Romney and Ryan want to kill more Americans

Sunday’s New York Times contained a hard-hitting essay by Paul Krugman, “Death by ideology”, blasting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s plan to deep-six Obamacare and replace Medicare with an ineffectual system of vouchers. It will, in effect, not give health insurance to poor Americans, but ensure that they’ll die for lack of proper preventive care. Krugman pulls no punches:

Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care.

Last week, speaking to The Columbus Dispatch, Mr. Romney declared that nobody in America dies because he or she is uninsured: “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” This followed on an earlier remark by Mr. Romney — echoing an infamous statement by none other than George W. Bush — in which he insisted that emergency rooms provide essential health care to the uninsured.

These are remarkable statements. They clearly demonstrate that Mr. Romney has no idea what life (and death) are like for those less fortunate than himself.

Krugman’s conclusion?

So let’s be brutally honest here. The Romney-Ryan position on health care is that many millions of Americans must be denied health insurance, and millions more deprived of the security Medicare now provides, in order to save money. At the same time, of course, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. So a literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.

Let us just admit it: the Republic platform rests on the backs of the poor, and places the well-being of the wealthy above that of “regular” Americans.  That’s the kind of stance that ensures the continuing dysfunctionality of American society, and hence the continuing and embarrassing hegemony of religion in our country.

I’d be more exercised if Romney stood a chance of winning, but I’d bet big money that he won’t. I’ve found, however, that here in Europe people think that Romney is actually in a dead heat with Obama. He isn’t. And if Romney wins, I’ll go to a Catholic mass (but only once).

I admire Krugman for speaking the truth.


  1. KP
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    You’ve been out of the country, but the polling has drawn incredibly close and I wouldn’t say that “I’d bet big money [Romney] won’t [win]”

    • JMP
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I was cautiously optimistic, now I’m getting increasingly nervous.

      • Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:09 am | Permalink

        Never underestimate (or misunderestimate) the power of stupid people in large numbers. If one debate can alter the arc of an election even in the face of mountains of information showing the debate was a Hollywood performance and an etch-a-sketch 360′ waffle flip flop of the candidate’s positions on just about everything, then I don’t think we can be so sure about anything. I’ve never been optimistic. Remember, this idiot America elected W twice and thinks Reagan was a great president.

        • jeffery
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:37 am | Permalink

          It’s a frightening to think that America will probably get just what it deserves on election day. We are an almost unbelievably ignorant and arrogant nation.

    • Flaffer
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Check out fivethirtyeight blog (google it). The point is where the leads ARE, not in the overall percentages. Obama has several different configurations where he wins the Electoral but Mitt has few, given that Mitt will most likely lose Ohio and Virginia, and may lose Colorado and possible Florida.

      I am with da Boss on this one.

      • Ed Stephenson
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Also look at this site:

        Obama has a nominal lead in electoral votes, but losing one big state like Ohio gives Romney a slight lead. And Obama’s lead in Ohio is only 2 points, probably within the margin of error. That 2 point lead looks a little more trustworthy when one considers the fact that Ohio polls have consistently shown Obama ahead (click on each state to show the polling history), but still …

      • Posted October 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        If you’ve been following Nate Silver, then you know that, according to his model, Obama went from almost a 90% chance of victory before the debates to a 60% chance after the first one. That’s still a solid lead for the President, but a dramatic reversal of fortune nonetheless. He’s now at about a 65% chance, which is generally in line with the betting odds.

        3:2 are good odds, but by no means a sure bet.


        • Gary W
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, if support for Obama is so fragile that his chance of victory can plummet from 90% to 60% from a single poor debate performance, victory is not merely “by no means a sure bet” but is very uncertain indeed.

          But I suspect that Obama will in fact win. The totality of polling seems to suggest that he has a modest but real lead over Romney and I think Silver’s model probably overstates the volatility of Obama’s support.

          Your favored candidate (what’s-her-name from the Green Party), on the other hand, has essentially zero chance of winning. Thank goodness.

          • Posted October 18, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

            Your favored candidate (what’s-her-name from the Green Party), on the other hand, has essentially zero chance of winning. Thank goodness.

            So, you’d rather we keep killing brown people overseas? You’d rather we drill, baby, drill? You’d rather see people die than have affordable healthcare? You’d rather see our national infrastructure continue to crumble? You’d rather the TSA continue to grope little old ladies, the CIA warrantlessly wiretap anybody they feel like, and the Air Force murder whomever they please with flying death robots?

            If that’s your idea of the “goodness” you’re thanking, most people I know want nothing to do with it.


            • Gary W
              Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

              So, you’d rather we keep killing brown people overseas?

              No, I’d much rather have either Obama or Romney as President than the Green Party candidate. But fortunately she has absolutely no chance of winning, so we don’t have to worry about that.

              • Posted October 19, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

                Whether you like it or not, a preference for Obama or Romney is a preference for killing brown people, because both have pledged to do exactly that.

                So why would you rather we keep killing brown people?


              • Gary W
                Posted October 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

                Whether you like it or not, a preference for Obama or Romney is a preference for killing brown people


            • Notagod
              Posted October 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

              We need to get the people to demand a Condorcet method.

              Much harder for the super wealth to manipulate and it would give a real chance to third parties. I think it would also force the politicians to be of a higher quality.

              • Posted October 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                Any of the variations on the preferential voting theme would be a huge improvement.

                I think it’s a mistrake to argue in favor of one of the alternatives over the others, as it dilutes the demand for something other than first-past-the-post.

                Once an alternative is acceptable, I’d suggest something as simple as possible for the voters — just mark the candidates you’d consider acceptable. People will get confused with writing numbers. Hard to believe, but I can assure you that writing numbers would cause lots of confusion.


              • Notagod
                Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

                That thought did cross my mind. Maybe though, there is a work around using four candidates. Have the voters consider the little circles as crackers. Then they fill the portion of the cracker they want each candidate to have. One-quarter filled for the least liked up to completely filled for the very best-est Jebus eater.

