RAPID REACTION: JOHN ROBERTS' EXCELLENT ADVENTURE

NPF is cancelled for reasons that should be obvious.

I have a lot to say about the Supreme Court decision that handed a narrow victory to the proponents of the Affordable Care Act, and a potentially epic rant on it is already brewing for Monday. Nonetheless, while it is still fresh on everyone's mind let's take a quick whack at it. A few things:

1. My insurance provider sent out an email to every member this afternoon noting, and I'm paraphrasing only slightly here, "We know that you've heard a ton about the health care law and the Supreme Court today, and we'd like to remind you that absolutely nothing has changed about your coverage." That is an important point that is rapidly getting lost in the deluge of words in your email inbox and on your social networking sites. For the overwhelming majority of us, nothing is different. All this law really did from day one is create some new rules for insurance companies and require individuals to obtain coverage (with numerous exceptions, subsidies, and so on). One of my friends earnestly emailed me and asked if health care was free now. Lots of right wingers appear to believe that government-run medicine is now a reality. Many people are going to be genuinely surprised to wake up and find out that nothing really happened.

2. That "I have no idea what I'm talking about, but goddammit am I angry" is a common theme among your friends and family right now was predictable, but I am stunned at the number of people who appear to have no earthly idea what "single payer" means. Apparently it is somewhat commonly believed that single payer means that each individual is responsible for his or her own healthcare costs. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, so I do both.

3. Two things about John Roberts and his mysterious motives:

First, the text of the dissent refers to Ginsburg's concurrence as "the dissent" several times. Unless that's some sort of bizarre typo or Freudian slip, I'm pretty sure Kennedy's dissent was written with the understanding that it was the majority. In fact, there are several clues suggesting that Roberts not only switched his vote unexpectedly but did so very late in the game…as in, nearly at the last second.

Second, one of the common criticisms of Roberts upon his appointment was that he is a tool of the healthcare industry. I don't see his decision as pro-ACA or pro-government or pro-Congress so much as it is pro-insurance. It's worth keeping in mind over all the celebrating that the underlying law is a pretty lame excuse for healthcare "reform". While it contains a lot of provisions that will help a lot of people, its primary purpose is to funnel billions of dollars into the insurance industry's coffers. That the individual mandate survived is a splash of perfume on the reality that the individual mandate was and is a pretty stupid way to attempt to achieve near-universal access to healthcare.

That's all for now. More next week, possibly up to and beyond the point at which you will be sick of hearing about it.

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41 Responses to “RAPID REACTION: JOHN ROBERTS' EXCELLENT ADVENTURE”

  1. The Mad Dreamer Says:

    To be fair on point #2, "single payer" is a really stupid signifier for the concept it actually represents.

  2. Middle Seaman Says:

    ACA is not single payer, not even close. A lot of people were helped by ACA, kid up to 26, no preconditions and no money limit. What is left for 2014 is iffy and can develop in many ways.

    Our health care system is twice as expensive as it should be and is probably going to rise even higher. Millions will be left uninsured.

    Roberts motivation is unclear to me. It does prove, however, that the five fascists on the supreme ignore the law and consider only politics. The supreme court is lawless.

  3. wetcasements Says:

    Roberts was acting out of self-interest. He gets to look like a pillar of Burkean modesty.

    Scalia and Alito and Thomas are so far gone down the right-wing rabbithole that they simply don't care. Roberts is going to be with us for another good 20-30 years and he cares deeply about his legacy.

    So I guess it's good. I'm optimistic that this is a "genie out of the bottle" situation — once people realize that they will directly benefit from ACA, the Teabaggers will realize that "socialist" medicine is pretty damn effective (just look at, say, the rest of the world).

    I dunno. This still feels like a win but man, let's face it — 4/9 of the SCOTUS is fucking unhinged and they simply don't care about what people think of them because I have a life-time appointment fuck you that's why.

    It's really bad karma to wish ill on people but jeez, somebody order Scalia some KFC Double-downs and see if he takes the bait.

