthcare for the corporations. There is money for our entitlements is we slashed the military and went on single payer.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the men with Balls?

The guys who would pick-up a gun or polish up his fists when he needed to

We have become like become like
John Edwards all teeth and hair but no substance!

Where's a good disgruntled Marine when you need one?

Our country is being dissolved by the sixties bunch that you hated back then!

Lets roll up our sleeves and F*ck'em up!

A little effort with a lot of result!!

Semper Fi

buy a house and get rich said...

I dont have health insurance because it is a scam.Im tired of the bullshit.I have already come to the fact I will never retire, that is a fallacy.Only rich people retire.Sitting around in a rocking chair is not my idea of retirement.I cant stand sitting around doing nothing.
Health insurance is a scam designed to fleece you out of your money so doctors can have a real retirement.If I have a problem I pay in cold hard cash.

Anonymous said...

The whole system will have to collapse before reform has any chance of happening here in the USA. All the bankers, insurance companies, doctors, government employees, rightwing MSM, all will have to be trapped in the burning house of debt before reform can occur.
Karl Marx predicted it 160 years ago. Conservatives can not change their stripes. They have to go down in flames.

Anonymous said...

"They already did raise the SS age. I have to wait until age 67--highest in the industrialized world."

Social Security is about 4% of US GDP. It might get to 6% by 2030. It doesn't sound so bad to me. But to hear Republicans & Libertarians talk about it, it is the end of the world.

I don't think so.

Pay Lay Ale said...

LOL, the government has done such a good job with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, The Criminal Reserve, The VA, Fannie/Freddie, The Iraq War, The Afgan War, Post Office...we should trust them to run the rest of the health care system competently??????

Everything the government touches, it screws up.

I love how Keith repeats the Obamunist robotic talking points...perfectly. Where are all the immoral and obsceneinsurance company profits? Across the industry that had just a 2.2% profit margin.

What makes you think the government could better administer a program with less administrative costs than a for-profit entity with a profit incentive to minimize administrative overhead?

Also Keith, where in the constitution is power given to the Federal Government to regulate or take over health care???? Ever hear of the 10th Amendment?

Oh, and then there's the fact that the Slaughter Solution is blatantly unconstitutional under Article I.

"And finally, I like the math of this bill - saving $100 billion over 10 years and another $1 trillion after that. It's a start. Drop in the bucket, but a start."

And you believe Yun or Lereah?

Why don't you read up on doc fix?

This bill slashes medicare reimbursements and medicare in general. It also starts the taxes immediately when the costs don't come until later. There will be another bill coming later to restore the medicare cuts. This was done to fool ignorant people like you into thinking that this would cut the deficit.

There is no free lunch!!! You can't just add tens of millions of people to the system by subsidizing them, including illegals without costs going up. this is called increasing DEMAND. If you cut reimbursements to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, your SUPPLY will dry up.

Jesus, ever hear of the Law of Supply and Demand, Keith? It does nothing to increase supply, and does everything to increase demand.

Lost Cause said...

So many distractions to keep people arguing with one another, so the the continuing theft remains un-noticed.

Dogcrap said...



Obama plans on taking over one trillion out of the private economy over he next 4 years in return for nothing. He is specifically targeting those who would normally invest their money in job creation.


Anonymous said...

We had a pretty good run:


Anonymous said...

"Ugh - me against bill. Bill too long. Ugh. Me against bill. Bill is socialism. Ugh. Ugh. Me against bill. Bill pays for abortions. Ugh."


Anonymous said...


you all still don't understand that it is just a number on a computer hard drive...