  2. Pete Cockerell
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Actually, it seems to be more of dead heat than anyone could have predicted before the first debate. Romney’s post-debate “bump” doesn’t seem to have subsided, and now he’s polling better with women, astonishing as that seems. We can only hope that Obama is on better form tonight, but it’s going to be hard for him to be appropriately aggressive against Romney’s lies in a town hall setting.

  3. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    It’s not that they don’t see the dead people. Or the poor people who can’t afford to live. He genuinely wants them to die, because their existence offends him.

    ‘Course he can’t actually admit this to a soul, because that’s kind of a vote-loser …

    • RFW
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      And what difference does it make anyway? The poor dead may not get “their own planet” of the same high quality as the Rombot, but they’ll get one, you may be sure. And with your own planet awaiting you after death, “oh death, where is thy sting?”

      For sale: one planet, slightly used, but in good condition and carefully updated. Originally a blue light special from K-Mart, with many add-ons for the discerning buyer.

      Buyer must covenant to take care of all the spiritual children inhabiting it.

  4. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Agreed. This has become a close race, simply because Obama has done a terrible job making folks plainly see the natural consequences of Romney/Ryan’s plan, and Romney and Ryan have simply lied about the most extreme elements of it. We might very well find ourselves in a Romney presidency come January. (although it is some measure of comfort that, while Romney is spineless, and a tool of the wealthy, he’s not stupid. Dubya was also a tool, but a stupid one at that)

  5. Kevin Alexander
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    If you combine a dead heat in the polls with the new voterID* laws you can easily predict a Romney win.

    *ID them as Dems and stop them from voting.

  6. raven
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Romney just promised to defend Planned Parenthood.

    Xpost from Ed Brayton’s blog:

    1. Restrict and hinder access to birth control.

    2. More unwanted children are born to young, single mothers.

    3. Who then apply for WIC, food stamps, and welfare.

    4. Which has just been simultaneously cut.

    What could go wrong here?

    If you are a Theothuglican not much. A few squemish people might object to seeing starving mothers and their babies living on the street. But so what!!! They are just 47% moochers. Those bleeding hearts probably vote Democratic anyway.

    The level of callousness and magical thinking of Romney/Ryan is stunning.

    • raven
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Romney just promised to defend Planned Parenthood.

      Should be

      Romeny just promised to defund Planned Parenthood.

  7. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Over here in Europe we are concerned that Romney has made significant headway. A relief to hear that this may not be so.

    • Ben L
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      No, the post is wrong – Obama ha a slight lead but it is a close election.

    • Bob Carlson
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Here in the Virginia suburbs of the US Capital it seems apparent that Romney has made significant headway, and it is discouraging to be in the position of hoping that it won’t be sufficient. That we are so backward that a guy whose only principle is to say whatever he thinks he needs to say to win a vote might be able to get enough votes to win the election is simply depressing. I also find it depressing that any women would consider voting for the man. And am I just being silly for hoping we won’t have to suffer the humiliation of being the first country to have a president that wears magic underwear?

      • gluonspring
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        But look on the bright side, we’ll also be the first country to have a president for whom being president is just a warm up for one day ruling his own planet, or several!

  8. raven
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it is a close race.

    I can’t call it.

    Romney and his party want the worst for most of the US population, nonwhites, poor people, women, gays, the educated etc..

    Bush set us back one lost generation without even trying. Romney clearly doesn’t even care.

    Make that two lost generations. Go figure.

    My latest theory is that it is just our time. 314 million lemmings decided to run over a cliff. Try stopping them.

    • RFW
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Romney seems to want to turn the clock back to ca 1850. That’s 162 years ago, more like 5+ generations.

  9. Michael Wiebe
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    “I’d bet big money that he won’t.”

    Here’s your chance:

  10. Jim Jones
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    “The Republican Party: An actual death panel”.

    Tucson University Medical Center has confirmed that a patient who was refused a liver transplant due to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s (R) decision to cut the state benefit that would have made the transplant possible, has died. The patient had been scheduled for the needed transplant but was dropped from the waiting list on October 1st when the cuts went into effect.

  11. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Today’s Vindicator story of Paul Ryan’s visit to a Youngstown, OH “soup kitchen” in the heart of the city’s downtown district also cuts to the stone cold hearts of these two jackasses. In an article entitled, Soup Kitchen Stunt Spins Out of Control, political hack, David Skolnick, lays bare the ugliness that is at the core of both Romnuts and his delusional sidekick that’s obvious to even the most politically unschooled.

    Krugman’s NYT op ed piece is an equally fine analysis of the worldview each of these thuggish buffoons share.

    To contemplate that these two fake human beings stand even a remote chance of sitting in the White House scares the freakin’ heebie-jeebies out of me. Watching the two frauds run neck-to-neck with with an exceptionally bright person makes me viscerally sick all day long. I can’t even believe what I’m witnessing any more. It’s worse than any horror movie I’ve ever seen.

    But, I suppose it’s all just part of the natural evolution of a culture that hardly reacts to the continued assault on the public education system. To expect something else would surely classified as delusional.

  12. raven
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them;

    Romney/Ryan are also war mongers.

    We might end up in another war, with Iran. There goes another few trillions of dollars and who knows how many thousands of dead people. Again.

    I knew things were going drastically wrong with Bush when two of my friends were killed in Iraq.

    • eric
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      I think you give them too much credit. I’d be amazed if Romney even had a foreign policy. His comments on the matter seem to be limited to:
      -when asked about generalities, claim Obama is weak and absolutely wrong.
      -when asked about something specific, claim he would’ve done exactly what the President actually did.

      • athiest in a foxhole
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        You said, “I’d be amazed if Romney even had a foreign policy.” He doesn’t – that is actually the problem. He has no foreign policy of his own. So he picked up 17 of his 24 foreign policy advisers from the Bush-Cheney administration.