  4. T.W. Says:

    Is THIS how cynical we have to be in politics? No wonder people stopped giving a shit. You've got one side making a bunch of bullshit excuses for why this is bad for America. They're backed by a crowd of howling teabaggers, employing spiteful rhetoric that amounts to sophomoric social Darwinism.

    Then you've got liberals, who are rightfully happy. They've been getting shit about Obamacare day in and day out, and now they can breathe easy. I know I did when I found out my health insurance will last through my belated end of undergrad. Was this perfect? Hell no. Should the author be so cynical he can't just admit this was a HUGE step for our country? I guess not. Progressives hate Obama more than conservatives–he has to fight tooth and nail for every inch of ground, while the far left, ever so blase, thinks no measure will be good enough.

  5. willf Says:

    Should the author be so objective he can't just fool himself into blindly spouting the talking point that/i> this was a HUGE step for our country? I guess so.

    FTFY

  6. c u n d gulag Says:

    I think Robers did make a late change.
    I think he read the, then, majority opinion, and realized how unhinged the other 4 had gotten, and switched sides to make sure he wasn't on the wrong side of history forever, and on every case.
    He probably wanted Kennedy to come along to make it 6-3, but he's becoming more and more indistinguishable from those feckin' idjiotic maniacs, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

    But in making a slight change, calling the mandate a tax, which, in reality, it ALWAYS was, he gives the R's something to run against and keep their ignorant, and violently stupid, base pumped-up.

    Look forward to a whole summer full of R politicians pandering to crowds by screaming against Obamacare and taxes, to their audiences full of blue and white hairs, many of whom are on SSDI, Medicare, of Medicaid, carrying their signs warning everyone to keep government out of the health care!

    America – too stupid to remain a representative democracy.

    But don't worry. The powers-that-be are preparing to turn us into a Theocratic Fascist state – where only the "right" people can run and vote.
    All it will take is a R President with a R House and R Senate. And it can happen quickly.

    And, despite yesterday's surprise switch by Roberts, he, like the other "Four Fascists," will fall in line, and rubber-stamp every Dominionist Christian, Corporatist, law put before them.

    I hope I'm wrong.

  7. belle Says:

    call the worst being, no mandate but keep the other provisions, and the best being the (so far unicorn) single payer, this originally Republican plan is a step, a start, and we almost lost that.

    I believe Roberts did not want another fiasco like Citizen's United on his term record, and it is a Republican plan, loved by the insurance companies, after all.

  8. John Says:

    When I went back to Arkansas last summer, I had a discussion with my aunt from Texas who has worked in the health insurance industry for the last 30 years or so. Our discussion revealed that she opposed Obamacare because it was a single payer system, didn't know what a single payer system was, and thought that expanding Medicare to support all American's wasn't a bad idea. She'll still be voting for Romney.

  9. Number Three Says:

    This one (the Roberts "switch") is a head scratcher. But I want to tackle another point.

    A traditional theme in political theory is that most people aren't very bright. And even if they are good at one thing, it doesn't carry over to other things. E.g., my brother-in-law is a neurosurgeon, but I wouldn't let him tune up my car.

    There are 2 reactions to this. One is to say that the people should have no role in government. That one has its own problems. The second is to fund a way to channel what people can do (evakuate performance of those in power and hold them accountable for bad performance) into a set of institutions.

    But as thinkers from Machiavelli to V.O. Key have reiterated, that doesn't work if the elites are corrupt. I think it was Key, anyway, who made the point that the people have to be offered truthful, mostly, options by those contesting for their votes.

    IOW, if one side in a democratic system is going to go 100% liar, the system will break down.

    It's not the people's fault, per se. We can't expect everyone's aunt from Texas to be a health care expert. Hell, I teach public policy, and I find understanding the health care system difficult.

