Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Can-kicking time again?

From what I happened to see/hear on CNN in the motel room, early this evening, it seems President Obama is signalling that he's willing to kick the can of the debt ceiling down the road a ways - 6 weeks was the figure I heard. Why does this happen so often? It's a sign of incompetence, I reckon, on somebody's - everybody's - part. And the shutdown goes on.....

How does such an incompetent bunch manage to get themselves into such positions of power? If any one of us did such a wretched job, in any capacity whatsoever, we'd be down the road, pink slip(or whatever) in hand, quick sharp, and would find it difficult to find another position due to nasty references.

We're in Missouri tonight, Poplar Bluff, still taking the road home at a leisurely pace. We might not pass this way again (in more ways than one), so making the most of it. :-)


mike said...

The Repubs definitely have the upper-hand on this, so any concession is better than nothing. The Repubs are also taking a beating in public perception and the T-party faction is seen as damaging to the USA's best interests. So, at least there's one bright side of this coin!

I think that the Dems and Obama have received a lot of mileage out of this showdown...their polling numbers have suffered, too, but not nearly to the extent of the Repubs. This showdown has enlightened the public to the different subgroups sharing the Republican title and the ideological differences of each. Perhaps a necessary lesson. The Repubs may perceive their control as winning, but it's a short-term win and may cause a big loss next round of elections.

This from Bloomberg:

"The “Gephardt Rule,” as it became known, lasted until 1995, when the new House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, fresh from the Republican triumph of the 1994 midterms, recognized the same thing that Tea Party Republicans recognize today: The threat of default could be used to extort Democratic concessions. Gingrich abolished the Gephardt Rule, and within the year the government had shut down.

The way out of the crisis for Boehner and Obama is to agree on a deal that allows a modest, face-saving concession to Boehner—medical-device tax repeal?—in exchange for reimposing the Gephardt Rule. True, Obama says he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. But his rationale is that doing so would fatally weaken future presidents, who’d be shaken down every time a debt-ceiling vote approached. If such votes were eliminated, Obama would have nothing to fear—and this damaging showdown could finally come to a close."

mike (again) said...

P.S. - As ridiculous as the congressional impasse may seem, I think that most people have something similar happening in their personal lives right now. A reflection of the Uranus-Pluto square. Seems that everyone I talk with has some situation in their life that has them up against the wall.

“Now is the winter of our discontent.” William Shakespeare, Richard III

LB said...

mike is probably right. In the future, people are likely to look back on this and vote (once again) for the lesser of two evils, forgetting once again how truly similar the parties and their players are. I hope not.

If there's anything good to come out of all this, it may be that more people are being made aware of Universal Single-Payer (Improved and Expanded Medicare For All - HR676) as the only viable and just alternative to Obamacare. I've noticed more people are talking about it lately, and they're also talking about how many low and middle income folks will remain significantly *underinsured* under Obamacare, with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, limited networks of providers (and therefore limited access) and many services not covered. On top of all that, 30 million people will remain uninsured.

Then there are the low-income folks in the 26 states where Medicaid expansion was rejected - what's going to happen to them? It can sometimes be difficult to find and access providers under Medicaid anyway, now it'll be even tougher. People will continue to suffer and many will be worse off than they were before, though *some* will benefit.

Which isn't to say I support the shutdown. This whole situation is a no-win for a lot of people, particularly those among us who can least afford it.

I thought this article, "Republicans' biggest misunderstanding about Obamacare" did a pretty thorough job of laying it all out, though it's not only Republicans who've misunderstood:

mike (again) said...

LB, have you kept-up with the Massachusetts' 2006 health care reform? Introduced by Republican Mittens Romney, no less. It's been successful, except for containing costs, which has averaged 2% per year for the past three years. Premiums are expected to decrease 20% with PPACA.

In the link you provided, this quote:

"[PPACA] would drastically reduce our massive and rising expenditure on healthcare administration, which in 1999 accounted for an estimated 31 percent of all healthcare spending in the U.S., as opposed to a mere 7 percent in Canada. ... Indeed, as much as 85 percent of excess spending on “health administration and insurance” is attributable to the private health insurance system. How, exactly, the health insurance industry contributes to actual healthcare – putting aside its extracting role as unnecessary middleman – remains among the great mysteries of the modern age."

The essential take-home message of Frontline's "Sick Around the World" is to get rid of middle-men (insurance companies) and make hospitals non-profit. Insurance companies can be non-profit, too, if they have to exist at all.

I understand your desire for a total single-payer system (Medicare), and I agree, but that isn't an option right now. I far prefer this PPACA-Obamacare version from what wasn't being offered prior. After several years of Obamacare, maybe the Republicans will suggest that we move to a single-payer system! LOL

LB said...

mike ~ I'm glad you support a single payer national health program (HR676). It needs all the support it can get.:) Maybe someday. . .

As far as Romneycare being successful, I guess it all depends on who you talk to and/or how you measure success. More people having insurance doesn't necessarily translate to more people having affordable access to healthcare, nor does it mean more people have adequate coverage, meaning they may not receive the healthcare they need.

I checked out the link you provided, and what Massachusetts Governor Patrick says differs quite a bit from what I've read elsewhere:

"Although the Massachusetts reform has covered many of the uninsured, under-insurance remains widespread, and illness and medical bills still contribute to
52.9% of all bankruptcies in the state. The number of medical bankruptcies has not decreased."

The report is from 2011; Romneycare was enacted in 2006. I see it as a cautionary tale, though others may disagree.

Twilight said...

mike & LB ~
It does seem that the Dems will come out of this, if not exactly smelling of roses, then smelling a tad sweeter than they actually deserve.

We intended being home this afternoon but changed our minds once we got on the interstate this morning and turned around, eventually took in a piece of NW Arkansas - Eureka Springs and surrounding area - really lovely at this time of year, though not in full Fall mode yet. Weather was so nice too.
Im Springdale, Arkansas tonight. Should make it home tomorrow barring more changes of mind (must be Uranus to blame!)

mike (again) said...

Here's an interesting article from Politicususa about the Koch brothers' involvement in the Republican shenanigans and the illegality of it:

The Koch Brothers Seditious Shutdown Conspiracy Should Get Them 20 Years in Prison

mike (again) said...

And more illegal acts and a petition demanding prosecution:

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Thanks for these links - I'll read them later - have to go this morning for the routine blood-letting ceremony, after fasting - at 8.15 (and no coffee!). :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Hmmm - It'd be good to see the Kochs and their allies punished in some way, but from comments by a couple of lawyers who seem to know their stuff, prosecution for sedition wouldn't be possible as there wasn't actual force involved. although crafty lawyers might be able to make the circumstances fit in some way, I doubt the DOJ would want to get into that can of worms.

RICO might be a possible route, it seems:

From Wiki:

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.