        Having served in the military for 20 years and 2 tours of duty in Iraq, I can tell you from first hand experience they only thing Romney’s ‘Cheney’ advisers will get us is more misery. They will basically say to attack anyone who makes them mad and have no plan for what to do after the attack. There was no plan for what happened after Saddam was driven out of power in Iraq. Things were just expected to magically work themselves out and voila! Democracy!

    • gravelinspector
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      We might end up in another war, with Iran.

      How do you justify the “might”? Watching from the outside (but closer to the source of the fallout) we’re 100% expecting the US to attack Iran. The only significant questions are whether or not it’ll be fronted by Israel or not (50:50); whether the Iranians will get their necessary-to-survival nuclear weapons first (30:70); and whether they’ll get them delivered into the US in time to stop the attack (30:70). If the Iranians don’t have them already, and have been successfully fooling the CIA for the last several years. (Given the natural sympathy for the CIA, I can see how their HUMINT is going to be incredibly reliable.)
      Watching a nuclear stand-off in my lifetime. Oh joy! It takes me back to living in the overlapping blast zones from two US missile bases.

  13. Occam
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    With 47% of the nation marked out as expendable, these would seem only collateral damages.

    Seen from afar, from a Europe where the ancient demons, deemed dead and buried, emerge as dangerously alive and kicking, the perspective of American votes swayed not just towards “death by ideology”, but towards a slow national suicide by ideology, is even more dispiriting than the stolen election of 2000. After all, people ought to know what’s coming.

    Jerry, Obama may be worth a mass.

  14. Douglas E
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    And speaking of betting on the election, here is the electoral map based on InTrade online wagering:

    And rather than an RC Mass a la JC, I will go visit a Mormon meetin’ house if Romney wins.

  15. Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The emergency room? That’s Romney’s plan for those who can’t afford insurance? Did I miss something? Are they treating things like cancer in the emergency room now?

    Not to mention, what’s the difference between subsidizing insurance plans and subsidizing trips to the ER?

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Trips to the ER are more expensive, and get in the way of people in acute need.

      I’m reminded of Bob Dole, while campaigning, saying that no one in America goes hungry.

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      One pumps money into a private organization that can later deny you sufficient coverage leaving you bankrupt 2/3 of the time, and the other pumps money into a private organization bound by law to stabilize only your catastrophic condition before bankrupting you in all likelihood?

      Seriously, we are SO screwed.

      I say this after playing no small part in helping someone flee the clutches of the USA long-term health care system with her assets intact (she was over-insured, but it didn’t matter), and watching another friend bail on his house (that he single-handedly built) for a more civilized country: Turkey (where he is now prospering).

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Anyone who actually treats patients knows what absolute bullshit (Biden should’ve just said it) this is. Sure, you can “stabilise” a patient after a heart attack – but most people who have heart attacks die, if not immediately then soon; and their chances are much worse without follow up care. The key is preventative medicine – statins, beta-blockers, monitoring, help with lifestyle changes. ER visits don’t cover that.

      Oh, and the cost of that emergency CT and EKG? The hundreds or thousands of dollars of drugs and sterile equipment? The time on the clock of a 5-person crash team? If the victim/patient (depends on the outcome) don’t have insurance, that gets passed on to the rest of us.

      • Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes. That last bit was precisely my point. Romney thinks public healthcare would cost a lot of money. Does he think that what goes in in an ER is magically cost-free?

        • Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          goes on

        • Posted October 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I know. I was just pointing out that, even in his “everyone gets treated for a heart attack” fairy story (that we pay for), it still probably won’t save their life. For long, at least.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Are they treating things like cancer in the emergency room now?

      They can probably give you pain killers. Permanent ones, if you take the wrong dosage.

  16. Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Death Vouchers:

  17. FastLane
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Rmoney doesn’t see dead people, because he has guards to keep them out of the gated community…..

    • raven
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      It’s a good thing for him that Zombies are imaginary.

      Otherwise, after a few years of a Romney administration, there would be a whole lot of the Undead who aren’t too pleased with him. Being dead, they wouldn’t have much left to lose.

  18. Alektorophile
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I always found it baffling how many people in the US vote republican even if it goes against their own self-interest. I’m European, but my wife’s family lives in rural MT and WY. Many of them are dependent or have been dependent on the government for subsidies, help, medicare and social security, etcetera and some are themselves government employees. But all faithfully vote republican, and buy into all that “smaller government” and “no handouts” talk hook, line, and sinker. Somehow when they get their own housing or farming subsidies it is well-deserved, if others get it it is a handout.

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink


      It’s incomprehensible.

      (Figuratively. In a literal sense I can comprehend how compartmentalization (and the attendant cognitive dissonance – yes I’m talking to you, RF), indoctrination, peer pressure and plain old selfishness can lead to the situation.)

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      I think the key to this is the word “rural”. We mostly think there is a North/South divide in this country, but I think it is more aptly categorized as an urban/rural split. One can go to virtually any spot on the map in this country and look at political affiliation AND religiosity and it is night and day. I suspect similar situations in many other places on the planet as well (Tehran vs. rural Iran, Islamabad & Karachi vs. outside the same come to mind).

      Why would this be? I’m guessing a tribalism mentality has something to do with it. Interviews of rural people were on the radio Sunday – discussing who they were backing and why. Everyone featured as voting Repugnant said they just liked the way Romney carried himself. He just looks and sounds so self-assured — like he knows what he’s doing… a natural-born leader.

      Reminds me of this clip. No offense intended to youse rural folks out there that also happen to have brains.

      • darrelle
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Why would this be? I’m guessing a tribalism mentality has something to do with it.

        Definitely tribalism. I think the concept of horizons of inclusion has some merit as well. In a modern urban environment an individual is much more likely to experience people from many other “tribes” on a regular basis. This can often lead to a level of understanding and acceptance that can result in the individual’s “horizon of inclusion” expanding to include former “others”. Some peoples horizons are large enough that the entire human race is their “tribe”, and even other species.

        Then there are your relatively isolated rural and country folk, many of which have tiny little horizons that include themselves, and maybe family or even close friends.