    But if the media will let Romney go out and say that he can deliver all the good things in Obamacare but get rid of what people don't like (or think they don't like) w/o getting pressed on how; or

    he can say that he's going to cut taxes and cut the deficit (another concept people generally fail to understand) at the same time, without being pressed on it;

    etc. Then we are doomed. And that's what I fear will happen.

  10. acer Says:

    I think we're going to see a pattern of younger conservatives gently distancing themselves from the more hardcore elements of the party. Since the Kenyan Usurper's anointment, the GOP has simply gotten too extreme for many people who agree with most of its stated principles.

    It started with McCain deteriorating before our eyes as the far-right pandering basically shattered his brain. This summer is going to be weird, too.

    I still don't respect Roberts much, and ACA is mostly a subsidy for insurance companies, but I can't imagine he didn't flinch when he read that deranged Kennedy screed. The far right/libertarian elements of the GOP are about to become its Dixiecrats. But they don't really have anywhere else to go except full Alex Jones.

  11. Cartmansdad Says:

    What is being overlooked is that a majority of our court, including Kennedy, a so-called "moderate", has ruled that health care insurance is not part of interstate commerce and thus is not subject to federal regulation under the Commerce Clause. This could be the culmination of an historic shift that began in 1995, but which overturns 60 years of precedent interpreting the Commerce Clause broadly. We are just a few more steps away from some members of this Court questioning the constitutionality of our social services safety net. Very disturbing.

    Ezra Klein has a good artilce in the last New Yorker:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/06/25/120625fa_fact_klein

    setting out the history of mandated coverage, pointing out that it was a conservative invention and favorite as a counter to single payer for three decades and that the Republican party only turned against it when it was adopted/accpeted by Democrats, which says a lot about how broken our policitcal system is. It also notes that every academic constituational scholar, including a former clerk for Kennedy, laughed at the argument that mandated health care was not constitutional when this concept was first floated, but that the steady drum beat of the Republican Party, conservative media, and the conservative think tanks, as well as the early rulings by two wildly conservative District Court judges, somehow put the stamp of legitimacy on the argument. It then went on to discuss the psychological underpinnings of such shifts, and why we are wired to agree with whatever party we associate with regardless of how wildly their position changes or how wrong they might be. Of course, this slavish adherence to the party line is closely related to ignorance about the actual issues, as has been pointed out here.

    Anyways, I don't think I have ever been so depressed by a "victory." I fear that the majority opinion further limiting the reach of the Commerce Clause is going to be a launching pad to strike down whatever federal law or regulation corproate American does not like.

  12. Chicagojon Says:

    @wetcasements
    "Roberts is going to be with us for another good 20-30 years and he cares deeply about his legacy."

    He's 57 — it's much more likely to be 30-35 years than 20-30.

    I don't think this is a legacy decision, I think it's a practical decision. If you just got a new job as a CFO and had spent the first 2 years expanding your power to where you were the 2nd most powerful person in your company and at times more powerful than the CEO would you attack the CEO's grand plan and try to knock them out of the way completely? I suppose some people would, but if the plan backfires you lose not only the power you've gained, but potentially are knocked back down many pegs.

    CJ Roberts and his feckin' idjiotic maniacs (HT c u n d gulag) have been walking around with their shirts off flexing their muscles for the last many years: taking cases that they probably shouldn't, expanding the breadth of cases beyond what they are to meet their needs, & overturning established law without restrain. It would be foolish to risk 30+ years of Citizens United, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, partial birth abortion ban, etc. etc. to draw a line in the sand against a president's 2 year old landmark legislation.

    Much better to let it slide by (while putting in a snipe about the commerce clause to save face) and keep winning 80% of the battles. Hell, if it's such a problem to America Roberts' court can always overturn it 5 years from now, or 10, or 20, or 30. Now that's depressing.