        But then, an individuals capacity for empathy seems to play a large part as well. A bona fide sociopath has an horizon of inclusion of 1, no matter where they live.

      • gluonspring
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        It’s hard not to think what they really mean is: “He just looks and sounds so… white.”

      • Mark D.
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        I can’t take anything seriously that’s said by Willy Wonka.🙂

    • gluonspring
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Let me add racism to the fine and entirely true answers of cognitive dissonance and “rural/urban” divide. Racism is unfortunately still a large part of the American political landscape. It is one thing for the government to give a helping hand to deserving people “like them”, but entirely another to help the dangerous “other”. In their minds they only need it in a pinch, while the “others” build their lives around the government handout. They feel they contribute as well as take, but believe that “others” only take. More often than not, the “us” vs “others” feelings basically boil down to race. I think what donotwash said about some “genuinely want them to die, because their existence offends” them may have a sad amount of truth to it. It might be subconscious, even, but the feeling is there: promote “our kind” while squelching the rise of the “other”. The GOP, starting with Nixon, has cleverly played on people’s racial fears to get them to be more afraid of giving help to poor non-whites than they are afraid of not getting help themselves when they need it. In any case, people trust people who talk to them in racially coded ways to carve out ways for them to still get what they want from the government while cutting off the “other”. They aren’t voting for specific policies, they are basically voting for “one of us”.

      The rural/urban split is obvious also, but I wonder how much of that is just racism as well. In Houston, where I used to live, there is a racially integrated urban core that votes largely Democratic. Surrounding Houston are suburbs that are almost totally white and which vote almost totally Republican. It’s like a Republican donut with a Democratic center. The origin of these suburbs is classic “White Flight”, people moving further and further out into the suburbs as non-whites move in, as integration forced their children to go to school with non-whites. People move out of fear of the urban core. Some will openly name the fear as being based on race, but others just unconsciously lump it all together: crime, race, poor schools, etc. The net effect is the same.

  19. darrelle
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    It is all so disgusting. It has become increasing difficult for me to be civil to the blind redneck mouthbreathers that are gung ho anti Obama around my town. Only problem is that they are the police, the bankers, the lawyers, the medical technicians, hell, even the teachers at what passes for, by far, the best school in the area.

    It is difficult to not be fatalistic about it. In any decent society this situation, how close the race is, would not be possible. Ergo, our society is in seriously deep shit.

    If we can hold on a little while longer without devolving into a banana republic, there is reason to believe that generational change may just be able to save us from this particular instance of insanity. But it won’t be easy.

    After watching the 1st presidential debate and then the vice presidential debate, I wonder if perhaps Biden should be P to Obama’s VP.

  20. NoAstronomer
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The only people who are dumb enough to seriously believe that Romney/Ryan actually intend to implement this are already Republicans.


  21. marycanada FCD
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    This prognostication is reminiscent of the W -Bush campaign. I honestly believed that Bush didn’t have a chance and wouldn’t have taken the White House without the Supreme Court decision. But then, he was reelected for a second term leaving me completely dumbfounded. You may find yourself regrettably sitting through the hour long mass Dr. Coyne.

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      There were improprieties (esp in Ohio) in the 2004 election as well. I think it was the largest unreported story by the mainstream media back then. I think that election was stolen, too… although it wouldn’t have been if we weren’t so close to a 50:50 split.

      • Posted October 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        …on the 2004 election. I would add that exit polls are routinely used in UN-monitored elections to detect fraud, as what has been the likely result of the election in Venezuela.

        My opinion is that we are indeed already a banana republic. Except many banana republics have better health care.

        • darrelle
          Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Very true. The Bush admin was a disaster of biblical proportions, and yet most people don’t know it, don’t care to know it, or can’t remember it anyway.

  22. Hempenstein
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    The new (Oct 25) Rolling Stone has a good piece on Romney in re. his Mormonicalism, including this snipped in re. reversal on blacks: Mormon authority could not apoligize for generations of bigotry masqueraded as sacred text. To do so might amount to another revelation… that Mormonism’s teachings are the work of men, not God.

    An unsurprising concept to any of us, but nice to see it in print for those to whom the concept might be novel.

    There’s also a separate piece in the same issue on all of his tax dodge strategies.

  23. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know much about Mitt Romney, but I do know that he’s very wealthy and a Mor(m)on, which, I understand, is some flavour of Xtian.

    It strikes me that the policy outlined above is a case of robbing poor Peter to pay rich Paul. The policy will, of course, pay for itself: more poor folk will die, so the State won’t have to support them any more, thus going some way to pay for the proposed tax cuts. From what I understand, the Romney camp s also proposing some additional welfare cuts, thus robbing poor Peter again.

    Surely ensuring that masses of Peters live, and die, in increasing misery to ensure that a few Pauls live in increasing luxury is an act of pure evil? Now, Romney is a man of faith, he would have us believe, and haven’t we had quite a few Xtians posting here to tell us that without faith, there can be no sense of morality? Clearly, there is no corollary that having faith guarantees any grasp of morality.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Besides evil it is also transparently stupid. Poisoning the sacred cow that is enabling you to maintain and grow your wealth. Republican policies may increase the wealthy’s wealth in the short term, but that won’t last for long. Sure, if they burn down this house they can move themselves and their wealth somewhere else, but the planet isn’t really all that big and they still will have destroyed the economy most capable of enabling them.

      It is irony that our society has evolved to where some of the dumbest and most amoral/immoral people are the rulers. Has it always been this way when a society is dying?

    • Gary W
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Surely ensuring that masses of Peters live, and die, in increasing misery to ensure that a few Pauls live in increasing luxury is an act of pure evil?

      You might attract more support for Obama and the Democrats if you could restrain yourself from indulging in this kind of silly hyperbole. Even the small percentage of Americans living below the official poverty line generally enjoy a standard of living that would be the envy of most people in the world, and that in many ways is considerably higher than that of middle-income Americans of just a few decades ago.