  13. PWL Says:

    Well, your commentary hits on the heart of the problem: democracy requires an informed and engaged populace. But that's not what we have these days, as your piece pointed out…

  14. jbl Says:

    the reference to ginsburg's dissent is because part of her opinion was a dissent – so the joint dissenters were referencing her dissent related to the commerce clause. I have seen this idea running around that Roberts switched at the last minute and this is the clue – whether he switched or not no one but him and his colleagues know – the reference does not prove a thing and is not a typo. roberts wrote no other opinions and wanted to write this one – if the law was overturned the court would become more of a joke than it is and he would be the symbol of that joke – maybe that notion hit him during one of his seizures.

  15. bb in GA Says:

    I'm just a baby sitting on the beach looking at the pretty colored stones when it comes to legal stuff…but from what I've heard all this Commerce Clause woofing is not to be feared Lefties.

    From what I hear, the comments about the limits on the CC are contained in something called DICTA which is apparently appendix like material when it comes to future rulings and precedent.

    Hey lawyers – reel me in…

    //bb

  16. Hazy Davy Says:

    Like c u n d gulag, I'm disposed toward paranoid, Eeyore lamentations and predictions.

    So it gives me great pleasure to Pollyanna this one and say "Theocratic Fascist state?!—I don't think so. The Dominionists desire to organize, but lack the ability. They can no more complete their interest than we can choose to mutate and evolve. (Well, there was that one time, with the bottle rockets, JD, and a very friendly porpoise…)

    Like bb, I'm a baby with great stones. But I (maybe naively) believe Roberts is a smart guy who tries to do the right thing. The troubling part is when we assume that there are political motivations and bias, it bothers us to find out that we're either wrong, or the biases are more nuanced than we know…

  17. Robert Says:

    I'm still somewhat agog at the spectacle of what is, in effect, a full-employment plan for health insurance companies being represented as the teratogenic love child of Marx and Mao.

    But there are folks out there who are apparently convinced that Government is not an organ of the body politic, but an alien parasite. So there's that.

  18. eau Says:

    So you guys think it's cute for the GOP to scream and cry and vow revenge over a plan that was originally their own fucking plan?

    Check out some Australian news next week, when our Democrat-equivalent government institute a nation-wide carbon tax.

    If you're really keen you can youtube Tony Abbott (our Mitt-equivalent), asking in 2009:

    "If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax?"

    And what he's saying now:

    "The carbon tax will act as a wrecking ball across the economy"
    "We will fight this every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month."
    "There will be a people

  19. eau Says:

    Dammit.

    "There will be a people's revolt"
    "This is a pledge in blood this tax will go. We will rescind it."
    "I have staked my political life on stopping this carbon tax."

    Conservatism: Because sometimes an idea sounds good, until you hear it from a woman or a darky.

  20. E* Says:

    If I had a car, I would plaster it with bumper stickers featuring quotes stolen from this site.

    Like: "Conservatism: Because sometimes an idea sounds good, until you hear it from a woman or a darky."

  21. wetcasements Says:

    One of the guys at Lawyers, Guns, and Money nailed it — "Republicans haven't been this angry since Brown v. Board"

  22. just me Says:

    Seriously, what really freaks me out is that it's those Jesus loving god fearing repuglicans that are the ones opposing universal health care. That and that their opinions are actually given any credence at all. I guess "love thy neighbour" doesn't apply if said neighbour is sick. After all the increase cost to them to pay for all those free-loaders will mean less money to send their kids to Bible Camp so that the little indocrinees can learn the "right" way to live.
    But really, members of the Merikan version of the Taliban shouldn't worry that much. Although it may effect their pocket book it's not going to effect their health care any. Any one who enjoys universal health care knows it actually means two tier health care. If my GP finds a "suspicious" spot it will take 6 – 9 months to get an appointment with a dermitologist to have it looked at, but I can call the same doc to get a Botox treatment (not covered, of course) usually the same day.
    There is a freedom of mind knowing that if my kid needs stitches, or open heart surgery, I won't be asked for my VISA before treatment begins, or loose my house in the process, but I really hope that country to the south of me never achieves this. Since I have the money I want to be able to skip the queue for an MRI or cancer treatment, and private clinics here aren't quite that far along.
    And since I have a car that wasn't siezed for payment when my daughter needed an air ambulance and a month in an ICU, I want one of them there bumper stickers.

  23. localnebula Says:

    Fuck this, tried to read previous comments to see if points already made, too fucking drunk. (No really, +20-something, not exaggerating. Typing is hard.)
    1. No shit.
    2. I didn't know what the fuck "single payer" meant until I was a relatively politically-aware 24-year-old. Comes with being 'Murkin.
    3. This is why I think regexen should be a standard part of "how the fuck to use Office, you illiterate morons" classes for business majors. (s/(?<=[tT]he )dissent/concurrance/g + s/dissenting(?= opinion)/concurring/g)

  24. blahedo Says:

    Except, @wetcasements, that Republicans weren't nearly as mad at Brown v Board as the southern Democrats were. The segment of the Republican party that would most oppose Brown v Board weren't recruited to the Republicans until Nixon's southern strategy (and, in large part, Reagan).

  25. bb in GA Says:

    @blahedo

    you beat me to it.

    Democrat skeletons, not Rs…

    //bb

  26. bb in GA Says:

    @just me

    don't conflate willingness to approve government expenditure with personal charity. Libs do this all the time.

    Check the numbers, the hated conservatives support charitable causes with a greater percentage of their personal income and wealth than do Libs. Liberals are well intentioned people for the most part, but a little more personally "tight" probably because they might rationalize that they 'gave at the office' thru their taxes.

    Assuming most people report their monetary charity on their 1040, we have notable democratic tightwads in VPs Gore and Biden.

    Mr & Mrs Obama ramped up their giving as he approached the Presidency.

    //bb

  27. Linda Says:

    "Check the numbers, the hated conservatives support charitable causes with a greater percentage of their personal income and wealth than do Libs."

    No, conservatives are more like to belong to churches, and that's where their "charitable causes" cash goes. As if the Crystal Cathedral and cash payments to the retirement fund of child molesters counts as moral superiority.

  28. bb in GA Says:

    @linda

    The church dodge doesn't get it.

    I could say that Libs give to museums and 'Save the Whales' which doesn't help anyone in need. Churches are (with some Crystal exceptions) benevolent orgs. The numbers are there. When you break it down, conservatives give more of their personal wealth and income to charity (not just churches) than do libs.

    When I have more time I will pull some of the data…

    The good news for all of us is that Americans – libs or us nasty people are reasonably generous.

    //bb

  29. Bernard Says:

    sorry bb, poorer people give more than rich/usually rightwingers. which totally surprised me, but then again, being southern born, seeing the hatred for the Poor by the Rich, i can understand why the poor follow Jesus' admonitions to "whatever you do unto the poor/charity begins at home. Check the Pew Center if you'd like the facts, which i doubt you care for when they go against your Right Religious beliefs.

    it just amazes me how well you conflagrate your talking points from the right, as is expected and you really do follow the expected mindset/PR the southerners have been fed for ever, it seems.

    Churchs only divide and fight for the "Correct"/Right ownership/definition of God to use in the Right's fight to control the dumbass Religious idiots, of which America had no parallel. The South proves that beyond any measure, i'm sad to say.

    Watching the Roberts Court it is funny and sad to watch the Fascist/aka Corporate Control cement its' control. But that's why the Republican foundations founded in the 70's as a response to Nixon's "I am not a Crook" impeachment.

    Payback is really what counts and as America can attest to today. we have reaped the seeds planted by the REpublican Conservative movement. Quite a success fromwhat i have seen over the last 40 years, of which i have been an uneducated member of, the wisdom of controlling the Government to destroy it works so well.

    Keeping the fire lit below the stupidity of the Right's hate anything or anyone but follow Rightwingers really does work wonder, just ask those who hear tales from the Weimar Republic.

    health care is as Sen Tom Coburn is a personal matter and if someone get sick they should go ask their neighbors for help, not the Government. which he actually said. Coburn, being a Dr., shows how "hypocritic, not hippocratic, Sen Coburn is.