      • teacupoftheapocalypse
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

        This is a US election. It will affect a lot of the ROTW, but not involve it. The vast majority of Americans do not even own a passport and are WAY more concerned about how they are doing compared to the guy next door and the woman in the office over the street than they are about the guy down an Angolan mine or the woman milking a horse in Mongolia. Such is the state of American education and general interest in the World outside of US borders that all know where Canada and Mexico are, but most couldn’t point to Angola or Mongolia on a map. So my point was far more metaphor than hyperbole.

      • darrelle
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        So the wealthy lying to, cheating and stealing from the rest of society below them, and doing it all in such a way that the economy is significantly impacted negatively, making it even more difficult for everyone else, is not so bad because the poor in the US aren’t as poor as the poor in other places? So, what, you don’t think this is a serious problem? You do understand that this exact type of thing has occurred in just about every society throughout history, and led to their fall? And you think it is too soon, or unnecessary or something, to do anything about it because things aren’t too bad . . . yet?

        No, I think we can do much better than that, and there is know time better than right now to try and stop the disaster from getting any larger. If you think that the word “evil” is too over the top to be used to describe what the past few republican administrations have done to the US, particularly the Bush Jr administration, and particularly considering the relatively healthy state of affairs it inherited from the Clinton administration, and the republicans current actions throughout the Obama administration and their stated intentions for the future, then you may as well relegate the word to imaginary religious applications only.

        But allow me to disagree. Crippling the US economy, poisoning our relationships with other countries, crippling our education, crippling attempts to improve medical care, gutting scientific research, promoting racism, misogyny and mistreatment of LGBT people via legislation, and much much more, all in service to these people’s personal greed. I’ve got no problems describing that as evil. In my opinion one of the major reasons we are in this mess is because there are too many people who don’t consider such behavior as evil. They pass it off as “just politics, both sides do it so they are all the same.” And that just ain’t so. In the real world degrees do matter. And the current republican party is an order of magnitude worse than the current democratic party.

      • Mark
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        “that in many ways is considerably higher than that of middle-income Americans of just a few decades ago.”

        In what ways would those be? The HHS poverty threshold for single people in 2012 is $11,170. Median male income in inflation-adjusted terms has been over $30,000 since the mid-1960s — see Census income table P-2. Yes, people have access to cheap gadgets that were not available in the 1960s but other things like housing, education and routine visits to the doctor have increased in price by a rate higher than inflation.

        • Gary W
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          In what ways would those be?

          Housing, transportation, food, education, communications, entertainment, health care…

          I’m not sure why you think a comparison of median male income (what, women don’t count?) tells us about the point at issue.

  24. MadScientist
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    “… and places the well-being of the wealthy above that of “regular” Americans.”

    Oh no, no, no – see, the privileged are the “regular Americans” and the rest of them – they’re worthless lazy people like all those Mexican migrants. That’s the attitude of many (but fortunately not all) of the privileged.

  25. ladyatheist
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    We shouldn’t take it personally. They want to kill people in other countries, too.

  26. Cremnomaniac
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    “I’ve found, however, that here in Europe people think that Romney is actually in a dead heat with Obama.”

    The way the US media plays it, most Americans think that as well. It’s one of the most undesirable traits of media and journalism today. That is, in order to sell product (news) it needs to be dramatized at every opportunity.

    The degree to which media will go to achieve this leaves me ill. Unfortunately, there is a conditioning that has taken place in America, where in competition for dollars has led to an ever increasing amount of dramatization. The public is now so conditioned that stories are hardly recognizable from their original truth.

    Melodramatic newscasters are disgustingly obvious, being the bad actors they are.

    A union friend of mine gave me this –

    • darrelle
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

  27. Posted October 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The bookies (in Europe) are giving 2-1 odds that Obama will win.

    Re: insurance: Romeny wouldn’t “repeal Obamacare”. Instead he’d make some minor tweaks, declare “Obamacare is repealed” and then call it “Romneycare” and steal the credit.

    • gluonspring
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      That is similar to Nate Silver’s predictions on 538*. I’ve heard that site as the place Democrats go every day to assure themselves that they are winning.😉 Maybe he has succumbed to some wishful model building and we should take it with a grain of salt. In any case, the roughly 50/50 percentage of voters in simple polls has only a little bearing on how close the race is. The winner-takes all electoral math of most states makes it a little more tricky to estimate the likelihoods of winning overall. All of those Democratic voters in TX and all those Republicans voters in California, millions of them, have no effect at all on the probable election outcome. And when evaluating swing states, one has to consider the odds of the various combinations of swing states that will give the magic number needed to win.


      • gluonspring
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        site -described- as the place Democrats go

    • Nick
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      I assume you mean 2-1 ‘on’, e.g. A profit of $0.50 for $1 invested. If there’s a bookie offering 2-1 on Obama ($2 profit on $1 invested), please tell me who it is because I need to re-mortgage my house.

      The betting markets are a better indicator than polls, and the ones I’ve seen suggest Obama has a huge lead in a two horse race.

  28. jeffery
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m torn- I dislike Romney intensely for many of his stances (the least of which is being a loyal member of a totally fabricated cult), but, on the other hand, there ARE waaaay too many people on this planet already. Like, when Alex Jones screams, “They’re (NWO, UN, other shadowy entities, etc.) gonna kill us all!”; maybe this is how THEY intend to do it: Why spend the money on expensive death camps and FEMA detention centers when you can just let the rabble wither away for lack of fundamental care. Sayyyyyy… maybe the “anti-vaxxers” are in on it, too!

  29. Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Hate to disappoint or worry you, but according to all major national polls, Obama and Romney are in a statistical tie, with all the momentum going his way after the 1st presidential debate. Trust me, 50% of us Americans are truly, deeply, stupid, and at least half those that will be destroyed by the Republican health plan will, in fact, vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket.

  30. Jeff D
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s unfortunate that underneath the smooth, audacious, consistent, butter-wouldn’t melt dishonesty of Romney, Ryan and their plutocratic supporters, there are some unpleasant truths: Health care costs in general continue to be out of control, Medicare and Medicaid ARE unsustainable in the long term in their current form, and PPACA (Obamacare) was a health insurance reform law (overdue in some respects) that will do almost nothing to control health care costs, and that will perpetuate an unfortuate and historically accidental connection between health insurance and employment.

    On the other side of Romney and Ryan, leaders in the other party and their supporters are being almost as dishonest in avoiding discussion of the long-term problems of these federal programs on autopilot, and in refusing to discuss or embrace specific solutions to deal with the problems sooner rather than later. The only thing that I find less dishonest about most liberals and progressives on these issue is that at least the liberals and progressives are willing to acknowledge that long-term, sustainable solutions are going to require tax reforms that end up raising revenues, i.e., collecting more federal taxes from those who can afford to pay and who have had a very easy, profitable run over the past couple of decades.

    Both sides care more (perhaps exclusively) about winning elections than about actually proposing and implementing actual solutions and (just as important) engaging and educating the voters. It suits the two major parties to just scare and mislead the voters, and to continue to coddle and spoil them, than to help them face some stark choices: (1) What services should government provide to the neediest and the least fortunate, and (2) How much (and in what ways) can these services be paid for most efficiently?

  31. Daniel Schmuhl
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    This is kind of misleading, they don’t want to kill Americans. I also doubt that anyone will actuallly die and I don’t even like Romney/Ryan.

    • sponge bob
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      I agree. To say they want people to die is ridiculous.

      The fact of the matter is that things need to change. $16 trillion in debt and rising and we’ll go the way of Rome unless changes are made.

      Not even the uber wealthy have enough money to fix this hole. Tax them all you want.

      • Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        Sorry, but you don’t understand macroeconomics: The US – with a few reforms – is in a very sustainable position regarding its debt.

        And, yes, republication policy is evil, stupid and dangerous. People *will* die if it is implemented.

        Just read your Krugman, Stiglitz, de Long, Romer, Wren-Lewis, Summers and other economists.

  32. Kris Larner
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Here in the UK it is a national pastime to knock the NHS (National Health Service), but and it is a massive but we are so glad we have it. Government may tinker with it but any political party that suggests that health care wouldn’t be free at point of origin would be onto a massive defeat at the polls. The NHS could be better but even as it is it is far superior to even Obamacare.
    I just hope that you won’t have to sit through mass in November not only for your sakes but for the world’s sake as well.
    I’m surprised that a bigger take on Romney’s mormonism hasn’t been taken because anyone who believes that drivel isn’t fit to run a playgroup let-alone the most powerful country in the world!!! or is that going to kept for nearer the election date.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 2:46 am | Permalink

      Agreed on all points. It just amazes me that it could be possible for a believer in a clearly fabricated religion (more so than most anyway) set up by a con man to end up as president of Murka. You guys are so stuffed! And so are we all, if he succeeds.

  33. tomh
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    That is similar to Nate Silver’s predictions on 538*.

    Silver is the best there is in the prediction business. And although he himself may lean Democratic there is no evidence it affects his models. But a 2-1 probability is nothing to be reassured by. Would you get on a plane that had a two out of three chance of landing safely? Or undergo a medical procedure that had a two of three chance of success?

    • gluonspring
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Well, that depends on why I was getting on the plane or having the procedure! 😉

    • Douglas E
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      While I agree that Silver is very good, the InTrade wagering market is also very accurate [link previously given]. It missed by only one electoral vote, although Indiana and Missouri reversed. This was a wash since both had 11 electoral votes. Today’s InTrade map shows Obama 290, Romney 248.

      • Douglas E
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        Should have added “In 2008,” it misssed….

  34. terryln
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    We have a massive over population problem, over population of humans.
    Our species has now become a species that its seriously damaging the environment for all creatures on this planet.
    Prolonging individuals lives to rack up heartbeats, its hugely wasteful.
    People need to die naturally.

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. They need to be allowed to die naturally, if they so choose.

      I don’t think you’ve really thought about this. The right is against choice in dying for those who are ready to go. The right is against population control in the form of a woman’s right to choose. But letting a 16 yo with leukemia die because she was considered uninsurable or couldn’t afford insurance? That’s totes okeydokey.

      Does this seem backward to you?

    • Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps I commented too hastily. Your comment is a little vague. It comes across as supporting the view that we shouldn’t institute public healthcare and simply let the less fortunate die agonizing deaths.

      Upon closer inspection, it seems possible this was not your intent. If so, apologies.

    • Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      Except none of this is true. We could easily feed and house all 9 billion people in 2050; if we just did the right thing, like, use science, stop killing each other, wasting food, over-eating, etc.

    • teacupoftheapocalypse
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      England, by area, is smaller than the state of Louisiana, but supports a population of 53m, compared to whole of the USA at 311m. I exclude the rest of the UK because it is far less densely populated. Of course, in some areas, like London and the Manchester-Liverpool conurbation, it does feel a little cheek-by-jowl (and it is getting increasingly difficult to find a patch of night sky free of light pollution), but, as a whole, the UK does not feel overcrowded or over-populated.

      The UK, as a whole, if there was sufficient will, could feed itself and also manages to support the National Health Service, providing free healthcare to the entire population of 63m, plus a significant number of “health tourists”.

      UK per capita GDP is US$38,818, US per capita GDP is US$48,442.

      The US has plenty of scope for growth of population and for the support of free universal health care, if there is sufficient will.

      • Gary W
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        The UK does indeed have “universal health care.” But it’s rather mediocre health care. I think the typical American probably gets much better health care than the typical Briton.

        • teacupoftheapocalypse
          Posted October 18, 2012 at 3:57 am | Permalink

          Well, the quick way to find out whether that last statement is true is to ask someone who has experienced in-patient healthcare in the US and in the UK. Any takers?

        • Posted October 18, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink


          By any objective measure, Britain has a first-rate medical system, while we have one that would shame most third-world countries.