    America is getting its' just rewards for the death grip of Conservatism. it is just beginning to "trickle down" to the ignorant "followers" who are are so scared of the "other." and want to screw others in their blind rage. Too bad people who care are paying the price for the loony toons who voted Republicans in and have to pay the price for the spread of hatred and fear.

    but that's life, no one said it was fair. and i can bet that saying was a Republican meme, long before it becam a liberal fact. lol

  30. HoosierPoli Says:

    Charity is a band-aid on a systemic problem that can only be solved through public expenditure. Donating to a soup kitchen will never end hunger; food stamps at least have the potential to.

  31. Linda Says:

    Here's another factoid, BB in Ga: the benevolent organization of the various US churches depend to some extent on bad 'ol government spending. True story. Much of the fighting about allowing gays to adopt kids–and cutting out adoption agencies that discriminate–is about the fact that Catholic and other religious funder who discriminate would lose their public funding. So here's a bit of research you can do: go to http://www.usaspending.gov, and put in as a word search term "catholic," or "lutheran" or "presbyterian," etc, and see what comes out. Churches do a lot of their benevolence on the public dime that you decry.

  32. just me Says:

    @bb

    @HoosierPoli made my first point for me, so I'll just get on with the other two.
    1. Giving to museums and "Save the Whales" benefits humanity. Which is different from an individual. It's a fine point that's easily missed. Cons do this all the time. Oh wait, that might have been Hoosier's point.
    2. Those oh so benevolent churches spend an inordinate amount of time,
    money and photo-ops putting bandaids on suffering and destruction in the midst of crises that religious indoctrination caused, created or contributed to in the first place. It's a point made much more eloquently in the Blair/Hitchens Munk Debate. Maybe you could add that to the research that @Linda suggested.

    @Bernard – a valiant try, but of course Cons don't read Pew reports or they would be aware that the more one knows about religion in general the less likely one is to adhere to a religion. But here's hoping that enough knowledgable voters exist in America to make the dreams of the founding fathers finally come true and get those silly superstitions out of politics once and for all.
    Yup, even an atheist can hope.

  33. Major Kong Says:

    Of course, the problem with cutting the safety net and "Just let the churches/private charities handle it" is -

    If you lose everything, you had now better hope that some rich person or pastor deems you worthy to live.

  34. xynzee Says:

    @Hoosier: "Charity is a band-aid on a systemic problem that can only be solved through public expenditure. Donating to a soup kitchen will never end hunger; food stamps at least have the potential to."

    Seriously? Seriously?? You know that what you've just said is malarky. Whether its a soup kitchen or food stamps, the difference is an an up close and personal band-aid v. an institutional band-aid. Neither of them solve the issues of hunger, starvation and poverty in the long term sense and you know it. Making your whole point disingenuous, and not up to your usual standard of argument. Which is why I'm calling you on it, so that you can stay on your usual game.

    The issue of hunger isn't food supply, just look in the dumpsters of any Western home, restaurant or worse yet grocery store. It's a matter of distribution and I know – w/o ever having met you – that you're fully aware of this fact so we can spare the details.

    The systemic problems you're speaking of is more related to greed, and this greed is tied into two human issues: self preservation and desire for "importance". These are what make us grasp tightly to what we have and want to horde ever more of something. There's the story of the extremely rich man who's asked how many more dollars does he need? The reply, "One more." How much more do the Koch Bros. really need? Between them they're #1, what will a tax break of $250K+ really give them? This is what keeps us from sharing from what we've got with those who have less.

    Then part of the systematic problem is the well meaning legislation that has been put in place regarding food. "Use by" dates are excellent things, and I for one wouldn't have it any other way.

    Consider for a moment the amount of food wastage that occurs in developed nations.

    Staggering isn't it.

    While the food laws are great, food that is still edible **must** be thrown out. It's the law. Not so great.