          Yes, yes. If you’re Mitt Romney and can afford to pay for a $10,000 procedure with your pocket betting money, you can get great care. For the 99%, though, it’s a choice between spending more on health insurance premiums than on housing (once you include what employers pay; going into crippling debt; or dying.

          Oh — and better not upset your boss, lest you get fired and your sick child now dies because your insurance gets cut off.

          We don’t have a healthcare system. We have an insurance scam that bilks people for all they’re worth and occasionally deigns to give complementary pedicures to those who can afford to self-insure.


          • Gary W
            Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            By any objective measure, Britain has a first-rate medical system, while we have one that would shame most third-world countries.

            On the contrary, objective measures indicate that Britain has a mediocre health care system. Aging, run-down clinics and hospitals, and severe rationing and shortages of medical equipment, leading to long wait times for medical procedures. The results of this are evident in, for example, Britain’s poor performance on cancer survival rates.

  35. Andy
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, the race is a dead heat percentage-wise but the media here did downplay the fact that Obama was way ahead in the electoral college, which is what counts. Must be that “liberal bias” we keep being told about again.😉

    I see a few general reasons why people will vote for Mittens:
    (i) There is one issue they care about so much (abortion, deficit, race, guns, god, tax cuts, etc) that nothing else matters to them.
    (ii) A lack of understanding. The fact that most of the deficits came from republican policies, Obama has been depressingly pro-gun, cut taxes, and so on is irrelevant. If you tell most people that total government spending has shrunk under Obama then they don’t believe it even when you show them the figures.
    (iii) Tribalism. Just like a fanatical soccer-fan, they want their side to win so much that any harm they might suffer doesn’t matter.

    I’m just so scared, but at least Obama just spanked Mittens in tonight’s debate.

    I would be tempted to take your bet, but only for the potential consolation value.

  36. Whiskey Lima
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Stick to science.

  37. Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I was pleasantly surprised by the confidence exuded in this post that Romney’s chances are in fact slim. This is certainly not what comes across reading run-of-the-mill papers and web sites in the U.S. either. More so reading Andrew Sullivan’s angst-ridden blogs and a few others can bring one to the edge of a nervous breakdown. The most common sentiment here too is the one Dr. Coyne picked up in Europe: this is a disturbingly close dead-heat.
    For sure the race has tightened. But the electoral college still favors Obama. And historically, post-debate bumps have been rather short lived. Romney is also unpopular on specific topics: social security, medicare, economy etc. Lastly, it helps to pick your poll analysis with utmost care. The one I consider most credible is honed by the mathematics fit for studying the universe:
    It still leans decisively Obama.

  38. Duncan
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Don’t stick to science

  39. TJR
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    What they say:

    “I believe in small government”

    What they mean:

    “I want the bits of the government that help rich people, but I don’t want the bits that help poor people”

  40. RFW
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    “Death by ideology”

    How very twentieth century! European Jews, Russians, and Chinese all experienced that. Is the US to be next?

  41. Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Dead heat or not (and all polls that I have seen say that is indeed very close), it is still astonishing to a liberal European like myself that Romney even gets to 45%-ish of the vote on a platform like his.

    I saw some polls a while back from Europe showing that in the Netherlands, Obama would get something along 95% to 97% of the votes, and closer to 98% in France. That seems more reasonable to me as it just shows the % of super-rich and/or (religious) nutjobs.

  42. Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Just read the piece. The cynical reasoning from the Republicans is also surely that dead people don’t vote Democrat – as the people left out would in the overwhelming majority would do.

  43. Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Late to the party again….

    While Mittens went into last night’s debate behind but within striking distance, he left with what’s sure to be a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound to his own foot.

    The soundbite from the debate again came from rMoney, in the form of his “binders full of women.” Had it been nothing more than an awkward slip o’ th’ tongue, he would have been fine…but that whole exchange showed that he couldn’t find qualified women in Massachusetts to be in his cabinet (really? — not to mention the story was a lie); that only women need flexible schedules so they can get home in time to cook dinner for their husbands and welcome the children home from school; and that the only way businesses will hire women is if they’ve run out of men to hire (which is why we need to grow the economy by giving even more tax breaks to the Waltons).

    That one exchange, so neatly wrapped up in a perfect soundbite, handed to the country by Mitt himself on a silver platter forged from his own personal mine, almost certainly cost him the election.



  44. 39joshua
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Professor, I agree that there are dangers to vouchers, but I really don’t see any alternative to them (as part of a multi-dimensional plan that also involves tax increases for wealthy recipients of Medicare and Social Security, raising of the retirement age, etc) if we wan’t to have a competitive economy in this globalized world. When the U.S. ruled the roost econimically, when medical technology was much less impressive and when people were dying earlier, and when we had a smaller elderly population we could perhaps sustain Medicare and Social Security as they are now, but none of these factors are true any longer. Some form of rationing is probably inevitable (e.g. end of life care, which takes up a disproportionate amount of Medicare), and people are also just going to have to learn to live with less and prepare to save more if they want good medical care (e.g. will need to live in smaller houses, apartments, and so on). Tough choices need to be made if we don’t want the high unemployment that Europe is experiencing – simply taxing the rich won’t do the job (although I certainly agree that it is a bad idea to cut them). Needless to say, neither Obama nor Romney want to face these issues, which as I repeat are inevitable. As a patriotic GenXer I find this frustrating.

    As an aside, please see this column by Robert J. Samualson, a pragmatic economist who I think is the most eloquent mainstream journalist about this issue:


    • Posted October 18, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Professor, I agree that there are dangers to vouchers, but I really don’t see any alternative to them (as part of a multi-dimensional plan that also involves tax increases for wealthy recipients of Medicare and Social Security, raising of the retirement age, etc) if we wan’t to have a competitive economy in this globalized world.

      None of the economies we’re competing with have voucher systems, and they’ve pretty much all got better healthcare than we do.

      That’s because they’ve got what Dr. Stein is calling for: Medicare for all. (Of course, Medicare is the American name for the term; in Britain, for example, it’s the National Health Service, and it’s basically the same thing as Medicare, except it covers everybody, not just the elderly.)


      • Gary W
        Posted October 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        That’s because they’ve got what Dr. Stein is calling for: Medicare for all.

        No, they don’t have anything like “Medicare for all”. They couldn’t possibly afford it. Neither can the U.S. We can’t even afford Medicare in its current form for much longer. Its costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. As more and more baby boomers become eligible for the program, and as life expectancy continues to increase, costs will grow even more unless there are major reforms (read: cuts) to the program.

        • tomh
          Posted October 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Gary W wrote:
          We can’t even afford Medicare in its current form for much longer.

          You mean we can’t afford it if we continue to spend unconscionable amounts of money on defense, not to mention allowing the wealthy and corporations a practically free ride with tax laws. Like many things, the world food supply for instance, there is plenty of money, it’s the distribution and allocation that causes the problems.

          • Gary W
            Posted October 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            I think we probably should cut the defense budget significantly, but as a share of the total federal budget and national GDP the current defense budget is consistent with historical averages. But even significant cuts to Defense won’t free up enough money to continue to fund medicare in its current form. The program is simply too generous. Medicare spends huge amounts of money for surgeries or drugs that provide marginal health benefits or life extensions for very sick and elderly people. No other country does this.

            • tomh
              Posted October 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

              the current defense budget is consistent with historical averages.
              Historical averages have been ridiculous for a long time. It’s time to use some common sense on military budgets.

              The program is simply too generous. Medicare spends huge amounts of money for surgeries or drugs that provide marginal health benefits or life extensions for very sick and elderly people.

              According to you. You might change your tune when you’re as old as I am. You mention defense but ignore the huge amounts of money that corporations and the wealthy avoid contributing by spending massive amounts to influence the tax laws. Or the hundreds of billions in profits that insurance companies ensured for themselves when they lobbied their way into a government ban on negotiating drug prices directly with drug companies. To just say we can’t afford Medicare while ignoring the ways it should be funded makes no sense.

              • Gary W
                Posted October 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

                Historical averages have been ridiculous for a long time

                Says you. Most people don’t seem to share your view, otherwise the Defense budget would have been much lower for decades.

                According to you. You might change your tune when you’re as old as I am.

                We spend vastly more than any other country to provide marginal health improvements and life extensions to very old and sick people. We simply can’t afford to keep doing that. And it’s a very inefficient use of resources. We would get much more benefit spending that money to provide routine and preventative care for the general population. It’s not a matter of my personal opinion. It’s a matter of economic reality.

        • Posted October 19, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          No, they don’t have anything like “Medicare for all”.

          You’re right. Medicare has significant gaps in its coverage, especially for prescription drugs. The NHS doesn’t; the only sorts of things it doesn’t cover are private rooms (which you can pay for out-of-pocket or with supplementary insurance).

          They couldn’t possibly afford it.

          Except that they do.

          For the whole country, not just for seniors.

          You know how they do it?


          The NHS is no more a for-profit enterprise than are fire departments, public libraries, or the National Park Service in the States.

          In the US, the overhead, including shareholder profits, corporate salaries, and advertising, had been over 20% of premiums before Obamacare, and it’s now been capped at 20%.

          The NHS’s overhead is in the low single digits.

          Medicare for all would cut that 20% of overhead and bring it in line with the overhead expenses of the rest of the developed world, and it would more than amply take care of those major reforms / cuts you’re so eager to see.

          Of course, it would mean an end to the gravy train for all those parasites running the insurance racket we’ve got here in the States, and those parasites pay for the best congresscritters money can buy — which is why you’re going to get your wish and continue to pay a fifth of your medical care dollars to make them richer…and it’s also why you’re not even going to get as much as you’re paying for. After all, we can’t actually have insurance companies paying for health care when there’re so many yachts the C-level executives need to buy, can we?


          • Gary W
            Posted October 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

            Except that they do.

            No they don’t. No other country provides health care remotely as generous as Medicare. We routinely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide a few more months of life to very sick people in their 80s. Britain and other single-payer countries simply don’t do this. They can’t afford it on their much smaller health care budgets, and they have rightly concluded that the very limited benefit simply does not justify the enormous cost.

            • tomh
              Posted October 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

              Gary W wrote:
              Most people don’t seem to share your view, otherwise the Defense budget would have been much lower for decades.

              You seem unclear on how the American political system works. Military budgets are not decided by what most people want, they are decided by the hundreds of millions of dollars that defense contractors have contributed to politicians. You know, the people who decide and write the budgets. Just as the health care system is not decided by what people want, or what would be best for them, but by the vast amounts of money that insurance companies have poured into political campaigns. And the tax code is not decided on a standard of fairness, but rather by big political contributors who get loopholes and tax rates written into the law that are shameful. This is no big secret, it’s obvious to anyone who looks at the numbers and results.

  45. Kevin
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    That’s the kind of stance that ensures the continuing dysfunctionality of American society, and hence the continuing and embarrassing hegemony of religion in our country.

    Whew! If you want to try a conspiracy theory maybe you should start small and work your way up to ludicrous.

    Try this simple theory to get going: the Administration deliberately suggested that the US ambassador to Libya was killed as a result of a spontaneous demonstration in order not to look weak against terrorists in the run-up to the presidential election.

  46. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    There is an alternative:

  47. Rosasharon Joad
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Americans en masse have always loved most those who show them the most blatant contempt. Given that simple-if unpleasant–truth, it is nothing to wonder at that Romney and the 1% will continue to rule–they spit on us, make little attempt to disguise it, and operate under the mostly correct assumption that we are a servile people who revere our wealthy masters.

    Even if Romney should lose this election (which is beginning to look increasingly unlikely), we will have these monsters with us always–and they will always manage ultimately to be the loudest voice in the political room. Because that’s the way the majority of the people want it.


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