    Even if a supermarket chain desired to give food to a charitable organisation on or one day after the "use by", and someone got sick, well there are any number of lawyers just waiting for that one aren't there?

    My sister was in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and she did her best to find corporate donors (read: major supermarket chains) for her food bank. Things went swimmingly, but then as the risk of litigation and the possibility of a fine from the authorities went up, away went the food.

    These are the kinds of regs that have our libertarian counter parts shaking their heads. It's called "the death of common sense". We have food that's still edible (especially if kept in a freezer), but unfortunately, it *must* be thrown out.

    Again happy that we have them, because part of human nature is that if someone can screw you for a penny they will. Which is why I can't understand how Christians can have such a positive attitude towards a "free" market. But sometimes regulation…

    But still we're tinkering around the edges here and talking about charity whether voluntary or institutional. What most people want is suitable work that allows them a sense of contributing self-sufficiency. A topic that has well been bashed on this forum time and time again so I won't go into the details.

    Now my challenge to you is to read: "The Jubilee Manifesto". It may give you some interesting insights into a form of "conservative" Christian thought about how God wants society to look.

    In return, I promise in good faith to read a book of your choosing. Deal?

    @bb: Unfortunately, might I refer you to: "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience". Written by an evangelical minister and is rather scathing of how we as evangelicals score on how

  35. xynzee Says:

    From what I'm gathering from some of the reports about the ACA itself is that we've got a healthcare equivalent of a GM diesel or Susan B. Anthony coin.

    Waaaaay back, in the dark ages, when I was in middle school I remember my Civics teacher saying that Americans have this attitude that if they don't want to do something they will do it so badly that it will scare everyone off the idea for years to come.

    When the Iran Crisis brought fuel rationing and the rage was diesels the Germans effectively had the market sewn up. GM realised that they couldn't get as good a motor to the market in the near future so what they released was the most god-awful excuse for a diesel ever conceived. It effectively crashed the diesel market.

    How are those dollar coins working for you?

    The problem was that if the ACA didn't survive in its entirety, it would be at least another two decades before the subject could ever be considered politically.

    The best situation was that everything *but* the mandate survived. By not allowing insurers to refuse and/or drop people, would ultimately force the industry into a New Jersey death spiral and force all the for profits out of the industry, leading to a single payer system.

    Instead we've got this horrible abortion of a law. that ultimately has not teeth to do what it was set out to do. Unless the real agenda was to funnel money into the insurance coffers.

    Which leads to the question that now that we've got something on the books, can it be amended and tightened to perform as it should have in the first place with new ways to enforce the legislation upon the States?

  36. Sarah Says:

    Which leads to the question that now that we've got something on the books, can it be amended and tightened to perform as it should have in the first place with new ways to enforce the legislation upon the States?

    Not if Obama doesn't win in November.

    Bobby Jindal said the day the decision came out that he wasn't going to implement the law, and Rick Scott just said the same thing yesterday. I'm hearing noise about how Scott Walker and Rick Perry are also going to opt out and take the assumption that Romney will be president next year.

  37. bb in GA Says:

    @Bernard

    Two fallacies, I think…

    'Sorry bb, poorer people give more than rich/usually rightwingers…'

    Absolutely by the IRS numbers true that less wealthy (middle class and lower) in the US support charity with a greater % of their income than do the 'Rich.' (again see Gore and Biden Tax returns for a good example)

    1.) You are kind of buying into a Marxist line of thinking that poor people are necessarily liberal (the proletariat et al)

    2.) Conversely, as we can easily see Rich folks are not exclusively or usually 'rightwingers' see Hollywood and who got the lion's share of Wall St millions in 2008?

    The church could do much better, but my point is (and I think it still stands) is that conservatives, on average, are more willing to turn loose of their $ for some cause outside themselves than are liberals.

    You liberals seem to be arguing over the relative worthiness of the objects of such charity. That is a different debate, and of course, you may be right.

    I am doing something liberals often do for themselves in defense of their governmental actions…to be judged on their good intentions.

    //bb

  38. bb in GA Says:

    Mr. Brooks is a conservative think tanker who was raised liberal. Is this person one that liberals boo and hiss at, i.e. do y’all think he cooked the books?

    A Nation of Givers
    By Arthur C. Brooks From the March/April 2008 Issue
    The Journal of the American Enterprise Institute

    “Q. How much do Americans give? Is the amount we give going up?

    A. In 2006, Americans gave about $295 billion to charity (bb – 2011 the total is 350 with 260 by individuals) and charitable giving has generally risen faster than the growth (corrected for inflation) of the American economy for more than half a century.
    ….
    Q. So where do the donations go?

    A.(edited)About a third of individual gifts go toward sacramental activities, primarily supporting houses of worship. The rest goes to secular activities, such as education, health, and social welfare.

    Q. Are Americans more or less charitable than citizens of other countries?

    A. No developed country approaches American giving. For example, in 1995 (the most recent year for which data are available), Americans gave, per capita, three and a half times as much to causes and charities as the French, seven times as much as the Germans, and 14 times as much as the Italians. Similarly, in 1998, Americans were 15 percent more likely to volunteer their time than the Dutch, 21 percent more likely than the Swiss, and 32 percent more likely than the Germans. These differences are not attributable to demographic characteristics such as education, income, age, sex, or marital status. On the contrary, if we look at two people who are identical in all these ways except that one is European and the other American, the probability is still far lower that the European will volunteer than the American.

    Q. Monetary giving doesn’t tell us much about total charity, does it? People who don’t give money probably tend to give in other ways instead, right?

    A. Wrong. First of all, there is a bright line between people who give and people who don’t give. People who do give time and money tend to give a lot of it. According to the Center on Philanthropy, the percentage of givers donating less than $50 to charity in 2000 was the same as the percentage giving more than $5,000. Similarly, the same percentage of people who only volunteered once volunteered on 36 or more occasions in 2000.

    Q. We often hear that religious people give more to charity than secularists. Is this true?

    A. In the year 2000, “religious” people (the 33 percent of the population who attend their houses of worship at least once per week) were 25 percentage points more likely to give charitably than “secularists” (the 27 percent who attend less than a few times per year, or have no religion). They were also 23 percentage points more likely to volunteer. (edited)

    Q. But aren’t they just giving to religious charities and houses of worship?

    A. These enormous differences are not a simple artifact of religious people giving to their churches. Religious people are more charitable with secular causes, too. For example, in 2000, religious people were 10 percentage points more likely than secularists to give money to explicitly nonreligious charities, and 21 points more likely to volunteer. The value of the average religious household’s gifts to nonreligious charities was 14 percent higher than that of the average secular household, even after correcting for income differences.

    Who gives the most in America: conservatives or liberals?

    A. There is a persistent stereotype about charitable giving in politically progressive regions of America: while people on the political right may be hardworking and family-oriented, they tend not to be very charitable toward the less fortunate. In contrast, those on the political left care about vulnerable members of society, and are thus the charitable ones. Understanding “charity” in terms of voluntary gifts of money (instead of government income redistribution), this stereotype is wrong.

    The fact is that self-described “conservatives” in America are more likely to give—and give more money—than self-described “liberals.” In the year 2000, households headed by a conservative gave, on average, 30 percent more dollars to charity than households headed by a liberal. And this discrepancy in monetary donations is not simply an artifact of income differences. On the contrary, liberal families in these data earned an average of 6 percent more per year than conservative families.

    These differences go beyond money. Take blood donations, for example. In 2002, conservative Americans were more likely to donate blood each year, and did so more often, than liberals. People who said they were “conservative” or “extremely conservative” made up less than one-fifth of the population, but donated more than a quarter of the blood. To put this in perspective, if political liberals and moderates gave blood like conservatives do, the blood supply in the United States would surge by nearly half.(edited)”

    I apologize for the length.

    //bb

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